29 October, 2013

Autumn / Winter and Rain Proof Boots!

The wet climate of Manchester combined with old, leaky converse (albeit fake converse) does not make for a happy commute to work five days a week. Three out of five days last week were spent in work with wet shoes, wet socks and wet feet. For.the.whole.day. It wasn't pleasant and this situation can be no more.

What's needed is an intervention. An intervention in the form of super, waterproof, fashionable and cute boots. Boots that will see me through the Autumn and Winter. Boots that will keep those tootsies warm and dry and look after them for many a year to come. What's also needed is some realization from me. If I want all of the above, then I have to step away from Primark, get the wallet out and make a prime investment in a decent pair.

We all love that feeling of spotting a nice pair of flats / heels / boots in Primark for the rock bottom price of five quid. That feeling is multiplied when you see  your size is available and you think "It's my lucky day, I'mmaa gona buy allll the shoes!". However, fast forward 5 weeks, 6 days and 3 hours later and those so called bargain flats / heels / boots from Primark are pinching you to death and falling apart. Your five quid wasted and you, shoe-less, once more.

It's time to part with a bit more than five quid folks. It's time to be a sensible adult and buy sensible (but cute, dooon't forget the cute) shoes and to date, these have caught my eye.

From the top we have;

1 - ASOS Apostle Ankle Boots - £58
2 - River Island Riding Boots - £60
3 - ASOS Absence - £55
4 - Clarks Mojita Crush - £140
5 - ASOS Camden Boots - £85
6 - ASOS Cooper Boots - £85

I have to say, those ASOS Apostle Ankle boots are really catching my eye. They're really outside my usual style but I love the colour and design and £58 is a pretty good price. At push, I also wouldn't mind investing in those Clarks boots (number 4), pricy at £140 but you'd be guaranteed to get the wear from them.

What are you Autumn / Winter needs? Which boots take your fancy?

*Boots 1,2,3,5,6 all available via asos.co.uk*

27 October, 2013

Charity Shop Haul : Oxfam

I'll say it once, I'll say it twice...I'll even say it thrice!

The charity shops in Manchester are fan-freaking-tastic. In fact, looking at other bloggers who regularly mooch through charity shops in the UK, I'd say charity shops, in comparison to Ireland, are all round brilliant. They're full of hidden treasure, bargains and everything is just plain amazing. From the layout of the shops, to the display of all the products, I literally cannot get over the difference.

I've taken three charity shop trips in the last four weeks and each and every time, I've found something marvelous and which makes my heart go a flutter. I've left with bags (yes bags!) of items big and small and spent no more than £7 - £20 on each trip. This my friends, is my new weekend pleasure.

My first such charity shop haul is from Oxfam on Oxford Road. This amazing thing about this shop is that it is very conveniently located next door to where I work. Everything I bought here, I bought on my lunch break. The staff were very helpful and only delighted in my excitement of finding such lovely things. They also told me about two other Oxfam shops located 15 minutes from my apartment, Oxfam Emporium and Oxfam originals. (They're next on my hit list!)

I loved the layout of this shop. The volunteers putting their time into this shop do it with pride. Clothing was arranged beautifully, books were categorized into relevant sections and items for the home proudly displayed. For the record, they have a fantastic book selection. Probably because the shop is situated in an area which receives a large flow of student traffic and donations, so if you're a book worm, go check it out! The inner Art Teacher in me squealed inside at all the art books on the shelves.

Which brings me to my actual haul. I had a big collection of art books which I sent back up to my mum's house for storage before moving to Manchester, but I like to add to them and will continue to do so. I picked up the following:

- Ways of Seeing - John Berger / £3.49
- Banksy - Wall and Piece / £4.99 (Originally £14.99)
- Blog Inc - Blogging for Passion, Profit and to Create Community / £3.49 (Originally £10.99)
- How to Write Like This - An introduction to the art of Calligraphy / 99p

A few books for the art book collection and another handy one (Blog Inc) which may help me pick up a few useful tips. All in all, delighted with those finds.

I then ventured over to the home wares and jewellery section located just by. This is usually my favourite section. I love to find bits and bobs to decorate my living quarters with and as I've just moved into a bare apartment, I'm itching to find some unique items to add some a bit of character to the space.

I've taken to buying glassware over the last year or two. You can pop some candles into them, buy them in different colours or use them for storage. Either way, they're usually very cheap and found in most charity shops. This trip was no exception. I picked up a clear and green glass piece, both priced at £1 and a larger Jasper Conran storage jar, complete with lid for £3.49. I most likely with use the glass pieces for candles or make up brushes and the storage jar for my craft room.

You'll also spot a rather bright neon yellow necklace. Most likely from Primark or somewhere similar, for a quid I could not resist. I have a a bit of a weakness for bright, large, overstated necklaces and have gathered quite the collection over the year.

So thanks Oxfam, I think you've found a new, happy friend in me! 

23 October, 2013

Apartment Wishlist

I love our two bed apartment, I do.....but what I'd love more would be the opportunity to decorate it. The chance to dig out some paints and brushes and give it a real makeover and remove the sickly green colour that currently occupies the walls of the kitchen and living area. I really envy renters in New York and other american cities where you have the opportunity to decorate your apartment if you so wish without worrying that the landlord might withhold your deposit.

While our apartment is adequately decorated, it lacks character and certainly has the potential to be something better and more welcoming than it already is. I want to create an apartment with a personality that differs from every other modern apartment you see out there. One with a quirky streak, taste, style and lots of odd bits and bobs carefully sourced.An apartment that says as much about me as it does about the boy (who by the way, prefers to live as if our apartment is a show house. Think nothing on display, everything hidden away!). An apartment that is photo ready and memorable to those that visit her. (Yea, my apartment is a she!)

For now, my decorating wishlist will just have to live vicariously through a Pinterest board. Until I get myself to the next vintage flea market or charity shop that is, and source an original bargain or two! For the moment, I'll concentrate on adding touches of colour, here, there and everywhere in order to add that personal, bright feeling I just adore.

My  new obsession? Cushions and textiles!. Watch as you see a theme unfold...geometric shapes people. I'm not sure where that inspiration is coming from, but recently I've become very inspired by clean lines and the simplicity of the beautiful shape a triangle or pentagon can make. When printed in multiples it makes me happy, along with these pretty images.


I freaking love these geometric wall paintings. Different from your usual shade of applying just one colour, this method turns your walls into actual, interesting pieces of art. Dear Landlord, please let me try this!

22 October, 2013

Positive Quotes

I have a history of being hard on myself. I don't always realise it until someone (usually the boy) points it out, but I'm always wishing to be better at something or other, whether it's work / career related, (actually it mostly is always work / career related) or life related in some way shape or form, I am consistently down on myself. 

I fail to sometimes see what I have or what I have achieved and instead, wish many an alternative. I could give you a plethora of examples, but this is a positive post. A positive post to remind you and myself to be nice. Be nice to myself, those around me and to those I encounter in my day to day workings, and hey, if you are having a miserable day, here are some my sure ways of being nice to myself.

- A glass of wine
- A bubble bath
- A cuppa tay and numerous chocolate biscuits
- Lots of hugs with the boy
- New Pjs, comfy socks, a hoodie and a heap of magazines

And if all else fails, alllll of the above, just do all of the above!

20 October, 2013

Mini Manchester Shopping Haul + Big City Living

This week saw my first salary land into my newly created English bank account. It was a good feeling. It was a good feeling because I'm still waiting on my national insurance number and I felt pretty confident that I wasn't going to see a penny for another four weeks. So hell to the yeah!

In celebration of this unexpected surprise, I took a shopping trip into the city centre and braved the crowds. The one thing I did not expect about moving to Manchester was how the big crowds and the even bigger shops would make me feel overwhelmed at times. In the past, one of my favourite treats was to pop on down to Boots on payday, grab one of those nifty blue baskets and buy a heap of products like no one was watching. This has recently changed.

Boots, located in the Arndale Shopping Centre, can only be described as an "overload of the senses!". Don't get me wrong, it offers everything a girl ever dreamed of, reams of makeup, every skincare product you ever wanted and items you didn't think existed, but as soon as you walk in those doors, there are sales consultants ready to pounce. Some might say it's comparable to the African wilderness.

I was literally pounced on the second I picked up my first product of choice. "Everything ok there, can I help you with anything?". "I'm fine, thanks", I grumpily replied and kept wandering avoiding eye contact with anyone who remotely looked like they worked there. I was pounced another three times, before I gave up my joy of boots shopping and shuffled off to the checkout. My afternoon of lotion and potion shopping over.

I understand they're only doing their job, I do. They most likely have a ferocious boss who is pushing them all to sell, sell, sell, and reach unreachable sales targets, but pleeeeease lovely sales people of boots, you're taking the joy out of 'boots browsing' and ' boots shopping' for me. It is literally one of my favourite past times. They boy felt so sorry for me, he hunted out some mini boots stores so that my love for boots wasn't completely destroyed.

However despite feeling like prey to a bunch of beauty care lions, I did pick up a few items which were hurriedly popped into my basket, all the while, avoiding the pride. In no particular order, we have

- Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish (Hot Cloth Cleanser)
- Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser (Dry / Sensitive skin)
- Liz Earle Daily Eye Repair
- St Ives - Apricot Scrub
- Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor
- Soap & Glory - The Righteous Butter

With the exception of the Aussie hair product, you're probably seeing a bit of a theme....skincare! My skin as really suffered in recent years. Although I look after it as if its my religion, there are fine lines appearing and sans makeup, I have a very pale, blotchy completion. Think, pink nose, a scattering of red spots and uneven skin tone. It needs help and I've decided to try an experiment. I'm going to scrub once a day (I don't normally do this) and use only the Liz Earle products on my face for one month. It will feature as a future blog post, so hopefully I'll have some positive results worth reporting on.

I'll also review the 3 Minute Miracle Resconstructor (my hair currently feels like straw!) and the body moisturizer, The Righteous Butter as I'm feeling the effects of colder weather on my skin.

**Have you noticed the broke lid on the Liz Earle moisturizer, yup, in my excitement, I managed to drop it and crack the lid!**

**Shortly after writing this blog post, I then dropped a glass of wine. I'm most definitley having one of those days**

19 October, 2013

The Liebster Award

Waaaay back sometime when, the lovely 'has the best fringe' Claire Ann tagged in me for The Liebster Award. Its a blogger award traditionally awarded to those with under 200 followers, however Aoife Blake also informed me via her blog that the rules have changed slightly over the months / years so it isn't necessarily for those with less or more than 200 followers.

Having quite the inquisitive nature, I really love reading other peoples answers. Sometimes you think a blogger is x,y,z in your head only to read their answers and realise they're all of the alphabet with a cherry on top and that you've also learned a little more about them along the way. Sharing is caring you guys!

So in true Liebster style, I'll attempt to answer the questions Claire Ann has set out for me below and then tag some of my favourite blogs to see if they'll respond too! As always, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts afterwards

1: If you could have one job for the rest of your life what would it be?
I am 100 and 55.8 million percent struggling with 'a career' right now and have done so for about...erm, since I left college perhaps? It also bothers me (quite alot) that I'm not working in an area or field of work that I am totally, head over heels in love with. We spend such a huge amount of time physically at work, shouldn't it be all kinds of amazing?

When I was younger I desperately and still kinda do, if I'm honest, wanted to work in visual display. If you're unsure of what that is, well when you go to fancy big stores and you see their window displays and interior design concepts and layouts, there are talented visual display teams behind those ideas. That's the area I wanted to work in. Problem was, back in the day when I was completing my leaving certificate, the points for said course were really high. I wasn't the highest of academic achievers and so it was never a reality that I would get into that course.

As recently as last night, I was out in Manchester and walked past Primark (Pennys) and the visual display team were working on the window display. My heart fluttered. I wanted to be that person. I have to admit I love 'displaying' items in my home, putting items on show and I like to think I'm half decent at it too. So there you go, there's my dream career...arranging stuff!

2: Favourite book you read this year?
Is it really bad to say that I generally don't read books. I probably haven't read one in about 4 years! I've just never been a bookworm and if I'm honest yet again, I'd say that reading makes me sleepy. Honest.to.god! Weird, I know.

3: What’s your biggest obsession of the moment?
Skincare and skincare products (and chasing rainbows...always the rainbows!). Skincare products have always been a mini obsession of mine, but more so in the last few years. I was taught the art of cleanse, tone and moisturize at 14 and I continued ever since. However, in the last two years I've really begun to notice the aging process starting to kick in. I'm 31, so it was bound to start sooner or later, but I am lucky in that people generally tend to think I'm 5 - 7 years younger than I am. I like to look after my skin (alot!) and am always on the hunt for a new lotion or potion to try!

4: Favourite season?
Autumn for the colours and the simple joy of kicking crunchy leaves around. Winter soon follows though and with that I tend to feel a little more cloudy. Seasonal affective disorder definitely affects me and my mood. Even today I was feeling blue.
5: Heels or flats?
On a night on the town, which as I get older are becoming less of an occurrence  I'll wear skyscrapers. Never underestimate the confidence a pair of heels can give you, but in recent years I've taken to wearing flats every day. I've lost count of the amount of pairs I've bought.

6: Cosy night in or mad night out?
I'm more of a cosy night in girl. As someone who has held busy full time jobs over the years, I really appreciate my time off and with that, my relaxation time too. Today the rain fell hard and the thunder rang loud around Manchester, and I was happy, chilled and cosy with a blanket as I read blog posts and listened to mother nature. It was bliss.

7: Your one helpful tip to give a fellow bloggers?
Ohhhh, I've been blogging on and off for about 3 - 4 years now and I certainly don't think I own any pearls of wisdom. Alot of people put themselves under heaps of unnecessary pressure to post every single day and create as much content as possible for their readers. Personally, I try to post interesting content rather than post for posts sake. I will say, enjoy the process of blogging, it shouldn't be hard work or feel like a chore and if you need to take a break for a while, then take a break. When you get back to it, you'll see that things were just as you left them.
8: To date, favourite moment of your life?
The first one brings me back to the age of 14. I was selected as 'Best Junior Certificate Art Student' and it made me happy for one main reason. I watched a student win it the year before and  said to myself 'Next year, I'm winning that' and so I worked hard and made sure I did. I still have that trophy....somewhere!

Secondly,  getting my degree and masters results. I got a 1:1 in both and the anticipation of waiting for those results nearly killed me as did all the work I put in to getting those firsts. I always get a little proud when I see those results on my CV.

9: What piece of advice would you give your teenage self if you could?
"Those that mind, don't matter and those that matter, don't mind" -  I was under confident as a teenager. I believed the popular girls and wanted to be them. I thought they were the bees knees and what they said ruled the day. I wish I didn't spend so much time wanting to be them and more time, being more of myself!

10: What in your mind is the best purchase you have ever made?
This is a toughie, as I'm not really sure. I've never made a really big purchase like a house or a car, so I'd probably say a number of holidays because of all the lovely memories I have and of course all that cleanser, toner and moisturizer I've been buying since I was 14!

And so, with that, I tag;

- Lola Dee
- A Thrifty Mrs
- Luv4Fashion
- Lets Talk Beauty
- Ella Masters
- Manchester Foodies
- Zie Darling

Any my questions..

If you could be any colour, what would you be and why?
Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years time (career, location, other?)
Why do you blog?
What's your biggest fear?
How would you describe your personal style?
Favourite food and drink
Tell me about the great loves of your life
Dream holiday, do you have one?
What irritates you, gets your goat or makes you angry?
Best piece of advice you ever received?

Thanks Claire for tagging me!

16 October, 2013

Manchester lately

A few snippets....a photographic diary of my wanderings around my new city.

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