Monday, 18 December 2017

Last minute alternative Christmas gifts

Hey loves
So, have you left the gift getting to the last minute and you stumbled upon this post hoping for help. Well sit back, and let me give you a few ideas for some last minute gifts that is a little more special than the latest lippie or the random  voucher (note I do love a lippie and voucher though lol)

I adore gifts that have a meaning behind them, like the star my best friend Joanne named in memory of my mummy the Christmas after she passed, or the gorgeous frame our friends filled with pictures for us.
These next few ideas are either readily available or if ordered asap will be with you for the big day.

Star Gifts
Now I know the science behind it all is flawed, but when my best friend Joanne bought me one in memory of my mummy, it was one of the most special gifts I have ever received.
I think this is a gorgeous gift even in memory or to celebrate a day.
You can buy the stars to name from so many places, this is one I found to be really good value 

Or another unique gift I found when looking into the stars was this from Not on the high street by a company called Greater Skies.  You email the team a time,date and place and the print is the stars that were in the sky at that time. You can also personalise it which again is so special isn't it. This could work for so many occasions and I must admit I have it in mind for an upcoming gift I need to get.

Memory Jar
I found this in my local pound shop for £2 and next year I am going to get Scott and I to fill in a little piece of paper maybe on date night or when something funny had happened. Then maybe on NYE next year we can open it and look back on the year.
You could easily make this yourself with a glass jar, ribbon and some nice paper.
Another idea that would fit in with this is a date night jar. We always try to do date night every month at least and I think it would be great to get a pretty box or jar and put 12 dates in it you would both like to do and pick one out as a surprise every month. Personally, I would love to get this as a gift as it's soo sweet.

A charity gift
My mummy and daddy for years had bought me a goat couple from Oxfam, and I loved getting the wee card every year. Now that mummy isn't with us, I buy a goat in her name every year and send the card to daddy.  There are lots of different types of gifts available for people who like different things, it' a great way to make your Christmas gift to someone really count. Grab your own goat here

Personalised notebook
Now anyone who knows me, knows I adore stationery, like I could literally buy a notebook everyday, and when I saw these available in Next I jumped at the chance. I want to record our trip away so I thought it would be a great idea to get. You could get this and personalise it with so many options, recipes, poetry, blogger ideas. The options are endless. Unfortunately because these are so personalised, they do take around 5 to 7 days, but grab it here and hope for quick postage.

I hope these last minute gift ideas have given some food for thought, and you are online getting some last minute shopping with a glass of wine.
Till next time loves
Keep smiling and shopping
Ali xx

Friday, 1 December 2017

Deerstalker Portrush Review

Hey my lovelies, hope we all are well,and getting used to this crazy cold weather. Please tell me, someone else wants to hibernate till January!

So, today I am back with a review of Deerstalker Bar and Restaurant in Portrush. We recently visited it for Scotts birthday with some of our friends, and I wanted to share a little review. I hadn't ate in the complex since it had changed over to the Deerstalker, but we had heard fantastic thanks, so I decided to surprise Scott with a little get together. Madison and the team could not have been more helpful, they put our party down into the study area, and had set up a gorgeous private area for us, it made it all that little more special.

Most of us started with cocktails, and seriously guys, the cocktails were fantastic, I tried a number of them including espresso martinis, brambles, french martinis to name just a few and we all agreed the cocktails were gorgeous. The bar has a new cocktail menu out at the minute, and I am actually popping in for a ladies night, so I will keep you up to date with the new menu.

The menu itself had a fantastic choice of food, there were a couple of vegetarians in the group and they found it really easy to get a dish that was suitable. One thing I will say is, the portions are very generous in regards to the starter, so in hindsight 2 or 3 people could share a starter, especially the wings or the quesadillas, so it's worthwhile taking that into consideration. We all really enjoyed the starters, quite a few people raved about the wings and Scott said the quesadillas were fantastic. I had the asparagus and I have to admit, looking at everyone elses starters, the asparagus definitely could have been better with presentation.

Another round of cocktails and our mains were ready. The mains all came out at the same time which for a party our size, we were super impressed by, but unfortunately, my friends pork was completely cold and had to be changed which although not great, we understood these things happen at times.
Special mention had to go to the lasagne, I think the chef was feeding the 5000, again the portion was generous, and the 2 people that had it, really loved it. I tried Scotts spicy hake, and had one of those oh I wish I ordered that moments, it was a really flavoursome dish, with lots of spice and fab textures.
We were all really impressed apart from the pork, but these things happen and apart from that we couldn't complain about the meal.

We didn't have any dessert, as between the starter, main, cocktails, and Scotts birthday cake, we were all nicely satisfied! 

Overall, it was a really nice evening and the menu is a really reasonable price. Having the extra privacy down in the study was a really nice treat and it made it feel extra special, so definitely if you are looking somewhere for a nice casual bite to eat, the Deerstalker should definitely be on your list to try.

I won't tell you about going into Lush, to see Paul Van Dyke after the meal, but imagine 4 30 somethings in the VIP bar loving life! 

Thanks to Madison and her team for a fantastic evening, and I will be sure to let you know how the ladies night goes. If you fancy a night out tonight, pop in for a bite to eat and a boogie.
Till next time lovelies, keep smiling
Ali x

Check out the Deerstalker here

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Date night with Revolucion de Cuba Belfast

Hey lovelies, hope you all had a fantastic Halloween and you're ready for all the Christmas fun to come, but before we get to Christmas, how about a date night with a Latin twist?
When the team from Rumormill got in touch, to see if hubby and I fancied trying out Belfast's newest Cuban Bar and Cantina, we decided it would be a great date night treat.


Sunday, 22 October 2017

Pearly Whites with The White House

Hey lovelies, hope your all well, and the storm didn't hit too bad where you were. You may remember from my social media, that I was invited up to The White House teeth whitening clinic in Belfast to have my teeth treated, and I thought I would give you the rundown on it all.


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Souls Restaurant Belfast celebrates Halloween

Hey my lovelies, so today I am back with a review of Souls in Belfast. When an email popped in with an invite to celebrate the launch of their Halloween menu, it was a definite yes from me, so sit back, relax and prepare to see some stunning food.


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Me time at Galgorm Resort and Spa

Hey lovelies, today, sit back relax and be prepared to want to book in to the Galgorm Spa by the time you have finished reading this.


Sunday, 17 September 2017

Wet n Wild Photofocus Foundation Review

Hey lovelies, hope you're all fab today and looking forward to the cosy nights coming up.
So today, I am back with a foundation review. I think we are always searching for that perfect foundation, one that lasts well, isn't cakey and works well with other products. It's so hard to find one that is going to work with my combination oily skin.
If any of you follow me on social media you will know I have huge issues keeping foundation on my nose, but ladies and gents take a seat, I have found one that is definitely worth shouting from the rooftops.


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Review of The Newbridge Coleraine

Hey lovelies, hope you're all well and starting to get ready for the Autumn cosy season, I know I can't wait.
So today I thought I would do a little restaurant review of The Newbridge in Coleraine. This review has been done over two visits. One for a lunch with the girls and one a dinner with the family. I wanted to try both sittings to give a broad overview.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Skinny Tan.... was it for me?

Hey lovelies!
Hope you're all really well, and you are looking forward to getting into all things Autumn. I can't wait for cosy days,knits and lots of hot chocolate and movie nights. Not to mention all the great TV in the run up to Christmas.

So today I am back with a review of some of Skinny Tans range. The team kindly sent me a gorgeous package to try a wide range of bits and let me see what the brand has to offer but as always my opinions are my own.


Sunday, 6 August 2017

The highs and lows of three years blogging!

Hey my lovelies, I hope you are all doing amazing tonight and having a nice chilled Sunday.  Well it's crazy to think but today, three years ago I wrote my 1st blog post. Never did I think 3 years on I would still be at it.

I have to admit there have been some huge highs and lows. I have had the chance to work with some amazing brands and people, but most of all I have had the opportunity to meet the most amazing friends, who I now class as some of my closest girls.

There have been times where I have thought why do I bother, but you know what a message from a reader, a WhatsApp from one of the girls or simply looking at a photo and being proud makes it worthwhile. It's not the glam events, meetings or gorgeous perks, don't get me wrong those are wonderful and I couldn't be anymore grateful for it all, but the people I have met mean more to me than any of that.

Today, a lot of people have a real negative view of blogging and the industry. They think we are paid to basically lie about reviews and that we are scared to rock the boat with a company incase we don't get the next event invite, but I honestly believe the majority of us are doing it purely for the love of it. We all love it for different reasons, maybe it's the writing, the photography or buying that brand new release and being able to let people know your thoughts and that's what I love, we all have this passion.

In 3 years I have seen so many changes, loads of new bloggers and social media influencers becoming the new wave of advertising and I really do love it. Some bloggers feel that a blog should only be a written website but with the new ways of media and how people view media places like Instagram and quick Snapchat or Insta stories are becoming more and more popular. Things are changing and I can't wait to see what the next 3 years bring.

I can't say it's been all plain sailing. Getting over my anxiety to get in a train on my own was a huge thing and only really happened the past year, but it has been such a positive move for me. My best memory of conquering my anxiety was when the wonderful Amy from Publicity Loft invited me to Dublin for the Image Skincare Event. You all know it's a brand I adore and I was excited, but the thought of a train on my own was crazy, but you know what I grabbed it and rolled with it. We won't say much about the anxiety attack coming out of Penny's Mary Street though, gosh that place is huge, I needed another day in it.

When I think about the illnesses and the hardship in life, it's hard to see why I bother at times, but my blog gives me purpose, it focuses my mind and to be honest it gives me an excuse to shop 😂

So, what do I want for the next three years. 
Well without a doubt I want to become more technically involved in the blog and hopefully look at working with some more amazing companies, but most of all I want to continue writing and producing content on my platforms that both you and I love.
I want to nurture and grow all the amazing connections and friendships I have made and I would love to become more confident in my abilities.

There are soo many amazing girls I have met through this and companies who have supported me and I can't thank you all enough. If you pop over to my Instagram i will have a post up with some of my faves for you to enjoy.

Gosh looking back at all the pictures, I truly have some amazing people in my life. Not forgetting Mr Preener and Daddy Preener, they think it's all madness but support me everyday.

So for the next three years let's all keep growing and believing how amazing we all are.
Till next time lovelies
Ali xx

Thursday, 27 July 2017

What's around this corner?

Hey my lovelies, I hope you all are doing fab tonight and looking forward to a great weekend. This wasn't a scheduled post but sometimes there are just things we need to get out isn't there?

So, I am sitting here, fake tan on cooking, pjs on, trying to concentrate on the Inbetweeners and all I can think of is this hospital appointment tomorrow and if I am honest I am absolutely scared to bits. I am seeing the Cardiac team in Antrim tomorrow and I am soo scared my life will change from tomorrow.

A little bit of background might help me work these feelings out. My grandparents who I never met both died of heart disease and attacks, my mummy had heart failure, 9 attacks the tragically an arrest which she never came back from. Heart issues have played on my mind for years, if I am honest probably for at least 15 years. I watched my mum go through all of this and I have always wondered what if...

For a long time now I have had the odd nippy pain in my chest and always just was too scared to say anything to anyone. Scott has known for a little while now because again if I am honest they have been getting worse and I am petrified.  I always put it down to my fybromyalgia or anxiety but I was with my GP a few weeks ago and suddenly this feeling came over me that I should and actually had to tell her and she was straight on the ball. Fast forward a few weeks and I sit here wondering what tomorrow will bring.

What if it is what I have feared for so long, what if the genes have passed down, what if what I witnessed in my mum's eyes the night she passed is in my future... what If?  I look in my dad's eyes and what if that hurt will be in Scott's eyes, have I let my weight get out of control that my heart will not cope, has this been all my fault?

I think by now, it's time to find out. I buried my head for years and now that I am facing it, part of me wishes I had of just kept it all in the dark.

I don't honestly know what tomorrow will bring, but I know I will just have to face it and deal with good or bad.

I don't know why I wanted to write tonight, but sometimes writing it down makes it easier to process, I think that's what most of us love about blogging isn't it.

So, whatever is round this corner, we can all hit it face on. If you're facing something at present please know you're strong and can and will cope.

Love to you all tonight and I promise to let you all know what happens
Ali xx


Friday, 21 July 2017

What I am loving this Summer

Hey my lovelies, today I am back with a few bits and bobs to get you through this Summer. Summer can be such a fab time to make new memories, catch up with friends and for me and all you beauty lovers out there, it can be a time for discovering great new products. 

For me I love making memories, and I honestly believe everyone feels that little bit better in the Summer so it can be a fab time to catch up with friends you haven't seen in a while, go to that little cocktail place you have always wanted to try, grab a coffee somewhere cute or just sit and relax with loved ones. For me, my mental health suffers more in the Winter, when it's harder to get out and having these memories to look back on always helps. Capturing moments to look back on is always a great way to hold that memory in your heart forever.

These pictures below just make my heart smile, my girlies and time spent at the beach with Scott and  days out with Daddy, are amongst my happiest memories this year by far. 

Summer for me when I think about beauty, is all about that gorgeous highlight, pretty blush and all things pretty. Recently I have been in love with Kiss nails **. I was at an event a few weeks ago with their team for a rooftop party in the Merchant and I have been trying a few styles since. They are super easy to glue on and I have been really impressed with their longevity. Here I am wearing a gorgeous set of pinky coral gel ones with a gradient glitter, they are the perfect summer nail.
Highlighting can really lift a makeup look, and I have to be honest I dont feel finished if I don't have a little highlight on. These items** from Nude By Nature which have just released in Ireland are simply stunning. The cream highlight gives the most subtle champagne glow, but put a  little of the powder over it and bam!! highlight heaven. I have also been using the highlight on my eyes and its soo pretty!
This little blush and highlight set from ELF is perfect for multi tasking. Again I would pop the coral rose shade on my lids and it makes blue eyes pop. I would then use the highlight on the inner corner and cheek bones, and although subtle, if you use a little setting spray on your brush it builds up really well.
I have been loving this** NOTE concealer the past few weeks. Due to my oily combo skin I find I break out easier in the Summer because of the heat, and this concealer is perfect for the breakouts. It's full coverage but yet it is really light, so when I am concealing any redness or blemishes it doesnt thivken up on them. This would be beautiful in a lighter shade for under the eye area also.
I have been reaching for these beauty bits loads recently and I dont think they will be leaving my makeup bag anytime soon.

I also find that Summer is a great time to shake up your skincare routine. In winter a lot of us need thicker, heavier serums etc, but I find in Summer I like to switch up to something a little lighter. Now, it's normally the partners stealing our skincare isn't it, well this time girlies its the other way round. I have used Kiehl's for years and without a doubt it's a brand I trust. Hubby was running low on the heavier cream version of the Ultra facial Cream, so when up in our local Belfast store we decided coming into Summer he could try the lighter Ultra Facial Moisturizer. Its a great all round one, and I have to hold my hand up that I gave it a go and have fallen in love, and this is the one I reach for most mornings. No wonder hes asking why its running lower quicker. Woops.

This  shower gel from Roger and Gallet popped in the door a while back** and instantly I fell in love. Anyone who knows me, knows I adore orange scent and this is hands down the most refreshing shower gel I have used. I keep it for days when I need pepped up and it leaves my skin feeling so nourished.

Taking time out for yourself is important all year round, and you will find what works for you to make you feel relaxed. My anxiety has been pretty bad recently and I have been really working on finding things that work for me. My favourite little place to go when the weather is nice, is a little riverside cafe called The Cranagh in Coleraine the food is fantastic and there is just something so peaceful about it. I really do enjoy taking some time out down here.
Burning candles is another way to calm the senses, and again it's all about finding what works for you. This candle** from FieldDay Ireland is in their Tea scent, and although I was worried I wouldnt like it, it is soo subtle that its really pleasant and uplifting.
The last way I relax is take some time out with Miss Harlequin, should that be playing with her, or just laying petting her, her little purr completely relaxes me.

Remember, the main thing is to have fun, make memories, and take care of yourself phsically and mentally.
Till next time my lovelies, keep smiling.
Love Ali xx

Items with ☆☆ have been kindly gifted. These are not sponsored and all opinions are my own.


Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Image Hydrating Hydrogel Mask

Hey lovelies,
Today I am back with a post all about face masks and you know how much I adore a good sheet mask. They are a really easy way to relax and pamper yourself, and it really does make you take half an hour out to yourself, which I am sure you will all agree, we all need from time to time.

Image Skincare recently launched the new generation of sheet masks. These aren't like the normal sheet masks, they are a bio molecular mask with patented hydrogel technology, and trust me when I say this makes a huge difference to the mask. 
I was very lucky to be gifted the two new types of mask at their Irish Launch Party for the new 2017 products, and I was looking forward to trying it out.

These masks include red algae and carob tree, and were developed with mineral charged onsen-sui and jeju volcanic oxygen water which offers high levels of moisture. The incorporated ginseng is anti inflammatory and is known to be an antioxidant which is going to help calm down the skin. 
This type of mask is great for any type of skin, or even post treatment or in prep for a big event. I personally feel, any type of skin can benefit from this huge hit of hydration. 

So after cleansing, I opened up the individually sealed packet, and the mask was fully saturated in the product. The instructions are to drape it over face and peel off the top layer to leave behind the hydrogel layer then you can fix it to the face and give it 25 minutes. 
There was still a lot of the infused serum in the packet, so what I suggest is you can either save this and put it in a little pot for the next day, or you can massage it in after the mask comes off. My skin was super stressed and dry so I decided to use the extra serum after my mask.

The mask sat really well on my skin and unlike a lot of other sheet masks I have tried, didn't move about or take too much work to keep it on. My forehead was obviously the driest of areas as it really soaked in quick. After the 25 minutes, I removed the mask and massaged the remaining serum in, and then massaged the serum that was left in the packet. To say my skin felt hydrated is an understatement, The serum felt very like a balm and definitely left a film on the skin. For this reason I would say that the best time to do this mask would be the day before an event or night out, personally I wouldn't do it in the morning when you would put on makeup straight away. I did it early evening and when I did my makeup the next day it went on like a dream.

These masks come in at £10 for 1 and £45 for a pack of 5. I really do feel they are worth it for a treat for your skin and definitely would be great as a gift for a bride to be or someone who travels. I will definitely be buying a packet for before and during my trip to New York in January. 
Image skincare can be bought through recommended retailers and they can be found here

Image Skincare is a great results driven brand and if you want to find out any more about the brand you can find them at the following social channels

I hope you have enjoyed the post, if you use any Image products let me know your recommendations. Till next time my lovelies, keep smiling.
Ali xx


Sunday, 2 April 2017

Stepping into Spring with five of my favourite things

Hey lovelies, so I hope you are all enjoying the fantastic weather! Here in NI we have been loving the few days of sun, and how do we all know Spring has sprung, it's time to get the washing on the line!! So, today's post, in homage to Spring and Summer is the five things I have been using loads recently and will be taking into Summer with me, so sit back, grab something cool and enjoy!


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Magic Wax Melts Review

Hey lovelies, hope you're all doing well today. I am back with a little review of a new local company here in N.Ireland called Magic Wax Melts ran by the fab Samantha, who is the producer and seller of wax melts to get your house smelling gorge and we all know how crazy I am about candles and nice smelling houses!


Thursday, 9 March 2017

How can we be mindful and my journey with it and relaxation.

Hey my lovelies, I hope you are all doing really well today. I am back with a post all about mindfulness, and how it has begun to help me on my mental health journey.

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