Tag: reviews

Afternoon tea – a necessary indulgence



Afternoon tea is my favourite meal.  I know that it might not be the healthiest meal but it trumps on the luxurious indulgence stakes.

I was delighted to be invited to the Carlton Hotel in Blanchardstown to celebrate the launch of their afternoon tea menu.  The simple thought of it had me up early in the morning and ready to travel.

Like any true afternoon tea addict it is always a complete experience, so I started with my outfit.  It had to be my Lindy Bop Tea dress.  Feeling pretty and bubbling with excitement I set off on my journey with fellow bloggers Sinead from Yummy Mummy and Dolores from Irish Health Hour.

The mood was set with lots of girly chats and laughs and we arrived in good spirits.

A Hotel with a Heart

Some people might say that a hotel is simply a hotel, but this hotel has heart.  What a beautiful warm welcome we received.  The staff were fantastic, friendly and efficient.

As we entered the room where the tea party was being held I just wanted to swirl and twirl in my party dress.  The attention to detail was second to none and my eyes kept jumping around to take in the detail, all of which built atmosphere and excitement.

Pimp my Prosecco

Before we sat down for tea we were offered a glass of prosecco, but not just any prosecco.  This cute primp my prosecco stand meant that we could add flavourings and fruit to our glass of sparkle. As delicious as it was, I wanted to watch my intake and the great staff immediately assisted by pimping sparkling water for me.

The perfect ingredients for afternoon tea for me are great company, excellent hot tea and lots of it and of course the foody goodies.  As we sat down at a perfectly decorated table with great little details like name plates and little flowers I glanced over at the fine china and knew I was in for a treat.

The cake stands were delivered and we all simply dived in.  The bottom layer of sandwiches was my first dive in.  The classic smoked salmon and brown soda, a yummy delicious chicken with apple wood smoked cheddar (so yummy that I was looking for a second one), fresh tasting egg mayonnaise and cucumber and finally a roast beef.  I was ok with missing out on the beef (as I don’t eat red meat), and was delighted to sit back and sip at my tea.

My number one tea party food is a good scone.  These scones served with jam and cream were fluffy and light inside with just the right amount of crisp. The addition of lemon drizzle cake and a fruity banana bread was just the right balance before reaching for the top tier!

The top-tier of any tea stand is pure indulgence and this was no different.  Creamy, dreamy coconut cake, delicious vanilla cheesecake, toffee Mille Feuillee and beautiful little custard tarts which are my mother’s favourite.  The big decision – to choose or simply have one of each.

There was a lot of delicious food and I enjoyed it.  It was great fun though and between lots of laughs as we experimented with Boomerang and dived into our goody bags. Time simply flew.

Just a small note at this stage on the goody bags.  They were fabulous with lots of treats for us bloggers to try.  I will be featuring many items on my Instagram (@DynamicKerry) and my blog in the weeks to come. We were gifted all sorts of goodies from a range of sponsors.  These included the Carlton Hotel, Ultra Pure Laboratories, Human + Kind, Dr Paw Paw, Ardell Lashes, Graham Anthony, Debenhams, Nude by Nature and from local retailers including Chopped, O’Breins Wines, and Westend Retail Park.

This was my kind of afternoon, and to be honest my perfect social occasion.  I will definitely be back!

We even finished off the afternoon with a gin cocktail!  Who could say no to that?

A hotel with a lot more to offer

Before the day ended we had a tour around the hotel and I added to my wish list.  Beautifully appointed rooms just invite you to sink into soft pillows and take a rest.

The fab business centre caught my eye.  Working from home I am often looking for somewhere to hold a meeting or simply work and write when I am out-of-town.  I will be working on a different blog post over on www.kerrymanning.net all about working on the go and will definitely be including the facilities at the Carlton Hotel in Blanchardstown.

The Carlton Hotel is conveniently located close to the fabulous Blanchardstown Shopping Centre and in easy reach of the airport.

Thank you for reading. Let me know if you indulge in afternoon tea at the Carlton Hotel Blanchardstown or wherever you live.  Remember tea and cake is best shared with friends.

Kerry xx

Destressing my skin and my soul with Hayo’u

Stress is part of my life.  It is part of all our lives and relieving stress is high up on my list of things to deal with.

Over the past couple of years I have learnt to deal with my stress better. To be simply be more ‘in the moment when it comes to day-to-day life.  If I am upset over something I stop and breathe.  Simple I know but it has made a huge difference.

When I received news of the Hayo’u range of products I was intrigued.  I wanted to know more about a pamper product that seemed to understand where I was in my life.

The Hayo’u Method

Rather than a range of products I was introduced to the Hayo’u Method.  The system is designed to tackle stress levels and make you feel and look younger so a win in my book.

The package of samples (thank you so much) arrived.  Are these going to be any different to other bath and pamper products.  I had to wonder. They are so very different that I have to attempt to explain the sensory experience that I have had, and continue to have using this method.

The first of my senses was my sense of smell.  I love oils and the combination of lotus flower and frankincense. And combined with the healing properties of Himalayan pink salt it is just heavenly.  The first product I used was the shower gel which  immediately invigorated me.  But, as I was road testing the product I needed to follow instructions.  Each product comes with a little insert which introduces you to the one minute breathing exercise. This little ritual is rooted in the wisdom on Chinese medicine and helps you to focus inwards and calm your mind.  As you breathe in the gorgeous aromas you are drawing out physical tension and inviting in calm.

I love the instructions – Expel – the stale breath, Descend as you breathe in and then as you exhale – Smile though your whole body.  Try it – it feels great and puts me in a happy place.

After trying the shower gel I was ready for a bath, but waited for the following day.  I normally shower but I have been treating myself to baths quite a bit especially since I have been in a bit of pain.  The reason there are none of my own pics for this blog post is that I have used up all the bath product!  A gorgeous oily salty pink pile that I used both as a bath salt and a bit of a scrub.

A Stone massage at home

As if that wasn’t enough there were two more packages in the parcel.  The  Hayo’u Beauty Restorer De-stress Face Tool  a beautiful jade specially shaped stone, and a little bottle of gorgeously aromatic Treat-Rite De-stress Face Oil.

The two are used together to stimulate energy points and release congestion and toxicity.  I have included the video link so you can see how it is used, but let us just say I am addicted.  The experience is wonderful with the fragrance from the oil and the cool pressure of the jade stone tricking me into believing I am in an expensive spa.

It is easier to watch the video than to try to explain how this all works.

https://www.hayoumethod.com/the_one_minute_beauty_ritual/

As a blogger I get asked to try products fairly often but I only write honestly and write about products that I really love.  This little parcel has already brought me so much joy and relaxation that I have no hesitation in recommending it. These are not budget products, however I really think that they are simply fabulous and worth a treat to yourself.

Thank you so much for reading and promise me that no matter what products you use, please treat yourself to a relaxing bath – it is something I think we all neglect.  Lie there and simply breathe.

Kerry x

p.s.  I was gifted these items to try, but my review is from the heart.

Where Women Inspire – a report on a wonderful event!

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Women Inspire – it’s that simple.  I am privileged to be a member of the Women Inspire Network on Facebook and Twitter where I receive daily inspiration.

The privilege was even greater when I was honoured to speak at the recent Women Inspire Event – From Kitchen Table to Building an Empire, held at the City North Hotel in Dublin.

I have to admit I was excited and then intimidated to share the stage with women that I admire.  Anna Scheller came over from Texas to give us some awesome tips on sales, Lilach Bullock, one of Forbes Top 20 Women Social Media Power Influencers flew in from London.  (more…)

Why I started wearing a Fitbit when I am probably not very fit at all?

 

I wear a blue Fitbit almost every day and have done so for the last 8 months.  My Dad asked me if I actually liked it when he saw me checking it over and again and commenting on how little or much I had walked.  Don’t let it rule your life he said.  I really love it!

fitbit fabuliciousfifty

Let me back track a little.  Regular readers to my blog will know that I came to fitness very, very late in life.  Like so late that I bought my first pair of trainers when I was on the very wrong side of forty.

I really do regret not discovering the joy of walking earlier in life, but I try to make up for it now.

One thing you must know before we get into all the statistics etc. is that I don’t walk very fast at all.  I also limp and sometimes walk like a ‘constipated tortoise’.  I have fibromyalgia and arthritis and it can all be a little painful.  Despite this however I strongly believe that the more I walk the better I feel.  Walking clears my mind and when it takes place it nature it fills my soul.  It also eases out all the creaks and actually makes me feel better.   In addition there are also all the health benefits that everyone talks about like weight loss and better muscle tone.

Last December I was visiting family in Dubai.  My big treat is a visit to an Arabic restaurant so off we went and ordered all these yummy little dishes for sharing.  I noticed my brother-in-law was wearing a bracelet.  I am very outspoken so I asked him why he was wearing a bracelet.  ‘It is a Fitbit.’   I really didn’t have a clue and as I didn’t move in fitness circles despite my love of walking I hadn’t even heard of the concept.  He patiently explained it all and told me how it worked.  He is really fit and walks, runs and plays squash.

I thought nothing of it until the next day when I was presented with a little bag and opened it to find my very own Fitbit.  I was honestly quite speechless – what a generous gift had been given to me to encourage my own fitness journey.

I strapped it on and was ready to go.  There are a number of things I learnt from wearing a Fitbit and because of these I would encourage everyone who can to try it – or any other fitness monitor.

This is what I have learnt about my Fitbit

  1. That it is possible to do under a thousand steps a day if you are in an office and don’t move around much.
  2. It takes around 2500 steps to walk from my house to the doctor – so there and back is a great way to ensure I get my steps in.
  3. I feel grumpy and disgruntled when I don’t walk.
  4. Looking at a Fitbit which shows under 2000 steps is a great motivator to get my trainers on and get moving.
  5. That it is possible to walk over 10 000 steps before breakfast when I participated in the 5km Darkness into Light walk recently.  I also exceeeded myself at the Heart of Galway walk where I logged up 14 000 steps.
  6. That my sweet place is around 6000 steps – after this I suffer quite a bit with pain. I am now trying to push my speed a little instead of going further.
  7. I have learnt to use the Fitbit to pace myself and prevent myself from getting overtired. For example if I am going into town and know I am going to be pounding the pavements I might drive or get a lift to the station.  I have no problem walking the 2000 steps to get there, but the prospect of walking 2000 steps home when I am literally crying with pain and exhaustion isn’t a good idea.

A new introduction to the Fitbit app is a little chart which shows how many hours of the day you have been active.  This is really cool and a big wake-up call.  You get a little red dot for each waking hour you do over 250 steps.  It is a really simple but important reminder to get moving.  Take a break, stretch your legs and move away from the computer.  Although it is always good to log between six and 10 000 steps a day it is better to be active throughout the day rather than doing the majority of steps in one big burst.

My Fitbit does all sorts of other things too.  It measures my sleep.  It is really interesting to see if you are in fact getting a good night.  The app – on your phone where you can view all the data from the device shows periods of restfulness and periods of being awake.  When I first started wearing it I was rarely getting a decent 8 hours.  Now I often get those restful hours so necessary to keep smiling.

I also love the little virtual rewards – badges that you get for reaching milestones.  It is always nice to get a pat on the back!

I hope I can motivate other people like me (who might be overweight, unfit and battling with pain) to get moving.

Thank you for reading – I am off to get my Fitbit off the charger and go for a walk.

Kerry x

When only tea and a biscuit will do – Bake it Easy review

 

bake it easy fabuliciousfifty

I am not quite sure how all the science behind tea works, but what I do know is that by this stage in my life I probably have more tea in my veins than blood.

I just love the stuff.  It is neither sweet nor savoury but this hot drink is what I reach for … well for almost any occasion.

I drink tea throughout the day at it simply makes me feel better.  It gives me a boost of energy (that would be the caffeine), but at the same time it relaxes me.  I think it might be the sitting down and taking 10 to 15  minutes to drink the tea that helps.

I also associate tea with friends.  Nothing quite like a sitting on the sofa with a pot of tea and a plate of biscuits and doing what woman do best – setting the world right with a cup of tea and a chat.

I love homemade biscuits but rarely get myself together to make them.  I was delighted to discover Bake it Easy on twitter one night.  (Yes, the world has changed to that degree that I find new things on twitter!)

Maria was kind enough to send me some samples to try.  The chocolate ones disappeared magically!

It is simply wonderful and every so slightly indulgent.  The jar of cookie mix can be ordered online and stashed in the grocery cupboard.  Tip out the mixture, add an egg and butter and randomly spoon out onto a baking sheet.  It is that easy.

Tea is now just a little bit more fabulous, the only problem is limiting yourself to two, or three.  They taste yummy with absolutely no artificial after taste.

bake it easy mixes blogI think I might just pop the oven on – I have a Bake it Easy smartie cookie mix in the cupboard and could quite happily down another cup of tea.

Thanks for reading!

Kerry

Thank you for my gift – Meaghers Pharmacy

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It was like Christmas this morning – thank you Meaghers Pharmacy.  On a Monday in April with the rain at the window.

Yesterday I was privileged to speak at the Elite Munster Bloggers Network event in Limerick.  I was honestly over-excited especially as I got to chat to so many bloggers and get up to date on the latest products and trends.

At the end of the day, when I was quite tired, I was given a black box!  Now although I was excited, I was simply too tired to open it, so this morning it was Christmas for me.

The box, was a gift from Meaghers Pharmacy.  I am told that this is how all their products are delivered when you order from the website.

Opening time ….

-it's getting exciting ...Opening the box revealed a lovely letter and lots of yellow tissue paper – my favourite!

Each item was carefully wrapped individually with a little quality seal sticker on each one.  Now you know what I mean – it was like Christmas.

meaghers threeThings have been a bit tough financially this year with having to give up work due to my health.  I have had to dial back my beauty spending.  The selection of products for us to try felt like it had been selected for me!

  • A brand new Sleek palette – my favourite eyeshadow brand.  I think the pigment is really strong and the colours stays!
  •  A cool Code VLM mascara to transform my eyelashes
  • And for my lips a luscious NYX soft matt lip cream

And to take off my make-up …

  • Bioderma H20 solution
  • Nip+Fab Glycolic Daily Cleansing pads

And for pamper time.

  • A yummy smelling bamboo green tea candle from Purcell & Woodcock
  • A wild Irish Seaweed moisturising mask – the healing benefits of seaweed are well-known and now I get to treat my face.
  • I was admiring the Victoria’s Secret bottles on the exhibition table and guess what was inside – a full bottle of Amber Romance fragrance mist.

meaghers four

Blogging means a lot to me – I write about being fabulous despite the curveballs life throws at us.  This little box made me feel fabulous today!  A girl should always have some treats to make her feel special.

The good news is that I can have a few more treats as Meaghers Pharmacy had given me a discount code to use, and to share with my blog readers!   I think I might use my discount to treat myself to the new brush cleaner as I have been working on a make-up maintenance post.

It is only valid until 17th April – so by using Code ELITE34 – you can get your own delivery of a special Black box filled with yellow tissue and gifts to yourself.  You can find the website at www.meaghers.ie

This is a bit of a different post for me but I hope you enjoyed sharing my excitement of have Christmas on a wet Monday in April.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry x

 

My Cold and Flu Survival Kit

flu survival kit blog

 

These are the things I always like to have at home just in case the dreaded flu strikes.

Flu season – that time of the year when we just know that the bugs are circulating.  Kids go back to school, a colleague starts sniffing and the air conditioning does the rest.  Sometimes it is just a sniffle but then again it could be full-blown flu.  Aches and pains and a seriously red nose.

There isn’t a quick fix for colds and flu, but there are a few things that I think are essential for getting through a dose.

  1. Good quality tissues – the ones that have balsam in them. It really does make a difference.  My advice is to have a stash of a few boxes hidden away just in case.
  2. Honey and lemon. Good local honey has all sorts of healing properties as does lemon.  I make up a drink of lemon, honey and hot water and keep it beside me.  It is antibacterial and really is very soothing and helps sooth a cough.
  3. Orange juice. I crave orange juice when I am sick.  It is like a glass of sunshine.  I am sure that the Vitamin C helps to heal and ward off further bugs, and the sugar gives you a bit of energy to get a few things done.
  4. A good book – you need to rest when you are sick. Rest really does help healing so give into an early night and go to bed with a good book.  You deserve it. I am currently reading Thrive by Arianna Huffington on my Kindle.
  5. Essentials oils. I love my essential oils and they are great when you struggling to breath.  My go to oils are eucalyptus, and peppermint.  I add a couple of drops to water in a burner and keep it beside me.  When my son was young I would dab a few drops on his pyjamas and send him off to bed breathing easier.  A drop of lavender will also help sleep.
  6. Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream. This is seriously magic stuff.  It fixes all sorts of things but can also go a long way towards preventing a red chapped nose – so often the side effect of a head cold.
  7. Your choice of decongenstant – my current favourite is Uniflu which works for me and doesn’t conflict with other medications I take. I have no medical qualifications but I do think that dealing with the symptoms helps.
  8. And finally tea. Honestly I always have tea in the house as I am addicted, but when I am blocked up I tend to reach for herbal infusions or my new favourite Solaris green tea chai.

Finally my advice is to be kind to yourself.  Taking time to rest and recharge is what your body is asking for.  Rest while you can.  Treat yourself to the chocolate biscuit with your tea. Say thank you for the TLC and get well soon.

 

Thanks for reading x

Kerry

 

 

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