Wednesday, 26 July 2017

A Weekend In Belfast: What to see, eat and do

Recently I took a trip up North to Belfast for the first time in 20+ years. The first time I visited I was only a baba and all I can remember is the Disney shop and my Pocahontas bag as my purchase. This time however I wanted to make sure I would remember more than that and get to learn about the history of the city.

How to get there

Myself and my mam travelled to Belfast via Dublin coach. We got a fantastic deal online at €10 return each and we were up there in the comfort of the non stop bus in just over two hours. I would highly recommend travelling with Dublin coach and making use of their amazing online deals while you can! The train would have been so much more expensive, so we were delighted to find this deal. You can book the fantastic deal on their website here 

Where to stay 

My mum chose the Europa hotel as it was where we stayed on my first visit to Belfast twenty years previous and she had great memories of the place. Upon arriving we discovered we had been upgraded to an executive suite and they had a lovely welcome plate waiting for us. This was one of the best welcomes to a hotel I've ever experienced and it was such a nice touch! 


The beds were so comfortable, rooms had a great view of the city and they had bathrobes and slippers also which is a nice touch. They also had the cutest little rubber duckie by the bath which was a lovely quirky touch. 

Breakfast was great each morning - you could order omelettes or opt for a full "english" or even try Bushmills whiskey on your porridge... which you can see on my Instagram account here

What to do 

We were on a highly planned itinerary (thanks Mam!) this meant that we got to make the most out of our weekend in Belfast and felt like we were away for much longer due to the amount we saw and did.

Once we had settled our bags in our room and had a quick change we hopped into the Black Taxi tours cab which picked us up from right outside our hotel. You can organise them yourselves or have the hotel organise it for a tiny extra charge which we were happy to pay. 

If you are visiting Belfast I highly recommend that you book one of these tours. They are so worth it and you get to see so much of the city and have the cities history and the Troubles explained to you. We were brought to the Shankill and the Falls areas which would still be quite divided today which is evident as you drive through them. We got to hop out and see all the murals up close while the taxi driver explained a bit more to us about the areas. 


Our driver brought us to the Peace wall also which is dividing these two areas for longer than the Berlin Wall has been standing. That fact shocked me and surprised me to hear how the gates between these two communities have to be locked at a certain time each night as there is still trouble feared between them. 


We got to sign the peace wall and read some of the quotes and words left by various world leaders on it.


That night we also decided to take in a show at the Lyric Theatre. We got to see the show The Ladykillers and I would highly recommend it. It is an all female cast and is very funny - however it is a little on the long side at three hours! Have a look at what's on here on their website

On our walk back from the theatre we passed Queens University which is well worth a look around; it looks like Hogwarts!

We also of course felt like we had to go and do the Titanic experience. I actually WOULDN'T recommend it. I don't think it was worth the ticket price.What you are better off doing is going to the boat that is on the outside across the road and doing the self-guided tour inside there. It's a lot less expensive, not as busy and crowded and it still gives you the same information. 

Where to eat 

Both nights we chose Italian restaurants as funnily enough they were the two restaurants recommended to us. Coppi and Fratelli's were both delicious restaurants to eat in with quick service and friendly staff so definitely give either of the a go if you are in the city and fancy Italian food. 

I ordered the smoked chicken tortellin in Coppi which was absolutely gorgeous and had a pizza in Fratellis. The standout in Fratelli's was the desserts. You could pick a selection of miniature desserts in order to try them all! To have a look for more pictures of the food check out my Instagram account

Where to shop 

Being the absolutely unapologetic shopaholics that we are shopping was most certainly on our agenda. 

We decided to start off by visiting St.Georges Market which was within walking distance from our hotel and was a great start to the day. It houses so many quirky vendors of both food, accessories, crafts. The below was an example of different books made into clutches! Loved this idea, especially if you are a Harry Potter fan. 

It really is worth a visit and we spent a few hours wandering around listening to the live music, looking at all the different crafts on sale and having some delicious poffertje (mini pancakes covered in nutella) to eat. I'd also recommend trying a Belfast belly buster while you are there... they looked insane. 

Then we decided to hit the shopping centres - all the makeup stores were on my hitlist - MAC, Kiko, Kat Von D etc and we spent a lot of time in their Debenhams and House of Fraser. I also managed to track down the entire range of The Ordinary - the new skincare brand taking the beauty world by storm. It is such good value and high quality so I bought some of everything! I will be doing my next blog post on my Belfast beauty and skincare haul so keep your eyes peeled. 

We had a fantastic time in Belfast and would highly recommend it for a weekend away for somewhere different. It's a city full of history and  culture; I'm glad we got to experience it and the amazing food, shopping and show! 


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

My Laser Eye Surgery Experience With Optilase

Its been three weeks since I went in for my LASIK eye surgery with Optilase and a little less than that since I've had 20/20 vision.

For someone who has been wearing glasses since they were about 11 years old (granted, not as much as she should have!) having perfect vision now is indescribable. It's just so EASY. I can go to the cinema on a whim, I can get in my car and drive without having to look for my glasses, I can walk around town and read signs I never would have noticed before... it really has been life changing.

Another biggie is the fact that I no longer walk past people I know on the street or in a nightclub with them thinking I'm blanking them when in fact I just didn't see them! My prescription is definitely not the worst but at -2/2.5 I definitely should have been wearing my glasses 90% of the time. 

Free consultation

I went for my initial consultation which was quite in depth only a short while before I opted for the surgery. The clinic I chose was Ely Place, as it is in Dublin city centre it was the handiest for me to get to. One of the main reasons I chose to go with Optilase is because your consultation is completely FREE with no obligation to book surgery. This makes a big difference as I had looked around a few places which were charging upwards of €200 for a consultation fee.

The consultation took about an hour and I was told my eyes could be quite blurry and sensitive to light afterwards as they were going to use dilation drops in my eyes. What they didn't tell me was that my pupils would look absolutely huge for a couple of hours after as if I was off my head on pills... but that's another story. 

So for anyone who wears glasses will know all about your standard eye tests procedures. This was quite similar however they did make use of a few different machines that I had never come across before.All of them essentially test that your eyes are healthy enough for the surgery and they also test the thickness of your corneas which can decide what kind of surgery you can go for. Once they had confirmed that I was eligible for surgery I had to pick which type I would go for, the PRK or the LASIK. 

I went for the LASIK surgery. It has a 24 hour recovery time, so the next day I could see perfectly and was able to drive, etc. The other type of surgery is called PRK. This is a longer recovery time of 5 days and you will really need to just stay at home and do nothing pretty much in this time with someone to help around the house I was told. Eighty percent of people are eligible for LASIK and the other 20% have to go for PRK. If you are eligible for LASIK you can also choose to go for PRK, but if you are eligible for PRK that is the only one you can go for. 

The cost difference was about 300 euro or so more expensive for LASIK but I think for 24 hour recovery time it is well worth it. 

You can read more about the surgery and what is involved here

On the day of Surgery

On the day of surgery I was told not to drink caffeine, to make sure someone was available to pick me up and to bring dark sunglasses and painkillers with me. 

The actual surgery itself only takes 15 minutes - its amazing how such a short procedure can literally completely perfect your eyesight and change your life. Even though the surgery takes such a short time you are told that you can expect to be there for three hours. 

I opted to take the Valium before the procedure which is a mild sedative so in this case I had to have someone I know pick me up as legally I don't think they can allow you to take a taxi. 

I'm glad I took the Valium as I was quite nervous but it helped relax my body before the surgery. Once the Valium kicked in I was taken into the surgery and the nurses prepped my eyes with lots of numbing drops. This is brilliant as you literally cannot feel a thing during the surgery itself. The only thing I felt was some discomfort and pressure on my eyes because you do have to stay still and they do have some sort of machinery keeping your eyes open and your head in one position for the duration. There was a bright light ahead of me on the machine that I just focused on (I guess it was the laser) while the other work was done and it was finished in no time at all. 

They do recommend that you don't talk during the surgery as your eyes tend to move a lot as you talk so I'm glad I did ask this just before they started!

Post Surgery

Once the surgery is done you are brought back into a little room to lie down for a bit so they can observe you I suppose. At this point I literally could not open my eyes and they started to feel very sore and gritty. I took some painkillers then and the receptionist called my friend who was coming to collect me.

The drive home my eyes felt very very stingy and I got my friend to pull into the petrol station so I could get more painkillers as I was afraid it would get worse. I also fell asleep briefly in the car as a reaction to the Valium so I guess this is why they want you to go home with someone you know! 

The best way I can describe the pain is like sand is in your eyes or lots of shampoo and you can't touch your eyes or wash it out. Luckily this pain was only temporary and lasted about 5 hours I would say. 

I literally just wanted to get out of public and brightness and home into my bed. The nurses advised the best thing to do would be to sleep anyway. I slept for 4-5 hours and when I woke up my eyes were not hurting at all anymore, I just had a slight headache so I took some more painkillers. 

The first day and week are filled with two different types of antibiotic drops 6 or some times a day as well as lubricating eye drops as often as necessary. I applied these drops two hours apart so I could try keep to a schedule. 

The nurses also gave me an eye mask to wear at night time to sleep to ensure I didn't touch or scratch my eyes. 

The other thing you need to know is - NO EYE MAKEUP for up to two weeks. This one I struggled with as I feel so so bare sans mascara!

The next day my mam called me into the room, I was at the door and she was on the other side of the room and asked me to read something written on a book - I was so confused, I was like eh why, all it says is.... and I read it and she looked at me and said, "You would never have been able to read that before!" 

The very next day I went for a checkup and they told me my right eye was 20/20 vision and my left was almost there. A week later she told me that my vision had improved to better than 20/20 vision in both eyes. I am absolutely over the moon! I have my monthly checkup next at the end of this month. 

Another thing I would really recommend about Optilase is their aftercare. You are scheduled in for so many checkups afterwards and any queries you voice are answered very quickly. I would highly recommend them and the laser eye surgery - it really has given me so much more confidence. 

If you have any other questions about who is eligible for surgery or anything else please let me know and I'll do my best to answer them. I can't recommend them enough and am so happy I did this for myself. 

*Just as a disclaimer, I paid for this surgery 100% every penny myself. I'm just writing this post to try answer any queries other people might have about laser eye surgery. If you're interested in opting for laser eye surgery let me know as they have a referral process which would entitle me to €100 back and yourself to €100 if you opt for the surgery.*


Friday, 16 June 2017

A Must See and Do Guide to Barcelona

Delicious tapas, cheap wine, hot sunny weather and stunning sights... what's not to like about Barcelona? At the time of writing this we only arrived home the night before last and it's safe to say that I am so sad to be back!

I'm just going to breakdown where we stayed, food places we can recommend and what to do in the next few paragraphs and I am also going to share with you one thing you absolutely MUST buy when you arrive...

We stayed at the Renaissance Barcelona Fira hotel we found it to be in an ideal location for us, it was only 10km from the airport meaning a cheap enough taxi or like us you can get the metro. The metro station was literally a 30 second walk from the front door of the hotel so we were able to easily get into the city centre using public transport. ALSO the hotel has a rooftop pool and bar and is super modern. The rooms are gorgeous, white and clean and crisp - very Instagram friendly! They also have really quirky windows in the shapes of palm trees which offer fantastic views of the surrounding area. 

We stayed for three nights and had four full days in Barcelona and we cannot recommend enough to buy the Hola BCN! travel card. You can get one for 1,2,3,4 however many days you will be there and it will seriously cut down on your travel costs. You can use it for to and from the airport, the metro, the subway, the trams and the buses. It covers everything. We on average took about 4-5 trips on public transport a day getting around and the card cost us €27.75 each for 96 hours of unlimited travel on all forms of transport. You can buy this card in any of the red ticket machines at the stations - we bought ours when we arrived at the station at the airport ticket machine to start getting the benefit straight away. 

There are definitely two standout places that I would recommend you to try for food if you are visiting Barcelona. Ultramarinos on Las Ramblas was delicious and pretty good value. It was also really coolly decorated and had a great selection of food i.e. tapas, burgers, pizzas. If you go there you have to order the Iberian ham, egg and chips - it is the most delicious combination ever!!

We also found El Nacional - as recommended by one of the really helpful and friendly staff at our hotel. This was just off Passeig de Gracía - one of the main shopping streets. We definitely wouldn't have just come across it by ourselves as it is down a side street but it is located in such a fabulous building that really reminded me of something out of the Great Gatsby. It had a real 1920s feel and you can tell that this is a place that more of the locals come to. It had tapas, fish, meats, a cocktail bar, a wine bar, a cheese bar... everything you could imagine. We went for tapas again - when in Spain! 

If you haven't had tapas before some of my favourites in general are prawns (gambas) mussels (mejillones) and patatas bravas. On average we went to some fairly decent restaurants and got four tapas and a drink each for around €30. 

Be aware on Las Ramblas a lot of restaurants try to entice you to sit out on the street on their 'terrace' areas but also have a hidden fee of around 15% on top of your bill for this.

What to do/see:

  • Parc Guell - we tried to get tickets for the Monumental Zone two days in a row but they were sold out so book in advance if you are travelling there. They are only €7. We still headed here anyway because there is so many beautiful buildings and quirky architecture to see in the park regardless.
  • Nou Camp - This is Barcelona's major football stadium which holds 105,000 fans. It was seriously impressive and even if you aren't a football fan you will probably enjoy it. Tickets were €25 each. Tip: Buy them at the machines on the left hand side instead of going to the desk further up on the right... the right handside had a queue and still charged you a transaction fee on top of the ticket prices.
  • Passeig de Gracía - if shopping is your thing you will love this area in general. For some reason they seem to have multiples of every shop i..e Zara, Bershka, Kiko etc. also when walking up this street you will get the chance to see two of Gaudí's famous buildings called Casa Battló and La Pedrera. 

  • Barrio Gotic - the gothic quarter has some cool quirky buildings, cathedrals and side streets which is worth a wander around also. 

  • Chill by the pool - after all the sightseeing you deserve it! 

There is so much I still wanted to do while in Barcelona but there really wasn't enough time to do everything! If I went back I would visit La Sagrada Familia, this is Gaudí's most famous piece of architecture that is still under construction. It is always supposed to be mental busy and I have heard you need to be covered up to go inside i..e not showing shoulders or knees and |I really did not have the clothes for that on this trip so maybe next time! 

I also would like to take the cable car at Montjuic and I would definitely like to experience the beach clubs and nightlife of Barcelona little bit more. Maybe when it's a tiny bit cooler and we haven't spent 8 hours a day walking! We also got quite sunburnt the first day at the pool so I would definitely be a bit smarter about that next time. 

Our breakfast in the hotel was so good that we pretty much just ate an evening meal out but there was one place for brunch called Milk Bar & Bistro which is run by an Irish couple - I would love to have visited and eaten there so will have to save it for next time!

Those are all my tips anyway - hope you enjoyed them! Let me know if you are planning a trip to Barcelona or if you want to add to the list any must see or do things when in BCN!

Happy Travels! xx

Monday, 29 May 2017

Top Money Saving Travel Tips

I love to travel and in my opinion I'd rather spent my money on cheap flights than on a night out. We are so lucky in the way that travel and flying to different countries is so much more accessible to us than ever before. 

This year so far I have been to Lisbon, Portugal and Amsterdam, The Netherlands for the second time. I am heading to Barcelona in less than 2 weeks and all of our trips have only cost around the 300 euro mark for return flights and three nights accommodation. 

I had a lot of people say to me that it seems like I am always away and they are obviously thinking 'How does she afford it?'  I decided to write this post to break down some tips I have found can make you have huge savings in the long run. 

1. Mix and match flights 

We often book our departing flight with one airline i.e. RyanAir and our return flight with Aer Lingus. This ensures we can get the best price for both of our tickets - you don't only have to fly with the one airline. 

2. Be flexible with when you travel 

Flying out on a Tuesday or Wednesday are supposed to be the cheapest days to fly and by avoiding the weekend you will have cheaper room costs wherever you are staying. Also taking note of off peak seasons i.e considering September for a summer trip can result in cheaper costs.

3. Get cheaper room rates

Suss out if any of your friends or family or indeed yourself or your travel partner work for a brand or chain of hotels which offer reduced rates on rooms when travelling. You can make massive savings this way and still get to stay in pretty nice places. 

I also scan and keep an eye because they do spontaneous % off room sales so you can watch a particular hotel to ensure you get the right price.

4. Set up alerts

I find setting up alerts with Skyscanner brilliant. This helps you to price flights and also you will get an alert to your phone everyday telling you if the cost of the flight has gone up or down. If there is a sudden drop, swoop in and book those flights!

5. Make sure you pick the best public transport card to suit your needs

I cannot reiterate this enough... If you are going on a city break you are most likely going to do a lot of walking but you will also want to avail of the fantastic public transport system that most of Europe has to offer. You can rack up the costs by only buying single tickets so search ahead of time for 2/3/5 day travel ticket options that cover unlimited travel and all forms of transport. You will save yourself a fortune and avoid any fines from having the wrong ticket!

6. Save time, check in online.

If you forget to check in online with Ryanair, it costs €45 to do so at the airport so ensure you check in as soon as it opens. 

7. Allocated seats

A lot of budget airlines will charge you to choose a seat. If you choose a seat to be randomly allocated to you, you won't have to pay this charge.So if you don't mind where you sit, avail of this. Also in advance of the flight they usually do seat sales which you may get a notification of - the seats can be as little as €2 or €4. 

8. Pack light!

Especially if you are going on a city break, you do not need to bring an extra suitcase at an added charge! Choose items of clothing that you can mix and match and wear your heaviest and bulkiest items of clothing to the airport.

9. Keep an eye on deal websites

Places such as GroupOn and HolidayGuru often have fantastic last minute (and otherwise) deals available on trips both at home and away.  

You can make massive savings on this and get to stay in some very nice places so bookmark those sites on your desktop/phone. 

10. Book into the Airport Lounge 

The Dublin Airport Lounge is a new discovery for me.I haven't yet booked in but I have heard fantastic things and is ideal if you have a few hours to kill and want to be away from the hustle and bustle. 

You can make massive savings from booking into the lounge on food and drink. They offer snacks and light meals and also beer and wine for the price you pay to book which is around €20-€25. 

Considering a mediocre airport fry costs about €14 before you even have a drink - it's well worth the money. Bear in mind that the lounge doesn't open til 5.30am so if you have a very early morning flight don't book it by accident thinking you will be able to use it!

Hopefully these tips will be useful to you when travelling in the future! If you have any other tips you find helpful for saving money while travelling please share in the comments below!


Thursday, 18 May 2017

Outdoor Date Ideas for a Sunny Day in Ireland

The sun shining can often be a bit of an alien occurrence to us here in Ireland and often when it does make its first appearance it can sometimes be a mad dash to whatever beach is available. Unfortunately, sometimes by the time that you reach the beach the clouds have already come to town so the ideas below are alternatives to heading to the beach ideas whenever the sun decides to show its face again.

Cycle around one of Europe's largest enclosed parks

Head to the Phoenix Park if you are anywhere near it by car or public transport and avail of a bike rental from Phoenix Park Cycles. Its a fiver for an hour or a tenner for three so hop on that bike and get exploring.

If you get a little bit peckish (or thirsty!) the Hole in the Wall is one of the oldest established pubs so head there or else return your bikes and hop on the LUAS into town to the Italian Quarter for some well earned carbs.

Recommended: Bread&Bones, Wallace's Taverna.

Feeling active? Why not head from Bray to Greystones?

Hop on the dart out to Bray and conquer the Bray to Greystones walk, or even Bray Head if you are feeling particularly adventurous. The walk will take you about an hour and ten minutes so once you are in Greystones you can either refuel in the Happy Pear (synonymous with Greystones at this stage) one of the many cafes in the area or hop back on the DART to Bray for some Platform pizza, which I highly recommend!

Recommended: Platform Pizza, Boxburger.

Be beside the seaside in Howth

Now I haven't actually headed out here myself yet as coming from west Dublin it can be a bit of a drive but if you are nearer the area why not work up an appetite with a stroll by the sea first with your furry friend in tow and then head to the Doghouse which I have heard great things about to refuel and recharge. If you fancy a snakey drink, they also allow BYOB for a small fee. It's also dog friendly for all you canine enthusiasts out there.

Recommended: The Doghouse, Howth

Carton House Gardens 

Nearer Kildare than Dublin? The beautiful gardens and old house of Carton can be a lovely place to spend a sunny afternoon. You can find parking in the town and walk to the grounds from there. The grounds are stunning and the old house is spectacular so if you're interested in that kind of thing stroll inside for a coffee and try find the hidden games room... if you are hungry head back into the town because there is such a choice for fabulous restaurants in Maynooth.

Recommended:   Depending on time of day you could head to Shoda where I hear they do great brunch, it is located at the Glenroyal hotel. For lunch, Oak Alley do a fantastic lunch deal and towards dinner time if you like Italian Donatellos is the place to head. Both places allow al fresco dining so are perfect for when the sun comes out.

Powerscourt Waterfalls / Powerscourt House & Gardens 

Wicklow is one of the most beautiful green outdoor places to visit to get away from it all and in particular Powerscourt Hotel. If you aren't feeling that flash with the cash however head to one of the alternatives above for an equally romantic/ adventurous day out.

Both charge a small fee to visit but are well worth it. We spent hours looking around the gardens at Powerscourt and inside the house at the gift shop too at the end. You won't find a better photo opportunity than out in the gardens exploring and the pet graveyard is pretty funny too if a bit morbid...

The waterfalls are breathtaking and you may even witness a proposal as it seems to be one of the most popular places to pop the question.

Recommended: Johnnie Foxes is probably one of the only places near enough here, however be warned if you don't like fish! I would also suggest splashing out a little bit and having lunch in the Sugarloaf lounge overlooking the mountain itself in Powerscourt Hotel as the view is worth it alone.

Hope you liked my ideas, yes they are all in Leinster however I have plans to branch out further afield as I just recently passed my driving test (yay) so expect more of Ireland to be explored in the coming months.


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Review: Bellamianta Self Tanning Gradual Moisturiser

Ireland is apparently the self tan capital of the world. It comes as no surprise that brands are continually popping up with their offerings to us pale skinned gals; however Bellamianta was an Irish owned tanning brand that I had yet to try. Partly because of its accessibility - I have yet to find a definitive stockist list - and also because we had been bombarded with another Irish owned hot pink bottled product for sometime.

After being invited to Bellamianta's Summer party in Number Twenty Two for the launch of three of their new products to include their self tanning gradual moisturiser I couldn't wait to try it!

 I had spoken to the gorgeous Linda one half of Bellamianta's power duo and she had told me that it was the gradual moisturiser she had on. Now, she was wearing a stunning white jumpsuit and on naturally pale Irish skin you would be forgiven for thinking layers and layers of your darkest tan would be required to wear white - but no, all she had on was the gradual self tanning moisturiser and it looked fantastic.

I explained to her my issues with very dry skin on my elbows than tan just seems to cling to and she explained that she suffers with psoriasis and the gradual self tanning moisturiser is a godsend.

It contains glycerin which locks in moisture, aiding in the build-up of an even, gradual tan. It also contains skin-loving shea butter, aloe vera and Vitamin A, C and E. It also claims to soothe and restore skin elasticity, and contain anti-aging, firming and toning properties. 

It recommends to be applied from the ankles upward with a tanning mitt after exfoliating as is the norm with applying tan. 

Now, I will be totally honest and admit that I wanted to just slap it on my chest, neck, and arms for my first go as they really are some of the only bits on show the majority of the time. So off I went and didn't use a mitt I might add...

I woke up the next day to a gorgeous natural sun kissed colour that I have never achieved before using other tanning products. It was love.

I inspected my tanning efforts thoroughly and discovered that while I had some streaks around my wrists/hands it wasn't anything very noticeable and could definitely be avoided when applying with a mitt which I did again the very next day but to my whole body this time. 

The only downside to this is that unfortunately it still clung to the very dry skin on my elbow otherwise the colour is impeccable. 

As my boyfriend said (very cheekily I might add!)

"It doesn't look fake like the other stuff you normally have on. It just looks like you got a good colour in the sun. "

I'm sorry that I haven't included any before and after photos in this post as I have yet to scrub the self tanning gradual moisturiser off because I love the hint of colour so much!

I also have to mention the fantastic Bellamianta exfoliating glove that was included in our goody bags.It is hands down the best, most scrubby mitt I have used and really feels like it is doing its job! 

Once I have scrubbed this layer off, I will take some before pictures and reapply for some afters to show you all. I will include them in this blog post as an added extra as I know it's all well and good me writing about it but a picture really does speak a thousand words. 

I would definitely repurchase after only using this product twice, it feels great on the skin and is super easy to apply. It also gives such a stunning, no smell, non streaky natural colour. This would be perfect for a wedding, someone who doesn't really wear fake tan but is starting off and pale skinned girls. I am also planning to apply it before my holidays as it supposed to help extend the life of your tan. 

The Bellamianta self tanning gradual moisturiser is available to buy for €18 in 200ml size. The places I have found online which should stock it include Meaghers, Cara pharmacy, and McCabes. If you know of any pharmacy near you which stocks it, if you could comment below that would be great!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

10 "Nice Tops" to Wear with Jeans on a Night Out

Ask an Irish woman what she is wearing on 90% of her nights out (unless its a special occasion) and you will probably hear the words, "jeans and a nice top." The sad fact is, it is almost entirely impossible to find said nice top for a night out.

Automatically crop tops and bodysuits are discounted for most of us because A) lets be honest unless I am wearing a high waist skirt there is no way in hell I am going to try pull off a crop top and B) because I fucking hate bodysuits. They ride up in places that no clothing should go and are a nightmare to try close again after the inevitable dash to the loo. So that limits our nice tops to drought level since every bloody nice top on the market seems to be either a bodysuit or a crop top at the moment!

I decided to take matters into my own hands and search through a couple of sites to find that elusive nice top... Let me know what you think.

I love the colour of this blouse as it will suit both blondes and brunettes. The wrap top is always super flattering on figures and the neck and sleeves detail makes it right on trend. This is €27 from Sizes 8-12 available. It's a pity it isn't available in more sizes.

I saw this top on Aideen Kate MUA on Instagram, she wore it recently to the Bellamianta event and it looked incredible on. Bell sleeves are a huge trend at the moment and I will always love Bardot tops as they show off the collarbones and shoulders and emphasize a slimmer part of the body. Its €24.

Something similar to the above top in a plus size alternative would be this gorge cold shoulder top from River Island below for €35.

The bright red floral print of this top make it perfect for the brighter warmer evenings while the V-neck still shows off some cleavage to make it more night time appropriate. Once again the wrap effect is very flattering and wider sleeves at the bottom can balance out your upper arms. Retails at €24. Sizes 12/14.

This looks suspiciously like a crop top but I'd say with high waisted jeans it would be perfect. Its only €20 and available in sizes 8-14.

This is a really handy style of top to wear as the little cap sleeves give you some coverage on the arms and the cami overlay means it isn't clinging to you. Available in sizes XS to XL. It is €22.95 from 

I just love the colour of this top - it will look fantastic against a tan and especially lovely with blonde or dark hair. Cami style tops are so handy to throw on with jeans for a night out as they are usually very flowy and comfy but still have that dressy effect. This is available in sizes 8-14 and is €25. 

This is another lovely cami, also available in cream and aqua and is on sale at the moment in this colour for €9.95 in sizes 8, 14 and 16. 

This is available from New Look and is €22.99. Again this colour is stunning and the back detail is fab although you will definitely need a strapless bra with this. Its available in a few different colours and in sizes 6-14.

I love the style of this top with the slight peplum at the bottom and the almost halterneck effect. If pale colours suit you this is a gorgeous going out top from New Look at €24.99 available in 6-18. 

This top would be perfect to throw on if you didn't even have time to do your tan as not much skin is on show yet it is still fairly dressy. Bronze up the neck and chest and you're good to go. Sure who would be looking at your forearms? Its on sale for €20 on boohoo now, available in pink and black and sizes 6-16. 

So there you have it - options from Irish owned and, New Look, River Island and Boohoo. To shop any of the looks click on the small description in italics under each individual photo. 

Happy Shopping gals!



Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Best Steak in Dublin?

Non meat eaters look away now... I don't think you will want to read on about the most delicious steak I have had the pleasure of chowing down on recently in Dublin.

The weekend just passed myself and my boyfriend spent a night away in the Conrad (more on that in another post) and being the steak lovers that we are, for dinner we just had to try Featherblade.

Tips to note before you decide to pay the eatery a visit:

1. Book ahead - the latest sitting they had available on a Sunday evening was at 5.40. This place is small, so booking is essential. We arrived about 10-15 minutes late for our booking as I was attempting to walk in six inch heels but it wasn't a problem for the staff. They were lovely and friendly yet did advise that they would need the table returned by 7.30. This was no problem at all which leads me to my next point...

2. The menu is extremely small and limited. If you don't like steak then don't go as the entire menu consists of two types of steak for mains - the featherblade and the hanger steak.

We picked both steaks to share and taste and also added gorgeous garlic prawns for €5 to make it a surf and turf.

The steaks are only €13 and €14 respectively and served medium they were perfectly seasoned and melted in our mouths.

There are also two starters - a beetroot and goats cheese salad and ham hock croquettes. A variety of side dishes exist to add to your steak and leaves - creamed spinach, beef dripping chips, truffle mac and cheese to name a few.

The service was extremely quick, efficient and friendly even for ordering drinks and just topping up water. For the quality of the steaks and the efficiency of the service we are already planning our next meal there! This time we will order more sides to try.

Definitely finish off your meal with their incredible chocolate mousse brownie raspberry dessert - it was honestly one of the best desserts I have tasted and not too filling, just the right size after your meal.

Sauces and sides aren't included so it can add up but for the value and taste of the steaks alone this is a little gem worth visiting!


Sunday, 26 February 2017

Lisbon City Guide: Where to Eat and What to Do

I have to admit before I went to Lisbon I had never really considered it to be in my top travel destinations. Myself and my boyfriend however decided we both wanted to go to a city neither of us had been before and also that wasn't crazy expensive... And so we landed on Lisbon!

Since we've been to Lisbon and we are only back a few weeks at the time of writing this I have noticed three other couples travelling there so it really must be picking up as the place to go. We went there first! ;) 

We booked our flights over with Ryanair and our flights home with Aerlingus. Booking with two different airlines ensured we got the best price and the best flight times to suit our schedule. A handy tip as well to keep in mind is Ryanair allow you to FREELY allocate your seats 24 hours before your flight so don't waste money booking them ahead of time unless you really have to.

We stayed in the Lisbon Marriott hotel. It is a gorgeous hotel located 15 minutes walk from the Metro so not central but very close to public transport so if you want to stay in a nice hotel but save some money I definitely recommend. The staff couldn't be more helpful or friendly and they had the most unbelievable buffet breakfast I have ever seen!

Our first night we stayed in the hotel for tapas and wine; while it wasn't super cheap the food was absolutely gorgeous and the tapas portions are so generous!

We also found a great little restaurant around the corner from where we were staying called Mr.Papas where we went for lunch. It was a casual place but the glasses of wine were only €1.50, the beers were €2 and we had a three course meal and drink each for a total of €36. It was unbelievable value so if you are staying in the area definitely worth checking out if you are on a budget.

The highlight of our trip was definitely taking the train to Sintra. It was a short 35 minute journey and is a must visit if you are in Lisbon. There are so many gorgeous castles and palaces located near this quaint little village on a mountain top it is ideal for some seriously picturesque views, great photo opportunities and also a serious work out as those hills are steep!!

We chose to visit Palacio de Pena and Castelo dos Mouros. There is a bus that you can pay around €5.50 return which will bring you up and down the mountain and you can hop off and visit the castles. It cost €17 each to visit the two sites.

The views from the top of Castelo dos Mouros were absolutely stunning

Something to bear in mind when visiting Lisbon is that it is a very hilly city and involves a lot of walking - so wear comfortable shoes that won't make you slip on the cobbles!

Shopping in Lisbon is fantastic, they have Sephora, Kiko, Bershka, Zara, Tommy Hilfiger - all the brand names and what was even better was they seemed to be all having sales when we visited so we got some great bargains.

After walking around Lisbon we stumbled across a very quirky restaurant/museum called La Farmacia. It was a medical museum and the restaurant was themed as such with your water served in medicine bottles on little hospital carts and all the cocktails named after drugs. We got the LSD and Morphina. Beware: we order the sirloin steak mini sliders and they literally barely cooked the meat - its like a delicacy over there apparently. If you don't like to think of your cow just after having stopped mooing then I would recommend against this as I couldn't eat them.

If you are looking for things to do in Lisbon apart from the usual sightseeing I would recommend going to the zoo. We didn't actually get a chance to go when we were there but it seemed to be very popular.

You know your nearby or heading in the right direction when you start seeing artistic murals of animals like the ones above all over the walls near the subway stations.

We found Lisbon really easy to get around with the Metro, good value and very quick so I definitely recommend using it. All the same taxis were extremely cheap - never spent over a tenner on them even to the airport when we were there so if you are out at night and don't fancy the Metro or walking I would definitely make use of them!

On our last night we visited Chapitos restaurant - this was a recommendation I actually got on my Instagram account. It did not disappoint! We highly recommend the steak which comes with smoked ham on top and scrambled eggs which was a new thing I hadn't tried before, the cod was also delicious. Steak and cod are two of Portugal's specialities.

Our served also introduced us to 'espresso martinis' he was so funny and thought these were an unusual phenomenon even though back home they are one of my favourite cocktails! I have to say, they do espresso martinis better than Dublin! Definitely try one as well as the traditional capirinhas if you do decide to visit.

To top off your trip to Lisbon, Park bar is one of the best hidden secret spots you can go to for a drink in the city. Its situated at the top of a 6 storey car park in Bairro Alto. You walk in and around to the very, very dodgy looking graffiti covered lift and take it to the top. Then walk out and around to what appears to be a normal car park and then you start to see greenery, a terrace and you have found Park bar! This has some of the best views of the city, great cocktails and they also do food. The best time to go we were recommended was just before sunset but as it was quite overcast and a grey day when we were there we didn't get the luxury of seeing the setting sun from Park. If you are looking for a few drinks and some tapas to pick at after some shopping it is a must visit but beware because it is very popular and can get busy!

I would definitely visit Lisbon again but I think it is probably best experienced when it's not overcast and has a bit of that Portuguese sun! We travelled in early February and it was grey and drizzly while we were there however the last day had the most gorgeous sun and we spent the day sitting out on the hotel terrace soaking up the sun until we had to catch our flight so you just never know. 

Let me know if this blog post was helpful and if you are planning a trip to Lisbon anytime soon!

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