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

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!

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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.

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Pretty in pink – adore this jumpsuit from Warehouse

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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

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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.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Limerick, you’re a lady!

Hi there ladies.

It’s Friday night so it’s all wild here…pj’s on, wine in the glass and a takeaway en route…happy days!

If you follow me over on snap-chat you will have seen I was in  Limerick on Easter Sunday night with a friend.  I was really looking forward to this night away as it was our Christmas present to each other . Sometimes it’s nicer to enjoy an experience rather than always searching for that perfect present in the run up to Christmas.  We are all so hectic in our lives so catching up with friends is important and a lovely way to recharge. I had been to Limerick a few times with Colin over the years and I have to say I really love the city.

Rather than writing a big blog post on what I did and where I went I’ve decided to write down the reasons you SHOULD  visit Limerick…but actually it is all about what I did and where I went!! haha

From Athlone, it was a quick spin to Limerick – just an hour and a half. It’s so accessible from all parts of the country really with great roads leading into it.

The George Boutique Hotel is is where we stayed.  It’s literally slap-bang in the city centre so you can walk everywhere! (as obvious as it is, we drove around it 3 times looking for it  – it has a narrow entrance with an escalator and lift up to reception, so my advice is to look up for the HUGE sign that says ‘The George Hotel’…all the giggling when we eventually saw it was part of the fun!) It’s a really funky hotel with friendly staff and very quiet rooms despite the city centre location. There was a stag party on our floor but they were fairly sound until we heard their rendition of  “It’s a long way to Tipperary” at 4am in the morning. I felt like reminding them it wasn’t a long way to Tipperary as we were only in Limerick and a taxi could be organised if they didn’t whisht up…but one verse and they conked out! We didn’t eat in the hotel but they had a bar and restaurant which looked really busy all the time, Da Vincenzo Wine & Food Hall. The rate was amazing too – €85 room only (on Easter Sunday night!) – check it out!

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Brown Thomas – well sure why not? (it was literally a 2 minute walk from the hotel, as was Debenhams!) I nearly fell outta my high heels when I walked in to see a Charlotte Tilbury counter in BT which had just opened 3 days beforehand …you would nearly think it was planned! It would’ve been a shame not to buy something, so I did! I have been lusting after this eye shadow pencil (for green eyes) since I was introduced to it on the day of Pippa’s fashion factory…and no it wasn’t in Pippa’s make up bag! We decided to go through our own make-up when having dinner in Kin Khao (after a few glasses/bottles of wine) and thanks to Sinead I’ve been wanting this since then…well I did wait nearly 3 months and it’s my first CT purchase, so I feel like I deserve it.  There was plenty of temptation in the handbag section of BT too but I just snap-chatted my way through it!

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Paddy Frawley’s Pub – the nicest staff we encountered on our visit to Limerick.  We popped in here for a glass of wine after arriving…as you do!  We got chatting to a really nice bar-man called Wayne who told us that that the restaurant we were going for dinner, ‘The Cornstore’ was their sister business. We had 2 glasses of yummy pinot grigio here over a lovely chat  and he recommended where to go for drinks after dinner, where to go for breakfast the next day and where to go shopping…every recommendation was on point, so read on! Thanks Wayne.

The Cornstore Restaurant – we had booked this earlier in the week for dinner and it  did not disappoint – it was just gorgeous. The atmosphere was buzzing,  the staff were super friendly and the food…well, it was just divine! We got a starter of bread and dips…as you can see we got a loaf!! Carb city or what.

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Fabulous menu – lots of choice!

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Nancy Blakes – a huge pub with nooks and crannys and a large out-door smoking area – we were fortunate to get a table and we enjoyed the fashion spotting and people-watching with our bellies full of food! We even got chatted up by 2 aul lads aged about 70 from Cork  – they were great aul craic and we laughed away with them for a while…they had really strong Cork accents so between that and the music I couldn’t understand a word they were saying, so it was just ‘nod and smile!’

Breakfast – The Buttery – Oh my god if you ever go to Limerick you need to go here for brunch! I had  the most amazing eggs benedict…deeeeelicious. My friend had a hot chocolate with her breakfast and it was a huge glass of steamed milk served with a chocolate stick that melted into the milk when you stirred it…for any chocoholics this looked gorgeous! I was watching everyone else’s food being served around our table and everything looked just scrumptious.

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Shopping – Well now, I couldn’t go without checking out the shops…you know, to report back! And lets just say we were very impressed! We drove out to The Crescent Shopping Centre, 5-7 mins from the city centre. We were told to drive straight the whole way from O’Connell Street, which is the main street and we would find it…I was dubious of these directions but they were accurate – straight, straight, straight and there it was, in all it’s glory!

So what was there? Everything!! My faves Zara & H&M and all the usual high suspects such as River Island, Next, Penneys etc. There was a Shaw’s department store there too which is great for cosmetics at a reasonable price. Oh and I couldn’t believe it housed the amazing Parfois too…I normally only go here if  I’m in Dublin city or the airport and I always forget how brilliant it is for bags and accessories and moreso, how reasonable it is. And oh yes ladies it’s another one you can order from online! I did buy a bag when I was there – a really nice leather-look shopper, it was €24.99 and it has an insert bag which can be used separately or just to safely mind your bits and bobs when zipped up inside the shopper bag. Not sure if the photos do it justice but it’s really nice and I will hopefully get around to transferring all my stuff into it over the weekend as it’ll be perfect for work.

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Love the detail of this bag.

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Of course we indulged in one more coffee and hot chocolate in Butlers Chocolate Café before we hit the road home with a  boot-ful of shopping and our expanding waistlines…but it was soooo worth it!

I loved my night away – and despite the bad press Limerick is sometimes marred with, I can honestly say, Limerick you are a lady and I will see you again soon, I  hope. So if you are planning a night away with a friend or the other half I would highly recommend this vibrant city.

So much for a ‘short’ blog post…I’m always rambling on!

Have a great weekend everyone xxx

Tanya

3 Problems. 3 Solutions.

Hello ladies,

Isn’t there always a drama when it comes to our make up bags?…nail polish bottles won’t open, our favourite mascara has dried out, or worse still, your best lippy has broken (cue total melt-down when this happens to me!)

Well I have a few solutions to these problems if the budget/time doesn’t allow running off to the nearest shop to buy replacements – I have tried them all and they do work!

If the top of your nail polish won’t open, dip only the handle in a cup of warm water to loosen it. Make sure not to put the whole bottle in the warm water, however, since warm temperatures can alter the colour and consistency of your nail polishes.

Nail polish

Soak your mascara in a cup of warm water when you’re running low to loosen the product along the sides of the tube. Just remember to throw it out when it’s past it’s prime (aka the three-month mark…ahem, I have been known to keep mine waaaay longer!)

Mascara

Fix a broken lipstick by melting it back together with a lighter. Hold the flame close enough to melt the broken edges of the stick (the bottom of the top piece and the top of the bottom piece) without burning them, press the pieces together, and smooth the seam with your finger before it dries. Then I would suggest popping it in the fridge overnight just to ensure it fully sets…and while you are in the fridge pour yourself that well-deserved glass of wine to celebrate bringing your lippy back to life!

Lippy

So no more tears and tantrums (or does that just go on in my house?)  – 3 problems solved!

Enjoy your Saturday night!

Tanya 💖 x

Royal treatment in the Royal county!

Isn’t it just gone so Wintery…we were lucky to see such little rain up ’til this week and then it’s all boots, brollies, not to mention bad hair days…oh I hate the rain.

It made me think about getting away for a few days and planning a ‘staycation’. I know it’s a draining time of the year on the old bank account with Christmas just around the corner but think about it…we trawl the shops for gifts for parents/partners/friends etc. for Christmas and I always think it’s nice to spend that same money on a little break away, rather than an ‘ill-fitting shirt’ or a ‘watch they will never wear’, don’t you think? We should all try to spend a bit more time with our nearest and dearest as it’s all just rushing and racing in this life, and most of us are like ships in the night and never actually get time together to chill out.  I was only talking to someone on Saturday who told me they emailed the shopping list to their husband and I thought to myself,  ‘Phew, I am not the only one who emails their husband!!’ (mind you never the shopping list!!!) That’s just the way life has gone!

This is the absolute best time of the year for amazing hotel rates, both midweek and weekend as it’s the off-peak period for hotels from now right up until Valentines Day.

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I just love staying in hotels and from my experience of working in the hospitality industry these are the reasons why I love booking a Winter break. Firstly, it’s the time of year you need to re-charge the batteries, so try to book a hotel where you can park up the car for the few days and not have to leave. I would suggest you pick a hotel with wonderful food which has a spa, pool, gym or nice scenic walking trails.  As it’s a little bit quieter,  I always find that staff are so attentive this time of year too as they have that little bit more time to have a chat with each and every guest so service is always brilliant. (I love chatting to hotel staff and finding out their background, where they are from etc…but maybe I’m just nosey!) You can sit around drinking hot chocolates , hot toddies or rich red merlots in front of beautiful fires and just read that book you’ve always wanted to. Some hotels offer an extended check-out time (complimentary) so there’s no rushing to be out for 12 noon, so you can order that brekkie in bed and have another little snooze or a canoodle 😉

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Anyway with all that in mind, I want to recommend some hotels over the coming weeks if you are considering a gift or a break for yourself!

Back in September I had a mini staycation (2 nights midweek) with my hubby to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We stayed in the stunning Dunboyne Castle Hotel in Co. Meath.  Now I know when we booked there was a few people wondering why when I’m originally from Meath would I want to go to Meath on a mini-break?

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First of all, this is a hotel I have been wanting to visit for a very long time as I had heard and read amazing reviews on it, especially about their spa, Seoíd. The fact that it was only half an hour from my home village added to the experience for me as we were able to visit my family on the way, and then they came and visited us in the hotel too.  Also, we wanted somewhere that we could just chill out for 2 days, indulge in some nice food and a few drinks and go to the spa to unwind. For anyone who doesn’t know Dunboyne in Co. Meath, it’s a gorgeous little village, quite close to the Dublin border with some really quaint pubs and some beautiful fashion boutiques too. It’s only 10 minutes from Maynooth and 15 minutes from Blanchardstown (and you know what’s there ladies…The Blanchardstown Centre) You can also hop on the Dublin bus from outside the hotel if you fancy a trip into the city – it’s just so accessible to so many places if you want to explore.

On arrival we were treated to a show-around of the original part of the hotel, which is an old mansion house built on the grounds of the former Dunboyne Castle. It was absolutely stunning – there was only one bedroom in this part of the hotel, the bridal suite and it was so luxurious and definitely worth a visit if you are an impending bride or groom – I would book a wedding there for the bridal suite alone!  There was also a stunning drawing room which can cater for private parties and small weddings – it was dressed beautifully as there was an upcoming event.

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Bridal Suite bed

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Drawing Room

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Bridal Suite bathroom

We were very fortunate to be upgraded to the Presidential Suite in the main part of the hotel for our anniversary and to say it was breath-taking was an understatement – it was absolutely HUGE! It had a separate living/dining room area with spectacular garden views and a bathroom that I could only dream about having at home – I adore double vanity units (my side is always messed up with everything I  brought  from my own bathroom and the hubby’s side is all neat and tidy with his one wash-bag! haha)

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View from our window!

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Presidential Suite

But I don’t want to go on about the presidential suite, as the standard rooms were absolutely fabulous too. The hotel is open nearly 10 years, and all the rooms are so modern and well appointed with all the  4 star amenities that you would expect (some hotels did cut back on these little touches during the recession but this hotel certainly didn’t!). They kept their standards very high and that was clear to see. (We both work in the hospitality industry so we can spot these little things) I just loved all the added touches such as robes/slippers, fancy creams etc…it’s nice to feel a bit spoilt when you are away!

We decided to head straight down to the thermal area of the spa and again a big ‘wow’ awaited us! There was an indoor hydrotherapy pool with lots of various jets and water features and the thermal area had a stunning herb sauna, laconium and crystal steam room. It was the outdoor hot tub that won me over – it was just bliss. We sat in the outdoor hot tub until our skin was shrivelled up – as you can see from the photo it was so gorgeous and overlooked the grounds of the hotel estate.The spa was well stocked with all the recent glossy mags too and they kept me quiet for a good while. I only found during our stay that ‘Seoíd’ meant ‘Gem’ and this is truly a gem that shouldn’t be hidden. I indulged in a ‘well-needed’ Voya facial and it was so relaxing and I left feeling totally cleansed and refreshed after my seaweed-infused gel mask.

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Outdoor Hot Tub

Dinner that night in the restaurant was superb, ‘The Ivy Restaurant’.  I had the hake and my husband had rack of lamb. We are not dessert eaters but I spied the desserts coming out to other tables and for anyone who loves a bit of sweetness, I can only say these looked divine. The staff were extremely professional, yet friendly. We ate quite late as we had met my parents for a drink before dinner, but we were never rushed or pressured to finish each course. It was back to over to the bar then to have a little post-dinner drink to digest all the yummy food…as you do!

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The next day after a gorgeous breakfast we took a long walk around the grounds of the hotel and then it was off to Blanchardstown for a bit of retail therapy – it was literally 15 minutes away in the car and I just love that shopping centre and the retail parks around it.  It’s great to have all the shops and department stores beside each other,  some of which I don’t get to very often such as Mango, French Connection & BT2, so we pottered around there for a few hours much to my delight (lightening my purse rapidly as I went!)

It was back to the hotel then for more chilling in the spa – I have to admit I am a bit of a ‘spa critique’ and this one certainly is on the very top of my list. I noticed they offer lots of day spa packages too so if you don’t have far to travel I would strongly recommend it…another great gift idea for a day out with a friend/mum/sister.  I do this every year with own my sister for Christmas – instead of buying something for each other, we head off to a spa for the day and this year we are going the whole hog and going to stay somewhere overnight as there are such great deals in January/February (plus we can have a few drinkies too!)  We are currently researching so  I will keep you updated on that adventure too in the new year!

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This hotel is extremely popular for events too  – on our first night there was a school graduation ball and that occupied my time ‘fashion-policing’ for a good hour! There were some stunning dresses, but my  god there were a few too that raised an eyebrow as I thought back to the innocence of my own grad days!!

The second night there was a wedding and again I was in my element ‘style-watching’.  The ballroom is the other side of the hotel so there wasn’t a word to be heard on either night in our bedroom , which was super for the light sleeper that my husband is! (I wouldn’t care if the DJ was in the room! ) We over-heard all the wedding guests raving about the food and service the following morning at breakfast which I can certainly concur with, as the food was outstanding throughout the hotel.  We dined in the bar on the second night and it was beautiful too  – the bar is in an open atrium area where the old part of the mansion house meets the new hotel area so it has alot of character with very plush, comfy seating and a superb drinks list –  we  were happu t out sitting back with our drinks, feeling totally chilled!

So now if you are thinking of  treating yourself to a pre-Christmas break to indulge in a bit of retail therapy in Blanchardstown or maybe you’re thinking of heading to the January sales or planning a romantic break or a girly spa get-together …if so, Dunboyne Castle Hotel is definitely on the top of my list of recommendations, so  go on treat someone or treat yourself, you will really enjoy it!

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I checked out the website and there’s an amazing overnight Spa Package available at the moment starting from €99 per person B+B which includes a spa treatment…now that is excellent value!

Check out their website: Dunboyne Castle Hotel or phone: 01-8013500

Anyway, I’m reminiscent of my lovely stay in Dunboyne Castle Hotel as I look back on my photos. I  am now looking out the window at the rain and wind beating against it and thinking there’s nothing better than making memories, so go and make some!

Have a good week everyone.

Love, T x 💖

Pale as a ghost…I don’t think so! 👻🎃

Hi ladies,

Thank god it’s a short one this week…4 days woohoo! I’m sure some of you are busy keeping the little ones entertained on mid-term break – I hope you’re having fun and getting all set for Halloween.

So, you may have seen recently over on snap-chat that I broke my Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Compact Bronzer *very sad face. I absolutely love this bronzer and it’s one of the ‘good’ items in my make-up bag that I splurged on and I don’t regret it one bit (€42.50) Darn those bathroom tiles…thankfully it just fell and cracked in the compact and it didn’t go all over the floor.

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I read somewhere that you can put broken powder compacts such as blusher, bronzer and eye-shadows back together with ‘rubbing alcohol’ (whatever the hell that is?) There’s only one kinda alcohol I know and it just goes straight into a glass with ice and a slice! So I decided to look online and found a few variations on how to fix the problem, but in the end I made my own concoction of a few suggested ideas and I’m delighted to say it worked! Here’s what I did…

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  1. I crushed the broken bronzer bits into smaller pieces with the back of a teaspoon in the compact.
  2. Then I mixed in a very small drop of surgical spirits into the broken bits to create a paste.
  3. Next I got a baby wipe (another use for my trusty baby wipes!) and put it across the paste and pressed down to firm the paste right into the compact.
  4. Once that was done I left the bronzer compact in the fridge over night and tad dah…the next morning it was set!

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OK, so it doesn’t look as pretty as it was originally but it still does the same job and I’m just delighted that I don’t have to fork out for a new one – happy days!

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Well I’m as pale as a ghost right now as I’m up since 6am and no amount of bronzer will help tonight, so I’m getting into the pjs for a catch-up of this evenings Xpose and then it’s lights out!

Nitey nite & Happy Halloween!

Love, T x 💖

The Fantastic, Fabulous Farnham

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6th September is just a date…meaning nothing to most people! In our house it meant it was our wedding anniversary but it also meant it was Electric Picnic weekend.

From the time I met my husband I knew this was a date in the calendar that would be circled and highlighted and come hell or high water (or wedding anniversaries) it would be attended! Luckily the year we married E.P. was the weekend before our wedding…now that I think of it, how very coincidental it didn’t fall on the same weekend…hmmm

The Electric Picnic excitement usually starts around this time of the year when the early bird tickets go on sale…so for one year in advance I knew I would be celebrating alone (cue the sad music!)

So as this was, and always will be an annual event for my husband who has the organisation down to military precision, there were 2 options – I could go and be miserable celebrating my anniversary, hence making him miserable, or I could do what I do every single year and head off for a really nice weekend break. Don’t get me wrong sometimes the F.O.M.O. crosses my mind as I overhear the phone-calls and planning as the excitement builds…but then reality hits me one week in advance as our house turns into a preparation camp for the weekend – tents, wellies, rain-coats, beer, water and toilet rolls are stacked up (messing up the place) bringing me back to a harsh reality of what lies ahead of him, and as for the thoughts of the bags of laundry returning…well enough said! So to all you music revellers, I salute you…the great unwashed of Electric Picnic…but it’s just not for me!

With him packed off and me packed up (1 suitcase, 1 shoe-case and 2 hangers of clothes) my happy little head, along with my pal were en route to Cavan for my Electric Picnic weekend which involved electric showers, hair-dryers and ghds and picnicing on the yummiest food, wine and cocktails in the comfort of a luxurious hotel.  My hotel of choice was the stunning  Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Hotel.

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This has not been my first time here, in actual fact it’s my third time to visit this magnificent hotel hidden in a scenic forested area just a few kilometres outside Cavan town. Cavan is very accessible to all, located a little bit north of the centre of the country – from the midlands/west/south take the N55, and anyone from the east coast/Dublin you are lucky to have the M3 motorway and then jump onto the N3.

You know from when you enter the gates, you are in for something special as you drive through the beautiful walled estate to arrive up to a breath-taking building where old meets new.

We whizzed up to the door to unload and then went to check in. The receptionist was so welcoming and friendly and even offered for someone to park the car for me – we quickly declined as we had more bags to bring in and it was kinda embarrassing for a 2 night check-in that we had so much luggage! The car park is located back down the hill and there is shuttle bus running up and down picking up guests, but we decided to walk as it was a beautiful day.

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Our room was 138  and it was amazing. (I have since found out this was a standard room – I honestly thought it was one of their superior rooms). It was a spacious twin room on the ground floor with double doors opening out to a seating area with a table and chairs overlooking the beautiful Cavan scenery.  The beds were so comfy and we just sunk onto them for a little rest to decide upon our plan of action – I know from working in hotels I used to write room descriptions about ‘double sprung or 1000 pocket-sprung mattresses, with generous layers of fillings, covered in a hand tufted cool touch fabric blah, blah, blah’, but who actually rings up hotels and asks about the mattress springs? Let me just tell you these beds are SO COMFORTABLE (We had no opportunity to count the springs!).  There was a most unusual feature in our room – a wooden hatch window between the bathroom and bedroom – I suppose guests can  have a chat while one is in the in the bath or on the toilet (heaven forbid) and the other is in the bedroom?! Take note those planning a romantic break!! We did not require this hatch during our stay but I am sure some do! The shower was fab with an amazing rain shower head and the bathroom was stocked with really well sized amenities such as shower gels, body lotions etc, fluffy towels and of course lots of bottled water which is always a necessity for the morning-after, if you have indulged in a few too many glasses of vino!

I forgot in all my awe to take a photo of the bedroom, but our room was identical to the one in the photo below, except with twin beds.

Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Cavan

We took a long walk then around some of the forested trails which are all well signed and one of them took us right down to a lake where they have a really nice seating area. It was back to the hotel then where we hit the bar to watch a G.A.A. match (Mayo vs Dublin…yes there is a huge G.A.A. fan inside this little lady!) There was a great mix of guests here – spa goers, golf groups and couples so the banter was mighty!

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Back to the room then for a quick change and off we went for dinner to The Botanica Restaurant. I chose this most amazing seafood starter (pictured) with monk-fish to follow for my main course – there was no room for dessert, but plenty of space for wine! It was back then to one of my favourite hotel bars in the country, The Wine Goose Bar, an underground cellar bar with all its little nooks and cosy corners so we parked up for a night of chatting and there was a lively 2 piece band playing in the background – I spied Electric Picnic on the TV behind the band and as I sat back with my glass of pinot grigio,  I realised I had absolutely no desire at all to be there!

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Next day it was breakfast and the ‘super buffet’  breakfast that Radisson Blu Hotels are famed for was definitely super in a very relaxed atmosphere – the breakfast room was packed to capacity both mornings but the food was plentiful and service excellent.

After another short trek through the grounds (to walk off the breakfast), we had a good nosey around the old rooms in the original part of the hotel to take a few photos. Next on the agenda was the spa.

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The highlight of this hotel for me is the Health Spa…it is, without a doubt, one of the best in Ireland.

All guests have complimentary use of the thermal area which has steam rooms, salt inhalation, snail showers, a Finnish sauna, laconium and various foot therapy treatments. The indoor/outdoor infinity hydrotherapy pool is just unreal  – you can swim from an indoor pool to an outside pool which also has lots of water features and sure while you are there you can count the cows in the local fields! Ironically enough you actually feel really warm in the water even though the temperature that weekend wasn’t Marbella-like!

We both chose the Coconut Melt Full Body Massage (thanks to my hubby) and it was so just relaxing and we both agreed both therapists were excellent. We met up again in the relaxation suite where we were given herbal teas. All the latest edition glossy magazines were in place to keep us entertained as we were in the ‘rested zone’ so yapping was limited!

While we were there,  I did have some sneaky chats to numerous mums-to-be who said the spa offered a variety of treatments specifically for during pregnancy, so it’s a really nice treat to consider if you are expecting a baby.

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Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Cavan

The therapist suggested drinking lots of water after our treatment so we did that (a glass at least!). We did also have a lovely snipe of prosecco too, after all it was my wedding anniversary! We sat outside the main bar where they have a gorgeous outside seating area – it felt like we were abroad on our holliers in these surroundings! Then it was time to get glammed up again and off we went to The Wine Goose Cellar Bar for a scrummy dinner followed by a delicious cocktail to end our Electric Picnic weekend…

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I really can’t say enough about my stay here (I could’ve written a book, not a blog post!) A huge mention to the staff here – I can honestly say every single staff member we met were so friendly and efficient and the lovely Aisling who we met on day one was an absolute gem and always had a nice word for us. Thanks Aisling – we were the ‘Pinot Grigio Girls’ (if you are reading this!)

You know this time of year is a brilliant time to book hotels as they offer discounted off-peak season deals and brilliant midweek offers  too. If you want to park the car up and come home totally relaxed, this is definitely the hotel you need to book! I needed all the R&R for the amount of Electric Picnic washing I was faced with on my return! T x

For full info: Log onto the hotel’s website here

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For anyone thinking of getting married I did a quick recce…

Why wed here?

– Stunning grounds for photos – wooden swings, lake, forested areas, backdrop of old house

– Bridal Suite – just out of this world!

– Inside rooms for photography in the old house has stunning backdrops of  fireplaces, mirrors and furniture and there is a very unusual staircase

– Separate/private area for weddings banquet and arrival drinks

– Food is amazing so I can only assume the banqueting food is equally as good

– Staff are so friendly and welcoming and that was a big plus for this hotel

For full info: Log onto the hotel’s website here