Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Finding The Gold At The End Of The Rainbow ♥

Yesterday I found out that this little blog of mine is a finalist for Best Photography Blog in this years Blog Awards Ireland and I can't even tell you how shocked, delighted and overwhelmed I was by this. I am by no means a professional when it comes to photography but I have a passion for snapping pictures, capturing the beauty of the world around me and capturing moments of peoples lives on camera to be treasured forever. I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who voted for me and to the people who judged my blog and my photography skills and deemed them good enough to be worthy of a finalist place, you have no idea how happy you've made me.

I am in the process of moving all the content from my other blog Fawns and Fables back to here. I just don't have the time to run two blogs and to be honest, it's lovely having everything in one place here, especially as I can show Tyler Lee all his memories and pictures on here one day, so expect lots of photography posts in the coming weeks. If I'm honest, I'm quite enjoying reminiscing over these photographs and our precious memories together.

Today I am sharing one of my favourite shoots of the past summer, the day when we went in search of a field of gold, and we didn't find just one, but two gorgeous golden fields of beautiful blooms. I was just itching to get out with my camera and capture the sea of yellow, having spotted the fields from my parents kitchen window, before the farmers spray it and it turns to black - quite less appealing to a photographers eye I'm sure you'll agree! I really love the pictures I captured of my son, his rainbow t-shirt really was perfect for finding the gold at the end of the rainbow - never say we don't dress accordingly for our adventures!

In the second field there were splashes of purple dotted amongst the yellow and it really was beautiful to see, along with the sunlight, it gave me the perfect sense of summer and now all I long for is the warmth of the summer sun. However, in the second field we were startled by two shots that sounded like gunshots, I thought they may have been a crow banger but they were so loud and in such quick succession too - perhaps the farmer wasn't pleased with our admiration of his stunning fields of gold? Sorry Mr. Farmer, we really didn't mean any harm!

Nevertheless, it was such a lovely little adventure and the perfect way to begin our Irish summer.

Now we can say we finally found the gold at the end of the rainbow, the most precious gold for me, of course, being those beautiful curls on my little loves head.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Feeling Stuck... But Also Postive Changes ♥

These past few weeks have been hard for me, not only have I been feeling very unwell but I've also lost my mojo for blogging. Now don't get me wrong, I haven't lost my passion for blogging at all, writing and photography are two things which I enjoy immensely in life, but at the moment I just feel stuck, stuck in this rut of not knowing where to begin with writing a post or having no inspiration to pick up my camera. It's been so frustrating for me as I have some things which I really want to review and share with you all and I've also been wanting to get out and capture the essence of autumn on camera... but instead I'm just stuck, I just don't have the energy at the moment.

Perhaps I burnt myself out with my desire to reach one million page views. I worked so hard to reach that huge milestone and I sometimes think that was the cause of my feeling like this. I was so caught up with reaching a daily stat goal, getting my posts promoted and was spending so much time on the internet that I feel like I missed out on 'real life'.

There have been some amazing blessings to becoming stuck with this little blog of mine, the most important and special being that my son and I are as close as ever. He no longer witnesses his mother staring at a screen for hours on end and I think he's rewarding me by inundating me with cuddles, kisses and falling asleep on my lap on more than one occasion. I've also been able to enjoy other pastimes in my life instead of feeling like I have to sit and work on the blog all day. I've almost finished another Lorna Byrne book 'Stairways to Heaven', one I had begun and neglected because I was working so hard to reach one million page views... I've made the time to chill out, enjoy a bath and just switch off from social media - the latter is probably the most important thing I could have done for myself.

I now find myself having no desire to turn on the laptop, I can go days at a time without wanting to turn it on and to be honest, feeling this way is so refreshing, I no longer feel like a slave to the internet. In fact, if I'm completely honest social media makes me feel quite sad because it is, in reality, not a bit social at all. I've spent the last few years of my life focused on pastimes which centered on 'virtual people', people I had never met but who somehow had a huge influence on my life, well I'm happy to say that I no longer care about the opinions of people I've never met - unless I consider them a close friend of course, and believe me that's rare because I don't trust or make friends with people too easily.

Sometimes we need to become stuck to reflect a bit and realise that we're immersing ourselves too much in something, that we're neglecting things in our lives and that we need to make some positive changes. Becoming stuck with this little blog of mine has really been a blessing in disguise and it has made me reevaluate what I want to do with this blog.

The mind really does work in mysterious ways, don't you agree?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Snippets Of My Life Via Instagram ♥

My new favourite candle // Heaven on Earth // Sleeping Beauty // Yummy healthy snacks // Glitter fairy // Christmas on the beach // Feeling ill // Perfect coloured roses // New makeup

It's been quite awhile since I had a little Instagram update on here. It's still my favourite app ever but I find that I no longer use it as much as I once did, I guess I just feel uninspired to snap away on my phone or camera at the moment... I still love seeing all the beautiful pictures people share though.

My new favourite candle is the Lavender Yankee Candle* which now sits beside my bed. I light it during the day for a couple of hours and at night before I go to bed and the scent of calming, relaxing lavender just fills up the whole upstairs of my house. The scent is sleep inducing, just what I need for sweet dreams... Heaven on Earth, one of my favourite places in the whole, wide world - St. Ouens Beach, Jersey, Channel Islands. That beach seriously doesn't look like it's only and hour and a half away from Ireland on the plane. I could spend my life there and never get bored of the view, look at the beautiful, fluffy white sand, paradise. My baby boy and I are extremely close these days, we sleep in the same room now and he even falls asleep upon me when we're watching television. I love cuddling up to him, he's such an affectionate little thing. Mine and Tyler Lee's new favourite healthy snacks are the complete and utter yumminess that are Kelkin's Oaty Bakes*, the raspberry kind being my favourite. These are so delicious and I pack some in Tyler Lee's lunch box for pre-school. I sometimes have a pack myself for breakfast, they have all the bite of a biscuit without the unhealthy sugar. The lovely people at Kelkin even sent us an old-fashioned bottle of milk in our hamper, I love it! I used a heart shaped massage bar from Lush, I can't for the life of me remember the name of it, and when I got out of the bath I was covered from head to toe in glitter. Some people joked that I was a glitter fairy and I think it could be true judging by the pic above! When we were in Jersey at the end of August we came across a little corner shop which had a load of Christmas stock, we couldn't believe it! So for the laugh we bought a selection box and a chocolate Santa to enjoy during our BBQ on the sunny beach - can't beat Christmas on the beach! I've been feeling quite ill lately but on the day I finally was able to put on some makeup I just had to take a selfie, a rather moody looking one at that! I love the new 'moon' filter on Instagram, made me look okay to the world at least! I picked up these gorgeous purple coloured roses when shopping in Aldi two weeks ago and I thought they were some of the prettiest roses I had ever seen, such a perfect colour. Jacek and I celebrated our four year anniversary yesterday and the lamb that he is bought me the Urban Decay Naked Smoky palette, how lovely is he? I love all the shades, they're so wearable. I'm a lucky lady.

These are just some snippets from my life lately, moments which I don't normally share on the blog but moments which you can have a look-see at on @fiandtylerlee 

Ordinary Moments In Extraordinary Surroundings... ♥

My son and I have so many ordinary moments together, made extraordinary by the surroundings we find ourselves in. In all honesty, our days are quite uneventful, but I try to spend as much time with him outside as I possibly can but sometimes the Irish weather just isn't agreeable to our plans. Tuesdays are our special days together, to get out of the house and just spend time together.

I feel as if I've been neglecting my blog lately, I just haven't felt inspired to pick up the camera and snap away - I see photography as an art form and artists aren't always inspired are they? I don't want to write posts here just for the sake of it, I want to keep it lovely and inspiring. I have missed taking pictures though and I really want to get out and about again, but I've been so ill and just haven't felt up to it, I just feel so stuck.

I'm sharing this old post today, to try and get inspired again. Tyler Lee and I had so much fun together during the summer and found ourselves in so many places. On this particular day we went to the green by the playground we used to frequent weekly. I saw so much beauty there, from the green grass dotted with wildflowers, the burst of yellow from buttercups, the moss and purple flowers growing on the stone wall, it was lovely. We then moved onto my favourite part of our island, the meadow where I took so many pictures of my son last summer, some of my favourite pictures I have ever captured of him.

The meadow wasn't blooming as much as it was last year, there are also cows inhabiting it now, but we made do, sitting in the grass where I captured some sweet pictures of Tyler Lee, he even had a taste of a buttercup - he was not impressed by the taste! I love that field, it's so peaceful and beautiful and if I could sit there all day I would.

Everywhere we go we're surrounded by beauty, whether it be wild flowers, beautiful trees, sparkling water or lush green fields, I see the beauty in everything and love to share them all with my little adventurer.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Four Years ♥

Today myself and Jacek celebrate our four year anniversary. Four years. For me that's such a long time and this is officially my longest relationship ever. I love this man, not only is he my partner but he's also my best friend and I know that's so cliche to say but it really is true. Some days he's my only source of adult company and I think it's amazing that we still make each other laugh as much as we did when we were just friends and work colleagues.

This day also marks the anniversary of the day we first met - simply a coincidence and not something we planned by the way. We first met when I began a new job and Jacek was there. He was a totally different person then, quite uptight, was rather rude to me I must say and immediately took a dislike to me when I asked him if he was Australian - he quickly informed me that I had "the wrong continent". Overtime though, we began to get to know each other more and more and quickly became friends. We had tons in common and got along really well, even though we were both with other people we secretly liked it other but never admitted it...

The day we admitted we liked each other was one of the happiest days of my life. I remember jumping around my room in happiness like a little girl hyper on fizzy drink and sugary sweets! Fast forward through some ups and downs, smiles and tears, we're now as strong as ever and are parents to a beautiful little boy.

Sometimes it hits me - "oh my God, he's Jack from work", Jack being what I used to know him as... but now he's most definitely my Jacek, the man I love and who I'm going to spend the rest of my life with. He's such an amazing man - hard-working, caring, thoughtful, loving. He takes care of me like no one else ever has and I swear I've hit the other half jackpot because he loves doing the cooking, cleaning, ironing, washing - he's a Godsend! He listens to me go on and on about blogging, makeup and other crap I know he really doesn't care about but he pretends to show a genuine interest anyway, I appreciate that pretense!

This guy came all the way to Ireland from South Africa and I always believe that we were destined to meet - that's the old romantic in me.

No doubt, lots more adventures are in store for him and I throughout the rest of our years together and I can't wait for all the memories we're going to make together from here and now.

Happy four years my love.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Carboot Sale Bargains | Makeup & Beauty ♥

I really do love a good carboot and two weeks ago I decided on a whim to go to the carboot sale in Carrigtwohill - which turned out to be huge! I actually thought there were too many stalls there to have a proper look - I had Tyler Lee in tow - so I just gave quick glance at each sellers table and knew what I was on the lookout for, makeup and beauty products! Now I really don't need anymore makeup or beauty products but I can never resist a bargain and a carboot was the perfect opportunity for picking up some good finds.

I've never tried any Illamasqua products before but I've read countless good reviews on the brand so I couldn't leave these behind. I picked up the Illamasqua Powder Blusher which is white in colour so it's perfect for highlighting the face. It had never even been used, although there was a chunk gone from the top corner so I think it may have been dropped but that didn't bother me. I also got the Illamasqua Liquid Metal Eye Colour in Electrum, which is a gorgeous gold shade which is really creamy and which actually reminds me of the Maybelline Colour Tattoos. I haven't used this yet but it's a lovely shade for autumn. The two of these were €6.

The lady who I bought the Illamasqua products from also gave me a free blush, the P.S. Love Blusher from Penneys which is a light peachy colour that's very natural looking and I've actually worn it everyday since she gave it to me.

I also got these three Soap & Glory products. I've been a Soap & Glory fan for years and when I saw these three products, all unused, I had to pick them up because I know I'll use them up. I got the Soap & Glory Heel Genius, which is actually amazing! I put this on my feet every second night and it makes them super soft. I also got the Soap & Glory Flake Away Scrub which I love and will use in the shower because I love scrubs. The last Soap & Glory product I picked up was the Soap & Glory Hair Supply which is a product I've never used before but hopefully it'll work wonders for my hair because it's in need of a little TLC. These were all €4.

I really love Urban Decay eye shadows so when I saw these two, both in a gorgeous blue shade with flecks of green and gold called Shattered I had to pick them both up. Neither of them had been used and they were only €3 each - a complete bargain considering they're like €19 from the Urban Decay counter. I've already worn the shade and it's really lovely.

Finally, my complete and utter bargain find of the day came from the very last stall I went to. I found these ten genuine MAC eye shadows for just €2.50 each! The lovely lady I bought them from even threw in a free one for me. She was selling a lot of makeup on the day and told me that her daughter was a makeup artist and was just clearing out her kit. Some of these shadows had never even been used and the rest only very lightly so I was really happy with these finds. I picked up the shades Pink Venus, Freshwater, Creme De Violet, Aquadisiac, Flashtrack, Hepcat, Moon's ReflectionBig T, Bitter and Melton Mauve - the latter three are the ones which hadn't even been swatched. I really can't believe that I picked up 10 genuine MAC eye shadows for just €20! They're usually around the €19 mark each so this was probably the best carboot sale bargain I've ever found.

Have you ever picked up some amazing makeup and/or beauty bargains at a carboot?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Costless DIY Armchair Upcycle | Pastel Inspired ♥

My love for upcycling has grown in leaps and bounds ever since my shabby chic chairs upcycle. I currently have some projects on the go and am really enjoying transforming something old, worn and not too aesthetically pleasing into something beautiful, stylish and injected with a new lease of life.

This armchair in particular was one of the ugliest pieces of furniture I have ever laid eyes on. It was so dark and dreary with its super dark wood and dark velour upholstery in a horrible old cottage design, it was the complete opposite of my style when it comes to furniture and I was keen to make it over and into something pretty. Whats more is that I was able to make this upcycle completely costless by using materials I already had around my home. Making something beautiful for free is always a great feeling, especially when you're delighted with the results, just like I am with my chair.

I choose to upcycle this armchair in a pastel theme as I wanted to include it as part of my Popsicle brief for for my Graham & Brown ambassador role, a role which I have since given up but I was thankful for the inspiration it brought me.

The paint I used was Disney's Cinderella's Perfect Pastel, paint I left over from another project and which actually turned out to be a lot lighter than I expected but still lovely nonetheless. I chose not to sand the chair before painting and just set to work straight away. This chair eventually had to have six coats to transform it from super dark to the very light colour you see above and whilst it was tedious (I chould have chosen to use a spray paint which would have been a lot quicker), I think the end result was totally worth it. When the last coat has been applied I was really happy with the colour, it's so pretty and combined with the stripy seat covers, it has a real beach hut vibe to it I think and that's a look I love.

I was going to buy fabric and have my Nan make some cushion covers for the armchair but it was all getting a bit expensive and extra work so I looked for another solution. I had a single duvet cover in the hot press which was doing nothing - we have no single beds in our house and it is such a pretty design that I felt it was a shame not to put it to use so I decided it would be perfect for the armchair. I simply popped the two chair cushions into the duvet, propped them up on the armchair as they should be and tucked in the sides and middle to make it look seamless and fitted - it was as simple as that! What's more is that you can actually sit on and make use of the chair and the duvet doesn't move or pull - I've put it to the test! What's even better is that if the duvet gets dirty you can simple take it off, wash it and put it back on quickly and easily again.

I then used a cushion I had for the Graham & Brown Popsicle brief to prop on the armchair, this is the Dream Cushion, just as a finishing touch but as someone who has a love of cushions and many of them in her bedroom, I could have used any of them to prop on the chair too.

I absolutely love the transformation of the armchair, the pastel theme is absolutely perfect for it and I love how the pink stripe on the duvet matches the pink of the paint perfectly. I was delighted to be able to complete this project with no cost at all. Everyone has old discarded pots of paint, duvets and cushions lying around their home or in the shed I'm sure, so why not put them to use and make something beautiful?

This chair is now in the cottage next to my parents house and it suits the cottage vibe very well I think. There is a rocking armchair to match this armchair and I shall be upcycling that sometime in the near future too, although I'm not too sure whether to do it the same as this or completely different, what do you think?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Bepanthen | The Perfect Skincare Brand For Your Baby ♥

During Tyler Lee's short lifetime I've used a plethora of skincare products on him, picking up a new product on each shopping trip we had in the hopes of finding something that would work for his nappy rashes - something which he seems to suffer with frequently and something to cure his dry skin. The poor boy inherited his father's sensitive skin and we have to be very careful about what we use on it. One brand which we always find ourselves coming back too and use on a daily basis with him is Bepanthen.

Tyler Lee is not yet potty trained so we are still using a protective ointment on his nappy area during each change, Bepanthen is our ointment of choice. There's a reason why tattoo artists tell you to use Bepanthen to help heal a new tattoo (and believe me it works!), the healing properties of Bepanthen are better than any other nappy ointment I have ever used on my son. Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment doesn't contain any fragrance, preservatives, colours or antiseptics, making it perfect to use on even the most sensitive of skin. The ointment forms a breathable, transparent layer protecting against irritation and rubbing, whilst the pro-vitamin B5 gently aids natural skin recovery.

To celebrate the launch of the newly re-designed Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment Packaging - it now has a flip top cap instead of a screw-off one and is more squeezable, meaning it can be used with just one hand, perfect for those with very wriggly little ones like myself - Bepanthen very kindly sent Tyler Lee a box of goodies to enjoy. I love receiving boxes of surprise goodies like this, especially when they're for my son because he enjoys digging into them so much and seeing everything which has been sent for him. Bepanthen sent him two of their newly re-designed Nappy Care Ointments, their Baby Moisturiser and Baby Sun Cream, two of their cuddly Bepathen friends and some super fun Munchkin bath toys. They all very kindly sent me a White Company candle (which smells amazing!) and a 'yummy mummy' tote bag. It's safe to say that we love everything we were sent and are so thankful to the lovely people at Bepanthen for our goodies!

As the summer was shockingly bad here in Ireland we sadly didn't get to use the Baby Sun Cream - we had no sun! But it's been put away and shall be used next summer to protect my boy's sensitive skin. It has SPF50+ so it's perfect for protecting babies and little ones from the harmful sun rays. I've used the Bepanthen Baby Moisturiser on Tyler Lee's skin ever since he was a baby and it's perfect for keeping his skin moisturised and soft. He is prone to getting dry patches on his arms and legs and the Baby Moisturiser really helps to clear them up quickly. I've also used this product on his face and as it's so gentle for baby's skin it didn't have any negative effects on his face, if anything it made it feel super soft!

I really can't recommend Bepanthen enough to those who are expecting or have a new baby in their life, or even those like myself who have a toddler who isn't yet potty trained. They really are such great skincare products and the fact that we've kept repurchasing them throughout the last two and a half years just goes to show just how much we love the brand and that it works well for Tyler Lee's skin.

Are you a fan of the Bepanthen range?

*We were very kindly sent a box of Bepanthen goodies for the purposes of this post, as always all thoughts and opinions are 100% our own*.

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