|My June Goals |

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I just cannot believe it’s June already – where is 2017 going?! I’ve been feeling a little out of sync because it is at this time of year that I’m usually getting excited for the arrival of summer but instead it’s my first year in South Africa where we’re now going into Winter. It’s all very strange! Although, in reality, South African winters are something similar to Irish summers so I really can’t complain.

I have decided that at the beginning of every month I will post my goals for the month ahead as I think it’s important to reflect on our lives & to try improve them wherever we can. These posts will also allow you, my lovely readers, to get more of an insight into my life so that you can get to know me that little bit better.

My goals for the month of June are as follows:

Goal 1 – Have a digital detox

Being an entrepreneur I spend a lot of time on my computer & unfortunately this just cannot be avoided. However recently I’ve been finding that I spend between 6-8 hours on my computer a day & then in the evenings I’m on my phone browsing social media & messaging friends & family. While I know that technology has become an essential part of our lives & is an essential tool in the business world, I just don’t want to spend my entire days wasted on it. What kind of life is that!? So in the month of June my goal is to become aware of my digital time & limit it to my working hours. Once I shut my laptop for the day – my phone will be switched off too.

Goal 2 – Write my wedding speech

So my darling sister is getting married in Italy next month & I couldn’t be more excited. By the time the wedding comes around I won’t have seen my family in 7 months so you can only imagine how much I’m looking forward to being reunited with them! Even though my sister didn’t ask me to, as her sister & only bridesmaid, I felt that it was important that I speak at her wedding. I have been putting off writing this speech for a while, but now that the wedding is next month I think it’s time that I get started so that I have plenty of time to perfect it.  While I am not a confident public speaker, & I am almost certain that I will be shedding a tear or two during my speech, I know that it will be more than worth it to see the smile on sisters face.

Goal 3 – More quality couple time

My boyfriend & I are both business owners which means that we both work from home a lot & we don’t ever really stop working. Recently I’ve noticed that we’ve both been quite consumed with our businesses & that we haven’t been spending as much quality time together as we normally do. This month I want us both to find that balance again & to take more time out to go on ‘date nights’. Making a success of yourself is important but spending time with the one you love is more important.

Goal 4 – More ‘pamper’ time

This point leads on from the previous one – I’ve been working from home a lot & I’ve been so busy with business this past month that I just haven’t been taking care of myself the way I normally do. Lately I’ve only been wearing makeup once a week, I mostly have my hair up & only style it approximately once a week & I haven’t been treating my skin to my usual weekly face mask. While to some these may seem like trivial things, to me these things are important as I always like to take care of myself. When my skin is looking good, my makeup is on & I’m having a good hair day the world is just a better place & I’ve not been pampering myself enough with these things. This month I want to go back to the more glamorous side of me.

Goal 5 – Write in my diary more

I’ve kept a diary on & off since the age of about 14 because for me it is the best way to spill my heart out & get everything off my chest be it good or bad. My bestie bought me a journal just before I moved out to SA so that I could document my journey & I have only been writing in it about once a month. Too much happens in one month to just update it once every 30 days & I want to keep a better record of my time here. We’re only young for so long & how wonderful would it be to read back on my life when I’m an old lady & remember everything I went through & all the adventures I had in my prime.

What are your goals for the month of June?

| My Travel Essentials|

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Being an Irish girl who now lives in South Africa I am no stranger to long-haul travelling. I have spent a heck of a lot of hours in airports and in planes and with this comes knowledge of what items you should & shouldn’t pack in your hand luggage. Today I’m going to tell you all what I perceive as my carry on essentials.

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Travel pillow Being perfectly honest, I travelled for a long time without a travel pillow because I didn’t really think that I needed one. Boy was I wrong. You don’t necessarily need them for short flights but if, like me, you can spend between 6 -11 hours on a plane at a time then it is an absolute essential to get a better sleep (if that’s possible in economy class) and to avoid a painful, stiff neck. I like to use mine not just on the plane but also on those uncomfortable airport seats if I need some rest on a long stop over. If you’re a woman who wears makeup while travelling opt for a darker coloured pillow a light colours will show up all of those unsightly makeup marks.

Sleep mask Is it just me or does my black sleep mask look like a bra?! This was a little cheapie that I bought here on eBay and it turned out to be a great purchase. It’s very comfortable to wear as it has a contoured shape around your eyes so that the mask doesn’t press against your eyes. Eye masks are a must if you intend to sleep on your flight and actually get a half decent sleep. Some people are too embarrassed to wear an eye mask for fear of looking like a ‘diva’ but I will shall continue to wear my sleep mask with pride.

Power bank This is such a handy little item to travel with if you’re going on a long distance journey. A lot of airports do have charging stations now but you’ll usually find it difficult to get a free plug in those areas as many people flock to them. Therefore it just makes sense to carry a handy dandy power bank with you to avoid queuing for plugs and to avoid your electronics going dead. No one needs that stress on arrival.

iPod This one goes without saying for a lot of people as many just can’t travel without music. For some reason I never listen to my iPod once I’m on the plane as I much prefer to watch movies and sleep once on board. I do however like to listen to my iPod while I’m waiting in the airport to make waiting that little bit more enjoyable.

Locks Now for the safety advice. (“how exciting” I hear you say!) On a serious note, locks are very important and you should make sure that you use them for both your checked in luggage and your hand luggage. Unfortunately a lot of theft happens in airports and it is important that you protect your belongings as best you can.

Lip balm When I travel I feel like moisture is being sucked out of every single inch of me so I cannot travel without my moisturising essentials. I always make sure I pack a lip balm and I apply it LIBERALLY approximately every hour to avoid my lips drying out & cracking. When I travel I am usually travelling home to Ireland to see my family. This means that I will have lots of cheeks to kiss as I greet my family so dry lips are a big no-no!

Face wipes I am one of those girls that will wear makeup (though it may be minimal) in the airport but when I get seated on board one of the first things I do is take it off. It is almost guaranteed that every time I fly I will find a pimple or two popping up on my skin within the couple of days following. Therefore I like to take every step to minimise this & taking off my makeup & making sure my skin is clean plays an important part in this. I use my beloved Nivea cleansing wipes (You can find more about why I love them so much in my Current Skincare Routine post) both to take off my makeup when I get on the flight and also to clean & refresh my skin before I get off the plane again.

Face Mask The pictured mask is The Body Shop British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask. I couldn’t find any of my travel containers to photograph but I always decant my face mask into one so that I can take it on board. When deciding on which face mask to take when travelling I opt for one with hydrating properties to infuse as much moisture into my skin as much as possible and I also like to choose a mask that is as subtle on the skin as possible.

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Book I always add a book into my carry on luggage as travelling is a perfect opportunity to catch up on your reading both on board and in the airport. I always like to make sure it’s a book I’m going to love because there’s nothing worse than beginning to read a book and not enjoying it and as a result you’re left with nothing to read.

Cosy socks Aeroplanes are quite a cold place to be and I am a frequent cold feet suffer so it is an absolute essential that I bring thick, cosy socks to keep my feet as warm as possible. As soon as I get on board off come the shoes & on go the cosy socks.

Watch To some this may be an obvious choice but wearing a watch when you’re travelling is a must. This little beauty is a Fossil watch and is very comfortable to wear when travelling because of it’s leather strap. When travelling through airports it is absolutely essential that you’re on time to avoid being late and missing flights so wearing a watch is, in my opinion, just non-negotiable.

Headphones I do not like using the headphones that are given out on aeroplanes. Maybe I’m a germaphobe, but I just don’t like using them and not to mention, they’re really not that comfortable to wear. Instead I prefer to pack my own Apple headphones so that I can watch movies in the comfort that my ears stay clean & infection free.

Perfume Travelling is quite the unclean activity and when you travel long distances it is important that you try to keep yourself as feeling & smelling as fresh as possible. That is where perfume comes in. I like to clean my body with body wipes and afterwards finish off with a squirt of my favourite perfume to freshen up & make myself feel much better between flights and on arrival.

Water  Travelling is a dehydrating business so I always buy at least 2 litres of water once through security so that I can sip it on board to avoid dehydration. It makes me feel so much better when I drink lots of water while I’m travelling.

Hand-sanitzer Aeroplanes and airports are full of germs and I cannot tell you the number of times I have gotten sick once I get back from travelling. Carrying hand-sanitzer or anti-bacteria wipes is a great way to keep your hands clean and reduce your chances of getting sick, while also avoiding a ton of trips to the aeroplane bathroom to wash them. This hand-sanitizer smells absolutely delightful and can be purchased here

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The makeup bag travel essentials 

Deodorant This one really doesn’t need an explanation – no one wants to sit beside the stinky person on the aeroplane so don’t be that stinky person. I always carry my Mitchum Solid Deodorant as it is my holy grail deo and I can rely on it to keep my under-arms smelling fresh throughout my journey.

Moisturiser Unfortunately I have just discovered that the featured moisturiser has been discontinued (sorry!) but you can find a similar one here. Moisturiser, and lots of it, is a huge must for me when I am flying to stop my skin drying out. I literally slap this stuff on when I get on board and every time I wash my face before arriving at my destination.

Eye cream There’s nothing like a good eye cream to give your under-eyes a hydration boost. Just like my face moisturiser I like to lather my under-eyes with eye cream so that they are as moisturised when I leave the plane as when I boarded. You can find more info on the featured eye cream in my Current Skincare Routine post.

Concealer Before arriving at my final destination I like to re-apply a little makeup to avoid looking like an exhausted mess on arrival. I like to avoid applying foundation straight after a flight as the dry air we’re exposed to on board makes my foundation difficult to apply. Instead I like to cover my under eyes and any problem areas with concealer. You can find out more about the featured concealer on my previous The Products I Can Trust post.

Lipstick I find that when you’re wearing very little makeup a subtle lip colour can go a long way. When travelling I like to apply my lip colour with a light hand & i always make sure to moisturise my lips first to avoid the lipstick settling into any lines on dry lips. Pictured is Rimmel Kate lipstick in 045 which is the perfect ‘my lips but better’ shade for carrying on board.

Mascara When I am wearing minimal makeup I just cannot go without mascara. Mascara makes my eyes look more awake and I like apply a light coat to avoid my eyelashes looking too heavy against a bare face. I normally wear waterproof mascara however I prefer to apply a non waterproof mascara when I travel to make it much easier and quicker to remove.

Eyebrow powder Just like mascara I cannot prevent myself from applying an eyebrow powder to my brows when I am wearing minimal makeup – my face just looks much better when my eyebrows are filled in! I prefer to use powder eyebrow products when I travel as I find that they look more natural against a minimal face. I love to carry my Freedom Duo Eyebrow Powder in my travel makeup bag as it is lightweight & provides good coverage while keeping my brows looking natural.

This turned out to be such a long post. I hope you made it to the end! What are your travel essentials?

 

My Current Lifestyle Favourites

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I thought it was time that I posted something a little different than my usual beauty posts & let you see more into the life of me, Megan, the girl behind Beauty & The Blouse. So today’s post will be all about my current lifestyle favourites including what I’m enjoying doing, reading, watching & drinking.

What I’m enjoying:

Reading I love reading, I always have, but over the past couple of years I’ve found that I was reading less & less. In the past 2 months I have made a concerted effort to make sure that I take time out of my day to read & I feel so much better for it. I am now giving up unnecessary time on social media to benefit & grow my mind. Sitting down in a quiet room with a cup of tea or coffee and pouring over an open book is one of life’s little pleasures & I am so glad that I have started doing this again.

Learning Spanish After moving to Johannesburg and finding that almost every person I meet can speak at least 2 languages, I felt that it was time to grow myself & learn another language. I did study both Spanish & French back in my school days but over time I had forgotten most of what I had been taught so I decided that I was going to learn Spanish because I think it is such a beautiful sounding language. After doing a little research I discovered DuoLingo – an absolutely fantastic language learning app that can teach you a range of different languages. It teaches you how to read, write & speak Spanish in a fun way & I must say that I am picking up the language fairly easy with the teaching methods they use. And did I mention it’s a FREE app!? If you want to learn a new language I really recommend downloading DuoLingo!

What I’m reading: 

The Secret This book is fantastic. I have never been one of those people that loves to sit down with a self-help book, it’s just not my thing & I never enjoyed reading them. However, since I turned entrepreneur these kind of books are so important for self development & this one has been recommended to me several times. After finally listening to those around me and reading this book I feel like my life will never be the same again. This book is based on the law of attraction & teaches about the power of positive thinking to attract everything that you want in your life. I am aware that this is a controversial read but I do believe that our minds have much more power than we are aware of & that is why I believe that The Secret can work.

What I’m watching:

Narcos I have been watching this Netflix Original series this week & both I & my boyfriend have been enjoying it. It’s a series about the life of drug lord Pablo Escobar & is an exciting watch full of crime & conspiracy.  It does have a lot of subtitles as most of the time the actors are speaking Spanish but if you don’t mind reading subtitles this is a good watch!

Luther I just recently finished watching every season of this series & I just had to tell you, my lovely followers, about it. If you haven’t yet watched Luther and you love a crime series full of tension & excitement – watch this! It is exceptional & I found myself looking forward to watching it in the evenings. I found this series really quite creative compared to a lot of other crime series out there & many times I found myself very tense while watching it. The seasons are very short so you can binge watch & get through it very quickly & trust me, you WILL binge watch it.

What I’m drinking:

Nescafe Cappuccino sachets I am a big coffee lover! There is nothing like the smell & the taste of a cup of coffee in the morning to wake you up & get your day started. Lately I’ve been having these Nescafe cappuccinos as a treat on weekends & they are an absolute delight to drink! If I’m drinking coffee I’m usually drinking a cappuccino so I like to think of myself as a little bit of a cappuccino connoisseur & I must say that these sachets make some of the best cappuccinos I’ve ever tasted. They are however a little pricey at R59.99 for 10 sachets which is why I drink them as a treat but a treat they certainly are.

 

What are your current lifestyle favourites?

My Emigration Experience

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As you may have seen in my ‘About Me’ section I emigrated to South Africa in September 2016. I know that others out there have also emigrated or are maybe thinking of emigrating so I wanted to tell you a little about my experience.

I grew up in a small town in the North of Ireland where everyone knows everyone’s business and almost every day involves the same mundane routine. Growing up I never felt like I belonged there, I always felt like I wanted to live somewhere else & get away from those small town opinions & routines. Then in 2015 I met the person who was about to change my life forever. By complete chance I met an incredibly handsome & charming South African man who was working in Ireland for 6 months. After a whirlwind romance he had to travel back to South Africa, much to my heartache & dismay.

Then several months later I decided it was time to travel to South Africa to visit him where I completely fell in love with its beauty. From that very first trip I knew I was going to do everything in my power to move out there. On my arrival home from that first trip I sat my parents down & I told them that I was in love with a South African man (who by this stage was my boyfriend) & that I was going to move there. I know that I broke their hearts right in that moment.

Fast forward 6 months later & my visa finally arrived in the post accompanied with a lot of relief. At this point I would like to say that visa applications are not easy.  They require so many checks & so much documentation & it is both a stressful & exhausting process which is why I was so relieved to have it in my hand. 1 week after my visa arrived my bags were packed & I was ready to travel to the airport. But first I had to tackle the goodbyes – out of the whole moving process, that was the hardest part. No matter how old you are & how mature you believe you are, saying goodbyes are never easy. They are especially hard when you say goodbye your parents – the two people who raised you with all the love in the world & whose life revolves around their children.

After the emotional hurdle that were the goodbyes & after the long journey from Ireland to South Africa – I had arrived & I was ready to start my new life. My transition process wasn’t as difficult as the transition that others may have faced as my boyfriend is here which meant I was never alone & he has been an amazing support through this whole process. When you move to a country far away from your own it is so important who you choose to surround yourself with. Thankfully I had my boyfriend, his family & his friends who I get along with so well & every single one of them welcomed me into their lives with open arms. I was so lucky in that aspect!

Moving out here has changed my perception of the world. Coming from a small town where people are happy to live ordinary lives to then moving to a place where people strive to succeed & achieve something in their life makes you think about what you want from your own life. This shift in thinking led me to start my own business – something which I never thought I would do at the age of 24. Starting a business in a foreign country while you’re still learning about the culture & market isn’t easy but boy is it exciting.

One of the biggest hurdles for me has been the massive cultural change. The Irish culture & the South African culture are incredibly different. South Africa has many different cultures & even has 11 official languages. For a small town Irish girl that is a lot to get used to! But once I had gotten used to, I learned to love how culturally diverse this country is, it’s what makes South Africa a beautiful & unique country. When you move to another country it is essential that you are open to the culture & adapting to it. After all, you are the foreigner in this situation & you are moving to their country so you must be willing to accept & take part in it.

One other big hurdle I have had to face is being without my family & my close friends. Most of the time I am able to go about my day-to-day life without pining for home, but other times emotion can hit you square in the face & suddenly I feel incredibly homesick. I find it difficult no longer have ‘girl time’ over wine with my best friends or when I miss my family that I can’t just call round for a cup of tea & a chat. But when you emigrate these are the things that you must accept. I have found that keeping in contact with my family & friends enough but not too much is the best way to handle it.

So would I recommend emigrating? Absolutely yes. We as humans are not caged birds but we’re made to fly. Emigrating & experiencing a new culture shapes you as a person in whole new ways. It teaches you about people & cultures around the world but more importantly it teaches you about yourself. Believe it or not, my relationships and my communication with those I have back home have improved massively. When we are surrounded by the people that we love we somehow take them for granted, but when you are suddenly separated by continents you appreciate & love those people infinity more.

My top tips for emigrating:

  1. If you don’t know anyone actively go out & try to meet people. Join clubs, groups, go to gym classes – anything that allows you to interact with people!
  2. Don’t Skype/call/message your family or friends constantly, especially when you are already homesick. It doesn’t help & it doesn’t make you feel better. Instead, put your phone to the side & keep yourself busy – you’ll soon stop thinking about them so much.
  3. Don’t get frustrated when people don’t understand you. I know that I have quite a strong accent & sometimes people find it difficult to understand me. Just be patient.
  4. Learn all the emergency numbers in your first month there – you never know when you’ll need it.
  5. Keep a travel journal – it’s a good way to get all of your emotions, thoughts & feelings out & it’s also a wonderful keepsake that you can read decades from now.
  6. Learn the culture! This is one of the most important things you can do. You must know what is acceptable & what is unacceptable in the new country you are in. You don’t want to upset or offend anyone!