Sunday, May 21, 2017

What I've Been Loving Recently #2

I'm back with my second instalment of What I've Been Loving Recently. After writing the first one last month I was really excited to put together a second one and hopefully next month I'll have even more to write about.

It's been a month since my last post of TV, Film, Music and Podcast suggestions and I wasn't expecting to have as many to write about so soon because we were away in New York for a good chunk of the month but here we are with lots more things I've been loving and I've even had to cut my list down so as not to make this post too long which I'm sure it will be anyway. I've tried to not give away too much about anything, so you can read without getting any spoilers.  

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Let's begin with the TV shows I've been loving. First up is The Last Man on Earth which has just finished its fourth season on FOX. It's a comedy created by and starring Will Forte (who I've adored since watching him on Saturday Night Live). **SPOILER ALERT** (she types after just saying she won't spoil anything) he's not exactly the last man on earth, but you learn that pretty quickly so it's not really a spoiler is it? I won't go too much into it just in case anyone reading wants to start watching it, which you should because it's hilarious. This will be a love or hate show, because it does have a specific type of humour and if you love what Will Forte has done in the past, you'll definitely love this. It's so friggin good!

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You might be looking at the picture above wondering why a grown woman is watching a cartoon. Well I'll have you know I love cartoons (Adventure Time, Rick and Morty, Bob's Burgers are all amazing!) These are obviously "grown up" cartoons and Archer is one of the funniest shows on Tv at the moment, animated or not. Archer was created by Adam Reed who also created Sealab 2021 and Frisky Dingo (neither of which I've watched yet). It centres around the employees of an international spy agency in New York with Sterling Archer as the show's egotistical but highly skilled protagonist. 

I started watching it when it first began in 2009 and stopped watching somewhere during the fourth season, not because I disliked it but I think I had missed a few and then never caught up so I just waited to rewatch it from the beginning again which is what we did recently. We're now on season six and it's just as good as when it first started. Obviously you can do so much more with the story of an animated television show and the last season Archer Vice was probably my favourite yet because of how hilariously crazy it was. There's another two seasons and I'm looking forward to getting completely caught up. The writing and the voice actors make this show. It stars Jon Benjamin (Bob from Bob's Burgers among many other amazing roles), Chris Parnell (from 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live), Judy Greer and Jessica Walter (both from Arrested Development) and Aisha Tyler (from Criminal Minds and Friends). This is another show you'll either love or hate, it's currently on Netflix so you can binge watch 8 seasons, so why not give it a go if you're looking for something funny and light-hearted to watch that's a bit different from your normal comedy.

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This is one of the shows I'm most excited to talk about. Ive been looking forward to the second season of the Netflix series Master of None for what feels like years now, in a way it has been because the first season aired in 2015. At the moment there's no news as to whether there will be a third season or not so if there is, I'll be waiting a long time again. This second season was so good that I almost wouldn't mind if there wasn't another season because I'd be worried that nothing could live up to how good this one was.

For anyone who hasn't heard anything about it, Master of None was created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, both of whom are probably best known for working on Parks and Recreation. I adore Parks and Rec, but Master of None is a completely different show, even though they're both very funny. 

The show centres around Dev Shah, played by Aziz Ansari who is an actor living in New York. It deals with the struggles of being a minority working, dating and living in a big city. I love everything about this show. The soundtrack really stands out, the cinematography is so beautiful for a television show and in general really (bravo Mark Schwartzbard), I especially loved the many cinematic references in the second season. The supporting cast are all excellent including Aziz Ansari's own parents (his father is particularly hilarious). 

I loved the first season, but the second really blew me away. The first episode is set in the Italian town of Modena where Dev has spent some time learning to make pasta (he's a tiny bit obsessed with food) and is filmed in black and white in homage to the Vittorio de Sica film Ladri di Biciclette (Bicycle Thieves). It's in Modena, that Dev meets Francesca (I double dare you not to fall in love with her!) who's grandmother is teaching him how to make pasta. Their friendship is one of the main storylines of the season, as is the development of Dev's career and his continued efforts to date in modern society. One episode is solely Dev going on numerous first dates that he has arranged as a result of using a Tinder style app. 

There is a few central storylines throughout the season with the addition of stand alone episodes centering on some of the other characters, such as the Thanksgiving episode that tells the story of Dev's friend Denise coming out to her mother. It was based on the real life story of how Lena Waithe, who plays Denise, actually came out to her mother which makes it feel like such an authentic piece of storytelling. 

As you can see I have lots of thoughts but I don't want to go into it too much for anyone who is reading this and hasn't seen the show yet. All I can say is that it won't be to everyone's taste, if you're in your twenties/thirties I fell like so much of the show will be relatable. It's on Netflix and is only twenty episodes over two seasons so it's worth giving it a go. 

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I had heard about Margaret Atwood's book The Handmaid's Tale for years and even though I have never actually read it (which I am definitely going to now), I vaguely knew the plot, so when I heard that it was being made into a television series starring Elisabeth Moss I was incredibly excited to see it. There were advertisements for it all over New York when we were there. There was even an installation in the High Line that had free copies of the book for passers by, but all the books were gone when we were there. 

When we returned from New York, the post holiday blues inevitably set in but then I remembered there were a few episodes of The Handmaid's Tale to watch. I didn't know the full plot, just a few details, which I think is the best way to watch this if you haven't already read the book. All I really knew was that it was set in a near future dystopian society where most women have become infertile. I don't want to tell you anything else just in case you don't know anything about it yet. I was completely hooked after the first episode which blew me away. Elisabeth Moss is one of my favourite actors and I was so excited to see her in this role because her performances are always phenomenal and this is no exception. 

I don't even know where to begin with it. I have so many thoughts about it, the performances, the cinematography, the art direction, the soundtrack which is so perfect (how good was Don't You Forget About Me in the second episode), the storylines, everything! I'm completely in awe of this incredible, disturbing story that feels almost too real. It's difficult to watch some scenes, especially because of the amazing performances. The flashbacks and the inner monologue of the main character Offred are the most upsetting because of how realistic they are. Theres a quote from one of the first episodes (and also from the book) that really stuck with me, "Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub, you'd be boiled to death before you knew it". The idea is that governments don't get overthrown overnight. Big changes take time and can happen slowly before our very eyes without us realising it and that's the scary part.

If you were to take any of my suggestions from this post, I'd urge it to be The Handmaid's Tale. If anyone else has seen it or read it let me know what you think, I'm dying to talk more about it. Don't let the bastards grind you down!

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Something a little bit lighter now (although I did actually cry during this so not entirely light-hearted).  Anyone who saw and loved Guardians of the Galaxy knew a sequel was inevitable and although I'm not usually the biggest fan of sequels, in the Marvel universe, sequels are fine by me. I was quite excited to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 because I adored the first one. First of all, I'd watch anything with Chris Pratt because he is the cutest! I've loved him since I first saw him in Everwood (anyone else remember that show) and then my ultimate favourite Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation where he was incredibly funny and charming. The entire cast is excellent (you can't not love baby Groot) it's entertaining and hilarious and there's Kurt Russell and Kirk from Gilmore Girls and there's a heart there too, which I can't help but love even though in films like these it's not 100% necessary. The soundtrack is also amazingly curated. 


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This month I have another podcast suggestion, My Favorite Murder, which was recommended to me on Instagram by Sinead who you should definitely follow if you enjoy lovely photos and food and skincare/makeup. I was looking for something to fill the S Town void and I can't think of anything better than a podcast by two hilarious women about their favourite true murder cases. As it stands there are 69 episodes (I've listened to the first 16 in the past week!) and I'm so excited that I have this huge backlog of episodes to catch up on. You probably don't know this about me but I'm big into true murder, especially film and documentaries. It kind of runs in my family because my granny and aunt are the exact same. They even used to buy all of those true crime magazines. Making a Murderer, The Jinx, The Staircase, you name it, I'll watch it. The Zodiac is probably one of my favourites and I actually have the book based on that case which I have yet to read.

The thing I love about My Favorite Murder is the two hosts Georgia and Karen and how they deal with the subject of horrific murders and yet somehow manage to keep it from getting too intense (most of the time). I also love how passionate they both are about this topic (yay, I don't feel like a total weirdo for being obsessed with true murder) and how excited they get when one of them mentions a case the other hasn't heard of yet. Be warned though, sometimes it can get gory and horrifying so if you're scared easily this probably isn't going to be for you but I absolutely love it and can't stop listening to episode after episode. They also recommend some great tv shows and movies too. I have a feeling this will keep me going for a while but if you have any podcast suggestions please let me know because it's such a vast world that I don't even know where to start.

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Finally is this month's music suggestion which is the new album from Mac DeMarco called This Old Dog. I started listening to him when his last album Salad Days came out in 2014 and became obsessed. This is his third album and at just 27 years old, it feels like he is so much older than his years. He's admitted that some of the lyrics are about his father with whom he has a fairly estranged relationship but there's also a lot more in it. I'm going to be seeing him play live for the first time in November and I'm so excited, especially after recently watching his set at Coachella. He's such a unique person with an incredible voice and musical talent, but he's definitely got a love or hate style. You either get him and love him or you don't. That being said, I'd definitely give this new album a listen. It's a bit more relaxed than the last album but the lyrics are beautiful and so relatable at times. I listened to this a lot on the subway when we were in New York so I think it'll always have a special place in my heart.

So that's a selection of what I've been loving recently, apologies that it was such a long post, but it's sometimes difficult to know how much to write because I want to encourage people to check out my suggestions without giving too much away but I also have so much to say about each one that it's hard to just give a quick synopsis. I hope you enjoyed this post and please do leave a comment if you have suggestions of films and tv shows you think I'd like or books, podcasts or music. I mostly find new things I love through other peoples suggestions so hopefully some of you will find something new to love after reading this.

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend!

Emma x


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

XL Lashes

It's been a while since I've written about a mascara, I think my last one was Lancôme Grandiôse Extrême which was almost a year ago. I finally ran out of the stash of mascaras I had built up and was on the look out for something new to try. I came across the new L'Oréal Miss Baby Roll Mascara (that name is ridiculous!) in Boots after seeing a few other bloggers mention being interested in trying it, so on a whim I decided to just buy it and give it a whirl myself. 

I went with the waterproof version because I bought it just before going to New York and I wanted to bring a mascara with me that I knew would last throughout the day and I find that in general waterproof mascaras tend to last better on me than the standard formula. The first time I used it I loved it. It did exactly what I want a mascara to do for my lashes. It gave them volume, length and definition and the formula is easily buildable. 

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Just Miss Baby Roll Mascara

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As you can see the wand is quite unusual. It has a plastic brush which I'm not usually a fan of, I tend to prefer mascara wands with a bristle brush but I think because of the size and shape of this one and the way in which the bristles are twisted it just works really well on my lashes and isn't too big for my eye shape.

The formula lasts all day without smudging or flaking and holds a curl which is a must for me. As I mentioned already it's waterproof so you'll need an oil based make up remover, but it also comes in a non waterproof formula as well as in lilac, teal and indigo which all looked like they'd be really pretty for the Summer. The colourful shade range combined with the packaging and name make me think that this mascara is being marketed towards a younger consumer, but don't let that put you off, it's an excellent mascara and for the price point of €10.49 is definitely worth trying out the next time you're in the market for a new mascara. 

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Top-bottom- bare lashes, Miss Baby Roll, Lancôme Cils Booster XL under Miss Baby Roll


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The next lash product I wanted to tell you about is the Lancôme Cils Booster XL Super Enhancing Mascara Base. I had heard a few people mention this recently and I never looked into it or paid it much attention until I saw a photo on Instagram of the makeup look Fiona Stiles created on Lily Collins for the Met Gala. Her eyelashes looked incredible and I waited impatiently for her to list the products she used to create the look. As soon as I saw that she had used the Cils Booster XL to prime Lily's eyelashes I made a mental list to try it out as soon as possible. So when I was in Sephora in New York, I was browsing the miniatures aisle and to my absolute joy I saw that they had a mini version of the Cils Booster XL for $13 and without a further thought it went straight into my basket.

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Cils Booster XL with Miss Baby Roll on top (just one coat of each)

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I had used a lash primer once before, it was a double ended mascara with a primer on one end and a black mascara on the other, I can't remember the brand but I wasn't overly impressed. Not enough to continue to add that extra step into my daily makeup routine. However this had me hooked straight away. As you can see in the photos above my natural lashes aren't amazing, but they do tend to look quite good once I apply mascara. When I use Cils Booster XL, they are on another level. I obviously don't layer it up as much as Fiona Stiles did on Lily Collins but I'm sure you could if you wanted even more dramatic lashes. The formula is thin enough that you could definitely apply two coats with ease. I love that it doesn't make your lashes clump but instead it just enhances everything- volume, definition and in particular length.

The formula contains micro-fibers that are supposed to both protect and volumise your lashes and the white colour means that any shade of mascara applied over it is intensified. Yes, it's pricey for a product that you don't necessarily "need" at approximately €26, but you can use a less expensive drugstore mascara with it like I've done and it seriously improves how your lashes look (even with an already great mascara like Miss Baby Roll). If you have short, thin lashes I feel like this will change your life. I'm aware that I'm making quite a big statement there, but I honestly don't think anyone could not think this is an incredible product. I don't have super long lashes but they aren't the worst and I am blown away by the difference every time I use this. I'm trying to save it for weekends but I'm so obsessed with how my lashes look with this on now that I can't help wanting to use it every day. It's also suitable for sensitive eyes which is an added bonus. I'll definitely be buying the full size once I've used up my mini one.

Cils Booster XL is available in Brown Thomas and Boots, or at any Lancôme counter.

What mascara are you using at the moment? Have you ever tried a lash primer?

Emma x




Sunday, May 14, 2017

Turn On The Bright Lights

We wandered down to Astoria Park on one of our last evenings in New York to catch the sunset over the East River. We went to the area of the park under the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, which was formerly known as the Triborough Bride as it connects Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx. From there you also get an amazing view of the Hell Gate Bridge which just turned 100 years old back in March and connects Astoria to Randalls and Wards Islands. According to this New York Times article, it got its name from the Dutch word "hellegat" which translates to "hell channel", because of how treacherous that stretch of river could be with the tides and rocks. 

I thought it would be the perfect spot to get some more outfit photos as the light was beautiful as was the view of the bridges and the river. We were kind of annoyed with ourselves for not going down there earlier in our trip because the park has amazing amenities, the views are beautiful and it was packed with people doing outdoor classes and playing sports. However we were lucky with how nice of an evening it was and that the sun came out from behind the clouds just in time for us to watch it disappear behind the buildings. 

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Dress- H&M
Jacket- New Look
Scarf- ASOS
Boots- Clarks (similar here and here)
Sunglasses- eBay
Necklace- Stella and Dot Bespoke Disc Necklace
Lipstick- Bourjois Rouge Buzz

I bought this dress the week before we went away on sale in H&M for only €15. I had seen it on Amy from The Little Magpie back in March and loved it but didn't buy it at the time. I wasn't sure it would suit me with the high neck and ruffles (which is a trend I haven't really gotten into). But when I saw it on sale in my size, I bought it on a whim and it even ended up being €5 cheaper when I got to the till (don't you just love it when that happens). I actually really loved it when I tried it on at home and brought it with me to New York to wear out for dinner which I did a couple of the nights. I can see myself wearing it lots of different ways, with a leather jacket or heeled boots or runners for a more casual look. I love a good midi dress and I'm glad I took a chance on this one. For €15 you can't go too far wrong!

I'm aware that this is the second post in a row that I've worn this neck scarf but I just thought it was really nice paired with the dress, it's still available on ASOS if anyone is interested. I usually hate wearing my hair up when I'm not at home but it was very necessary with the heat in New York. We had spent the day walking around Prospect Park in Brooklyn and I needed to cool down.

I'm currently working through the hundreds of photos I took on the trip with the goal of writing a blog post about our New York experience. It'll be more personal than a travel guide, mostly because it was my first time there so I'm by no means qualified to be giving out advice. However I read lots of blog posts from other people as the trip approached and I found it helpful so hopefully I can do the same thing.

How much research do you like to do before you visit somewhere? Do you find reading about other peoples experiences helpful or do you prefer to do your own thing and not plan too much?

If you haven't seen it already, check out my first style post from New York here!

Emma x

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Five-And-Ten

I don't know about you but I love to get to the airport early to have a look around the Duty Free and sit and relax before a flight. I've become a bit of a nervous flyer as I've gotten older and so being there with plenty of time to spare just makes me feel so much more at ease. JFK is one of the best airports I've been to, there's lots of shops and places to eat and it makes all the difference especially before a long flight because there's a lot to keep you occupied.

I wanted to pick up a few presents for people and didn't really have any intention of getting anything for myself after clearing out the Glossier Showroom and Sephora. I was browsing the OPI stand and I noticed they had a Breakfast at Tiffany's collection which I've since learned was their Holiday 2016 collection. I hadn't heard of it or seen it anywhere even though we now have OPI here in Ireland. I don't tend to keep with with nail polish brands as much as I used to but OPI are one of my favourites along with Essie and they always do great collections. 

I had a look at the shades and there were a few I liked but I ended up buying Five-and-Ten which is a champagne/silver shade with micro glitter. It's such a pretty shade that looks gorgeous under lights or in the sun and the glitter is quite inoffensive so it could act as a nice neutral too. 

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I love the OPI nail polish formula, I find it so easy to apply and like Essie they have a bigger brush that I prefer for my nail shape. I had a look around online and the collection doesn't seem to be available in that many places anymore. A lot of websites won't ship nail polishes outside of their country but I found this shade here and here on sale! Some of the other shades are available on Nail Polish Direct and HB Beauty Bar as well as on Amazon and eBay. I also bought the set of 4 mini shades for my mam and sister and I kind of regret not buying one for myself. I bought another OPI polish from Rite Aid while I was in New York so I'll share that one soon too because it's part of their permanent line. It's seems my not buying nail polish spell is over!

What have you been wearing on your nails recently?

Emma x


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Kiehls Actively Correcting and Beautifying BB Cream

Recently I promised myself I would wear a facial SPF 50 in some form every day that I'm outside, all year round. I was looking for something that I could incorporate into my daily routine easily and that would benefit my skin in other ways. My other facial sunscreens from my holiday last year had since gone out of date so I needed something to take me into this Summer. I decided on the Kiehls Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream after hearing so much about it over the years. The girls at Kiehls recommended it highly and told me it that can be used alone or underneath your usual foundation.

This is a two in one treatment because it's both a broad spectrum SPF 50 but it also has a tint that unifies and corrects the skin tone. It has a high level of Vitamin C which brightens and clarifies the skin. The formula helps to reduce fine lines and the appearance of pores as well as providing long lasting hydration and improving texture. 

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For anyone that doesn't quite understand it, broad spectrum means that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply and are the main cause of skin aging and contribute to the development of skin cancer, they are what cause the skin to tan. They are present all day even during the Winter months which is why it is so important to wear SPF all year round if you're going to be outside. UVB rays however are what cause sunburn on the skins superficial layers and are key in the development of skin cancer as well as contributing to tanning and aging, they are most prevalent from April to October during the middle of the day (from 10am-4pm), but again they can damage you skin all year round. PA+++ basically means that the product provides very high protection against UVA rays.

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I'm such a sunscreen fanatic. When I'm on holidays I wear SPF 50 all over my body including face and I reapply frequently. I'm very fair skinned so I burn easily and I need this high protection from the sun. However it's so easy to forget that your skin can be damaged during the Winter months too, even if it's cloudy. I'm definitely guilty of forgetting this which is why I've been making myself wear some kind of SPF 50 on my face and neck for the past few months every day that I know I'll be outside for a while. 

Every single time a skincare expert is asked what their best advice is for having good skin or preventing premature ageing, the answer is always to stay out of the sun or use high sun protection. It's something that's so easy to do but also so easy to forget. Most people like to look tanned when they come back from a holiday but really the only way to looked tanned in a healthy way is to use fake tan. Save yourself the expense of having to buy loads of anti-aging skincare prematurely and just use a high protection sunscreen now!

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I was very surprised by the amount of coverage this BB Cream gave my skin. As you can see below it really does even out the skin tone and help with pore visibility. You will need extra concealer if you have particularly red spots or blemishes but apart from that I've been very impressed by this product. If you're oily you might want to powder but I tend to just use blotting papers instead because I've been enjoying the look of not using powder recently. The only negative I can think of is the scent which is that slightly sunscreen scent mixed with Vitamin C which can be quite strong too. It doesn't bother me at all but you might want to give it a sniff before buying it just in case. It comes in five shades, I have the lightest one which is Fair and it's a perfect colour match for me. 

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no make up/ just Kiehls BB Cream

I wear it both ways depending on the coverage I need, it works perfectly alone and underneath any of my foundations. Just be aware that if you're having your photo taken with a flash it may be an issue but that shouldn't be a problem because it's not the kind of product you'd wear on a night out. I'll definitely be wearing this all Summer when I don't need too much coverage. I also have the Ultra Light Daily UV Defence which is a great alternative if you don't want the tint element. I love how easy this is to use, it blends in quickly and evenly and it means I have my sun protection and coverage in one and significantly streamlines my makeup routine.   

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full make up, no powder

There are plenty of brands that make excellent sun protection protects, some of my favourites include La Roche-Posay, Bioderma and Eucerin all of which are very affordable. This is priced at €30 for 30ml, but worth every cent. Think of the money you'll be saving on skincare or other anti-aging methods in the long term. 

What are some of your favourite sun protection products?

Emma x



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

I'm Crossing You In Style Some Day

Greetings from Queens, New York! I'm currently sitting in our Airbnb writing this with a view of the Manhattan skyline. I can't even begin to describe what an experience this trip has been so far so I'll wait until we get home to go through the hundreds of photos I've taken and write about it properly then. For now I wanted to share some photos we took in Brooklyn at the weekend. 

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Shirt- Uniqlo
Trousers- Uniqlo
Shoes- Adidas via Schuh
Scarf- ASOS (similar here and here)
Earrings- c/o Lulu and Belle
Sunglasses- ASOS (similar here)
Lipstick- No7 Brick Red

We walked the Brooklyn bridge from Manhattan and after lunch, visited DUMBO and I figured it was too picturesque to not make the most of it and take some outfit photos. It was almost 30 degrees that day and luckily on our first day here we went to Uniqlo (which is amazing and I wish we had it in Ireland) and I picked up a couple of things that were a bit more weather appropriate. I got this cotton and linen mix shirt and the wide leg pleated pants that look more like a maxi skirt. It was a great outfit for walking around in because we forgot sunscreen so I was covered up without feeling too hot. I've been living in these Adidas Stan Smiths since I got them on sale after Christmas. They're so comfortable and they go with everything so I've been wearing them all over New York.

My earrings were another gift from Irish jewellery brand Lulu and Belle who you may remember from this post back in February. Every other pair of earrings I wear irritates my ears except for the ones I have from Lulu and Belle so I've been wearing them lots over the past few months. I love how delicate they are and you can actually wear them the other way around too. You can find them on Etsy and Not on the High Street as well as on Facebook and Instagram. There's lots of gorgeous personalised items too if you're looking for a gift.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more of my New York adventures!

Emma x

*This post was not sponsored, the earrings were a gift but all thoughts, opinions and words are my own

** This outfit was completely inspired by Marisa Tomei in Only You.

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