What I Ate Wednesday {29.11.16}

This morning's breakfast was really rushed as I had about 2 minutes to eat it before our car came to go into London! We had meetings all day so I had to be quick as I normally eat after the school run (I'm never hungry enough at 7:30am!) My favourite quick & easy breakfast is Weetabix with almond milk (hot - I heat it up for 1 min 30 in the microwave). I added 1/2 banana, raisins and some cinnamon on top. I also had a black coffee and a bottle of water in the car!

Lunch happened a lot later at about 2 o'clock because our meeting ran late so Jonathan, Francesca & ended up going to Zizzi's and I got the Toscana soup (which is actually a starter) with mozzarella bread. I can't remember exactly what was in it but I think it was quinoa, tomatoes, thyme and lots of chunky vegetables. It was really yummy and perfect for a freezing day! 

By the time we got home it was around 5pm and I was hungry again so made myself a coffee (black) and two kiwis & a peach bio-live yoghurt as a snack. I've heard kiwis are packed with vitamin C and are good for warding off colds & winter sickness which is exactly what I DON'T need being pregnant with lots of bugs going round!

For dinner we had baked salmon with roasted root veggies (sweet potato, parsnips, carrots), sundried tomatoes and steamed broccoli. I also had another bottle of water to drink and nibbled on some extra broccoli before dinner, haha!

For a kind of evening snack/dessert I attempted to keep it healthy-ish with a chai tea made with hot almond milk and a slice of our homemade banana bread with honey. The banana bread comes from Fearne Cotton's book, Cook Happy Cook Healthy and is a super delicious and moist recipe using chia seeds & walnuts. Definitely recommend it! I also have this for breakfast sometimes. 

Hope you enjoyed this week's What I Ate Wednesday! And...surprise! I made a video too. So if you want to see toddler meltdowns, barking dogs and Jonathan and I bickering feel free to click the play button. If you'd rather not, I totally understand. ;) 

My Haircare Routine

Here's a little look at my favourite haircare products. I actually have a pretty low maintenance hair routine and feel almost embarrassed when people ask me for tips or to make videos/tutorials on my hair. The main reason for that is because I do the same thing pretty much everyday...and have kept that relatively consistent for years! The most frequently asked question I get is how do I grow my hair or do I have any tips on how to get long hair fast. I honestly don't think I do anything special and a lot of it is down to genetics/your natural hair type. My hair grows like a weed, it's very thick and tends to be on the dry side so I don't need to wash it everyday. Having said that, I do believe that limiting the use of heat on your hair will help it grow, along with not over washing it and a healthy diet. I am currently also taking prenatal vitamins which include a fish oil supplement as well and I'm sure that helps with hair/nail growth. I wash my hair twice a week and almost never use a blow-dryer. (I've actually given mine to the kids because I don't use it at all anymore!) I use heat on it around twice a week by curling it the day after I wash it but then I leave it the other two days as it holds curl pretty well. 

Let's start with the products I use in the shower. My current favourite shampoo & conditioner are from the Kerastase Nutritive range. I use Bain Satin 1 shampoo and Lait Vital conditioner, then once a week I use the Masque Magistral in place of a conditioner as a treatment. I leave this in for about 3-5 minutes and when I brush my hair out after my shower it makes a huge difference! Usually my hair is quite textured and knotted when it's wet but after using this mask it brushes out really smoothly. Then if I remember to about once a month I use the Wella Colour Recharge Cool Blonde which is a purple shampoo that helps my highlights from turning brassy looking. 

These are my favourite products I use to style my hair. When I get out of the shower I typically towel dry it and put it up on top of my head while I moisturise, apply my skincare, brush my teeth etc. Eventually when it's about 10-20% dry I take it down and brush it out. I used to use the Tangle Teezer but was recently sent this Tangle Angel brush to my PO box and have been liking it a lot. (We actually got one each, including the kids and dogs!) Then I apply a small amount of Phyto 7 Hydrating Day Cream to the ends of my hair and sleep on it damp. I always wash my hair at night so the following morning when I wake up it's about 80-90% dry and naturally wavy. 

The following day I normally style my hair using the Nume 3 in 1 Curl Jam wand with the largest barrel. I basically just curl my hair away from the face (I have about a million tutorials on this already on my YouTube), spritzing with L'Oreal Elnett hairspray as I go to hold the maximum curl and ensure it lasts for the next few days. I also apply a hair oil to the ends and my current favourite is Orofluido Original Elixir which smells like a dream! On the next two days I spray the roots with dry shampoo (my fave is Batiste Heavenly Volume, not the one pictured as I've run out), brush it out with the same brush and then apply some oil to the ends if necessary. 

And that's my entire haircare routine! I hope this helps answer your questions. I also find it's the best low-maintenance routine for lazy girls like me as there's only really 15-20 mins of styling every three days which makes it very easy. Let me know what your favourite hair products are!

Stand Up to Cancer Afternoon Tea

This past weekend I had the pleasure of meeting the 10 lovely women who won my afternoon tea competition which I ran with Stilnest in aid of Stand Up to Cancer. Last month we ran this competition to raise money for SU2C and 16% of each jewellery sale went to the charity. Everyone who bought a piece during the month of October was entered into this competition to spend afternoon tea with me and 10 winners were selected, two of which were international. I was so excited to meet ten of my viewers in such a personal, intimate setting as opposed to a large meet & greet with hundreds of people (which I always find overwhelming anyway!). This was much more relaxed and laid back...plus there was food involved and who doesn't love that?!   

The afternoon tea was hosted by the Runnymede-on-Thames hotel and they put on such a beautiful spread. The highlight of the afternoon was finding out from SU2C that we had raised £12,000 for the charity through my jewellery alone. I honestly cannot tell you how proud and emotional that makes me and I feel so incredibly thankful to all of you who helped to reach that amazing amount. I am blown away by how a simple necklace with a lot of meaning has made such an impact in just one year since I launched this line with Stilnest! I really wish my dad could have lived to see all of this unfold but I'm so proud to have done it in his honour.

If you would like to support Stand Up To Cancer, find out more about how you can help here

Wrapping It Up

As the days get chillier I find myself reaching more & more for wooly jumpers and wintry attire. Thanks to the fact that I buy most of my regular winter jumpers oversized, they still fit the bump (for now) so I can get away with not buying so many maternity items! I did foolishly donate pretty much all of my maternity clothes from my first two pregnancies when we moved countries two and a half years ago so I kind of had to start from scratch this time round. This grey jumper with studs on the sleeves is one of my winter favourites from Olive Clothing (now out of stock, about two years old). Everyone knows that leggings are a pregnant woman's best friend - you can't go wrong with a great quality pair! These are one of my must-have pairs from Isabella Oliver; they're the over the bump leggings and I know they're quite pricey at £45 but I honestly cannot recommend them enough. The fabric is super soft yet thick enough that they hold up really well even after lots of washes. I basically live in these! 

My over-the-knee boots are from Daisy Street (similar pair here). Honestly I'm not a huge fan of these...they're comfortable and I can't really complain about that aspect, but the quality isn't the best and most annoyingly the zip on one shoe constantly gets stuck. I may invest in a better more long lasting pair later down the line but for now, they do the job. My hat is from Ted Baker (bought last year) and the grey scarf is Boutique Moschino (unfortunately now out of stock). 

Hope you guys like the outfit and have a great weekend! It's nearly Christmas!! I have some fun Christmassy posts planned for you all which I can't wait to share so stay tuned. 

Throwback Thursday: Mini Monet

Here's another throwback pic of me at about 5 years old in our front porch when we lived in Baltimore. I'm proudly showing off my self designed t-shirt which I created at Kindergarten using gel paints (still remember the gummy feeling of them after they'd dried up!). This week at her school, Emilia is bringing in a plain t-shirt to paint and put her own designs on for the Christmas concert which got me thinking about mine & how crazy it is when things in life come full circle! 

The second picture is of me holding one of my many "pet dogs". Unfortunately because my mum was allergic we were never allowed to get one but that never stopped me from making it my wish EVERY single year when I blew out my birthday candles! Fast forward twenty something years and here I am surrounded by six dogs - an entire dog family if you will. Evidently birthday wishes do eventually come true!! 

What I Ate Wednesday {22.11.16}

Yesterday was a pretty crazy day! Jonathan and I went to the BONCA Awards in London which I'm going to admit I was totally not in the mood for being that the previous night I had got about 4 hours sleep :( Our regular night visitor Eduardo came into our bed three times; on the first two occasions I brought him back to his room like a good parent...but on the third after lots of begging, crying, and "please mummy"s the guilt and exhaustion took over and I gave in. Until about 20 minutes later after all of that drama and being kicked and shoved repeatedly in the back, Eduardo proclaimed that he wanted to sleep in his own bed. Fantastic. Needless to say I was shattered the next day and the last thing I wanted to do was get glammed up for an awards show. But I somehow gathered the energy and made it out...even if I did feel like collapsing in a heap!  

I started off the day with a soft boiled egg, slice of wholegrain toast with sunflower spread (I use Vitalite Dairy Free Spread), a black coffee & bottle of water. 

For lunch I had a roast chicken salad made using with all the veggies we had in the fridge: lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and a few roasted red peppers. I seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic glaze and also sprinkled some croutons and fried onions on top. It was really delicious, simple and fresh! I also drank another bottle of water.

Later in the afternoon I had a quick snack and coffee in an attempt to wake myself up for the awards show! So I made myself a black coffee and had some chopped mango (really craving this right now!) and a strawberry yoghurt. 

Unfortunately the awards show ended up taking place at the exact time we normally eat dinner so I was STARVING! By the time it finished it was already 9pm so we made a mad dash for food at a nearby Byron Burger. I'm normally much more of a desserts girl than a starters one, but given the fact that we were almost chewing the tables whilst ordering our food we got nachos with cheese, guacamole, sour cream and salsa to share. This honestly tasted like the most delicious thing I've eaten in my entire life but I'm pretty sure our taste buds were probably affected by how ravenous we were! Needless to say I devoured half of this...and all of the sour cream (Jonathan's a guacamole guy so it worked out well :)

For our mains we each ordered the exact same thing (this never happens!) which was a grilled chicken burger and sweet potato fries. However we both ate our meals completely differently; I had all of the inside of my burger plus the fries (the bun + fries is always way too much for me), and Jonathan had the bun & chicken plus the fries but left all of the veggies. Hahaha, we are a right pair of opposites! The burger itself contains grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato, pickle and a yummy "special" sauce. After this beast of a meal I was well and truly stuffed and probably looked more like 9 months pregnant than 5 but it was totally worth it! I also forgot to mention that to drink I had water and drank another 3/4 of a bottle when we got home. 

And that concludes this week's What I Ate Wednesday! Hope you enjoyed and let me know what you ate today! 

Acne Update | How I Cleared My Skin

Let's talk skincare. One thing I've battled with ever since I was a teenager is acne; thankfully I didn't have it very severely but I struggled with it on my forehead as a teen, and then again all over my face after coming off the pill in late 2011. Going on the pill at 19 really helped regulate my skin and keep the acne away but since I started getting pregnant, breastfeeding, getting pregnant again...and again (!) hormones have wreaked havoc with my face and it hasn't been fun to deal with, to say the least. 

Then in May of this year I miscarried and I experienced breakouts like I'd never had before. I felt like my face had suddenly exploded with cystic, sore and painful spots which would not go away no matter what I did. That summer was a pretty dark time, as going through something that painful is already horrible but doing it publicly with lots of people watching was even worse. The online trolling & abuse got so awful that I ended up quitting my channel/blog for the longest I've ever done and took a complete backseat role on our vlogs. I was being called obese, chubby, ugly and was told I had "caught the chicken pox" from my kids...on my face (referring to my acne). You may be reading this and thinking what on earth does it have to do with skincare, well in my opinion it has a whole lot to do with it! I'm quite certain that when you add stress on top of raging hormones it's a recipe for disaster. One of the worst breakouts I ever experienced (whilst on the pill, when my skin was generally good) was right before our wedding when I was the most stressed out in my life. 

So in my desperation, in June I sought out the help of a dermatologist. She pointed me in the direction of Obagi Clenziderm which consists of a cleanser and toner (with 2% salicylic acid) and a lotion containing 5% benzoyl peroxide. I was warned that the system is harsh so to start out I only used the lotion once a day. Well that warning was no word of a lie, because the first day after using the system my face burned like it was on fire! I was also given a factor 50 sunblock (Heliocare Advanced SPF 50 Gel) as my skin would be so sensitive from the treatment. Along with this system I was signed up for fortnightly peels which I only kept up for about a month (due to getting knocked up again!)

Initially the treatment was pretty brutal. My skin felt like it got way worse and I almost started to lose hope. It would clear slightly, then another breakout would happen and it would look even worse than the last one added to the fact that I was now peeling and dry from the benzoyl peroxide. So not only did I have an acne problem but now I also had flaking skin which looked awful under makeup! When I expressed this to the dermatologist she encouraged me to keep going with it, and explained that the products were resurfacing my skin. I was doubtful but continued with the system in hopes that it would get better. Then, in July I fell pregnant again and had to stop using the lotion until 16 weeks. My skin still looked bad but the flaking stopped (unsurprisingly) and I chalked these newer breakouts up to first trimester pregnancy problems. 

At one point I did get very discouraged and referred to our good friend Google to see if anyone else had similar issues with the Obagi Clenziderm system. The impatient part of me had expected my skin to clear up beautifully in 2-4 weeks (haha!) so I couldn't help but feel disappointed. However what I discovered from reading online reviews was that it typically takes up to 5 months of constant skin resurfacing until you can expect to see a visible improvement. So I waited it out until 16 weeks and then started using the whole system again (very sparingly). And slowly but surely my skin started to clear up massively. 

The reason I'm writing this blog post is not to sell you any products or give anyone advice because I'm not qualified to do so. But a lot of you have noticed the significant change in my skin so I wanted to give you an honest account of what has worked for me, based on my personal experience. Having said that it's definitely worth noting that I am currently 5 months pregnant so obviously my hormones are different than normal. And usually women's skin improves in the second trimester anyway, however I do feel like my skin hasn't looked this good in a VERY long time. 

Other things I've been doing to help it include getting regular hydrafacials (about every 3 weeks), which normally lead to a little breakout of maybe one or two spots afterwards which then clear up pretty quickly. The dermatologist also recommended I make the switch to mineral makeup which I've done since June. And I religiously take off my makeup every night with Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm and a wash cloth (I was doing this beforehand anyway). I clean my makeup brushes after every use, I have a different face towel to my bathroom hand towel (always have done). I still use the Clenziderm cleanser and toner twice a day, along with a tiny amount of the lotion only on any spots that crop up now and then. Added to the Clenziderm system I haven't stopped using my regular moisturiser and eye cream which are the Tata Harper Rebuilding Moisturiser and Restorative Eye Cream. 

I hope this post will help some of you or answer any skincare related questions that you've recently asked! And if you've ever used Obagi products let me know how they worked for you. Did you find them effective? Would you recommend them?

Baby Names We Love (But Won't Be Using)

Today's video was not something I ever would have thought to film or share but it was one of the most highly requested, so here we are! Very many of you wanted me to share our top baby names we love but won't be using. I didn't even know this was a thing until I searched it on YouTube...turns out there are TONS of these videos out there! I suppose naming your baby is an important and well researched topic! So here are the list of names (there aren't quite ten and there's one more girl than boy name, oops!)

1. Giulietta
2. Theodore
3. Valentina
4. Sophia
5. David
6. Elisa
7. Alexander
8. Serena
9. Matthew

Watch the video to find out why we loved these so much and also why we decided not to go with them. What are your top baby names?

Autumn School Runs

This has been my normal kind of autumn morning school run outfit. I absolutely love the jeans from Next Maternity as they're super comfy and just the right length for me! (I'm 5'5"). The shoes are by Carvela (same shoes in silver here) and are a slightly fancier trainer as they're covered in tiny gold studs. (Not a practical training shoe at all but I did once consider them for workouts...this was before I met Lucy!) I love this long sleeve top by Vintage Havana as it's easy to wear with either jeans or leggings for an even more relaxed style. And the khaki cropped jacket is a must-have for in between seasons (if I'm honest it's getting a bit too cold to wear now!) by G-star (now out of stock). My scarf is a big blanket scarf I got from Paul Smith last year and is so versatile with all the nude colours that you can wear it with almost anything and it keeps you warm & cosy. The hat is by Whistles (unfortunately out of stock :( ) and I find these to be the best for chilly school runs as not only do they keep you toasty but they also are a lifesaver to throw on if you haven't time to wash/style your hair! 

Hope you all have a lovely weekend! 

Throwback Thursday: The Snuggle is Real

In light of Eduardo's recent bedtime struggles, I thought it would be fitting to share some snaps of me snuggling up in my parents' bed! Here's one of me with my mum and this was actually taken in our home in Baltimore (I must have been about 5 or 6). The second picture is of me with my dad which was taken in my grandparents' house in Ireland. I look younger and my hair is definitely shorter so I would say I'm about 3 or 4 in that one. (See my hair grew REALLY slowly - just like Emilia's!) 

These photos just remind me of how much I loved cuddling up in my parents' bed in the mornings. There's something really special about climbing into the middle of the two people you loved the most in the world and the feeling of being safe, warm & happy as a child. Now I'm lucky enough to be able to have that experience again with my two children and I secretly look forward to being woken up by their little hands and feet crawling up into our bed, even if it is often in the very early hours of the morning!

Having said that, I do kind of wish Eduardo would stay in his own bed at least until 6am especially now that I'm farther into my pregnancy and feeling more movement/getting bigger. Our bed has become 10x smaller as a result of my growing size, the addition of Eduardo/Emilia/etc. and my pregnancy pillow also takes up a lot of room! (Hahaha, seriously though it does!) We have tried to be more strict about him coming into our bed at night but sometimes when you're so exhausted having been woken multiple times already, you just give in. These are the moments when sliding Eduardo into bed with you seems like a much easier option than traipsing all the way back to his room again to settle him down. Aaaargh...I know, parenting fail. But then there's also part of me who thinks that maybe he just needs me more right now (senses Mummy's pregnant...is worried about not being the baby anymore...etc. etc.)  and there's nothing wrong with that! Ahh, the never-ending mother's guilt. It hits you hard and probably even more so when you're suffering from lack of sleep!

What I Ate Wednesday {15.11.16}

It's been a while since I did a What I Ate Wednesday and these are actually some of my most requested posts so here you are! If you don't already know what these entail, they're basically where I show everything I eat in a day. Today was pretty healthy by my standards but they're not always like this! (Especially after Halloween...but I've been trying to limit myself buying junk food so our stash is slowly diminishing.) 

For breakfast I had porridge which is my favourite in the mornings and although I've been trying to eat different breakfasts lately, I always go back to this! I make mine with almond milk (I use the Rude Health brand) and take 1/2 cup oats, 1 and 1/4 cups of milk then cook in a saucepan on the stove. Then I topped with half a banana, blueberries and cinnamon (I've also been loving it with raisins). To drink I had a black coffee and bottle of water. 

For lunch I had homemade butternut squash soup topped with a handful of crispy fried onions and ciabatta croutons (I get these as Cooks' Ingredients from Waitrose and they come in little tubs. Super easy for just throwing onto soups and making them look fancier!) I also drank another bottle of water.  

Later in the afternoon I had a black coffee which I've only recently starting adding back in as I went off coffee for a while during the first trimester. I also had some chopped mango and a pot of greek style yoghurt with honey. 

For dinner we had baked salmon fillets with potatoes fried in onions (these are so yummy!) and a prawn, tomato & coconut cream sauce. To be honest I probably could have added in some green veggies but I got lazy, haha! To drink I had another bottle of water.

I was stuffed after dinner but we watched The Walking Dead which always leads to snacking! So I kept it healthy (honestly it's normally not like this...I'm just trying to be good but lately it's been more like half a bag of tortilla chips and lots of sweeties!) with some red grapes, almonds and a licorice tea. This tea is always a staple in the evening - I love it. It's the sweet treat one from Teapigs). I also drank another bottle of water...always trying to keep hydrated! (And then getting up to go for a wee every hour of the night. Wonderful.)

That's it for today! Hopefully you enjoyed this post and let me know if you want me to continue doing them!

Emilia's Frozen Themed Birthday

I know this blog post is well over-due but things have been ridiculously busy lately! As most of you know I'm currently 5 months pregnant, Emilia started school this September and simultaneously turned four...and Eduardo starts nursery in April! So my life these past few months has been a blur of school runs, early mornings, prepping school lunches (usually at ridiculous hours of the night) and running around after two small humans with a bump. So I do apologise for my lack of posts and I hope you'll forgive my cliché excuse but sometimes life just gets in the way. 

In the meantime I have been dying to share some of these beautiful photos from Emilia's 4th birthday with you guys! We celebrated by throwing her a Frozen themed party which was a huge success and both Emilia & Eduardo were talking about it for weeks afterwards. First of all here is a look at my favourite part of the whole celebration...the treat table! 

What was also really lovely to see was the children's reactions to meeting Princess Anna and Queen Elsa at the party venue. I almost cried when they started to freak out in the car park as Anna waved excitedly at them from the window! They were both very shy in the beginning but quickly warmed up as they were made balloon animals and guests started to arrive.


The first half of the party was led by the entertainers, who were fantastic and somehow managed to hold the attention of all the children until lunch time. They performed magic tricks, played games, sang Frozen songs and got the birthday girl involved in their "magic" which of course she loved. Even Eduardo plucked up the courage to take part! 

After the first half of activities it was lunch time and the spread looked incredible. Each child got a little bento style lunchbox full of Frozen themed goodies and the table display was absolutely beautiful. It was filled with pretend snow, glittering diamonds, pretty balloons and Emilia's name spelled out in letters along the table.


When it came to singing happy birthday and cutting the cake, things got a little cray cray as by this point, the children were all hyped up on sugar...hahaha! 


The highlight of the party has to have been the snow machine...the looks on their faces when Elsa's magic really worked and it actually started snowing in the middle of "Let it Go" were just priceless. After that they all had a dance party, shoes were removed and general chaos ensued!


Emilia had a truly memorable and amazing 4th birthday party which we were so happy to be able to throw for her. Both she & Eduardo were totally bewitched by the entertainers and Eduardo didn't want to leave them behind...as Anna and Elsa were helping us carry the birthday presents back to the car he asked me whether Princess Anna could come home with us. It was such a magical experience for both children & it makes me really excited to get planning for Eduardo's birthday in April!

With thanks to Dazzle & Fizz for helping organise the party and Greg Hammond photography. 
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