Milos Island, Adventure Awaits! Greece 2016

 

I sat at my desk in work struggling to concentrate, my mind drifted to Greece.

As i re-read my blog-post from 2013/14, my heart longed for Greece and it’s turquoise waters.

Yes indeed, Greece and it’s many Islands have really become my  number one obsession.

https://brenda89b.wordpress.com/2014/11/20/my-love-affair-with-the-greek-islands/
When i think of Greece i get butterflies in my tummy, yeah, I just admitted that!               I’m a weirdo, I know. (hehe)

So when i got home that evening, I began to stalk some holiday destinations for summer 2016.

MILOS a volcanic Greek Island in the Aegean sea, just north of the sea of Crete. Milos is the south westernmost island of the Cyclades.

After looking at some pictures and reading all about it, I made my decision.It had to be Milos

This time round, we booked all the flights and accommodation ourselves. We flew from Dublin to Athens and then got a short flight from Athens to Milos. When we arrived, we got a taxi from the tiny airport to Adamas port (the life and soul of Milos).

 Looking out the window of the bust up,somewhat retro taxi, I knew the Island was going to be special. My boyfriend however, was sceptical. This quickly changed.

It was a bit early to check into our accommodation so we picked up or rental jeep (a 4×4 as a lot of the Island has no road networks, only dirt tracks) and sat in Adamas port watching the boats come in. Even though it was busy, there was a sense of calm. No one was rushing. It was bliss xx

I was certain that the next 10 days were going to be full of adventure.

Milos has many small fishing villages right on the water, some of which are only accessible by foot.

(Fourkovouni Village)

This was by far my favourite… turquoise waters…. perfect for swimming 😍with the wonderful view of these colourful houses dotted along the shore .

We visited a few of these villages and feel in love with all of them 💜

(Mandrakis Village)

(Klima Village)

From lunching on the shore to diving right into the water, the little villages alone were dreamy, but we reluctantly moved along knowing all that Milos had to offer.

Sea cave swimming in Papafragus

Sea kayaking day trips, deserted beaches with watermelon loving donkeys……………….. ask me about that one… go on!

Cliff diving, even if you picked the lowest one, it still counts!

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The famous Sarakiniko beach, often described as Lunar, is situated on the north shore of the Island

It is probably the closest thing you’ll get to walking on the moon. Who know Volcanic rock could be so magical.

Descending from the cliffs to the beach, holding onto ropes, aided by timber ladders…. reading the below warning signs…trying to keep your legs from shaking 😂 what a feeling! TSIGRADO BEACH

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From adventure to comfort, every beach had something different and unique to offer.

It was heavenly. There were no clubs or no strip like you would have in Zante or Rhodes.

In the evenings we would go for dinner and watch the sun set sitting outside one of the restaurants in Adamas Port. We never woke up hungover which was really nice for a change. (We must be getting old)

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Could it get any better?

How about a ghostly abandoned sulpher mine on the beach?

We rented a quad and drove down a long dirt track to the famous abandoned sulpher mine.

Paliorema Beach

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This Island’s Capitol, Plaka offers narrow streets with buzzing restaurants and magnificent sea views.

There are loads of little jewelry and clothes shops and a really nice vibe there, even if we got a parking fine…. In fairness, we did park on a faint yellow line outside the police station. (haha) There is no access by car so it’s best to park in an actual car park and walk up.

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Milos,  the adventures paradise! 10 days of bliss…. next stop…. Santorini….

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From France to Spain

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To say I have been through a hell of a time the last few months is an understatement.

So an extended holiday was exactly what the doctor ordered.!

18 days of bliss, but how could we afford it!

We set about planning our summer 2015 trip wondering how we could reduce costs while still enjoying ourselves to the max and so we made our plan.

We flew into Carcassonne, a beautiful medieval town in the south of France on the 10th of September and stayed in the fabulous Maison Fortunat

(https://www.facebook.com/Maison-Fortunat-661011880682193/)

Of course it helps that my sister owns this wonderful property, check it out!

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Fully equipped with everything you need to have an amazing holiday including a pool, obviously!

A short walk from the medieval cite where you are transported to another world almost immediately, every narrow little street leads you to another gem. Torture museums, haunted houses, knights jousting on horseback, shops, freshly made crepes and juices, restaurants…. WINE!!  (As i said, everything you need)

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When you eventually want to face reality again you can walk another 10 minutes to the ‘new town’ where you will be greeted with magnificent fountains, carousels and the ultimate holiday necessity, the square in the centre Ville, where you can sit for hours sipping on a local wine and get lost people watching. (My favourite haunt is Chez Felix)

If you fancy a spot of shopping, there is literally a long street running from one side of the town to the other with everything a girl could want. Sephora,  Pimkie, parfois and many more.

Spend your evenings in The Celt Irish bar, not your usual Irish bar abroad. This one is actually owned and run by genuine Irish people and doesn’t have the usual cringy Irish bar abroad vibe. Its classy interior and even classier range of high end whiskeys sets it aside from the others. The Celt hosts open mic nights which attract French, English and Irish patrons. A diverse culture which makes for a great night.

Find them here; https://www.facebook.com/theceltcarcassonne?fref=ts 

                          http://www.theceltpub.com/

From Carcassonne you have access to Carcassonne plage, a man made lake with water activities, if you want to venture a little further, Toulouse is only an hour away, the same with Montpelier and Narbonne, both sea side towns.

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Carcassonne should defiantly be on your places to visit list.

 

So, I guess this is when our adventure really started.

We caught the 9pm train to Barcelona (extremely hung-over), but the train was super comfortable.

 Barcelona was just a place to pick up our rental car for the next part of our adventure. We figured we could fly directly into Barcelona any time but other places are not as accessible, plus you need time to wander in Barcelona and we didn’t have enough of that hehehehe

So, we collected our car and shat ourselves a little bit at the task ahead of navigating Spanish roads. Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t that bad. We then headed North, yes, back the way we came, past Girona, to the lovely medieval town, Pals.

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We stopped along the way in Decathlon to buy ourselves a tent, some foam rollers and microfibre towels.

Camping was the cheapest way and Spanish camp-sites have excellent facilities.

This is where we found paradise, Cala D’aigua Xelida

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Then Girona, another massive medieval Town, where they were filming Game of thrones might I add!

We wandered through narrow streets in the old town and then sat down and watched the world pass us by while we drank Rioja and ate patatas bravas and Nachos.

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We drove to two camp-sites in Girona and both looked unsafe so we stayed in a gorgeous hotel in the city centre, that I found in 5 minutes before check in on bookings.com. But I really enjoyed Girona Town, it felt homely and safe.

IMG_20151010_160835The weather wasn’t amazing so we decided that heading south was a good option, we stopped off at some lovely places along the way.

Tossa De Mar

A beautiful place to stop, have some lunch and take it the views.

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From there , the awe-inspiring Roman Amphitheatre in Taragonna.

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And on to Granada, it was late when we got into Granada and we had drove for 4 hours so i went on bookings.com and found this amazing hotel, for 100EURO. I still think it was some sort of mix up, we got a suite with a jacuzzi in the room!

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I was just raging that we didn’t arrive earlier.

The next morning we woke up feeling refreshed and ready to go explore Granada. A town we had heard so much about, steeped in history, on the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

I had planned on going to see Flamingo dancing in the caves and the Palace in Alhambra and the Arabic shopping streets.

Sadly we didn’t research it enough and our whole, be free , make no plans ethos on the holiday back fired. Tickets for the palace were sold out for the foreseeable future and the same with Flamingo dancing in the caves.

However, we did get tickets to see the palace gardens, and we made it to the Arabic markets.

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It was beautiful there, we were so disappointed we didn’t get to see the palace, but we had to move on, we wandered through the Arabic centre and sat and had a glass of wine and then we did a spot of shopping. At about 7pm we decided we better organise where we would stay so we searched camp-sites and found an award winning camp-site up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and we made our way up. It was dark on arrival so using the lights of the car we pitched out tent and headed to the camp-site bar for a night cap.

 The air was fresh in the mountains and I actually woke up in the middle of the night freezing, my micro-fibre towel wasn’t enough so i wrapped myself up in clothes.

The next day we saw some of the Sierra Nevada national park and went and walked the hanging bridges of Granada.

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We drove from there straight to Malaga, had some lunch on the beach and pitched our tent in Torremolinos for our first few beach days xx It was so nice to finally let the sun soak into our skin, read some books and drink some cocktails.

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We rested here, went for relaxing morning walks on the beach and two hour strolls every night until it was time to check into our final destination.

Mijas

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We stayed in an amazing rental property in Calle de Mijas which was spread out over three floors.

Casa Kewuet

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When you walk into the house you are greeted with this view, amazing day or night. It was such a pity that our schedules were so hectic, we never got to sit here and watch the sun set together with a bottle of wine.

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An old style interior with a modern twist.

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The bathroom was built into the hillside rocks and this beautiful free standing bath took centre stage in the house.

We were in Mijas for our friends wedding and it was beautiful, and so central, Close to Malaga and Marbella.

So many things to do x

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I really enjoyed the holiday but I gotta say, Greece and it’s old fashioned islands still have my heart.

Spain was busy, commercialised and stressful to drive in and I just didn’t get the same relaxed vibe I had felt in Greece.

Check out my previous blog here:

https://brenda89b.wordpress.com/2014/11/20/my-love-affair-with-the-greek-islands/

As always follow me on social media

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instagram.com/brenda89bhttps://

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Why natural skincare is the most effective skincare!

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I have been asked time and time again “what skincare do you use? what foundation do you use? your skin is always so flawless!”.

I have always been into a skincare routine ever since I was a teeny bopper. Back then, all I knew was the Simple range and it worked well for me, however as I grew up it wasn’t enough.

When I went to college I was lucky enough to stumble across Lush and like everyone does, I fell in love with it. I loved their cleansers, toners, moisturisers, masks…. I loved everything about them. Sometimes, I’d even go in just for a sniff.

Funnily enough, I do have dry skin so I need moisture, and lots of it. Not dry flaky skin, just dry, particularly after a shower or a swim.

So as my life journey continued, so too did my interest in natural skincare.
I started getting more and more selective. Parben free this , fragrance free that, organic,  as natural as possible.
Which is hard because even the most natural cosmetics companies, with the greatest of intentions, have to start using nasties as they grow to prolong the shelf life of their products. It makes business sense yes, but its not an option for us health conscious people.

Actually, when you look into these things you can spend hours reading about the ill effects that synthetic preservatives, synthetic fragrances etc have on our bodies. Its crazy really! How did we end up like this. We were all so natural and self sufficient before.

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And all of this got me thinking………….

Some of us have gone full circle and reverted back to the ways of our grandparents when it comes to being self sufficient regarding food. ‘Growing your own’ is now on trend, everyone is doing it, and more power to you if you are. I am and I love it.

and if you don’t have the means to grow your own there is a big trend towards local farmers markets, locally grown fruit and veg, locally made preserves, jams and honeys. It’s great.

So, why don’t we do the same when it comes to skincare.

Local aromatherpists…

Local herbalists………

Small local companies that will make a blend on request, or make a small batch of creams, balms, whatever, that don’t need chemical preservatives to survive a holocaust. Products that are made of natural ingredients, plant oils, plant butters, essential oils….. The things our parents parents would have used, castor oil, olive oil, coconut oil.

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Doesn’t it make perfect sense?!

So, this leads me to my conclusion!

Why chose products pumped with chemical preservatives, synthetic fillers, synthetic fragrances and massive marketing budgets that have travelled the world more than you have ………

Make the change, find your local aromatherpists, herbalist, natural skincare company. They will make it as it’s needed and I guarantee you, it will change your skin forever.

Here are some of my favourites:

Saraki Skincare

https://www.facebook.com/sarakiskincare

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Apart from their fun, amazing packaging, they make small batches of face creams, balms etc by hand as demand requires which means they are always fresh with little or no preservatives. They are made using plant oils/butters and essential oils and smell divine, leaving your mind rested and your skin hydrated and soft.  Pop over to their Facebook page for a look!

Aroma Bliss

https://www.facebook.com/mollyhartigan1?fref=ts

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Combining culinary skills and a love of aromatherapy, Aroma Bliss again makes small handmade batches of creams specifically for clients on request and they all smell as beautiful as each other. Molly has a passion for skincare and the knowledge to back it up. CHECK THEM OUT.

LaVida Herbal Clinic

https://www.facebook.com/Lavidaherbs

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 ‘My Role as a Herbalist is to give people a choice, to connect with what nature has to offer and to get people involved in their own health care, prevention is far better than cure.’
Claire is both an aromatherpist and a herbalist, so she can help you feed your skin from the inside out.
Have a look at her Facebook for more information.

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As always follow me on social media

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Bareminerals, bare minimum ingredients! Liquid Foundation Review

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Bareminerals newest family member!

Bareskin Liquid Foundation.

So, I treated myself to these amazing products after I was drawn in by their advertising.

I don’t really like the feel of powder mineral foundations, I find them drying, although great as a powder to seal your liquid foundation.

This is the brands first ever liquid foundation.

   It is a tone-correcting mineral foundation and brightening serum in one.

When I was getting my tone match in BT’s, the sales assistant was so passionate and told me that most liquid foundations have large quantity’s of chemical ingredients whereas this one only has 5!

‘Created with exceptional purity in mind, this ultra-thin, skin-perfecting foundation provides seamless coverage, a natural finish and the look and feel of beautiful skin while delivering a noticeably brighter, more youthful appearance.’

Your skin feels, soft, nourished and moisturised.

The best part is, it is made with the bare minimum ingredients and formulated without oil, silicone, parbens or fragrance.

It’s like nothing you’ve ever felt before! Really!

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Here are some Facts;

  • Clinically proven to improve the appearance of dark spots, skin brightness and skin texture.
  • Coconut-derived base with jojoba-coated mineral pigments and non-chemical broad spectrum SPF 20
  • Supercharged Lilac Plant Stem Cells and Vitamin C help to reveal brighter, more even-toned skin
  • Ultra-thin, silky texture-one to two weightless drops naturally transform, soften and smooth your complexion

To use you need to shake it well before use because it is a runny formula and you will need the pigment to be evenly distributed throughout the product.

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I highly recommend getting the brush as it is specifically designed for the product.

As I mentioned, the formula is very runny and this is where the design of the application brush comes in.

You drop two drops of the foundation onto the middle of the brush, it is strategically designed to hold the product and you apply to the face in circular motions!

If you want to build up coverage you can add more product as you go.

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You gotta be patient and have time for the application of this foundation but I promise you, it will be worth it!

Don’t be put off as you apply it, although it is very thin and lightweight, it sets and settles into the skin well after a few minutes of working it in.

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As you can see it does brighten the skin and leaves it flawless.

It  brightens up my dark circles completely and that’s only the foundation, I didn’t go under that with concealer at all.

I love it as a foundation.

It comes in 20 different shades so you are sure to find one to suit.

This shade is bare linen 03.

Bareminerals is also a cruelty-free company!

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Here is a picture of the finished face xx

It totally covered up those spots on its own! No other product has been used on them before or after the application! AMAZING! eh?!

Overall a great natural as possible foundation xx

I would say to be careful just after shaking it as when you open it the product bubbles out, have your brush ready.

They may need to re-design the bottle (hehehehe)

(http://www.bareescentuals.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-BareEscentuals-Site/en_US/Experience-Show?cgid=BE_BARESKIN_PURE_BRIGHTENING_SERUM_FOUNDATION)

Other products used xx

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You guys always ask me what foundation I use and now you know the secret to flawless looking make-up x

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I’m in a mermaid state of mind!

Hey Beauties xx

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I had the pleasure of getting my fur done last week by an amazingly talented colourist in Fox&Bow hair salon.

(https://www.facebook.com/foxandbow?fref=ts)

Michelle has a masters in hair colour! Who knew that that existed, right!

Hair colour is a true craft and passion of Michelle’s.

 

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Here’s how it works in there!

Firstly you go in for a hair consultation.

You have a chat about what your hair goals are and the girls will talk you through the process.

I loved how honest Michelle was from the beginning (it’s going to take 5hours, its going to be a lot of work etc) and her knowledge drew me in straight away.

I felt that my hair was in safe, confident, passionate, knowledgeable hands and so after the consultation I made my appointment and then nearly died with anticipation waiting for Tuesday to come.

The atmosphere in the salon is fun and friendly, yet professional and while you are having your hair washed at the sink, the chair massages you!

What more could a girl ask for eh!

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Here is a picture I took literally going out the door before the transformation (as I’m calling it)

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And so it began……

Michelle used ColourpHlex added to bleach. This is for professional use only (sorry DIY’ers)!

ColourpHlex strengthens hair from the inside out, reducing damage and breakage. As the bleach opens the cuticle/follicle, colourpHlex uses naturally derived vegetable protein molecules that penetrate the hair, reinforcing bonds during the bleach process xx

(Thanks to Michelle for the science)

To get more of an even result Michelle used Loreal Platinium plus,it lifts 20% faster and lifts clean, and  is more

conditioning as it contains beeswax properties that maintain natural oils.

Michelle decided against re-bleaching my ends in an attempt to remove the yellow and blue tones that were already in it but, hair is a journey and we will work on this the next time now that we know how well the product works with my hair.

So instead she worked some manic panic blue hair dye in to brighten up the blue.

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So enough of that sciency stuff!

Here is the end result!

Soft looking, pastel, mermaid hair!

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And every time you wash it, it gets more and more beautiful.

The best part about pastel mermaid hair is that anything goes.

Here it is after 5 washes!

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and here it is with lilac lippie

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Lime crime-Rave lipstick

LOOK!

Pastel, mermaid hair even goes with cats!

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Here is the link to the Fox and Bow website:

(http://foxandbow.ie/)

You will find all the details here.

Everyone is commenting on how soft my hair looks and I have never achieved such a bright, white blonde before.

I am so happy with the colour and cannot wait to play around with it a bit more.

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Skulls & Anchors! Decoupage

Nest Table’s Up-cycled

Hey Guys

So I started up-cycling one of two nest tables today.

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They are ply-wood so they didn’t need sanding.

I started on the smaller one today because I need to fix the leg on the bigger one.

Here’s how I did it!

I gave it two coats of white under coat and than started the chalk  painting.

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Chalk paint dries surprisingly fast so I coated it twice and then set out to decide on my decoupage design xx

I find these tattoo ideas magazine great for decoupage.

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Eventually I decided on these two.

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When you decide where you want to place your decoupage, you first paint the varnish/glue directly on the desired area, place the paper down and paint the glue/varnish over it!

(I used Annie Sloan decoupage glue/varnish from Twenty six Electric Mix, a fab shop in Nenagh, Co Tipperary)

Find them here: https://www.facebook.com/TwentySixEclecticMix?fref=ts

Then coat that twice or as much as needed.

You then need to coat the whole area otherwise they will be a noticeable difference in the colour.

BOOM! You are done

It really is that easy!

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More decisions……………..

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The completed nest xx

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Check out my previous up-cycling posts

https://brenda89b.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/creativity-comes-from-dark-times/

https://brenda89b.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/brighten-up-your-life-diy-decoupage/

As always follow me on the various social media sites;

https://www.facebook.com/brennersMcGooBlogger?ref=hl

http://instagram.com/brenda89b

https://twitter.com/BrennersMcGoo

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The Burren Perfumary

1429452923364   With the weather being so beautiful lately, myself and the other half decided to go on a mini road trip Sunday along the rugged Clare coastline.

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After having lunch in the lovely tea and garden rooms in Ballyvaughen we hit the beach in Fanore.

I had the most amazing salad and a glass of red and as I sat there surrounded by beautiful jasmine plants and the muffled noises of chit chat I felt very relaxed.

I Would definitely recommend a visit.

They have won lots of awards and the food is delicious.

(Image taken from http://www.tearoomsballyvaughan.com/)

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April beach adventures in Ireland require warm clothes!

Although it was sunny, it was really windy so we didn’t last long on the beach.

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Good weather for surfers mind! and they were in their element out on the water.

I dipped my toes in, but the Atlantic ocean is way to cold for my Mediterranean loving bones xx

So, as we strolled carefree back to the car I was thinking ‘What will we do next!”

And then I remembered hearing about the Burren perfumery

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http://www.burrenperfumery.com/

The Burren perfumery was founded 40years ago and is surrounded by limestone.

The Burren is a place of floral diversity and 70% of Irelands wildflower species can be found there.

Driving along the narrow roads I saw wet lands and hundreds of these beautiful wildflowers.

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To be honest, I could see myself living there. I felt a sense of isolation, the good kind of isolation.

A place where as long as you treat it right, it will provide for you.

As we passed small houses I imagined  that the little communities were very ‘together’, although their houses may be miles apart.

When we arrived I felt a sense of serenity. Birds singing, sun shining and no traffic noises.

I went into the shop first where they sell make perfumes, creams, balms, soaps and essential oils. These are all made using natural and organic ingredients and everything is made on site, by hand, in small batches.

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You are invited to watch a 10minute clip all about the flora and fauna of the surrounding area.

The images were so striking and vivid. The wild flowers, the lizards, yes! lizards in Ireland! I was shocked too.

I wanted to buy everything, rose hip oil, rose otto face creams, argan oils, lavender creams.

All natural, organic, hand made, with no synthetics and as it says on the label ‘tested on us’, not animals.

I picked up a 10ml bottle of lavender essential oil for 8.50

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I then dragged myself away and headed out to the herb and flower garden for a look.

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They offer free classes and invite you in to watch the products being made from May onwards, check out the schedule here;

http://www.burrenperfumery.com/events/

To finish off the wonderful day, we sat outside in the sun drinking juice xx

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I will definitely be coming back in the summer when the flowers are in bloom and I will definitely be watching them make the creams xx

Peace and love xx

Brenners Mc Goo

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Oh God above in Dublin!

Here’s a little post on this weekend’s girly trip to Dublin xx

The shops I visited, the things I saw, some of those I bought and everything in between.

Temple Bar

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Lucy’s Vintage Basement

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Urban Outfitters

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Kling

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Forever 21

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Pennys Treats

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New Look

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The Guinness StoreHouse

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I hope you enjoyed the pictures xx

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Brighten up your life! DIY Decoupage

Decoupage and chalk painting on clothes hangers.

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To be honest, these were practice runs as it was my first time using chalk paint and doing decoupage.

So, Get yourself some wooden hangers. I got these in Euro Giant, 3 for €1.50.

1427250980093They will need to be sanded down as they come pre varnished and the chalk paint doesn’t take well on varnished surfaces.

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20150316_194352I covered the first hanger in wrapping paper, the next time I am going to rip up napkins as the wrapping paper was hard to work with. You need to cover the area in varnish, then place the paper down and varnish over it. This needed a few coats of varnish as there was so many finicky corners.

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For the other two hangers, again I sanded them down and used authentico chalk paint, they needed two coats. I then used the Annie Sloan decoupage and this was the end result.

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And….. I just got three more so stay tuned for more beautiful hangers xx

Brenners Mc Goo

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