Category Archives:All About Me

after
Mar. 22.

Something Else Sunday: New Hair

ses-hair-thMy hair and I have had a love/hate relationship for quite a while. It is usually a messy, unruly, knotted mass that I affectionately refer to as “the bird’s nest”. Some days we are okay together, while others I am tempted to just shave the whole lot off (usually just after getting my brush caught in an impenetrable tangle). I have also wanted lighter hair for some time, and have been working on it for more than two years. Unfortunately, being unwell got in the way, and nobody so much as looked at my hair with a view to making improvements for 9 months. Until this week, that is.

before

I was looking for somewhere that could do something for my hair for a couple of weeks. Knowing what I wanted done, I was looking for a full head of highlights, a cut and blowdry. Cost was also a consideration, as not working means getting great value wherever possible. With that in mind, last week I got on to the SalonAddict website to see what was available. It was there I found Techniques Hair Salon, located on Aungier St. Handily enough I could get the Luas in to Stephen’s Green, and be to the salon in a couple of minutes. It was within my budget, so I happily booked and paid the deposit. Unfortunately a little while later I got a text message saying the appointment I booked was no longer available, but these things happen, so I called the salon the next day and got everything rebooked. So far, so good.

I arrived into the bright, airy salon a few minutes early for my appointment, but was soon enough in the chair, apologising for the state of my hair and explaining that I wanted to go “lighter, but not too light”. Looking at the highlights already in my hair, we decided to go one step up from where they were. Happy with that, my stylist (whos name I can’t for the life of me remember) got to work. It took about an hour to do all of the highlights, before they were left to sit for a little while. When everything was washed out, it was decided a toner was needed to help everything blend properly, which was sorted out without delay. It was then that we discussed what to do with my hair. Again, it was kept simple: Get rid of all the useless dead ends, then just give it a bit of shape and layering to tidy it up. Finally it was blowdried with a soft curl, which makes a change from the massively curly head  that I usually have.

At last the time came for me to put my glasses back on (I’m blind without them) and see the results. They were SHOCKING! Shocking in a good way though. I was amazed at how sleek, shiny and manageable my hair looked. The colour, somewhere in between blonde and brown looked gorgeous, and the shape with the blowdry was to die for. I was super impressed!

after

Of course, then came the point where money was to change hands. I wasn’t annoyed with this though, because the total to pay, for everything, was just €80. I have previously paid more and received less, so I happily paid up everything that was owed and a little extra tip, which was thoroughly deserved, as I was made to feel so welcome, and there was no more that they could do for me.

They say a new hairstyle can help change your mood, and it is certainly true. Since my trip to the salon on Wednesday, every time I have seen my hair in the mirror, I have been smiling. I may have to plan my next trip soon. Sooner than 9 months away anyway!

Robyn

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profile
Mar. 20.

Face Friday: Before & After Face

ff-before-after-thIt’s the return of Face Friday, and today I am trying an experiment. This is my before and after face. Before you click close on your browser, it involves no makeup free pictures. Let me explain. On Wednesday, I got my hair done. It went from being a deep brown with some growing out gold highlights, to being a lot brighter, close to blonde. And I wanted to see, side by side, how the change in colour affected the makeup look.

So, today I recreated the same look I did on Wednesday, to try and compare side by side. There may be some slight differences, but I used the same products and brushes, and the same technique. You may ask why I just didn’t take the after photos on Wednesday too, but by the time I got home it was too dark. Trying to match up lighting and brightness would just be too much of a hassle!

Anyway, here we have a before and after, starting with my looking straight on to the camera:

Before

Before

after-front

After

 

And an angle view:

Before

Before

after-angle

After

 

Face:

  • Foundation: Benefit – The Porefessional
  • Foundation: Make Up For Ever – HD Foundation, working from a potted sample (115)
  • Blush: No. 7 – Pop & Glow Cream Blush (Classic Rose)
  • Powder: Maybelline – Fit Me Powder (125 – Nude Beige)

Eyes:

  • Brows: Maybelline – Brow Drama (02 – Medium Brown)
  • Shadow: Clinique – Chubby Stick for Eyes (10 – Big Blue)
  • Liner: Physicians Formula – Shimmer Strips Kohl Liner (Brown Eyes)
  • Mascara: Physicians Formula – Organic Wear Fakeout Mascara (The Pink One)

Lips:

  • Lipstick: Makeup Revolution – Scandalous Lipstick (Crime)
  • Lipgloss: L’Oreal – Glmshine Miss Candy Gloss (703 – Tart Lollipop)

Brushes:

  • Blank Canvas – F23 – Foundation (application)
  • Blank Canvas – F20 – Foundation (buffing)
  • Blank Canvas – F16 – Powder
  • Real Techniques – Buffing Brush – Blush
  • Blank Canvas – E23 – Shadow/liner blending
  • Blank Canvas – L29 – Lips

I’m not sure if it was lighting differences (I did try to equalise light levels), the change in hair colour, or the way my mood has been lifted and I’m smiling so much after getting my hair done, but I really do believe that my skin and my eyes look so much brighter in the after pictures. Sometimes, making a change is just what you need to do. What do you think?

Robyn

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patchball
Mar. 15.

Something Else Sunday: Here’s Some Animal Pictures

ses-patch-thI normally do something a little different at the weekend, but the truth is, I’m sick of talking about hospitals, and you’re probably sick of reading about them. I haven’t done anything interesting, or taken any fabulous photos to show off. Instead, I’m going to go with something that is universally loved. Here’s some animal pictures.

Particularly, here is Patch. He’s a cross between a Dalmatian and a Springer Spaniel. He’s got the spots. He’s got the patches (hence the name). He’s all muscle, and completely daft. And for some reason he doesn’t understand after all these years, that his tail is meant to be there. It’s adorable to watch him chasing it, until he spins around too fast and crashes into something, especially indoors!

patchball

patchsleep

patchface

And, as she is holding a razor-sharp claw to my neck, here are two pictures of Rascal looking cute and cuddly (she isn’t. Don’t leave me alone with her!)

catface

catbelly

Happy weekend!

Robyn

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What the hell is that?
Mar. 04.

Waffle Wednesday: I’m Back! (Well, Almost)

Robyn RHello there! I’ve been kind of absent the past while, but the good news is that I’m just about back to doing whatever it is that I do here (if anyone knows what I’m meant to be doing here, let me know in a comment, please and thank you). It will take me a couple of days to figure out what is sitting in the review box (which looks like a bomb has hit it) and decide what to write about, but I’m finally able to get my mind back to what I enjoy doing most.

I apologise for my absence, but, as some of you may know (I’ve written about it a lot) I have been dealing with some complicated health issues for the past year and a bit, and it all got too much for me. Having your entire existence dictated by when you do (or don’t) have appointments with hospitals, doctors or nurses is not easy. I’ve said it before, but if you’ve been through it, you know what I mean, and if you haven’t, I hope you never have to. Concentrating on the blog, and well, concentrating on anything really, became almost impossible, so I took a break.

Fortunately though, on February 19th, I found myself in hospital, for a long awaited and looked forward to major surgery (I know that sounds weird, like I’m some kind of surgical masochist) to finally solve the kidney problem I was having – I’ll avoid the gory details, as it is bad enough that I know the mess that was made in there. It was a messy surgery (I left the ward at 8.30 and didn’t get back until that evening), and quite probably involved the doctors looking like this:

What the hell is that?

What the hell is that?

It was all a success, and after a week of recovery, heavy painkillers (morphine on tap for 3 days) and some fairly forgettable food (though not entirely bad this time, my nagging worked) I was deemed fit enough to go home (they really just needed the bed – as was demonstrated by the loud conversation about bed demands just outside my door before asking if I wanted to go home).

So, after almost another week at home, I’m at the point where the pain has more or less gone (unless I move stupidly) I am in a good mood and can pay attention to doing things like blogging again (woohoo!).

Bear with me a couple more days, and I’m sure I will find something to rant and rave about really soon! Expect topics to include the search for a good manicure, pedicure, brow shape and hairstyle (all things that have been neglected for a while) but don’t expect me to be talking about swimsuit season this year (not being able to be active for too long, and the huge scar that now wraps around my waist can be blamed for that).

Thank you for sticking with me through all this!

Robyn

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r white
Jan. 25.

I seem to be in a bit of a slump

Please excuse the lack of posting the last while. I unfortunately can’t seem to find the motivation to write anything for the blog at the moment, which is annoying, both for myself and my readers. I am still trying out products, and hopefully will be back with something new and interesting to show you soon. Life, though, is being awkward. Please bear with me!

Robyn

 

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r white
Dec. 31.

Review of The Year 2014

Robyn RIt’s December 31st, there are less about 4 hours left in the year as I write this, and it means that I really should do my review of the year. I should go through each months, highlight my favourite posts, which posts got the most hits and so on, but well, I love all my posts, so I would be here until December 31st next year choosing. Instead, I’m going to do things a little differently…

I made one resolution at the end of last year, to blog more often, at least once a week, and I’m glad to say I’ve exceeded that, blogging 6 days a week as much as possible. I’m glad I did, because it brought me closer to my dear readers (without you the blog is just me waffling into cyber oblivion) and I’ve had some great opportunities to try new products and learn more about the beauty industry as a result. The main reason I’m glad I’ve blogged so much this year though, is that it has been a brilliant outlet and distraction. A distraction that was very much needed.

As many of you know from reading the Robyn Rants & Raves, I haven’t been well this year. Since my visit to the hospital near the end of 2013, I’ve been unwell. It hasn’t been pleasant. It’s interfered with my life for over a year now, and looks to stretch at least a little into 2015. It’s been a year of many hospital visits, countless procedures, and more waiting than is right for any person to have to put up with. I’ll just not mention the food. If there has been any year that could have beaten me, it is this year.

But it hasn’t. It has done one thing, that the endless optimist in me has to concede is the highlight of the year. It has had me prove to myself just how resilient and positive I can be. It has been difficult to remain so positive at times, I’ll admit. There have been times when I’ve just wished it could all be over, when there have been long waits, or things have not been going as they should, but I’d defy anyone to want to be unwell. But it is the end of the year and I am still here. I am still going and still looking forward to getting to the end of being unwell. It is said that it is only in dark times that you find out how strong you can be, and now that makes much more sense to me.

Now to 2015. What can be my resolution for next year? To be healthier? Sure that’s a given after this year. Something blogging related? Well, the main thing is to get back to regular blogging service, but after that I want to keep improving the blog and making it the best I can. That’s not a resolution though. If there is one resolution I can make, it should be to not lose the positivity I have found. Positivity is a tremendous thing, and it would be a shame to lose it.

And so, if you have read this, or indeed any post on Robyn Rants & Raves this year, you have been a part of my 2014, and I love you for being a part of it. And I wish you the very best for your 2015. Be positive, it will be a great year for you! Now stop reading this and go celebrate!

Robyn

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Tree
Dec. 06.

Something Else Saturday: The Christmas Tag

ses-tree-thI’ve been tagged by two people to do the Christmas Tag, namely Amy from Red Lips;Red Hair, and Sam from All The Buzz. As I love these ladies so so much I really couldn’t say no. It’s very simple. There are 10 questions about Christmas, and I answer them. Easy peasy!

1. What is your favourite Christmas movie/s?

Usually, with so many people crowded into the house at Christmas, it is very difficult to watch anything, as someone else grabs the remote every 5 minutes. That said, I do like Die Hard (It’s set at Christmas, so it’s a Christmas movie) and I also enjoyed The Santa Clause & Home Alone when I was younger.

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas eve or on Christmas morning?

Open presents on Christmas Eve?!?! HAHA they’re usually only being wrapped on Christmas Eve! That’s how organised I am! They never stay wrapped for long though, being opened again on Christmas Morning.

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?

As children, we would usually be awake at about 4.30 on Christmas Morning, inevitably waking up the grinchy uncle who had only gone to bed within the previous hour. Somehow we would occupy ourselves with Christmas Stockings for 60-90 minutes, while trying not to wake grinchy uncle (again) before waiting on the stairs for my dad to clean up reindeer droppings and eventually declare the sitting room open.

4. Favourite Christmas food

The Christmas Pudding, which is generally made in batches of 6 in the house. One is consumed when it is just made. One a couple of days later. Two more are sacrificed over the 25th and 26th, with another one around new year’s. One may survive long enough to be hidden and be left to mature in a bottle of whisky for a year, before being eaten. Yum!

5. Favourite Christmas gift

Being an almost Christmas baby (December 18th) I was very lucky to be given, as a combined 21st birthday/Christmas present from my parents, a ticket to the middle of the United States, so I could spend Valentine’s Day with my then girlfriend, who was 4,068 miles away.

6. Favourite Christmas scent

The combined smells of Christmas Pudding and my mum’s sage and onion sausagemeat stuffing cooking. It makes everyone gather in the kitchen, which is really too small to allow people to gather, so we are all promptly thrown out again.

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

Our Christmas Eve Tradition is very simple. Stay out of the kitchen, lest ye get smacked around the head with a wooden spoon. Aside from that, usually go and collect grinchy uncle from the airport (except for 2010, where I drew the short straw and had to drive through the snow to collect him from the ferryport. He’s a professional driver, while I had not long been in possession of my first car).

8. What tops your tree?

A bird box, but don’t tell Coillte. Seriously though, a star tops the tree. The same one that has done for about 2 decades now.

9. As a kid, what was the one extravagant gift you asked for but never got?

With so many kids in the house, extravagant was never an option. We never asked, and were never disappointed!

10. What’s the best part about Christmas for you?

A combination of the food, as I do really REALLY love excellent food (just ask my waistline), and the family getting along with each other for a while. Having everyone together, and happy is a great thing!

And there you have it, my Christmas Tag. Once again, thank you to Amy and Sam, and as I can’t think of anyone specific to tag that hasn’t already done it, I’m going to leave it open. If you like what you’ve seen, go for it!

Robyn

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wnw box
Nov. 08.

Something Else Saturday: Upcoming Reviews on Robyn Rants & Raves

SES-Upcoming-THI know things have been a bit sparse on the review front here on Robyn Rants and Raves over the past while due to hospitals taking up my time and energy. But that doesn’t mean I am not looking for great things for to share with you. So, today, for Something Else Saturday, I want to show you a selection of what you can expect to see soon!

As you know I try to follow a particular theme each day, be it a manicure, trying out products (new and old), waffling on about something, really testing a product, or showing you a face of makeup, along with what products and tools I used to create it. It has created some amazing opportunities for me, chances to work with awesome brands, learn more about makeup & beauty, and share my experiences. I do, of course, fully intend for that to continue! So, here is what I am looking forward to showing you!

CND Solar Oil

Picture 1 of 21

Of course, in addition to all of this, I will continue ranting, raving, and trying to make use of my massive nail polish collection to see what I can come up with. I already have my eyes on a number of ideas for the upcoming party season, but need to decide which looks to work on first!

But, you, my dear readers, are very important to me. While I write Robyn Rants & Raves, I am led by you! So, tell me, what do you really want to see? I wouldn’t be here without you, so let me know, and consider it done.

Robyn

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hospitalbed
Nov. 05.

Waffle Wednesday: A Frustrating Hospital Update

ww-bedthAnyone who has been following me on Facebook or Twitter, or who has been reading Robyn Rants and Raves for a while knows about my adventures in healthcare, and mid to late October saw another chapter written in the ongoing saga. Unfortunately it has not been a good chapter.

If you didn’t already know, I spent 5 weeks in hospital late last year, after discovering a problem with my kidneys and bladder (we’re rapidly approaching the 1 year anniversary). The bladder has been sorted, and in March we discovered the cause of the kidney problem – a polyp causing an obstruction. It was minor, and they were willing to wait and take a look at it again in July.

July turned in to October after 4 cancellations, but in mid October they finally got me back in to look at things again, and it had gotten worse. It is now a more serious problem, as it is completely obstructing the kidney.

The doctors suddenly decided that things must be done. Within an hour of getting home from the hospital that day I had a phone call giving me a date just on the opposite side of the weekend to bring me back in. That didn’t happen, but it did happen that week, on the Friday, for urgent intervention with the aim of protecting the kidney. Even that didn’t go perfectly. They were able to complete one part, but not the other. Cue a weekend of sitting in a room doing nothing. A LONG long weekend of doing nothing over the bank holiday. On the Tuesday they decided that yes they wanted to try again, and did try the next day. And again it didn’t work out. So they sent me home, with the aim of trying again next week.

So, the current plan is to being me back in on Tuesday, with the aim of trying yet again on Wednesday. After that, I have no idea what will happen.

This is where things get frustrating. It is rapidly approaching a year since this all began. A year where I have had to put things on hold. A year of not being able to plan ahead, not knowing when the hospital would want me again.

Then there is the lack of communication. I have been taking quite an interest in my treatment. I find it helps to have some idea of what has been done, and what still needs to be done. The medical team this time around seem a little unwilling to actually discuss things, and in the most recent stay, I didn’t speak to my consultant, even to have him say hello.

And of course there is the feeling of going backwards. These interventions have been done before, deemed to no longer be needed, and taken out. Now we are putting them back in. This doesn’t seem any closer to a resolution.

To know we are getting closer to the job finally being done, to being able to get my life back on track is all I want. Physically I am better than I was this time last year. I can put up with the poking and prodding and sticking things in me to try and do something. Mentally, however, I am suffering. It is not easy being unwell. If you haven’t experienced it, I hope you never do. If you have, this probably makes too much sense.

My GP today said something to help, a little bit of good news to remember. At least the polyp is benign.

That’s it. Stay optimistic. Keep the chin up. I’ll get through it eventually.

Robyn

P.S. This is also the reason for my sporadic posting in the past couple of weeks. Trying to juggle getting things ready for the hospital, being in there and blogging is difficult. I’ll try to do what I can though.

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macaroni-cheese
Nov. 01.

Something Else Saturday: Revenge of The Hospital Food

ses-hospitalfood-thPlease excuse my absence for the past while. I do have a good excuse though. It involves me and hospital stays, and that leads me on to the horror that is this Something Else Saturday post. Those of you with weak stomachs are advised to stop here. If you think you can manage it though, please do continue.

One of the hassles with staying in the hospital is that they have to feed you. You are given a choice of a couple of different things, but in all honesty, there is very little difference between them. From experience (I’ve written about this kind of thing before) I have a good idea of what can actually be eaten, but it is often a case of eating something because I am hungry, but very rarely is there any form of enjoyment in it. In case you don’t believe me, do have a look at the following:

Cheese Salad

Picture 1 of 10

Cheese Salad, with half a boiled egg, a quarter of a tomato, some raisin celery & apple, and a bit of raw potato salad

There is very little to be happy with in those images. Nothing seems to be balanced, nothing tastes in any way brilliant, and after sharing these images on Facebook and Twitter, it left many people scared for my health and the health of all those in the system. Unfortunately I still have more hospital stays to go, so I am using these couple of weeks to stock up on meals that are actually tasty, before having to brave this again.

Robyn

Note: No members of catering staff were harmed in the making of this post, but I did often think of beating them with pieces of dry overcooked chicken.

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