Monday, 17 April 2017

The BeauBox X Só Soy

If you've read my most recent blog post, or kept up to date with my latest Instagrams, you're sure to know that I'm the proud founder of Só Soy Candles. After launching, I was surprised (and ecstatic) to hear from Frankie Harrison, Global Head of Studio at Net-a-Porter, who wanted to include my candles in her new business - 'The BeauBox'.

The BeauBox is a new premium gift box brand for the modern mama and baby. Perfect for new and expecting mothers, their beautifully packaged boxes deliver gifts in style, and most importantly don't forget about mum's needs. I'm proud to have my business part of the amazing collection of independent brands that make up their currently 8 boxes.

Mum-boss Frankie behind the boxes, hatched the concept during her maternity leave from Net-a-Porter with baby Beau. Inspired by other independent business-mums and her own new-found motherhood, The BeauBox was born. Steering clear of the dated pastel pinks and baby blues, Frankie carefully selected brands that would cater for gender neutral, stylish gifting.

From 100% organic cotton swaddles, to luxury leather clutch bags - these gift boxes are perfect for both baby and mum. You can find our candles in the following boxes - 'The Mini One', 'The Chic One', 'The Cute One', and our favourite 'The Cool One'. You'll also find a Só Soy in 'The Mama One' which is limited edition.

Other brands that make up the boxes, and are worth visiting, include - 'Jem + Bea', 'Show Beauty', 'Bloom & Blossom', 'Noodoll', 'Balance Me', 'Molly and Moo', 'Rousso & Blossom', 'Wonder & Rah', 'HYP Candles', 'Kokoso', and 'Fox's Felts'. Receiving a BeauBox is sure to make any new or expecting mother feel amazing.


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Só Soy Candles

As cliché as it sounds, the idea to create my own candles came to me in a dream (well, more of a duvet-day nap to be honest). I remember thinking, wow - this is something I could really do. Being a lover of scented candles, and always having an interest in design, I created Só Soy in late October 2016.

'Só' is the Gaelic (Irish) word for 'Luxury', and being on the North Coast of Northern Ireland, I thought that adding a little bit of Irish character was a must. The candles I create are hand poured on the Causeway Road and only a short walk from the actual Giant's Causeway stones. The whole process happens in my kitchen at home, much to the dismay of my parents.

Before buying supplies for my candles, I researched different waxes and made the decision to use soy. Even though I've burned plenty of candles in my time, I was oblivious to the benefits of using soy wax over the typical paraffin wax that you'll find in most well known brands.

Soy wax is a relatively new product discovered in 1991, and is made from soya beans - 100% natural, renewable, and friendly to the environment. Paraffin wax however, is a bi-product of the refinery process for petroleum oil and essentially just a cheap waste product. Soy wax has a low melting point and can burn up to twice as long as paraffin wax, giving you more burn for your buck. As it's biodegradable and has a lower melting point, any spills are easy to clean. It's also made from vegetable oil, which is non toxic and gives a clean burn. Compared to paraffin, it gives off up to 90% less soot.

The first scent to join the fragrance family was 'Lemongrass, Lime & Ginger Root' - a sensual fragrance that my other half likes to describe as "smelling like a spa". Since the October launch, 6 other fragrances have since been added to the collection - available in 3 different sizes. We've also teamed up with The BeauBox - a new baby and mama luxury gift box brand - as well as securing a few stockists.

You can buy Só Soy candles directly from the website, with international delivery available. To keep up to date with special offers and fragrance launches, be sure to follow us either via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or sign up to our mailing list.

For safety information and candle burning tips visit the FAQ section of the Só Soy shop,

Use code 'BEAUTYDRAWER' for 20% OFF ALL ORDERS (Limit 1 per customer)


Saturday, 8 April 2017

The Gucci Princetown Dupe

Princetown slipper mules are everywhere, but let's face it - we don't all have £715 to give willingly to Gucci. And even if I did, the rate at which I wreck havoc with shoes is ridiculous. It was when I saw Lauren from @astyleedit feature a lookalike pair on her Instagram, that I thanked my lucky stars for alternatives out there.

After scouring online shops, I was able to track down a looky-likey from SheIn for a bargain £27.04. They did take longer than average to arrive (I think maybe a week), but the quality and comfort are perfect. Ok - they aren't leather like Gucci, and they do have a plastic-y smell when unboxing, but it vanishes in no time. They're now my favourite go-to slip on shoe.

As always with designer fashion hits, you can now find dupes for these everywhere. There are so many colour and style choices to choose from, both with and without fur. Ego and Romwe are just two other brands to stock Princetown copies. Next stop - getting my hands on some fishnet socks to style them with.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Reykjavik, Iceland

I've started to write this blog post on a currently bumpy EasyJet flight back to Belfast, while Iceland (and it's weather) is still fresh in my mind. 

My other half and I, set off on 1st of April and spent 5 days in Icelands capital Reykjavik, staying at The Grand Hotel. We'd aimed to set our sights on the Northern Lights, but unfortunately the weather wasn't on our side and our night tour was cancelled. We did however head to the popular Blue Lagoon, as has likely everyone to ever visit Iceland. 

The lagoon experience was amazing and unbelievably relaxing. It snowed while we were there and it was so bizarre to be freezing shoulders up and roasting elsewhere. If you have dry/processed hair, I can't stress to you enough to avoid getting your hair wet. The Blue Lagoon recommend applying conditioner (that they supply) before and after contact with the water, but it still managed to reek havoc with my hair and left it completely dried out and unmanageable. If you do manage to get it wet, be sure to bring a hair brush as they offer free use of hairdryers in the changing rooms. 

If you've ever visited Iceland, or know someone who has - you're probably aware of how expensive it is. In order for our money to go a little further on our trip, we read up on a few tips before we departed - and discovered some of our own during our stay. 

DO drink the tap water
Icelandic tap water might just be some of the purest in the world. Bottled water is considered a 'tourist trap' that you're better off not buying. Almost every cafe and restaurant will have self service jugs of water to use.

DO make the most of happy hour 
Staying at The Grand Hotel was a great experience - the hotel itself is stunning and the staff couldn't be anymore helpful. The food and drink though is pretty expensive, and a single mojito will set you back about £18. We made the most of 'happy hour' between 5-7pm, and managed to cut our drink bill in half. There's many places in the centre that advertise cheaper drinks in their windows - it'd be rude not to! 

DO get the TripAdvisor App
Finding somewhere to eat in Reykjavik that won't cost you an arm and a leg might seem like a challenge, but TripAdvisor makes life so much easier. They have an option to select 'Cheap Eats' nearby with honest food reviews and pictures if you like to know what to expect. We'd recommend 'Reykjavik Chips' and 'Red Chili' for some good food. 

DO book flights ASAP
When I first priced flights from Belfast to Keflavik for early 2017, I was surprised at how expensive they were - especially by EasyJet standards. I soon found out that it was better to wait until EasyJet released their new batch of flights for April. Flights are at their cheapest when they're first released and not in high demand. I managed to almost half the price of flights by signing up for a notification from EasyJet, allowing me to book in the first few days. 

DO book airport transfers in advance 
In an aim to minimise my holiday-travel-stress as much as possible, I booked all of our excursions and transfers well in advance. Arriving at the airport and watching people pay more than we did for the exact same shuttle bus, will always make my inner bargain hunter smile. 

DON'T pay extra at The Blue Lagoon 
I regretfully paid extra for the Comfort Package at The Blue Lagoon. Our upgrade allowed the use of a towel (which we could have brought from the hotel) and we were offered a free drink from the bar. We would have been more than happy with the standard package which still includes your entry, a complimentary silica mask, and has you standing in the same queue. We travelled with Reykjavik Excursions to the lagoon and they have free wifi and USB ports on board. The coach trip is about 45 minutes so it's worth bringing your charger and maybe some headphones. Be aware that although you may have paid for your transfer, you'll have to pay for another ticket at the bus centre before switching coaches - a somewhat hidden charge that wasn't stated on the Blue Lagoon website, so there might be a cheaper transfer available.

DO shop around 
Your basic snacks and drinks can be pretty pricey depending where you buy them. We read online that it was best to shop in cheaper stores like Bonus and avoid higher priced shops like 10/11. If you'd like to have drinks in your hotel room, I'd recommend either bringing alcohol in your suit case or buying some at duty free. A small glass of wine cost on average £9 when we went for dinner. Also, if you're looking for gifts to take home - if you've seen one gift shop, you've seen them all. Most shops stock the exact same giftware but some at cheaper prices. 

DON'T go looking for McDonalds 
They don't have one. And it's devastating. If you're looking for a quick Big Mac, you won't find one. Unfortunately they closed the last McDonald's in Iceland in 2009 due to import costs, and they're one of the very few countries to go without one. 

DO listen to the locals 
We were able to catch free taxis to town from our hotel and one of our drivers was kind enough to give us a mini-tour on the short trip. He was able to point us in the direction of modest-looking hot dog cart Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur – which translates from Icelandic as “the best hotdog in town". Bill Clinton made 2 visits to in 2004 and it's since been named as 'the world's most famous hotdog vendor' by Forbes magazine. I now have a boyfriend with serious Icelandic hotdog withdrawals.

Reykjavik really is a beautiful place and well worth visiting - especially if you're a seafood lover. The snowy mountain backdrop on the city is breathtaking and The Blue Lagoon is an experience not to be missed. One last tip I have for anyone visiting is - wrap up warm. Our coldest day was -2c with strong winds and rain. Arriving to 8c in Belfast was like stepping off a plane in Spain in comparison!

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