Friday, 24 November 2017

L & B Gift Guide: Luxury for Her




L & B GIFT GUIDE: LUXURY FOR HER

Saint Laurent Monogramme bag (Net-a-porter)

Gucci Marmont wallet (Net-a-porter)

Olivia Von Halle (Brown Thomas)- these have a €100 discount in BT!

Artis 5 piece collection (Brown Thomas)- these have a €35 discount in BT!

iPhone 8 (Apple)

Gucci printed t-shirt (Net-a-porter)

Giorgio Armani Si Nacre (Boots)- smells divine!

Sunday Riley face oil (Cult Beauty)

Charlotte Tilbury trilogy set (Cult Beauty)

Givenchy Duetto pocket bag (Brown Thomas)- reduced to €600

Chupi 'Gold Farthing' necklace (Chupi)

Adidas Ultraboost (Size)

L & B Gift Guide: €100 and under for Her


L & B GIFT GUIDE: Under 100 for Her


UGG slippers (Brown Thomas)- currently down to €84

ABH Sugar Glow kit (Cult Beauty)

Vans Sk8-Hi women's (Size)

Adidas long sleeve t-shirt (ASOS) 20% off everything this weekend!

Kylie Cosmetics Koko set (Kylie cosmetics)

Life Changing magic of not giving a F**k (Easons)

Jewellery box (Oliver Bonas)

Gin o'clock doormat (My Shining Armour)

Hendricks Gin (Any supermarket)

Leopard belt (River Island)

Couple next door (Easons)

Rose Gold suitcase (River Island)

Oskia Renaissance mask (Cult Beauty)

Cluse watch (Cluse)

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Tried a Tasting Menu?

Tasting menus you say?  Sure that's just a plate with a leaf on it and some drops of sauce right?! Wrong! I swear by them. They are the best way to experience different food groups, cooking techniques, and I simply love them because you've no idea what is coming out from the kitchen and if you will enjoy the dish. It's like a spectacle.

The only draw back for tasting menus for me have been the price of them. They usually run into the 80+ mark and it's just not a viable choice as a dining option for me at the moment. Don't get me wrong though...the heavy prices are usually reflective of the quality of food and the people behind the produce. Some of the best dining experiences I have had to date have been with a Tasting Menu- LOAM and ANIAR (both in Galway!) were out of this world! 

Dining out is definitely mine and Ev's thing...we aren't really into spending our money in the pub on a weekly basis and always jump at the chance to try a new place as we love food with whatever left over cash we have. But as we are in the midst of deep saving, lavish meals out have been put on the burner, despite me always trailing and lusting over restauranteurs social feeds! Roll on Brioche who have put on a tasting experiment programme the last few weeks- 5 courses for a mere €29. Only a provisional time slot has been put on for this experiment, but I really hope it comes back as it was fantastic fun.

Five surprise courses and all were super. But my favourite had to be the ceviche and kimchi plate- I am loving fermented and cured foods at the minute so that was totally up my street. 

Brioche is a great little spot. Spot on decor. Great and knowledgable service. Open kitchen- I love when I see this in restaurants. And located in Ranelagh- possibly one of my most favourite locations in Dublin!





(New potatoes, cucumber, black olive and nuts)


(Ceviche and Kimchi)


(Lamb and Apple)


(Flan and peach sorbet)


(This wrap top is now on sale in Zara)


(My hot date!)



Some of my food finds and recommendations:

Loam (Galway)
Aniar (Galway)
Bastible (Dublin)
Cliff House (Waterford)
Brioche (Dublin)
Neven's (Cavan)

Next up to try- €33 Tasting Menu on a Tuesday at Richmond

Have you any hidden gems? Recommendations?



Wednesday, 3 May 2017

My bitterness

I have struggled with bitterness for some time. It's actually consumed me. Consumed my daily train of thought. Consumed every day actions. Consumed my relationships with family and friends. I think the bitterness began when I felt the need to constantly compare myself to others. What others had/are achieving and why did I feel like I was falling behind. People have said what have you to be bitter about? Your healthy, your engaged, you've a business! And then I feel guilty. Guilty for having an emotion such as bitterness.

Since a child, I was an overachiever. If I was to whip out old school reports- they would always be glowing in praise. I couldn't ever settle being just ok when I was young. I had to be good at everything, a high achiever. I always wanted good grades. I always wanted to receive praise. Not even wanting to receive. I CRAVED praise. I loved winning awards- student of the year this...top of the class for this...highest score of a grade etc...! I loved seeing words such as 'enthusiastic', 'bright', 'ambitious' and 'intelligent' next to my name. They were goals. 

I suppose my first smack of reality and dissapointment and I kid you not, I still think about was at the beginning of Year 6 in my primary school in London. I loved the idea of being a head girl so badly. I was obsessed with Enid Blyton books and had gotten the idea in my head that if you were a head girl you could go on to do great things- that people would want to work with you. Yep at the tender age of 11, I had began to think about the workforce! I wasn't picked as Head Girl. I wasn't even nominated for it and it stung.

My next encounter was in my final year of secondary school and at Graduation in 2007. Yep 10 mighty years ago. And I didn't win Student of the Year. I wasn't even nominated for student of the year. I was so bitter. I remember sitting in this sports hall with my parents right next to me clapping but biting my tongue so hard to not show the look of disappointment on my face. I spent a long time having a conversation in my own head and comparing the winner to me. I went on about it for ages. I did so much comparison. I did win student of the year two other years previously but still couldn't understand why I was bot nominated that year. It was all I could think about...

My third smack of reality was two years later in my final year in Dance College in Dublin. We were rehearsing a contemporary piece and two of the girls in my year were using paper as a prop. Just some random paper that the office were going to recycle. I just happened to open up the piece of a paper and it was a printing of where everyone in my year had been accepted to in the UK for further training. My name was missing. I don't even know why I was so surprised because of course my name was missing. I didn't get in to one college in the UK. So why would my name be printed? But it stung...it stung so bad. I unashamedly sobbed in college that day in front of everyone. Twenty year old me...wailing. I cried probably every night solidly for about month after that also. I felt like a failure. I was a failure. And I don't think at that time I was happy for anyone else who had achieved. Because I was too bitter and worried about my own failings.

My stubbornness can be best described as a raging bull. Most people would pick themselves up and try again the next year. Not me. I abandon and move on and set my sights on University. NUI Maynooth to do a degree course in Business and Management. Something I had no experience in. I didn't even take business as a subject in my Leaving Cert in school. But I thought I would be good at it and was playing with the idea of opening up my own business when I would graduate so thought it would be useful. I also thought I would sail through it. I was good in Primary school. I was good in Secondary school. I actually didn't even need to try super hard and did really well. Well college is different and while I still ended up with a first, I wasn't top of my class. I didn't possess the skills that have seen some of the graduates of my year excel in work life. Some of these people are working in top companies. 

And I suppose the nail in the coffin for me was last year when I was declined twice for a mortgage. I am so fiercely competitive and crave independence that it full on destroyed me. I spent months after that over-analysing everything. Comparing myself to other friends. Friends who had gotten married. Who had got accepted for a mortgage. Who were having kids. And I cried. I cried all the time. God love Evan and my family for putting up with me. I was awful to be around. Cried driving. Cried cleaning. Cried when I went to the toilet. I picked fights. Was more blunter then ever. But more severely grew this rage of bitterness which just began to consume me. I was so angry. 

And so I am trying. The awareness of the bitterness is a first step I think right? It's the challenge of not letting it take over is my second step. I don't even like putting it down to as a second step. Because it's on going. It's exists and then it doesn't. The one thing I really do agree with more then ever is the idea of comparison being the thief of joy. There is simply no need for it.

I stumbled upon this writer- Rupi Kaur. And one of my favourite things she has written was this sentence; 'and here you are living despite it all'.  Yep I guess I still am living.







Thursday, 8 December 2016

L & B Christmas Gift Guide: For Him

The lads can be quite hard to buy for after a while...I have exhausted the jerseys, trainers and jocks bandwagon. And so here is my gift guide for him...be it your dad, husband or male acquaintance- one of these under the stocking will guarantee you some brownie points...

Still looking for a gift for a female- did you catch my last post?

Happy Shopping! x

Gift Guide for Him 2017



Adidas NMD XR1 (JD Sports) This colour way is unreal. And I am pretty obsessed with NMD's at the minute.


Mr Jenks Pocket Square- Dublin skyline (Mr Jenks) I actually bought this for Ev prior to Mr McGregor wearing it- it's 100% silk and has Dublin's iconic and historic sites on it. And I also love Mr Jenks vision- a trendy accessories company for men and it's Irish!

Polo Ralph Lauren tartan/leather gloves (Mr Porter)- Thinsulate lined but also super stylish. Perfect for Ireland so...

Matt & Nat holdall (ASOS)- currently has 30% off and is perfect for when he brings you on that getaway you now deserve....lol!

Tom Ford Tobacco & Vanilla beard oil (Mr Porter)- have you smelt the Eau de Parfum? Well they now have a beard oil for all those hairy beasts- mother divine it smells beautiful...

Ugg Scuff slippers (Brown Thomas) He will live in these...promise!

GoPro Hero 5 (Argos) It's the latest one and will forever be useful especially for mini breaks away...

Parrot BeBop 2 drone + controller (Argos) currently has over €350 off and will bring endless hours of fun for the inner child...

Diamond Supply Camp beanie (Size) Love me some camo...

Charbonnel Et Walker truffles (Brown Thomas)- sharing is caring right...

Alice Made This Edwin bracelet (Alice Made This)- how pretty is this piece, yet masculine at the same time...

The Mixer's Manual (Brown Thomas)- so he can channel pre sofa jumping Tom Cruise.

Ray-Ban rubber round frame (Selfridges)








Saturday, 26 November 2016

L & B CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE: FOR HER

I can't believe it's that time of the year again...


Leopard and Brut Gift Guide 2016: Gifts for Her
L & B CHRISTMAS: Gifts for Her


Adidas Original NMD XR1- (JD SPORTS)- I have always been a Nike girl, but the last few season's, Adidas have upped their game. These are dope!

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle- (Debenhams)- Will always be my favourite and there is 15% off still!

Givenchy Antigona mini pink tote (Harvey Nichols)- Sooo cute and Barbie-esque. I would pop a fluffy pom pom key chain on the end and voila.

Victoria Secret Varsity crew jumper (Victoria's Secret) and these yoga tights I swear by- January sofa sloth's outfit sorted.

Shonda Rhimes 'Year of Yes' (Amazon)- This women is amazing and I have been dying to read this book.

Miasma essential oils (Holland and Barretts)- They are currently half price and I swear by them. I put oils in my diffuser at night time and totally chill out.

MAC Eye shadow Amber times Nine (Brown Thomas)- must have neutrals.

Helen Moore leopard faux fur scarf (My Shining Armour)- obligatory leopard.

Lace Triangle bra (Topshop)- every day I am loving more wireless bras. It's like letting them breathe.

Gucci Blooms pouch (Gucci)- to fit your phone and your debit card and off you go to brunch...

Olympus E-PL8 (Camera.ie)- the Pen's have a good reputation of taking decent still shots while also filming.

This Works Sleep Plus spray (Look Fantastic)- I've used this product before and it's amazing! Highly recommended.

Terrys Orange (Tesco)- Because it's Christmas right?!



Friday, 25 November 2016

Visit Iceland


This was a trip of a lifetime. Ev turned 30 in May and I booked an action packed five night adventure into the land for fire and ice for his present. Much planning was done online, researching different tour companies and trying to negotiate our time frame as best as we could.

I highly recommend Iceland and it should belong on everyone's travel bucket list. It's truly a holiday like no other. This post will show you who we booked with and why, recommendations of places to eat and stay and give you an idea of what to pack and costs involved. 

In all honestly, this post is going to be a little bias and super positive simply because we got engaged on this trip lol- I spent most of the holiday beaming ...so really, I will always hold a soft spot for this tiny country. 

Ev actually did a two part vlog of our trip away which includes our engagement, us eating fermented shark + even our crash on our snowmobile lol! So, if your more into a visual element, please see our latest vlog;

Part 1- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EnokGli8pU

Part 2-  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOH_lyj7Ed4







Where we stayed?

Hotel Borg. An art deco 1920's established hotel is in a perfect location if visiting Reykjavik. It's located downtown of the city, overlooks the Austurvöllur square and is a stone's throw to restaurants, bars and the harbour. Accommodation is very expensive in Iceland. In fact the running theme in this post will be that Iceland is very costly in general (especially for food!) so one of the reasons I actually chose this hotel was based on the decent breakfast reviews and the heated bathroom floors lol! Our room was a corner room which was reasonably large, a decent bathroom and really good heating (Iceland is cold and wet!). Our breakfast was plentiful- think buffet but with a good quality choice of everything you could want, and we took advantage, filling ourselves up each morning meaning we only had to get a small lunch during the day. We were gifted with access to the spa also, and a sauna and jacuzzi were a welcome site after a day of outdoor activities. Room service was decent- and dinner prices on the menu were actually cheaper then some of the places we went to eat in within the city. You can book a room here. Five nights for a superior room with breakfast was €1316.








Travel?

We flew with Wow Air. The Ryanair of Iceland. Flight time is less then two and a half hours. And they are probably a little bit stricter then Ryanair. Price wise- definitely not as cheap, but like I said previously nothing is low priced in Iceland. We booked a shared 20kg suitcase (you need bulky items for this trip- no holidays cover ups in this suitcase!)and had two carry ons. Travel from Keflavik airport was a coach bus- unless you rent a car or have arranged a private transfer, you have no other option. We bought a return ticket on our flight and it cost €70 each. The journey from the airport was just under 1 hour, and includes a transfer from the bus terminal in a smaller bus to our hotel. All the trips/excursions we booked had pick-ups included in the price. And we walked around the whole of Reykjavik. So we had no other experience with travel within Iceland. Should we ever go back (we so want to explore the south of Iceland!)- we would probably rent a 4x4 car during a warmer time of the year and venture into the rural roads.


Booking activities?

I spent a lot of time researching what I wanted to do in Iceland. Exploring for Northern lights and visiting a glacier was on the list. This is where you have an opportunity to play around with your budget. You can book tours for a variety of prices, it just depends on what your looking for. There are super cheap tours on Greyline.com, but this was a special trip and I wanted some of the more private options that were available. I booked;

- Northern Lights of the beaten track (Iceland Expeditions). A semi private expedition, pick up is in a spacious, rural road worthy Land Rover Discovery and we hunted for a few hours for lights outside Reykjavik. Our guide was actually the owner of the company- Dofri and he was fantastic. He was so knowledgeable and has a brilliant sense of humour. Our jeep also hosted a couple from HK and a lovely lady from the UK, who told us that she had previously taken a coach trip to see the Northern Lights but that it pulled into a parking lot and they waited their for a few hours. Dofri went in the search the best he could and to areas that would never have been possible in a large bus. It wasn't clearest of nights- but we did get glimpse and a lovely blurry photo that we will treasure! We had actually booked the Sunday  night, however the weather was poor and the trip was cancelled, so we booked for Monday night instead which was perfect anyway as Ev asked me to marry him on Sunday night and would have probably spent the night sobbing with happiness and staring at my ring lol! Wrap up, be prepared with a very good camera and be welcomed by some yummy hot chocolate and a drop of rum for the rebels.




-  Lava tube caving (Iceland Expeditions). We went with the same company for the Lava tube caving which covered the Leiðarendi cave- a 2000 year old cave that showed incredible rock formations. It was somewhat an active trip in that you need to bend and lunge to get through tight areas of the cave but when you deal with the idea that hot lava flowed right through that cave- the feeling is so exhilarating. Our leader- Erik was super engaging and a great teacher. I've never been into Geography, but this was an educational trip done really well. Waterproof gear is needed- droplets happen throughout the cave and you need to be covered. Our walk from our jeep to the caves was also drench inducing- so just be prepared.





- Blue Lagoon (Blue Lagoon.com). It's one the best experiences we have ever experienced. A geothermal public bath that has sulphur based water between 37-39 degrees. The lagoon is huge and you can swim all around. We chose the premium option at €70 each which included a robe, slippers and the first drink for free (they actually limit the amount you can drink which maybe was a good thing as you could probably stay in the water and swim up to the bar the whole day!). Though there are cheaper options too and even more expensive option which included a private section. What an experience. Book your bus tickets through the site too- they are cheaper to do so! And pack your hair with the conditioner they provide as the sulphur will dry out your hair. You have to pre-book and we went for 12pm opening and stayed for hours floating in the bliss. I only wish we had a volcano in Ireland as I could do this every week!






- Snowmobiling on the  Langjökull glacier and the Golden Circle Tour (Snowmobiling.is). I wanted to book snowmobiling but also wanted to book the Golden Circle tour and this tour company operated a two in one. We got picked up in the Monster Truck- but happened to be the only passengers for the tour which was fantastic as it mean't we got a one to one trip. Our leader Mardis was amazing- knowledgeable and friendly, and so much fun. She brought us around the Golden Circle loop- we stopped at the Gullfoss waterfall and viewed the tetonic plates at Thingvellir National Park. We visited the Geysir and all the mini ones around it and went climbing up the mountain next to it. We later took the super truck out to the  snowmobiling base and then went on an hour snowmobile ride on the Langjökull glacier. This is probably the most adventurous I have ever been and was definitely the highlight of our trip- the snowmobiling was so much fun (including the mini crash which you can see in our vlog lol!). Being on a glacier is surreal and if it's in your budget I would totally go for it! When do you ever get to do something like this?!Pricing was 45,900 ISK per person.
















Staying and eating in Reykjavik? 

If your staying in the city, there is actually loads to do, see and visit. We took one full day to walk around the city- see the artwork and capture some of the sights. Iceland is tiny with a population of 300,000 and yet 2/3 of the population live in Reykjavik. Think cute little streets, corrugated iron houses and big jeeps lining the roads.

We ate at the Hornid (Italian food)- yummy pizzas and pastas, Saegrifinn (Seafood)- lobster soups and scallop skewers, Apotek (mixed gastro menu)- by far the best restaurant we ate in and it wasn't the most expensive either (their lunch menu is very reasonable...for Iceland!)- the mink whale was so good, we had it twice in one day! Cafe Loki (traditional Icelandic food)- we had fermented shark...hey when in Iceland right?! And had ice-cream at Ísbúðin Valdís- try the peanut butter oreo flavour!











We also visited the Hallgrímskirkja Cathedral which is simply stunning- concrete and vast but so beautiful. Walked around the harbour, visited the stunning Harpa building and searched for wall artwork high and low.




















Costs?

Reykjavik and Iceland is by far the most expensive place/country I have ever been to...it surpasses uber expensive Paris and trendy Dubai. A meal for two- two mains and two drinks (no starters or desserts) would set you back around 65 euro. Which personally I think is very expensive for sub-standard food. But your dealing with a country which has to import everything in. A bottle of water would set you back around 3-4 euro (tap water is the purest you will ever find so bring a reusable bottle with you!) and I can't comment on the shopping as we didn't set foot into a shop! If you budget well, and plan your trips accordingly it could be done much cheaper, however this was a birthday trip for Ev and I wanted the experience to be more personal and memorable!

What to wear?

We visited Iceland in late Oct/early Nov so it wasn't actually the coldest time of the year yet, but good thermals, waterproof gear and layers are a necessity. I bought the comfiest pair of Sorels that I lived in for the entire time I was there and they were waterproof but fashionable at the same time.




These are my must have items if visiting Iceland during the Winter season;


- my Sorel's- the pair I chose was the Cozy Carnival boot (sorel.com)
- I lived in my thermals and got these from Amazon (Amazon)
- I wore a base layer (by Mountain Warehouse) top under all my jumpers each day (Amazon)
- Smartwool socks- my feet were toastie (Amazon)
- UA beanie (Under Armour)
- UA Storm ColdGear Elements Glove (Under Armour)
- ...and don't forget your swimming togs!