School Spirit

Seeing as today marks the first day of September…

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  • It just wouldn’t be a school-themed collage without at least one cute notebook!
  • A4 expander files are really useful for storing all your letters and documents and I think this one from Emma Bridgewater is so pretty and stylish!
  • A gorgeous travel mug for a caffeine fix on the go!
  • Preppy but pretty; these tartan Alice bands add a sweet touch to every look.
  • Whether you need somewhere to stash your colouring pencils or just your eye liner pencils, this heart-print case is so ideal.
  • A tub of double lollies to brighten up any desk — it would definitely make getting the work done that little bit easier!

Summer Summer

I say this every single year but summer has really flown by again! Happily, it’s been an amazing few months. We had a city break in London, attended a few fun foodie festivals, visited some gorgeous national attractions, went to some amazing outdoor concerts and — most excitingly — got engaged! It’s been hectic but wonderful and — as much as I adore autumn — I’m kind of not ready for this season to end yet!

We’ve done so much over the past twelve weeks but there’s still more that I want to do! Since the weather has been even more unpredictable than usual, we never got the chance to enjoy some of our favourite traditional summer activities like barbecues and beach trips. We’ve been promised an Indian summer so I’m hoping we’ll get to squeeze in all that outdoorsy stuff soon enough — fingers crossed!

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Dr Oetker Mug Cake

Over the past few years, mug cake has become pretty popular. It usually consists of a scoop of flour, sugar, cocoa powder, milk, oil and an egg beaten together in a single mug and blasted in the microwave for an instant sweet fix.

I’ve always heard mixed reactions to them so I was hesitant about trying them. However, when I saw these new Dr. Oetker mug cake sachets for just 99 cents apiece in my local Super Valu, curiosity finally got the better of me and I decided to give them a go! Available in chocolate chip vanilla or chocolate flavours; I decided to sample both to see how they compared.

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These are designed to be quick and convenient and they couldn’t be easier to prepare. Simply add the powdery contents of the sachet to 60ml of semi-skimmed milk; stir and microwave.

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It’s recommended to use 250ml cups so it does look slightly underwhelming in larger cups, like the ones I chose to use (unnecessary fear of overflow!). Although, on the other hand, that does leave room for a scoop of ice-cream!

mugcakes

Taste-wise? As expected, the chocolate was pretty good. The sponge was light but had a rich fudgy kind of flavour to it. I wasn’t, however, as impressed with the chocolate chip vanilla. It was a bit bland overall and the sponge was slightly rubbery. Although the instructions were the same for both flavours, there was less product in this choc chip sachet so I wonder if it should have spent less time in the microwave.

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Realistically, these could never be as good as a traditional cake made from scratch and baked in an oven. However, if you really want just a small portion with no hassle, they’re not a bad option. I personally didn’t like the choc chip vanilla (although others might) but the chocolate flavour was fairly decent. Serve it warm with a little vanilla ice-cream on top for a speedy, simple and tasty dessert!

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Bioderma Sébium Foaming Gel

Earlier this summer, Irish beauty fans all over Ireland eagerly welcomed the arrival of cult French skincare brand Bioderma. Available in selected pharmacies across the country, four different ranges are currently available. There’s sensibio for sensitive skin; atoderm for dry skin; sébium for oily skin and photoderm for sun protection.

bioderma-cleanser-balm

I’d generally describe my skin type as usually normal, sometimes combination. My T-Zone can be prone to oiliness and I can get occasional dry patches so I always like to try lots of different products to see what suits. After browsing the Bioderma collection available in my local pharmacy, I decided to try the Sébium Foaming Gel. It sounded promising and it looks so appealing too, a gorgeous blue gel in a tall pump bottle.

Non-drying with a soap-free cleansing base, this product is designed to gently cleanse and purify the skin. It is scented which I know some people won’t like but I thought it was quite subtle; I barely even noticed it! I’m a big fan of foamy cleansers and this one lathers really well. My face is left feeling soft and squeaky clean every time.

At €12 for a 200ml bottle, this isn’t exactly a budget buy. There are definitely lots of other very good cleansers out there for half the price…but I really don’t regret getting this! It works well, has a lovely luxurious feel to it and a little goes a long way. I figured I could easily spend nearly a tenner on a nail polish that I’d only wear a few times so I might as well buy this which I’d use every day!

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I also picked up an Atoderm moisurising stick for just €3.50. Designed to repair and protect, it feels so moisturising and leaves lips super soft. After this all-round positive experience, I’m looking forward to trying a few more Bioderma products soon. Have you tried any yet? What are your favourites?

Penney’s Home & Beauty Haul

After a long week, there’s nothing quite like a little Saturday shopping splurge! I hadn’t had a good browse in Penney’s in some time so I think today’s visit was long overdue ;-).

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penneys-fuzzy-cushions

The first thing that went in the basket were these gorgeous fuzzy rosebud cushions. Only €4 a piece, they’re so incredibly soft and they come in the loveliest colours — I chose pale pink and mint green but I also saw them in white and grey. They’re going straight on our bed — I’m trying to get back in the habit of reading a few chapters of a good book every night and I think having an extra-cosy space might encourage that!

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Also for the bed, I got a fitted cerise pink sheet (reduced!) and a pair of cute pillowcases in easy neutral colours.

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I think Penney’s are the absolute best for fun affordable pyjamas and I picked up three pairs today. I chose a sweet little owl-themed short-and-vest set, butterfly print leggings and a lacy t-shirt to go with it.

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I also couldn’t resist some Harry Potter pieces! I went with a slouchy “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good” top and some cosy grey bottoms to complement it. Together, they cost €17 and I think they’ll be especially perfect to wear for our annual Harry Potter marathon at Christmas (I can’t believe I just said the C-word in August but there you go!).

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I love these adorable fuzzy slipper booties so much that I bought two pairs! I went with pale pink and taupe colours. These are just the cosiest things ever — I’ll live in these until they actually fall apart!

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For under a fiver, I picked up a cuticle pusher, a cuticle trimmer and a strawberry bath bomb. I’ve tried the coconut bath bombs from Penney’s and they’re pretty good — obviously not quite Lush standard but still decent, especially for the price. I can’t wait to try this one —  a long soak is the perfect way to relax after a busy day’s shopping :-D.

I didn’t even go near the clothes in Penney’s today because by the time I’d finished browsing the other sections; I thought the basket was going to burst! I decided that I’d just leave that side to next time…!

penneys-haul

Celebrating our Engagement

Over the weekend, we brought both of our families together to officially celebrate our engagement. We wanted it to be a relaxed but special affair so after we worked out a date that would suit us all, we immediately booked a table at our favourite restaurant.

Even though we know each other’s families really well, they had never really met one another so we were eager for them to be properly introduced at last (after five years!). I have to admit that as we got closer to the day, we were starting to get a bit nervous! We worried about whether we should have a seating plan, if there would be awkward silences, that the food wouldn’t be up to scratch…

Thankfully, it all went so well. In the end, we decided we just weren’t going to stress anymore as there really was no point! We got to the restaurant on Saturday, had a drink together and agreed that we would just focus on enjoying the night! After that, everyone seemed to arrive within minutes of each other and grabbed seats wherever they wanted. The conversation flowed all night and the food was amazing (we figured it would be but had still panicked a bit about it nonetheless!).  All in all, the whole evening really couldn’t have gone better and we’re so happy about that!

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We put a bit of thought and effort in to our night and it was a great success.  I’m definitely (by no means!) suddenly an expert at planning these kind of events but I thought it could be helpful to share what I learned while we arranged this kind of a celebration:

  • Choose a comfortable setting in a convenient location — rather than take a risk at a place you’re not familiar with, I think it’s better to play it safe for this important occasion!
  • Work out your budget beforehand and leave room for extra expenses. Decide how many courses you want to go with or if you’d rather have a buffet-style or simply finger food.
  • Check how the restaurant will style your table and consider if you want to add some extra touches — we had balloon bouquets which made for simple but effective decoration!
  • Chances are, not everyone you invite will be able to make it so be prepared for a couple of apologetic last-minute messages!
  • Don’t forget to advise the restaurant beforehand if any of your party have specific dietary requirements.
  • Arrive early so that you’re there to welcome all your guests as they arrive.
  • Make the effort to mingle between courses so that you’re not just talking to the people closest to you.
  • It’s easier said than done but really, don’t stress too much. It’s just one night and if you’re willing to accept that it mightn’t go completely to plan, you’re much more likely to enjoy it!

79 Thoughts I had while watching #PLL Mid-Season Finale

  1. “It’s not too late” hahaha okay Aria
  2. Earlier that night…
  3. I don’t trust her.
  4. Nice hair though
  5. Red coat!
  6. Okay there is always someone there Hanna, how have you not learned that by now?
  7. Freaky mask!
  8. Oh, Mona…
  9. Oh…what’s this?
  10. Who’s that?!
  11. That’s your man! Isn’t it?
  12. How is she only noticing him now?
  13. Yep, definitely don’t trust that one.
  14. Whaaaat….
  15. A’s brain?!
  16. Emily looks a bit like catwoman.
  17. Oh that guy was Jason.
  18. Ahhhh….
  19. Knew she’d be back.
  20. Another sibling?!
  21. “She is a she…?”
  22. What
  23. Who’s that?
  24. Oh no…
  25. Oh no…
  26. Okay so where exactly was the father when she was crying?
  27. Ah now, that’s a bit much.
  28. Oh, so that’s what it’s about.
  29. I definitely never guessed that!
  30. Who’s that one?
  31. Bethany!
  32. “Fabulous and devastating at the same time”
  33. What the hell?!
  34. That was unnecessary.
  35. “Literally” – ew…
  36. Love Mona’s lipstick.
  37. Red coat!
  38. That’s not trash…
  39. Omg she’s looks so different.
  40. Jason…
  41. They dated?!
  42. Alison’s face lmao
  43. Ok that’s kind of messed up.
  44. Really messed up, actually.
  45. Oh she hates him.
  46. Not a fan of Alison’s eye make-up.
  47. Yeah Bethany needed to go.
  48. Honest mistake, to be fair.
  49. This actually explains it, omg!
  50. How does that creepy blue-eyed lady come in to it though?
  51. What’s up with Mona?
  52. Oh.
  53. Ugh Wilden.
  54. Poor CeeCee…
  55. Ok but he looks exactly like Jason?
  56. Red Dressing Gown lol
  57. Mona was in that car? Did they know that?!
  58. Her Ali impression is pretty good.
  59. That mask is so freaky.
  60. Ah knew it, never trusted her.
  61. Way to justify the attack…
  62. Ok but they’re not actually your dolls?
  63. Who is that?
  64. Oh dark hair.
  65. Emily?! Wait, what? Oh yeah…
  66. Those shoes…!
  67. Mona so crazy
  68. So who actually killed this one?
  69. Gah!
  70. Don’t…
  71. Hahaha
  72. Yay!
  73. My heart…
  74. Is it over though…is it?!
  75. Oh…
  76. I can’t believe it either, Aria…
  77. WHAT?!
  78. Omg that fringe.
  79. IT NEVER ENDS!