29 December 2014

Mum to Be Monday #3 - 21 weeks pregnancy update

Time for an update ladies! 

How far along? 21 weeks plus 2 days! Half way there ladies...whoop whoop!
Total weight gain: None, according to my GP I've lost weight. I am eating...all the time! 
Maternity clothes? Not yet but I did receive a "hands off my bump" T-shirt from one of the girls in work. Bump is still too small to fill it though! I wore it shopping the other day and got some evils from heavenly pregnant women!! I've just been buying bigger clothes to be honest. I checked out the on-line maternity clothes sales and I have to say the options available are not in anyway shape of form cute.  
Stretch marks? None but I haven't been gaining weight and I've been lathering myself in lotions and potions daily.
Sleep: Currently waking up in the middle of the night for toilet breaks but apart from that sleep is good, getting at least 7-8 hours a night. Can only seem to nod off while sleeping on my left side.
Best moment this week? Purchasing baby bumps future wheels. We could not resist the Cosatto Giggle Oh la la! Travel set. We must have walked away from it at least five times and kept going back over to look at it again. We practised clicking the car seat out and popping on the carrycot more times than and I can remember but finally decided that baby girl would love it as much as us! Fingers crossed with the pushchair we will get three years out of it! 
Miss anything? I miss being able to swan off to the pub for a drink but I have to say I enjoyed my Non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiris at my Christmas works party and only got charged €2.70 for a Mr Slushy...winning!  
Movement: YESS! I finally began to feel flutters of movement from bump. I have to say the last two weeks people kept asking me...they're curious I know but every time I said no I felt a little sad about it! Have to stop comparing myself to other peoples experiences. 
Food cravings: None and I have noticed I can't eat as much as I usual would be able too! It kills me to wake away from a plate with left overs!  
Symptoms: I was suffering with sciatica in my left leg but after spending the Christmas season with my feet up it has eased off. I woke up last week during the night and couldn't get back to my bed the pain was so bad. I just have to rest and not stand for too long. 
Gender: Girl.
Mood: Mostly relaxed apart from emotional drives on icy roads. Icy roads + car slides = crying pregnant lady. I've certainly been taking it easy cheesy since I found out I was carrying a small human inside me. 
Looking forward to: Watching bump get bigger and finally getting some bump pictures taken for my baby book. 

That's it for this week, if there is anything you want to know ask away...forever on facebook and twitter

Sarah and bump

28 December 2014

Mum to Be Monday #2 - Gender Reveal

I've been dying to share the news of our gender scan with you after we told all our family members over the Christmas holidays first! I'm going to start from the very beginning so this might be a long post. Finding out the gender was something that we both wanted to do, some people prefer to wait until their child is born to find out but this was a personal choice and we will cherish the experience forever.

When we went for our twelve week scan in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda I was told that we wouldn't be having another scan until I was 34 weeks to check the positioning of the placenta. I was suddenly taken by surprise, I thought all women had a twenty or twenty one week scan to check the babies development and if possible they would be able to find out what gender the baby was. Seemingly this was not the case for all women. First time mam here so there is a lot for me to learn!! The lady was happy with what she had seen in our scan and sent us on our way.

On the way home that day we talked about finding out the sex of the baby or leaving it until the very end and I think we both decided instantly that we wanted to know as soon as possible. There was no specific reason why. It had noting to do with purchasing gender specific items for our child we just could not wait to find out. We are just so excited about becoming parents that we wanted to know would a little boy or a little girl be changing our lives forever.

It looked like a private scan would be on the cards for us so while we waited for baby to grow and develop past the recommended eighteen weeks we looked into different types of scans available. My brother and his partner are also expecting and they had a 3D scan at the Babyscan clinic in Swords, Co Dublin. They had a great experience and it was only a short drive for us so myself and John opted for the gender scan there. Booking was so simple, you can ring in and also book on-line. There was no waiting list. I was even given a list of available appointments that week and I selected the best time for us. What better time than the week before Christmas, my favourite time of year.

Skipping straight to the scan I just want to say that the women we dealt with at the clinic could not have been nicer. They genuinely seemed interested in our pregnancy and made me feel very comfortable and at ease.

The room where the scan took place was very spacious and John got to sit right beside me and hold my hand. At the hospital for the twelve week scan he had to sit on the other side of the room and look at a different screen. I didn't even feel like he was in the room with me. I was so happy that this gave us the opportunity to have a more intimate experience. Walking into the room the sonographer could see that I looked uncomfortable and a few moments into the scan she told me that my bladder was too full and that the baby was a little squished in there so after a quick trip to the toilets I came back to find out the good news. She already knew the sex before I went so we spent the next 15-20 minutes looking at our babies hands, feet and beautiful face.

She asked us our predictions, we both said boy. 

She said " well, it's a baby girl"

Well...I just burst out crying! I was so shocked. From the moment I found out I was pregnant I kept thinking boy. Every time I seen something even remotely related to do with girls I just thought ah, maybe next time. I was so convinced we were having a boy.  John had the biggest smile on his face, we both actually had the stupidest big smiles on our faces. Now we knew....it felt much more real than it did half an hour beforehand. 

Another plus to having the gender scan done privately was that we received a tonne of photos to take home of our lil baby girl. The whole experience really was worth every penny and I would do it all again in a heart beat...I'll just drink less water next time! 

Oh my god I just remembered, she actually yawned during the scan and we seen it all in almost slow motion on the huge television monitor beside us. It was so surreal. At one point she (I can also say she now!) kicked her two legs up to her head. She's going to be tall just like her parents! 

So we have a little girl on the way.....far too exciting. Still searching for the right name for her. We had a name all set if it was a boy...how wrong were we! 

As I write this post I am currently twenty one weeks and only began to feel little flutters from within my bump a few hours ago. There is so much to look forward too and time is going by so fast, I'm trying to enjoy each moment as it comes. 

A bloody girl lads! Who's up for dress shopping in the new year?!!!! 

Sarah & Bump! 

08 December 2014

**WIN** LUSH Little Ro's Flowers Gift box Giveaway

Back in October (which seems like only last week!) I blogged about this years LUSH Christmas gift guide and I'm delighted to now offer one of my readers the chance to win this luxurious Little Ro's Flowers Christmas gift box. This amazing box contains six products to treat you from top to toe with sweet scents and floral fragrances. 
Little Ro's Flowers contains:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is restricted to Ireland and the UK only. Stay tuned over on my Facebook page for international giveaway's. The lucky winner will be contacted and announced on the 16/12/14.


**WIN** Cocoa Brown Tan - My Party Season Must Have

It's officially party season girls and I'm going to tell you why Cocoa Brown should be on your shopping list when you dash out the door to buy a new dress for that all important Christmas work party or girls night out. 

I have three simple reasons why you should include Cocoa Brown on your must have's list. 

Affordability - From the first moment CB came on the scene I was surprised and delighted at just how affordable the tanning range was. With prices ranging from €2.99 to €7.99 it's very easy to understand why this has become the fastest selling tan in Ireland.

Quality - I would not be one for regular tanning but when an event does arise I always reach for Cocoa Brown. I love Tough Stuff and Chocolate Whip for preparing my skin prior to applying the 1 Hour Tan. You can see instantly where you have applied the tan and washing off the excess tan after your desired time leaves little room for error. I also love the colour and scent.

Improved Confidence - I don't wear tan to give off the impression that I've been sunning myself in the Bahamas. I wear tan because like most of the female population in Ireland I have pale skin and Pale skin does not go too well with that perfect little black dress (unless you're Nicole Kidman...damn you!). Wearing tan gives me the confidence to get dolled up and enjoy my night out. If I can do that with a product at a fraction of the price of other tanning products and get results that I'm happy with then you can bet your bottom dollar that this brand will be in my life for a very long time! 

 Cocoa Brown also have a range of Tanning sets on the market that would make perfect gifts for friends and family. There's the Be Bronzed & Beautiful gift set for €9.95The set contains Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan that Delivers a radiant, bronzed glow in just 1 HOUR. Cocoa Brown Tough Stuff Body Scrub 50ml which Exfoliates your skin in preparation for the tan, plus it also removes your tan when you’re done! And lastly the Cocoa Brown Gentle Bronze Gradual Tanner.
Also available this Christmas season is the Luxury Gift Set for €19.99 and currently on special offer on Feelunique.com for €12.80 or in Tesco for €13.33 until the 24th of December. This set includes the 1 Hour tan, Tough Stuff Scrub, Chocolate whip moisturiser and a pink tanning mitt. 
My favourite set is the Ultimate Travel Set. It costs just €10 in Penneys and is perfect for travelling obviously but it's also handy if you're getting ready for a night out at your friends and don't want to be arriving with a heap of products. It contains a cute 100ml 1 Hour tan, 75ml Chocolate Whip body moisturiser and 75ml Tough Stuff body scrub. 

Also head on over to the Cocoa Brown Facebook page to stay up to date with new products and offers.


07 December 2014

Mum to Be Monday #1 - Baby News

Hello Everyone,

If you follow me on any of my social media websites you would have heard the big news that I'm going to be a mum.....ek! I am currently eighteen weeks pregnant and thought it would be a great time to start a "Mum to Be" series here on my blog. I want to share my journey with you and I also want to use the series as a platform for me to interact with other mammies and mum's to be out there. I'll be asking questions over on my Facebook page over the next few months and would love to see your interaction over there.

So I've been checking out a few other bloggers pregnancy updates and they seem to cover a number of changes week by week which I will cover for you below. If there is anything you are interested in or want to know about my pregnancy leave it in the comments below!

Due Date: 9th May 2015 *whoop whoop*
Total weight gain? I have no idea, I didn't weight myself at the beginning and to be honest I'm not too hung up on the weight gain. So far I haven't gained any noticeable weight apart from my baby bump of course! 
Best moment so far? That would have to be our 12 week scan. Getting to see our baby for the first time was so surreal. I will do a post on this amazing experience because it was such a big event for us.  
Miss anything? There have been a few moments when I have missed the sweet taste of amber nectar (alcohol) but that was just at family events when I felt like I was missing out but it wasn't a big deal. 
Movement? No movement yet but I know this little one will be very active because at the 12 week scan he/she was doing summer-salts! 
Food cravings? The first craving was Rice Crispies. I'm not a big fan of cereal but between week 5 to 15 I was having at least two bowls a day. For the last two weeks I've been craving orange juice a lot. My babies way of telling me I'm not getting enough Vitamin C! 
Supplements? I began taking Sanatogen Mother to be Multivitamin and multimineral food supplement while we tried to get pregnant and then for the first 12 weeks I switched to Folic acid. I'm currently taking Pregnacare Original, when I remember too, baby brain kicking in!  
Anything making you queasy or sick? I have to say in 18 weeks of pregnancy I'm very lucky to report that I only had two days where I couldn't keep a thing down. It was not a pleasant experience but I'm just thanking my lucky stars I didn't have to go through that for longer like so many other women during pregnancy. Fingers crossed it stays that way. Current turn off is sausages! 
Gender: Hopefully we will find out before Christmas.
Will I be doing bump updates? Maybe when I get a little bigger but at the moment it's not something I plan on doing. 
Stretch marks? No new ones. I have a few from my teens when my weight went up and down like a yo-yo but as far as I can see I have no new ones. I've been using a range of products to combat the possibility of new ones, I shall share them with you in another post.
Anything unexpected? Crazy...and I mean cray-cray dreams! 
Wearing? I'm still wearing my own non-pregnant lady clothes! The only thing I have purchased is a new pair of trainers for work because I spend a lot of the day standing. 
Buying: I'm waiting until next year before I start going baby mad! So far all I have bought is a hand made knitted mickey mouse hat from a local Christmas fair. Couldn't resist it! I'm very lucky that a few of the larger and expensive baby items such as the cot, basket and pram have been kindly offered to us by family and friends. 

That's all I can think of so far but as I said before if there is anything you want to ask pop it in the comments below. I'm so excited to share this journey with you and to also have it documented. 

I can't believe it's finally happening. I'm going to be a mother! Is it corny to say that I have always dreamed of the day I would be saying that?. At 28 years of age I thought it would have happened a lot sooner but I know times have changed and couples are having babies later and later in life. I can't even put into words how excited I am! 

Stay tuned for more updates and don't worry I won't be bombarding you with baby posts....well, not many!! 


18 October 2014

LUSH Christmas 2014 Gift Guide

I rather excitedly paid the Lush store on Grafton Street in Dublin a visit recently to check out this years Christmas products. I'm here to share some pretty amazing bath melts, bubble bars, bath bombs and soaps with you. You can take this post as a gift guide for your family and friends this Christmas or if you're selfish like me you can covet it all for yourself!!  
This year I fell in love a little with the new luxury handmade Christmas themed soaps. Baked Alaska €4.25 is a real treat with it's vibrant colours. Inspiration for the design has been taken from a snowball and you will find this soap uplifting and very soothing with lemon myrtle, ylang ylang oil and grapefruit. Also new this year is Yog Nog Soap €4.50 and reindeer Rock Soap €3.95.
When I think of Lush I automatically think Bath Bombs! I love them and was the most excited about seeing my all time favourite Golden Wonder €4.75 when I went to visit. If you're a big child like me you will love this from the moment you drop it into the bath. The outer layer which looks like a delightfully wrapped gift fizzes away to reveal the next blue layer, then pink and orange and finally you're left with a luster filled bath, stars galore! We also have other favourites like Cinders €3.25, Shooting Stars €4.50 and Luxury Lush Pud €4.50.

Their Bath melts and Bubble bars are also quite fun and can be used along with your bath bombs to make for a very bubbly experience! New this year we have the Snow Angel bath melt €4.95 which offers fizz and a spectacular luster as well as that it contains fair trade organic cocoa butter which will leave your skin feeling nice and soft. Back this year is the Melting Snowman €2.95 and he's back packing a spicy warm punch with hot toddy fragrance of cinnamon oil, clove leaf, lime oil and sweet orange oil. 

New to the Bubble bar family this year is Drummers Drumming  €6.75 and Holly Go Lightly 5.95. Drummers Drumming is a bubble bar and a musical instrument in one with the sweet smell of strawberries when held under the running tap in your bath. Holly Go Lightly is just a delightful addition and really made me feel festive! Also welcome back Christmas Eve €3.85 and Magic Wand Bubble Bar €6.75

If you know me you will know that I go gaga for the Lush Snow Fairy limited edition shower gel and I will be following my tradition of purchasing enough to keep me going until it is available again next Christmas! An interesting update for fans, this year they have added skin softening seaweed to the Snow Fairy potion.
 My heart also skipped a beat when I laid eyes on the 12 Days Of Christmas gift box €64.95. The gift box itself is just gorgeous and would  make great storage in the new year. Inside you will find twelve festive products, one to use everyday in the run up to Christmas. 
Contains: Karma soap, The olive branch shower gel, Cinders bath bomb, Golden Wonder bath bomb, Snow Angel bath melt, Hot toddy shower gel, Dashing Santa bath bomb, Honey I washed the kids, Celebrate body lotion, Holly go lightly bubble bar, Lord of Misrule bath bomb and Star light Star bright bath bomb.

There you have it, this years Lush Christmas products that I'm excited about. I'd love to know what your Christmas favourites are in the comments below and I will not apologise for bringing you this post before the arrival of Halloween because I honestly cannot wait for the festive season to arrive! 

Now go forth and check out #LushChristmas for yourself in the nearest store to you.


31 August 2014

Dream Dots For Spots - Over Night Spot Treatment

Dream Dots is a relatively new product to hit the Irish market and has been backed by Miss World 2003 winner Rosanna Davison and many popular Irish bloggers. I was offered the chance to try Dream Dots out for review myself and snapped up the chance as I do occasionally suffer from break outs around the time of important events or if I haven't been eating healthy my skin tends to suffer and break outs ensue!  

When I shared a picture of the product over on my instagram with the caption "You know you're a blogger when you're waiting for a spot so you can test out @DreamDotsHQ" I received a comment from Michelle who is one of my followers. She said "Ugh pass them over some of us don't need to wait". Her comment got me thinking about how products work on different people with different skin types. We all know some people suffer from spots far more than others so I sent her a packet of Dream dots to review and she graciously accepted the challenge of trying out Dream Dots with me so we could compare how we got on. 

Dream dots are overnight treatment patches for spots. Twenty four dots cost €14.95 and forty eight cost €24.95 over on their website. The patch contains a gel forming agent within an adhesive compound which when applied to your spot overnight creates a moist healing environment which enhances healing by reducing redness, pain and inflammation. 

How do they work?
After cleansing your face apply the patch making sure the area you want to apply it is dry. Simply remove the patch from the backing paper and attach the centre of the Dream Dot to the area of spotsville. Press down for a few seconds and then leave on overnight. 

My Experience
I found the instructions very easy to read and follow. Very straight forward, pop on patch and wait for spot to heal. I really liked how the patch became almost invisible when placed onto my skin. I know nobody apart from my partner is going to see me at night but he's seen me trial out many a strange product and I'm happy to report that he never even noticed the patches on my skin when I was wearing them. 

The next morning I went straight to the mirror to peel off the patch and reveal the results. As I peeled off the patch it also removed the white head of the spot which had not been there when I applied the patch. I went and cleaned my face and applied my usual morning skincare products and went about my day. Even though I had read the instructions and it did say use over 3-4 days I was somehow magically expecting the spot to be gone. Too good to be true, I know! I tried it again on the second night and the same thing happened again with the white-head being removed with the patch. I was beginning to get a little worried about scarring as I usually leave my spots alone. I never pop them for fear of scarring and also it's just disgusting! 

After the third night I noticed my spot had calmed down considerably and by the fifth day it had healed with no scarring. My spots can sometimes last over a week so I was happy to see them gone in a shorter amount of time but I was expecting much faster results with Dream Dots. I have to say I did experience less painful spots when using the patches. The didn't feel as sore during the day as they usually do. 

Michelle's Experience
Well I gave them a good use, went through the whole box! I wanted to be sure that I gave them a proper chance. During the first few nights I used Dream Dots I didn't have particularly bad spots. They are really easy to use and the packaging and instructions are very clear. I have to say they are good in the sense that they're not really obvious on your face, you'd barely notice them! Having them on was quite good as it stopped me scratching or touching my face, and spots, especially in my sleep.

The first few days I have to say I saw absolutely no change or benefit. I was consistent and put them in the same place every time. But for the sake if the review I kept using them just to see. So then a new couple of spots inevitably arrived and it did help to bring them out (sorry if that's a bit disgusting!) but that's as far as it went... Overnight they came to a head and then that just meant the next day you had a manky and much more obvious spot! So that was not good.

The one thing that has really put me off is the mark. They are only the size of one circle of bubble wrap but whatever is in the adhesive it leaves a mark on your skin for DAYS! I can't even cover it with makeup! It's like the mark you'd have after a plaster. Didn't bother me too much really but it was said to me so they must be obvious. I have fairly average skin, wouldn't get too many spots and it's definitely not sensitive, so I was quite surprised to be left with the little circle mark. All in all I have to admit I was a little disappointed with the results but the idea is a great one. Maybe if they had some tea tree or something else that heals spots in them it'd be more effective... But for now I think I'll stick with the sudocrem!

Overall thoughts
I seem to have had more luck with Dream Dots than Michelle even if seeing results took longer than I had hoped. I think this is a good product for people who suffer from spots occasionally and need an emergency fix to reduce redness before a big event. Michelle said she had a problem with the patch leaving behind a sticky mark from the adhesive where as I was left with no mark. Another example how products effect people differently. If you work it out with a box of twenty four patches then you're really only looking at treating around seven spots if you wear them over a number of nights so again useful for someone who only suffers from acne occasional but more expensive if you have more problematic skin like Michelle.

Dream Dots are worth trying out but do so with an open mind. Also remember that you must treat skin problems from within by drinking lots of water and eating the right foods.

Let me know what you think in the comments below, I would love to hear what you think about Dream Dots.


19 August 2014

My Verdict on Vichy - Liftactiv Serum 10 - Idealia Life Serum & Thermal Spa Water

If you are a regular visitor to my blog and read my product reviews you will know that I rarely test products over the twenty euro mark. The reason for this is very simple. I always budget myself when it comes to shopping for skincare and make-up. I try to find a more affordable option and If I'm not willing to spend money on a certain product I wouldn't expect my readers too either. 

Today I'm going to give you my verdict on three products from Vichy and tell you wether or not they are worth purchasing. 

Vichy Liftactiv Serum 10 for Eyes and Lashes 15ml €27.00
Suitable for sensitive skin and all skin types this product claims to give an instant illuminating and lifting effect to eyes and fortify lashes. It's innovative formula is paraben free, hypoallergenic and contains Vichy thermal spa water to sooth and fortify. To use you simply place a small drop to your fingertip, close your eyes and apply by gently patting onto your eye area from the inner to the outer corner of the eye. Lastly sweep any left over product on your fingertips to your eye lashes.

I found the Liftactive Serum light and refreshing on my eyes. I expected it to feel heavy or sticky but it wasn't. It instantly made my eyes feel lifted, just like it promised. I was so surprised to be honest with you. I was sceptical from the very beginning. I wasn't too fond of the price for just 15ml of product but you really only need a small drop and it lasted a good few weeks using it twice a day. I noticed a significant difference in dark under eye circles and was delighted to see my lashes appearing fuller and getting stronger. 

Vichy Idealia Life Serum 30ml €38.50
This is the first serum to ever make it into my daily skincare routine. It's designed to address dull grey complexion,  uneven skin tone, dark shadows, enlarged pores, oily and dry patches. Was Idealia Life Serum the solution to my tired dull looking skin or was it all too good to be true? 

I used this product every single morning until I could no longer draw any product from the top of the bottle and had to remove the pump to scrape what little product was left from it! Another pleasant surprise, I absolutely loved this product. After a few weeks I noticed a major reduction in fine lines on my forehead. I couldn't believe it. I even looked at older photos to make sure I wasn't just kidding myself into believing that one product could make such a difference in such a short amount of time. My pores also appeared reduced and I had a nice healthy glow to my skin. I loved how much Idealia Life Serum felt on my skin so much that I didn't even wan't to apply make-up afterwards.

Vichy Thermal Spa Water 150ml €9.99
Another product first to grace it's presence into my skincare regime. I had never tried a water spray before and to be honest thought it was a bit of an unnecessary product. The Vichy Thermal Spa Water can be used all over to boost hydration. Filtered through volcanic layers, Vichy Thermal Spa Water is naturally enriched with 15 mineral salts and 13 trace elements to calm skin and build up it's resistance. 

Although I did enjoy using this product during the summer months I didn't find myself reaching for it everyday. I found it great for providing instant relief from the heat, adding moisture to my dry skin. 

I would highly recommend the Liftactive serum 10 and Idelia Life Serum to anyone looking to improve dark under eye circles and dull, tired looking skin. I would gladly forget about my skincare budget and fork out for these products by Vichy. I loved using them everyday and seeing the results in my skin the longer I used them. As for the Thermal Spa Water, I think it is a good product and very affordable for the amount of product it contains. However it did not find a permanent place in my skincare regime. There's only so many products I can put on there ya'll! 

Let me know that you think of these products in the comments below. Maybe in the future I'll stop talking myself out of buying certain products just because of the price because I was really happy with the results.


12 August 2014

Travalo - A Must Have Product

Wish you could bring your favourite perfume with you on the go but can't because it's too bulky for your handbag? Well I can safely say we are onto a winner here with the Travalo. This product has been on the market for four years and I can understand why they have sold over ten million of these babies so far.

This is the Classic Excel Black Travalo with silver nozzel and black case and costs €14.99. It's nifty refill system allows you to bring your favourite perfume with you wherever you go and perfect for travelling abroad in your hand luggage. Also perfect for popping into your clutch for that night out on the town. You simply remove the spray nozzle from you fragrance bottle, place your Travalo on the stem and pump to fill. The atomizer has a tiny pressure sealed hole on the bottom. It takes seconds. It's tough, leak proof and comes in ten different colours.

It holds enough for sixty five sprays and the window on the side allows you to see how much you have left. An aluminium version with a dot pattern is also available in Boots and costs €17.99. 

If you decide to fill with a different fragrance just clean your Travalo by filling it with water from a travel spray bottle, you can buy them from most pharmacies. Spray the water out and you are good to go. If you're really minted you could just purchase a Travalo in a range of colours and have one for each fragrance. I'll just stick with this one for now!


11 August 2014

Elle MacPherson - Instant Nail Wraps Or Instant Nail Fail?!

I bought these Elle MacPherson Instant Nail Wraps in Argos a few months ago. They seem to be unavailable on their website now but you can purchase them from Elle MacPherson's website for a whopping £9.99. They are available in pink, gold and silver and the kit includes a nail file.

I've tried many different brands of nail wraps/stickers but no matter how hard I try to like them they never sit well with me. Their major selling point is that unlike using nail polish there is no drying, peeling, chipping, smudging or chemicals involved. This is all very true but there is no denying the fact the wraps I have applied for this review look god damn awful. I've tried time and time again to apply them leaving no creases and have failed. After removing the excess wrap with the file the tips look far from professional. There is best result tips involving a hair dryer but ain't nobody got time for that! The kit includes 48 wraps to suit all nail sizes including your toes. Ew!

The price annoys me slightly as I don't think they are worth that much in any way shape or form. But noting annoys me more than the one hundred percent photoshopped picture on her website showing what the nail wraps should look like on. The picture doesn't even show the correct nail design, just a plain pink nail!

"Perfect nails, minimum fuss" it says on the packaging. Sorry, just being honest here but I found them fussy and far from perfect! Now I sound like a right grumpy sod! 

If you have tried these or a similar brand before please let me know in the comments below how you got on. 


04 August 2014

My Afternoon Tea experience at Bellinter House

Bellinter House is an 18th century manor nestled in the countryside of Co Meath. Being only a stone throw away from where I grew up I'm surprised that I had not visited before and was delighted to have recently received a voucher for Afternoon Tea for two which gave me the perfect excuse to go check it out.

Not knowing what to expect I called the morning of my visit too see if I needed to book and was told I could just walk in which is nice if you're in a spur of the moment kinda mood! There was lots of parking outside and we fell in love with the romantic setting straight away. The outside of the house was surrounded by rose bushes and the staircase leading up the the reception was full of character and very inviting.

We went through reception, passed the library and drawing room which took us to the bar. The entire building was decorated with a mixture of old and new furniture. Very quirky, colourful and simply amazing. Friendly staff and a cosy atmosphere made Bellinter house a real home away from home experience for us. As the weather was good (believe it or not!) we decided to sit outside and I'm so glad we did as we had a lovely view of the back of the house and the surrounding countryside.
John had never been to afternoon tea before so it was exciting to see his reaction when the three tier cake stand of absolute goodness arrived. We had a selection of sandwiches made up of chicken and cheese, salmon and salad and plain salad. We moved swiftly onto the lemon scones. Can I just stop and say HOLY MARY MOTHER OF GOD! If you know me you will know that I am obsessed with lemon cake. These scones made my weekend folks, simply delicious! Yummy butter, cream and jam accompanied them also. I think John felt like it was a bit of a race or else he wanted everything for himself because before we knew it we had made it to heaven...I mean the top tier! Chocolate biscuit cake, mini strawberry meringues and a chocolate mouse filled cake with raspberry on top.  I got a cappuccino sprinkled with chocolate and John had a pot of tea.

Overall we really enjoyed our visit to Bellinter House and will be back again. Afternoon Tea for two costs just €25 which is a really great price for the service, atmosphere and of course yummy food.

Check out their website and see just how wonderful this place is. The drawing room has a vintage pool table which is great for the guys. Stable rooms perfect for a girlie getaway and bath house for luxury treatments. 


29 July 2014

Ziaja'a New Manuka Range - Face Care Products for Oily/Combination Skin

Ziaja have very recently launched a new skincare range called Manuka. The Manuka Tree Purifying range like all their other lines of skincare is incredibly affordable with products ranging from €4.49 up to €6.99.

The new range is targeted for people with oily/combination skin who suffer from an oily t-zone, dilated pores, blackheads, minor spots, acne breakouts and shine control. The new face care products get their name from the star ingredient, Manuka leaf extract. It's contains powerful antibacterial properties which make it perfect for soothing irritation, eliminating bacteria and cleansing the skin.

The range consists of a Normalising day cream €6.99, a gently exfoliating night cream €6.99, a deeply cleansing peeling paste €4.49, a Astringent face toner €4.49 and a normalising cleansing gel €4.49. I myself have dry skin so taking that on bored I tested out the cleansing peeling paste and the face toner.


Ziaja Manuka Tree Purifying Deeply Cleansing Peeling Paste €4.99
Despite what the name might suggest this is essentially a ex-foliating facial wash. 
Directions: Massage onto damp face and rinse off. Use once a week.
A little goes a long way with this product. I found the exfoliating beads to be absolutely perfect for my face. Not too abrasive, just the right amount to unblock my pores and leave my skin feeling fresh. Perfect for removing dead skin cells and perfect preparation before you complete the rest of your daily skincare routine. As it is directed for oily/combination skin and I have dry skin I feel it's worth mentioning that this product didn't dry my skin out. Make sure to apply a suitable moisturiser directly after applying products like this to your face. 

Pleas note that this is not a peel off mask. They mention Peeling paste in the title because this product removes dead skin cells and it also resembles the consistency of toothpaste. 

The purpose of this face toner is to reduce the appearance of porous areas, sooth acne breakouts and also improve blemishes. 
Directions: Apply with cotton pad over cleansed skin. Use daily.
Firstly I just want to say this product worked best for me when I spritzed the solution straight onto my face and then used a cotton pad to lightly dab around the different areas of my face. I enjoyed this product because the mist was so gentle and it felt nice and light on my skin. Great skin preparation for your favourite daily moisturiser. 

All the products in this range smell the same and the scent is nice and refreshing. It's the kind of scent you would associate with a freshly cleaned face if that makes any sense. 

I would recommend this range to teenagers suffering from breakouts and women of all ages who have oily/combination skin. If like me and you have dry skin and love a good facial exfoliant please try out the Deeply Cleansing Peeling Paste. I haven't tried anything like it since Soap & Glory's No Clogs Allowed and that costs €15. Great quality for an even better price.

Have you tried out any of the Ziaja skincare ranges yet? 


28 July 2014

Magnifibres or Magni-AWFUL?! Lash Lengthening Product Review

I was recently sent Magnifibres to try out for review and it instantly reminded me of the Maybelline XXL Volume and Length Microfiber Mascara as with both products you have a layering system to follow. What a disaster the Maybelline XXL mascara turned out to be. If you weren't left with clumpy spider lashes you had the white layer peering out from underneath the black mascara making you look just plain ill. 

Magnifibres €25.85/£21 is different in that the fibres do not come in the form of a mascara type consistency but as fibres seen in the photo above which are made from the following ingredients: Viscose, Panthenol, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Phenoxyethanol. 

Magnifibres brush on lashes claim to instantly lengthen lashes up to 5mm. "No glue...No mess..No fuss...just glamour" it says on the packaging. 

It works as follows:
Step 1. Apply your own mascara.
Step 2. Using the same method apply Magnifibres but look down.
Step3. Wait 30 seconds, then apply a second coat of your mascara.

In the above photo I have followed all three steps. I used No7 Fanomenal Lashes Mascara, it's one of my favourites. Even though it claims to give fuller lashes I actually find it great for separating the lashes making them appear longer. 

The first time I used Magnifibres I got a bit of a fright with how the fibres felt on my lashes and had an uncontrollable blinking fit. After using a few more times I have taken to applying the fibres really slowly and carefully making sure not to apply too much. After following the last step and applying the second coat of mascara I have to say I was not impressed in the slightest with how my lashes looked. 

The fibres made my otherwise nicely separated lashes clump together when I applies the second coat of mascara. Maybe this is how you get the fuller looking lash effect but I was not loving it! Throughout the day I also noticed that some of black fibres had fallen onto my cheeks. I could have rubbed my eyes or knocked my glasses off my lashes but this was also a big turn off for me with this product. Taking my mascara off also got a whole lot scarier because the fibres with the coat of mascara when trying to take off with my make-up remover created little balls hell which then got rubbed into my eye lids. 

From a distance to look at, not so bad. But close up...and I'll quote my boyfriend on this..."Your eyelashes look like yard brushes"! There was noting glamorous about Magnifibres brush on lashes for me I'm afraid and I would never pay over €25 for a product like this when I can just use one of my favourite budget friendly volume and lengthening mascaras which feel lighter, take less time to apply and don't give me yard brush lashes! 

What do you think ladies, is this a product you could live without?


27 July 2014

My Luxury Spa Experience - Knightsbrook River Spa

Today I am going to share with you my first ever spa experience. I visited the Knightsbrook hotel, spa and golf resort in Trim, Co Meath. 

Reason for going:
A parent of a child in my pre-school class rather kindly gave me a voucher for the Knightsbrook River Spa. I was gobsmacked by such a lovely gesture to be honest with you, I would have been just as delighted with a card! 

What treatments did I book in for?
Looking at the River Spa brochure I was intrigued by all the holistic Thai spa treatments they have to offer. However most of the treatments are little pricey for me and I wanted to make the most out of my voucher and get a few treatments done. Sometimes I hate being practical! Practical Sarah booked in for an Express Manicure, Express Pedicure and a half leg wax. The perfect trio for summer I think.

How did I get on?!
Upon entering the River Spa I was greeted and escorted to the lush waiting room. I was surprised that most of the place was only lit by candles and dim down lights. I had never been to a luxury spa before so I really had no idea what to expect and was slightly embarrassed when I commented to the receptionist "Oh, it's very dark in here"! It only took me a few moments to fill out a form outlining any health issues I may have and then I was swiftly escorted to the ladies changing room. I was so impressed with the facilities, so clean and well managed. My robe and slippers had been waiting for me in my own locker which securely held my belongings while I was getting my treatments done.

Treatment #1 - Half leg wax €25
Once I had changed I made my way back out to the waiting area where I was taken to the first treatment room to have my legs waxed. The lady who did all my treatments was very nice and gentle with me. She spoke very softly which I think was part of the whole relaxation process.
Spa Etiquette
"The Spa is designed to be calm, quiet and relaxing and for this 
reason the use of mobile phones is prohibited. We also ask that you 
respect other Spa users by speaking quietly whilst in our relaxation 
area. Any loud behaviour in any area of the Spa may result in you 
being asked to vacate the premises."

I tried my best to spark up a conversation but she was solely focused on my treatments, which was not a bad thing. My leg wax treatment took thirty minutes which was good timing in my book, she didn't rush and made extra effort to make sure all the hairs had been removed. 

Treatment #2 - Manicure €25
After my waxing treatment I was lead out of the room to another area of the spa. I was taken down a romantically lit corridor, up a stunning marble stair case, past their make-up application area and into another treatment room. They have sixteen treatment rooms, a thermal suite and two relaxation suites. I was asked to lay on a bed which I was surprised about because I was getting my nails done. A small towel was placed over my eyes while she completed my manicure. It was so relaxing I swear I nearly fell asleep. The background music was so relaxing and again my beautician was so focused on my treatments there was no chatter. I was asked what shaped I would like my nails to be filed and was asked was I happy with the shape before she applied the polish I had chosen. 

Treatment #2 - Pedicure €25
I've never had a pedicure before so I was a bit excited about this treatment. There was no questions this time she just asked me to inform her if I was uncomfortable at any stage. I really liked how she focused on making me feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible. The pedicure did not take long and afterwards she asked me if I would like a massage while the polish was drying. Oh god I'm glad I said "go for it"! I nearly slipped into a deep coma, it was amazing. I felt so rejuvenated afterwards. 

Just when I thought it was time to go home she lead me to yet another room. I was entering the relaxation suite. This room contained loungers separated by chiffon curtains. There was also a table of refreshing drinks and magazines. I'm not too sure on how long I would have been allowed to stay in this luxurious room but I gave it a full fifteen minutes before I decided to head back to the changing room. 

After I changed I made my way back to the reception and settled up with my voucher. The ladies on the desk were friendly and asked how I got on. I enquired about their opening times and signed up to their email/text notifications so I will find out about any future special offers they might be running. 

Wax used: 
Lycon Active Gold Strip Wax
"Glows like gold and removes hair effectively, gently and quickly. Contains the soothing benefits of Chamomile and the finest grade of gold Micro Mica, for extra gentle waxing and no skin drag."

Nail Polish Used:
Don't Bossa Nova Me Around

I absolutely loved my experience at the Knightsbrook River Spa. I will be back but next time I would love to go with my mam or a few friends. It was very relaxing and I left feeling pampered but I did miss a bit of a natter. I can see how it would be the perfect environment for someone wanting to get away from the daily stresses of life. It would also be the perfect place to bring your best friend or your mum. You also have the hotel bar and restaurant which would be a nice extension to the day if you wanted to take your experience to another level.

That's it from me girls, I'm off to continue being blissfully relaxed! 


25 June 2014

OOTD: Fearne Cotton Printed Swing Dress

Photos taken at Fore Monastery Co Westmeath

I got this Fearne Cotton swing dress on Depop. Depop is a new on-line shopping app that has been taking the beauty and fashion world by storm. You basically sell your own items and in some cases like mine you can swap your items for someone else's. I swapped an A|wear blouse and a necklace for this dress and I'm delighted with it.

I love the fitted sleeves and the trapeze style gives my outfit a laid back feel. I paired it up with a pair of capri leggings from Penneys €4 and a pair of burgundy suede moccasin pumps from New Look.

Excuse my grass covered wet pumps, I had to unexpectedly trek through some fields and it was raining! You know yourself!  


24 June 2014

Curvy Retro-chic Outfit Of The Day

A few weeks ago I found this red polka-dotted dress in my local charity shop for €4. It's a size 14 and I usually only wear a dress size 14 if it cinches in at the waist and then flows out (because of my "child bearing hips" as my mam calls them) so I was taking a risk with this figure hugging number. I teamed it up with a navy belt with a floral buckle that I purchased in Penneys a few years ago and a pair of navy pumps from New Look.

Photos taken at Rathmore Church Co Meath

On my face:
Foundation: Max Factor Face Finity 3 in 1 foundation SPF 20 in Beige 55
Face Powder: Bourjois Paris Healthy Balance in Vanille 52
Blush: No7 Natural Blush Tint Powder in Soft Damson
Lips: Barry M Kohl Pencil in Red 25 and 17 lasting Fix Lipstick in Showcase
Eyes: NYC Big bold volume by the lash mascara in extra black

I used Hair Flair Curlformers to create a soft curl to my hair style.

I really enjoy finding cheerful colourful pieces like this in charity shops for a small fraction of the price I would have to pay on the high street. 

What do you think of my outfit and do you shop in Charity shops? Let me know in the comments below.


25 May 2014

Late for work - Get ready with me

I had lots of fun making this video. I am no stranger to waking up late, that feeling in your heart as you see the time is unforgettable! I thought it would be fun to do a tutorial on an easy quick look you can achieve with just a few products.

Kerastase Elixir Ultime
Tangle Teezer
Vichy Idealia Life Serum
Vichy Liftactiv Serum 10
Bourjois Healthy Mix Correcting Concealer
Hello Flawless Oxygen WOW Brightening Make-up
No7 Natural blush tint powder in Soft Damson
Urban Decay primer potion in Sin
Essence eye souffle in Pas Des Copper
Benefit They're real Mascara
MeMeMe Cosmetics Lip glaze in Pink Champagne

Do you have any tips or routines you do when you wake up late? Let me know in the comments below.



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