Say goodbye to Music and Everything

2014 has been a big year for me.

I’ve gained a lot of knowledge about various things, including myself.

I’ve gone back to college to pursue a dream that has been underlying for sometime and while it’s all baby steps, Musicandeverything.com has to be sacrified.

I want to thank everyone who has supported the blog, readers, business owners and PR companies , over the past year and everyone who has supported me since I started blogging in 2009.

This decision doesn’t come lightly, however I hope that you can continue to support me and my new venture Volta Fitness.

https://www.facebook.com/VoltaFitness

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Beauty: Skin Saviours by Vichy for the busy bee

Vichy Idealia Life Serum and Normaderm Night Detox Reviewed.

I’ve been a little snowed under lately, and loving it! Usually when things are getting hectic my skin suffers, thankfully, however two things have helped me keep the signs of fatigue and stress away from my skin: Good nutrition, and Vichy!

You know what I mean when I say the signs of fatigue and stress; dry skin, spots, general dullness and two products from Vichy have helped to keep things in control.

In addition to my usual skin care routine, typically involving Nip and Fab Glycolic Cleanser OR Soap and Glory’s Micellar water, Vichy’s Normaderm hydracare cream and La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Duo+, I have been using Vichy Idealia Life Serum and their Normaderm Night Detox. 

Vichy Idealia serum review

Although from different ranges I find these two products work great together, using the former in the morning and the latter at night.

The results of the Life Serum, which I began using first, were immediate and personally astonishing.

It claims to battle the following complexion issues:

Dull, grey complexion (yep, that’s me)

Marked and uneven toned skin (check)

Tired looking skin, drawn features (um-humm)

and Enlarged pores with oily and dry patches (It’s like reading a biography of my face!) 

I used this first on a Thursday evening, heading to personal training with no make up on so I could see if it really made a difference. My trainer said I was “glowing”. This was the first time in my life anyone had said that to me so the Life Serum immediately got full marks from me. Prolonged usage has led to a more even complexion and less annoying dry patches on my forehead. the serum itself appears thick but it’s actually quite light on the skin; ideal(ia) for anyone with sensitive skin, prone to react to heavy creams and serums. While I’m not swanning around in a make up-less face, I feel less self concious and a lot fresh than I had before.

Here’s the scary part. It’s almost €40.  I always say that I would never spend that amount on a skin product but it’s so damn good, I can’t imagine not buying it when my current bottle runs out. If you have very problematic skin I can’t recommend it enough.

The Vichy Normaderm Night Detox is a good evening partner to the idealia serum. Less of it is needed; literally just a dot on your hand of this light serum-like cream will do.

Normaderm Night Detox Review

I was using this for a while before I remember to check the results. The detox treats your skin in a more subtle way that the serum; the serum adds an instant glow and lends a dewy effect to your skin. The detox, on the other hand, absorbs into your skin, tackling your sebum levels.

To get a little scientific, sebum is the stuff secreted from your sebaceous glands under your skin. It is the culprit for hormonal spot outbreaks, especially those nasty whiteheads! Did you ever wake up in the morning and feel a little bit… greasy? That’s your sebaceous glands going into overdrive when you sleep. Night time is the best time to treat it and that’s where this product comes in.

I find with stress and air conditioning in work I am in an endless battle against that horrible, heavy feeling on my skin and this has certainly helped with that and to help that pesky reappearing spot disappear. Huzzah!

This comes in a smaller tube but is €10 euro cheaper so, if you are buying something to ease complexion problems I would commence with this before trying out the serum, just to save the pennies.  Normaderm is Vichy’s anti-blemish range so if you are often plagued the annoyance of spots and red marks, it is certainly worth checking out. Sidenote; I find the detox solution works particularly well with the normaderm cream I mentioned before, you can get this in Boots for about €13.

For more on the Normaderm range click here. 

 

Guest Post- “Dance for your body. Dance for your mind” – Yvonne Hegarty

As mentioned on the blog not so long ago, I’m taking sometime away from it to reassess things and to make time for other priorities, including my mental health. During my hiatus I hope to have a few guest posts for you to sink your teeth into and the first is truly inspiring. 

Yvonne Hegarty is a passionate dancer and part of a recently established Dance Company, Saoirse, alongside fellow dancer Fiona Burke. In this piece, Yvonne details her own experiences with Dance and how she feels it should be for everyone.  Visit the companies Facebook page HERE to learn more about Saoirse. Enjoy reading and don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the commentsClaire x 

I truly believe now more than ever that dance, as a hobby, as a sport or as a vocation is in fact for everyone. I have danced my whole life in every sense of the word. I am a classically trained Ballet dancer since the age of three, I have studied dance full time in college and now I’m doing what I love, dancing whenever and wherever I can. My perceptions of what it is to be a dancer seem to have changed and altered over the course of my training. Since I was a little one I wanted to be the Prima Ballerina, in other words, I wanted to have legs up to my ears, weigh less than a hundred pounds and be on a stage where everyone’s’ eyes were firmly fixed on me. This ideal is no longer in anyway desirable to me, having discovered that dance for me isn’t about learning steps and doing exams,  it’s about having passion, having soul, having creativity and love for movement. It’s about your bare feet in the sand connecting with the Earth and the wind in your hair. The people who understand this, they are the dancers I aspire to be now.

Dance Blog

Don’t get me wrong, technique is important to me and those who can understand the beauty of a properly pointed toe or flat turn out will be with me on this. Dance technique is hours of pain and dedication beyond belief and I have complete respect for that. I am grateful for my training, right back from my days in Dublin Ballet School where my love of dance began, it was impressed onto me to have technique and hats off to Linda Higgins, the woman who really made it possible for me. It was worth it, the 6am starts, the unpaid work experience, the endless point shoes and generally jugging the life of a normal young person and the life of a dancer. Have you ever been hungover in a Tutu? I have, it’s not pretty.   It was Hell at times but now I have my technique, the foundation of my life and my future.

I had some time off dance for a while. I got disheartened after a few failed auditions I began to realise my legs weren’t up to my ears, perhaps I didn’t want to weigh less than a hundred pounds, maybe I wanted people to give me some praise rather than constantly being told, “you don’t have great turnout” or “you’re not good enough for that” or “dance isn’t for everyone”. I tried to blame others for failing and to be honest It really sucked and I gave up.  Bad move, but it gave me the time out to realise that the world is full of haters. There are not many people who can shine through that, there are not many who can persevere through the hate and I told myself to love instead. I told myself I was good enough, more than enough and then came the birth of my own dance company Saoirse with another dancer who I completely respect and admire, Fiona Burke. She has gone through similar struggles in the dance industry and we have found ourselves the proud owners of a company we believe will make a difference. Saoirse for us is a place of creativity and love of dance that extends further than just technique. We use our training to create something meaningful and something that will hopefully inspire Dublin to keep dancing and keep loving art and theatre.  Here’s a link to “Violet Hour” a short film we made this summer.

It wasn’t until I had that time out of the dance community (which in Ireland is tiny) that I realised the joy of dance should not be an exclusive pleasure; it should be and is for everyone. I was involved in a performance called “The Choreography Project” with about twenty other dancers; some, including myself had years of dance experience and some had none at all. The choreography consisted of a collaboration of all our work which we created by moving our bodies the way certain memories made us want to move. It was a beautiful process, free of prejudice and the competitiveness you might associate with the stereotypical dance studio vibe. The choreography was beautiful because it came from an authentic place for us all, not just learned steps and sequences but movement shaped by memory and real experience.

Dancers blog

On a superficial level I started losing weight without even trying. I was fitter and healthier but more importantly I was happier. Leaving dance for me was a decision I always knew was wrong. When sitting on the train going to work in a job I didn’t like, with the rest of the 8am commuters, my mind was always dancing. I imagined choreography all day long, I secretly danced in the tiny kitchen of my apartment that I was working day and night to pay for. Dance was never far from my heart. This jump back to fitness gave me the passion and drive to be adventurous to do it on my own, to be one of the brave ones and start sharing this love.

Dance to lose weight

My time in “The Choreography Project” and some wonderful performances in “Creative Steps” (An amazing platform for young dancers ages 16-25) have inspired me to keep this experience as a way to encourage every single person to dance. I am trained and dance has been my world forever but I know there are people who have never taken a class but they are dancers too. If you dance, you are a dancer. So do it, just get up and move, feel the power that you create by just swinging our arms around. Okay, I sound like a hippy but it’s true, choose to be a lover not a hater and choose to dance.   There are platforms for the over 60s, for young adults and countless schools for children. If joining a project or taking a class all seems too intimidating also, I strongly encourage people to just dance around their kitchens, or throw shapes in the local night club. Dance is the source of all my energy (that and coffee) and it is my joy to see it come to life in Dublin again. Dance for your body. Dance for your mind.

You are all dancers and I am making it my personal journey to get people to start believing in that.

Yvonne Hegarty 

If you’re a blogger or just have something you are passionate about and would love to write about it please contact me here.  

Taking a step back with a mini blogging hiatus

2014 has been a year of self-assessment and life examination for me. I have been blogging consistently, working full time, writing for Groupon’s City Guide and transforming my lifestyle and mental outlook. Hard work, let me tell you.

After a rollercoaster 9 months I have decided I need a break from something and despite my passion for writing and enjoyment of blogging, musicandeverything.com is going to have suffer slightly.

I’m at a place now where I have gained a lot of confidence and knowledge and I intend to spend the next six months increasing both of these to help carve out a future I can be proud of and, most importantly, that I will enjoy. While I’m doing that I need to remove one of my, I suppose, regular commitments, so I can also do the things that keep me balanced and happy like training, socialising and reading myself calm. It is taking a lot for me to admit this: I can’t do everything all at once, and lately I’ve learned that hobbies and looking after my mental health are as important as writing and as important as my future and my career.

I’m not giving up; it’s not in my nature to do so, and I’m not taking a full on break, but for the next six months I won’t be blogging as often; once a week at most. Hopefully when these six months are over my passion for blogging will have been reinstated and perhaps I will have experienced enough to generate new and exciting content for you.

I’ll have a couple of projects to entice you with come then as well, hopefully.

I’m aware I haven’t got the largest readership but everyone that reads, comments and shares means a great deal to me and I hope that you can continue to support the blog despite the lack of regular content.

I do have some beauty and fitness posts in the pipeline over the next few months and I hope to have some guest posts from wonderful bloggers and writers to keep you titillated.

Incidentally, if you wish to contribute content on any subject, so long as it’s not overly political/religious (Nana always said never discuss those two particular subjects), head to the contact tab and get in touch with me, or hit me up on Twitter. 

I’ll leave you with a little quote that I found to be quite apt.

life quotes

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Beauty: Fuschia Eye Shadow Palette Review

If you are a regular reader of Irish blogs you will have read quite a bit about Fuschia Make Up. 

They sent some products out to what seems like every beauty and lifestyle blogger in the country, some of which were amazing and others not so great.

Most bloggers focused on the (non) issue of Private Labelling, however as I sincerely don’t think that this impedes on the quality of the product or genuineness of the brand.  Read about Private Labelling here. 

First, a bit of background on the company.

Fuschia Make Up is a multi award winning Irish make up brand and salon. They initially launched in November 2005, opening a salon in Scotch Hall, Drogheda, and they seem to have done nothing but grow ever since.

With an additional salon in Swords and stockists throughout the country, Fuschia is becoming a familiar brand in Ireland. Next stop, it seems, is off these shores.

In the pack they sent out to me I was only really taken with one product, The Eyeshadow Palette. While other products such as the lipstick and lacquers and lip pencil were of somewhat decent quality I found them to be oily/waxy and very sloppy so I only used them once. The eye brow wax palette I was sent couldn’t be compared to the Wet N Wild one I use every day so, again, it only got one trial.

Fuschia Eye

The Eyeshadow palette, however, is a different story. Much like MAC, Fuschia give you the option to create your own palette. The colours they send me were soft, neutral colours that I probably would have picked myself.

The texture of the shadows is soft, they blend exceptionally well and they last all day. That is three of the boxes ticked when it comes to eyeshadow quality.

The Palette has been awarded everyday usage status in my house, noting that even my mother has sneaked it a few times. Yes, ma’, if you’re reading, I know what you’ve been up to; I know my shades!

For something I’ve been sent by a company or PR to work it’s way into my daily routine is a testament to it’s quality, particularly with eyeshadow as I tend to be loyal to MAC, Bourjois and MUA in that respect.  Top marks on quality and shade for Fuschia’s custom palette.

However, and I regret that there is a however, that I find the price bothersome. The price list I was given states that the five pan palette is €40, although the company is endeavouring to lower prices as a result of blogger feedback. While I don’t want to get bogged down into Private Labelling, as I said, I don’t think it’s an issue so long as the product is usable, the price is a little jarring because you could probably get it else where for cheaper. Crown Brushes, one of the most successful private label brands, offers a 26 colour palette for around €26 and a counter palette which is a duplicate in terms of packaging for Fuschia’s eye palette for €28. This does make you think.

Overall, I’m impressed with Fuschia as a brand; I think how they have grown their business in less than ten years is phenomenal and I commend their business acumen and enterprise skills. Although some of the products they are selling a below standard, I feel the palette could be their saving grace if they price it a little more fairly; at €40 I wouldn’t be in a rush to purchase it, particularly when I can get an Urban Decay Palette for only a couple of euro more.

Fitness & Health: What next? Setting new goals

Where to go when you reach your fitness goals

Now, I’m not a fitness or nutritional professional (pending, you see), however I would describe myself as knowledgeable about the former and educated on the latter.

Without delving too much into my fitness past (you can read about it all HERE), I will tell revisiting and new readers that I begin what turned out to be a life altering fitness journey if February of this year. I recently finished up 14 weeks training with the most wonderful trainer you will ever find, and I am happy with the results.

I have lost 7.5% body fat, bringing me down to 23.5%, 12 inches and gained a lot of strength and confidence. I was thrilled with my before and after pictures; noting that my legs and bum look a lot more toned than they ever have been, that my waist is noticable smaller and that my back looks strong.

Before and after fitness pictures

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 I wouldn’t say I smashed my goals but I certainly achieved them through various nutrition and fitness regimens and I was left thinking “what next?”

Here are some things I have thought of in relation to creating your post-achievement fitness goals, that you might find useful.

Be realistic

Losing body fat gets tougher and requires more meticulous nutrition and more intense workouts the further you go on.

When I started off I had 31% body, to drop down as far as 23.5% is a significant personal achievement and one that took a lot of work and time. I realise that to get to my desired 20% body fat I am going to have to be particularly strict with food and drink and up my weights game, even though this time I am only looking to lose 3.5%.

Don’t put unrealistic pressure on yourself by saying you are going to lose the same amount of pounds, or the same amount of inches of your waist as you did in your recently completed programme; it’s not likely to happen and you want to avoid being unfair to your body.

Set yourself a challenge. 

Set yourself a fitness challenge, whether it is completing a fun run, running a marathon or squatting 80kg.

Focus yourself on achieving these goals and your body will respond accordingly. Not only will it be good for your physical strength but also your mental strength, and as well as that, the sense of achievement when you do it will be incomparable.

Look beyond your physical stats.

As much as you might want to lose inches and body fat, when you are reassessing your goals it might be time to look beyond those figures.

Look at the things you want to achieve in fitness instead; maybe you struggle to run for longer than 20 minutes, or you can’t lift heavier than an 8kg dumbbell or you might even struggle to hold a plank for more than 30 seconds; discover ways of getting better at these things, ask a trainer or look for advice online. Once you go beyond how your body looks and focus on what you want it to do, the inches and percentages will take care of themselves.

Consider what you could have done better

While we may have achieved our goals, there is usually something that we could have done better. Maybe you could have reached your goal quicker, maybe you could have improved in certain areas a little more. Whatever it is that you feel could have done differently, make the effort to incorporate the improvement into your new programme. Make doing one or two things better part of your next line of goals.

For example, I probably could have improved on the food aspect and hence would have seen even more inches disappearing. Yes, I eat nutritious foods and I am quite strict on myself but sometimes the lure of cream crackers or a cocktail gets too much for me! One of the goals on my list is not to give in to cravings, not matter how infrequent, and to give up alcohol three months; it will be interesting to see the physical results.

These four tips are just my opinion but you might find that they are helpful when considering the goals you set for your next fitness campaign.

Have you got anything to add? Head to the comments, I love chatting to you all! 

Lifestyle: Reasons to love Goodreads.com

Goodreads is a book lover’s dream app

As you probably guessed from my previous post on my new Kindle, I’m a bit of a bookworm.Needless to say a website that is dedicated to books is absolutely my kind of thing; more than that, it’s something that has factored into my daily routine.

goodreadslogo

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Goodreads.com is a handy website that allows you to discuss books with likeminded folk, take reading challenges or join book clubs. You can also keep track of the books you have read, the ones you are reading and the ones you want to read.  Really though, I think it works best as an app; you think of a book or you see one in a shop you want to read, you add to your list on the go; it’s great.

Here are the reasons I love Goodreads and why I think you will as well.

1. One of the best things about Goodreads is the recommendations function. You read a book, or add one you’ve read before, rate it and it recommends books to you based on your taste. For example, I rated The Fault in Our Stars with five stars and it suggested Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, which I read, I rated that and I was recommened more books. 

Goodreads compiles genuinely intuitive lists based on what you have expressed enjoyment in reading, which has, in line with a few bloggers I read, resulted in close to 200 books being added to my to-read list. 

2. You can see what your friends or favourite bloggers are reading. Like any social site you can add friends and you can share your reviews and statuses. This is a great because it gives you another way to gather new books to read but mostly I like it because I’m nosy. I always find it really interesting to see what other people read; it says a lot about them and where they are in life at the moment. As well as that; Christmas present list! You can see what kind of books your friends and family like to read and build a fairly good assumption of they might like as a gift. 

3.  It’s organised! I love anything that brings a little bit more organisation to my life and I probably wouldn’t read as much as I have in the last year if it wasn’t for Goodreads because of the order it brings.

Sound like something you’d be into? Make sure you add me HERE.