08 September 2014

Haul | Penneys Woollies

So I made a cheeky very quick little trip to Penneys and picked up a couple of winter warmers. There's nothing too crazy here, but for anyone who might be wondering what kind of options are out there at moment, it might give you some ideas.

This couple of woollies were not bought with any outfits ideas in mind, moreso just practical layers! I figure they will work with some lighter tops underneath with jeans. Layers are definitely important in the Autumn / Winter, especially since it's so cold outside, but with all the heating, it's so warm inside! They're also very handy to keep around the office, since where I work is an old Georgian building in city centre, so it can get very cold in the depths of Winter!

 Penneys, Taupe Cardigan, €12

Penneys, Cobalt Sweater, €6  

Penneys, Brown Cardigan, €17  

Penneys, Mustard Sweater, €6  

Penneys, Burgundy Cardigan, €12 

Hopefully you have some inspiration for some ideas about getting started with your winter wardrobe! This certainly isn't very comprehensive, but it's definitely a start as I begin the transition from Summer wardrobe to Autumn!

What pieces have you picked up for A/W 2014 so far?

25 August 2014

#FestivalFun | General Tips & Hints

Ok to conclude my #FestivalFun series, I'll leave you with a few top tips to get the most out of your festival experience

- Do your Research!
Doing a little research in advance of a festival can make a world of difference when you get there. While not absolutely necessary, it can be nice to know your favourite acts stage times or what types of food options there are so you don't miss any. Otherwise it is possible to completely miss some niche activity that's happening. If you don't know to look out for it, you can often miss it altogether!

- Have fun!
Everyone has their own expectations and plans for a festival, so even though you might go with a group of friends, don't be afraid to head off on your own and immerse yourself in whatever interests you. Don't just go with the crowd!

Ferris Wheel, Electric Picnic 2012

- Stay hydrated!
Between all the singing, dancing and general sun exposure you'll probably need to consume more water than you usually do. If you're not a big fan of water, you can always bring a small bottle of cordial with you, so you can turn any boring bottle of water into something a little tastier.

- Protect your Skin!
Even if it's cloudy or doesn't seem too warm, you're going to be out in the sun for lengths of time. It's important to make sure you're protecting your skin from the sun's harmful rays. You can bring a bigger bottle for the tent (you can even co-ordinate to share with friends), but it's definitely no harm having a small travel bottle in your day bag too!

- Drink Responsibly!
While a lot of people drink at festivals and that is perfectly fine, know your limits. Have fun, try lots of different drinks, but be sure to drink sensibly. You're not in your usual surroundings, so you're more likely to get lost or disorientated with a few drinks. Keep up with water at the same time to make sure you're pacing yourself. Not only is good to keep hydrated anyway, but your head will thank you the following day. So you can straight back to dancing around the next morning!

Biergarten, Electric Picnic 2012

- Be safe!
Ensure to keep all your valuables on you at all times, a tent isn't exactly impenetrable. Don't leave anything of value behind. More importantly of course, make sure you yourself stay safe. All the usual rules apply for looking out for yourself and be sure to keep friends abreast of your plans so they will realise if you've been gone too long, etc. It's also helpful to have some pre-planned meeting points throughout the festival should you get separated or your phone battery dies, etc. Use food stall, flags, etc. for reference.

Body & Soul @ Electric Picnic 2012

- Find a good camping spot!
You want to make a few observations before setting up camp. While you want to be relatively close to everything, there are a couple of things you ought to be aware of. Do not set up too close to walkways or toilets as a basic rule of thumb. You run a higher risk of having your tent trampled on. You also don't want to camp too close to the periphery either, the male population will use the fencing as an over-sized urinal. Additionally while it can be handy to camp near some kind of reference point like a tree (so with a few drinks later on, the spot is easily identifiable), you want to be careful as yet again, this will become a popular urinal spot. So use your surroundings as a reference point for sure, but try be in the middle of other tents. This year I'm really looking forward to trying out eco-camping, there's no additional cost, but we along with our fellow eco campers have agreed to leave no trace behind, so it will be a nice change from the usual messiness we have to wake up to!

Andy Warhol Campsite, Electric Picnic 2011

So all that's left to do now guys is pack! Are you all ready to go? Do you have any final tips?

For the rest of the #FestivalFun series please see below:

What Beauty Products to Bring
What's in my Bag?
Making the most of your Time
What to Bring - The Basics

24 August 2014

#FestivalFun | What Beauty Products to bring?

As I've already mentioned in my #FestivalFun series, less is more when it comes to grooming at festivals. You don't want to have too much stuff to carry or too much work getting ready in the mornings either. So below I've broken down the types of products I would recommend bringing and how to make the most of each product you choose. As much as possible if I can find more than one use for a product, all the better!

This is probably obvious, but from the outset I would like to specify I would not bring anything to a festival that I would be devastated if I lost. So (in my opinion) this is the not the place for your €40 foundation or your €25 concealers. Cheap and cheerful is key. If you absolutely cannot live without your favourite Chanel lipstick, my recommendation is to keep that in your day bag, so it's on you at all times.

For the cleansing water and moisturiser, I will decant these into smaller containers for the weekend.

- Face Wipes
- Cleansing Water
- Moisturiser

Make Up
I would majorly reduce the number of tools I use compared to if I was at home, a brush to apply my foundation and that is it, everything else I can make do with my fingers. Firstly because then my favourite brushes are less likely to get lost and secondly I'm not as concerned about precision. This is of course a personal preference and just a guide, just bring what you're most comfortable with. The only product I have excess of is lipstick, just to make the looks a little different (so I have a bright pink, deep red and natural option).

- Bourjois Health Mix Serum Foundation (#51)
- Real Techniques Brush (Buffing)
- Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer (Cool Medium 2)
- Soap & Glory One Hell of a Blot, has a sponge inside (one shade only as it is translucent)
- Bourjois Blusher (#37 Pompom Rose)
- Rimmel Scandleyes Eye Liner (#001 Black)
- Topshop Mascara (Black)
- Inglot Eye Shadow Palette (shades: #355, #405, #452, #421, #07)
- Essence Eyebrow Pencil (#04 Blonde)
- Maybelline Super Stay 14 hours lipstick (#160 Infinitely Fuschia)
- Rimmel Kate Moss Lipstick (#111)
- Rimmel Apocalips (#101 Celestial)
- Dior Addict Gloss (#684 Mervelle)

Hair Care
Day 1 you'll have beautiful hair, so for day 2 and 3, dry shampoo and clips/hairspray will be your friend. Some simple styling techniques such as high ponytails, braids, etc. will keep you going until your safely in the warm embrace of a proper hot shower back home at the end of day three! You can always jazz your look with clip in multi-coloured hair pieces or using chalk to temporarily colour your hair. Now is the time to go wild!

- Dry Shampoo (Batiste Original)
- Hair Spray / Texturising Spray (V05 give me texture)
- Hair Clips & Hair Ties

Extra Beauty Tips

I would always paint my nails the day before I head off with a tried and tested polish that I know will easily last me the three days (and works with my outfit choices). You don't really have the same luxury of allowing it to dry when you're camping in a field!

Sun Protection
Remember although the weather may not necessarily be scorching, you'll be exposed to probably more sun than usual. It is really important to bring adequate sun protection for the duration. As well as sunglasses and hats.

Hopefully these product lists have given you some ideas on what you should bring yourself and highlighted how few products you should be aiming to get away with! If you have any other tips, please leave a comment!

For my other posts in this #FestivalFun series, please see below:

What's in my Bag?
Making the most of your Time
What to Bring - The Basics

22 August 2014

#FestivalFun | What's in my Bag

Ok so you have your general luggage all packed up and ready to go, but of course when you're actually in the festival, you'll be leaving most things in your tent, so below I've included what I have in my day to day bag, the essentials that I need to keep me going all day and night! I have a little paragraph on each, but for quick reference I have also included some bullet points. I would definitely keep it small and light.

I also usually prefer a small over the shoulder bag, since then when you're in a crowd of people, your belongings are in front of you, as opposed to in a backpack behind you!

This small satchel would be perfect 
(New Look, €13, Autumn 2013 collection)

Of course you don't want to leave your phone, money or camera behind in the tent. Most obviously as you'll need all of them throughout the day, but also I wouldn't recommend leaving anything of value in the tent, ever. I've never had a single problem to date with things being stolen, but that's no reason to be too lax. As with any other situation, do not leave anything valuable sitting unattended in a field!

- Phone
- Money
- Camera

A mini hand sanitizer is an absolute must. Portaloos are bad enough without coming out of one to realise all the sanitiser is gone, be safe, bring your own. In the very same vein, be sure to bring some toilet roll in case of an emergency. All the loos are being re-stocked and cleaned on an ongoing basis yes, but when you have hundreds of people using them every hour, it's inevitable you'll need your own supplies at some point.

- Hand Sanitiser
- Toilet Paper

Skin / Hair / Make Up Basics
Some sun cream and a lip balm with SPF are a great staple for your bag. Then depending on your preferences you might like to keep a lipstick, concealer or powder on you to freshen up throughout the day. You know best what you'll need to re-apply. If you're pretty easy going about your makeup, leave everything behind! Definitely don't carry around anything you know you're not going to use. I wouldn't imagine you would need to bring any hair care products out and about. However there is certainly no harm in having a few hair ties and hair clips at the bottom of your bag should disaster strike!

- Sun Cream
- Lipstick
- Powder
- Hair Ties / Clips

After that you might want to ensure you have on your persons, your sunglasses or a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes, to save on space, just wearing these, means you don't need to fit them in your bag. You might want to bring along a bottle of water, but be sure to check the rules of the specific festival you're attending. For Electric Picnic specifically you are allowed to bring 500ml sealed bottles of minerals into the arena from the campsite, so you could save a little money by bringing a six pack from home. But as per my first post, bare in mind that's now three extra litres of weight when travelling from the car to the campsite on day 1. You may prefer to just pick some up inside the arena.

- Sunglasses / Hat
- Water (optional)
- Jacket/Hoody for when it gets cooler (you can just tie it around the strap of the bag)

21 August 2014

#FestivalFun | Making the most of your Time

This is a particularly tricky one to master and how you utilise your time at a festival will really vary depending on your own personal interests. I've also not always been perfect in previous years, but this year I'm combining all the knowledge I've gained to date to really make the most of my experience. Some for some ideas on what to do, please keep reading...

Okay so obviously this is the main focus of the festival. You will have been scoping out in advance which of your favourite artists are playing, brushing up on your lyrics and generally stalking them around the internet. In advance of the event, you'll have a pretty good idea who you want to see. All this prep work is essential to make sure you don't miss any of your favourites. However I do feel it's important to add a caveat or two here.

Elbow on the Main Stage, Electric Picnic 2012

Firstly no matter how much planning you do, you need to expect the unexpected. Sometimes, unfortunately, your favourite acts will clash. Once you're ready for this possibility though, at least it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise and it can help you plan in advance which artists are a priority. Secondly a major plus of attending a music festival is getting to hear music you would have never otherwise listened to. So make sure your music schedule isn't fully booked with your favourites, leave room for wandering from stage to stage, you just never know who you might discover!

This might not be the case at all festivals, but certainly at Electric Picnic, a huge part of the experience is the food. They have all sorts of food ranging from Fast Food right through to Fine Dining. The choices seem endless and they also have stalls that cater for specific dietary requirements like vegans, those who are lactose intolerant or coeliacs.

You can find cuisines from all over the world, it's not just chip vans and reheated pizza. There are ostrich burgers, homemade pies, burritos, pulled pork sandwiches, seafood chowder, crepes, frozen yoghurt, noodles, gourmet sausages. With over 100 food stalls you're sure to find something delicious. Just thinking about it now makes my mouth water

Again this may just be Electric Picnic specific, but the comedy tent is another feature of the weekend. It's usually on from lunch tim until 9 on the Saturday and Sunday. It's a perfect way to break up the music arts and just have a laugh. Especially if you're struggling with your first time camping. Perfect way to get your mind off your woes and just get into the spirit if it all! Try to factor in your favourite comedians when making your music timetable too!

Arts, Crafts & Relaxation
Whether your just an observer or getting in on the action, there are many fun ways to fully soak up the experience and also relax. Not only can you admire some amazing pieces of art, but with so many different workshops going on, you can free your inner artist!

There is also yoga and pilates sessions going on alll weekend. There's hot tubs and hammocks. So whether your idea of relaxing is covering yourself in glue and glitter or getting a massage - there really is something for everyone!

Wishing Tree, Electric Picnic 2012

The main piece of advice I suppose is, don't expect to be able to do EVERYTHING. Just really all the activities you do get involved in. And don't sweat it if you happen to miss something. Even the long time goers will admit it's impossible to do it all in just one weekend! Just have as much as you can doing whatever it is that you get to.

If anyone has any advice to share on making the most of your time, please feel free to comment below!

#FestivalFun Part 1 | What to Bring - The Basics

20 August 2014

#FestivalFun | What To Bring - The Basics

I am SO excited to be heading to Electric Picnic again this year, it will be fourth year in a row! In the lead up to EP, I thought I would do 5 part series on festivals using the hashtag #FestivalFun. Some general tips and hints. Whether you're an old timer or it's your first festival, it's never any harm to pick up some extra ideas on how to get the most out of your time! So there'll be one post each day from Wednesday to Sunday!

Ok to start the series off, I thought it would be most practical to start with  the essentials to bring along to a festival. To make this digestible, I will break it down by section.

Camping Equipment
Ensure you have adequate camping gear, at a minimum a tent and a sleeping bag. Now over the years I have seen people bring pillows and duvets, etc. My tip here is make use of bags/clothes when it comes to needing a pillow, trust me the less you need to haul from the car the better. I always try to bring everything in one trip from the car, the more trips you, the more you miss out on the festival itself. Also I'd take tent sizings rather loosely, if there's 2 people you're going to realistically want a 4 man tent unless you want to feel claustrophobic. This is me at EP 2010 in what is classed as a 4 man tent, but comfortably fits two with all your belongings I reckon!

Electric Picnic 2011

Then depending on your own preferences you can choose to bring deck chairs or inflatable mattresses, etc. But beware, this definitely adds a large amount of bulk to your already full hands when trekking from the car to the campsite. Depending where you're parked and where you're set up, the trip could be 30-40 minutes one way!

I know festivals have their own dress code now and you might feel a little under pressure to dress a certain way, but trust me while on paper this all sounds great, the reality is often something very different. I cannot stress this enough, comfort, comfort comfort! You are sleeping on the ground, in desperate need of a proper shower and a decent toilet, don't add to the misery by feeling awkward in what you're wearing. If festival chic is your usual get-up, then great! If it isn't, don't force it. You will honestly find all sorts of people wearing all sorts of clothes, trust me, whatever you wear, you'll fit in fine!

Definitely try out new things and exciting looks but keep some key things in mind:
- Does it transition well from warm day time, to cold night time?
- Are you suitably covered if it starts lashing rain? (especially if heading to a festival in Ireland)
- Does it sit comfortably? (you'll be too busy dancing and having fun to spend your days fixing your outfit)

On top of whatever outfits you decide on make sure to include a rain coat and some cosy hoodies. It's amazing if you get great weather for the weekend, but do not underestimate just how cold it can get in the evenings and at night!

Beauty Products
This probably seems obvious but keeping it simple is key. Like clothes, I would recommend going with the tried and tested products here. Keep it all relatively natural and low key. The last thing you want to be doing is spending hours on your hair and makeup. The more time you spend faffing around in the morning, the more amazing experiences you're missing out on

Although they're a cardinal beauty sin, this is the one occasion where everyone agrees face wipes are handy to have on hand. Another absolute must is hand sanitiser, I don't think that needs much explaining. Then think travel bag on everything else, decant a small bit of your cleanser, moisturiser, etc. Again the less you have to carry the better. This is definitely not the time to break out the face masks and body scrubs. Whatever the absolute minimum your skin can live on for 3 days is all you're bringing. That will differ for everyone, but once you have something to remove your makeup and something to put the mositure back in afterwards, you should be able to survive! If you're at a festival for a full three days and need to make use of the showers, a mini shower gel is also essential.

Make Up
Keep it basic, bring only the bare necessities. Bring your tried and tested products and make life easy on yourself by only bringing one of any given item. There is definitely no need for two types of mascara. And unless you're a pro at applying a full face of make up in a few minutes, I would definitely recommend scaling back your routine. It's definitely a matter of personal preference, but I reckon less is definitely more in this instance.

Hair Care
If you haven't noticed the theme yet, it's minimalist. Whatever you can do without, don't bother with. If you will need to use the shower, a mini shampoo and conditioner will be needed. Otherwise a small can of hairspray and then some dry shampoo/texturising spray should do it. I would of course recommend having a couple of hair ties and hair clips in the bottom of your bag. It at least gives you some options each day in terms of hairstyles.

Electric Picnic 2012

Other Random Essentials
Some other helpful random items that don't necessarily fit into the above categories

- A small day bag (for all your essentials)
- Sunglasses
- Toilet Paper
- Plastic bags (keeps things separated/dry, also handy for dirty clothes/shoes)
- Raincoat
- Scarf
- Hat
- Wellies & Thick Socks
- Back Up Phone / Battery
- Phone Charger (most festivals have charging facilities, they usually do cost money however)
- Towel (for shower or just in general, in case it rains heavily, etc)

17 August 2014

In the Spotlight | Humans of New York

Hello again everyone. So this week's post is a little different to my usual, but I just felt I needed to talk about it. The focus of this post is Brandon Stanton, creator of the blog Humans of New York. I don't know Brandon, nor am I in any way connected to him, but through his work, I feel more connected to people from all walks of life!

Through his blog, Brandon manages to capture the essence of people through a series of portraits. Each portrait is accompanied by a quote from the subject of the portrait. It is a simple concept, but the result is so powerful. Brandon's ability to engage with the people of New York alongside their unapologetic honesty, creates something so beautiful. He has the ability to connect his readers, at a very human level, with a complete stranger.

Photo Credit:

He captures people during happy times, sad times, old people, young people, groups and individuals. He really brings it home that we're all in this together. We all have our ups and our downs, but we are not alone in our struggles, people everywhere are feeling something similar. While Brandon is from New York and his work is based in New York, the portraits and stories he captures could be applied to a lot of places. His pieces just stand to show the everyday nature of human life.

 Photo Credit:

It is clear just how easy it his to relate to his work, as he now boasts over 9 million followers on social media since beginning his blog back in 2010. On top of beautifully capturing portraits and sharing powerful stories, Brandon has helped create some real life changes for some of the people he has met through kick starters. Brandon set up an Indiegogo page for a man who was the cameraman for a short piece on Brandon's work. After getting chatting, he came to learn this man and his wife had adopted a child from Ethiopa and they were in the process of saving enough money to adopt another child. 

Photo Credit:

Through the power of a picture and a story, Brandon helped this family raise in excess of $80,000 in 24 hours. It really shows the compassion and power of a community. What can be achieved when we all work together. The original campaign was for $26,000 with the caveat that any extra funding would go towards the children's education. Thanks to Brandon's work and the community he has created, Richard's life has been changed forever, along with his new family's. 

Brandon is currently embarking on a new campaign with the United Nations, it is a 50 day trip to 10 countries around the globe, to capture the portraits and stories of people from these places. While also raising awareness about the Millenium Development Goals. With 2015 fast approaching, there is still so much to do! 

Photo Credit:

This new project Brandon is embarking on, is opening up his community to stories from people who often lead a very different life to his traditional readers. He is capturing the story of conflict and human endurance, but not with statistics and maps, but rather on an individual level. It allows his readers to connect with their struggle on a personal level, to truly show the impact of conflict on the individual.

I truly commend Brandon using his platform to help raise awareness and bring the world closer together. I think he is an inspirational human being. He does not go out into the world expecting anything from anyone, nor does he try to "fix" everyone. He is just using his platform to tell a story and connect humans to one another, and in my humble opinion he does it beautifully.

If you want to follow Brandon's work, you can follow his website, Facebook and Twitter pages. If you're not already doing so, I really recommend that you do!