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Jet, set, go

With travel season upon us many of us will be taking to the skies, so whether it’s a long haul or short hop it’s important to be flight ready. Here I show you the top 5 beauty tips to arrive refreshed and rearing to go.

Step 1. Hydrate!

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While it’s important to stay hydrated on any flight this must really start at home. Ensure you are getting enough fluids daily (at least 2 Litres or 8 small glasses of water a day). If water doesn’t float your boat then try some refreshing coconut water. Always remember to purchase a bottle of water post security check to carry on the plane and sip this throughout the flight to beat that parched dehydrated feeling you tend to get on long hauls. For an instant pick me up use a spritz of a water based face spray such as
Chanel Hydra Beauty Essence Mist , (€56.00, Brown Thomas).

Step 2. Exfoliate & Moisturise!

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Again this is a must before any flight. Buy a pair of exfoliating gloves to use in the shower and get scrubbing. By banishing any dead skin you are preparing your face and body for a deeper penetration of your moisturiser which is an absolute must to beat the drying effects of the recycled air inflight. I recommend using your night creamwhile on the plane it allows for a better moisture barrier against the dry air and will leave your skin feeling much softer. Try Clarins Multi-Active Night Youth Recovery Cream, (€54.00, Debenhams).

Step 3. Be prepared!

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If like me you have a million and one beauty products and find it hard to choose one over the other why not invest in some smaller travel friendly clear bottles. You can get these pretty much anywhere. It means you can decant just enough of your most prized beauty products ensuring your beauty regime doesn’t suffer. If you’re a regular flyer having a travel friendly carry on clear beauty bag is a must. Liquid foundations, moisturisers, spritz, toothpaste the lot can come with you! Pick up some Go Travel Airplane Cabin Bottles (€10.12, Boots nationwide).

Step 4. Make up?

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Not many of us can pull off the au natural look and being honest with you most of us want to look our best heading off to the airport, it’s all part of the excitement! A word of warning though, a full face of make up does not a good traveler make! No matter how well you’ve applied your make up any flight over 2 hours will with certainty make your make up cake, smudge, run, disappear and become blotchy all at once!! So if you must wear a full face bring along your make up wipes and remove your make up half way through the flight, allow your skin to breath and apply some good night cream. You can always reapply in the toilets just before you land or nip into the loo before you go to baggage collection.

Step 5. Banish theRed Eye!

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Whether you’ve caught a red eye flight or have red eyes due to your 10 hour non stop transatlantic flight there are a couple of little tips to help you banish those grit filled eyes. About half an hour before you’re due to land ask for some ice, you’ll be brought a glass of ice with a napkin, use the napkin to place an ice cube in and apply to each eye for 5 minutes. This will help reduce any puffiness under the eye area. Once you’ve finished with the ice use some eye drops in each eye to get rid of any redness caused by tiredness and dry air. Try Murine Eye Drops for Dry and Tired Eyes (€6.49, Boots.ie). Finish with a flick of mascara to open the eyes, a slick of lip balm on your lips and you’re good to go! Holiday ready in 5 easy steps!!!!

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Pinky Pout

Pretty rose, fabulous fuchsia or buggle-gum there is a shade of pink to suit every lip. While we may wax lyrical about the power of a a great red lip, lets show some appreciation to the lip colour that Mother Nature intended. By that I mean pump up your natural lip shade by enhancing and perfecting your natural pout with some of the best pink lipsticks out there in makeup land.

Straight up fuchsia 
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Nothing screams summer like a powerful pink lip and this fun fuchsia colour guarantees to keep a smile on your face. We love Rimmel London Moisture Renew lipstick in Back to Fuchsia (Boots, €7.99). for it’s high intensity colour and super creamy texture.

Get the glosslancomejusicyshaker
The fruitiest way to keep your lips hydrated while giving them a natural pinky hue has to be with Lancome Juicy Shaker in Meli Melon (Debenhams, €22.00). Fun and practical the sponge applicator conforms to your natural lip shade and applies just the right dose of pigment. Enriched with nourishing oils this gloss will give your lips a beautiful glow.

What a stainMACversilipstainMAC’s newest addition to their lipstick family will not disappoint! A hybrid stain-gloss MAC Versi Colour is unbelievably pigmented without drying out your lips like other stains can. It glides on like a gloss but has the staying power of a stain and seriously lasts and lasts. For a real statement lip try MAC Versi Colour in Ceaseless Energy (Brown Thomas, €25.00).

Velvety Smooth

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Craving plump, soft lips natural looking lips then look no further than Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte lipstick in Nude Beige (Debenhams, €33.00). This is the holy grail for perfectly hydrated lips. Your lips will literally kiss you for applying it. The unctuous texture cares for your lips while still providing exceptional colour with the added bonus of protective SPF 15. Pricey it may be but my is it worth it!

Matte

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Need something with a little more staying power? NYX Matte in Audrey (Pharmacies nationwide, €9.25) will be your new makeup bag staple. This long wearing lipstick glides on smoothly with a non-drying matte finish. It’s also the perfect mid-toned blue pink that suits us fair skinned Irish girls. If you haven’t tried NYX products yet get on it they are amazing!

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Boston Bound…just about

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After months of anticipation and excitement the day finally arrived. I was off to Boston to join my husband for a few much needed days off. We hadn’t been away together or even had a night together since last year and so to say I was looking forward to it was an understatement.
6 am I’m spark awake planning my morning… Shower, finish packing, kids up, breakfast, tidy the kitchen and make sure I have everything ready (lists written, instruction manuals on how to use the oven, heating etc!) for my wonderful Mam and Dad who kindly volunteered to look after my two girlies for the few days.

8:30 am Grandparents arrive to take over and by 9 am I’m out the door. My Dad kindly dropping me to the airport in his roundabout way. Seriously he refuses to use the direct turn off at the M50 instead opting to take the Ballymum exit, there’s no point in arguing with him he’s driving albeit in my car.

9:25 am I’m at the airport and ready to check in! Oooh the excitement. Then it all starts to go horribly wrong. The girl in the check in desk said that I’m not booked on the flight for today (Saturday) rather I’m booked on the one for Monday to return on the following Wednesday. SHIT WTF am I going to do! Of course I told them they must be mistaken as I’m due to return on the Monday not fly out. Politely they asked me to check my e-ticket which I duly pulled out. And there in BLACK AND WHITE it said Mondays date, how did I miss that, in my excitement I printed the ticket but never actually checked the dates assuming it had all been taken care of. Flustered I said I’d ring my travel agent and see how this could have possibly happened. Pushed aside I rang and sure enough she had booked me on the wrong flight both going there and back. Devastated was not the word! My husband had originally emailed her with the flight details saying I wanted to travel out on the Saturday and return the Monday, he however got the dates mixed up which read for the Monday and Wednesday not Saturday and Monday, however the travel agent went by the dates rather than the days, so a mix up on both ends really. Heart and mind racing and feeling bitterly disappointed I went to the ticket desk to see if there was anything they could do. Of course the flight was fully booked but they could of course accommodate me in business class for and extra €1500++++. In tears I begged the ticket lady at the Aer Lingus desk to see if there was anything that she could do, while I also had the travel agent on the other line working her magic with Aer Lingus reservations. I needed them to be quick the flight was due to close in 5 minutes and the ticket lady said that even if I did happen to get a seat there may not be time to make it! Alleluia my agent came through, well sort of it was going to cost me an extra €350 to get over on the same flight, this didn’t include the extra for the return. Should I book it, I really didn’t know what to do. I had looked forward to this for so long. I needed this break for every reason. I needed a recharge and break from the kids. Does that sound awful? It does a little I know but I think all stay at home mams need little respite from time to time and for me this was it, I had images of me returning refreshed, revived, reenergised ready to be super mam again. Anyway, I decide that I’d obviously forego any shopping spree over there and spend my money on my flight, my sanity was way more important than any dress or bag.

New ticket purchased I raced to the departure gates, pushed through security and blagged my way to pre clearance all just in the nick of time! Images of casually sipping a coffee while perusing the duty free perfumes were shattered the moment I realised my flights were effed up.
Anyway, I’m happily settled on board, with a movie ready to go, my meal of herbed chicken and potatoes gratefully finished (hadn’t gotten anything to eat or drink since I got up, had planned to at the airport to kill time!) and just thought I’d fill you all in on my disastrous come good travel plans.
I’ll fill you all in soon with a post about what we got up to in Boston! Just excited to see my husband, our first stop as soon as I land is the Boston Red Socks baseball game, can’t wait! Hot dogs and beer anyone???

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Ready, Set , Summer

Are you ready? Summer is literally around the corner, and while it may be raining and wet outside (it is Ireland) our never ending optimism of glorious summer days will not be dampened. Short shorts, micro skirts and dare I say it bikinis are slowly but surely creeping their way out from the back of our wardrobes begging to have a day out. Sounds wonderful but to answer the question are you ready, admittedly we may have to say no. If peeling off your winter wardrobe sends shivers down your spine and induces a little mini panic attack please take a minute and breathe. We still have a few more weeks before the big reveal, it is after all only April, just enough time to prep our skin for Summer and become that glowing goddess we all know we can be.
Look at the next few weeks as a skin detox. We all know the importance of a good and balanced diet, clean eating and exercise and its effects it has on our general well being. If we apply the same rules to our daily skin care regime in no time at all we’ll be skin summer ready. Want to give it a try? Tackle one thing at a time by following these simple steps to reveal the skin you should be in.

Skin Issue: Bumpy Arms

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Ketosis pillars or chicken skin which it is commonly referred to is a mild, harmless skin condition which affects the back of the upper arms. It leaves them looking dried out with small hard pimples on the surface. It is caused by firm little plugs forming in the hair follicles. The plugs themselves are made of keratin, the main protein found in the outermost protective layer of skin (thus the name keratosis). The best way to treat this condition is to wash daily with a cleansing and calming body wash to help unclog pores. Try Lycon Anti Bump Foaming Gel (Brazilia, €15.00). Enriched with lemon tea tree, arnica and calendula, it protects the skin’s pH balance, leaving skin feeling clean, soft and smooth.

Skin Issue: Bumpy Thighs

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Cellulite can be the bulgy bane of even the most svelte and clean eating individual, and may still throw the perfectly sane into a tizzy as winter pants and coats are doffed for more revealing spring and summer styles. A barrage of products and procedures promise to seek out and destroy the lumpy fat on thighs, bottoms, arms and tummies, but a miracle cellulite assassin has still yet to be uncovered. While diet plays a huge role in reducing and preventing cellulite you can do your bit to help reduce the appearance of the dreaded dimple by using a good body exfoliator along with a nourishing antioxidant body lotion. Try Garners Body Tonic Sugar Scrub, (Boots, €10.69), loaded with 6 natural high performance active ingredients to fight against cellulite. Apply it to your problem area using upward circular motions towards the heart to increase blood circulation. Wash off in the shower finishing with a blast of cold water, this will cause your pores to get small, which can also make cellulite less noticeable. Finish with nourishing body lotion loaded with shea butter and jojoba oil, to leave skin feeling soft and silky smooth from head to toe.

Skin Issue: Bacne (Back acne)

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There is something quite sensual about showing off the curves of your back, there is also something quite terrifying about it too if you suffer from bacne. You may have or be in the process of prepping your body in the gym for summer but beware! Sweat soaked clothes can play a major part in the fight against bacne. To help reduce any further breakouts make sure you shower as soon as you finish working out. If this isn’t possible remove your gym bra straight away and change into a breathable cotton t-shirt to inhibit the growth of bacteria on your back which is a major cause of bacne. When you do shower, combat existing bacne with a antibacterial body wash, like Lycon Tea Tree Total Wash (Brazilia, €15.00). Infused with Tea-Tree Oil, a natural anti-bacterial agent,  it helps minimise blemishes, prevent blocked pores and is a gentler more natural alternative to other harsh acid based cleansers available.

Skin Issue: Chalky knees, elbows and ankles

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Covered up all winter theses areas are subjected to tight clothes and socks rubbing the already thin skin causing irritation and redness. Because of this constant rubbing off fabric they can become dry and parched looking. Not a great look for glowing summer skin. The best time to treating these problem areas is post shower. While your skin is still damp apply a good oil based moisturiser and allow to soak in, try No.7 Beautiful Skin Pampering Dry Body Oil (Boots, €17.00). While you don’t want to exfoliate already irritated skin around the elbow and ankle area you may need to gently exfoliate your knees. The skin is often thicker here and if like many of us you use a self tanner it can quickly build up over time leaving your knees dark and unsightly, using a sugar scrub and dry oil to gently exfoliate and moisturise in no time at all your pins will be perfect and ready for another round of self tan.
Skin Issue: A whiter shade of pale

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Nowadays we all now know the dangers of excessive sun exposure. While it’s nice to feel the sun on your skin, sitting around basking in the suns harmful rays should really be a thing of the past. Or if you are going to do it make sure you wear a good SPF of at least 30. The best option however if you really want a summer glow is to fake it. Applying a great self tan like Bronz Express Radiance Drops (Pharmacies nationwide, €24.95), not only gives your skin a wonderful glow it can have a slimming effect on your silhouette too, so bonus points all round. Unlike conventional self tanners you control the intensity of colour you want. You simply add a few drops of this concentrated formula to your regular skincare product and massage in as usual. This smart self tanner delivers a sun-free, streak-free tan fast, with built-in moisturisers for the face and body. A unique combination of advanced tanning agents ensures an even, long lasting, natural looking golden tan.

So lets ask the question again. Are you ready? Start your summer skin care regime today and without doubt you will be ready by the time those hazy summer days hit.

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My Top 5 Favourite Foundations

IMG_5514So many foundations so little time! When it comes to choosing a foundation it can be like trying to find the perfect pair of jeans, you have to try so many on before finding the perfect one. But once you’ve found that perfect match you stick with it!
I’ve rounded up 5 of my favourite foundations from budget to blowout for you to either try or buy. When it comes to foundations I always look for something with a medium build able coverage, something thats lightweight and luminous. Basically I want a foundation that does it all. I loath foundations that feel heavy and dry out my skin, there’s nothing worse than foundation that cakes onto dry patches or sits on top of the skin. These next few little beauties really work for normal to combination skin erring on the dry side!

As I said I want a foundation that does it all: even’s out skin tone, covers (most) blemishes, hydrates and leaves your skin looking and feeling glowing and luminous.
I’ve started with my all time favourite which happens to be a bit of a blowout as far as budget is concerned, but my is it worth it.

1 Armani Luminous Silk Foundation €43.00FullSizeRender
I have been wearing this foundation for a good few years now. I try so many but always go back to this, it really is my holy grail foundation. It is a lightweight fluid foundation which as the name suggests leaves your skin feeling very luminous and silky. It provides a light to buildable coverage, smooths over texture and pores effortlessly, doesn’t emphasize dry patches, and doesn’t break up around oily areas on the T-zone throughout the day. There are 21 shades to choose from, so you’re sure to find the right colour match for your skin tone.

2 Clarins True Radiance Foundation €34.00FullSizeRender_1
An oil free fluid foundation, Clarins True Radiance is definitely becoming one of my favourite foundations. It has slightly more coverage power than the Armani without being heavy. I tend to use a kabuki style brush to buff it into my skin. It really evens out my skin tone and covers any rosiness I have around my nose and cheeks. While it leaves your skin with a radiant glow it does not have the same dewy effect as the Armani, which some may prefer, especially those with combinatuion/oily skin. The finish I guess would be more satin. It also has the added benefit of SPF 15 and is infused with potent plant extracts (Moringa Seed) to help protect your skin from pollution. It comes in a range of 10 shades.

3 Clinique Beyond Perfecting 2 in 1 Foundation & Concealer €33.00FullSizeRender_2
So this is a little different compared to other foundations I use. It has a full coverage semi-matte finish and I generally only use it when I’m having a bad skin day or very hectic schedule and know I’ll have no time to retouch my makeup. It pretty much does what it says, the difference between this and other full coverage foundations is the doe-toe applicator provided allowing you to sweep the foundation on using the back of the applicator or use the tip to spot apply and conceal any more obvious imperfections. Not one I’d were everyday but great for when you need extra coverage for a long day (such as a wedding). My only gripe is the shade range, they tend to have a slightly pinkish undertone to them, which is fine for cool skin tones but may not suit those with more warm yellow toned skin types.

4 Max Factor Miracle Match Foundation €16.99FullSizeRender_3

The Miracle Match foundation is Max Factor’s hydrating, gel like foundation that promises to “blur and nourish”. It has slightly thick consistently when you dispense first but don’t be put off it has a lightweight feel. The coverage is definitely medium and with a second application I’d consider it full coverage. The finish is again semi matte but leaves a radiant finish. It doesn’t dry out the skin or settle in any dry ares you may have, in fact it’s quite hydrating on my slightly dry skin. For a high street brand I’d defiantly recommend giving it a try. Like most high end professional foundations (Makeup Forever, Armani, MAC) it has no SPF so there is no flash back, great for days when you want your skin to be camera ready.

5 Bourgeois City Radiance €13.99FullSizeRender_4

I’ve only recently started using this foundation and I have to say I’ve been quite taken with it. It has a brightening effect and leaves your skin glowing and dewy. It has a creamy texture and blends really well into your skin. I tend to use a beauty blender when using this foundation as it gives a really even finish. The coverage is again medium build able which I love and really does last all day. As there is SPF 30 in it it does feel slightly thick when first dispensed but does not sit heavily on your face. City Radiance is highly portable too in its little tube and with added “anti-pollution screen” and SPF 30 it’s a great budget friendly foundation if you want mega-glow and a more uniform look to the skin. It does come in a limited shade range with only 6 to choose from so you may find it difficult to find a true colour match. (I use no.2 Vanilla).

Post pregnancy survival tips

A semblance of sanity: Post baby top tips for any new mum

Pregnant on my second here

The realities of motherhood are so far removed from the perception and expectation of becoming a mother when you are pregnant that there should really be some sort of book to prepare you for it.
Oh wait apparently there have been hundreds of books written on this very subject; What to Expect when you’re expecting, The Mother of all Pregnancy Books, The Parent Trip, I could go on. As a mother of two children with only a year between them I can say with my hand on my heart that none of these books even began to prepare me for motherhood. I did however have a wealth of knowledge on many other pregnancy related topics such as how big my growing child was inside of me… she went from a poppy seed to a grape in about a week, amazing right? But seriously how was this going to help me deal with the melon when it arrived? I needed practical, real advice for the hardest part. No not the labour, the actual taking care of the newborn ALL BY MYSELF part.
Don’t get me wrong I never had a fear of looking after my child, in fact I thought that I was pretty prepared to look after my baby. I’d been around enough of them throughout my life and I loved taking care of them, but I was always grateful I could hand them back to their parents. I often wondered how parents kept on going. All I ever really heard from my friends who had already had children was how tired they were due to lack of sleep, yet here they we’re running around catering to the babies every whim without so much as a sigh. When I asked how do they do it I was assured that they could only do it for their own child, the energy and want to care for you child superseded any tiredness or exhaustion you have. I prayed this would be the case for me.
I could in all honesty go on and on about this subject but for once I’m going to cut it short. Instead of having to wade through the hundreds of pregnancy and parenting books out there I’ve compiled a list of tips any new Mam should know once she’s left the hospital.

  •  Stay as long as you can in the the actual hospital. I made the mistake of coming home not even 24 hours after my second born. I was breastfeeding at the time and because I had done it before I thought that all was going well. It wasn’t until I got home that I realised that the baby wasn’t latching properly and was therefore not getting enough milk, filling herself up with wind leading to a three week battle of establishing feeding and the most painful nipples in the world. If I had of stayed in the hospital I would have given myself a chance to get to know my baby a little better realise that we had a feeding problem and avail of the lactation specialists in the hospital.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no to visitors. Allow yourself a little time home first to settle into your new family. This is especially true if you are a first time mum. Your world has literally just been turned upside down all be it for the better, the first week can be tough though. You are on a high for the first 48 hours, sleep doesn’t even come into it. Then day 3 hits and the tears come or don’t, but you definitely feel a little less elated than the previous days. Don’t worry, this is just tiredness, along with the hormones racing around in your body causing you to howl like a banshee one minute and laugh like a hyena the next. Unless it’s someone who you trust to take the baby while you catch up on sleep and wake you when the baby needs you, menage visitors for the first few days.
  •  Take all the help you can get. Accept any offer no matter how tiny it may be. You may feel like you are in control and don’t need any help. That may be the case but believe me take it while it’s going, you do not need to prove to anyone let alone yourself that you are capable of making a cup of tea, we all know you are, let someone else do it, it’s your time to rest. Use the time to bond with your newborn baby or take a shower, if people want to help, let them, there’ll be days when you wish there were people around to help in the not so distant future believe me.
  • Eat well and stay hydrated. Along with not getting enough sleep many of us new mammies don’t eat enough. A diet of tea, coffee and biscuits (provided by the helpful guest) is the only thing keeping us going. Don’t let this be the case. Eat at well as you can, keep your fridge stocked with quick and easy to eat foods such as grapes, strawberries, yoghurt pouches, vegetable smoothies and fibre filled snack pots. Notice how most of the foods listed are suitable to eat with one hand! Get used to it, you will master this skill very quickly believe me. Always keep a bottle of water near you, not only will it help with the inevitable constipation we all get post birth but if you are breast feeding it will help you replenish and establish your supply.
  • Don’t try and be superwoman. By this I mean don’t try and return to normal too quickly. I remember coming home from hospital with my first born and thinking, I need to go to the shops. The following morning I was up and out, baby wrapped up and in the pram ready to walk to the shops. Needless to say the reality of that trip was far from the expectation. By the time I had reached the shop my body was hurting, the baby was screaming and my boobs were leaking. I left the shop without buying anything and hobbled back to the house which I did not leave for five more days. The arrival of my second heralded a much more relaxed approach . I stayed at home, chilled out when I could and sent visitors to the shop for me.
  • Enjoy your new family. You may be knee deep in pooy nappies or have refluxed vomit in your hair but don’t let that deter you from the actual enjoyment of welcoming your newborn into your family. All too often we wish our little babies through each developmental milestone far too quickly. It is only when we look back a few months or years later we realise how much and how fast they have grown. Every now and then try and press your pause or slow motion button and take a step back and absorb every little thing that your new baby is doing. It will last but a fleeting moment but if you capture it in your memory you will have it forever.

For all my lovely Mammy friends, old, new and expecting