A/W Fashion Goals

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Following on from my A/W Beauty Goals on Wednesday, here are my autumn/winter fashion goals! The weather is finally starting to get a bit colder in Ireland, so I’m uber excited to wear lots of layers, scarves and boots!

1. Wear Heels Daily - Converse and flat Chelsea boots are my best friends all year round, and they have been for the past few years. I can’t count how many pairs of each I’ve gone through. This year I want to try and step outside my comfort zone and wear heeled boots. I’m just talking about a chunky heel here, not stilettos. Topshop have some really nice ones in at the minute, I might just have to pick up this pair.

2. Be A Skirt/Dress Kinda Person - The only time you’ll see me in a dress during the day is when I’m in work and wear one for my uniform. The rest of the time I’m in skinny jeans or my riding pants from American Apparel. I always see girls wearing cute dresses and skirts during the winter layered with tights and chunky knits, and I’m determined to make that me this year!

3. Wear Polo Necks - I’m absolutely in love with the polo neck/roll neck trend that’s going on at the minute. Word on the street is that Penneys have some really nice ones in at the minute, so I might just have to pop in and buy a black one (or two).

4. Wear Hats - The only time I’ll wear a hat in winter is if it’s below sub zero temperatures and if I don’t my ears will fall off. Beanies, fedoras, floppy hats – there are so many in the shops in the minute. I’d love to pull off the fedora hat during the day, but I’m not sure if it’ll suit me. I’m definitely going to give it a shot though!

5. Pull Off Knee High Boots - Flat, knee high boots are on my wish list this year. They look super cute paired with skinny jeans and a big, oversized knit and keep the cold out too. I’m also a fan of the thigh-high Pretty Lady style boots, but I’m not sure if I’ll get the wear out of them.

Let me know in the comments below what your A/W fashion goals are, I’d love to hear!

Autumn/Winter Beauty Goals

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Is it strange that I have beauty-related goals for every time of year? Just like I like to set myself goals at the start of a new term for things I want to achieve, I thought ‘why not set beauty goals?!’ I’m the kind of person that will buy way too many bright lipsticks on a 3for2 deal in Boots in spring but never actually get around to wearing them. So this autumn/winter I’ve decided to set a few light-hearted beauty goals for myself. That way I’ll get the wear out of the berry lipsticks I already have, plus I won’t feel so bad for buying more ;)

  1. Wear Berry Lipsticks Daily - Yup, I said daily. Coming from someone who has at least two nude lipsticks within a three-metre radius at all times, that’s a pretty big goal. I always admire people who can pull off gorgeous red and plum lipsticks during the day, so why can’t I? MAC Rebel, I’m coming for you.
  2. Use The Naked 3 Palette More - Although I went crazy to get my hands on the Naked 3, after the initial excitement it slipped away from my favourites pretty quickly. However, after seeing Lily Pebbles’ Autumn Berry tutorial where she mentioned the Naked 3, I whipped it out of my drawer and fell in love all over again. The pinks, purples and golds are especially gorgeous in A/W, and are surprisingly easy to wear.
  3. Perfect The Cat-Eye Flick - The two words that send shivers down my spine when it comes to makeup are ‘the flick’. No matter how hard I try I just can’t seem to achieve the perfect cat-eye flick. It’s a makeup look that I absolutely adore, so I’m just going to keep trying! I’ll keep you updated on my progress.
  4. Expand my blush collection – I’ve never been a huge fan of blusher. While I wear it on a daily basis, I only have about four in my collection (a small enough number) and they’re all pretty similar. I’d much rather buy a lipstick than a blush, but after seeing so many people raving about The Balm Frat Boy, I think I might just have to pick it up.
  5. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! - A skincare step that I skip way too often, I’m really going to try to amp up my moisturising game. Face and body – I don’t want to resemble a snake come December.
  6. Change Up My Hair - I won’t be changing my blonde locks anytime soon, but I’ve slipped into the habit of wearing my hair down constantly. It’s become a comfort blanket, and when I wear it up it’s as if I’ve taken a scarf off my neck. So I’ll be scouring Pinterest for inspiration of messy buns and cute plaits. Plus, I think I *might* be going a little shorter when I get my next set of extensions in…
  7. Keep My Nails In Good Condition - Eek, I feel like I say this every season. I might indulge in a session of Shellac to get me going, because keeping my nails Instagram-able is a bit of a struggle at the minute. Maybe a few autumnal nail polish purchases will be enough to keep me on track?

Let me know in the comments your beauty goals for A/W, and stay tuned for my fashion goals on Friday!

The Normal Girl’s Guide To Health & Happiness #6

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Guys, sh*t just got real. Bikini Body Guide Week 6 – how did this happen?! Week 5 was a killer, in fact I roped my boyfriend into doing the arms and abs workout with me and he found it just as hard. It’s motivating having another person doing the same workout as you, though. We pushed each other along, even though I didn’t think I’d make it through two rounds of commandos.

I’m not going to lie, fitting in three circuit exercises a week is a real struggle. As I say all the time, work, college and a social life is hard enough without fitting in three trips to the gym a week as well as 4-5 sessions of LISS. I’m finding it hard to fit them all in, but I’m just going to stick with it and keep trying my best. It’s easy to get disheartened, especially when you see progress pictures of people at the same stage of the BBG as you and you wonder why your progress isn’t the same, but people’s bodies change and respond in different ways, so I keep telling myself that!

I thought I’d share with you my workout playlist for when I do the circuits in the gym, because I love seeing what other people listen to. The type of music I listen to really affects how hard I workout, so I need happy positive and upbeat songs to keep me going!

  1. Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
  2. This Is How We Do – Katy Perry
  3. Problem – Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea
  4. Birthday – Katy Perry
  5. Stronger – Kelly Clarkson
  6. Stronger – Kanye West
  7. Waves – Mr Probz
  8. Jubel – Kinglande
  9. She Looks So Perfect – 5SOS
  10. Nobody To Love – Sigma
  11. Happy – Pharrell
  12. Timber – Pitbull ft Kesha
  13. Fancy – Iggy Azalea
  14. Break Free – Ariana Grande
  15. Roar – Katy Perry
  16. Rather Be – Clean Bandit
  17. Survivor – Destiny’s Child
  18. Fighter – Christina Aguilera
  19. Prayer In C – Lilly Wood & The Prick and Robin Schulz
  20. Blame – Calvin Harris

Leave me your favourite workout songs in the comments, I’d love to hear!

The College Makeup Bag

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Just like we need books and stationary for the beginning of a new academic year, so do we need a college makeup bag.

While it might not be absolutely necessary, it’s almost guaranteed that you will get as much, if not more, use out of it than your college books and notes. A good makeup bag doesn’t have to cost the earth, however. Just ten products cover everything you need that will take you from lecture hall to nightclub.

  1. Primer – Primer is a step that’s often overlooked when it comes to makeup application, but adding it to your routine will add longevity to your makeup, as well as giving a smooth, even base. Maybelline Baby Skin primer is ideal for less than €10, and gives a flawless base for foundation.
  2. Foundation – When it comes to foundation, NARS Sheer Glow trumps the rest. It’s light and dewy, but can be built up in layers so you can create the coverage you prefer without looking heavy-handed.
  3. Concealer – Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer is a holy grail product to beauty gurus around the world. It’s really affordable and covers under-eye circles, spots, blemishes and is great for touch ups on the go.
  4. Powder – A powder is essential for keeping shine at bay so your foundation doesn’t slide off within two hours of application. Rimmel Stay Matte powder is a firm favourite and leaves skin looking smooth and flawless.
  5. Blush, bronze, highlight – The Naked Flushed palette includes all three of these steps, making it easy for early morning (or late night) makeup application. To go from day to night just add a sweep of bronzer to the temples and hollows of your face, blusher to your cheeks and highlighter along the cheekbones and you’re ready to go!
  6. Eyeshadow – One palette covers all when it comes to eyeshadow- the Urban Decay Naked Palette. It includes 12 gorgeous matte and shimmer shades, every colour you’ll need for day and night
  7. Liner – A slick of liner can totally change any makeup look. Whether you’re a novice or a cat-eye expert, L’Oreal Super Liner is easy to use, allowing you to go as thick or thin as you like.
  8. Mascara – No makeup bag would be complete without a good mascara. Maybelline The Falsies Waterproof is great for both top and bottom lashes, and adds curl, volume and length in one sweep.
  9. Brows – Whether you’re Cara Delevigne or have plucked your brows into non-existence, Anastasia Brow Wiz is amazing for both thick and thin brows. The nib is so tiny that you can recreate brow hairs, so you can fill them in and shape your brows to your content.
  10. Lips – If you’re a nude lip lover or a statement lip girl through and through, Revlon ColourBurst Lip Butter range includes every glossy and matte lip shade you could dream of. They’re often on offer in Boots too, so you might have to get more than one…

Add in Garnier Micellar Water for easy makeup removal, and Real Techniques brushes for application and you’re good to go.

As for the makeup bag itself? The queen of luxury makeup, Charlotte Tilbury’s makeup bag literally says it all, ‘Give a woman the right makeup and she can conquer the world.’

A Love Affair With Charlotte Tilbury

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A few weeks ago I finally was blessed with the possession of some Charlotte Tilbury makeup goodies, thanks to my very kind boyfriend George. He bought them for me as a surprise after one evening I dragged him over to Brown Thomas while we were walking down Grafton Street and practically pressed my face against the glass where the Charlotte Tilbury display was. To say I was surprised when he showed me the bag was an understatement. I may or may not have shed a tear (I’m a very emotional person okay?!)

Anyway, after admiring the beauty of the packaging for a few days, I finally decided it was time to try the products out. The first thing I tried was the eyelash curlers, or ‘eyebrow clampers’ as George calls them. I’d been long in need of a new set, with the ones I was using being about six years old and on their last legs. High-end eyelash curlers are something that I wouldn’t be able to justify buying for myself, so they were the perfect pressie to receive! My eyelashes grow straight outwards, yet are really curly at the outer corners (strange, I know), so curling them before applying mascara is imperative as it makes all the difference to how my eyes look. Who knew that curling your eyelashes could feel so luxurious? The curlers are really good at getting right to the lash line, so you can get a really good lift. Basically, they’re like a pushup bra for your lashes. I do five pulses at the root of the lash, five in the middle and five at the very end for Bambi-esque lashes.

As for the lipstick, well it has knocked all of my other lipsticks out of the park. The rose gold packaging is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It’s weighted without being too heavy, and the ridges make it easy to hold (and it doesn’t roll away when you’re taking photos of it #bloggerproblems). And, of course, it has the oh-so-satisfying click sound when you put the lid on it. The colour, Stoned Rose, is from the Golden Goddess look and it’s everything I love in a lipstick. It’s the perfect warm-toned pink nude, it’s creamy, moisturising, pigmented and has amazing staying power. I chowed down a whole pizza and it was still in tact. It’s not very glossy, nor is it matte, it’s the perfect mix between the two.

And we can’t forget about the makeup bag, now can we? It’s the softest and prettiest makeup bag I’ve ever owned (and as a self-confessed makeup bag hoarder, I’ve owned a lot). It’s the perfect size for popping in your handbag or for travelling and the quote on the back immediately makes it my ultimate makeup bag. You’ll know how much I love quotes if you’ve ever seen my Instagram (@whatshedoesnow).

I know this might sound slightly crazy/obsessive seeming as I’m talking about makeup products and tools here, but hey, we all have something that we’re totally obsessed with, right?

Now to complete the Golden Goddess collection… Good thing a trip to London is on the cards! Selfridges here I come…

 

The Tanning Game-Changers

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He-Shi was the first tanning product that I tried back in the day when I was getting into tanning. I remember that my mam always had a bottle of it and I thought it was so luxurious and grown up. I also remember being at a teen disco *cringes* where someone came up to me and asked if my tan was natural. If that’s not a good sign then I don’t know what is.

So when I got the opportunity to try out some He-Shi products, I was more than happy to oblige. He-Shi have really expanded their range since I tried it seven years ago (insane, I know), to instant tanners, gradual tanners and more.

The first product I tried was the Gold Foaming Mousse, which is an instant tanner that develops over time. I’ve never been a big fan of instant tanners, as they always looked green or dirty on me (not exactly the look I was going for) or streaked if it rained or if I got any water at all on my skin. Luckily, this product does none of those things. It gives a gorgeous golden tan, as the name suggests, and as it’s a mousse it is really easy to apply without streaking. It doesn’t smell like fake tan and isn’t sticky, which I love. I’m quite pale so I like quite a deep tan, so one layer of this is enough for day-to-day, and two layers is ideal for when I want to be a bit darker. The colour develops really well over the course of a few hours, so you can apply it in the morning and go about your day if you want your tan to be darker that night.

I was really excited to try the Rapid 1 Hour Liquid Tan, as the first He-Shi product I tried was liquid. I’m used to using foaming mousses for tanning, so I was apprehensive about how this would apply and if it would drip all over the place (thankfully it didn’t, we just got new carpets!) The concept of a 1 hour tan is so handy because I rarely have the time or the energy to apply tan at night before I go to bed. The liquid formula was really easy to apply and went onto the skin flawlessly with the He-Shi Tanning Mitt. It gives a lovely colour to the skin on application, and develops over the course of three hours, depending on how dark you want it. I wanted my tan to be dark, so I left it on for the full three hours and washed it off to reveal a gorgeous bronze colour. For some reason tan never shows up on my legs, but this one did! It is almost like a stain on the skin, so it has great lasting power too.

Of course, I made sure my skin was exfoliated, shaved and free of moisturiser in the 24 hours before applying both of these tans to ensure a smooth application. Neither product stuck to dry patches, and each faded evenly over the course of a week.

Tanning won’t be such a chore anymore thanks to these two products, which my pasty limbs will definitely thank me for!

The Normal Girl’s Guide To Health & Happiness #5

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To think that I’m starting Week 5 of the BBG is insane. I’ve looked through the workouts for the next few weeks and they look really tough, but I’m ready for the challenge. Kayla says that usually you see results at around the Week 4 mark, and after taking progress pictures at the start of each week I can really see a difference. Although, I’m not exactly prepared to put up photos of my half-naked body on the internet. Maybe by Week 12 I will be ;)

The biggest difference I can see so far is in my stomach, waist and hips. A little bit of ab definition is starting to show, and around my hips has gotten more toned. I can also see a difference in my bum – it’s less ‘I ate all the pies’ and more ‘I squat a lot.’ I can feel the changes too, although burpees and commandos are still killers, I can do a few more at a time without feeling like I’m going to pass out. The same applies to push ups, I can now do 15 semi-decent push ups in a row, rather than 15 pulses. The only place I haven’t really seen a change is in my legs and thighs, but hopefully that will start to change and they will tone up!

An app that I’ve found really handy for doing the circuits is ‘Seconds’. It’s free on the App Store and allows you to enter timers for the circuits, so it’s easy to keep on track. I set four seven-minute timers with a minute’s break in between. It’s easy to keep motivated when you see that you’ve only a minute or so left on the timer.

As for fitting in the LISS workouts, I don’t have a lot of time to go on set walks, so I fit them in by walking to and from college four times a week. I also work in retail so that involves walking/standing for hours at a time.

Being totally honest, I’m finding it hard to keep motivated and to go to the gym, especially as college and work is really catching up on me. But all it takes is visiting Kayla’s Instagram, or knowing that I’ll feel better if I do the workouts than if I sit at home and feel guilty for not doing them, to keep me on track.

We all have our off days, but sometimes you just gotta put your gym gear on, get up and get your ass to the gym!

Let me know in the comments below if you’re doing or have done the BBG, I’d love to hear!

[By the way I'm going to start publishing posts on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays now, so keep an eye out!]

Five Photo Week #16 & #17

I’ve two FFWs to catch up on today, and although the pictures mightn’t seem like it I’ve been so busy the past few weeks. Trying to keep up with the BBG workouts, eating healthily, working part time, going to college and having a social life isn’t easy, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way!

I hope you enjoy :)

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I got spoiled rotten by the boy a few weeks ago, and I’m not exaggerating when I say my jaw hit the floor when I saw a Brown Thomas bag in his hands. Everything is so luxurious and beautiful from the Charlotte Tilbury range, there’ll be a full review up soon!

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Shoutout to my gal Vicky for taking this very flattering photo of me when I was donating blood ;) Weirdly enough I really enjoy donating blood. Although it’s a bit of a strange experience, knowing that someone is going to benefit from your actions really helps.

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‘A grande skinny latte, please’ has become my motto lately, with me grabbing one at every chance I get. Four hours straight of lectures on a Friday morning wouldn’t be possible without Starbucks.

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I made Essie Button’s Power Protein Soup during the week and it was d-e-l-icious. It was super easy to make and really filling, I can see myself making this all the way through winter!

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Berries and Greek yogurt has been my go-to snack on the BBG, it really satisfies sweet cravings. If I’m particularly hungry for chocolate (i.e. everyday) I add in a crumbled chocolate biscuit or a square (or three) or dark chocolate.

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There’s no better way to start the weekend than with lunch with friends. We had curry parsnip soup, which sounds really strange but was actually so tasty!

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With my gorgeous bestie Jen on Monday for her birthday. Isn’t she stunning?! We booked flights to London this week with our other halves, so excited!

I hope that everyone had a great week, let me know what you got up to in the comments below!

The Perfect Black Heels

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A few weeks ago I realised that I had worn the same heels on every night out (give or take a few nights) for nearly a year. They’re Kurt Geiger, nude and so so comfortable, but I think I loved them a little too much. Despite having more heels in my wardrobe than I’d like to admit, I decided it was time to find a new pair of go-to heels. That’s when I came across these beauties.

They’re from ASOS (link here) and for less than €65, you can’t go wrong. (Don’t forget that you can get 10% off ASOS with a UniDays account!) I decided that black would be the perfect colour as it goes with nearly everything, and the delicate strap made them look really feminine, plus the heel and platform combo was just right.

I was so afraid of having blisters, cuts and burning feet after a few hours of wearing them, but after wearing them for five hours straight I can safely say that they are so comfortable. No cutting, rubbing or burning, and they’re pretty easy to walk in too.

So if you’re looking for a new pair of heels, I’d definitely recommend these. They come in a few different colours too, so check them out!

 

A Few Tips For Blogging

While I’m by no means a blogging expert and am still learning everyday, since starting this blog nearly a year ago (say what?!) I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. I really enjoy reading these kind of posts so I thought I’d share with you a few pointers that I’ve gathered. Feel free to leave your tips in the comments below, I could certainly do with a few!

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1. Upload regularly - Choose the day (or days) that you want to publish on and stick to them. Whether it be once a week or three times a week, having set days helps your readers know when to check back and when to expect new content. *Slaps self on shoulder because this post was supposed to go up yesterday…*

2. Take bright, clear pictures - The kind of pictures you prefer are obviously up to you, but bright, well lit pictures usually work well. I just use my iPhone 5s and natural lighting, as much as I’d love an expensive camera it’s just not achievable for me right now. Pictures are the first thing the reader sees when they visit your blog so make them as eye catching and appealing as possible!

3. Type how you talk - Let your personality come through in your writing! If you’ve a habit of saying funny things, throw them in. You don’t have to write A+ standard English, just whatever comes naturally to you and what is easy for your readers to understand and enjoy.

4. Reply to all comments - This is so important because it creates a relationship with your readers. If someone has taken the time to write something nice on your blog, reply back and you never know, you could make great friends!

5. Promote yourself on social media - Having an Instagram, Twitter page and Facebook for your blog will really help to promote it. The more people you tell the better! Sure why not, your blog is amazing! You don’t have to be generic or feel guilty for promoting your blog, being personable and letting your personality shine through will really help.

6. Think of what you would like to read - Look through your Bloglovin feed and see what blogs you read everyday no matter what. What is it about them that makes you keep coming back? Write down a few pointers, and think of things that you feel are missing or that could be improved and apply them to your blog.

7. Triple check for spelling mistakes - Spelling mistakes happen to us all, and maybe this just annoys me because I’m studying to be a journalist, but good spelling is so important! I realise how nerdy that sounds but I personally hate seeing spelling mistakes on someone’s blog because I feel that it shows that they didn’t take the time to read back over the post. What’re the chances of me having a spelling mistake in this post after saying this? 110% is my guess…

8. Don’t give up! - When it comes to blogging, success very rarely comes immediately. It can be disheartening if your stats are static, and if the only person viewing your blog is your little sister, but stick with it. If it’s something you really enjoy doing, work hard at it and stick to it, then if success comes from it it’s just a bonus!

9. Pay attention to detail - Especially when taking pictures, I always think to myself, ‘What’s missing? How can I improve this?’ Although I wish I had four hours a day to sit and take the perfect blog photo with all of the props and the best lighting in the world, I don’t. So just make do with what you have and make all you can do the best you can do! All the little details add up, so if there’s a smudge of black on your background (can you tell I’m a perfectionist?) remove it, if a sentence doesn’t really make sense, fix it.

10. Have fun! - Having fun when it comes to blogging is one of the most important things you can do. If it’s stressful or not enjoyable, then ask yourself why you are doing it. Try and find new ways to take pictures, different angles you can write about things. Having a blog is amazing because you have all of the control over it, so you can make it exactly as you like! Go crazy and have fun with it!