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Retreat into Wellness

While our economy may be blossoming many of us are withering under the pressure to perform in todays results driven society, which has led to an increase in negative emotional states of stress and anxiety. Our coping mechanisms are stretched and often inadequate to deal with such issues. So how do we recharge and become better equipped to deal with todays encumbrances? Of course there is never a quick fix. However with the increase in Wellness retreats an opportunity to nurture your complete being in mind, body and soul has become accessible to those searching for a fundamental shift towards positivity.

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Wexford based Creacon Wellness Retreat affords those the opportunity to relax, unwind and rejuvenate in a quaint yet luxurious setting. Offering a host of packages including juice detoxing, yoga, tibetan bowl healing and psychotherapy sessions, guests can customise their stay to suit their specific wellness requirements. A more traditional approach to relaxation is also on offer with treatments including massages, facials and acupuncture available. Extending its holistic approach to the kitchen you are guaranteed that you are being nourished from within, where Ayurvedic cooking methods based on the philosophy that ‘Food is medicine’ is on the menu.
So whether it’s the full 360 to wellbeing recovery or just a retreat to reset and reenergise, Creacon’s diverse range of specialised treatments may be your required boost.

*Relaxation Getaway package: 2 nights, 3 days 
€420pps/€480 single occ

Creacon Wellness Retreat
New Ross,
Co. Wexford
Email : info@creaconwellnessretreat.com
Web : www.creaconwellnessretreat.com

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Alternatively if like so many you are time poor, ‘Me Time’ could be all you need to aid in re-centering yourself. Harvesting fresh seaweed daily and using only organic products, Voya seaweed bath house in Salthill, Sligo offers a range of therapeutic treatments. Their luxuriant fifty minute wild organic seaweed bath is recommended for those who are overworked, stressed or simply seeking an effective natural detoxifying process for the skin. If a familiar treatment is more your thing the wonderful creators of Voya have rightly identified the importance of good sleep and how central it is to our wellbeing. Available in selected Spa’s Voya’s latest offering is their Mindful Dreams Sleep ritual, which uses a mixture of Wellness, Hawaiian and Balinese massage techniques to leave you feeling truly rested ready for a peaceful sleep, restoring you to take on whatever life throws your way.
Seaweed bath starting from €28
VOYA Seaweed Baths
Strandhill,
Co. Sligo,
Ireland
Email : reception@voyaseaweedbaths.com
Web : voyaseaweedbaths.com

Mindful Moments Sleep Ritual treatment RRP €120, available at:

Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa,
Lakes of Killarney,
Nunstown,
Killarney,
Co. Kerry
Email : info@aghadoeheights.com
Web : www.aghadoeheights.com
Nádúr Spa,
Ballygarry House Hotel and Spa,
Leebrook,
Tralee,
Co. Kerry
Email : info@ballygarryhouse.com
Web : www.ballygarryhouse.com
Galgorm Resort & Spa,
Belfast
BT42 1EA,
Co. Antrim,
N.Ireland
Email : reservations@glagorm.com
Web : www.galgorm.com

VOYA Mindful Moments relaxing body oil €38, Voya.ie

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The Santa Experience

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If you’re looking for a Santa Experience that isn’t going to break the bank but still fill your little ones with Christmasy wonder then look no further than The Santa Experience in the Ilac Centre Dublin, undoubtedly the best shopping Centre Santa we have ever visited.

Christmas came early this year when we were invited along to preview The Santa Experience in The Ilac Centre, Dublin. Suited and booted in the obligatory Christmasy outfits we arrived with three very excited little girls. We were greeted by a very lovely Elf who showed us to the waiting area before our visit to the big man himself. This area alone would have entertained the kids for hours with tables filled with colouring pads and pencils, and a little chill out area with cartoons playing in the background. Within minutes an excitable Elf called our names as our experience was about to begin, but before that could happen the kids had to learn Santas secret knock to allow them access through each door. Thrilled with their newly learned secret knock we entered into The Elves Post Office – A place of wonder filled with twinkling maps of the world. The post mistress Elf enthralled the kids with stories of how Santa sorts his letters and decide who’s on the naughty or nice list. A secret knock later, through another door we were led into Santa’s stable where we got to meet all the reindeer including Rudolph and his red nose. Each room comes with its own Elf who entertain the kids throughout the journey with songs and interesting Christmasy facts the kids loved.

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From there we entered the sleigh station in which we were greeted by a very friendly Elf along with another very sleepy Elf whom the kids had to wake with a lot of shouting. There were belly laughs in that room which cumulated in an actual ride on Santas sleigh into the next area, The North Pole.

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An enthusiastic Elf once again thrilled the girls with stories of naughty snowmen and cuddly polar bears but it was the next room that we were all at this stage dying to enter! Finally we entered into Santas house – a cozy room warmed by the faux fire and comfy sofa. Santa greeted the girls with such warmth any little worries (my non sleeping 5 year old!) of actually meeting the big man were immediately forgotten. Santa knew exactly what they wanted for Christmas and who their teachers etc. were, (on booking you can fill in any personal information that may enhance your child’s experience). Each of the girls received a very impressive gift from Santa and a professional photographer was on hand to capture those special moments. Unlike many other Santas we’ve visited we got to choose from an array of photographs that were taken and came home with 3 large and framed photographs to document our wonderful Santa Experience.

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Below are the prices & booking details

1 Online pre-booking means you can choose your preferred time and date (www.santaexperience.ie)
2 Photos – Our photos are larger and better quality that any other Santa. Size 8×10 with frame available immediately afterwards
3 Our price: €10 includes meeting several elves, travelling through 5 rooms, meeting Santa and receiving a gift
4 Santa needs to know forms – Our Santa knows some personal information about each child which enhances every child’s experience.
5 Attention to detail and great staff who ensure everyone has a magical experience
6 Five magical interactive rooms that children love with an elf in each

Dates: November 24th to December 23rd
Admission: €10 per child and €3 per adult
Gift: A lovely gift is included in the admission price.
Photos: €12 for first, €6 for any additional photos
Facebook: The Santa Experience
Booking: www.santaexperience.ie
Contact: info@santaexperience.ie
Booking fee: €3 online booking fee
**Early booking highly recommended as weekends are booking out**

BOOK NOW – WWW.SANTAEXPERIENCE.IE

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Venus Viva Skin Rejuvenation Review

I’ve always been a little apprehensive about any treatment that resurfaces your skin. In a way I’m lucky that I don’t have any residual scarring from pubescent acne or major skin issues such as Rosacea to contend with. I do however have a face that has aged rapidly over the last five years for various reasons, not least being the arrival of my three children. So when I heard about Venus Viva Nano Fractional Radio Frequency (RF) treatment I thought I wouldn’t mind trying it out.
Appointment booked, off I went to see Dr. Mukesh Lalloo at Cosmedics Medical and Cosmetics Clinic to which this treatment is exclusively available in Ireland. A promise of reduced signs of ageing, pore size and scar reduction, diminished lines and folds as well as the evening out of textural irregularities for a clearer and healthier complexion had me excited to start my session. A course of four treatments is recommended for optimum results however this varies from patient to patient.
Explained, the Venus Viva is an all-in-one treatment delivering impressive efficacy through NanoFractional Radio Frequency (RF) and one-of-a-kind SmartScan technology. It features a revolutionary new pin design for creating micro dermal wounds. These micro-needles penetrate the skin to the dermis layer encouraging the skin to create new collagen deposits. It’s this increased collagen production that keeps your skin looking plump and youthful. Also, as the wounds are so incredibly tiny, downtime is significantly reduced compared to other traditional fractional treatments which can often take 2-4 weeks recovery time compare to 2-3 days with Venus Viva. It is safe to use on all skin types, which is great news for those who haven’t been able to access fractional treatments before due to their incompatibility with darker skin tones.

Before and just after treatment with Venus Viva

Before and just after treatment with Venus Viva

The procedure itself was surprisingly comfortable and quick. A topical numbing cream was applied to the areas of my face that were to be focused on and left to work for half an hour before starting the treatment. The sensation was peculiar! The best way I can describe it is like tiny insects crawling on you skin with very hot legs that occasionally liked to take a nip. There was however no actual pain involved and Dr. Lalloo checked in with me throughout the treatment to make sure that I felt comfortable. You can see some of the treatment being performed on my FB page Kelliebbeautiful if you’d like to the a look. I left Cosmetics Clinic with a very flushed looking face but was assured this would subside within the next 24-48hours and I would be good to apply my usual skincare and makeup 24 hrs post treatment.

24 post treatment and s promised I was able to apply makeup to cover up any residual redness

24 post treatment and as promised I was able to apply makeup to cover up any residual redness

It’s been a month since I had my treatment and I have noticed some subtle but great changes to my skin. It definitely feels smoother. I had quite rough skin along my cheeks which seems to have disappeared. Some sun damage I had along my forehead has definitely been reduced and my complexion seems brighter overall. Bear in mind I had pretty ok skin to begin with so the subtle changes are great to see after just one session and may be more noticeable on someone with more significant skin issues.
I am definitely going to return to get at least one more treatment as I’ve been impressed so far with the results but am eager to see if the changes will be greater with the second treatment.

I’d like to thank Dr Lalloo Mukesh for allowing me to try this revolutionary new treatment and although I have received this treatment free of charge I have not been paid to endorse it. All opinions are my own and are in not any way influenced by outside parties.

VenusViva NanoFractional Radio Frequency Treatment, €400-600 per session.
Cosmetics Medical and Cosmetics Clinic, Block 3, Second Floor, Blanchardstown Primary Care Centre, Grove Court, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, 01 8211807, Cosmedics.ie

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It’s been a while

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Hello there,

It’s been a very very long time since I’ve done anything even remotely related to blogging. Life just took over when baby Lily arrived but its been 8 months now and so I’ve decided to try and get back into the swing of things slowly but surely. Hopefully I’ll get a weekly post up, I’m really not sure which direction to take this but maybe a little bit of everything – parenting, fashion, beauty, food??? Anyway in the meantime you can catch up with me on snapchat my user name is kellie.billings. Again I’m new to snapping and a bit mortified if I’m honest talking to a phone but sure I’ll give it a go and hopefully this time next year I’ll be flying it. So to anyone just starting out in the bloggasphere and totally uncertain of what to do I say just give it a go, what’s the worst that can happen??

I’ll be back with a proper post soon enough, let me now what you’d like to hear about – beauty products, baby-food recipes, haircare, makeup tutorials any ideas are welcomed and appreciated.

Chat soon

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What to pack in your hospital bag

shutterstock-79128544xYou’d think at this stage that I’d be a pro at packing a hospital bag. I’ve had two kids and in pretty quick succession and so shouldn’t really have forgotten the must have items to pack. Not so. I’ve spent the last few weeks saying I must get my bag packed and so the other morning I decided to finally sit down and get it  done. I had a quick look at the Coombes recommended list of things to bring just to refresh my memory but from there quickly became confused. How many bags was I meant to bring again? I’d totally forgotten about having to bring a bag to the delivery ward separately to the main bag. Should I bring my change bag for the baby with nappies in etc or just throw everything into the case? Again I went searching for a few more helpful hints on google and found these two posts brilliant: www.pippa.ie and FacesbyGrace youtube video. These girls are organised! Anyway, reassured of the contents that needed to be packed I went upstairs and quickly realised the bag that I was to use just wouldn’t cut it and I’d have to use a big suitcase. Where was I going with a handheld bag to fit 2-3 days worth of towels clothes nappies etc in? New case hauled down from the attic and finally I could begin to pack – well after a last minute dash to boots to stock up on everything that I had forgotten (such as maternity pads!, seriously baby isn’t even here yet and my brain is mush). So here it goes for anyone else who is struggling with packing their hospital bag – the contents of mine are below.

Delivery bag: Small hand held bag

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For me

Nightdress (Button down the front for skin to skin with baby once born and easy access for breast feeding)

Warm fluffy socks (although I didn’t use them for my other two as I generally have very warm feet I put them in just in case)

Nursing bra

Large knickers

Light dressing gown in case I end up walking the wards during contractions

Notebook to keep track of my contractions and kicks, or you can use an app on your phone

iPad and charger for phones

Snacks Multigrain bars, fruit and water

Maternity pads: You can buy these in Boots or else pick some up in the pharmacy. I’ve packed the pharmacy ones which are larger and green in colour – the kind that you actually get in hospital as I’ve found the first day or two after labour warrant these. Boots ones are thinner and less absorbent. Sorry for TMI. I also packed 3 in the delivery case as wearing two at a time seems to be called for too

Toiletries: 

Elizabeth Arden 8 hour Lip-balm

LaRoche Possay Thermal Spring water face spray

Bobbins, hairbrush

For baby:

Hat, scratch mittens, long sleeved vest and baby grow in newborn or tiny baby size (my other two were little 6lb smallies), 2 x nappies.

Bag for the ward: Medium sized suitcase

For me

Two large dark coloured towels for the shower along with two hair towels

Plastic bag to put dirty clothes in so partner can bring them home instead of taking up space in the bag

Flip flops for the shower

3 x pyjamas Ive packed a button down night dress and 2 x light pyjamas with easy access for breast feeding and I will have my dressing gown from the delivery bag too

Slippers

Maternity pads boots range two packs of ten

Underwear, big unflattering granny style ones are definitely best x 8

Nursing bras x 2

Maternity jeans and nursing top to go home in

Toiletries

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Travel size shampoo, conditioner and body wash. (These can be bought in Boots in their 3 for 2 offer)

Palmers Cocoa butter body lotion

Philosophy Miracle face cream

Kiehls Anti wrinkle eye cream

Lansioh nipple cream

Toothpaste and toothbrush

Garnier Micellar water and cotton pads to remove makeup (ha if I get a chance to do it)

Makeup – A very stripped back version of my usual makeup bag, Giorgio Armani Luminous cc cream, Sleek palette with blush, contour and highlight powder, mascara, tinted lip balm, Billion dollar brow eyebrow pencil with brushes for application and a mini hand held mirror.

Hair brush and bobbins

For Baby

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1 x pack of newborn pampers nappies

Nappy bags x 1 pack

Water wipes x 1

Cotton pads x 1 pack

Caldesene powder

Bepathen nappy cream

Long sleeved newborn vests x 7

Neutral newborn baby grows x 7

Cellular blanket x 2

Hat x 2

Scratch mittens x 2

Cardigan x 2

Muslin clothes x 3

If you choose you can include a going home outfit, as I don’t know what I’m having I’ve just put neutral outfits in and will get someone to bring me in a suitable colour for bringing baby home – although I’ll probably just end up putting baby in a white outfit anyway.

Soothers x 2 (I’ve never brought these into the hospital with me before but I thought I’d bring them this time just in case)

Glycerine and aniseed dip: This can be used to clean your babies tongue. I dip their soother into it and as they suck it removes the milky film often left on babies tongue. It also encourages baby take to a soother if you choose to use one.

I’ll purchase a set of breast pump bottles and tubes which are compatible with the hospital breast pump in the shop in the Coombe once I have the baby. I rented the medela hospital grade breast pump for a month after having my other two and found it a godsend for increasing my milk supply. It also allowed my husband to feed and bond with the babies too. You can rent it from www.medicare.ie or the pharmacy across from the Coombe also rent it (this is where I usually get it from). It’s €109.00 for the month but for me it was money really well spent.

With just two weeks left of this pregnancy I’m as prepared as I can be. I’m sure I’ve left one or two things out but nothing that can’t be gotten once baby comes. Best of luck to any new mams to be, I hope this post helped.

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Forever Young?

I’ve recently had to give myself a bit of a reality check. I was writing something for work the other day and was completely oblivious to the fact that I was actually writing about myself really. Let me fill you in a little. I was tasked with writing a piece about age appropriate dressing (link is here), one piece was for the thirty something woman (me) and the other for being fabulous over 50 (my mam). Of course it had to be specific to the clothing ranges I was writing about but it honestly didn’t dawn on me that I was styling myself and my mother through my own words. For the 30 something I wrote about modern tailoring, work appropriate jackets, chunky knits and pieces that work hard for you in your wardrobe blah blah blah. For the over 50’s I wrote more about how classic silhouettes can be updated with modern graphic prints. All the usual buzz words for any fashion writer. It was only a few days later while sitting in my car (in a tracksuit) with my husband and two kids did I realise that I’m in my mid thirties, my mam is well into her 50’s (eh early 60’s) and not once did I equate the styling pieces I wrote to either of us. Does this say something about me? Am I so far removed from the reality of my actual age or does everyone still think that they’re in their 20’s?

It made me take a little step back and wonder about the clothes I have in my closet. While I do have a few “hardworking pieces” in my wardrobe the majority of my clothes are from “Penny’s hun”. Cheap, affordable, easily replaceable bits and bobs that can be mixed and matched (although I never have anything to wear). Don’t get me wrong I’d love to be able to afford to buy beautiful designer clothes but even if I could afford it could I justify the price tag?
My daughter recently turned 4. We had a beautiful birthday party in the house with Elsa and Anna from Frozen gracing their presence and thankfully entertaining the kids for a few hours. We had to cancel the bouncy castle as it had been lashing rain! Anyway, my daughter received a beautiful gift from a very special aunty of hers, a Versace dress and some other designer gear. It was only when I went to put it on I realised the price (I googled it out of curiosity). I nearly died, how could anyone justify spending hundreds on one simple (but beautiful) piece of clothing for a little person who will no doubt grow out of it in a month? That makes me sound ungrateful, believe me I’m not. That’s not what I’m getting at, we (myself and my daughter are in love with the dress and totally thankful for the present) but the reality is, is that some people actually kit their children and themselves out in designer gear all the time. I’m not so sure I’d ever be able to justify spending that kind of money on clothes even if I could afford it. Although owing a real Chanel bag would of course be ok, bags are life!Back to the reality of my age. I am unfortunately no longer in my twenties but still have a hankering for my teenage, twenty something self on occasion, most recently the weekend past. My husband was having doubts about weather to go to a concert the other night (The Stone Roses) it was only after I blasted a few of the old tunes out did the nostalgia of it make him decide to go. I then decided to stick on the old reliable Alanis Morrisette ‘Jagged little pill’ album I’d loved so much as a young teenager. Listening to it made me think of all the little things that my younger self loved back in the 90’s, and I wondered are they still relevant today? Who else remembers Tribe and Exc!amation perfume, or died their hair plum? Or turned their hair orange from Sun-In? Constant Carroll concealer from the pound shop was always in my makeup bag as was Rimmels heather shimmer lipstick? Dax wax for the boys and illuminous coloured pots of hair gel.And who could forget the movie Clueless! Long summer evenings spent with a group of great friends down by the river in Kilbride and games of basketball in the school yard are memories I will cherish forever and never forget. I just hope my girls and baby to be will be able to grow up with great memories of their teenage years too, and that the pressure to dress and look a certain way that has been made even worse these days by social media will not inhibit their ability to be themselves and have fun.

But maybe it’s time I start taking some of my own advice. Maybe I should start thinking a little more about what I put on in the morning and relinquish the 20 something in me…or maybe we all need to hold on to that part of ourselves to keep ourselves young.