Thursday, 31 December 2015

My Year According to My Pocket Planner

It's that time again, when I look back on the year behind me before welcoming the year ahead. To mark the end of another 365 days I flicked through my 2015 planner to spot the highlights. Some have been documented online, while others are making their debut today. Regardless of whether they made it on the blog or not, these are my biggest moments of 2015...

I satisfied my wanderlust early on with a short trip to Newcastle to visit a dear friend.

Next up was a culture shock. I was hit by chaos and tranquility in Shanghai, before catching the high speed train to Beijing.

In November I visited Amsterdam for the second time, and loved it just as much as the first. The highlight has got to be eating at Ctaste, a restaurtant where you are served by blind waiters and dine in the dark. More on my trip in an upcoming post!

And, of course, let's not forget Ibiza. I left my camera at home for this one, hence why it never made an appearance on my blog. There was no time for photos anyway, far too much sitting on the beach, dipping in the pool and partying in Pacha to be getting on with. It's a hard life, eh?

Over the summer I did an internship at a digital advertising agency called i-Believe. Here I got the opportunity to develop the skills I'd learnt in an academic setting. Plus, it gave me a much needed glimpse into the working world.

Then September came along and with it came my first day as Content Coordinator at Web Summit. Here I flex my blogging and social media skills on a daily basis, while learning about the tech industry as I go.

I'll end on the defining week of the year. It kicks off on Tuesday the 3rd of November, when Web Summit was finally upon us. And by that I mean the actual conference. The one that the whole company had been working towards for months. I had a long list of talks to attend and report on, including Sean Rad (Tinder's CEO), Ed Catmull (Pixar's Cofounder) and Jefferson Hack (Dazed's Founder). For three days straight, from 8am 'til god-knows-what O'Clock, I blogged my little heart out.

Later in that same week was my graduation, where I celebrated being free of the digital marketing masters that consumed two thirds of my year. Add a Michael McIntyre comedy gig in the mix and you've got one hectic week!

On December the 31st, 2014 I was a penniless student with no idea what the next year would hold. Today, December the 31st, 2015 I am a somewhat self-sufficient career girl with no idea what next year will hold. Here's to finding out.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Irresistible Me Hair Extensions Review: Thoughts of a Hair Extensions Virgin

Ever since a scary salon visit - which turned out to be my best haircut yet: my buzzcut - I've been eager to continue my adventurous streak. So when Irresistible Me contacted me to review their hair extensions I couldn't turn them down. I'd been playing with the idea of hair extensions for a while anyway - the thought of Rapunzel-esque hair is rather tempting.

After a scroll through their website, and a chat with the lovely Madison from the company, I decided to go for the 200g Silky Touch in Platinum Blonde. Don't worry, I wasn't going for a slapped-together ombre effect here - my plan was to dye the extensions to my shade of ginger.

Being a hair extensions newbie, and a bit useless with hair in general, I had no idea what to expect. This didn't stop me from squealing with excitement when I saw that the extensions had arrived. Christmas had came early as I tore off the outer parcel to reveal the sleek black Irresistible Me box. Their branding? Spot on.

In the first few seconds of opening the box I knew they deserved their name, Silky Touch. Running my hands through the hair I noticed that there was a lot of it and that it was all seriously smooth and silky.

Finding the right hair dye was a challenge. Apparently all those dotting grannies were right when they told me never to dye my hair - it would be rather difficult to get it back to the way it was! However with a little experimentation, mixing hair dye and leaving it on for different lengths of time, I finally found a colour that would work. Nice 'n Easy Golden Auburn, in case you're wondering.

With the extensions in the right colour, I was finally ready to try them out. Though I will admit, getting them to work for my hair wasn't easy. My hair is extremely thick and this makes it difficult to make them look anything but stuck on. My normal hair and extensions was just a mess. With straight hair you can clearly see where my hair ends and the extensions begin. Finally, I tried GHD curls. And hooray! Suddenly I had believably longer hair. Ta-da:

What do you think? Personally, I'd recommend these hair extensions for those of you with thin to medium hair. If you have super thick hair like myself you may find it difficult to make it look natural. Having said that, I'll be getting wear out of mine despite my thick hair, since curling the hair is a great way to blend the hair and extensions together to give it that natural look.

Now to put on a sparkly dress, a pair of skyscraper heels, and hit the town with super long hair.

Disclaimer: I will always give my honest opinion on any products or brands featured on Technicolour Dreamer, whether they are sponsored, PR samples, or paid for out of my own pocket.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Dining Dublin #1: Fire Restaurant

Isn't it lovely when a special occasion calls for a fancy evening out? In celebration of my graduation, my family and I dined in Dublin's Fire Restaurant. It first caught my eye when I spotted its gorgeous garden and fountain lit up at night. It's been on my Dublin to do list ever since.

Fire looks seriously swanky from the outside, and inside doesn't disappoint. Its extravagant chandlers and faux fires gave us high expectations for the food.

But before food, let's talk drinks. Considering that this was a celebratory meal, cocktails were in order. I went for the Raspberry and Honey Smash. Sweet and delicious, it's everything you want a cocktail to be. Fresh raspberries lie on the top of the ice and liquid - I must of got one of my five a day from that alone, right?

As for the meal, I went all out with a starter, main and dessert. Fish cakes, steak and a chocolate framboise, to be exact. It was all delicious. I know it sounds like I'm gushing, but I can't really fault it, I'm ridiculously easy to please when it comes to food. And this was good grub!

We went for the pre-theatre menu, so the food was that little bit cheaper. Still fairly expensive, but nothing crazy for City Centre Dublin. All in all, I'd recommend trying out Fire Restaurant if you're in Dublin and you're looking for a sophisticated night out with your family.

As you can see from the title, this is the first of a few restaurant reviews I'll be doing over the next few months. It gives me an excuse to try new places (cough, eat more, ahem) so I'm looking forward to it!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The Blogger's Rite of Passage: The Lush Haul

Could I even call myself a lifestyle blogger before doing a Lush haul? Probably not. But not to worry, today I secure my lifestyle blogger status with the most cliché of hauls. Here's a few bits and bobs I picked up with the gift card my mum gave me for my birthday...

Cranberry Face Mask
As with most Lush products, this smelt so good that I wasn't sure if I should apply it to my face or spoon it into my mouth. Luckily I chose the former and have had a few relaxing evenings watching Youtube whilst wearing this festive face mask.

Sakura Bath Bomb
I defy you to set foot in Lush and leave without a bath bomb. I don't even have a working bath but I still had to get one. I'm now counting down the days until I get back to the bath at my parents' house to test out this sweet smelling bath bomb.

Tea Tree Toner Water
I suffer from acne so I'm always on the look out for products that will help me manage my problem skin. This tea tree water caught my eye, since tea tree is a well known as acne fighter. Plus, I needed a new toner. First impressions? It smells lovely, and not overwhelmingly of tea tree oil. I haven't noticed a huge change in my skin condition but it's refreshing to spritz the product over the face before applying a spot cream. I'll keep on spritzing until it runs out, and hopefully it will help my skin with long term use.

Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub
Where Lush products are concerned, most of their magic is in the ritual of using them. It's no different with the Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub, I loved the process of rubbing it onto my skin. That's not to say that it didn't work. Stepping out of the shower my skin felt much softer than usual, having scrubbed away any dead skin.

So there you have it, my first Lush haul. Have you tried any of these products or do you have a favourite I haven't mentioned here? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

You Can Call Me Ms MSc BA

Well would ya look: I've donned the graduation robes again, a year on from my undergrad ceremony. Completing the MSc in Management (Digital Marketing) was hands down the hardest part of my academic career thus far. Sometimes I failed, other times I achieved, but either way it was a struggle. But I persevered and I have three extra letters at the end of my title to show for it. Claire Petersen, MSc. Worth it.

Despite the stress it caused me, I could not be more thrilled that I did this digital marketing masters. Everyday I use the skills I learnt at DCU, be it in my personal projects or in my job as a Content Coordinator at Web Summit. I've developed an analytical and strategic mind, both vital to excel in marketing. I could go on, but instead of rambling here, I'll answer any questions on digital marketing and studying it in the comments.

Dress: Shubette // Heels: Topshop

As for what I wore? It was quite the last-minute ensemble. With a hectic week at work (Web Summit's flagship event was in full swing) I'd forgotten about my graduation until a couple of days before. One unsuccessful ASOS purchase and two hours in Dundrum shopping centre later I finally bagged a dress. Not too short nor long. Not too fancy nor bland. In sheer desperation, on the night before the day itself, I had stumbled upon the perfect graduation outfit.

If I'd had more time I would have bought some accessories to complement the look, but oh well - I still think it works. What do you think? Let me know in the comments, which are now powered by Disqus and therefore open to everyone (not just blogger users). Hooray for little blogging steps forward!

Monday, 26 October 2015

See It: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a long time favourite book of mine, so I leapt at the chance to see it on the stage. Mum knew I loved the novel and thought of me when she saw it listed as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival. Thank god she did.

If you've read the book but haven't seen the play you'll be forgiven for thinking, how the hell would that story work on stage? I mean, half the book consists of mathematical equations and diagrams. Sure enough, there's less calculations going on in the stage adaptation. But the set, script and choreography thoughtfully intertwine so that the essence of the book is captured and projected from the stage. The set itself is lit up with an incredible light show that depicts different aspects of the story - you have to see it to know what I mean, but trust me when I say it's spectacular.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the story, Curious Incident follows Christopher, a teenager with Asperger's Syndrome and a flair for mathematics, on his quest to discover who killed his neighbour's dog. It's a first person narrative, so as he investigates we get an insight into his way of thinking.

As a boy with Asperger's, Christopher doesn't empathise with others, but you will certainly emphasise with him. I cried more than I care to mention. And it concludes with a bittersweet, yet satisfying, ending.

Go and see this play. Even if theatre isn't your usual scene - see it. I promise you, the visual spectacle will delight and shock the most apathetic theatre-goer while the story will have you hooked.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

DIY Pin Board Canvas

In my last post I promised a DIY of the black and copper pin board canvas I created for my birthday. It makes for a unique addition to a room, and you can choose the colour of the canvas and pins to compliment that room. So here it is: How to make your own Pin Board Canvas.

What you'll need:

  1. Corkboard
  2. A large sheet of coloured paper - This is what the canvas will be covered in so choose wisely. I chose a slightly shiny white paper.
  3. Pins - A lot of them.
  4. Paintbrush
  5. Acrylic paint
  6. Tape

Instructions:

  1. Cover the canvas in the paper, using the tape to secure the paper on the side that won't be seen. It's just like wrapping a present, just make sure that one side is completely seemless and all the taping is kept to what will be the unseen back of the piece.
  1. Paint the pins with the paint you've chosen. Let them dry (it will take them a couple of hours to completely dry). Of course, you can skip this step if your pins are already the desired colour for your final piece.
  1. Now the fun part: Push the pins into the corkboard in your desired design. If you're a perfectionist you might like to lightly mark where the pins will go before placing them. Otherwise, dive right in and add the pins, that's what I did!

And there you have it! Three steps to create a unique canvas for your home.

Oh, and I haven't even told you the best part about it yet. The pin board canvas is perfect for hanging jewellery! Simply choose your most pretty necklaces, bracelets, and rings, and hang them from the pins on display. It looks great and means that your favourite necklaces aren't getting tangled in your jewellery box.

Hope you enjoyed this DIY! I'll be doing simple DIYs every so often here on the blog, so do follow me on Bloglovin' and I'll see you in my next post!

Monday, 5 October 2015

A Party & A Quick Birthday DIY

"It's for my blog!" and "I'm going to blog about this!" were said a fair few times at my birthday celebrations last night, though not by me. My friends were mocking me and my lil' old blog - all in jest of course. Nicola's impression of me was spot on and I'm now blogging about it all so they weren't wrong!

As well as my love of blogging, I'm also known in my circle of friends for going all out with birthday decorations. Like that time I turned my house all bohemian to celebrate my 21st. This year I went for copper and monochrome decor. I bought some decorations and made others, like the black and copper canvas in the photo above. I'll do a DIY post about it soon!

Until then, I'll share a simple birthday DIY: photo hangers.

What you'll need

  1. Pretty wire hangers (I got rose gold ones from Penneys)
  2. Thin brown string
  3. Mini brown pegs
  4. Photos (polaroid photos look particularly great for this)
  5. Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Tie one side of the string to one side of the hanger and snip it to the desired length.
  2. Thread the brown string through the hole in a peg.
  3. Use the peg to display the photo.
  4. Repeat on the other side of the hanger to ensure the weight is evenly distributed.
  5. Create as many as you want and hang them on your wall.

If you have an instant camera, this can also makes for a quirky party activity. At the beginning I only displayed a few photos. But I had my polaroid to hand, and as the night progressed I took photos and attached them to the empty pegs. The photos on the wall told the story of the night as it happened.

It was such a fun night, and a chance to spend time with my favourite people in the world. And now I have the polaroids to remind me of it all.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

A Monochrome Bloom OOTD

I was in my hometown over the weekend and so I took the opportunity to pester my mum into playing photographer. I was going to a friend's going away party and decided on a monochrome ensemble: partly because it suited my mood and partly because it's all I had packed!

Top: Thrifted // Dress: Penneys/Primark // Shoes: Office

Since I was ready before the sun went down, we took a few snaps in the garden which is looking pretty damn cute, I must say. The colourful sweet peas make for a perfect backdrop.

Also, these photos are the first on my blog that show my new hair cut! I went for a buzzcut because I was rather bored of my hair and wanted a dramatic change. So I took the plunge. But I'm hoping to dedicate a post to the change, so I'll leave my thoughts until then, suffice it to say that I'm thrilled with it!

Don't ask me where the necklace is from... As you can see it's tattered because I've had it for years, and can't quite remember where I bought it. Fashion blogger problems, eh?

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Getting Out of a Blogging Rut

Over the summer, I lost the motivation to blog. Far from when I used to bash out numerous posts a week, I was struggling to update my blog fortnightly. But it wasn't blogger's block per say: I wasn't even attempting to write posts. I was just in a serious blogging rut.

Don't get me wrong, I was never going to make a dramatic exit from the blogging scene. Or even shuffle away quietly. I love blogging. I knew it then. I just couldn't remember why exactly. Thus, I was left unfulfilled with my sparse blog and uninspired content.

But I wouldn't let the lull defeat me. I'm here now, aren't I? A number of things that I've done in the last few weeks have rekindled and reminded me of my love of blogging...

How I got out of a blogging rut...

  • Reading and commenting on other blogs - The blogs on my Bloglovin' feed are all inspiring in one way or another, whether it's because of creative imagery, engaging writing, or rocking OOTDs. Simply taking the time to catch up on my favourite blogs reminded me of why I love the blogging scene. Plus, posting in the comment section reminded me of the positive blogging community that's out there.
  • Limiting the amount of TV I watch after work - Binge watching Pretty Little Liars until the wee hours was zapping my productivity. Why does there have to be so many episodes?
  • Creating content offline - It's much less daunting to pick up an pen and paper than to click that bright orange 'new post' button on Blogger's interface. Create first, post online later.
  • Clearing out my email - I'd ignored it for far too long. It was time to read old messages (that I should have dealt with ages ago) and delete, delete, delete. It's time for a fresh start and the 1,000 unread emails were making me edgy.
  • Asking myself outright: Why do I like to blog? If I were pinpoint one thing I love about blogging: It's taking the photos. I adore photography, and without a good photo series, it's much harder for me to find the motivation to write. So rekindling my passion for blogging is as easy as pressing the shutter of my DSLR.

I'm excited as ever about blogging now. I can't believe I went for months feeling so 'meh' about the whole thing. Blogging is my favourite hobby and I can't wait to get creating with this renewed feeling of excitement!

Have you ever been in a dreaded blogging rut? What rekindles your love for blogging when you feel a bit 'meh' about it all?