Laser Hair Removal or Beast from the East…your choice!

Hello all, from a chilly Athlone!

Oddly enough writing a blog post about laser hair removal might not seem appropriate at this moment in time as we wrap ourselves in layers of clothes to retain some heat. Mind you, unless you want to turn into a beast from the east it’s advisable to get rid of unwanted hair no matter how cold we feel!

Now is the time  ladies to start the process as we hopefully head towards warmer months and holiday time! I I have to say laser hair removal has been on of the best decisions I made late last year. You see, when you are dark-haired like me it’s just such a chore having to shave all the time. Not just that, but the dark hairs grow back coarse too which is never a good look (and definitely not a good feel!! Lol). In the past I could shave my legs in the morning and have re-growth in the afternoon and that is fact. I am always so jealous of my friends with their light downy hairs telling me they haven’t shaved in 3 months. Oh my god, I’d be put in the zoo if I left mine for that length of time! I have gone for waxing too but I just can’t cope with the time between waxing when you can’t shave and you have to let it grow to be waxed. I could never seem to time my wax appointments around occasions where I needed my legs out and just ended up reaching for a razor.

Therapie Clinic was the handiest option for me (right beside the entrance to Athlone Towncentre). It has gained great reputation locally and nationally for the services they provide. I must say when I went in initially I was nervous enough and had a million questions ready to ask, the most worrying one of all was, ‘ Will it hurt?’.  I have to say though I didn’t have to ask one question as my consultation covered all the questions I had, and more. The girls working there are so well trained and are constantly up-skilling plus they are fortunate to have top of the range laser machines. Not alone are they highly skilled and professional, they are some of the nicest therapists I have ever met. You do spend alot of time with the therapists depending on the areas you are getting lasered but I must admit the time flies. The girls are so chatty and you know they love what they do as they speak passionately about their job and about working in Therapie.

I am getting full leg, bikini, under-arm and lip laser hair removal. The under-arm, lip and bikini areas take no time at all as they are such small areas. If I were to describe how it feels I can only describe it as short ‘heat zaps’ on the skin nearly like an elastic band, and ‘hand on heart’, it’s not painful at all. And as for the legs, well the girls just fly through them. They section off each leg into areas with a white chalk-like marker and cover over any large freckles or moles, then place the specialised gel on the areas and lightly go over each area with the laser light machine. Again the legs are not painful. If I were to say anything about the experience, I would only say that the under-arm is probably the most sensitive area, but I guess our under-arms never feel direct heat at anytime.

Lovely white pastey legs!!

 

There is zero down-time and pure aloe gel is applied after the treatment. There may be a small bit of redness but nothing that doesn’t disappear within an hour or two. Of course you can’t have hot showers etc for 24 hours which is a normal, similar to waxing.

As I am half way through my treatments, I can honestly say I am very happy. I have noticed a significant decrease in hair growth. Even the hairs that do grow back are softer and less noticeable and the razor is just sitting in the bathroom gradually being made redundant! The great thing about laser hair removal is that you can shave in between treatments if there is hair growth and unlike waxing you must go in totally hair-free for your laser treatment session as they need to zap the root (you also need to go in tan-free and ensure you are not on any medication either).

I still have a few more treatments to get. The amount of treatments will depend on each person’s hair growth and then you only need a top up every 12-18 months again depending on hair growth.

The current offers that Therapie are advertising prompted me to write this post – they have a pre-Summer Sale which I think is great timing and the prices are amazing.

Give them a buzz or pop into Lisa or any of the fabulous girls in the clinic on Gleeson Street the next time you are in town.

Stay safe and warm over the next few days.

Tanya x

 

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To golf or to shop? Now which do you think?!

I heard an acronym once for the word ‘GOLF’ which was ‘Gentelemen only, Ladies forbidden’ – I’m not sure if it’s true and I know there are some amazing women golfers out there but golf is just not for me.  I’m pretty certain high heels are not allowed on golf courses!

So when a visit to The Hertiage Golf Resort was suggested I wasn’t sure what I’d be getting up to.  A further look online and 10% off Kildare Village for guests of The Ballesteros Penthouse apartments swung it for me (do you like my golf pun!!) and I shouted ‘fore’ as the bags were flung into the boot of the car. I know my golf jokes are brutal. Haha.

It was no distance to the lovely little village of Killenard outside Portarlington (just under an hours drive from Athlone) and wow was I amazed when I got there. The apartments are just gorgeous, definitely in my opinion five star standard. I was booked into in a 2 bed apartment but there are also 1 and 3 bed apartments – sleeping up to 6/8 people. The sitting room and kitchen space is open plan and was fully kitted out so you could opt for self catering, but now I wasn’t there to be cooking! They are perfect for a family/hen-party/girly get-together or of course, golfers! Here are a few photos I took during my stay. Honestly, I wanted to go home and re-decorate my entire house after staying in such luxury.

 

I went off exploring and my little legs didn’t bring me too far…I parked myself on a high stool in Judge Roy Beans who have an outlet on the resort. When I asked for a gin; there was a gin menu presented…it was then I knew there was no leaving this place for a while.  The restaurant overlooks the golf course and there is an outdoor balcony too for ‘golf watching’ if you fancy it!

After that we headed for Kildare Village (just to note, I had a designated driver – the hubby!) who was only thrilled to let me off loose in Kildare Village for a few hours. It’s only a short 15 min drive to Kildare Village and I was delighted to have been given my 10% VIP discount card from The Heritage Golf Resort which is brilliant – an extra 10% off in nearly all the stores there and in the restaurants too, which is fantastic. You can use and re-use it all day long as it’s stamped for a full day – you just need to pop into the information office when you get there and present your key from The Heritage Penthouse apartments.

A few bags later, carrying my much ‘poorer purse’ I headed back to the resort and got ready for dinner in Judge Roy Beans. They serve really good gastro style food there and have a great wine list also…needless to say we went the whole hog and indulged in all courses. Shopping is hungry and thirsty work after all. The ribs are one of their specialities which were devoured, so tender and tasty. I opted for a burger but to be honest I am not a huge fan of bread burger buns in general so I decided to go for the gluten-free bun option and it was delicious. I couldn’t believe the menu had so many gluten-free options – I am not a coeliac myself but I do opt for gluten-free meals on occasion and I must say I was very impressed with all the choices on the menu which were gluten-free.  The food was fabulous and it was service with a big smile in there.

           

Another huge smile greeted us when we popped over to The Thatch Pub which is also part of the resort – the barman Andy was just so lovely. This little place reminded me of my local pubs at home where everyone is so friendly and welcoming and there’s no airs, graces or B.S. The decor is old style with lots of wood and ceiling beams – it was just so cosy and warm that we stayed there way longer than we planned to but sure look,  ‘when you’re out, you’re out!’. Again, they have a great choice of drinks and I tried out Oiphir Gin, which is a spicy one and I must say it was gorgeous.

      

The next morning I took a walk around the golf course on their 5km walking track, keeping well out of the way of golfers and then strolled all around the resort and through the village of Killenard. I must say it seemed very busy on the golf course. I don’t get why people hit a ball and walk after it, but hey who am I to judge!

Then I went back into the main resort for breakfast which was just delicious… avocado, poached eggs and crispy bacon washed down with 2 large coffees. I was all set for Kildare Village again…in my dreams! Haha. The car I was told was ‘not going in that direction’.

I had such a lovely time there and really ladies it’s a gorgeous place to go for a ‘shop and stay’ visit with your gal-pals or all joking aside about golf, it really is a golfer’s paradise too. I shared a great offer a few days ago on my page so if you have any last minute plans to get away before Christmas or if you are thinking of a nice gift for someone you can always buy a voucher or plan a trip to the January sales…just tell them My Little Love Stories sent you…all apartments booked will get an extra little treat if you say that!

Tanya

Skin is in!

Hello there x

I haven’t written a blog post in ages but when I saw all the fantastic Black Friday offers that Carrie’s Salon has on offer I really had to say my bit and not just post the usual photo on my page.

Firstly, I have been using Image products since April this year and I absolutely love them – my personal favourite is the Vital C mask – honestly, there is no better face mask in my opinion. I suffer from dry and tired skin and working in the hospitality industry doesn’t help as I am always running around in hot air…whether it’s in and out of the spa area or kitchens, it has a detrimental effect on my skin. I pop this miracle mask on twice a week and genuinely I always see a significant difference the next morning.  My two other favourite products are the Vital C serum and the SPF daily moisturiser (the smell is amazing). But don’t take my word on the ‘best’ products from the range, these are the best for my skin. If you pop into the girls in Carrie’s they’ll carry out a skin consulation and they will advise you on the most suitable product  for your skin type.

Not alone am I using Image products since April this year which I love but I have also had a couple of peels and one session of micro-needling.

The micro-needling is something I have wanted to do for a while but to be honest I was too scared. A few of my friends have had it done and my constant question to them was, ‘does it hurt?’.  Anyway, let’s just say the annoyance of my lines and wrinkles got the better of my curiosity and I booked a session with Laura in Carrie’s Salon. The one and only reason I booked her was Carrie told me Laura was her sister (so I knew she’d be fab) and she is a nurse! Sure what could happen me in the care of a nurse? Honestly I was seriously impressed that the treatment was actually being carried out by someone in the medical profession. Don’t get me wrong I know all beauticians are equally as caring and professional but for a scaredy cat like me I knew she would look after me if I passed out! *I am the one who passes out having a pin prick for a blood test at the doctors and that is not a word of a lie!

All set and numbed up! Why am I even posting this photo #morto

Anyway I rocked up with a hundred questions in my head and I didn’t have to ask one. Laura covered it all in the consultation. She told me she would be using the derma pen which is advanced vertical skin needling. Unlike the traditional needling rollers it causes less trauma to the skin, therefore reducing the discomfort. The needles are single use and adjustable to target different areas/concerns. A numbing cream is first applied to the skin and once has you are numb the needling can commence –  the little needles vibrate and pierce the skin. Basically, needling triggers the skin’s natural collagen and elastin fibres by penetrating a client specific serum to the skin, right down into the basal layer. That sounds all very technical and I’m sure you all want to know, did it hurt and did it work?

So let’s be honest here, it’s not like a relaxing facial – there are mini needles piercing your skin so in one word I’d describe it as ‘pinchy’. But the derma pen is moved onto the next part so it’s only a pinch for a second. Laura and myself chatted the whole way through the treatment – she’s worse than me for the yapping, we had such a great natter so the time flew by and I would actually say the whole experience was enjoyable as I was learning loads about skin from Laura too during the procedure. After the treatment ended my skin felt warm and red, a bit like sunburn. Put it this way, you wouldn’t been popping around  the corner to Sean’s Bar for a gin and tonic afterwards!! Haha. I would recommend doing this treatment in the evening time as you can’t apply conventional make up for the first 12 hours and you may be a bit tender too so it’s best to go home and relax.

Redness and dots! Do not leave the house looking like this!! haha

The next morning if you need make-up you can pop on mineral make-up. To be honest the redness had practially gone the next morning anyway. Over the next 2/3 days my skin did tighten and was a little bit itchy but I was lashing on the SPF 30 to moisturise the skin and it as it can be sensitive afterwards. The skin may then flake/shed…mine only did a little bit. After about 8/10 days I started to notice the difference. My skin looked plumper, brighter and the texture felt smoother especially around my chin where I sometimes get a small bit of congestion.  My lines and wrinkles are still there but look softer and I am not obsessing about them as much as the overall condition of my skin is much better.

Approx 7 days later – zero make up and greasy hair! My skin looks good though!

I had planned a ‘course’ of needling as you do need to have it every 4/6 weeks to see a significant difference but as usual time just flew by and I only had the one so I just need to get a few more in the diary now.

As you know by now, Carrie’s is where I go for my skin treatments, products and beauty bits. Very few know that I am actually a trained CIBTAC beautician myself so I tend to do alot of my own bits and pieces. I trained a good while ago and I am non-practicing now…the only one I practice on is myself these days and that’s not great anymore! Treatments etc.  are moving with the times and I am always curious. While I may not be an expert in beauty I do know the biology of skin and what works and what doesn’t. The girls in Carries definitely know their stuff and are constantly up-skilling.

We all have cabinets full of make-up but if there isn’t a good canvas to apply it to, well it doesn’t really matter what you put on your face. So maybe instead of getting the latest eye-shadow palette or foundation this Christmas invest in your skin.

The Black Friday offers are brilliant – as you will see I am heading in Friday for one of my faves…I literally scraped the last bit out at the weekend.

Scraping out the last bit!!

If you have any questions, ask in the comments and I’m sure the girls would be happy to reply if I tag them.

T x

 

 

 

 

Clean eating and minding myself!

Hello and Happy Monday!

It’s the start of another new week and perhaps it’s one of those Mondays where we make ourselves promises to be healthy, exercise, eat well and all that jazz! Usually for me that lasts ’til about 4pm on a Monday as I reach for a packet of crisps!

At the end of July you may recall I decided to do a clean eating detox and I did say I would write a blog post after it was finished, but to be honest there was no point writing it immediately as I wanted to see how I felt the weeks after so I could let you know if it made any impact at all to my eating habits.

Over the past few months I’ve been pretty run down, suffering from headaches and stomach cramps and I’m continuously tired but yet not able to sleep. In turn all of this was having a knock-on affect on my skin and hair and I was getting recurring cold-sores. I suppose I was just burning the candle at both ends and being a bit silly really regarding looking after myself.
I knew all of this was pretty much down to my diet. I definitely drink too much coffee, not enough water, go for huge lengths of time without even eating at all and also make bad food choices when I’m hungry. Of course, like most people I do like my glass of wine too. I adore cheese and am a divil for eating crisps or nachos when cooking my dinner. In my job in the hospitality industry my working hours are long and they do vary so you might see me eating my dinner at 9pm but I will always have my dinner. I am sure I am not the only one who goes on like this? (please tell me ye all have bad eating habits).

Anyway, co-incidentally through work I got chatting to a local lady, Nichola Ryan and as the conversation went on I realised she was a pilates teacher but also an expert in the field of diet and nutrition. Following on from our chance meeting I decided I needed to change my mindset and focus on a bit of clean eating so I contacted Nichola and she devised a personalised plan for me which was a 5 day clean eating detox. Now this was not juicing, supplements or anything like that – those choices may work for some people and I am not knocking anyone who decides to go down that road at all, but it wouldn’t be for me. Nichola would be in agreement with me and that’s why I decided her clean eating plan would work for me. And just to clarify,  I did not do this for weight loss – I did it for energy and my own well-being and health.

So what did I eat you are probably wondering? Well I ate everything from the food pyramid including fats and carbohydrates but all the good ones! There was no caffeine, sugar, wheat, alcohol or dairy. ‘Eeeek’ I hear you say! I know it sounds awful. I’m not going to lie the first day was fine – I was all enthusiastic and geared up to embark on my 5 day detox. Starting off the day with hot water and lemon is pretty normal for me, but cutting out the coffee was hard. I guess its more of a habit. After my hot water and lemon, I always switch on the coffee machine and make a cuppa while getting ready for work. Drinking decaf green tea didn’t give me the same satisfaction, but I ploughed on nonetheless.

Healthy food shop

Day 2 and 3 were really hard. I got a thundering headache and the advice passed onto me from Nichola was to drink lots and lots of water. Honestly, I was nearly drowning myself with water, nevermind running to the loo non-stop! But I did feel the benefits and the headaches eased.

The food part was actually fine. I do love food when I actually make it my business to eat properly and and I felt I was eating more than I normally do. I am a divil for skipping either lunch or breakfast though. Every day without fail I have my dinner, but it’s either only breakfast or lunch I have, but never both! That had to change.

Breakfast options were porridge (with water only, no milk or no fruit…but I did throw in a few seeds for crunch which was allowed). Kilbeggan Oats are my favourite and still creamy with only water. Strangely I was allowed whole natural bio yogurt too (only a couple of teaspoons per day, which is dairy but also good carbs and good for the gut, so that was nice). Other options were eggs (cooked any style) and bacon…all this is obviously without toast, butter, brown bread etc. I stuck to porridge most days as I was working the 5 days of my detox and it was the handiest for me.

Glenisk yogurt

Lunch then was salads and they were great with salmon/chicken or any cooked meats. No dressings only a squeeze of lemon juice or some black pepper, but that was fine. One day I had an egg and ham omelette and sure I was as full as an egg (if you’ll excuse the pun) after my porridge breakfast, having that only a few hours later!

Chicken lunch.jpg

Snacks were veg sticks and hummus, pieces of chicken or cooked meat and boiled eggs. I was addicted to carrot and pepper sticks with my own homemade hummus…that was just fab and had a lunch box of them on my desk and in the car too if I got hungry.

Dinner was any veg really except mushrooms, so I stir fried/ roasted or boiled those and had those with brown rice (40g) or my new love ‘brown rice pasta’ – now this is deeeeelish. You will find it in the gluten free section of the supermarket: it’s in Tesco Athlone and Super Valu too. Again, you can only have 40g and it tastes like regular pasta but without that bloating feeling. I added passata (sieved tomato) to this and threw in lots of herbs and spices, veg and prawns…I love chilli and garlic so there was lashings thrown onto all my dinners. I could have any meats for protein or fish which I love anyway.

Brown rice pasta

So how did I feel afterwards? I felt energised from day 4. As I said, day 1 was just my enthusiasm. Day 2 and 3 were killers – the caffeine and sugar leaving my body had me zonked! I felt really tired and struggled with the headaches.

Would I recommend it. Yes, absolutely. It makes you think about what you put into your body. In my job I eat on the go and grab bits and pieces here and there. I am fortunate to be surrounded by fabulous food all day and I’m very lucky that I don’t have a sweet tooth but when my energy slumps I have been know to take a square of chocolate brownie! It’s kind of silly really as I don’t ever buy chocolate and I don’t have a sweet tooth at all, but when you feel lethargic you would really reach for anything to give you a boost of energy.

So am I back eating the way I was? No. Now I am eating more regularly and ensuring processed foods are minimal. Yes, I am having my morning coffee but I don’t feel as guilty as I am drinking lots more water which has reduced the amount of coffee I drink.  I am more conscious of my food choices now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t reach for a glass of prosecco or have a bag of chips every now and then. I now just think about when and what I eat and realise that I need to fuel my body from the inside with nutricious wholesome food.

And I know the burning question on people’s mind…did I lose weight? The answer is yes, of course I  did. That was not my intention but when you change to clean eating this is a natural occurence. So I would suggest that maybe if you want to lose a few pounds before a holiday or a big event, this would be the healthier way to go as opposed to starving yourself or going on some mad fad diet!

My full clean-eating detox plan was tailored for me after we discussed my lifestyle, my eating habits, weight etc. so I know it suited my needs and mine was just for 5 days. Nichola tailors eating plans for individuals on a one-to-one basis, so I would suggest contacting her if you think this is something you might want or like to do.

Anyway, I found it amazing. Nichola now wants me to join her pilates class which I am considering. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know I’m allergic to gyms, but a pilates studio I might just cope with, so watch this space.

Please feel free to comment with any questions but if you want expert advise please do contact Nichola directly.

I’ll leave her details below.

Have a great week.

Tanya x

P.S. Just incase anyone thinks I got paid to write this, you know only too well I didn’t. I am just sharing my own experience but feel free to send me money if you enjoyed reading it!!!

Click below to find Nichola on facebook or call/text 086-4403110

Nichola Ryan Pilates Athlone

Nichola Ryan

 

Love the skin you’re in!

Hello ladies,

Woohoo it’s nearly the weekend….says she who’s working the weekend but all the same I still love Thursday’s. They slowly roll into Friday and then everyone is in a good mood, especially these days with the mild weather and those few rays of cheery sunshine peeping through, not to mention the great aul stretch in the evenings now! haha

Is it just me or has everyone hopped onto the Image Skincare band-wagon recently? I have been hearing rave reviews about their products and peels. Lately my skin has been driving me mad…it’s dry, it’s dull, it’s tight and let’s be honest, ageing skin is what it is…and it’s kinda frustrating the life outta me. I’ve always had clear skin thankfully with the odd hormonal break-out on my chin but the lines and wrinkles are coming fast and furious – they are all I see when I look in the mirror. I suffer too from dehydration which makes them look worse some days, but of course I don’t help that by downing gallons of coffee daily, working in a warm environment and not getting enough sleep. But sure it could be worse…it’s only skin and ageing is a fact of life, but looking your age is not! Oh to be a young wan again!

I’ve always cleansed, toned and moisturised daily since I was a teenager and have used everything from Nivea to Skin Ceuticals to Clarins etc. so I decided I would give Image a whirl…why not? Sure I have probably tried every other brand on the market anyway and I’d like to jump on that band-wagon for a while with all the famous influencers! Of course, having trained as a beauty therapist and working in the sales and marketing industry for a long time I am no fool either, I wasn’t gonna part with my money just because it works for everyone else (or cos people are paid to say it’s great!).

I looked into local Image stockists and found one right on my doorstep – Carries Beauty Salon here in Athlone. Now I am going to be honest I know Carrie for years since I moved to Athone but have only been to her salon a couple of times in the past, which I was kinda embarrassed about. My own sister is a beautician and whatever I can’t do myself she does for me so I never needed to go to beauty salon in town. Half of the women in Athlone go to Carrie’s – since I’ve gone in I’ve been bumping into everyone I know. She moved to bigger premises a while back to cater for her growing client base and it’s sooo stylish a bit like herself…Carrie is a gorgeous girl, inside and out and a mammy to two adorable twin boys who I love hearing about on my recent visits. But most of all she knows good skin and you only have to look at hers to know that she knows what she is talking about.

Carrie.jpg

Carrie 2.jpg

After meeting and chatting with Carrie, I decided to go for an Image Skin peel first before purchasing any products. With the peel you are given a sample size post treatment pack which is fantastic as you receive 5 samples of their various products which must be used after your peel.

So when I heard ‘skin peel’, I was worried as the first thing that sprung into my mind was Samantha from Sex & The City  – remember her chemical skin peel and that scene? She looked like she’d been attacked by a blow torch – totally red and burnt looking! Carrie assured me this would not be the case thankfully. My biggest worry was leaving the salon with no make -up on, nevermind a big red head!!

kim+cattrall.jpg

The first peel you must get is The Signature Peel. The active ingredients in Image’s peels can be tailor-made to specific skin types but this one is the ‘starter’ peel to prep your skin.

What is is like? Let’s just say you know it’s working! Firstly my skin was cleansed thoroughly and then the gel peel was applied. It feels tingly and warm as it sits on your skin. It doesn’t hurt or sting at all (which I thought it might if I am honest). Then a cooling mask is applied which soothes the skin. The product penetrates down into the 5th layer of your skin which is the living layer where the skin cells are renewed. Most cosmetic brand peels only go as far as the first or second layer of skin. The ingredients in an Image peel include glycolic acid and gentle, yet active ezymes which brighten and tighten your skin (much needed!) and then high doses of Vitamin C hydrates and rejuvenates your skin. Honestly my skin was glowing leaving – the texture was different – it looked dewy and felt so soft and there was zero redness. Now some people will experience mild redness (in no way like Samantha whatsoever) and that’s perfectly ok too as it’s only your skin reacting to different ingredients. I had used products with glycolic acid in the past so maybe that’s why mine didn’t turn red.

After approximately 48 hours your skin does tighten and dry out a small bit – some people suffer from peeling/shedding which is perfectly normal as that is your skin renewing itself. I peeled, but very little, mostly between my eyebrows and on parts of my cheeks and forehead which would’ve been dehydrated anyway.

Every day afterwards you have to use the aftercare pack which I have been doing religiously! I have to say I am really loving the products so far, particularly the Vitamin C Enzyme mask – it’s like an injection of moisture into your skin and is great to prep your skin the night before an event or day out so your skin is smoother for make-up application.

aftercare.jpg

I have had 2 signature facials in the past 3 weeks and am using my sample product packs still which is great as I haven’t purchased any full size products at all yet. I do see changes in my skin….it’s definitely clearer and brighter, it’s waaay softer (you know those little bumps you can get on the side of your face, well they are gone), my chin sometimes get congested (especially if I am run down or hormonal) and that’s cleared up too. Now lets be real here, the wrinkles are still there but instead of looking at them all the time I am seeing brighter more radiant skin looking back at me so I don’t focus as much on the wrinkles.

I said to Carrie last week I’d love to write a blog post on my peels as I find alot of the influencers who are currently ‘promoting’ Image are younger than me and they receive lots of free samples and that’s ok too, but for me it’s more about trying them out for myself – you gotta always try before you buy!

The next peel I plan to get is the anti-ageing perfection lift peel (still obsessing over the wrinkles a bit!! haha) Carrie’s Salon are also now offering micro-needling which I am very strongly considering getting done next month too. I’ll keep you updated on my skincare journey as it goes along and let you know what products I buy…and if I brave the micro-needling!

Anyway, don’t just take my word – why not pop into Carrie or any of the girls in the salon as they are all experts on Image and skincare as they trained under Jennifer Rock, The Skin Nerd so they know good skin! They would be delighted to do a skin consultation with you so just give them a buzz.

Have a great weekend everyone and remember to love the skin you’re in! (I need to heed that sentiment myself)

Tanya x

P.S. Carries Beauty Salon is opposite Athlone Castle (No.11 Castle Street)

Phone 09064 – 77596 or follow them here on facebook

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Shopping…what else?

Good morning everyone,

I hope you all had a great week. I’m very bold for not writing a blog in ages but here’s a little read for you this Sunday morning.

As you will have seen from my recent posts, I was asked to present a style segment in the Spring Style Sensation in Athlone Towncentre last weekend.

When I was invited by Shirley, Aoife and the team in ATC H.Q. I was absolutely thrilled and terrified at the same time. My blog is my hobby, an outlet from my day to day life. It’s a bit of fun, a lot of fashion with a mix of beauty, travel and general ‘stuff’ thrown in. I am not always great for sitting down and writing blog-posts as I am a bit of a workaholic the last few months and never seem to find the time but I still love posting something small every day. I have decided though I will write more blog-posts during Lent…well, I couldn’t be giving up my lovely coffee or wine so I felt this was a compromise!

Holly and models and me

With the gorgeous Holly Carpenter and fabulous models from Catwalk Model Agency – little ole me stuck in the middle 2 foot smaller than them all! haha

Being asked to style six outfits and then present them at a fashion show was pretty daunting. It’s all fine and well running around Athlone Towncentre snapping everything I love (that’s just too easy) but coming out from behind the phone/computer screen was hard. For anyone who knows me, I would talk ‘til the cows come home, but talking on a microphone to the public had me absolutely petrified. After an upset stomach, sweaty palms and tear-filled eyes along with a shaky start I got through it. Sometimes you gotta face your fears and just get on with it…that’s something I could write a book about, nevermind a blog-post.

Anyway. I am not writing this blog post to tell you about overcoming fears. I am not writing it about the fun I had in Athlone Towncentre last Saturday either – you can clearly see all that in my photos which have been circulating around social media and the local papers in the last week (I’m not too morto). I thought I’d write a quick blog post to tell you why ATC is my ‘go-to’ shopping centre.

Victoria. Warehouse

Pretty in pink – adore this jumpsuit from Warehouse

Dearbhla.Next

My ‘Work to Wine’ look from Next – love it!

 

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My look from Vero Moda and the fab boots from Shoe Lace, modelled by the stunning Aisling.

 

So why do I love Athlone Towncentre? Well like I said earlier, my blog is a hobby and an outlet, as is retail therapy! It’s not always about ‘buying’ (that is of course is a bonus). It’s really about the experience. For me, just pottering around the shops and unwinding on a morning or afternoon off is a great way to clear my head (and sometimes clear out my purse too). To be truthful, I am happiest when doing this by myself. I find a few hours in the shops just chills me out and is waaaay better than shopping online – you just don’t get the same feeling scrolling around a website. I could head up towards home in Meath and nip over to the bigger centres on the outskirts of Dublin if I wanted but really, why would I? The shops I generally go to are here in Athlone anyway and I can be there in under 5 minutes, if all the lights are green on the way in! *this has been timed accurately haha.

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Katie styled head to toe in River-Island – loving the sunnies!

I am lucky that way. but Athlone as they say is the ‘belly button of Ireland’ so it’s really accessible from all parts of the country.

When I pop into ATC I love stopping off for a coffee (there’s lots of amazing coffee spots in there for refuelling) and lunch too, chatting to the staff in the stores and seeing all the new style hit the rails, touching and feeling everything as as I go along and trying on all my favourite picks. The staff in all the stores really are super-helpful. If something is not in your size they will order it in and there’s free delivery to all stores as far as I know (well any I have ordered from anyway, such as Next, Oasis, Zara etc. definitely offer free speedy delivery to their stores).

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Molly in Born Clothing bardot style dress – super-tall 6 foot Molly would be a perfect Zara model

Aisling. Oasis

Oasis – chic and comfy in one of my fave items of clothing…the jumpsuit.

Athlone Towncentre really has it all, without sounding like a cliché, with over 60 stores under one roof. I have bought everything from light fittings (our house is filled with light fittings from Next) to quirky finds in Tiger, sushi in M&S, notepads and wall prints in TK Maxx. I am not always nipping in for clothes, shoes, bags, accessories and make-up…mind you one of those items usually slips into the boot of the car too!

With such reasonable underground parking prices, €2 for 3 hours (saves the hair going fuzzy on rainy days) and free wifi I can snap my way around the stores. I can usually fill my phone with blog content in a few minutes and I have been known to stop and re-charge the battery in Starbucks…a recent discovery I spotted when queuing for their amazing flat white coffees…plug sockets! It’s the little things!!

My ‘go to’ clothing store is Zara and that’ll come as no surprise to anyone who follows my blog. The jumpsuit I wore to the style event was from Zara – I bought it the Thursday night before the show and spent Friday night altering it myself. Zara like to dress tall people…a category you will never find me in, but a few quick stitches had it sorted in jig time!  It’s currently still in stock in the store and was just so comfortable.

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I am not going to list out all the shops in the centre that I love, you can find them here.

End of the day

End of the show! The nerves were gone…Great fun with these gorgeous gals! Yep I am there hiding 🙈

This isn’t an ad for Athlone Towncentre by the way (apparently all the bloggers have to say this!).

I am just writing this blog post to tell you how amazing I think Athlone Towncentre is and to thank the team there for the opportunities they have given me since I have started my blog – inviting me to events, sharing my posts and just generally being so lovely and supportive all the time. Thanks x

I am not thanking them though for putting temptation everywhere and causing my bank balance to to take a nose dive on occasion – that’s a separate conversation I need to have with my bank manager!!

Have a great Sunday everyone, take it easy and sure if you’re in town I might bump into you! I’ll be in the grocery aisles ONLY today *wink, wink!

Love

T 💖 x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your address?

Yesterday I sat down and wrote Christmas cards to my friends and family and I spent half the night texting people for their addresses….some friend I am! Some of my friends have moved house recently, others have purchased new houses and some have emigrated. While I was writing the cards I was thinking about how lucky I am and the ‘card recipients’ are to have a house, a home…an address.

Tomorrow night I am fortunate enough to be able to go to Dublin to see a band I love called ‘Ham SandwicH’ in Dublin and see the sparkly Christmas lights, which is something I have always loved since we were brought to see by my parents as kids.

I am saddened though to think that there are a large amount of people in Dublin and in other cities and towns in our little country who will see the Christmas lights every single night these next few weeks, and on other nights they will see the moon and the stars…these are the people who sleep under them. These are Ireland’s homeless.

Women, men and children have no home. They have a cardboard box and maybe a blanket, if they are lucky. It is Winter and there is a storm coming.  They are cold and they are hungry. They are lonely too. They are on the streets because our Government doesn’t care.

I know tomorrow night as myself and Colin walk to the gig we will pass so many homeless people. We can’t change this, but we can do something small to help.

We decided that we will give all the homeless we pass a ham sandwich…it’s not world changing but it’s something small we can do as we walk the streets of Dublin. There are so many others doing so much more for the homeless but if each of us do one little thing we can make a small changes.  If there is anything you can do this Christmas, please do.

God forbid, some day it could be one of us who needs help.

Tanya x

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Athlone Fashion Trail

 

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Hello there,

It’s October…eek, where is the year going?

Mine kick-started with a fashion-filled day last Saturday, 1st October attending Athlone Fashion Trail– I am sure your heads were all melted as I snap-chatted my way around the town. My poor phone nearly burned out!

I was thrilled to be invited as a blogger on the first ever Athlone Fashion Trail with 24 other fabulous bloggers from Into the West Blogger Network. So firstly I want to say a huge thanks to the wonderful Sinéad & Saibh for inviting me and co-ordinating the day so seamlessly…I am certain this entails alot of preparation work in the week’s preceding such an event, but as I expected,  just like the Galway Fashion Trail it was superbly planned . The girls from Galway Now Magazine and Golden Egg did trojan work with all their planning  on the lead up to the day and on the day the day itself…well done to all you ladies (men too) –  you are really worked so hard to create such a fun day.

Of course, living in Athlone for so many years I am familiar with all the boutiques and shops which were on the trail but t it was extra special to be part of this group. It was a great opportunity for all of us to see the retailers showcasing their Autumn/Winter style through the fashion shows they presented. Each venue kindly offered discounts on the day and they spoiled us with sweet treats and prosecco along the way. They also bestowed us with generous gifts and vouchers too, so a huge thank you for these. It really was over and above any expectations we had.

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All the bloggers met at Colm Quinn BMW Showrooms for 9.30am. I was in my element surrounded by shiny BMW’s but my heart lies with the little Minis…being a Mini driver myself (I’m on my 3rd Mini now) I loved looking at all the new models and of course the vintage ones too. I bought my current Mini from Colm Quinn’s and I have to say their customer service is second to none. Here we were treated to a fabulous breakfast and fuelled up with coffee and prosecco too….a few bubbles for breakfast is no harm now and again! The models from Catwalk Model Agency were made even more beautiful than they already are by the very talented Aileen Duffy Make Up Artist and their hairs were done by one of Athlone’s most well renowned hair-dresser Maeve O’Healy Harte. Then we were chauffeured into town in style by the guys at Colm Quinn…honestly, it was very glamorous altogether and I felt like an A-lister celeb – ‘A ‘being for Athlone!!!

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First stop was Kadee Bridal Boutique on Pearse Street. I hadn’t visited their new stylish boutique but wow, it was absolutely stunning. For any bride-to-be I would highly recommend booking an appointment here. Dee and Kathleen are just so professional and stock some of the most stunning designs from Suzanne Neville, Temperley London and Martina Liana, but to name a few. Head-pieces and accessories were created by Laura Hanlon Designer who is a personal favourite of mine (she made my head-piece for the Galway races). She showed an amazing pearl head-piece which received many gasps when Katie from Catwalk Model agency sashayed out in it.

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A quick totter over the Shannon bridge and we arrived at our next destination, Burgess Department Store. Now, as I am sure you all know Burgess is a well established department store styling the midlands since 1839. Another fashion show commenced here with some fabulous outfits, coats and menswear. I had a good browse in their Carl Scarpa section which had some beautiful bags and Winter boots and the lingerie department there stocks some great labels as well. We also returned to Burgess for the final fashion show of the day. It truly is a beautiful store with very friendly staff and stocks everything from stunning homeware to kiddie’s wear – everything under one roof, isn’t that what we all want?

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Up from Burgess on Church Street  is Olivia Danielle boutique which is another well-known fashion mecca in the town. I am nearly always crashing the car when I am driving by looking at their window display. They house many Irish and International designers and they put on a truly glamorous fashion show with lots of glitz and sparkle. Here I fell in love with a hot pink coat which I was posting on my social media accounts during the week – it’s divine. Olivia Danielle’s also stock Freddy jeans which I didn’t realise; these promise a bum-lift to defy gravity – I can tell you now my ass needs a fork-lift sometimes so I will certainly put these to the challenge! Suzie Mahony also showed some of her amazing head-pieces and hats , and she was there herself too on the day offering style advice – she really is such a talented milliner and a lovely person.

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Then off we went to be re-fuelled by The Fatted Calf restaurant. Honestly the food was the prettiest I’ve even seen. That didn’t stop me devouring it and they served THE most amazing salted caramel doughtnuts I had ever tasted. I inhaled one and I was too polite to take another, but the inner piggy inside me was dying for a second one! It really was such a delicious lunch.

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Before and after lunch Athlone Town Centre showcased all the style from their various shops – this is a shopping centre I didn’t even know existed until last Saturday…ok, ok you know I am only joking!! Sure if I am not at home you will find me roaming around here! Even the other day when I got into my car, some maps thingy popped up on my phone saying ‘You are 5 minutes from Athlone Town Centre with no traffic’ – even the car and the phone are automated to go there. I think I need a therapist! Anyway, I spotted many pieces I wanted here (as usual!) but I particularly loved this Tommy Hilfiger jumper which Demelza was rocking…it’s part of the Gigi Hadid range and would match a multitude. Maybe I’ll get it for Christmas…just sayin’…like if anyone is stuck for ideas!

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Then we hobbled down to Boutique Clodagh – well when I say hobbled, I mean I hobbled in my heels – most of the other sensible bloggers had shoes you could actually walk in but myself and the gorgeous Pam from Pams Live Love Fashion blog just stuck it out in the heels…such a little pair of rebels! (well actual eejits if you saw my feet the next days…oh lordy they weren’t well at all!) She was my fashion side-kick all day long, snapping and chatting away and running into shops for purchases when we got a gap!

Clodagh’s boutique is a fabulous shop with something to suit all ages. They had the prettiest scarves and coats and lots of casual pieces to mix and match.

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Next it was back over town to Nell’s Closet – another one of my favourite window displays in Athlone. When I drive by here I always hope for a red traffic light so I can gaze in at their style. There were ooohs, aaaahs and squeals of delight out of everyone here as one outfit was nicer than the next! They also stock a huge selection of jewellery and handbags, so really it is a one-stop shop for style lovers…perfect for occasional wear. We also got to view pieces of contemporary jewellery from Celtic Roots,  by Irish artist Helen Conneely. These unique pieces are carved and sculpted from bogwood. So very unusual and eye-catching.

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We ended the day with a wrap party at Radisson Blu Hotel….a hotel I am very familiar with as I worked there for 4 years. It was just gorgeous to sit in the Riverside Lounge and sip a cocktail while nibbling on the delicious finger food they had ready for us. We all sat over-looking the Shannon chatting about our great day. Of course I had one eye on the Mayo vs Dublin match too – that was the only disappointment of the day…Mayo’s defeat. I knew one sad husband would be returning from Croke Park that evening!

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Having a bubbly breakfast with my fabulous friend Pam from Pams Live Love Fashion blog.

It’s was so great to be part of such a fun and fashionable day and I always meet so many bloggers from all over the country who I have been following already  – it’s  great to meet the face behind the blog. They were all so lovely and were absolutely blown away by the great style they saw in our little town of Athlone.

I have to say I was really proud to say on the day I was living in Athlone, and it pleased me even more to say that this lovely stylish town is where I now consider my home.

Enjoy your weekend my lovely fashionistas!

Tanya x

feet

Oh yes they may have looked stylish on the day, but boy were my feet sore the next day! Epsom salts at the ready!!

Me time!

Hello all,

I hope everyone is having a great week…we’re nearly at the end of it now, praise the lord!

The Summer is well and truly over – I think we are all starting to feel a nip in the air! I know you are probably thinking ‘sure Summer was over at the end of August’…well not in our house. Summer ends when September ends – Colin makes his annual voyage to Electric Picnic, I go somewhere as far removed from Electric Picnic I can find, and then we usually take a week off and head to the sun together after a busy Summer.

This year was no different except I didn’t want to go too far for my weekend away as I needed to pack my bags for holidays and I was working too on the Saturday. I remembered Colin had bought me a voucher for Sirana Spa in The Sheraton Athlone Hotel as part of last year’s Christmas present and sure I was only dying for an opportunity use it. This was the perfect time…while he was ‘mucking it’ at the picnic!

Working in the hospitality industry myself you would think I would tire of hotels and spas and run a mile from them on my days off – not me…I’m the total opposite. I love being the guest, enjoying all the pampering and of course watching it all from the other side.

I am forever popping in and out of The Sheraton Hotel in Athlone.  If it’s not for lunch or to meet up with the girls for drinks, we might pop in to watch a match (groan!) and have some food in the bar. We actually held our engagement party there a few years back and had a fantastic night in a private area off the main bar.  It’s a super stylish hotel and of course it’s beside Athlone Town Centre which makes it too handy for that sneaky glass of wine when running around the shops! But I am kinda mortified to say, I had never been to the spa there.

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So off I went with my pal (who joins me on my annual escapade every year) and we set the sat-nav for Gleeson St.  After a weary 5 minute drive from the house, we arrived at our destination! Haha.

I have to say I am a sucker for all things modern and stylish and Sirana Spa at The Sheraton was right up my street. The dark wood, the gorgeous smells and the relaxing music took effect the moment we walked through the spa entrance. We looked at each other approvingly and thought ‘yep, we’re gonna love this!’.

The therapist who greeted us on arrival was absolutely ‘adorable’…I hope she won’t mind me using that word! She chatted away happily as we filled out our consultation forms and swapped our heels for cosy slippers, then off we padded into the spa.  She took us around the changing area (very swish indeed with Hollywood light mirrors, beautiful décor and and more gorgeous smells). Then she walked us through the tepidarium, steam temple, rasul etc. and explained all the features and benefits of each area.

After she left us we floated around in our snuggly robes for 45 minutes or so trying out all the areas (snap-chatting as I went along!), then we were taken to our treatment rooms. My treatment was simply amazing. It was called the Aching Muscle Body Bliss and it included body brushing, a back, neck and shoulder massage and a head massage. And oh my, it was soooo blissful! I am always racing around and never seem to stop. My head is forever thinking, planning and organising, and for once this treatment stopped me in my tracks. There was piano music playing in the background and it was just so soothing, I completely zoned out and just listened as each key played. That never happens to me! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Mairéad my therapist was absolutely brilliant and I could tell she was very passionate about her job and she was an excellent masseuse.

We had decided that we would treat ourselves to afternoon tea as well and we had booked this in advance – sure when you’re out, you’re out! It was nearly too pretty to eat – there was a lovely mix of wraps, crusty bread and brown bread open sandwiches, scones with jam and cream and an array of calories disguised as desserts, which we absolutely devoured. I had a green tea to wash down the bold stuff…but we all know that calories and carbs don’t count on the weekends. Right?

 

The spa dining area was very plush with crushed velvet seating and it overlooks the swimming pool. We looked down guiltily at guests and members who were swimming lengths of the pool as we munched our way through the afternoon tea, but we did spy them looking up at us enviously too – I bet they were wishing they were eating all the yumminess in front of us!

After that we headed to the relaxation room with our bellies full. We could’ve had fresh fruit and infused waters there,  but we just lay back under the cosy blankets and read all the fab glossy magazines and had a natter. It really was the ultimate girls day out.

Since then we have been away on holidays and now it’s back to work and it’s all ‘go-go-go’. Writing this post has made me think of how we all spend our time off. But really is there such a thing as ‘time off’? And if there is, don’t we always find a way to fill that time gap with more things to do? We should really look after our body – afterall it’s the only one we have. Down-time is what we all need and here’s a suggested idea…

When it comes to Christmas (I know I said it…the dreaded ‘C’ word) myself and my sister don’t buy each other a Christmas present – instead we always go away for a ‘spa-day’.  We are usually both so busy throughout the year it’s always just snatched time we spend together. This way we can re-charge the batteries, catch up on life and just have a girly day out. I would highly recommend doing this with a sister, friend, mum or your other half. It really is so relaxing and it’s so much easier that traipsing the shops for pressies. So maybe you could try this too?

When I told her I was writing this post, she announced that she now wants to go to The Sheraton Athlone Hotel and when we do, we are going to stay there too – sure why not? Then she said perhaps we could go to the January sales next door in Athlone Town Centre! Woohoo, you would know she is my sister…spa, shop and stay – I’m looking forward to it already.

So why not give Sirana Spa at The Sheraton Athlone a shout. They have amazing Autumn offers – check them out here or maybe like me and my sis, you would like to plan a Winter/Spring break too as a Christmas pressie to yourselves.

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Forgot to take pic of my treatment room, so stole this from their website! It was gorgeous.

I love promoting everything that Athlone has to offer and it’s hard to believe this calm little oasis is right in the middle of our town. I really can’t wait to go back. So go on treat yourselves, or better still, get someone to treat you. We all deserve a bit of pampering from time to time…

Tanya x

Contact Sheraton Athlone Hotel:

Ph: 09064 51000

Log onto their website here

Follow them on facebook here

 

Spot the Dot!

Hi everyone,

Another week done and dusted and now we’re into September – gosh, dare I say it but it’ll be Christmas soon! Blog-posts have been a bit less frequent recently as I started a new job so it’s all go, but I do hope to get back into regular blogging in the next few weeks. In the meantime I hope you have been enjoying my ‘fash-dash’ photos that I post frequently on facebook and snap-chat. I’ll always allow a bit of time each week to run into the shops…you know, incase I miss anything!!

If you were following me over on snap-chat you will have seen I received a bespoke necklace from Stella & Dot recently. Some of you may know that I used to be a stylist for Stella & Dot but due to work commitments and the blog, unfortunately time doesn’t allow me to do everything. However, I am still a huge fan and most of the jewellery I wear day-to-day is all Stella & Dot. Carmel Finn is always my ‘go to’ stylist now when I want to make a purchase – she is one of Ireland’s top Stella & Dot stylists and is based in the midlands.

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Some of my favourite Stella & Dot pieces

The bespoke range was just recently launched and I have to say the minute I spied the pieces I absolutely loved them. I saw Glenda and the girls on Xposé wearing different chains, and Rosanna Davison, Pippa O’Connor and Kathryn Thomas are others who I have also spotted (excuse the pun!) wearing the Stella & Dot bespoke range. Sure I am easily influenced!

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In the bespoke range you will find necklaces, bracelets, rings and even cuff-links which can be engraved with letters and numbers depending on the piece you choose. There’s also various font types which makes them very unique to the individual. You can engrave your own initials, initials of a loved one, a child or a memorable date…there are so many options depending on the piece you choose.

My stunning necklace is the silver bespoke disc necklace, which is sterling silver. It’s was engraved with my initial ‘T’ for Tanya, ‘C’ for Colin (my hubby, or as he likes say, ‘the better half’, I’ll argue that!) and ‘H’ for our surname, and I absolutely adore it. You can wear it on it’s own or layered.

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Stella & Dot have also started retailing watches since I was a stylist and I have to say one of my favourites is this leopard print one. Wouldn’t it make a lovely Christmas gift?…just sayin’. You can check it out here.

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Stella & Dot products can only be purchased online from a stylist, or you can host a ‘Trunk Show’ which is basically a jewellery party with the girls (wine and prosecco are also welcome!). I hosted so many trunk shows when I was a stylist and I loved doing them as they were really just a gathering of all the girls trying on jewellery and having a great evening of fun. The best part is the host of the party receives free jewellery so it’s a win-win for everyone. I recall one night last Christmas I was at home and 7 girls in our local pub were wearing the ‘blessed’ bangle –  and 4 of those girls had received them free from hosting parties. Any excuse ladies to hold a porrrtay! Stella & Dot jewellery is delivered very efficiently to your home by courier and who would’t want to see these pretty parcels landing on your door-step. They make a perfect gift too.

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If you fancy booking Carmel for a party or if you want to purchase directly from the website it’s http://www.stelladot.eu/sites/carmelfinn or just click here. You can also follow Carmel on social media.

Facebook:  facebook @stylistcarmelfinn

Instagram:  carmelfinn_sdstylist

And Carmel just told me to let you know that she is kindly offering prosecco for any party booked in September – how nice is that? I have her booked for a party before Christmas and I’m already making my list. Well I have been a very good girl this year!!!

Chat you all soon and enjoy the Stella Shopping.

Tanya x