Outfit Post: Winter in Amsterdam

Ok, so I won’t be shutting up about my trip to Amsterdam any time soon! It was just so gorgeous, especially since we were undeniably lucky with the weather we had – dry, cold and crisp for the entire trip, save for a few foggy mornings. It made this picturesque city all the more beautiful, as well as more enjoyable and easy to explore the canal streets and the quirky design shops, cafes and bars that inhabit literally every square inch of the place. There is so much more to Amsterdam than the seedy image we hear so much about, and although it was very interesting to experience a culture that is so liberal and unique, you don’t have to venture far to find the quirkier and hidden aspects of the ‘Dam.  The whole city embodies creativity in it’s very fibre. I have a few photos and an outfit I wore to go exploring in this post, with a more detailed travel guide coming veeery soon…

And given how cold it was I decided it was the perfect opportunity to sport my jaunty new fedora and this glorious leopard print cocoon coat…

Leopard Print Cocoon Coat, Burgindy Fedora and Tartan Scarf, Wine Loafers

Perfect for skipping around the canals, being an unashamed, and really quite jolly, tourist…

Canal Bridge in AmsterdamLeopard Print Cocoon Coat, Burgindy Fedora - canla in AmsterdamHouses by the canal in Amsterdam, city breakBurgundy Fedora from Penneys/Primark

Dream wheels alert!!….

Leopard Print Cocoon Coat, Burgundy Tartan Scarf, Grey Oversized JumperLeopard Print Cocoon Coat, Burgundy Tartan Scarf, Grey Oversized Jumper

Note the “& Other Stories” bag… I’ll be sharing that little purchase soon too, but let’s just say I fell in love with the make-up range!

Amsterdam Canal ViewLeopard Cocoon Coat, Burgundy Fedora, Wine Loafers

You may have gleaned from Wednesday’s post that this coat is well, massive. Not always great when you are short of stature like me, something you may have realised from the above photos, but when it’s baltic outside all bets are off when it comes to the rules of proportion. Ditto for heeled shoes…although maybe not thee best idea to break in you new loafers on a three hour walk around a new city – I don’t think the back of my heels will ever be the same again! Yes I am that big of an eejit, but hey, these loafers are cute as heck (if ever I sounded like a stereotypical “woman”, it was right there). This coat even managed to accommodate two tops, a jumper and a fuzzy cardigan layered underneath, and with room to spare – who says I can’t be practical, eh? Yes, this is thee winter coat that my dreams are made of – basically, if it don’t feel like a warm hug on winter’s evening, frankly, I’m not interested.

I also just realised that nearly every item I’m wearing here is from Penneys/Primark too – keepin’ it thrifty yo! My coat, fedora, jumper, loafers and jeans are all recent Penneys purchases and with any luck, should still be in stores now!

As for that scenery – is it not something straight out of film? Rarely have I fallen completely head over heels with a holiday destination, and I will most certainly making a return trip to the famous Dutch city. There is so much I didn’t get to do as the four days flew by in blur, filled with a whole lotta walking and some cycling, shopping, eating and, mainly, gawping at the stylish locals and the sheer volume of bicycles (as well trying not to get run over by said bicycles). I will include all my Amsterdam highlights in my next post, so keep an eye out for that…

Until next time! xx

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Monday Mix and Match

A certain phrase came to mind when publishing this post…better late than never! My bad, but I have a darn good reason – a long weekend holiday to Amsterdam, it being one of the best I’ve ever been on! It’s a seriously beautiful city but I must say, by the time I got home I was feeling a little too tired to put it’s inspiration into action. But fear not, I’m planning to do a little travel post featuring some tips and recommendations for anyone who may be heading to Amsterdam soon – and if you like hundreds of pictures of canals, well… you’re in for a treat!haha. For now, here is my fashion, beauty and interiors round-up for this week. Enjoy!

Beauty

Seventeen Gel Colour Nail Polish

This budget nail polish is seriously impressive. Not so long ago, I posted about Seventeen Gel Colour Nail Polish, the beautifully vivid blue being my first foray into gel formula polishes. And when Seventeen were offering three for two on their products recently, I knew I wanted to add an everyday nude to my collection, something I was severely lacking in. Well let me tell you, this is the most gorgeous creamy, coffee shade, aptly named “Mocha-tini”. It’s perfect for any occasion, any outfit –  workday or weekend, this would look so pretty, classic as well as really on trend! And here’s the kicker – this is probably thee best long lasting formulation I’ve ever tried and the proof is the pudding. I painted my nails last Wednesday and then spent the next four days in Amsterdam.. and I’ve only just removed it this morning with one chip! That’s nearly a full week – this stuff is the bomb diggity and only at only a fiver, I can’t recommend Seventeen Gel Colour enough.

Interiors

H&M Marble Tray

H&M Home Marble Tray

Although we were in the ‘Dam for a family 30th and a weekend of celebrations, I still managed to find some time to pop into one or two (or several – sorry boyfriend!) shops. This city has some of the most beautifully curated concept shops I’ve ever seen, the whole area is a treasure trove of vintage, found objects and curiosities. However, I did get lured into the bright shininess of the high street but with good reason- H&M home! A place we Irish are completely deprived of here on little island, no delivery or nothin’! So, you know when you get butterflies in your stomach when you finally meet that special someone? Yeah, well that’s how I felt walking into the homewares department – sad, but entirely true! I’ve seen this marble tray on countless blogs and all over Pinterest, and in the flesh, it was love at first sight! The first stepping stone (if you’ll pardon the pun) to those dream marble counter tops, eh? Perfect for adding touch of luxury when displaying my Penneys jewellery anyway!

Fashion

Leopard Print Cocoon coat

I definitely dithered over whether I needed a new coat when I saw this…for about five seconds!!I never one to say no to a spot of animal print and this leopard cocoon coat from Penneys (Primark) is so snuggly and warm, with the added bonus of being utterly fabulous! I think the slightly more muted tones and boxy shape go a long way to making what can be a slightly garish print that bit more timeless and high-end. And I can definitely get over the fact that it’s it’s over-sized, cocoon shape makes me look like Bet Lynch’s beach ball!! If that’s sounds right up your street, it’s in Penneys now priced at €35.

Until next time! xx

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Beauty Post: My Bodycare Routine

You’ve only got one body to last you a lifetime, so it’s imperative to look after yourself inside and out.  Of course a healthy body starts with eating well and exercising regularly – easier said than done but nonetheless important and, for the most part, enjoyable (the latter does not generally extend to squats or eating broccoli). But taking care of your skin is a guaranteed way to make yourself feel great – I for one love nothing more than setting aside a night or two a week to pamper and preen myself from head to toe. I’m talking full exfoliation, slathering yourself in every cream at your disposal, nails painted, the works! But time is generally of the essence these days so here is a round-up of what I’ve managed to incorporate into my daily routine to feel silky smooth and ready to take on the world.

Bodycare Products

It all starts in the shower, when the dirt of the day gets washed away and you can start again with a blank canvas, so to speak. I have really sensitive skin also, combined with eczema so finding the right shower products is really important to me. I am a big fan of this Sanex shower/bath gel. It feels lovely and gentle and leaves you feeling squeaky clean, moisturised and not at all irritated.

Exfoliation is a big part of my shower routine too. I normally splash out on my favorite Soap and Glory Breakfast scrub (not pictured here – I am holding out for my usual gigantic gift set Christmas haul *not so subtle hint*). If you are feeling the pinch with gift giving season on the approach, and like myself have to choose eating and getting to work over expensive exfoliator, another great alternative is to make your own! Coconut oil (warmed slightly to it’s liquid form) and some brown sugar is all you need to feel soft as silk – it works an absolute treat. Just don’t use this before applying any sort of tan, as the oil will ruin the application and you will most likely find yourself streakier than a piece of bacon!

Bodycare Products 2

A product I’ve recently discovered and have added to my shower routine is La Roche-Posay Lipikar Syndet Anti-Irritation Cleansing Body Cream/Gel (Try saying that after a glass of wine!). I’m a big fan of everything this French pharmacy brand has to offer (I’ve posted about the fabulous Effaclar Duo here). I spotted this in my local chemist and it’s description immediately struck a chord with me. I am cursed with problem skin, with my legs being the main bearer of itchy and irritated eczema, with constant red blemishes and rashes. It’s something I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m very self-conscious of, and I have often thanked my lucky stars that I live in a country where black opaques are socially acceptable for most of the year! This product has really helped with the problem though, even with using it every second or third day – at €9 a pop it might not be the one for 30 minute long, shaving the legs, kinda showers but for truly dry or problem skin it’s a welcome addition in the bathroom.

The next step is the holy grail of feeling like a new woman after a shower: I’m talking body brushing. This has honestly been one discovery that makes me feel like a sassy little thaaang with my legs out!ha This is particularly essential for those of us whose lineage has been kind enough to pass on the dreaded c-word…Yes, you guessed right… cellulite. The word that strikes both fear and knowing into the hearts of woman across Ireland and beyond, and I for one am in the unfortunate category of being veeery familiar with the problem! At the end of the day, it’s natural and there a worse things in life than looking a little dimpled but still, it’s nice to feel confident in your appearance. Body brushing is one of those things that really helps achieve this – it gets the blood flowing, and as a result your skin looks brighter and tighter. Take it from me, if you add one thing to your daily routine – make it this!

Bodycare Products Review with Garnier, La Roche-Posay, Sanex and Victoria's Secret

For all other body beautiful maintenance, I turn to Garnier. For me, it’s tried and tested and works really well with my skin. I use the Intensive Seven Days Moisturising Lotion, their Ultimate Anti-Cellulite Oil and for the rare occasions when I don’t resemble Casper, the “Summer Body” moisturing tan. The latter is not pictured here, but it’s perfect for the paler among us who want a gradual, natural looking hint of colour…and also, if the orange goo of other brands scares the living bejaysus out of you! This products all leave me feeling soft as silk, soaking quickly into the skin with no residual stickiness.

Not strictly bodycare, but I always finish with a generous spritz of the light, fruity “Secret Charm” Victoria’s Secret body spray. I picked this up on a recent trip to the States and am honestly panicking about when it runs out and I can’t get it again, save for in Dublin airport! Victoria, if you’re reading…we need your wares on the Irish high street!

Now you are all shiny and new, all that’s left is to snuggle up in fresh sheets with a cup of tea and a good book. It may not constitute being one the cool kids but this is my ideal Friday night! What’s yours? Do you incorporate body skincare into your everyday routine or is it a once a week indulgence? Would love to hear your thoughts and of course, if you any tips on how you keep yourself feelin’ so fresh and so clean (or to get rid of cellulite forever!), sling ’em my way in the comments!

Until next time! xx

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Monday Mix and Match

This Monday is a very exciting one for me as I’m heading off on holiday to Amsterdam this Thursday – smug, me? Never! 😉 Anyway, here’s what’s floatin’ my boat in fashion, beauty and interiors this week…

Beauty

Glow Highlighter in Polish, Topshop Makeup

Topshop Glow Pot in Polish

Let it glow, let it glow, let it glow…See what I did there? I am all about “the glow” at the moment, and now that our winter climate is here to stay for at least another four months, I think we could probably all use a little help in this department (that, plus maybe a Vitamin D supplement!). I’m embracing my paleness this season and highlighting everything in sight with Topshop’s Glow pot in “Polish”, a pearly pot of goodness from their fabulous make-up range. The bronze “Gleam” version of this was featured as part of “Top Five Makeup Staples” post, and is still a firm favourite but as I said, I’m properly embracing the pale at the moment and this cream, cool toned highlighter suits me perfectly. Having oily skin, I much prefer to use a matte foundation with powder and let my highlighter do all the talkin’ and I also find a cream formula like this gives a much more natural luminosity than a powder highlighter. Once my make-up is finished I pat this on my cheekbones, under the arches of my brows and the cupid bow for my attempt at looking glowing and healthy…it definitely helps when you’ve been out the night before anyway, as tends to happen over the sparkly season! A make-up bag must have in my opinion!

Fashion

Penneys Burgindy Patent Loafers

Penneys Wine Patent Loafer Flats

Another pair of flat shoes, I don’t know what’s come over me! I’m not a huge shoe addict in the first place, with a tendency to find one pair of black boots that I LOVE and wear them until they fall apart. It’s been an even longer time since I’ve deigned to buy myself a pair of flats, but in the same day I purchased flat pointed Chelsea boots, featured in last week’s Mix and Match, as well as the cutest little burgundy patent loafers from Penneys, which you can see above. I am not one for flat pumps at all, I thin k this is my first pair since my school days! But I was inexplicably drawn to the classic style of these tasseled loafers, so just when my care worn shopping partner thought his Penneys ordeal was coming to an end, I sprinted back upstairs and grabbed these…not like we’d lready spent 30 minutes in the shoe department or anything! I had visions in my head of just how cute they would look with thick grey tights or a cropped, printed pant. I can’t wait to give my feet a break for once anyway!

Interiors

Mugs from Carolin Donnelly Eclectic for Dunnes Stores

Caroline Donnelly for Dunnes Stores Mugs

Like most Irish folk, I’m love a good cuppa tea…first thing in the morning, “elevenses”, the three o’clock slump, after dinner – any excuse really! And I know this might divide opinion, but Lyons Gold Blend, all the way! Cups may not be the most exciting purchase for everyone out there, but for me, being able to display the things you use on a daily basis is part of what makes your home quirky, unique and most of all, personal. These four oversized cups are from the Caroline Donnelly “Eclectic” range for that stalwart amongst Irish retail, Dunnes Stores. Dunnes have really upped the stakes on the interiors front over the past number of years, and thank goodness for that as, in my opinion, there is an absolute dearth of affordable and well-designed homeware outlets in Ireland (H&M and Zara home – we need you!!). They have something and then some to suit everyone’s taste – with their own brand ranges of cookware staples and basic home accessories, as well as ranges from Paul Costelloe, Helen James and of course, Caroline Donnelly. Donnelly herself was once one part of established Irish fashion duo “Quin and Donnelly” and has now turned her hand to a kooky and fun interior touches for the store. I love everything about the range – from the unusual colour combinations of teal, red and lime, the Japanese style prints combined with old school florals, the lush fabrics and fantastic quality ceramics. It exudes originality and flair – eclectic by name, eclectic by nature! There are even Christmas decorations that I firmly have my beady eye on! Back on subject, these cups make for the perfect cuppa, whatever time of the day…and there’s a lot to be said for that!

Note to self: do not take photos involving chocolate before your breakfast, you won’t stand a chance…

Until next time! xx

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Outfit Post: Comfortably Casual

I might be sliiightly cheating by calling this an outfit post but I just had to share to these photos and hey, I am technically wearing an outfit in one of them!

For as long as I can remember, Howth has been my absolute favourite place in all of Dublin. Growing up just ten minutes down the road, I have so many happy memories of walks here with my Mam, Dad, brother and sister on a Sunday. The wind put colour in our cheeks as we begged them to buy us a bag of chips to share, or even a cheeky ice-cream. Now that I’m a grown up, slightly older, it’s still the place I yearn to visit when I find myself with an empty Saturday or Sunday stretching out before me, and in a very comforting and nostalgic way, it’s always the same as it has been… the only thing that’s changed is that now, it’s my boyfriend that I badger to buy me a single of chips instead!

I’ve posted about an afternoon well spent down by the pier here, but if you care to venture a bit further, or should I say upwards, you will find some of the most spectacular views in Dublin on top of Howth Head.

Howth Head Lighthouse

Pathway on Howth Head

View of the houses on the Hill of Howth

Cropped Wine Trench, Grey Jumper, Black Jeans

Last Sunday in particular was the most beautifully clear and sunny, if a little breezy, day. Well, I use the term breezy with a touch of irony…let’s just say I’m very glad I left my snazzy fedora in the car – in a battle between that and the wind, methinks the Atlantic would have come out the victor! But in an unusual move, I did made some concessions to practicality with this ridiculously cosy grey jumper from Penneys (Primark) and, for once, some flat boots. The latter left me short in stature but without the inevitable scrapped knees or twisted ankle that a heel would have brought!

My burgundy cropped trench, a purchase from Missguided last year, has admittedly not gotten the wear it’s sheer loveliness deserves/ This is mainly because someone* got the conversion wrong, accidentally ordered it in a size too small and was too lazy to return it… (*by someone, I mean me. Case in point why I don’t shop online that much – I haven’t the brains or the patience clearly!). Because of this, you can’t actually layer much, or really anything, underneath it but just look at it’s beautiful color and mac style detailing – well worth the pinch and the fabric accumulating under your armpits, for sure! I was looking to find something similar on the Missguided website, and although I came up empty, they have the most beautiful array of of jackets and coats at the moment. I’m talkin’ faux fur fluffiness, classic trenches and camel coats that would send Kimmy K reaching for her purse – make sure you take a gander!

Karen McCourt The Mix and Match

View from Howth Head over Dublin Bay

Sun Setting on Howth Head

My man friend, being all pensive and what not!

Sunset over Howth Head

Sunset View

Sunset

If not for the gale force winds that had picked up (thank god you can’t see my hair in the above photo!), I would have stayed here until the sun disappeared from view.  Even with hoards of tourists around you, it was so peaceful and utterly beautiful. I’m determined that someday, I will spend my days growing old, looking out at that view! A girl can dream but for now I’m content with whiling away the afternoon in my favourite spot! I definitely recommend you do the same if you’re in Dublin!

Until next time! xx

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