2019

2019

Can I still  say Happy New Year? 

I realise we are at the beginning of February but Happy New Year! I’m slightly late to the party but better late than never. I feel like I’ve actually been in hiding all of December. I was preparing for my surprise visit home to Australia and it was best for me to avoid being on social media as much as possible as no doubt I would be the one to let it slip. I’ve always wanted to do a surprise like that and it was everything I imagined. And I imagined that moment a lot! It really was a special Christmas; Lucille’s first surrounded by her entire family both from Australia and Ireland. She won’t remember any of it of course but it was very special for me to be able to share a hot, noisy Christmas with her just as I did growing up. The flight from Dublin to Melbourne was a whole other story and one that caused me a lot of stress both in the lead up and in the sky but she did surprisingly well and a dear friend reminded me before I left; the flight is temporary and I reminded myself of that every minute she was awake. Continue reading

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Grief, sunshine and no wifi

Summer

Grief, sunshine and no wifi

You probably saw that I had taken a few days off and hit the hills for some much-needed sunshine.  Sorry Dublin, summer has been ok but let’s be honest we could all use more sunshine! A bit of a last-minute trip, mostly because Mr B and I couldn’t decide where to go but we finally got organised, packed our carry-on luggage (Ryanair weren’t getting another cent out of me!) and off we went to sunny Fuerteventura. Continue reading

Long Haul Flight Essentials

Long Haul Flight Essentials

Part 2

I have been holding off on putting this video up mostly because if I’m ready to talk about my flight back to Dublin it means holidays are over (insert sad face).

As much as I love holidays and travel I detest flying. Thankfully my plan this time round helped me manage the long long journey and I will definitely be incorporating these tips and tricks on my next holiday. I’m already planning.

Let me know what your travel essentials are and where you’re going next on holidays!

xo

Holiday Fun

Holiday Fun

Melbourne

You have  probably all heard or seen by now that I am on holidays at home in Melbourne. With such a jam packed trip there isn’t a minute to spare in between all the coffees, celebrations, sitting in the sun and of course babysitting the real lovetomtom. Not that I would have it any other way of course!

While I get my dose of family and Melbourne life, here are a few things to keep you along the ride with me. If you haven’t seen it already, check out part one of my Long Haul Flight Essentials video. Part two is coming but if I’m honest it was rather an unpleasant flight to Melbourne and  there are only so many ways to say ‘and then I vomited’ but seeing as I have to take the horrendous journey home to Dublin there will be a part two.

I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to celebrate my wedding with my Aussie family so out came my wedding outfit and we had a lovely celebration at Trunk Restaurant and Bar followed by coffee and cake at Bruntetti, an old favourite Melbourne spot. To top the night off we had a lovely catch-up with our extended family and friends and I had such a great night I had no time to take any photographs!

A trip home is very different to any other holiday. It is jam-packed, emotional and there is never enough time to fit it all in. I’m trying to take full advantage of every moment spent with my family and friends and a little less time with technology which I’m sure you will all understand. Don’t worry though you can stay in touch on Instagram which is where I’m posting a few holiday snaps in between all the hugs and kisses with the real lovetomtom.

xo

 

 

Summer wrap up

lovetomtomSBD + Summer wrap up

Pit stop

It has been one busy  month here with visitors, travel and whatnot, so I feel I need to do a bit of a wrap up to sort out my head and get ready for what is next. Almost like a de-cluttering of my mind if you will.

As you know my mama and papa crossed the pond for a visit (if only it was a pond!) and we had a jam-packed month with lots of random holiday snaps that only we think are funny but I’m going to share a few with you anyway. We explored Dublin and Ireland, ate and drank too much, debated the style choices of my papa and of course we were lucky enough to have a little jaunt in Paris.

Paris

IMG_5375

Summer shopping

Exploring

Also while they were here I got news that lovetomtom was shortlisted for the Blog Awards Ireland and it was lovely to share the good news with them in person. Another fun thing that happened was I had a surprise dinner for my folks with a years worth of celebrations crammed into one night. If you follow me on Snapchat you would have seen what I was up to. Christmas, Birthdays, Easter, even our wedding was celebrated so with the house decorated (I’m sure our neighbours think we are nuts!) and me cooking dinner in my wedding outfit we had a great night celebrating all the things we normally do from afar. It really was so much fun I’m considering doing it every year, all the celebrations in one night!

Happy....

lovetomtomSBD this month was a huge help to me while I waited to go on my own holidays and even more helpful upon my return to fight those holiday blues. The real lovetomtom also contributed all the way from his holiday in Vietnam! Lucky boy! I have added so many new places to my travel wish list I don’t know how I’ll get through them all but I guess that’s a good problem to have.

the real lovetomtom

After all of that and trust me, that’s the short version, I feel I’m slowly coming out the other side, hair a bit dishevelled, mind a bit cloudy but somehow finding my way back to reality. After a holiday I think it’s so important to plan the next one so until I can do that, I’m very much looking forward to other exciting things that are coming down the track.

With all that going on, I feel I haven’t been around much so normal viewing will resume and I have to say a special thanks to everyone who got in touch to wish me and my parents a fab holiday. If you were lucky enough to have a proper summer holiday or live somewhere with more than an hour of sunshine a day, keep sending your pictures my way!

xo

lovetomtomSBD

lovetomtomSBD

Almost time for holidays

August is here and I’m still counting down to my holidays. Fret not:  While I’ve been counting down to my own holidays, as part of lovetomtomSBD  I’ve had the pleasure of looking through your eyes and seeing all your holiday snaps and adding to my travel wish list. Plus my parents arrived and I’ve been in holiday mode with them so really it’s been a great summer so far and I haven’t even gone on holidays yet!

Here are a few photographs that caught my eye. Take a look at this beautiful view of Lake Como by Amelia at la femme éclectique. A place definitely on my travel wish list.

 

I couldn’t pass a look at Paris through Marie in May’s eyes.

 

Then there was this building in Tokyo to entice me thanks to Kristy Who.

 

And of course I couldn’t resist reminiscing and looking back at one of my own snaps from New York, a place so dear to my heart.

lovetomtom loves NY

 

Once again the reason I started lovetomtomSBD has really paid off this month. Instead of being envious of all the places I haven’t gone, I look at your holidays with hope of all the places I will go. Same time of year, different approach and oh boy is it helping me get through the fact that I’m not on holidays. Yet!

Don’t forget to check out all the links I’ve included of  these fabulous pictures and the people that took them and keep sending yours through. I never tire of looking at them!

xo

 

lovetomtomSBD

lovetomtomSBD

Time to fly away

Before I get stuck into this month’s same but different I want to give you a quick wrap-up of last month. June was all about photography and doing something with all those snaps. I had great fun taking my camera with me nearly everywhere I went and even more fun changing some of the pictures I had hanging in the house. It’s something I’m going to try to keep doing as much as possible as changing a photograph can really lift a room without spending a fortune!

lovetomtom same but different for July and August is about one of my favourite things; travel! Whether you are on this side of the world planning summer holidays or on the other side daydreaming about escaping winter, it is the perfect time for travel and adventures. Actually travel is good at anytime!

I feel like everyone is on holidays at the moment and while I’m counting down to my own, I’m going to live through others’ to reminisce about places I’ve been and to discover new places I want to go. While I wish I could overload you with two months full of photographs of my own travels and adventures, I’ll have to pretend instead and share some pictures I’m drooling over. I’ll include all the links to everyone’s Instragram and websites so be sure to spread the love. What a hard task, checking out talented photographers and exotic places!

 There’s no better way to start than with Gray Malin. Some of you may be familiar with Gray Malin’s work but if, not the only way I can describe his photography is that it’s like a big ginormous bowl of your favourite sweets. I never tire of looking at his pictures and when I grow up I want to have one of his photographs hanging in my house.

Gray Malin

Photograph by Gray Malin

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

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