- Sunday, 29 June 2014 -

Recipe: Peach Iced Tea

Hello my lovelies! So today's blogpost is dedicated to a quick and easy iced tea recipe, let's admit it, we've all been there: whether it's sipping on that luscious Lipton iced tea, savouring it for the first time in Wagamama's or experiencing true refreshment from a cafe, we all want to know the secret to making this nectar of the gods. The caffeine serves as the perfect pick-me-up whereas the peaches make the sweetest of treats for the summer.

Step 1/ Peel and slice two fresh, ripe peaches. However a shortcut to this step could just be to purchase a tin of canned peaches if they're not in season.

Step 2/ Place the chopped peaches in a pot and add four teabags to the equation (they can be green or black). Boil some hot water in the kettle and add four cups of it to your pot.

Step 3/ Allow the tea to steep for about 5-10 minutes in the boiling water, stirring occasionally to make sure that the peaches are releasing their juices. After the time is up, you can then remove your teabags.

Step 4/ When the water's still warm, pour about a cup of sugar to your mixture and stir lightly until fully dissolved.

Step 5/ You can either keep or remove your peach slices according to your preference, either way let your concoction cool and of course add ice!



- Friday, 27 June 2014 -

Dodgy girl

Hello you lovely lot and a very happy weekend to you all! It's been a while since I've ventured into the realms of beauty and an even longer time since I purchased a new Mac lipstick, so I thought I'd share with you my most recent indulgence! This probably doesn't come as a shock to you all but I am a massive fan of the Osbournes; their eccentricity, foul mouths and overall fabulousness has always intrigued me and I've always felt that I can relate most with Kelly - her journey throughout punk-angst adolescence and constant struggles with depression and weight gain has always resonated with me, and when I discovered that Kelly and Sharon were collaborating with Mac Cosmetics to release their own limited edition collection, I knew I had to get my grubby little paws on some Osbourne-inspired lippy.

Kelly's collection is composed of four lipsticks, all varying drastically in hue: Riot House (a lovely, vintage orange toned lipstick), Strip Poker (a very pale natural nude), Kelly Yum Yum (reminiscent of Mac's Candy Yum Yum, a vibrant hot pink lipstick) and Dodgy Girl (a gorgeous pinky-lavender). Obviously I opted for Dodgy Girl as anything bright and quirky always catches my eye.

When applied, Dodgy Girl provides a silky matte finish that doesn't budge an inch! The colour itself is a muted lavender with pinky undertones and isn't too overpowering when on, it still appears quite subtly quirky without coming off too vibrant. My makeup bag is teeming with purple lipsticks as I find it's a colour that can be donned all year long - lovely and light in the spring and summer months, dark and dangerous in the autumn and winter months. Overall, I absolutely adore Kelly Osbourne's Dodgy Girl as it goes along famously with my pink candyfloss head (if I do say so myself). The colour is stunning and is a unique change if you dare to do something different!

Have you tried any of Kelly or Sharon's Mac collection?


- Monday, 23 June 2014 -

DIY: Pretty Kitty Pumps

Hello my lovelies! Hope you all had a wonderful week whatever you found yourselves up to! With moving back home to Ireland, getting settled and generally getting back into a comfortable routine, I've been buzzing around like a busy bee, admittedly watching my poor little blog gather dust in a corner. But fear not dear readers as I've a very special post scheduled for you today! It's been a while since I tackled a decent DIY and to be completely honest, I've been biding my time until arriving home where I can channel my creativity in my comfort zone, with endless crafty supplies at my disposal! When arriving home, I had a peek into my closet to see if anything could use a bit of revitalising and I don't know about you dear readers, but I have so many old pumps stuffed away in my closet, begging for a bitta revamping! This little tutorial is great if you're finding money a tad tight and you're sick of seeing the same shoes gathering dust in your cupboard, yet you're reluctant to bid them farewell. It's really a wonderful way of reviving an old pair of beloved pumps.

Step 1/ Apart from the obvious pair of shoes that require brightening up, you'll also need a sponge brush, some masking tape, a tube of acrylic paint (in your preferred colour) a small or thin bristled painting brush and a white marker. All of these essentials can be bought from the likes of Hobbycraft, Rymans or WHSmith.

Step 2/ In order to avoid any unwanted smudges and to achieve a straightened "toe-cap" effect with your paint, it's best to apply a few layers of the masking tape to avert any mistakes or messes.

Step 3/ I personally prefer using a sponge brush as opposed to a regular bristled brush as the paint glides on smoother with the sponge, leaving no pesky little bristles behind in the paint either!

Step 4/ I gave my shoes about 3 coats of acrylic paint as my pump are quite a pale nude to begin with. Another useful tip would be to dry the paint off using a hairdryer, if you're inpatient like me!

Step 5/ If you're feeling confidant, you could generally skip this step and just go freehand with your painting. However, just to be safe, I drew on some little cat ears as guidelines with a pencil. And don't worry if your ears appear wonky or disproportionate, I just used some cotton buds to pat away the pencil marks and simply start again.

Step 6/ Once you're finally happy with the symmetry/positioning/size of your cat ears, you can then use your little paintbrush to paint away to your heart's content!

Step 7/ When you've successfully completed your cat ears, you can use your trusty hairdryer to speed up the drying process, looking good, right? 

Step 8/ This is probably the easiest part of the process - drawing your kitty's wee face! The white pen I'm using was purchased in Hobbycraft and the ink is lovely and opaque; perfect for designing over the matte black. Additionally, the best bit about this step is even if you feel you've messed up your kitty's face (which I did... A LOT) you can simply paint over the pump and start again :)

And there you have it! Easy peasy kitty pumps!

- Tuesday, 17 June 2014 -

Life's a Beach

Hello my lovelies! It feels as though I've been caught in a hurricane recently with the amount of packing and preparation going on for my return to Ireland. So yesterday I thought I'd take a break from it all and escape the hubbub of the house and have a day at the beach! I wasn't alone on my adventuring however, as the wonderful Katie from 'Katie's World of Beauty' joined me for some fun in the sun. Whitley Bay is your quintessential seaside town; with amusements to entertain the kids, a big, beautiful beach to explore and a plethora of charity shops to delve right into! The weather was so blissful that we spent the majority of our time wading in the rock pools to keep our feet cool.

It's been quite clouded and overcast here in Newcastle recently so we were actually quite fortunate to visit the beach on such a lovely day. Coming from the correspondence with my mother back home, Ireland is apparently experiencing a heatwave, with weather rivalling the mediterranean! I personally can't wait to be back home in my garden, sprawled out on a blanket with a good book and a crisp wine cooler in hand. We spent the majority of our stay in Whitley Bay snapping photographs, playing in the amusements and generally praying to god that a seagull doesn't use our head's as a toilet!

Of course, no trip to the beach would be complete without indulging in some fine seaside ice cream. With the sun beaming down on us, it was a welcome treat, even though my milky bar ice cream did begin melting the second I stepped out of the shadows. Back home in Ireland, beaches like Whitley Bay are few and far between, as we tend to (stereotypically enough) be better known for our greener pastures. It was such a brilliant little outing and a breath of fresh air from the buzz of the city centre where we live - it was the perfect way to say goodbye to Newcastle before I return again in September.


- Saturday, 14 June 2014 -


Hello my lovelies! As tradition every year, I tend to pick out a fragrance that'll serve as my staple summer scent. I do this because it preserves my memories of that particular time when I wore that specific scent. For instance, a few summers ago I journeyed to New York with my mum and during my stay in America I donned Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Lovers perfume, smelling of sweet coconuts. Now any time I catch the scent of anything remotely coconut-infused, it transports me back to that happy time with my mum.

So naturally this called for a visit to The Body Shop! Lately I've been indulging in their Strawberry and Vanilla Body Mists but they can be quite overpowering, so I've been on the hunt for something subtly sweeter - when lo and behold I stumbled across their Vineyard Peach range. 

Vineyard Peach Body Mist - The Body Shop
Vineyard Peach Shower Gel - The Body Shop
Peach Sponge - The Body Shop

I've only owned the Peach Body Mist for a day and already I want to just bathe myself in it so the essence of peach can permanently linger on my skin. The aroma itself is very light, fresh and oh so fruity, it's the perfect perfume for spending hazy, lazy days in a garden just basking in the summer sun. To further assure that I am smelling completely peachy this summer, I also purchased the Peach Shower Gel which lathers very well, leaving the skin soft and lightly fragranced. You know those Herbal Essences advertisements where upon using the product, the surroundings completely transform into a beautifully exotic environment? Yeah, that's EXACTLY how it feels to use The Body Shop's Vineyard Peach Shower Gel! And lastly, how could I not complete my peachy-themed collection with this chirpy little peach sponge? 

Do you shop in The Body Shop?


- Tuesday, 10 June 2014 -

Somewhere over the Rainbow...

Hello my dears and darlings! I actually can't fathom the sudden burst of gorgeous weather we've been experiencing here up north compared to how miserable it's been over the last few days - like I actually had to walk home from work in a thunderstorm this weekend and now every time I step outside it feels like a torrid vacuum; with no air in the atmosphere, just HEAT. However, come rain or shine there's always been a reliable constant in my life that can whirl me away to an entirely new world whatever the weather, yes dear readers, I'm talking about reading! So, about a week and a half ago I was doing my customary research on Goodreads, scrutinising the categories and sussing the authors. I'm generally quite an open-minded person and can read just about any class of book - fiction, fantasy, horror etc. But lately I've found myself favouring Young Adult books a bit more, perhaps because they're more relatable or maybe it's just me feeling nostalgic over my own youth, either way, these books have been a ray of sunshine and an amazing form of escapism for me recently!

Somewhat jaded by the hype John Green has been receiving, I decided to seek out a new author I can worship. It turns out that I didn't have far to look because her name alone sucked me in like a magical literary vortex: Rainbow Rowell. Her breakthrough piece of literature 'Eleanor and Park' has been on my radar for a while, but fearing that the hype of it didn't exceed my expectations I decided to bide my time. It was admittedly Waterstone's trusty 'Buy One Get One Half Price' offer that made me give in!

Eleanor and Park - From my experience, there's not a lot of books that can swallow you whole within the first few pages. Usually I have to persevere or just read on contently, trusting that the author will have woven in a few promising climaxes here and there to keep me going. But not Eleanor and Park - I devoured this book in one day because I physically could not put it down. The story focuses on (surprise, surprise) teenagers Eleanor and Park, whose completely diverse worlds collide when they are pushed to sit together on the school bus. Eleanor is the new girl at Park's school; she's rambunctious and robust, but she's also compassionate and eccentric and that's what initially draws Park (and everyone else in the school for that matter) in. Park is her polar opposite, coming from a strict family he's perceived as quite reserved but the two soon find solace in each other, sharing their worlds, their lives and their hearts. The book details both Eleanor and Park's individual lives and taps into their thoughts, depicting their highs and their lows - honestly, this book had me on such an emotional rollercoaster and I couldn't recommend it more. 
Fangirl - Oh em gee. I actually feel that this book was written for me, that this book and I were destined to be together. As an individual who always saw herself as somewhat different and breaking normal social conventions, this book REALLY struck a chord with me. Teenage twins Cath and Wren  are taking their first steps into adulthood as they're headed straight to college during the commencement of this novel. Cath is petrified to leave their single father to his own devices at home and is basically just a big ball of anxiety. Wren on the other hand can't wait to inaugurate her newfound independence by cutting herself off from Cath completely. The story follows Cath as the protagonist and we see how she loves nothing more than losing herself writing fan fiction during her stay at university, it serves as her coping mechanism as opposed to her sister who's still "finding herself" by going out drinking and partying until the cows come home, and then partying with the cows. But slowly, very slowly, we witness Cath ebb away her social anxieties and coming out of her shell with the help of the stunning Levi, her roommates ex boyfriend no less. As opposed to Eleanor and Park, I DID want to put this book down all the time. Why you ask? Because I never wanted it to end.


- Sunday, 8 June 2014 -

I am a canvas of my experiences

Hello you lovely lot! Okay so this weekend is already shaping up to be quite excitingly hectic, as not only did Friday mark the revamp of my blog but I also treated myself to a cheeky, spur of the moment tattoo! What sparked this impulsive decision was a mixture of having lusted after a new tattoo for quite some time and discovering via trusty Instagram that there was a guest tattooist coming to Cock a Snook in Newcastle - totally fate, right?

I've experienced Cock a Snook's charm once before, when I got my little deer tattoo on my ankle. They're a friendly, accommodating tattoo parlour with gorgeous gothic decor inside, I always feel like I've been transported to a taxidermists dream whenever I enter. My artist was the lovely Lauren Stephens, originally from Middlesbrough, she was guesting this weekend and specialising in beautiful animal portraits and quirky artwork.

I opted to get a beautiful swallow design on my left thigh that I'd discovered from a vintage Easter card many moons ago. Unless you've been living under a rock your entire life, it's common knowledge that swallow's are especially iconic in the tattoo world as they were originally donned by sailors as a symbol of their sailing experience. I've coveted a swallow tattoo for as long as I can remember, however I didn't necessarily want the traditional red, blue and yellow one, considering they're so popular.

The procedure took 2 and a half hours in total, which was immensely impressive considering the tattoo is quite a hefty size. As customary, I always bring along some sweets and chocolate with me to keep my blood sugar from dropping so I don't suddenly crash during the process. As I've had my other thigh tattooed in the past, I was well prepared for the level of pain I was going to experience on my left thigh. A lot of people quiz me with regards to the pain and what it actually feels like and all I can merely describe it as: imagine if a sewing needle was just running up and down your skin for an elongated period of time, to me it's more annoying than painful.

The 2 and a half hours went by in a blink with the amount of banter and laughs we were having - reminiscing over old anime shows and proclaiming our mutual love for animals. I'm a bit weird because ever since I got my first animal tattoo, I've always asked the artist to name them, kind of in commemorative honour of the artist for bestowing me with such a special gift. So, after chattering away about Sailor Moon and Card Captors for the guts of nearly 3 hours, it was easy to see that my swallow would either be dubbed Serena (from Sailor Moon) or Sakura (from Card Captors). After much debate and deliberation, Lauren thought that Sakura would be a more fitting name as it translates to "cherry blossom" in Japanese. So, dear readers, I'd like you to meet Sakura, my newest pride and joy...

Do you have any tattoos?


- Saturday, 7 June 2014 -

Everything's just Fine and Dandy

Hello my lovelies and a very happy weekend to you all! So, you've probably already noticed some not-so-subtle changes about the blog, that the name's been altered, a domain bought and that the blog is awash with a brand, spanking new design! For some time now I've been pondering over my personal brand and how it identifies - as a designer, I knew I wouldn't stick with 'Dainty Ghosts' forever but wanted something that suited my designs (and personality) a bit more.  My blog is my haven, my happy place, where I can channel my thoughts and creativity and emanate positive vibes - a place where all's Fine and Dandy if you will. 

Additionally, as fate would have it, I actually flippantly entered a blog giveaway not so long ago to win a complete blog redesign by the wonderfully talented Cat Byrne of Je Suis Cat. And lo and behold, I won! The timing couldn't have been more perfect as I'd already bought my domain 'fineanddandyblog.co.uk.' Cat was a colossal help during my blog makeover and I couldn't be happier with my new identity! Don't get me wrong, Dainty Ghosts was were it all started and will forever hold a place in my heart as my baby and brainchild - it shaped my individuality and was ultimately, where this crazy adventure all began. 

I'd just also like to mention that that floating pastel hot air balloon resonating at the beginning of this blogpost is actually my new blog button! I wanted to design something whimsical that even by just looking at it, would make you smile keeping in the spirit of Fine and Dandy. So please, don't hesitate to suggest a button swap as I'd be delighted to have you featured here at Fine and Dandy! 


- Sunday, 1 June 2014 -

My Maytime Summary

Hello you lovely lot and a very happy June to you all! May feels like it whizzed by in an absolute blur, leaving evidence of sunburnt skin and newly-found freckles. I've found May to be quite an erratic month for me as I've been working non-stop to try and fund my summer of adventures and activities! Because if you haven't already heard/otherwise seen my relentless spamming social media: I'm heading to Morocco in July! Not only am I excited for the hypnotic souks, scrumptious cuisines and blistering heat but this holiday actually marks the first time Martin and I are heading off somewhere exotic together, so watch this space for photos and blogposts galore. However, May's not solely been dedicated to work, as I've managed to savour the little pleasures in life and feel the welcomed summer weather. So, with the help of today's technology, let's peek back to the past month and see what memories I've been making via Instagram! 

1/ Purchased this summery sweet shirt from h&m! 
2/ Martin bought me this stunning confetti ring from the wonderfully whimsical Forage and Find
3/ Loving Model's Own lilac scented nail polish - yummy!
4/ Freaked out when I found some Vanilla Coke
5/ A pastel perfect Gipsy delivery
6/ Adopted this dainty darling deer from an Antiques store for a mere £3
7/ Made the cutest owl logo for a lovely client!
8/ My favourite MAC lippys of the month - pinks and purples galore
9/ Immersed myself in Howl's Moving Castle, reviving my love for Studio Ghibli!
10/ Frolicked amongst the daisies in the park in beautiful weather
11/ Experienced some fine American dining with the lovely Katie
12/ Yielded to my sugar cravings and bought this sweet Swatch watch
13/ Spent my bank holiday Monday scouring for retro treasures at a vintage fair
14/ Inhaled this Ben and Jerry's Greek Yoghurt
15/ Brought my lovely client to the beach and soaked up some sun!

How was your May?