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?

Friday, July 18, 2014

OOTD feat. Love Too True & AKA Clothing

Handmade black and white two-piece* // Love Too True
Mesh bomber jacket* // AKA
Hellbound boots // UNIF
Glasses // Quay
Pentagram choker* // Shop Moon Child
Scrunchie* // River Island

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

OOTD feat. Urban Outfitters & Night Venus

Nirvana tee* // Urban Outfitters
Renewal Levi shorts* // Urban Outfitters
Pins & Needles cardigan* // Urban Outfitters
Flannel shirt // Vintage
Sneakers // Vans
Socks* // Item m6
Pink heart gemstone choker* // Night Venus
Tattoo choker* // Lilac Edge
Pentagram earrings // eBay

"The Urban Outfitters x Festivals campaign has now launched! Win amazo prizes with the UO pick of the best festivals this summer. From Way Out West in Sweden to Unknown in Croatia: win tickets, flights, accommodation and money can’t buy experiences at www.urbanoutfitters.com/uk/festival."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Benefit 'Big Easy' | Review (Pale Girls, Take Note!)

If you're a long-time reader of my blog, you'll know by know the difficulty I have gone through over the years searching high and low for the perfect base; people think I exaggerate when I say I have super-pale skin but the reality is, I can't walk into Boots and find a foundation as they're ALL too dark. I started wearing foundation when I was around 13-14, all oh which were terribly too dark for me and of that gross mousse consistency that was huge around 2006. Over the years, I have trialled and tested hundreds - I've been sent foundations from high-end to low-end brands and 95% of the time they're just too dark for me so they end up given away to family or friends. 
I can count 3 other foundations currently on my shelf; MAC's Studio Fix Fluid in NW10, YSL's Radiant Eclat Radiant Touch in BR10 and Make Up For Ever's HD Foundation in N110. All 3 are favourites of mine but are all too heavy a consistency for Summer and still a tone or two too dark. 

Benefit launched their 'Big Easy' Multi-Balancing Complexion Perfector (quote: "better than a BB" cream) in April and I was skeptical at first about it; any Benefit base product, whether it be a foundation or concealer, has been miles too dark for me in the past. I was delighted to hear they have 6 shades available in Big Easy - the lightest being "01 Fair". Usually when it comes to Fair/ Porcelain/ Ivory shades from the majority of brands (we're talking everything from Chanel to Rimmel here), they're still too dark; they're usually the equivalent of an NC15 from MAC, in and around. However, when I swatched Big Easy for the first time as I had tea with the Benefit PR team in their new Dublin HQ, I literally squealed with delighted: IT MATCHED!

You can see from the swatch above on my hand, that the blended in swatch to the left is literally invisible. This is practically unheard of for me! The match is the closest match I have ever had on my skin, ever. It's the only base I've ever had that blends into my skintone 100% and doesn't require vigorous blending into my hairline and jawline. I can wear it only in certain places on my face if I wish and it isn't noticeable in the slightest. It isn't too yellow or too pink so it's a good balance for a flattering tone on the face. This is a game-changer, folks!

Not only was I delighted with the shade-match but I was even happier that it was in the form of a BB cream (I mean, complexion perfector)! I hate wearing layers of makeup during the Summer and literally no BB Creams on the market have matched my skintone (yes, every brand - trust me, I've tried). BB Creams are an Asian phenomenon; an all-rounder if you will. They balance out your complexion, even out your skintone and reduce the appearance of blemishes. Plus, they're super light to wear - you barely even notice it once applied on to your skin.

Big Easy is Oil-Free so it's amazing for anyone like me who has oily/ combination skin - especially during the Summer months or on holiday. The cream is a liquid-powder finish so it isn't the most comfortable product to apply on with your hands (my preference) - it almost drags across the skin and feels dry; please note this is my only critique. I recommend applying this with a small stippling brush or blending sponge instead. 
It's flawless otherwise - it gives fantastic light-medium coverage but it's buildable if you need more in certain areas. You only need at max a dollop and a half for a full face. It lasts all day and you only need 2-3 powder touch-ups depending on your environment. 

Big Easy offers an AMAZING SPF of 35, which is a huge selling point for me. I'm really paranoid about the sun and my skin during Summer so not having to worry about an extra application of SPF is a relief. Most makeup that contains an SPF gives a flashback off the face if you take a flash photograph, as it reflects the light - the only downside - however, I haven't found Big Easy causes any outrageous shine and I've had no issues with it in photos. I haven't included a photo of it on my face as I'm wearing it in every outfit post on my blog since early May!

Big Easy comes in 35ml tube and is priced at £27.50/ €37 to buy; around the usual price for any high-end foundation/ BB cream. I've been using the one tube since early May and it's only half-gone now so I can totally justify the price. 

I can't recommend this product enough for anyone who struggles to find really pale bases - kudos to Benefit for bringing out a genuine "Fair" shade, also. Big Easy is without a doubt one of my all-time favourite makeup products now; hopefully more brands listen to girls on both ends of the skintone scale and start bringing out a bigger range of shade choices. I'm addicted!

Have you tried Big Easy? What is your favourite BB Cream?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Megawhite Teeth Whitening at Zenergy Clinic | Review

 Zenergy Health and Beauty Clinic on Fade Steeet, Dublin 2 recently invited me in to try out their famous Megawhite teeth whitening treatment. I've been through the wars with my teeth over the years but I've never had them whitened, believe it or not! I don't smoke and I've cut down on drinking tea (and dark fizzy drinks) a huge amount over the last few months so my teeth weren't crazily stained to begin with. However, they definitely were nowhere near white - I have countless friends who get their teeth whitened regularly and I was curious to give it a go!
Megawhite is currently on offer for a discounted price of €89 in Zenergy; really affordable for the treatment as I've heard some can go up to €300 per session. There's no peroxide in the Megawhite formula, it takes up to 15-30 minutes (depending on your teeth) and it is completely painless. You're brought into a calm and clean room for the treatment, you sit down on the sofa and the small (and not-so scary) Megawhite machine is wheeled over and adjusted for your height. You dry your teeth off with a tissue prior to the treatment, which is the most uncomfortable bit of all - it feels gross! Then, you bite into two retainers filled with a toothpaste-like mint-flavoured jelly and you bite down and make sure all of the gel covers your teeth. The machine is then set at your set amount of time, the laser is placed just in front of your face aiming at your teeth and it's all systems go! There's 0 pain; just a small amount of heat but nothing crazy. You wear protective goggles throughout and all you have to do is sit back and relax whilst the treatment works.
After the 20 minutes were up for me, I was brought out into reception and given a checklist on what not to do; you can't have dark drinks or food for the next 24 hours after the treatment as it continues to work throughout the day, you can't drink water for 30 minutes afterwards (so have a bottle before the session) and that's it - instantly I saw a difference but I was told to wait until the next day to see the full results.
My teeth were initially a No.20 on the teeth colouring scale - not too yellow but not white. The session brought them down to a No.10 - a surprisingly great difference! The top row of the photos above are of my teeth prior to the Meganwhite treatment, the bottom two are from the next day. 
What I like most about the treatment is that the results aren't OTT; I was apprehensive about the treatment at first not wanting fake-looking Tippex noshers. The results are totally natural however and they have given me a huge boost in smiling confidence! There was no pain or side-affects for me afterwards so I couldn't be happier. It's recommended to only get your teeth whitened at an absolute maximum of 4 times a year so hopefully the results last me a couple of months.
If you're looking to get your smile revamped or if you have a big event coming up, spend the €89 on pearly-whites - the staff at Zenergy are beyond lovely and helpful, the clinch is extremely clean and welcoming - plus, it's easy to find! I'll definitely be heading back again soon.

Have you ever gotten your teeth whitened? What did you think/ expect?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

OOTD feat. Urban Outfitters & River Island

Cooperative spot trousers* // Urban Outfitters
Sparkle and Fade cut-out crop top* // Urban Outfitters
Longline throw-on coat* // Topshop
Sandals* // River Island
Black jersey scrunchie* // River Island
Star and moon necklace* // Bloody Mary Metal

"The Urban Outfitters x Festivals campaign has now launched! Win amazo prizes with the UO pick of the best festivals this summer. From Way Out West in Sweden to Unknown in Croatia: win tickets, flights, accommodation and money can’t buy experiences at www.urbanoutfitters.com/uk/festival."

Friday, July 4, 2014

OOTD feat. Nicce London & Evermade

Black hoodie* // Nicce London
Limited edition Bottles t-shirt* // Evermade
Black skater skirt // Penneys (Primark)
Black holdall bag* // STAG Clothing
Glasses* // Missoni @ Specsavers
Sneakers // Converse

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

OOTD feat. Missguided & Alex and Ani

'Ezlyn' denim jacket* // Missguided
'Otisa' black dress with crochet detailing* // Missguided
'Mechelle' batwing cardigan* // Missguided
Sneakers // Converse
Charm bracelets* // Alex and Ani
'Elma' aviator sunglasses* // Missguided
Leopard-print scrunchie // American Apparel
'Whatever' heart pendant necklace* // Lunar Made
Tattoo choker* // Lilac Edge