Female bullfinch eating some blossom from a fruit tree

Bullfinch in the garden

Bullfinch eating fruit-tree blossom

Aww… look at the little bird and the flowers

This little lady showed up in the garden one day. She’s a female bullfinch, and I caught her having a tasty snack of blossoms from one of the fruit trees.

You can see her munching away, above… and swallowing, below. Caught in the act! Read More

The best sunblock for surfers

Group of young women on a cliff overlooking the ocean

Greetings from sunny Portugal

Some people are hardy souls, surfing year-round in challenging conditions. The rest of us are only starting to think about returning to the water now, with the advent of summer.

If you have a surf trip planned, or are just hitting the waves at your local break, you’re going to need some good sun protection. As a pale, freckled type myself, sun care is a priority. Sunburn never looks good, and skin cancer is a very real and serious concern.

So, my absolute favourite sunblock for surfing is Ultrasun‘s Extreme SPF 50+ range. Read More

Maisie Williams’s disco ball bag

Did you see Maisie Williams’s amazing bag at the Game of Thrones S5 premiere?

The fun-size disco ball comes from Lulu Guinness and if you’re feeling flush, you can find it at Luisaviaroma.com for €340 or House of Fraser for £295. Read More

Outlander costumes – fashion inspiration

If you’re an Outlander fan with even the slightest interest in the show’s costumes, Terry Dresbach’s blog is required reading.

She’s costume designer for the show, and through her blog she illuminates the huge amounts of work required to pull the costumes together, and the compromises needed to balance historical accuracy with the practicalities of filming.

As well as insights into her life and work in Scotland, her blog features tons of photos, sketches, design concepts and research. There’s also a great post where she answers a criticism about authenticity and the validity of her research. Read More

Drape front blouses: fabulously flattering

Now, this is a trend I can get on board with.

Drape front tops or blouses can look effortlessly cool if you dress them down with a pair of skinny jeans, or totally chic and professional if you team with a pencil skirt and heels.

Not only that, but they’re super flattering and easy to wear. And as they’re all over the high street, you won’t be short of options.

Topshop has a great range of long and short sleeved tops, including versions for tall girls, petite girls, and even mums-to-be. (This makes me wonder why Topshop don’t have a plus size range. As far as I know, sizes only go up to a 16.)

I love this dusty lavender shade.  Unfortunately it’s out of stock online, but I did see it in-store just yesterday – might be one to snap up if you see it?

Read More

Surf inspiration: Silvana Lima catching some air at the Roxy Pro

Brazilian surfer Silvana Lima made the first 10 of the year at the 2015 Roxy Pro Gold Coast.

She followed up her air reverse with a series of cutbacks, earning her the perfect ten: full marks from each of the judges.

Silvana will next surf against Stephanie Gilmore in the quarter-finals – let’s hope for some more sick moves then!

Not sure about this trend

Fashionistas, if you’ve been paying any attention at all, you’ll know there’s a massive 1970s vibe coming through for Spring-Summer 2015. Boho is back, flares return, and denim is everything.

As part of this though, there’s a micro-trend I’m really not sure about. At all.

I’m calling it the “partly see-through pants with matching top look”, which should be self-explanatory.

Without more ado, the photographic evidence. Exhibit A-sos (geddit?): ASOS Crochet Flares

Read More


Brown Thomas Extraordinary Beauty: Mac Cosmetics and Shu Uemura haul

It’s that time of year again, when beauty addicts find themselves captivated by the shiny new season offerings on cosmetics counters.

Brown Thomas are celebrating with their Extraordinary Beauty event. There are complimentary makeovers and makeup lessons, visiting makeup artists, and personal beauty stylists on hand. Read More

Fashion advice from J.Crew’s Jenna Lyons… and from me

I just stumbled across this piece from November 2013 on The Guardian’s fashion blog. It has some interesting advice from Jenna Lyons, creative director of the iconic American brand J. Crew.

My favourite: “But we’re not about clothes you buy because they’re on trend, we’re
about beautiful pieces you buy because you want to wear them every day.”

Trends are great – especially when you’re a teenager and want to fit in. But it’s so much more interesting to define and express your own personal style, and to do that, you’ll want to build your own collection of beautiful pieces.

So, my own mantra goes something like this: Read More

Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York

If you’ve visited New York before, you’ve probably already shopped till you dropped and seen all the sights Manhattan has to offer. Maybe a trip a little further afield is in order – to Brooklyn, the borough of kings. There’s no shortage of attractions, and many have the added advantage of being easy on the pocket.

Among them is Green-Wood Cemetery, which once rivalled Niagara Falls as one of North America’s most popular places to visit. While it may not have the same spooky charms as London’s famous Highgate Cemetery, its beautiful landscaping inspired the later developments of Central Park and Brooklyn’s own Prospect Park. Read More