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.

17759903_10208299080904280_6030096328135261705_n

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.

17917631_10208330453008563_7623712043241950924_o

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.

17757160_10208299086024408_6945755301115607723_n

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.

17630179_10208299084864379_8211986259003601915_n

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

 

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  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!

img_2135

Lots of Love

Laura

Xxxx

 

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.

img_2112

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.

img_2114

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.

fullsizerender

 

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 🙂

img_2119

 

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.

img_2113

Lots of Love

Laura

Xxx

 

It’s ok to cry ❤️

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

Rimmel Wake me Up Mascara Review!!

Hello lovelies! 

I am very sorry I haven’t had a blog post up in a while! I keep meaning to but I’m just a very busy girl! Anyways I decided to review one of my latest buys!

I was staying over in a friends house during the week and I realised I forgot my mascara, so of course I had to buy a new one 😛 

I went into Boots and I saw they had an offer on a new Rimmel Mascara from the wake me up range! I am a big fan of the Wake me up Range I have the foundation and concealer and love both so I was intrigued. It claims to have cucumber in it that helps open up the eye and nourish the lashes! 

I have to say I really liked it! I found it did open up the eye for a natural look to the mascara. To me this is the perfect “everyday” mascara! If your looking for a dramatic look mascara this isn’t the one for you! I tried to take before and after pics but they didn’t do it justice. 

The brush is curved like a peanut ☺️making it really easy to apply and open out the lashes! 

   
 At the minute it’s on a special introductory offer of €6.99 in Boots! If your on the lookout for a new mascara pick this one up 😊

Lots of love 

Laura x