Little things…


It’s Saturday and my holidays have come to an end. I’ve spent the morning blogging, editing and drafting and took no notice of the gorgeous day outside! My favourite thing to do is sit on my bench with a coffee. I love the little lane we live in, it’s so quiet and tranquil but today the usual noise of birds singing and lawn mowers is mixed with newborn lambs bleating in the next field! Too cute!

I’ve been so busy this week that I kind of forgot to enjoy my holiday and relax but today I’ve been able to slow down and take stock and there are loads of things I can be happy about – I start a ‘new’ job at work tomorrow, I’m meeting some of my oldest friends for dinner tonight, my blog was long listed for ‘Best Newcomer’ for the Irish Beauty Blog Awards and I’m spending my afternoon out in the sunshine.. 

It really is the little things! 

ebony

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Artists who have inspired me.

This is my second time writing this. Thanks WordPress.

From a very young age we were exposed to art. From the pieces on our walls, going to galleries and being encouraged to paint and draw ourselves. My Grandad was an amazing artist and I would love to go and see him when he was painting and learn all his tricks like sticking the paint brush in your mouth and how not to dip it in your tea. He mainly worked with watercolour and then later in life with acrylics and oils. I have always preferred acrylics and oils- more malleable, pliable. I loved colour. He used the same colours over and over and yet never got bored, I never understood until I went to college, picking the subject yourself was the enjoyable bit!

He was a stickler for the same tools and materials, I loved texture and getting my hands dirty- who said I needed a paintbrush? Just give me a palette knife and some sculpting paste.251023_2085926474330_1247755_n I always wanted to be an artist but as soon as I set out to do this I realised I enjoyed it as a hobby. During my years at college I loved the creative side, art history, going to galleries and discussing art, learning new techniques. We all hated the site of a new brief, as much as I loved art I couldn’t bring myself to keep up. Anxiety led to illness, time off, more anxiety and eventually to leaving. I didn’t regret it but I had other things I wanted to do. I got a good job, moved into my own home and started putting up art on my walls. Even selling some of my own. I preferred this. I might go back to it, Crawford is a lovely college, maybe I can benefit from it more as an adult. I think my Grandad was disappointed though and that sucked.

I’ve complied a list of my favourite artists with a bit of background on each- not only are their works amazing but they are great individuals. The first artist I remember seeing was Gustav Klimt, I think my Mum had ‘The Kiss’ on our fridge and ‘Mother and Child’ in her room. I loved his use of colour especially gold and the details like the hair and the flowers.

When I first started drawing I found Leonardo Da Vinci’s works- learning his method of drawing faces. The man was a genius. He could think both mathematically and artistically. This is something that doesn’t come easy to most. My Grandmother kept a Mona Lisa in the bathroom  always freaked me out!

Damien Hirst was the next artist I obsessed over. He had such an imagination and a ‘fuck it’ attitude that made him my first art crush. People ask me why I like him and it’s probably because he had a bad boy attitude to art and people bough it so why not make it? I have so many favourite pieces of his- ‘Love of God’, ‘Mother and Child Separated’, ‘Cigarettes’, his work with sheer scale, formaldehyde, dots and butterflies. It’s out there dark and insulting and brash and I will always love him.

Frida Kahlo was the first female I discovered, through Salma Hayek actually, she was a fierce feminist, using her culture, beliefs and colours of her home of Mexico and putting them into her work. She was married, bisexual, adulterous, forward thinking, an activist and survivor. Here’s to Frida!

Another woman who has inspired me is Tracey Emin. She is so rude and unapologetic yet so vulnerable. She says all the things I’m too polite to say. And she has just married a rock. An actual rock. My Grandad hated her and this is my favourite piece.

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Another badass is Ashley Longshore, the most rude American I’ve ever come across. She uses amazing colour, gold leaf and subjects and has the most amazing collection of jewellery and sunglasses! Follow her on Instagram it is guaranteed to make you smile!

Kate Moss with Vintage Byzantine Chanel Necklace by Ashley Longshore: Bodacious Housewares at Biscuit Home with Ashley Longshore | The English Room:

 

Ai Wei Wei, who smashed a tonne of pots.

How Ai Weiwei's art confounded his jailers: Fountain of Light, Ai Weiwei:

Tim Noble and Sue Webster. My favourite couple who are married, divorced and still working together. Their creativity and respect for each other is outstanding.

silhouette sculptures by Tim Noble and Sue Webster #shadow #light:

This painting made my life a whole lot easier in my Leaving Certificate. It was painted by Caravaggio and after seeing it in person I decided that nothing I ever did was going to be as good as this, painted in 1602. 1602 and looks like a photograph. I was done worrying after this.

The Taking of Christ, Caravaggio — Bestarts.org:

 

I had a great list of documentaries to watch on each artist but cant remember half of them now! Viewing discretion is advised- lots of nudity/swearing/etc. If I ever feel stuck in a rut I’ll go and watch one of these and feel totally inspired again!

4od have gotten rid of the Damien Hirst documentary which is a bummer. Here is a little clip though with some other great watching for a Sunday afternoon-

If you have the time I would also recommend Danny Boyle’s Trance.

All images were taken from my ‘Art That Inspires’ Pinterest Board. I am pretty annoyed with this post it just isn’t as nice as my last one but it’s up now. I will add more links if I can remember them.

Hope you have all had a nice Sunday,

ebony

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Radiant Skin with Forever: Skin Care Review

A few weeks ago I was completely dehydrated due to illness. When I think of dehydration I think Sahara Desert and that’s exactly what happened to my hair, nails and skin. Afterwards I noticed that my nails were flaking, hair was straw like and my skin awful in texture and appearance.

I drink tonnes of water, well I try to drink 2 litres a day but even that wasn’t enough. I needed twice that, a bottle of moisturiser a day and supplements. I could feel the skin between my fingers cracking and it hurt like billy-o. I needed  some serious TLC and that is when Shauna stepped in. I was gifted some Forever products to try- Forever is Aloe Vera based and I was keen to try anything that would bring my skin back from the brink. I have redness (green and purpleness too) and was eager I tried the Sonya Aloe Balancing Cream with the Aloe Nourishing Serum with White Tea. Within 3 days I had a more even skin tone and I felt like I didn’t need concealer under my eyes or around my nose. Now I’m skeptical when it comes to serums I usually think they are unnessesary but the dryness under my eyes cleared up straight away. I love to use facail oils but this was the only product to make a physical difference. The oils were literally sliding off my face and the serum worked magic and hydrated me again. Definitely worth purchasing if you need some serious help,the Balancing Cream retails at €35.71 and the Serum at €46.52, my skin is Forever grateful!

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I roped my boyfriend into sampling the other products, he works with steel, so dirt and grease combined with open pores means he suffers with breakouts. I asked him to give the Aloe Scrub and the Marine Mask a go and to my surprise he loved them. He has tried every scrub on the market to try and combat spots and it was the combination of the Aloe Scrub and the Marine Mask that worked for him- he tried the mask twice and his forehead cleared up in days. After seeing his results I also tried it and it was lovely. When dried it does show off all your lines but it’s only temporary thankfully. Ha! He drew the line in taking a photo in the mask (poor Instagram Husband marks) but I will be ordering this for him as it suited his skin so well. The scrub retails at €17.64 and the mask at €25.05.

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Forever also does makeup and I had a love affair with their Sonya  Delicious Lipstick range- so creamy, pigmented and moisturising. Each one was a beautiful colour especially Almond 434 which is a nude colour. I really liked the Luscious Lip Colour in Cinnamon 427. It smells amazing and when applied is metallic!  I havn’t tried the Kylie Kits yet but this gives a gorgeous finish so I would be interested to try them both out. The lipsticks retail at €20.73 and the lipgloss €26.36, my favourite overall was Copper 408.

Thank you to Shauna who has saved our skin and who has gained two more customers. Any products here can be ordered from her, you can find her on Facebook at Forever Beauty. They have a huge range of products that are well worth checking out!

I must also thank everyone who nominated my blog for ‘Best Newcomer’ in the Irish Beauty Blog Awards 2016. Just to be nominated is such an honour and is it lovely to have my work acknowledged- I’m so grateful and thrilled!

Feeling very loved,

ebony

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Festivals (or lack thereof this year)

I love a good festival. Flower crowns, mosh pits, uv face paint. When drinking in a field at 11am is acceptable. Love them. I have attended my fair share of them too- Electric Picnic being my favourite. Oxegen was the go to before it became the no.1 place to get stabbed.

There are more festivals than ever before running each weekend this summer. It is certainly one of the go to places for a festival in Europe despite the guaranteed rain. I have no qualms paying a few hundred quid to go see bands, sleep in a tent and enjoy a few days of debauchery. I’ve seen plenty of my favourites throughout the years- Elbow, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Fat Boy Slim, Groove Armada, Massive Attack, Sigur Ros, Chemical Bros, Florence, Vampire Weekend. The list goes on. Nothing sounds like a summer festival then Florence’s harp. Watching her on stage is a magical experience! I go for the music and have no issue going to see someone on my own, like Robert Plant EP2013, it was epic. Sadly this year we did not get EP tickets. This has been a massive disappointment and would be some kind of miracle if we got our hands on them. Of all the festivals we love EP – the crowd, the food, Body and Soul, Yoga at 8am, the guy with the spray on hair we meet at the train station every year.. we are heartbroken.

We have looked into other ones to see if they would fill the void. Forbidden Fruit looked promising as did Longitude. Maybe we should just go on a holiday. I hear there is a sweet Yoga festival on down in Ballydehob in August.

Seeing pictures of Coachella has just set off the disappointment again. Everyone looks so good although I know we never look like that. More like we have travelled to the ploughing championships and become one with the mud. Hats off to my Hunter wellies bought 6 or 7 years ago they have served me so well. All I need is a good raincoat, plenty of socks and a hat. My picks for this year, in the vain hope we go anywhere- Hunter, Boohoo, Opsh and Argos- which sells the best tent going. Purchased for and donated after every festival!

People still ask me how can you stand it? After this long you don’t care about the state of the toilets, the fact there is inadequate water pressure in the showers, a lack of sleep, muddy boots, wasps, the hour long queue for the ATM, a constant bum belonging to someone else in your camping chair.

We get off the train on the Monday claiming “NEVER AGAIN” and “I MEAN IT THIS YEAR”. We have a proper shower, a kip, something to eat, maybe a little cry, pour over the photos, cut off the manky wristband, add it to the collection and the excitement for next year sets in.

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If you know of anyone getting rid of tickets please let me know, I’d really appreciate it. If you have tickets then I really hope you enjoy it, buy a programme, do everything, go see bands you would never usually listen too. You won’t be disappointed!

Sitting here in a flower crown,

ebony

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‘Spending’ an afternoon off is dangerous: Haul

 

 

What happens when I work a rare early shift and then have some spare hours in the afternoon? Bad things happen.

Working afternoons/evenings means my mornings are full with jobs I have to do and I don’t usually get out to damage my bank account as much as I’d like. This is a good thing but when the chance arises I do jump at it! It started in New Look and steadily got worse the closer I got to town.

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NewLook has some of the cutest summer clothes at the minute and my local branch just launched homeware (as if I needed to know this). Knowing damn well the ‘buy now or regret it’ phrase is the absolute truth I picked up 2 plain white tshirts and this stripey top which has been mistaken for a shopping bag by more than one person. Defective shopping bag or not it shall be worn.

The sun is out today but it is no where near hot enough for this yet. A bargain at €9.99 I think I will keep an eye out for any more to team with cut offs and Birkinstocks.

I also picked up some copper tealight holders (which are now on offer) and an LED light up mint green arrow, which I needed. Badly. Then I got to Penneys and as you can imagine I was half way through when I decided I should’ve picked up a basket. I know I’m not alone when I just pick up the basics and your already fifty quid down- tanning mitts, hair ties, socks, candles and pjs. All necessary. I decided against picking up bikinis as the thought of wearing less than 8 layers of clothes was still to much to think about. But I’ve picked my faves out on the website and just hope they are still there when I go back.

 

From there we went to TKMaxx which is always a bad idea, the leggings I picked up were worth it though. I really like 90 Degree by Reflex gym wear and geometric print speaks to me. They are the comfiest, softest leggings ever! Having a Nike store outlet store in town also helps so the boyfriend and I got new Roshes. No you aren’t seeing things they are the same pair. We will have to work out some schedule so we don’t go out matching. We aren’t THAT couple. Not yet anyways.

Well that’s todays post, it is quite lazy actually, I promise I will more effort into the next one. I’m off to sit outside in the sun while it is there. I hope everyone has a lovely Wednesday.

ebony

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My Enormous Secret Hoard Of Elle Magazines

mg3 When I decided to write this, I didn’t realise what a ridiculous task I was about to undertake. Having moved house (10 times in past 6 years!) my collection has been spread out all over the place. Therefore taking photos of the only magazines I had to hand and not the entire collection in all it’s glory.

They’re mostly stored in my boyfriends garage. I do believe helping prop up the shell of a vintage BMW 2002.  I’m unable to find solace in this but cannot argue as storage is extremely limited.

I thrive on my monthly fix and it won’t stop anytime soon. I leave them lying around so that the ‘WE’RE GETTING A BIGGER HOUSE!’ phrase becomes a reality rather than just a chat.

I am aware that if I stopped buying them and instead saved that money I would own the Miu Miu ballet pumps instead of reading about them. My collection started to grow from the age of 15 and I have learned so much from the people who contribute to every issue. Throughout my teenage years and into early adulthood I have read about life, friendships, cooking, sex, exercise, feminism, music, books and art but most of all I developed a love of writing. I would not think of myself as a writer but I love doing so.

Having an inspiring group of women showcase their abilities, talents and style each month is what I love about Elle. Hats off to Donna Wallace, Anne-Marie Curtis and the ultimate boss; Lorraine Candy for showing me how to accessorize, take charge and inspire me to start running! They have helped shape not only my wardrobe but my opinions. Feminism has been a main focus of the magazines recently, not only has this raised my own awareness of it but has made me more vocal about it. If you haven’t seen coverstar Emma Watson give her HeForShe speech then watch it here. It could change your opinion too.

Equality is all we’re asking for guys, after all not only are we ‘smart enough to make millions and bear children but then we also get back to business’. Which leads me to talk about this months cover star; a mother,  business woman and superstar. Everyone knows her whether it be the Destiny’s Child or Sasha Fierce version. Beyoncé can do NO wrong in eyes – enviable thighs/hair/energy, unlimited songs to suit every life situation and now a clothing line with Topshop.

Although branded as ‘gym-wear’ Ivy Park would be wasted on actual exercise. Worn only for lounging around acting like you exercise. Suitable only for when you want those instag’s double tapped and I need it all. What isn’t to love about that woman?

mg1Speaking of women, some of my idols have graced the cover of Elle. Gwen Stefani, Courtney Love, Sarah Jessica Parker, The Olsen twins – picking one cover was tough but Mary Kate won. Victoria Beckham, her husband David who was the first and only man on the cover. Katie Price, Kate Hudson, Kylie Minogue, Keira Knightley, Lily Allen, Scarlett Johansen, Anne Hathaway, the list goes on and on and on.

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My collection began around the time that Lorraine Candy took over as Editor In Chief. For ten years Lorraine has steered the ship and brought an outstanding collection to the table each month. Challenging a variety of topics and ever-changing styles, while also holding down the fort to a husband and 4 young children of her own. A powerhouse in her own right and inspiration to me.

My dream night out would be attending the Elle Style Awards; a night of beautiful designer gowns, enviable friendships developed over bottles of champagne and photographs that would adorn my walls forever. Forget weddings and loved ones, I met Giles Deacon!

For now I will have to keep my library in the garage, in a sad disused wardrobe but soon I shall take the trip to Ikea and buy multiple units and have glass doors and lighting fitted. Excessive maybe but I have spent this long hoarding why not show off my addiction to the world?

ebony

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It’s nearly that time again…

 

My relationship with tan is an odd one. I hate the idea of going for a spray tan, where you stand in your little paper knickers and do the funky chicken just to get even coverage. All while making small talk with the poor girl who has to see your naked bod. I got used to having spray tans in the comfort of my own home when I lived with a fabulous beautician. Although all four of us were gorgeous and tanned then, the upkeep once we all parted ways was tough. I fell out of the routine of waxing, shaving, exfoliating, moisturising, plucking, preening.. it was too much work to then go and tan myself.

This may seem like the laziest thing and I know people will think just that. I have a serious respect for anyone who can keep up tanning, I’m now just one of those ‘special occasion’ tanners. As soon as I do and I emerge from the bathroom a sun kissed, bronzed, sleek goddess I can’t understand why I don’t so it every week?

It takes about 36 hours that’s why!sub4

I’ve used them all St. Tropez, TanOrganics, St. Moritz, Cocoa Brown, Boots Soltan- the latter two my favourite actually. Creams, mousses, sprays, with mitt, without mitt, gloves, it’s frustrating when you put in so much effort and wake up with patches. Why can’t I just like my pale skin? Society says no and everyone and everything looks better with a tan. Fact.

As the warmer months are approaching and we may cure the Rickets we have most certainly developed, I feel the need to fake it. If I start now then come summer I may be a nice colour and have a routine down. Tired of mousse I went on the search for something new and came across L’Oreal Sublime Bronze. A gel that is as easy as applying moisturiser, doesn’t smell like tan and dries quickly. Less time looking like John Wayne the better.

One coat and I woke up looking kind of sun kissed but I knew another night and I would get the shade I was looking for. I really enjoyed using this and is so easy to use there should be no excuse not to keep it up!

5 stars L’Oreal. I found mine in Bradley’s Pharmacy, Killarney and is usually under €20. Happy days. Here’s to faking it even when it is snowing outside!

ebony

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Blogger Beauty Box: March 2016

 

Beauty boxes are common these days but there was something about this one that really stood out for me! The Blogger Beauty Box is the creation of Vix Meldrew, if you do not know who this lady is then sort it out.

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A box of beauty products, both make up and skincare, which is sent to your gaff for £10. Or €12 in my case which includes postage. The box didn’t even close properly with this months 3 samples and 4 full size products! When you take into account that one of these products costs £20, you do really appreciate the time and effort that goes into them. Snaps for Vix.

4The first thing to catch my eye is the beautiful packaging of the Magic Organic Apothocary MOA Aphrodite Facial Oil, £20 for 30ml. I love essential oil products and I know it is going straight on my face. Geranium and rosehip are perfect for my skin type- lined, dry, irregular pigmentation and sensitive.

The oil fights off premature aging with the help of rosehip, which is full of fatty acids and Vitamin A and C. These help skin regeneration and with help from yarrow, geranium and marshmallow extract they will help balance out skin tone, soothe and cleanse. The smell is amazing and is warm on the skin, it’s like a spa date at the end of the day!

 

Another delve into the box and I am naturally attracted to Faust’s Potions. Not a brand I’m familiar with but I’m instantly interested when they claim they can help with-

“Hangovers. Jetlag. Exhaustion. Ailments of a 21st century lifestyle”.3

Vitamin and herbal supplement drinks that help nurture the body when it needs it most. Now I’m currently fighting off a nasty virus and as soon as I’m better I’ll give them a go to boost my immune system.

The package is Limited Edition in support of the Elephant  Family Charity- charitable to your body and the animal kingdom. Made in the UK, available to order online, £5.99 per pack.

 

I love Manuka Honey, I used to have tonsillitis frequently and this was a great remedy and I continue to use it most days. BeeBio have now combined it with Bee Venom to create an anti-aging eye crème. Tops!2

Everyone in my family inherited my late Grandads wrinkly eyes. They’re only visible when laughing so it’s no bad thing but as I get older they are sticking around. I dabbed a small amount around the eye area and instantly felt and saw a difference. This is being swiftly added to the daily routine. Cell regeneration, hydration and anti-oxidant activity combine to support skin renewal, texture and improves collagen- so no Botox for now!

Under these products was a very interesting product – SASS, Perfect Skin Concentrate.6.png

“Helps to prevent ingrown hairs, reduce hair re-growth and soothes post-shave”. I have to say I have never seen a product like this. I did some more research on this and found a whole range available in Boots and is very well priced. With this in mind I think the pain of waxing is over! For €7.29 it is very well packaged and after using it, I shall be adding it to the regime. Very gentle even on my sensitive skin.

The 3 samples we received were Merumaya- Mud Marvels Mask. I use clay/mud masks quite often. I feel my skin gets more of a cleanse from mud than a liquid cleanser. Decongests, detoxifies, clarifies and deep cleanses- can I just take a bath in it please?

The two little pots were a Maya Hair Treatment- a styling and curling crème. Maya is a natural oil based product, I use them on my face why not in my hair? And one pot of JR Organics moisturiser, instant hydration from a handy handbag sized pot!

ALL of this for €12! I am so impressed with this box. An amazing achievement every month from an amazing lady. Go support a fellow blogger and help spread the word. Boxes are available to order here and they do sell out every month. My order is going in now!

This also happens to be my 50th blog post! Yay for the little things 🙂

ebony

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Lusts This Month: April

April is always a great month for me, it means it is getting closer to summer! And summer means warmth, tanning, legs out, pedicures and sandals. Nothing make me happier than waking up and putting on shorts and flip flops. So my lusts this month are skirts and sandals!

While we were away in London my sister bought a beautiful boho style, cotton skirt for €39.99 in H&M- a gorgeous shade of orange/camel and just the right length for summer. I would team this with a black or white t-shirt or go all out with an Aztec design picking up on the rich colour of the skirt. I found these off the shoulder tops on the H&M website which I thought would go well with it. My favourite is the embroidered bustier, only €19.99, all tops seen here are under €20. There is a reason why I LOVE H&M.

More skirts caught my eye on Pinterest while I was updating my Fashion board. I have been running a lot lately and feel I can start wearing skirts again. I just hope we get the weather otherwise the tan will be out of a bottle! Also on my board you may notice its all things Olsen right now. Reminding myself of how goals Mary-Kate and Ashley are.

I am slightly obsessed now, especially since I bought the perfect shoes to go under summer skirts- short, midi or long. Snaps for Primark again- Birkenstock style sandals for €6, although I know first hand the comfort of the real deal so I will have get a proper pair! Here are some beauts found while pinning. Can you guess the theme? Clue: Russell Crowe.

In some other favourites I have been loving my book, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. A tale of a circus that has layers upon layers of magic and charm! Everyone should read it, it is beautifully written. Although I may still be getting through it next month. I have become such a slow reader. This is something I really would like to change this year.

I’m still using my Sleek BareKissed Illuminator in Casablanca. So light, pigmented and blendable. I originally started using these products when I received one in my Cloggers Afternoon Tea goodie bag. I have since bought more and added Sleek products into my everyday routine. At the minute I am sick and cant bring myself to take photos so I will attach a website image instead. I prefer using these for everyday make up and find them long lasting and kind to the skin! I also received my first Blogger Beauty Box this month. This is the brain child of the gorgeous Vix Meldrew and I shall have a post up very soon about the outstanding products in the parcel.

Other random things I will be enjoying this month-

  • TIDAL Subscription. Life of Pablo on repeat. Pleezy and thank Yeezy.
  • Leftover Easter eggs.
  • Feeling better. This virus is kicking my ass.
  • The fleeting moments of actual sunshine!

Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!

ebony

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