Finally getting around to doing this! I’d nearly consider myself a fake tan expert at this stage – have tried every tan from the highest end brands to ones you can even get in tesco! Here are some of my favourites.

Bbold – Shop Here
This one is a no brainer as I wear it nearly every week, its my go-to tan if I want to be really really dark. I have used both the lotion and the spray both in the darkest shade and I love both! Sometimes I’ll layer them, the lotion is really moisturizing and I often layer the dark spray over other tans too. The only downfall with it being so dark is it can be harder to get off but I’ve found that to be the case for any tan that goes so dark!

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Cocoa Brown – Shop Here
Another no brainer, one of the most affordable tans out there at the moment and it can be purchased nearly everywhere. This is always a plus as nobody wants to spend hours searching different shops for a product! I’ve used both the dark and the extra-dark and to be totally honest I didn’t see any difference in the two. This doesn’t take away from how much I love it though, 2 layers of the dark comes out really well and it dries super fast too which I love. No sticky feeling going to bed! Of course I drown myself in the Golden Goddess Oil by Cocoa Brown weekly as well – not sure I’d survive without this in my life at this stage.

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Iconic Bronze – Shop Here
Another really affordable tan – at the moment it is exclusive to Penneys or can also be purchased online! The Iconic Bronze mitt is fab and the tan turns out really well on the skin, no dry spots or patchiness! I didnt find it to be too dark even with 2 coats so it looks really natural too.

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Catwalk HQ – Shop Here
This is the most expensive tan on my list but still one of my favourites. I tried this out a few months back after hearing great things about it. It applies really well and there’s no dodgy smell off it but it wasn’t dark enough for me, even with multiple coats. For this reason, I wore it when I was going to Spain and didn’t want to be that pale Irish person by the pool. It’s perfect for anything like this as its super even and because its not too dark it looks really natural. It faded out really well over the few days even with me applying sun cream over it etc.

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Tantastic – Shop Here
Another tan that you should be able to find in most pharmacies. I don’t use tantastic as my base tan, unfortunately they’re not green based so can come out a bit more on the orange side. To get rid of this problem I’ll use the dark tantastic liquid over another tan. For example, I wore it over the Catwalk HQ as it started to fade and it helped to bring the colour up for a few more days. Its so so easy to apply which is probably why I continue to use it as a layering tan.

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Rimmel Sun Shimmer – Shop Here
Last but not least, the tan I always run back to after any bad experience trying one out! I know a lot of people think Rimmel Sun Shimmer is dated and what people used years ago but if you haven’t tried them recently you’re missing out. I use the dark mousse as a base or even on its own. Its really dark, easy to apply and wears off really well! I also use the instant version and swear by this if I want to make my tan darker just before I head out. The medium matte one is actually easier to apply and brings any base tan up really well. I also use the medium shimmer on my legs and chest, I always have a bottle of it just in case!

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I apply any tan with a mitt and never moisturize beforehand to make sure the tan sets properly on my skin. I always apply my tan the night before unless using the instant one before I head out!

I get so many questions from girls about what tan I wear so I hope this helps.

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Can grief be the devil on your shoulder?

Is it possible for grief to turn you into a negative person? Even though you should really appreciate life more, can it make you turn against it? I think I could write a book on grief and the hundred ways it can make you feel, but for now I’ll continue with these “diary entry” type blog posts and bore the head off anyone who reads these accidently or doesn’t really care.

Its been over 2 years now since I lost my Dad, I actually think this might be my first blog post since his 2nd anniversary. It still feels like it could have been 2 weeks ago but I think that feeling might stick around forever. I write often about losing my Dad, what he taught me and how losing him changed me. It was inevitable, after all, I lost one of the most important people in my life. My Dad, my best friend and probably one of the only people in the world who really understood me. I write about how positive my outlook on life has become, how I try to see the positive in every situation and make my life the best I possibly can. Life is short, tomorrow is never guaranteed and my Dad would want me to be happy, right?

If only it was that simple. As well as becoming a more positive, relaxed person I’ve also become bitter, resentful and a tiny bit cross at the world. I suppose it’s unavoidable but up until now its the part I never really spoke about. Grief can turn you into an angry, short-fused and even selfish person. “If I can’t have my Dad, why should anyone else” kind of mentality shows its face and it definitely gave me a fright the first time it happened. I became jealous of anyone who was able to spend time with their Dad as they pleased, and very resentful of anyone who could do so but didn’t make the most of what they had. Something I’d give anything in the world to have and something that should never be taken for granted. I remember speaking to a wonderful lady I used to work with, and she spoke of how losing her Mother had made her envious of anyone who was still lucky enough to have theirs. Straight away I felt at ease, knowing I wasn’t the only one who had suddenly turned into a green eyed monster. That’s why I write these and why I’m lying here writing a blog post opening up old wounds on a Saturday night – if it makes someone feel “normal” for a moment, to have their feelings justified and to know they’re not alone with everything grief can throw at you, then it was worth my while writing it.

I used to love Christmas. The songs, the horrible weather we always get and spending time with family. My parents were separated so it was always a different Christmas day to what most of my friends had but I loved it. Now, I dread Christmas day and the lead up to it is even worse. I hate my birthday, March, June and lots of other “insignificant” days, because my Dad isn’t here. It changed everything, no occasion or Saturday morning will never be the same without him and as much as a positive outlook is always the aim its not always possible.

If you ask me, its perfectly okay to be the green eyed monster. Its fine to hate Christmas all of a sudden and you don’t have to be positive every single day. Its not realistic and unfortunately losing someone close to you is very real. Acknowledging your emotions is important and its okay to acknowledge the “bad ones” too. Everyone says its okay to cry, its okay to have a sad day etc but realise that it’s also okay to be angry, frustrated and jealous of your friend because she has her Dad and you don’t.

As I said, I could write a book on all the weird little things grief can make you feel but I think I’ve a lot more to figure out before that happens. Losing someone close to you is something you’ll never get over, and should never want to get over, but learning how to adapt to a different life can make it a bit easier, one day at a time.

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For me, one of the hardest parts of losing my Dad has been learning to deal with it as time passes and we find ourselves further and further away from memories of him. In 2 months we will be marking 2 years without him and I can honestly say it feels like it happened last month. It goes without saying that the first few days were the easiest – to me it felt like I was in a little bubble, oblivious to what was really going on and oblivious to the heartbreak that was yet to come. I think anyone that has experienced losing a loved one will agree, the first few days, weeks or even months don’t feel real and the reality of what has happened certainly didn’t set in. I remember spending 3 weeks in Spain shortly after my Dad died. We had the holiday booked, he passed away very suddenly and I knew I couldn’t go back to work straight away. I also knew I couldn’t sit at home for weeks, so off to Spain I went. My only memories of that holiday are landing in Malaga airport (terribly upset because it was my first flight where I couldn’t text my Dad to tell him I had landed), the nightmares I experienced and the sleepless nights where I found myself wandering the beach at Sunrise. This is the case for a lot of the time close to his death, remembering very little. To me it was my minds way of protecting me – if I cant remember it, it cant upset me.

The problem with grief as time goes on, to me, is the feelings that come with it. New feelings, ones you didn’t feel at the start and ones you’re not quite sure about. Guilt is one of them – I often feel guilty for being happy, for looking forward to things, for spending time with people on a Saturday because that was a day I spent with my Dad. Its silly and trust me I know it is, but its still there. Of course I don’t let it take over and I never will, I cant sit and wallow on my own every Saturday just because my Dad isn’t here but those feelings are still there.

I also feel huge pressure to be “over it”. Sure its almost 2 years now surely I shouldn’t still be getting upset or having bad days?? If only this was the case. I still have bad days, like when I found out a few weeks back that Crufts (the dog show) was on and I had to stop myself from crying, simply because my Dad would have been glued to it with me. Its the little things that throw me off now, things like his Birthday or Anniversary are sad but not nearly as bad as passing somewhere I used to go to with him or hearing his favourite song on the radio. Nearly 2 years down the line and yup, still feeling it. Probably more than ever now as all the time “in a bubble” has passed. I know I’ll grieve forever, I have accepted that now and I also accept that not everybody will understand.

Another little one that creeps up every now and again is fear – fear that I’ll forget him, his voice or how he smelt. I know I’ll always remember him but I’m terrified my mind will betray me, that some day I’ll wake up and not recall a memory. All of this probably sounds mad to those who have never lost someone but unfortunately this blog post isn’t for you. Just count yourself extremely lucky and come back to read this if you ever find yourself in my situation & need something to relate to.

I think that’s one of the reasons I write these, to give people something to relate to. I know how dark and scary grief can sometimes be but it doesn’t have to be lonely. There is always somebody who has or is going through the exact same thing. People experience things differently and your thoughts might not be identical to somebody elses but all of that is normal too. There is no wrong way to feel and no wrong way to grieve either. Another reason I write them is to give back some of what I have learnt from this situation. Everything happens for a reason, even horribly heartbreaking things like losing your Dad to cancer but I still try to see why it had to happen and what it taught me. Of course I’d give all the lessons back in the morning if it meant I could see him again but unfortunately thats not how it works. At the moment, taking the positives and sharing my experiences in the hope of giving people something to relate to is all I can do.

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You’ll probably laugh reading the title and fair enough it’s probably amusing but it’s something I was close to googling last week – as funny as that sounds. I’d nearly google it now just to see if anything pops up.

I’ve been struggling hugely with my anxiety & depression over the past couple of weeks, moreso than usual and for no obvious reason. I hide it well and if you scrolled through my Instagram feed or had a peep at my snapchat story you probably wouldn’t have a clue, but I don’t want it to be that way. Anytime in the past that I’ve shared bits of this part of me I’ve been reminded of just how important it is that I do just that. As an “influencer” (not something I would ever see myself as or ever wanted to be but it seems I’ve fallen into that category), I think it is so so important for me to highlight the fact that I’m very much human and struggle with things just as much as any other person. It’s easy to look at an Instagram page and just assume that their life is better than yours for whatever reason. A huge part of my Instagram and my online presence is being transparent – being honest with my followers and staying true to who I am as a person, no bullsh*t. As much as I don’t broadcast how down I’m feeling somedays (mainly because I want to give people something positive to look at), I don’t want to hide it either and I certainly don’t want people to think I don’t struggle, because I do.

The reason I’m writing this is again to highlight how anxiety and/or depression is an everyday thing for so many people. Like so so many people, some of whom will never share it with others. However, part of how I identified what was going on in my head and how I came to terms with it all was simply talking about it. I never believed I could suffer from anxiety or be depressed, “I’ve nothing to be sad about” or “it could be worse” always came to mind when I was struggling. The fact that it could be worse unfortunately doesn’t change how you feel and acknowledging your feelings is the first step in taking control of them. There are no quick fixes, unfortunately, but having even one person to chat to can make the world of difference day to day. After all, thats all I try to do – just take each day as it comes and try not to worry too much about next week or month etc. Easier said than done I know, I definitely need to start taking my own advice but even making an effort is a step in the right direction.

I don’t want this to be an absolute nightmare to read so I’ll stop ranting on now but I just wanted to put this up and continue to be as transparent as I can be. We’re only human, feeling down is unfortunately completely normal but it wont last forever, knowing this definitely makes the tough days a bit easier for me. I know I’ll come out the other side stronger and happier than I’m currently feeling.

Aoife
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So it’s safe to say it’s not only losing him that changed me but also my Dad himself. For someone who lived with terminal cancer for 3 years he never for one moment let it change his attitude. He was always positive, upbeat and made the most of the time he had. Of course it was impossible not to learn from him not only how to make the most of every moment but also to appreciate the little things – it doesn’t have to be super complicated or materialistic to make you happy. I owe both the person I am today and my attitude towards everything today, to him. The silver lining to such a heartbreaking thing is everything that I learned from him, and unfortunately learning to live without him too.

1. Life is short – None of us know what’s around the corner or what tomorrow will bring. Appreciate the present, its all we really have.
2. You’re stronger than you think. Acknowlege feelings of anxiety, sadness & fear but do not let them consume you. You are more than able to handle anything that is thrown your way.
3. People will not always be kind to you – be kind anyway. Being an A-hole to somebody will usually have as much of an effect on your day as it will on theirs.
4. Challenge is the universe poking at you to grow. I spent a lot of time in my comfort zone, afraid to step out of it for fear of feeling lost. Push yourself, nothing worth having ever comes easy.
5. Life isn’t fair and probably never will be. The sooner you accept this and stop trying to control everything around you, the sooner you’ll stop worrying about things you cannot change.
6. Your health is your wealth. Look after yourself, your body and live well.
7. Good days and bad days both have their own purpose. ‘You grow through what you go through’.
8. Don’t take yourself too seriously – My Dad was the biggest messer even through his 40’s and it made the memories of him so special knowing he was so happy and goofy all of the time.
9. Your “gut” feeling?? Listen to it. There’s a reason it’s there and a reason you should pay attention to it.
10. You will lose people you love. It’s life, unfortunately, and there’s nothing we can do about it. However, we are in control of how we deal with it and how much we let it take over our lives. Losing my Dad changed my life and there’s no doubt about that but I’d like to believe it changed me for the better. Try to see the positive even in such a heartbreaking situation.
11. Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, its not the end. Trust the process, go with the flow and believe that you’ll end up where you’re meant to be. Easier said than done I know but its nice to keep it in mind anyway.
12. Kindness is easy. Being kind, open minded and approachable will make more of a difference of your life than you’d think.
13. You, alone, are in control of your own happiness. Nobody is forcing you to work the job you hate or to spend time with that one person that drags you down. Cut all negativity out of your life with no hesitation – you will thank yourself.
14. Everything happens for a reason. It may take months or years but I promise you, you will eventually figure it all out.
15. We all take sh*t for granted, we’re all human and we all have stuff we’d like to complain about. However, training your mind to think more positively or appreciate the little things will do no harm.
16. Not everybody needs to like you, and you don’t need to care. Worry about yourself, how you want to live your life and stop worrying about what others think. You’ll never be able to please everyone anyway.
17. Its going to rain, that doesn’t mean you need to complain about it. Appreciate that there are bigger problems in the world and lots more you could be complaining about. It could always be worse.
18. Take a day. Or 2. Or 6. Take all the time you need. Figuring out what goes on in your head and establishing a relationship with that dark part of your mind is more important than you’ll ever know.
19. Be grateful. So I lost my Dad at 20, years and years before I ‘should have’ but I’ll always be grateful for the 20 years I did have with him. It doesn’t need to be a sob story.
20. Be happy – life is far too short to be anything but. ♥

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