I recently went on my first ever mother-daughter trip and according to science, it was good for my health.
It was nothing glamorous or expensive, but it was really eye-opening. We didn’t fly off to New York or explore a sunny Greek island, we got the 9am train down to Mallow for one night but it has made me appreciate my Mam so much more than before.
We wandered around the town, popping into dinky shops and bookstores, we ate hearty cheese toasties and drank gallons of tea. We acted like giddy schoolkids when we saw the size of our beautiful room at The Hibernian Hotel, we listened to Sunshine 106.8 and argued about what time we should have dinner.
We ate like kings, drank pints and nattered about things we rarely got the chance to talk about.
We went for a walk around Mallow Castle grounds, met up with some of our Cork family for a well overdue catch up and read our books in a peaceful silence as the train rolled out of the station.
It was a short break, nothing crazy, pricey or lavish, but it has strengthened our relationship. It helped me see my Mam in a completely different light, we laughed so much and spent quality time together that is far too rare these days.
Harvard Medical School recently found that going on a trip with your mum has a positive impact on both your mental and general health.
A mother-daughter trip has the power to lower your stress levels, boost your immune responses and lowers your risk of heart disease, according to the study.
If anyone needs us we’ll be planning our next getaway with mother dearest.
There are so many places in the world that I’d love to visit. Canada, New York, Denmark, South Africa… the list is never-ending.
However, at the end of the day, there really is no place like home. No matter where I go I always look forward to coming home to the Emerald Isle. Ireland has a certain charm that, in my eyes, is simply unbeatable.
We may be a tiny island but there are just so many incredibly beautiful places to visit across the country, including Kerry.
I was lucky enough to visit Tralee to stay at the Ballygarry House Hotel recently and have fallen head over heels in love with the charming country house hotel.
The staff welcome you with the warmth that you feel when reuniting with a childhood friend. They were so kind and accommodating and couldn’t have made me feel more welcome.
From the moment we stepped inside the hotel felt like a home away from home.
The Ballygarry House Hotel caters for everyone. If you’re a bookworm you can cosy up by the fire and get lost in a story.
For those adventurers out there, you can take one of the bikes available at the hotel down to the Ballyseedy Woods.
If you’re in need of a little bit of chill time then look no further than the tranquil Nádúr Spa where you will be treated like royalty by the lovely Gina and her team.
Enjoy a soothing stroll through the hotel’s gardens and take in the stunning view of the Sliabh Mish Mountains on a crisp winter morning.
You certainly won’t be short of things to do during your time at the Ballygarry House Hotel. And you certainly won’t go hungry either.
I was lucky enough to dine at both The Brasserie and the lavish Restaurant 58. Trust me, the food is simply divine. Restaurant 58 is a soothing spot that has a menu to die for and the sweetest staff who will ensure you have everything you need.
If you’re in the mood to splash out then try the Char Grilled Prime Irish Steak and thank me later. My stomach has never been as happy or full as it was after our visit.
Be sure to roll into Owen Mac's bar after your dinner to wash it all down with a beverage of choice. The recently renovated and revamped bar has everything from wine to whiskey and pink gin to craft beers.
You’ll be wowed by the talents of a live pianist at the weekends which adds even more charm to the hotel.
After a night of sheer luxury, you can doze off in the comfiest bed ever or tune into one of your favourite movies on Netflix on the hotel TV.
I truly didn’t want to leave the Ballygarry House Hotel. I was so close to asking if I could move into The Lodge, which is a little nugget of history right on the hotel’s doorstep.
The mid – 18th Century Lodge was formerly the gate lodge of the O'Connor farmhouse and is now being used as a private event room for celebrations with a personalised Butler Service for Afternoon Tea.
A visit at The Ballygarry House Hotel is an essential trip for all you travel bugs out there. You just need to add to your bucket list. The charm, warmth and kindness of the staff alone will make your visit one you’ll never forget. There’s no doubt it’ll become a home away from home for you, right in the heart of Kerry.
Do yourself a favour and book a stay at The Ballygarry House Hotel. Check out their website for more information.
The sunny weather has finally made an appearance and we can’t help but daydream about summer adventures. Spending the summer in New York sounds perfect, but unfortunately, our bank accounts are stopping that dream from coming true.
Luckily, there are plenty of places to visit around the Emerald Isle that are perfect if you’re in need of some time away from reality.
There's one place you must visit this summer and it’s the charming town of Clonakilty, Co.Cork. The West Cork town is one of the nicest parts of the county with the stunning Inchydoney Beach, snug pubs, plenty of dinky cafes and dozens of historical sites including Michael Collins House.
Once you arrive in the colourful and vibrant town you’ll never want to leave. The locals and their cheery disposition will make you feel like you’ve lived there your entire life.
There are plenty of hidden gems in Clonakilty that will make your trip all the more memorable.
1: Cafe On The Lane
This quirky spot is hidden down Spillers Lane, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the main streets. The cafe is covered in bunting and fairy lights, with fresh flowers donning every table. The main seating area is full of mismatched, vintage furniture that adds to the character of the place. Treat yourself to a croissant or a brownie and a cup of coffee and listen to Elvis play on the cafe's record player.
2: Cycle around Clon
Clonakilty is the first rural community to offer a bike rental scheme. There’s no better way to see the glorious town than cycling around Clonakilty, especially when the sun is shining. The Clonakilty Bike Scheme even shares advice on how to cycle safely on West Cork roads. Cycle out to Long Strand, which is only 20 minutes away from the town. Take in the breathtaking scenes and breathe in that fresh sea air.
3: Pints in Scannells
This gastropub is the heart of the town, known as the small pub with the big garden, you just have to visit Scannells for a quick pint and a bite to eat. You’ll struggle to leave the pub with the infectious atmosphere and assortment of live music, from jazz to trad, Scannells has something for everyone.
4: A bookworm’s paradise
The Children’s Project charity shop may just look like every other charity shop, but once you go upstairs you’ll be greeted by mountains and mountains of books. The second floor of the shop is a bookworm's idea of heaven. They have shelves full of best-sellers, horror tales, young adult novels, well-loved classics, popular chick-lit books more. You’ll go in for a quick browse and end up leaving the shop hours later with bags full of books.
Clonakilty is the perfect place to visit if you need to escape to the country, especially when the sun is shining!
“We flew into Reykjavik on Thursday afternoon with Icelandair, who are so lovely to fly with. The two-hour flight was a breeze, especially because of the TVs.”
The flight cost €120. Niamh recommends booking your flights at least three months in advance to get the best deal.
Airbnb is extremely popular over in Iceland so you’ll have a much easier time finding somewhere to stay if you rent an apartment as opposed to staying in a hotel. Niamh and her pals found an apartment that slept up to six people.
The apartment cost €625 between their gang, which works out just at a little over €100 each.
“Staying near the main strip will make your trip a lot easier, as that’s where all the bars, pubs, restaurants and shops are. Staying close by will save you a lot of hassle, especially on nights out.”
The other great thing about renting an apartment is having a kitchen to rustle up meals throughout the day. “The food in Iceland isn’t the best and is extremely overpriced, so making breakfast and sandwiches to snack on during tours was a huge help financially,” Niamh shared.
Speaking of nights out, like every Irish person on holidays, Niamh ended up going to an Irish pub during her trip to Iceland. She said the best thing about the Irish bars is the mix of people you unexpectedly meet there.
“There were international students and Norwegian sailors drinking in one Irish bar, and the atmosphere was so different.”
“Dubliners is a great spot, as is the Drunken Rabbit, where you can order food from the fish and chips next door whilst you’re enjoying a pint.”
"Appy Hour is a life-saving app that will show you all the local drink offers, which will be a huge help to you as Iceland can be super pricey,” Niamh shared.
“We booked our tours with Reykjavik Excursions for €330. This price included the Northern Lights tour, pick up at the airport, Blue Lagoon entrance and drinks, Golden Circle tour, a glacier tour and even pick up on our last day.”
“Head to the Blue Lagoon in the early evening because you will experience it during daylight and as the sun sets.”
Now, we've all packed a laughable amount of things for a holiday and been mocked by our travel buddies when we show up at the airport.
Many of us have brought a suitcase for an overnight stay, or added extra baggage onto our flights for no reason. Especially in Ireland, when we can never predict what weather we're going to have.
Forgetting a key item while packing is a deep psychological fear. What if we forget our core makeup items? Our medical bag? Our passport? OURSELVES? It's a worrying time.
The latest statistics from QS Supplies have shown that 10 percent of people take BED SHEETS to hotel rooms with them, because they won't want to use the provided sheets. Um, okay?
The survey of 1008 people revealed that many of the population (we won't name names) have taken their own bedding on holiday with them to avoid catching germs or contracting bacterial infections.
5.9 percent of survey respondents also admitted to taking personal cutlery to a restaurant, meaning one in every 16 eaters in any restaurant you go to have possibly snuck in their own knife and fork.
We can't imagine using up vital bag space to stuff in our own sheets and bedding. Those people clearly have some strange priorities that don't involve bringing five pairs of shoes and a shop's worth of cosmetics.
12 percent of people apparently don't think hotel sheets are washed enough to warrant sleeping in them, but we wonder why?
Unless they're stained or have a weird odour or appearance, we're more than happy to sleep in a big, fluffy hotel bed with extravagant pillows and throws.
Now,if someone could just pay for us to head on a weekend away, preferably to a spa, that would be lovely. Thanks in advance xoxo
Many of us began the year on a health and fitness kick. I say 'us', I don't actually mean ourselves included. Most people are still couch potatoes and the passing of time won't do much to change that.
80 percent of people will have abandoned their New Year's resolutions by February, which is a pretty high statistic.
The only thing that could tempt us to change our deviant ways and embrace the health kick is…luxurious travel destinations. Luckily for you gals, we've discovered the best value deals for your health-focused trips.
Travel Republic have helped us to bring wellness to the forefront of our priorities…by having a selection of INSANELY stunning destinations to lure us towards.
Health and rejuvenation are the goal, and now it's never been easier to take a relaxing post-January break which doesn't negatively impact your lifestyle choices.
This is next-level privacy chic, and it's adults ONLY. The RedLevel at Melia Palacio de Isadora is located beside the Tenerife sea, where the excellent service and facilities will give you a classy, unique stay.
The destination has the elite SPA by Clarins on offer, as well as a private pool surrounded by Bali beds and a Pool Concierge service for the infinity pool. They also boast the LARGEST saltwater hotel pool in Europe, at a 5,000m2.
If you need the perfect place for relaxed rejuvenation with the best food you can buy, total seclusion and dazzling sunshine, this one's a winner. Escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and embrace the wellness, if you've got the cash, that is.
Ah, our personal favourite. This destination is NEXT. LEVEL. GORGEOUSNESS.
If a far-flung and exotic setting is your biggest wish for the great escape, look no further than the beauty of Chiang Mai. The tropical Thai paradise is famed worldwide for it's calm and serene vibe, and private space.
Nestled in lush scenery, the hotel boasts a luxurious spa, yoga classes, tropical gardens, a drool-worthy pool, a gym….and Tai Chi. Wowza.
The hotel has a variety of wellness packages on offer to suit the needs of every traveller; it's the ideal health-driven retreat. There are also millions of elephant sanctuaries nestled in Chiang Mai which make the perfect tourist treat.
The Golden Mile of Bentota beach is something of a gem, nestled along the southwest coast of Sri Lanka.
The setting is totally unique, with the hotel overlooking the idyllic Indian Ocean and only 40 miles south of Colombo; Sri Lanka's capital.
The relaxing resort comprises 162 rooms with sea or garden views, vistas of the Indian Ocean of the lush vegetation of the tropical shrubbery around the building. They've got two tennis courts, a health club with a steam bath and sauna and a fully-equipped gym. Oh, and don't forget about the outdoor swimming pool, a poolside snack bar and games.
Asia's most exotic sanctuary is without a doubt a great decision for those wellness and health fanatics out there to enjoy:
The prestigious Palazzo Montemartini is a boujée five-star hotel in central Rome, within walking distance from Termini Station, Baths of Diocletian and Michaelangelo's church of Santa Maria degli Angeli. Need we say more?
It's the ONLY hotel in Rome crossed by the Servian Walls, built way back in the sixth century BC. Wellness and holiday fans can find unique high-tech elegance in the location, with 82 rooms and suites and the ultra-exclusive Senses Restaurant & Lounge Bar
The exclusive SPA ExPure has pure unforgettable moments of relaxation. They've got massage and treatment rooms, colour therapy showers, heated swimming pools, saunas and Turkish baths. The dream.
We. Are. Drooling. It's the destination we want, but also the destination we NEED.
There you have it, ladies and gents. The top five wellness and health destinations the world can offer, with opulent, lavish and sumptuous locations for y'all to visit.
You deserve this level of decadence, plus you'd achieve the most EXTRA of Instagram snaps.
Retreat to these magical destinations and never look back. Actually, screw that. Just don't ever leave?
The Wild Atlantic Way is one of Ireland's greatest treasures, and the latest Tourism Ireland video shows even more stunning views of the landscape.
The area has brought the world closer together, connecting the coastline of Ireland and bringing tourist visitors from all over the world. It also provides the perfect area for a holiday in our own green backyard.
Tourism Ireland's vide, 'Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way – Connecting the world for over 100 years', emphasises the history of the scenery, and how important it is for our connections further west.
Sir John Alcock and Sir Arthur Whitten-Brown flew from Newfoundland in Canada in 1919 in a two-man biplane and crash landed at Derrigimlagh Bog in Connemara.
That same year, Guglielmo Marconi sent the first transatlantic radio-telegraph from Ballybunion to Nova Scotia, cementing our ties with Canada forever.
In 1866, Lord Kelvin Thomson changed communication forever by sending the first transatlantic cable message from Valentia Island to Newfoundland. This reducing the time it took to send a message across the ocean from weeks to minutes.
Planning your summer holiday can be either exciting or stressful, and most of the time you can't help but forget something important.
We all make the mad dash over to Penneys and Boots mere hours before the flight to try and grab everything for the suitcase, but it's a futile effort. We wanted to treat ourselves on this holiday, but we need a list of recommended beauty items.
This year is different, because we've got the ultimate make-up and skincare list for your trip abroad this year, and you absolutely need to experience them all. They're flawless.
1. KISS imPRESS
We all want to have the most gorgeous nails for our holiday, but how can we make sure they last for the entire trip?
KISS have released a special line of imPRESS nails, for superior, lasting shine with an indestructible top coat rivalling even the best salon gel polish.
imPRESS nails protect the nail and last up to a week, making them perfect for the coming summer months and festival season. Two new designs have been added to the range, and we've never felt more glamorous.
2. iWhite Instant and iWhite Teeth Whitening Toothpaste
Get whiter teeth on the go, wherever you go with these travel essentials; iWhite teeth whitening toothpaste and iWhite Instant. Your daily beauty maintenance has never been so easy.
Everyday food and drink can stain your teeth; from coffee, fruit juices and red wine to curry sauces, and indulging on holidays can lead to even more staining on those pearly whites of yours.
These nifty products are small enough to pack, so why not keep your teeth sparkling throughout your time away? Clinically proven to be safe and effective without the use of peroxide, iWhite gives you plenty to smile about.
3. Misslyn 'Beach Please!' Bronzing and Contouring Powder
The heatwave beauty look is oh so easy to achieve with this treat in your suitcase. Misslyn's 'Beach Please!' bronzing and contouring powder will give your skin that glow it's always wanted.
Healthy, sun-kissed skin can be achieved easily with this beautiful, soft-matte texture. We especially love the compact mirror, which makes this the perfect on-the-go top up for your holiday.
4.Payot Peeling Oxygénant Dépolluant
Exfoliating your face is so important for getting rid of all those pesky dead skin cells which haven't naturally shed themselves. When this happens, the leftover dead skin cells can cause dry, flaky patches and clogged pores, which is why exfoliating this summer is imperative for healthy skin.
Payot's crackling foam new skin effect suits every skin type, especially those leaning towards coarseness, and leaves your skin feeling totally brand new. The mask uses triple action- oxygenating, detoxifying, and neutralising pollution- in order to inject new vitality into your skin.
The pink gel will transform into foam which evaporates on the skin, removing impurities and pollution so your natural radiance emerges.
5. Delarom Orange Sugar Body Scrub
What is the perfect product that can help us to keep our glowing summer tans fresh this season? Delarom has the answer.
Their Orange Sugar body scrub contains sweet orange essential oil to gently eliminate dead cells from your body, so you get the most evenly spread tan as possible.
The sugar melts when massaged into the skin, leaving it soft, supple and deliciously scented.
6. Clinique Sun and Body Care Cream SPF 40
Clinique uses 'SolarSmart' technology to stabilise high-level protection against the ageing and burning effects of UVB and UVA rays, but remains suitable for sensitive skin (anyone from Ireland).
We adore their Sun and Body Care Cream, which is oil-free and dermatologist tested as well as water AND sweat-resistant.
Slay queens, without sunburn…
7. Misslyn's Colour Crush lipstick
Statement lips are all the rage for the summer, and red is the perfect colour to make your lips look irresistible.
Misslyn have a new collection of 22 shades, with beautiful creamy texture and rich tones for your make-up bag.
We're loving the unique colours chosen by Misslyn for your summer holidays, you won't be able to pick just one lipstick. They're all too beautiful for your make-up bag to miss this summer.
8. Inglot AMC Pure Pigment Eye Shadow
We can't get enough of Inglot's latest pure pigment eyeshadow collection. With over 30 shades to choose from, the make-up company are allowing you to have the most sparkly eyes in town this summer for a great price.
The pigment is so easy to spread over your eyelids, and can be used as a highlighting powder for your cheekbones, Cupid's bow and as glitter for your lips as well.
With a product this affordable and this versatile, with that many colour options, you've got to make sure it's packed in that case of yours this year. Your holiday won't be the same without it.
9. L'Occitane Delicious Lip Scrub
L’Occitane's new lip collection is infused with fruits, vegetables and herbs from Provence and the Mediterranean Basin, and the scent of these three lip scrubs alone will have you holiday-ready.
Raspberry Crush, Fabulous Fig and Marmalade Kiss; three flavourful scrubs bursting with goodies for your lips this summer. Enriched with Vitamin E, mandarin extract and carrot, pomelo and pomegranate oils, this gentle exfoliator leaves a sweet and delicious taste you won't want to forget.
10. DAFNI Allure hair tool
When you're on your holidays, it can be tricky to keep your hair as styled as you like it. With sun and sea comes frizz and knotting, but the DAFNI Allure straightening brush is one of the best products around for treating your hair kindly on-the-go.
Pop it in your suitcase or handbag for your travels, and you can make sure you won't be spending all of your trip trying to blow try and then straighten your hair, wasting valuable moments.
Instead, take a few minutes with the styling tool to brush your locks and they'll be straightened and looking glossy in no time, no matter the weather.
Enjoy your holibops, gals, and don't forget to treat yourselves. It's self-care, not vanity. (The Fab Five from Queer Eye came up with that line, we can't take credit…)
Remember: Packing doesn't have to be a tense experience, filled with expletives and forgotten essentials.
Most researchers seem to be pretty busy with conducting medical studies and making valuable scientific discoveries for society's gain, but this latest survey really takes it to the next level.
Bloom & Wildhave worked with London Metropolitan University to undergo an experiment to figure out when the 'love hormone', AKA oxytocin, is released.
The anti-anxiety and stress reducing hormone is pretty special, the chemicals are made when you're in love, and having some KICK-ASS sex. We heart it.
The study measured how the brain reacts to receiving certain gifts, and it's led to some pretty interesting, and useful, results. We're not hugely surprised at what topped the list, they're all unreal.
Research also suggests that people in the first three stages of love reported higher oxytocin levels that last for roughly six months to a year. At a chemical level, can presents recreate this high of lovestruck heartbeats?
Scientists reported that the subjects of the study showed an average increase of 73pg/ml in the hormone oxytocin after getting chocolates, and 62pg/ml after receiving flowers. Feeling loved comes in all shapes and sizes, it would seem.
The official top five items or experiences included on the list which trumped having sex were; chocolate winning the number one spot, then flowers, food, shopping and booking a holiday.
Receiving chocolate apparently creates a high increase in oxytocin the same rise in oxytocin comes from sex, so a quick nip down to Butlers could solve your stress issues.
Flowers can spark the same feeling as love, relationships and sexy times, and a study by Havas Worldwiderevealed that 57 percent of millennials think that food is better than sex. Damn.
Retail therapy also made the list, according to the experiment. The neurologist David Linden, in his book The Compass Of Pleasure, explains that the experience of shopping triggers dopamine circuitry in the brain's mesolimbic pathway.
In plain-old-English, the mesolimbic pathway is a key part of how we experience entertainment and happiness, so having a sneaky online shop at ASOS is good for you. Thank God we have a valid excuse to do this now…
Booking a holiday is better than having some intimate. alone time with a partner, according to research. 16% of Brits claim to support this, so those Aer Lingus January sales must have had people feelin' pretty damn euphoric.