Author: Sinead

Icylc Vodka Ice Pops

Summer is just around the corner and I think we’re all looking forward to all the beach trips, barbecues and (hopefully) sunshine that’s ahead of us!

On a long hot night, there’s nothing better than an ice cold drink and I’ve expressed my love for frozen cocktails many many times before. I was recently given the opportunity to try Icycl Vodka Ice Pops and of course, the chance to sample a new variety of one of my favourite kind of drinks immediately appealed to me.

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Made with natural fruit juices and infused with vodka, Icycl Ice Pops are currently available in three flavours: blackcurrant, apple and lemon & lime. A further three flavours — orange, pineapple and pear — are due to be launched later in the year. Pear vodka has always been my favourite flavoured vodka so I would definitely be interested in trying that flavour when it comes out!

icycl-icepops

Sadly, when I was sent some samples, lemon & lime was out of stock so I only got to try the blackcurrant and apple flavours. Both are refreshing and pleasantly sweet with more of a natural taste instead of being overly sugary as you might expect. Individually packaged, they have a similar feel to the frozen drinks/freeze pops that we all had every summer as kids!

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My immediate reaction with these Ice Pops was, of course, to compare them to similar products that I’ve tried in the past like Parrot Bay and Smirnoff Frozen Cocktails.

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While Icycl Ice Pops are smaller in size, they also have a higher alcohol content. The flavours are well-balanced too. With Parrot Bay and Smirnoff, I had to give them a stir beforehand so that the alcohol was evenly distributed throughout the drinks. This isn’t the case with the Ice Pops; you just snip off the top and that’s it.

Although they need to be frozen for longer, I found that the Icycl Ice Pops are ready to go as soon as they come out of the freezer whereas with the other two, I’ve had to squeeze them and even run them under warm water to break them up and get them to a consumable condition. I also really like that the Ice Pops are in a self-contained pouch so you can just grab and go.

Another good point is that both Parrot Bay and Smirnoff advise against defrosting and refreezing their products after they’ve been frozen whereas that isn’t a problem with Icycl. I tried and tested this theory and found that these Ice Pops taste just the same even after the refreezing process.

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Overall, I’ve really enjoyed trying out these Icycl Ice Pops. The flavours are great, they have a decent alcohol content and they’re fun and easy to consume. However, I do think it’s a shame that they’re not bigger. I’d personally prefer if they were at least twice the size so they’d last longer to save us going back and forth from the freezer. Ultimately, I do love the concept though and they’re definitely great for a quick refreshing hit on a hot day!

Icycl Ice Pops will be available in supermarkets and off-licences from June 2015 or you can order online now and have them delivered straight to your door.

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Please note: as stated above, these items were sent to me for my consideration. As always, all opinions expressed are my own and 100% honest. The official site for these items can be viewed here.

Newbridge Museum of Style Icons

Today we visited the Museum of Style Icons. Located in the Newbridge Visitor Centre in County Kildare, this museum houses costumes and collections of some incredibly famous people.

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Located on the first floor of the centre, it’s a beautiful space filled with beautiful pieces.

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Expect to see items worn by the likes of Marilyn Monroe, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Princess Diana and Princess Grace of Monaco.

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There are even a few pieces from modern day style icons including Angelina Jolie and Victoria Beckham.

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This museum also boasts the largest known private collection of Audrey Hepburn garments in the world. Visitors can see — amongst other items — the star’s pink cocktail dress that she wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the famous LBD from Charade.

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Admission is completely free and the doors are open every day. The museum was so quiet and peaceful (we were the only ones there at the time!) but there was a good crowd downstairs. Within the centre, there is also the complete range of the famous Newbridge Silverware to view and purchase, as well as an award-winning restaurant where we stopped for tea and dessert (of course!). Overall, it was such a lovely experience and well worth the visit. If you’re anywhere in or around Newbridge, I highly recommend you check it out for yourself!

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Lush Blue Skies Bubble Bar

Even though this doesn’t seem to be a new product, I’ve never noticed this particular bubble bar in Lush before. As soon as I saw it though, I was sold. After all, it has the same name as my blog — how could I say no?!

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Its full name is Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds which is kind of totally cute. It’s quite a big product so I decided I’d get two uses out of it although I had to get L to break it in half for me because it’s pretty hard and solid (I probably also just need to work on my upper body strength!).

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With a pretty blue and white swirly pattern, it has quite a strong, deep and exotic smell. Containing patchouli and frankincense, it’s designed to calm and relax.

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To start, I popped half the bar straight under the running water. It foamed and created lots of frothy bubbles, tinting the water a pale shade of blue. It was taking quite a while to dissolve so after a few minutes, I scooped out the remaining chunk and crumbled it up directly under the tap which changed the water to a brighter and more beautiful shade of blue. It looks especially gorgeous against the puffy white bubbles!

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Like pretty much all Lush products, this bubble bar feels so indulgent and leaves skin luxuriously soft. It’s not my favourite smell — I definitely prefer the sweeter rather than spicy scents — but I love the colour and overall effect. I felt so chilled out afterwards as well so it definitely done its job — perfect choice if you’re looking to unwind at the end of the day!

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My Year of Meatless Mondays

This Wednesday (April 22nd) is Earth Day. For this day last year, I decided to attempt to get on board with the Meatless Monday movement. I’d been doing a bit of reading and learned that every time a single person gives up meat for just one day a week, it can make a difference to the environment. It’s only a small change for someone to make but the more people that participate; the better.

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I’m proud to say that I’ve been going meat-free for one day a week, every week, for a year now. On the handful of occasions where I slipped up on a Monday, I simply skipped the meat on another day that week instead. As I found out over the past twelve months, it really hasn’t been too difficult.

Breakfast is always a breeze because the majority of typical breakfast dishes are meat-free anyway. Lunch could be anything from a cheese salad sandwich to veggie soup, a quick omelette to a jacket potato with baked beans. Dinner would be something like a vegetarian pizza, pesto pasta, fried eggs and sweet potato wedges or mushroom risotto.

I’ll admit that I haven’t been hugely adventurous and I’ve been sticking to relatively simple dishes for the most part. Having said that, this approach goes for my cooking in general! It’s only every once in a while that I’ll attempt to cook something completely new and elaborate, whether it’s with meat or without. It’s something I’m planning on working on but in the meantime I’ll continue to embrace my simple Meatless Mondays.

As well as it’s going, however, I have to say I don’t really have any intention of going meat-free for more than one day a week — I’m just not that virtuous, sorry! I think my attempt at this has been so successful because I know it’s only one day in seven. At least for now, I’m going to stick with the way I’m going — it can still make a difference and that’s what matters the most!

A Little Bit of Luxury: Wolford Tights

You only have to glance through my blog to know that I love a little bit of indulgence — in particular, small luxuries that can be incorporated in to everyday life to immediately make things a little more fun, special and interesting…

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I was recently given the opportunity to try a luxury product from Wolford’s tights and hosiery range. I wear a lot of dresses and — living in rainy Ireland — I generally pair them with tights. I have a drawer full of high street pieces so the chance to try a high-end version definitely appealed to me. After much deliberation, I went with these jet-black seamless tights.

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Labelled Fatal 50, they’re classic and opaque. Made from super soft material, these have such a lovely luxurious feel to them. They instantly add a Blair Waldorf touch to any outfit!

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The wide waistband means they’re comfortable with plenty of stretch in them (what woman doesn’t want that?!). Also, as these tights are seamless, they can be worn under tight clothes without any dreaded visible lines.

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So how do these high-end tights measure up against the high street? Well, not surprisingly, they’re better quality. They look beautiful and feel softer, stronger, silkier and more luxurious. Of course, they’re more expensive too but tights are an important accessory in a lot of women’s wardrobes and it could well be worthwhile investing in some higher quality pairs for particular occasions — or for any time you need to add that little bit of luxury to day-to-day life!

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Please note: as mentioned above, this item was sent to me for consideration. As always, opinions expressed are my own and 100% honest. This item, and others like it, can be viewed here.

Frozen Raspberry Bowls

A couple of weeks back, one of my favourite bloggers posted about her homemade acai bowls. Her recipe calls for frozen acai which — as you can imagine — is not easily found in my little Irish town! I loved the overall idea though so I wanted to come up with my own version. Frozen raspberries are much easier to track down (at least for me!) so that’s what I went with in the end.

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This is such a beautiful breakfast idea. It’s simple to put together and the results are bright and colourful, refreshing and filling. With summer just around the corner, it’s a great light and healthy choice. Save it for warmer mornings though and give it a miss on the cooler days; your body temperature will thank you for it!

I find 150g of frozen raspberries makes one decent-sized portion but that can easily be doubled to suit your needs. It’s so easy to make the base of this bowl — just blitz frozen raspberries with a splash of milk in your food processor until thick and creamy. Alternatively, you can use a food chopper to blitz the raspberries and then beat in the milk with a whisk. I still can’t get over how these plain frozen berries can quickly be turned in to something so lovely and luscious looking!

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Although you only need a splash of liquid (max. 50ml), I couldn’t get that really creamy consistency without it. I’ve yet to try any other variety but if you’re not a fan of milk; you could always experiment with alternatives such as fruit juice, coconut water or even regular plain water.

When your raspberries are ready, scoop the lot in to a bowl and add whatever toppings you like. Fruit, nuts, seeds, granola…there are so many different combinations to try out! The raspberry base also makes for a really delicious dessert simply with a spoonful of honey or sweetener stirred in. Believe it or not, the taste and texture is very close to ice-cream so it’s a lovely healthy treat for any time of the day. I hope you try it out and enjoy it as much as I do! :-)

frozen-raspberry-breakfast-bowl

The Gossip Girl Tag

Last week, I posted about what I’m planning on watching/re-watching on Netflix. Although it’s one of my all-time favourite shows, Gossip Girl wasn’t on that list for the simple reason that I already have all the boxsets. It’s been months since I’ve seen an episode but when I came across this fun tag here, I had to give it a go — and now I’m seriously considering adding the whole series to my ever-growing Netflix list!

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How did you discover the show?

I originally heard of Gossip Girl when my favourite teen magazine Kiss published an extract from the book. It was only a page or two long but I was immediately intrigued. I never came across the books again but when the TV series started a few years later, I still remembered the name and immediately started watching it.

Who’s your favourite character?

It has to be Blair! She’s spoilt and vain but quite dark and complicated and interesting too.

Who would you see yourself being friends with on the show?

Serena — Blair could be pretty harsh on her minions!

Chair or Dair?

Chuck and Blair were always meant to be together!

What’s your favourite ship that would never actually happen?

I always thought it was a shame Rufus and Lily didn’t end up together but I guess they wanted it to be them or Dan and Serena.

If you were to be a character, who would you be?

Blair…but maybe just for a day!

Have you read the book series?

Nope, just that one little extract.

Who was your crush on the show?

Nate, always ;-) Although Chuck would be a close second!

What was your first initial thought of the show?

I liked it straightaway — it was pretty much how I imagined it would be.

Who was your favourite villain?

Georgina — especially for the way Chuck acted around her!