Home | Buying our first house

As we now are celebrating being in our home two years (where did that time go!) it got me thinking about the whole buying process. It all seemed so stressful at the time but now that I look back here is the advice I would give my younger self. 

Be prepared to sacrifice 

If you’re starting to save for your first home, like we did, I took a long hard look at my monthly income and outgoings, and this was the daunting start to our process. This allowed me to calculate my bills and my disposal income, shockingly I had more disposable income than I thought, by no means a millionaire, but multiple trips to the shops and online orders seemed to take a large proportion of my salary. That’s the first thing I cut back on, not completely but sacrifices had to be made. 

Save, save and save some more

Although I’ve just said I didn’t completely cut back I was very concise of what I bought, I became more aware of disposable fashion and make up and things had only to be bought for a purpose. There is much more than a deposit, there is solicitors fees, furniture and installation charges. It really racks up so be realistic with the money you can save keep that in mind for your mortgage payments. I went to a mortgage advisor to workout our budget and what were affordable monthly payments. One thing I will say was that with our salaries they were willing to give us more than we originally thought, we could have gone for a higher mortgage with higher monthly payments and probably a bigger house but really we wanted to make it manageable. Only do want you can afford, it’s important to be able to live and enjoy your new home. 

Compromise is key

Whether you’re buying on your own, with your partner or with a friend. Once you have an idea of budget, make a list of things that are ideal. Now go through this list and look through the things that you would compromise on. For us location, south facing garden and car parking were essential. It would have been ideal to have a semi detached, separate dining room, downstairs toilet but unfortunately this was not possible so we had to compromise and what’s important is, for us this is our first home, it’s unlikely we or you will stay there forever and the next house, once you get some time under your belt and maybe a little more saving, you will be able to incorporate these desirable into your essential list. 

Don’t let looks get the better of you

If you walked into a shop that is beautifully decorated and tidy you’re more likely to buy right…it’s the same with houses. The difference is there is only 1 house and lots of buyers. If an estate agent thinks a house has potential they will do an open day. That’s what happened with the first house we bid on. If a house is well decorated, you can see yourself living there. That’s exactly what we thought and although we set a budget there were multiple bidders and we seen ourselves go £12,000 above our budget and £16,000 over the asking price. What were we thinking, we got carried away and I just hope that the other buyers could afford. No matter what, when the furniture is removed and the rooms are bare, it looks completely different and then you will want to reprint walls and change things around. Interiors are not worth blowing your budget, you can and will make improvements as you go along. 

Try not to get emotionally invested 

My dream home is a old house which we can renovate. We viewed multiple houses and fell in love with this one which looking back now was completely impractical, particularly for our first home. We were sale agreed but knew it needed a lot of work and a couple weeks later we got a complete building survey, our dreams were shattered. The house was in such bad disrepair beyond our naive eyes. It need completely rewired, the chimney was about to fall in, repointing on the outside, wood root, a second damp course and to top it all off asbestos. Our surveyor (who was lovely) and we met him at the house while he was doing the survey gave us some pretty good advice. Without £40,000 before we moved in, it would be impossible for us to make the house liveable, all before we even lifted a paintbrush for the internal. This was a tough blow, we were devastated, because we were emotional involved in the house. We were annoyed that we paid £800 for a survey that proved this wasn’t our dream home, really we should have been happy, we identified the problem and saved ourselves a painful and stressful journey but at the time it was difficult not to think that we had wasted that money for a survey. That’s the trick the survey was vital for us to know that was not a sensible investment. 

Don’t be afraid of professional advice

We took advice from anyone who would help and not my mum or dad but professional advice. We went to a mortgage advisor, who proved to give us a better rate on our mortgage than going directly to the banks. We also took advice from our building surveyor on that and the house we eventually bought. Our solicitor who helped us along the way, I called a lot and I’m sure he screened some of our calls but he knows this process inside and out. Other than signing a few documents and giving them a read (I’m probably doing them no justice) but he gave us so much help. Your solicitor works for you and in this case represents you so use their knowledge and expertise. Remember the estate works for the seller of the property so if you have any problems, get advice and help from your solicitor, they are the best person to represent you. 

Be patient

This process takes time. Finding the right house takes time then conveyancing takes even more time. It’s so easy to say this once it’s complete but it’s so important to be patient, you can rush people along, and be sure to keep them on there toes chasing but there will be a lot of back and forth so don’t let that get you down. Once you get the keys and unlock the door of your new home for the first time that feeling is amazing and no one can take that achievement away from you then. 

Lashings of Love, 

K xo


Home | Burn baby burn

From my last post on our wooden floor which we finished back in August, the wood burner seems to be a long way coming. Just picking a stove can be difficult, waiting for it to arrive and then a fitter it’s a well thought through process. It all started last year when there was smoke coming back down from our chimney into our living room, I came back from the gym one night and it was so bad that Chris has all the doors and windows open, it was extremely dangerous. We had chimney sweeps out to clean the chimney and check there was nothing up there so I thought a wood burner was a great solution. Truth be told, this was how I sold it to Chris. After months of reading Country Living, I knew I wanted a wood burner from day one. Our fireplace was deceiving, like many of the fittings in this house, but this is the blog post for that rant. The fireplace was actually a heavy duty plastic, not stone like it would initially have you believe. This made it extremely difficult to clean, the black soot stuck to it, some would say it made it look worn, me, dirty. I cleaned as hard as I could but it just never looked clean. I knew there was so work to be done before we could install it.

Once the wooden floor was done, I went to the Stove Yard, outside Belfast, it came highly recommended from my Auntie who got her stove there a few years back. Thankfully they are open on a Saturday until 12.30pm so we called in on a Saturday morning. They are experts in the burner industry, we wanted a multi-fuel stove as we burn a lot of coal not just wood, without even seeing our room they were able to give us an idea of the size of burner we needed, 5Kw, which is the heat the burner will produce. This is more than enough for our small room, we didn’t even know the energy level of our fire at that time. They arranged for an installer to come out to do a home check to see that we were suitable and give us a price. The fitter called out a few days later, we had no idea of the extensive work that was required. The chimney had to change from 8″ to 6″ and they fitted a lining to that to reduce the width, we also needed a carbon monoxide detector, even though we already had one but it had to be in the room, building regulation changes and not to mention the stove itself. The best part of getting one fitter was that they do everything and I mean everything. Getting this done was going to a two day job, remove the old fireplace, dig out the hole for the new stove, plaster and fitting. We booked it, 6 weeks was all we would have to wait. Now lets talk cost, the cost of the stove was around £550, we didn’t go for a brand name, although a Charnwood would have been right up my street, the one we choose had a good warranty and there was good feedback on it. We would have looked more into the differences in the branded stoves but we don’t intend to stay in this house forever so we wanted something that was aesthetically pleasing but didn’t break the bank. The cost of the remainder of the parts and the labour was £1200 so a total of £1750, of course you can spend more if you want a more expensive stove but for our purpose this was fine.

Six weeks rolled around pretty quickly and we began clearing out the furniture in our living room, apart from the sofas, we just threw some plastic lining over them. I couldn’t wait to come home and see the progress after the first day. I was so pleased to see the old fireplace gone and the hole was prepared for the stove, the stone was laid, it looked good. However there was dust everywhere. It was difficult to understand how every inch of our house had dust in it, I suppose there were parts of our wall coming out so I shouldn’t complain. I couldn’t wait for it to be finished. The day day we came home and it was all done, we were both delighted. The fireplace looked bulky and now the wood burner looked much nicer, it made the area look bigger. Now to start with the clean up. We spent that evening cleaning the floors and hoovering (I’ve never emptied the hoover more in my life). We had to wait a week until we could get it painted so for one week we continued on with minimal furniture in our living room and our spare bedroom completely packed with whatever wasn’t in the hall and living room.

The painter arrived on the Wednesday and we picked our paint that weekend. Because our floor is such a dark wood, we wanted to keep the walls really light so we went for Farrow & Ball Strong White, this did become slight confusing for our painter who has strong white for the walls, white wood paint for the skirting board and white emulsion for our ceiling, there really was a lot of white paint. The colour was It’s the first time we have got a painter and I would highly recommend it, no mess, no fuss, just remove everything and that night we came home and it was all done. Our painter did bring 3 others with him so no wonder it was done so quickly. We began to move the furniture back and then we went to Donegal, living room still not finished, oh well, the fresh air of Donegal will help me forget about the work from home. As we put the furniture back in, we measured up the living room and made the decision on the sofas, that weekend was the last of the Laura Ashley sale so thankfully they are coming on the 8th December, but we’ll take them earlier if you need us too Laura Ashley.

With a long weekend on the cards, the last thing we needed to do for now was to get a mantle piece. As always, I made Chris put his DIY hat on. I had an idea for the mantle and we bought two shelves and we placed the second shelf below so it looked more than just a shelf.

We cut out grooves to make it more interesting and then painted it white. It was done, now just for Chris to put it up. I went up to do one eyelash appointment and to my surprise when I came down Chris has finished it by himself, I couldn’t wait to get it decorated.


Now it’s all done, we are just waiting on our sofas and we also need a new dining table and I’ve promised Chris that is all we are doing to the living room. The next stop is the stairs, which we need painted and then the carpet put down, I’ll maybe wait a few weeks before I mention that. Time to get our current sofas cleaned and sold to make way for what’s new. As I am finishing writing this, I’m currently drying my hair in front of the wood burner on the first night that I have really seen what granny would call as the turn in the evenings (that’s darker evenings) and its bless being nice and warm, in my PJ’s by the stove, my new favourite thing.

Lashings of Love,

K xo

Travel | More Strand & More Stripes

Spending time away from home can be nice. After a week of living with no living room or dinning room, it was a welcome relief to put the house back together on Friday and head away from the ever mounting dust to the fresh countryside air. Getting away from it all really is the best way to relax.

Last year Chris and I headed to Malin in Donegal for a weekend away with our friends and their children, we enjoyed it so much last year we had to do it again this year. I have to say I was really looking forward to the break, feeling completely remote. Chris luckily had the day off on Friday so he packed the car, did a shop to bring up some food and then came to collect me from work so we were straight on the road. From Belfast, Malin is quiet far and the house we were staying in doesn’t allow dogs, so Piper heading to mums for a holiday, treated like a princess no doubt. We arrived to the house at 8pm, the kids headed to bed, time for a glass of wine and dinner, it’s the weekend so lets unwind.

The house we stay in has more than enough room for 6 adults and 5 kids, with everything you could need, including a hot tub. After a long week, a dip in the hot tub is perfect. The run into the hot tub on a cold October night really is bracing, no more so than when you have to get out and dry off. Luckily there is an aga in the house (the dream) so once your back in the house, its nice to warm up by the aga before heading to bed.

Saturday morning, Chris and I lay in, no help to our friends who were up with their kids. You can tell neither Chris or I are parents, we didn’t even wake up to the sound of the kids in the morning, we were in a deep sleep. After a good nights sleep it was time to brace the great outdoors. Driving through country roads where you barely meet another car and there is no traffic lights, parking is at the side of the street, free from traffic wardens and an jams are from meeting a tractor on a windy road. It’s refreshing.

We made our way to Genevan Waterfall for a walk but unfortunately due to the adverse weather we have been having recently it was closed as bridges have been destroyed and the trail isn’t safe. Thankfully the guys found that out before we all started to trek up. We then made our way to Pollan Bay for a walk on the beach, it was brisk, but I loved seeing our friends kids play in the sand, despite the fact I was standing around freezing, running around playing with kids sure does get the temperature up. Then time to head back to the house for a leisurely lunch.

After lunch we drove to Malin Head for a walk, the most northernly point in Ireland, now here was where you really needed your coat, the winds were so strong. It was amazing to go for a walk along the edge of the island, at the point where lots of families said good bye to their relatives as they made there way to the US, somewhere I have been back and forth to lots, this was the last time these people seen the Emerald Isle. On our way back, we spotted a heart made of stone with C&K, no no, don’t get carried away, Chris isn’t some kind of romantic, nor would I want him to be, but some other couple must have made it when we were on our walk!

After a fast paced walk back to warm up, we drove back to Malin and we enjoyed a Guiness (with a dash of blackcurrant, the only way I can enjoy a Guiness) and games with the kids, its unbelieveabe how competitive we can all be. New favourite game dobble, well lets just say the kids showed me up, and I wasn’t even trying to let them win, more practice needed. We made our way back to the house for the evening.

Saturday night, Chris made chilli for burritos and tacos, not your typical Irish dinner. Storm Brian had descended to Donegal so there was no way I was journeying out into the windy night to get into the hot tub. Wine by the aga is much nicer, not to mention the chat all night was so good. I went to bed on Saturday night and realised I had hardly looked at my phone, now that is detox, not only when you know you shouldn’t look at your phone but you don’t even want to because you’re having such a great time.
We woke up on Sunday morning had breakfast, tidied the house ad although the others made their way to the beach we went to mummy’s house for Sunday lunch, there is no greater treat than someone cooking for you, especially on a lazy Sunday. We popped Piper into the car and drove home for a relaxing afternoon in the house. I started writing this blog post while Chris unpacked the car, I think I played a good card there. This really was weekend bliss, fresh air really is good for the soul. Until next year Donegal!
Lashing of Love,
K xo

Home | Wooden Floor

It was never my intention to do a complete living room renovation so quickly after we got the kitchen done but when we were off work I seen no better time than to make the most of it and get some stuff done.

It all started with the wooden floor. Last year when we got Piper, everyday when we came home, our cream carpet was scattered with muddy paw prints. It was time for that to change. I thought a wooden floor would be the best option for use. I just love wooden floors and I sold it to Chris that it would be super quick to clean up after the dog. Dad got the plain wood for us and Chris and him laid it over 2 days throughout the living room and hall way. I was so pleased that they did it together and so quickly.

I wanted a reclaimed wooden floor but honestly we couldn’t justify the price of it. At almost double the price of what we paid for our plain wooden floor boards and considering we would have to do significantly more work to prepare the wood before we could even lay it. So I established I wanted long boards with lots of knots in them as we were going to stain the wood dark.

Dad bought the wood from a wood merchant in his local town which had the tongue and groove already in it. We went for a redwood pine, is a lower cost wooden floor but it’s a soft wood, although redwood is a harder version of pine, so high heels can mark it easily so it has to be treated to reduce the amount of marks on it. I love the marks on the wood it makes it look distressed and older than it actually is. Although the wood was sanded, there were knots throughout it with made it, exactly what I wanted.

It all started with a day of preparation. We began removing the tiles for the hallway and the carpet from living room as well as packing away as much furniture that we could. Removing the tiles was so difficult, and when we were disposing of them, they were bloody heavy! We then had to remove the skirting boards, they were cheap chipboard so they came apart when we removed them we just through them away although if you have real wood treat them carefully. Once everything was removed and cleared the floor could be started the next day.

I have to confuse dad has done this before so isn’t completely a novice, Chris on the other hand is new to this so he watched a few YouTube videos to get himself up to speed and with dads experience he caught on to it in no time. Thankfully I have to say, both dad and Chris are measure twice, cut once guys so I left them to it. They glued and nailed the wooden boards to our concrete floor until it was completely covered. Unfortunately for the next two days, every lady who entered the house for eyelashes was greeted with a saw dust haze at the front door. Over the next two days while I was busy lashing, I could hear the chatter between the two of them, working hard to get the job done quickly, renovating a room is hard because you live without that room until it is finished, harder still for us in a tiny house where most of the furniture was then placed in the kitchen which we had to manoeuvre around.

After two days the floor had been laid but the hard work wasn’t over yet. Now to move on to the varnishing. I wanted a dark oak colour, cooler tone than the more popular mahogany teakwood. I journeyed to B&Q to have a look. I picked the colour immediately, I knew exactly what I wanted. While I was there I noticed that there was a new range of ronseal which had a simple varnish pad which claimed to be 5 times faster than a regular application with a normal brush. The problem was that the colour I wanted wasn’t available in this range. I decided to see what I could do about it. I asked one of the painting experts in B&Q who was so helpful and said that it was just the regular ronseal with a new brush included and essentially had a marked up price. She directed me to a a similar sponge brush and I bought it straight away, now to give it a go.

When the floor was complete it was time to prepare it for the varnish. I picked a matt varnish as I don’t like the look of a gloss finish but the best thing about real wood is if you don’t like it you can sand it down and paint it again. We sanded the floor, ever so slightly, hoovered and rubbed white spirit it to remove all of the dust. I then got started with the varnishing with my crafty new mop type brush. I have to admit I’m the beginning I was a little slow. I realised that although it was faster I had to go around the door frames with a small brush. Once this was done, I was quicker. The only problem was moving around the rooms, because our front and back door was being varnished we had to leave some things out the back of the house so we could leave for a few hours and let the floor dry. Our neighbours must have thought we were crazy getting changed in our back garden, hopefully none of them saw! After 6 hours we came back and we were ready for another coat with another brush so this time, two of us would tackle it. The brush was so much quicker this time but we worked in the opposite direction, from back door to front door meaning this time we locked ourselves upstairs, while I put the finishing touches to the hall, Chris heated up dinner and took it upstairs, the glamorous life of renovating. That way we could leave it over night to dry, ready to evaluate in the morning.

I was happy with it then but Chris thought another coat would be good, don’t tell him, but he was right. We added another coat and then headed out for a walk, thankfully we ran into some friends who invited us for dinner so we had an even better excuse to be out of the house for the next 6 hours. When we arrived home we ran quickly upstairs, nothing is more nerve wracking than the first step on a varnished floor. We came down in the morning and it was done. I’m still so delighted how it turned out.

Furniture back in for now until the wood burning stove. Once the room was empty we used the opportunity to rearrange the furniture. Again Chris’ idea and again he was right. The room looks much bigger now and we are really using the space better. Just waiting for the Laura Ashley sale to pick up a new sofa…can I even wait that long!

The wooden floor has helped with the muddy paws for Piper but now I see her fur more than ever…is there ever a perfect solution. I’m trying to convince Chris that a cordless Dyson would be a good idea, he’s not buying it…yet.

Next stop wood burning stove.

Lashing of Love,

K xo

Change of a name?

While I’m still pondering the thought of whether I’ll change my name when I get married I thought it was time for a new name for something else. My blog (!)

It’s official, I’ve gone full Taylor Swift and I’ve decided to take the plunge and change the name of my blog, Instagram and anywhere else you will find me. It’s taken a while but I just don’t feel that The Little Lash Room really encompasses everything I do now. By no means am I a high flying blogger, in fact I don’t even like calling myself a blogger, I’m only just trying it on for size. If you’re lucky you’ll get 1 blog a week and lots of Instagram pictures of my home, flowers and Piper the pup. Rarely will you find a picture of my eyelash work, pictures from Pinterest of Beyonce crying because she can’t get an eyelash appointment or why I think you have to come to me because you’ll look fabuLASH when you leave. The reason for the change is exactly that, I’m a fraud, when you visit the little lash rooms social media pages you won’t have a reference point, you girls are fab at putting your trust in me. And as most of you girls know, if you’ve been to me, we talk way more about life and love than eyelashes themselves.

Don’t get me wrong I love lashing and I absolutely love all my clients who have supported me over the last 2 and a bit years. This is by no means a sob story that I’m no longer doing lashes, I’m definitely still going to be working every night and weekend. If anything I’m just much more than lashing now, eyelash extensions do not define me, I’m sharing things about my life as they happen, no different to anyone else I guess.

So the new name Strand & Stripes, where did it come from. I’m still keeping a bit of eyelash love there as many of you know each extension will be added to an individual eyelash hair strand. This is the only technique I use as it’s the safest and allows for nature fall out and growth with no damage to your natural lashes. And of course for anyone who has followed me for a while you will know that I’m fond of a breton or two or three or four…. It’s as simple as that.

So there you have it. A change is as good as a rest so there seems to be no better time than the present to take the plunge.

As always, lashings of love

K xo

Travel | 48 hours in Barcelona 

Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage and is today an important cultural centre and a major tourist destination for people across the world. Particularly it is renowned for the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí, honestly I didn’t have a clue who he was before we went, time to Google.

Situated in the Catalonia area in Spain, it’s easy to get to Barcelona. We flew there a few days before, spent 5 days in France and got the train back to Barcelona again for a 2 day visit. We have exactly 48 hours there. Time to get planning. We made a list of a few things we wanted to see and started a plan.

When we arrived at the train station, I opened Uber to find that it’s not available in Barcelona. What no Uber, how would we get round. Straight out to queue for a taxi and with more than 100 people waiting I. The blistering heat we knew it would be a long wait. I spotted an information desk and walked over, there was a bus tour which went straight past our hotel. Why not, find out more about the city for the same price as a taxi over the 2 days we were there. €39 each, sign me up. I always go away and do a bus tour, I’ve turned into my granny it would seem. But a few years ago Chris and I were travelling to Oxford, a city steeped in historical landmarks so a bus tour became the easiest way to get around and find out more. Since then, we’ve just always done it. For a city like Barcelona, a bus tour is essential just because it’s so big and taking taxis everywhere really wouldn’t be that cost effective. There are 3 different routes of the city so it well worth the money with buses coming to stops every few minutes. This way you get to take in the most of Barcelona and hop on and off for the spots you really want to see. We started sightseeing before we had even arrived at the hotel – result!

We got off at the end of Las Ramblas and made our way to our hotel. Las Ramblas is a long meandering street with connects the port with the city centre. We got checked in, checked out the room, freshened up and then began to walk further up Las Ramblas to get on the next stop in the tour. It was extremely unfortunate that just over one week before we arrived a terrible terrorist attack happened on that very street with people killed and injured. I don’t really know what we expected, less people, quieter streets but it was the exact opposite, it was hard to believe such a horrible act had happened. There was hustle and bustle and the sellers on that street kept their shop doors open with many giving away free candles to add the the memorial which continued to grow at pace every day. We stopped at each of the memorial sites on our way to the Plaça de Catalunya to get on the next stop and travel around some more.

As you travel around the city on the bus you will hear Gaudi mention a lot as his works become very familiar after a while, like mosaic tiles. We then journeyed to Park Guerl another one of Gaudis works to be told we couldn’t get in until 6pm. We spent a while walking around the Park Guell and think goodness for the people selling iced water, after walking up a fairly steep hill, to find out we were going in the wrong direction and then having to walk up another steep hill to get to the park we were exhausted by the time we got there. We had a beautiful walk about the part of the park that you don’t need a ticket for. There were buskers and painters around with lots to see. Normally a walk like that wouldn’t seem at all strenuous but in the searing heat, it seemed almost impossible. We stopped for lunch just outside the park, tapas as always and a good drink of water to hydrate before heading on again. A good spray of deodorant wouldn’t have gone a miss then either!! The one stop I really wanted to make was the Sagrada Familia, we got back on the bus and made our way there to find that the next available time for 6pm, we were told to book online for the following day. Everything was booking up so fast, especially because it was the weekend. In hindsight, I wish we had booked online for Saturday but we didn’t know what time we would get there but my advice, estimate a time and work around that. We wasted most of Saturday afternoon trying to get into places which were fully booked. We got back on the bus to get back to the centre and came across Barcelona Football Club. We got off the bus to have a look and to Chris’ delight we were able to go in straight away. It would have been a waste of an afternoon if we didn’t go in and do some sightseeing so I agreed. Not footballs biggest fan I thought I would go anyway and see what it’s like. We began by walking around and reading the history of the club, honestly I was shocked how impressed I was. When they say that it is more than just a club they really mean it, it was really interesting and the stadium itself is breath taking. It’s safe to say that if I hear any news about Barcelona Football my ears may just prick up, I’m emotionally invested now, you can only imagine my interest in transfer deadline day…like what is that about! We left and missed the last bus back so we got a taxi. It’s easy to hail a cab in Barcelona, if the green light is on, just hop in.

We got as close back to our hotel as possible as there was a peaceful protest. The huge number of people who attended with flowers, candles and signs was truly astonishing. It’s amazing to see how people come together over such sadness and show such strength. They walked up and down Las Ramblas and within minutes the memorials grew phenomenally. It was amazing to see and something we will not forgot. We walked back to our hotel and watched the goings on from our balcony while we got ready for the evening and booked our tickets for the next day.

We headed to the Barcelona Square for drinks and dinner, no surprises for guessing we ordered tapas and paella from Ocaña. Truly delicious all washed down with a few glasses sangria. We walked up Las Ramblas to see what else was going on, we stopped along the way for a few glasses of wine (NOTE: why does rosè taste so much better on holiday!). We called it a night and wandered back to the hotel.

We got up on Sunday morning had breakfast and got on the road. I imagined we would have got up earlier but I think the rosé wine had taken a much greater toll. We walked around the port and then continued the bus tour to the Gothic Quarter before making our way to Sagrada Familia for the tour we booked.

We booked it for 3pm which allowed us to go up the façade 15 minutes later. We went up the Nativity Façade rather than the Passion Façade. Nativity isn’t as popular as the Passion Façade is much higher so we took what was available. The views from the bridge between the Façade is amazing, we seen the whole east side of the city. The bridge isn’t that wide and if there are a few people on it there is just about room to squeeze past them. The walk down is less than desirable. The narrow spiral staircase is one to walk slowly down, especially if you look down the middle and see just how far there is until the bottom, as you look down you’ll notice it looks like a shell, the whole way to the bottom. I’m not the greatest fan of heights and if you’re the same hang on tight to the railing. We then collected the audio guides and went around the Cathedral, to say it’s impressive would be an understatement. It’s difficult to comprehend Gaudi’s vision for this incredible building as the amount of detail couldn’t be completely covered in one tour. The pillars inside are like a forest, the stain glass windows are cooler colours on the side of sun rise as this cooler in the morning and the sun set has warmer colours. Whether you are religious or not this is definitely worth a visit, it was my favourite spot on our tour.

*insert awkward scared face

After we walked back into the town for dinner and drinks. We went to Rossini for dinner, give it a try, their tapas were much better and the paella was to die for. Earlier night for us tonight after a walk home and then off to bed to catch the early flight in the morning.

We both said that we would definitely visit again there was so much we didn’t see and only a 2 hour flight from Belfast so perfect for a weekend city break. There is an endless amount to see and just walked through the streets of Barcelona taking in the atmosphere is amazing.

So where is our next destination? Any recommendations?

Lashings of Love,

K xo

The latest investment : Chanel

For many the word Chanel brings many different thoughts, classic, timeless, quilted, and even Karl Largerfeld. It was not so long ago that I used to believe that I was too young for a Chanel, my mum and aunt were more likely to be seen with with one, obviously this is not the case. Perhaps I thought it was way too out of reach for me, a much higher price point than any other bag I had ever bought before. From a young age my mum and aunt have been been my fashion influencers if you like. I remember the first Louis Vuitton which entered our house is one which I will never forget and the packaging opening and the dust bag uncovering the screams of excitement. Once I began going shopping with mum and seeing the service and packaging…my addiction started. Making a luxury purchase is just that, luxury. It’s not one that is done everyday and when I do it, it’s really special. Believe it or not I once started with a Burberry pochette when I was 16, more than 10 years ago. The collection has grown from there. I’ve discovered new designers along the way like Louis Vuitton, Mulberry, Gucci, YSL but Chanel had always remained the pinnacle. 

Nothing haunts you like the things you didn’t buy, when I was in Heathrow Terminal 3 earlier in the year and spotted a Chanel, I had a quick browse but made no purchases. Afterwards mum spouted some sh*t about how it wasn’t the right time, I was changing the kitchen…blah blah blah….but it played on my mind. She talked me down that time but I couldn’t be talked out of it this time. 

A couple of weeks ago, I made the longing decision and took the plunge to buy a Chanel. I have been thinking about this for a while, as many of you know I travel with work, and when a trip to the states flying from Heathrow Terminal 5 popped up, I began to think of my next purchase. Terminal 5 doesn’t stock core Chanel stock so I knew the 2.55 was out of the question. To make the first step I would have to start smaller. I wanted something small and classic. TaaDaa…the Classic Quilted Wallet on Chain was the perfect choice to start, well classic was in the title, how could I say no. It is a versatile bag, that is surprisingly deceptive, it can be worn as a clutch, cross body bag or the chain doubled up for an evening bag. It’s much bigger than I first thought. It fits in all your everyday essentials, I can easily fit my phone, lipstick, concealer & sunglasses as well as money and cards. There are 6 credit card slots with a zip pouch for coins. Not to mention the secret long compartment in the opening flap! There is also a small pocket on the back of the bag. Albeit, I’m not able to keep my 6 lipsticks and diary that I have in my normal day to day bag but for this I am willing to make that sacrifice.

Now what colour. Lots of people choose black but I have a number of black bags so I needed something that would do with navy, I really wanted nude but was happy to settle for navy. Hardware, if nude it had to be gold by if navy it had to be silver. 

In the end, as you can see, the nude wasn’t available and as I have learnt from Chanel, taking what’s available is a good choice. Lamb skin and calfskin is a decision to be made before you arrive. Lamb skin is the classic soft Chanel leather, but it does mark very easily. The calf skin is a much more durable leather but it is grainy. I could live with grainy leather, as I know I need a tough bag to deal with my clumsy ways. From first sight, I was in love, but really I was rushing for my flight so I was trying to act cool, despite the fact I was sweating with both excitement and nerves that I may miss my flight. 

Now on to pricing, some of you may be wondering why I keep mentioning Heathrow Terminal 5, that’s because you get the bag duty free there…my own justification to buy it. Brag my Bag is the best place to find out prices about Chanel items, whatever it is you intend to buy and it’s spot on. Chanel website leaves much to be desired but then that is the allure, the desire. 

No matter what, like all my bags, they are an investment…or so I keep telling Chris. Even I’ve surprised myself just how much use I’ve got from it, dinners out, runs to Tesco, even a walk in the park with Stormont (no poo bags were added to the harm the Chanel in this walk!). It has been worth the saving for the short lived splurge. The price of these bags are only going to continue to increase so choose life and go and buy the Chanel. 

Lashings of Love, 

K xo

Happy 2nd Birthday 

So today I’m celebrating the Little Lash Room turning 2, yes 2! The first year was filled with twists and turns and I learnt so much along the way. I suppose this year I feel like I’ve got my sh*t together and let’s face it, things come better in twos.

Why lashing? 

This is without a shadow of doubt the most frequently asked question. When girls first uncover that lashing is not my full time job they are immediately inquisitive, and understandably so. A couple of years ago I wanted to do something just for myself, prove to myself that I can do just about anything I set my mind to. I had just finished my masters degree which I had been studying part time for 3 years so I had a lot more time on my hands so couldn’t just sit down. I had been getting eyelash extensions for a while and became obsessed with them, never having them off. I wasn’t happy in my last job and really that was the push to make me go for it, something new. I took the plunge. I went for the training and quickly became addicted to my new craft. Looking back now, I needed a lot of practice but I was content with my progress. It took a long time but I pushed myself. Fast forward 2 years and I’m fully booked every evening forweeks and months in advance and couldn’t be more delighted with what we have achieved.

Sometimes I think it’s just me doing it on my own, but really it isn’t. There are lots of people in the background. I can’t go without mentioning my friends and family who have supported me along the way, I don’t know where I would have got to with out you. The likes, shares and telling all who listen. Mummy the eternal guinea pig who will let me try out any new product on her, so I knew exactly what I was offering. Chris, the receptionist and chief tea maker, many of you will meet Chris when he answers the door to tell you that I’m running late, usually because I’ve nattered on for much longer than I should, but hey, that’s all part of the experience. I’m so grateful for each and every girl who has ever crossed my door and given me your time, you girls are my therapy and when I’m asked how I do it, my answer really is you!

I now feel like I could do just about anything. This time 2 years ago I was sitting with no likes, followers and an appointment book with a lot of empty spaces. Honestly I didn’t really know what I was doing. This is my baby and I’ve watched it grow into something way more than even my expectations.

But there is more…Guess what, there is more than lashes, I’m no longer just the Little Lash Room. Along my journey you will have seen me reach some of my mile stones, I’ve bought a house, got engaged, planning my wedding, got a puppy and now celebrate 2 years of the Little Lash Room. Where did time go hey! Did I miss anything, probably yes, I spend very little time reflecting and look forward to whats ahead. But equally every day isn’t about milestones, some days it’s just having a good old moan about life, a walk in the park or a ginsecco with friends. Milestones are just a reference point on the road to show us how far we have come, but there is a big open road ahead and who knows where that can take us!

Looking back I can reflect on where I started and what I was and how I have evolved. I’ve become a real life adult, adulting all day long. The amazing girls I have met over the last 2 years and the friendships that have flourished! I’ve found my voice. It’s not just lashes, I’m so much more. I found my passion in so many other things than lashing and it’s honestly given me the confidence to try just about anything!

Lashings of Love,

K xo

Stars & Stripes (well more stripes)

A couple of weeks ago when I was in Orlando, for work not pleasure, I just happened to be staying a short distance from a premium outlet (YAY!). Of course after a long day, I just had to journey over. Premium Outlets in the US are ideal for people who love a bargain from a premium brand, like the idea of TK Maxx but who don’t like going through the rails. These shops are in pristine condition, very tidy, organised and there are lots of everything in each size. Some of the shops are huge and the entire outlet will definitely have you making your step count for the day. There are so many sales people in each shop, the cut throat world of sales in America is one which us Brits can feel a little intimidated by, if you have never experienced it, upon entry you’ll be greeted with “how are you today”, “that’s a really cute outfit” or “can I help you with anything” and these questions flow constantly throughout your time there. Some people love this, I am not one of those people. I enjoy isolated shopping, thinking on my own and when I need help I’ll ask, this culture is very different. The bargains make it all seem a little more tolerable.

Now with a limited amount of time, I had to be strategic, I first found a map at the information booth and marked out all the places I had to go to then others I wouldn’t mind visiting if I had time. This should be everyone’s first point of call, here you will receive a discount book, some outlets there will be a small charge for this, but it’s worth it.

Basically I went to all the shops that mum and I had enjoyed when we first went to a premium outlet in New York a few months ago. This one was slightly different but all the core shops I needed were there. I first went to Tommy Hilfiger. Nothing haunts you like the things you didn’t buy right? When in New York, I seen a pair of espadrilles and for some unknown reason I didn’t buy them, maybe I’d already spent too much money or maybe I wasn’t thinking about summer when I was freezing in New York, whatever the reason, I have thought about them ever since so I knew I had to try. I made a dart for the shoes and thankfully there they were, I couldn’t have been happier and despite it being 11pm at night in the UK, I called mum to confirm they were in my possession. I looked around and picked up a few things for others and moved on. No time to waste.

Next stop Ralph Lauren, I wasn’t here for myself as I think I have every colour shirt that you could find or I will ever need. I picked up a few things for Chris, mum and my brothers and went on my way. When I’m here I like to make use of gathering up some items for what I refer to as ‘The Buffer’, these are items which I gather throughout the year for Christmas and birthdays so I won’t feel the pinch, especially at Christmas.

Kate Spade was next on the list and what I needed was a light grey bag (I use the term ‘needed’ loosely). I love the leather of these bags which make them perfect for a night out. No spill is a problem. I found a cross body bag which had both a long and short strap and could be used as a clutch for only $60…now that’s a bargain no one can turn down. It isn’t as grey as I would like but for that price I almost ran out of the shop with it.

I made a few other stops, Nike, Adidas, Converse but nothing there that really interested me.

I finally stopped in J Crew and I never have been into this shop before (!) but it’s lovely, quiet a few things caught my eye. I ended up with two stripped tops. Yes you got it, I’ve added more to my breton collection. I’m a breton addict and I admit it. By this time it was 10pm and ready for me to head home and settle with all the shopping I had obtained.

Lashings of Love,

K xo

Louboutins…worth the hype?

Last night I journeyed out in my Christian Louboutins, nothing special I know but last week someone was asking my advice for buying their first pair of Christian Louboutins. I initially wondered why, everyone’s style is completely different, and then I thought, this isn’t a new handbag, this is a pair of shoes which need to be worn there are more factors than does it look nice, can I afford it and is it practical. So are they worth the hype?

When I decided to buy my first pair of Louboutins there was no question of what I would get, the Prigalle 100, Christian Louboutins most classic high heeled pump. I decided on the nude Prigalle 100 as they are the most classic colour in my opinion and can be worn with just about any colour, black, navy, red, white the works. If this is your first pair, I can not recommend the nude colour enough as they really do go with just about everything and I can’t think of one outfit that I wouldn’t pair them with. I didn’t even consider the 120 heel height because frankly I’m not crazy and know they would not have been on my feet for a second without complaining.

No doubt they are beautiful, the stunning fine heel, shiny patent leather, the extreme pointed toe and of course the scarlet red sole, I was sold. On first inspection these are the perfect shoes, perfectly made, not a stitch out of place, and of course you would like to hope not with the cost of these.

All this being said they are sore, easily the most painful shoe I have ever had on. From the moment I put them on they pinched my feet. I would highly recommend going a half size bigger, the shoes are small fitting and narrow so that extra bit of room will definitely come in handy when you’re crippled walking. In other shoes when I go a half size bigger I notice my heel is falling out of the back but not with these, they are a snug fit, even a perfect cinderella fit if you will.

Worth the money?

At £425, its pricey and it’s where you wear them that is so important. If you fancy a night out were you dance the night away, have one too many glasses of prosecco and struggle to get a taxi home at the end of the night then loubs aren’t for you. Firstly I commend you if you can make it to the end of a night like this with loubs on. Secondly if you have bought shiny shoes then they will be get scuff marks, the high heel is so fine like a needle that the cap will come off if you walk over cobbled streets at all. If you intend to get a taxi from your home to your venue and you will have the opportunity to sit down most of the night, these are perfect. If you are buying a classic pair of shoes like these they NEVER go in the sale so don’t wait, only seasonal shoes go in the sale. I bought mine from Harper Belfast, they are fabulous, if a seasonal pair does take your fancy, they have a sale twice a year, around the first week of June and just after Christmas, although you have to be quick they have limited sizes and can only be bought in store, the sale is not included online.

The red sole – yes it gets scuffed which is heart breaking the first time you take them off however in Belfast (and I’m sure all of the UK) there are people who can add a red rubber sole. This rubber sole not only protects the sole of the shoe but also they are extremely slippery. The heel is also very delicate, I wear mine for a limited period of time and within 6 months I needed it replaced, again I have found the perfect cobbler who can fix them for me. It’s important to note that these shoes are not a life time investment, they are certainly an amazing quality but will need some TLC every time you wear them if you want them to stand the test of time.

Toe box and toe cleavage…say what!?!

Maybe I’m secretly an old women (not even a secret) but I didn’t know what toe cleavage was until someone mentioned it, I thought it was some kind of foot fetish, maybe it is but now I know its the area of the toes you can see when you are wearing your Prigalles. This is caused by the toe box, as it is very small. This small toe box is exactly what makes the shoes painful, you will feel a nipping from the toe box and really I am still waiting for this to be alleviated *prays*.

Would I buy again?

Of course I would. When I first got them, on the first night, I could barely take them off my feet were in so much pain. Does this pain deter me from putting them on at every available opportunity, of course not! A friend of mine has told me that she would like a pair for her wedding…now that is were I draw the line – more then 12 hours in these shoes, I can just about last 4 hours and thats with minimal walking around. The beauty of these shoes are sitting in a cocktail bar slowly sipping away the pain, I’m in a dream world, but honestly they are beautiful and take some time to get used too but once you do they are well worth it, well for an few hours anyway.

Lashing of Louboutin Love,
K xo

Myths and Madness of Eyelash Extensions










I first started using eyelashes about 10 years ago and eyelash enhancements have come a long way from there. There are so many different types, strips which are commonly used for 1 day, individual cluster lashes which can be worn for a few days and semi-permanent lashes which last between 3-4 weeks.

As a fully-fledged eyelash addict,  I often get asked so many questions about semi-permanent eyelash extensions; will they hurt, do they damage my own lashes, why does the treatment take so long, will they feel heavy, will they last on holidays and in the pool and can I wear mascara? Before every client comes there should be research done to ensure your experience goes smoothly and that eyelash extensions are for you. I wish to dispel a few common myths so you can go forth and achieve the long luscious lashes you have always desired!

Eyelash Extensions Myth 1: Lash Extensions are ALWAYS Harmful to Your Own Natural Lashes

This is the most common myth and one that can be true but for one specific reason.  A correct application will never result in lash fallout; more often it’s an issue with an inexperienced lash technician. This is usually the result of a technician pairing a single extension with 3 to 4 of your natural lashes, causing clumping and lash fallout.  An experienced technician will glue one extension with one natural lash.

It’s also important to remember that your natural lashes grow in 4-6 week cycles and are prone to fallout at the end of this cycle, so the timing can also be coincidence. Be sure that your lash technician is applying one lash to one of your natural lashes with no lashes are joined together.

Eyelash Extensions Myth 2: Lash Extensions Won’t Last on Holidays

Hot and humid weather conditions actually provide the body with natural oils and nutrients that allow our lashes to hold up much better. It’s in these types of climates that lash extensions can actually simplify your beauty routine. The most popular time for lash extensions happens when women are going on holiday and are planning on wearing less makeup but still want to look polished and put together with minimum fuss.  Heat and humidity is not the enemy of lash extensions! Trips into the pool won’t harm your lashes either or prompt lash loss, just avoid rubbing the lashes vigorously.

Eyelash Extensions Myth 3: Eyelash Extensions will Hurt

If they aren’t applied properly by an experienced technician, eyelash extensions can be uncomfortable.  When applied properly you shouldn’t feel them at all.  If you feel any pain at all you should return to the technician to get them examined.

The most common cause for any irritation is that more than one of your natural lashes is stuck together with the lash extension causing a pinching sensation. In a proper application each lash should be visible from root to tip with no visible glue present. If you have more than a slight pinching sensation this may mean that large clumps of your natural lashes have been glued together with the extensions, a very painful experience! I would highly recommend visiting to a more reputable lash technician who will remove your lashes and advise you of your eyelash condition. It is very important to remember that the cheapest lash technician may not necessarily be the best!

Eyelash Extensions Myth 4: They Take Forever To Be Applied and I Don’t Have Time

Although it can seem like a long time, a full set of lashes takes about 1.5 to 2 hours and infills will take about 1 hour depending on how many lashes need to be infilled and your lash cycle. It’s important to note that this treatment is relaxing, it won’t hurt and often clients fall asleep during the treatment. One factor that can be taken into account is if the client is talking, although it’s nice to have a chat while getting lashes done, animated talking makes your eyes flutter which means that it takes a longer to isolate and place the lashes so if your lash technician stops talking to you don’t be offended they are merely trying to help you relax which will settle your eyes.

I have heard so many times that someone else did semi-permanent eyelashes in about 15 minutes, I cannot stress enough that these are NOT semi-permanent lashes and these WILL damage your lashes because they are just placed on top of your lashes like individual cluster lashes meaning that one lash is attached to several of your natural lashes.

Eyelash Extensions Myth 5: DIY Lash Extensions 

In theory this would be great, and one of the most frequent questions I get asked, I would love it if I could do my own lashes myself; I struggle to find time for my own appointments. This requires a high level of patience and a very steady hand, including trying to balance a lash extension, isolate one lash, dip in to glue and all with one eye open and the other closed.  Sit back, relax and let an experienced professional take care of your gorgeous lashes!

Eyelash Extension Myth 6: I wear Mascara can I wear that with Eyelash Extensions

As each of your own eyelashes will have an extension which is black and coated in black glue, mascara is not necessary to wear and I personally recommend not wearing mascara when you have extensions on. It contains oil and especially if it is waterproof mascara then it will be much more difficult to remove, and if lashes are rubbed vigorously this can cause damage, fall out and even making them a little sore if they are twisted when they are being rubbed.

The good news is that there are water based mascaras that can be used with eyelash extensions that won’t damage or hurt your natural lashes.