22 June 2014

14th Birthday, London + Summer Buys (May and June) | Collective Haul

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There's something so bewildering about birthdays. A year has passed and you are another year older. We can only get older. We can never be our younger selves again (unless the future has an enthralling turn)...
I have been 14 for over a month, and I think it is about time to present to you what I received, with great appreciation, for my birthday from family and friends, as well as items I treated myself to since then.

One of the biggest gifts I was given was the chance to enjoy a fabulous weekend in London. It was a compelling experience, and you can read all about it if you click here.

As you can see above, I picked out a new bike as my old one was getting too small. I cycle a lot in the summer, especially when in the west. It is such a satisfying activity! I love this bicycle a lot. To replace my pink helmet that seems too 'young' for me now, I got hold of a white one; safety is classy.

Now for all you MAC lovers out there, this was the most exciting present for my inner beauty blogger and I am thrilled to share it with you. I had a MAC makeup lesson! The professional, Jo, was very friendly and knew exactly what kind of makeup would suit my skin tone and my eye colour. She gave me a summary of all the products she used on the drawing above. As the lesson proceeded, she made up one side of my face, and then I did the other side after each step of make up. It was quite difficult to portray and copy Jo's work from the left side of my face onto the right, but I tried my best. I really enjoyed it overall, and I learnt loads!
The voucher for the class (thanks Mum!) was 60 euro, which I could also spend on products Jo used. I delightfully got three. Although I had heard of the beloved bronzer before in beauty world, I was always too scared to try it. Jo introduced me to MAC's limited edition Sharon Osbourne Mineralize Skin Finish bronzer/highlighter and so far, since I've purchased it, I'm loving it. As well as the bronzer I bought a MAC face and body foundation in N2,  a lighter shade than my current one, and a limited edition lip-gloss in 'Lots of Laughs'.
Next time I venture to MAC I quite fancy getting the lipstick in 'Sweet & Sour' and maybe some other products, but for now, I'm looking forward to using these beauties this summer.

From family and friends:
A make up mirror

Superdry slip on shoes

Hair product samples from Bumble and bumble and Ojon
Make up brushes

Nanny knows me well; Soap & Glory galore
L'Oreal Paris nail polishes in 'Sky Fits Heaven' and 'Wasabi Hint'
From the airport: 
Benefit's Finding Mr. Bright set

From Brandy Melville, London:

From Victoria's Secret PINK, London:

From Superdrug, London:

Nail polish and lip-gloss from Tanya Burr's collection! Nail polish: 'Mini Marshmallows', Lip-gloss: 'Let's Travel the World'

 Two of my best friends got me a ticket to go to One Direction in Croke Park with them back in May. It was fantastic, and the atmosphere was ecstatic.
And from home; Bershka shorts and top +
Penney's Hairband

That's everything I received or have bought recently for my 14th birthday and the summer season! I have thanked all the gift givers over and over, don't you worry.
Thank you very much for reading. There are lots of posts coming, but meanwhile, let me know in the comments what you would like to see on my blog. Also, give this blog a good old 'Best Youth Blog' nomination here if
you think it deserves one!
Talk to you soon,

18 June 2014

Universities, Shopping and My Birthday! | A Weekend in London

More than a month later, I get to share with you all my adventures in England's capital, as well as in Cambridge and Oxford universities. Although one special aspect of the May Bank Holiday weekend was that the Saturday was my 14th birthday, it wasn't the main purpose. My sister Emily travelled to London the day before with classmates and teachers for a Transition Year school tour. She was very interested in visiting Cambridge and Oxford, but that wasn't part of the one-night-trip. So, my Dad decided he should join her on the Saturday to spend a few more days in the Swinging City with her to visit two of the top ten universities in the world. I was incredibly excited when my father invited me along as a 'birthday treat'. It was to be my second time in London, but this excursion was going to be different. Universities? Hmmm... sounds like a bit of a bore. Or so I thought...

Day 1: The Arrival (+ my Birthday!)

 The journey to London was very nice, since it was also my birthday! Before Dad and I left, I received a few gifts, which I'm very eager to show you (keep updated ;D). I am so grateful. As one of my gifts, I picked out the Benefit make up set, Finding Mr. Bright (seen above), at the airport. A primer, pink cheek and lip tint and concealer; perfect for tonight's dinner, which was still a mystery to me! 
We hopped on the train and hailed a taxi (they are so adorable in London!) to reach our hotel Novotel. We had to wait a while until Emily's class left for the airport before we collected her, so there was only one place I destined to go; Brandy Melville. Thankfully, due to the pros of birthdays, I browsed around the oh-so-tumblr shop on Kings Road. I may have gotten one, or two, or three goodies *wink wink*. When strolling, we passed by a telephone box and I just had to do the Harry Styles pose. And it wasn't the last Harry Styles pose, oh no.
We reunited with Emily and went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner at the still unknown restaurant. I was told it had a 'fancy' dress code (I'm so fancy, you already knooow), which, in my terms, means a dress is a must. I wore the New Look dress you all saw in my spring haul, and of course used my Benefit make-up set. When arriving at the restaurant, I was instantly blown away. Cue waiters directing us up to the Lecture Room and Library, them opening the doors for us, extremely cool interior design and finding out it was a five Michelin star restaurant conceived by the famous chef Pierre Gaugnier! The name? Sketch. You have no idea how thankful I was. You can see pictures of the restaurant here.
The food was very unique, sometimes strange, but very, very tasty. The service was fit for a celebrity and the atmosphere was simply sophisticated. We even got the opportunity to see the rest of the astonishing restaurant, the (surprisingly small) kitchen and meet the chef himself! It was a bewildering evening and a marvellous ending to my birthday.

Special shoutout to all the lovely bloggers who wished me Happy Birthday!
You all made my day ;)

Hairband: Penneys
Blazer: Bershka
Dress: New Look
Tights: M&S
Pumps: M&S
Watch: Chronostar
Bracelet: Shamballa

Day 2: Oxford

Sunglasses: M&S
Bag: Jasport
Cardigan: Abercrombie & Fitch
Shirt: Abercrombie & Fitch
Jeans: G by Guess
Runners: Nike
Watch: Chronostar

 We woke up early the next day to catch a train to Oxford. The first thing I learnt about universities is that it consists of many colleges. Oxford is a little town, with lots of shops (a pro for a blogger), that is based around these colleges, the same as Cambridge. I thought university was another word for college. The more you know :)
Upon our arrival, we walked around and took everything in. Quite off topic, although relevant here, I was amazed by the amount of fashionable outfits I saw. I wished to take sly pictures of them, but that would've been awkward. #problemsofateenfashionblogger
We had an interesting guided tour around the university by our lovely tour guide Kate. She was a student at Cambridge and studied history, so she had plenty of knowledge and facts about Oxford's past, as well as life in university. She really made the visit riveting.
The campus was absolutely beautiful, with vast grounds and fascinating ancient architecture. The gorgeous weather made the day remarkable too. You will see plenty of photos now!
I longed to attend Oxford university in the future at the end of the day, but we still had another one to see and consider...

The Museum of the History of Science

The Bridge of Sighs

The Reading Room

Recognise this? Then you're a true Harry Potter fan.
The filmmakers took inspiration from this room for the infirmary.

Christchurch College, the home of the inspiration for the Great Hall of Hogwarts,
which is the reason for the queue at the entrance

Day 3: Cambridge

Me outside St. Catharine's College

Hairband: Penneys
Necklace: Forever 21
Top: Abercrombie & Fitch
Jeans: American Eagle
Bracelets + Watch: see first outfit

As I mentioned, Kate studied at Cambridge, so this tour was a little more biased. In Oxford we didn't get to enter any of the colleges, but in Cambridge we got to walk around in four; Queen's, Trinity, Pembroke and St. John's. Therefore, we got a bigger insight into living in a university. They were all stunning, but I must say Trinity's Great Court was breath-taking.
Cambridge is also a town, with shops (holla), based around colleges, just like Oxford, and was just as tremendous. Again, I took lots of photos! The weather was still superb, luckily, and the old buildings from different eras were wonderfully picturesque. The river Cam had lots of tourists struggling to steer punts on, and there were many scenic walks.
I must give a big thanks to Kate from Footprint Tours for expanding our awareness on the past and university life in Oxbridge (the two names of the universities blended, in case you didn't catch on), and being open to lots of curious questions by Dad, Emily and I. Emily and I are now persuaded to go to either one in our futures. I'm stuck on which one I'd pick though; they're both amazing!
One of the well-known views of Cambridge; the back of King's College

The Cam, with the tourists on punts

King's College

King Henry the Eighth!

Pembroke College

Mathematical Bridge

The Great Court at Trinity College

 Day 4: Victoria's Secret + Going Home
This day was both sad and happy, as always on the final day of any holiday. It was sad because I was to leave the city of London to go home, where I was to study for my exams, later that day, but it was happy because we had a chance to do a wee bit of shopping in the morning and afternoon before we left! Of course, as it was two girls against one male, we got to look around the incredible London Victoria's Secret. It had four floors (!) and was very chic. Emily and I, without hesitation, picked out a few things to purchase. I even laid my eyes on Taylor Swift's fabulous 2013 fashion show dress (the Union Jack one). I may have touched it. :D
I felt terribly bad for Dad, as his ankle was very sore after hurting it the day before, but am grateful as he brought us shopping and everything... I hope I was patient with him!
Before returning to the airport, we popped into Superdrug on Oxford Street, and I bought a lip-gloss and nail polish from Tanya Burr's line! Her line is not in Ireland (only available online) so it was thrilling to grab a hold of the beauty products. I also bought some of her products to give to friends.
We flew home that night, and was welcomed by Mum and my brother. And I blog about it more than forty days later *facepalm*. Apologies! You can see from my summer plans that I have been busy!

Our trip to London, Oxford and Cambridge was wonderful and an unforgettable experience! A big thank you to my family for my presents, Dad and Emily for the restaurant surprise and to Dad for bringing us both to England. You never know, you might spot me wandering around as an undergraduate in Oxford or Cambridge in 2018. At least I wish!

Hope you liked reading about my time in London back in May. Stay tuned for my birthday haul!

Have you ever been to London, Oxford or Cambridge?
Also, what would you like to see on Dorky, Fizzy and Quirky Stuff this Summer?