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life hacks

I was known as the cold sore kid in school for a reason. Every few months, I would have an enormous breakout that would last a week or so, that would always leave me feeling insecure and uncomfortable. As time went on, I developed some techniques to keep these at bay as much as I could.

Antivirals are great when necessary, but my GP informed me that overuse of these can cause us to become immune to medication such as Zovirax, so isn’t an ideal solution.

Therefore, natural routines and remedies can be carried out to stop the spread of this pesky virus. As this time of year is always particularly bad for those who carry the virus, I thought I’d share my tips on how to keep cold sores at bay:

Bin ALL your lip balms

I know it seems like a waste, but cross-contamination is a real problem when it comes to cold sores. Wash out your lip balm containers and recycle them. Then, invest in ONE very good SPF lip balm.

Never ever share this lip balm and never ever apply it directly to your lips. Use hand sanitiser or alcohol wipes to clean your fingertip before you apply. You can also give the applicator a wipe down with alcohol when you use it to further prevent cross-contamination. Make sure that you use this lip balm as much as possible, and never let your lips get dry.

Take a high dose of Lysine Supplements

Lysine is a natural amino acid that targets the herpes simplex virus which causes cold sores. Get down to your chemist and purchase a large jar of 500mg tablets. Take two of these each day with food and eventually, you should see results. Routine is key here so you must make sure you take them every day in order for them to work. I even named my morning alarm Lysine to remind myself to take them with my breakfast!

Carry alcohol in your bag

I mean sterilising alcohol, of course. Alcohol wipes or a little bottle of sterilising fluid will also do the trick. When you eat out or drink in bars and pubs, make sure to rub the rim of your glass, mug or bottle you are drinking from. This will cover all bases because the alcohol will kill any bacteria or virus that is present and lower the risk of you picking up something.

Carry Zovirax in your bag

Purchase Zovirax anti-cold sore cream or another brand of cream that contains aciclovir or penciclovir. Buy the tube and not the pump as you can get more out of it. ALWAYS have the tiny tube on your person. Whenever you feel the teeny tiniest tingle on your lips, apply- again with a sterilised fingertip. You can also use an alcohol wipe to clean the tip of the tube after each use.

Keep your hands clean

If you really want to be rid of cold sores for the festive season, you need to be on the ball when it comes to hand washing. We touch our faces and mouths CONSTANTLY during the day. This causes a virus like herpes simplex to spread like wildfire. Washing your hands or using hand sanitiser will break the viral cycle and reduce your chances of getting cold sores.

I know this seems like a lot to think about. However, you will soon be able to enjoy the silly season without having that constant cold sore worry!

Source: hse.ie, sona.ie


Christmas is the time for plenty of good grub, spending WAY too much time with the family and just taking it easy.

If fitness is a big part of your life or you're looking to keep off the pounds over the festive period, we've got some tips and tricks for staying in shape.

However, we have to say that you SHOULD indulge over the Crimbo and don't even think about the calories you're consuming.

Walks with the gal

It's a rare occasion that all the gals are off work and are free to meet up.

A walk in the park with your closest friends is a great way to move over Christmas and it's a great excuse to get away from the family for an hour or two.

It is also an activity that you can tailor into your festive schedule, so it could be a quick 20 min chat-up or a two-hour stroll.

Ice Skating

It's the best winter fun around and ice skating can help to digest all the mince pies you've inhaled.

In general, a 45-minute muck-about on the ice will melt away 451 calories.

So get the fluffy socks out and lace up to enjoy some winter fitness.



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Wrap up warm and get the hiking boots on.

There are plenty of trails and hikes to discover over the festive period.

It will give you an opportunity to reconnect with nature and to slow down after a year of working.


Central heating, consuming large amounts of salt and being inactive can lead to one thing – dehydration.

So make sure that you keep one healthy habit this Crimbo and keep the water on hand.

Your body will thank you for it as it attempts to digest an uncountable number of roses sweets. 

Christmas Day swim 


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Change up the way you start your Christmas day with a dip in the sea.

Make sure you find a safe swimming spot and enjoy the freezing cold, crisp open water.

Cold water boasts many healing properties such as easing depression.

It's a great way to end the year. 

5km Festive run

It's a tradition for a lot of households to do a 5 km run to kick off the festive season.

If you can drag any family member out on Christmas morning, it's a perfect way to start the day.

If your boyfriend's relatives do a 5km run for fun – we are sending you sympathy hugs (and there's still time to break-up with him before Christmas).

But they might be onto something as the run will ignite those endorphins (aka happy hormones) – and it doesn't matter if you run, walk or crawl the 5 km.

Stepping your way into the sales

Get in those steps as you hit the sales this year.

Elbows out as you wade your way through the crowds and snap up some bargains.

All your muscle power will come in handy as you wrestle the last pair of Gucci gloves out of an old lady's hands – they're stronger than they look.


There’s no place like home. Why not make yours into the happiest it can be?

Have you ever walked into a space that just feels inviting, with high energy and makes you want to stay? That space is calling to you because it has wonderful Feng Shui which equals balance.

Yes, Feng Shui is a real thing. In fact, many Fortune 500 companies and celebrities use it to create balanced and harmonious spaces.

In her eye-opening book, The Happy Home: Your Guide to Creating a Happy, Healthy, Wealthy Life, Feng Shui expert Patricia Lohan not only explains the ancient Chinese art form, but reveals how she uses the 4,000-year-old practice to change peoples lives in ways they never thought possible.


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The Happy Home is an invitation to look at your home with new eyes — not just as the place you live, but as the gateway to your happiness, health and wealth.

You will learn how your home possesses its own unique energy. When everything is as it should be, this energy works like a magnet, attracting in the right things at the right time. This could mean more money, better clients, happier relationships, improved health — there’s no area of your life that your home’s energy won't touch.

From The Happy Home, you’ll also come away knowing:

  • A deep understanding of what Feng Shui is and how you can use it to turn any living space into a happy one
  • How to clear the blocks in your home that are getting in the way of success, happiness, abundance and love
  • What to keep and what to throw out in order to open up your space and invite in more of what you want and less of what you don’t
  • How you can identify your unique house type so you can set up your home environment to attract more abundance and better relationships
  • Easy switches you can make to any room to balance its energy and allow for more flow
  • How to find your home’s “prosperity corner” and pump up what you are receiving
  • Remedies that will supercharge all nine areas of your house and your life to match

Lohan speaks what she knows. She has countless happy Feng Shui stories of her own. She used the power of this ancient modality to manifest her amazing husband, Ken, to grow and expand her business and move across the globe from Ireland to the tropical island paradise of Bali.

Lohan originally from Galway, says, “what really lights me up is seeing people transform their entire lives when they start using the principles of Feng Shui in their everyday environments. From unexpected cheques arriving in the mail to TV appearances across the US, business doubling in revenues from careers taking off to vision boards coming true, from marriages getting closer to hearts healing, I’ve seen it all!”


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Lohan points out how it all begins with your home. It’s where you kick off your shoes and settle in after a long day.

It’s where you give and receive goodnight kisses from the most important people in your life.

It’s the foundation for literally everything, which is why when your home’s energy is out of whack, the rest of your life is too.

The Happy Home: Your Guide to Creating a Happy, Healthy, Wealthy Life, by Patricia Lohan is available in all good bookshops and can also be purchased by going to https://patricialohan.com/happyhomebook/



With the nation gone crazy with Hinch Hauls and Hinching your homes, Charlene Flanagan otherwise known as Mrs.Jones has some top tips to declutter your makeup stash.

Charlene recommends doing this every six to 12 months, it not only will help keep your routine organised, your skin and brushes healthier, but you will more than likely start to use different products you completely forgot about you had which feels like you have a new makeup bag.

1. Beauty Bootcamp

Start by sorting your makeup into piles. Eg. lipsticks, palettes, pencils, samples etc. Once you see where everything is it’s easier to get rid of unwanted items and you are one step closer to decluttering your makeup stash.

2. Keep, Throw, Maybe

Now that you have organised the piles arrange them into Keep, Throw & Maybe piles.

Take into consideration that every product has an after open shelf life. Can you remember when you bought each product?

Did you know you should replace your mascara every three months!? Taking note of expiry dates will avoid nasty infections, breakouts, cracked lips etc. Be strong, be brutal!

Mrs. Jones’ Top Tip:  If you're really struggling with this task, book in a private one to one with a makeup artist who will guide you on what does and doesn’t suit you.

3. Separate your makeup bags

Separating your makeup bags into your everyday essential products and your going out/occasion wear products will not only simplify your routine but it will make getting out the door in the morning so much quicker.

Mrs. Jones’ Top Tip: Buy yourself clear makeup bags so you can easily see where everything is and also they can be easily wiped clean.

4. Keep your brushes squeaky clean

Your makeup brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria. It could be the cause of bumpy skin, blemish/acne prone skin, infections, etc.

Not only will you find your skin improved but your makeup will apply so much better and your brushes will last so much longer – if you don't want to get messy with your shampoo bottle, Ella & Jo have an UNREAL Squeaky Clean Brush Cleanser to keep your brush bristles pristine. 

5. Reward yourself for spring cleaning

Your reward of course is a little well deserved treat. Repurchase any products that have passed the expiry date/shelf life and treat yourself to some organising accessories e.g Clutterboxes, Drawer Separators, Lipstick Holders, Makeup Brush Holders. Do this after you have organised your stash so you know exactly what you need when it's all organised.



There is nothing worse than getting prepared to tackle a workout with enthusiasm and then opening the door to find that a blizzard has arrived. 

Staying fit during the winter months can be a challenge. Waking up at the crack of dawn for a jog and coming home with icicles clinging to your face is less than pleasant. So, we found some genius life hacks that will help you stay motivated and fit despite the temperatures dropping.

1. Do a quick warm-up indoors before you leave the house. 

2.  Buy a great pair of cold-weather running tights. 

3. Run with mini heat patches in your gloves if you need the extra heat. 

4. Get out of your sweaty clothes as soon as you’re finished exercising and avoid any nasty coldsorflus

5. Accept that you’re not going to be running your best times or distances. 

Don't be discouraged, but do be realistic.

6. On windy days, avoid large open areas on your running route. 

7. Cover your ears and fingers as they will get colder faster than the rest of your body. 

Just go ahead and accept that you're not going to be running your best times.

8. Stay hydrated! 

When the weather is freezing it may not be obvious that you're sweating as much as usual, but you still need to stay just as hydrated after your workout.




Winter wardrobes are pretty amazing.

Who doesn’t love giant scarfs and coats that make you feel powerful? Sometimes it can almost be easier to deal with winter fashion than summer, because we know that we will need that jumper at some point today. 

The only thing that really bothers us about winter dressing is the tights issue.

Tights can be exceptionally easy to ruin with a single snag. However, now there is a genius way to avoid this for the entire winter season.

If you dampen them with water, then freeze before wearing them for the first time, they'll last longer, according to Refinery29

“When you buy a new pair of tights, run them under water for a few seconds, squeeze out the excess, and then freeze them overnight in a plastic bag.”

Can you imagine reaching into the freezer to pull out something for dinner and realising you’ve been defrosting tights? Not exactly a gourmet meal, but who knows these days. 

“When you take them out of the freezer, let them come to room temp gradually before wearing. You only have to do this prior to the first wear, and it's said to extend the life of your tights.”

Tights can be a wardrobe staple in any season, and with our chilly winter weather sometimes tights are the way to go. 

So, making them last longer will save you both money and frustration. There is nothing worse than realising you have a massive ladder in your tights just before you walk out the door.

We might be giving this a go.


The idea of waking up early having a chance to sit down to a proper breakfast, maybe read the paper or possibly even go for a job sounds fantastic.

The snooze button is so very tempting on chilly winter mornings, and then before you know it breakfast is just a thing of the imagination. 

In theory the dream of the seamless morning routine is great, but unfortunately sometimes it can be difficult to master. If you struggle to get a morning routine that really works, this could be why.

Your eyebrows take forever: 

The brow has never been more important. However, if you’re rushing and stressed every morning facing into rush hour traffic, consider streamlining aspects of your morning routine.

Picking an outfit the night before is one way to speed things up. Then you have time for other things, such as breakfast, or maybe even reading that book you were supposed to finish last year.

You love the snooze button: 

Making the leap from an 8 o’clock wake up call to 6 o’clock might be a might courageous. You can however start to train yourself to wake up earlier.

Start by setting your alarm 20 minutes earlier for a week, and then try for 30 or 40 minutes the following week. Who knows, after a month you might actually be a morning person.

Your night time routine is less than practical: 

If you’re working or studying until three in the morning then of course waking up early is going to be a struggle. Try to find some less stressful activities to do to wind down.

Pinterest is full of simple yoga routines that are supposed to help you settle down. Also, avoid staring at your phone, computer or television.

The blue light they emit slows down your production of melatonin, a hormone we need to help regulate our sleep cycles. 


Often there is a constant struggle between wanting to have the most perfect cat-eye and contouring combination, but also wanting to stay in bed as long as possible. Often the snooze button can be the big winner there and we are left struggling with uneven eyebrows for the remainder of the day. 

Finding inspiration in our favourite stars on the red carpet it great, but then we are reminded of the fact that they have a professional team of people to help them get ready and hours to do so. 

However, there are some easy ways that you can manage perfect makeup in five minutes flat. 

Sculpted cheekbones:

Sweep a flat rounded blush brush  over your blush. Then, smile and starting at the apples of your cheeks, use light strokes toward the tops of your ears. This keeps the blush exactly where you want it (on the apples) and helps blend it out seamlessly. 

Quick Contouring:

You don't need an expensive palette or an overly complicated face map. All you need to do is make sure you have a decent bronzer. then, suck in you cheeks (a lá the duck face pose) and sweep the bronzer from the sides of your face towards the side of your mouth. 

The perfect cat-eye:

No messy liquid liner required. Hurrah! Take a brown shadow, not too dark, and sweep it over the entire eyelid. Then use a slightly pointed shadow brush to bring a darker brown or black shadow close to the lash line and flick it out to create the winged effect. You can build on the shadow to make it darker depending on how you feel.

Speedy lip lining:

Apply your lip colour. Then, only apply lip liner where needed, no need for hours spent getting the perfect outline. Just on the cupid's bow and towards the middle of your bottom lip. 


We are all for a healthy diet and ditching the sweets and treats for the lighter options. However, when we bring our healthy food haul home and find it rotten two days later, we get frustrated.

It can be hard to stick to a healthy eating regime when we find ourselves spending money on food that won’t last.

So, to try and avoid any unnecessary food frustrations, try these tricks for keeping your healthy food fresher for longer.

Don’t put tomatoes in fridge:

The flavour diminishes and their texture can go a bit off. It is recommended you keep them on the counter in order to allow them to fully ripen.

Lettuce and chill:

You work too hard to come home to limp lettuce with no flavour and zero charm. So, avoid shrinking leaves by separating them and putting them in a sink full of iced water for up to 30 mins. So fresh and so crisp.

Ripen avocados at room temperature:

One of the most temperamental of all the foods; avocados can seem to take forever to be ready to eat and then turn in split second. When you need them to ripen quickly one interesting trick is popping them in a brown paper bag with a banana. Just make sure you keep an eye on them!

Put your bananas together:

If you’re not a fan of peeling blackened bananas, although what lies beyond the skin is far more important, then don’t separate them before storing. Also, refrigerating your ripened bananas will stop them from turning before you eat them.

Line your salad drawers:

Putting a few sheets of kitchen roll in the drawer with your veggies will keep them crisp while they chill. The kitchen roll will keep them fresh also make your cleaning faster, hurrah!


Some of us are just not morning people. While many are happy to jump out of bed and attack the day as soon as the dawn breaks, more of us would rather just snooze until the last possible minute.

If you are someone who faces the daily struggle of being a functioning member of society before midday, then we found some interesting facts for you. If you thought that you were doomed to the constant rush of having slept through your alarm you were wrong.

It might have something to do with the items hanging around your home, not your lack of passion for early morning commutes after all.

Your snacks:

Foods loaded with simple carbs and sugar with cause blood sugar levels to spike and drop which will contribute to you feeling more tired over time.

Is your house chilly?

Some studies found that optimum temperatures for sleep are actually pretty cool. So if you keep your home colder than most, you could find yourself tempted to crawl back under the duvet for warmth and a nap.

To the windooooooow:

A study on office workers found that those who were exposed to more natural light during the day would sleep on average 46 minutes more per night. Those who were not slept less and felt less rested during the day.

Scented candles:

Yes these are very relaxing and lovely, but they can also make you feel sleepy during the day. A study found that people who sniffed lavender before going to bed slept more soundly then those who didn’t. So maybe ditch the candles during the day.

Your clutter:

A study found that people who spent time in a messy or disorganised environment would spend mental energy on stress, which made them feel more tired. So it might be time to clear off that chair we all have sitting somewhere in our room.


College is absolutely going to be one of the best few years of your life should you decide to head off into the wonderful world of academia. However, it can also be challenging.

Striking up the perfect life and study balance can be tricky. So we gathered up some of the best tricks to help you navigate the next few years. 

Need to learn material fast? Just Google the subject matter + “filetype:ppt” to find lecture slides online, because sometimes your lecturers won't give them away if you don't show up. 

Forgot your textbook? Or maybe you spent your last tenner on last weekend's session? No need to panic just Google the name of the textbook + “filetype:pdf” and you might find it online.

Listen to ambient noise or natural sounds for maximum productivity. Try 8tracks.com for thousands of varying studying playlists to help you focus and get sh*t done.

Get answers to problems that normal search engines, classmates or textbooks just don't know at/r/HomeworkHelp.

A couple of websites can create a bibliography in less than a minute. We all know how long citations take, so you can also try easybib.com if you really need some help.

When you need to buckle down, which will happen eventually, block distracting websites and apps. If you use Chrome try StayFocused, which is a free extension. Then watch your productivity soar.

Learn how to make a breakfast that is tasty, inexpensive and fast. 

Also, keep your snack game strong and less likely to end up crushed into your couch/floor with this trick:

Laptop overheating? Grab one of these, or an empty egg container and put in on your lap. Genius:

If you're a mildly broke student chances are you're going to be using public transport. This is really fine, except for when it's winter and being stranded at the bus stop leave you with wet shoes and shoes and just generally despairing. No worries, you can waterproof your shoes:






There is probably nothing worse than putting on your most fabulous new outfit and at the end of the day realising that you’ve managed to dump pretty much your entire dinner on it.

The fear of wasting a good outfit on a bad day is surpassed by the fear of wearing your new white jeans somewhere where red wine is being served. In efforts to help ease your worries, and if the worst has already happened, we found some resources for you.

These are some of the best ways to get the worst food stains out of your clothing.

Tomato based sauces:

Scrape off the excess sauce, then cover the stain with a layer of clear dish soap. Then cover it with white vinegar before putting it under cold water and gently rubbing out the stain.

Red wine:

Put some kitchen roll on a table and put the stained clothing on top, so the stain sits over the kitchen roll sheet. Then cover the stain with baking soda. Then add tonic water so it bubbles. Fold the clothing over and rub the fabric together with your fingers.


Cover the stain with milk and leave sit for five minutes. Then rub the fabric together to remove the stain with your fingers before rinsing in cold water. Wring it out and pour two tablespoons of your usual laundry detergent onto the stain. Then rinse the stain out.

Soy sauce:

Blot the stain to remove excess sauce. Cover the stain with white vinegar and use a cotton bud to work it into the stain. Then add some laundry detergent before handwashing under cool running water.

If you find yourself with more unusual stains that you just don’t know what to do with, then check out this helpful article about stain removal hacks.