Thursday, May 29, 2014

What's Going On?


I don't even know where to start with this, I have so much I want to talk about. Bear with me, this is a rant, and it's a long one.

Over the past week or so, every time I turn the laptop on I read something else that leaves me pretty much like this:

I think it's probably easiest to list them, and see where it goes from there.

1. "Kimye" on Honeymoon. Supposedly, Kim Kardashian (famous for having a sex tape) and Kanye West (famous for taking microphones off award winners on stage) flew into Shannon to have their Honeymoon here. Fair play to them, they're entitled to go wherever they want. What I don't understand is the mass hysteria that followed - there were people actually out trying to find them, get pictures of them, they were discussed on twitter, facebook, the news - every day this week. Signs were erected in their honour. Sightings were sent into radio stations. Are we so obsessed with celebrity that this is what passes for national interest now? I haven't seen a picture of them here. I don't want to. I don't CARE. They're just people. Ask Vincent Browne.

[Source: Mark Farrelly via]

2. Solange Knowles was offered a $1 million deal to compete in an Ultimate Fight deal after footage was leaked of her attacking her brother-in-law JayZ in a lift. The footage showed Solange flying at him furiously until she was pulled away by security. I know that this was more than likely a publicity stunt from the guy behind the championship, but can you imagine if the same deal had been offered to Chris Brown after he beat Rihanna up? Why is this okay when a woman does it? In the days following the incident, media here even held a phone-in to see if there were any women in Ireland named Solange. WHAT??!! Violence is violence, she should have been reprimanded instead of glorified.

3. "Miss Personality". The Tubridy Show on 2FM are running a competition to find someone to send to the Miss Ireland pageant. The winner will be selected based purely on personality, not on looks. Which is admirable. Or, it would be, if it wasn't so inherently disgusting. I happened to hear the "entrants" this morning - one lady called herself "Miss Grecian Feline" because her first name was Greek and she liked cats. Ryan went on to mock her nickname, mock her for liking cats, and insult her home county (Cavan - "We can't have a Miss Ireland from Cavan") but all in his usual jokey, jingly way. He also had "Miss Leinster Lady"  who had a passion for rugby - Ryan asked her "is that only because of the Kearneys, yeah?" - and "Miss Pearl" - Miss Pearl was a foreign national who had moved to Ireland as a young child. She told us all that people mistook her for being Swedish because she was blonde and blue-eyed, and talked about her love of chess. Ryan used the words "geek" and "nerd" several times when discussing chess and when discussing comic books with the first entrant - he asked her what her favourite Superhero was, and when she replied "Wolverine" he said "Tell the truth, you don't like him at all, you just like Hugh Jackman".She said that if she got through, she'd wear a wetsuit and sun hat in the Swimwear round because she felt that not being skinny wasn't a valid reason for not entering Miss Ireland. "Swimwear round" you say? Yes. Miss Personality will have to partake in the Swimwear round, where they will stand on a table and have the judges draw circles around all their fat parts. Okay, not really, but it will be a "closed door" judging, which is nonsensical. I fail to see what this is achieving, to be honest. Ryan gets to patronize 8 young women and laugh it off because "it's all a bit of fun". If you want to be judged on your personality and not your looks, WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU ENTERING A PAGEANT? EDIT: Someone left me a comment saying I mixed the Miss Personality contestants up, I deleted it by accident. With all due respect, I don't listen to Ryan Tubridy's show. On the morning that I caught that, I was out and happened to hear it. I was typing that night, from memory. My problem was with Ryan's responses and questions, not with the entrants.  I apologise if I mixed the women up, I didn't mean to make them seem interchangeable. 

4. "The Sex Factor". I heard about this today on the radio - it's a new reality show that will feature 8 men and 8 women who all want to become porn stars. The winners (one male and one female) will get to star in a porn movie with the presenter, Belle Knox. There's a hashtag & everything, so we can all play along at home. YIPPEE, I know I can't wait to sit at home salivating over nude people and getting them to engage in various sexual acts in the name of entertainment. How have I existed this long without it?

5. "Skin for 1D". This was trending on twitter tonight. I clicked on it, and much like the beyond belief tag "cut for Bieber" (in which Justin Bieber fans cut themselves to show support for him after his arrest) this features fans of One Direction uploading naked pictures of themselves "in support" of the boys, who are reported to smoke weed. I couldn't care less what they smoke, but I do care that there are young men and women out there who think it's a good idea to take a photograph of themselves naked and upload it online. I clicked on the tag once and saw multiple pictures of (presumably) teenage girls, one spreading her vagina apart with her fingers "in support" of the boys. How is that supporting anything? What the hell is going on in the mind of someone who thinks that is okay? The comments on photos are usual twitter fare - 50% troll, 50% OMG, but it really saddens me that a young woman can throw away her dignity (not to mention potential future employment) over a pop group. If you want to bare all, go ahead. But please, for the love of humanity, don't do it because some boyband you're never going to meet have allegedly smoked weed. You're worth more than that.

6. "#YesAllWomen" and the reaction to it. This was another hashtag that trended during the week - mostly in response to the theory that misogyny was behind Elliot Rodger's killing spree. Go have a look at it yourself - it's just shocking. (HERE). What was even more shocking was the response from some men - note, I said SOME men, not ALL men. I saw one lady mention something sexist thrown up by Google, and she was almost immediately shot down by a response from a young guy saying "So Google is sexist then, stop using it". You don't have to scroll very far to see why the majority of points on that tag are still relevant. Contrary to popular belief, I don't think feminism has "gotten out of control" or that we've all turned into a nation of man-haters - I do believe that sexism and misogyny is absolutely rampant and it's up to us as society, and as parents, and as brothers, sisters, friends - as PEOPLE - to stop it. Nobody should have to feel afraid walking home. Nobody should have to consider if what they choose to wear on a night out could possibly be interpreted as a come-on. Nobody should have to explain themselves if they say "No", or fear that by saying no, they are branded a slut, a whore, a cocktease, a bitch. This is a screenshot (names removed) from just a few minutes ago.

This isn't good enough, guys. There are very, very good men out there, and equally there are some horrible women out there too - but the fact that the majority of women have experienced sexism, harassment or misogyny at one point or another means that something needs to be done. As the mother of three boys I feel an incredible responsibility to do all I can to make sure they do not think this is okay - but I can't control what their peers do or say.

7.  The people who comment on certain Radio/TV Talkshow facebook pages. Find wall, bang head, repeat. Leaving aside the most appalling grammar and spelling, pages like this prove two things. Firstly, that they thrive on stirring people to fight amongst themselves. Secondly, that there are still many backward, ignorant, idiots alive and well in the country. Example - one talkshow page posted something about obesity levels today and instead of asking what people thought, or if they thought the studies were accurate, they asked if it was okay to call people fat "to get them to lose weight". Here's a gem from that discussion (which also contained the comment "Send the women in that picture out to the starvin blacks in Africa"):

That guy in the middle is obviously fairly young. Therein lies the problem. I have three sons. How in the hell am I supposed to teach them to be respectful, empathetic, honest and decent human beings when this is the sort of cretin they're undoubtedly going to be mixing with at some stage? A lovely lady I talk to on twitter had something ridiculously stupid about her hair colour shouted at her from a man in a car the other day. This is 2014, folks. 

I could go on and on - about the man who sexually assaulted a woman and then blamed his medication, about a certain newspaper digging up pictures of the "girl" Elliot Rodger was rejected by and printing pictures of her in a bikini - but I fear I'd explode altogether. 

In the words of He-Man (and 4 Non Blondes) WHAT'S GOING ON??!!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Giant Haul of Ridiculousness


Over the past 6 weeks or so, my shopping got a bit daft. In the same way that Tom Cruise felt the need.... the need for speed, I feel the need for stuff, stuff, and more stuff. I love it. I love tat and rubbish and crap and clutter. I LOVE STUFF.

Hence, this. Now in fairness, this was all since the start of April, and we're almost in June now. So there's that. Also, only two things out of this whole giant pile were over €10. So there's that too.

All items bought online are linked in bold, so you can be as silly with your money as I am.

All prices are correct at time of publishing this post, based on exchange rate at time of purchase. 

Bite Necklace, eBay: €0.67. Etude House Juicy Cocktail Nail Trio, eBay: €4.76.

Nature Republic Friends Walnut Hand Cream, eBay: €5.05. Lioele L'cret Magic Lipstick, eBay €4.99. Butterfly Foot Peeling Mask, €3.35.

The stem on the handcream is a little headphone jack cover!!

Wonder Woman Notebook (size B5), eBay: €8.65.

Kobo cover, Boot Sale, 2 for €1 (I got a red one too). Sony Xperia E Skin, eBay: €3.59

Essence "Bloom Me Up" lipstick, Penneys: €2.49. Sponge Nail Polish Remover, Penneys: €3.79.

All Penneys: Coral Bag, €9.00. Polka Dot Shoes, €5.00. Striped Long Sleeved Top, €6.00.
Striped Peeptoe Shoes, €6.00. Coral Vest, €3.00. White Long Sleeved Top, €5.00. Coral Chain Necklace, €5.00.

Here's a better look at the white top, I got it to layer over different coloured vests. It's really light and great if you're self-conscious about arms! I got the coral flats in Penneys a few weeks ago too, I think they were €5.

I also got these for the boys - I don't even follow football but I thought they were cute.

Baby football kits - €5 each, Penneys.

Saved By the Bell T-shirt, Redbubble: €23.

Me being an eejit, I managed to order this in a man's 3XL size instead of a girly fit 2XL (Size 16-18 approx), so it's actually more like a Saved By the Bell dress. Grand for schlubbing around the house with a pair of leggings, or for prompting your significant other to ask "what in the name of jesus are you WEARING?", which is my favourite reaction.

Lastly, I got a few bits in Tesco:

They have an offer on at the minute, six cans of any flavour of San Pellegrino for under €4 so I got the lemon ones. I treated myself to some peach roses, and I also got InStyle - I've picked it up and put it back a million times, but I wanted a magazine for the weekend and I said I'd get it if they had one of the coral polishes left.

This was one quick coat done on Friday before I went to vote:

I added another coat when I came home, but it had chipped by Saturday and was pretty much non-existent yesterday. Boo, Nails Inc. BOO. No wonder they give so much of it away with promotions.

The roses were really gorgeous, and are still going strong, they're €3.50 a bunch but mine were discounted.

I picked this up in Tesco, too - Treacle Moon shower gel. It was less than €4 and smells UNREAL. Also, adorable packaging.

There's also stuff from eBay that I ordered but didn't get yet:

Blue Flower Statement Necklace, eBay: €12.20 (I know that's expensive for eBay but LOOK AT IT). Nail Art Source Book, eBay: €4.39. Pink Cotton/Metal Bracelet, eBay: €0.86 (I got this in pink and green). Nail Gradient Sponge Set, eBay: €0.73. Harry Potter Time Turner Necklace, eBay: €0.95. Statement Necklace, eBay: €4.39

I think you can agree, I plainly needed all that. Necessities.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream No.13 - Palest BB Cream ever?


I placed a few orders on eBay a while ago during one of my maudlin "I must buy things" moods. I picked a few quirky Korean things that I thought looked pretty, including this Missha BB Cream.

Thanks to lovely blogs like Makeupmonster, I've been intrigued by Asian BB creams and cosmetics for a while, but have never used any apart from the little sample sachets that come free with eBay orders. I ordered this 20ml mini size from this seller for a total of €5 (P&P was free). Please note - on that listing it shows the full size, which has a pump dispenser. The mini size has a normal screw top.

At first look, I thought it was going to be far too pale for me - believe me, that's not a problem I come across regularly.

It's thick, much thicker than some other BB creams, but blends well. Here's a gammy picture, left face has nothing on and right face just has the BB cream.

The coverage was really nice for a BB cream and it felt super light on my skin. It lasted all day, but I'm not sure how well it would hold up if I was doing anything other than arsing about the house. It's still a bit shiny on my nose and on one cheek so I think if I was going out I'd use a small bit of powder.

For a shade comparison, I grabbed some foundations - I compared it with Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24hr in 005, Rimmel Match Perfection in Ivory (Ivory my hole, it's the darkest out of the four), and Max Factor Facefinity 3 in 1 in Warm Almond:

If you're a fan of Teint Idole, but you don't want to waste it for every day, I'd definitely recommend this BB cream. It's cheap as chips, it arrived quickly, has an SPF, and it feels lovely on the skin.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Goodreads Tag!


I've been tagged by one of my favourite bloggers Chloe (Nurse Fancy Pants) to do this Goodreads tag, and I couldn't wait to do it.

I love Goodreads. I've been a member since March 2013 and I regret not joining sooner! Goodreads is a dream for book lovers. If you're looking for reviews, summaries, suggestions, book groups - you will love it. My page is here, so feel free to add me if you want. On to the tag!

What was the last book you marked as read?
It was The Wronged Sons by John Marrs. I finished it yesterday morning, it was a really unique thriller about a man who walks out on his family for no apparent reason, then turns up again on the doorstep 25 years later. It was a debut novel too, which is impressive.

What are you currently reading?
I'm still trying to get through The Marriage Plot for my 1,001 books challenge but it's so tedious. I'm also about 90% of the way through The Crucible by Arthur Miller, I'm working my way through Bad Science by Ben Goldacre and I'm also partly done with Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins by Rupert Everett. Oh, and The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison but it's like a sleeping tablet in book form. That sounds like a lot - but some of them are things I can't read all in one sitting, so I take a chapter or two between reading other books.

What was the last book you marked as to-read?
Fly Away by Kristin Hannah. the cover.

What do you plan to read next? 
I want to read another Stephen King book, I haven't read any in a few weeks. Maybe Desperation or IT, it's been a long time since I read either of those. I also want to re-read Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, and I want to pick another book off the 1,001 books list.

Do you use the star rating system?
I do, but it annoys me. I wish it were a 1-10 system like IMDB use - I find the stars limiting. I can really enjoy a book but not give it 4/5 because I don't find it on the same level as some of my favourites. I rarely give a book 5.

Are you doing a 2014 reading challenge?
I am indeed, I let it fall by the wayside last year and then tried to speed-read in December to catch up (it didn't work) so this time I set it to 50 books. I'm halfway there (wooooah-oh) so I'll see how I get on and if I hit the 50, I'll increase by 10.

Do you have a wish list?
For books? No. I just read as I'm going along. Sometimes I get the urge to read about particular subjects, so I look books up and add them to my amazon basket or download them. I do write down the names of books I hear about on the radio so I can look them up later.

What book do you plan to buy next?
I want to buy Sinéad Crowley's one, Can Anybody Help Me?. I heard her talking about it on the radio and it sounded really good, so I'll be picking that one up. I'm actually going to mark that one as to-read now.

Who are your favourite authors?
Stephen King, Sarah Addison Allen, Jojo Moyes, Jodi Picoult, Alex Marwood, Harlan Coben, Andrew Gross, Alice Hoffman, Neil Gaiman, William Shakespeare, Roald Dahl.

Have you joined any groups?
I have, but I keep forgetting about them so I don't interact at all really. I have joined in with a few author chats, which are really fun! You get to leave questions for your favourite authors, the majority will answer them for you.

Thanks so much to Chloe for the tag, I tag anyone who would like to do the post, please leave a link if you do it, I'd love to see your answers.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Nail Basics: How to use Striping Tape


Today I have a tutorial of sorts, prompted by lovely D over at Lilliwhiterose - stripes! I love doing striped nails but I'm beyond hopeless at them if I don't have striping tape. I genuinely can not draw a straight line freehand - I never could, even in Art projects at school. I always need a ruler or guide. I'd heard about striping tape, but when I googled it, I thought that because it was in different colours, that you were supposed to leave it on your nail and put a topcoat over it. That didn't appeal to me at all, so I avoided it for years. Finally, I came across a few nail blogs where they had used it as a guide - and a love affair was born!

First things first - striping tape is available on eBay and it's really, really cheap. You can also get it from Born Pretty Store - there's a discount code over on the sidebar if you want to order from them. You can use medical tape or sellotape either, but I find striping tape the handiest.

First things first - choose a base colour and paint your nails. If you want black to feature, then make sure you paint your nails the colour you want your stripes to be. The colour you paint on top needs to be a one-coater - or able to cover up the base colour. For mine, I chose a green and pink from Essie (Naughty Nautical and Bottle Service respectively), and my go-to white of the moment, Rita Ora for Rimmel White Hot Love. You'll also need a scissors and a tweezers.

You need to make sure your nails are 100% dry before you use any kind of tape. Sellotape leaves a horrible residue and tends to pull, so striping tape really is a great option here. I painted my nails in the morning and waited until lunchtime to do the stripes.

Here's a step-by-step graphic that's pretty self-explanatory:

Pop your striping tape on your nail, then cut it - leaving a little tail at the end so you can pull it off with the tweezers (this gives a cleaner line). When you've positioned your tape, paint over it in your chosen colour. Pull off the tape with the tweezers while the polish is still wet. This is hugely important - if you leave it to dry, you won't get a clean line. You can add a topcoat if you wish, but some of them can streak. I've found Essence and Sally Hansen the worst offenders - Poshe topcoat is good, and I'd try Seche if you have it.

You can use striping tape to create a variety of different looks - if you want a thicker stripe, just put two lines of tape together.

 I find it handy to loop my thumb through the tape and use it like this:

You can also make patterns or designs using tape - just make sure you pull the tape off in reverse. The piece of tape you put on last - pull that off first, and so on.

Striping tape is a really cheap way to get really impressive results. It's most definitely an essential item in the arsenal of any nail art fan!

If you have any ideas or requests for a Nail Basics post, please let me know in the comments and I'd be happy to oblige.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Throwback Thursday - A Rather Nineties Picture


For this week's Throwback Thursday post, I thought I'd risk the wrath of my sister and show you this incredibly embarrassing, incredibly nineties picture.

Christmas!! Ahh. Christmas crackers on the table, Coke in fancy glasses for my sister and I, and a log with a candle stuck in it on the window.

There are so many fashion statements going on in this picture - let's take a look individually.

1. Nana: Sparkly Disco Socks.

She loved a glittery sock, did Nana. She also loved a Christmas dinner - while she ate it with us, she insisted on cooking her own and carrying it up to our house.

2. Sister: Purple Scrunchies, Woolly Snot-Coloured Jumper, and what appears to be a fringe that she cut herself.

It's okay, she has gained mad skillz since then. You can see for yourself on her blog: Itsonlyme

3. Mother: Deirdre Barlow glasses and an orange velour onesie. 

I have no explanation for this. None. ORANGE.VELOUR.ONESIE.

Me. Sweet Merciful Jesus.

Velvet hat. Choker. Red cheeks. Oh, and no front tooth due to a bike fall. Classy bird.

You'd imagine this photograph would be bad enough, wouldn't you? The following year, I was wearing a waistcoat and had a very, very short bit of hair sticking out of the front of my head that I liked to call a side fringe. When Mommy Dearest sent a copy to relations in England, one of my lovely cousins did a pencil drawing of the photo and sent it over. Can you imagine the sequel to this in pencil?

If you're nice, I'll show it to you. Sometime. Maybe.

I'm sorry, Stephanie!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cauliflower Crust Pizza


Cauliflower seems to be a big thing right now. Anyone who has attended any kind of slimming class has no doubt heard how it can be substituted for numerous different things, including rice and potatoes. I've even seen a recipe for cauliflower "wings" - dupes for spicy chicken wings using Frank's Hot Sauce. Unfortunately myself and the hot sauce didn't get along (not to my taste at all) so I won't be trying that one - but I was dying to try a proper Cauliflower pizza base.

I've tried this a few times before, and it has never turned out right. This time I used Lauren Goslin's method, and adapted the recipe to suit both my measuring system and the Weight Watchers plan. This one has no dairy, no gluten, and is Filling & Healthy friendly (minus the toppings).

Lauren's original recipe and instructions can be found here: Oatmeal With a Fork

This is my adaptation. As you can see, I made it bold even more delicious with some cheese and chorizo - but you can use any topping you want.

For the pizza, you'll need:

Equipment: A grater, small saucepan, baking paper, tin or dish, chopping board, grater, bowl, sharp knife, clean towel, scales or scoop, whisk.
Ingredients: 230g fresh cauliflower florets, 1 medium egg, pinch of sea salt, pinch of garlic powder, pinch of oregano, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 45ml water, frylight. Toppings of your choice.

First, you need to put the water in a small saucepan and bring it to the boil.

While it's heating up, make cauliflower "rice" by grating the raw florets into a bowl.

Turn the heat off on the water and add the cauliflower to the saucepan. Cover it with a lid or small plate, then let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400f/200c/Gas 6.

Empty the "rice" out onto a clean tea towel and wring all the water out.

In a clean bowl, whisk together the egg, olive oil, garlic powder, oregano and salt.

Add the cauliflower to the egg mixture and mix everything thoroughly.

Take your baking paper or greaseproof paper and your tin, turn your tin upside down, draw around it, and cut the circle of paper to match the size of the tin.

Spray a little frylight on the tin and smooth the paper on top.

Spoon your cauliflower mix in and smooth it out evenly. You can use your spoon to create a raised edge to act as a crust, just push the mixture gently from the middle out towards the edges.

Bake the pizza in the preheated oven for 30-40 mins or until golden.

Add the topping of your choice - I used passata, some grated low fat cheese, and some chorizo. Increase the oven temperature to 450f/230c/Gas 8 and bake for 6-7 minutes or until topping is cooked.

Leave to cool slightly, then peel the paper off and plate it up.

I can't remember the exact PP worth of the topping I used - I know it was 2pp worth of cheese, the passata is free, and the chorizo was about 3pp worth I think, I weighed it out and sliced it really thinly. The entire pizza base comes to 3pp (2 for the egg and 1 for the oil). Total - 8pp, or free on F&H if you skip the cheese and use passata, veg and lean meat to top.

So gorgeous!!