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As an adult, Halloween is a pretty good excuse to make a holy show of yourself and get away with it, but as a kid, Halloween was life's saving grace between summer and Christmas.

Just when you thought you were going to burst with the boredom of the new school year, Halloween reared its head, and suddenly life was worth living again.

Black bin liners were unrolled, spiders with pipe cleaner legs were hung up, and your mam began ranting about the dangers of bangers for the guts of a month.

And once the big night rolled around, we all went through the same nine stages with military precision.

1. The parents' rules

Your parents will have laid a few ground rules when it came to sticking with your siblings while roaming the estate, but God love them if they thought you were listening.

"I'll keep an eye… but I can't promise anything, Mam."

2. The real rules

Once far enough from your driveway, you and your siblings immediately split up for fear of being seen with each other.

"Go on! You'll be grand, just don't go near that house with the broken gate. I heard your man hasn't left it in 54 years."

3. The costume

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but wandering the estate in nothing more than a bin liner over your vest and pants was your mother's biggest parenting fail.

"Can you see my knickers? They've puppies on them."

4. The explanation for your costume

No matter how much effort your mother put into that bad boy, you were still forced to tell every neighbour what you were.

"I'm a mutant from Outer… oh whatever, I'm a binliner."

5. The estates you weren’t allowed to visit

If the sibling rule was important, the 'not going further than your own estate' was an absolute deal breaker.

"If I hear you went further than the front green, there'll be absolute war, do you hear me?"

6. The neighbours who gave good stuff

Every year you made a beeline for the house that gave out full size chocolate bars, cans of Coke and share-size crisps.

"Ring again. She's only pretending she can't hear us."

7. The neighbours who gave apples

Every year you knocked in because you thought they might have come to their senses this time around.

"Ah Jaysus, seven monkey nuts?! I'm putting them back through her letterbox."

8. The bold kids

If you thought you were pretty schlick for going past the green, you had nothing on these kids who didn't even bother to dress up and waited for eejits like you to show up so they could banger the bejaysus out of you.

"Pretend you haven't seen them, but don't turn your back. That's right, let's all reverse up the road,"

9. The triumphant return for the second bag

The years you have to return to your own home for a second carrier bag such was the extent of your haul is one for the memory books.

"Only the first two roads, Mam. Better give me a few if this keeps up… no, I'm not done!"

 

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Most Irish Mammies are utterly devoted to St Anthony, so chances are you've been advised to speak to the man himself when you're tearing the house apart in search of a missing earring or set of keys.

However, it looks like we may be giving good ol' Anthony a break if we're to follow the advice of researchers at the University of Aberdeen.

According to recent research, the vast majority of us spend too much time searching for missing items in uncluttered areas of our homes when logic would suggest we should hone in on the messier areas of any room.

Conducting a study into the theory, researchers used an eye tracking device when asking participants to find targets in two different visual scenarios.

The findings established that instead of using our peripheral vision to sweep over 'easy' areas, we actually devote all our attention to the tidier areas and tend to avoid areas of clutter… which makes little to no sense in reality, but that's humanoids for you.

"If you're looking for your keys, you should focus on the areas with the most clutter because if they were somewhat more obvious, you would have found them by now," said the study's author Anna Maria Nowakowska.

So, basically we make the whole process harder for ourselves. Good to know.
 

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Move over hygge – there's a new lifestyle trend in town and it speaks to us on a whole new level. 

While we're all about self-care, cosy socks and cups of herbal tea, all the planning and preparation that goes into these little moments of 'me time' can actually defeat the purpose of them all together. 

And it's for that reason that we reckon Fjaka is going to be huge for 2019. 

According to Metro, the Croatian term 'Fjaka' (pronounced fyaka), simply means to embrace the feeling of doing absolutely nothing. 

Now, I don't know about you, but that's one lifestyle trend I can definitely get on board with. 

In order to achieve Fjaka you need to rid your mind of any and all distractions and stop thinking about all the things you need to do. 

Aspire for nothing. Need nothing. Want nothing. Simply enjoy a few moments with your mind completely at rest. 

It's all about giving yourself permission to forget about life's little hiccups and reminding yourself that it's okay to do nothing

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Seeing someone you love go through a difficult time is one of the worst things in the world. We all know that life isn’t easy but we can’t help but feel betrayed, angry and devastated when bad things happen to the people closest to us.

Watching your little sister go through a breakup or seeing your best friend come to terms with the loss of their parent is harrowing. We tell them we are there, no matter what, but how else can we help when the person we love so deeply is experiencing one of their darkest moments?

I wish we could just wave a magic wand and make all of the bad things disappear but we can’t, it’s harsh but being honest is the only way to be. However, all is not lost. There are little things you can do that can brighten those dark days, even if it’s just for a moment.

These little acts can bring a glimmer of happiness and hope into your loved one’s life.

1: Call them

People can struggle to ask for help, even when they’re going through difficult times, like a breakup or unemployment. Random phone calls can help them feel like they’re not entirely alone and that someone is always there to listen to their troubles. Reach out to them and show them you’re there. If they don’t want to talk then let the call ring out.

2: Flowers

Material things like flowers are not going to make their worries vanish, but they can help ease anxiety and pain. A recent study found that flowers should be 'complementary medicine' for recovering patients. 

3: Embrace The Bad Feelings

Crying can be good for the soul. Sometimes letting it all out can be the best thing for you. Remind your friend or family member that bottling it all in is no good. Let them cry on your shoulder when times are tough. 

4: Be There

The world can feel like the loneliest place when something bad happens to you. A lot of people tend to isolate themselves and avoid socialising during times like these, which is understandable, but it’s important to make sure they’re not shutting themselves out. Visit them in the evening and simply be there. You don’t have to do anything lavish or exciting. Sometimes just having someone to sit with can help.

5: Be Honest

Don’t sugarcoat the situation or make them feel like a victim. They’ll be inundated with the ‘hope you’re okay’ texts, which may not mean as much as a real message from their best friend or sister. Tell them you understand how horrible they feel and how that feeling isn’t going to change overnight, but they will start to feel better one day. 

6: Help at Home

Help them with tasks that need to be done like going to the supermarket, topping up the electricity meter, washing dishes, walking the dog and cooking dinner. There will be days when they don't want to get out of bed so having an extra set of hands around the house will be a true saviour.

7: Listen

It’s the most simple but helpful thing you can do. Sometimes all we need to do is vent and word vomit so be the person who will listen in their time of need. You don’t have to offer advice or solutions to their problems. All you have to do is let them pour their heart out.

8: Continue the Support

You can’t just flip a switch and move past the grief, heartache and turmoil. Losing a loved one, going through a serious illness, having your heart broken and all those other dreaded life experiences stay with us. It’s important to remember that people don’t just get over these things. They will shape them and change their lives forever. They may be smiling and laughing again but that doesn’t mean you have to stop supporting them. It’s important to remember that even those who seem as merry as ever can be hurting so check in often and be there always.

Obviously these things aren’t going to make all their fears, worries and heartache vanish. I’d sooner make the cancer vanish but we don’t have that power, but we do have the power of friendship and we must make the most of it during these devastating times.

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Upcycling in every sense of the word is on the rise, what with climate breakdown becoming an apocalyptic-level problem and sustainability on everyone's minds.

New One4all research shows that Irish adults are finding creative ways to make homes their own, with 48 percent of Irish people having upcycled an item from their house.

65 percent of homeowners nationwide have renovated their home, with the kitchen being the most popular part of the property to remodel. Weirdly, April is the most coveted time for home improvements.

According to the survey carried out by One4all, safety of the property is the most important factor home-dwellers in Ireland, followed by the neighbourhood in which the property is located, and thirdly, having an outdoor area or garden space.

Seeing as the housing crisis has us all feeling especially glum, most of us are comfortable with sticking where we are currently. Nine in ten of those queried claimed they 'feel at home' where they live.

Is this because they can't accord to buy another home or rent in another spot, though? Either way, Irish people are making homes their own.

While the kitchen is the most common room to be remodelled, the bathroom came in second place and the garden came in third. 

December is the quietest month of the year for home updates, most likely because of all those parties being thrown during the festive season.

The renovations lasted between one and three months for 28 percent of people, but it took between six months to a year to complete the works for ten percent of people.

44 percent of those polled say they are ‘somewhat happy’ with their home at the moment, compared with 39 percent who say that they are ‘very happy’.

Overall, men in Ireland rate their current happiness with their home higher than women do, with 86 percent of them chuffed compared to 81 percent of women.

The research states that most women would change the interior of their home if money wasn't anything to worry about, but men would choose to increase the size of their house instead.

When it comes to D.I.Y, Ireland is a nifty nation with almost 1 in 2 (48 percent) revealing that they have upcycled an old item in their home.

For most of those polled, the purpose behind their upcycling project was to make something old look nicer and new. A One4all gift card to get a mate who's gaff needs a boost would be an unreal idea.

Making something more personal was the second most popular purpose for upcycling amongst respondents, with 95 percent of those who upcycled an item saying they enjoyed the project.

 

tim reno GIF by Channel 7

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We all want to live a long and happy life. Experts will recommend keeping fit, eating well and monitoring stress, but 95-year-old twins, Lil Cox and Doris Dobday beg to differ.

Britain’s oldest twins have revealed the secret behind living such a long life. The duo appeared on This Morning to share their words of wisdom with the public and their tricks are certainly unusual.

The sisters, who live across the road from one another, said that eating raw sausage sandwiches is one of their biggest secrets.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people sitting and table

Doris stressed that no sex and drinking Guinness are her secrets to a lengthy life. This Morning host, Holly Willoughby asked, ‘Why no sex?’ to which Doris quipped, ‘Well, I don’t have a husband!’  

The famous sisters have conjured up quite the massive fan base since celebrating their 95th birthday. They run a Facebook fan page where they post updates and videos, much to the delight of their followers.

According to their Facebook profile, the sisters enjoy trips to the bingo, shopping, going out for meals and the theatre.

Doris was happily married for 65 years and did not have any children while sister Lillian has five grown-up children, 13 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren in total.

We’re not sure how we feel about no sex, Guinness and raw sausage sandwiches but it’s certainly worked for Lil and Doris.

Feature Image: Lil&Doris

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Bestselling authors and founders of The Happy Pear, David and Stephen Flynn, have teamed up with award-winning facialist, founder of The Skin Nerd, Skingredients and Cleanse Off Mitt, and bestselling author, Jennifer Rock, and registered GP, Dr Gemma Newman, who has a specialist interest in women’s health and nutrition, to create a four-week online course designed to help feed the skin from within, through a combination of a wholefood plant-based diet and expert skincare advice.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The course includes a printable recipe booklet, containing over 50 delicious plant-based recipes, created by David and Stephen, tailored meal plans, shopping lists, and advice on plant-based eating, as well as expert skincare advice from Jennifer, covering all aspects of skin health, including how to identify your main skin concerns, establishing a skincare routine, skin throughout our lifetime, whole body skin health, SOS skin tips and more. Participants also have access to a private online community and weekly live Q&As with David, Stephen, Jennifer and Dr Newman.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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This is the latest addition to The Happy Pear’s hugely successful online courses range, which includes The Happy Heart, The Happy Gut, and The Ultimate Vegan Cooking Course.

The Happy Heart course and The Happy Gut course have both been designed in collaboration with medical experts, including a consultant gastroenterologist and a registered dietician. 

Their courses have helped thousands of people in over 72 countries worldwide improve their wellbeing, with 57 percent of participants reporting an increase in energy levels, 54 percent reporting an improvement in their mood, and 38 percent experiencing weight-loss, as a result of taking part. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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David and Stephen said: “Eating more fruit and vegetables is one of the kindest things we can do for our planet and our bodies and skin. At The Happy Pear, we want to create a healthier and happier world and true health really starts from within and what we put into our bodies, that’s why we’re so happy to partner with Jennifer on The Happy Skin to empower people to make change through the food they eat.” said the brothers Stephen and David Flynn. 

Jennifer added: "Skin health requires an approach that addresses not only the outside of your skin but the inside, focusing on feeding it from the root, so to speak. I feel that the skincare you use on the outside should mirror what you get in through food for the best results.

"The Skin Nerd is about empowering people by arming them with the education they need to take care of their skin, which is something I’m lucky to have done for years in my career as a global skin tutor. I believe that feeling confident in your skin and having the right tools to get there is integral, so I am delighted to have joined forces with Dave and Stephen on The Happy Skin online course!”

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The phrase; "Boys have cooties" was always circulated when I was a child, mainly from other kids who watched way too much American television. In my four months of living in a Berkeley fraternity house among college-aged American boys (they 100 percent couldn't be called men, they needed full-time agony aunts), I learned numerous life lessons whether I wanted to or not. Mainly that personal hygiene and a basic understanding of women are deeply lacking, and there's nothing I can do to change either of those things. Bear in mind that this frat house is just one of dozens in Berkeley alone, and that sarcasm will be heavily used in this article. I won't be naming any names (though I'd love to) and many frat boys I met were positively lovely. It was just the few that needed basic lectures about toxic masculinity and domestic chores that will be targeted by my literary wrath.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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1. If they make eye contact with you, they're most likely drunk or high and have obtained a mysterious confidence.

Waking up in the morning and emerging through the jungle of empty beer bottles and fast food takeaway boxes, if you make it to the disgusting kitchen and run into a boy, he'll scutter away into the darkness or refuse to look you in the eye. Whether we'd be standing only centimetres apart while frying off eggs or toasting bread, chances are high that you won't be addressed. They're probably terrified of you, or don't know how to communicate with a woman without downing a keg of beer first.

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Many of these boys are spectacularly wealthy (well, their families are.) You need to have some connection to cash to get into college in the USA, usually but not always of course. Many of these boys also went to prep schools, with other boys surrounding them. Their only opportunity to talk to women often is on nights out in clubs or bars, and the heteronormativity is honestly unavoidable. I made some great friends while living in Berkeley, but never felt entirely safe unless there was a female friend or just a regular ol' female around. Boys have no idea the lengths that women have to go to in order to feel safe, just walking down the street. Especially in a strange city without your family.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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2. The issue of consent is a major epidemic across US college campuses

Men in America often objectify women, and one of the first things I noticed about our frat house when we moved in was the consistent posters regarding consent. The alarming feeling that only an incident would spur on the sudden mass influx of posters plagued me for a lot of my trip, and Irish women who also lived in the house were all very safe. The rumours about US college campuses lacking safety didn't help, as well as the security guards who insisted on escorting us around the campus at night. According to AAU Campus Climate Surveys (2015), 23.1 percent of female undergraduates, 5.4 percent of male undergraduates, and 24.1 percent of TGQN (trans, gender-non conforming, queer) undergraduates reported being sexually assaulted since starting college. Among graduate students and professionals, the estimates were 8.8 percent female, 2.2 percent male, and 15.5 percent TGQN. Sexual violence is far more prevalent in colleges, compared to other crimes. RAINN claim that only 20 percent of female student victims, aged between 18-and 24, report sexual violence to law enforcement. Frat houses are yet more spaces where women aren't always protected.

3. Their mums have cleaned up after them and spoiled them silly since they emerged from the womb

The boys of our frat house made a 'chore list' for the Irish students alone, and overcharged us absurdly for rent. They essentially exploited us; we paid them handsomely for gross accommodation while they lived there for free, and they spent the money on drugs and then drove to In 'N' Out. They were incapable of cleaning up after themselves, so old food and cooking tools were stacked up, while dirty dishes were consistently in a Mount Everest pile up in the sink. I learned of new smells I never thought existed, thanks to mould and bacteria. I'm convinced that I'm immune to many diseases because of living there. Boys have an astounding ability to leave a mess rotting the place for days, if not months, and play chicken with you until you can't take it anymore and give in. I have the distinct memory of cleaning out green mould from our fridge for three hours and inhaling Stranger Things 'Upside Down' like materials. A gas mask would have come in handy. They also don't know that sheets are meant to be changed.

4. Become Bear Grylls overnight if you have a rodent problem

We had numerous Snow White-esque pets in our abode, such as a Skunk (we named him Larry), ferrets under the floorboards and even bed bugs. We even had to trap a bed bug (insanely difficult task) in order to show our landlord, in order to get a $50 reduction in rent. Yes, just $50. He never actually gave us that reduction in the end…

The point is; Get a thick skin for bugs and unwanted pets. You will suddenly turn into a complete Lara Croft badass and will learn to live amongst nature.

bear grylls bad decision GIF by NETFLIX

5. Certain toxic, alien practices surrounding fraternity houses and sororities continue to exist

During the weeks before college actually begins, 'Rush' occurs. This is basically where you semi-audition to be in a frat house or sorority, with some houses being significantly more difficult to infiltrate than others. It becomes a common occurrence to see boys with their shirts off and abs painstakingly arranged in a six-pack wandering around screaming; "ALPHA KAPPA LAMBA 'TIL I DIE, BRO!'. They may not be entirely made up of brain cells, but just ignore them. Sorority girls will walk around in matching outfits and sky-high heels, screeching chants that sound like sirens to you. Music will be blasting from 16 different speakers, signs and balloons will line the street. Every house puts the maximum amount of effort in when it comes to attracting the most attention, and future members. The 'hazing' rituals still exist too. One rule which infuriated our entire group was that frat houses could throw parties in Berkeley, but sororities couldn't. The rule had never been changed, and it was part of the college campus law now. 

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6. They will clog every toilet in existence

In Berkeley, at least, weed was absolutely everywhere. You couldn't make coffee in the morning before scraping your hungover self into work without a frat boy shoving a bong in your face.

From edibles to hemp products to the grass plant itself; marijuana is unavoidable in the area. What are the results of a house full of boys smoking weed until they KO? The digestive system going into meltdown. Who suffers from this surprising turn of events? Normally women, who actually need to use the toilet more often than most boys due to sanitary needs etc. They also need to sit on the toilet seat constantly.

There were four bathrooms in the sizeable fraternity house. You would assume that at least one toilet was always available to use, then. How wrong you are. All four toilets were consistently blocked thanks to the bowel movements of 15 boys, all permanently high. Basic human hygiene went out of the window in days from when I arrived, and I began using public bathrooms in the area to just experience what a regular toilet is meant to be like. Never take your pristine white bathroom for granted, ladies. Some day, it could be compromised by Snoop Dogg & Co. 

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7. You will never take privacy for granted again

Sharing a house with 25 people at the same time can make it extremely difficult to get any time alone. You're probably sharing a room with at least one person, and even small errands like trying to do laundry can take hours with everyone queueing up.

Many of us don't enjoy the feeling of being alone, but if you're accustomed to having your own room as I was (my identical twin and I fought viciously over bunk-beds so our parents separated us) then sharing that space can be a huge shock. Arguments over whose side of the room is messier occurred daily, and clothes went missing all the time. Random strangers would walk into our house, seeing as only the house manager had a lock on his door, so every room was fair game. The house itself was never locked, and it became difficult to know who was one of your frat boys and who was a randomer.

This made privacy a long-lost friend who you ached to see once again, for however short a time. Going to the bathroom or showering was blissful even for those few moments alone. Despite the grubbiness of the bathrooms themselves…(Hello, Cif? Cillit Bang? Lost but not forgotten.)

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8. Someone will eat your food, and you will be fuming over it

You could do a full grocery shop in Trader Joe's down the road and within minutes, hungover boys or high boys who have the munchies will have annihilated your entire snack stash. Most people tried to spend as little money on food as physically possible, either by stealing food from wherever they worked or by stealing food from the house. Now, I took the odd slice of bread or splash of milk for my (Barry's) tea, but that was all. I advise you to create your own bunker of sorts, where you hide all your treats and actually decent-tasting food from everyone else in the house.

season 1 nbc GIF by The Good Place

Never tell anyone, not even your closest friend, where it is. Or else have a password so you can know who to trust. Surviving in a frat house takes buckets of crisps and dip, microwave popcorn, Cadbury's chocolate and pot noodles. Trust me.

9. American's can't drink legally until the age of 21, and they can't handle it

One of the reasons why frat houses are so obsessed with drugs in California is that it's easier to get them, rather than getting their fake IDs rejected while trying to score alcohol. When they DO manage to get booze, boy are they bad at handling it. Mainly due to the insane levels of peer pressure from the Bro Mob. If you told one of them during a game of Beer Pong that he had to poison himself with weed killer then do a backflip in front of a sorority house naked, they'd probably do it. It was toxic as f*ck. We went on a bar crawl with our house manager for his 21st birthday (we thought he was 30-years-old, so that was a shock…) and he drank a bottle of hot sauce and tequila and vomited bright orange puke down the stairs of the bar, and all of us were then banned. There were only two bars in town, so it was a low blow. While they can handle their weed, when it comes to binge drinking there's nobody like an Irish person to put them in their place. 

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10. You'll miss Ireland more than you expected

From basic teabags and bread that isn't made entirely of sugar to Irish carveries and homemade meals, there's a lot that you'll miss about the Emerald Isle. Finally having food that isn't processed, being able to afford a meal again, being around people who understand sarcasm and whose country isn't politically dangerous and immoral will be blissful. Seeing proper forestland and greenery is often hard in America, due to the difference in climate. Flying back and seeing the patchwork field of bright green fields, you'll forget all about the dried up desert backyard of the frat house. Also having your own room again will bring tears of gratitude to your eyes, if you can grab one. 

sad rugby world cup GIF by World Rugby

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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.

fail neil patrick harris GIF by bubly

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.

Sounds good to us, so what are the winners?

1. Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa: Killarney, Co .Kerry

The Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa is unbelievably magical, and offers unparalleled luxury overlooking the world-famous lakes of Killarney.

The spa at Aghadoe is honestly an oasis of pure serenity; the 10,000 square foot Resort Spa has 11 treatment rooms, relaxation areas, couples suites and a THERMAL SUITE.

The hotel has a fully equipped gym, conservatory-style indoor pool and outdoor terrace and some stunning local hikes and walking trails to enjoy.

If it's good enough for Gary Barlow, it's good enough for us:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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2. RedLevel at Melia Palacio de Isora – Tenerife

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.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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3. 137 Pillars House: Chiang Mai, Thailand

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.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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 4. Taj Bentota Resort & Spa – Bentota, Sri Lanka

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:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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5. Hotel Palazzo Montemartini: Rome, Italy

JUST LOOK AT THE POOL.

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? 

 abc season 12 jordan spa the bachelorette GIF

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Have you ever been sitting at your desk at work, contemplating escaping out a nearby window just so you can achieve a bit of inner zen? Yeah, us too.

Luckily for the stressed population of Dublin, free yoga classes are now running every Monday in Merrion Square this summer to encourage wellness and mindfulness.

The classes are provided by Camile takeaway in partnership with Dublin City Sport & Wellbeing Partnership, and were a massive success last year.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The yoga sessions will be running every Monday evening until August 19, from 6:15pm to 7pm, with certified yoga instructor Veronica Vincenzi.

Everyone from complete beginnings to yoga masters are welcome to join, and 60 mats are provided but participants are encouraged to bring their own due to demand.

Join your fellow zen-seekers at the Defence Force Memorial side of Merrion Square across from the National Gallery in Dublin, and you 100 percent won't regret it.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Free classes are also provided on Tuesdays in Bushy Park and Wednesdays in St Anne's Park, so anyone farther away to Merrion Square or with plans on Mondays can alternate days and location.

For more information about the classes, check out the deets on the Camile Thai Eventbrite page here.

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With just four weeks to go, Michael Ring TD, the Minister for Rural and Community Development is joining forces with Dancing With The Stars winner, Mairéad Ronan and calling on people to reach out to their neighbours as part of The Big Hello!, the first National Community Weekend which takes place this May Bank Holiday Weekend (May 4-6).

“The Big Hello!” supports communities to host events in their local area in order to strengthen community ties and help tackle the problem of social isolation.

Minister Ring said: “In a world where people are spending less time in their communities and more time at work, it is important to find new ways to connect people and focus on the importance of neighbours. In our busy lives we rarely make time for each other outside of our network of family, friends and social media contacts.”

In order to support these events, Minister Ring has allocated €10,000 to each of the 31 Local Authorities and asked them to allocate funding to The Big Hello! events in their areas. The target is for at least 1,000 local events to be held throughout Ireland.

Funding for events is available to residents’ committees and community and voluntary groups through their Local Authorities. Further details can be found here, and on The Big Hello! Facebook page.

Minister Ring continued: “Sadly, many people living among us are experiencing social isolation and loneliness. I firmly believe that this initiative can help people to connect or re-connect with their neighbours and communities.”

Mairéad Ronan said: “We all lead such incredibly busy lives nowadays; The Big Hello! is a wonderful opportunity to catch up with our neighbours by organising an event or attending one in our local communities. No matter how big or small, it’s up to you to decide with your neighbours what type of event you’d like to host in your area.”

The event is being organised by the Minister’s Department in partnership with representatives of Public Participation Networks, Local Community Development Companies, Volunteer Ireland, Young Social Innovators, Macra na Feirme, Street Feast, An tOireachtas and Change X.

It is intended to have at least one Irish language event in each Local Authority area.

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If you're the offspring of an Irish Mammy, you'll know that trying to buy her a present is an absolute minefield… not least because she refuses to offer guidance, provide suggestions or even engage with the notion her child intends to spend money on her.

Put simply, presents (and discussion surrounding presents) is an Irish Mammy's kryptonite.

This, in turn, makes choosing a gift for her absolute torture when you know full well you'll be in for a world of pain if you exceed the €5 limit or buy anything she can't put to good use.

And with Mother's Day fast approaching, here are just 9 classic moments we've all endured in recent years.

1. The awkward conversation

Every year, we attempt to tackle Mother's Day head-on by asking our mothers if there is anything they're currently hankering after, and every year we're met with the same dismissals.

Between insisting there's nothing on God's green earth they desire to suggesting we're a little touched for even broaching the subject, Irish Mammies really know how to make us work for the info.

"Sure, what would I be needing? No seriously, WHAT would I be needing?"

2. The subtle hints

Accepting that it's highly unlikely they'll come up with their own suggestions, we tentatively test the waters by throwing out a few suggestions of our own.

With a blank canvass to work on, we run wild with ideas only to be quickly reined in by an incredulous-looking woman.

"Afternoon tea?! A spa-day?! Holy Mother, it's far from afternoon tea I was reared."

3. The outright refusal to play ball

While up until now, they may have allowed us to dance around the subject, there comes a point when they officially shut down all lines of communication on the matter.

They're no longer playing ball whatsoever, and it looks like we're officially on our own.

"And don't go asking your father either. Sure, he hasn't a notion what I'd want…. not that I'd want anything."

4. The bizarre suggestion

And then comes a time when relations appear to thaw, and your mother seems to actually want something in honour of Mothering Sunday.

It just so happens that her suggestion is so ridiculous, you can't help but question whether she's testing you, and the surly teenager inside you is now the one refusing to play ball.

"I've been looking at the same dado rails for the guts of 20 years. If you want, you can choose new ones with me."

5. The indulgent online browsing

With talk of dado rails bringing you to crisis point, you do what any upstanding millennial would do, and you turn to the world wide web for inspiration.

And promptly realise that the litany of prolonged discussions you had with your mother over the importance of Mother's Day has left you with no time to actually order anything for Mother's Day.

"I love her, but there's no way I'm paying express delivery at those prices."

6. The blatant resentment

While the whole point of Mother's Day is to honour the woman who has raised you, you – in spite of yourself – find yourself cursing her inability to help you out on the present front.

Why can't she take a leaf out of our Christmas book and list anything and everything she has seen over the last 12 months?  

"She'll be lucky if she gets anything off me at this rate. And she'll only have herself to blame."

7. The frantic dash

If you haven't done a frantic dash through the halls of a department store the day before Mothering Sunday, have you even celebrated Mother's Day?

When you find yourself jostling for space between stressed-looking young lads, you know you've effed up yet again.

"Drop that silver picture frame, and there'll be no trouble."

8. The mother/ daughter gift

If crowded department store aren't your thing, then chances are you've gone with the gift of 'experience' right?

The very thing you mother said you'd need notions to even consider.

"I don't know what it's all about either, but just eat your cucumber sandwich and shush Mam."

9. The 'next year' promise

Next year, it will be different. Next year, she'll be sounder, and you'll be better able to deal with her classic Irish Mammy-isms, right?

Well, not likely, but you'll be better prepared with the help of Brooke & Shoals who are a veritable haven for anyone on the hunt for a Mother's Day present.

From candles and diffusers to eau de toilettes, the frustration of the last few years will be a distant memory with this range of handmade award-winning, stunningly packaged products.

Brooke & Shoals, take a bow.

 

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