This is me, enjoying the last year of my 20s and drinking a cocktail out of a fake coconut because why not?

So tomorrow I turn 30 & leave my 20s behind. It feels like this is the right time to evaluate my 20s and what I’ve learned. Here are 20 things that I have learned in my 20s:

1. A drama free life is a wonderful thing. There is soooo much unnecessary drama in your early 20s. 

2. You don’t have to and shouldn’t pretend your life is perfect all the time. It’s okay to tell the people close to you about the bad stuff as well as the good.

3. Relationships (of all kinds – friends, boyfriends, family members) are so important. They also take work. It needs to include equal effort (maybe at different times) and making time for each other. Oh and quality > quantity. 

4. It’s okay to mess up. That’s pretty much what your 20s are for. Learn from it.

5. Everyone doesn’t like you and you definitely should not lose sleep over that. 

6. Less is almost always more. Leaving something to the imagination is a good idea. 

7. Stand up for your beliefs. Don’t ever go along with the popular opinion to impress people. 

8. If he cares, you won’t have to chase him. It’s a man’s natural instinct to chase. If you’re the 1 doing all the chasing, he’s not worth it. 

9. Look after your skin! High SPFs and skin care routines are where it’s at. You’ll be glad of it later. 

10. Duck face poses are ridiculous and extremely unattractive. 

11. Taking photos is so important. Your memory will fade and photos serve as great memories. 

12. Wear comfortable heels or put flats in your bag. Don’t walk home in your bare feet. 

13. Your gut instinct is almost always right! 

14. Travelling is a good way to spend your money. Do it your way though, because there are so many travel “know-it-alls”. Whether it’s a week at a time in 5 star hotels or a year at a time in hostels, do what feels right to you. 

15. It’s ok to spend Saturday nights binge watching TV series rather than binge drinking but it’s also okay to go drinking and let your hair down with friends too. 

16. ‘No’ is a full sentence. You don’t always have to have an excuse/reason. 

17. Pick your battles. This is a big 1 for me. Sometimes it’s easier and makes more sense to hold your tongue. 

18. Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone is on a different journey. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Be happy for your friend’s achievements, wish people who are no longer in your life happiness and be grateful for what you have. The grass is not always greener. 

19. Never point out your flaws to other people. They might not have noticed before you drew their attention to them.

20. This 1 leads on from the last and it’s a bit of a cliche but stop hating things about yourself. You might never be the skinniest or have the prettiest hair. So what. You have plenty of other things going for you. 

Of course, it’s not all plain sailing and if I’m being honest, I’m not 100% there with #19 & #20 but it’s definitely a work in progress. Unfortunately I don’t know everything and I still have a lot to learn so maybe in 10 years time, I’ll be sharing 30 new things I’ve learned.

Here are some things I hope to learn/do in my 30s that I haven’t quite mastered in my 20s:

1. Budgeting my money better and not being afraid to check my bank balance! (Shopping obsession, anyone?)

2. The 6 month mantra. I tend to over worry and I can be a bit of a worse case scenario kind of person. I’ll learn from this in the future, I’m sure. So I need to try & think of the mantra of asking myself if it’s something that will still be a problem in 6 months time before I freak out. 

3. Not to let my emotions or mood dictate my day.

4. Patience. Mine are definitely getting worse rather than better.  That’s enough said about that. 

5. Stop making excuses not to exercise. 

Dave and I were in Dingle in Kerry for a few days with friends last week and on our last night we went to the Blue Zone for dinner. It’s a jazz, wine bar that predominantly serves pizza. The first thing I’ll say is it really doesn’t look like much from the outside but when we googled places for pizza in Dingle, it was the first to pop up. The place itself had a nice relaxed vibe. There was some jazz music playing in the background. I’d love to know if they ever have live jazz playing. That would really add to the atmosphere. We got there around 9.30pm and ordered a drink and some food. The two negative things I have to say about the place were both about the drinks. The first was that the prosecco on sale was really not very nice. That’s not a complaint though, just a matter of taste. The second negative was that the bottle of red wine ordered cost €27 and we had bought it in another pub the day before for €15.

That being said, the pizza was one of the best I’ve ever had. I ordered the Hangover Cure pizza which was pretty much every type of meat imaginable – beef, chicken, pork, ham and Italian sausage. The base was thin but not too thin and it was lovely and crispy. It had a kind of yellow colour to it so they may use polenta to make it. Dave got the Oriental Mood pizza which had duck, lemongrass and red peppers. We also got a side of garlic potato wedges and they were delicious. Molly got the Spicy Chicken Salad and it was huge and the presentation was brilliant. 

Overall, I would definitely recommend this place for a relaxing night with some enjoyable food. 


Dave & I are in Kerry for a few days with some friends and yesterday we decided to do the Dingle Distillery tour. Dingle make whiskey, gin & vodka so there was something for everybody. 


The tour costs €15 and probably takes about an hour in full. It starts off with a very detailed description of distilling, where it probably started, how it works in Ireland and how long we’ve been doing it. He also gave us a brief history of Dingle Distillery before bringing us up to see where the magic happens. I learned that in Ireland we triple distill whiskey (or maybe vodka & gin too, I’m not 100% sure on that) and in Scotland, they double distill. We also got to see the alcohol in the large barrels (correct me if anyone knows their official name!) at the different stages. The tour wasn’t very long but it was quite detailed and the tour guide was so good and knowledgeable on the area he was talking about that it almost felt like the guy who owns the place took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to show you around. It was very relaxed and didn’t feel rehearsed at all. 


Now it was on to the fun part. Tasting time!! The guide brought us to a seating area with long benches and there was lots of bottles of tonic water and ginger ale. He gave us each a measure of Dingle Whiskey in a lovely little glass, along with a shot of a paler coloured liquid which is the whiskey before it has matured. First he gets you to smell the liquid and rub it in your hands and smell it again. After that he told us to taste it. I won’t lie, whiskey is not for me at any stage so after trying a tiny bit, I couldn’t bring myself to drink what was in my actual glass. Those who did drink it, really enjoyed it. 


After the whiskey tasting, he asked us if we wanted to try the gin or vodka. 4 of them went with gin, while the other two of us opted for vodka. I had to taste a tiny bit of it straight and I was surprised at how much smoother it was than some of the more commonly drank, but cheaper, vodka brands. I would normally drink my vodka with soda water and a good dash of lime cordial (I’m not a connoisseur by any means!!) so I wasn’t sure if I could manage it with tonic water because I really don’t like it. I gave it a go anyway and squeezed some fresh lime in too. I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it and I could see where gin drinkers come from when they say how refreshing the tonic water is.

As part of the tour you get to keep the glass, which costs €5 to buy in their shop so all in all, the tour is a bargain and I would definitely recommend it if you happen to visit Dingle in Kerry anytime soon! 

“It’s important to remember, we all have magic inside us” – J.K.Rowling

Being the huge Harry Potter fan that I am, I thought it was only right to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter Potter franchise. 

On 26th June 1997, I was a couple of months away from my 10th birthday, Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone was released and I couldn’t have been less interested. Little did I know that day, the absolute fanatic I would become. 

Roughly 4 & a half years later, my cousin and her then boyfriend, now husband, insisted I watch the DVD of the first movie when it was released and from that moment on, I was hooked. I went home and borrowed the first 3 books from my Dad and started reading. After that I bought the books and went to see the movies the minute they were released.

Since then, I’ve bought endless amounts of Harry Potter merchandise, been to The Making of Harry Potter in the Warner Bros. Studios and been to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London. The last thing on my Harry Potter wish list is to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. There’s also some Harry Potter bed & breakfasts and escape rooms in the UK that I would not say no to either. 

So here’s to 20 years of Harry Potter and in the words of two of my favourite wizards:

Dumbledore: “After all this time?”

Snape: “Always!”


Johnnie Fox’s, famed for being the highest pub in Ireland, can be found in the Dublin mountains. It is one of the oldest pubs in Ireland, established in 1798. Although it is considered to be a bit of a tourist trap, I always enjoy myself when I go there. They have open fires and entertainment 7 nights a week and during the day on Saturday and Sunday. They serve great food and a lovely pint too, so I hear. 


Dave and I decided to go there for our lunch on Friday as we were both off work. The menu is largely made up of seafood, which I never understand since it’s in the mountains and not near the sea. They are famous for their chowder and mussels and as you might know if you read my review of The Fish Shack, I love mussels so they’re always an easy choice for me. The mussels came in a cider, garlic and onion cream sauce. We ordered a portion of chips with them. We also ordered a seafood pie, which is served with mash but we asked for chips instead. They also brought some lovely homemade brown bread for the table before our meal arrived. It would have worked perfectly for soaking up the sauce from the mussels but we were pretty full and trying to leave space for dessert. The only negative I have, if any, is that we had a bit of a cream overload between the mussels and the pie.


 There was a coconut cheesecake on the specials menu and I loooove coconut so we shared that and Dave had an Irish coffee too.


 Every bit of it was so delicious and we felt fit for nothing but a nap after all of it. If you have the opportunity to go, do it. 

Fish Shack Cafe

The sun was out at the weekend so Dave and I went took a trip out to Malahide. First we went to Malahide Castle for a stroll and then we went into the seaside village. We were going to go and have a drink somewhere before heading home but instead came across Fish Shack Cafe. We are both big seafood fans and although there was only beer or wine on the menu, we decided to forgo the drink in favour of some food. I was glad we did. 

Galway Mussels in white wine sauce

We ordered Shrimp Nachos and Steamed Mussels, to share, from the ‘Fish Snacks’ section of the menu. The nachos came with Boston shrimp, chorizo, cheese and tabasco sauce. The mussels were fresh Galway mussels steamed with white wine, shallots and garlic. They came with some bread and we also ordered a side of chips to share. It was a huge bowl of mussels and they were really tasty. The nachos came with lots of shrimp and chorizo and although I’m unsure what the cheese was, it was so good. All of that and a Diet Coke came to less than €25. The entire thing was delicious, we got to enjoy it in the sunshine and we left absolutely nothing on our plates. We’ll definitely be going back. 

Shrimp Nachos

You can check out the Fish Shack Cafe menu here and you can check out their two other locations too.

JFK Arboretum
Dave & I are in Fethard on Sea in Co.Wexford for a long weekend and decided to spend as much time as possible outside on Friday because the rest of the weekend is supposed to be pretty rainy & windy. 

JFK Arboretum
We decided to go to the John F. Kennedy Arboretum. This park filled with a collection of international plants and trees is dedicated to the memory of JFK. 

For anyone unfamiliar with President Kennedy’s connection to Co.Wexford, his grandfather lived there before emigrating to Boston in 1847. In June 1963, John F. Kennedy visited Ireland. He, along with his sisters, visited their Irish homestead in Dunganstown, Co. Wexford. He also visited Co. Galway where he received the freedom of the city. A life sized bronze statue of JFK can be found in New Ross, Co. Wexford.

If you ever visit the New Ross area of Wexford, I would definitely recommend a trip to the arboretum. I wouldn’t be a gardener, by any means, as in I have killed several cacti, but I would definitely recommend it for a walk. We brought our lunch with us and had that before heading off for a stroll with an ice-cream. I think we walked for almost 4km and we didn’t even see it all. The arboretum also includes a cafe, picnic area, playground, a miniature railway (open in July & August only) and a lake. I really enjoyed taking pictures of all of the different flowers and think it was definitely worth the €5 entrance fee per adult. To find out more about the JFK Arboretum, click here

JFK Arboretum
If anyone can identify these beautiful plants, please do so in the comments. 

Last September I went to FriendsFest in the UK with my friend Emma and her daughter and I decided to do a quick review and share a couple of photos here because it’s on again, this year between July and September around the UK. 

Obviously because we were coming from Ireland, we got a flight from Dublin to Luton early in the morning and travelled by Taxi to the venue. We arrived pretty early which gave us a good few hours at the venue. 

We were so lucky to get really good weather. We started the day by watching some best bits of each Friends character on a big screen while eating some chips (yes, it was the AM, don’t judge me!!).

FriendsFest
After relaxing in the sun for a while, we got in the queue to get our photos taken in the opening scene. It was well organised and pretty quick but I’m not going to post a picture because I don’t want to post pictures of someone else’s child without their say so! 

This leads into Monica & Rachel’s apartment which is pretty impressive. They have the entire thing set out & you can get pictures taken in the living room, kitchen & on the inside of their front door. With the exception of some very small furniture changes, it was perfect and really brought me back to years and years of watching Friends (who am I kidding? I still watch it on Comedy Central at least once a week)

FriendsFest

FriendsFest

Next up was Joey & Chandeler’s apartment. If I’m being honest, this 1 was a bit of a let down. They had Joey’s entertainment unit, the Laurel & Hardy poster & lazy boys. It wasn’t in a room of it’s own, however, so that kind ruined it a little. 


As well as the apartments, there was also a recreated set of Central Perk. You could have your picture taken outside and then inside behind the counter, on that iconic sofa and on the stage. 


They also had Ross & Rachel’s Wedding Chapel, Monica’s Moodance Diner, a silent disco which was based on the New Years Eve party when Ross & Monica did their “routine”, Phoebe’s taxi, a souvenir shop and some great food & drink options. 

Considering we were only there for about 5 hours, it’s ridiculous how much we ate. After the chips I mentioned earlier, we also had this hot chocolate (yum!), a waffle with Mokolate on it (remember that episode?) and some mac n cheese.


Overall we had a great day but in all honesty, I think there is a lot more they could do with it. Overall I would say if you live nearby one of the places FriendsFest will be on this year, I definitely recommend going. You’d have to be a really big fan before I’d recommend you to travel by plane. We had a great day with great weather and any day I get to sit in a beach chair watching Friends, is a good day! 

If you want more information on FriendsFest, you can check it out here


I’ve been using these products for about 6 months now and I think that’s a sufficient time to be able to properly review them. I want to start off by saying at nearly 30, I am as freaked out by the changes in my face as the next girl my age, but I’m also aware of the fact I’ve been quite lucky with my skin my whole life. I’ve never had teenage acne and still don’t have any deep deep lines or wrinkles. However, that being said I have my fair share of mild skin problems including redness and oiliness on my chin, a dry dehydrated t-zone and milia. For anyone who doesn’t know, milia are small pearly-white bumps just under the epidermis. They are a build up of oil and are the same as milk spots in babies.

Roughly 6 months ago I was recommended the  products I’m going to review by an Image Skincare consultant. I had heard the products were great and rather than trying to work out for myself what I needed, I went to a free consultation so my skin could be evaluated and recommendations made. The products I went home with that day were Provention + (an oil free, daily matte moisturiser with an spf 32), Vital C Hydrating Repair Cream, The Max Facial CleanserAgeless Total Eye Lift Crème and the Iluma Intense Lightening Serum.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not going to review The Max Facial Cleanser because I really don’t use it enough but I will say it’s very gentle on the skin. Other than that, I didn’t find anything special about it and so it falls down the list of cleansers I use.

I was recommended the Provention + moisturiser in the matte finish because I have milia and the consultant thought it would help prevent it. In hindsight I think it was the wrong choice for me personally because I have such combination skin and it’s too drying in the areas that are already dry and dehydrated. It is however a nice, light-weight moisturiser with SPF benefits that I don’t think you really get from the protection that is built into your foundation. It’s also a lovely primer for under make-up and when I use this, I don’t bother with any other primer. I would definitely recommend this for anyone with oily skin. Rating: 7/10

I have no complaints about the Vital C Hydrating Repair Cream. I’m not too sure why this was suggested for me as a night cream, however it contains vitamin C which is apparently great for redness and I can definitely say the redness in my chin area, which is a genetic trait from my mam’s side (thanks genes), has gone down. My chin has somehow become dry where it used to be oily but more about that later. Again it feels light-weight which is always good when you’re going to bed because I don’t want the feeling of anything too heavy that gets all over the bed sheets. Rating: 8/10

The Iluma Intense Lightening Serum is the last thing I thought would be good for someone with milia, as unlike some serums, it’s texture is like oil. Somehow it doesn’t give me more milia at all. I use it at night before my Vital C Cream and it soaks into the skin really quickly which is great because it does have a slightly sticky texture for a few seconds. This was the first Image product I could see working and I would definitely recommend it. My skin felt brighter and it’s very soothing on the skin. Rating: 9/10

I can only describe the Ageless Total Eye Lift Crème as a little bottle of heaven. I absolutely love this product. I don’t know much about eye creams, or skincare products at all really, and don’t claim to but this is the single best thing I’ve used for getting rid of milia. Full stop. And I have had electrolysis to remove it, as well a using lots of other microdermabrasion scrubs, amongst other things. This was proposed for my skin because it has glycolic which is supposed to be great for breaking down milia. I won’t pretend to even know what glycolic is but if I can suggest any product to anyone, ever…it’s this! Rating: 11/10

Do you have any skincare products you’d recommend?


tbbc_logo

A book by an author you’ve never read before:

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

 

Not That Kind of Girl

I want to start by saying I absolutely love the TV show Girls. I don’t think there’s anything else on TV like it. I heard once that the second episode of a TV show tends to do worse than any other episode and that stuck with me while I watched Season 1, Episode 2 of Girl’s because 6 seasons later, it is still my favourite episode and I’ve watched it multiple times. It’s important for me to say that because I’m not going to be very pleasant about Lena Duham’s book. 

You’ll notice first of all, that normally my book review posts include a picture of me holding the book in question, but this one doesn’t. I won’t lie it felt like it took a lifetime to get through this book because I really really didn’t enjoy it. I finished it on a flight to San Francisco and I won’t lie, the thing that annoyed me most is that I couldn’t throw it against a wall when I eventually finished it because that might have startled a few other passengers. I dumped it back on my book shelf when I got home and haven’t looked at it since. So it wasn’t until I started writing this post that I realised I never took a picture of it and I don’t want to either.

I have read some short essays and interviews with Lena Dunham that I thought were brilliant and I couldn’t wait to get more so I was delighted to dive into this memoir. There were definitely some pearls of wisdom, but over all, the only thing it did for me was confirm that Lena Dunham and Hannah Horvath appear to be very similar, which isn’t a compliment considering Hannah is the singe most narcissistic character I have ever come across. One thing I will say in her favour is that it’s really refreshing to see such candor coming from a woman in a world where plenty of women are still taught to put up and shut up.

Rating: 2/10