Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Lusso Tan Review

As it stands I have 15 bottles of fake tan in my possession. Different brands, different shades, liquids, mousses, lotions, you name it, I have it!
So when I got the chance to add another brand to my collection I was eager to see how Lusso Tan compared to some of my favourites.

What excited me most about trying this tan is that I received a primer to use with the it, which initially seemed unnecessary, but thinking about it now, it kinda makes sense. You'd use a primer for makeup so why not one for your tan? This primer was just a clear liquid "to enrich the bronzing effect of any self tanning product or professional spray tan".

The brand has a few different types of tan to choose from and I was delighted to receive the mousse, which is always my preferred type of formula. Like with most other tanning mousses' the Lusso Tan applied smoothly and dried quick enough. I also give it top marks for not completely destroying my bed sheets, pyjamas and fiancée.

No tan vs Initial application

While the tan wasn't initially too dark (above pic) it did develop nicely over night. It's not the darkest tan I've ever tried (not necessarily a bad thing), but it was extremely natural looking and I did notice my skin had a nice glow to it. It was completely streak and patch free, and my usually dry skin areas weren't showing patches like they would with some of the darker tans I've used.
No Tan vs After Showering
Chest after showering
Wear Off
I'd say I got a good solid three - four days of the tan before it gradually started to fade around my hands, chest and elbows.

No tan vs Day 3 tan
No tan vs Day 6

All in all I was highly impressed with the tan, it went on very well, developed nicely and lasted for the guts of a week. It wasn't too hard to come off either, it just took a light scrubbing with an exfoliating glove.

If you have been impressed by this review and would like to try the tan yourself you can receive 20% off with the code JEN20 when you order on


*I did receive this product with the intention of reviewing, however this review is 100% my own opinion. I do not receive any commission from use of the above link.


Saturday, 15 September 2018

The Monart Experience

Before visiting Monart I knew it was known to be one of the best spas in Ireland, so of course I was eager to see what all the fuss was about. Little did I know that Monart was more than a spa hotel, it was the spa hotel. Unlike most other hotels with a spa, if you are visiting Monart you are there for the spa, it's not just an added bonus. The whole place is almost a retreat, a detox or a slight break from reality.

Upon arriving at the five star Monart hotel, we pulled up outside the main door where two concierges were waiting, one to take our bags inside and one to park my car! For someone who is not used to five star service, I giddily handed over my car keys while trying to hide the numerous bottles of wine we were trying to sneak in with us. 
We took a few moments to take in the grandeur of our surroundings before we were welcomed by a staff member, who gave us our room information as well as a brief introduction to the hotel. 

As part of the hotel's aim to offer a completely relaxed experience, Monart doesn't have WiFi (except for in one common room). You are there to relax, the use of phones is not prohibited but not really encouraged. While it all sounds extremely strict and regimented, it's not like that at all. Having barely any signal and no WiFi was actually nice, but I was still whipping my phone out to take a few pictures. Another part of the Monart experience is the 'Monart uniform' which are luxurious white fluffy robes, to be worn all day, except for at dinner.

After we checked into our huge room we immediately put on our robes and headed to the spa for the afternoon. We spent our time going between the outdoor sauna, the infrared sauna, the steam room, salt room, foot bath and pool. We also popped in and out of the relaxation room where we could read (or snooze) with some fresh fruit and Voya tea.


Luckily for us the weather was on our side so we could sit out and enjoy our lunch while taking in the stunning garden views.

If you are wondering about the food, thinking all we ate was cucumbers, don't's not that kind of detox! Breakfast was included and was your usual buffet of cereal, fruit, yoghurt etc with hot food available to order from the menu. On our first night we dined in the main restaurant which offered unbelievable food (including dessert). But the best meal had to be our room service dinner which we enjoyed on our balcony, in our robes, drinking our prosecco.


The whole weekend was the most relaxing thing I've ever done. Every aspect of the hotel and spa was five star, including the attentive staff who were always on hand to bring us fresh robes or a bucket of ice for the multiple bottles of wine we brought with us. While I've been to a few other spa hotels, nothing compares to how chilled out and relaxed we were at Monart.


Thursday, 9 August 2018

Perfect Porto

Do you like sunshine? Do you like cheap wine and delicious food? Well if so, make Porto your next stop!

Our two hour flight to Porto was an absolute steal at €60 per person return (no checked bags) and with no time difference you pretty much pick up where you left off. It's a small enough city with a fairly uncomplicated Metro system, so for €2.60 you can get the 'E' line directly from the airport to the city (Trinidade stop) and you're there within 40 minutes. Literally no hassle at all.

Usually myself and Dean like to stay in Airbnb's when travelling but as the rates were so cheap we 'treated' ourselves to a nice hotel. The Exe Almada Hotel is very modern, very central and the rooms were a bit bigger (and nicer) than most European city hotels. I have the hotel marked on the map below and anywhere from the hotel down to the water would be considered central (as you can see I've saved loads of bars and restaurants in between the hotel and the river). For the three nights we paid €287 for room only, but just remember that price is for off season!

From the hotel to the river is about a 15-20 minute walk/stroll.

As you do on any holiday, we ate, ate and then ate some more. But I have to say this was one of the best 'food holidays' I have ever been on, so the calories were worth it! Most places offer very local produce so everything is extremely fresh. The wine is also very local, so a bottle at dinner would only be about €12.

Here's a few of the delicious places we tried:

Zenith - Brunch Spot

Linha 22 - Breakfast

The Feeting Room - Coffee

Bacalhau - Drinks with a view

Sushihana Foz - Sushi

There's also plenty of nice bars and restaurants down by the river where you could sit for hours people watching.

Money wise, dinner was never more than €50 per night including a bottle of wine in a decent restaurant. We spotted a few higher end places and there's also plenty of cheap eats so there's really something for everyone. 

Drink is also cheap, especially the wine! We stopped off in one lovely bar where it was happy hour from 1-6.30pm and a glass of wine was only €2!

During our three days in Porto we kept ourselves busy, and walked the feet off ourselves, by taking in as much as the city as we could. But take my advice and pack comfortable shoes! I wore new slip-ons which were no match for the many hills and steps we walked up and down.

We were classic tourists and went to the Clergios Tower straight away. From the top of this beautiful church you have a birds eye view of the whole city. Tickets to view the church and go up the tower are only a fiver, but be warned, the stairs are narrow!

Port Tour

On our second day we took a trip across the river to Taylor's Port Cellars for a tour. This was €12 per person including two tasting drinks at the end. These kinda tours aren't really my thing but it was actually quite interesting, there was plenty of good selfie opportunities and it was laid out extremely well. You get a little audio guide going in and you can easily skip through a section or two if you're not interested.

On our last day we headed to the beach. While the weather was nice it wasn't sun bathing weather just yet! But the beach was probably my favourite part of the holiday. I'm not sure if it was the time of year or just that day, but the waves coming in were outrageous! They must  have been about 20ft tall and came in and out with such force! We walked along the pier while the waves came crashing up against us, hoping to get a little splash of sea water.

Other than that we just spent our time strolling around. Popping in and out of shops and bars, sitting in the sunshine and taking it all in. The city is a UNESCO World Hertitage Site so most if the buildings remain unchanged as they are of cultural significance. Many of them are covered in bright beautiful tiles and even the McDonalds building has stained glass and a chandelier.

I have no doubt in my mind that I'll be returning to Porto. The city is so beautiful, so calm and there's still so much I didn't get to see or do.



Saturday, 28 July 2018

Wedding Venue Hunting In Nerja

If you haven't heard me mention it a million times already, Dean surprised me with a trip to Nerja for my 30th birthday, which you can read about - here. Not only was the holiday a lovely getaway for us but also a chance for us to meet with a wedding planner and look at potential wedding venues.

Going back a few months, not long after we had gotten engaged, I got in contact with Nerja Weddings By Sonya (after many, many recommendations) to take the first step in planning our Spanish wedding. Sonya and her team sent me some information on venues and prices etc and told me to get in touch again when I knew we'd be going to Nerja. As we weren't planning on going to Spain anytime soon all plans were put on hold. That was until Dean arranged the surprise holiday and a meeting with Sonya and her colleagues.

Our first meeting was with Sonya's husband Matt who took us around to have a look at six different venues. Some venues were hotels, some were bars/restaurants and one private villa. Each venue had its pro's and con's, some indoors, some outdoors, some local, some further away and of course different prices.

I'll get the con's out of the way first: A few of the places were quite old fashioned, venue wise and decor wise. It is all down to taste but for us we could strike two or three venues off the list straight away. Another thing that surprised me was that nearly all venues need to know each guests food order at least 10 days before the wedding. I can understand the reason for it, but asking someone if they want meat or fish weeks or months in advance is a bit odd. Also most sample menu's were very similar to the Irish meat or fish, potato and veg. If we wanted an Irish wedding we'd stay in Ireland. Look, all very trivial I know, but still important to share.

Also one of the main things is that you can't have live music playing outdoors after 11.30pm so if you want to continue partying you will have to move indoors or to a completely different spot if your venue doesn't offer a suitable indoor dance floor.

But not all bad, the prices per person are extremely good. For approx €75 per guest the venue will serve reception drinks, which is wine, sangria, beer and soft drinks. This price also includes canapes for an hour and a two course dinner, with free flowing drinks over the course of the dinner. They also include a wedding cake for this price which is usually the dessert. But most venues do have a minimum spend of maybe €6k/€7k to ensure private use of the venue. And as they are laying on a lot of drink as part of the meal there is a separate minimum spend of about €1,500 at the bar (which hopefully your guests will cover!)

Two venues that stood out to me were Cochran's and Mar Bella. They are both right in the center of Nerja and both venues have stunning balcony's overlooking the sea. We're after a low key venue so the sea views from Cochran's and the leafy terrace at Mar Bella were just what we had in mind. Although it was hard to visualise these places done up for weddings as they were just normal bars when we looked.

The private villa we looked at was also amazing but the cost of that racked up pretty fast with the rent, transport, catering, furniture and staff.

Mar Bella
Mar Bella
The day after viewing the venues we met with Sonya herself to talk about what we liked, didn't like and ask any questions we had. She also did up a budget for us based on different venues as well as a timeline of the day and what costs need to be considered. As of yet nothing is decided at all, we are still weighing up the options for different venues and not rushing into deciding on anything.


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