Queens Beauty Lounge “Chocoluscious Valentine’s”


Last evening, I had the pleasure of being invited to experience some of the February “Chocoluscious Valentine’s” offers at the newly opened Marina branch of Queens Beauty Lounge. Their new branch is easy to reach, just a five minute walk from Marina metro, tucked away in the Marinascape building next to Marina Walk.

The salon had a subtly busy buzz about it – from hair to nails to make-up various staff were busy attending to relaxed-looking clients. Arriving for my appointment tired and straight from work, the Belle Lucce Chocolate Body Mask, which I was treated to, was exactly what the doctor ordered. (Usually this treatment is priced at 250AED but is currently on special offer at only 125AED!)

My therapist escorted me to a room at the back of the salon where I was thoroughly scrubbed front and back, from neck to toe, with an exfoliator and hot cloths. Now like a snake having shed it’s old skin, my baby-soft self was lathered in a chocolate body mask and cocooned in cling film and towels to bake for 20 minute – during which time I drifted into a peaceful sleep thanks to the dim lighting, relaxing background music and eye mask!


Picture courtesy of Le Parisien Nail Bar, Valencia

Awoken from my slumber, the cling film was removed and replaced with a towel and slippers so  I could shuffle across the hall to the steamy shower room. This however, was an aspect I didn’t particularly enjoy. Although most clients are too engrossed in their own treatments front of house to notice, I was within full view – in my towel, moving from one room to the other and the shower despite being dreamily hot and steamy, the drain on the floor was rusty and completely open – which aside from aesthetic appearances, was a major health and safety hazard – particularly in a slippery environment!

Those points aside, after washing the chocolate mask away my skin felt amazing and was then further complimented by my therapist massaging my whole body with a lathering of moisturiser. The treatment finished with a short foot massage and stretch of my lower limbs which was I thought was a lovely way to finish the experience.

All in all the treatment did exactly as it should – it left me feeling new and shiny yet was relaxing. Given that the salon only had it’s official opening last week I can forgive some its minor glitches aforementioned and I am sure that the Marina Queens Beauty Lounge branch will be every bit as successful as their JLT branch.

For full information about their Valentine’s Offers, visit their website or Facebook at the below links:





Speedflex Dubai

Last night I was invited down to JA Ocean View Hotel in JBR to try Speedflex for the first time.

What the heck is Speedflex I hear you holler?

Speedflex is a high intensity, low impact, circuit-based workout. There are 7 of the same machines set up in the room but each machine is used to perform a different exercise, focusing on different body parts. There is no need to adjust any machine before use as the machine responds to the force applied by each individual user, meaning the resistance is tailored to individual abilities. The harder you work, the more difficult the resistance!

Due to it’s low-impact nature it is suitable for any age or fitness and you avoid any next-day muscle soreness – admittedly I was skeptical about this when mid-class my arms were burning and my legs were shaking but nonetheless I was proven wrong when I woke up the next day feeling fresh! 🙂

When I arrived for my induction, my height and weight was measured and I was fitted with a heart rate monitor. The monitor was connected to two screens on either side of the room which showed my name, my heart rate and at what percentage of my maximal heart rate my body was working at. This was so throughout the class I could monitor and push myself, aiming to get my heart rate percentage up to 90% of its maximal, in line with the high intensity aspect of the workout.

Despite pushing and pushing myself unfortunately the maximum percentage I reached was 87% but as my instructor pointed out, as an already trained person it is more difficult for me to raise my heart rate unlike an untrained persons whose would raise very quickly. (I saw another class members hit 103% in the first circuit!)

After my induction which is 3 circuits of 30 seconds at each machine with only 5 seconds rest in between. It’s intense – but it was over in 12 minutes! Feeling brave (and pumped!) I decided to try a class after my induction, yes I was warned this may be a bit much, but never one to back away from a challenge I persisted!

That was all well and good until I discovered that the induction I had just done I was going to repeat now again for our warm-up! :O 30 minutes into the class my body had had enough but I was glad I gave it a go and boy could I feel it!

Each 45-minute class will vary depending on instructor and the circuit they choose to set up as well as the number of reps in each circuit. In the class you will not only use the machines but also other equipment like medicine balls and kettle bells. At the end of each session you can view your stats and have your instructor explain them to you. You can see how many calories you burned and how much time you spent working at different heart rate percentages – which the science geek in me loves!



So what’s the verdict?

I liked the high intensity element which I have been trying to incorporate into my fitness regime of late. Also the low impact and no-next-day-soreness was a major win for me after another programme I tried recently left me unable to sit down for 3 days! (more on that later)

You get a serious sweat on and it hurts like hell while you are in the midst of it but it’s over really quickly and in the class there is more time for rest in between circuits.

The music is brilliant (I was tempted to ask for the playlist!) for making you push hard and feel energised.

There was a great atmosphere in our mixed group class of 7 and with each of us leading various circuits you don’t want to slack off and make everyone else endure longer just because you’re not giving 100%! That being said, class sizes vary and private classes are available which some people may be more comfortable with, particularly starting off.

Oh and did I mention the inductions are free of charge?!

Plus they have equipment to analyse body fat and composition so you can track your progress.

I would definitely recommend going down and giving it a go. For those short on time and wanting to maximise their workout in a motivating environment it’s ideal. As a workout that aims to make you leaner rather than building muscle I would be interested to see what long term bodily changes would occur with continued use.


For more information check out:



Getting Back to Books

Growing up I was a reading and story writing enthusiast.. As I got older, I always continued to write in one way or another – whether it was writing endless lists and notes on my phone, my travel diaries or the blog, I was writing in some form. Reading however took a bit of a backseat during college as I couldn’t help but feel guilty reading a novel rather than something academic or being too consumed with work in my spare time.

Now that I have a better work-life balance I vowed to get back reading. The only problem – I find it really difficult to pick a good book so I love getting recommendations. With all that in mind I thought maybe you too would like a recommended good read so here’s a few of my current and all-time faves!


Quite possibly my ultimate favourite read. The kind of book that despite it’s 1,000 pages I wanted to read it all at once, unable to put it down, yet never wanting it to end. Simply put – I can’t believe this is a true story and ALL of these things actually  happened to one person. It also gives a fantastic insight into Indian culture.




The Alchemist

A short fable but will leave you pausing multiple times pondering lines and referring back to your own life/situation. Definitely one you’re gonna want to highlight or underline parts in and keep on your bookshelf for years to come.




The Power of Now

For anyone that, like me, just cannot seem to switch their mind off. This book highlights some really interesting points and simple technique to start living in the present moment, embracing and dealing with the only thing you can which is the present moment, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.


wanting-to-be-there-eckhart-tolle-picture-quote all-you-ever-have-eckhart-tolle-picture-quote



Tuesdays With Morrie

A newspaper sports columnist gets back in touch with a University professor after discovering he is dying from motor neuron disease. Together they document his decline, his life lessons and words of wisdom through their weekly visits. Short but touching.




The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

After collapsing from a heart attack, extremely wealthy and succesful lawyer Julian Mantle sells all of his material possessions and heads off to India on a journey of self-discovery before returning to impart his new found wisdom.



The under-lying message in all of these books, in all spiritual teachings, in meditation.. is to be present. To be fully aware of your surroundings at any one time instead of being caught up in your thoughts, our fears, stresses, anxieties, excitement, emotions, from the past or in the future.

The present is all we ever have ❤

Oil Pulling

What is it? It is a natural way of drawing out toxins from your body and improving your oral health by swirling oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes each day.

I had heard of it from friends and other online health bloggers but had never gotten into it until I recent trip to Bali where I had an abundance of fresh coconut oil at my disposal and I thought why not!?

You don’t have to use coconut oil, you can use any other vegetable oil, like sesame, but I love the taste of coconut oil and it’s also antibacterial so is a really great choice.


Picture courtesy of lesserevillife.com

What are the benefits or why should you do it?

  • Whiter teeth
  • Stronger gums and teeth
  • Fresher breath
  • Detoxes the body which has been shown to help with hangovers, headaches and skin problems like acne and psoriasis
  • Increases energy by ridding it of any nasty toxins that are zapping us

There are a few key things to oil pulling that you should know before you begin…

  • You must oil pull on an empty stomach, at least 4 hours since your last meal or an hour after liquids
  • You need to swirl the oil in your mouth for 20 minutes – I know this seems like a really long time but if you do it first thing when you wake not only is your stomach empty but you won’t feel the time passing as you are busy hopping in and out of the shower, getting dressed, doing your make-up, etc. (If you’re finding 20 minutes really difficult 10 minutes is better than nothing)
  • Don’t put too much oil in your mouth, the oil will double in size as you swirl it so if it becomes too much just spit some out!
  • When you’re 20 minutes is up, spit into the bin not your sink so as not to clog the drains! (By the way the oil will have turned white – don’t panic, that’s normal)
  • Don’t swallow any of the oil as it is drawing the toxins out of your body so you don’t want to send them back in!
  • You may start to feel worse before you’ll feel better – like with any detox you are getting rid of the bad so you can feel good – persevere. 
  • Finally, give your teeth a quick brush after you spit out the oil to ensure any residue is removed.

So how did I find my first oil pulling experience and did I notice any changes?

For the first few days I felt pretty crappy. My nose had started running, my throat was dry and my head was killing me. But after 3 or 4 days these side affects disappeared and after almost three oil pulling now I really notice a difference in how white my teeth are.

Even Wu-Wu wants to give it a try! 


How to Get In & Stay in Shape!

I’ve been wanting to write this post for quite some time. As a P.E. teacher, former international athlete and part-time model, fitness and keeping in shape has always been a huge part of my life.

I absolutely love sports. I love trying new ones and particularly anything that is outdoors, I want to get involved in. Running is my main sport and people often ask me if I run every day – I can assure you, I don’t. Your body needs rest equally as much as it needs exercise, in order to repair and recover. Only then can you improve.

Carrying out the same repetitive movements and exercise on your body day after day will not only lead to boredom and soreness from over-use of the same muscles but you will also plateau very quickly as your body too gets bored of the same daily routine and those miles you are slogging away don’t have half the effect they could if you varied your runs/activities throughout the week. Personally I like to run, on average, 3 times per week. I vary these runs so that one run may consist of 30 minutes sprint or hill training, one 30-40 minute steady-paced run and one long run, ranging between 60-90 minutes – I usually save this one for the weekend (mainly so I can climb back into bed after it!). However, on the other 4 days I will stay active in other ways. I love to swim, go walking, do some yoga (if you can’t afford classes, YouTube is your best friend, there are hundreds of fantastic tutorials on there); or even just give the house a really good clean! It all counts!



With all that said, getting in and more importantly, staying in, shape is a lifestyle choice and a habit which you must adopt and adhere to. It can’t be about signing up for the latest trendy exercise class or quick fix fitness DVD.

There are also few people in the World who are ‘naturally skinny’.  Enter – Gwyneth Paltrow. Not that I fully agree with her very strict lifestyle but I appreciate her honesty and admittance that looking as good as she does, at her age, takes real effort.


Another myth that I’d like to demystify is the overused excuse of a slow metabolism. A slow metabolism is in fact very rare. Genetics, too many calories, too little exercise and unhealthy habits such as not getting enough sleep are actually much more likely to contribute to excess weight.

So where to start? Well here are a few inspirational images and tips that might help..

 It really is..

267260559106903474_spxqOJ1H_fAs I already said, any movement counts – walk the dog, clean out your car, do some gardening, go grocery shopping and park the car as far away from the door as possible – or better still, if you can, walk there in the first place. Carrying those heavy shopping bags is a super arm workout! (Just make sure they’re filled with delicious healthy foods and don’t undo all your good work! Refer to my previous posts Food As Fuel and Well-being Through Food, for guidelines on what to fill your trolley with!)

When you can, always take the stairs. It’s about making the active choice, rather than the escalators or elevators or parking your car as close to your destination as possible.


Next time you’re on the phone, rather than sitting on the couch, walk around the house or get outside and burn calories while you chat.

Meet friends for a walk, jog, swim or fitness class rather than a cup of coffee.

Join a fitness group – great for beginners and they have an added social bonus.


Just remember the most difficult part is getting started..


But once you get started you will begin to do these things and make active decisions automatically as they become your new habit.

And remember, best of all.. 


Good Luck! X

Well-being Through Food

I recently assisted holistic nutritionist and wellness coach Ivana Silva in delivering a series of health food talks and demonstrations as part of the Ritz-Carlton Dubai’s Wellness Week. One of the talks Ivana gave was on ‘Well-being through Food’ and I thought I would share with you some of the key information from it.


I was most intrigued listening to Ivana speaking about chronic adrenal fatigue, which I learned is a direct result of how one chooses to think. I am a huge believer in positive thinking and mind over matter. If you allow your body to think you are too tired for that run you had planned later in the day – chances are you will actually begin to feel more tired and maybe not go after all.


Food has the power to make us happy – true; but lack of DHA, a fatty acid found most abundantly in the brain, can make us feel sad so it is vital we are getting sufficient amounts of it in our diets. We can find these omega-3 fats in fish, flaxseed oil (find it in the fridge in health food stores), walnuts and chia seeds. [Ensure when buying salmon that it is wild and not farmed as only wild fish, feeding on the correct nutrients from the sea, contain the essential omega-3s.]

Food with unsaturated fats

Omega-3 fatty acids also excellent for your brain, heart and mood and they have been proven to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone responsible for fat storage, particularly around the stomach area. Cortisol is also linked to depression and a lack of sleep.


Another key message from the talk was recognising foods that physically make us feel better and those that make us feel good on a psychological level – i.e.: comfort foods.

So what foods should you start chowing down on to capture all of this feel-good energy? 

  • Oats
  • Brown rice
  • Walnuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • Garlic
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Raw cacao
  • Olive and hemp oils
  • Beans and pulses
  • Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Kale and spinach
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Green beans
  • Courgettes
  • Mushrooms
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Pears

Finally, fluids – a minimum of 2 litres per day; this includes teas and liquids in foods. 2.5 litres are lost each day through your lungs, sweat and urine that need to be replaced for correct mental functioning, reducing irritability and improving concentration.

Now it’s just a matter of application. Take a screenshot of the above list and have it on-hand the next time you go grocery shopping to help steer you in the right direction. Secondly, give it time. You can’t expect to eat well for a few days or a week and miracles to happen. Anything worth having is worth waiting for. I would say, realistically, after 1 month you should notice a major improvement in your mood, energy, sleep patterns and exercise performance if eating correctly and looking after your body. That means staying active – Check out my Get in Shape & Stay in Shape post! Of course you will notice changes along the way but it is about patience and adopting new lifestyle habits rather than a quick fix solution.

Health is for life!  


Mother Nature

Nature never ceases to amaze me. Tucked right under our noses we too often take for granted how minute we are on this Earth.


I’ve always been a nature-lover. Back home in Ireland I love that I live in the country-side, down a little winding lane-way with grass growing in the middle of it, surrounded by luscious green fields. Nothing can beat those mornings when I walk half a mile down the road from my house, dog in toe; to watch the sun come up over the hills of my favourite plot of land. The place, where in my dreams, I would put my future home.

These moments I used to enjoy in Ireland I really miss now that I live away from home but then this morning I experienced a gentle reminder, that natural beauty is around me no matter where I am.


I woke early, donned my trainers and made for the beach – a rarity for me to do mid-week and pre-work, on what was a dull, grey morning.

While lying on the sand carrying out some yoga poses I was distracted by a little starfish poking out of the sand next to me. As I looked at it with the waters washing into the shore and the Burj Al Arab in the background I was suddenly aware of how surreal my surroundings were.


 Inspired, I took a stroll along the beach where I stumbled across the figure of a tree carved into the sand. At first I presumed it drawn by a previous beach go-er until I continued walking and discovered dozens of these captivating tree-forms, spaced evenly along the beach where the tide had yet to reach.


 Formed by the in-washing water I was genuinely awe-struck. I felt as though I was on a spiritual journey walking alongside the ocean, stepping over these forms – identical in shape to that of the well-known ‘Tree of Life’  symbol; and with drops of rain lightly falling on my skin. It was truly spell-binding.


Being the soulful individual that I am I believe someone from above was sending me a message and I would like to interpret this message as so – to enjoy and seek out the beauty around me. To be present in the moment and remember that every day is a journey and an opportunity for new awakenings. 



For on a recent trip to Oman I was again reminded of just how beautiful and amazing the world we live in is. I was in awe at the scenes around me. As I floated in a sinkhole – a lagoon-filled, crater gifted from Mother Nature; and swam in Wadi Shab’s aquamarine-filled pools, through caves and under waterfalls, I realised just how tiny I am in this great big world.


So why am I sharing this with you?

Because nature is the perfect company to be completely alone with. To spend time appreciating the small things in life with. The things money can’t buy and we cannot control. The things that surround us every waking moment yet we too often fail to notice.


DIY Face Masks


Taking care of our skin is so important and it starts from the inside with our diets, drinking enough water and getting enough sleep. Exercise is also great as it oxygenates the cells. The famous, porcelain skinned model, Erin O’Connor, once swore by running on a treadmill every day as the secret to her enviable complexion!

Day-to-day I don’t wear make-up as I like to let my skin breathe (OK, and I’m also very lazy about it!) but I always wear SPF 50 under my moisturiser and each night I gently wash my face with Voya cleanser and a warm muslin cloth. I love the Voya products, number one because they are natural, produced from seaweed, and two because they are Irish! I find them gentle but effective on my skin. I also regularly dry-brush, aiming for once per week to help with circulation and ridding any toxins from the body.

Facials are a real treat for the skin and as much as I would love to be able to afford spa facials on a regular basis for most of us it’s just not feasible. That being said products or processes used in spa or salon facial treatments can sometimes be harsh on skin and that is why I began making my own all-natural facials at home and re-creating fabulous spa evenings in the comfort of my own apartment! Light some candles or burn some incense, invite the girls over, grab a few bottles of nail polish, some magazines and a DVD and you have the perfect girls night-in!


The beauty about all of the below options are that the ingredients can be mixed and matched to your preference. They will leave your skin soft, moisturised and visibly brighter and tighter. Apply each mask for 15-20 minutes then rinse with warm water and a cloth to help slough away any dead skin cells.


Option 1 – Moisturising – My personal favourite!

1 tbsp Oats

1 tsp Honey

Half a banana

1 tsp Coconut oil (melted)

Optional milk/yoghurt

*Blend all ingredients*


Option 2 – Brightening

2 tbsps natural yoghurt

Juice from half an orange + some pulp

1 tsp Aloe Vera


Option 3 – Nourishing 

1/4 cup of olive oil

Juice from half a lemon


Option 4 – Fresh faced

1 beaten egg

Optional tsp of honey


Option 5 – Great for dry skin!

Half an avocado

1 tsp honey


Option 6 – For oily or inflamed skin

1/2 a cucumber (blended)

1 tsp honey


My Favourite Foodies

There are some really awesome people online sharing their stories, recipes, pictures and advice, either through their own blogs or websites or on my preferred site to follow – Instagram. I am without doubt a visual person & I love aimlessly browsing through pictures online, constantly being inspired by what I see. Below I will share with you my favourite foodies from around the globe – kicking off back home in Ireland there could be only one lady at the top of my list..


Miss SJ White – aka: The Health Geek. 



Susan Jane has penned probably the only cookbook that I genuinely love. Every other cookbook I have is covered in pencil doodles and adaptions to make the recipes suitable for my food intolerances. Whereas with Susan’s book – The Extra Virgin Kitchen; everything is dairy, wheat and sugar free so I almost feel like it was wrote just for me! Definitely get your hands on a copy of it & sign up to subscriptions on her site for regular delicious recipes and exciting events. I attended one such event last year consisting of a three-course meal using recipes from her book in Harvey Nichols in Dublin. Think mackerel pate, flaxseed crackers, superfood salads and decadent chocolate cake to name but a few delicious items – oh and I won best tweet of the night so got a fab prize from Harvey Nichols to take home! Win win!

Susan-Jane White event 2014 (dairy,wheat,sugar free)



Deliciously Ella

Moving across the pond to London this lady has skyrocketed to stardom over the past two years since I began following her. She gives great advice, great recipes and really helpful video tutorials. For anyone in the London area she also hosts workshops and events (you lucky sods!) One of my favourite videos is her Christmas special video and her sweet potato brownies tutorial is a popular favourite. Her new cookbook was released in January 2015 which I am dying to get my hands on but you can also check out her website here: www.deliciouslyella.com



The Instagram Greats 

@talinegabriel – Creator of the app: “Hippie Lane“, making delicious raw and baked goods

















IMG_7829 IMG_7830











@theholisticingredient – Ozzie-based; I can’t wait to try her turmeric, goat’s curd & onion seed loaf (pictured below left)











@omniziltoid                                                   @kiaraible



@sallykrix                                                           @jordanbourke


@thebarefoothousewife                           @thehealthyindulger




The accounts listed above are just a small selection of the hundreds of amazing people online sharing their culinary adventures and showing how simple, enjoyable and rewarding it is to care for your body. I hope these people can inspire you like they have inspired me xx

Holistic Living

I really and truly believe in a holistic approach to life. Holistic meaning that everything we do, all the factors involved in and surrounding our lives, be they mental, physical, spiritual or intellectual, are all inter-connected and each and every one of them effects us in some given way.


That being said, I think it is so important that every day we create a good work-life balance and step away from our smartphones/laptops. I’m guilty myself of logging on for what I planned to be a quick ten minutes in fact end up losing three hours of my life drooling over vegan desserts on Instagram. Instead set limits on your online time and set aside time each day for you.

I love “me time“. In fact, sometimes I’m a bit too good at it! What you do in this time alone doesn’t have to be anything off the wall, it’s all about  the simple pleasures and being kind to yourself.


Some of my favourite things to do are read a book or magazine, take a steamy Epsom salt bath, light some candles and have a cosy movie night, go for a walk somewhere lush and green – if there’s water, like a river or the sea, even better!, cook myself something I will really enjoy, do some yoga (YouTube has great tutorials for every ability) or simply lie on my yoga mat and practice some deep breathing; literally breathing all my thoughts, stresses and worries away!

If I want to do something a bit more extravagant (and I’ve clearly just been paid!) I like to treat myself to a massage, facial or to getting my nails done. [*Note: yes this is cheaper to do on a more regular basis when living in Dubai, but when in Ireland I save money so I can do these things maybe every 3 months or whatever is realistic for your budget]. In the meantime you can do your own nails at home – take out a basin of water and treat yourself to a DIY foot spa; and make your own hair and face masks at home with some beautiful, simple ingredients I will soon share with you all!

beach life

road trips

rain against the window