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 🙂 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 🙂 🙂 🙂 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 🙂 🙂

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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 🙂 🙂 🙂

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 🙂 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 🙂 ) 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! 🙂 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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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.  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

 

Pippa’s Fashion Factory! <3

Happy Monday guys!

I hope you all had a good weekend and took Monday by storm!!

I had a lovely weekend with some of my girls! We went to dinner in Yeats Tavern Restaurant not far from here on Saturday evening! If you are ever in the Sligo area I strongly recommend you check this place out. The food is always class!

My friends, my sister and I then set off bright and early on a Sunday morning with Lough Rynn Castle in Leitrim being our destination. We were one of the lucky ones to secure tickets to one of Pippa’s Fashion Factories there this weekend. We had been wanting to go for so long we were very excited.

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We arrived around 10:45 and went up to the registration desk where we were greeted by Niamh and Susanna who gave us our goody bags. There was tea and coffee available on arrival also. My friend’s mum had been up at the crack of dawn to prepare a big fry for us all for the day ahead, so we opted not to have the tea.

The room was filled with lots of ladies of all ages, taking selfies or happily chatting away. There was a great air of excitement for the day ahead.

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First up was our host for the day, the lovely Pippa, she greeted us all and then gave us a little background to the fashion factories, a run through of the plan for the day and gave out a few little surprises to some lucky ladies.

Then on with the day, first up to join Pippa on stage was the lovely Jennifer Rock aka @theskinnerd. I could literally listen to this lady talk all day, her knowledge on skincare is incredible and she delivers it in such an easy and friendly fashion. She gave us a little presentation on skincare, her top tips and a couple of cardinal sins we are all guilty of! She then took questions from the audience on their own skin concerns.

Next up was a tanning demo by Clara from Vita Liberata. Clara explained how to achieve the best tan results with different types of tanning products. How to avoid a streaky lines and how to perfect tan on your hands, feet etc. She also took questions from the audience and gave her top tips.

Then it was time for our afternoon tea. I won’t lie, the four of us were a little concerned at the amount of food we would receive. There was 10 of us at the table and we had visions of little tiers of sandwiches to feed all of us. Thankfully there was no need for any concern, there was plenty to go around. We received plates of sandwiches, scones, buns, donuts and macaroons. There was food left over we didn’t eat. We were also offered top ups on our tea or coffees.

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After the hour lunch break, the show started again. This time is was a fashion show with looks from various shops like River Island, H & M , Zara and of course POCO! There was also a segment on new items to Penney’s. Pippa also gave us some styling tips and showed us some of her staple pieces from her own wardrobe.

The final part of the day was a makeup demo from one of Ireland’s top makeup artists, Aimee Connolly. Aimee showed us a simple makeup look with some affordable products. Pippa and Aimee again answered questions from the audience and shared their tips.

Finally there was the chance to meet with Pippa after the show and she was the lovely person you see on television. Very warm and friendly, time for a chat and a photo with everyone who wanted one.

Now the bit everyone gets excited for, the goody bag 🙂

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In each bag was

A Cleanse Off Mitt worth €5

(I already have one of these, get one, they do exactly what they say they do)

A necklace from Betty & Biddy worth €15

A lipstick, nail polish and a contour kit from Rimmel €20 approx

A Blank Canvas Cosmetics F32 Brush €8.99

A Sally Hansen Nail Corrector Pen, bottle of nail polish remover, and a nail file €20

A bottle of Mi-Wadi concentrate

A 50ml of Vita Liberata self tanning lotion

A 7 day trial sample of Perfectil

A selection of voucher codes and some Lindt chocolates (most of which didn’t survive to be photographed 🙂 )

This in my opinion was a really decent goody bag. Filled mostly with full sized or really decent sized samples. Is it worth the €100 ticket price, no I would say not but it was close enough when I totted up the contents. But was the day worth the €100? Yes, I think it was,we got afternoon tea that was lovely and more than enough for everyone. I have been to afternoon tea in other venues and paid half that with no fashion, skincare and beauty! We had a lovely girly day out, it was relaxed and informative and despite Pippa being the owner of POCO, I didn’t feel like they were being pushed on us. There was no hard sell element to the day. It was also a long day, things kicked off about 11 and didn’t wrap up until about 5 so it really is a whole day out.

Would I go again, honestly probably not but that is not because I didn’t enjoy the day it’s simply because it’s kind of a bucket list thing to do and I now have that item ticked. But if you are looking for a lovely girly day out I would 100% recommend Pippa’s Fashion Factory.

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Lots of Love

Laura

Xxx

 

Spa Break at White’s of Wexford

Hello,

Sorry I have been a little quiet on the blog front, just haven’t had the time to sit down 🙂 but I am back now to tell you about a lovely spa break myself and my best friend Patrice had in White’s of Wexford last weekend. We had planned a girly trip away for ages, and with our busy lives we wanted to chill and relax. We chose Wexford as neither had even been before and it was somewhere different, a new place to see. When we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted in a lovely spacious and modern reception by a very friendly girl called Sarah. She chatted with us about where we were from and told us all the info regarding the hotel.

We then proceeded to our room, (possibly the only down side to the stay the room was a good walk away at the very back of the hotel) but that didn’t put us off, the room was bright, airy and very comfortable. We were advised we would have a restricted view as you could see the roof from our room but in my opinion we had a lovely view the room looked right over Wexford Harbour and if you looked up instead of down out the window that was all you could see.

We chilled in the room for a little while, before getting ready for a night out. We headed for dinner to a lovely little Chinese that was a few minutes walk from the hotel. We then went for a few drinks before heading back for some cocktails and live music in the hotel bar.

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We didn’t have a late night as the break was more about relaxing. We arrived down for breakfast the next morning all rested, and ordered our breakfast from the buffet counter. Being a big child the highlight of breakfast for me was a pancake machine where you literally pressed a button & then watched as this machine made 2 pancakes for you. I definitely want one of these. 🙂

We had booked in for the Thermal Suite for 2pm so after we checked out we went for a stroll down along the harbour, it was a gorgeous day even if a little windy. We arrived back to the hotel just before 2 and as I have never been to a spa before (I know shock horror) so I wasn’t sure what to expect. We were greeted by a lovely girl called Andrea who showed us around and explained everything to us. She could not have been more helpful. We chilled and relaxed in the hydrotherapy pool, the sauna’s, the steam room, we even took a dip in the plunge pool which was literally freezing :O But when we left, I actually felt as if I had a whole new skin, I couldn’t believe how of soft and clean it was. I had presumed I would have to cover myself in moisturizer when I came out being in so much water would dehydrate the skin but I only had to apply a little and mainly to my face. I couldn’t recommend this treatment highly enough. If you are not into your facials or massages but would like some pampering then I would definitely recommend this. I will definitely be back.

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One final little thing I need to mention, I  left some items I had just bought in the locker of the spa, the next day I rang the spa to ask if they wouldn’t mind would they post up the items to me and I would pay the postage and packaging. The girl on the phone was so nice, and no problem doing so and wouldn’t even let me pay postage. My items arrived a few days later.Now that is customer service. I couldn’t thank the staff enough.

So there you have it guys, my stay in Wexford, if you are looking for a break away on the sunny southeast I would definitely recommend White’s of Wexford.

Lots of Love

Laura

xxxx

My Favourite Lipsticks <3

Hello loves,

Every girl needs lipsticks, they can completely change a look , I love them! I went through a recent phase of buying a new one every week 🙂 A girl can never have too many. I decided I would put together a list of lipsticks I am loving at the minute.

First up Sleek “Loved Up ! I am new comer to Sleek Make up but I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough, it is just fab! The lipstick is very moist to wear, but doesn’t dry out the lips. The pigment is brilliant, comparable with MAC lipsticks, you could still be scrubbing it the next day lol! Such a long lasting lipstick for the price of €5.99, literally what is not to love! Available from http://www.sleekmakeup.com

Sleek "Loved Up"

Next Maybelline “Galactic Mauve” 240! My sister got this for me as part of my birthday present a few months ago and I love it. It was a perfect winter nude with a little bit of shimmer. It last’s for ages on the lips and doesn’t dry it out. Perfect for those casual days when you just want a little lift to your nude lip, or even to show off a dramatic eye make-up. Only €10.49 available from Pharmacies nationwide.

Maybelline "Galactic Mauve" 240

MAC, well I couldn’t do a favourite lipstick post without including a MAC! While I am all for bargain beauty, I still love those little treats! My brother got me this one in the airport duty free! He done well 🙂 This shade is Speak Louder and I love it, a soft every day pink shade. It is strong enough to wear as night lipstick but still soft enough to carry off throughout the day. I just love it, it has been in my handbag for the last few weeks as my go to lipstick!

MAC "Speak Louder"

I am a big fan of the “Kate” range of lipsticks from Rimmel, I have quite a few of them and they are as good as every says they are! I went through a stage of literally loving just nude lips, put anything darker near my lips and I would run a mile! I practically lived in this shade of lipstick for everything! It is Rimmel Kate 03! It lasts ages and the pigment is really good and for €6.95 there is literally nothing to complain about. Available from Penny’s and pharmacies nationwide.

Rimmel "Kate" 03

Finally another Rimmel, this time from their “Moisture Renew” range. I borrowed my sister’s MAC “Flat Out Fabulous” while going on holidays this year and I loved it, so when I got home I set about finding a really good dupe as having spent a fortune on the hols I was trying to be good 🙂 lol! I found this “As you want Victoria” one day in Superdrug and thought yes I have found it, the colour is so vibrant, and it most certainly is moist to wear! The only thing I will say is you need to line it as it can bleed but a gorgeous lip colour that just pops!

Rimmel "As you want Victoria"

So there you have it, a few of my favourite lipsticks of the moment! (Excuse the bare face:) ) What are your favourites? I would love to hear

Lots of Love

Laura xxx

Fashion Picks

Happy hump day guys! Hope your week is going well! I don’t know about ye but I am super glad today has arrived! It is payday thank God, January is like the longest month ever, whoever thought this paid monthly craic with January being a 6week month obviously gets paid weekly! 😛 I never or very rarely get to shop in the January sales as I know how long January can be and have to save the pennies like most of us I presume. Continue reading