Saturday, 28 April 2018

Pizza Punks come to Belfast

Hey lovelies, hope you are all doing fabulous, and ready for a great weekend.  Well, if you need an idea of somewhere to eat in Belfast this weekend look no further, I may have just the place for you.

Pizza Punks located in Waring Street right in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast recently launched and after seeing the launch night on social media, Scott and I knew it was a place we had to visit. After launching in Glasgow a couple of years ago and going from strength to strength Pizza Punks without a doubt is leading the way with contemporary fusion ideas when it comes to pizza.

We wanted to give it a try on a weekday when it wasn't too busy, so we were up at an appointment in the city this week and decided to pop in. Seriously guys, the vibe when you walk in is just cool, neon and funky. We were seated really quickly and started having a nosy at the menu. We had already stalked the place on instagram and decided we wanted to punk our own pizza, which basically means you can choose any of the toppings, bases etc and your pizza will be £10.  
Scott decided on the sourdough base, with the red sauce, along with, pepperoni, black pudding, red onion and mac and cheese along with mozzarella and parmesan. This is totally Scott in a pizza form!! I decided to go for the sour dough base, bbq sauce.  meatballs, buffalo chicken, caramelised red onion and the irn bru pulled pork. I also had the mozzarella and Parmesan.

The pizza toppings are so out there its fab, but don't worry if you want something plain they have you covered too. Toppings include haggis, beans, lamb donner, meatballs, potato bread just to name a few.

We didn't realise the pizzas would be as big, but when we looked at the menu again they are approx 12 inches so definitely a great size portion,  The pizzas were really tasty. I would say there wasn't much taste from the pulled pork but that would be my only negative in the whole meal, so we were really pleased.

I decided to leave room for a freakshake, so I decided to take half of the pizza home with us and we ordered a strawberry cheesecake freakshake.  The shake came with adorable haribo round the middle and an adorable little piece of cheesecake wedged into the glass with some squirty cream. Now it did say there was strawberry ice cream in it, there was no actual ice cream in the glass but we assumed it was mixed into the shake to make it more creamy. The shake itself was lovely. Personally I would have preferred it to be a good bit more chilled, but again this is only personal preference.

Overall, the food and service was fantastic, and at just under £33 for the full meal which included a lemonade and a beer, we were really pleased with the prices. I really do think its just what Belfast needs and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend it and we will certainly be back!

If you want to get in touch with the team at Pizza Punks head to their facebook page here or you can give them a call on 028 9031 4110

Let me know if you have tried it or if its something you would be into
Till next time lovelies

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Celebrating Mothers Day without your mum

Hi lovelies, so another year comes round and it's Mothers Day, the cards,flowers and gifts are lovely to look at, but for me and many others it's tinged with utter sadness.

So when everyone else is celebrating, what do you do? I always lay a lovely flower arrangement and release some balloons for Mummy but this year I am going to start a new tradition, I am going to celebrate the day with lots of her favourite things, so I thought it would be a nice post to do, to give you some ideas if may be you or someone you love has lost their mummy.

These are just a few ideas and I would love to know what you all think.

Grab a box of her favourite chocolates or enjoy her favourite meal
My mummys favourite chocolates were either Milk Tray or Fererro Rocher, so I think this year I am going to treat myself to a little box. Maybe your mummy loved a roast dinner or a takeaway so order in and enjoy.

Enjoy her favourite movie
One movie that sticks out for me is Legally Blonde. Mummy loved this and we watched it a few times when we were in the hospital and watching that smile on her face was fantastic. So anytime I feel rubbish I always put the DVD on and instantly I feel uplifted.

Light a candle that reminds you of her
The Yankee candle clean cotton was mummys favourite and this is what I have in my bathroom, apart from it reminding me of her and her fab smelling house it's genuinely a gorgeous fresh candle. Different smells can instantly transform your mood.

Make a bouquet of her favourite flowers
We always lay an arrangement of flowers on her anniversary which is the 17th March so this year I am going to do that, but for Mothers Day I plan on getting some tulips,roses,cala lillies and gerberas and making an arrangement for the grave and also one for our house. Flowers can bring so many memories and it's a great way to remember someone.

Treat someone or some people special to your Mummy
The nurses and staff in Causeway hospital CCU ward always have always held a special place in my heart and this year I am going to treat them to some goodies. You could maybe treat an Aunt or your mum's best friend. Even treat your own best friend who helped you through a hard time when you lost your mummy.

Snuggle up with something that reminds you of her.
I have mummys dressing gown and I am not afraid to admit that I snuggle up with it sometimes when I am feeling sick or a bit down. Dad washes it for me and it has the smell of the soap powder etc that I instantly associate with her so it's definitely nice to have that.

I also wear a piece of her jewellery a lot. It was the necklace she wore on our wedding day, and I put it on, on the day of her funeral and wear it a lot now especially holidays and special occasions.

These are just a few really simple things you could do to help remember and celebrate her life. It's very easy to shut off from these days and to not want to celebrate and yes I completely did that for a few years, but now coming into her 7th anniversary I feel it's time to start honestly and truly celebrating her and everything she stood for, so on mother's day this year I will be watching Legally Blonde with a box of Milk Tray and maybe even a wee vodka and coke.

I truly hope you all find a way to celebrate and if you're lucky enough to still have your mummy with you, give her a huge hug and make sure she knows how much you love her.

I would love to hear below how you plan to spoil your Mummy

Till next time lovelies
Stay safe and keep smiling


Sunday, 4 March 2018

How to feel put together in 5 mins with minimal makeup and stress

Hey lovelies,so I hope you're all getting over the Beast from the East and getting back to some normality and not being housebound due to the crazy snow storms.

Now I know there are days that we want full on glam, contour,5 different eyeshadows, foundation and lashes but let's be honest most of the time, I want to be able to just look put together quickly and get out the door.
For me, there are days where I feel confident in my own skin and I will go out and rock no makeup,but I won't lie, having a little bit of skin coverage and even mascara and lippie does wonders for my confidence.

I think as I get older I get to know what things I need to do to feel put together and in the least time possible, and I definitely feel these are the things that I am reaching for a lot at the minute.

Obviously you can switch out these products for what you feel suits your skin etc, and whether you want to focus on certain areas. I honestly feel that we can feel that little bit nicer and put together in a few minutes, and we can take on the day with a slick of lippie.

Personally for me I need some sort of coverage on my skin as I suffer from rosacea and my skin isn't a great tone.  I picked up the It Cosmetics CC cream when we were in America and if you follow me on social media you will see I wasn't overly fussed on it the first couple of uses. I used it with a damp beauty blender and was not getting much coverage at all, and I was a bit disheartened as anyone I spoke to who used it absolutely loved it. Then I decided to try it with a dense Kabubki type brush and without a doubt it's the brush to use. Now I can use 2 pumps of the cream and dot it over the face and blend in. You can still see my skin and some freckles etc but it just evens out the tone and gives a little coverage.

I use the LMD palette from B Perfect Cosmetics as my all round face palette. I just use the shade prinny all over my lid, the bringing shade in a quick sweep over the contours of my face and peachy as a little blush. I really do think this is the perfect palette to use for a quick look. I could also use a little of the black shade for my brows if i need to, but I am trying to keep on top of the waxes and tint at the min. This was the only palette I used on holiday and that for a beauty blogger says something!

If someone asks me what is the one thing including live without in terms of make up it is always going to be the Catrice glam eyes mascara. I go to the Pennys in letterkenny to get this and it's worth the 2 hour drive to stock up! I am lucky I have pretty good lashes but this just takes them to the next level. A couple of layers of this and you look like you have falsies on and the best thing is it's only a couple of pounds. Definitely one of my best ever finds.

My eyes can get really dark and it's hard to find a concealer that doesn't sit in my little lines, but I was kindly given this Note Cosmetics concealer last year and it's fantastic. It's super full coverage and I have actually found that on good skin days I can get away with a little of this below my eyes and set with some powder and I am good to go.

We all need a slick of lippie to finish off with and since buying my first Tom Ford in Casablanca it's been hard to use anything else if I am honest. When I put it on I just feel that little bit stronger,fiercer and ready to take on the day, and if I am honest when I am bed bound some of the time to feel that strength it's flipping fab.

So there you have it, a few ideas to make you feel pulled together and on point. I would say a nice manicure and brow tint always helps matters too.

It's all about finding what makes you feel amazing, but remember guys and girls Makeup is there to just enhance us, we are all fabulous and just as amazing without out.

Till next time lovelies
Keep smiling and knowing your worth


Tuesday, 27 February 2018

NYC Must See

Hey lovelies, hope you're all well today, and the Beast from the East storm hasn't hit too bad yet. 
So, if you follow me on social media, you will know Scott and I visited New York a few weeks ago to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary, and boy what a trip it was.
I thought I would start with a quick post on the top few things I think every first timer to NY should do. I am planning daily diary style posts for the next couple of weeks to show you guys what we did everyday and have lots of tips and info etc, so stay tuned for those.

So for us being first timers to the city, we wanted to visit a number of the main tourist attractions and after a lot of research and planning, we decided that these were our top few to visit. 

Times Square
Not going to lie, when we walked into the centre of Times Square it was like another world. The lights, sounds, people and madness is just like what you see in the movies and we soaked it all in. It was the perfect way to start our NYC trip. I think you definitely have to visit it just to experience it and immerse yourself in the craziness. 

Top of the Rock
This again was one of our big to do things, and it really didn't disappoint. I would say either go early in morning or late at night if you can for quieter times and shorter queues. We arrived at around 9.30am and there was only a few people along with us. The views were just stunning, and to see the city spread out in front of you was amazing. There are a number of tickets available but basic prices start from $35 and there are options to upgrade to VIP. We had the New York Pass, which I will be talking about in my next post and we took the standard ticket with it, and honestly it was fine. I would say if you are thinking of going later in day, possibly look at booking time slots etc, but as I say we went early morning and we went straight through. You can see all of the ticket options here

Central Park
When you think of NYC you always think of central park don't you? Central Park spans for miles and it would be impossible to see it all. My biggest piece of advice here is to pick your places you want to see and plan your route that way. We really wanted to see Strawberry Fields, and the Alice in Wonderland Statue and it didn't disappoint.

Empire State Building
We decided to do this late at night, to get the night time view of the city. Its open to 2am and we went at about midnight and apart from another couple we were the only people there. Again we had our New York Pass and we went straight up. Again like the Top of the Rock there are options to book times etc and VIP experiences but if you time it right there will be little to no queues. Here is the link if you want to check out the different ticket options.

9/11 Museum and Memorial
This was one of our main reasons for visiting the city. If anyone knows me in real life you guys know that 9/11 effected me personally and visiting the memorial was definitely needed. The atmosphere arond the memorial pools is something that cannot be described. I must admit I got quite angry as there were people talking selfies and one girl having a full on photo shoot there and I couldn't help feeling it was disrespectful. To stand there and remember what happened is something I will take to my grave. We went into the museum and again we had the NY pass to use. There was a queue here, and we just happened to get served before 2pm and we could go into that slot for admission. There are tours available but we decided we wanted to do it by ourselves, mainly if I am honest because I knew I would be very emotional. The scenes in that museum is something that will both haunt and inspire me. The sadness was palpable and Scott and I had some quiet reflective moments where emotions really hit us, we talked things through, and found ourselves angry and sad all in one emotion. It has been done so so tastefully and it has made a lasting impression on us both.

Go see a Broadway Show
I had a dream to see a Broadway show ever since I started to love musicals very early on. Since Scott proposed to me with a little Simba teddy, we knew there was only one show for our 1st time at Broadway. The Lion King at the Minksoff Theatre was just outstanding. We prebooked tickets and not going to lie we paid a lot of money for them, but to be so close and immersed in it was amazing. What I will say is, this theatre like many of them is quite small so any seats are good. The show was fantastic, I cried through the whole 1st half. Scott said he looked at me at one point and he said I looked so happy and I really was. There are outlets like TKTS booths in Times Square, or the theatres themselves will sell discounted tickets, so if you aren't too fussy on seating you can definitely get a bargain.

Brooklyn Bridge
This is such an iconic bridge and its definitely a must see in my opinion. We decided early in the morning to get a cab over into Brooklyn which was only a few dollars from our hotel and he dropped us off about 10 mins walk from the bridge as we wanted to have a wee walk. So we grabbed a croissant and started to head towards the bridge. The walk over it took us about 50 mins, it would take someone walking at a normal pace maybe 30 mins but I was slow and we were taking all the selfies, so definitely factor that in. The views of Manhattan skyline was absolutely breathtaking.

Statue of Liberty
Again when you think of NYC you think of Lady Liberty don,t you? We decided to take a dinner cruise to see her in all her glory at night time and the views definitely didn't disappoint. I will be talking more about the dinner cruises in the next posts, but just say it was a comedy of errors on the 1st one. There is the Staten Island Ferry which is free and I know a lot of people use this option to see the statue. There are also lots of boat tours or water taxi tours available that will allow you to get a great view.

So those would be my top choices for a 1st timer to the city. We did a lot more, but that will all be chatted about in upcoming posts. Just because I feel these are the top things to do please do your research and see what takes your fancy. Its a city that has stolen my heart and I would go back in an instant.

Till next time lovelies
Stay safe
Ali xx

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Valentines Treats with Prestige Flowers

Hi lovelies, today I am back with a little post all about the Valentines range at Prestige Flowers
The team kindly got in touch and asked if I would like to receive some lovely flowers in time for Valentines, and lets be honest who doesn't love a bunch of fresh flowers in the house.

So, a few days later the door knocked and a big box appeared with a gorgeous bouquet of roses inside, and along with the flowers a gorgeous little teddy called Harry along with a box of yummy chocolates were inside. Unfortunately when I opened the flowers up, quite a few were withered and damaged, but on chatting with the team, they assured me another bunch would be sent out that day. I think the issue may have been that because they come by post, it always takes a little longer to get to NI, but I cant be sure of that, but fast forward a couple of days, and a beautiful bunch of pink roses and lilies arrived at the door, packaged the exact same way, in the sturdy box with a hydration pack around the stems.

You can see from the bouquet above the flowers are stunning, and these are the Be Mine bouquet priced at £24.99 and come with free chocolates, you can grab these ones from the Valentines Range 
The lily stems came mainly closed, but I am very happy with this, as we all know when lilies open the smell is stunning. I have these sitting in my kitchen and you can smell the arrangement throughout the flat. Not going to lie, the chocolates where gone within a couple of days, they were that good.

Harlequin the kitty, has decided that Harry the teddy is her new best friend, and he is currently residing in her little house, I don't think I am getting him back any time soon.

I think sending flowers, can be a lovely way to cheer someone up, congratulate someone, or even just to make the house that little bit brighter, and Prestige have bouquets from £9.99 and lovely little add on gifts to choose from. I will definitely be using them again for a nice Spring bunch for the house, and sssssh I might even order a sneaky box of chocolates too.

If you feel like treating your loved one, or a friend this Valentines Day, definitely give Prestige a call, and don't blame me if you eat the choccies all in one go.

Till next time lovelies, have a fab day

*Thanks to the team at Prestige for the lovely bunch of flowers, as always my opinions are my own*

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Ten tips to survive a long haul flight

Hey lovelies
Hope you're all well!
So, if you follow me on social media, you will know I was recently in New York to celebrate Mr Preener and I 10 year wedding anniversary, I got a lot of questions, queries etc about the trip, so now that jetlag has left, and my M.E has got back to its normal state, I am going to upload some content all around the trip including planning, tourist ideas etc.

First of all today, I thought I would give my top tips on how to survive a long haul flight. This was my first flight at 8 hours, and I was dreading it, mainly due to my back and I used a lot of these tips and tricks to get me through the flight.

Neck Pillow
So, this was a big rookie mistake on my part, I bought a cheap one and totally regret it. I thought they would all be the same, but by the time we were in the air in Dublin, my pillow was a sad floppy mess, but gave us some laughs, you can imagine it was even worse on the way back! I will definitely invest in a better one next time.

Light Blanket Scarf
Take a nice light scarf with you and it can double up as a blanket if you get cold, or fold it up for a pillow. I got quite chilly on the flight back and was glad I had popped a nice big scarf in my hand luggage.

Fluffy Socks
My feet swell horribly when flying, even over to England, so I always take a pair of cosy fluffy socks, and the minute I get on the flight, my shoes come off and I get cosy. I think making yourself as cosy as possible makes the journey far easier and more enjoyable.

Flight Socks
I think these are a must for long haul flights, especially if you have any time of health concern. I will be honest I totally forgot on the way over to put them on, I think the excitement was getting to me.

Stretch and walk about
On a long haul flight you really need to make sure you stretch your legs and feet and walk about. Every few mins I raised my feet onto my toes a few times, and rolled my ankles along with stretching my calves. 

Hydrate pre flight and during flight
I always try and stay well hydrated before the flight as there is nothing worse than getting one of those headaches thats all down to dehyration on a flight and feeling really rough. I drunk tiny amounts of water before the flight then I had regular bottles of water on the flight, and I have to admit it really did help, as I didnt feel rough getting off the flight. Its easy to forget about water when there is free drinks available, but I really didnt want to feel rough so I stuck to water, orange juice and a cheeky Coke with my snack.

Face mask and beauty treats
I like using a flight to unwind and do a little pampering. I had no makeup on getting on the flight over but I still used my cleanse off mitt with some of my Image Vital C Cleanser to freshen my skin, then I popped on one of the Image sheet Masks, I think I scared Nikki at one stage when she turned round, but I wasnt the only one on the flight with a sheet mask. My skin felt fab after it. The air is all recycled so its drying out your skin at a shocking rate, so using masks is a great way to pump some hydration back in. I made sure to use a nice lip balm to keep my lips hydrated.

Before going on our trip, I downloaded a couple of movies and some episodes of the Crown, please tell me someone else is obsessed with this at the minute, and it really helped pass the time on the flight. Make sure you have a portable charger and any connecting leads with you, as your flight might not have USB chargers. I can never settle to read very much on a flight but I read a few chapters of my new book. I find listening to soothing music, watching a movie or an episode of my fave show makes me enjoy the flight a little more.

Take some snacks
We were given a snack and meal on the flights, but I decided to pack a couple of snacks for Scott and I, and it was so handy to have. I packed a couple of the Nakd bars, and some crisps and a cheeky pack of haribo. I wouldnt be an overly fussy eater but we all know what flight food can be like.

Sit back and relax
Flying can be really anxiety inducing for some, and I truly think if you can try and make it as enjoyable and have some home comforts with you, it will help the flight and experience be far more enjoyable. I got anxious a few times on the way there, but I think it was a mixture of nerves and excitement, but I just focused on my movie, and kept thinking about the amazing holiday that lay ahead.

Gang I hope you enjoyed those little tips, and if you use some let me know. If youre heading on a flight soon, I hope youre off to somwehre fab.
Till next time lovelies
Ali x

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

2017 Looking back to move forward

When you think back on 2017 what do you feel? Happy, sad,regretful, content. I am a very mixed bag if I am honest.
A week into 2018 and it's given me an opportunity to look back, but also look forward.

My health hasn't been great at all this year and I went through a big scare with my heart which I am still working through but you know what, knowing that I have the tools to get healthier etc lets me see I can make the changes needed.

We went through a hard time as a family, but with love and faith everything worked out and we could smile again. Sometimes you just gotta hold on to the knowledge that it will turn out ok.

Our fertility journey had to end as I have had to look at my health more closely and at the minute it's better to get healthier first, that was a bitter pill to swallow, but I know in times we can pick things up again, and try again.

2017 was definitely a year of ups and downs and one of the biggest ones is my best friend Joanne got engaged to the fab Gareth. Joanne went through an awful period and to see her get her happy ever after, well I am bloody chuffed and I can't wait to buy a hat.

I spent some fantastic nights in and out with my two main men. I couldn't love these two anymore if I tried, through all the downs they have stood firm beside me, and never faltered.

Another high was we booked NYC and as you read this I am probably writing and rewriting our itinerary lol we head away soon to celebrate 10 years of married bliss and in all honesty we couldn't be happier. NYC has been on the bucketlist for a long time. We are going with our best friends Nicola and Alex, and judging by this pic of Nikki and I on a night out, I would say some laughs will be had.

Another big big high is my blogging girls. We shared some fab days and nights and ended the year with a lovely dinner and a secret Santa. I can honestly say this year has brought me closer to so many of the girls, and they have helped me through so so many rough days, I would be lost without them. I think 2018 will bring more laughs and fun with them for sure.

We had some great nights out with friends, these guys and girls, see me through so many rough times, and I cant wait to make 2018 even better with them.

So, looking into 2018, where do you want to be?
I know for me the main focus is health, with that comes weight loss and for me now it's purely for health.

I don't really make resolutions they are more so goals, I don't like the word resolution if i am honest, so I hear you yell what are these goals, sometimes with the word resolution comes lots of pressure for me, so goals that are achievable is definitely my way forward this year.

Try and be more mindful and present
2017 was the year I discovered meditation and mindfulness and I really try hard with it, but like anything I could try harder and practice it more. It really clears my head and makes me see things clearer.

Work on my health
Well that's a big goal and has to come in a few parts. Firstly weight, I am not putting numbers out there this year but I just need to lose it to become healthier to achieve my dream of becoming a mummy in a few years. That crave for a baby never leaves and I need to be healthier to get the treatment we need desperately.
I am not going to be 100% all of the time and that's ok, we fall but I will get back up.
I had a big scare with the ticker this year and although it could have been better it could have been a lot worse but I got the all clear from the team to start light exercise, so I am determined even if it's small there will be a start. You guys know my battle with M.E and my spine but you know what, I just have to adjust and be safe and I will. I love the feeling it gives to exercise, nature's endorphins!
Working on my diabetes is a huge one, but I know with healthier choices it will start and work better.
I need to drink 3 litres a day of water in some capacity, now I know you're gonna go Alison what you playing at, hear me out. I am now on a trial of a medication for my diabetes which is all to do with hormones and kidneys and basically it's to help the kidneys flush the sugar etc easier.

Another big goal is to actually do what I want with the blog. So many times this past year I have said, oh I need to do this, have the latest product, be seen at the right events but nope not this year. My blogging girls are amazing, I have so much love for them it makes me so happy to have them in my life. They are all amazing in their own way.

I think all that should keep me going for a while, what do you think?

I think that's enough goals for now gang, so where do you see yourself this year. I wish you nothing but love and luck this year. Strive to make every dream possible and you will achieve it.

Till next time preeners, stay safe and keep smiling
© passionsandpreening

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