I got married!!!

I got married!

Where in the world…

Where in the world

Here we are, the second instalment to my I got married‘ series and let’s get stuck into it. Before that, I need to say how overwhelmed I am at all the good wishes, texts, email, tweets and comments. It really has made this time even more special if that’s possible!

Ok so let’s talk planning. Planning is not actually the correct word as we felt there wasn’t too much to plan. No flowers, no bridal party, no invitations, no guests (yet), no planning of hair styles, no trials, no cars. From very early on we knew our wedding was going to be a party of two. Ok three, if you count the person marrying us. Ok four, if you count our witness! So wedding first, celebrations with friends and family after and given they are on either sides of the world, that meant there were going to be lots of celebrations. Yay! At this stage with just Mr B and I to think about, it was exciting to know we could do whatever the hell we wanted and there was only one question for us to answer; where in the world will we get married?

What a fun question! And surprisingly easy to answer. Just to give you a bit of a time frame, we decided we were going to get married back in April 2015 (that’s code for engaged) and have the wedding in September 2015. So off I went, typing into Google ‘how to get married in France’ and I soon realised this maybe wasn’t going to work out how we thought. It’s not impossible to get married in France but we were not going to be able to manage all the legalities and requirements in our timeframe so back we went to the world map. Italy was our next choice, Amalfi coast to be precise and with a very small amount of research, it looked like a winner. With only five months to the wedding I decided I better get my outfit sorted and I did but you’ll have to wait until next week for that instalment! To make life a bit easier we thought we would pay for someone to take care of all the paperwork. I even looked up wedding planners but quickly realised this was service was not for us. We also realised that like France, there were a few requirements that we didn’t have the time or patience for so we decided Ireland was next on the list and straight after the wedding we would jump on a plane to Italy, wedding outfits and all.

Even though this was our third choice we knew exactly how we wanted it to look. I got rather an unromantic slap in the face when I found out I couldn’t just go and get married. Who knew there was so much paper work to getting married?! This is all manageable of course but it felt stressful and difficult. I had some very interesting phone calls here and if I heard the phrase ‘wedding package’ one more time I really had the potential of turning into bridezilla! There were a few other instances that tipped me over the edge and so we decided to rethink things. Again. We reminded ourselves that we had only ourselves to think about and maybe with a bit more time we could make Italy work so with June 2016 as our new date we went back to researching Italy.

Even with that decision made, other than finding some fabulous hotels we imagined ourselves lounging around, I didn’t get much further with our Italy plans until one day in November I heard details of someone else’s wedding destination and I had a light bulb moment. All I kept thinking was ‘why aren’t we getting married there’? Within a day of researching and joining some forums to see if what I was reading was correct, we had one hundred percent decided on our location. We were so excited that everything was working out just as we wanted (and that it was easy and romantic!) we decided, why wait? Come the last week of December, we packed our bags and flew to…..

New York baby!

New York baby!

New York baby!

New York baby!

New York baby!

New York New York!

xo

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I got married!

I got married!

The not quite announcement 

I was trying to find the right title for this series but I keep coming to ‘I got married!’ and it seems perfect! I am thrilled to be sharing this news with you and over the next few weeks I’ll be giving you all the juicy details. Ok not all the juicy details as it’s not just my story to tell but I will be sharing everything from not shouting it from the roof tops, to being told I couldn’t organise a wedding in 3 months and how I made the ultimate decision of what to wear. Basically the when, where and how of this very exciting time and why I’m doing everything in reverse!

I won’t start at the very beginning so let me bring you to just after our engagement. The very short version of that story is that we were in Paris and had just taken a stroll around the Eiffel Tower. We continued our stroll down a neighbouring street, I was busy taking photographs of the beautiful architecture surrounding us and Mr B was patiently waiting for me to finish before popping the question. I’ll spare you all the mushy details but you can guess what happened next. It will be no surprise to you that we celebrated with coffee and croissants.

Celebrations

Ok so we are engaged. Ahhhh that word, engagement! I don’t know what it is but I’m not a fan. I preferred to say, ‘I’m getting married’. Actually it took me a while to even say that. Don’t get me wrong, I was bursting with excitement at the thought of marrying Mr B but we kept the news to ourselves for a while. It wasn’t necessarily a conscious decision not to tell people but there were a few things on our minds. Mainly, I was aware of the fact that I was very far from family and some of my dearest friends and the thought of texting our news felt so impersonal. Until I worked out how I wanted to spread our news, I enjoyed the fact that this was our fun, romantic secret.

Can you keep a secret?

Right, so fast forward to when our news was kind of out in the world. By kind of I mean that Mr B decided he wanted to wait (this will become clear a little later on) and as for me, I told a very limited number of people. This actually took me a few months. Between face-to-face catch ups, arranging chats on Skype, rescheduling chats on Skype and life in general getting in the way, I actually forgot who I had and hadn’t told and I found myself saying ‘did I mention we’re getting married?’. In the end I had to tell a few friends with a text message and you know what, that’s just the way things turned out and it didn’t diminish the excitement or love we felt from those closest to us. Marriage and weddings conjures up all sorts of things for people and it was so interesting to see everyone’s reactions and oh boy were there a lot of questions! How did he propose? When are you getting married? Will you get married in Australia? Will your family come to Ireland for the wedding? Can I see the ring? What are you going to wear? Are you going to take his name? Don’t get me wrong I loved that everyone was so excited and I wanted to share everything with them, but not yet. Mr B and I already had a pretty good idea of what our wedding was going to look like so we felt there really wasn’t a lot to organise. Plus I had no intention of ‘the wedding’ being the driving force of conversations or of my life in general for that matter mostly because I wanted to keep nearly everything to myself until I was ready to share. Like I said, we kind of did everything backwards as now that we are actually married, I am more than happy to chat endlessly about the wedding and all the fun, romantic  details.

That is why now is the perfect time to share this exciting news with you so I’m going to say at this point, ‘to be continued’. Be sure to sign up to lovetomtom so you can get the next I got married instalment straight to you inbox.

I got married!

xo

Summer wrap up

Summer wrap up

Bum cheeks, fake tan & lipstick

The season is starting to change here and before autumn officially takes over I have a few thoughts I want to share. You’ve probably gathered with all my talk of summer that it never really arrived this year in Dublin. But whether you are on this side of the world, longing for a season that never was or on the other side of the world dreaming of what’s to come I thought this would be a good time to have a bit of a chat and share a few things that stood out for me this summer.

As you know I was fortunate enough to have a break in Lisbon and I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t travelled in summer for quite some time, my age, or the fact that I love people watching, but there were a few things that really stood out while I was on holidays. Before I get going can I just say I hate selfie sticks! I actually get rather sad when I see people using them as isn’t the fun part of taking a selfie trying to squish everyone in, laughing so hard and knowing that even though the picture is not quite right it is one you will frame?!

Old school selfie

Selfie old school style

Anyway now that I have that off my chest let’s talk fashion. I think I’ve mentioned this before but as much as I love summer, dressing for it can cause me a bit of stress. This year I was actually looking forward to it as I had purchased some pieces that were comfortable, that suited my body shape and made me feel good. If you haven’t seen them take a peek here. With my summer wardrobe sorted, I unfortunately felt somewhat over dressed. I clearly missed the memo declaring ‘bum cheeks are in’ or should I say out. Yes you heard me right – bum cheeks! I’m personally not a fan of shorts but what I saw were barely shorts! I don’t know how many times a day I said in shock, ‘would you leave the house like that?!’ and although I would never walk out of the house wearing what can only be described as denim underwear, it did make me think. At first I wondered how these came to be ‘fashionable’? Then I thought, maybe people wear them because they like them and they don’t care what anyone else thinks. Having considered both sides of the crack, unfortunately I saw many cracks, all I was left thinking was, where is the mystery? At just that moment I saw an interview by Leandra Medine (aka Man Repeller) with Carolina Herrera. This interview is great on so many levels and I watched it shouting at the screen ‘yes!’ and ‘exactly!’. It was like Carolina Herrera had been inside my head, took my words and stylishly and eloquently put them altogether! Take a look. 

Moving further south, lets talk legs. You know I don’t like shorts, actually anything above the knee can cause my heart to race but because I had some outfits I was comfortable with, I was not going to let my legs go to waste. Let’s be clear, I personally don’t like showing my legs but if you’ve got them, as the saying goes, flaunt them! Ok so back to my legs. Earlier in the year I discovered TanOrganic. We all know fake tan can go horribly wrong and having tried so few, I’m happy to say this self-tanning oil is perfect for me. I put this on before I left for Lisbon and to tell you the truth, it was exactly what I needed to make me less self-conscious. I didn’t think about my legs once while I was away and I was actually happy to have a bit of flesh on display. 

Before I finish up do you remember earlier in the year I went to Paris? Do you remember how well I packed for my mini break? My trip to Lisbon was the complete opposite. My bag was overweight, I packed far too many beauty products and I hardly wore any makeup I brought with me. The latter wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I actually enjoyed keeping it simple with some mascara and lipstick. I ended up wearing one lipstick the whole trip, Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution in the shade Sexy Sienna. It went with everything I wore, was comfortable to wear in the heat and complimented the stunning blues skies that engulfed me. When I looked around me though, I saw quite a distinct style when it came to makeup. Clean, fresh bases and bold lips! My natural instinct is to go for brighter shades in the warmer months but it was great to see people wearing deep, rich colours without it looking heavy or out-of-place. It was a good reminder to wear whatever the hell shade you like, come rain or shine! 

Lisbon motd

Lisbon makeup. Sometimes less is actually best!

xo

 

 

 

 

Lisbon

lovetomtom went to Lisbon

Part II

Lisbon

It’s amazing what you discover when you explore a city on foot, even when there are hills! Street art, tiles, colours, patterns and people. Lisbon really was a feast for the eyes.

Just some of the wall tiles I captured.

 

 And a few more tiles.

 

Don’t forget the floor designs.

 

lovetomtom loves lisbon!

Lisbon

xo

Lisbon

lovetomtom went to Lisbon

Part I

Lisbon

You probably already know I had a summer break in the fabulous city of Lisbon. The fact that I described it as ‘fabulous’ kind of gives it away but if you haven’t already guessed, I loved this city!

Usually before I go anywhere, I like to do a bit of research, find out what there is to see and do but life has been rather busy and I did none of that. Instead I was packing at 12pm the night before a 4am start the next day. All I knew about Lisbon was that it was sunny, hot and there were these things called Pastel de nata which I knew I would be eating a lot of.

Let’s just put it out there now, Lisbon has some crazy steep hills! Not a deal breaker or anything but with the heat and the tiny, slippery tiles that pave these amazing hills, walking soon became an entertaining challenge. Luckily, public transport is cheap so if your calf muscles are crying out for a break, this is a great alternative. The metro system is easy to navigate and the trams give you some of the best views of the city.

Lisbon trams

A combination of walking and taking local trams is how Mr B and I explored the city.  A city that has so much to offer and could explain the vast number of tourists that filled it’s tiled streets. There are positives and negatives to this and one positive is that I didn’t feel we stood out. Of course we looked like tourists (Mr B’s Irish complexion kind of gives it away) and it goes without saying that in any city, whether you are a local or a tourist, you have to use a bit of common sense when out and about. But because there were so many tourists I felt comfortable enough to have my camera and map in hand without being ogled at. That brings me to the locals. We found everyone to be very helpful, friendly, welcoming and by the third day in what we claimed to be our local bakery, we were greeted by the staff in a way that suggested we had been going there for years!

Tram life

I’m surprised it has taken me this long to get to it but a highlight of the trip were the famous Pastel de nata. I ate one of these heavenly custard tarts every chance I got!  Mr B, with the help of  the Lonely Planet guide book informed me that I wasn’t the only one enjoying these traditional Portuguese tarts. Apparently, in Belém where they originated from, there is one bakery alone  making around fifteen thousand a day! Fifteen thousand a day, in one bakery! Clearly there is something special about these. Not keen on tarts (do such people exist)? Don’t worry, you won’t go hungry. We found all the food to be good, especially if you like fish and it didn’t cost much to fill our bellies. I find it takes a bit of courage sometimes to walk into a place that doesn’t have an English menu, or a menu at all for that matter but these are usually the best and that was definitely the case here. Being vegetarian, I often had to ask if there was anything for me to eat and in one place that had no vegetarian option, I was offered an alternative meal which consisted of a cheese omelette, vegetables and salad. Plenty really when we usually started a meal with olives, bread and cheese. Sticking with meal time, and not to sound like a complete lush, but like the food, alcohol was also very cheap. Cheap, tasty and generous! Generous in the sense that three parts gin and one part tonic seemed to be the standard rule of thumb. Whether it was a gin and tonic, sangria or mojitos, one seemed like two and a quest to get to one of the best views of the city was met with one of the best mojitos I’ve had in my life! Well worth the climb, I mean walk.

Mojitos

Lisbon

Other highlights included an eccentric flea market we found ourselves in. We could have spent all day there, not only because of its size but because of all the characters in it!

Lisbon

Lisbon

We also took the train to Sintra, a town west of Lisbon and this is where travelling in summer can be a bit of a pain. There were so many people there, clearly doing the same thing as us but once we got past the queues, we battled the hills and explored Quinta da Regaleira which was well worth it. This is only just one thing to see and do in Sintra but it was enough for us.

Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra

Quinta da Regaleira

I’ve lots more to show you so stay tuned for part II where I show you one of my favourite things about Lisbon, besides the tarts of course!

xo

Paris II

Goodies de Paris

If you haven’t already, check out both my Paris posts, first here and then here.

Before I share the goodies I bought on my little trip I have to tell you about my packing experience and only because it was my most successful pack yet!

This is what I started with and then I made the cut! Hard to believe but true.

This is what I started with and then I cut! Hard to believe but true.

I am an over-packer. The more the better is my attitude to packing, but with weight restrictions and the fact that you will probably add to the weight I thought I should be a bit sensible this time round. I tried to focus on using the most out of what I was packing, so no unnecessary items. With only 3 days in Paris I worked out I needed an outfit per day, a spare, just because, and an outfit for an evening out. I had my trusted staple item, my black jeans, three tops I would be happy to wear with them, leggings and a dress, and a cardigan that would go with everything I had with me. My red boots made the journey as I would wear them with all the outfit combinations and I threw in my red flats just in case the weather was nice. For my fancier outfit (keeping in mind I’m no party animal, just wanted to look a bit nicer than my day look) I brought an outfit I wore to a Christmas party a while ago. Black jeans which I had already packed, a black top and red heels (take a look here). As my statement piece, I had my fabulous COS coat that again I would wear over everything I had packed. That’s it. That’s all I packed! For me this is seriously good. There wasn’t one thing I didn’t use but at the same time I didn’t feel I hadn’t packed enough.

With that done, it was time to shop. I had high hopes for this trip only because since my last visit, I have started to use French brands in my skincare routine and couldn’t wait to see what the French pharmacies had to offer. I wished I had saved a bit more money prior to this trip, I could have bought so much and bought things in bulk which were great value for money. You live and learn.

What I did buy were some trusted old favourites like La Roche Possay Effaclar Duo + that I stocked up on only because they were a few euro cheaper. I also bought some new products that I have resisted buying as I’m trying to use up makeup I already have, but seeing as they were cheaper, I couldn’t resist. L’oreal Miss Manga mascara and La Roche Possay Serozonic are included in that category.

Goodies

Other things I purchased were the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse and the Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm. Both products are incredible and I’m so glad I reached for them. I didn’t bring my Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water with me as the bottle is too big and I wanted to try Bioderma so I purchased a small bottle and to be honest I’m glad I bought that size. I wasn’t really impressed with it and feel there is no difference with other brands who offer a similar product.

Nuxe

Besides the pharmacy, I made a trek to Sephora. I have mixed feelings about Sephora. I’m filled with excitement at the thought of going and always have a mountain of things I want to buy but when I’m there I’m left feeling overwhelmed and dissatisfied. There is almost too much for me to look at and with the music and crowds, well I lose my patience. I probably sound like a Granny but shopping is supposed to be an enjoyable experience and that is not for me. I’m sad to report this visit was no different. In the end I walked away feeling empty-handed with only two products to take home, Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion and a lovely Sephora Contour Eye Pencil in the shade Diving in Malaysia.

Diving in Malaysia

Last of my treasures is a gorgeous and tiny Roger and Gallet  Fleur de Figuier hand cream. The scent is a little too strong for me but it does magically transport me to my grandparents’ garden, picking fresh figs from the tree. Not a bad memory at all!

I’m pretty happy with my treasures. My eyes are definitely bigger than my wallet so I’ll use this trip as a trial run! For my next visit to Paris, I will save a bit more and stock up on all the beautiful, pretty things my heart desires.

xo

Paris

lovetomtom went to Paris

Did you hear? I went to Paris. Of course you did I talked about it enough! So I went, I saw and I ate.

Rainy Paris

Although it was just a weekend break, I have rather a lot to say so there may be a part II. It’s no secret I love Paris. I have been a good few times now so for this trip, most of the main tourist spots were off the agenda. The aim of this little break was to wander the streets and see what we stumbled across.

Paris streets

Doors of Pairs

Some say Paris can be an expensive city to visit but I think that is the case with many cities (Melbourne and Copenhagen spring to mind). If you plan on staying and dining around the Champs-Elysées well then you are going to go through your money pretty quickly. If that is up your alley then go for it, but there are other ways to experience this great city on a more modest budget without feeling like you are missing out.

My priority when travelling is to have decent accommodation (clean and a working shower are a must), good food and a bit of spending money. If I am going to stay anywhere longer than two days I would check out AirBnB for accommodation. Mr B and I have done this for our last four holidays and have been fortunate enough to have had great apartments every time. I like the privacy of renting an apartment and it gives you the freedom of preparing food to take with you on your day out or just to have your own space to rest your weary feet.

As for food, well there a lots of ways not to spend a fortune in Paris. Bakeries are your best friend for both breakfast and lunch. If you are smart about which bakeries you are visiting then you can pick up a croissant and a baguette for next to nothing. Dinner is where I’m happy to spend a bit more money, although being vegetarian, I often feel limited for dinner options when in Paris. My French is non existent so I can sometimes feel overwhelmed if I can’t see a vegetarian option on a menu. This is where I do a bit of research but I have learnt it doesn’t always go to plan. That is one of the great things about Paris; with a restaurant on every corner, I know I’m not going to go hungry.

Wine break

Besides shopping (I’ll save that for part II) the things that can eat up your money are transport and tourist attractions. If you are up for it, walk as much as you can. It is truly a great way of discovering a city or neighbourhood. As for tourist attractions, pick which ones you want to see and spend the money. There are always different offers, tour buses, free days for museums etc so do your research, but in my opinion, these experiences are money well spent.

Seeing as we were only going to be in Paris for two nights, we opted to stay in a hotel. It was my first time staying in the 9th arrondissement which was great. You are never going to see everything the city has to offer, especially in just a couple of days and that is one of the reasons I love Paris so much; you will always discover something new each time you visit and even more so when staying in a new area. New bakeries, new cafes, and new shops. I was happy.

Petit Déjeuner vegetarian style

Oui!

Oh la la!

Something new needs something old, just to even things out and I’m one for sentiment and romance so Mr B and I  go to ‘our bakery’ every time we visit Paris. It’s nothing fancy but there is something about it that keeps us coming back. Everything about it is great and your senses go into overdrive the second you walk in the door. Your eyes are immediately drawn to the glass cabinets full of pastries and cakes (well mine do) but before your brain gets to register any of that you are greeted with a very loud and efficient ‘bonjour’ by the women behind the counter, some who we recognise from visit to visit. So with cakes to my right, baguettes, quiches and other savoury delights to my left, and straight ahead, baskets and basket of croissants and all kinds of beautiful breads. You can understand why I like it here so much!

With my belly well stocked with coffee, croissants and pain aux raisins, I was ready to face the wet, grey day ahead. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great and when you plan on walking everywhere this can be kind of tough. But fret not, we managed to soldier on and had plenty of wine breaks and there was also plenty of time for me to duck into ‘just one more shop’.

One more shop please!

Thankfully our last day in Paris was wonderful and was filled with sunshine and a visit to the Eiffel Tower. Not a bad way to spend a weekend.

Eiffel Tower

Stay tuned for my shopping tales and my most successful packing experience yet.

À bientôt

xo

I’m so excited I could oui!

Did someone say croissant?

 

The time has come for me to get out my passport again and I’m so excited I could oui! In a few days I will be packing my bags and heading to one of my favourite cities; Paris.

Despite visiting this fabulous city numerous times and even having lived there for a short while, my excitement never fades!

Paris

Paris

I should warn you in advance, on my return from my brief visit, there will be lots of photographs of gateaux, croissants (is a croissant a gateau?), more gateaux and my new purchase(s)! I always like to mark each trip with a special purchase and what better place to buy something fabulous than Paris!

xo

Australia Day

Australia Day

 Throw a few undies on the clothes line (BONDS of course)

and it almost feels like I’m home.

Australia Day

Whatever Australia day means to you,

here’s to community and kindness,

to education and understanding,

to all that is good and all that we’ve learned

and to all our differences that make Australia home.

Happy Australia day everyone!

xo

The wild west

The wild west

(and not a cowboy in sight)

Lovely country side

The wild atlantic way, that’s were the wind took me. I was fortunate enough to pack my bags for a few days and explore Ireland’s west coast. The weather was terrible but I didn’t care. There was an open fire, a comfy couch and I had packed enough chocolate and wine to last me a month.

I knew I wasn’t going to be venturing far on my little break so I packed the bare essentials (pjs, favourite winter jumper and slippers). My makeup bag was equally sparse which is a surprise for me as I generally overpack on all occasions, doesn’t matter the destination or length of holiday.

I am well aware by now these little trips will include some kind of outdoor activity as chosen by my travel partner (Mr B to me; ‘Shall I pack your hiking boots?’ hint hint). I am not the most outdoorsy person and I struggle with the crazy idea of function over style when it comes to clothing for these Bear Grylls-like activities. No, I may not look the most stylish but I have found a few things that I am happy to wear, that keep the rain and wind out and help me feel like myself (sort of) when I’m out for one of our walks.  It just so happened the wild atlantic way did not disappoint, We ventured out for a walk on the beach and the wind and rain decided to join us too.

Seaside treasures

Nice rainy day for a walk on the beach

 

Nice rainy day for a walk

One of the most expensive things I have ever purchased is my fabulous winter coat. I spotted this beauty in Copenhagen last year and fell in love. I had been looking for a coat for sometime and there were a few that caught my eye but nothing seemed to tick all the boxes. My main issue with waterproof winter coats in general is that they aren’t very feminine. When I saw this coat I knew I was onto a winner. On the practical side, it is waterproof, windproof, just the right length, has a hood, is warm, my list goes on. As for the style well I couldn’t have designed it better myself. This coat to me feels like I have a lovely dress on. Drawstrings on a coat can be hit and miss, but on this one, it’s in just the right spot, creating a flattering shape. The bottom half of the coat balloons slightly which adds to the shape created by the drawstring. There is also a pretty design on the inside of the coat, not a necessity but a nice addition. The best part however is I have never seen another coat like it! I’m sure they exist but this to me feels unique. Coats can often be expensive so it is well worth doing your research. I knew I was going to get my money’s worth out of this one and I’m glad to say I’m on my second winter with it and still love it.

Cherry anyone?

The other item I bought for the winter was waterproof hiking boots and to this day I can’t say I feel the love for them. I found when looking for boots that I thought they were all a bit ugly. Quite often there is a lazy attempt to add femininity with some shade of pink. I’m not a fan of pink so this was no use to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that I can’t go for a hike in my pretty red flats as this would be ‘wholly inappropriate footwear’ according to Mr B so in the end I went with a pair that were as plain as I could find. Although outdoor clothing is not really my style, it just means you have to be a bit more creative with adding your individual touch. Thank goodness for accessories like socks, gloves, hats, brooches and scarves.

Socks

As for makeup on these relaxed days, I still wear it. Regardless of what I’m doing, I need to like what I wear, make up included. I hardly ever have a bare face and that is by choice. So while I battled the wild west coast of Ireland, a bit of concealer, some mascara and pink lips got me through the days. Alongside a well deserved glass of wine and a piece of panettone by the fire.

Rain

xo