Thursday, 30 July 2015

Lifestyle - Liverpool Travel Diary

I went to Liverpool in February and so have decided to do a travel diary if you will about my experiences I had for the few days I was there.

I've decided to break this travel log up into several points for easier reading: tourist outings, places to eat, and where I stayed and how I got there.  I apologise if it seems a bit long, I just wanted to give you an in-depth description. I haven't written a travel log for the blog before so go easy on me!

Tourist Outings
  • To get an idea of the city, myself and my sister (who I travelled with), decided to go on an open-top double-decker bus. They have these in many cities around the world, I've been on ones in Dublin and Belfast too, and they are an easy, quick and fun way to get a general gist of the city you're in without walking round for miles with no clue where you're going. The bus journey was about 40 minutes long and took us all around the city, where we were given a running commentary of important places of interest. The best thing about this trip was that it's so cheap (only something like £8) and you can get off the bus at any point and get on it again at a later stage if you so wish at no extra cost.

  • So obviously you just can't go to Liverpool without checking out some of the Beatles attractions. The fab four were born and raised in the city, and it's impossible to get away from their everlasting presence there. I'm a massive fan of the band myself so a trip to the Beatles museum - called the Beatles Story - was definitely in order! I'm haven't been a student since May last year but I managed to snag student entry price ticket into the museum (don't know how I managed that but yay!). Inside the museum there is lots of memorabilira, in detail facts about the band, from their childhood, early musical experiences (I didn't realise that John Lennon had his own band before the Beatles, called the Quarrymen!), various albums, plenty of photos and clothes that they wore, some of the band's musical instruments, and re-creations of some of the places in the city they played at. For more information please check out their website Below are just a few photos I took from inside the museum. (The picture of me is in a part of the museum that was a recreation of a yellow submarine, as based on the band's hit song!).

  • Speaking of the Beatles, we were on the bus that I've mentioned above when one of the stops to get off at was a pub called 'the Phil' or the Philharmonic Dining Rooms (to give it it's full title). I was thinking what's the relevance of this but it's actually where  a certain dude called John Lennon used to frequent when he was a student at the Liverpool College of Art and still popped in when he joined the Beatles and became famous. He was quoted as saying that one of the downsides of his fame with the Beatles was not being able to go to the Phil as often as he would have liked. As you can see from the photo of the interior, it looks pretty snazzy, and has a very rustic feel to it, with stained glass windows - definitely feels where pop royalty would hang out! We felt so cool having a drink in John Lennon's pub you would not believe - we were like 'his arse could have been sitting on this chair' LOL! We went to it on the first day of arriving in Liverpool after we got off the bus tour and ended up going there for a drink pretty much every evening we stayed there. We even tried out some local ale, though it tasted like piss, quite frankly! It's situated on Hope Street. They also serve food as well. Further information on the pub is available at

  • We took a trip down to the Albert Docks which is obviously the dockland area of the city. Because of it's close proximity to the sea, Liverpool has for centuries been an important sea port and maritime port (many of it's people were  involved in the navy and the ship-building industry, so much so that the city even has it's own maritime museum - which I'll talk about later). The day we went down the docks was very sunny and beautiful and it seemed so peaceful around that area. It is home to a number of important tourist destinations, including several museums, which I'm later going to discuss.

  • Museum of Liverpool: This museum is one of several museums located in the Albert Docks. This is a general museum, catering for all topics, it's not specifically war or anything like that. I didn't realise this at the time, but the exhibitions seem to change every so often, so the ones on at the time when we were there in February are obviously not on now. When we went however we checked out the exhibition detailing Liverpool's role in World War I, which was full of interesting information. There's also a children's interactive section as well, so it's great for all the family. I didn't find it that amazing though, but it's free entry, so if you're there, you may as well check it out!

  • Merseyside Maritime Museum: As the name suggests, this museum is dedicated to everything maritime (sea) related. There's lots of information about the navy, more on Liverpool's role in the wars, and a very interactive view of life as a seaman throughout the ages. Oddly enough, it's designed to feel like a ship on the inside, which I found a little bit strange but quirky at the same time. They had an exhibition on at the time on the doomed ship Titanic, as much of the ship was actually built in Liverpool and many of Liverpool's people went on to board the ill-fated liner. I found that in particular very interesting as I have quite a fascination with the Titanic. There's lots of interesting facts about the ship, the process involved in making the ship plus actual diaries from survivors. It's free entry as well, which means you definitely must check it out. Highly recommend this place. And yes, that is a giant anchor outside the front door! Standard. More information can be found here:

  • International Slavery Museum: So obviously as the name suggests, this is a museum dedicated to the lives of slaves but it also contains alot of material on those who campaigned for slavery and black people's rights, such as Martin Luther King. It also has a lot of information about different African cultures, which I found particulary fascinating. Very interesting museum. It's free entry again, and More information can be found here:

  • Bombed out Church: We actually passed this one and thought it was a fancy cathedral so we popped in to have a look. As you can see from the picture, St Luke's Church looks very pristine from the outside. However, inside it's a completely different story and we soon discovered it was bombed out in the Blitz during World War II in May 1941, so it's basically just a shell, there's nothing inside. The church was bought by the City of Liverpool after the blitz and they've attempted to turn it into a place of peace and tranquility, but all that I gathered from it was that it was a silly tackfest operation, with many Chinese lanterns for sale. Definitely didn't think it was that impressive. 

Places to eat/shopping:

  • St John's is a huge shopping center in the center of Liverpool city and has plenty of food venues, clothes shops and makeup outlets. We went there a lot for lunch too because it had a really good restaurant that had traditional fish and chips with mushy peas (was so good!) for only £4.
  • Nandos: So I'm from the west of Ireland which means that I never get the opportunity to go to Nandos unless I'm in Dublin, but with a massive Nandos right beside St John's shopping center, I took full advantage and went for it! Well if it's good enough for Beyonce... I love the chicken in Nandos, it's amazing, but I'm not so keen on the chips, they remind me of Mc Donalds fries as they're just so thin, and really don't fill ya! But if you have eaten in Nandos before you know that one of the best things about it is that you can have unlimited drinks while you're there and can keep refilling your drink as many times as you want. 
  • Italian restaurant: So on the first evening we arrived in Liverpool we went to a really fancy Italian restaurant called Bella Italia for dinner. It was in close proximity to the train station and we were starving so we said sure why not. I'm a huge fan of Italian food and love my lasagna and spaghetti bolognese, so I had pretty high expectations for this place. And it did not disappoint! The spaghetti was hands down the best spaghetti I've ever had in my life, no word of a lie. Honestly the best food ever. Though it was £15 which is a bit on the pricey side it was so worth it. For more information please see their website
  • Asda/Iceland: If all else fails and you subsequently end up with severe low funds like we did (oops!), you can always check out the local Iceland store located in the St John's shopping center. A big bag of chips for 59p? Yes please!

Where I stayed:

  • I was on a budget so I was looking for cheap but nice enough places to stay in the city. We ended up booking the Everton Hostel, on Everton Road. It was so affordable to stay there. It was £10 per night to stay there Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then on the Monday it was only £5 per night. Great bargain! It had free WiFi and free breakfast too. It worked out handy for us as it was located right opposite a bus stop that would take you directly to the city center. The staff couldn't be more helpful too. Their walls were painted with various Beatles murals, including a cool one of John Lennon perched on a globe (below),which I thought was so quirky! For more information please check out their website:

How I got there:

  • My local airport, Ireland West Airport Knock, flies directly into John Lennon International Airport. The cost of the flight varies depending on what day you're flying out on and is obviously dearer at weekends. The time we flew in February the flight from Knock to Liverpool was E20 and the return flight was E35, but it can be cheaper depending on the time. We flew with Ryanair because they were the cheapest airline to fly to, and the flight takes about an hour.

  • On a side note, the airport is obviously named after John Lennon, and boasts a statue of him. I really thought the tagline for the airport was super cute too - lyrics from Lennon's song Imagine - 'above us only sky'.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Beauty - Pixie Lott Daisy Festival Look

So I was floating around Pininterest the other day (highly recommend it for bloggers if you want to get any inspiration in many genres, like fashion, beauty, lifestyle, etc) and came across this photo of the singer Pixie Lott and as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to do my own recreation of it. I think it's super cute for summer festivals and it didn't look that difficult to do either, so I said sure why not.

Even though I'm a budget blogger and use inexpensive beauty brands in every one of my blog posts, I decided to make this look ultra ultra affordable!

Starting off, I cleansed my face using my Boots Tea Tree and Witch Hazel foaming wash (review of this product HERE), and applied some Simple Kind to Skin Light hydrating moisturiser (also reviewed HERE) as a base and Nivea Essentials lipbalm (reviewed HERE) to my lips. I don't usually apply foundation before eyes, but your face will need to be fairly matte and oil-free so the face paint will stick on it and won't rub off.

Pixie's freckles are showing in the second picture there, indicating that she's used a light base. Many people use BB creams or tinted moisturiser for the summer, and you can use that for this look if you so wish, but I was working with whatever I had in my make-up bag so I used Rimmel Match Perfection foundation in the shade Ivory,which was reviewed on my blog last week (see HERE). It comes with an SPF 18 as well which is great for the summer (even though it's kinda wasted on Irish weather!). I applied Rimmel Wake Me Up concealer under my eyes (also reviewed this last week) and set them both with Catrice All Matt Plus powder.

I then started on the face art. I bought a pack of five face paints in the 2 Euro shop, they came with their own paintbrush. The daisies don't have to look like Pixie's, she looks to have them applied fairly randomly so that's what I did on myself, it doesn't have to look perfect, I quite like the 'undone' makeup looks anyways at festivals.

For eyes, it looks like Pixie has gone for a brown eyeshadow on the lid with a gold shade in the centre. I used the brown and gold shades from the Penneys (Primark) own beauty brand eyeshadow palette - it contains 10 eyeshadows for €3.50. I've nearly finished m
y review on another 5 of Penneys own brand makeup products so I'll have that up on the blog shortly. She has quite alot of kohl eyeliner applied so I applied New York Color Kohl Eyeliner to my waterline and my tightline (inner eye), and made it work double duty and so applied it to my eyebrows as well! After curling my eyelashes I then applied lashings of New York Color mascara.

For the rest of the face, I applied a light dusting of Catrice Sun Glow Shimmering Bronzing powder.

When I first saw the picture of Pixie, I thought she had applied a red lipstick, but it looks now like she had just applied quite a dark enough looking lipgloss. Anyways, I applied Penneys own brand orange-red lipstick (€2). I know some people might not be keen on wearing a red lipstick, and that's totally cool, you can wear whatever shade you desire, but personally I like wearing a bright lip.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Beauty - Review of Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation, Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer and Rimmel Fix and Perfect Pro Primer

I ran out of my usual daytime foundation, Rimmel Lasting Finish foundation, three weeks ago and nipped into my local Boots store one evening to find a replacement foundation.

I reviewed the Rimmel Lasting Finish foundation on my blog (See HERE), and while I thought it was an OK, natural-looking foundation, it didn't exactly make me want to rush out to buy another Rimmel product.

But Boots were doing a pretty sweet offer that soon convinced me - spend over €12 on any Rimmel make-up products and recieve the Fix and Perfect Pro Primer worth €8.99 absolutely free! I posted a picture of these three products on my Instagram HERE, and a few of my followers said they got the same sweet deal that was on offer three weeks ago because of my post, so please do check out my Instagram if you're interested in keeping up to date in detail with my purchases because I update that a lot more frequently than I update this blog! But anyways,  I picked up the Match Perfection foundation, which was on special offer as well at €6.99 (in Penneys and other stockists it was retailing at €9.99), and the Wake Me Up concealer for €6.99 that I have heard such good things from fellow bloggers about.

Rimmel Fix and Perfect Pro Primer
This comes in a plastic white tube as you ca
n see, nothing too fancy packaging wise. It smells beautiful. It applies just like a balm, and sinks into my skin quickly. I usually apply my Simple Kind to Skin Hydrating Moisturiser before applying this primer as my skin is often prone to dryness.
It is a super good primer and does live up to it's name in that sense! I find it works especially well combined with the Match Perfection foundation and doesn't make my skin appear oily or dry when on at all, as it mattifies and moisturises throughout the day. A great buy.

Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation
I picked up this foundation in the shade 100 Ivory. It isn't the lightest shade in the range, Porcelain is, but I felt that a porcelain shade on my face literally drains my face of any colour whatsoever and just isn't that flattering. The packaging is pretty similar to the Lasting Finish foundation in the sense that it's a glass tube with a plastic cap. The similarities don't end there - it also smells pretty similar to the Lasting Finish makeup - nice and fresh. It applies very smoothly to my face. I have used this with and without the primer mentioned above. Like I mentioned, it works best with the primer, but works pretty damn well on it's own too. In my honest opinion though, I don't see a huge difference between this and the Lasting Finish makeup, I find they're both very natural-looking foundations that last a few hours in the day, but wouldn't last all day unless worn with a primer.

Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer
From blogging for a last few months and checking out other blogs on both Instagram and Facebook, whenever this Rimmel concealer is mentioned it stands out as one of the best affordable concealers out there at the moment, so of course I needed to check it out to see would it suffice on my crazy skintone! I picked this up in the shade Classic Beige. Like the other Rimmel products, it's packaged quite basically, but the orange cap has come in ever so handy as it's easy to find in the makeup bag! It has a stranger smell than the other products, not as fresh and beautiful, more neutral for sure. I applied it under my eyes to test out it's effect. It works quite well. I wouldn't say it gets rid of the bags under my eyes completely, but covers them naturally, which I think is still quite good as it would look very unnatural if it covered them completely. It lasts for a good while too. I've used it on any blemishes too, and found that it conceals them quite well too, but you have to use quite a bit. But overall, a good natural-looking, affordable concealer that's well worth a try.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Beauty - Garnier Ultimate Blends Shampoo Review

I apologise for my lack of blogposts the last few weeks, but I'm now back with a review of this Garnier Ultimate Blends shampoo.

So I randomly picked up this shampoo in the supermarket a few weeks ago. Apart from their skincare products, for some reason I have never really used Garnier's shampoos but I try new products out all the time because of the blog so I said sure why not to this shampoo. My hair has been dull and dry recently because I use heat on it a lot.

First thing's first - very cute packaging. It claims to be "the marvellous transformer". It contains argan oil and camelia oil. I've already mentioned argan oil in a previous blogpost on my hair care routine HERE, so please check that out.

Camelia oil is a Japanese oil and is a rich source of Palmistic and Omega 6 linoleic fatty acids. Despite it's bad reputation, some fats are very essential to human health.
For those of you that don't have a nutrition background like I do - palmistic fatty acid is the most common fatty acid, and like many other fatty acids, is an effective emollient. In basic terms for hair care, these are usually oils that form films on the surface of hair, where they often act as anti-humectants or sealers. They are lubricants and provide increased slip (decreased drag), between adjacent hair strands, which in the simplest of terms - makes detangling much easier! They also reduce tangling in general by smoothing and flattening the cuticle surface, which also adds shine and gloss to the hair.
I've sure many of you have read up on the benefits of Omega fatty acids, or at least have heard of them. Omega 6 is classed as an essential fatty acid. and as your body is unable to make them, must be obtained from food. In terms of hair though, it has a similar role to palmistic oil in the way that it acts as an emoillient, but it also has a necessary role of it's own - moisturising the scalp and supporting hair health, which in turn leads to more optimal health growth.

I'm sure many of you have watched Japanese Geisha films and wondered how they get their hair so glossy - camelia oil is the most probable reason! The benefit of the oil in haircare has been long documented - because it contains the two fatty acids I've mentioned above!

Before using this shampoo in the shower, I washed my hair with Johnsons' Baby Shampoo to clarify my hair and get rid of any build up of hair care products. You don't have to use Johnsons', that's just the shampoo I use as it's gentle to my hair and works just as well as the more expensive clarifying shampoos. This shampoo smells absolutely fabulous, which I love while washing my hair in the shower. I used a generous enough amount, and it made a great lather on my hair. When I rinsed my hair it immediately felt glossy.

When my hair was dried, it honestly did feel so smooth and silky. The first time I used it I was going out for the night, so after straightening my hair it stayed silky and smooth for the whole night. Amazing!

I will say though that two days after it does make your hair appear super greasy, so I really would only use this for going out, and I stick to my regular, trusted regime of clarifying first with Johnsons' Baby shampoo and washing my hair then with Head & Shoulders shampoo.

Better still, it doesn't contain parabens, which are harmful chemicals often in shampoos, linked to cancer.

Definitely does live up to it's claims of being the "marvellous transformer"!

It costs €4.19 in Boots.