Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Books I Read in June


So, June was a really good reading month for me. I pretty much let TV fall by the wayside altogether so I got a lot more read at night - it has been too hot to read during the day so we've been going for more walks. June's total was 15 - but it's more like 14 and a half, because I didn't finish one (hate doing that, but life's too short for bad books).

Rick O'Shea Book Club

The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
This was the book club pick for May, but I had to wait for the library to buy it in for me (libraries do that, you know. If you want a new book that they don't have, they'll buy it). It's a Love/Hate type story set in modern day Cork City that centres around the lives of a drug dealer and his girlfriend, a prostitute, a gangster's mother - and digs deeper into the links they share and the secrets they hide. Brilliant read.

Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume
This was one of the June book club picks (the other being The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, which I tried to read last year and gave up on). The title is a play on the four seasons of the year. The book follows the story of one year in a man's life - a man who doesn't have much social interaction, and who gets himself a dog that nobody else wants. They soon become as thick as thieves - but when that relationship is threatened, he decides to take the dog on a road trip of sorts. This is dark, it's uneasy at times, but the writing is breathtaking. In terms of plot, there's not a whole pile here - but the writing alone is worth it. It reminded me a little of Donal Ryan or Eimear McBride at times but much easier to read.

Books to Review

For The Love of Martha by Maria Murphy
I was kindly sent this to review from Poolbeg - it's a timeslip novel about an 18 year old orphan named Martha, who is living with her cousin as a Governess. The family decide to move to Carissima, a sprawling home in Co. Monaghan - putting an end to Martha's romance with a local handsome doctor. Meanwhile, we're also following the life of Juliet in London in 2010 - she is a photographer, and is seeing the man who currently owns Carissima. This lacked something for me - it took ages to get going and while I liked Martha's story, I wasn't bothered about Juliet.

The Number 8 by Joel Arcanjo
I requested this on Netgalley because the premise sounded amazing - a group of strangers in New Zealand, stuck on a tour bus, and one of them could be a killer? Yes please!! Unfortunately, very little of it was set on the bus so it lacked the claustrophic element necessary to build tension. The descriptions of the tour areas were fantastic, but the characters and plot were dull.

Date With a Rockstar by Sarah Gagnon
Another one from Netgalley - I enjoyed this way more than I should have. Set in the distant future, Monet O'Neal is suffering from the disease Fluxem. There's a cure, but it costs thousands of dollars. Monet applies for a place on a Reality TV show to meet and date rockstar Jeremy Bane, and win $30,000 - but what will happen if anyone realises she has Fluxem? Will the producers dig up any more secrets about her? Loved this. The Reality TV setting was brilliant and it was cheesy as hell, but it was written well enough to carry the story.

Seen the Movie? Now Read the Book!

One of my main 2015 reading goals was to read more original book versions of movies. This month, I read three.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Oh my GOD why have I not read this before now?! It's amazing. It was addictive - a sweeping, passionate, turbulent tale of Scarlett O'Hara and her determination to succeed. Set pre, during and post the Civil War era, I could not put it down. It's racist and hard to stomach in places, I had to keep reminding myself when it was written and when it was set - but it's one of the best reading experiences I've had in my adult life. Absolutely adored it.

Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine
Yikes. Where to start with this one - Mrs. Doubtfire starring Robin Williams will always be one of my favourite family films. It was one of the first I ever saw in a cinema, and it holds a lot of great memories about a favourite person from my childhood - so I was eager to read the book. It is horrible. The parents have horrific fights in front of their children, they play the children like pawns, and there's a horrible undercurrent of fear and worry where the children are concerned. Much like when I read Skipping Christmas by John Grisham - I was shocked at the lack of warmth, heart, or humour. The children know all along that their Dad is the new housekeeper - probably because his disguise consists of wellies, a pink coat and a turban. Absolutely one to avoid, watch the movie instead.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
This isn't a movie yet - but it's coming, and it will star Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role. Based on the true story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last woman to be publicly executed in Iceland in 1830, this is the story of Agnes' last few months at a nearby family farm where she has been sent to wait out her death sentence. Convicted of the brutal murder of two men, Agnes is silent about her crimes - until she begins to open up to her Spiritual Advisor, Tóti, and the lady of the house, Margrét. Agnes' story is so tragic and so sad, I knew what was coming but I didn't want to believe it - it was haunting, beautiful, and the eerie landscape of Iceland was a character in itself. 100% recommended.

Kindle First

Sugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall
The title refers to Mercy Gracia, or Sugar, as she is known. She is a very overweight Puerto Rican/Polish teenager who lives with her disgusting physically and verbally abusive brother and her mother, who has not gotten out of bed in months due to her increasing size. Sugar cares for her mother, but in the meantime, doesn't care for herself. When she makes a friend, something she once thought impossible, things begin to change and she realises that she must find the strength to make permanent changes in several areas of her life. This isn't a makeover book, it's difficult to read at times and I HATE the event that happens towards the end (kick a girl when she's down, why don't you) but it was a worthwhile read.


The Exit by Helen Fitzgerald
Catherine is 23, and gets a job in a care home - mainly to get her mother off her back. She doesn't like old people, she's not bothered, she just wants the money. Rose Price is 82, a resident of the care home and a former children's author. Rose is convinced that something sinister is going on at the care home - but nobody will listen to her. She enlists the help of a begrudging Catherine to try and find out what's going on. I thought this would be another Elizabeth is Missing but it was far from that - Catherine as a protagonist is a breath of fresh air, she's not exactly likeable but she's a strong character. Her relationship with Rose is brilliant - this is quite dark, and maybe not one to go for if you have a weak stomach.

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
Little Jacob Jordan is killed in a hit and run when his mother lets go of his hand to cross the street. Wracked with guilt, she flees. Jenna goes to a remote village in Wales to try and move on with her life, but still can't get over what happened to Jacob. Meanwhile, DI Ray Stevens is working on the hit and run case, trying to find the driver, while dealing with personal issues of his own. But Jenna's past is about to catch up with her, and it could prove fatal. Absolutely 100% the best thriller I've read this year. Clever, shocking, frightening, tense - this is everything a thriller should be. Read it.

Young Adult

Immaculate by Katelyn Detweiler
One night when Mina is finishing up her shift in the Pizzeria where she works after school, a strange old lady comes in and tells her that she will have a baby. Mina laughs it off - she has a boyfriend of two years but she's a virgin - so how can she be pregnant? But she is......... This reminded me of that movie Saved! at times. It's not religious, but it does discuss faith (not in a preachy way). The author took the story of the Immaculate Conception and put it bang smack in the middle of High School in the social media era. Really good, unique concept, and enjoyable.

Lies Like Love by Louisa Reid
This has been on my Kindle for ages - it's about 16 year old Audrey Morgan and her battle with depression and self harm. Or is it? Audrey, her mother, and little brother have moved to a new area after a fire destroyed their home. Audrey has a history of self-harm, and her mother hopes that the move will bring a new beginning for them all. Leo is staying on a nearby farm - he is 17, and has had experience with mental health issues himself, so he immediately feels like Audrey is a kindred spirit. As their relationship begins to blossom, all may not be what it seems.......I really don't want to spoil this for anyone, so I'll just say - when the penny dropped, it hit me smack between the two eyes and I lay awake in bed with my heart thundering. It's really, really good.

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider
Lane Rosen is a new resident at Latham House, a boarding-school slash Sanitorium for teenagers with a total drug resistant strain of TB. It's set in the modern day, it's not dystopia, it just happens to take place in a Sanitorium. Sadie is also a resident - Lane and Sadie know each other from Summer Camp a few years ago. But is there any point in getting close to someone at Latham when survival odds aren't in your favour? Full to the brim with witty dialogue and Harry Potter references, this was enjoyable enough.

Did Not Finish

Breakable by Aimee L. Salter
Also published as Every Ugly Word. In my copy, the lead character was called Stacy. In the subsequent editions, she is called Ashley. Stacy is in therapy after "an incident". We're not privy to the circumstances yet, but we're going along for the ride as Stacy discusses the months leading up to the incident with her therapist. Having gone through horrific bullying, Stacy turns to herself - quite literally. She sees an older version of herself in the mirror. "Older Me" seems to know all about Stacy's future. Here's where it got enough for me: I like magical realism. A lot. I love the idea of your future self appearing in the mirror to tell you what's going on. But she doesn't tell her anything useful. The bullying - when Stacy's mother finds abusive texts on her phone, she asks what Stacy did to provoke such a reaction. The therapist asks about her role in her own abuse. Her friend asks her to try and make friends with the bullies. Not at any point in the first 14 chapters does anyone pull Stacy aside and say - This is not OK. And there I left it - victim blaming ain't my cup of tea.

So that's it! Productive by all accounts, but I've about seventeen programmes to watch on Sky+ at this stage. I'll update the 2015 book page (here) with the covers, as usual you can click on a cover to go to my full Goodreads review.

Bring it on, July!

Blogger Tricks

Monday, June 29, 2015

Collier Campbell iPad Case from The Quintessential


A few weeks ago, the lovely Clare from Sparkle Blossom & Beauty hosted a twitter chat with The Quintessential, a company who sell wholesale gifts, household items and accessories to shops and traders. One of the brands they stock is Collier Campbell - they offer a range of bold and unusual prints on a huge range of items. During the twitter chat, The Quintessential generously provided a number of prizes to people taking part. I was lucky enough to win this beautiful iPad case that I had chosen as my favourite item from their website.

This is the "tropical birds" print and it's based on a hand painted vintage design. The inside is just as pretty:

The bird keyring on the zip is a really cute touch:

Now - one little problem. I don't have an iPad. When I chose this, I had something else in mind. I thought it would make an amazing Kindle/book case! The zipper at the front is handy for bookmarks and pens, and the main pocket easily fits my Kindle fire and my book review notebook.

I think that this could be used as a clutch too - It would be gorgeous with a purple or baby blue dress for an occasion. Nobody would ever know its intended purpose!

I wasn't asked to write this, just wanted to spread a little love for a really nice brand.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The 3 Day Diet - My Experience


In my bid to lose 5 stone in 2015, I'm mostly following Slimming World while doing a bit of regular walking/jogging and drinking a ridiculous amount of water.

Usually, about 3-4 weeks into a new routine, I get sick of it and I stop walking, eat rubbish, and don't fill my water bottle for days. When this happens, the Chinese gains greatly, and my waistline loses. I normally pull it back after a week or two but I'm sick of the cycle - I was in one such Chinese funk when a friend gave me details of the famed "3 Day Diet".

Sometimes called the Birmingham Hospital Diet, or the Miami Hospital Diet, or the Military Diet, or the 3 Day Chemical Diet, it's based on three days of very little food followed by four days of normal eating. Normal eating as in a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner - not no breakfast, sandwiches, and chinese.

I'm not usually one for fads and I know that they don't work long term, but I have read so many mixed reports on this that I decided to give it a go.

Salt and Pepper are allowed, but no substitutions should be made.

The entire thing looks like this:

Day 1

I get up and decide to have a cup of decaff coffee with a splash of low fat milk. This is not on today's menu, but it's before 7am and I'm not thinking straight yet.

11am: I put off breakfast until after I do some house chores, so I sit down at 11am to a cup of green tea, a slice of 100% wholemeal bread (toasted, dry), a tablespoon of peanut butter, and half a grapefruit. This is okay! This isn't as measly as I thought it would be. It was nice and I cut the toast up into little pieces to make it last longer. Success!!

1pm: Boys go down for a nap and I'm hungry - usually now I would pick, but I decide that if I have dinner around 5pm, I can have lunch now. Lunch is a half cup of tuna - I just had a small can - and an ounce of cheddar cheese (just under 30g) with another piece of dry wholemeal toast. It was fine! Nice, even. But I would have liked some lettuce, onion, bit of sweetcorn and mayo, and another slice of bread. Had another cup of green tea.

3pm: I AM BLOODY STARVING. My stomach is making a noise that only dogs can hear. I cook chicken, sweetcorn and potatoes for everyone else and resist the urge to pick. Never before has a crispy buttery wedge of potato looked more appealing, so I serve dinner and get to chopping the carrots that are on the menu for my own dinner. I read somewhere that sometimes hunger is really thirst, so I fill my water bottle. Nope, it's definitely hunger. I put my dinner in the steamer and keep drinking water.

3:30pm: I can't wait any longer, I plate up my "dinner" - a cup of green beans, a cup of chopped carrots, and a piece of lean meat that's supposed to weigh 3oz - I have a piece of turkey breast that's about the size of a baby's hand. This looks like a baby dinner. It also looks really bland, so I use some pepper. The boys want pieces of carrot from my plate. I actually thought about it before handing them each a couple of pieces. JOEY DOESN'T SHARE FOOD!!

4pm: Weirdly, now I'm "allowed" an apple and a cup of ice cream. I have no idea how, or why, but I chop my pink lady up and mix her with a cup of HB vanilla. I'm full - for now.

7pm: I could eat a farmer's arse through a blackthorn bush. My eldest just came in with a bag of Galaxy minstrels and some Pringles. I eat most of them some. I feel sick.

Day 2

Right, this is it - game face on, let's do this properly! I wake up and have a cup of green tea.

10am: Breakfast is more green tea, dry wholemeal toast, a poached egg, and half a banana. It's fine, if a little small looking, and it fills me temporarily.

11am: Ready for second breakfast now, M'lord. More poxy green poxy tea.

12pm: Starving. Going to have lunch now - 5 saltine crackers, a half cup of tuna and more green tea. I'm not entirely sure what Saltine crackers are, so I googled, and the closest I could get were the Jacob's ones in the little snack packs. Surely to jaysus they don't mean 5 halves? I have the whole snack pack with my measly little can of tuna. It's all drier than a Nun's fandango and I have gained a new respect for mayonnaise and onions.

1pm: Must not pick at food must not pick at food must not pick at food have green tea
2pm: Must not pick at food must not pick at food eat other half of banana from breakfast
3pm: Must not pick at food must not pick at food must not pick at food have green tea

4pm: I have to have dinner, I'm going to faint with hunger. May be a slight exaggeration but I need FOOOOD. Dinner today is a cup of broccoli, a half cup of carrots, and........two beef franks? I would rather eat a ball of my own deep fried snot than eat frankfurters or hotdogs (snouts and ears) so that's not going to be happening. I have two turkey sausages instead. They're disgusting so I only eat one. I also have a shitload more broccoli, as in a whole head, because a cup of broccoli is tiny and I am a large hungry woman with a horrible sausage and have forgotten to put the carrots on.

5pm: I can now have half a banana but I ate that earlier, so I can have my vanilla ice cream again. I eat slightly more than a cup.

7pm: Husband arrives back home. This conversation happens.
Husband:  "I'm a bit hungry, are you hungry?"
Me, through gritted teeth and trying to disguise stomach rumbles: "Ah, a bit. Not really."
Husband: "I'm peckish, would you eat a chinese?"
Me, considering the moral implications for all of two seconds: "Eh...I'd eat a small bit, yeah."
Husband: "What will I get?"
Me: "Spicy chips, smoked chicken, chicken wings, curry sauce and fried rice. And a can of 7up."

And there endeth my 3 Day Diet experience. I lost two pounds in two days - probably all water because I drank so much green tea that I was up and down for a wee constantly. I thought about food constantly. I thought about cooking and recipes and bread and cakes and pastries and pies and puddings and things I'd never even look at.

Absolutely not for me, back to ye olde tried-and-tested bottle of water a day, walk in the morning, and lots of veg and lean protein with limited carbs.

What's the stupidest thing you've tried for weight loss?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Essie Summer Neon Collection 2015


Essie seem to have a new collection out every few months - and you'll hear no complaints from me in that department. This is their Summer Neon Collection for 2015 - Make Some Noise (that's what it's called, I'm not being twee).

I bought the mini kit, containing four of the shades. The more I look at Groove is in the Heart the more I wish I had ordered it too. I may have just ordered it. Maybe. 

Anyway - here's the kit I got from my usual eBay seller (Beautyzone2007).

The shades included are (L-R) Make Some Noise, All Access Pass, Coacha' Bella, and Vibrant Vibes. 

Let's have a look at them individually, because there are a couple of things I want to mention. As always, swatches are indoors and outdoors.

Make Some Noise

This blue was quite hard to photograph, it's a little darker than it appears here but it's a beauty - and this was ONE COAT. It levelled out beautifully, and dried really quickly.

All Access Point

I had issues with this one - the formula was quite strange. I love the colour, it's a gorgeous blurple that looks really vibrant, but it kept glooping on me while I was applying it. It was almost as if it were drying too quickly and sticking to itself. I haven't read about any issues with this anywhere else, so it may have been my bottle - but this wasn't my favourite of the bunch.

Coacha' Bella

Described as "molten magenta", I think this was my favourite of the four. It's really bright and happy, and not always a colour I see in Summer collections. No application issues at all with this one.

Vibrant Vibes

This was a little streaky but dried out well. That's two coats in the picture, I could have done with another light one. It's not a colour I'd go for myself - it doesn't do anything for my skin tone - but it would be fantastic with a tan and it's a really lovely colour for the time of year.

Overall I'm impressed, but Essie are a fairly reliable brand anyway. One thing I'd say about the neons - they're not traditional neons like the OPI or China Glaze ones, they're easier to work with (with the exception of All Access Point) and they didn't have that slightly rubbery finish.

Anything catching your eye? Have you also got Groove is in the Heart by Dee-Lite on a loop in your head?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The MAC Lipstick Tag & MAC Haul


I was tagged by lovely Aisling from Total Makeup Addict (also one of my greatest enablers) to do this MAC lipstick tag, so I decided to tie it together with a few of the new MAC bits & bobs I picked up recently.

Firstly, the tag. You can read Aisling's post here.

The MAC Lipstick Tag

Firstly, you can check out swatches and reviews of all my MAC lipsticks in this post.

1. What was your first MAC lipstick? 
It was Shy Girl, and it was a gift from my lovely friend Karie who did my makeup for my wedding in 2012.

2. What was your most recent MAC lipstick acquisition?
After trying to do this tag last week and realising I didn't have a red, I bought Russian Red. It would have been unfair for it to travel from Brown Thomas on its own, so it was kindly joined by two from the MAC is Beauty collection - Make Me Gorgeous and Call The Hairdresser. They bring my total up to 14 - this time last year I had one...

3. What is your favourite MAC lipstick?
At the minute, it's Call The Hairdresser from the MAC is Beauty collection. It's an Amplified one, which is my favourite finish, and it's very wearable. Overall, I think I'd choose either Faux or Viva Glam II. Or Brave.

4. What MAC lipstick do you think does it all?
If I'm in a hurry and I have to grab one, I grab Brave. It's a gorgeous shade that looks different depending on the lipliner, it's a Satin finish, and it's a really lovely colour.

5. Do you always wear lipliners with MAC lipsticks?
Not always, but I have been wearing Edge to Edge liner an awful lot under lipstick recently. I also love Stripdown, Soar and Whirl. Non-MAC ones that I love are NYX Mauve, Peekaboo Neutral, Rimmel's Eastend Snob, Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk and Essence Satin Mauve.

6. What's your favourite finish in a MAC lipstick and why?
I love the Amplified ones, I love how they look, how creamy they feel, how they don't dry my lips out, and how they last ages. I love the look of Matte ones but they're so drying on me. I really like Satin too.

7. Have you ever repurchased a MAC lipstick?
No,  but I strongly thought about repurchasing Faux because mine fell out of the bullet. I know people depot them all the time but I don't like lipstick in pots, I prefer the bullet. Thankfully with the help of a lighter and a bit of a push, she is at home in her bullet once more. I think I would have bought another one if it hadn't worked.

8. Do you regret buying any MAC lipsticks?
I think Hue may have been a bit of a waste of money. The Glaze finish is quite strange and it's not a lipstick I've reached for very often because it doesn't seem to last long on my lips. I do like it - but it's probably the one I've used the least. Velvet Teddy can be a nightmare when my lips are dry but I don't think I regret buying it - it has probably made me take a little more care of my lips and include them in my night routine!

9. What is your favourite nude/pink/red MAC lipstick?
My favourite nude is Patisserie.
My favourite pink is Cosmo.
My favourite red is Russian Red.

10. What MAC lipstick is on your shopping list?

Image: Vogue

I want something from the upcoming collaboration with Giambattista Valli - I love the look of Margherita (the first one in the picture) but I'm not sure if it's too bright for me to pull off. You can have a look at swatches on Temptalia here.

Recent MAC Purchases

I wanted to get something from the Wash and Dry collection and had the sculpting powder in my head - when I saw Karen's review I knew I had to have it, so I ordered it from House of Fraser along with a couple of Urban Decay bits and a MAC lipliner (Boldly Bare). From Brown Thomas I ordered the three lipsticks I mentioned earlier - Russian Red, Make Me Gorgeous and Call The Hairdresser along with a Fluidline from the MAC is Beauty collection in the shade Looking Good. 

I got the face sculpt powder in the shade Delicates:

Fluidline in Looking Good:

I got this more for the Autumn months, but I wasn't sure if it was Limited Edition or permanent and was afraid I wouldn't be able to get it in a few months time. I know that Fluidline is intended as a liner, and it's lovely, but I also love a tiny dot of it blended out as a cream eyeshadow (white mark on my nose courtesy of my glasses):

Lipsticks in Make Me Gorgeous:

Russian Red:

And Call The Hairdresser:

I also got a lipliner in the shade Boldly Bare:

I'm really happy with my purchases, and thank you Aisling for the lipstick tag!

I'd love to know if you've bought anything nice from MAC recently or if you've something on your wishlist.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Glossybox June 2015


If you follow my blog, you may have noticed that this month's Glossybox review is a bit late.

That is because it was shite.

I honestly had zero enthusiasm about even taking these photographs, but anyway - here we go, Glossybox June 2015. The Festival Edit.

-------MONU Spa Rosewood Reviving Mist-------

Full or Sample: Sample (50ml) | Worth: £3.58/€5.01 approx | Available At: Monushop

This is an "energising mist [that] will hydrate, revitalise and gently perfume the skin" Gently perfume. GENTLY PERFUME. No. This is full on, in-your-face Old Lady flowers. In your face. The musty smell might revive some, but all it made me want to do was open a window.

-------Kueshi Anticellulite Booster Anticellulite Lotion-------

Full or Sample: Full | Worth: £14.55/€20.36 | Available At: Kueshi

Right. This is the Festival Edit. Leaving aside the fact that I think the only think you can do for cellulite is prevention, would I not have had to start using this months ago to give it time to work before any of the Festivals? It's a full sized product, which is great, but if only it were a little more useful. This went down like a lead balloon - I put it in the Christmas drawer, so if you get this in a hamper - you're welcome. 

-------Glossybox Flash Tattoos-------

Full or Sample: Full | Worth: £6.50/€9.10 | Available At: Exclusive to the box

Stop it. Stop it with the tattoos. Please. STOP IT. If I want to wear jewellery, I'll wear jewellery. If I wanted a tattoo, I'd get a tattoo. If I wanted to muck around with water and paper tattoos I'd go back to 1992 when they came free with Bubblegum. 

-------Essence XXXL Shine Lipgloss-------

Full or Sample: Full | Worth: £1.85/€2.59 | Available At:  Penneys

I like Essence. It's a lovely affordable brand. I don't subscribe to a luxury beauty box to get something I can pick up anywhere. UK Glossybox subscribers got nail polish, the rest of us got a lipgloss. It's nice, but I already have several of these. And my diamond shoes are too tight. 

-------Halo Fragrance Free Facial Wipes-------

Full or Sample Size: Sample | Worth: £1.20/€1.68 | Available At: Halowipes

I understand why these are here, wipes are an essential for any festival. I'd have liked a bigger packet, and something more natural like Water Wipes, but that's nitpicking (ME?!). They fit well with the theme of the box, and they're handy for popping in the handbag so I can wipe lipstick off my hand in Boots. The wipes themselves are fine - but I won't be using them on my face. 

Overall Impression

Cost: €18.74
Worth: €38.74

Next month promises a French theme in collaboration with an illustrator, so I'm hoping that the focus won't just be on the box design - two bad boxes in a row and I'll be cancelling, so fingers crossed the July one comes through!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tag: The A-Z of Me


I was tagged ages ago to do this by one of my favourite bloggers, Danielle from Lilliwhite Rose - but it has taken me so long to fill in all the blanks! Anyway, I'm fairly happy with how it is, even though some letters were like Sophie's Choice and others sat looking at me for weeks - but here is my A-Z of me!

A: I am completely, utterly, hopelessly addicted to shopping. I'm allergic to money - I can't wait to get rid of it. I try to keep my sensible Mammy head on and always get the adult responsible things out of the way first, but after that - just let me loose in a chemist for an hour. The fact that I love getting post too doesn't help - combine the both of them and you have someone who probably owns a share in most of the major beauty websites at this stage.

B: Fellow Buffy fans don't even need me to say anything else here - you get it. There are no words for how much of an effect this TV show had on me as a teenager - it introduced me to a world of strong females, quick wits, and some utterly fantastic drama. You want to know something? I still haven't watched all of the last episode. You want to know something else? I'm going to roll this next picture out again, because.......well, any excuse. I'll never laugh at a fandom again.

C: My Mam played the Organ at mass for years, so I was up singing with the choir from a very young age, I used to do solos for Communions. Alas, the dreaded self-consciousness of my teenage years thwarted my public singing, so I was too nervous and shy to join in with the choir at school.

D: I'm a huge daydreamer. I'd say I easily waste two hours a day thinking about stuff that won't happen, or things I'd do if I were thin/rich/someone else, or imagining scenarios or even having fake arguments with people who piss me off. Please tell me I'm not the only one who does that?!

E: I've been to England three times, and to the Isle of Man once. Other than that, I've never left the country. I've always wanted to go to America and Iceland, one day I will get there!

F: I watch the entire ten seasons of Friends at least once a year. I can quote it on demand, and some of my happiest text exchanges with my sister have just been constant Friends quotes over and back for hours!

G: I've always held Gone With the Wind up there with my favourite movies. I watch it every Christmas and again during the year - but I read the book for the first time recently. It was genuinely one of the most pleasurable reading experiences of my adult life - I fail to see how anything could come remotely close to how much I enjoyed it. An epic, wonderful, book, one I was so sad to finish. I will be re-reading it. More than once.

H: I drank so much coffee when I was feeding the twins at night that it triggered an abnormal heart rhythm. As a result, I can't have caffeine at all now or it sets it off galloping for days on end. I haven't had caffeinated coffee or coke in nearly a year, and don't miss it. I love the taste of coffee so I have decaff.

I: I love being from Ireland. Despite the backwards nature of our country in some respects, I do think we are moving with the times. I feel that in a small country like this, we pull together really well - there's such an enormous sense of pride and camraderie when something happens like the passing of the Same Sex Marriage Referendum, or Ireland winning the Six Nations. Yes, there can be begrudgery, but there are enough good people out there to squash that down. It's a beautiful country too, I never tire of looking at pictures of our landscape.

J: I live in jeans. My favourites are the bootcut ones from the Inspire range at New Look - there's an extra bit of material around the stomach, so instead of accentuating the dreaded C-Section pouch, they pull right up over it. I actually only own one pair of trousers that aren't jeans - and they're long shorts for walking.

K: I have my Kindle Fire about a year now, and it's one of the best things I've ever bought. I swore I'd stop buying paperbacks to save space (which didn't happen) but I love how portable the Kindle is and how I can carry hundreds of books with me. Oh alright, I also use it to play Pet Rescue before I go to sleep. Busted.

L: I'm a big list person. I make lists of lists. I have different notebooks for different lists. I am that person who sits down at the end of the year and watches those "Top 100 Greatest Movie Moments" shows with an A4 pad and a pen. Complete listaholic.

M: I can't imagine life without music. It's a huge part of our every day life, even if it's just humming a song or singing along to the radio. I love so many different kinds of music, I'm really enjoying Spotify when I'm out walking, and I love how diverse music is. There's a lot of shit out there too, but it's worth wading through to get to the good stuff.

O: My confirmation name is Olivia. Our sixth class teacher at school said we had to take a Saint's name, so I was determined to find something other than Mary. I had to bring in a religious calendar and point out where it said St. Olivia's feast day to prove that she was a saint - her feast day is June 10th. Apparently she was a young teenager who cured people and therefore was beheaded, which is grim.......When I started secondary school, one of the topics of conversation that first week was what we all picked for our Confirmation names. Our school was the only one made to choose saints - the girl next to me said "Melissa, after Melissa George, Angel in Home and Away" - I was livid, but I'm grateful now because christ knows what I would have picked given free reign. Amazing how much fuss there is over a name you will never, ever, EVER use. Although it filled up the "O" slot of this, so there's that....

P: I have met both female Presidents of Ireland. My sister and Mam and I went to a garden party in 1995/1996 when Mary Robinson was President, which is a cool thing to have done. I met President McAleese in a tiny pub in the back end of Co. Leitrim one night, I vaguely remember saying something lick-arsey to her but she was great craic, dancing round the place (with other people, obviously, not just dancing round on her own like a mad yoke).

Q: I was an Internet Quizmaster for a few months back about 6/7 years ago. I worked the odd shift in the Quiz Room on Prodigits, a wap site. I spent hours devising and hosting themed quizzes (all on a phone). So much work and effort put into it and my husband could not fathom what I was at. Nor can I, looking back.......a supreme waste of time.

R: Reading will always be my first love. I have been a reader since I could read, and I have devoured books since I was old enough to take them from the library on a Friday evening. Some day I will do a post on how I read so much but to me it's just what I've always done, I never understand when people think it's impressive to read 12 or 14 books in a month - I used to be able to do 6 a week!

S: My sister is one of my two best friends (the other being my husband). She gets me instantly, and she always knows what I'm on about (a rare skill). I love her to pieces and I'm so glad to have her. She blogs sporadically too, you can follow her here.

T: I am a twin Mammy. Most of you know that my twin boys were a complete shock - I was told up to 28 weeks that it was one baby, then I asked for a scan because I was worried about the placenta from my previous pregnancy - and I heard "I think I see another head". Big mad rush to Dublin and consultants and clinics and yep, there were two of 'em in there. They were born on October 1st 2013, and they are wired, but they are brilliant. They're such craic and I love watching them learning every day. People ask some bloody weird questions when you have twins though.......that's a blog post in itself .....

U: Is for utterly ridiculous. This is a phrase my husband and I say regularly, no idea why, if one of us says "that's ridiculous" the other will always go "utterly ridiculous" in a faux posh voice. No idea where it started!

V: One of the nicest engagement presents we got in 2012 was a Belleek vase. It's tall, cream, and holds a small to medium bunch of flowers. I keep a fresh bunch in it every week, and I adore it, it doesn't take up too much space but it brightens up the kitchen and makes me feel happy. So thank you A&A!

W: One of the benefits of doing several courses after leaving college early was that I became a pretty fast touch typist. I still do the odd typing test to keep me up to speed (pun intended), this morning I was at 89 wpm which is a little slow for me but I'm so grateful that it's something I learned to do, it has come in so handy.

X: I've broken a few bones and had a few X-Rays, but my most recent one was a few months ago when I had to have a dental x-ray because my dental records showed that all my back teeth were missing. A clerical error, apparently. Which is slightly worrying. But anyway - all is right once more.

Y: I look younger than my age and probably always will. I was always the one out of the group who couldn't get into a nightclub. I get asked for ID buying wine, my husband has been confused for my father, and I have been mistaken for my 10 year old's older sister. When I was in the hospital having the twins, I would get "oh, you're so young for twins" - grand, just shove one back in so - I think not looking my age has contributed to never feeling like an adult. Because I don't. AT ALL.

Z: I want to take the boys to the zoo this year but the logistics of it terrify me. I get all flustered at the thoughts of the double buggy on various methods of public transport but I am going to do it, I'll bring my sister (and sandwiches) - I love the zoo and could walk round it for hours! Although I probably won't wear ballet slippers the next time I go........seriously don't know what goes on in my head sometimes.....

I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you read this and would like a go, please do let me know where I can read your post!