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Thursday, 24 August 2017

What I Eat In A Day

Hello again!

I've wanted to do a "What I eat in a day" style post for a while now because I love to read this kind of content on other blogs, most likely because I'm super nosey and love knowing what other people are eating! Plus I might pick up a new recipe idea or find a new product to try, so hopefully I can bring you the same with my posts and maybe turn this into a little series if you enjoy it. This is what I've been eating in a typical day recently, I'm trying to stay as low fat as I can because as you know if you read my Chatty Summer Update I had some trouble with my gallbladder and diet is a big part of keeping these problems at bay, happy reading...


For breakie I love to have eggs when I've got the time to make the extra bit of effort. Here I've gone for 2 soft boiled eggs on 2 slices of wholegrain brown soda bread. Just pop your eggs in a saucepan of boiling water, set your timer for 5 and half minutes and you'll get the perfect soft yolk,  yummy!


Lately I've pretty much been having a wrap or salad for lunch as you've probably seen if you follow me on instagram. So I decided to grill some veggies and have them with some houmous (reduced fat), salad and a little bit of sweet chilli for a bit of a kick. I like to use a wholemeal tortilla to wrap it all up then I put it back on the grill to get toasty, it's so delicious.


Dinner today was garlic butter bean mash, a grilled chicken breast and some veggies (carrot, runner beans, onion and tomatoes) that I made into a kind of sauce with a little tomato puree and some veg stock. Having a bean mash instead of potato is a great way to get your protein, you stay fuller for longer and it's tasty!


I had two snacks today, an apple chopped up with a teaspoon of peanut butter at mid-morning and then a handful of grapes after my dinner. Of course I was drinking lots of water and some black tea throughout the day too.

I've been using the app Myfitnesspal to keep track of my calorie and fat intake, so these are the stats of what I ate today. I also went for a 4km walk which is why I have "remaining" calories.

So that's everything I ate today, thank you for reading! What's your favourite meals you've been having lately?

A xx 

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Brow Hacks: How To Lighten An Eyebrow Tint

Hey everybody!

Now, if eyebrows are not your thing that's cool but if you've been a victim of bad brows or something went wrong when you've tried to tint your brows at home in your quest for the perfect eyebrows, keep reading and maybe you'll pick up a couple of tips and tricks to help you. Of course makeup and skincare all come down to personal preference and what works for you, this is just my own experience and the advice given to me because I am in no way an expert.

As you probably guessed from the title of this post, I've had a little mishap with my eyebrows. I know to most people that probably seems like a ridiculous thing to say and admittedly I do have a bit of an unnecessary eyebrow obsession but I'm sure any of you who are into beauty will understand.When your eyebrows are the right shape for your face they frame your features, not to mention bold brows being one of the biggest beauty trends at the moment.

So you can imagine how annoyed and disappointed I was when for the first time ever I paid to get my brows done by a professional and came out unhappy after months of growing them out. I ended up with big thick black eyebrows on my face which maybe someone with darker hair/ a darker complexion could have pulled off, however I'm very pale with red hair and looked crazy (I don't have a picture straight after the tint unfortunately) because usually I have invisible/blonde brows!

Top- Natural/Non Existent Brows
Middle- One Day After Tint
Bottom- Two Days Later

I completely panicked and had no idea what to do so I asked my friends for some advice and thankfully somebody recommended a different salon closer to home. So I called them, rather hysterically explained what had happened and asked what I should do. I was put onto the owner and she was so helpful, she really calmed me down and gave me a couple of simple tips (see below) over the phone which I could do to lighten the tint and make my brows look less harsh. Luckily the shape turned out alright and it was just the tint that went wrong. As you can see from the pictures there was a huge improvement and at least now I know where to go from now on to get my brows done.

If you're interested in how I fixed my botched brows then this is the advice I got that worked for me:

1. Don't panic

If you've had a bad brow tint it will fade in a couple of days, if too much hair has been removed it will grow back! 

2. How bad is the problem?

Clean your brows gently with warm water and cotton wool, this removes any product from filling in the brows and also any tint residue that may still be on your skin revealing the shade of the actual brow hairs.

3. Lighten the tint

Baby shampoo or anti-dandruff shampoo can be used to wash some of the tint off your brows but be super careful not to get any near your actual eye! I found cotton buds were super handy for gently rubbing in the shampoo then I just used some warm water on a cotton pad to wipe it away and it worked really well.

Any tea tree oil products can also be used, again very carefully to avoid getting product in your eyes. I had a tea tree toner water from Lush that I swiped on with cotton wool after using the shampoo which I would recommend because it was nice and soothing following the shampoo that can be quite drying.

I hope you found these tips helpful, remember that any tint is going to fade in a matter of days so you really don't have to worry but if you're under a bit of time pressure these steps should speed up the lightening process.

As always, thanks for reading.

A xx

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Chatty Summer Update

Welcome back, I can not believe we are halfway through August already it's crazy!

As good as my intentions were to post more often, I haven't published anything on Álainn since June. I feel like a million things have happened since I last talked on here so this post is going to be another little chatty update on what I've gotten up to this summer. So make some tea, get comfy and read on, I hope you enjoy my rambles...

The first thing I wanted to mention is that not long after my last post, I actually ended up in hospital. After having very bad abdominal pains (honestly the worst pain I've ever been in) it turned out I have gallstones, some of which escaped and blocked the bile duct in my liver (Cholecystitis)

So long story short, I spent about ten (eventful) days in hospital and had a procedure to fix the blockage. Now I'm on a waiting list to have my gallbladder removed as there is still some stones in there and it could happen again. I'm ok at the moment, however I do have to be very careful with my diet to avoid making the situation worse. I might do a separate post about this if anyone is interested let me know.

While I was in hospital though, unfortunately I missed out on a weekend break I had planned with my boyfriend Adam as we were a whole year together back in June. I still can't believe it's been a year, it's insane but at the same time it feels like I've known him forever! Thankfully the hotel we booked with in Cork were kind enough to let us reschedule until I was feeling better. When we did finally get to go we had an amazing time and if any of you are looking for a hotel break in Ireland, The Oriel in Co.Cork was absolutely beautiful!

I was extremely lucky to get two little jobs this summer. The first is for the Environment Department of my county council basically cleaning my local beach in the mornings. This is a perfect student summer job and left my afternoons and evenings free for my second job which I absolutely loved as a tour guide in Duncannon Fort. It was really interesting and great experience for me seeing as I'm studying to be a teacher combining two of my favourite things, history and people.

So aside from completely finishing Doctor Who and Pretty Little Liars (both series were polar opposites but I loved them and I can't wait for the Doctor Who Christmas Special) that's pretty much what I've been up to the last couple of weeks. I hope to start posting every week from now on and get a little more organised as September is coming around unbelievably quickly, meaning back to school season! 

Thanks for reading, until next time.

A xx

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Saturday, 3 June 2017

Makeup Collab Challenge- Younique Moodstruck Adiction Palette 3

Welcome back!

This post was very exciting and a lot of fun to make, I hope you enjoy it. It's a collaboration with the lovely Linda Nicole, a Younique presenter from USA so when you've finished reading my post you should check hers out!

For those of you who are unfamiliar, with Younique I will be doing a separate post about the brand so keep an eye out for that. The challenge we set ourselves was to do our makeup using their Moodstruck Addiction Eye Palette 3 for as much as possible (eyes, brows, cheeks, lips). I love their palettes because they are so versatile, have good pigmentation and a nice mix of matte and shimmer shades.

This is the finished look I came up with, I really liked it and if you need any information about Younique feel free to ask in the comments.

For the eyes I blended out "tickled" and "determined" in my crease. I used "ecstatic" accross the lid which is so shimmery it's gorgeous. I deepened just the outer corner with a tiny bit of "irate" because this is a very pigmented pitch black shade and I used "smitten" to highlight my inner corners, smitten is my favourite shade in the hole palette it is super reflective! 

I lined my bottom lash line with "irate" and smoked it out a little with "tickled". I recently had my eyebrows tinted so I dipped into a tiny bit of "determined" and "irate" to fill in my brows, this was a challenge because there wasn't really any shade in the palette to match my brows so they're a little dark.

For my face I used the touch foundation and concealer from unique, they're very full coverage and very matte, normally I like more of a dewy finish so I used the NYX Dewy Setting Spray on top. I finished off my face using "tickled" as a blush and "smitten" as my highlight using a very light hand because a little goes a long way with these products!

For lips I used the Younique lipstick in Affluencent, it's a satin finish nude so I just tapped on a little of "cheeky" to create a plum/metalic kind of lip. 

And that's it! Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this post check out Linda's challenge too.

A xx

Friday, 24 February 2017

Operation Transformation Finale 2017 (Weeks 6&7)

Hi everyone!

Last night, Operation Transformation 2017 officially came to an end in two amazing double bill Grand Finale episodes! If you missed them then you can catch up on the RTE Player, trust me it's well worth a watch all of the leaders look incredible and it was great to meet up as a group again now that we all feel so much better.

I was lucky enough to be invited back for the recording of the finale along with the other finalists who were at the assessment day. It was an emotional but fantastic night looking back on the past 7 weeks and we all had an absolute ball. I can't believe that Operation Transformation is over for another year, I've met the most inspirational group of people, I'm lighter, fitter and happier. The show is over now but sometimes what seems like the end is only the beginning, so I'm going to keep working towards better health and fitness. 

Although before we got all glammed up it was time to put our hard work to the test! On Saturday the 18th of February, I was one of 5,000 people who took to the Phoenix Park in Dublin for the OT 5km. We were super lucky with weather and it was a great day all round, I would seriously recommend anyone who is thinking about applying for Operation Transformation, joining one of their groups or taking part in the run next year, to not think about it too hard and just go for it! I promise you won't regret it, it was such a wonderful experience there was people there of every ability and the support was unbelievable. The 5 leaders and the experts were there motivating everyone and along the track there were little positive message signs to spur us on. I beat my personal best but timing didn't really mean anything to us in the Phoenix Park, it was about how far we've all come in just 7 weeks when before OT none of us would have managed to finish like we did.

After the run we all got a little goodie bag of water, and apple, some porridge and an Operation Transformation sweatband, there was teas/coffees available. They had giant letters OT made from balloons and 2fm broadcast live from the Park building up the excitement and played music they thought would help us push ourselves around the route. However, my favourite was the giant white wall titled "I'm here today because..." that soon filled with messages from all the runners about their journey. I just thought it was so nice to have a little piece of everyone's story together.

I've absolutely loved being a part of OT and it's given me the tools I needed to change my lifestyle and take steps towards becoming a healthier person. I'll still continue to take care of my body and post here regularly about my progress. I want to thank everyone involved with Operation Transformation and all my friends, family and neighbours for their support and help. If you follow me on social media then you probably would have already seen the photo below, on the right is back at the OT assessment day where I weighed 18st 13lbs and on the left is at the OT grand finale where I now weigh 17st 11lbs. I've lost 17lbs in 7 weeks and counting! If you've been following the plan I'd love to hear how you've got on, as always thank you for reading.

A xx

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Weeks 4 & 5 of Operation Transformation

Hey everyone!

Happy Valentines Day! Today is Day 40 of Operation Transformation, which means there's only 9 days left of the plan but all of the recipes and exercises will still be available online. Apologies, I didn't manage to get a separate post for week four up so I decided to double it up with week five. I had a bit of a bad week/ 10 days, catching a cold, semester two of college started and I began my teaching practice so I was super busy but unorganised which is not a good combination.

Admittedly I didn't follow the fitness plan properly during weeks four and five, I used the rain and a flu as a bit of an excuse plus I had some damage to my feet that made walking difficult. However, it's a new week now, I'm feeling much better and more organised so my focus for this week will be making sure I find time in my day to exercise. 

I did stick to the food plan though which I find easier in general because I can do some meal prep at the weekend some other tricks to ensure that the easier choice is the healthy choice. For example batch cooking some foods like the soup in the top picture, making a big pot of soup and storing it in a container in the fridge means I don't need to worry about cooking lunch for a few days. Also everywhere I've been going I've taken an apple and some almonds in my bag which me so if i'm delayed or tempted I have some healthy snacks with me. I love these cute little jars because I can throw them in my handbag or lunchbox and they're great for portion control of things like nuts, nut butters, salad dressing,etc.

As you can see above I didn't lose any weight after week four but I didn't gain any either so at least that's something! I think that time of month had a role to play in week four's slump as I was so bloated. To beat the bloat I made sure to avoid salt wherever I could using black pepper instead to add flavour my meals, I upped my water intake again and started drinking peppermint tea after my meals which aids digestion. When I went to Parkrun that Saturday I really hit a wall after having a bad weigh in and it poured rain for the whole 5km, I felt like giving up halfway through but kept going. I was as slow as my first week but I still finished!

During week five I kept concentrating on drinking loads of water and avoiding salt. It worked too and I was delighted to lose 3.5lbs last week. By last Saturday's Parkrun I was back to myself, I actually really enjoyed it and felt great for the rest of the day after it. Next Saturday I will be travelling to Dublin for the final Operation Transformation 5km 2017 in the Phoenix Park. I'm really looking forward to it but remember that your local Parkruns will continue even after OT has finished so keep it up if you've been taking part or if you haven't then why not try it out next Saturday? 

Thanks for reading, I'll be back to tell you all how week 6 is going soon!
A xx

Saturday, 28 January 2017

My Top Five Healthy Oaty Breakfasts!

Hey Guys!

Seeing as it's FREE Porridge Day, I thought I would share with you my favourite healthy breakfasts using those superfood oats. There are so many benefits to including oats in your diet. If you want to make these recipes gluten free just use gluten free oats or if you want to make them dairy free then substitute the milk/yoghurt for a dairy free alternative such as almond milk or coconut yoghurt. They're a wholegrain full of protein, fibre, antioxidants and trace minerals keeping you full right until lunch. Oats have been found because of their nutritive value to aid weight loss and reduce the risk of developing heart disease and type two diabetes, as well as tasting absolutely delicious!

1. Porridge

Long considered one of the best breakfasts anyone can eat, porridge can be as simply or as exciting as you make it! I start with 35g of porridge oats and 125mls of milk and put it in the microwave for 2mins 30sec. Alternatively you could simmer it in a saucepan over a low heat until the milk has been absorbed. Then it's time to top it with whatever you choose, I recommend 50g of fruit and a couple of nuts/1tsp nut butter or seeds. In the picture I've gone for half a banana, 4 chopped almonds, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon. The possibilities are endless and it's such a tasty, warming way to start a cold winter's day.
2. Overnight Oats

This is a great option if you're always in a rush in the morning or have breakfast on the go. It just takes a couple of minutes the night before getting it ready then you can wake up to a lovely healthy breakfast. I like to layer mine in a jar but you can just chuck it all in a bowl and cover in it with clingfilm! It's honestly like eating a dessert for breakfast but is actually really good for you. I'm going to do a separate post on my favourite overnight oats flavours but for now, Operation Transformation have a mixed berry version that is so yummy! Find it here, and change up the fruit to experiment with your own flavours.

 3. Smoothie

My favourite way to have a smoothie is to keep aside some of the fruit and serve it in a bowl topped with the rest of the fruit. Smoothie bowls are a huge food trend and have been all over my instagram, but for a good reason they taste really good! My favourite combination is:

100mls milk
25g oats
1 banana
100g berries
10g raw spinach
1tsp honey

Blend it all together and enjoy! Using raw greens is a great way to get more nutrients from your smoothie without a weird flavour.

4. Soft Boiled Egg with Wholegrain/Porridge Toast 

Not necessarily what you might think of as an oaty breakfast but it just goes to show even if you think you don't like oats, maybe you can incorporate them into your diet and learn to love them! Or maybe you want to get your kids eating oats then this classic is a great introduction. 

For a soft boiled egg, put one or two room temperature egg per person in a saucepan of boiling water and cook for 5mins. 

Instead of serving with the usual white toast, look for an oatmeal bread, a traditional brown bread with a high oat content (better yet make your own) or you could even toast a slice of the porridge bread (see below).

5. Porridge Muffins/Loaf

This is the easiest bread recipe ever because you just need 3 ingredients, yoghurt, oats and baking powder. Then you can keep it savoury by baking it as a loaf of bread or sweeten it by adding 100g of fruit such as mixed berries and baking in muffin cases for individual portions. Here's the recipe:

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Pour one large tub of natural yoghurt into a mixing bowl then fill the empty tub up with oats 2 times and add it to the yoghurt, so it's 1 tub of yoghurt to 2 tubs of oats. Finally add 1tsp of baking powder and mix it all together. Bake in a loaf tin lined with greaseproof paper for 45-50mins or spoon into a muffin tin lined with paper cases until 3/4 full and bake for 35mins.

 If you try these at home let me know how they turned out in the comments or on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram and tell me your favourite way to enjoy oats? 

A xx

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Week Three of Operation Transformation

Hi Everyone!

If you've been following along with the Operation transformation plan then it's day 21 for you too and we're almost at the halfway mark, so keep going you're all doing fantastic! For my weigh in this week I lost 2.5lbs, I was happy with that because at this stage, any loss is a step in the right direction. 

This week I really upped the effort I was putting into my workouts and I've started walking at a faster pace, I even managed to do some jogging intervals which felt great as I do eventually want to build up to a jog. Last week at my local Parkrun 5km I shaved 1.5 minutes off my time but this week I want to do even better! I'm using the Nike+Run Club app to keep track of my walks and I love it. It's a free app that maps your route and keeps track of your distance, speed, pace, etc.. so you can try to beat your personal best each time you use it making me want to work harder when I walk. Also just to let you know that the OT Phoenix Park 5km is now booked up, if you managed to get a place then I look forward to seeing you there but don't worry if you didn't get a space you can still run or walk at your local Parkrun event on the same day.

In terms of food, for week three all of the dinners on the OT plan were meat free. There was still some white fish but it was primarily a plant based diet this week and I honestly really enjoyed it. Currently the majority of us eat too much meat meaning the demand for meat is very high and has lead to the likes of intensively reared animals. This means the animals have a very poor quality of life but not only that it's bad for our health too when we eat meat that has been heavily processed, which you'll know if you watch the show has been linked to some cancers. Don't get me wrong I love meat and I'm in no way a vegetarian but ever since I have made my own meals I have always enjoyed a couple of "flesh free" meals a week. For me the ideal situation is smaller portions of better quality meat and including alternative protein sources such as eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds  and pulses in my diet.

Finally I just wanted to let you know that this Saturday (28th Jan) Operation Transformation have teamed up with Flahavan's to bring us "FREE Porridge Day". Flahavan's is an Irish company based in Waterford, so close to home for me and they are giving away a bag of oats for free available to every household in Ireland which you can collect in Tesco, EuroSpar, SuperValu and Dunnes. Plus if you post a picture of your Flahavan's porridge on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the #OperationOats you're in with a chance of winning a year's supply of Flahavan's Oats! I eat oats almost everyday and they make the best breakfasts in my opinion that keep you full until lunch. If you're stuck for ideas on how to use your oats I will be posting soon about my favourite healthy breakfast ideas so keep an eye out for that. 

That's all for now, thank you for all your support during OT I really appreciate it and if you've missed my previous posts on Operation Transformation you can find them in the "Health" tab. Thank you for reading, have a great week!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Easiest Smokey Eye (Affordable Makeup Look)

 Hiya Everyone!

Today I have a little beauty post/tutorial for you, I really like these kind of looks and they're so simple to do and easy to wear. It's a soft smokey eye, with glowy skin and a nude lip. At the end I've put a picture and product list of everything I used, it’s all affordable/drugstore makeup, well loved as you can see from the pictures so forgive me for that! I’ve also been testing out some Pennys/Primark makeup brushes too and they're surprisingly really good for the price. I'm by no means a makeup artist it's just something I've always loved and makeup is very much personal preference so what I like you might not but that's ok you do what works for you and have fun with it. These are just the kind of posts I love to read and decided to make my own. So whether you love makeup too or just want a giggle at some of the ridiculous faces I make doing my makeup, I hope you enjoy this post and let's get started!

For Primer I used the Nivea Men Sensitive Post Shave Balm. I first saw NikkieTutorials use this as a super affordable primer, it has Glycerine as a main ingredient which helps makeup stay all day! I also have sensitive dry skin with Nivea being a brand I really trust because it works for me and it gave me some nice hydration too. However it will not fill in or blur any pores if that's what you look for in a primer. I also moisturised my lips with a lip balm in preparation for the matte nude lip later.

Next I applied my foundation. It's full coverage so I blend it out well by tapping (never drag or rub) with this damp Pennys version of a beauty blender. I wasn't a big fan of this sponge because it was too hard but I do like the new PS Pro black makeup blending sponge from Pennys.

I used the same technique with my concealer to hide any blemishes and highlight the area under my eyes and along my T-zone.

Then I set that concealer down to stop it creasing with the translucent powder, I never "bake" my face with powder though because I find it can emphasise my dry skin.

After that, I make this funny face in attempt to find some cheekbones to contour using the brown shade from the Collection contour and highlight duo. I like this because it's not too ashy so you can bronze up the skin a little with it too. For highlighter I used the shimmer shade from the same duo on the tops of my cheekbones, tip of my nose and cupid's bow. I wasn't as impressed with this highlighter but if you like a more subtle glow you will like it.

Next I applied one of these super pigmented wet'n'wild blushes, this one has a bit of shimmer to it. I know it looks a little scary in the pan but I put a very small amount on the apples of my cheeks just between where I put that contour and highlight shade to give a pinky glow. After I finished up the face I filled in my brows which I'm trying to grow out so it's a bit messy but we'll say I've gone for the natural look! 

For my eyes I kept it so simple using this labeled trio again from wet'n'wild. 
I used the brown crease shade in my crease and outer third of my eye, the eyelid shade on the inner two thirds and finally the browbone shade to highlight my inner corners and blended everything together using windscreen wiper motions with this catrice blending brush.

I don't normally like to put mascara on my bottom lashes so I just run some of my favourite eyeliner along my lash line. Then I applied a few coats of mascara to my top lashes.

To finish it off I put on my lippie and spritzed some setting spray, this dewy finishing spray has been my favourite find find of 2016 because it takes away that powdery look from your makeup and it leaves it so much fresher for longer.

And here's the finished look, I hope you enjoyed this post thanks for reading. 

Product used:

Wet n Wild Colouricon Blush  (shade Pearlescent Pink)
Wet n Wild Colouricon Eyeshadow Trio (shade Walking on Eggshells)
NYX Auto Eyebrow Pencil (shade Auburn)