My Travel Bucket List – The places I have ticked

Hello everyone,

I haven’t written a blog post in a little while but lately travel has been on my mind a lot.

I was never bitten with the travel bug when I was in my teens or even my early twenties, I’m a home bird through and through. When I was in my first college course, as part of it we went on annual city breaks and I loved them.

We went to Lisbon which I really loved and we also went to Berlin and I wasn’t a fan. But that’s what I love about travel, exploring cities and discovering new places that you love and some you don’t. I would always much rather say I didn’t like somewhere than say I haven’t been. While I still don’t have the urge to live away (Always a home bird) I do suffer from itchy feet, I love planning the next adventure whether it’s to Westport or Amsterdam, I love planning.

I’ve compiled a list of places I have been to and I enjoyed and then I have the bucket list, the places I haven’t been to but are in the pipeline. I’m not one to return to places multiple times but there is a few that I would go back years later. Now these are in no particular order, some I loved more that others but all are worth at least one visit.

  1. Lisbon

As I said above I visited Lisbon some years ago as part of a college course. I was studying Interior Architecture at the time so the focus of the trip was architecture obviously πŸ™‚ I found the people, the atmosphere of the cobbled streets the whole city has a lovely warmth to it. I would definitely recommend it and I definitely would go back. It is a perfect city break for a little sunshine and sightseeing.

2. Amsterdam

This trip is very recent as I was only there in April. Amsterdam was one of those places that I thought I would never get to, I was that eager to go to it. Almost everyone I seemed to talk to had been and I wanted to go. We did a girls trip in April, flew mid week, stayed 2 nights but had 3 full days. And to be honest three days was enough. While I loved the city, it is really beautiful, almost like a dolls house on water if that makes sense, I’ve seen it, it’s done and off the list I have no rush to go back.

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3. Prague

My family and I often take group holidays together and 2 years ago we decided to go to Prague for the Christmas Markets. We went the first week in December which was the 2nd week of the markets. Hand on heart I can say that Prague was one of my favourite cities that I have been too. it’s just a beautiful city. The shopping is good, the scenery, the history, the food. I would love to go back in the summer time when the weather is hot and see the city in a different light.

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4. New York

Ah New York! After Thailand, New York was second on my bucket list from I was a little girl. It was a dream to visit this infamous magical city. About 7 years ago, my family and I took off on an another adventure. 15 of us heading to the Big Apple. New York was everything I dreamed of, I loved it. Driving in from JFK and seeing the city before you is magical. Everything about it is just aw dropping. The sights, the shows, the shopping, New York for me was like a fairy tale. I would go back in a heartbeat. I have heard people say that the second time is not near as exciting but I dunno I think if I went to New York every year I’d still be excited. If you have any desire to see New York I can’t recommend it enough.

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5. Kusadasi

I went on a family holiday to Turkey in 2009. I had never been and my Mum wanted us all to have one last family holiday together before we all grew up! I think she thought we would all fly the nest at 21 and not come back! We have been on at least 3 holidays all together since πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Turkey is a beautiful country, if you like heat (I do) then you will love it. The people are so warm and friendly and really appreciate you coming to their country. Now I know there is all the unrest and trouble at the minute that many including myself would be wary of going back. I know some people who went this summer and said they had no issues at all, a little extra security at the airport in Turkey but other than that they had a fab time.

6. Brussels

Brussels was a last minute impromptu over night stay! My sister and I went in a group last year, literally decided a few weeks before and headed off. We both have an interest in Politics so the chance to see the European Parliament was an opportunity we couldn’t turn down. And we literally couldn’t have timed it better, we landed in Brussels the first working day after the Brexit referendum. We sat in Parliament as every MEP in Europe was discussing the biggest issue to affect the European Union since it’s foundation. To most people this would be completely boring but to us, we were literally part of history in the making and we were very excited. We found the city itself is very centered around the Parliament. You could see it all in two days, it is very similar to Prague or Berlin in structure with a little french influence. A city to stop off and see but I wouldn’t be running back.

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7. Liverpool

Not very far away travel wise but Liverpool is one of my favourite cities to visit. I have been twice at this stage and would go back in the morning. It’s a really fun city, lots to see and do, great shopping, nightlife, restaurants and everything seems to be beside each other. The last time we went on a mini hen break, we stayed in the Radisson on the docks and we could literally walk to bars and clubs from there, it was fab! If you want a great girly trip I would highly recommend you look into Liverpool and it is so cheap to get there with Ryanair flights πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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I didn’t start this off as a list of ten but I feel I may as well keep going when I’m on a ramble session πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

8. Edinburgh

Edinburgh, again like Liverpool is very easy got to with cheap flights. It’s a really fun city with lots to see and do, no matter what kind of style you are into it has you covered. It is a very very pretty city but if you are walking around I would not recommend heels as it is built on a hill and everything seems to be either up hill or downhill πŸ™‚ I have friends who return regularly for the nightlife so again if you are after a girly trip or a lads weekend, go for it!

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9. London

London, I have been to twice! Once when my brother lived over there and I went over for the weekend. We did the whole sightseeing thing, the London Eye, Westminister, London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, all the usual suspects. I fricking loved the London Dungeons and still talk about them, they are a must see if you are there. Went to the ones in Amsterdam and they were in my opinion a poor man’s version. The other I went over for the night to see a show in the London Palladium, it was literally a flying visit (see what I did there πŸ™‚ ) but I enjoyed it. Definitely a city to see at least once in your life.

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10. Lourdes

This is a random one! πŸ™‚ My Nana asked for someone to travel with her to Lourdes a few years ago as she wanted to see it. My cousin had travelled with her to Fatima a few years earlier so I volunteered this time. Was Lourdes high up on my list of place, definitely not but it is worth seeing. Regardless of religion, it is a place of awh! My Nana was marvelling at the churches and all the praying she could do but I was looking at the architecture of the churches, how they were built, the pure beauty of them. We also went on a tour to a little village in the mountains to visit yet another historic Church (Nana was in her element) but the French countryside was beautiful. And to see the Pyrenees up close was pretty cool. My Nana loved the whole trip and that to me was worth every Hail Mary I had to say that whole week.

 

I hope you enjoyed this, I love hearing other people travel stories and putting new places on the list.

Lots of Love

Laura

Xxx

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Folkster Bridal Event

Hello everyone,

So last Sunday myself and my BFF went to the first ever Folkster Bridal Event in Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin.

Firstly I am a bridesmaid for the first time ever and very excited. πŸ™‚ I am beyond honored to have been asked. The minute Patrice set the date I said that she would find her dress in Folkster. I just have this funny feeling as the whole vibe of the shop is just so Patrice.

When they announced this bridal event we went on and booked tickets straight away. Well actually that’s not exactly how it happened, this is actually a funny story. I went on and booked a ticket but by the time Patrice went on to get them they had sold out. She hadnt realised I had a ticket and I just presumed she got one too. So the event was announced as sold out and like any good BFF I tagged Patrice on Facebook to say we were excited etc. the usual. Patrice then revealed she hadn’t got a ticket as it was sold out and she presumed I hadn’t got one either. LOL! So we ended up with a bridesmaid with a ticket and a bride without one πŸ™‚ The lovely girls in Folkster happily rectified the situation and we got Patrice a ticket.

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There were two shows on the actual day of the event due to its popularity. One at 3 and one at 5. Smock Alley Theatre was the most beautiful venue for the event, it couldn’t have been more perfect or suited. When we arrived in there was a glass of prosecco for everyone and a table of the most instagrammable cakes and canapes that I have ever seen. Actually when we went up to get some cake there was a gentleman cutting cake for himself and he handed us each a slice as well. He turned out to be Don O’Neill, the Irish Designer from Kerry who was exhibiting his collection on the day.

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There was 3 bridal collections shown on the day and then Folksters own bridesmaid collection. We loved seeing the dresses up close as it gave us a closer look at them and ones we thought we liked/loved in pictures either blew us away or there was something we didn’t love about them.

We are heading down to Folksters Kilkenny store to try on some dresses on Saturday so to have seen the dresses here gave us a better idea of the ones to try on and which ones Patrice didn’t like.

The whole show was just around the hour mark and it was such a lovely chilled and relaxing girly day out. If they have another one and you are a bride to be I would definitely recommend going to it.

Lots of Love

Laura

xxx

I’m just like everyone else…….

Hello lovely people,

This is a blog post that is very honest. There are going to be people reading this, who may know me and think why in the hell would she write that out for the world to see. I don’t know is the answer and maybe you are right I am mad to share this. I probably am. It’s not about looking for sympathy or anyone to play me a violin. Everyone has insecurities and things that hold them back from the life the want to live, I’m just writing mine down.

I am my own biggest critic and I have a “you are not good enough” mantra in my head, always have. Why do I think like this I don’t know. I am always so genuinely shocked when people show that they like me. My gut reaction is “Really you actually like me?” or I question it to death to the point that I have convinced myself I’ve got it wrong they don’t like me.

I have the world’s most epic fear of failure that means unless I know I can do something 110% I’ll steer clear, just in case I might fail. That applies to everything in my life, relationships, work, activities, everything, fear holds me back.

When it comes to new people or people who are friends but not close friends, I question and tell myself “oh they probably don’t want me around”, “I’ll only be a bother to them”. Do they think this? I dunno maybe they do, the fact that I care is the problem. And to the ones who don’t think like that I’m apologising for all the uncomfortable moments my thoughts got the better of me. Please stick with me.

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Those who are close to me will know I have inherited my Dad’s excellent quick wit and a dash of my Mum’s epic sarcasm that means I deliver one liners without a second thought. The other day at work I used one such sarcastic line in a quick response, the other three ladies in the office were at the point of tears, and I was sitting like a fool thinking “God they really think I’m actually funny.”

I used to read blog posts from bloggers who said they suffer from anxieties and I would be reading it thinking “That must be terrible”.

It has literally only dawned on me that how I feel on an almost daily basis are anxieties too. I don’t do things I want to do for fear of what others will think or what others will say or that I will fail in doing them. Fear of not being good enough holds me back and has held me back from so much it’s ridiculous. The voice inside my own head telling me I’m not good enough is the loudest sound in the world.

I know there will be people who will read this and think, “She is just looking for attention!” I’m not!

There will also be the people who know me and who will go, “well that explains alot!”

There will be people who think “Who is she kidding she is out all the time.” Yes I am but remember social media creates the perfect picture of what you want to share. Unless of course you are like me and decide to write a blog post like this. Again I have no idea why I feel the need to share this. I do know I find writing therapeutic and that I like to know I’m not alone. Everybody has fears. I can’t be the only weirdo in the world who over thinks and over analyses.

There will be people who know me well and wonder who the hell I’m talking about because the person they know isn’t quiet at all, the person they know never shuts up lol. You have managed to knock down my walls and reveal the real me, the good the bad and the ugly. ❀

And there are my best friends who will know this story because they have listened to my over critical thoughts for years. And for that I thank you, I am lucky to have you and I love you more than any words could ever say. ❀

I still don’t understand why I have these fears or what I have to do to overcome them but I have them, just like everyone else…………

Lots of Love..

Laura

xxx

 

Amsterdam …. Another city ticked…..

Hey everyone,

I hope you are all keeping well.

I am just getting back on track after a busy April. In one week I went to see Nathan Carter play the 3Arena on the Saturday night, party until 5 in the morning. Helped my friend pack up her house for moving on Sunday. Back to the 3 Arena on Monday for Olly Murs and then flew to Amsterdam for 3 days at 6 o’clock on Tuesday morning.

But that is pretty much how I lead my life, I am always on the go and making memories.

When making travel plans I love to read travel blogs on different places so I thought I should write blog posts on the cities I have been to. I have ticked most of the European cities off by now except for the usual suspects Paris and Rome. I have been to neither and with the way Paris is at the minute it’s moving further down the bucket list.

Amsterdam was one city that was high up on the list. I had heard so much about it I just wanted to see it for myself. 2 weeks ago I finally took the plunge and we jetted off.

We booked our flights with Ryanair about 2 weeks before going and they were only €55 return. We decided to go for 2 nights and 3 days so we fly out early morning and back late in the evening.

We arrived at the airport early in the morning and got the train to Amsterdam Central Station. We weren’t quite sure which train or Metro to get but we just asked at the desk and the lady gave us all the information we needed. The train ticket was €5.70. When we got to Amsterdam Central we got the Metro to the hotel which was only 2 stops away. We purchased a 3 day ticket for €17 so we had unlimited travel on the Metro for that.

When booking the hotel, I did so through Booking.com and used Tripadvisor to make sure I was making a good choice. No matter where I book I will check with Tripadvisor first. I read about 5 bad reviews and 5 good reviews and make a choice. It is hasn’t let me down yet.

I booked Hotel Allure. The hotel is really well located and only 2 minute walk from the Metro Station Wesserplein. It is also about a 10 minute walk to Dam Square and The Heineken Museum. It was clean and fresh, perfect for our stay. Don’t be put of by the outside facade, it could do with a lick of paint but other than that it was perfect. It is located in the quieter part of town but like I said it is only 5 minutes by Metro to Central Amsterdam.

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When we arrived we planned out things we wanted to do. The usual tourist suspects.

First up for us was The Amsterdam Dungeons. I had been to The London Dungeons a few years ago and still rave about them (if you are ever in London they are a MUST) so I was dying to go to these. If like me you have been to the London ones, I would proceed with caution. I was very disappointed with the Amsterdam Dungeons. I just felt they didn’t tell the stories as well, the theatrics weren’t as good even the staging was lacking something by comparison. The finale left me thinking “Is that it?”, I was just expecting so much more. However my sister who hasn’t been to the London ones, went to Amsterdam in November and thought they were really good.

The Heineken Experience, this wasn’t high on my list as I’m not a beer drinker but you know when in Rome kinda thing. I was pleasantly surprised by this, it wasn’t the museum experience I was expecting. You literally talk a walk through the Heineken life cycle from production to bottling to promoting. There is lots of cool interactive features that are free to use and of course a little sampling for the journey. The tour itself was €16 and we bought our tickets at one of the many Tours and Tickets shops located around the city.

One thing to note in Amsterdam is the bikes. They are everywhere to the point that you are probably more likely to get knocked down by a bike than you are a car or tram. You can hire bikes out at most hotels and from several spots throughout the city.

 

Dam Square, possibly my favourite place of the whole trip. Yes it was overrun with tourists clamouring to get their picture on the IAMSTERDAM sign but the place is just beautiful. The sun was shining, the tulips and ducks on the water. Β It was so peaceful despite the hustle and bustle.

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We spent the day strolling through Vondel Park and all the little city streets. Amsterdam is a city that you want to stop and take pictures every 2 minutes and if like me you have an appreciation for Architecture you can double that. Sometimes you feel like you are strolling through a little dolls village. It is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been too.

 

In Amsterdam there is plenty of canal tours that you can take. We booked the Lover Cruise. It was grand, passed a few hours on our final day, saved us walking and we got to see some parts we probably wouldn’t have seen had we been walking. The tour guide also gives you some interesting facts on the city. If you have a few hours it is worth taking just don’t expect fireworks.

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We couldn’t take a trip to Amsterdam and not visit the infamous Red Light district. We were surprised at how close it was to the center but you would stroll by the edges and not realise you were as close to it as you were. I described it as a quote from Disney’s the Lion King “That shady place over there we don’t go there”. Strangely there appears to be a “shadow” over it which is simple down to architecture and the streets being narrower. It is everything you expect, as a girl it’s a little unsettling and you do feel a little uncomfortable when you spy a girl in the window. But again when in Amsterdam and I can say I have seen it.

My one disappointment with my visit to Amsterdam was Anne Franks House. Tickets for the house are booked out months in advance so as we only booked 2 weeks before flying it was completely sold out. I would definitely go back in a few years even just to visit this.

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Three days was absolutely plenty of time to see the city. We felt like we saw pretty much everything we wanted to see. It is a beautiful city, however I wouldn’t be rushing back. I feel like I have seen pretty much all there was to see. I have heard people who return every year and for that I just can’t see the attraction. It’s too small a city to keep me returning that frequently but still worth a visit.

Lots of Love

Laura

xx

 

Skin Republic Masks

Hello everybody,

I am back with a blog post on Skin Republic face masks. I toyed with the idea of writing this post. I work for the company that distributes them in Ireland and with all the controversy at the minute about sponsored posts etc. I am a bit nervous about this post. However, I then thought the very reason they are available in Ireland is because I fell in love with them. I didn’t make them, I don’t own them, I just fell in love with them. And this blog is “Laura Loves” after all.

In my job I often get products to try out, and to be honest most of them don’t make it past my desk. The Skin Republic masks landed about 8 months ago and I brought them home to try out. The first one I tried was the Hyaluronic Acid and Collagen mask. It is no exaggeration when I tell you the next day in the office, I felt like someone was walking around spraying water in my face. My skin was so hydrated. I went into my boss and tried to explain the feeling, his response was “Laura you might as well be speaking in Greek to me, are they good?”

Yes they are good, so I ordered the full range to try all of them out and my thoughts were exactly the same on each of them. I sent them to family, friends and a few professional acquaintances, male and female to try them out. The response was unanimous the masks were a hit with everyone who tried them. And that is the simple story of how they arrived in Ireland.

The Skin Republic Masks are sheet masks manufactured in South Korea. They are made with spun lace and soaked in a serum. We brought 5 masks to Ireland and here they are.

 

The Hyaluronic Acid + Collagen Face Mask

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Like I said before, this was the first mask I tried. It was so good that I honestly did feel like someone was following me around with a hose of water. My skin felt so hydrated it was amazing. Literally like a drink of water for my skin. So if you have dehydrated skin or perhaps you had a heavy weekend and your skin needs a little TLC this mask is for you. It contains exactly what it says on tin Hyaluronic Acid and Collagen. Hyaluronic Acid is naturally found in the skin and helps it retain moisture. Collagen plumps out the skin and reduces fine lines and wrinkles.

Caviar and CQ10 Face Mask

Caviar

This mask is to nourish and hydrate the skin. The first time I tried this mask, I was tired and had a little hint of dark circles under my eyes. I left this mask on for a little longer than the specified 15-20 minutes because I was watching TV. When I took the mask off about half an hour later the dark circles under my eyes were gone. My skin felt super soft and looked much brighter.

Collagen Infusion Face Mask

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This mask again does exactly what is says on the tin. It contains Collagen, Elastin and Vitamin E. This mask feels really soothing and plumps out the skin. The consistency of this serum is a little “stickier” than the other 2 but it is equally as nice on the skin. My skin felt plumped out and and “fresh”. A lovely little lift for the skin.

Spots & Blemish Face Mask

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This mask contains salicylic acid, your best friend if you have spots or blemishes! It also contains tea tree and witch hazel which calms irritated skin. Now first off, I thankfully don’t suffer from many spots or blemishes but when I tried this mask I did notice that it reduced redness on my cheeks and around my nose. I can’t comment personally if they eliminate spots but one of the people who tested the masks for me does, and he noticed a difference after just one mask.

 

Foot Peel

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Ah the foot peel! I brought these home one Friday evening and asked my mum to try them out with me. They are like little booties containing AHA acids that you pop your feet in tape up and leave on for up to 2 hours. It says on the packaging that it peels the skin within 7 days and lordy it does exactly what is says on the tin. Within a day my skin was peeling away all by itself, and when I say skin, it was the hard dry skin on the heels and base of my foot peeled away. It was disgusting, I won’t lie but my feet felt the better of it. I couldn’t believe the results. My mum had the very same reaction and still raves about them months later and tells all her friends about them. This from a lady who last wore makeup on her wedding day nearly 30 years ago. Word of caution, don’t use fake tan for a few days after using these masks, I did and my skin was patchy and it just peeled away.

Don’t just take my word for, try them yourself and fall in love ❀

If you have any questions on them, please just ask me I am more than happy to answer any questions. And if you have tried them, let me know what you think. I love to hear feedback.

 

 

They are available from pharmacies nationwide, the face mask retail at €6.95 and the Foot Peel is €14.95

Lots of Love

Laura

xxx

Inspirational Women – My Top Ten

Hello lovelies,

Happy International Women’s Day to all the fabulous ladies out there.

For the day that is in it, I thought I would share a list of the ladies who inspire me. It is a random mix of ladies who inspire me to be a better person, reach my goals, achieve the unachievable and let nothing stand in your way!

So in no particular order here they are:

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn

An iconic classic! In my opinion this woman epitomises the very definition of a lady! Remembered for her style but she was so much more than just clothes. She carried herself with so much grace and devoted much of her life to humanitarian causes. We lost her much too young at the age of 63, but to me she has left a legacy that will live forever.

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly

Again another iconic lady. She inspires me for very similar reasons to Audrey Hepburn. Her style and her grace are huge influences on me even though she died years before I was born.

Pippa O’Connor

Pippa O’ Connor Ormond announced as the face of the Dublin Fashion Festival 2015

This lady!! She needs no introduction at the moment. She is a super stylish force to be reckoned with and appears to be today’s version of Wonder Woman. Running 2 successful businesses, and being a Mum of 2. She is proof that if you work hard your dreams are possible.

Marissa Carter

Marissa Carter

Another of my favourite Girl bosses. What I admire so much about Marissa is how she has achieved so much Β in a relatively short space of time through hard work. She is shining example of how you can reach all of your career goals and kick ass without knocking anyone down.

Ellen Kavanagh Jones

Ellen Kavanagh Jones

I have so much love for this lady! I have only had the pleasure of meeting her once, but I follow her everyday. Her sense of humour, her style and her career. She is #GirlBoss goals. Her work ethic and determination inspire me every single day!

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama

Every time this lady opens her mouth to speak, I listen. Her grace, her enthusiasm, her empathy, her intelligence. She is today’s Audrey Hepburn in my opinion.

I could not compile a list of ladies that inspire me and not include these ladies,

My wonderful Nana

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I was one of those lucky kids who were reared as much by their grandparents as they were by their parents. My Nana, I have so much love for this woman as she played a huge role in helping me become the person I am today.

My Fabulous Nannie

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Although my Nannie has sadly passed away, she was such a huge part of my life that everyday I notice the little things I do or say are echoes of her! She walked along side me for 27 years but I will carry her in my heart forever.

My Sister

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My best friend, we laugh and fall out like no other but the bond of sisters can never be broken. I am so proud of everything you have achieved, your sass, your intelligence, but above all else your kindness.

My Mum

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A large part of you lives in me. I know that no matter what I do or where I go, I can always come home to you! If I have even half of your caring nature and kindness, I will go far in life. Thank you for raising us with so much manners and consideration for others. We are the best people we can be because of you.

So there you have a random list of ladies who inspire me everyday to be the best version of myself I can be.

And to each and everyone of you ladies reading this, you are fabulous, you are capable, you are loved and you can achieve everything you wish if you just reach for it.

Lots of Love

Laura

Xxx

Dirty Dancing – The Musical

Happy Sunday guys,

I hope you all had a lovely weekend, I spent it chilling as I had a really busy week.

With having Pippa’s Fashion Factory on Sunday and then on Tuesday night my sister and I headed to the Bord Gais Theatre in Dublin to see Dirty Dancing – The Musical.

I am a massive Dirty Dancing fan, my favourite film of all time, I know it inside and out. I have watched it countless times and still never tire of it so I was really excited to see the musical.

The plot is almost exactly the same as the film, with a few extra scenes added in to change it up. The acting and dancing is brilliant. It is a little more theatrical than the film but it is theater so I had to tell myself stop comparing it to the film. Once I did that, I fell in love with the whole thing again, I got lost it. I even turned to my sister at one point and said I wish I was in my pj’s sitting watching this.

The music and the singing was superb, the cast selection is very true to the film so it doesn’t stray too far away. The dancing, ooooh! I would love someone to teach me the steps so I could dance like that too.

The audience was a complete mix, all ages, women and Β men (even if the men were dragged along lol)

My stand out favourite moment from the show was that iconic line “Nobody puts Baby in the corner” , I have told everyone about this. You could literally feel the anticipation just before he said it, the audience sitting on the edge of their seats holding their breath, willing Johnny to say those 6 little words. The split second that he did, the whole place erupted in cheer and applause from the crowd. It was electric.

So if like me, you are a Dirty Dancing fan, I would highly recommend going to see this show. Especially if you weren’t able to go to the cinema to see the original when it was first released.

Has anyone seen it? I would love to know what you thought!

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Lots of Love

Laura

Xxxx