Wednesday, August 20, 2014

WIN 1 of 2 Signed Copies of Alexa Chung's 'It' on Paperback & a Money-Can't-Buy Limited Edition Tote Bag

Today I bring you one of the greatest (in my humble opinion) giveaways I've held on my blog yet! Courtesy of Penguin Books UK, I was sent a signed copy of Alexa Chung's 'It' on the new paperback edition, along with a limited edition tote bag that you can't buy in any shop - fact. Most of you know, Alexa is one of my biggest idols and has been since I was a young'un. To say I was excited opening this parcel would be an understatement.

But guess what? I have 4 signed copies of 'It' on paperback and this fab limited edition canvas tote bag to give away to you guys too! There'll be 2 bundles up for grabs here on my blog and another 2 to win on my Instagram this weekend. Pretty amazing, right? Just enter via the giveaway box below - good luck!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Double OOTD feat. Palladium Boots

Holographic t-shirt* // Elsie and Fred
Easy Jeans // American Apparel
Pampa Hi Leather boots* // Palladium Boots
Heart choker* // Night Venus

Netted top // Topshop
White vest // River Island
'Leigh' jeans // Topshop
Pampa Oxford shoes* // Palladium Boots

Friday, August 15, 2014

OOTD feat. Antique Clothing & Vans

Palm print sweater* // Motel Rocks @ Bank Fashion
Atwood trainers* // Vans @ Bank Fashion
Black cami crop top // River Island
Vintage Levi shorts // Urban Outfitters
Sunglasses* // Antique Clothing
Hoop earrings* // New Look
Rings* // New Look

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Interview with Pixiwoo | Makeup 101 for Fair Skin

I had the pleasure of meeting two of my biggest inspirations last week; Sam and Nic from the famous Youtube channel Pixiwoo. They're two incredible makeup artists and entrepreneurs; it's been amazing seeing their channel grow over the years and the launch of the Real Techniques brush range in 2010 catapulted the Pixiwoo duo even higher. The girls were travelling across the UK and Ireland on the Real Techniques Roadshow tour this month and I was able to sit down with them for a chat on all things makeup and beauty.

This was my first "proper" interview and as Sam and Nic are two makeup idols of mine, I was quite nervous! I'm so happy with how it went however and they are THE nicest, most genuine and lovely people. It's always so reassuring to meet people you look up to - especially Youtubers - and see they're exactly the same off-screen as on.

Our chat was so jammed-packed full of info and tips, that I've decided to split it up into two parts; this part based on their recommendations and tips for fellow pale-skinned peeps and the next will be full of their makeup faves, fashion show experiences, the exciting launch of Nic's Picks brushes and more.

I decided to focus a lot of my interview around the difficulty and confusion a lot of us go through when it comes to makeup, especially for anyone who tends to resemble Casper on a daily basis. Simply walking into Boots and picking up a foundation just doesn't cut it unfortunately so I asked Sam and Nic about their utmost favourite brands and products for fair skin and what their general thoughts on it are..

Best overall brand for pale skin?

Sam: "I would say MAC. They do such a wide range of foundations!"

Nic: "Me too. They do White 'Face and Body' - you can mix it with other foundations, just as long as it's liquid."

Must-have base products to use on fair skin tones?

Nic: "I think Illamasqua but I also think MAC. MAC do light coverage with the likes of 'Face and Body' but then Illasmasqua do right up to heavy with 'Skin Base'."

Sam: "Yeah, I'd agree. I think it's a tie between both!"

Nic: "Have you tried MAC's 'Select Concealer' in NW15? It's so light, I reckon it'd be amazing on you! Use it as a foundation and mix it with a tiny bit of moisturiser. It'd cost you a bit more to keep buying it but you only need a tiny bit."

Best contour product?

Sam: "'Hollow' by Illamasqua, definitely. It is so good!"

The perfect highlighter?

Sam: "MAC's 'Silver Dusk' would be great or 'Pearl' Cream Colour Base. Armani also do these beautiful Fluid Sheer products that'd be ideal for pale skin."

Nic: Even 'Vanilla' pigment from MAC or 'Nylon' eyeshadow! You can use it everywhere and it'd be a perfect highlight."

Best tanning products for fair skin?

Sam: James Read tan - he does a tanning range and it's all about building it up. You put it on and it let's your skin show through so you don't end up orange. It's super-gradual. His whole ethos is just about it all looking natural and fresh. 
He-Shi's 'Express Liquid' is the one I use too; I'm fair and both of those tans work really well for me. When it comes to tan, always make sure you're going for the Light-Medium shade and not going straight in for the Dark - 'cause it's going to look orange!

Overall thoughts on fair skin?

Nic: "I love it. It's gorgeous. I totally love pale skin and I totally love freckles. I really love a warm undertone to the skin - the makeup you have on is so 90's and it works so well with your skin and your look!"

Sam: "One of my favourite videos that I've ever done was the Christina Hendrix one; I love it and that was all about pale skin and freckles."

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Thank you, Lauren Bacall. (1924-2014)

I very rarely write posts like this but right now it's 1:21am and I am sitting atop my bed crying. I've just found out Lauren Bacall has passed away. Many of you mightn't know who Lauren Bacall is (was) but she has been the definition of the word IDOL for me since I was a young teenager. I must say, it's a very unusual feeling having someone you looked up to so much - yet never knew personally - pass away. I genuinely feel as though a piece of me has gone with her. 

Only a few days ago I was sitting down to watch a "Bogie and Baby" marathon, singing her praises on social media. Now, just a night after the news of yet another legend, Robin Williams, passing, I am numb to the core. This won't be a post on the history of Lauren Bacall - there's a heap of that information online and in books (particularly her autobiography "By Myself and Then Some") - it's just a tribute of sorts, on why she meant and always will mean so much to me.

I started getting into Old Hollywood properly at around the age of 12/ 13 - watching the usual Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn films at the beginning. I then moved on to the works of Rita Hayworth, Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Bette Davis - and Lauren Bacall. 

My first encounter with Lauren Bacall's films was around 6-7 years ago. My Nana brought me to see 'The Big Sleep' (1946) in the IFI cinema in town. I was dying to see it, as I was a growing fan of Humphrey Bogart and was familiar with Lauren Bacall through the various Old Hollywood books I'd read and websites I followed. 

Well, I was besotted. It was love at first sight. I remember being sucked into that movie like I was in a trance. I left the screening absolutely head over heels for Lauren and immediately started watching her countless movies, interviews and read everything I could find on her. Over the years, my obsession and adoration for her grew and grew.

She was different to the other Old Hollywood starlets of her day; she was boyish, husky, flirty yet bold and sharp as a needle. She had an instant likability on screen. She stood out a mile. Her chemistry with Humphrey Bogart on screen was electric - and their off-camera romance was THE talk of Hollywood at the time. They were a team like no other - 'Key Largo', 'Dark Passage', 'To Have and Have Not' - we are lucky to have such talented legends immortally living behind the camera bouncing one-liners off one another.

Old Hollywood has been one of the biggest influences for me growing up and still today. If you've followed my blog and my old Youtube channel over the years, I'm sure you're pretty aware of my love for the 1940's especially. 

The term "celebrity" is thrown around so much nowadays but back then STARS were the full-package. They sang, they danced, they acted - they were the dream, they were the true stars of Hollywood and unfortunately they have left us one by one - as so life so cruelly takes us all - and Lauren was one of the last to go.

Being completely honest, I started writing this blog post in an attempt to cheer myself up as the news has hit me like a tonne of bricks. Surprisingly, it has cheered me up (ever so slightly). I just wanted to give my 2 cents as to why Lauren Bacall means so much to me. She isn't as popular a name as Marilyn, Audrey or Rita but she was just as talented and shone like a star. I knew Lauren was the actress for me from the get-go and watching a film or performance of hers never failed to put a big, goofy smile on my face. 

It gives me a strange sense of happiness to think she's up there, somewhere or wherever, back with her old love Bogie again. Soulmates. I'm so thankful for my Nana for introducing me to Lauren Bacall and I will be eternally grateful to Lauren for her talent, her honesty, her wit and her intelligence. She will always have a place in my heart.

R.I.P Lauren Bacall - 1924-2014

"I’m not ashamed of what I am - of how I pass through this life. What I am has given me the strength to do it. At my lowest ebb I have never contemplated suicide. I value what is here too much. I have a contribution to make. I am not just take up space in this life. I can add something to the lives I touch. I don’t like everything I know about myself, and I’ll never be satisfied, but nobody’s perfect. I’m not sure where the next years will take me - what they will hold - but I’m open to suggestions."
— Lauren Bacall

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

OOTD feat. Missguided & Winser London

Sleeveless trench coat* // Missguided
Black strappy crop top* // River Island
Ripped Leigh jeans // Topshop
Black shopper bag* // Missguided
Cashmere Pashmina wrap* // Winser London
Nike Flyknit Lunar 2 trainers* // Littlewoods Ireland

Friday, August 1, 2014

OOTD feat. Bank Fashion & Cloggs

Hat* // River Island
Sunglasses* // Missguided
Top // H&M
Dr. Denim jeans* // Bank Fashion
Converse* // Cloggs
Aura Chakra Wands necklace* // Shop Moon Child
Cut-Out Moon and Star ring* // Shop Moon Child

Friday, July 25, 2014

OOTD feat. Topshop & Alex + Ani | Kings & Queens

Head chain* // eBay
Jumpsuit* // Topshop
Sandals* // Desire
Gold wrap bracelet* // Parfois
Necklace* // Topshop
Bracelets (on right arm)* // Alex and Ani
Rings* // Penneys

 are holding Ireland's first fancy dress day at their ever-growing festival next weekend on Sunday 3rd August. The fitting theme is 'Kings and Queens' and all are encouraged to dress up for the occasion; whether it be a Royal King or Queen or if you'd rather take a King/ Queen of Pop route - that's up to you! The more "out there", the better. I was asked by Castlepalooza and Vodafone Centre Stage to do an OOTD blog post styled around the Kings and Queens theme; I chose Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt - and Ancient Egypt in general, as my inspirations for this outfit.

The Vodafone Centre Stage team at Castlepalooza will be on hand all weekend to offer style tips and there'll even be a dress-up room where you can buy some regal bits to join the party! If that wasn't amazing enough, there will be a "Royal Coronation Ceremony" for the best King and Queen who will each be gifted a Golden Pass for the entire Vodafone Centre Stage line-up for 2015, a Vodafone mobile phone and VIP camping at Castlepalooza next year. Cool or what? See you next weekend..

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Lazy Girl's Guide to Fitness & Health | #1

I announced early on in the Summer that I began a sort-of "lifestyle change" if you will - I started exercising, changing my diet around and reevaluating my day-to-day habits. I also said I'd start a fitness and health series on my blog; although I'm starting it later than anticipated, I feel I'm 100 times more ready and clued-in as to how I was a month or two ago. This first post will be a general all-rounder talking about me, my history with fitness and food etc. I also decided to name the series "The Lazy Girl's Guide to Fitness & Health" - not the most original of titles but it sums me up. I'm lazy - I love sleeping and sitting down - I'd rather get a taxi than participate in an hour-long walk at times. I'm a wholehearted Lazy Lucy and I'm quite sick of it!

My history with fitness and health is quite poor; I detested P.E class in school and ended up with a weekly case of "cramps" half of the time to escape it. I never found it fun and I dreaded the changing room. Many of you know I suffered (and still do suffer) with a lot of body image problems, Body Dysmorphic Disorder being my main demon. Although it is nowhere near as bad as it was when I was 16-17, I still have to live with it daily - as with any mental issue, unfortunately there are no "cures" for it.

Although I hated P.E and the majority of physical activities school and the likes offered during adolescence, I adored dancing as a child. Most people (even my friends) don't know about my past as a dancer as I stupidly gave it up aged 13 when school life took over and I became increasingly self-conscious. From the age of 3, I participated in weekly ballet and Irish dancing classes. Over the next decade, I partook in everything from jazz, to tap, to modern, to ballroom. I performed on stage and everything. I was fit as a kid because of it but I never saw dancing as exercise as it was fun.

Swimming was also a childhood love of mine as well as dancing, my family referred to me as a "fish" in the water. I won countless gold medals in galas in primary school. I swam for a brief period in secondary school but ended up hating it due to body confidence issues and paranoia - I only properly got back into it this year (more on that later).

Diet-wise, my family aren't particularly healthy. I developed a phobia of fruit at a young age; yep, it's as weird as it sounds. I refused to eat any fruit in its original form but I could still consume it via juice or smoothie (it still remains like this to this day). I find even the thought of a piece of fruit touching me absolutely sickening and it's something that most people don't understand or empathise with - I'm weird, I know haha. I had quite bad OCD and "habits" (as my Mum would call them) as a child and this is one habit that has never seemed to shift! It's become a tad bit of complication food-wise as so many health recipes and the likes include so much fruit; I try and consume smoothies and pure juice as much as I can but I don't see myself chomping into an apple anytime soon being honest.

I've never had a raging sweet tooth and opted for stationary over sweets anytime I received pocket money when I was younger, however I was never brought up on what you would see as a healthy diet. I don't come from a wealthy or an even consistently "comfortable" background so sometimes the money just wasn't there to eat fully-organic or even fresh food. I was brought up by my amazing, young Mum on her own so she did what she could with what was there and I was never without. In saying that however, one of the most difficult things I've found in regards to health and fitness is breaking habits. I was brought up on a lot of processed food so I found getting out of the habit of eating it daily was difficult and still is.

Genetics-wise, both sides of my family are slim-enough. Nobody is madly overweight, apart from one or two beer bellies here and there so weight as such has never been a huge issue for me. I'm built more or less the exact same as my Glam Nan - petite in height (I'm 5"2.5), small-chested and a size UK 6-8 on top and slightly bigger on the bottom being a size UK 8-10 with a full-enough bum.

Since my underbite surgery last year, a lot has changed for me mentally and physically. Up until April of last year, I was a strict pescetarian (meat-free diet but I ate fish the odd time) for 4 years. My liquid diet after my jaw surgery involved not being able to eat anything solid for 2 months and everything, and I mean everything, had to be liquidised until it was like water. I was consistently hungry and craved food 24/7 - especially meat. I hadn't suffered ANY meat cravings until then. I terrorised myself by watching episodes of Man VS Food daily and all I could think about was meat. After a long, hard and emotional think - I decided to start eating meat again. Purely for health reasons, as I was now down to a size UK 4-6 and looked emaciated. My first meat-meal in 4 years was a liquidised bowl of stew and I kid you not, my energy soared after the first spoonful. (All info, photos, blog posts and vlogs on my underbite surgery can be found here.)

Most recent body photos - please note better ones will be posted in the future as I go on but these are just to get me started.
However, as 2013 went on, I noticed I didn't automatically go back to my original frame. Due to the liquidised diet, eating meat again and a change of contraceptive pill, I had put on a bit of weight and didn't look toned. I noticed it mostly around my thighs, waist and stomach areas. My usually-flat stomach was now slightly puffed out more than usual after I ate, again nothing hugely noticeable except to me and I was really quite conscious of it. Between those factors, my surgery and a highly stressful move overseas and move back home within a year, everything took its toll on my body and mind during 2013.

2014 arrived and my weight still remained - I wasn't happy with how I looked and I surely wasn't happy with how I felt. I felt a tad lost in regards to exercise, health and diet changes and I felt really overwhelmed by it. I'm the type of person who won't dedicate energy into something if my interest isn't 100% there so it took up until early this Summer to really give myself the kick up the ass to start a healthier and happier life.

I re-read The Secret and researched countless articles, blogs and vlogs on a beginner's guide to fitness and health. Within a few weeks, I had started training and shifting my diet around. I won't go into fitness or diet details in this post, I'll wait until post No.2 for that but it was surprisingly easy once I got into the habit of it all. As well as vlogs etc, I started watching documentaries based on food and health - the majority of them being on Netflix. I found seeing the "truth" behind what goes into food and the 21st Century lifestyle really helped set in stone what I was set out to do.

One of the most common misconceptions regarding exercising and diet-change - and I must emphasise this - is for one reason only: to lose weight. This is NOT TRUE! I want to tone up and become a healthy human who doesn't nearly have a stroke each time I've to run for a bus. I want to start controlling my anxiety and have something productive to focus my energy on. I'm in no way claiming I'm overweight, I just need to tone up and build strength in some areas. Slim people can and do need exercise just as much as anyone and everyones' bodies and needs differ. Remember that!

Along with body image and continuous anxiety, my hair, skin and nails were in BITS. No amount of expensive skincare, hair products or supplements can change these things if your insides are full of unhealthy crap. I was determined to improve the 3 by maintaining a healthier diet and of course, with exercise.

I joined a gym in Dublin and picked up a heap of new exercise gear. I found the high-street quite disappointing and only ended up buying a few sports crop tops and bras when I went out. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how amazing a range Irish retailer Littlewoods Ireland had on their website - they kindly gifted me a heap of Adidas and Nike gear; everything from swimming togs to training shoes, to help me on my way. I chose the utmost basics at first; Nike Flyknit Lunar 2 training shoes (so comfortable, like tie-on clouds), a Nike Dri-Fit hoodie, Nike cycling shorts and so on. You'll be seeing a lot more of these pieces on me for the rest of the series and on my Instagram.

I tried and tested out all different kinds of exercise to begin with; intense circuit training, weights, swimming, gym classes and so on and only now am I starting to really find my preferences. I find a gym-atmosphere really suits me, as the general vibe gets me pumped and inspired to go. I'll go into more detail on my exercises in the next post but anything I find to be fun, I love - and stick to! 

I'll do a whole other post on food in the near future but I found diet-change quite difficult; I LOVE food but found I was constantly eating the wrong food and binging on unhealthy grub. I luckily don't have a major sweet tooth but the majority of bad foods I was snacking on were takeaways, carby snacks and heavy pastas. Over a few weeks, I began to cut down on certain foods and switch things up. I have cut down my regular 4/5 cups of black tea (with loads of milk) a day to one, if even, and I tend to drink herbal teas more. I've always loved water but I make sure I  have at least 1 litre per day. I cut down on meat also, red meat especially, as I personally find it hard to digest and I started to eat fish more. Now don't get me wrong; my current diet is nowhere near as healthy as I want it to be and as they say, old habits die hard - I still crave the greasiest of food whilst hungover but I usually talk myself out of it instantly. It takes time to train your brain (and tummy) to adjust.

I've found making easy and realistic changes, slowly, was easier than I anticipated. Trying to do a 100% turnaround would have led to a crash and burn for me completely. I find hat educating and informing yourself on the reality of the world around us benefits you immensely, as well trying and testing out different methods until you find your ideal routine. Fun is key for me and as a self-proclaimed lazy girl, if I can turn my health around - so can you!

I have a long way to go but I thought this introductory post would give you all a little background and insight into me and my current situation. I'll be posting these fitness updates every few weeks or so but I can guarantee Instagram snippets will be posted at least weekly - so make sure you follow me there! I hope this helps anyone in the same or a similar boat as me and inspires you to make some changes. We only have one body at the end of the day so we may as well treat it well.

I'd love to hear about YOUR fitness and health routines in the comments section below! 
How did you start? What made you take up a healthier lifestyles? Have you got any advice or tips for me or anyone else looking to change their ways?