On our recent trip to Fethard on Sea in Wexford, we went to Loftus Hall to take the tour. I’ve been going down to Fethard at least once a years for the past 4 years and had never done the tour. 

Loftus Hall is a mansion on the Hook Peninsula in Co. Wexford. It is said to be the most haunted house in Ireland.

Dave is really interested in all things haunted so he wanted to see it. I was looking forward to it & love an interactive tour. He really doesn’t so I wasn’t holding out much hope, but we both really enjoyed it. It was interactive in a great way, not a cheesy way, and the tour guide we had was pretty funny. 


The tour lasts a little less than an hour and the guide shares the history of the house and shows you several rooms in the downstairs as well as a beautiful stair case, which is apparently one of only three of it’s kind. One of the other two sits at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean on the Titanic and the other is in The Vatican.

For €10 for an adult, I would definitely recommend this tour if you find yourself in this tiny part of the world…

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A book with a blue cover:

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Why Not Me?

Why not me is Mindy Kaling’s second book. It is a memoir made up of some comedic and very entertaining essays. If I’m being completely honest, I slightly preferred her first book ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without me?’, but only slightly. The first book was written before her career really blew up, whereas this book was written in the height of her ‘The Mindy Project’ and after her ‘The Office’ (US) fame.

Mindy exudes a kind of well deserved confidence, which she explains in this book, along with some other real life topics such as body image, dating and her career. She is intelligent, hard-working, and if this book is anything to go by, refreshingly honest.

Although appearing to have the same insecurities as most women in today’s society, she doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously. I particularly enjoyed the last section of the book where she talks about body image and how she doesn’t fit into the stereotypical Hollywood image. This alone shows how she should be inspirational to “normal women” and I mean that in the best way.

Although I have yet to watch ‘The Mindy Project’, I would mostly recommend it to fans of Mindy Kaling. That being said, it’s a good read for any determined young woman or girl. You will find yourself nodding in ,a and laughing out loud. In a world where the women that young girls are most likely to look up to are reality stars or Instagram famous, it’s a breath of fresh air to read the success story of someone who got there by working hard.

Rating: 7.5/10

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. 

Me looking happy...

Me…looking happy! Duh!

 

I’ve decided to start a new mini series of posts that’s going to be made up of lots of different lists. I love lists. I find the idea of getting ‘to do’ lists down on paper really satisfying. I tend to like actually physically writing them down. I know this is really old school & there’s a bazillion apps to do the same job on our phones now, but I really enjoy the process of writing them down & crossing or ticking things off. I may actually write all of the lists down too.

This first list is a list of the little things that make me happy. I think we can focus waaaay too much of the physical things that make us happy and sometimes on the things we want & cant or don’t have so it’s nice to remember the little things…


Things that make me happy are…

  1. Good books that you get lost in & don’t want to put down.
  2. The smell after a well needed rainfall.
  3. Spending time with the people who make me forget that the world is sometimes an awful place.
  4. Music that triggers memories.
  5. Sunsets with a mixture of beautiful colours (particularly when I’m driving home from work – it lifts my mood).
  6. A shower on a cold day followed by clean pjs & fresh bed sheets.
  7. Family dinners.
  8. When people are polite.
  9. Waking up & realising there’s still lots of time left to sleep.
  10. Holding hands.
  11. Fallin asleep to the sound of rain.
  12. A great cup of tea.
  13. How excited my dogs get when I get home.
  14. Not setting an alarm for the morning.
  15. A smile from a stranger.
  16. Comfortable silences.
  17. TV shows binges.
  18. Taking photographs.
  19. Good hair days.
  20. Laughing until my belly hurts.

I’m sure there’s lots more so there may be another list of things that make me happy at some stage.

What makes you happy?

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?


The 100 Day Project

I’ve decided to take part in The 100 Day Project which started today, 4th April 2017. I know most people tend to do something physically creative but that didn’t appeal to me because I knew it wouldn’t be something I would stick to for 100 days. I wanted to use the project to encourage me to blog more often but I really wanted to be realistic and saying I would release a blog post a day wasn’t realistic for me. As time goes on, I might decide on a number of posts to share within the 100 days but the plan for now is to spend time every day working on my blog. That will include planning, writing, sharing on social media, taking photos for posts, editing photos, researching and all the other things that go into blogging. I hope to post as much as possible on Instagram, ideally everyday but I don’t want to flood my feed with photos for the sake of it either.

If you haven’t heard about the project before check out Elle Luna’s Instagram here. You should also check out Elise Cripe’s podcast on her experience and plans for The 100 Day Project here. If you don’t see this on time, you can join in and start your 100 days anytime.

Have any of you decided to take part in the challenge? What will you be doing for 100 days?

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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

Saved from: weheartit.com

Saved from: weheartit.com

So I may have gone totally AWOL on my word for 2016. It was a total mess. I exercised balance alright, but in two halves not as a whole throughout the year. For that reason, I’ll be carrying Balance over into 2017 with me. I still wanted to have a new word for this year too so I considered a few but one word has continued to jump out to me since early January. So my word for 2017 is Focus.

Usually it takes me a while to decide on my word but this year it has seemed pretty clear from the get go what it would be. I usually look up dictionary definitions of the words and searched for quotes on it on Pinterest. I wasn’t blown away by the dictionary definition but I didn’t let that put me off.

 {FOCUS; (noun) an act of concentrating interest or activity on something}

Last year I  signed up to Ali Edwards’ One Little Word workshop. I really stuck to it for the few months but then it seemed to trail off.  I haven’t signed up again this year but I do plan to go back over some of the lessons from last year that really stood out to me. Other than that I plan to record my progress a little bit here and on my Pinterest and Instagram account. The thing I love most about OLW is that you can use it and document it however you like.

Are you taking part in One Little Word this year? What’s your word for 2017?

If you would like to check out Ali Edwards’ One Little Word workshop, you can here. You can also find out more information about One Little Word here. The link is also in my side bar. Finally, if you want to check out my previous posts on this topic, click on One Little Word here or under the Series tab in the menu bar.

 

Mac

Hands up who hates cleaning their make-up brushes? Hands up who doesn’t do it as often as they should? I know the reasons I hate doing it are that it’s time-consuming, seems to damage my expensive brushes and if I’m being completely honest I don’t really suffer from skin break-outs which would be a big motivation to clean them. I also think people get caught up in the whole which product do I use for which brushes and it puts them off. I’ve tried some products that were way too harsh on my brushes and damaged them within a couple of washes. 

I keep it very simple and use Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and a silicon facial cleansing pad from Penneys (Primark). It’s a simple and cheap method and works really well. The shampoo is really gentle on your brushes and the cleansing pad is soft so cleans without damaging.

cleaning products

  1. Start off by running your brush under warm water.
  2. Add Johnson’s Baby Shampoo to the cleansing pad.
  3. Swirl brushes like the Mac 187 foundation brush above and other round shaped brushes on the pad and wipe flatter brushes from side to side so as not to damage the shape.
  4. Keep swirling or wiping until the shampoo foam turns white and has no residual product in it (foundation, eye shadow etc.) You may need to add some more shampoo for bigger brushes.
  5. Rinse the brush under warm water again to remove any shampoo.
  6. Gently squeeze any water out of the brush using a towel.
  7. Make sure the brush is reshaped in it’s original shape.
  8.  If it’s a flat brush, lie it on a flat surface. If it’s a round brush lie it on the edge of a flat surface so as not to create a flat shape on one side.

I’m definitely not an expert but I try to do it every couple of weeks. Realistically if I get it done once a month I’m happy enough. If you have oily skin or are prone to break-outs you should wash them more regularly. 

Do you have an cheap and cheerful beauty tips?