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

 

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

 

The Big Bad World

Hello lovelies,

Hope you are all well. Today I have a little blog post on something we all experience in some way or another. My little sister sat her Leaving Certificate exam this year and absolutely aced it, the little genius but in fairness she put the work in. Yesterday evening herself and some friends were discussing college, moving out, moving away from home and in a lot of cases in with strangers. Deciding on different courses, enough points, not enough points, will I repeat etc. These are a whole load of big decisions to be making at such a young age and society also gives them the impression these decisions will affect the rest of their lives, when really it will and it won’t.

  
I sat my Leaving Certificate 9 years ago (cringe, I only feel like it was max. 2 years ago) and thankfully I got the points for what I wanted to do, Interior Architecture. I was always creative, art being my favourite subject at school and I would sit and watch all the design shows for hours on end, I loved it and still do. I was always looking to change some room in the house and to do it a little different then the norm. So I started the perfect course for me.

  
Now I loved this course in first year but I struggled with the technical aspect of it, I was more creative and any sort of numbers hurt my brain literally, I just can’t do figures. But as anyone who knows me will know, I can be as stubborn as a mule when I want to be, and failure is not something that features in my vocabulary, I don’t give up on things. So I worked hard and I passed my first year exams with no real bother. So roll on second year, again I found the year tough but I was getting through it, and anyone who studies or has studied Interior Architecture will know that the course consumes your life, none of them will tell you it is a walk in the park even for the exceptionally talented.  So the course was project based for the core subject meaning that your final mark for the year was based on your final project and the work load was intense. Bang, the last 2 weeks of college when I was up to my eyes, I was struck with Glandular Fever which for anyone who’s had it you will know, it knocks you for six and you literally have no energy for weeks even months later. So I handed in my project, that I hadn’t been able to put 100% into as I was so sick. Results day arrived and I failed this subject by 4%, it was cruel! I explained I had Glandular Fever to my lecturer and he said “well that would explain a lot.”, he never advised me I could have appealed the result on the grounds of being sick but in hindsight he kinda did me a favour. But again back to being stubborn, I set about repeating the subject which meant repeating the year as there was no actual written exam. Half way through this I realised this just wasn’t for me. The hours were too intense, the course and the career really demanded too much from me and all the aspects I loved that kept me there, well I just didn’t love them enough to spend the rest of my life doing it putting up with the other stuff. I wasn’t happy.

  
I dreaded telling my parents, like I said I don’t do failure and admitting to my parents I had failed and was giving up something so important was one of the hardest things I have done. My Dad took it much better than Mum which I expected once I was happy he didn’t care, but like most mothers particularly Irish mothers mine is the ultimate worrier. “What do you mean you are giving up?”, “You can’t drop out!” ,”What are you going to do now?” ,”Your not sitting about the house everyday”,”You need to find something else.” , all of these questions fired at me, which I was expecting to be honest so I had the answers ready.

I will never be the person that sit’s around doing nothing, it’s not in my nature I have to be busy, I’m also notoriously independent in many ways, I find it difficult to ask someone for the loan of €20 even if I am giving it back to them an hour later. I have always worked hard at whatever I do, none of the above questions applied or were relevant to me. I had my new direction picked.

When I was turning 21, I planned my party to within an inch of it’s life, everything was perfect (Well apart from the cake but that is a whole other story). I loved the entire process, the ideas, the coordination, the venue, decoration planning, I actually got such a buzz from it. So I had decided I wanted to do a Marketing course specialising in PR and Event Management. The course was so different but a few similarities, it still allowed me to be creative and use my love of design. I sailed through every year, while the work was hard and at times tough I was good at the subjects, I understood them, I wanted to work on the project, reports etc. I loved it. I graduated in 2012 and I can honestly say changing the course was the best decision I ever made. (I still watch all the design shows, get strangely excited about cushions and armchairs and I can’t wait to build my own house with a blank canvas, there is still a wee designer in me 🙂 )

  
Now 3 years out of college, I have organised events with hundreds of attendees, written newspaper articles, raised money for charity, the list goes on and I am only starting in my career. I go to work every day and love what I do, I learn something new everyday and no day is the same. No matter what career path you choose the  most important thing in life is to be happy. If you have got the course you wanted and you love it, great stuff. If you happen to choose a course that turn’s out not to be for you, it’s not the end of the world.

“Do what makes you happy and you will never work a day in your life”

“Don’t regret the decisions you make, regret the things you didn’t do”

Lots of Love

Laura

xxx

It’s ok to cry â¤ï¸

Hello lovelies,

Hope ye are all set for the bank holiday weekend! 

This blog post is a little different and a little more heavy hitting I suppose but I think it’s an important one and it’s the most personal thing I have written. 

A few weeks ago I lost my lovely Nannie, or I should say we all lost our lovely Nannie, our family is very big and everyone centred around my Nannie. Her death was quite sudden, unexpected really having been sick for only 3 very short weeks and it came as a huge shock to us all! 💔

5 years ago I had my first experience of grief and losing someone you love when I lost my Grandad. My Grandad was my best friend, my whole world, the first person I wanted to tell my good news too when I had it and the only person I wanted to be with when I was upset, he made it all better without even knowing. Simply uttering the words “Ara my little sweetheart how are ya?” was enough to put me in a little perfect world bubble. I adored him. 

My Grandad was very sick for a very long time. He suffered with Emphysema for many years, slowly and gradually deteriorating. As mad as it may sound though in my happy little world I never once imagined losing my Grandad. His illness became so normal it was just part of our lives. So many close to me tried to tell me what was inevitable but I wasn’t listening, I didn’t want to and couldn’t believe it.  

When that fateful day came in May 2010, I wasn’t prepared for it, I didn’t know what was coming or the lorry load of grief and pain that was about to hit me. In my head before this heartbreak was a figure of speech not something real. After all no one actually got my heart and cut it in half literally. Well how wrong was I! The pain was excruciating, I physically felt my heart break minutes after my Grandad died beside me. My uncle held me in his arms and called me sweetheart. That was what my Grandad called me & I would never hear him say those words again. The pain was very real and very literal!

Over the next few days, all I heard from people around me was “stop crying” , “don’t be crying now” “you’ll only upset yourself”! All of these people meant well and trying to save me anymore pain but in reality they were adding to the pain. I needed to cry and cry, I cried everyday for over a year after losing my Grandad,  that’s what grief does and that’s ok! I will always remember my uncle on the other side of my family telling me the evening of the funeral “I heard them telling you not to cry, don’t listen to them you cry all you want he was your Grandad and worth every tear” words I will be forever grateful for! Someone telling me it was ok to feel like I did!

Roll on 5 years and here was this big heavy truck about to dump another load of grief on me and my family. Another huge figure in my life was being taken away. This time my Nannie, sitting in the hospital was like déjà vu, everything was near identical to my Grandad, I was preparing myself, this time I knew what to expect, what was coming until the time actually came. Losing my Nannie was such a shock that I reacted completely differently, I was numb, I wanted to cry but couldn’t, I didn’t believe Nannie was gone, I still don’t. I was in a daze and just kept going. Which led to me being mad at myself for not being able to cry. I loved my Nannie, why couldn’t I cry in the same way I had for my Grandad. I was so angry at myself, until one evening sitting in my Nannie’s house with my aunt, my mum and my sister. They were all just chatting I sat there with the sudden realisation my Nannie wasn’t there where she should be. The tears started and I couldn’t stop them.

Today, coming home from work in the car, for some reason an image of the last conversation I had with my Nannie came into my head. Her smiling face reaching her arms up to hug me good night and I was hit again. Bang out of no where I had to pull over the car and cry, giving out to myself to cop myself on! 

But why was that my first reaction? It’s ok to cry I lost my Nannie, a huge part of my life and someone who featured in it everyday and was now gone. Why is it that crying or grieving is something that is shameful after the funeral. It doesn’t just stop then so why is it we feel we have to cover it up or apologise for it. 

This is why I wrote this post, to anyone who has lost someone be it yesterday, last year or  20 years ago, it is always ok to cry, never stop yourself crying for someone you love or never apologise for it. You lost someone you love you cry all you want. Grief has no time limit. Love doesn’t end.

“Grief is the price you pay for losing someone you love” 

Thank you for reading ❤️ 

 My lovely Nannie xx 💔

& my smashing Grandad xx 💔  

Always by my side and forever in my heart ❤️  

Laura xxx