Saturday, March 30, 2013

SNS & Spring Wants


I haven't done a Saturday Night Song in absolutely AGES, mainly because I only remember it around Sunday, but I'm going to do one this evening.

Firstly, I have a Spring Wishlist full of lovely Spring goodness - y'know what they say in The Secret, put it out there and you'll get it all. Or something. Anyway.

Etude House Ice-Cream Nail Polish - €3.65, eBay.
Pink & Grey Bowler Bag - €20, Littlewoods.
Titanium (you're singing it now, aren't you) Pendant - €14.23, Galibardy.
Lacoste Eau De Lacoste Perfume - €?.
Floral Ballet Flats - €19.75, Forever 21.

Get to work, universe.

On to tonight's SNS - one of the cheesiest song of the late 90's. This girl took an enormous change in musical direction after her early pop career - you can check out her... eh... more "grown up" music videos on Youtube if you look for Kaci Battaglia. For now, sing along. You know you know it.

Have a great Saturday & Happy Easter for tomorrow!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Book Review - The Dark Threads by Jean Davison


I haven't done a book review in a while, so I decided that this one was incredibly worthy of a post. I've had a strange fascination with old hospitals from a young age - I've always been intrigued by them. A while back, I came across a website devoted to High Royds, a former psychiatric hospital in West Yorkshire. I desperately wanted to read an account from someone who had been a patient there - I found this book and immediately ordered it on amazon.

The true story of how a bright teenager was transformed into a zombie thanks to a cocktail of drugs and electric shock treatment for an illness she never had.

Jean Davison lost years of her life when doctors misdiagnosed her mental state as chronic schizophrenia.

Sucked into the psychiatric system, she lost her job, her boyfriend, and all self-esteem. But eventually she managed to break free.

Told with humour and insight, using extracts from her medical case notes, Jean's memoir raises disturbing questions about psychiatric treatment in the sixties and seventies, which are still relevant today. Her story offers hope to others.

Jean Davison was voluntarily admitted to High Royds in 1968 at the age of seventeen. She had been questioning her faith, her life, her environment, found it hard to deal with her lack of confidence in making friends, and questioned what direction her life was going in. Having spoken to a psychologist, she agreed to his suggestion that "a week of rest and observation" in High Royds would do her no harm.

Nine days later, Jean was receiving ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) and had been heavily drugged for supposed schizophrenia since she had been admitted. The months passed, and Jean became increasingly disillusioned with the treatment she was being given and the psychologists who supposedly knew best. She entered the hospital a bright, pretty, albeit very shy, girl, three days after attending a disco with her friends. She left it as a day patient months later, almost two sizes heavier, covered in boils, and drugged up to her eyeballs. It took another 3 and a half years for her to finally break free of the treatment for an illness she never suffered with. 

The book contains some notes from Jean's doctors at the time - information not revealed to her at the time of her treatment. It's an absolutely fascinating account - it's just unbelievable how Jean was treated without any actual diagnosis. If anything, her brother appeared to be in need of some kind of therapy. Her family life wasn't ideal by anyone's standards, but at the back of it we do get the sense that for all the hassle they caused her, her parents did care in their own way. What is amazing is that her family life wasn't considered as a potential cause for some of her problems in any way until years down the line.

Jean's accounts of trying to adjust to life outside the hospital are at times heartbreaking - her crippling shyness made it hard for her to endear herself to others, often being mistaken for being snobbish. One of the most touching conversations in the book was only a couple of lines long - between Jean and Arnold, a patient at the hospital.

On my first day back at the day hospital I sat in the armchair next to Arnold who immediately made the effort to turn and speak to me.

"Are you feeling better now, Jean?" His words came out laboured but clear.

"Yes, thank you, Arnold."

"Good. I am pleased."

Arnold, who spent his time sitting mutely staring into space. Arnold, who had great difficulty in speech and movement. Arnold, who had more reason for despair than I had ever known, had remembered my name, noticed my absence and shown concern for my welfare. Dear Arnold.

As we can tell from the fact that she has written this account, Jean did manage to regain control of her life and finally began to live it. From her own words at the end: 

The most frightening thing about what happened to me is that most of it could still happen to a young person, or indeed anyone, today. I was a casualty of the narrow medical perspective of conventional psychiatry. With almost no knowledge of me or the context of my life, psychiatrists swiftly began treatment for what their training told them was an illness requiring brain-changing drugs and ECT. 

That's a scary thought - have we all not, at one time or another, sat down and wondered what we were doing? Where we are going? Who we really are? I know it's unlikely now that someone presenting to a GP or psychologist with a crisis of faith or identity will be admitted to a psychiatric ward, but it is the case that more and more people are being prescribed drugs to deal with different situations. It would make you wonder if sometimes the pills are doled out as a first response rather than a last resort  (and without full disclosure of side effects).

Jean doesn't dismiss the use of modern medicine in the book, nor do I, but I was genuinely shocked to discover (statistic from a different source, not the book) that over 300,000 people in Ireland are currently taking a form of anti-depressant tablet. ECT is also still used. 

An extremely thought-provoking read.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mmm... cookies


Today, I baked cookies. I'm going to take this opportunity to do this:

Image from DVD - yes, that's how far I went to get that in there. Mock all you want.

Any excuse. Anyway,  I had an awful longing for some kind of baked good today, so I went through one of the many notebooks I scribble recipes in. I found this one for Peanut/Nutella cookies, originally taken from Six Sisters Stuff. As per usual, I didn't have a few of the ingredients, so I substituted. I didn't bother converting the U.S measurements, because I got some really handy measuring cups in Dealz before Christmas, do the job grand.

Here's what I used to make 12 HUGE cookies:

  • 1/2 cup Dairygold Lighter, room temperature.
  • 3/4 cup Crunchy Peanut Butter.
  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar.
  • 1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar.
  • 1 Egg.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  • 1 & 3/4 cups Self-Raising Flour.
  • 1/4 cup Nutella.

You can click the link up there to the original website to get the "proper" recipe, but this worked fine.

First, preheat the oven to 350°f/180°c/Gas Mark 4.

Beat the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar together using an electric mixer. Add the egg and beat again (beat agaaaaainnnn, beat agaaaaainnnn - sorry).

In a different bowl, measure out your flour and add the salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix with a spoon or mixer, depending on whether or not you've already washed the blades and can't be bothered taking them out again.

Microwave the Nutella for 20 seconds on high power. Pour it over the dough, and fold in until it looks marbled.  

Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.

After 15-20 minutes, roll the dough into small balls, and place them on a sheet of baking paper.  Use a fork to flatten them down slightly. 

Not so huge.

Bake in the oven until the edges are brown (original recipe says 8-10 minutes but it took my oven almost 20, so keep an eye on your own oven).


When browned, leave them to cool on the sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and try not to pick at them until they're cooled and crunchy.

My family are always a bit wary when I take into baking, my success rate is NOT good. Did these pass the fussy test? 

You betcha.

Thanks, Six Sisters! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fascinating Vintage Photographs

Post removed due to Copyright

Bright Easter Nails with Barry M


Ahh, Springtime. It conjures up images of bunnies, lambs, daffodils, Easter eggs, and..... eh... snow.

This is the third or fourth day in a row that I've been looking out my window at either snow, rain or hail, and it's really been getting everyone down. School holidays are great, but not when you can't go outside for ten minutes without being pelted with a hailstone. Yesterday I was doing a cross stitch sampler for a christening, and I really wanted to do something on my nails to cheer myself up. I was inspired by these gorgeous threads:

I went through my stash and realised I've a serious amount of Barry M polishes that I've never even used. I picked 6 of the brightest ones:

With the exception of the yellow, I painted each nail a different base colour.

All the polishes except the green & turquoise applied like a dream - the pink and coral are potential one-coaters. The turquoise was a bit streaky, and the green took three coats to give full coverage. I used every polish except each nail's base colour to make dots - I couldn't find a dotting tool so I used a cocktail stick with the pointy bit chopped off. I used a nail polish remover wipe to clean it in between colours. Add a topcoat to smooth the dots out, and you're set.

It's seriously bright and it cheered me up no end! It reminds me a bit of Calippo shots, which are incidentally like multi-coloured hailstones. Oh, the irony.

Friday, March 22, 2013

NYX & China Glaze from Beauty Emporium


Stephanie over at Beauty Emporium has been running a fantastic sale since last Bank Holiday weekend. Sadly, O.P.I and Eyeko will no longer be available on the site, but that means two things: 1) New brand - yay! and 2) Stock sale - double yay!. I'm trying to stop buying so much nail polish because with a spreadsheet that currently stands at 336 (not including topcoats, basecoats or treatments) it's about time I started actually using what I have.

Bearing this in mind, I didn't immediately go on an O.P.I or China Glaze spree, I just picked one China Glaze polish that I'd been lusting after for ages for €6. I also ordered an NYX black label lipstick - they're currently half price at €5.

The lipstick I chose is Peachy from the black label range. I hadn't tried this before, and I was delighted to find out that it's a little more moisturising and lasts much longer than their round lipstick range, which I found needed to be applied too regularly to warrant wearing very often.

Peachy is a coral/peach lipstick with a strong gold shimmer in it, and it's perfect for Spring. It would compliment a tan really well too. It kinda reminds me of the Kardashians for some reason, whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.

On to the polish - I'm not Lion was released as part of the On Safari collection from last year. I've dithered about buying this several times, but when I saw it on sale for €6 with free postage, I had to snap it up.

Look at the holo glitters! Love. I was a bit wary of this one, because sometimes the holo is really strong on the bottle and not so strong on the nail. I don't have any liquid sand polish, but this to me is like a finer version - it dried semi-matte, to a very faint gritty texture. Two coats of topcoat made it super shiny.

Note - these pictures are all indoors, due to the flippin' rain of epic proportions we are all getting in Ireland at the minute.

I'm not sure if you need underwear with this, but I put on one coat of Revlon's Golden Charm just in case it was one of those deceptively hard to build up polishes.

Two coats of I'm not Lion and one coat of topcoat later:

Here's a close-up of that amazing glitter:

And with a flash (I could take pictures of this all day, it's so beautiful):

Finally, in direct.... rain light.....without a flash:

Not as holo but definitely every bit as pretty.

The sale has been extended until Easter Monday, so go and grab a bargain while you can! With free shipping to Ireland, sure it'd be rude not to.

P.S: Have you entered my 200 follower giveaway yet? It's open worldwide!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

NOTD: Catrice - Purple Reign


"Purple Reign" is one of the new shades in the Catrice Ultimate Nail Lacquer range. At first glance, I thought it was a plain purple, but it has an amazing blue shimmer in there.

See the blue shimmer?

The new Catrice polishes are supposed to have a new improved formula, but I didn't notice any difference on application. Maybe they'll last longer without chipping, I'll update this post after a few days and let you know if they do. I used a basecoat, two coats of polish, and a topcoat.

It's a warmer purple in reality, I'll try and edit the colour for you:

It's much more accurate in that second picture. The sparkle (and it's definitely just microglitter, even though it looks like flakies, it's not) shows up indoors too, albeit not as strong.

It's not the most mind-blowing polish I have, but it's nice. I added a coat of Essence "Cool Breeze" (one of the recent additions to their Nail Art Special Effect toppers) to bling it up a bit:

I think it looks like an indie polish, I'd really recommend getting the "Cool Breeze" topper if you see it.

Finally, here you go, this has been tormenting me since I bought the polish so you're all welcome to share my earworm.

Have a good Wednesday, and don't forget to enter my giveaway if you haven't already, it's open worldwide!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Giveaway Time!


I recently hit over 200 followers on GFC, and I've been gathering a few little bits & pieces to give away to one person to say thanks. If I could do 220 individual prizes, I would, but I can't. It's not much, but I hope it will put a smile on someone's face!

Open internationally to followers of this blog by any means - e-mail, GFC, bloglovin, whatever. I'll let Rafflecopter take care of all that in a minute, but for now, here's what you could win.

Closer look: 



Altogether, you'll receive:

  • 4 x Chupa Chups, Dairy Milk Caramello, Macaroon bar, Jelly Tots.
  • Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Hair Reconstructor.
  • Pocket Wordsearch book (who doesn't like a wordsearch!).
  • Floral Scarf from Penneys.
  • Blue Shamballa Style Bracelet (that I want to keep).
  • Vintage-style hair bow clip.
  • Yankee Candle - Fruit Fusion.
  • Suddenly Madame Glamour perfume 50ml.
  • Essence Nail Art Twins Reloaded in "Carrie" & "Mr. Big".
  • Catrice Limited Edition Pure Chrome Eyeshadow in "So Precious".
  • Catrice Superfine Eyeliner, Black.
  • Catrice Single Eyeshadows in "Oh, it's Toffeful!" & "Sitting on a Volcano".
  • Nivea Raspberry Rose Lip Butter.

Enter your details in the Rafflecopter widget to enter in various ways, and good luck! The giveaway will end on April 1st. 

To follow me on Bloglovin', you can click this link:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Haul!


You know when you use a handbag you haven't used in ages, and you find money in it? That happened me today. My first thought when I found it was to go straight to the Post Office and pay off a bill. So naturally, I did the complete opposite. I hit 3 different chemists, Lidl, and then went to Penneys. Wanna see?

Essence Oz cream blush €3.29, 'Flashy Pumpkin' polish €1.79, Oz liners
€1.89 each, and Catrice Neo Geisha Kohl liner, €2.29

The current Essence Trend Edition is in celebration of the release of "Oz: The Great and Powerful". The collection is not overly impressive, but I still managed to come away with 3 pieces from it. I got both eyeliners because I seem to have none at the minute, and both of these shades are great for my eye colour. I also picked up the cream blush, which has a tiny pump on it and blends really well, and I got one of the polishes from the Colour & Go line. It's a bright orange called 'Flashy Pumpkin' and reminds me a little bit of a darker version of Zoya 'Sharon' which I can't get my hands on. The black liner is from the Catrice 'Neo Geisha' collection (also a bit blah). Essence really missed a trick with the nail polish in this Trend Edition - they're all boring coloured crackles. Where are the ruby reds, the emerald green sparkles, the chrome tin man, the bronze lion?! I ramble. Anyway, here's an idea of what the stuff looks like.

Next up was Rimmel, I needed a new Wake Me Up foundation (this is my third bottle) and I picked up one of the Kate lipsticks too.

Wake Me Up Foundation: €9.95, Kate Matte lipstick in Shade 113: €6.95
At first sight I thought the Kate lipstick could be a dupe for my beloved MAC 'Shy Girl' (gifted to me on my wedding day by the lovely Karie) which I wear far too often, but naturally it wasn't one of the 11 (YES, ELEVEN) lip products in my bag today. Typical. Anyway, it's not a dupe, it's a lot brighter. It is one I'll stick in the handbag for a quick top-up though.

Here are both on my wonderfully dry unconditioned lips:

Next on the list was Lidl, where this baby was back in stock:

Suddenly Madame Glamour Perfume €3.49
I was gutted when our local branch didn't get this in for Valentine's Day, I had the sales assistants head wrecked, the poor girl even rang up a couple of other branches for me AND the head office. Alas, it was nowhere to be found near me. When I walked in today and saw an enormous stand of it, I grabbed a couple of bottles - if you haven't tried it, you really should. It's amazing. It also means I don't have to use up the last of my Lancome La Vie Est Belle (favourite perfume by a mile), result!

I wanted to check Penneys to see if they had the leopard print turban towel that Karen blogged about. They did! Woohoo! I also may have bought more scarves. Blaming Karen for that too. 

Leopard Print Hair Turban €1.50

Floral/Grey Scarf  €3.00

Grey/Heart Print Snood/Scarf €4.00

I can't go into Penneys without picking up socks and Pyjama bottoms, so I grabbed them too:

Cat Print Pyjama Bottoms €7

Skull socks (part of 3-pack) €2.50
Lastly, I picked up a make-up bag because none of mine are big enough to put all my daily bits in, and these are a great size if you're going to a friend's house, hotel, hospital, or any overnight stay. They're also washable, which is great.

Make-up Bag €6

These pads were on sale in our local chemist for €1.99 so I picked them up too, I find them really handy when I'm too tired or lazy to take off eye make-up.

Lastly, two online purchases arrived this week. The first one was the Sigma F80 Kabuki brush recommended to me by makeupmonster. I bought it on Cloud 10 Beauty and as usual had the speediest delivery ever.

Sigma F80 €17.95
I can't get over how good it is, it makes such a difference to my foundation and it's definitely something I'd repurchase if necessary. I also got a free Sigma mini eyeliner brush with my order and it's fabulous too, so precise. The little pot is a sample of the Handmade Soap Co. Calendula moisturiser - I detest the smell but the cream itself leaves my hands really soft and smooth, so this is definitely something I'd buy full-size, albeit with a different scent.

The last online thing was something I was really excited about. I've been banging on about Spectacular for years - since I was a teenager. Spectacular was the main 'cheap' nail polish brand around when I was in Secondary School. In an issue of J-17 or Shout (or some teen mag back in the day) they mentioned that Spectacular had a mail order catalogue - so a love affair began. Every so often, much like Essence or Catrice now, Spectacular had a special collection. They had a Grease one, a Wizard of Oz one, a Lilliput mini one, and a Rocky Horror one, to name a few. I've been on the hunt for some original Spectacular bits for AGES now, and last week, I finally found one. Someone is selling Spectacular Rocky Horror Gold polish on eBay. (HERE). I was terrified that it wouldn't reach me considering the new Royal Mail policy of hating nail polish, and when the package got to me today it was open. Cue major panic, but there he was in all his glory, hiding in an acre of bubble wrap. Rocky.

Rocky nail polish. Approx. €8

And now can't buy anything for about a month, but anyway.

Happy Friday!