Saturday, November 30, 2013

Christmas Tree Brownies ♥

I have begun experimenting with my Christmas baking, with one of the perks of the festive season being able to gorge on heavenly and high calorie treats and not give a damn of course! These are my chocolate fudge and white chocolate chunk Christmas tree brownies, decorated with red and green tinsel, ornate with silver baubles and red lights all topped with a yellow little star and my God are they delicious! Seriously, someone needs to take these away for me before I eat them all. I made them small and thinner than a normal brownie so that they wouldn't be too filling, these would be perfect little canape desserts at a Christmas party. More festive baking to come in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day and yes that is a snowman plate the brownies are on top of!


Stay pretty people!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Artdeco Perfect Color Lipstick - 42 'Desired Rose' ♥

If you are a regular reader of my blog then you will know that I can't resist a good lipstick and when I do come across one I love I like to share it with all of you. I think I've almost reviewed every lipstick in my collection on the blog, the perfect excuse to buy some new ones I'm sure. While organising my makeup drawer I came across a lipstick still in it's box, Artdeco Perfect Color Lipstick in 42 'Desired Rose'. I had never actually used this lipstick, such a shame as when I saw the colour it reminded me of MAC's 'Twig' a shade which I wear quite often having begun to explore different shades out of the pink spectrum which I oh so love. I'm so glad I've rediscovered this lipstick as the shade is perfect for the winter season and the shade is quite dark when applied to the lips perfect as I was looking for a deeper hued lipstick. 

The packaging of this lipstick is quite nifty, the case is metal which is ideal for protecting the stick in hot temperatures - something not needed for me in cold Ireland but perfect for my readers from the hotter peripheries of the globe. The shade is a stunning deep rose colour with tones of red and brown. This lipstick is so nourishing, it has a creamy texture and a high shine finish which looks really stunning. The pigmentation of this lipstick is fantastic and it has such a great wear time, very durable between applications. This lipstick is infused with Vitamin E, ideal for moisturising the lips and keeping them in tip top condition. I've found this lipstick available to buy with free delivery on Beauty Bay for just €10.30 so make sure you get it while it's hot on offer!

 Stay pretty people!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Children's Play Zones - For Or Against? ♥


Image sourced from Google images.
Today my fiance and I brought our baby boy to a play zone, bringing his visits to these types of places to the ripe ole number of two. He is now becoming more mobile and is leaving the shuffling behind, instead favouring pulling himself up onto his feet and walking when someone holds his hands, therefore, we wanted him to have a bit of fun crawling about on things in soft and safe environment, something which our home is not, damn those wooden floors and glass tables! I had no previous aversions to children's play zones, I thought they would be a great play to take my son to crawl about to his hearts content and socialise with other small children, however, my idealistic thoughts about these types of places were to be swiftly shattered. There are a couple of things which I witnessed and noticed which have put me off children's play zones, possibly for good.

1. The ways of other children. I understand that children are children and that some may behave in a way that I don't approve of but really I can't be arsed putting up with the territorial actions, shouting, pushing and general nastiness of other children when I am trying to play with my son. Today we put our son on a slide for the first time, a moment which should have been quite special with it being a milestone and everything, perhaps I'm too sentimental but anyway, it was ruined by some little brat who thought she owned the slide, following my fiance up the soft ramp declaring to him that "This is my slide, get off". We both proceeded to ignore said brat, as did her mother who was in earshot but decided to let her little dictator claim her reign of the toddler play area. We then decided we had enough of the slide and being annoyed and proceeded to make our way to the rocking horses, only to be followed by the same girl who almost knocked our son of his rocking horse while staking her claim on the other ones. I just can't be bothered putting up with this, I'd rather not battle with a child to be able to put my son on some play equipment, it's just not worth it!

2. Other mothers. You know the kind who have nothing better to do all day then sit around in groups and gossip and then look down their nose at you, well this place was full of them, in fact, most of these mothers were too busy having a chat to supervise their little darlings. I can't stand parents who don't bother to supervise their children, especially when there were babies crawling around almost being stepped on and hit into. In my opinion it's just rude, this area is simply not for them and their children, it's communal and a thought should be given to the needs of others.

3. Cleanliness. In the two play zones that I have taken my son to cleanliness is something to be desired. We visited both play zones at ten in the morning and both places were filthy. I understand that it must be quite difficult to clean the equipment but the surrounding carpets were filthy, covered in crumbs and general dirt, surely this all couldn't have been caused in an hour? I saw cobwebs in between the soft play squares, cobwebs! I dread to think what's lurking underneath them, the thought actually gives me chills, do I really want my baby crawling around on something so filthy? The answer is a very stern no. I must point out that I'm not stating that all play zones are like this but the ones I have encountered most certainly are.

4. Germs. This one is much like the cleanliness issue. With so many children and babies using such a small space there is bound to be some transfer of germs from saliva, sneezing, touching and dirty shoes, disgusting isn't it? The thought of it actually makes my skin crawl. I know children need to be around these things to build up immunity but if I wouldn't like to crawl around in other people's germs why should I expect my baby to?

There you have it, my reasons for being turned against using children's play zones. I know on the plus side they are a fantastic indoor place for mother and baby groups to meet, play and chat but I think the cons outweigh the pros for me. I think I'll favour having meet ups in my own home, gymboree groups, going on walks and talking my son to the swings. Of course I have nothing against parents who choose to take their children to places like this, they are simply not for me, at least not now while my son is so young. Perhaps when he is older and able to go into the bigger children's area these things won't be too much of a bother for me or him but for now no, just no.

Are you for or against children's play zones?



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

MAC - 'Sunny Seoul' ♥

It's very rarely that I become infatuated with a beauty product but when I do I absolutely need to have it. I was recently browsing through the MAC section of the Brown Thomas website, I know, I know, why would I do this to myself but I wanted to look at some different shades of lipstick as Christmas is coming up and I simply wanted a new shade to show off. I was immediately drawn to 'Sunny Seoul', a shade which was part of the Cremesheen + Pearl Collection. It was the second last shade I looked at and I fell in love with the peachy tones of it thinking it would be a great shade for daytime wear. I even went so far as to search for reviews on the shade and only found one which made me think that this wasn't a very well known shade, something I have come across on various other shades of MAC lipstick I have reviewed in the past. Now I will say that this lipstick when applied is not true to the shade on the stick. The stick is peach, almost coral toned but when applied this lipstick has a pink, almost berry like appearance. I was so disappointed by this as usually MAC is bang on with being true to the stick shade and yes this is a lovely colour but not the one I anticipated. It's my own fault really, I didn't get the chance to swatch it as the MAC store in my city didn't have a tester available, (a common problem I may add!) the girl just simply showed me the stick and I said I'd take it - rookie mistake for sure! What I do like about this lipstick is that it's a cremesheen and the shimmer in it really does look lovely on the lips. This lipstick boasts that deliciously smelling vanilla scent, a signature to MAC lipsticks that really does smell divine. I have been wearing this shade for daytime so it has fit it's purpose. It suits all different kinds of makeup looks so it is quite versatile. Now I'm on the hunt for a true peachy coral toned lipstick, I will find one!

Stay pretty people!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Bucket List 2014 ♥


For years I've wanted to do a Bucket List and for 2014 I decided to compile a list of fifty things which I want to achieve before January 1st 2015. These are also things which I've wanted to achieve for awhile and I'm determined to make 2014 the year to get these things done. If I achieve something I shall cross it off my list and see how well I've done with completing my list on New Yeas Eve 2014. I've decided to make a Bucket List every year as I think it'll be quite motivating when I do eventually get to cross things off. Wish me luck with this one for the coming year!

1 .Holiday outside of Europe.
2. Take my son to swimming lessons.
3. Visit the Cliffs of Moher.
4. Lose weight. (Done May 2014)
5. Have date night with my fiance once a month.
6. Make progress with my son's scrapbook. (Done 01/01/14)
7. Learn to sew.
8. Bake a cake or dessert at least once every two weeks.
9. Visit Dublin.
10. Write more letters.
11. Have dinner out more.
12. Be more creative with my cooking.
13. Take a picture of my son everyday for a year.
14. Get a new laptop. (Done June 2014)
15. Have more nights out with the girls.
16. Take my son to the beach. (Done 25/02/14)
17. Visit the Channel Islands again. (Done June 2014)
18. Find a signature parfum.
19. Die my hair blue. (Done 14/01/14)
20. Have a spa day.
21.Get a new lipstick with Back To MAC.
22. Get a fringe and like it. (Done 15/02/14)
23. Watch the sun setting on a beach.
24. Have a picnic. (Done June 2014)
25. Make something for my home. (Done October 2014)
26. Move house.
27. Visit Spike Island.
28. Learn more Irish and Polish.
29. Read at least 15 books in full. (Done October 2014)
30. Get HD brows again.
31. Print out all my sons baby pictures.
32. Buy a Yankee candle.(Done 21/01/14)
33. Give up chocolate for Lent.
34. Swim in the sea. (Done June 2014)
35. Go to a Yoga class.
36. Have a bath in candle light. (Done 04/01/14)
37. Surprise my fiance.
38. Improve my blog.
39. Keep a dream diary.
40. Take my son to Fota Wildlife Park. (Done 02/03/14)
41. Enjoy my birthday. (Done 09/03/14)
42. Organise a blogger meet up. (Done 12/07/14)
43. Make a new friend. (Done 18/01/14)
44. Have a takeaway night.(Done 18/01/14)
45. Take my son to the playground every week.
46. See fireworks.
47. Take my son to feed the ducks. (Done May 2014)
48. Drink champagne. (Done 01/01/14)
49. Do something nice for Valentine's Day(Done 14/02/14)
50. Buy new soft furnishings for my home. (Done 15/02/14)

Do you have a bucket list? Is there something you really want to achieve in 2014?


Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas Books For Babies & Children ♥

For me, reading to my baby son is such an important thing. As a child I loved books, I used to go to the library ever Saturday and read two books a week, I had so many books and they were all so important to me, they fuelled my imagination, improved my grammar, spelling and knowledge of words and reading was such an enjoyable pastime for me, I want my son to have the same fond relationship with literature. My fiance and I went into Waterstones last weekend with the intention of 'having a look' at the baby books, of course, a look is never enough for me when it comes to baby items, if I see something I like and think my son will love I just need to have it - crazy but true! I was so impressed with the selection of Christmas books in the baby and children section that I really could have snapped them all up if I had an unlimited amount of money! I was also delighted to see cuddly toy characters to go with the books for reading time, however, my purse was not, I must admit they were surprisingly quite expensive but hey, it's Christmas - my excuse for everything these days it seems! I have every intention in making these books part of our Christmas tradition with our baby boy. I want to read him these books every Christmas and see the amazement, wonder and joy in his eyes surrounding their stories and the whole festive season.I really do think the gift of a book is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give a child.

The first book I'm recommending and the only one I initially went to buy was 'The Snowman and The Snowdog' based on the characters of Raymond Briggs , an absolute all-time classic and one to warm the hearts of not only the babies and children in your house but also the adults for many Christmases to come. If you didn't know this is the heart-warming story of a boy named Billy's snowman and snowdog coming to life and taking him on a magical adventure which he, and you are sure to never forget. This book also boasts an audio CD read by Benedict Cumberbatch so it really is a great buy. To go with this book were two cuddly versions of the Snowman and Snowdog and also a puppet of the Snowman. I became besotted with the cuddly Snowman as he has a star attached to his hand which, when pulled, plays the tune of 'Walking in the Air' in that music box sound that I love. I just couldn't leave him behind, I can just envision my son and I cuddled up on Christmas Eve night reading 'The Snowman and the Snowdog' and listening to this sweet little tune while my baby boy cuddles the Snowman - very idealistic I know but wouldn't it be lovely?! I may just have to pick up the Snowdog also but we'll see...

Secondly is 'The Night Before Christmas' by Clement C. Moore and Angela Barrett. Being a fan of poetry I have always loved this story and can recite most of the story off by heart. This is the ultimate Christmas Eve read and will be sure to get your little ones excited and anticipating the arrival of the jolly Mr. Claus. There is so much magic and merriment to this story that it is one for all to enjoy every Christmas time.

Thirdly is 'The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit' by Emma Thomspon, inspired on the original tales of Beatrix Potter. We picked up the hardback version of this book and it really is such a beautiful thing and wonderfully illustrated. The story centres around Peter Rabbit and his cousin Benjamin Bunny who try to save their feathered friend the turkey from an unsavoury end, quite a cheery subject matter as you can see! I really love the tales of Beatrix Potter and with my son already having twelve of her tales I thought this would be a lovely addition to his collection.

 Fourthly is 'The Nativity' by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells. Was is more perfect for a child at Christmas time than a book about the event of why Christmas actually exists? Now I have had heard from a lot of mothers how hard it has been for them to find a children's book on the nativity, I found this one very easily in Waterstones so I would urge parents to check in there if they are searching for a book about this. This is also a hardback book with touchy-feely cut outs on the pages for babies and children to explore while they are being read to or reading the book. This really is such a lovely book and I'm delighted to have it for my baby boy. 

The fifth book on my list is not strictly a Christmas book but I love the story so much that I had to include it and get it for my baby, 'Guess How Much I Love You in the Winter' by Sam McBratney. This is another hardback book with a gorgeous cover adorned with silver glittered snow. If you don't know 'Guess How Much I Love You' is the adorable story of Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare who measure how much they love each other. In this particular book they play a sweet game of eye-spy in the snowy winter landscape. This book is such a lovely one to read with your little ones and show them just how you love them like Big Nutbrown loves Little Nutbrown.

Finally is a book which we just couldn't leave behind, 'Santa Is Coming To Cork' by Steve Smallman. My fiance and I were particularly intrigued by this book as we had never seen a Christmas book about a particular place before, let alone the county that we're from! This is quite a modern tale where Santa, guided by his trusty reindeer and Santa-nav finds his way, rather awkwardly I must add, around Cork county delivering presents to the good boys and girls. This is definitely a special book for us for Christmas time and is one we just had to have, not only to read to the baby but also one to read ourselves and show to our relatives. We really didn't know such a book existed until we saw it!

The Snowman and the Snowdog - 9.99 (Buy one get one half price) 
Musical Snowman Cuddly Toy - 18.99
The Night Before Christmas - 8.99 (Buy one get one half price)
The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit - 16.50
The Nativity - 12.50
Guess How Much I Love You in the Winter - 8.99
Santa Is Coming To Cork - 5.99

What is your favourite Christmas book from your childhood? Have you bought any books for your children for Christmas?





Naturalmente - Yogurt & Millet Conditioner ♥

I'm very particular with my hair and the products I use on it. My hair needs a lot of conditioning as I bleach it and use heat on it quite a lot, therefore, I seem to run out of conditioner in no time at all. I do love to try out different hair products but it's usually a hit and miss experience as some products, even if they have a high price tag, do nothing at all for my hair and can make it unmanageable. I recently came across a conditioner which seemed to work fabulously for my hair, Naturalmente's Yogurt and Millet Conditioner, a conditioner formulated to give hair a deep cleanse. Naturalmente is an all-natural Italian brand and I was really intrigued by the ingredients which make up this conditioner, essential oils of eucalyptus, mint, lemon and jJojoba combined with the protein of yogurt and millet  and was excited to see what benefits it would have for my hair. I must firstly point out that I was using a very small bottle of this conditioner, just 50ml and only had enough to use on my hair twice so these thoughts of mine about the product are really just a first impression. The smell of this conditioner is amazing, it smells like a dessert, one which I can't quite put my finger on but it really does smell delicious. The product itself has a coppery brown colour and massages into the hair really well as it has a thickness to it. I left the product on my hair for five minutes before rinsing and afterwards my hair was so easy to comb through, I was amazed as I usually have to dowse my hair with detangling spray before I can get my comb to the ends of my hair. When dry my hair was super shiny and in great conditioner, I even got compliments on how shiny my hair was and was asked multiple times what shampoo and conditioner I was using so to me this really was proof on how well this product benefitted my hair. I really love the ethos of Naturalmente, their products are truly natural, made from petrochemical-free and plant-based formulations, even the packaging is 100% biodegradable, I love the eco-consciousness of the brand and best of all no nasty chemicals being used on my hair. The only downside I can find to this conditioner is that the product size is too small to get any substantial use out of, however there is a 250ml available which would probably be a better option for people like me who need to use a lot of conditioner on their hair.

 You can buy Naturalmente's Yogurt and Millet Conditioner from Gentle Bodycare for 2.50 for 50mls and 9.00 for 250mls. 

Stay pretty people!

 


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cotton Candy Hair ♥

Well I did it. After years of wanting to dye my hair pink I finally bit the bullet and actually did it.On a recent trip to Boots in Cork City I became infatuated with Bleach London's range of hair colours and was lusting after the 'Rose' colour, I decided that I definitely needed to try it, having only ever had blonde and a very brief encounter with brown hair throughout my life I decided I needed a change and what better shade to go than pink, after all pink is my favourite colour, along with grey but I'll save the grey until I'm old and naturally grey! I used the Bleach London Bleach to lighten my hair and remove the dark roots. This Bleach lightens your hair up to seven times lighter than your natural shade and it definitely removed my roots but I think I could have done with a second bottle, I didn't realise I had so much hair! After thirty-five minutes I washed the bleach out and towel dried my hair, then I applied the Rose hair colour and left it on my fifteen minutes before washing out. Once again I could have done with a second bottle of this, but hey, I know for next time. I love the colour I achieved, a gorgeous light cotton candy pink, not too in your face but quirky nonetheless, I love it. The next colour I'm going to try in the range is Blullini, a stunning blue shade which I'm also dying to try - no pun intended there! I've had people say I look like a fairy in the past so I definitely think they'll see a fairy now, it's so fab, I'm only sad I didn't dye my hair a crazy colour sooner!

What do you think of the pink look?

Stay pretty people!


Friday, November 22, 2013

Pretty Post #19 ♥

I haven't featured 'Pretty Post' on my blog for awhile, due to unforeseen drama my snail mailing mojo was quashed and I didn't write any letters for such a long time. I thought that my passion for my once favourite hobby would never come back but having cleared out my pals list, gotten rid of the bad eggs and focusing on the wonderful, true pals that I am fortunate enough to have in my life my joy for writing increases by the week. During the week I wrote five letters, I am slowly catching up on the pile of letters that accumulated in my absense from writing. I began sending out my Christmas cards during the week also, I want to make sure all my pals have a card from me before Christmas and as the post begins to get cuckoo bananas at this time of year it's best to get everything sent out early. I received two lovely pieces of post this week, bar things for the blog, from two wonderful ladies in the US. One of my dearest pals Ella sent my boys and I a fabulous Christmas package with little Batman pyjamas and a zombie hoodie for Tyler Lee, biscuits and chocolates for us all to enjoy, jelly beans for Jacek and makeup and socks for me, this girl is always sending me socks and good thing as my socks seem to be disappearing in the wash! Isn't she so thoughtful? What an absolute doll!

The second piece of post I received was my second letter and my first Christmas card of the season from a lovely lady named Lisa. Isn't her writing just beautiful? Such a work of art and I thought that my writing was gorgeous, hers is much more stunning than mine! Lisa also used the US Christmas stamp and it was great to see, I love all the Christmas stamps that different country release this time of year. Now I must get to replying to these great pals of mine!
Are you a fan of snail mail? Do you write letters?


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Co-Sleeping - My Thoughts ♥

Recently the question was asked in my pregnancy group - what does everyone think about the concept of co-sleeping? Although I do not co-sleep with my son I must say I am not against it at all, in fact I think it must be such a wonderful thing for both a parent and child to experience. My son has only fallen asleep in my bed with me once, that's once in over five months and I must admit that I'm quite sad at this fact. It seems he is too independent and will actually not settle anywhere now apart from his own cot, he's so set in his ways! He slept in a Moses basket in my room until he was six weeks old, he didn't seem to take to it though, he was disturbed by the rocking motion every time he moved therefore, I took the decision to move him into his cot in his own room at six weeks. This was so hard for me, I felt a sort of separation anxiety even though he was literally six steps away from my bed, I was just so sad that my room was not big enough to accommodate his cot but you know what, since that fateful night he has slept twelve hours a night, no waking up. That next morning I actually woke up from a lovely refreshing sleep and thought "my baby!", I ran to his cot to see him sound asleep and I then knew that he loved his own space and was much more comfortable in his big, roomy cot than being squashed in the tiny Moses basket. 

I have tried the co-sleeping thing, especially during the day when I am dying for a nap and I get into bed with the hope that my son will be comforted by being close to me, feel my warmth and realise how tired I am and drift off to sleep due to all my contagious yawning - not a hope. I have had one successful co-sleep with my baby and I loved it, even though I didn't get much sleep as I was worrying about moving and waking him up but I was fortunate to get a picture of this moment. I must say that I'm quite jealous of parents who are able to co-sleep with their child, I think it's a lovely bond to have and there is nothing more personal and close than sharing a bed with someone, even better if it is your child. My baby and I recently went on our first little holiday together and we shared a room, it was so wonderful for me, I somehow think he enjoyed it too. I worry about him so much when he goes to sleep, I always fear that he won't wake up, I'm such a nervous wreck when it comes to his bedtime, hence why I was so keen to try co-sleeping but he's not having any of it. When we shared the room on our little holiday it was so comforting to me as I could hear him breathing, his little sighs, him tossing and turning, it was truly lovely, parents who are able to successfully co-sleep with their child are so lucky to hear these comforting sounds of their child as they sleep and dream. 

This morning I tried once again, I think this may be the last time, to try and coerce my son into settling in my arms and co-sleeping with me. He lay there holding my hand as I stroked his hair and it was such a magical moment, I wished I could have this every nap time and night, I also thought I had finally got him to sleep and moved to turn but no, he was just resting his eyes and let out a little cry when I moved away, I held his hand once again and he was fine for about ten minutes until he starting crying, he was tired and longing for his cot. I reluctantly gave up with my co-sleeping efforts and took him to his cot, five minutes later he was sleeping like an angel, proving to me once again that co-sleeping is not for us. I really am in awe of parents who are able to co-sleep with their child, I see it as another bonding season and think the closeness must be amazing, I really wish I had this with my baby but it's not meant to be. I must admit that I miss the days when he was smaller and would fall asleep on my chest, there's no chance of that now, I miss that bonding time and feeling of being so close to him so perhaps my wanting to co-sleep is purely selfishness on my part, me not wanting to let go of my tiny baby. I think when I have my next child I will try co-sleeping with them and see how we get on but maybe they'll be just as set in their ways as my baby boy is. 

To sum it up I am completely supportive of parents who choose to co-sleep, I think it's a wonderful thing and to have this attachment between you and your child is an amazing thing to have. Do you co-sleep with your child? Are you for or against this concept?


Maybelline Color Tattoo Metal - 'Gold Rush' ♥

My darling friend Ella was kind enough to send my boys and I a Christmas page all the way from the USA and you can imagine my delight when I spotted this little beauty inside, Maybelline's Colour Tattoo Metal in 'Gold Rush'. Now I can't say that I had ever worn gold coloured eye shadow before apart from a sample of  Sugarpill's gold shade so this was a real treat for me to get and with it being autumn and the festive season coming up I think this is the perfect eye colour for this time of year. The texture of this is gel like making it not that easy to apply with a brush so using your fingers is better with this one. To me this looks like gold foil when applied to the eyelids and it really does create such a stunning eye look. 'Gold Rush' has quite a frosty appearance and has little glittery bits in the formula making it a stunning shade for the upcoming party season. The colour is quite vibrant and very striking, this isn't a shade which I would dare to wear during the daytime, this is definitely one to save for nights out. 

The wear on this is great, I'm surprised as I thought that the creamy texture would lead to it rubbing off but no, six hours after applying this it's still going strong, I'm impressed! I think the quality of this eye shadow is great, the pigmentation is fantastic and the shimmery to it really does make it quite unique and striking on the eye. It's one of those 'showstopper' shades which is bound to get you noticed. I'm so thankful to Ella for sending me this and adding to my ever growing makeup collection, she is such a doll! I haven't been able to find this product on any Irish sites but in the states it's selling for $6.99 which I think is a fantastic price for such a gorgeous eye shadow. I'm now curious to try out some more shades in the Colour Tattoo range, I'm intrigued by the shade 'Pomegranate Punk'.
Are you a fan of Maybelline's Color Tattoo's? Do you like the all gold look?

Stay pretty people!


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