Sunday, 10 February 2019

Travel Guide: New York in 5 nights

Hi Everyone,

I returned from 5 nights in New York last week which was such a great trip. I highly recommend a visit if you have never been and completely doable even if you're on a budget. It was my third visit, however, my first as a holiday as I luckily lived there for a period of time the other two visits.


How did we book/ Cost:

We booked with Abbey Travel last March with the lovely Jennifer in the Killarney branch. I usually book holidays myself separately but for such a long time away I decided the security of a travel agent was more suited. It was much easier for us as we were able to pay it off weekly or whenever we needed which was so much handier and affordable.

Because we were booking for January, we got a great deal as it is 'slightly' quieter after the Christmas period. The weather can also be unpredictable at this time of year so it is a bit of a risk but thankfully we were lucky. 

We got flights with Aer Lingus, flying from Shannon to JFK at a convenient time for 5 nights in a 4-star hotel for €1,350 plus €120 for Travel insurance for both of us bringing the total to €1,470. I'm sure you could get an even lower price if you flew with the likes of Norwegian airlines etc and maybe an Air B&B, but for what we were looking for, this suited us perfectly.

Accommodation:

We stayed in the Edison Hotel which was located just off Times Square, the Theatre district. I would of loved to have stayed in the West/East Village or Soho as I adore those areas but the prices were much more expensive in the Travel Agents. The Arlo Soho was recommended to me by a friend which looks beautiful and The Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn was also on my wishlist. 
In saying that, for Gary's first time in New York - our location was perfect for everything that we wanted to do and see. 
Prior to our arrival, I emailed the Edison requesting a renovated room and in hopes of a good city view that the trip was for my partner's birthday. They took our request into consideration and upon arrival into our room, they had upgraded us to the 20th floor and with a more modern room. There was also some sweet goodies with their signature Edison teddy waiting on the bed with a note saying, Happy Birthday which I thought was a lovely, personal touch.
The room size, as to be expected in New York wasn't huge but for the amount of time I knew we would be spending in there, it was grand! It was clean and tidy, warm with a view of the skyscrapers and the staff at reception were always helpful and friendly. Just a note to add, expect to pay resort fees per night on many hotels throughout the city. When we left it was around $53. 



Transport around NY/from Airport:

Our main mode of transport was the subway! Such a fantastic system, I wish we had one in Ireland. Could you imagine! 

For leaving the airport, We had decided that we would get the Airtrain from JFK rather than a cab. It took roughly the same time and a hell of a lot cheaper for the 2 of us. We each had a large suitcase and found it really easy, I would do it again and even on my own it wouldn't bother me. So we got the Airtrain from the Terminal, we just followed the signs and ask someone if you're any way unsure. We didn't buy a ticket until after we left the train so don't worry. 
We got off at Jamaica and went over to the ticket machine. You purchase one MetroCard and top it up by $10 as the cost of the trip individually is $5 each, a new empty MetroCard is $1 so as far as Jamaica it is $11 for 2 people. 
Now for the next part, to get us into Manhattan - we were staying near 42nd street so Port Authority 42nd St was our stop. We purchased 2 unlimited 7-day Metrocard's priced at $33 each which was the best money we spent throughout our trip as we used it numerous times. If you don't want to buy an unlimited metro card then the cost is $2.75 per trip, per person so you would need to top up the MetroCard that you used for the AirTrain.  All in all, the unlimited card is far cheaper also than London's Oyster cards! There is also free wifi available in all Subway stations which is handy as the roaming charges are far too dear. Obviously, when the train moves, the connection cuts out. I would actually consider getting an American Sim for next time so I could have internet access when walking around to find your way easier.

If you want to get a Yellow Cab from the airport instead then the cost is set at $56, including tip around $70. There are also options to hire a limo if you had a large crew with you or there are airport transfers if you research.



TOP TIP:
A phone app that I highly recommend you get if travelling there which is free is 'Ulmon, City Maps to go'. I recommend that you download the free map before you leave for New York City and put in all of the areas that you wish to visit. It has a map of the city and also the subway map which was a lifesaver because there are Uptown and Downtown destinations which unless you have been there before and know your way around, you won't have a clue. When you get in the train, many are old so they don't have the stops listed so it can be a little confusing hence this app being a necessity! 


Places we visited:

  • Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, upon entering Manhattan you are at the Financial District.
  • Dumbo, Brooklyn. ( Photo with the bridge in the background)
  • Wall Street Area ( Charging Bull, Fearless Girl Statue)
  • Central Park 
  • Flatiron Building
  • Intrepid Museum (Air, Space Nasa. $33 each per adult)
  • Williamsburg, Brooklyn. ( I previously lived here with a family friend who still lives there & I still love the area. It has since changed dramatically with many upmarket stores and continues to be one of the most expensive places to live in NY. )
  • Staten Island Ferry ( To see the Statue of liberty and the city from the water, it's also free)
  • 9/11 Memorial (free to visit, you don't have to queue. You pay for the museum)
  • Street Art Murals around Chinatown.
  • Jersey Gardens (It's an Outlet, $14 return on the bus from Port Authority. Found it great for kids clothes, Sports clothing, some designer and brands. Century21, Vans etc. It's also Tax-Free!)
Brooklyn Bridge

Flatiron Building

Wall Mural in Chinatown

View from the Staten Island Ferry

Central Park


Top places I also Recommend :
  • Top of the Rock
  • Walk over the High line located through Chelsea and Meatpacking district.
  • Chelsea Market
  • St. Patrick's Cathedral ( Beautiful Gothic church. It was also where Carrie & Big almost married in, SATC)
  • The Met Museum ( a Gossip Girl fan must, the steps!)
  • MOMA Museum
  • Explore the West Village, one of my favourite areas to wander.
  • Walk over the Williamsburg Bridge, upon exit you are near Chinatown.
  • Hang out in Washington Square Park.
  • Go to a game in Madison Square Gardens, whether it's Ice Hockey or Basketball - the atmosphere can be incredible!
  • Next time we plan on exploring some of the Bronx & Queens for food spots.
  • Harlem Gospel Choir ( I will do this at some stage, it just sounds wonderful!:)

Food/Places to eat:

  • The Ear Inn - one of the oldest bars in New York. Located on Spring Street, around the corner from Soho & Greenwich Village. I worked here when I lived in New York & it has the best group of people still working there. You also never know if you'll bump into someone famous. I have seen Danny Devito (Matilda etc), Keri Russell (Felicity), Jason Biggs & Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Pie) , Dean Winters (Oz), Matthew Rhys (Brothers & Sisters). Kirsten Dunst lives nearby too and still goes there but I have yet to meet her. Anyways, the Burgers are great - so is the chilli, a cup is enough to start.  Try the Dumplings, check out the Specials and Brunch is good too at the weekends! If you're feeling creative, you can create a masterpiece on the paper tablecloths with the crayons provided and feel free to take your Picasso home!




  • Lucali's - Honestly one of the food highlights from our trip! Gary is a foodie, as am I - so after watching Lucali featured on an episode of 'Ugly Delicious' on Netflix, it was on our list. It's located in Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn where I lived for a period of time after Williamsburg.                                                                                                        They open at 5.45 everyday bar Tuesday when they are closed but if you want a table, expect to arrive well before 5! After a failed first attempt visit on a Saturday, sooo busy - we returned on a Monday at 4pm.  No, I'm not kidding and yes maybe we are slightly nuts but seriously it was worth the wait. After waiting outside until around 5.15, we were third in line and not just the only 2 lunatics waiting (in the cold lol) we were delighted to be told to come back for a table when they opened at 5.45! You can bring your own alcohol, beer or wine which was great.                                                                   The menu is kept very simple, not many toppings and they just serve Pizza and Calzone. Don't be expecting side orders like fries etc as what's on the menu is literally it and it is perfect! We ordered a pizza which had mozzarella and fresh basil, we didn't want extra toppings and I ordered extra sauce which is generally for the calzone but I just dipped every slice of pizza in there - it was sooo good! They roll the pizza dough with a wine bottle and it was the best pizza I ever tasted. Even better with my extremely sensitive stomach, it didn't bloat me one bit! Staff were lovely, you have 1-hour slot and we were probably finished before anyone in there after about half an hour. We were thrilled to have gotten a table. Oh, it's also a place where Jay Z visits and Beyonce has been known to attend with him. Our Bill for the pizza we shared, extra sauce, tip and tax was around $47. We brought our own drink. Cash only.
    


  • Momofuku - Another food highlight - This is one of David Chang's restaurants ( one of the creators of Ugly Delicious & world-renowned chef). There is a chain of Momofuku restaurants in New York, across the States, Toronto & Sydney. We went to the Noodle Bar in Columbus Circle as that was the closest to us and it was amazing! Be sure to check the menu before arriving as they differ depending on if it's the noodle bar, Ko or Ssam Bar and the prices also differ. To eat we got 2 portions of the Steamed Buns with Seared Shrimp served with Ssam sauce. Honestly the tastiest starter ever! We each got a Ramen of our choice for our mains and that was us stuffed! Our bill including 4 drinks, 2 starters, 2 mains, tax and tip I think we spent around $120 and it was worth every dolla! Service was fantastic too.

      


  • Joe's Shanghai - We decided on visiting here, very last minute on a Sunday afternoon when we were arriving in Chinatown. I googled places to eat and this was one of many others, with great reviews and highly recommended. We waited for around 15 mins for a table and once we were in, it is a really busy fast paced restaurant. We ordered 2 sets of Dumplings, 2 scallion pancakes and Gary ordered a main. We laughed when we saw the food coming out as the portions were large. I wasn't starving so thankfully I just stuck with the starters and I couldn't even finish what I ordered. The soup Dumplings had 8 in a steamer and we discovered that another 8 were waiting underneath hence the size of the portions, one was easy enough to share. Gary had to take his main away in a doggy bag plus a couple of dumplings. I thought the food was reasonably priced, really tasty and with 2 drinks plus all of the above I think our bill including tip and tax was around $55/60. Cash only. 



  • Food Carts - Yes, believe it or not - the food carts are really tasty and great for lunch on the go. Each food cart has a rating on the side, make sure it says A & you are good to go! We got a  delicious takeaway from one near Time Square, I got falafel over rice with salad and some garlic and hot sauce over it for $8! Gary also got a sausage in a roll and that was also really good. We brought it back to our hotel room to chill for a bit and it was absolutely unreal! There is a selection of other choices to suit many tastes and they even do breakfast bagels/coffee etc in the mornings too which I haven't tried but I'm sure they are good too.
Might not look very appetising but trust me, it was!

There are so many other wonderful places to eat, you are spoilt for choice in New York. Some others that I've either went to in the past or would love to go are the following. 


Spending Money/Savings:

New York is expensive but you can really customise how cheap or expensive you want the holiday to be. As I previously mentioned, if you are on a budget it is totally doable. I saved for a full year in a savings tin. You will see from the below photo that the first of January you save €1, the following week €2 and so on until the final week it's €52. Anyways, the idea is that you get into a habit of saving - no matter what the amount that you can afford is and the tin is hidden away, forgotten about against your weekly bills as you need a can opener to take the money out and know how much you have saved. We had around $1600 going and we budgeted around $100 per day for food and whatever else was taken off the rest like excursions, what we bought, tips, drinks etc. Some days we may have gone over the $100 and some days we were under. The fact that we booked so far ahead and saved for so long made it much easier on us as we didn't notice the money going and before we knew it, January was here.  Just wanted to let you know that if New York is a dream of yours but you feel that it may be out of your budget, it is possible to make it work for you. Life is short after all.





Shopping:

This wasn't a shopping holiday and I'd much rather a vintage shop in New York than browse the stores. However, I did pop into Century21 on Cortlandt Street. It's still the same as I remembered, I bought a beautiful Diane Von Furstenberg Down feather coat, in their Jersey Garden store for 70% off. It's a stunning forest green shade and that was all I bought plus one MAC lipstick in my usual Blankety shade. Tax is added onto every clothing item over $100 (except Jersey Gardens), tax is added onto anything Beauty then too whatever the price which is annoying when you go up to the counter. For instance, my lipstick was $18.50, went up to the counter it was $20.14. I didn't find it all that cheaper there, to be honest, but I wasn't expecting to either. If you're into your unique style trainers like Gary, he got two class looking Air Jordans over there as the selection is far better but the prices are pretty much similar. The selection of children's shoes was also brilliant and completely different to back home which I love.


Take note upon arriving/leaving:

  • Don't forget to do your Esta visas well in advance to leaving. You need one each to enter the country. Make sure you follow the correct site as it is only $14 each, there are many sites that charge you up to $100 each which is wrong as they are charging you to do it for you. It's easy to do yourself.
  • Depending on the time of year - pack comfortable shoes, possibly thermals, warm clothes, pack away raincoat, warm gloves & sunglasses for sun glare. If it's the summer you will need insect repellent which you buy over there, mosquito's love me when I have been there in warmer weather and also bring breathable clothing like cottons, linens etc if it's summer.
  • Check out the facebook group, NYC the place to be. Such an informative group of people on that and many people are waiting to travel there, just like you or they have just returned. So, it's full of great recommendations and advice.
  • If you plan on doing lots of excursions, check out the New York City pass to save money.
  • Pack a backpack if going exploring, I brought my usual leather one I wear daily and it was extremely light and handy. Not heavy at all and fits a lot. Bought mine in Tkmaxx.
  • You will need a credit card to avoid charges and exchange rates. I brought a prepaid Post Office card and it was fantastic. I also had a Revolut one just in case but I never needed it. You can also check your transactions which appear almost immediately online and it's a handy way to know your spending over there. Next time I will use my Revolut card as the app looks much better but in saying that, the Post office card was perfect for us over there.
  • Bring a portable phone charger. If like me, I used my phone for everything - subway map, google maps, camera etc. The battery will go fairly fast. I did find some charger areas on the streets too funnily enough so maybe bring a charger lead if you prefer.
  • When flying, do not forget to pack in your hand luggage the following - a phone charger, headphones as the airlines are usually bad, maybe have the option of a few downloaded shows on netflix on your phone as I didn't find the selection great on board. Some face mist to hydrate your face, refreshing wipes and face cream. Drink plenty of water. I also brought a travel headrest pillow which was great to take a snooze in.
  • Do not leave any last minute shopping at JFK airport, I think it's the worst airport for shopping I have ever experienced. It's very expensive for shopping, eating or drinking! Not a great selection of anything and certainly no bargains to be got in duty-free which is non existent. 
  • Last but not least, enjoy it all if you are going. New York is my favourite city, I found the people there really friendly, Fine you may get the odd few bad eggs but nothing more than you would find anywhere. It really is a fantastic city!


I bet I'm forgetting to mention a few bits but hopefully not, I hope you have enjoyed this guide. There's a guide to suit every person going as everyone has different tastes, make your own and research well.

Thanks for reading,

Aifric x






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Wednesday, 14 March 2018

PS Nudes Contour & Highlight Palette

I was recently invited to attend the launch of the Primark PS nudes range in Dublin which was Amazing! I was so grateful to be invited and one of the highlights from the event was to watch celebrity makeup artist Mylah Morales to Rihanna and many more use the collection so effortlessly. One of the products that stood out to me from the range was the Contour/Highlight palette.


I couldn’t wait for it to arrive into stores so I luckily picked it up the week before last for €6! Having swatched it already at the event I knew the pigments were promising in the 3 highlighters and one contour shade. 


It’s such a versatile palette, you don’t just have to use the palette for what it says as it works great on the eyes too! Charmed is probably my favourite highlight from the palette and it’s also a fantastic one to use for the inner corner and brow bone. 

I don’t like very severe contouring so I’ve applied it under my cheekbones and the highlight as you can see is on my cheekbones, the tip of my nose & on my forehead. I find subtle is better usually and especially for a daytime makeup
I’ve used  Charmed here in the inner corner & browbone
The only downside I can say from the palette is the contour shade may be too dark for many complexions. It would of been great to have 2 contour shades with one lighter and just 2 highlights but if you put on a bit of tan then you’re good to go! Also, for the price at €6 such a bargain! 

It’s in stores now but possibly for a limited time only as the range is proving to be quite popular. Theres also a gorgeous eyeshadow palette, contour sticks, lipsticks and so much more to check out. 

Have you tried anything from the PS Nudes collection or will you be purchasing anything?

Thanks for reading,
Aifric x











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Thursday, 1 March 2018

Favourite Budget Lipsticks

Hi all,

I have built quite a collection of lipsticks at this stage and many are super affordable with a long lasting finish. I'd like to share some of my favourites so far with you if lipsticks are your thing. The selection I have picked are under €9 each! Bargain, right.
My favourites - Note Cosmetics 
I love wearing lipstick and generally stick with pinks, dark browns and if I pick a nude, I always team it with a darker liner. I find they suit me best and I prefer a creamy consistency in a lippy as they don't dry out your lips.



One brand that has stood out to me for ticking all the right boxes is Note Cosmetics. I currently own 5 of their lipsticks and they are fantastic! Their Rich colour range are €4.95 and the long wearing range is €7.95.

Note Cosmetics:





Revlon:
They're known for having amazing lipsticks which I have to agree on! I was recently at a makeup masterclass with Mrsmakeup using Revlon products in Ch Chemist,Tralee and she used this stunning red lipstick on her model. I had to have it! Priced at only €8.79 in the shade Fire & Ice.




Sleek Makeup:
I first came across Sleek when I was studying makeup in the UK 12 years ago in either Boots or Superdrug. Super affordable brand! They have a great range of colours in the lipstick range suiting all preferences. I chose another cerise pink to add to the collection in shade Dream Decade.



The Makeup Gallery - Dealz. :
I've tried a few things from the make up range and although I found some were better than others, this lip gloss is by far my favourite from their range. Its described as an intense lip colour and you can wear it on its own or how I like to wear it is over a nude lipstick. Take the creamy nude by Note or my go to lip combo is MAC blankety with this gloss over it. Its only €1.49 in the shade Nice n nude.

Essence Cosmetics:
One of the best budget brands on the market. They have so many products I've yet to try with lipsticks being one of them. I do have two glosses from their range that I adore. Again can be worn on their own for a subtle, natural look or I usually use them over a lipstick for extra glam. Priced under €4 each!


If I had to add anymore to the collection, they would be Rimmel and NYX. Their lipsticks are always gorgeous! 
That's it for now, I would love to know your budget favourites or any that I'm missing out on.

Thanks for reading,
Aifric x 


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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

K.M Blonde Angel vs Pro.Voke Touch of Silver

Hi everyone,

I changed my hair colour at the start of the year to a blonde balayage and went brighter with the blonde in August being my 2nd time getting it done. I was delighted with how well the blonde took as I'm naturally dark and the condition was fantastic for blonde with thanks to the amazing hair stylist, Emma Quirke in Tralee. However, with blonde it can take maintenance to upkeep and it can tend to get brassy. My friend recommended the Kevin Murphy Blonde Angel shampoo to me which is a purple toner shampoo and neutralizes any brassiness the blonde may have.



They do a 40ml size for around €8 and the full size 250ml at around €26. I tried the 40ml which is tiny and although it did lift it a bit I certainly didn't want be forking out on the bigger bottle as I didn't feel it was worth it when I already used a salon shampoo to upkeep my coloured hair. I only got a couple of washes from the shampoo as advised and once I finished my cousin mentioned a similar style shampoo she uses on her all over blonde and this was also recommended by a hair stylist.

I picked up PRO:VOKE Touch of Silver Brightening shampoo for under €5 in Kennellys Pharmacy, The Reeks and didn't use it for another few weeks. After trying it a few times, I found by weting your hair and applying it, then letting it in your hair for a few hours as you would with a treatment, washing it out then shampoo your hair with your usual shampoo and conditioning it was so much brighter and so soft once it was blowdryed. It also comes in a 150ml bottle for that price so it lasts much longer and its much cheaper for doing the exact same job! Just to note this is not an everyday shampoo, I’ve been using it once a week and will continue to do so.  Of course this is just my own opinion but its worked for my hair and hoping if you haven't tried it, you like it too. 
Let me know if you do,
Aifric x
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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Travel Guide: Ibiza, Spain.

Hi All,

Hope you all enjoyed the weekend. As you know, I was recently in Ibiza, Spain to celebrate my 30th Birthday. It was my 2nd time on the Beautiful Island, the last time was for my 21st Birthday and I had been wanting to go back ever since. I previously spent 2 weeks but this time we had 4 full days, however, in total I've seen a good bit of what the Island has to offer. I would highly recommend a visit whether it's for a Birthday, a girls holiday or with your partner. It has something to suit everyone, we even saw many families holidaying there so it doesn't have to be a party destination if that's not your cup of tea.


  • Flights

From what I could gather, if you book the flights and accommodation separately, Ryanair and British Airways from Dublin are the 2 available airlines. We weren't flexible with our dates as I wanted to be away for my actual birthday day and the weekend suited us better with having River looked after. So, we flew with British Airways on a Friday - our flight was late that night at 10.30pm. We didn't arrive into Ibiza until 2.30am and it was 3am by the time we arrived at our hotel. British Airways are lovely to fly with but I was exhausted with the late arrival so I wouldn't advise going for that time.
However, in saying that our other option which wasn't much better was with Ryanair at 6.30am Saturday morning so we would of been in Ibiza for roughly 9/10am and not be able to check in until the afternoon. But at least you wouldn't be paying for an extra night that you barely spent in. The times seem to be much better for during the week so if you can be flexible with your dates, choose then.
Another tip - keep checking the price of the flights if you choose Ryanair. They were a fortune when I was first looking in late April and they reduced down by almost half the price by May and again a few weeks later. They are notorious for raising the flights and lowering them shortly afterwards again so a complete kick in the teeth if you get stung by forking out. Our Departing flight with British Airways don't fly as regularly as Ryanair, I think it's just Fridays and Tuesdays. Also, they offer you a complimentary drink and snack on board which was lovely. But, If you want another drink - they wouldn't give it so just be aware. We flew home with Ryanair and you could buy as many drinks and snacks on board as you pleased.

  • Transport from the Airport
As we arrived into Ibiza in the early hours of Saturday Morning, our only choice was to get a taxi. We were staying in San Antonio and it cost us 40euro for roughly a 20 - 30 mins cab journey. We got the bus on our return home to the airport on the Wednesday and it cost us only 4euro each so that's a massive saving. Again, there's a lot to be said for getting a flight at a more convenient time so you can avoid a taxi if you are on a budget. The bus journey took roughly 45 mins.


I had my doubts about staying in this area as to be honest it has a bit of a bad reputation. However, I was pleasantly surprised and couldn't fault our experience there. I think if you go looking for trouble you'll get it, do your research as to where you'd like to go, check the reviews and avoid the obvious rowdy places. It has a lively atmosphere around the place which I like when walking around but do your research as to where you stay as you also want to be able to get some sleep. Where we stayed had the perfect location which I'll chat about shortly. I loved wandering around the area in which we were staying as there was a lot of street art decorated along the walls.



I previously stayed in Playa d'en Bossa but I found it quite far from everything I wanted to be near at the time and to walk around it wasn't as lively as San Antonio. They are both very different though and Playa d'en Bossa has it's own stunning beach which is very clean and is long enough to have a nice walk through it. It's also much more expensive accommodation wise.
The day we arrived in Ibiza, we spent the day at San Antonio beach, which again was better than I had expected. It was clean and not as packed or rowdy as I had pictured. There were plenty of sun lounger beds available and a sun lounger with an umbrella cost me 10euro. Many of the bars along the beach own the various loungers so a waiter is available to serve you drinks and food and bring it to you if you want to relax.

  • Accommodation
We stayed at Hotel Tropical which was perfectly located and had the BEST Air Conditioning in our room. I did a lot of research into where to stay, reading many reviews and eventually chose here. At the time of booking it said there was 70% of the accommodation gone in San Antonio. I soon discovered that what was available within our budget and what I was looking for was declining over the time I spent looking. Also, I booked on Booking.com and chose to pay when we got there to cut the cost of spending all at once so that also made our choices limited. However, if you book in enough time you will have plenty of options in whatever you choose. The accommodation is pretty basic, but it's sufficient when we weren't planning on staying in our rooms all day.

Hotel Tropical is located in a quiet area and the security guard who works there makes sure the noise level after hours is kept under control so rest assured you get a good sleep. Our breakfast was also included in our package at no extra cost which was a buffet style and had enough choice to suit everyone. There was a fry, fruit, pastries, cheeses and meats, yoghurts, coffees and teas or also fresh juices.
The hotel had a pool which was located across the street which opens at 10am until 8pm. I advise get there early if you want a lounger as other hotels share the pool so it can tend to get quite busy. Food served there isn't great but the staff are friendly, pool is clean and there's also a bar serving cocktails, beers etc.

The west end strip, which has a strip of bars is a short walk if you fancy it but we avoided it as it wouldn't be our cup of tea. Cafe Mambo is also a short walk from there which I definitely recommend heading down to. I loved the vibe there, the music and the setting. Many flock there to watch the sun setting which is stunning to watch as the sky changes from blue to shades of red then dark. There's a rocky beach where you can sit to watch it and bring your own drink if you'd like or you can dine in Cafe Mambo overlooking the sunset or grab a drink in Cafe del Mar.




When I stayed in Playa d'en Bossa, I stayed in the Jet Apartments which again were basic but they are dear and can be quite noisy. They are located in front of the beach though which is great and Bora Bora is next to it too which has great music.

  • Clubbing
If Dance music is your thing then you will love the Clubs. It's known for the Party Island after all, therefore you are guaranteed to have the best Djs in the world playing throughout the Summer. Ibiza Spotlight is a fantastic site that has a Party Calendar with all of the Clubs and who is playing where and when. You can buy tickets on the site beforehand which is cheaper than paying on the door or when you arrive. It's also useful for lots of other information about the Island.
Prepare yourself for the cost of the clubs, they're not cheap but also bare in mind you are paying to see a few Djs and Ibiza is not cheap to begin with. Expect to pay anything between 45 euro to 100. It depends what club it is and the particular club night. Pacha seemed the most expensive when I was looking up what was on. We went to two Club nights while we were there which were at the same night club, Amnesia.

I really wanted to make DC-10 this time as I haven't been but it clashed with Cocoon on the day of my birthday so we didn't make it unfortunately.
Brace yourselves for the drink prices inside Amnesia. A bottle of water is 9euro, a beer is 13euro and a spirit with a mixer is 23euro!!! It is so hot inside there that you have no choice but to fork out so what I would suggest, when purchasing your tickets, there is an option to buy a drinks package beforehand which works out much cheaper. The clubs mainly open at midnight and continue until dawn. I definitely felt my age as I only lasted a short time until I found the heat unbearable as the later it gets and busier it gets, it also gets much hotter. I couldn't see any air conditioning either so you can imagine the heat. I can't remember it being as bad last time I was there, but I was 21 after all and 30 is much different. I get tired much faster and trying to fit in as much as we did in the short time we were there was tiring when you're not used to going out or staying up late much anymore. Taxi to Amnesia was 20 euro for both of us one way and the party bus was 4euro each.

Next time I'd be enclined to check out some pool parties and day time parties as you would be able to cool down in the water and at least you are outside. In San antonio the clubs that are there are Eden, Es Paradis and Ibiza Rocks Hotel which hosts pool parties. In Playa d'en Bossa, there is Bora Bora, Ushuaia and then Hi Ibiza which is in the same venue Space used to be. Privilege which is the biggest club in the world is in San Rafael and also Amnesia. DC-10 and Sankeys are in Sant Jordi de ses Salines.



  • Shopping

The best shops that I came across were in Ibiza Town. They have KIKO, Zara, Bershka, Pimkie, Springfield, Religion and beautiful boutiques. If you wander up to Dalt Villa there are more boutiques full of stunning jewellary and also clothing.

Other Things to do

  • We took a day trip to a nearby island Formentera which to be honest I found a bit of a waste of our day. If you plan on renting a car or mopehead around the Island then go for it but the fact that we were on foot completely limited what we could do. I definately didn't do my research properly on that one as the beach that we wanted to go was overpacked and to get to the beach, the bus cost us 16euro for both of us which was a rip off. It was no more longer than our 4euro bus to Ibiza town from San Antonio to get to the Ferry. The Fast ferry which ran more frequent was 25euro each return and went from Ibiza Town.
  • Ibiza Town is stunning to wander around and the food is much better there. 
  • Dalt Villa which is located there is a must as you can see incredible views of the island when you get o the top.
  • You can take a bus to one of the hippy markets as there are numerous ones around the Island. I previously went to the market in Es Cana which I loved. Check more here.
  • If you like Outdoor Sports you can take a Kayak with a group around specific areas of the Island for 50euro for a few hours. You can also take out Jet Skis, go diving and more. Check out here.
  • Check out some of the beaches like Las Salinas Beach.

There is so much more to offer on the Island than just partying so I definitely recommend checking it out. Hope you found this guide somewhat helpful if you plan on taking a trip to the white island.



Thanks for reading,

Aifric x



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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Holiday Prep. Tips

Hello all,

I was lucky enough to recently head away to Ibiza, Spain for my 30th Birthday. It was our first holiday away on our own, toddler free and the longest I've ever been away from River. I will be doing a separate blogpost all about it. We headed away on the Friday but beforehand I had been preparing myself to get Holiday Ready. Below is a guide that helped me feel comfortable and ready for our vacation.



I was kindly invited in to try an inch loss body wrap in Beauty Secrets Salon in Park Road, Killarney. I know I'm slim but I think everyone can be somewhat conscious of getting into a bikini or a swimsuit when it's not your usual attire so I was delighted to be asked to try it out. My lower half of my body is where I wanted to see the results, particularly my thighs and the results were impressive.




About the Treatment
First off you must strip to your underwear minus your bra. Sarah who is the proprietor and the therapist will make you feel comfortable, shes seen it all before and has a down to earth personality you can relax with. After she measures your body, She dry body brushes your whole body from your ankles working her way up to the shoulders. She then massaged Minimi oil which smelt fab into my body and wrapped me in a clear MiniMi membrane which is basically like cling film. After this you lie down on the beauty bed where she wraps a heat retaining foil blanket around you to allow the process to begin. It's time to relax and stay still as you literally can't move so if you get any way claustrophobic this treatment wouldn't be for you. I dozed in and out of sleep until around an hour later it was time to take it all off. The entire treatment lasts roughly 90 mins.


Aftercare
You will be bursting for the loo over the next few days which eliminates any toxins in the body and you will also be really thirsty. You are required to increase your water intake. You're advised to avoid tea, coffee, fizzy drinks, alcohol and any processed foods over the next few days and also look after your diet. Basically don't eat a load of rubbish as you will be undoing the inches you lose.

Results
My measurements were taken beforehand and compared afterwards. I lost a whole 8 inches off my body and 1 whole inch off my thighs. Wahoo! The cost of the treatment is 65euro which was well worth it in the words of my partner, Gary. He couldn't get over the difference of my thighs and told me I should get it done on a regular basis. Men are such smooth talkers eh! Cheeky pup haha. Either way it got a thumbs up from us both and I definitely felt more confident in my denim shorts and bikini. I even could feel the difference in my skinny jeans so if you even had an occasion coming up that you found a dress a bit tight, this would help it feel more comfortable. Of course it all comes down to maintaining it, diet and exercise but this was a bit of a cheat to get things started.

Results

  • Waxing

I've been going to Sarah of Beauty Secrets for the past couple of years and I'm always happy with the results. Bikini wax is a must for me before holidays, I can't shave that area as it irritates my skin and in a bikini I wanted no hair. She uses Lycon wax which is meant to be one of the best. I get the Hollywood and it's 35euro.

  • Spray Tan

I've never gotten a spray tan before holidays in the past, however, we were only going for a few days and I didn't have much of a base tan going. Irish Summer & all that. I also didn't want to be like Casper arriving over there and who doesn't feel more confident in bare skin with a tan? So, I decided to be faux tanned before leaving and I'd definitely recommend it. I go to Ann Elizabeth Beauty and she has a special on Thursdays for Tanning Thursday for 20euro for full body. She uses Cocoa Brown and I loved the result. You can have the normal or there's a darker version. I went for the normal as I knew I'd tan easily so I didn't want to be too dark to begin with. It develops in an hour and the longer you leave it on, the darker it gets. I was quite busy that evening as it was the day before we left so I showered it off roughly 4 hours later. You can leave it overnight if you prefer too, again, it depends how dark you like to be.

How did it wear?
I found the tan wore perfectly over the few days that we were there. The only areas I noticed the tan had to be exfoliated a bit if it was wearing was on my chest and my ankles. I used the swimming pool daily and also swam in the sea, showered etc and it was still perfect. It wore off completely after around 5 and by then my skin was already sunkissed so I had forgotten I even had a spray tan to begin with.

This was the result, the day after and the day we were flying.

This was on the Saturday, the shade was perfect for me. I felt if I was darker it would of looked obviously fake which I didn't want. This was subtle and perfect for me.
Thanks for reading, hope my tips were helpful if you are heading off or even have a Special Occasion coming up that you need to prep for.

Aifric xx


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