Top 5 under €5

Looking for a guilt-free treat? I’ve listed below some of my favourite products, all of which come in at under five euro.

5-under-5-collage

Essence Glossy Lip Balm: More moisturising than glossy, this range is inspired by desserts and leaves lips slightly tinted and super soft — a steal at just €1.29 a piece!

Rimmel Kohl Eye Liner: I have been using this for years and it’s still my absolute favourite. It’s easy to work with and long-lasting too. It generally retails at €4.49 and I usually pick one up as part of a 3 for 2 promotion.

Rimmel 60 Seconds Nail Polish: Gorgeous choice of colours, great brush and — again — costs about 4.49 (even better, they’re currently on offer in Boots for just €2.99!).

Aussie Body Wash: A 250ml bottle of this beautiful-smelling foamy body wash is €4.19 (at the moment Tesco have it for €2.74 or €4.34 for the 400ml version).

Lush Bath Bomb: Unless you’re getting a super fancy one, most bath bombs at Lush are less than a fiver. This particular Blackberry one is probably my favourite but they’re all pretty great — just drop them in to warm water for an easy indulgent experience!

Insta Lately

insta-lately-june

  • Bathtime is always made better when you add a beautiful scented candle! I’ve been using this one for months and I love its clean fresh fragrance.
  • I swiped this gorgeous Ted Baker nail polish from my sister’s collection. Hopefully she’ll forget I took it…
  • I did some baking during the week to brighten up a grey afternoon! Mini marshmallows are the best and I used these to make a yummy biscuit cake.
  • Rainbow cake! I couldn’t resist buying a slice of this. I wasn’t a huge fan of the frosting but I still managed to finish it off.
  • I took a ton of pictures when we went to Bloom last month. How cool is this display of colourful birdhouses?
  • The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins was there to open the event. Those guys beside him aren’t giants by the way, he’s just a bit on the short side :-)
  • Surely the brightest garden shed around!
  • We went to Ikea! I hadn’t been in forever and I had so much fun walking around the store, mentally planning my future home! Browsing was exhausting so we stopped in the restaurant and I had this amazing chocolate Krokant cake and a latte.
  • This last picture was taken at a park we visited one Sunday afternoon. Summer hasn’t got off to the best start so I fully intend to make the most out of any sunny days we get!

If you like, you can follow me on Instagram (or Twitter) @sineaddaze.

A Little Bit of a Change!

I really can’t believe it’s June — mostly because as I write this, it’s pouring rain outside and I’m huddled under a blanket! Still, it’s the start of a brand new month and I think it’s time for a fresh start!

time-for-tea

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to try some new things with my blog so I figured now would be as good a time as any to do just that. To start, I’ve given my blog a little makeover. While I loved my old theme, I thought it’d be good to freshen things up with something different.

I’ve also decided to change the way I blog. Since the start of the year, I’ve been sticking to a schedule where I’d post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. I was slipping up a bit on that during May so I’ve now decided to abandon that routine — at least just for the summer. I already know I’m going to be busy enough during this time so I think a more relaxed attitude towards posting would suit the season! I’m still going to be posting regularly and, with everything that’s coming up, I should hopefully have lots of fun content on the way! Watch this space and as always, thank you for reading and following along :-)

My Sims Legacy: Part Three

It’s the end of the month so time for another Sims legacy update! Unfortunately a glitch where previous generations appear non-existent still continues to exist in the game but I’ve opted to carry on as normal. The challenge, if you’re unfamiliar with it, is to play a single family for ten generations with specific succession laws. I created a traditional patriarchy where the eldest son becomes the heir. (you can read part one here and part two here if you want to catch up!).

gen-5

My last installment ended with fifth generation-er Ezra having a shotgun wedding and becoming a father to triplets (all in the same day — it was a busy weekend!). Even though they rushed in to marriage, it turns out Ezra and Kayla are a good match. He’s a perfectionist and she’s materialistic so he quickly climbs the career ladder and starts bringing home some serious Simoleans. They need all the cash they can get though as they go on to have five more daughters (because triplets Flynn, Florence and Fidel obviously weren’t enough!). Faith, Fleur, Freya, Fifi and Fae are added to the line-up, ensuring that the sixth generation of the Beauvoir family will be one to be remembered!

gen-6

As the house fills up, some of the younger daughters are sent to live with cousins.  When the triplets eventually come of age, Flynn and Fidel are left in charge of the house. They make the most of their independence, trying out different careers and redesigning the home to suit their needs (think flat-screen TVs, huge stereos and lots of space for impromptu parties!).

It’s only as they transition from young adults to fully-fledged grown-ups that they start to think of their futures. Flynn marries lovable goofball Lilian and Fidel moves out to settle down with his new bride Adelaide. The house is turned from bachelor pad back in to family home as Flynn and Lilian become parents to future heir Gabriel. Multiple births definitely run in the family as twins Godric and Giselle are born soon after.

gen-7

gen-8

Gabriel grows up to become a self-assured snob and marries Elisabeth, a lady even more materialistic than his grandmother. They love the finer things in life but unfortunately their taste for expensive art and fancy dinners means that money is being spent faster than it can be earned.

The family home eventually has to be re-sized to cut down on costs but it stays big enough to accommodate a growing family. The ensuite master bedroom remains for the heir and his wife. Down the hall is a room for Laurie, Elisabeth’s daughter from a previous relationship. The couple’s first-born Hunter gets the big corner room and his baby sister Honour has to make do with a box room. 

gen-9

gen-10

As their finances become more and more of a burden, the stress takes its toll on Gabriel and Elisabeth’s marriage. So much so that she flies in to a rage one day and beats up poor Gabriel. He promptly divorces her and she’s so distraught that she can’t eat and starves to death…tragic but no terrible loss. Gabriel does just fine raising little Hunter and Honour on his own. Their stepsister Laurie even hangs around to help until the pair age up.

Worried about his self-assured but lazy son, Gabriel takes it upon himself to sort out the future of the next heir. When he meets young librarian Donna, he immediately deems her a perfect match for his beloved boy. Once they’re introduced, Hunter attempts to be romantic by immediately proposing. He’s mortified when Donna turns him down but they decide to date nonetheless. Eventually she decides she’s ready to settle down and the young couple elope.

gen-11

Isaak is their first born and Isobel follows soon after. It’s a perfect little family unit…but — with a history of conflict in past generations — will it stay that way for long? The following and final update will be posted at the end of June!

Bloom 2015

Bloom in the Park 2015 opened yesterday and will run, as always, for the June Bank Holiday weekend. This time around, I went with my mum and sister who go to this event every single year without fail. I’d only been once before in 2013 and it was such a great experience so I had high expectations going in!

We arrived just after ten. I actually thought we were early but there were literally hundreds of people already there. First thing we did was grab some coffee and pastries in the main restaurant — always my favourite way to start a day!

After that, we toured the show gardens and I took pictures of a few of my favourites. There was some beautiful areas but to be honest, I much preferred the show gardens that I saw in 2013. I just remember being really impressed with them whereas this year, I felt there was a few that were a bit too similar to each other.

bloom-show-garden

^love water features!^

cosy-garden

^cosy nook^

colourful-garden

^bright and beautiful^

growing-food

^such a cool idea!^

Around noon, we sat down to watch a cooking demo by one of my favourite TV chefs Neven Maguire. In under half an hour, he whipped up a three course meal of spring rolls, duck and lemon posset which looked incredible! Just as he was finishing up, President Michael D. Higgins arrived to officially open the event. We stayed for his speech and then headed on to see what else was around.

president-and-neven

Bloom is not just for gardening enthusiasts; it’s a great place for foodies too. There are lots of market stalls where you can sample and pick up some of the best Irish food brands (think Skoff pies, Keogh’s crisps, Jelly Bean Factory jellybeans…). With the lunchtime options, there’s something for everyone. You can choose from pizza or pulled pork from a hog roast, Chinese noodles or sweet and savoury crepes and plenty more. We went with steak sandwiches but I was kicking myself after for not doing a full lap of the venue first because I saw a Mexican food van later which I would have loved to have gone to instead!

dessert-shots

^ these dessert shots were so good! I regret not getting more ^

bakery

^diet went out the window when I got my hands on rainbow cake and a giant cookie!^

At Bloom, you can also indulge in some retail therapy with art, crafts and home and garden items on sale across the venue. There’s also entertainment with the chef’s food stage, a fashion stage, a main stage with musicians and more.

Unfortunately because Bloom is an outdoors event, it really depends on the weather. While we were there, we had a few showers and one seriously heavy downpour which put a damper on things. Puddles, muddy patches and people rushing and pushing does not add up to a whole lot of fun! When the sun shone though, it was entirely different — it was so lovely and you could really appreciate the surroundings then.

bloom-collage

I always love days out like this. It’s really great to see enthusiasm for the outdoors and Irish producers.

I have to say though, it can be expensive enough. We bought our tickets at the gate, €20 each (they had been available online at €18 plus service charge so it probably worked out the same). For attendees looking to pick up a lot of bits, you can buy trolleys in the form of pull-along plastic boxes on wheels. They’ve always been €10 and this year, they were hiked up to €15 which I think is a bit ridiculous for what they are. Of course you don’t have to buy a ton of stuff to enjoy the day but if you’re there for any length of time, it’s inevitable that you’re going to spend. By the time you even get just your lunch, probably a snack and a drink, maybe a couple of little items…it adds up pretty quickly! So I’d definitely advise anyone going to be well prepared — I didn’t even get that much but my purse was still considerably lighter when I was leaving the venue!

This was my second time attending Bloom and — to be perfectly honest — I really can’t see myself going again next year. Don’t get me wrong; it was actually a very good day. I did enjoy it but parts of it felt repetitive and the cost of some things as well as the unpredictable weather was a bit off-putting. Who knows though, I might give it a miss next year and be back in 2017 — in the meantime, I’ll be hopefully checking out the other festivals and events across Ireland. There’s plenty of them out there so I’m looking forward to discovering as many as I can!

Sunday Walks

At the weekend, a few of us decided to get in the car and go for a drive. We had no idea where we wanted to head but we all agreed it had to be some place where we could make the most out of the beautiful weather! We eventually ended up in Castlecomer Discovery Park in County Kilkenny.

castlecomer-discovery-park

I’d never been before but it’s such a lovely place to visit! There’s fishing, boating and adventure activities on offer but we just opted to take a long leisurely walk through the 80 acre woodland.

irish-woods

Peaceful and picturesque, this place is made for Sunday afternoons. The car park was nearly full but we only saw a dozen people in passing. The walking trails go in so many different directions that you can just follow any way you like and create your own route. As you walk, you can choose between uphill, downhill, through the trees…there’s no telling what you might come across (this adorable little structure was my favourite!).

All in all, it was a perfect way to end the weekend. Hope you all had a good one! :-)

irish-lake

Two Years of One Line a Day

Exactly two years ago today, I started filling in my One-Line-A-Day diary. I’d spontaneously ordered it from Amazon and it’s turned out to be one of my best impulse purchases yet!

Basically this is a memory book, designed to last you five years. Each page is dated and has five small sections for you to write down a short note every day. As it is now, I have an entry for every day for the past twenty-four months.

one-line-a-day-diary

From the important things like “I got the job!” and “we signed the lease!” to the simple stuff “today I made brownies!” and “we saw The Heat in the cinema and went for cocktails after“; it’s all in there.

I don’t necessarily remember to fill it in every night but I usually catch up with it the next day. If I’m going away for a few days, I’ll even take the book with me so I can scribble down what’s going on. It only takes a minute to record an entry so it’s worth it to have some more little memories captured! I’m so glad, for example, that I brought it when we went to Barcelona because although we have (literally a thousand) photos, it’s still cool to see what stood out the most on each day of our trip.

one-line-a-day

It’s not just my own personal experiences that I document; I also include important things that are happening in my loved ones’ lives and in the world. Of course, today my entry will be about how Ireland is voting on whether same-sex marriage should be legal (I’m hoping that tomorrow I get to write in my diary that I live in a country that believes in equal rights!).

I have to say I already love flipping through the book and instantly being reminded what was going on on any particular day over the last two years. It’s actually amazing how much you’d forget! I find that the longer I have the book, the more interesting it becomes. Apart from the gold writing on the front wearing off a bit, this book is in pretty good shape! I try to look after it as it’s something I hope to hold on to forever. I really think everyone should have one of these — they can be bought online for around a tenner and they’re well worth it. I have another three years worth of space to fill in — by the time I complete the book, I’ll be nearly thirty (gasp!) so it’ll be so great to have a record of all that because who knows what will happen between now and then!