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Summer 2020 might not be everything we'd hoped for/imagined, lots of us won't be travelling abroad like we had planned to, but all is not lost! We're very lucky to live on such a beautiful island with the most gorgeous beaches, mountains and lakes. Today I thought I would share some of my top picks of places to stay on the island of Ireland in case any of you are looking to get away for a bit of a 'staycation' this year (trust me, I don't like that phrase either, but it is very apt isn't it?). 

Below is a list of my favourite Irish hotels, and if you'd like to read more in-depth reviews about them, be sure to check out the travel section of this blog for those. I've also included a link to my top picks on Airbnb if you're more into the idea of having an entire place to yourself for a few days, which is exactly what I'm doing for the August bank holiday down in Kenmare, and I can't wait! Obviously every hotel will have different opening dates and procedures, so be sure to check with the individual hotels if you are booking something. So, without further ado, here are my top picks for a good old staycation in Ireland this summer.

1. Lyrath Estate Hotel - Kilkenny

A roundup of my most favourite Irish hotels would never be complete without the Lyrath Estate Hotel in Kilkenny! I have been lucky enough to stay in this gorgeous hotel a good few times and it's just perfect every time. It's one of those hotels that feels tucked away from everything, and so calm, and yet the lovely city of Kilkenny is just minutes down the road. The food is always impeccable, the spa facilities are heavenly and most of all, the staff are always so friendly and welcoming.

2. Druids Glen - Wicklow

Next up is another hotel tucked away from the world in the beautiful Wicklow mountains. Druids Glen is one of those hotels where I wanted to go back as soon as we were in the car driving home. It's only a 30 minute drive from Glendalough, a must-see if you've never been before, and I'd highly recommend doing the Spinc walk for the incredible views above the lake.

3. Maldron South Mall - Cork City

If you're more of a city break person, then the Maldron South Mall in Cork city is one of my favourites! Right in the heart of Cork city, only a few minutes walk from all the restaurants and shops, the Maldron South Mall is beyond handy. It's only newly renovated and everything is finished to such a fabulous standard, but it won't break the bank either with extortionate prices which I think we can all agree is very welcome.

4. Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort - Ballymena

Whenever anyone asks me what the best 'spa break' I've ever been on is, my answer is always Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort. Galgrom has a huge 'thermal village', with outdoor hot tubs, lots of different saunas and even a snow cabin for the very brave. When we visited Galgorm, we didn't even book actual spa treatments, but instead spent hours floating between all of the different hot tubs, saunas and heated beds and it was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before! Galgorm is also a 45 minute drive from the Giants Causeway and the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge and only 30 minutes from The Dark Hedges road for any Game of Thrones fans. 

5. Finn Lough - Enniskillen

Our most recent trip, just before all of this pandemic craziness kicked off, was to Finn Lough, which was like escaping to a completely different world altogether. Finn Lough is most well known for their bubble domes (pictured above), but we actually stayed in one of their Waterside Cottages and we will definitely be visiting again as soon as we can. Finn Lough is one of those places that you can go and completely switch off from the outside world. There are bikes that are free for guests to use, and their Element Spa Trail was an absolutely incredible experience. 

6. The Mont - Dublin

Another one for the city break lovers is The Mont in Dublin, a recently renovated hotel that has such a cool vibe, an incredible in-house Italian restaurant, and the most adorable French Bulldog called Monty who is more than happy to greet you every single time you come into the hotel lobby. The Mont is right around the corner from The National Gallery of Ireland, so when we stayed there for my birthday last year, after breakfast we had a wander around the gallery and it was the loveliest way to spend a Sunday!

7. Lusty Beg Island - Enniskillen

It's been almost 4 years since we stayed in Lusty Beg and yet Dara and I still talk about how much we loved this trip. You actually have to get a short ferry ride from the mainland to Lusty Beg Island, which helps it feel like a whole different world even more. There are lots of activities on the island, like clay pigeon shooting, off-road driving, archery, canoeing, and even power boating, as well as a spa so there is something for everyone! Lots of the accommodation can fit at least 4 people and are self-catering, so perfect if the whole family is going.

8. Westport Coast Hotel - Westport

If you're looking to explore more of Ireland's gorgeous coastline and maybe visit Achill Island (which I would highly recommend), Westport is the perfect place to base yourself and Westport Coast Hotel is the hotel I'd recommend! With lovely big rooms, an incredible view of Croagh Patrick from the restaurant and a brilliant pool and spa, it's the perfect hotel to get away to, relax, and also explore.

9. The Wilder Townhouse - Dublin 

A boutique townhouse in the heart of Dublin city, The Wilder is a real hidden gem. Since it's not a huge building with hundreds of rooms, there's a lovely, intimate vibe in The Wilder and although it's only a 15 minute walk from Grafton Street, the area it's in is quiet and peaceful. The decor in the hotel is stunning and every little detail has been thought of, even down to the Irish made treats that are available in the rooms.

10. Airbnb

If you've been following me for a while, you might know that I'm a bit of an Airbnb fan (to say the least) and as I mentioned at the start of this post, I've booked a gorgeous Airbnb in Kenmare for the August bank holiday weekend which I am so excited for. Airbnb now have a new feature that allows me to share some of my saved places on one page, so here are my top picks for Airbnbs in Ireland, if you prefer to have your own place to completely relax in! You can also get up to €41 off your first Airbnb trip by signing up through this link, and I'll also get some Airbnb credit too which is a win win!

Honourable mentions:

There are a few hotels/places to stay in Ireland that I haven't yet visited but were either next on my list to visit (like Sheen Falls Lodge which I was just about to book right before lockdown), or were highly recommended to me, so I thought it only fair to include some of those here too.

Sheen Falls Lodge - Kenmare
- Faithlegg Hotel - Waterford
- The Armada Hotel - West Clare
The Montenotte Hotel - Cork City

I hope this post will be helpful to those of you who are like me and are dying to get away even just for a weekend! 

Thanks so much for reading.

Emer x

Waterford, Ireland

Top 10 Places To Stay In Ireland This Summer - Irish Staycation Recommendations

Reading has always been the best form of escapism for me and I know we could definitely all do with a bit of that at the moment, so here's what I've been reading recently if you're on the hunt for something new to read!

Usually, I read books on my phone but about a month ago I got an urge to read a real book, because nothing quite compares to the feel of the pages between your fingers does it? Or the smell of a new book for that matter! I ordered a couple of books on Amazon, and I have to say, I've enjoyed reading them far more than I usually would enjoy reading a book on my phone.

Before we get into the books that I've read recently, I thought I'd mention a few places that you can get books, since I know a lot of us are on lockdown and aren't popping out to the shops very often.

- Your Local Library / Borrow Box

Now obviously I know libraries are currently closed, but lucky for us this genius thing called the internet exists and it offers us endless possibilities! Irish libraries have teamed up with an app called Borrow Box, which lets you log in using your library card details, and "borrow" books and read them right there in the app. If you aren't already a member of your local library, don't worry because I haven't been a member for a few years, and I was able to rejoin super quickly online and I had downloaded Borrow Box and "borrowed" my first book in a matter of minutes. You can find your local libraries info here and sign up using this form and they have changed the requirements so you no longer need to finalise your membership in your local library. After you've signed up, they give you a library barcode, then you set your own PIN and this is how you log into Borrow Box. I do have to give full credit for this information to my Mum though as she has been onto me for months to try it out and share it with people so thanks Mum!

- Online

Now I know a lot of people aren't ordering things online at the moment whether it's due to trying not to spend too much on unnecessary things, or not wanting to add to the work that delivery/post men & women have to do, but I thought I'd share a few places I would usually order books online, so that maybe once things are back to normal, we can enjoy real, physical books again! The first site is actually an Irish company called and at the moment they won't be processing orders until after the current government restrictions have been lifted, but it's nice to support them all the same and they have some of the cheapest prices for books! The second is The Book Depository which is still shipping as far as I know and again, they have really great prices for books.

Now all of that is out of the way, let's get onto the books I read (and enjoyed) recently shall we?!

 1. My Lovely Wife by Samantha Dowling - 10/10

I promise I don't give books a 10/10 very easily, but this was one of those books that I could NOT put down and wanted everyone I knew to read it asap so I could talk to them about how crazy it was and how good the plot twists were! I don't want to get too into it as I'm afraid I'll ruin it, so to keep it brief, it's about a husband and wife who have an unusual hobby to keep their marriage interesting!

2. The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen - 8/10

Sarah Dessen is an author I have been reading for years, so this was a bit of a nostalgic read for me and I really enjoyed the break from the usual thrillers I read. The book is about Emma Saylor, who returns to the lake where her late mother grew up and learns about the side of the family she never knew. Like in most of Sarah's books, there's some first love thrown in there, a bit of family drama, and it's just one of those easy reads that can hit you right in the feels. 

3. The Last Time I Saw You by Liv Constantine - 7/10

Another great page-turner, and although I was able to guess the plot twist fairly early on, I still very much enjoyed it. The book is centered around Dr. Kate English who "has it all" until her mother is found dead and who killed her is a big mystery. Again, I don't want to say too much for fear of ruining it, but if you like a "whodunnit" type of story with a few good twists, this is a great read.

4. The Guest List by Lucy Foley - TBC

I'm actually only half way through this book, but wanted to include it as I know lots of people read Lucy's first book 'The Hunting Party' and enjoyed it (myself included). From what I've read so far, The Guest List is very like Lucy's first book and uses the multicharacter format, which sometimes I find hard to keep up with, but then again it does make for a multifaceted story. This book is about a wedding on a remote island off the coast of Ireland where something goes terribly wrong, and a body is found. I'll be sure to update you on my Instagram story once I've finished reading it!

5. The Chain by Adrian McKinty - 10/10

I picked this book up randomly in the supermarket a few weeks ago and I'm so glad I did! It was absolutely thrilling the entire way through and had me completely on edge at parts, so much so that I had to take a few breaks. I borrowed it to my Mum as well who loved it too! The book is about a kidnapping chain, where if your child is kidnapped, you must then kidnap another child to get them back, and it really explores people's morals and just how far they'll go to protect their family.

6. The Dilemma by B A Paris - 10/10

B A Paris is one of my absolute favourite authors and I urge you all to read her other books too. Most of her other books are quite thrilling and very suspenseful and while The Dilemma definitely is a page turner, I found it surprisingly emotional, so much so that I had a little cry when I had finished it, which I can tell you doesn't happen very often when I read! The Dilemma is another multicharacter book, told from different viewpoints and it also flips back and forward in time too, which keeps it nice and interesting. The book centers around Livia's 40th birthday party and a secret she has been keeping from her husband, and that's pretty much all I can tell you without spoiling it!

If you have any book recommendations then I'd love to hear them! For anyone on Good Reads (a handy site to find books and keep track of what you've read/want to read) this is my profile so feel free to add me as I always keep it up to date with what I'm reading/have read. I have also just posted an IGTV video chatting through these books so check that out too!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you're all doing okay in this crazy time,
Emer x

Waterford, Ireland

What I've Been Reading Recently #2

Disclaimer - This post is sponsored by Revolut but as always all opinions and thoughts are honest and 100% my own.

This is a blog post I am very excited to share with you because I am working with Revolut as one of their Pioneers, which if you've followed me for a while you'll know I am the BIGGEST Revolut advocate, so getting to work with them is a dream come true! If you haven't already checked out the first blog post I wrote last year about why I love using Revolut so much you can check that out here, and it covers a lot of the basics and lots of the general features available to all users of Revolut. You can also get a FREE Revolut card by signing up with this link -

In this post today I wanted to cover a bit more about Revolut's Metal cards, and why I think everyone should have one, as it's something I get asked about quite a bit. If you want to know what's included in the Metal plan, why I have had it for over a year and how it's helped a family member during a medical emergency, just keep on reading!

So to start with the basics, Revolut's Metal plan is €13.99 a month, and while that may sound like a lot, wait until you've finished reading this post before you make your mind up as to whether it's worth it or not. Included in the Metal plan are benefits like:

  •  A free UK bank account (very handy when shopping on sites like ASOS and River Island where you can spend in pounds to save yourself some extra money).
  • No fee ATM withdrawals of up to €600 per month (which is going to be very handy when AIB and Bank of Ireland sell their ATM networks and charge you a fee of up to €3 for even taking out €10).
  • Overseas medical insurance (you can find more detail on this further down).
  • SmartDelay, which gives you free lounge passes for you and up to 3 friends if your flight is delayed by more than 1 hour.

The list goes on and on, but those are some of the main benefits that make me love Revolut Metal so much. It just makes my life easier, and makes spending money much simpler, not that I need any help with that anyway and best of all, you get a cool card made from metal that always catches people's eye when you pull it out of your wallet!

Something that I didn't touch on in much in my first blog post about Revolut (because it was only a new feature available at the time) is using your Revolut card via your phone, Apple Watch, or even your FitBit (I have the FitBit Versa and my card is loaded onto that). This is probably one of my favourite features of Revolut, because my traditional bank account (which I am looking into closing and just moving everything to Revolut) doesn't have Apple Pay capabilities. I must admit, I am quite careless with my wallet, always leaving it in random bags, or jacket pockets, and so many times I am out and about and need to buy something, and since my phone is basically surgically attached to my hand at all times, I can just double click my home button, and voila, up pops my card and I can pay via the contactless bit on the card machine! A handy thing to know about this is that there isn't the usual €30 tap limit when using your card via Apple Pay.

And lastly the thing that makes the Revolut Metal beyond worth it, is something I wasn't even properly aware of until recently, and that is the Overseas Metal insurance that is included with your Metal plan. Usually I would be fairly dubious of things like this, and would always have my own travel insurance up to date just in case, but recently, my cousin Elsie who also has Revolut Metal, was travelling and had a pretty serious medical emergency which meant she had to spend some time in the ICU and a also had to be accompanied by a flight doctor on her journey home.

Of course this cost a lot of money as she was in Canada at the time. In fact the total was something close to €40,000 and thanks to her having Revolut Metal, every single thing was included and they took such good care of her, even organising a car to pick her up from the airport once she landed in Dublin to take her home, and it just made such a scary experience that bit less stressful. So for me, regardless of the other extra perks like free ATM withdrawals up to €600, and free lounge access in the airport, Revolut Metal is beyond worth it just for the reassurance that knowing if something awful did ever happen whilst I was travelling, I would be completely covered and wouldn't have to worry about the financial burden of the crazy medical bills you can get in other countries.

You can sign up to Revolut now to get a FREE card through this link -, and once you have signed up, you can choose which plan you'd like to go for, whether it's the Standard, Premium or Metal plan.

Thanks so much for reading,

Emer! x
Waterford, Ireland

My Favourite Way To Spend - Revolut (AD)

Back in October, Dara and I finally took a trip to Paris, and it was everything I'd ever dreamed of. Paris for me was always one of my dream cities to visit, but one I'd just never gotten round to actually visiting. Before our trip, I was slightly worried that it might just be a very over hyped destination, and that we'd find it too touristy with not enough soul, but luckily it was the opposite of that, and it truly is one of the most enchanting cities I've ever visited!

I wanted to share one of my travel guides on this beautiful city in case any of you are currently planning a trip there, or are thinking of visiting, but be warned, this will be a long post because I enjoyed absolutely everything we did, and almost every place we ate. Keep reading to find out what to do, where to eat and also where we stayed in Paris.

What To Do:

There's so much to do and see in Paris that I feel like you'd need an entire month to really explore the city properly, but I do have a few specific recommendations that you should try to fit in. Unfortunately we didn't get out to the Palace of Versailles as we got the open days mixed up which was a shame as it's somewhere I've always wanted to see, but hey, it's just another excuse to go back

1. The Eiffel Tower
Obviously I have to mention the most iconic symbol of Paris first! Now of course you don't have to go up the tower, and can just admire it from a distance (one of the best view points for this is shared further down) but honestly it's an amazing way to see the city of Paris from way up high. A tip I'd have is to book your tickets online as much in advance as you can. I booked ours a few weeks beforehand and the only available times were in the evening, which wasn't a bad thing at all because the city lights were stunning, but it's just something to keep in mind. You can also just turn up on the day to the Eiffel Tower and queue for tickets, but if you're on a short weekend trip like we were, I'd book online to save time so you can fit more in.

 2. Louvre Museum
Another iconic place in Paris is the Louvre, home to some of the most famous pieces of art in the world. I won't lie, one of the reasons I was most excited to visit the Louvre is because of the film Angels & Demons, but also because I would finally get to see the Mona Lisa in real life. A great little tip to know is that lots of the main attractions in Paris are free if you're under 26 years of age and from a country that is part of the EU, so both Dara and I could visit the Louvre completely free of charge. I could have spent days wandering around this vast museum, being completely awestruck by all of the famous pieces of art that I'd only ever read about in books or seen in documentaries, but of course we only had a few hours, so we studied the map and found the main pieces we wanted to tick off our bucket lists, which of course included the Mona Lisa. Don't be put off by the huge queue to see the famous lady that never seems to subside because it does move quite fast, and it's so worth it to see this enchanting painting up close.

3. The Arc de Triomphe
I know this list so far has been quite obvious, but sometimes when you're visiting a new city it can be tempting to not visit the most popular attractions for fear that they're overhyped and not worth the queue, but we found in Paris that all of the top things to see were so worth it, and I think the Arc de Triomphe was one of my absolute favourites. Again, because Dara and I are both under 26 and from an EU country our tickets to climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe was free. The view of Paris from the top of the Arc was absolutely spectacular, we could see so much of the city, even as far as the Sacre Coeur. I'd definitely recommend timing your visit for around sunset as you have a perfect view point for the light show on the Eiffel Tower which happens every hour, on the hour for 5 minutes as soon as it gets dark.

4. Wander The Beautiful Streets
Paris is one of those cities that you can just wander around and stumble across something beautiful at every turn. It can be very easy to just jump on a metro to get around the city quickly but if you have the time, I'd definitely recommend walking as much as possible just so you can soak it all up. There's 2 places in particular that we visited that aren't exactly big tourist spots, but definitely ones to check out. The first is Galeries Lafayette, which is just a fancy department store, but the location at '40 Boulevard Haussmann' is one of the most stunning buildings I've ever seen, and of course all of the gorgeous designer pieces are nice to look at too. The second is Rue de l'Université, which ends right at the base of the Eiffel Tower. Even though it's just a street, with the Eiffel Tower right in the back round, it looks like something from a fairytale. We rented some of the Lime electric scooters that lots of European cities have now and explored the streets around the Eiffel Tower and along the river Seine and it was gorgeous!

Where To Eat:

Before travelling to Paris I had heard a few people say that it's a very expensive city when it comes to food and eating out, but I think any city can be expensive unless you've done a little bit of research. Eating in new places is one of my favourite things about travelling (any excuse right?) so I always look into the food options and make note of a few places I'd like to try before I get there. Also, because Dara and I always usually stay in an Airbnb when we travel (find out why we love it so much here), and we always get an apartment to ourselves, we have a kitchen and tend to not eat out for every single meal which definitely helps to not completely blow any budget we may have set. With all that being said, we did find a few gems in Paris that weren't a rip off and served delicious food, so here they are!

1. Trying The Local Delicacies
This isn't a specific recommendation because the place we tried escargot and some other typical French dishes like croque monsieur and French onion soup wasn't great, but when in France I think it's only right to at least try the dishes they're so famous for. I'll admit, I was not a fan of the escargot at all (although I think it might have been that they just weren't the best quality) but it's something I've had on my bucket list since I studied French in school, so I did it! I'd maybe recommend googling the best places to try escargot, instead of just popping into a random cafe like we did!

2. Pizza Popolare
Part of the Big Mamma group, Pizza Popolare has been a restaurant I've heard a lot about. It was super busy when we visited, and we had to queue for about 15 minutes before being seated but the food was well worth the wait. Classic Italian food, full of flavour and very reasonably priced. The restaurant had a great atmosphere too and if you're a cheese lover like me, you NEED to get the Big Star Burrata dish, it was heavenly!

3. Holybelly 
Like Pizza Popolare, this was another restaurant that we had to queue at for quite a while to get a table, but I'd heard only rave reviews about Holybelly's brunch and I am nothing if not a complete sucker for some pancakes and good coffee. I couldn't fault one thing about our brunch to be honest, the staff were lovely, the food was delicious and the coffee was strong. Since I don't eat eggs, sometimes brunch can be a bit limited for me, but Holybelly had a good few side options that I could add, like a sausage patty and hashbrowns and I loved it all!

4. Lindt Shop - Paris Opera
Technically this isn't actually a restaurant, but if you have a sweet tooth like me, then you absolutely must check out the Lindt Shop which is right across the road from the Paris Opera house, and also right down the road from the Galeries Lafayette Haussmann location. They have a cafe in the shop where you can get all kind of Lindt inspired drinks, including a cup of pure, melted Lindt chocolate straight from a tap they have running, which is a chocoholics absolute dream. They also have every flavour of Lindt chocolate in the shop that you can think of so if you want to bring home a gift for a chocolate lover, this would be a great place to checkout. 

5. Circus Bakery
I have Instagram to thank for this find, because Circus Bakery really is a little hidden gem. A very simple, small bakery, but they bake easily the best cinnamon buns I have ever tried. The bakery is located down a little street just across the river from the Notre Dame, and there's another famous bakery just up the street called Odette which apparently serves the best choux pastry and are famous for their little choux pastry cakes.

Where We Stayed:

Finally, if you're planning a trip to Paris and want a recommendation of where to stay, here's the link to the Airbnb we stayed in. It was in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, so not super central, but with a metro right down the road it was super easy to get around and it worked out at only €73 a night which is super cheap by Paris standards. Or if you want accommodation nearer to the city, and want to save some money, you can sign up to Airbnb and save €30 off your first trip, and €11 off your first experience when you sign up through this link (I'll get money off Airbnb if you sign up too, so it's a win win). If you'd like to know more about why I rave about Airbnb so much and use it for all of my trips you can find my blog posts about my Airbnb experiences here

So there we have it, I think that might just be one of my longest blog posts in a long time, but Paris is easily one of my favourite cities that I have visited so it deserves all of the airtime. I hope you enjoyed this post and that it will be helpful to any of you who are planning to visit the beautiful 'City of Lights' anytime soon. 

Thanks for reading!

Emer x

Paris, France

Paris Travel Guide - What To Do, Where To Eat & Where We Stayed

Disclaimer - This post is sponsored by BookBeat but as always all opinions and thoughts are honest and 100% my own.

If you've been following me for a while, you might have guessed that I'm an avid reader and my one of favourite things to do is to get completely lost in a book for hours on end. I know lots of you are also book worms, so when BookBeat got in touch to see if I'd like to try out their service, and share it with you all, I was very excited. I was even more excited after I'd been using BookBeat for a few weeks, because it's exactly what I've been looking for, and I think lots of you are going to love it too!

So what is BookBeat? Basically, the best way I can describe it is that it's like Spotify, but for audio books! Unlike other audio book services where you pay per audio book, with BookBeat you simply pay a monthly subscription fee, and you get unlimited access to thousands of books.

If you're as excited as I was when I first heard about BookBeat and want to try it out for yourself, 
you can sign up for a free trial here, and enjoy unlimited audio books for an entire month!
With BookBeat you can even download your audio books which makes it perfect for listening to them whilst flying and you can also add the books that you want to listen to, to a list called 'My Books'. It makes it very easy to keep track of what you've listened to, what you want to listen to, as well as how much of each book you've listened to, which is great because I often forget about books I've read, and I'm halfway through before realising I've already read the book! BookBeat also has a handy sleep timer setting, so if you're listening to a book before bed, you can set it to stop playing after a certain amount of time so you don't miss anything while you're asleep. 
Two of my most favourite recent reads are on BookBeat, The Girls In The Garden by Lisa Jewell and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, so if you're looking for inspiration, then definitely check these two out, and if you do, let me know what you thought of them! As you can see above, I've also just finished listening to The Family by Louise Jensen on BookBeat and it was fantastic, a great one to listen to if you love lots of plot twists and surprises!

BookBeat makes it really easy to find new books to read, with an inspiration page with trending books, selected new releases as well as the latest best sellers. You can also explore your favourite type of books with the categories page, which is very handy for someone like me who tends to stick to the same genre/style of book (I know, I need to branch out a bit more).

Like I said at the start of this post I was very excited about BookBeat because it's exactly what I've been looking for. I can now listen to books on my drive to and from work, while I work out, or even when I just want to lie on my bed with my eyes shut after a long day, it's a book lovers dream!

I also think BookBeat is extremely reasonably priced too, for only €14.90 a month, you can have access to unlimited audio books, which is why I became a regular subscriber after my free trial had ended.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and remember you can get an entire month's free trial by signing up through this link. It's not affiliated or anything, just a great way for you to try out a brilliant service!

Thanks for reading!
Emer x
Waterford, Ireland

The Perfect Subscription For Book Lovers - BookBeat (AD)

Well here's a blog post I've been meaning to write for almost a year now, but as they say, better late than never! As you can probably tell from a quick glance at my blog/Instagram, I LOVE to travel, and I also like to shop, but sometimes, if you're travelling to a country with a different currency than you're used to, it can be a bit daunting/stressful, so today I thought I'd share what I use to spend money whilst I'm away.

I know lots of you have probably already starting using Revolut, and if not you've definitely heard of them, but I do still get people asking exactly why they should get an account and how it all works so hopefully this post will be helpful for anyone still on the fence. I've also included some screenshots of my own Revolut app to help explain some of the features for those of you who haven't used it yet.

At the moment, Revolut have an offer on where if you sign up through this link, they will give you a free card (I think I paid €5 for mine a few years ago).

So why is Revolut so good and why do so many people rave about it? Well there are a few reasons why I love it:

  • No charges for paying in a different currency.
This is probably my most favourite part of using Revolut, becomes it comes in handy when I'm travelling to a country that doesn't have Euro as their currency. Basically I just pay with my Revolut card like I would back home, and that's it. Revolut will work out the exchange rate, and they actually have it on real time so it's very accurate, and there isn't a charge for paying in a different currency like there would be with some other more traditional banks. It's made travelling so much easier because now I don't need to go and change money before I travel as I hate carrying cash anyway. As you can see from one of the screenshots below when I was in Poland, on the app, when you spend money in a different currency, it will show you how much it cost in your own currency (mine is obviously euro) and how much it cost in the currency you paid in. Very straight forward and simple, I love it!

  • Budgeting
A feature I haven't looked into a huge amount yet is the budgeting feature in Revolut. There is an option to view your months spending by catergory, which is good, so I can see if I need to cut back on my shopping, or excessive taxi use, but they also have a feature where you can set a budget each month and even set budgets for each category, like shopping, restaurants and transport. This is great if you are trying to be more conscious of your spending and I just love the breakdown of my expenditure in this simple form, it definitely helps me think twice!

  • Instant transfer
Another super handy feature of Revolut is the instant transfers between Revolut accounts. By now, literally all of my family and friends have a Revolut account because I bang on about it so much, so whenever we go out for meals or trips, splitting the bill is so easy because I can just send my portion straight to whoever is paying. They actually have a specific bill splitting feature that I need to use more often where you can create a bill, so say €50 total, and then invite your Revolut contacts to pay their half. Super easy, and instant too, unlike some bank transfers that can take days.

  • Apple Pay
Now depending on what bank you're with, you might have this already but unfortunately I think most Irish banks are a bit behind with the times so my traditional bank account still doesn't have Apple Pay, but not to worry, Revolut does! This means that when I lose my wallet (which I'm afraid to admit happens far too often) I can simply double tap the home button on my phone and up pops my "virtual" Revolut card and I can use contactless payment to pay. Honestly paying with your phone feels like we've finally made it to the future!

  • Saving is very easy.
If you find you struggle to save, then this would be a very good feature for you! Revolut have these things called "Vaults" that you can set up to save money in, almost like a virtual piggy bank. They also have the option to round up your spare change so that each time you use your Revolut card, they'll round it up and put the difference into your vault automatically for you. You can also set up a certain amount to save each day/week/month too, so for example I have it set up that I put €10 into my vault every week. 

So that's a bit about Revolut and why I love it, and if you've been on the fence about it, or unsure what it was all about, I hope it helped you! I've been using it for over a year and a half now and I really couldn't recommend it enough. If you do want to create a Revolut account, remember that you can get a free card by signing up through this link!

I hope you enjoyed this post, thanks so much for reading!

Emer x

How I Spend Money Whilst Travelling - Revolut Review

Disclaimer - The mattress featured in this post was gifted to me by Simba but as always all opinions and thoughts are honest and 100% my own.
I've just checked and my last blog post was publish in FEBRUARY?! Honestly where does the time go? In my last post Dara and I had just moved in together and it was all very exciting. We've now been living together for 4 months but it honestly feels like 4 years. Anyway, enough rambling, today I wanted to talk about something that I've been extremely excited about, a mattress... I know that it may sound ridiculous to you to be excited about a mattress but this is not just any mattress, it's a hybrid mattress and it's kind of changed my life.

When Dara and I first moved in together, I brought my old double mattress from home and we had a hand-me-down box spring bed base. I am not exaggerating when I say that when Dara sat on the edge of the bed to put his socks on, I was almost bounced out of the bed. Obviously this didn't make for a great nights sleep as anytime either of us moved even just the slightest bit, the other would be woken up. I am someone who values their sleep so it was a bit stressful trying to get used to sharing a bed every night anyway, let alone dealing with the added hassle of not having the best bed/mattress set up. That's what no one tells you when you move in with your other half, it's all well and good to live together, and don't get me wrong I absolutely love it, but there's definitely an adjustment period and a lot of bad nights of sleep.
So obviously you can imagine my absolute joy when Simba got in contact and asked if I'd like one of their mattresses to try out. I was already doing my own research into these online mattress companies who deliver their products in handy boxes and have all sorts of cool technology built into their mattresses to ensure the best quality of sleep and Simba was easily the top rated and recommended company I had looked into.

Simba's mattress is made up of five layers (which you can read more about on the image below because I definitely couldn't do all of the technology and features justice) and they also feature 2,500 unique conical pocket springs which individually adjust as you sleep. The only way to describe what it feels like to lie on this mattress is that it feels as if you're being hugged by it, it's so supportive and not too squishy like some memory foam mattresses can be.

We've had the mattress for just over a month now and I wanted to wait that long before I reviewed it so that I knew exactly what I thought of it. Basically, I think this mattress is easily my most favourite thing I have ever owned. Sounds dramatic but I can't describe my love for it any other way. I actually don't like to travel now because I'd much rather be at home in my own bed. Dara's the same about it too, every night when we get into bed we both sigh happily at how comfy it is. It's made a huge difference to the quality of my sleep too which is the really important part. I wake up feeling very well rested and since I wear a FitBit which tracks my sleep very accurately, I can actually see that the quality of my sleep has improved and the amount of times I wake up at night has drastically decreased.
The combination of memory foam and the 2,500 springs mean that Dara could be jumping all over the place beside me in bed (which he often does, does anyone else's partner twitch like mad in their sleep?!) and I wouldn't feel it at all. The top layer of mattress is also designed to help with temperature control which again is brilliant for me because Dara is like a radiator a lot of the time so the Simba mattress keeps me nice and cool.

One thing I will mention, because as you all know I am nothing if not honest, is that there was an odd smell from the mattress for the first couple of weeks. Dara didn't notice it too much but I'm very sensitive to smell and there was a musty sort of smell coming from the mattress. I got in touch with Simba (who have an excellent and very helpful customer service team may I add) to ask if this was normal and they assured me that this was totally normal and nothing to worry about. It's apparently called "off-gassing" and happens with lots of mattresses that have memory foam in them. So if you do get a Simba mattress and you're a little worried about the smell at first, it's all good and it just needs a bit of airing out.
Simba have a whole range of mattress sizes in both EU and UK sizing, and we went for the UK King size (150x200cm) and that bit of extra room in bed compared to the double size has also made a massive difference to how much easier it's been to share a bed now so if you can size up, I'd definitely recommend it. The dream would be to one day have a bedroom big enough to fit a bed where I could have the Emperor size (200x200cm, I know, how massive is that?) but for now, this king size bed is absolute heaven!

Never did I think I'd write such a long and in depth blog post about mattresses but here we are! I did warn you in the beginning of this post that I was seriously excited about this mattress and hopefully the info in this post has helped to explain why. Of course I couldn't share all of this without getting you all a little discount too in case you are also on the hunt for a mattress so if you sign up here, you will get £75 off your mattress which isn't too shabby of a discount at all!

I hope this post was helpful if you are on the hunt for a new mattress and like always if you have any questions feel free to pop me a message over on Instagram!

Waterford, Ireland

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