Pack Your Bags: WILDE in Dublin

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I met my friend, Orlagh, a few years ago at a press breakfast when we were both huge and pregnant with little boys. She was so nice and we just kinda clicked. We’ve kept up with various meet ups, but when she moved back to her home of Ireland last year… well, I was a bit sad. (How many times have I complained about friends moving away from London on this blog? Only 357? Okay!)

Anyway, I’ve changed my mind that her being gone is bad now that I realise I have a friend to hang out with in Dublin. And not only a friend- Orlagh is super hip and just…. the nicest. (Also, how many times have I waxed poetically about my love for nice people on this blog? Only a million? Great. It’s true- I love sweet people.) She held Edie so I could eat and just loved on her as if she were family. 

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Orlagh met me for lunch at WILDE and it was such a dream. The restaurant is bright and airy with pretty pink throws on the backs of chairs. There’s greenery hanging over you and crawling up the walls, and I have to say- the surrounding tables of Dublin’s finest femmes make it a gorgeous place to be!

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We had lunch and before I even tasted a bite, I knew I’d still come back again. The staff were SO sweet and every time our waiter came to the table, he chatted to Edith (calling her by name) and speaking to her as if she would actually place an order, too. Ha! They were all so sweet.

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(For those that have asked about my shirt, yes! It is a nursing shirt, and yes- it is fantastic. It’s so not frumpy and I wish they had a million colours of it. Plus, its only £32.)

But luckily for me, the food was KILLER. I had a chestnut and apple soup (this girl can never resist chestnut soup in the winter) and the most perfect salad of all times: rocket (or “arugula,” if you’re in the US), fresh figs, goats cheese, beetroot, truffle oil… and maybe some kind of nut? Hazelnut? I can’t remember. I’m pretty sure I blacked out. They whipped me up a little pear and almond mocktail that was so refreshing and light. The whole experience felt exactly like you’d hope a girls lunch would feel. I think WILDE is one of the best lunch spots in Dublin, especially if you’re with someone fun.

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Orlagh is just one of those people who has sincerity washing over her words and her actions are intentional. (Example: I asked when she’d be in London next, and basically she just said she doesn't socialise when she’s there because she needs to keep her trips as short as possible to get home to her kids. Respect.) She makes motherhood look so stylish and I have no doubt that you’ll feel the same way if you follow her on Instagram, @theminipost…. She’s the coolest.

There were so many desserts that I really wanted to try, but I had to peace out and leave on a high note of a well-behaved baby. But next time! And thank goodness I’ll have a sweet friend there to meet me when I go. 


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WILDE RESTAURANT | Harry Street, Dublin 2, D02 CH66


Find more of my Dublin favourites in my travel guide or book a travel consult for personalised help for your upcoming travels.



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on November 29, 2017 and filed under ireland, friends, eat.

My On-The-Go Beauty Routine

Growing up, my mom always did her makeup in the car. I can imagine her in the passenger seat doing her makeup at the stoplights on the way to church a hundred times over. I always thought that’s just what moms did… and then when I got older and would toss on some makeup at every red light, my friends would laugh. I soon realised this as quirk that I had inherited from growing up with my mom, and, naturally, carried on with the oddity as second nature.

But now that I’m a mom, I totally get it. Who has time to do their makeup when you are getting kids ready, too? It’s just nuts, so doing my makeup on the fly makes perfect sense for me now.

Since I never have time to actually do my makeup at home, I do it en route. On the tube. In an uber. At my desk when I arrive. It takes 5 minutes, but it is something I just like to make sure that I do at some point before the day kicks off officially. It makes me feel better, and, with my squinty eyes, makes me look awake.

I keep it all in a little pouch that travels between various totes and bags I use, but inside are the staples that I use on a daily basis for my makeup. Curious to take a peek inside? I always am! I love finding new beauty items and tricks of my friends or bloggers I follow, so I hope that you may find something in my routine that can help you!

ONE | TWO | THREE | FOUR | FIVE | SIX | SEVEN | EIGHT | NINE | TEN | ELEVEN | TWELVE | THIRTEEN

I thought it would be easiest to give a brief explanation for each of the items I use so that you can know just what makes it extra special… or, for a few of them, what makes them not very special. Ha! 

BEAUTY PRODUCTS:

JIGSAW LEATHER POUCH: I searched high & low for a pretty, sleek makeup bag that could travel with me. Everything I found was either covered in stupid phrases like “Born Fabulous” written in glitter or super chic and entirely out of my price range. I had nearly given up until I stumbled upon these PERFECT bags from Jigsaw. I’m pretty sure they are sold as little clutches, but I love using mine for my makeup. I also have a smaller plain black leather version of this that I use for my cards. Getting them both for under £80 was a great value, and I seriously still love them every time I see them. They were *just* what I was needing.

FACE

NARS BLUSH, DEEP THROAT:  After many years of resisting blush, I finally caved about a year ago. Why had I hated this idea so much? Not sure, but a little bit of pink helps me out a lot and gives my face a bit of definition that I enjoy.

LAURA MERCIER BLUSH BRUSH: I’m not sure if this is technically a blush brush? I bought it years ago, and can’t remember what the name of it is… but it works great and is small without being too dinky. (You need a hefty brush for blush, in my humble opinion.) I don’t see the one I have, but this one they sell now is pretty close.

EYES

YSL TOUCHE ÉCLATIn my twenties, I had some older lady that did our company’s PR. I remember one day talking about how much I loved the smell of YSL mascara, and she mentioned that she lived by Touche Éclat. I replied I didn’t know what that was and she nearly died. Ha! Its been nearly a decade and still remember the horror in her eyes. Well, ten years later and I get why she loved it. It hides dark circles and brightens up your eyes really well.

MASCARA: This mascara is just a basic L'Oreal purchase from Boots, and I, honestly, think most mascara is the same as any other. I do like this one because one side of it has a magnified mirror which makes it easy to do on the fly. But if I have my pick (and pocket money to spare), I always go with YSL mascara. It’s sooooo good. (And smells divine!)

LAURA MERCIER EYE PALETTE: I love Laura Mercier, and have worn it since I was 15…. Which probably makes me an old lady. I don’t know, but she just makes some really smart products. I really like her eye shadow palettes because the colours are all so useable. I also use these colours for my eyebrows sometimes, too.

EYELINER: I think most stick eyeliners are the same, and the particular one I’m using now is no exception. The only reason I won’t recommend it is because the lid will absolutely NOT stay on and every time I go to grab it, it has a broken tip. I have used this Chanel one before and it was consistently good.

BOURJOIS EYEBROW PALETTE: To be honest, I accidentally bought the blonde kit when I grabbed this, but it actually kinda works on days when I want to play down my makeup, and I love the little waxy stuff to keep my brows in place. Plus, the under-brow highlighter looks so good!

LIPS

NIVEA TINTED CHAPSTICK: This chapstick makes my lips feel great and has a pretty pearly colour to it. It has been part of my makeup bag for years because it can dress me up a bit even if it's the only item I get put on.

LOREAL LIP GLOSS: This colour is so simple and pretty, plus it smells good and the applicator is funky and fun to use. Another item that I’ve used for a few years now.

BOURJOIS RED VELVET LIPSTAIN: When I just can’t get it together, this red lipstick can help my disheveled state look intentional. I get loads of compliments on it and it lasts for hours and hours, which means I can put it on and totally forget about it.

MISCELLANEOUS

NEALS YARD TIRED EYES & LIPS SERUM: My friend, Vanessa, gave this to me as a baby gift after Edie was born, and I really like it. Plus, it’s organic and nasty-free… which is becoming increasingly important to me.

LAURA MERCIER TWEEZERS: I love, love, love these tweezers. The little round part makes the grip so good, and if I ever loan them out to anyone, I watch them like a hawk to make sure I get them back. They are SO good. I’m not sure if it’s the angled tip, the rounded pincher part, or the hefty weight of them- but together they make a force that not even the most illusive of tiny eyebrows can hide from.

FLOSS: I try to keep floss around for boring taxi rides and random bits of time where I have nothing better to do when I’m out. Ha! It’s the only time it’ll get done… but don’t worry, I try to do it when no one else is around. 



Posted on November 27, 2017 .

My Reykjavik | Farmers Market

I’m a big fan of buying souvenirs from a place that, well, actually come from that place. And that are hard to get outside of that place. I’m never going to plunk down money for a Louis Vuitton in Paris because I can get that at any luxury department store, you know? If I’m gonna haul something back, I want it to be because it’s truly something special from that place. 

So if I’m in France, I like to buy Monoprix baby clothes, cheap Apilco dishes and loaves of brioche from Aux Mervielleux de Fred.

I’m in in Italy, I want pretty leather bags from the Florence market or olive oil from an olive grove we stay near.

You get the idea.

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Going to Iceland, I always like to find something Icelandic... the only trouble is, since they only have 300,000 people- they have a smaller output of goods to choose from.

But each year, I make it a tradition to buy something made of lambswool... and if you’re going to be real Icelandic lambawool, you should head to Farmers Market to do so.

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Farmers Market is located in Laugavegur and makes the coolest knitwear in the country. That’s not just my opinion. That’s pretty much every Icelanders opinion, too. Other than your grandma knitting you a sweater, Farmers Market makes really nice and cool pieces.

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I bought an oversized cardigan there this year and I love it so much. It is cosy and perfect for my wardrobe... especially when it includes a baby carrier.

The shop has more than just sweaters- it has cool shoes, tights, scarves, and homewares.

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Even if you don’t want anything, you need to at least stop in to see one of Reykjavik’s coolest shops. And if you’re looking to find on of the best wool sweaters in Iceland, we’ll look no further. Farmers Market will be your place! 

And you know what the best news is? After you’ve shopped, you can hop across the street to Sandholt Bakery for some of their killer pastries. Mmmm!


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FARMERS MARKET | Laugavegur 37, 101 Reykjavik


Find all my Iceland favourites on my travel guide page or in my previous posts.



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on November 19, 2017 and filed under iceland, shopping.

On the Kindness of Strangers

Recently, I read (somewhere where I can’t remember) that you can’t be both wise and young. If you’re young, you don’t have the life experience to be wise. Wisdom only comes with age. Thinking you know it all at a young age leads to cynicism- which isn’t wisdom at all. In fact, the piece said, cynical people are actually fools.

Here’s a confession: I have a tendency to be cynical. It’s a gross attribute I’ve acquired in adulthood and I really dislike it about myself. I can’t tell if it’s from moving to Britain where cynicism runs as wide as the Thames or the parting gift I took with me from my first job... but it doesn’t really matter where it came from, it’s my own problem.

Today, I was in the tube home, trekking across London with a heavy baby and groceries. She was waking up and fussy, and it wasn’t a dream scenario. I started to get grumbly about the situation, and decided to try and refocus on what was making today good... rather than mentally jumping down the Rabbit Hole of frustration.

So I started thinking about all the kind people that had gone out of there way today- for my benefit. The nice man on the tube that moved away from the wall so I could set down my bags and lean against it. The sweet lady who offered to help me if I  needed anything as Edie got upset. The nice girl who helped me check out at Mark & Spencer. I realised I’d not grabbed a bottle of water for the journey home and she ran across the store for me to get it. The handsome husband of mine who picked me up from the tube station because it was really cold out.

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Okay, so no grand gestures- but the coziness of the collective people doing small things for others. And me getting to the recipient of their kindness. It was just a nice reminder that what we focus on is, often, our choice. 

Things are tough. I know they are, you know they are... but things (and people) can also be really good. And I’m trying to find the joy in that rather than the shortcomings of the people and things around me.

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Do you have any good practices for choosing joy in your daily routine? I’d love to hear them, if so. I think it’s something we (read: I) could use a lot more of!



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on November 17, 2017 .

My London | A Toast to the Sunday Roast

The best part about doing travel consults is that I can get people to see so much more during their time overseas than they could get from third-party information. I love being able to tailor an itinerary to really cram in all the stuff that really is going to make that particular person see the city in the best light possible. Those kind of things and experiences come easy after living here for so long. We’ve just been lucky to travel and see the city with so many difference types of personalities, that it has given us a huge rolodex for things to do/see/eat/enjoy while traveling in Europe. (Lucky us, right?)

But I thought I’d share something that most tourists never get to do when they come over, because they simple don’t know that it exist: a Sunday roast. For one reason or another, this classic meal hasn’t made it to the mainstream tourist checklist, but fear not… that’s why you (don’t) pay me the big bucks to blog about these things.

The other day when I met up with my friend, Sara, who was visiting town after a photoshoot in Provence (lucky her, right?), I suggested we hit up a pub for a Sunday Roast. Now, Sara studied in the UK during her college years and has been back countless times since. So imagine my surprise when she told me she didn’t know what a Sunday roast was. The tragedy! It got me thinking that most of the people that come to visit us or that I chat with for consults are new to this idea, too. I realised I needed to start a public awareness campaign to spread the news and I needed to do it fast.

While afternoon teas are the splashier dining experience in England, the Sunday roast is one of the purest and most authentic meal you can really have here- whether out on the weekend in a sleepy country town at a pub or dining with a friend at their home on a Sunday. These meals are packed shared with close friends and enjoyed often. So go to a pub on a Sunday and get a roast. They’ll often have several types of meat to choose from (beef, chicken, lamb, pork belly or a nut roast for vegetarians) and the plate will be stacked with various veggies to go with it, doused in gravy and crowned with a pillowy Yorkshire pudding. 

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And now I can hear you asking: What is a Yorkshire pudding?  It’s not pudding like you know it, but a little savoury bready thing. It goes perfectly with gravy and really no proper roast will go without. The nearest thing that I cam compare it to in the states is a popover, but it’s not an exact likeness, so you'll really just have to come over and try one out.

And if you do head to a pub to do that, you’ll find yourself seated among actual Brits enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon with people they like… and food that they love, too. (In fact, so much so that you’ll want to have booked yourself a table at all of the pubs listed below!)

A few of our favourite places to get a Sunday roast are in London are all clumped unapologetically around Notting Hill Gate:

The Windsor Castle | The Hillgate Pub | The Mall Tavern




*images by Sara Kerens for Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on November 13, 2017 and filed under eat, london.