Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Monday's Moments - A Year in Review!

Whether you're a sucker for resolutions, a fiend for inspirational quotes or an eye roller at the very notion, it's been a running theme 'round these parts for the past few years to give thanks, weekly. 

Regulars to the blog will know that every Monday I post 5 Moments that I'm grateful for from the week before. Things that mean my Mondays don't suck as much and I can't recommend it enough. For peace of mind, for perspective and for a little mood moost when you need it most. Moments rock. 

Every New Years Eve, that's today, I spend the day looking through the entire years back catalogue and no matter what mood I tend to be in on the 31st (often melancholy, always hungry) they never fail to put a huge smile on my face and a fire in my belly for the year ahead. 

Personal standouts have to be my eldest Gorgebag becoming a man ~ My back recovering enough that I was mobile again (your health is your wealth, kids) - so mobile that I could get back to daily walking and manage to shed just over two stone so far ~ Two brand new nephers arriving into the world ~ Both Gorgebags starting work and Our dear old Cherry Pops getting the final all clear. 

Things were pretty phenomenal on the online front too ~ So phenomenal in fact that I managed to go from the full time rat race to part time! I landed two huge freelance gigs (still pinch myself over these) and I pushed myself to get out and about more, resulting in ~ Speaking on panels at conferences, workshops and networking events ~ Having chats with a London agency that want to sign CherrySue and Offering PR/blog consultancy on the reg.                                                                       Mind. Blowing. Stuff!

The point of all this self reflection is not to gloat, it's to thank every single one of you for your input into our life changes and to give thanks to the powers that be (whomever she is) for the little things that have made our 2014 one of the best years we've ever had. 

I'd highly recommend taking up the habit of Monday's Moments for everybody, not only for the weekly boost that comes with rising above the dark clouds and recognising silver linings but because I've found, genuinely, that when I start being truly grateful for the little things, big things tend to follow. 

Here's to a healthy, happy & mindful 2015 
for every single one of us 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Best Lip Balms for Cold Winter Kissers ft La Roche-Posay Cicaplast, Lansinoh & Nuxe Reve de Miel

Whether you're readying your kisser for midnight on New Years Eve or simply trying to counteract the cold snap, there's nothing quite like the trial & error annoyance of finding a softening, healing balm to get your lips back to tip top shape during the winter months. 

It upsets me far too much to count the money I've spent on balms and lip creams promising to work miracles, only to be thrun aside when they just don't cut the mustard. What with the almost entirety of Twitter asking the same lip related question I thought I'd share with you my holy trinity. The fail safe, faff free wonders that have literally saved my lips on many occasions. 

1. Cicaplast Lips: €7.68 Here & All Good Pharmacies Nationwide

As far as I'm concerned there's nothing the LRP team can't do when it comes to healing, treating and enhancing our skin. I have yet to try a product that I didn't love, even if the blue and white packaging baffles me sometimes.

The launch of Cicaplast lips in 2013, however, was a revelation. I use Cicaplast Baume B5 for anything and everything and recommend it until I'm as blue in the face but this paraben free, fragrance free lip version of the balm has literally saved my kisser several times. This soft malleable cream gives instant relief and comfort and healing my dry, sore lips in the space of a day.

To be used as a cracking base for brightly coloured lippies, a salve for red sore schnozzes (HIGHLY recommended for this) or just as a lip saviour for all the family, this little white tube is a handbag/pocket/purse/glovebox/desk essential.

2. Lansinoh Nipple Balm: €11.19 Here & All Good Pharmacies Nationwide

I KNOW, it says nipple balm, but it's not just for nips, have I ever steered ye wrong? You'll find my full review of this fragrance free, pure lanolin wonder balm here - that's right, I've been loving it since 2011. Not only that but I've only just bought a second tube this month after 3 years of winter usage. Now that's value for money. 

For those of us that adore the effects of Elizabeth Arden's 8 Hour Balm but can't abide the pong, or the price tag, get thee to the chemist and pick up a tube of this soft skin saviour. Thinking about it logically, if it's soothing enough for one of the most delicate areas of your bod then of course it's soothing enough for your pout. 

Again, it's gentle enough to soothe reddened, sore schnozzes ( I have to hide the tube when using it on the lads) and even on broken skin so a must have for the harsh winter months. Yep, I also wish they'd release the same product in a purse friendly tube but truth be told, even as is, I wouldn't be without it. 

3. Nuxe Reve De Miel: €11.50 Here

This ultra nourishing balm from French giants, Nuxe isn't a best-selling, award winning favourite for nothing. While I find it too thick to wear daily, I lather it on at night as a mask to repair and soothe sore and chapped lips. I've yet to wake up the morning after and not be amazed with the restorative transformation. 

Tell us, are any of your faves in our Holy Trinty? 
What keeps your kisser going during the cold spells? 
Careful now...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

❤ Cherry Christmas One & All ❤

We made it!

In what's been arguably one of the quickest years in this history of ever, we've made it to Christmas Eve. Can you believe it?

I want to just take a mo to thank each and every one of you in the most sincere way for the comments, tweets, messages and your never ending support throughout the year. 

2014 has been one of the most phenomenal years of our lives so far and without each of you taking the time to check in and share the love then, 
honestly, that would never have been possible so thank you. 

We're going to take a small hiatus round these parts until the 5th for some family downtime but no doubt I'll be popping up on either Twitter, Facebook or Instagram
- WHA? It's an addiction!

Whatever your plans for the holidays this year we wish you a very Merry Christmas 
from our home to yours xxx

Monday, December 22, 2014

Monday's Moments - 22/12/14

Morning, morning!!

Is there a nicer Monday that the one before the holliers? Possibly not. 

This has been an incredible week of catching up with loved ones, good pals and probably the first ever that I've managed a Christmas tipple or two WHENEVER I WANTED now that the lads are full grown and out working for themselves. But wait, there's more: 

1. Learning Baby Alexander's First Words are 
'Get In' 
For When He Wants A Love

2. Both Lads Bringing Home Their First Wage 
& Handing Up A Few Bob Unprompted

3.Getting Home After The Office Christmas Party 
Knowing I Did NATHIN' Embarrassing

4. Realising Aaron is the Perfect Sidekick 
For a Day's Christmas Shopping

5. Finally Being 'All Set for the Christmas'

So tell us, what's amazing in your life right now? 

Family home for Christmas? You jetting off? 

Share the happy haps!

Friday, December 19, 2014

MY Christmas Viewing Pix!

Due to the fact myself and my friends are broke college students the 12 Pubs has been ruled out for me this year, leaving me plenty of time to reflect (read: watch religiously) on my favourite Christmas viewing - and here are my top choices!!

3. (NEW)Doctor Who Specials:

Yeah, it was obvious, but these things are DAMN good. Like, get you into Doctor Who (MAAAA!!) good. Some might be Shakespearean stories of love, some might be about a madman that eats people becoming PM of Britain - but all of them are fantastic to watch. 

Plus, Nick Frost this year, sweeet.

2. Twitch Streams:

Even if you aren't a big fan of games, there's something about watching grown men and women drink copious amounts and make a gobshite of themselves playing Just Dance in a tiny room - for some reason it really brings the Christmas feeling to the Scrooge in me.

My recommendations - Yogs for Charity and The Eggman, Northernlion.

1. The Nightmare Before Christmas:

I'm 18, have a penchant for alt-rock and dark clothes - this was inevitable. A staple of all long haired teenage boy and neon/black haired teenage girl viewing, this better-than-Disney Burton flick has my favourite all time Christmas song which I put above, give it a listen yehh?

Fun Fact: I have a DVD of this since I was about 15 and neither Mam or Adam have ever seen it, as well as the fact I don't remember buying it/receiving it as a gift. It's kind of like your first Nirvana record, the Teenage Fairy leaves it under your bed when you reach 14-15 for you to find and treasure.

What will you be binge watching this Christmas season? Netflix or otherwise? 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Things That Rustle My Jimmies

Ah, Thursday, the one day of the week that I let it all hang out and unrustle the jimmies of the week before. I mean it's only the week before Christmas, what could possibly have me stressed?!

This could:

 1. 'You Seem Like a Girl In The Know, 
Could I Grab a Copy of Your UK Contacts?'

2. Gombeens With NO Sense of Direction 
Directing Traffic in Shopping Centres!

3. 'I've Changed'

4. Accidentally Saying 'Love You, Bye' 
At the End of a Work Call!

 5. 'Oh I've Had My Christmas Shopping 
Done Since June'

Feelings of stabbiness? Significantly reduced!

Recognise any jimmie rustlers? Care to share your own? 

It's cathartic, I swear!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What to Buy Those That Already Have Everything!

I didn't go all out on the gift guides this year, figuring the blogosphere was saturated with the helpful feckers. Today, however, I thought I'd share one for those of you scrambling for the the last couple of gifts for those that seem to have everything. You know the ones (I'm one of those ones). So sit back, stop stressing and pick one of the top 15 to get you out of any gift shaped hole you've gotten yourself into. 

1. Sad Keanu Miniature: €43 Here
We all know a meme addict, we're on the internet for crying out loud. And any meme addict worth his/her salt knows of the woes of sad Keanu. What could be better for the person that has everything than a miniature melancholy Keanu. WHAT?!

2. Kate Spade 2015 Planner: €27 Brown Thomas
Much rejoicing happened this Winter as New York designer Kate Spade and all her kookiness finally got a concession in BTs. This polkadot planner is a sure fire winner. I don't think I know a pal that wouldn't love this wholeheartedly. 

3. This Works Perchance to Dream Set: €81 Here
Admittedly this set is the spendier side of the range but what better gift to give than sleep? I've extolled the virtues of this veritable chloroform in a bottle so many times and should you not be buying for a beloved, then you could easily buy the spray alone for €19. Trust meh, you'll be loved for this one. 

4. Irish Mammies Mug: €9.50 Here
Do I even need to introduce these Irish ledgebags? With seriously hilarious sayings that we recognise from our own Mammies themselves, these mugs would make a brilliant pressie for a brother, sister or pal abroad. Or ya'know LITERALLY ANYONE!. 

5. Real Leather Touch Screen Gloves: €22.85 Here
Winter winds and touch screens do not happy fingers make. That's why these 100% leather gloves are an ideal pressie for Christmas. Of course if you're on a tight budget there's a polyester pair in Penney's for €1.50 but who are you, Scrooge McDuck?!

6. Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick Collection: €40 Here
These Color Envy lipsticks are unlike anything else on the market today. Soft, highly pigmented and luxurious on the lips they're worth every cent of their respective €29 price tag. This set of deluxe travel sizes for just €40 though? Hrrrnnnggg. (the more wiley and more popular amongst us might even buy these and split them up between four pals - not condoning, just saying)

7. Aer Lingus Travel Vouchers: Here
Got a pal with itchy feet? Or a loved one that hasn't been away in an age? This is such a handy gift to buy for absolutely anyone. Not only do you have the freedom (if you've the spends) to buy enough for a return flight but there's not many peeps that wouldn't love even €50 off an upcoming trip. Might even prompt an unplanned jaunt. You might even be invited. These vouchers sell themselves, seriously. 

8. Laura Mercier Mini Caviar Stick Eye Collection: €47 Here
I've been using and RAVING about these shadow sticks for the past week and not without great cause. In six flattering metallic shades, there's not a skin tone these wouldn't look fabulous on. If you truly want to give a little luxury for the holidays, look no further. 

9. L'Occitane Delicious Almond Collection: €59 Here
Whether buying for guys or girls, you legitimately cannot go wrong with the L'Occitane Almond collection. This multi- award winning range isn't raking in the accolades for nothing. Rich and sumptuous, the entire line is pure luxury and a steal at almost €30 off online now. 

10. Photobox Personalised Family Planner: €9.95 Here
A gorgeous idea from Irish company Photobox, you can upload photos to customise these family planners. Now 1/3 of the RRP adding separate pics to important dates will only cost you a couple of eurobux more. It's about as thoughtful as a gift can get. 

11. Google Chrome Cast: €39 Here
Not normally one for gadgets, there hasn't been a day in the past six months that we haven't put our Chrome Cast to good use. A USB receiver that plugs into the side of your TV and allows you to stream anything from any device? Genius. Even if I do have to put up with the lads rick rolling me from upstairs when I'm trying to enjoy my Youtube vids of an eve. Gits. 

12. Juice Cube Charger: €30 Here
Second only to sleep, the best (buyable) gift you can give to someone is an extra long charge for their phone imho. This dinky cube can charge a phone to 100% in record time and is small enough to fit in the tiniest of pockets so completely portable. Imagine not having to scan every room for sockets when out. IMAGINE. 

13. Charlotte Tilbury Fallen Angel: €59 Here
If you really want to wow a gal pal, sister, aunt, Mam OR yourself then look no further than the limited edition Charlotte Tilbury Fallen Angel palette. The four show stopping metallic shades can be amped up or pared back to suit every taste. I guarantee you offer up this gem on Christmas morning and you will be loved for a very long time. Loved. Long. Time. 

14. Crabtree & Evelyn Pomegranate Hand and Body: €22 Here
Not to sound too punny but this C&E Pomegranate hand cream is hands down my favourite scent of the year. Bright and floral, I find myself looking forward to the next time I can use it and proffering it to passers by my desk so that they might fall in love too. €22 is an amazing price for this entire gift and I'll be picking up a couple myself. LOVE. 

15. YSL La Laque: €25 Here
We all know I'm a little bit picky when it comes to polishes, I'm not often swayed to spend more than a tenner either, having been burned by 'prestige' brands before. YSL La Laque is different though, very different. From the weight of the bottle to the fanned brush to the stunning shade range and flawless application, I've yet to meet one of these bad boys that I didn't like. It's the little touch of luxe that I truly believe any lady would be thrilled to receive. 

Tell us, have we managed to stop you scratching your noggin? 

Is that a different post entirely? 

We'd love to know, what would you suggest for the lucky sod that has everything? 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cologne & Valkenburg Christmas Markets ~ Probably The Most Magical Yet!

I left it very late this year to book our Christmas market trip as I knew the latest addition to our family would only be about 6 weeks old. I worried that my hubby might panic if I left him with our 5 children, he did a great job, even managed a day out to Dublin with them on his own! I taught him well. 

Gorgeous Ladies on the panel, Rachel Farrell, Sue Jordan, Joanne Larby & Leanne Woodfull, photo nabbed, with permission from @ohheythererachel’s Instagram!

I needed to book a late afternoon flight as Sue was speaking at Ireland’s first ever blogger conference in the Spencer Hotel. Our only option was to fly Ryanair direct to Cologne/Bonn airport paying €87 each, return, including a checked bag for the return flight. I also had to book Fast Track through security for Dublin Airport as I didn’t know how busy traffic or the airport would be at that time. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday's Moments - 15/12/14

All messing aside now, we're ten days from Christmas - TEN!

In other amazing news we're only one week from longer days again, something I'm genuinely looking forward to. 

As per, it's been an amazing week blog wise, job wise and family wise and these five Moments are just the cherry on top: 

1. Aaron Having His Lost Wallet Returned 
With EVERYTHING Still Inside!

2. Meeting A Chap Outside the Age Action Party in the Office 'I'm Waiting For My Mam, She's Paying Me Back for All Those Years I Left Her 
Waiting Outside The Disco'

3. A Pal Using Smart Remote Phone App To Covertly Turn Up The X-Factor Results on The Pub TV!!

4. Making My Radio Debut To Chat About Blogging (Link Here)

5. Opening THIS Surprise Gift On Sunday 
Being Completely Blown Away

Tell us, what Moment has been the cherry on top of your week? 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Cherry Pick of the Week: Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars ~ Uptown Funk

Could Bruno Mars BE any funkier? 

Has there ever BEEN a funkier song? 

Will I ever be able to take Uptown Funk off repeat?

So many questions - tell me you're not addicted too?!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Gift Guide for Teen Guys

They say speak from a place you know and when it comes to writing, there's little I know more about than Christmas buying for teenage hooligans. 

I've done the market research, which involved polling such as 'Here, would you like that?' over dinner and come up with 7 cracking gifts, guaranteed to please an unpleasable teen. OK, maybe not guaranteed but you won't be as much of an embarrassment for at least a day. Ready? 

1. Laundry Punch Bag: €25 Here

It'll hold their socks while they give it socks - there's not many lads that would balk at the idea of a punch bag in their room and it certainly beats a floordrobe. 

2. ASOS Black & Rose Gold Watch: €35.72 Here

This was actually on my youngest Gorgebag's list for Christmas, which I thought curious as not many teens wear watches anymore. Apparently rose gold is in for lads now though and this watch the perfect hint of the pink metal without going overboard. 

3. Gillette ProGlide Styler: €27.49 Here

Aaron has been using and loving this all year long. It's ideal for trimming beards, shaping goatees or even a straight up clean shave. All that and it means my Gillette Venus haven't been pilfered since. It's an investment really. 

4. Sennheiser In Ear Headphones: €49.99 Here 

I genuinely believe I've put the grandchildren of headphone makers though college with the sheer volume of pairs I've bought over the past ten years for the lads. It truly is a false economy buying cheap and buying often so top brands, like Sennheiser here, really are the only way to go for quality of sound and longevity of wear. 

5. Grey Leopard Print Trainers: €37 Here

Imma readily admit that I want these Nike Freerunesque trainers myself, really, truly WANT but they don't have them in my size. I was lamenting that fact to Adam when his eyes lit up and I realised the Bette Lynch gene is strong with this one. According to himself, these are the bomb diggity (though he asked me never to say bomb diggity in his company again).

6. iTunes Voucher: €50 Here

Of course the denomination of voucher will depend on just how helpful they've been through the year but when it comes to vouchers and iPhone lovers, you can't go wrong with iTunes. Used for music, games and god knows what else, I've never met a teen that wouldn't gladly relieve you of one o' these. 

7. Hollister Guys Beach Vest: €89 Here

For reasons still unbeknownst to anyone over the age of 19, Hollister is the epitome of cool when it comes to teen clothing. The Abercrombie & Fitch offshoot can be extortionately expensive but these fleece lined vests are the gift that keeps on giving. What's more, there's free delivery on online orders over €50 so you'll never have to don your mining helmet to darken their already darkened doors again. YUSS!

Tell us, have you a teen to buy for, anything we've missed out? 

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - Movie Review

Who's In It? 

, and 

What's It About? 

Smaug has been booted from his golden perch, Gandalf was captured by the Necromancer, and 5 armies are on the way to take the mountain for themselves - time for some REAL LotR action!

Any Good? 

So, after the children's adventure in the first and the awkward teenage build-up of the second, it's time for the badass adult battles to finally take place, and yes, they're TOTALLY badass.

It's about time The Hobbit series has the feel of a true LotR movie, just watching the massive army of elves that truly looks like practical effects (they might have been actually..) really gives you a taste of what is coming to a head at the Lonely Mountain. This entire movie is basically just the build up of Helms Deep followed by a battle that shames Minas Tirith, and it's absolutely fantastically done in that regard. My favourite army by far was the dwarves - these little nutcases swinging hammers and axes led by Billy Connelly riding a wild boar were absolutely fantastic and Billy himself was actually funny as their leader Dain.

A taste of the Elves

Not only is the Lonely Mountain in trouble, but poor Gandalf has been captured and tortured by The Necromancer - that is - until a couple of old friends (familiar faces actually) mount a rescue mission resulting in one of the best fighting scenes I've ever seen on film. You can feel every hit from sword/staff and it's just completely enhanced by the glorious 48 frames per second, it runs so smooth and connects like all film/TV should now it's 20BLEEDIN14!!

Galadriel is prettty cool..

The star of the film for me acting-wise was Ian McKellen, for the last two movies I haven't gotten the wizard feel from him you got from just the fireworks scene in The Fellowship, but watching him in this now you can see it's the same old Maiar that rode the Durin's Bane (the balrog) into the white robes. Martin Freeman himself has become somewhat of a sleeper hit of an actor to me, after years of only knowing him as Tim from The Office and Arthur Dent he blew me away here - it's not even like he's acting, it's like he's just a being who wants to avoid war at all costs.

If you were waiting for some real LotR battles in this trilogy, you've finally arrived. Watching this instalment made me think back to the other films and how they seemed to steadily get better - and to me that's what let this one down. It wasn't consistent enough in series or single film to reach the heights of the original trilogy, and while it was a big action fest like The Two Towers it just doesn't hold the same feeling. I certainly recommend seeing this for a Lord of the Rings fix, and it can only be enhanced by watching it in 48fps because the fights really are as smooth as silk.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Things That Rustle My Jimmies

I'll preface this entire post by saying that this week has been one of the most exciting in the history of my blogging adventures and now that that's rustled a bajillion jimmies in itself, let's chat about why it was also the teeniest bit cat: 

1. When Twitter Tells You You've Imaginary DMs

2. Losing One Glove on the Coldest Day of the Year

3. People That Hang Up Mid Way Through 
Your Elaborate 'Bye' Routine

4. Bus Diversions HOURS After They're Needed

5. FastWay Couriers. All of Them. 

And once again balance is restored. 

Tell us, what's been rustling your jimmies this week? 

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

A Presidential Christmas in Áras an Uachtaráin

Back in 2012 our family were lucky enough to be invited to the President's house for the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Traditionally this is held the first weekend in December & televised by RTE News. 

When the invite arrived on luxurious stationary in late October, the girls were over the moon. This was to be their year, as they were also toy demonstrators on The Late Late Toy Show that year! 

When we arrived outside the gates of the Áras we all had to produce photographic I.D. & our invite before we were allowed access to the car park. There was even a bus to run us up the driveway to the big house. The children were so excited that we decided to walk up to use a bit of their energy!

All bundled up in hand made Arans from Nan

We were welcomed at the door by members of the wonderful staff that work in the Áras. They were so friendly & inviting and made us feel like family returning home. Whoever decorated the house for Christmas did an amazing job, understated elegance throughout.

As we arrived we were ushered into the main reception room where there was an enormous homemade festive spread. Everything was made from scratch in the Presidential kitchen, including the sausage rolls, chicken goujons & filo pastry wrapped tiger prawns. But the mouth-watering cakes & cookies caught the attention of the children.

We were formally introduced to President Michael D Higgins & his wife Sabina, by his military aides-de-camp. They were so lovely & genuinely interested in our family. We chatted for a while, with them telling us all about their four children. Sabina even asked could she hold our youngest son Cillian. 

Then we were led through to meet Santa who gave each of the children an engraved Newbridge Silver Christmas decoration, so they would have a beautiful keepsake of their visit for years to come.

By the time we got back to the reception room the entertainment had started with a magician for the children, this was followed up by the very talented Moya Brennan.

The President & his wife then gave a speech as to what Christmas meant to them, it’s all about family in the Higgins household. We all gathered outside for the lighting of the Christmas tree with the glow of Dublin’s lights in the background, they really have a stunning view from their back garden.

Back inside, I got chatting to a member of staff (kicking myself I never got his name) As we were chatting I mentioned that after there I was going to visit my Dad, who was in the Mater Hospital recuperating after an operation. To my surprise about 10 minutes later he came up to me with a care package of cakes for my Dad. 

I was so touched by this gesture, I actually cried. Dad was delighted with it & later told me that all the doctors & nurses from the other wards came in to visit him in the hopes of getting a Presidential sweet treat for with their tea.

After the ceremony outside a smaller group of us went back inside to an ante room for relaxed chats, while a pianist played Christmas carols. They were so down to earth, Sabina even told a member of staff that they could go for the evening & she took over putting more turf on the fire.

I love this picture, it shows how friendly & approachable Sabina really is!

The chats soon moved on to the topic of the Diaspora, both the Michael & his wife said that they were heartbroken that so many families are affected. 

I said that my big brother Rob & his wife Catherine had to move to the UK in order to find work. I was then asked to call him (!) What followed was 10 minutes of utter surrealism as I greeted my brother & proceeded to hand my phone to the President so he could wish them a Happy Christmas & sympathise that they were not home with family for the festive season.


Our visit was not at all what I had expected; it was so relaxed & informal. Our family will always have great memories of that time. No doubt the children will talk about it again as they hang their silver angels on the tree this year.

Áras an Uactatáin is open to the public every Saturday. Admission is free, tickets are issued on a first come first served basis from the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre on Saturday mornings. They do not take bookings, so be sure to get there early before the first tour starts at 10.15am