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





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 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!!


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.


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







Athlone Fashion Trail



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.


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!!!


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.

kadee-2 kadee-3 kadee

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?


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.

od od2od3od4

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.



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!


atc1 atc2

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.

bc bc2

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.

nells1 nell4

nell-10 nells-3

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!


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


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

Simone Mahler…my new BFF!

Hi there,

Here we are mid-week and mid-Summer…hard to believe really? Clouds all day and now I am actually cold this evening.

Recently I was contacted by Catriona’s Health & Beauty Clinic in Athlone  to see if I would like to try out a new French skincare range they are now retailing, Simone Mahler. I was honest with Catriona and told her I had never heard of it before. After doing my research I found out Simone Mahler started her ‘dermo cosmetic’ company  over 60 years ago and it’s in distribution globally over 40 years but only launched in Ireland early this year. ‘Dermo Cosmetics’…I was interested!

Having a beauty background, being a beauty junkie and always wanting something new for my skin I thought I would give it a go! Dermo cosmetics sounded a lot more scientific than the usual word ‘skincare’ so I was curious. I did explain to Catriona, the owner of Catriona’s Health & Beauty Clinic that my blog is called ‘My Little Love Stories’ for a reason –  I write about what I love, so if I didn’t like or love these products I would not write about them. I think that’s fair enough when you are blogging as we all know the paid endorsements that bloggers get to promote a product which of course is a great revenue line, but I also think there needs to be some credibility and transparency too as I mentioned before in previous posts. I am not getting paid to say I like them or I don’t like them – I am simply giving my honest opinion on the range that was specifically mapped to my skin type and needs.

Simone pic

3 weeks ago I met with Catherine from Simone Mahler who carried out a full computerised skin analysis on my face (eek I was dreading the results!). Basically it was like an ipad that took close-up photos of my skin for rigorous monitoring. My concerns were lines, wrinkles, lines, wrinkles! I was delighted to hear that the findings weren’t as bad I had thought though and Catherine was very complimentary to me…well she said the camera was honest!! Hmmm, maybe all is not as bad as I think!

I have normal/dry skin which was what the camera showed. I also had some slight pigmentation too under my eye area (years of sun holidays definitely being the main cause of that) and there were some open pores around my nose/chin area.  The lines I loathe on my forehead are going nowhere  – by using dermo-cosmetics it will slow down the ageing process but they won’t vanish. The only solution for those pesks  is some kind of cosmetic surgery or needling and I am going to be honest and say that the needling is something I am definitely going to consider…so watch this space! So really ladies no cream will turn back time, it will only help slow down the ageing process so you really need to be looking after your skin from an early age! Ooops too late now for me!

The range that was specific to me was Decrisp’line – this is the preventative range and slows the effects of time – it’s used to reduce the signs of fatigue, to recover suppleness, tone and brighten and to combat the first signs of ageing.

So how have I been getting on? Well so far brilliantly – I think anyway. I guess the hardest part for me is using everything twice daily. I am a divil in the morning – all I do is moisturise my face…occasionally I tone if my skin feels clammy, but other than that its moisturiser, slap on the make-up and out the door. So getting used to a few more steps has been tough and time consuming but I guess if I want my face to show results, getting up a few minutes earlier is only a small effort!

My night-time regime is always my favourite as I love cleaning the day off and this product, the Gelée Satin is without doubt a product that I will 100% continue to use in the future, and my absolute favourite in the range. Firstly it’s so easy to use – you just apply a small amount to your face, massage it in and it turns into an oil-like formula which can be used on the eye area too. Then using a warm face-cloth remove the product from your face. When I say your face feels ‘so soft’ I genuinely mean it – there is ZERO tightness and I have used some high-end gel cleansers/oil cleansers and I have always felt a slight tightness. My sister used it on Monday night and she would have sensitive skin. She commented that she felt she didn’t even need moisturiser after using it…that’s how soft your skin feels afterwards. And she’s a beautician and has literally tried everything on the market!

Gelee Satin

Gelee satin2

Looks like a soft coconut oil

Next it’s onto the toner, Tonic Bleu which is light and refreshing and a quick wipe is all that is required as the Gelée Satin has removed all your make-up. Again it is soothing as it contains no alcohol.


The serum and moisturiser are absolutely amazing and my skin drinks them in quickly – there is nothing worse than waiting for moisturiser to sink in so you can apply your make-up…like seriously who has time for all that waiting? Plus they leave a lovely dewy finish on your skin. A few people have commented that my skin is ‘looking glowy these days’ and even Colin said I looked ‘a bit different’ (mind you that could be the few beers talking during Euro 2016!!).


The eye-cream is lovely and rich and a small blob goes a long way…I was advised by Catherine, the Simone Mahler skin specialist to gently massage it in under the eye and over the eye area (each eye 30 seconds). I’m going to be honest and say I only do this at night-time! Well every minute counts in the morning! I just rub it in quickly.


I know you are probably reading this and wondering what’s the difference between Simone Mahler and the pharmacy/supermarket brands that we are all so familiar with.

Well here are a few facts about your skin (which I remember from my beauty course) and which I was reminded of when I met Catherine from Simone Mahler. It’s the skin science stuff and maybe this will explain why Simone Mahler isn’t just your regular skincare range.

Elastin production stops at puberty! Jeez…

Peptides work in the dermis (the base layer of skin – the living tissue) and are a component of collagen which plumps the skin. Stem cells work in the basal layer  where new skin cells are produced. Alot of our favourite brands only penetrate the top layer of skin (the epidermis) never reaching the basal layer where all the collagen and hylauronic acids are produced.

Collagen keeps the skin plump and wrinkle free but here’s a few scary stats –  we lose 1-3% of collagen from the age of 18 years and up to 6% during menopause.

You might ask (like I did) why can’t Simone Mahler products be purchased in  your local chemist/online? The answer is that it’s too active and your skin has to be fully analysed before using it. Then after the diagnosis, a beauty prescription with a clear and personalised solution is drawn up.

I am also trying out the exfoliant scrub and I will let you know how I am getting on with that next week. And I am ‘supposed’ to be using the SPF50 daily too but I am very bold and haven’t even opened it yet! Well I am doing well with what I have so far so I am happy with my routine. I am popping back in for a facial treatment tomorrow too so will have another blog-post for you next week and I’ll let you know the results of that as well!

If you want to find out more information you can contact any of the therapists at Catriona’s Health & Beauty Clinic, Castlemaine Street, Athlone on 09064 74127  – they are the exclusive retailer of Simone Mahler Dermo Cosmetics in Athlone. Give them a follow on facebook too – Catríona’s Health & Beauty Clinic.

Righteo, I’m off to have an epsom salt bath now…get rid of a few toxins but then I might have a glass of wine and put the toxins back in again! It’s a vicious circle!! Well I am off this week, so  it’s allowed!

Chat you soon lovely ladies.

Tanya x






Is there love in the air? Yes, it’s the smell of nail polish!

Hi ladies ,

I hope everyone enjoyed the fab sunshine and was lashing on the sun cream too…long may it last!  I was going to post this last night but thought too many of you would be out on the town or having BBQs – literally everyone I know was going somewhere so I thought it might be better to have some hangover reading for ye today!! I don’t have a hangover (*smug smile) as I was Cinderella last night but I did have one of those new Solero mojito ice-pops…oh my god deeeelish and no hangover after one haha!

If you follow me on snap-chat you will see me snapping my nails every month. There are two beauty treats I love in life; one being a blow-dry and the other is getting my nails done.

I have been a customer of Bagira Nail Bar since it opened back in August 2008. Even when I lived in Galway last year I still made my monthly visit to the salon as I was usually heading home to Meath, or up visiting friends in Athlone so it was easy to work my appointments around around my road-trips.


On my last visit I noticed they had expanded into another room within the building and I was chatting to Julija the owner about the success of her business and how it has grown over the years. She told me it wasn’t always like that, and when she opened first in August 2008 she actually used to have a snooze in the pedicure chair while waiting for the phone to ring or someone to walk in. As any new business owner will tell you the first year is pretty tough as you have to build your client base and then hope for repeat business. Julija was new to the area too at this time so this was challenging in itself and it included moving her family to Athlone and settling into a new town.


Before…needing refills.



But she faced the challenge head on and now Bagira is open  5 days per week, Tuesday to Saturday and she has 4 staff working there!

They offer shellac, gel nails, acrylic nails, pedicures, manicures, file and polish and they have 2 amazing spa pedicure chairs which massage your back and neck, so you can sit back and read a magazine while your piggies are being pampered.

In the beginning I used to get gel tips (to add length to my nails) but now that my own nails have grown I just get gel over-lays (which is gel over my own nail) with a shellac top coat. For years I only got the French polish finish (boring me!) but now I’m a bit more adventurous! The girls there also do fabulous nail-art but I guess I just keep them plain for my job and usually just go for one colour. I have seen the nail-art on others and it’s amazing.

Julija has been very fortunate to grow her business by word of mouth. I certainly know I get lots of compliments on my nails, as do many other customers who go there so I guess we are all walking advertisements of her salon’s excellent work.

Unfortunately, years ago I damaged my large toenail when I was dancing at a wedding. I literally got stamped on and my toenail broke in half…yes, it was sore at the time but I danced through the pain! I went to a podiatrist a couple of years later to see if it would ever grow back but as the nail bed was damaged he advised me it would never grow back fully. So I am now just left with a small stub of toenail (the state of it!). Anyway you will never see it!! Julija builds up an acrylic nail for me every few months and it looks perfectly normal  – well as normal as my horrible feet look! Then she pops shellac polish on my toe-nails. I have to say for this nail-fix I am eternally grateful. I can see myself in my 80’s sitting over in her pedi chair getting my acrylic toenail done! I’m not sure she will appreciate my mangled toes at that age though! haha.

So why do I go there all the time? Well firstly my nails always look brilliant as Julija is such a perfectionist and she knows the shape, length, colours etc. I like (they have soooo many colours). The client care is amazing. My acrylic toe-nail broke off just after my wedding and she opened the salon on the Monday night before we headed to the airport to go on honeymoon so I wouldn’t have a gammy looking toe in flip-flops! Now that was superb customer care, and an outstanding example of the service they provide. Each and every one of the nail technicians/therapists who work there are super-friendly, yet professional (I know I am just mentioning Julija but I have always been her client since day one, but on occasion when she is on holidays I have been to the other girls and I would have no hesitation recommending them too as they are equally as brilliant). I love having the chat with Julija too – we yap away throughout the treatment and the time flies by.


Not only do they offer nail treatments,  they also offer a full range of beauty services – waxing, facials, massage, lash and brow treatments and they also have a sun-bed. I haven’t availed of any of the beauty treatments as I do most of my own bits and bobs or my sister does them for me as she is also a qualified beautician. She loves when I visit as I have a list for her!! But I know in Bagira salon they are very busy too with beauty treatments as I see the clients coming and going for their their appointments. And they are also expanding further and offering some new services soon, so watch this space and I’ll keep you posted.

The other great benefit of this salon is the location and you can avail of free car-parking as they are located in Monksland (close by Super Valu and The Athlone Springs Hotel) so you can pick up your shopping or pop into the Athlone Springs for lunch/coffee, or if you are like me you can run into Roma for the nicest bag of chips if you have a late appointment!

So if you want to get your nails done for holidays, for the Summer, for an occasion or just a treat, I would highly, highly recommend Bagira salon…but I would also advise booking well in advance as they are extremely busy.

Follow them on or you will find them at Suite 1aA, Block C, Gateway Tuam Rd, Monksland, Athlone. Phone: 085-1383012

I hope the sun comes back to see us later…but while it’s hiding I’m going to hit the road to Blanchardstown Shopping Centre for a little look!

Chat soon and have a great week.

Tanya x

Note: I offered to write this blog-post for Bagira Nail Salon – I wasn’t paid or given a treatment. I genuinely believe these girls do a great job and as I am a regular customer for the last 8 years I wanted to give them a shout out on my blog!

Quote nails

Happy Little Piggies!

Hello there ladies

I hope your week is going well…

I’m having a bit of a mad one and I am literally running around like a crazy woman…in heels, I’d like to add!

Being the short-ass I am, I do wear heels every day. But on saying that I love nothing more than kicking them off the minute I come in the door in the evening, jumping into the shower and then walking around bare-foot for the rest of the evening. And as I mentioned before the colder the tiles on the floor, the better! Sometimes I soak my feet in a basin of warm water with some peppermint foot-soak or peppermint oil (see pic). Oh, and there are no ‘feet healing’ benefits in the wine but while one is relaxing, one should treat oneself!


For long days in heels (say like a wedding) I would always suggest you wear your heels in advance especially if they are new shoes to break them in – nothing worse than hobbling around like a new born calf on the day of a wedding…not a good look for guests, and worse if you are the bride!

Never, ever take off your shoes during the meal of a wedding – I learned that the hard and painful way at my brother’s wedding. I thought my feet would have a nice little break under the table during the meal but eh, no…your feet will expand and then you have to put them back into the shoes, and this is torture!  Of course I stuffed my feet back into 5 inch heels and after a few hours of dancing they actually bled! Thank god for the old G&T – it must have acted like an anaesthetic! I have great memories of that wedding despite the ‘feet drama’ and I literally have the scars to prove it!

Speaking of anaesthetics…when I am going to an event now where I know I will be a while in heels, I pop on some topical numbing gel like difene or nurofen gel – we all have some in the back of a first-aid kit when we were prescribed it for an injury. So my tip is to slather this all over the soles of your feet before you head off and it will numb the pain. Ensure you let it dry before putting your feet in the shoes, and be careful not to mess up the tan if you are wearing instant tan.


Also, another trick is to use medical tape around your toes. If you tape your 3rd and 4th toes together this will alleviate the pressure on the ball of your foot when wearing heels. I read this years ago and I’m not sure why it’s those two toes, but  I’ve done it, and it works!

Also while I’m on the subject of heels I  recently purchased new shoes and much to my dismay they were too big – I have size 2/2.5 feet so it’s a disaster getting shoes to fit.  I usually buy a full insole or a gel insole when I buy size 3 shoes. I find with the full insole my shoes end up pinching my feet, and with the  gel insoles (the little half ones – the ‘party feet’ type) they seem to come out the side of my shoe. (So  there I am running along and my gel insole is hanging out the side of my shoe – the state of me sometimes haha). Anyway, recently I bought these fab size 3 shoes in River Island – I thought I’d never get them and they were reduced from €87 to €30 in the sale. Bargain! Sadly they were too big and after saying I was returning them I was contacted by two lovely ladies from Paul Byron Shoes in Athlone through snap-chat who suggested I buy half insoles. So in I went immediately and bought them – €2! The biz. Now unfortunately these particular shoes were still too big and ten pairs of insoles wouldn’t have worked but I am using them in all my other shoes and they are just brilliant. Thanks ladies…I’ll be in for more soon.


€2 half insoles in Paul Byron Shoes, Athlone – the biz! Thanks ladies x



Awh they were sadly returned…


So there you go –  a few of my little tips and tricks for looking after your piggies!

Later heelaholics.

T x

feet image

But first…foundation!


Hi ladies,

It’s Friday and it’s a 3 day weekend…woohoo!

This evening I wanted to write a short blog-post about choosing your foundation. These days we are all glued to our favourite bloggers and you-tube tutorials and we feel we ‘need’ to have the foundation they recommend. Of course, hands up, I am as guilty as the rest and I am as easily led, but I have to say I am a little bit more cautious about just running out and buying the latest ‘must-have’ one!

Consider a few of the below points before you buy a new foundation…

Age: Are you the same age as the person promoting the foundation? I remember when I was in my 20’s I could slap any type of foundation on my skin and it looked flawless (well I thought it did anyway). As we get older our skin changes and we may be looking for a different type of coverage (gone are the days of the Max Factor pan-stick  rolled all over our faces!! Oh the good old ‘Nouveau Beige’!).

Skin type:  Remember different foundations are suitable for different skin types so just because it suits one person, it may not suit you.  Any beautician will carry out a skin analysis for you, so just ask the next time you are in a salon.

Marketing: Lots of bloggers, make-up artists and tv programmes are paid to promote a specific foundation they receive from PR companies. Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing as they are just another marketing tool that companies use, similar to placing an advert in a glossy magazine, but more effective these days. I would suggest that you follow this person’s blog for a little longer and see if they continue to use the product and then you will see the transparency. Is it just an advertising campaign they are paid to do or a product they genuinely do love?


So the reason I am writing this blog is because I recently purchased the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation  – of course it’s constantly mentioned by all the top bloggers and make-up artists and that’s how it came on my radar a few months ago. But I did my research on it and I do see alot of beauty bloggers continuously wearing it, so I thought I’d give it a whirl! (If it’s good enough for Pippa, Marissa Carter, Triona McCarthy, but to name a few, it’s worth a try)

Since I mentioned I got it though, I have had so many people asking me what it’s like, saying they are going to buy it and asking me what shade I bought as they will buy the same!! Eh, hang onto your purse for a minute…we are not all clones of me!! God help us all if we were! 😂

Before you fork out your well- earned cash I’ve listed a a few tips on ‘how to buy foundation’ and this applies to all brands and budgets!

  1. Decide firstly if the foundation you are going to buy will be an every-day foundation . At this price (€45 for Giorgio Armani) it won’t be for me! I wear make-up every single day and I couldn’t justify the price of replacing it frequently. That’s a very important factor to consider – the price!
  2. If it’s a night-time/occasion-wear only foundation, you could likely be wearing tan too, so remember that when choosing your shade. Now, you don’t want a big dark head but maybe a half shade or one shade darker than your day-time make-up.
  3. I NEVER test foundation on my arm/wrist/back of my hand….sure why would I? I don’t wear foundation there? Do you? And your skin tone and texture is totally different. If testing foundation on yourself, put a small amount along your jaw-line.
  4. If you don’t already know this, you can book a full make-up application at most of the department stores make-up counters which is free with the purchase of 2 products. So if you are going to an event why don’t you do that? Then you get the face done and you can buy  the foundation and maybe the lippy to top up during the day/night. It will cost a bit more than getting a make-up application done in a beauty salon, but you do leave with 2 products.
  5. Alternatively, you can ask for a small amount to be put on your face and then maybe go off for an hour and review how it looks before you buy. If you don’t have time to do this, most make-up counters give out samples so don’t be afraid to ask…’try before you buy!’ I can’t stress how important it is to check out your foundation in natural daylight. Department store/pharmacy lighting can either be dimmed down/too bright so after application you should walk towards the door with a mirror – the girls on the counter will give you one!


Finally, this is my top tip and what I did when buying my foundation. I brought the foundations I currently use into the Giorgio Armani counter to do a colour match. These are ones I always use and re-purchase, so I know I am happy with the colour. My every-day foundation is the L’oreal Colour Match and my ‘going out’ foundation is the Lancome Visionnaire (hard to beat,  I might add). The make-up artist popped a blob of each of my foundations on a make-up pallet and then we colour matched the most suitable Armani Luminous Silk shade to those and then I popped it on my face to confirm I was happy with it. Turns out my colour is 3.5 and it’s perfect for me.



I have to say so far I am loving it. It has buildable natural -looking coverage and while I can’t say it has a ‘dewy’ finish on my dry skin it certainly is ‘glowy’! You would know upon application it is a higher-end brand as it applies seamlessly and moves easily on the skin.  I wore it last Sunday during the day (on a very tired head, so it was hard to review it then) and I did wear it one of the days this week to work to see how long lasting it was, and I must say I was very impressed. It was roughly slopped on at 6.15am and still looked pretty good at 7pm (without any top-up). I have a  few night’s out planned  for May so it’ll be well road-tested then!

Remember you don’t have to spend the world on your foundation – find one that suits your needs, your budget and your skin type and always try before you buy!

Have a fabulous weekend x

T 💖 x 13081953_10207413694793409_1649392965_n


Aloe Aloe…

Hi ladies,

Happy Friday lovely ladies. Isn’t it great to see a bit of sun? Ireland is such a nice little country when the sun is shining…pity we don’t get more of it! We’re all in a good mood cos we are all looking for the nearest beer garden or thinking of sparking up the BBQ. Oh I just love Summer drinks and food!

Recently, I was contacted to see if I would like to sample some products from the Forever Living range. I am a bit of a cosmetic junkie and only loyal to a few. I go from brand to brand depending on what’s going on with my skin and how much money is in my bank account! One week it’s the supermarket brands, and the next week I’m in Brown Thomas or Debenhams convinced I need the ‘good stuff’! But of course never one to refuse putting potions and lotions on my mug, I said I’d give it a whirl. My skin is predominantly dry for a few reasons…I don’t drink enough water, I drink too much coffee and I  go from house to car to office, and like you all I’m sure the heat has been blasting for the past few months in all these places.  I’m also at a stage where I’m noticing my ‘rapidly’ ageing skin  – all of my friends will tell you that I’m totally obsessed with my  lines because they are all I see when I look in the mirror. I have very bad dark circles under my eyes too.So basically reading all of that you would nearly wonder why  I would even leave the house at all!

Anyway, the reason I am telling you about my skin is that when you try a product it might be good for a certain skin type but not necessarily good for other skin types so I can only say what works for me.

So what did I try and what did I think?

Well firstly I am very familiar with the brand as I’m sure most of you are! Forever Living Products are made from pure aloe vera and I’m sure at some stage every home in Ireland has bought at least one product. Lots of people I know take the Aloe Vera gel daily and I have heard of so many who did the Clean 9 plan. What I didn’t realise was the vast range of products they offer; from household, skincare, health and wellness, supplements, sunscreen, hair products etc.


Firstly, I have to tell you about the Aloe Vera Gelly . Since the time I ran my own beauty salon this product has become a firm favourite of mine, so it needed no introduction to me. I use it for many different reasons – easing a burn or a rash, putting it on my skin after waxing (it’s extremely soothing) or just to use it after plucking your eyebrows to reduce the redness. It can also be used to pop around the hairline if applying colour to your hair. It’s colourless, absorbs quickly and doesn’t stain your clothes. And of course if you get sunburn this is one of the best products you can apply to your skin. You can even take a teaspoon of it to soothe a sore throat…that’s how natural it is! I always keep mine in the fridge.

Aloe Fleur de Jouvence Mask Powder

When I met Rachel, the lady who asked me to try out the products she swore by this mask. She said it was excellent for tightening the skin and my God was she right! You add a spoon of Mask Powder to the Aloe Activator until the mixture has the consistency of a lotion, then you apply a thin layer from the neck up. The next part was literally mad!!! You have to limit your facial movement for approximately 30 minutes – I had to check that a few times as it seemed like a very long time to leave a mask on, but it was correct.  It set like cement – not a word of a lie! Colin came in to talk to me during this process and I could just about move my lips but that was it – my face was practically frozen. He headed out the door laughing and secretly delighted I’d say that something actually silenced me!! I found it a strange experience to be honest. But after the 30 minutes I  placed a moistened face cloth on my face to soften the mask and then rinsed it off. I then applied the Aloe Vera toner. My skin was a bit red for 5-10 mins (this is only due to your skin being stimulated) and then it resumed to it’s normal colour. It was so soft and fresh looking I couldn’t believe it! I would highly recommend this before a big event…it’s unreal for smoothing skin and my make up went on flawlessly for days after it. But, as with all products, patch test your skin first a few weeks beforehand.




My favourite product of them all  was the Aloe Scrub…I had never tried this before and it was just soooo gentle and perfect for every day use if desired. It has very small grains rather than hard granules that you find in some scrubs which will aggravate your skin. If you follow me on snap-chat you will have seen it over the past few weeks appearing in my photos. I keep it in the shower and give my face a little scrub once or twice a week and I have to say this is one I will be buying. It’s just makes my skin look so much brighter and when I apply my moisturiser afterwards it soaks right in and is not sitting on top of dry, flaky skin. It can also be used on the body.


Other products I tested:

Forever Essential Oils: I burned the lemon one and it was just gorgeous – very energising and left a really nice fresh scent which lingered in the house for days. I have yet to burn the lavender or peppermint – you can buy them separately or in a set (as pictured).


Aloe Propolis Creme:

A great all-round moisturiser and very nourishing – I used all over my body.

Relaxation Massage Lotion :

I just massaged it on myself…no fun in that!! But, I have to say it was so luxurious. It contains lavender so I used it after my shower one night and it definitely aided a restful night’s sleep – lavender will do that!


Forever Marine Mask:

This is a really deep cleansing mask – it also contains honey and cucumber extract and leaves your skin feels nourished and conditioned. Unlike the Mask Powder I mentioned earlier, this can be used a couple of times per week.


I have some other products to test our too including their deodorant, toothpaste and items from the Sonya range (which is another skincare range they retail) so once I try them I’ll let you know the outcome!

So now, the next time you are looking at your aloe vera plant sitting in it’s pot, it might just remind you of what a hard working little plant it is!

If you would like to find out more information or purchase some of these products here are the details for Rachel Jordan who is an independent business owner for Forever Living Products Ireland.  Rachel is based in the midlands but supplies all around the country and internationally too.

Mobile: 0870564708

Facebook on


Rachel has promised one lucky follower a €50 voucher so head over and like her facebook page over the weekend and I will post details of how to win it tomorrow! You can have a look around her shop too and plan what you will purchase if you are the lucky winner!

Have a fab weekend ladies.

Tanya x

P.S. You know the drill with me…all opinions are my own – I wasn’t paid to say any of the above and I thoroughly enjoyed trying them all. Jeez, when will all this blogger money start rolling in??? haha…I better hang onto the day job!

When I met Pippa…

The day was Saturday, the time was 11am (of course we arrived late! yes, very last into the ballroom!) and the place was the stunning Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone. Of course you know already where I was last weekend…Pippa’s Fashion Factory. If you were following me on snap-chat I was keeping  you well updated throughout the day (hopefully not to the point of being obsessive) and to all the ladies who snapped me since thanking me for my full coverage of the event, I am glad you enjoyed it! Sure you practically saved €100 – I should’ve been like the sports channels and charged ‘pay per view’ haha!


First time I ever applied lashes on myself! Nearly stuck eyes together! 🙈



What I wore…Warehouse Jumpsuit

Anyway, the day kicked off with Pippa arriving on stage and giving us a full itinerary of the day’s events which sounded so exciting . We were all seated at round tables and there were 2 huge screens in place, so everyone had a perfect view of the stunning lady.  As you would only expect from one so stylish, she looked impeccable with her flawless hair and make-up and of course her outfit from River Island &  Warehouse was simply stunning…those shoes are on my wish-list.

imageFirst off, make up professional and model Tara O’Farrell carried out a complete make up look on the already gorgeous Laura Warren Treacy who works with Pippa. From primer to lashes she had us all glued to her! Using blank canvas brushes throughout the application and a mix of high-end and budget cosmetics (mostly budget you will be glad to hear) she achieved a beautiful finished look. Tara is another lady who is absolutely gorgeous and dare I say it but I think she is a ‘much prettier Roz Purcell look-alike’. Sorry Roz.

Tips from Tara:

  • Always use translucent powder – Laura Mercier Invisible Loose setting powder or Bourjois Java Rice Powder (the cheaper alternative)
  • If you think you don’t want lashes, think again…everyone needs a little lift and flutter!
  • Dealz is a great place for picking up a nude lip gloss (who would’ve thought?) – she bought 15 incase they sold out and she swears by it – the colour is ‘Nice & Nude’ and by the way it’s sold out now…well definitely in Galway! She recommends a nude pencil from Penneys make up range too- No.6

Then Pippa went through her own make up bag and skincare routine and here’s a few of her favourites.

  • Elemis Pro collagen cleansing balm
  • No.7 Eye make up remover
  • Bioderma micellar water
  • Stila One Step correct primer
  • A nude eye-liner to make your eyes pop…put it on the waterline.
  • The Pippa palette…well that’s a given!


I have her full list of skincare and make -up products written down so if you have any questions on other product she used, feel free to ask me! I’m framing the list!!

There was an hour break for afternoon tea which was delicious (and we may have had a glass of vino too)


Afternoon Tea at Hodson Bay Hotel

The second half of the day opened up with a fashion show featuring clothes from Oasis, Warehouse, Coast & River Island. There was one dress in Coast I am totally lusting after and the model got lots of ‘ooohs and aaahs’ as she sashayed around the Clonmacnoise Suite.

Dress coast

Then there was a hairdresser (I just can’t recall her name) who was just so lovely, advising on all hair tips and tricks and how to make curls quite quickly by putting your hair in a ponytail, curling sections with tongs and pinning it – very impressive (I spend my entire life straightening the curls out of my hair but it was still very interesting). There was lots of crowd interaction with questions flying up to Pippa and one girl was brought on stage and got her hair back-combed.

The hair tip I picked up was to use the L’Oreal EverPure Sulfate-Free Moisture Shampoo. Apparently normal shampoo is like washing your hair with dish washing liquid (eeeek) as it contains so much sulfates.


Finally, Pippa went through a rail of her wardrobe essentials, with many pieces from Zara and River Island. I’m quite sure she has a packed wardrobe and it would be impossible for her to show us it all, but this snap-shot was impressive to say the least.

All in all, it was such an enjoyable day. So many people have asked me since ‘What is she like…is she gorgeous, is she nice?’ And the answer is ‘Yes and yes’ . What you see is what you get, and what you get is someone beautiful on the inside and out.  For me one word describes Pippa and that is ‘endearing’. There was a humbleness you don’t always find with some celebrities and when she spoke on stage there was nearly a shyness. For a lady so successful with her business, she keeps it real too and that’s why I think we are drawn to her – she is a wife, a mum and she has had sad days too after losing her own mum.  At the end of the day when it’s all boiled down she is just like us…except she has AMAZING legs!!!


She spoke to every group and posed for photos before and after the show and although she is mid pregnancy and I assume pretty tired, she had a kind word and a genuine smile for each person. Of course, I told her about my little blog and how inspiring she is for me starting out …lord knows what I actually said as I went into a babbling, star-struck mess telling her I love her and Marissa Carter!! haha! Well I guess she will always remember me so if I ever get famous! (as if)



We left with lots of information, tips, shopping lists and a fab goody bag each but most of all I left with an impression of someone who is genuine and believable. If you weren’t lucky enough this time to get tickets, watch out for other upcoming dates around the country on


A day like Saturday is a fabulous girly day out and we carried on into the evening with a post-mortem on the whole day over a glass of wine in The Waterfront Bar at Hodson Bay Hotel, followed by dinner at one of my favourite restaurants in the whole country, the fabulous Kin Khao Thai Restaurant. Then it was onto Sean’s Bar to write our shopping lists for our new make-up bag contents and wardrobe.

Some of the girls I went with (you know who you are…my Coosan neighbour!) are now packing their make-up bags with Pippa’s recommendations, so we took her advice and we went forth and shopped! It’s Pippa’s shoes I want…maybe when she has the baby she won’t need to wear heels as often…I don’t think she is a size 2 though – pity, I’m sure she would’ve given them to me!

Sorry about the lengthy blog post but I wanted to fit everything in and I hope the photos are clear too as there were pink uplighters in the room so there’s a pink shadow on them all. I hope to get to a few of these events during the year and I hope they are as much fun!

Chat soon,

Tanya x 💖