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!


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