Author: Sinead

Last of the Summer Days

There are only a few days left in the month now and I just can’t believe how quickly this summer has passed. Admittedly this season hasn’t been overly exciting for me (hunting for a new job and then being sick for several weeks isn’t a whole lot of fun!). Nevertheless there have been some good moments and I’ll be making the effort over the next week to ensure there will be a few more!

To start; we’re heading to the beach tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to the sea, sand and (hopefully) some sun. Have a great weekend :-).

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Silver Linings

As much as I admire intricate nail designs, I’ve yet to try any myself. One day I’ll give it a go but for now, I’m keeping things simple.

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If you don’t want to stick with the traditional manicure, it can be easy enough to achieve an alternative look. I’m a big fan of different coloured tips layered over a single block shade. For this, I started by applying a clear base followed by two coats of Rimmel Salon Pro Seduce. Once dry, I then dabbed the tips of my nails with Nails Inc. Silver Soho.

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Since I was doing this freehand; I was never expecting neat lines. As it turns out, I actually quite like the wavy results. The rich purple and cool silver also work well together and make for an interesting contrast. I love the fact that you can mix old colours from your collection for a fun and different look. This is easy to do and easy to wear — even if you were to only do one accent nail on each hand, it would still look good. Nail art at its simplest!

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Parrot Bay: Passionfruit Caipirinha & Mojito

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Weekends are always the perfect time to indulge and I can never say no to a nice cocktail! Mostly in the name of research (ahem), I decided to do a little taste test of Parrot Bay’s frozen versions of a Passionfruit Caipirinha and Mojito. I figured it was about time I tried these newer flavours as I’ve already had the others in this range which include Berry Daiquiri, Citrus Daiquiri and Pina Colada

These drinks come in liquid pouches which you freeze for 8 hours. This time around, I left mine in for around eight and a half hours and it took about ten minutes for them to become slushy enough to serve. If you’re feeling impatient, you can run them under warm water so they’ll defrost faster. Squeeze the drinks in to individual glasses and they’re ready to drink. Any small chunks of ice can be broken up with a swizzle stick or teaspoon. 

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These drinks are basically summer in a glass. They’re fun and easy, bright and colourful. Passionfruit Caipirinha has a sweet, smooth and exotic flavour while Mojito has more of a fresh and zesty taste to it. 

These cost around €2.50 each and both have a 4.7% alcohol content. To enjoy these at their best, a bit of planning and patience is required. If these are still quite solid when you’re squeezing them out, it can get a bit messy. Be prepared to wait for a bit and — as a word of advice — if it does spill, clean it up immediately! I accidentally splashed some of the Passionfruit Caipirinha on our kitchen table and spent a good five minutes trying to remove the attractive bright orange stain the next morning. Other than that, frozen cocktails are pretty much always a winner and these are no exception. Serve with some fresh fruit on an umbrella and enjoy!

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Step Eight

As you may know if you follow my blog, I’ve been setting a goal at the start of every month this year. Rather than creating a whole list of resolutions in January and then quickly forgetting about them a few weeks later; I decided to make one small change every month. These are the goals I’ve made so far this year:

January — Take the stairs instead of the elevator

February — Improve skincare routine

March — Spend at least fifteen minutes outside every day

April — Spend more time working on my blog

May — Get my five-a-day

June — Read for at least thirty minutes every day

July — Do more of the things I love

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Of course today I realised we’re almost halfway through August and I hadn’t posted my next step yet. So I figure that the obvious solution is for me to be more organized! As it is; I have too many drawers stuffed with documents that should be properly filed; bags of things that I’ve been meaning to take to the charity shop; lists of blog post ideas that I don’t always get around to…There’s also the optician appointment that’s long overdue and the fact that at least three nights a week I have to shoot up to the supermarket because we’re out of milk/detergent/all food…this goal is clearly a much needed one! So here I go…

Caramelized Pineapple

Another day, another fruity dessert! It seems I just can’t get enough of them. This is probably the easiest one so far. I’ve been wanting to try caramelized pineapple for a while now but I always thought it was supposed to be cooked on a grill which I don’t have. Then I came across this recipe which involves cooking sugared pineapple in a skillet pan — problem sorted!

It’s a foolproof method and the result is sticky and syrupy slices of golden pineapple. Sweet and chewy, these are best eaten warm out of the pan. They can be served with yoghurt or ice-cream but I like them just on their own as an easy dessert or alternative snack. 

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Midweek Picnic

When we first viewed our apartment before moving in, I was immediately drawn to its balcony. At the time, it was the middle of winter and dark and freezing cold outside but I didn’t care. All I could think about was how great it would be in the summer!

Now that we have the weather, I love spending time out there. The walls are relatively high so it’s secluded enough and a great spot to relax in. I’ve lived in a couple of apartments before and I’d sometimes feel a bit claustrophobic in them so it’s great to have that extra bit of room and open space.

Since it’s practically a fact that food tastes better outside, I’ve been using every opportunity to take our meals on to the balcony. Today we had a picnic-style leisurely lunch — pulled pork sandwiches, freshly baked cookies and some fruit on the side (to cancel out the cookies ;-)). Simple but delicious and made all the better by the sunshine and fresh air. 

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The Beauty Blogger Tag

I’ve always enjoyed reading blogger tag posts but I’ve never done one myself…well, until now! I came across this set of questions on Helen’s blog and thought it would be fun to give it a go. Even though this is a beauty blogger tag and I consider myself to be more of a lifestyle blogger; there’s a good mix of questions so I went right ahead with it! Have a read and post your own responses if you like :-)

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1. Is your hair naturally curly or straight?

Somewhere in between! I love my straighteners though ;-).

2. What is your natural hair colour?

Dark brown

3. Do you dye it yourself or go to a salon?

I don’t dye my hair! I have dyed it jet black and scarlet red in the past and always left it to the professionals ;-).

4. How often do you wash your hair?

Every second day.

5. Do you wear the same style every day or change it?

I generally wear it down if it’s cold and pull it back in to a loose bun when it’s warm.

6. Do you do your own mani/pedi or go to a salon?

DIY all the way.

7. How often to you change your nail polish?

Every week or so.

8. Do you polish your toes in the winter, too or just in the summer?

All year round!

9. How long does it take to put on your make-up?

Daytime make-up: ten minutes. Evening make-up: fifteen minutes.

10. What do you do first? Face or eyes?

Face

11. Do you “collect” make-up or just buy what you need when you need it?

Bit of both! It’s nice to have a little variety in the collection ;-).

12. How often do you wear false eyelashes?

I’ve never worn false eyelashes in my life! The thoughts of putting glue near my eyes… *shudder*

13. Do you do a full face of make-up every day?

Not at all!

14. Do you wear make-up when you are home alone (or with family)?

I live with my boyfriend and I never wear make-up at home — only when I’m going out!

15. Will you leave the house without make-up?

Absolutely. I prefer to have a little eyeliner on before I go out anywhere but if I’m in a rush, I’m really not bothered!

16. How many high end products do you have?

Only a handful. I’m blogging on a budget!

17. How often do you wash your make-up brushes?

When they look like they need a wash!

18. Do you plan your OOTD every night or decide when you are getting dressed?

I don’t do OOTD on my blog. I really don’t think anyone would be overly impressed in what I usually wear on a typical day….!

19. How often do you change your handbag?

I have a few that I choose between depending on what I’m wearing.

20. What time do you get up & go to sleep?

Usually in bed by midnight and up before nine. Depends on what’s going on that day.

21. How often & when do you work out?

I walk everywhere every day…does that count?

22. Left-handed or Right-handed?

Right-handed

23. How tall are you?

Only 5”2 — I’d love to be a few inches taller!

24. Do you speak a foreign language?

I studied French in college but I wouldn’t honestly consider myself anywhere near fluent!

25. How many pets do you have?

I’d love a puppy but we live in an apartment and we’re not supposed to have pets (although I hear one neighbour’s dog barking every so often and another neighbour’s cats strut past all the time!).

26. How often are you on Blogger?

I’ve only even been on WordPress for blogging! Although I do read a few blogs on Blogger…

27. Do you read the comments posted on blogs?

Yup, I’m always interested in seeing other readers’ responses.  

28. Do you keep a list of products to try as you see other posts?

No but I’ll remember if there’s anything that really stood out.

29. How did you come up with your blog name?

I wanted to name my blog after something I love so I wrote out a list of my favourite things. “Blue Skies” stuck out the most and I played around with it a bit to come up with “Blue Sky Daze”.

30. What kind of camera do you use for photographs?

It’s a Fuji Finepix DSLR. If I’m out, I use the camera on my phone which is pretty decent.

31. How often do you clean your house? (Daily, weekly, other)

I feel like I’m constantly tidying up in our house but I aim to do a proper thorough clean every week…That doesn’t always happen….

32. What is your favourite colour?

Pink

33. What is your favourite beauty/fashion magazine?

Stellar and Glamour

34. Do you swear?

More than I should

35. What are you doing with the rest of your day?

Catching up with the latest episode of True Blood and then bed!

Smoothie Sponge

Late last night, my boyfriend casually mentioned that his mum would be dropping by in the morning. As it’s her birthday this week, I decided that I just had to make a cake and planned on waking up early the next day to do so. Of course though I slept in and had less than an hour to sort something out…!

I decided to play it safe with a classic vanilla sponge; something that can be whipped up and in and out of the oven in thirty minutes. I wanted, however, to top it off with something a little more interesting. Seeing as it was both warm and early in the morning, a rich or heavy frosting was out of the question.

It was only when I was making a much-needed cup of coffee that I noticed a carton of Innocent Smoothie in my fridge. It was one of the extra juicy smoothies made with whole crushed fruit and juices. Containing pineapple, mangoes and oranges; I realised that the flavours would be perfect.

I quickly sifted some icing sugar in to a bowl (no time to measure!) and carefully added a few drops of the smoothie. Stirring it all together, I was beyond relived to see it become a lovely smooth consistency. I spread it lightly across the surface off the cake and finished it off with some wafer butterflies that I had in the back of the press.  I was just putting the final touches to it when his mum arrived at the door — talk about timing!

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In the end, she loved the cake so I was a happy baker. I’m intrigued now with this whole smoothie-and-icing-sugar concoction and I’m already thinking what other flavours to put together! I’d really recommend that you give this a try too because it’s so quick, easy and delicious! It turned a simple sponge in to something special. There’s only crumbs left on the plate now which is always a good sign! 

Honey Roasted Nectarines

Over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself buying tons of fresh fruit. I might seem pretty virtuous filling my shopping basket with various punnets and pieces but the reality is that once I’m home, the majority of it seems to end up as part of some dessert! To be fair, I kept it relatively simple today. Luscious juicy nectarines drizzled with a buttery honey sauce and roasted — it’s a pretty delicious treat just like that. You could, however, also pair them with fresh cream or ice-cream for a little something more indulgent. No prizes for guessing what I did ;-).  

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Wash and slice up four nectarines. With a fairly big solid stone in the centre, they can be a tricky fruit to cut. I tend to quarter them, working carefully around the pit. Line the nectarine pieces in to a lightly greased oven-proof dish. Melt a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of honey together in a separate pan and stir well before pouring the resulting liquid evenly over the fruit. Pop the dish in to a warm oven and cook for 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately — ice-cream optional but also kind of essential!

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By the Sea

Did everyone enjoy their weekend? It was a busy couple of days for us and it went so fast but it was really great too. On Saturday, I went to Wicklow with a friend. She’s moving there next month so I decided to tag along as she checked out a potential new home (it’s good to know where I’ll be visiting in the future!).

I love road trips, especially to places that I’m not overly familiar with. Wicklow has to be one of the most scenic counties in the whole country. It’s no surprise that it’s known as the Garden of Ireland. We drove through lots of little towns and some of the views were kind of breathtaking. When we came into sight of the Sugarloaf Mountain, I literally stopped mid-conversation and just gawped!

Before we headed home, we stopped in Bray for dinner and a walk along the seafront promenade. I didn’t get to take a huge variety of pictures during the day but I fully intend on visiting Wicklow again and again as soon as my friend settles in so you can definitely expect more then!

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