10 February 2017

Valentine's Day Gift Guide

Essie nail polish in Plumberry and Romper Room / Clinique Chubby Stick in Chunky Cherry

Most people have two approaches to Valentine's Day. The first approach would be disregarding it and not making a big deal of it, and the second approach would be celebrating it religiously with all the pink and red you can find and the grandest of romantic gestures. C and I tend to be more on the casual side of the spectrum. For many years, while C and I were in a long distance relationship, we chose to completely ignore it and then on the first Valentine's Day we spent physically together we opted to stay in, watch a film and eat all the Haribo Starmix we could manage. Since that Valentine's Day, we've kept it casual and budget friendly, avoiding overcrowded restaurants and expensive gifts. That's not to say I don't like a cute gift and on Valentine's Day I like to treat myself. After all, the most important relationship you'll have in life is with yourself. So why not treat yourself to a nice V-Day gift? 

I've rounded up my favourite Valentine's Day budget-conscious gifts for yourself or any lady in your life.

Butlers Chocolates / Card / Leather Crossbody Bag
Lace Bralette / PJ Shorts / Sweater
Butlers Chocolates

7 February 2017

Six Winter Skin Saviours

Like most people, my skin takes a beating every winter. Since moving back to Canada from Ireland, it has been especially bad as it re-adapts to the colder and less humid environment that is Canada. I have dry and dehydrated skin, to begin with so even in the best of conditions my skin is always looking for extra moisture. My skincare routine hasn’t changed dramatically over the last year or so but I’ve fine-tuned the products I use so they do what they’re supposed to and bring me joy in using them, in part due to their skincare benefits, and their amazing fragrances.

After hearing so many good things about the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser I decided to give it a try about a year ago and haven’t looked back since. I tend to gravitate towards cream cleansers because they’re more gentle and moisturising on my skin than foam or gel cleansers and this one fits the bill just right. It’s super moisturising and soothing, thanks to the cocoa butter, rosemary and chamomile, not to mention divine smelling thanks to the eucalyptus essential oil. Sadly, this product doesn't seem to be available in Canada, so I'm going to have to bulk buy when I'm visiting friends and family in Dublin or start looking for a replacement. 

Oils and moisturisers will only properly do their job if they're applied to exfoliated skin. I don't always use exfoliating pads, opting sometimes for more gentle exfoliating, but these Clearasil 5-in-1 Cleansing Pads do a remarkable job at exfoliating my skin and getting rid of all the dry bits in part due to the salicylic acid it contains. The pads are quite powerful so I tend to use them only 2-3 times a week. From what I can tell, this product in Canada is called Ultra Deep Pore Cleansing Pads.

When I first heard of people using oils on their face I was sceptical. I thought it would leave your skin greasy and slippery but boy, was I wrong. I’ve used a few oils but my favourite is the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate primarily because of its calming essential oils blend which smells like lavender, perfect for use in the evenings. It penetrates quickly into the skin leaving it feeling soft and not at all greasy. I only use this in the evening and skip the oil step in the morning.

The Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré is my holy grail of moisturisers. So much so that I don’t think I could ever use anything else. It’s thick and very indulgent and leaves my skin plump and soft all day long. It’s filled with good things including shea butter, beeswax, aloe vera and soy proteins and is paraben-free. I use it morning and night without fail and find that a little goes a long way which shows just how powerful it is. For my eyes, I use another French pharmacy product, the Caudalie PremierCru The Eye Cream. Some might not need eye cream but I get very dry eyes, especially at the outer corners and on the top lids near the inner corners, so I find this cream indispensable. To note, this is also the only anti-ageing product I use in my everyday skincare routine. 

I say this is step is optional only because it’s just if you need or want a deep dose of hydration. This La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Masque has hyaluronic acid in it which is what makes it so hydrating. I like to use it at night, 2-3 times a week, on different days that I use the Clearasil 5-in-1 Cleansing Pads and when I do so I skip steps 3 and 4, opting to leave the mask on overnight. I wake up with exceptionally soft, smooth skin.

22 January 2017

What I Eat in a Day #3

I see a lot of What I Eat in a Day blog posts and YouTube videos and I love getting a sneak peak into people's lives and eating habits. What gets to me, however, is how unrealistic and unattainable some of these posts and videos can be. I cook a lot and I don't always have time to take perfect shots and to be honest I just don't feel like food photography is quite my thing - I'm too impatient to dig in and eat my food while it's still hot! I love beautifully displayed and photographed food and it is a photographic skill I would like to develop but for everyday food shots, I just don't have the time. 

These photos may not be perfect, the food might look sloppy but they are realistic, down to the processed parmesan squares I pop in the oven when I want a quick and comforting lunch! 

  1. Balsamic mushrooms on whole wheat and seed bread, topped with a fried egg and parsley
  2. Mushroom risotto
  3. Buffalo cheese, a selection of cured Italian meats, extra virgin olive oil and basil leaves
  4. Yoghurt, chopped pecans, maple syrup, cinnamon and blueberries
  5. Grilled cheese sandwich made with a mix of cheddar and Jarlsberg cheese and ketchup
  6. Parmesan squares with crispy kale
  7. Quinoa and kale salad, baked sweet potato, roasted pepper and hummus
  8. Banana Pancake topped with blueberries, a lot of maple syrup and tea
  9. Nachos topped with cherry tomato salsa

14 January 2017

Back to Punta Cana

Sadly, I'm not actually back in Punta Cana, though I wish I was! I wanted to post the last of our photos from our recent trip to the Dominican Republic. As you would have seen if you follow me on Instagram or in my previous blog posts, C and I were in Punta Cana in early November. We enjoyed it so much we still talk about how great it was and how lovely and relaxing our stay was. We stayed at the Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda which we would recommend to anyone looking for an all-inclusive beach getaway. 

Our daily schedule was very uneventful which is exactly what I was after. We rose around nine, had breakfast at ten and went to the beach until lunchtime. We'd have lunch and then make our way to the pool for more relaxing. In the late afternoons, before the sun went down, we'd often go for walks on the beach or around the different hotels part of our resort.

I love a good beach cover up but sometimes feel like they're a bit overdone. I had packed these loose trousers in case it got a bit cooler in the evenings or for travelling but ended up pairing them with a black one piece bathing suit for one of our walks.

Bathing Suit: ASOS / Trousers: Reitmans / Sandals: ASOS

1 January 2017

Hello 2017

With every new year comes a blank page to fill with new stories, new adventures, new joys and new sorrows, new goals and new failures - let's be realistic, it's not all going to be roses and good things! But that's life and 2016 brought another year of experiences that have prepared me for what's to come. As with everyone else on the days leading up to and after new year's day, I sit here in a deeply reflective state going over the last year. It was filled with such good memories of C and me in our little apartment, of travels and discovering new countries, of personal achievements and growth in work. This past year had some incredible moments and some sad ones as well, it's been a rollercoaster and it's been emotional. I'm ready for 2016 to come to an end and I can't wait for what's to come in 2017. There's so much that I want to accomplish in this new year and as always I like to jot down my goals and aspirations as a way to stay accountable. 

So 2017 is the year is the year I

learn how to breath more, to meditate and not let my mind get carried away with negativity;

learn a new hobby - calligraphy;

read more books - one per month at a minimum;

build new meaningful relationships and improve existing ones;

drink more water;

dedicate more time to this space;

save more and learn to invest my money;

start a new job and a new life in a new city with my favourite person in the world.

Happy New Year and may 2017 be your greatest yet!