Saturday 23 May 2015

Home Sweet Home

If you have read my most recent blogs you will probably be aware of our latest purchase - our first home!

Our new house has the bones of a cosy first home but the interior was awful. Think dark grey carpets, busy printed wallpaper and orange walls. There is barely anything I want to keep, but that's what makes it so exciting!

For months and months my brain has been buzzing with interior ideas, my Pinterest boards have expanded and now we can finally get cracking. Luckily for me, Ciaran is happy for me to decorate our home how I want so there hasn't been any beef..yet!

There is so much we want to do to our new home before we move in on 1st July. First on our list is to steam off all of the wallpaper. God only knows why the previous owners wallpapered a thousand layers of paper on top of each other but it is an utter pain to remove. There is basically 80 years of wallpaper intermingled with layers of paint. If I never see wallpaper again in my life I will be so pleased. 

On our first day in the house we ripped up the carpet in our new bedroom and found this gorgeous wooden floor underneath. It's pretty much filthy and paint splatted in places so in a few weeks we plan to borrow a sander and sort the floor out!

Note the copious amounts of wallpaper allover the floor - believe me when I say this is minor! We so far have filled 7 bin bags of wallpaper and the stairs still look like this...

Our kitchen seems to have been recently fitted and has soft close cabinets which I love. One of my favourite parts is the vertical pull out drawer beside the oven - perfect for herbs and spices.

The kitchen is long and narrow and has two build in cupboards that hooked me instantly when we viewed the house. One will be perfect for coats & bags and the other is crying out for some shelves to give all of my little bowls a home!

To  be honest, I don't like to counter tops or the floor in here. They are too dark and I would rather have more natural browns - a good replacement for this floor would be something like this but we will have to put this on the back foot for now, there are more important things to be done!

Diverging from our new home, I have come back to my home home. I flew back last night and as is our ritual for Saturday lunchtimes at home we took a trip to Picnic in Killyleagh. If you don't happen to know this absolute gem, it is my favourite deli cafe and serves the most delicious meals. It is on the pricey side of a cafe lunch but 100% worth it.

Today I got some corn cakes to take away and heated them up at home. They kindly packed me in some chilli jam, amazing coleslaw and my favourite smoothie of all time - non dairy strawberry, mango and passion fruit.

Lunch was eaten in the garden under the sun and joined by the pugly angel Betty and my freshly engaged best friend's gorgeous Springador pup, Annie.

Wednesday 13 May 2015

May IKEA Haul

So, if you haven't already guessed the big secret I was too scared to say out loud for fear of jinxing it is that my boyfriend and I have bought a house and I literally couldn't be more excited!

That's not to say that I'm not worried about the impending doom of mortgage repayments, insurance, maintenance costs and stuff because I totally am, but of course I'm doing what any sensible girl would do and getting totally carried away with Pinterest-worthy redecorating dreams!

I've already decided on colour schemes and have it all planned out in my head. Over the last few years I have been collecting beautiful homeware and I am so excited to finally have my own home for them all to live in. 

Obviously a trip to IKEA was on the cards (likely to be one of many) so I trotted off a few weekends ago so buy some more bits for my new home. At this point you're probably wondering why I wasn't heading to a DIY store to buy some actual essentials but IKEA WAS MORE IMPORTANT, OKAY?!

If you have read my blog before, or even been within a 3 metres of me, you will probably know how much I love prints, paintings and particularly the excitement of getting something framed. BTW if you live in Leeds I would totally recommend The Picture Framer in Burley. Believe me when I say I have tried out so many in my area and this shop is vastly superior. You will be hard pressed to find a quality framers at a super cheap rate but The Picture Framer is very competitive and there is a dog that works in the shop too - pretty much grabbed my custom there and then!

I picked this print and frame up separately in IKEA on my last trip. I chose white because I wanted a really fresh and bright frame for my new kitchen. I love the flying fish and can't wait to hang this one.

The frame was £15 and the print £9 - absolute bloody bargain for a 50x50cm!

During my trip to South Africa in March I bought some genuinely beautiful spoons - sweeping statement I know for some spoons, but if you saw them you would agree - and I have been keeping an eye out for some equally lovely tins for tea, coffee and sugar. Maybe I'm too fussy but I actually couldn't find anything I liked until I saw these beauties. IKEA again reigns supreme, coming in at £3.50 for the set.

You may have noticed I love taking Instagramming the life out of things and when I saw this adorable jug/vase at £7.50 and faux milk bottle at A SINGLE POUND I couldn't resist snapping them up. I love the quaintness of them both - you will definitely be seeing these bad boys again! 

My next purchases were these two stripey plant pots from the Garden section of IKEA. At Easter when I had gone home I dropped into my favourite shop in Northern Ireland - The Cheshire Cat and Trio. My gorgeous Mum's shops have been a familiar fixture in Hillsborough for many years and I found the beautiful bird pot in there.

I can't find it on the website but I am pretty sure the IKEA pots were £4 each!

My last blog worthy piece from IKEA is this genuinely beautiful faux sheepskin rug. I have already envisaged my new bedroom to be a soft grey marl colour with white furnishings so I thought this fuzzy friend would fit in nicely. I couldn't believe the price when I stumbled across it in store it was only £10! Totally not thinking ahead I only bought one. I came home and was telling everyone about my new buys and realised as a bedside rug I would need two - total moron. The next morning I got up super early to make sure I got one before they sold out and ended up locked in IKEA jail (barriers put up half way around to stop you going further) because it was a Bank Holiday and not yet trading time. Buuttt, it was totally worth it and I know have a lovely matching pair. Giggity.

Last and especially not least is my new mirror. I've wanted a gorgeous wall mirror for ages and hadn't really found one I couldn't live without, but on a sofa buying mission in Halton I came across this great shop called Tailor Made Sofas and Chairs. I love the naked wood and initally thought how easy it would be to paint but I actually think I'm going to leave it in all its glory! This was a total steal for a 50x50cm(ish) mirror at £25.

If you soldiered through to the bottom of my excited ramblings thank you for reading. I hope you have enjoyed my totally non-essential but equally irresistible picks for this haul!

I have linked the products and shops where possible so please, for me, go out and bring something you love into your home!

Thursday 7 May 2015


I have to admit I have completely neglected by blog over the past year. Getting too wrapped up in my hectic job I haven't dedicated much time to writing content and tracking page views outside of work AND I'M SORRY! I want to get back on track and work harder to ensure I post regularly and keep filling this space with my musings, favourite eats and of course, my latest buys.

I am a fanatical blog reader (who else would get the top spot other than Hannah Gale) and YouTuber fangirl (I'm all about RawBeautyKristi) and all it does it make me feel guilty for not putting more time into bettering my own blog but being the ultimate procrastinator I haven't been as proactive as I plan to be.

I do though have some super exciting news. And to be extra annoying and superstitious I don't want to shout it from the rooftops until I have the keys in my hands. Slight hint there but I think that could count as jinx free, right? By this time next week it will be bursting out of me and a very excited blog post will be winging its way to you!

 We have just got back from dinner at The Liquorist on my fave road Greek Street in Leeds.  They haven't opened officially yet but seeing as my gorgeous best friend is the newest and sassiest Hostess in town she nabbed us some seats for their trial dinner, including a free cocktail each - I had my standard gin cocktail, the Bramble is unreal!

We went to the bar to claim our free cocktails and were invited to have a look around. The Liquorist used to be the Living Room, my Mum's first port of call as soon as she comes to Leeds, and has a completely different feel. Gone is the slick decor and in is an eclectic, shabby chic vibe  - totally relevant, modern and inviting to consumers;  it's an Instagrammer's dream!

Being utterly shit I left my phone at work and didn't manage to get any photos - that and also the sheer excitement of our food arriving knocked the thought out of my brain until I had finished and realised I had missed my chance to take some snaps! 

The boys and I had: 

  • A fillet steak and the twice baked sour cream and cheese potato
  • Crispy floured onions
  • A chicken and peppers hanging kebab with seasoned chips
  • A sirloin steak again with the twice baked potato
Because it was the trial night we picked our mains out of a raffle and were landed with the most delicious plates on the menu. Total win.

The Liquorist is absolutely not to be missed - the menu is varied and features plates to suit every taste and palate. They have done an excellent job on the refurb, the staff are friendly and the atmosphere is cool, cosy and totally relaxed. Perfect date night material!

If for some reason you aren't already completely won over you can check out the menu here but trust me - it won't disappoint!

Photographs courtesy of The Liqourist Leeds.

Sunday 3 May 2015

All the MAC

For all those who know me, you might be aware that I love MAC lipsticks. Not a cheap obsession may I add but a beautiful one none the less. I have to admit that I am a creature of habit in literally every way possible. I'm not a fan of change and in particular when I fall for something I fall hard and often don't expand the variety. This is likely why you will most often see me in my favourite soft gray marl jumper, only ever wear Adidas gym leggings and forever buy brown tortiseshell sunglasses. This is not to say that I'm a spendthrift - probably (and more than I would like to admit) I'm the complete opposite. Not a weekend goes by where I don't come home with a couple of new items of clothing or some can't-walk-away-from homeware. But - I digress!

I recently stumbled across the most amazing bargain on Groupon of a ten piece make up brush set with super soft bristles and bamboo handles for £7.99 - a complete steal for the quality of the pieces. I love of tight brushes and don't tend to like them to splay unless they are built to blend. This eco-friendly set is perfect and came with plenty of varied brushes.  My favourite has to be the rounded eyeshadow brush, although the picture doesn't do it justice, it is perfect for blending out your crease and has become my new staple brush - good going for a bargain brush set and girl who used to use her fingers to apply eyeshadows! You can find them here, but be quick - the offer runs out in 5 days!

Getting down to business, I came here to tell you about my favourite MAC lipsticks. I swatched a few on my arm and shot in different lights to help show a true colour. I can't resist a dark lipstick which explains why you're about to see a few of what many would say are the same shade!

The lip colours shown above from left to right are; Media, Sin, Diva, Brave Red, Ruby Woo, Morange, Twig, Velvet Teddy (my newest addition) and Cherish. Most of these lipsticks are in different finishes - I personally prefer a matte finish for its staying power and depth of colour. 

Sin is probably my lipstick solemate - the pigment is so strong and it sets off any make up look with such bad ass elegance! I bought Brave Red in Heathrow on my way to Cape Town last month and was really excited by it and loved the deep red colour. I have to admit these photographs do not show a true reflection of Brave Red, it looks a lot pinker for some reason! To be honest, when I wore it to my cousins wedding I was disappointed by it's finish. The colour wasn't as strong as I wanted it to be - this is probably due to it being a Cremesheen and personally I prefer lip colours to be matte. Nevertheless I will not be leaving it to gather dust. Ruby Woo has a super matte finish and can actually be quite drying, but with a Brave Red finishing coat the result is dreamy!

I think Morange deserves a special mention here as the perfect summer lipstick. A few of my friends have admittedly given me a strange side eye when they first saw me sporting this tangerine tone, but I love it. A summery complexion, a perfect pair of sunnies and Morange is a winning combination!

I began my nude collection a few months ago and kicked off with Cherish, the palest colour on my swatched arm! I love the texture of this lipstick but I feel like it is a little too pale for me. Next came Twig - inspired by my best friend - and was followed this week by Velvet Teddy. I think Velvet Teddy is definitely going to be a firm favourite in my collection - expect to hear more about this in weeks to come!

Which is your favourite MAC lipstick? All suggestions welcome - I'm already on the hunt for a new shade!