Tuesday, March 31, 2015

12 Months Of Happiness | March 2015 ♥

It's the last day of March already! I really can't believe how quickly this year is going by, it seems the older I get the faster the years become! I'm continuing on with my 12 Months of Happiness and sharing all the things which put a smile on my face this month. 

On March 9th I celebrated my 25th birthday. It was such a simple day but I got to spend some time with my boys and enjoy some delicious raspberry and white chocolate tartlets - yummy! I received some gorgeous gifts including three Lime Crime lipsticks which I had been lusting after for ages now and a beautiful 'first dance' Pandora charm to add to my bracelet, which is almost complete now. I'm not happy that I'm another year older (and wiser?!) but I am happy that I was able to have such a lovely birthday.

The day after my birthday Jacek and I flew to Amsterdam for two days. We had both been there before but never together and it was so lovely to soak up the delights of the city together as well as the glorious sunshine - the sun always shines when I'm in Amsterdam! We had so much fun and some much needed rest too. It was lovely to spend some quality time together in a city with both love.

On March 17th my little family and I celebrated St. Patrick's Day. I put together a St. Patrick's Day mantle, I love having seasonal or holiday themed decor in my house and I thought it was quite pretty. We also had an unconventional St. Patrick's Day spent on the beach - no parades for us! The sun was shining and we had a lovely time at one of our favourite scenic spots, Roches Point. My boy was looking handsome too dressed up in his green vintage shortalls, leprechaun hat and tri-colour lay.

My boy and I had a lovely Easter egg hunt in the woods, which was quite a magical location for a hunt if I'm honest. We went the hour before sunset and I placed chocolate eggs and bunnies around the bases of two trees for him to find, he really enjoyed it! I captured lots of gorgeous pictures to remember the moment and I have to say that I really do love these pictures, they're one of my favourite shoots from the year so far.

This month I was able to capture lots of gorgeous pictures of my boy, as well as getting a professional photo shoot of him as part of Canon Ireland's National Portrait Week. I captured some beautiful, natural shots of him when we had his annual balloon wish and release and it was so lovely to capture photos of him during this tradition of ours once again. As he grows it's important for me to keep getting beautiful pictures of him, he is my perfect model and muse.

Tomorrow is April 1st. I'm looking forward to seeing all the wonderful things that April bring to me and my loved ones and experiencing all the things that will make me happy during the month. Let the happiness continue!

Monday, March 30, 2015

New Additions To My Home | Homeware ♥

It's becoming apparent to me that I won't get my much longed for house move for quite some time yet, not only are there only five properties for rent in my area at the moment but rent prices have really hiked up so I'm stuck in my little dolls house of a home for much longer than I really anticipated or wanted to be... Nevertheless, this gives me an excuse to get some new things for my home and try to make it as pretty and cozy as it possibly can be whilst we're living here, although I don't think any place will ever feel like home as much as my parents house did.

I've picked up some new homeware pieces, mostly for the kitchen as it's a room I'll be using a lot more now that I've been hit by the baking bug again! Here are some of the new additions to my home...

 I've been lusting after this unicorn jewellery dish for ages, so when I had a bit of spare money I just had to get it. I haven't kept any jewellery on it yet but it's sitting on my dressing table with some of my Lush goodies on it. It was just £9.95 too.

I like to have seasonal themed Yankee Candles burning for the holidays and appropriate scents for different times of the year. With Easter coming up I wanted something fun and sweet smelling so when I got my hands on the Yankee Candle Jelly Beans* candle I was delighted. It has such a sweet, lovely scent that really does smell like jelly beans and I think the purple colour is great for Easter as yellow and purple are always the colours I associate with this time of year. I shall have this burning all week in the run up to Easter and on the day itself, now I just need to try and get my hands on the Bunny Cake candle too! The Yankee Candle Jelly Beans large candle is £19.99.

 I also picked up this sweet little deer and birds pink box, I really love the vintage style print on the cover. This is actually supposed to be a lunch box as it's made from plastic but I've been keeping my lipsticks in it on my dresser. This little box was £4.95.

I fell in love with this floral print vintage plate from a local vintage shop and just had to have it for displaying my baking creations. This was just €4.

I needed some storage solutions in the kitchen as the 'junk drawer' is just overflowing with baking things and cookie cutters, so when I spotted these retro advertising tins I thought they'd be perfect for storing everything. The Kellogg's one is my absolute favourite and these were just €3 each.

I've been looking for some pretty storage solutions for my bedroom and you can't get much prettier than these petite rose suitcases, they come in a set of three and are so handy for keeping my makeup, beauty products and candles in. I have two other sets of these in different floral designs and they really are such lovely additions in my bedroom. These were £19.95.

I also picked up two of these vintage dinner plates for displaying my bakes. These were supposed to be €6 each but I got the two for €8, I love the floral design and the gold.

I've had these gorgeous prints for ages but never got round to getting frames for them, so when I saw these beautiful white frames in my local Dealz store I had to pick some up. I actually have four of them now and they're gorgeous for displaying my prints and some pictures, not bad for just €1.49 each!

A local discount store was closing down so I popped in for a look and found these sweet little bunny night lights. I already have one for Tyler Lee but these were just €3 each so I couldn't leave them behind. They make great photo props and he loves having them on as he's going to sleep.

These are the most recent additions to my home, no doubt there will be more in the coming months. I really need to find some new storage solutions, especially for the living room and our office.

Have you bought any new homewares lately?


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Lush Cork | Bloggers Event & Product Showcase ♥

 On Friday night I was invited along to the Lush Cork bloggers event and as Lush are one of my all-time favourite brands and this event was based in my city (yay for something not being held in Dublin for once!) I was super excited to pop along. Not realising the event was going to be super intimate - there were only eight of us there - I had brought my other half along (socially awkward and all that!), luckily the lovely Lush staff, Kaz and Katrina, were more than accommodating to both him and I. We were offered sparkling fruit juice, strawberries, grapes and biscuits - the shortbread was amazing and if I had it here right now it'd be gone in a heartbeat - I loved that everything we were offered in terms of refreshment was healthy and fresh, just how I think of the Lush brand.

We were given a talk on the ethics behind the Lush brand by the lovely Katrina and I was super impressed and surprised by some of the facts given to us. Did you know that the glitter on those lovely Lush bath bombs and such is now made from seaweed? No artificial or harmful stuff is involved in the making of any of Lush's pretty things. Of course, Lush is so well known for their 'fighting animal testing' slogan and belief, one which I wholeheartedly support and one which I think every makeup and beauty brand should follow. Lush's Charity Pot does so much good work and this weekend they are planning on planting one million trees! I really hope they succeed with this, each Charity Pot is equal to four and a half trees - so get buying people! It's great to see a big company giving back like this and it just makes me want to support them all the more.

Kaz then talked us through Lush's new releases for Easter, my favourites being the Bunch of Carrots and the Golden Egg which I reviewed last Easter. The Pot O' Gold and the Somewhere Over the Rainbow soap also caught my eye, I need all of these products in my life! The Hoppity Poppity and Bubblegrub would be so sweet for my sons bath time routine, he's become so afraid of the bath lately and I don't know why, so anything I can get or try to make bath time fun I will do! I want to try Ultraviolet purely because it looks like a rainbow - is that silly?

All that goes into a Lush fresh face mask, plus the fruit of course!
Kaz making Catastrophe Cosmetic.
 We then had the pleasure of making our own fresh face masks and getting some indepth knowledge on the various fresh face masks Lush has to offer and what they can do for your skin. I was delighted by this as I have five empty pots and can get a free one in exchange for them, I really want to try Cupcake, the chocolate lover in me needs it! The fresh face mask we got to make was Catastrophe Cosmetic which has the most gorgeous scent of blueberries (I have it on my face as I type this and the smell is just amazing, I wish you could smell it through the screen!). It was really fun to see how the masks are made and what goes into them, I even got to kneed the mask too, now I'm trained in the art of fresh face mask and bath bomb making - thanks Lush!

 It was then onto the hair care range where we were talked through the dry shampoo bars and all they have to offer for different hair types and needs. I always use the sea salt shampoo Big and I really do love it, it was great to see that Lush also offer another sea smelling shampoo in the dry form of Seanik. I've never used a dry shampoo bar before so I'm looking forward to seeing how they work and what they do for my hair. I love that they look like macaroons too, so quaint. I now want Marilyn as the product sounded amazing and is supposed to be great for blonde hair. I also spotted the lovely Sea Spray which is great for those sporting curls so I'll have to pick it up for my son to keep his curly hair looking amazing.

 Finally, to round up our lovely evening with Lush, we then got to sample some of Lush's perfume range, none of which I had ever actually gotten to smell before so it was great to see which ones I liked. Of course, perfume and scents are a very personal thing and I didn't like them all but I did take a shine to Death and Decay and Dad's Garden - Lemon Tree. Both are gorgeous scents and I'd love to sport them throughout the day as I think they'd be really long lasting. I also love the packaging on the perfumes and scents, they have a real retro/vintage type feel to them and I love how quirky the spray bottles are on Dad's Garden - Lemon Tree and Dirty.

Before we said our goodbyes we were each given a lovely gift bag from Kaz and Katrina which had our blog names on the tags, I loved this personal touch. Lush and the girls were so generous to us and I left feeling like (and still am) a lucky ducky, not only because of the goodies but because of the experience and knowledge I went away with. We were each given a Golden Egg Bath Bomb Melt, Full of Grace Solid Serum, Pearl Massage Bar, samples of Big, Angels On Bare Skin and R&B. We also came away with a pot of our handmade Catastrophe Cosmetic and a dry shampoo bar of our choice, I chose Jason and the Argan Oil to help with my dry ends. No doubt you can expect to read my thoughts on these products, along with all the other products I've loved and reviewed from Lush, on the blog at some stage in the coming weeks.

A huge thank you to Kaz and Katrina for all their knowledge, hospitality and friendliness and to Lush Cork for having us on the night.

You can follow Lush Cork on Twitter @LushCork and on Facebook for regular updates.


Dolly Dowsie Is 2! ♥

Yesterday my little blog turned two... and I was so busy doing all types of bloggy related activities that I forgot - shame on me. After I dropped Tyler Lee off to playschool I spent the morning catching up with blog work that had been neglected due to my blogging break this week, Jacek and myself then attended a very intimate bloggers event in the Cork Lush store where were shown and given so much informative knowledge on a wide variety of products Lush has to offer, as well as some really lovely and very generous goodies, so you can say I celebrated my blogiversary as it should have been - filled with lots of bloggy things!

I am so grateful for my blog and all the people who take the time to read my musings and interact with me either on here through comments or on my various social media channels. Dolly Dowsie is much more than just a blog to me, it's like my second baby and as crazy as that sounds, it really is true. I feel as though I have grown so much as a person ever since I embarked on this journey or writing and sharing all my thoughts and loves with the world. I have developed so many new skills and have found a new passion in life - photography, how did I function without a camera in my hand at all times before?!

These past two years I have documented my adventures in motherhood with Tyler Lee, my family's travels and days out and my sons special and most significant milestones. I've shared our memories with you all, things we recommend and love, the ordinary moments as well as the significant. I've shared ideas of mine which have hopefully given some of you inspiration and I've loved every minute of it all!

My blog has brought me some amazing opportunities, things which I could have never even imaged. I organised my own blog meetup which was a complete success and I was so proud to have pulled it off with the wonderful Sarah. I've been sponsored by the fantastic people at My 1st Years to attend BritMums Live in June and I really can't wait! I am currently part of the organising committee for the Irish Parenting Bloggers Awards which will take place in April. I've been featured as Netmums blog of the week and coming up shortly I will be sharing mine and Tyler Lee's first ever magazine interview and feature for the amazing parenting and lifestyle Oh Baby! Magazine - me in a magazine, who'd have thought it?!

I've been so lucky to have been able to work with and review for so many amazing brands and I feel extremely lucky and so grateful for everything that has come my way.

For Tyler Lee: Cosatto, Stokke, PacaPod, Fluffy Fields, Baroo, Fisher Price, Lamaze, LoveGemsy, Emy + Annie, Ella's Kitchen, Little Goat Gruff, My 1st Years, Rosebud London, Clarks, Freeva, miamoo, Nova Harley, Baba + Boo, Lara Jill, Natures Purest, Connecta, Mokee, Chloris Boris, The Gro Company, MikaB, Bubbaroo, JoJo Maman Bébé and many more.

For myself: Lush, Debenhams, MeMeMe Cosmetics, The Body Shop, Chi Chi Clothing, Shiseido, IsaDora, Yankee Candle, Sass & Belle, L'Oreal, Eylure, Viviscal, Nyx, Kerastase, Yves Rocher and many more.

I have discovered some wonderful blogs, my favourites being Sparkles & Stretchmarks, Mummy Daddy Me, Victoria's Vintage, Mummy B, Oh So Amelia, Bump to Baby and so many more.

In two years my blog has gained:
643,000+ page views
5,500+ subscribers
32,000+ social media followers

And d'you know what? I'm so bloody proud at all I've achieved! This is all very smallfry to some bloggers out there but I am immensely proud to have achieved these things, especially when I have gone through times in my life when I felt so hopeless and useless. I'm looking forward to seeing what my third year of blogging brings and in what direction my blog goes.

So many more adventures and opportunities await and I can't wait to continue sharing them all with you.

Thank you for reading and coming along on this journey of expression with me, it means more than you'll ever know!


Friday, March 27, 2015

A Woodland Easter Egg Hunt ♥

Yesterday I took my boy for an Easter egg hunt in the woods. Having been looking religiously on weather sites to see what the weather would be like over Easter, it isn't looking as though the sun is going to be shining at all in the week up to Easter and on the day itself, so I decided to have an impromptu Easter egg hunt with my little one in the woods by my parents house.

I used to always go to these woods for a walk when I was a child and a teenager. There is something so peaceful about them and hardly anyone goes there, bar a few people who walk there dogs there. When Tyler Lee and I were there no one else was to be seen. It was lovely having the whole place to ourselves, it was peaceful, idyllic and the perfect place to take some Easter themed pictures and have a little Easter egg hunt.

Now that Tyler Lee is old enough to participate in things fully I thought it would be lovely to have a little Easter egg hunt with him. I was going to have it in our back garden but the photographer in me just wasn't feeling the backdrop for the pictures I wanted to take, it was then that I decided that the woods would be the perfect setting, it's safe there, quiet and there were lots of trees for us to hang our Easter decorations off.

I just hung some homemade bunting between the trees, put eggs on stakes in the ground and decorated the branches of trees with Easter eggs, my boy was a very willing helper with all of this. I then dotted some chocolate eggs and bunnies around the trees and gave him a basket to place his chocolate treasure in as he found them. Our little Easter egg hunt is proof that you don't need to spend a lot of money to make your child happy and give them great fun and memories that last.

When he found them all he begun to take everything out of the basket and back into the place where he found them - he's so funny. After he decided enough was enough and he couldn't resist the chocolate anymore he peeled open his Cadbury's Buttons egg and took a huge bite - he was so happy!

I love these little adventures and moments we have together, something so simple as a trip to the woods, some cheap decorations and some chocolate really made my boys day, he was so happy and really cute kissing his bunny and giving me lots of kisses and cuddles too.

I absolutely love the pictures I got during our woodland Easter egg hug. They kind of have an Alice in Wonderland-esque feel to them I think, Alistair in Wonderland in boys case though!

We'll have to do this every year at Easter, it was the perfect little adventure and escape from the house for some fresh air.
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