Category Archives:Let’s Talk Blog Challenge

Jun. 02.

Lets Talk Blog Challenge: Recommend to a Friend

It’s the 6th and final post in the Lets Talk Blog Challenge series today, so I must start by saying a HUGE thank you to At The Beauty Desk‘s Sarah. Without her help and organisation this whole challenge would never have gotten going. Kudos to you Sarah! The theme for this week is recommend to a friend, so lets get to it.


No need to go into detail here. H&M, New Look, Penneys etc, but you know all these already. Moving swiftly along to…



Okay, on a night out with the girls the cocktails will be flowing, and rightly so, but in summer I find one of two things is great on a hot day. The first is an ice cold Bulmers with lots of ice, which is just heavenly, or at home, provided I have one in the freezer, is one of the frozen cocktails from Parrot Bay or Smirnoff. An ideal way to cool down in the evenings (but you may want to add more booze)



I’ve already waxed lyrical about Copenhagen in my Birthday Box post, but if you’re looking for an actual holiday as opposed to just a city, I thoroughly recommend cruising. It is the ultimate in doing as much or as little as you want, and it is surprisingly affordable, as all your meals are included (and you could eat 24/7) and by adding on a drinks package too you would have to pay next to nothing. Even for those who say that boats don’t agree with them, I’d recommend giving it a try. My mum hates sailing with a passion, yet she loves being on a cruise ship.


I’m not going to recommend any one beauty product here, or even any one brand. I’m going to recommend a mantra:

Be yourself, and don’t be afraid to experiment

Never be afraid to try something new out, as you will find something amazing. Beauty is all about fun and confidence, so be confident and have fun with it.



I recommend you read all the wonderful blogs you see on Twitter, and every one taking part in the Lets Talk Blog Challenge, but to single out just one, I have to recommend you show some love to Amy from Red Lips; Red Hair. She is funny, intelligent, gorgeous, and a delight to read and be around.

And that is the end of the Lets Talk Blog Challenge. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it a much as I’ve enjoyed writing for it, and I hope you’ll continue to read my ramblings in the future!



Part of the Let’s Talk Blog Challenge series:

Want to join in the Let’s Talk Blog Challenge? Please do! Join in and discover more bloggers in the challenge on Twitter #LetsTalkBlogChallenge

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May. 26.

Lets Talk Blog Challenge: Magazine Vs Blogging

ltbc-blogThis is week 5, and the penultimate week of the Lets Talk Blog Challenge, which is being run by Sarah from At The Beauty Desk. Last week we were looking at survival guides. This week, we are giving our opinions on conventional or new media. In other words, here comes my views on the argument of Magazine Vs Blogging.

There was once a time when if you wanted to know what a beauty product was like, you would go to your newsagent, pick up your magazine of choice, go home, make tea and sit on the couch. Then you would relax, go through your magazine, see the advertising visuals, maybe a little write up about it, decide you liked how it looked, wanted it, and would scurry off to the shops to buy it. Occasionally though you ended up disappointed that it didn’t look the same on you that it did in the ads. Now though, there is a new way to do things. If you want to know what a beauty product is like, you go to Google, type in what you’re looking for, and a whole list of websites talking about it, a few selling it, and you click a link you like the look of. And look, you’ve ended up on a website run by a normal person. A person like you, not by an airbrushed advertising model. A person who is also looking for a product that will make them look and feel special. You’ve entered the world of the blogger.

The question is though, is one better than the other? Will one kill off the other, or can they co-exist peacefully? To answer that we must look at both sides of the story.


Magazines: Generally, magazines have the advantage of being staffed by professionals. They know how to write pleasing, emotive reviews. They get ready access to new products, and established magazines have a large readership and reach, giving them an easy way to spread information, and of course, a great way for advertisers to push their wares.

Ah, advertisers. Where would they be without them?  As a former advertising designer myself, I know how much effort goes into making something that catches the readers eye and makes them want to buy something. Huge numbers of creative people are involved in getting an advert ready, and advertisers want to see a return on their investment, which can be quite sizeable depending on the publication, size and positioning of their advert. Magazines also want to make sure that they get their lifeblood, the advertising revenue. This leads to a conundrum. Just how impartial can magazines be? If you have a regular advertiser, who pays very well for their ad spots in your magazine, can you jeopardise the relationship, and your revenue, by rubbishing a product? That, however, is a debate for another day.


Blogging: Enter new media. The online world is a wealth of information, once you know how to weed through the rubbish that also populates the internet. Fortunately search engines have made that bit so much easier, and now, when you type in something to search for, a great number of opinion posts come up. This is the domain of the blogger. Bloggers tend to be normal people. Well, normal for bloggers is subjective. Some people call us crazy. We call ourselves passionate. either way, we are regular members of the public, with a love for our particular subject. A love that we want to share. A love that isn’t biased by anything in particular. Like the public, we just want to find products that make us feel amazing. And by sharing our views we can help others to find their favourite products too. I can’t say bloggers are going to be completely unbiased, because, as brands and PR companies begin to take blogging more seriously, and supply more sample products to bloggers, the question of neutrality does come up. A blogger though, I feel has less to lose by saying what they feel, than a magazine does. This can allow for much more scope of opinion from blogs, and as long as you have faith in what a blogger has to say (and there are so many FANTASTIC bloggers out there) there will always be a source of information to turn to.

There will always be a place for magazines in the world. They do contain a great mix of information, opinion, and I have many times looked through magazines just to admire sensational advertising imagery. We will also come to a point of eventual equilibrium between old and new, magazines and blogging. That time isn’t yet though. Blogging will continue to rise in popularity, and become more important. Just as text messaging, social media and email have changed the balance in communications, so will blogging as a source of information and opinion.



Part of the Let’s Talk Blog Challenge series:

Want to join in the Let’s Talk Blog Challenge? Please do! Join in and discover more bloggers in the challenge on Twitter #LetsTalkBlogChallenge

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May. 19.

Lets Talk Blog Challenge: Survival Guide

ltbc-computerWelcome to week 4, and the second half of the Let’s Talk Blog Challenge, being organised by the super Sarah from At The Beauty Desk. This week we’re doing a survival guide. The tips and bits you need to survive a particular situation. The 4 situations we were given to choose from are: A First Date Survival Guide, A Wedding Day Survival Guide, A Night Out Survival Guide or A Festival Survival Guide.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about any of them. I’m single (no wedding day survival guide here), my last first date was 7 years ago, I’ve never been to a festival, and for a night out, get dressed up, have fun, watch out for each other. So, what to do here. Well, one thing I do have experience of, and I know it’s not on the list but bear with me, is hospitals. So, allow me to present to you, my Hospital Survival Guide.

Keeping clean:

Even with the best cleaning crew in the world, and I’ve seen some of them do amazing things, if you are in a multi bed room, with shared toilets and showers, keeping clean is going to be a little bit of an issue. I was fortunate enough to be in a single room with a private bathroom for most of my recent experiences, but there are still a couple of things I would highly recommend.


Wipes: No, not for taking your makeup off. These are going to be handy to have if you just want to freshen up without going through the whole process of finding an empty loo on the ward, trying to wash a little and finding yourself with someone banging on the door needing to urgently go. At least with these you can wipe hands, arms, face etc. and chuck them. It’s not a substitute for a proper wash, but at least during the day you can keep yourself a little fresher.


Sanitiser: Okay, speaking of trips to the bathroom. Again, you’re in a multi bed room, it’s coming up to lunch time, you go and use the toilet, wash your hands, head back to your bed and eat. I’m not saying you will have touched something unsanitary, but it is possible. There should be hand sanitisers every few feet (I had 5 in my room) but just to be sure, keep one of these in your locker. You’re there to get well, and picking up something else by accident is not pleasant.


Shampoos: Really, you’re not going to be looking just out of the salon gorgeous hair wise, but you’re still going to want to keep it clean when you can get some shower time. So, what do you do? Do you bring your big bottles of fancy shampoo and conditioner with you? Do you decant it into smaller bottles? What I’ve found handy, is free sample sachets like these Mane ‘n Tail ones. Handy, single use sachets. You use them, dump the packaging in the bin, and they take up no space whatsoever!


Drying out:


Having spent 5 weeks indoors at one point on a hospital trip, I can tell you, hospitals are warm, dry places. Sometimes too warm and too dry. Bring your moisturiser with you, as well as some kind of lip balm and hand cream. You will really appreciate having them.




Right, let’s be honest here. You can have Oscars Night makeup on, and it still won’t make a hospital gown look glamorous. Why not leave the makeup behind, and instead look for a way to dress up the gown. I recommend a good dressing gown. Not boudoir good, but something that is comfortable and you feel good in. I like my big fluffy number from Penneys.


Hospitals are BORING places:


Unless you work in a hospital, it’s very difficult to disagree with me here. You get brief periods of excitement, followed by long, soul destroying stretches of boredom. In my case I had a couple of hours of excitement (surgery, woo!) followed by 10 days straight of doing nothing. I had simple instructions. Sit there, mind the bed so nobody can take it.

For that reason, please, if you know you will be there more than a couple of hours, bring your phone/tablet/kindle/laptop and chargers with you. I also had a sudoku magazine with me, but found that I couldn’t concentrate on one thing for too long, which is why having multitasking products helps.



Don’t let the hospital get to you. I know, easier said than done, but this actually works. Everyone commented on how positive I was during the whole thing, even when things weren’t going to plan. Knowing that you’re in the right place, and that you have people looking out for you, whether they’re doctors, nurses or visitors, will make things a lot easier.

So, that’s my survival guide. If you have anything to add, or want to agree/disagree with anything, please do leave me a comment!



Part of the Let’s Talk Blog Challenge series:

Want to join in the Let’s Talk Blog Challenge? Please do! Join in and discover more bloggers in the challenge on Twitter #LetsTalkBlogChallenge

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May. 12.

Lets Talk Blog Challenge: Birthday Box

thumbIt’s week 3, and the halfway point of the Lets Talk Blog Challenge, run by At The Beauty Desk’s Sarah. We’ve had a Day in my Life, and Summer Essentials. For week 3, we’re talking about the items that would be in our ideal Birthday box.

There are a handful of things that would have to be included in a birthday box for me. In no particular order, they include:



Image Credit: Me

It’s no secret that I love my nails, so a voucher for a mani/pedi would definitely be loved. It also gives such choice as to what to do with them. Go crazy, or go understated and chic? If you have seen my Mani Monday posts, you’ll know what I mean.



Image Credit: Shiseido

I don’t have that big a collection of perfume. Currently 5 bottles, but a couple are dupes. One I do want to add to my collection though is this stunner from Shiseido called Zen Sun. It is a delicate sweet fragrance, without being in any way overpowering. It’s a grown up, understated, chic sweet scent.



Image Credit: TK Maxx

My birthday falls in the depths of December. I was actually meant to be born on Christmas day, but arrived a week early. Maybe that’s why I love winter (except the rain). I also have a number of winter coats, but would love a really special one, like this number from TK Maxx. It’s from See by Chloe and looks absolutely amazing. I wouldn’t be wearing it all the time, but I would love and adore it and it would last forever!



Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Finally, I wouldn’t be able to get proper use out of my understated chic gifts without somewhere understated and chic to show them off. And where is more understated, chic and Scandinavian cool than Copenhagen. I’ve actually been twice already before. Once in 2003 with a youth group, and again in 2009, where I went by myself for a weekend in early November, just because I wanted to and was getting a good deal from the SAS sales manager I used to deal with (Good enough excuse)

There is just something about the city I’ve fallen in love with. I can’t say what exactly, but it makes me so happy to be there. From arriving in Kastrup, getting on the metro, and 12 minutes later emerging into one of the handful of squares in the centre of the city, where last time I was there, you walked into the middle of an outdoor photography exhibition, the city just has a vibe about it that makes you feel at ease.


Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A couple of things I thoroughly recommend you do include a stroll along Strøget, the longest pedestrianised street in Europe, with one end starting at the department store Magazin du Nord on Kongens Nytorv, next to one of the most recognisable streets in Copenhagen, Nyhavn, the New Harbour.


Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

During Summer, Nyhavn is a riot of colour in the sunshine, with people sitting outside bars and hotels having a drink, the boats, and people sitting along the harbour wall, enjoying the weather, having a hotdog (Danes love hotdogs, and you can’t go anywhere without falling over a hotdog cart) or a few drinks bought from a shop. In late November the tables and chairs are still outside the bars, this time with added blankets, and they are joined by huts for the Christmas markets, which open up at this time both in Nyhavn and Tivoli Gardens. From Nyhavn, be sure to join in one of the canal tours, which allows you an impressive view of the city from water level, including the parliament buildings, stock exchange and the library, known as the Black Diamond (top).

Okay, enough of me spilling about my love for Copenhagen, except to say, I still need to see the Little Mermaid up close (I didn’t get there in 2009, and in 2003 when I was there, it wasn’t – IIRC someone had blown it up fairly recently and it was off for repairs) and if I was given the chance, I would certainly want to live there for a while.

Oh, and don’t tell me I’m asking for too much. I spent my last birthday in hospital. I’m making up for it. If you want to help though, anything would be very welcome 😉

What would be in your ideal birthday box? What do you think of my choices? Please do let me know.



Part of the Let’s Talk Blog Challenge series:

Want to join in the Let’s Talk Blog Challenge? Please do! Join in and discover more bloggers in the challenge on Twitter #LetsTalkBlogChallenge

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May. 05.

Let’s Talk Blog Challenge: Summer Essentials

ltbc-thWelcome to week 2 of the Let’s Talk Blog Challenge, which is arranged and orchestrated by the wonderful Sarah from At The Beauty Desk. Last week as an introduction to the challenge we saw what a day in my life was (and got numerous adoption requests for Rascal and Patch), while this week we are talking about Summer Essentials.

Let’s be honest. We love summer, whatever little we get of it in this country. That means we need to make he most of it. These bits are my suggestions for to get prepared for summer.



Everyone looks good with a tan. That sunkissed glow just seems  to make people happy. Yet we need to be careful, as we all know what the sun does to our great Irish skin. I recently got sunburn on my arms, in not very warm conditions in mid April. It’s not pleasant. So why not give yourself the perfect tan with something like Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan’s new dark shade. It gives you a gorgeous tan without risking sunburn. Without having to worry about the tan, you can then choose something with a higher SPF, like this Sun Care Oil Spray from Clarins, which has SPF30 and is water ans sweat resistant. It can also be used on hair, and leaves the skin looking radiant and smooth.



Obviously water can not be under sold in summer, but I’m also going to recommend something like this facial rehydrating mist from the Benefit B-Right range. Super light and usable over makeup, it also has a delicate fragrance, and I find my skin drinks it up!



Light, floaty dresses are lovely in summer, as heavy clothes will just lead to sweating and sticking to you. Everyone should have a couple of maxi dresses available in their wardrobe. I’m currently loving this one from Moi & Toi on Talbot St in Dublin.



In summer I don’t like wearing much makeup during the daytime. I want something light on my face and bright on my lips. I think I’ll be making good use of this combination of MeMeMe Flawless Tinted Moisturiser and Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lipstick in Olé Flamingo.

These are what will get me through summer. What are your summer essentials. Please do let me know below!


Part of the Let’s Talk Blog Challenge series:

  • Week 1: Day in the Life
  • Week 2: Summer Essentials
  • Week 3: Birthday Box (12th May)
  • Week 4: Survival Guide (19th May)
  • Week 5: Magazine v Blogging (26th May)
  • Week 6: Recommend to a Friend (2nd June)

Want to join in the Let’s Talk Blog Challenge? Please do! Join in and discover more bloggers in the challenge on Twitter #LetsTalkBlogChallenge

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Apr. 28.

Let’s Talk Blog Challenge: Day in the Life

FOTD-BgGood evening and welcome to week 1 of the Let’s Talk Blog Challenge, arranged by the absolutely wonderful Sarah from At The Beauty Desk. Week 1 is a very simple introduction to me, through a day in my life, and is full of pictures. So, lets begin.


It all starts here each day, with my room. Not much to see, bed is there, wardrobe is there, computer is there, and the window is over there. Sitting in front of the wardrobe is the first task of the day.


It’s laundry day. Well, in fact every other day has some kind of laundry being done. I gather it up and carry it downstairs, trying not to be tripped up, or step on, the 1 eyed, schizophrenic, South African…


Cat. This is Rascal, our first furry friend, who has a long and varied history (read about it here). On the way, I have to stop in the kitchen and put on the kettle, as I’m in need of tea or coffee or something. Finally I make it to the washing machine out in the utility room, where I’m met by Patch.


Patch is always happy to see everyone, and just wants to play, which can be great fun as he is part dalmatian, part spaniel, completely daft and all muscle. He also has part floppy ears, so whenever he tried to make them stand up, the tops of them just keep falling over. After getting laundry in to the machine, on to the washing line, playing with Patch for a couple of minutes, making tea and getting some breakfast its back upstairs to get some work done.


It’s a Monday, and that means it’s manicure day on the blog. This week I have something ready prepared, otherwise I sit down, look at the shelf of polish (now 122 unique bottles) and decide what I’d like. I then photograph it and get working on the blog post, stopping at least a dozen times to read a link that has come up on Twitter or make a funny comment. I also have to stop  to do lots of tea making (I need tea).

And there you have my day. The rest of the week follows pretty much the same schedule, sometimes without laundry, sometimes with an event or shops to go to.

What’s your average day like? Please say it’s more interesting than mine. Either way please do let me know in a comment.


Part of the Let’s Talk Blog Challenge series:

  • Week 1: Day in the Life
  • Week 2: Summer Essentials (5th May)
  • Week 3: Birthday Box (12th May)
  • Week 4: Survival Guide (19th May)
  • Week 5: Magazine v Blogging (26th May)
  • Week 6: Recommend to a Friend (2nd June)

Want to join in the Let’s Talk Blog Challenge? Please do! Join in and discover more bloggers in the challenge on Twitter #LetsTalkBlogChallenge

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