Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The Best of 2014

Hey guys! I don't know about you, but I really think 2014 has flew by! Where has the time gone, eh? I thought I'd write up a quick blog post of my favourite, films, songs, products, and moments from 2014. 2014 has been great for me blogging wise, but not so great on the personal side, but I'll spare you the details. I hope 2015 will bring better and bigger things along with it, and I hope you all have a fabulous 2015. Onwards to my post! :)

The Fault In Our Stars When I bought TFIOS as a book, I could not for the life of me, put it down! I had it read in a couple of hours. I was so excited to see it in the cinema, but I was partially worried it wouldn't be as good as the book, but I really loved it! The main cast and support cast were easy to warm to and you quickly grew to love them, especially Augustus Waters (my love). It is such a sweet, warm, funny in parts, and heartbreaking movie to watch. You feel alot of different emotions watching TFIOS. I also loved the part of the movie set in Amsterdam, it's beautiful! I imagine more of a George RR Martin type character for Peter Van Houten, but Willem Defoe plays the part brilliantly. Ansel Egort and Shailene Woodley played the parts of Augustus and Hazel Grace beautifully. 10/10.
Gone Girl- Another book-cum-film, I haven't read the book, yet. Looking for a film to watch on Halloween, Gone Girl sounded like the best plot of them all. Without giving too much away, Gone Girl is about the 5 year marriage between Nick and Amy, which is on the rocks. On their 5th wedding anniversary, Amy is gone missing from their home, and is later declared a missing person. Because of Nick's cool yet awkward demeanour in front of the press, suspicion soon falls on him. It follows detective Rhonda Boney's quest to find out what happened to Amy and shows their 5 year marriage in a series of flashback. Gone Girl, is dark, very interesting and so gripping, I thought bad of going for a bathroom break. It has you on the edge of your seat throughout, and the twist, is the twist to end all film twists! The actors Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike are nothing short of brilliant. I was also really excited to see Neil Patrick Harris, who I love! 10/10


Special K- Placebo

Centuries- Fall Out Boy

The Phoenix- Fall Out Boy

Rat A Tat- Fall Out Boy ft. Courtney Love

Slide Away- Oasis

Everlong- Foo Fighters

The Fight Song- Marilyn Manson

Killpop- Slipknot

The Devil In I- Slipknot

Black No.1- Type O Negative

IEAIAIO- System Of A Down

In Noctem- Half Blood Prince Soundtrack

Personal Jesus- Johnny Cash

I've done a review on all of these products, which will be a clickable link to redirect you to the review if you want to check them out! :)

Grease Lightning (Excuse the quality, I was a newbie with a phone camera)


Seeing Trivium live- fantastic night, brilliant band! 

Going abroad solo for the first time to Paris! Fantastic trip, I learned alot, such a beautiful city. Seeing Notre Dame never gets old. <3

My 21st! A night I'll never forget, house party! :)

Winning a ticket to the Irish Blogger Conference. Perfect time to network, I learned loads of invaluable advice from the experts. Fantastic day! 

Getting my Slipknot ticket. My favourite band on earth, I've adored them for seven years now, and I finally get to see them live on the 14th of January! Too excited for words!!! :D

Seeing my blog grow. I've said all I'll ever need to say here. Thank you guys so much for reading and commenting. You guys are the best! It still surprises me that I have actual readers. :)

Getting my first paid job. Though it was only a temporary position, and I ended up disliking it, it was amazing to have the what feels like 100 year job hunt pay off! I learned alot, worked with lovely people and it gave me confidence in my abilities.

And they are my highlights of 2014. What were your 2014 highlights? Did you have a good year? Let me know below.
Thank you all so much for reading, and I wish you all a very happy New Year. :)
Stay fab xo
Kim. :)

Sunday, 28 December 2014

A New Hobby!

Hey guys! I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and spent lovely time with your loved ones, got fantastic presents and ate like a king! I had a wonderful Christmas. :) Today, I come at you with a sort of lifestyle post, on a new hobby of mine. :)

In the middle of the Summer, I took up Yoga as a new hobby! I didn't join a Yoga class. Quite frankly, I wanted to do Yoga on my own terms and to be honest, I can't afford a tenner a class, and I don't live in town. So I am teaching myself Yoga through YouTube videos- I love Simply Yoga, a free app on my iPod which has thought me the basics and Yoga With Adriene, who has so many different Yoga sessions for loads of different purposes, I love her. Taking up a new hobby doesn't have to mean money or classes, if you are resourceful- you can teach yourself anything! 
I do Yoga when the mood strikes me, I didn't want to incorporate Yoga as part of the daily routine, as it could become monotonous or boring to me. I find it's much better to practise Yoga when the mood strikes and you can get into the proper mindset. My favourite way to practise Yoga was around 9 or 10pm, outside, under the stars burning Sage because it really puts me in a peaceful and aware mood, but now that it's Winter and the degrees have dropped, I just practise in my sitting room.
There is so much into Yoga, with a rich history going as far back as the 5th or the 6th century. There is so many types, branches and philosophies of Yoga that I couldn't explain it all in this post! Yoga is a mental, spiritual and physical discipline that aims to transform the mind, body and soul. Initially mainly practised by Buddhists and Hindus, it has gained popularity in the western world in recent times. Yoga has been effective and proven to alleviate health problems and in physical rehabilitation, so it can be considered alternative treatment. I decided to take up Yoga for a few reasons: I have been having horrible muscle aches, especially this year, in my neck, shoulders and back. I've had trouble sleeping and overall, I wanted to find some sense of inner peace and happiness, I needed to de stress. Also, I wanted to improve my flexibility. I have found Yoga has helped in all of theses areas! I feel more at peace, less prone to stress, the pains in my neck have reduced, and I can preform a toe touch without bending my knees or it hurting!

Don't approach Yoga as a means to lose weight, you simply won't, and you might find Yoga a waste of your time, when Yoga does so much more for you. Weight loss is not what Yoga is about! However, it does greatly help improve your balance, focus, strength and flexibility. It also helps tone the body and condition it.
Some basic poses:

Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskara)- A salute to the Sun. The perfect way to loosen up and start a Yoga session.

Tree Pose: (Vrksasana)- The Tree pose is simple. Slide one leg up the side of the other, while bringing the arms to prayer position. Switch from one to the other. This improves focus and balance.

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)- A strong standing position. This is the pose that you start and return to for all standing poses. 

Staff Pose (Dandasana)- A position to start and return to for all seated poses. It should be done with every muscle in the leg pressed into the floor, open chest and toes spread open.

Warrior II Pose (Virabhadrasna)- A powerful standing pose that makes me feel about 10 feet tall. Stand with your legs wide apart and turn your right foot at 90 degrees and your left foot out at 15 degrees and put your arms out to the sides. Gaze over your shoulder and lunge into this position. Switch. This tones your arms and brings strength to the legs. 

Boat Pose (Navasana)- Starting in Staff Pose, slightly lean back and lift your legs up so you're balancing on yo' booty. Pull your abs in. This pose tones the abs and lower back. 

Child's Pose (Balasana)- Lie on your stomach with your arms stretched out in front of you, draw the shoulders back and rest your forehead to the floor. Breathe deeply. It's a really relaxing pose.

Corpse Pose (Savasana)- A pose that finishes up a Yoga session. Savasana is so relaxing and clears the mind I use this to fall asleep too. You simply lie with your arms and legs out, eyes close, concentrating on your breathing. You can stay here as long as you like.

I love practising Yoga so much! I can't wait to move on to the more complicated poses and become a pretzel- that's the dream! If you're considering taking up Yoga- just go for it! You don't need classes, there's no fitness level needed and it will do you the world of good! Don't think, do.
I hope this post didn't go on too long, but I felt like sharing my new love. :)
Do you practise Yoga? Are you considering it taking it up? Let me know below!
Thank you all for reading,
Stay fab xo
Kim. :)

Monday, 22 December 2014

Umberto Giannini Indulgent Beauty Moisture Mask

Hey guys! Today, I'm reviewing Umberto Giannini's Indulgent Beauty Moisture Mask. One of my favourite parts in my haircare routine is doing a deep hair treatment. It keeps my hair soft, smooth, hydrated, and in check. I wanted to try a new hair mask as a change from Aussie Take The Heat, something that promised softer and hydrated hair. I use a hair mask once a week, usually near the weekend when I'm going out or seeing people. I leave this hair mask in for around ten minutes- but you can leave it in for longer if desired. 
This Umberto Giannini hair mask promises to replenish dry, damaged, processed hair, leaving hair feeling soft and luxurious . It includes Shea Butter, which is known to smooth hair, and is a natural hair conditioner, thanks to its moisturising and healing properties. Shea Butter in hair is also fantastic for soothing a dry and irritated scalp and moisturises hair from root to tip. Even though I don't have dry, damaged or processed hair, I like to treat it as if I do, so whatever I use, keeps my hair in the best knick as possible. 

And the results? I found that the Umberto Giannini Indulgent Beauty Moisture Mask has really softened my hair. It gave me good hair days, after styling, my hair sat right for me and kept frizz at bay. My hair felt incredibly smooth, silky and hydrated. It really made my hair shine, and I was especially happy with the way it effectively detangled my hair and made it easy to brush through. The consistency of this hair mask is quite thick, which I love in a hair mask. The smell of this hair mask is lovely and smells like the inside of a hair salon (If that makes any sense?) This cost me €6.99 in Boots and I would definitely 100% repurchase! I give it a well deserved 10/10/. 

Have you tried the Umbero Giannini Indulgent Beauty Moisture Mask? What did you think of it? Let me know below! 
Thank you all for reading,
Stay fab xo
Kim. :)

Thursday, 18 December 2014

2015 Blog Plans and A Huge Thank You

Hey guys! I have to say a massive thank you to you all. Last week, I hit 10'000 views, and a few days later, I hit 10'200 views! To some, it might not be alot, to me though, it is the world! Cliché as it might sound, I am genuinely so surprised that people take the time to read my blog, to follow me and comment. Thank you all so much for your support and kind words over the past year. It truly means more to me than words can say. You are all such fantastic people! :) 
Hitting 10'000 views got me thinking about what direction I want my blog to head in, what I want from my blog. It has made me more determined than ever to make it truly successful. I would love a bigger audience, to work with businesses and to someday, go professional with my blog. So I have my plans thought out for 2015 on how to get Lipstick and Lightening off the ground and be all it can be, so here are my main ideas for 2015! 

Print out business cards.
Nothing adds an edge of professionalism to a blog or business like a business card. When the next opportunity comes up to network, like the Irish Blogger Conference, I will come prepared with my own business cards, with my blog name, email, what I blog about, and what social media platforms you can find me on. With networking, you're told so many different blog names, that it's easy to forget. Armed with a few business cards, this shouldn't be the case!

Buy my own domain name and website.
Probably the biggest and hopefully most fruitful plans for 2015, my own website! Even thinking about it makes me excited! Coming hopefully early during 2015, I hope this increases traffic and helps me to be taken more seriously by other bloggers and businesses, and hopefully, it will add more of my personality when it comes to layout and design. Also, I want the rights to my own blog name, so it can't be taken in the future (Unlikely, but still a risk). I am really so excited for this prospect! Can any of you lovely bloggers out there recommend me a great website builder site to do this with? Stay tuned! 

Reach out to PR companies.
100% the most daunting plan for 2015. To get into contact with PR companies was not why I started Lipstick and Lightening, obviously, as I haven't done so yet. However, as my commitment to this blog stuck and I've gained what I think is a respectable readership, here and on other social media platforms, I believe I am now in a position to do so. But how to approach PR for companies? Hmm. What is the etiquette? What do you say? Do you leave a friendly '':)'' or not? How do you go about this? Approaching PR would be something I am completely new to. To you other bloggers out there who do have contact with PR companies, I would really value any advice you have to say on this subject, regarding how to reach out and how to compose an e-mail or etiquette when contacting PR companies! 

Collaborate with other bloggers.
Collaboration blogs between two (or more) bloggers always makes for a fun and interesting read, and I really would love to collaborate with my fellow bloggers! It would create friendships, a wider audience, connections, advice, and a different perspective on a similar issue would be gained. Friendships between bloggers is so important. In a community like this, love and support is vital. If you have any interest on collaborating with me, I would love that. Share your ideas with me! No  matter how fabulous your content is, no blogger should be an island. :)

If you're interested in collaborating with me and have some ideas, do get in contact with me. To the bloggers out there who have are in touch with PR companies, if you have any advice for me on how to approach PR companies and etiquette when talking to PR companies, let me know below. And once again, thank you all so much for reading, commenting, and your constant support and interest. It means the world to me! :) 
Thank you all so much for reading,
Stay fab xo 
Kim. :)

Monday, 15 December 2014

The Christmas Tag!

Hey guys! How are you all doing? Sorry about only putting up one post last week, but I was a little uninspired the past few days. We put up our Christmas decorations on the 8th, and my mam especially, has the place looking so gorgeous and homey, so I felt like taking photos and showing them off, and I thought I would do so, with a Christmas post, so here I am! :)

What are your favourite Christmas movies?
Ooooh, we're off to a bad start. I don't like Christmas movies. A Christmas Carol isn't too bad though.

Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve on Christmas morning?
I open them all on Christmas morning! I love saving them all my lovely presents from my family, friends and boyfriend for Christmas day. :)

Do you have any favourite Christmas memories?
I have plenty! Three in particular stand out though. When my father was in the army, he used to guard Mountjoy prison three days on, three days off, and one year, he was working Christmas day. He was gone on Christmas eve. When we were opening our Christmas presents the next day, he surprised us and got home for Christmas! Another was going out with my family in the snow before dinner and having a snowball fight. And another is the Christmas with my boyfriend and we were together about a month and it was heavily snowing and we swapped presents in the kids play house in the park. It was really sweet. :)

Favourite Christmas food?
Because I'm vegetarian, I don't have much of a Christmas dinner. But I love little roast potatoes, Yule Log, hot chocolate, especially the peppermint hot chocolate from Starbucks. I love buying the sweets at Christmas markets and ALL of the chocolate!

Favourite Christmas gift?
To be honest, usually everyone's presents are spot on! I especially love getting pyjamas and fluffy socks. Those who buy for me, never get it wrong and know me so well. For example one of my best friends bought me a piece of art I had my heart set on and a beautiful set of 5 Fairtrade elephant candles, which smell divine! As long as it's not a dodgy bath set, I'll love it! 

Favourite Christmas scent?
Candy Cane Lane by Yankee Candles, smells amaaaaazing! The smell of wood, baking, hot chocolate, a roaring fire and the smell of Christmas dinner.

Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
We usually go to my Nanny and Grandad's grave and leave a wreath. While we're up there, we see some of our cousins, aunts and uncles. Then we go home, put on our new pyjamas, and relax and watch some tv or a movie by the fire. I love it. :)

What tops your tree?
It used to be a gold, gaudy angel that used to make the tree lean, haha. My sister and I fought over who put it up when we were little, so we took turns each year. Now it's a pretty silver star. :) 

As a kid, what was one present you always asked for, but never received? 
It was one I always asked for but I never got, but still kind of want because I never had one, a Stretch Armstrong! 

What is the best part of Christmas for you?
I love Christmas and so many aspects of it! I love seeing my friends and family. I love giving and receiving presents, the food! I love that sleepy, laziness that comes with celebrating Christmas. I love decorating the house and putting up the tree. Spirits are high, Also, me, my sister and mam have started a new tradition last year where we go up to Dublin shopping for the January sales, and it's a great day out! It's not Halloween, but I do love Christmas! :)

I tag all of you to do the Christmas tag! If you do, link me and I'll give it a look see. :)
Thank you all for reading,
Stay fab xo
Kim. :)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Simon Community shoebox appeal

Hey guys! Today I'm writing up a little something different from the usual posts. For alot of us, Christmas is the best time of year. Presents, food, family, and a warm cosy house. However, for others that aren't so lucky, they dread the upcoming season, and don't have the simple necessities. The Simon Community in the Irish Midlands area (Athlone, Birr, Longford, Mullingar, Portlaoise and Tullamore) have started a fantastic appeal- The shoebox appeal. If you went to Primary school in Ireland, you have probably done a shoebox appeal for charities like Trocaire, Concern and Goal. Well, this is the same idea, except the items included are a little different and for the homeless in your own area.

 Recently, all over the news in Ireland, we are reminded by the homeless epidemic, more over in the Greater Dublin area, which alone, has over 1'500 people sleeping rough, Especially with the horrifying death of John Corrie, who died over the night. sleeping on the street, right down the road from the Dail. All year around it's important to be charitable, but especially at Christmas, when homeless people have nothing to be happy about. Even if you're not living in the Midlands area, they're are plenty of other ways you can help, donate, fundraising or volunteering. For more ideas, check the Simon website. To make a shoebox, all you have to do is decorate a shoebox and fill it with toiletries and some goodies, such as: Shampoos, conditioners, deodorant, shower gel, lotions, toothbrushes, toothpaste, wipes, and a few treats, like a bag of sweets or a chocolate bar. In my shoebox I included: Shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, toothpaste, a toothbrush, hand gel, 2 pairs of gloves, disposable wipes, a packet of sweets and a Galaxy bar. All of this came under €15, so it is a cheap way to give to a fantastic cause. Any shoebox you give stays in the local area and helps those closer to home.

If you want to drop in a shoebox, you can do so in: Athlone: Sean Costello Street, Birr: David O'Meara's pharmacy in Emmett Square, Longford: Garvey's Yard, Mullingar: Brian's Treasure Chest, Castle Street, Tullamore: Main Street and Portlaoise: Main Street. They must be dropped in by Saturday 20th of December. Happy shoeboxing, everyone! :)
Will you be doing the shoebox appeal? Let me know below! :)
Thank you all for reading,
Stay fab xo
Kim. :)

Friday, 5 December 2014

Botanics Microdermabrasion Polish

Hey guys! The day has finally come. I have bought a new laptop! I am so so happy about this! It'll keep me on top of my blogging, and my laptop won't turn off the minute I start writing and I won't have to run to the library in town to upload photos for the blog, so I am delighted with my new toy. ;) Anyways, onto today's post. Today I'm reviewing Botanics microdermabrasion polish. I love the Boot's Botanics range so much, it's a well priced, eco-friendly range that delivers actual results. This attracted my attention in Boot's not too long ago and I couldn't wait to give it a whirl!

The Botanics microdermbrasion polish promises cell renewal for a younger, more radiant complexion. It also plans to improve skin texture, refine pores and a salon experience at home. Big words, huh? The key ingredients in this polish are: Pumice- Pumice is a beauty product as old as time. Pumice is known for it's lightness but abrasiveness, which makes it effective, but not harsh when it comes to exfoliating and removing dead skin. Olive oil- To soften and nourish skin. Shea butter- To soften, smooth and hydrate the skin. Gingko- Gingko is a key ingredient in this polish. It is packed with antioxidants and helps protect skin from environmental stressors. I use this once a week after cleansing. I massage this all over my face, focusing on problem areas (chin) and rinse with warm water.

What did I think? I think once a week is definitely enough, or else I think it would get rid of natural, vital oils. This will last a long time as a little goes a long way. I really felt that this polish was getting deep into my skin and doing something. It felt polished and clean. My skin looked brighter, clearer, fresher and softer. Also, the texture of my skin has improved. As you know, I usually buy eco-friendly skincare products, so the tube is made from over 25% recycled materials, there are no parabens, it's organic and it is people tested! 
This costs €11.99 but I got this for half price, and for 120ml, it's definitely worth it! It is a fantastic product and I would 100% repurchase! 8/10.

Have you tried the Botanics microdermabrasion polish? What do you think? What's your favourite product from the Botanics range? Let me know below!
Thank you all for reading,
Stay fab xo
Kim. :)

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Irish Blogger Conference!

Any excuse to bring out the Nikon!  Sorry for the lack of photos, the conference was too interesting and I didn't have a great view of the speakers.

Hey guys! Today I come to you with a super exciting blog post! On Thursday, I won a ticket to the Irish Blogger Conference in Dublin! When I heard about it I was so so excited, but quickly disappointed when with Christmas costs, I couldn't afford it. So I was over the moon when I won a ticket to go! (And I never win anything). The Irish Blogger Conference is the first conference of its kind here, and it brings bloggers, both big and small together to network and learn some invaluable advice from the biggies. Top bloggers speaking at the conference was Leanne Woodfull, MakeUpFairyPro, It's Cherry Sue and Nick Munier. Here is the highlights of the conference and what I thought of it. 
First up to speak was Joanne Larby from MakeUpFairyPro, and I thought she was the best speaker of the day! She was very inspirational. Joanne spoke about how she left her contracted, safe and well paid job to follow her passion of blogging and make-up artistry. With a blog reigning in over 107'000 views a week, a degree in child psychology, and working and collaborations in places like RTE, Inglot, Primark, Boohoo, Smashbox, John Rocha, Mac, Benefit, BT2 aaaaand voted top 6 to follow by Vouge Italia, Joanne is nothing short of inspirational and fantastic!
Next up was Justyna from the Dublin Simon Community. The Simon Community is a brilliant organisation who work with those at risk of losing their homes and the homeless. If you're living in Ireland, at the moment you'll have heard about the housing crisis in Ireland, particularly in the greater Dublin area, with over 1'500 homeless in that area alone. There are some ways you can help the Simon Community. You can volunteer, make a donation, or instead of buying Christmas cards, donate to the Simon House of Light. more info here. Also on the 11th to the 13th of December  from 5-10pm, Simon Community are hosting a light show on South William Street, Dublin. So go if you're in the area! They are an amazing, hardworking organisation. 
Another speaker was Nick Munier from the show Masterchef and Nick spoke about how he made his way up from commis head chef, head waiter to having the best restaurant in Ireland, Pichet. He also spoke about how Blogging is the way forward for business and how it's better than a newspaper write up and it gives a better flavour of a meal through blogging. He also talked about how you have to be careful about what you put online because when he was verbally attacked on Broadsheet.ie and Trip Advisor, he said some words he shouldn't have and made things worse. It reminded me to be more careful online.
Caroline Hennessy from Bibliocook, a food blogger was another speaker, and she shared her top tips for a great blog. She advised we find and hone our niche, be original, have good content, grammar and punctuation and be consistent, which I think is so important. Caroline has never made any money from blogging, but has come across the best opportunities, which includes writing a book and is involved in the Irish Food Blogger Association. Through blogging and living away from her family in New Zealand, blogging helps her feel a sense of connection with her friends and family.
 After the first lot of speakers, we had a 20 minute break to ''Network''. As someone who is really socially anxious, the thoughts of this terrified me. To my surprise, during the break I met some truly lovely lovely people and we talked about our blogs and ideas, swapping blog names and such. There was lovely refreshments and amaaaaazing cupcakes! Courtesy of Catrice and Essence, there was some lovely free goodies for all, yay! 

After the break, it was Sue Jordan from It's Cherry Sue up to speak. Sue is definitely one to look up to amongst Irish beauty and lifestyle bloggers. Sue has a degree in Government Management (Surprising) and had two sons at a young age. She used to write for the popular Irish website, Beaut.ie. She writes her own beauty and lifestyle blog. She shared with us the importance of engaging with your readers through social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter.
 One of the last speakers of the day was Ali Ryan who touched on the topic From Blog to Business Woman and shared how she also left a well paid job to co found website Goss.ie, Ireland's first website that specialised on news and stories from Irish celebrities. She stressed the importance of being unique and dedicated to your blog. 
I thought the best speakers at the conference were MakeUpFairyPro and Sue from It's Cherry Sue. They were so inspirational and motivated me. They made me feel that I could reach the stars and reassured me that I was going on the right track with my blog. The two things that most of the speakers expressed the most was 1.)  When blogging, you won't make money too easily and you need another avenue of the income on the side while blogging and 2.) The more popular you are blogging wise, you will eventually have to deal with trolls. You can't let them get to you or drag you down and deal with them in stride.
Overall I thought this was an absolutely fantastic event and I some some lovely people and learned some invaluable advice! I was delighted to hear that it was going to be an annual thing, so excited for the next Irish Blogger Conference! 

I've always loved Dublin at night.

Did you go to the Irish Blogger Conference on Saturday? What did you think? And if you didn't, will you be going next year? Let me know below! :)
Thank you all for reading,
Stay fab xo
Kim. :)