Songs I’m Listening To Right Now

I love music. It has the ability to make me feel happy, make me feel sad, make me feel productive, inspired, nostalgic. I don’t listen to just one genre of music, whatever I’m listening to on any given day just depends on what mood I’m in. Some of my favourite nights have been spent with people I care about, enjoying each other’s company and listening to music, both new and old. When I rediscover an old song or band that I used to love, I’m just overcome with memories. It’s crazy how a song can take you back to a certain time and place in your life and make you feel like you’re living in that moment again! When I discover a new musician or band that I like, I tend to delve in to their entire discography, and then listen to other musicians that they are associated with, or who are similar to them, and find new music that way.

Like I said, I love music, and I could go on and on about my favourite songs, bands, why I love them and so on, but instead I’ve just decided to put together a playlist of what I’ve been listening to lately, old and new, and I hope I can inspire some of you to try some new music, or rediscover some music that you used to love along the way. Hope you enjoy!

Chat soon,

Niamh

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Review: Revival by Stephen King

What it’s about:

Revival follows the lives of Jamie Morton and Charles Jacobs, and the bond that is established between the two men over time. They meet when Jacobs moves to the small, New England town that a young Jamie lives in, and they soon forge a deep bond until an accident occurs, which results in Jacobs resigning as minister and moving away. Decades later, Jamie and Charles meet again, a meeting which has profound consequences for both, deepening their connection in a daunting way. The underlying theme of this novel is the age-old question – what happens when we die? Using the characters in this novel, the author takes this simple question and attempts to answer it, Stephen King style.

What I thought: *Spoilers ahead*

This is a typical Stephen King book – it contains suspense, horror, a main character which had substance abuse problems/some sort of power. I generally enjoyed this story, although I did find ‘the big reveal’ a bit odd. I wish there was more of an explanation of what the secret electricity is (or was there and I just didn’t understand it?) and the whole door behind the vines thing. As usual, I did get a bit freaked out at the ending, starting from when Jamie and Charlie headed towards the cabin at Skytop. I found it to be a story that gives you hope – hope that Jacobs would do actual good with his abilities, hope that the Morton family would be okay, hope that Jamie might get back with Astrid and find another purpose in life. But as I was reading it and still experiencing that hope, I just knew that something terrible awaited Jamie, and I wish we got to spend more time with the character before the books descent into true darkness. If anyone has a solid belief of what the after-life entails, they will be completely shocked with King’s portrayal of it in this book. He doesn’t deliver a ‘this might be the case’ scenario, he gives the audience a ‘this is what it is’ description, and you can only sit back and be terrified by his version of the after-life. I would describe this story as unsettling. It’s not a traditional scary tale of monsters and the supernatural, it plays on very real fears for a lot of people, by taking a question we have all asked ourselves at some point in our lives and making something horrific out of the answer. One of the most terrifying conclusions King has ever written, but I would definitely recommend giving this novel a read, especially for Stephen King fans who haven’t already.

My Top 5 Beauty Essentials

I’m not the type of person who owns a lot of beauty products, and usually my idea of getting all done up is throwing on some eyeliner and mascara and maybe brushing my hair. I’m not going to pretend that I’m really into make-up, honestly, I have no idea why highlighter is important and what baking is. However, there are a few beauty products that I do love and use regularly, so I’d thought I’d just do a quick post on them!

  1. Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup

I don’t really wear foundation that much, and I hate the feeling of a heavy foundation on my face, but after doing some research I decided to pick this up in Debenhams last year and it was one of the best make up purchases I’ve ever made! This is a lightweight foundation that leaves a very natural, demi-matte finish. It comes in a pump, which gives you more control over how much product you use. I use my Urban Decay Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush (another amazing purchase, which you can find here) to apply this, which blends the foundation beautifully, giving me a natural look. This product is currently €34 in Debenhams (find here), and I have to say, it’s a great price for what you get. I only use a couple of drops of this each time so it does last a good while.

  1. Mac Velvet Teddy Lipstick

Ah, the lipstick that became famous thanks to Kylie Jenner. I wanted a lipstick that I could wear with most of my clothes, and that looked natural while still giving my lips a bit of colour. So after some research, I headed to Brown Thomas (find here) to pick this little gem up! It was actually the first MAC lipstick that I ever bought! It’s a light browney/pinky shade with a matte finish. I usually dab a bit of lip balm on my lips before I apply this as matte lipsticks can be quite drying. This is the perfect, every-day lipstick for me and it lasts throughout the day so I’m delighted with it.

  1. Benefit They’re Real Mascara

This is a long-wearing formula that looks natural yet completely transforms your lashes. It promises to lengthen, adds volume, lift and separates lashes, and it does not disappoint. I wanted a mascara that didn’t come out in thick clumps so this was the perfect choice for me. It makes my lashes look longer and gives them a slight curl that I love. It can be purchased at Debenhams (here) or Boots (here) and comes in a full size and a miniature size, which is handy. Before I tried this product I was feeling quite skeptical of it, but now it’s my go-to mascara.

  1. Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

This product removes make-up, cleanses and smooths the skin. Micellar cleansing water has gotten big reviews over the last few years, and for a very good reason. It doesn’t irritate my skin at all and effectively removes any make-up that I have on, including eye make-up and lipstick. This product leaves my skin feeling clean and refreshed, and I tend to use it every morning and night before applying moisturiser. You can pick this up in most supermarkets, Boots (find here) and good old Penneys too.

  1. Burts Bees Lip Balm

This product is 100% natural, and contains beeswax, vitamin E and peppermint oil. It smells amazing, but it makes your lips feel refreshingly tingly, which can take some time getting used to. I apply this religiously every night before I go to sleep and also before I apply any kind of lipstick, and it gives me smooth, moisturised lips. There are several different flavours/smells, such as honey, mango and pomegranate, but I tend to stick to the original one. It can also be purchased in a tube or a cute little tin tub. You can find it in Boots here!

Hope everyone has a great weekend, until next time!

Niamh

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My Top 8 Binge-Worthy TV Shows

When life gets me down, I’m a firm believer of taking a few days to hibernate with my blanket, tea, chocolate and some boxsets. I have a few go to binge-worthy shows that I always turn to when I need a break from reality, so here they are:

Friends

The classic one that’s on almost every single binge show list there is. It’s a show that makes the audience laugh, cry, yell at the tv screen and then laugh again. The characters are all so relatable, I can identify aspects of myself in all of them. I’ve seen every single episode so many times I’ve lost count, and yet I always turn the channel to this show or stick on one of the DVDs when I need cheering up because it never fails to make me laugh. It’s one of those programmes that never gets old, it’s just so familiar to me which is what makes it so comforting.

Grey’s Anatomy

The show that makes you cry your eyes out while at the same time showing you the good and important things in life. You get so invested in the character’s lives, and as the show has been going strong for 12 seasons, they really do start to feel like old friends. The show is a

Ahhh, back in the beginning!
Ahhh, back in the beginning!

combination of situations that will most likely never happen to you (e.g. bomb in a body cavity) and situations that you can identify with (e.g. friendships, career struggles etc). This was one of the first boxsets I ever got and I just feel like it never gets old!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The ultimate tv show of the late nineties/early noughties. This show has a combination of real-life issues (relationships, family drama, school issues) and none-real issues (falling in love with vampires, an annual apocalypse etc). We can’t identify with the world of Sunnydale, but we can identify with the characters and most of the things they go through. I recently finished re-watching this show and no matter how many times I see the episodes I still tear up at the emotional things! I think it’s a show that’s very easy to watch, which is why it’s one of my go-tos.

Gossip Girl

The show that’s set in a faraway land (i.e. New York City’s Upper East Side) and follows the lives of the rich and privileged teenagers who live there. This is one of those shows that’s so bad its good, making it a perfect binging choice. The characters are from a different world that most of us don’t experience, yet we can’t help but have a certain fondness for some of them (Chuck Bass anyone?). The situations that occur in it would never happen to the majority of us, so it’s ideal from when you want to escape anything that reminds you of your own life for a few hours. Plus the soundtrack is amazing in my opinion, which is always a bonus!

American Horror Story

This show is just such a unique one, which is why it’s always stood out to me. The fact that each season is set in a different place, with different characters and tells a different story is what keeps the audience interested. In my opinion, there’s been nothing like it on tv in recent years. It’s another example of a show that’s so crazy that it gives you a complete break from reality, and even if it’s not really your thing, I recommend watching the first four seasons just for the brilliance that is Jessica Lange.

Lost

Such a great show, yet so misunderstood! Lost of one of those shows that you have to pay attention to every single minute, otherwise you’ll be, well, lost (sorry, had to be done!). Again, we have so many characters with aspects that we as an audience can identify with, and it has crazy storylines that keep you pretty entertained with guessing how they could possibly happen. This choice is not for everyone, as many people can get frustrated with it, but it’s one of my favourites.

How to Get Away With Murder

I only started watching this show a few months ago but it has me hooked, because I have a fascination with law cases. This show is so fast-paced that you don’t really have time to wallow in your own personal issues, it kind of just sucks you in to its own little world for 45 minutes. And the non-linear storytelling technique that’s used in the show makes it really unique and interesting. The show only has 2 seasons so far but it’s a good one and I highly recommend it!

 

Orange Is The New Black

The show that everyone’s been talking about lately, and for a good reason. It’s an ideal pick if you’re planning on binging for a day or two as Netflix uploads a whole new season at the one time. The only downside to that is that we have to wait a whole year for a new season! OITNB has so many diverse characters from so many different backgrounds and it’s just really interesting to see the lives they build for themselves in prison, all the while dealing with real-life issues, such as prison over-crowding, being assaulted there, the mental health issues that occur there etc. I watched 3 seasons of this show in the space of a month and I’m just finishing the fourth one now so I’m about to have some serious withdrawals!

 

So these are just a few of my favourite binge-worthy shows, what are some of your favourites?

Niamh

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My Goals For The Future

Like many recent college-leavers, I’m just trying to find my way in this new, post-college world. I have a few long-term and short-term goals that I want to achieve, and I feel that writing about them will help me see what I need to do to achieve them. I’m feeling a bit lost these days, so I think it’s important for me to stay positive and keep these goals in mind!

Travel

I want to travel all over the world and visit as many places as I possibly can, but my top 3 picks would have to be New York City, Rome and Australia. I just have to go to NYC at some point over the next few years, I look up flights to it literally once a week! I’ve just always wanted to experience the energy of the city that never sleeps, walk along the streets that have inspire so many people in so many different ways. As for Rome, I’ve been fascinated with the architecture and history there since I was a tiny tot learning about it in school. I’ve always dreamed of travelling through the streets on a Vespa, visiting all the touristy destinations and stuffing myself with pasta and pizza of course! And Australia is just such a beautiful country, I would just love to see the Great Barrier Reef in person, see the Sydney Opera House and drive along the coast. As soon as I can afford to travel to any of these places it will be happening!

I've always dreamed about seeing the Colosseum in person!
I’ve always dreamed about seeing the Colosseum in person!

Find a job

I want to find a job that I really, genuinely love. It’s important for me to have a career, and not just a job, so I want to have a job where I can progress and also learn a lot. Watching other people leave college and get jobs straight away scares me a little, but I don’t want a job for the sake of having one, I want one that I genuinely enjoy and feel like I fit in there.

Go to more concerts/music festivals

I absolutely love live music. The feeling you get while standing there with hundreds of other people listening to your favourite band or musician is indescribable. And music festivals are such a great way of seeing many of your favourite bands, as well as experiencing new music, so I want to get over my fear of muddy fields and sleeping in tents (still recovering from Oxegen 2010) and go to more festivals. Seeing Coldplay live would be the ultimate musical experience for me, and I can only hope that it will happen someday. Glastonbury would also be a dream, as so many amazing musicians play there. Also on the list are the Foo Fighters, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, Lana Del Ray, and about 100 other artists/bands!

Some day?
Some day?

Volunteer with animals

While the job searching continues, I’ve been thinking about volunteering for a while. I love animals, dogs in particular, so I’ve been thinking of looking into how I can work with them, whether it’s walking them or helping find foster homes for them.

Learn to drive

I’ve never really had the need to drive, as I live in walking distance to most places I’m likely to go. However, I think it’s a valuable skill to have, so I’m planning on doing my theory test before the summer ends and I’m saving what I can for driving lessons and looking at all my options for those. I always wanted to learn to drive eventually, so I’m eager to get started.

 

Keep writing – I enjoy it, it calms me and it’s something I’ve always done

One of my main goals over the next few years is to keep on writing. I’ve always been a big reader and writer – when I was younger and finished a book I used to write my own stories about what happened next. Writing’s important to me, it’s something I’ve always known and done, I find it quite calming most times and I genuinely enjoy it, so I’m going to try my very best to write frequently.

Until next time!

Niamh

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Starting All Over Again

Ah, dear blog, it’s been a while. I’m going through an odd time in my life, where I seem to be picking myself up and starting all over again in a few different areas.

Most recently, I completed my college course in May and in November I will be the proud owner of a degree in Public Relations! It still hasn’t really sunk in yet that I’m no longer a student, and that I have to try and be an adult now. It’s a little scary – last time I had a fresh start this big was 6 years ago, when I was just out of school and starting my college education. I think that I still have the student mentality of knowing what I’ll be doing in September, so I don’t think it will sink in that I’m actually finished college until then. It’s a big change, but I’m ready to put all the knowledge I’ve learned over the last 6 years to practical use.

Last year I lost someone who meant the world to me, my favourite person ever, and I’m still coming to terms with that loss. I’m still trying to figure out how to move on and navigate this crazy world without that person by my side. Honestly, I’ve never felt more lonely in my life than I do right now. It’s hard to go through such an unknown phase in your life without that constant person, but I have to get through it, one day at a time.

And lastly, I decided that my little blog needed a bit of a makeover. I blogged for a couple of years before taking a break during a difficult time in my life, and as part of my ‘new beginnings’ era I felt that it was about time I got back into writing. I decided it was better to start afresh than to continue where I left off over a year ago, so here it is, the new Music & Mascara. Hope you enjoy!

Niamh

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