Mini Yankee Candle Haul

One thing I love about my wee home is that I get to light as many candles as often as I want. My all time fave brand of candles is Yankee Candle and there is a fab store in my local shopping centre.

Today, on my lunch break I decided to have a wee peak but also try my hardest to stick to a budget as I can’t be splurging out too much on non-essentials right now.

So on my brief visit to the Yankee Candle store I had a look around the new Autumn and Winter scents – they were in the middle of unpacking this stock so I only got a brief look.

I couldn’t decide on what large or medium sized candle scent I wanted so I decided to go for a handful of wax melts; some old favourites and some Autumn & Winter Scents.

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I couldn’t wait to get this wax melt going – I have a slight obsession with peach smells lately.

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Marley wanted to be in the picture lol.

I have a mixture of summery and sweet smelling wax melts in this mini haul as well as autumnal and Christmassy scents. Autumn hasn’t technically hit just yet so I guess I still wanted to hold on a little bit longer onto those fruity summer scents.

Another thing I love about Yankee Candle is that they have a loyalty stamp card. For each £10 you spend, you get a stamp and when the card is filled with 10 stamps you get £10 off your next purchase.

As much as I love my fruity scents, Im really looking forward to my home smelling of cinnamon sticks and spiced oranges.

What’s your go to scents for this Autumn/Winter? Or what scents do you love so much that you can burn all through the year?

Wedding Invite Etiquette

I don’t quite know how to feel about writing this as it’s in the heat of the moment and later on I may feel differently or feel like it’s not as big of a deal as I’m making it out to be right now.

This week we (my family and I) received the long awaited invites for my cousin’s wedding for 18th October 2018. At another cousin’s wedding earlier this year we had already found out this date but in October 2017 I had already made plans with Scott and friends to go to a stand-up comedy night in Belfast and we booked an overnight stay as well. This was for part of Scott’s birthday present.

So initially I had said that if we get invited I would try to make the church ceremony at least. Two wedding invites came this week – one invite was for Dad, Mum and me for the whole day and the second invite was addressed to my brother Lloyd.

Now at this stage, two people were left out. My sister Andrea and my boyfriend, of almost 10 years, Scott.

Background Information – My sister has special needs and doesn’t deal well with these types of events. Simply because she has no patience and attention span for all day events that don’t interest her. So naturally, unless it’s immediate family weddings or similar events, mum doesn’t bring her alone (unless she really wants to of course). But to leave her off the invite all together is pretty shitty.

At this point I’m a little bit more than peeved. Scott and I have been together for 9 years and 3 months, living together for 3 years and even though we may not be married or engaged we are long term.

Today, at my parents house, I couldn’t help myself and I opened my brother’s invite to see if he got the opportunity to bring a plus one. Turns out, Scott was included on Lloyd’s invite for them both to attend the evening reception after the meal. I’m a little bit appeased now. But still, not inviting my sister or giving me and Scott our own invite as a couple – personally I think this is the wrong move but then at the end of the day it is their wedding day and they can invite (or not invite) whoever they want. If it were me sending these invites, when it comes to family I would be inclined to think that it is wedding invite etiquette to invite the whole family household – i.e. if a family lives under the same roof then they should all get the same invite. My brother lives in his own house so it was fine for him to get his own invite.

I’d just love to hear other people’s point of view on this situation. Am I blowing this way out of proportion or would you share the same opinion as me on this?

 

 

Arsenal V Chelsea Friendly Game – Dublin

Arsenal V Chelsea – A Friendly Game at Aviva Stadium, Dublin

Wednesday 01st August 2018

My first Arsenal game!

It was amazing! The stadium itself is (to me anyway) huge! Scott kept telling me that the Emirate stadium is a lot more impressive and holds more people. Last night there was 46,002 people in attendance, where Emirates Stadium’s capacity is approx 60, 000 (59,867 according to Google).

 

Getting there was fine – we traveled to Dublin with the Fermanagh Arsenal Supporter’s Club and left in good time to beat the crowds to Dublin – but coming home was another matter entirely. When leaving the stadium, you are directed to an exit according to the block/area you were sitting in to watch the match. So the way we were being directed was the opposite way we needed to go to get back to the coach pick-up point. We were herded to go to the right and then, a good bit down the way, there was a designated lane for people who needed to go left but it meant walking all the way back up the road we just walked. The crowds at this stage were getting packed, the designated lane to go left was a two person lane at most and it was pretty dark with little enough street lights.

We choose not to go down this narrow left lane to bring us back around, mainly because it was moving at a snails pace and the coach pick up time was getting very near. We walked down the road a bit further until one of us could get a signal to check where we needed to go on Google Maps (I’m so so glad I had enough battery left on my phone to do this). Unfortunately, it was back the way we came but instead of using the extremely slow moving narrow lane designated for our route, we walked the long way around the stadium at a more quickly pace. Even though this route was crowded in certain parts as well (with other attendees being exited at this side of the stadium) we believe we still managed to make it back before a lot of people we would have been walking behind in the designated lane. We did make it back in time for the coach home and we weren’t even the last ones on the coach either!

The match itself was phenomenal. Chelsea scored early on in the first half, it was pretty nail-biting until Arsenal finally scored the equalizer then (in the 3 mins extra time). Penalties then was a whole new round of nerve-wrecking moments. But fortunately, Arsenal prevailed and won! The crowds went pretty mad at that point. It was really cool actually.

      The commentary and chants from all the other supporters around us were fantastic. We were sitting in an area that had mostly Arsenal supporters which worked out pretty well because everyone around us were cheering and booing at the right times and there was no aggressive or  antagonising behaviour; however in saying that I didn’t once see any kind of bickering or violence throughout my whole time there. You would

sort of expect to see someone taking the whole rivalry thing too far and cause a ruckus of some kind but no, I didn’t see anyone misbehaving. This was a major plus for me as it was my first ever football game of this size and it was beginning to feel a wee bit daunting and claustrophobic with such a big crowd of people leaving at the one time.

            From what I saw, it did have very tight security and there were stewards and police officers (Garda) on every corner and junction; this made me feel quite safe. However, when reading the official websites for this event and seeing signs on the walk up to the stadium – it said “No bags (with the exception of small handbags, no bigger than A4) will be allowed into the stadium. Handbags will be subject to search), no rucksacks, small  cameras are permitted for rugby and football matches but we do not permit lenses bigger than 70mm to be used”. When reading this I didn’t want to take any chance and just brought an over the shoulder bag – this bag wasn’t checked when going in, Scott and other men were patted down at security but I wasn’t asked to be by the female staff, there were a group of young lads a few rows in front of us and one of them had a rucksack with a semi professional camera with a lens that was definitely bigger than 70mm. Yes it would have been horrible for anybody being turned away at the gate for bringing these prohibited items with them; but rules are there for a reason and why is it O.K for some people to abide and others to completely disregard…?

I saw quite a few supporters who brought young kids along too; so I’m really glad there was this level of security, outside when leaving the grounds anyway. It can be scary enough for a short twenty-something woman – never mind an even younger and shorter child.

I’d definitely love to go back and see another Arsenal game – whether it would be at Aviva Stadium again or somewhere else, I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the camaraderie among the supporters.

At the very end of the game, after penalties and everything, the arsenal team brought out a banner expressing their thanks our support; I thought this was a really nice touch and I know meant a lot to every Arsenal supporter.

Sisterly Love

I don’t know what it is with these two little rascals but after I wrote last time about Gifty and Marley starting to show signs of improvement; then they just took a turn for the worse!

Marley was chasing Gifty up the stairs more often, Gifty would let an awful wail out of her when she came close to catching her and there were a right few swipes exchanged too. This probably continued for another couple of weeks.

But now, after living together for 6 months, they have been very good with each other. Taking turns for sleeping in the bed at night, I haven’t heard Gifty growl in a good while, Marley is starting to understand when Gifty is not a playful mood (which can be 90% of the time) so at least she’s starting to realise when it’s best not to push her luck.

I’ve caught them sometimes giving each other wee sniffs when they come face to face and butt to face lol; which is super cute! (when they do face to face lol not butt to face)

Marley’s not as jumpy anymore. She did have one really bad day there recently where she seemed very edgy and nervous. It was a night when we hadn’t seen her for most of the day and I got quite worried for her – she possibly had a run-in which another cat from the neighborhood or someone chased her from their garden/house and just spooked her a bit. I know she’s came on a good bit because Scott will have random outbursts and when he sneezes; he doesn’t hold back lol and before this would have startled Marley and she would have ran and hid for a while; now she’s quite used to him.

Marley still chases Gifty up the stairs but we’re starting to think that they are playing that Gifty doesn’t mind it as much sometimes. Marley wasn’t even in the house last night and Gifty still ran up the stairs as if she was being chased lol – so either Gifty just always runs up the stairs then Marley thinks she’s playing and runs after her or they were actually playing and Gifty is just being a big wuss and cries out as if she has just been shot!

Just the other day, they were actually able to sleep on the bed together, with both of them aware the other one was there. Gifty didn’t even growl and get startled like she would have before. This is a major step forward actually!

When we went on our summer holiday for 11 days there in June we asked Scott’s dad to stay at ours to look after them for us. We were originally going to send them to a highly recommended cattery but for 11 days and for two cats, it was quite expensive. But they were grand with the cat-sitter and I think they had a good dose of tough love too. I think with having just each other for company they may have actually bonded.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I hope you enjoy reading about my little rascals and seeing their pictures (I take a lot of pictures of them lol). This might be the last update I’ll have on them for a while because they are pretty much used to each other now (fingers crossed!) I was thinking about treating them to a multi-level Cat Tree climbing frame and scratch post. They are still scratching the shit out of my sofa! I might get them this for Christmas (it’s coming in so quick!) We are away to Krakow in October and our previous cat sitter is coming with us too, so we may have to bring the kitties to the cattery after all or possibly ask Scott’s mother; haven’t decided yet.

I’d love to hear if anyone would recommend bringing kitties to a cattery or would it be better to have someone to pop in to check on them (we’re only away 5 days). If you have more than one cat yourself; how long did it take for them to get used to each other? If you have any questions for me, please do feel free to get in touch.

Palma Nova, Majorca – June 2018

Just back from 11 glorious days in Palmanova, Majorca, Spain (It took me a lot longer than expected to get this post published; but I finally got there!)

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From the very outset I loved our hotel – the quality, location, facilities, our room (one minor point deduction) – everything was pretty much perfect. We stayed with 4* Hotel Son Caliu Spa Oasis.

Our flight was early in the morning and I had heard that the airport had been experiencing delays processing people through security – so I made sure we were there in good time to get through smoothly without worrying about being late for our flight or rushing about on the other side and not having enough time to get some breakfast. But, we made it in good time anyway; security was busy but not as bad as I was expecting.

 

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I was saying to Scott he looked like a wee dwarf in the pool from the angle I was looking at him LOL!

 

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After landing and collecting our luggage we found our coach transfer and we were the first ones to get drop off to their hotel. Bonus! We arrived at our hotel around 12 or 1 I believe it was. The reception team greeted us warmly on arrival; they asked me to pay the mandatory tourist tax – this was introduced in the Balearic Islands in July 2016 – you can read more about it here  – https://www.spain-holiday.com/rentalbuzz/the-new-balearics-eco-tourism-tax-explained – they have a helpful tourist tax calculator which would be good to handy if you plan on travelling to any of the Balearic Islands. The tourist tax is based on the standard of your accommodation and is charged per person per day and for guests staying longer than 9 days there is a reduction (50% I believe) plus VAT – we stayed for 11 days – we had to pay €80-something – which works out about €4 per person per day for our hotel. It isn’t much but it’s harsh enough to fork over as soon as you arrive.

Anyhow, I had made peace with it at this point and accepted it.

We are all about the food when we are on holidays together – we both love to pig out basically

 

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We were on the fourth floor and room 415. Our room was GORGEOUS. Couldn’t get over how nice it was! We had booked a double standard room and I had emailed the hotel directly outlining how much we were looking forward to spending our holiday in their beautiful newly refurbished hotel. A lovely member of the reservation team responded promptly, thanked me for choosing them and said they would give us a nice renovated room. They had placed us in a superior room! The room was so spacious and was beautifully decorated – in the open plan room we had massive wardrobes, his & her sinks, waterfall shower, separate room for the toilet (with a sliding door), sofa, flat screen tv, two desk counters – one had the coffee machine on top and mini freeze underneath; the other was beside my side of the bed so of course I used it to lay out all my hair and beauty products. The only one, minor, downside to this room was the balcony – it was obviously what their old balconies were like before the renovation – as I saw other neighbouring balcony’s were bigger, newer and could fit more than one person at the one time. Luckily, this wasn’t a issue for us for two reasons – 1, the view was looking out onto the road at the back of the hotel and 2, because Scott had no interest in sitting out on the balcony to get the last glimpses of the sun in the evenings (but I was)

 

 

The first couple of days we spent down by the main pool at the front of the hotel. This pool scene was the most relaxed one I have ever experienced. There was no mad rush to get down to the pool to reserve a sun lounger and breakfast time always had a good distribution of people as you could eat inside the restaurant or out on the terrace at the snack/lunch bar area. As the week went on it did get busier but not to the extent that you were waiting for a table to be cleared or anything like that.

Most of the day time though we did spend in the adults only Portals Lounge – this area does not open until 10:30am which suited us down to the ground as it meant we didn’t have to be up too early or rush through our breakfast – most of the time we were the first ones to queue up. This pool area has the beautiful infinity pool looking out over the coast, has it’s own bar and about 7 double padded sun lounger beds and then about another 3 (I think) balinese beds. Scott has had issues with his back in recent years and the sun loungers just agreed with him so much better than the beds did down by the main pool. Both pool areas give you your complimentary pool towels (by refundable deposit for the main pool area and by the specific portals lounge key cards for the adults only pool area)

 

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We didn’t pre-book any trips or excursions prior to arriving here; which I’m a little disappointed about, but at the end of the day if there was anything that really stood out to us we would have booked it but when we were doing our research on the area the only one that really caught our eyes was Palma Aquarium. We were able to book tickets at our reception (which was pretty much the same price as pre-booking online at their website) and they advised us what buses we should get from down the town.

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The rest of the holiday was basically spent eating, drinking and enjoying our free time to just unwind and chill out. We made a few friends along the way and when it came to England playing their match in The World Cup we celebrated a little too hard that night and the next morning was a complete blur – we slept the whole morning and early afternoon – we were in a bad way…but we recovered just in time for dinner!

 

We are both massive crazy golf fans and both get extremely competitive with each other. I’ve never actually beat Scott before at crazy golf; until now….

Golf Fantasia was in the middle of the Palmanova strip and so was just a short walk for us to get to. They have three different levels to choose from, really well kept and also have a small snack bar area.

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We had his and hers bathrobes in the room along with slippers as well – this were specifically for going to the spa from your room. The spa itself gave you towels to use when there. In the Spa Oasis they have an indoor pool with water jets and whirlpool. The circuit includes a dry Finnish sauna, herbal steam bath, steam bath with saline inhalation, Laconium (Roman thermae), an ice fountain and sensation showers. They also have a fully equipped gym with outdoors view and a room for directed exercise classes. The Spa Oasis also offers 7 comfortable and spacious massage rooms to enjoy an extensive range of massages and relaxing rituals, as well as beauty treatments for him and for her with natural products. The indoor pool and circuit is free for hotel guests to use while the treatments are charged separately. You are not allowed your mobile phone in the Spa Oasis (sorry but I took mine for pre and post spa photos). In the outdoor relaxation area (right outside the doors to the indoor pool) they have a few sun beds available – this is actually a nice wee spot to spend your time during the day if you just want to be in a quiet and secluded sunbathing area.

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In Summary:

> Although I did thoroughly enjoy just taking each day as it came and not having to stick to a strict schedule; I still think if we had pre-booked an excursion or two prior to arriving it would have broken up the holiday a bit more for us – because looking back on it now, those 11 days went in so so quick. I think I was just a little too pre-occupied about getting the best price.

> If you’re a confident driver, renting a car would allow you to explore more of the island without paying out big money on a taxi or taking the (sometimes packed out) bus. Friends we made on holidays rented a car and advised us to take out a premium level of car insurance and take pictures of the car itself before you drive it anywhere (as they noticed the car was given to them with a few bumps and scratches already and had experiences with this situation before).

> Our return flight was about 11:20 I believe; our transfer pick up time was for about 7AM but our hotel was only approximately a 30 min drive away from the airport. We got to the airport just when the check-in desks were opening so it meant minimum queuing from there and also through security but then on the other side we were hanging about quite a while until we could board the plane, didn’t get breakfast (we weren’t aware we could have got someone small in hotel restaurant as breakfast didn’t start until 7:30am) had to eat a Mcdonalds for breakfast in the airport and then waited ages when until our gate was announced and then waited another age to actually board as our gate was so far from our plane we had to get shuttle bused across the runway yard. If I could re-do this part I would have just got a taxi to the airport instead; I would have had time to get a good breakfast, more time to sleep in a bit and not feel so groggy when leaving the hotel.

> It was a fabulous holiday nonetheless and we were completely blown away by how beautiful our hotel was. Palmanova itself is a lovely area and with it being close to Magaluf you have the best of both worlds; if you want party-party or laid back and relaxed – you can easily choose.

If you’ve been to Majorca before I’d love to hear about your experience or if you have any suggestions for other popular summer holiday destinations. I’d also love to hear any tips or advice you have for further summer holiday planning. Speak soon…