Saturday, 29 October 2016

Red Recipe - Lamb Tagine

Recently, I made an incredible Lamb Tagine for a dinner evening with my boyfriend and his best friend. I love cooking for friends, so I immediately jumped at the chance to make something impressive. Tagine is something I adore, ever since my college days. Yes, it's time consuming, but you can literally leave it on the stove on a low heat and clean the house, or watch a movie, which are both things I did.

I didn't take any fancy photos, so this will have to do you! 

Tagine is a Moroccan dish, akin to stew, and traditionally it's made with lamb or beef. I made it with lamb, this time around. It's a warm, spiced, very hearty dish that you can make on a cold winter day and feed a multitude. When I made it, I was only cooking for three, but ended up giving our guest leftovers to take home, and we had it for lunch the next day too. It's a great dish, filling and tasty and pretty healthy, it's easy to prepare and it doesn't require really fiddly chopping or much by way of special equipment. So, here's how you make it!

What You Need:

500g (2 packs) of diced lamb from Lidl,
1 large onion chopped roughly,
2 large carrots, quartered and chopped roughly,
2 or 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced up roughly,
3 heaped tbsp ras-el-hanout spice (any decent ethnic grocers should have it)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tins of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
200g dried apricots (whole or chopped is up to you)
500ml chicken stock
Olive Oil

To Serve (Optional)

Flaked almonds.

If you have a cast iron casserole dish, you can make this on the stove top, if you're using a pyrex one, you're going to have to fry off the ingredients in a pan before you add them to the casserole pan and put it in the oven, Just use your discretion here, following these steps as best you can.

1. Heat up your oven. Gas Mark 4, or between 180- 200 Deg. Heat the olive oil in a pan, and sear off your meat. Scoop out the lamb onto a plate and pop it aside for a bit.

2. Cook your onions and carrots for 2 or 3 minutes til the onions are a light golden brown. Toss in the garlic and cook for another minute or so.

3. Tip in the spices, the tomatoes and stir it all up. Here's where you might want to season it. (I opted not to) Chuck back in the lamb and tip in the drained chickpeas.

4. Pour over the stock, and stir the whole thing up well.

If you're making this in the oven, you need to cover the dish, and put it into the oven for 1.5 hours. I cooked this over a whole day on a stove, so about 6hours, and the lamb was so tender and the whole thing was incredible. To do this, you need to put it on a low heat, and keep a good eye on it every 30 to 40 minutes, stirring it to stop the bottom sticking or burning.

To serve, you can pair this with cous-cous, or rice, or potatoes if you want. It's incredible with cous-cous and corriander, with flaked almonds over the top.

If you make this, let me know what you thought. It's one of my favorite dishes, so I'd be curious to know! 

Happy Cooking, 


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Top 5 Running Tunes

Today, I'm comign at you with a little bit of motivation for running, with my Top 5 Running Tunes (right now)! I've a big love for what I refer to as "stompers", so I've included my favorite stompers! I hope you enjoy, read on!

Madonna - Hung Up

An undeniable beat, calls to mind many a 5k race day. I've great memories of this song, and when it comes on while I'm pounding the pavement, it makes me work that little bit harder. Definitely recommend this for hill training, that's for sure!

Robbie Williams - Party Like A Russian

Another absolute stomper, perfect for getting through a tough kilometer or so. A deliberate beat will drive you, that much is for sure, and this couldn't be any more deliberate if it tried. I'm obsessed with this song, and because of it, I've been rediscovering Robbie's oldies lately. What a great artist, am I right?

The Bloody Beetroots - Warp 1.9 (Feat. Steve Aoki)

One, two, whoop whoop! This will absolutely motivate you to finish strong, I swear! You will plough through a run with this backing you up, and if you ever get the chance to see them live, do it!! They're unbelievable live, one of the best shows of my life!

Hozier - Jackie And Wilson

One of my favorite songs of all time, and a beauty to run to, too! Can we all just agree that Hozier is an incredible artist whose music can be applied to any situation? Thinking, running, cooking, I can listen to his music anywhere. This track, in particular is very good for running!

The Darkness - Last Of Our Kind

One of my favorite songs, by one of my favorite bands, this song will get you through the shittiest of runs, Children, we are the last of our kind. So deep is my love for this song, that I would love to have a tattoo to commemorate it. I've always got The Darkness in my running playlist, because everything this band do is immense!

So there you have it, my Top 5 Running Tunes right now. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you want to leave some links to your favorite running/workout songs, pop them in the comments, I'll wrap my ears around them! 


Saturday, 22 October 2016

Vintage Shopping Tips

This season, I'm obsessed with vintage shopping! I just want to dig through second hand shops, trawl vintage stores and snag bargains galore! I'm always digging through my local charity shop, keeping an eagle eye out in Dublin and when I go to Cork, I would allocate a whole day to vintage shopping on every trip!


From records, to shoes, to coats, to accessories, I just adore rooting around, being nosey, finding gems! I've been lucky enough through the years to find some great designer brands, snag some new items with the tags still on for half of the price. Even in Paris, I had my roving eye always keeping a look out. So today, I'll be bringing you my tips for thrifting.

Have A General Idea Of Things You Want 

In my head, I have a list of things I want from season to season. This season, the first thing I wanted was a pair of white Doc Martens, and I snagged a pair on E-Bay for a fraction of the price. They're slightly scuffed and what I refer to as "pre-loved" but they're perfect, they fit well and they're the genuine article. When you're shopping, know what you want, but don't set your bar too high. If you go into a shop saying you only want to buy a pair of Levi Mom Jeans, you're going to miss out on that great pair of GAP Retro Fit jeans on the rail, just because you psyched yourself out of any alternatives. Know you want Mom Jeans? Just stick with that, and you're guaranteed to find a bargain! In case you can't tell, I really want to pick up some Mom Jeans on my next trip!

Know Your Budget 

Thrifting is pretty budget friendly, but that doesn't mean you should go on a huge spender-bender! Just like shopping in the likes of Penneys, Topshop, New Look, you should have a  budget. Keep yourself in check, or know that you've got a cushion of however much in case you stumble across a vintage Chanel that you just cant leave behind! Knowing your budget is going to help you out, I promise!

Bring A Friend Along

I love digging around on my own, on a rainy day, but shopping is always more fun with a friend. Bring someone whose opinion you trust and value. Better still, if they're on the hunt for something too, then you can act as an extra pair of eyes for each other... Teamwork!! It will make the rooting more productive feeling if you can find a gem of a silk blouse for your friend even if you can't find that bomber jacket you've been craving.

My Top Pick Of Vintage Shops 

Eager Beaver, Temple Bar - An absolute treasure trove of pre-loved gems. A great spot for leather jackets and Doc Martens.
Blackrock Market, Blackrock - Hop on a 7, go to Blackrock of a Saturday or Sunday, and thank me later. Everything from vinyl, to furniture, to clothes and great food!
Siopaella, Templebar - Designer and name brand beauties at a fraction of the cost? Whats not to love?
Tola Vintage, Fownes St, Templebar - If you prefer to do your vintage mooching online, Tola Vintage has a great online store! Find it HERE

So there you have it, my tips for vintage shopping! Have you any tips to share? Leave them in the comments below! 


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Autumn Essentials

I adore autumn. Layering, scarves, bobble hats, it's probably my favorite season. Today, I'm going to give you the low-down on my current essentials! These are the things I cannot be without, this time of year... Enjoy!

I adore Docs. They're a pain to break in, but they are so comfy when you finally do! I've had my Triumphs for a couple of years and they still look like they're fresh from the box. I recently bought a pair of white 1460's because I had been living for a pair for months, and I snapped up a good deal on ebay! They keep your feet warm, dry and they look great with everything! I couldn't be without them.

Chilly air means dry skin, flaky lips and if like me you've stretched ears, sore earlobes. I'm hugely into creams in this weather. I carry a Body Shop hand cream and a Blistex Daily Lip Conditioner in my handbag at all times. I am pretty obsessed with keeping my ear lobes looking and feeling great, as well... At 1/2", they're not huge by any means, but they need looking after. I have a Beauty Kitchen Chill Me Wonder Balm for my lobes, and I keep them moisturised to keep them safe from the cold. I'm also addicted to the BioDerma Hydra Bio rich creme right now, its keeping my skin protected from the biting wind!

My eye makeup has been pretty seasonal for the last few months, and now is no different. I am obsessed with my Revolution Flawless Ultra Eyeshadow Palette. It's a 32 pan palette with shades from cream to black, with incredible nudes, bronzes, burgundies and chocolate shades. Perfect for the autumn and Christmas seasons. I've plenty of other palettes, but this one is my obsession right now. I picked it up for €10.95 and it was worth every cent! When I'm staying with Himself, I like to downsize my makeup so I have been rediscovering my beloved Naked Basics palette from Urban Decay. Perfect for a neutral eye, from girly to grungy.

So there you have it, my Autumn Essentials! Let me know your picks in the comments! I'd love to know what you consider essential at this time of year! 


Saturday, 15 October 2016

GRWM - Current Everyday Face

Hey guys! Today I'm going to show you how I go from a 4, to a solid 7! Only joking, I'm pretty comfortable with how I look sans slap, but I love makeup, I think it's fun, it's a process I enjoy every time I do it. So today I'm going to show you what I look like before and after, when I do my every day routine.

I'm going from this...

I always start by cleansing, and currently, I'm using the Nivea Essentials Sensitive Cleansing Milk on a cotton round to cleanse my skin of anything icky, and then move onto moisturising with a combo of my BioDerma HydraBio Serum and Nivea Q10 Energising Day Cream before I slap on my... well... slap!

For my base, I'm just roving between my Rimmel Match Perfection and my Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous foundations, they're both great, and I love them both equally, so I just go for whichever one is nearer to me on any given day! Today I went with Covergirl, and I powdered over the top with my PS Matte Transluscent powder. It just sets the liquid without adding any more pigment. Then I contoured with my Revolution Blush Palette in Golden Sugar, taking the matte bronzer on a contour brush and lightly buffing it in under my cheekbones.

For my eyes, which were next, I set my brows with Essence Make Me Brow, just to keep them from going too wild. Then I whipped out my Gwen X Urban Decay eye palette and a fluffy eye brush, and applied Stark all over the lids as a base, then ran Anaheim through the socket as a transition shade. I got a smaller fluffy brush, and took Zone over the lid and blended it in with Anaheim. Then came the fun part. To deepen the look, I took a tiny little brush, and the shade Punk, carefully patting it onto the outer corner, into the crease and down a little to the lower lashline. Then I took a clean blender brush and blended it all out, deepening the colour, and repeating until I was happy. The idea is a semi bruised, grunge-inspired eye. To finish the look off I took Blonde on my finger tip and applied it to the brow bone as a highlight. I lined my eyes with Rimmel Exaggerate Liquid Liner (not my favorite, mind you, but it was within reach). Mascara was an easy pick, Catrice Better Than False Lashes did the job on my upper and lower lashes. this!!! 

I applied my MUA Blush in Marshmallow on my cheeks with a very light hand, and then I highlighted with the creamy shade from the Revolution Blush Palette, because it's the best highlight in the world as far as I'm concerned. That's a fact.

I didn't actually apply any lipstick, I just applied a little of my Blistex Daily Lip Conditioner, and that was me finished! I did bring my MAC Lipstick in Faux with me to apply at some point, though!!

So there you have it, my every day routine. Suffice to say I don't use the same products every day, but the finished look is always pretty much the same as this - a smudgy, grunge-y, lived in eye look. It's easy, it's quick and it looks great to boot. 

What do you think? 


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Doc Martens - Breaking In & Styling

I own two pairs of Docs, one black, and one white pair. My black pair the Triumph 14-eyelet boots with a furry lining, and my white pair are an 8-eye pair of the classic 1460 boots. Today I'm going to take you through how I will be styling both pairs for the Autumn Winter season.

When I start breaking in any pair of tough-looking shoes, I do so by hand. When it comes to Docs? I make sure to do it way more thoroughly. Dr Martens have a reputation for making minced meat of your feet. Blisters, bruises, blood, Docs are known to make you, the wearer, suffer for weeks, if not months. So, I took my first step of breaking in shoes by hand, and went at it hell for leather – pardon the pun!

The first thing I do, is bend the soles where you bend at the toes. I bend them really harshly, over and over until it's softened a bit and you can see the beginnings of a crease. The level of ferocity I usually go at this with looks like an attempt to fold the boot in half. The next thing I do, is to put pressure on the heel cup, not enough to break it, but enough to soften it, repeating until I'm satisfied. I'll keep repeating the toe bending and the heel softening until I'm generally happy with the outcome. I've been known to spend the duration of a movie breaking in shoes by hand, and not just Docs, let me tell you!

Then comes the fun part!

Generally, I will put on a pair of ordinary socks, the kind that come above your ankle. Then, I'll put on a pair of thick boot socks. This helps to alleviate the rubbing. Then I walk around my house first, maybe out to my gateway and back again, or if I'm feeling really brave, I'll walk the perimeter of the property. I'll take it slowly enough, stopping every few feet to lean forward on my toes, to help to wear in that crease. Then I'll go back inside and I'll do some chores around the house, or get in the car and go to the supermarket, where I can walk slowly, breaking in the shoes. Take it from me, a full day of walking around Dublin is not advised – I learned that the hard way in college with my Triumphs. If they become too uncomfortable, I'll sit with my feet up for a few minutes, and let them settle. Then I'll do some more walking. I'll do this for a few days before I wear them for a full day.

I must admit, I found the 1460 8-eye classic boots a lot easier to break in than the Triumphs. The leather in my Triumphs is reinforced in places, and it made breaking them in an absolute nightmare. Whereas, the 1460 Classics, they've been much more easy to wear. They're a bit harder to style, but then, when you're in love with the colour black, that's to be expected!

My black 14-eye boots have been a staple in my wardrobe for years. I wear them with skinny jeans, boots, slouchy-tees, dresses, flannel shirts and beanies. In other words, they're the ultimate in casual footwear. The fleece lining also makes them super cosy, and they are quite roomy inside, allowing you to wear fuzzy socks if that's something that takes your fancy... If I'm feeling like a tough chick, but I still want to look girly, I'll pair my Triumphs with thick black tights, a dark floral dress and either a hoodie or a biker jacket.

The new white ones, I'm loving with jeans, and an oversize wooly jumper. Think Rory Gilmore in the first few episodes of Gilmore Girls. High waisted mom jeans rolled up, a vintage tee or a cropped top and a flannel – 90's grunge, am I right?!

When you break in your Docs, they're going to be the comfiest shoes you've ever worn, forevermore. I can vouch for that. Maintain them, mind them, and they will last you a lifetime. They wont go out of style, they won't lose their charm or appeal with age. Docs are timeless, and if you don't have a pair, you need one. 

I buy my Docs on Ebay or from China Blue in Temple Bar.


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Catrice Glam & Doll Eyeliner Pen

Last week, I found myself stuck, with no felt tip eyeliner and I was pretty mad about it. I love felt tip liners, they're easy to use and they don't make a mess. So when I went to apply liner, and found the marker tip all dried up, leaving me to use actual liquid liner? I had to hotfoot it out to my local pharmacy to get a replacement. Pronto!

I picked up this Catrice Glam & Doll Super Black Liner Pen in an Adrian Dunne pharmacy in Trim. I looked at every stand twice over and swatched every liner I could find, eventually opting for this one. I didn't know at the time of purchase that it was marketed as "super black", but I did notice that it swatched much more black than other liners. Another thing I noticed was the tip, which is a "tulip" shape, with a really fine point.

The tip of this liner is flexible but really precise, and after my first use, it was pretty much love. I was able to create a fine line in the inner corner with the tip, flatten the tip to my lid in order to thicken it towards the outer corner and then create a sharp flick with the tip again - all on my first application. YAS! The liner itself, is super super black, which is incredible. It dries quickly and down to a matte finish, which is all I ever want in a liner, so I was a happy bunny when I discovered this.

Overall, the liner lasts pretty well, it's not waterproof (and I am a crier) but that's okay, it's cheap as chips, and it's easy to use! For €3.49, the quality in unsurpassed and I will be repurchasing!

Catrice can be found in most decent Penneys and chemists nationwide!

Amy xx