How to create a morning routine

When I was younger, I used to wake up at 6:30am every day for school and leave the house by 7:45am. I'm not entirely sure why I would get up so early or why it took me so long to get ready but I would occasionally find myself running a little late. I kept this up throughout secondary, sixth form and up until second year of university.

These days, with working at home, I drag myself out of bed around 8am. My typical morning routine involves waking up (begrudgingly), heading to the shower, getting ready, reading, making breakfast and starting work at 9am. I keep it relatively straightforward and simple but without needing to wake up super early. 

Here are some tips to help create a morning routine that will have you ready and feeling positive about the day ahead:

01 // Work out what you value. 

First off, before you even think about what your morning routine is going to consist of, ask yourself what do you value the most? Is it time? Sleep? Food? Working this out is going to form the foundations of your morning routine. If you value time, you might choose to wake up a little earlier to ensure you have enough time to do the things you want to do. If it’s sleep, then your morning routine is going to be about making sure you get enough sleep and waking up a little later. If it is food, then it might be giving yourself time to make breakfast. Either way, it will help to form the foundation of your routine and let you know why you’re really creating one in the first place.

02 // Find out how to wake up happy. 

Waking up on the right side of the bed can make a massive difference in your day. Of course, this is just an expression but the first step in a morning routine is waking up. Therefore, waking up to the shrill of the classic Apple alarm sound doesn't sound appealing - unless you prefer to wake up like that. I’ve switched my alarm sound to ‘Slow rise’ because I can’t cope with such a shock first thing in the morning. Some people also enjoy waking up with an alarm that gets brighter to help wake you up naturally. Since, I prefer sleeping in a lighter room that won't work for me.

03 // Go with the flow. 

Every day is different. Therefore, your morning routine doesn’t need to be a rigid regime. Some things change and it’s okay. For this reason, I don't like to set times for each activity. I might have had a late night and want to sleep in a little longer or someone might be spending too long in the bathroom. If you set times for everything and one of those things don't work out on a particular day, that can mess up the whole schedule and the running late mindset follows you through the day.

I hope these tips have helped. How do you like to start the day?

Love, Aoife xo
book review If I never met you mhairi mcfarlane

When it comes to romance novels about fake relationships, we all know how it’s going to end. Well, about 99 percent of the time we do. But, that doesn’t stop you from enjoying the novel and discovering where it will take you. 

Mhairi McFarlane’s If I Never Met You features a tale as old as time but she does it justice. It can be hard to retell the same story we’ve all heard many times before. After all, elements of Cinderella still continue to grace our screens and feature in our books. Yet, only a few can do it justice and make it original.

So, what’s it about? (Taken from the blurb)

When Laurie is dumped by her partner of eighteen years, she’s blindsided. Not only does she feel humiliated, they still have to work together. So when she gets stuck in the lift with handsome colleague Jamie, they hatch a plan to stage the perfect romance. 

My thoughts…

book review If I never met you mhairi mcfarlane

If I Never Met You could have easily turned into another cliche novel but it didn’t. The characters didn’t immediately “sense a connection” and I liked that it took a while for them to figure it out. I felt like I was constantly going will they, won’t they, no they definitely will, oh maybe not. I liked that Laurie spent time trying to figure out who she was after her break up with Dan (the ex) instead of jumping into being starry eyed with the next guy who showed her some attention.

And speaking of Jamie…I really liked his character. He was known as a bit of a ladies man but had complete and utter respect for the women in his life. Most of the time, the male lead in a fake romance can be made out to be a moody and self-centred arse who’s only after two things- getting money and being the boss. However, while Jamie’s intentions for the fake relationship was to get a promotion, he was also rooting for Laurie to help make Dan jealous.

Final thoughts…

Overall, I loved this book. It was sweet and wonderfully romantic. The characters felt real and had depths to them that weren’t over the top. The relationship between Jamie and Laurie was so effortless and built on respect. I loved that Jamie would stand up for Laurie and have her back.

If you like Beth O’Leary and Lindsey Kelk, I’m pretty sure you’re going to love Mhairi McFarlane too.

What’s your favourite faux romance book?

Love, Aoife x



If it doesn't feed you, don't water it. Plain and simple. If something doesn't contribute meaningfully to your life, it's not worth wasting your time on it. There are so many habits that we unconsciously develop that don't really serve a purpose for us. And for most of them, they encourage us to feel stress, anxiety, frustration and impact negatively on other aspects of our lives. 

Here are 5 toxic habits to look out for and kick to the curb to live a happier and stress free life:

01 // Negative people
We all know that negative people do not belong in our lives. They don’t bring joy and more often than not, their negativity can bring us down and get in the way of enjoying our best self. The hardest part of cutting negative people out of our lives is making the decision to do so. If you have a friend, work colleague or partner that is energy draining, then to put it politely, they need to go. My friend once told me that the difference between a good friend and a bad one is a good friend will always have your best interests at heart. That includes supporting you and making you feel good about yourself. There's no point in associating with people who don't make you feel good about yourself.

02 // Procrastination 
This is one toxic habit I dip in and out of regularly. Procrastination often stems from tasks that seem to difficult. It can often cause stress, worry, anxiety among other things. Some people say diving in the deep end is a great way of kicking this toxic habit. Personally, that always makes me want to run in the opposite direction. I’ve found completing other tasks, eliminating all the things I can procrastinate with, helps and even splitting it into smaller tasks.

03 // Stressing about things that are out of your control 
Arguably, the root of all my anxiety issues. I think it’s a natural human trait to stress about things beyond our control. One thing I've been doing (successfully) lately is taking a step back and not getting so involved into things. By that I mean, I'm still engaging in what's going on but I've realised that the weight of the issue doesn't belong on my shoulders and therefore, I shouldn't feel the need to act like it does. It's hard but once you understand that not everything is reliant on you, you can feel 10 times better.

04 // Ignoring yourself (where's your self care routine, hun?) 
We spend so much time caring for others, that we can sometimes forget to care for ourselves. I don't mean sitting on your phone for two hours, I mean moisturising after your shower or trimming your nails. The little details that we often overlook in a rush. Working a full time job can make it harder to stay on top of looking after yourself but I recommend setting up a morning routine or, if you’re fortunate to do so, dedicate a couple of hours at the weekend or even a day for yourself. I decided when I started my job, to dedicate Sundays to doing something that I wanted and would help me prepare for the week ahead. This could be spending the day reading, going grocery shopping, doing the cleaning you've been putting off or meeting with friends.

05 // Underestimating yourself
Are you aware of just how amazing you are? No seriously, are you aware of how much you’ve accomplished? How beautiful you are? How much you make a difference in people’s lives? It’s very easy for us to underestimate ourselves, which in turn leaves us with a strong case of imposter syndrome. Some helpful tips include pausing to acknowledge how far you’ve come, using positive affirmations and learning to be kinder to yourself.



Love, Aoife xo


Well, it seems as though my short love affair with Regé-Jean Page as the Duke of Hastings and regency England over Christmas just wasn’t enough. I told myself I wasn’t going to buy anymore books but my curiosity got the better of me and I caved. 

The Bridgerton books have been around for a while and came with my friend's seal of approval. We have quite similar taste in books so if she liked it, I felt positive I'd like it. Anyway, here's what I thought of Bridgerton book 1:

What is it about?

I’m sure most of us are familiar with the Netflix series but for those of you who aren’t. The Duke and I is the first of the nine part Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn. The first instalment belongs to Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset (Duke of Hastings) in a typical enemies to lovers/brothers best friend to lovers tale. 

They get together in a fake courtship as a ploy for Daphne to garner more interest from potential prospects and for Simon to ward off pestering Mothers parading their daughters. 

So how does the steamy Netflix series compare with the original book?


I’m always a little apprehensive about reading a book after I've watched the onscreen adaption. I'm not a fan of having to read the same scenes over again even if they've been made slightly different. If I can, I'll read the book first as they'll tell the whole story without cutting out certain scenes. 

You can tell that the Netflix series is based on the book. It's similar but different enough to be its own entity. And I liked that. The book is all about Daphne and Simon whereas the Netflix series has other characters’ stories running through it. To me, the book felt a little more personal and private compared to the series which made their love story feel like it was being shared with the rest of the ton. 

What I really liked about the series were the vibrant colours and modern feel to regency England. The costumes alone were incredible. I loved the tension onscreen and it was definitely a lot more steamy than the book. Now, the book is by no means an accurate depiction of regency England but it definitely feels more…regency and a little reserved

Final Thoughts…

Would I have read the book if the Netflix series didn’t exist? In all honesty, I probably wouldn’t have. I've only read one historical romance and that was enough for me. The talk about horses, carriages, and seasons go straight over my head. 

Admittedly, it did take me a little while to get into the book. I picked it up and put it down a couple of times. I think this was down to how closely the TV series had replicated scenes in the book. I was about halfway through when I started to get into it and the pace in the book picked up. 

I'm tempted to read the other books in the series before the Netflix release more seasons. I just need to work through my TBR pile first.

Love, Aoife xo


5 things I've learnt as a graduate

It’s hard to believe that this time last year I was working on my final project at university and revising for my last set of exams. This past year has flown by. 
I’m five months into my first graduate job as a journalist and I’m loving it. It feels really weird to think I’ve now stepped into adulthood and working life.

This is my first official 9 to 5 job and also the longest I’ve ever had. Before this, I’d done one and two week internships or had part time roles which is completely different from working full-time. I've learnt a lot about myself and wanted to share 5 things with you I've discovered as a graduate: 

01 // You’re still a newbie. Yes, to some degree you’ve been hired because of your experience and potential but don’t forget you’re still new to this. Despite knowing that this is my first proper rodeo, I still feel pressure to be the best and act as though I’m more advanced than I am. Which is great but it’s important to remember I’m still fresh out of university and I need to allow myself room to grow.

02 // Time management is bullsh*t. I think one of the hardest things I’ve had to learn is working and getting my work done between the set hours of 9 to 5:30. I’ve been told this is normal when you’re working. I've also been told that as a journalist, managing time is a regular challenge but you've got to work it out somehow.

03 // Make time for yourself. At university, we went from having all the time in the world to manage studies when we wanted and for extra curricular. As a newly working graduate, a big chunk of your day is spent working. One thing I’ve learnt is to make an effort to set aside time to work on myself and my wellbeing. I reserve Sundays as my "special" time to do whatever I want. It normally involves tidying my room, reading, watching Netflix and not really socialising. 

5 things I've learnt as a graduate

04 // Fake it ’til you make it. This is more helpful if, like me, you dip in and out of feeling confident about yourself and work. I have imposter syndrome so a lot of the time, I don’t feel like I’m good enough to be doing what I’m doing. So, I’ve learnt that sometimes you have to fake it to make it.

05 // This is just the beginning. I have a habit of stating the glaringly obvious but this is just the beginning. We have our whole world in front of us and how exciting is it to think of all the possibilities where we could end up. The first job we get isn't going to be the last and we're going to switch paths all the time. As daunting as it is settling into working life and having all these responsibilities, it's truly exciting to think about the future.

What's something you've learnt as a graduate?

Love, Aoife xo

Blogger Get to Know me tag Vogue

It's my 100th post on Aoife Caitriona! To mark the occasion, I thought I'd do a Get To Know Me tag but in the style of Vogue's 73 questions. Enjoy x


01. What’s your usual Starbucks order?
An iced green tea peach lemonade in the summer and soya hot chocolate in the winter.

02. What does your workstation look like?
A mess. I don't know how it happens but there are notebook everywhere.

03. Favourite Food?
Any pasta dish.

04. Favourite Author?
That’s a tricky one but I’ll read anything by Sophie Kinsella and Jodie Ellen Malpas.

05. What do you think of open relationships?
It’s not for me but you go ahead.

06. Favourite guilty pleasure treat?
Buying a new book.

07. Favourite movie?
I have two- Notting Hill and Confessions of A Shopaholic.

08. Favourite book?
Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella.

09. Twitter or Instagram?
I’m a visual person so Instagram. But I love Twitter.

10. Desktop or Laptop?
Laptop.

11. Best advice you’ve ever received?
No one cares. I used to be really self-conscious and someone told me that no one cares about the little things like how you eat, what you eat, how you dress etc. 

12. What project are you working on right now?
My life.

13. Favourite colour?
Blush pink.

14. Why pink?
It’s a happy colour. It has positive energy and I love it.

15. Did you get good grades in school?
Yep, I did alright.

16. What's your dream job?
My dream job is to work for a fashion magazine. The ultimate goal? Editor :)

17. Do you play any sports?
I used to be on the Netball team until my friend told me I was rubbish and I should quit the team. Thinking back, I probably shouldn't have listened to her. 

18. Do you have a degree?
I do, I graduated with first class honours in Journalism last Summer.

19. What's something you learnt about yourself at uni?
That I don't know much about life.

20. What’s your favourite kind of blogpost?
Something that's fun to read. 

21. What do you collect?
Postcards or bags, if you ask my mum.

22. Describe yourself in three words
Passionate, fun and loyal.

Get to know me tag

23. What do you value most in a person?
Accountability. I think being self-aware of your actions and how that impacts others is a very valuable trait to have.

24. Who was the last person you DMed?
My friend.

25. What’s on top of your wish list right now?
A pair of Jimmy Choo's; they're a graduation present to myself.

26. What are you most grateful for this year?
Being alive. 

27. Favourite place you’ve travelled?
Cote d'Azur in the middle of Summer. It was magical!

28. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?
My work gave everyone a week off so I've just used it as an excuse to do whatever I want.

29. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?
Publishing this blog post!

30. What’s the best thing ever?
The warmth.

31. Favourite Season?
Summer. Is there any other season?

32. Favourite Holiday?
The summer holidays.

33. What fictional character do you relate to the most?
Rebecca Brandon née Bloomwood.

34. Do you like surprises?
Only if they are good.

35. What’s the biggest surprise you’ve ever had?
I don’t think I’ve ever had one.

36. What surprise made you cry?
The surprise I gave my Mum.

37. What’s the best surprise you’ve given someone else?
I threw my Mum a surprise birthday party and invited all her friends, old and new. She didn’t suspect a thing.

38. Do you like muffins?
Doughnuts are better.

39. Do you cook often?
All the time; I love it.

40. What’s your favourite thing to cook?
I enjoy making a lot of tomato-based meals so pasta and chicken dishes.

41. What’s your favourite dessert?
CAKE!

42. What’s your least favourite food?
Fishy fish. I’d rather not taste the sea, please.

43. What's the last book you read?
Playing Nice by J.P Delaney.

44. What are you currently reading?
Essays in Love by Alain de Botton

45. What's your biggest weakness?
Not feeling good enough.

46. What's your biggest strength?
Getting on with things. 

47. What has a guy said or done to impress you?
One guy took me to a restaurant on our first official date. It felt really special. Speaking to my friends, I get the feeling that doesn’t always happen

48. Best thing to do on a first date?
Something physical like crazy golf or bowling so the awkward silences aren't so awkward.

49. Worst thing to do on a first date?
Go somewhere too loud that you can't hear each other.

50. What’s the best pick up line?
I’m not sure there is a best one, but I’ll laugh at them.

get to know me tag 73 questions vogue

51. What podcasts are you listening to at the moment?
The BOF podcast keeps me on top of the fashion industry and The Receipts.

52. Name three things that can always be found in your purse?
Keys, money and a random sanitary pad.

53. Favourite drink?
Iced green tea.

54. If you could play a character in a movie, who would it be?
It's not in a movie but I’d play Blair Waldorf.

55. Who’s on your current playlist?
Toni Braxton, Summer Walker, IAMDDB, Tinashe and Teyana Taylor.

56. What lipstick do you use?
Spanked by Fenty Beauty.

57. What foundation do you use?
Either a Tom Ford stick foundation or Estée Lauder Double Wear.

58. Blow dry or air dry
Air dry and use Bumble & Bumble styling creme.

59. If you had to wear one fashion brand for the rest of your life, who would you wear?
I love Dior.

60. Who is your fashion icon?
Dakota Johnson.

61. What is your go-to outfit?
Jeans, a cute top and either a pair of white trainers or heels.

62. What are you doing tomorrow?
I'm meeting up with a friend and going to a local market to buy baked goods.

63. Movie you laughed the hardest through?
It was either Bridesmaids or Girls Trip.

64. Movie that made you cry?
Remember Me.

65. If you could sing a duet with anybody, who would you choose?
My best friend.

66. What’s would your autobiography be called?
About a girl.

67. What’s your favourite animal?
Giraffe.

68. Favourite singer?
Does anyone have a favourite singer? 

69. Person you’d like to have coffee with?
Dakota Johnson.

70. What country would you like to visit?
I'd love to visit Japan during blossom season.

71. What's something you can't live without?
My skincare.

72. Best way to decompress?
Chilling in my comfy clothes, watching a film or TV show with some good food

73. What's a song you listen to on repeat?
Peaches by Justin Beiber is on repeat all the time at the moment.

Love, Aoife xo
Where the Crawdads sing Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Its rich descriptions took my breath away and is a truly an unforgettable read. No wonder it was one of the most popular books last Summer! It’s not the type of book that I’d usually pick up but it caught me off guard and I soon found myself hooked on every word.

What's it about?


The book tells the story of a young Kya Clark, the so-called ‘Marsh Girl’, living just outside of Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. The book is divided into two parts; the Marsh and the Swamp. The chapters alternate between 1952, where we meet a young Kya, and 1969, when the town discovers a local boy has been murdered and a trial ensues. The town suspects Kya but as the book flickers between the two, and as the years get closer, you get the feeling that Kya’s world and the town’s world are complete opposites.

Where the Crawdads sing Delia Owens

My favourite thing...


One thing I love about Kya Clark is her independence and strength. I think those qualities made it easy for me to connect with her and by the end of the book, I felt like Kya’s number one cheerleader. She came from a childhood overshadowed by trauma and as the reader, you can’t help but sympathise for Kya. However, her resilience and utter contentment, makes her truly remarkable. She was dealt with a shit hand and made something spectacular out of it. I wish I had her courage!

Where the Crawdads Sing is a combination of a coming-of-age narrative and a murder mystery. If I’m honest, the murder mystery provided a thread through the novel but I found myself focusing more on Kya’s story. I loved how she developed as a character and blossomed into a remarkable young woman. Kya’s story was wrapped in eloquent and poetic descriptions of nature. Despite Kya’s bleak childhood, Owens pays close attention to the vibrant and sometimes muted colours of the marsh.

This book reminded me of when I was in secondary school reading books with heavily detailed descriptions. We were always taught to pay attention to the significance of the setting in relation to the characters and story. This book is almost solely centred around the marsh and the relationship between the nature and humans.

Final review...


Where the Crawdads Sing is a surprising but delightful read that will be at the top of my recommendations list for anyone looking to see the world from a different perspective. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s not the book I usually pick up but it was refreshing to read a story about something other than fame, fortune and the urban lifestyle.

Have you read it yet?

Love, Aoife xo

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish review

There's a lot I could say about Liz Earle, all good things of course, but the Cleanse & Polish hot cloth cleanser is a classic. I'm now on my third bottle and I've gotten quite familar with it. I'll be upfront and say it's not a cleanser I use reguarly. But, I do enjoy treating my skin to it a couple of times a week, especially when it needs a little more love and there's not a lot of buildup on my face.

Let's jump into the review!

Firstly, it smells amazing. It lists rosemary, chamomile, cocoa butter and eucalyptus essential oil as the highlighted ingredients. The scents of the eucalyptus oil and cocoa butter stand out to me and it makes washing your face a very relaxing experience. The cocoa butter, I'm sure, is responsible for how soft and smooth my skin feels after.

The hot cloth cleanser works by applying the cream to dry skin and gently massaging it to remove any dirt and makeup. Then you use a warm cloth to wipe it off. You can buy the cleanser with Liz Earle muslin cloths as part of a pack for £17. I have bought the packs before and then promply lost the cloths with all the rest I own. So, I think I'll just buy the cleanser separetly next time. 

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish review

I mentioned earlier that Cleanse & Polish isn't my daily cleanser but it's perfect for when you want to treat your skin to some tlc. It's probably a mixture of the natural scents and how my skin feels after that makes it a relaxing experience.

While I do love aspects to the cleanser, I don't always feel like I can massage it into my skin for too long before it starts to absorb the product. This is probably down to it being cream based and applying it to dry skin as opposed to one that lathers. I think I've just gotten used to following the #60secondrule with my other cleansers. Having said that, my skin does feel and look clean too. It suggests to use two/ three pumps but sometimes when I have a full face of makeup, I use a little more.

Occaisionally, Liz Earle comes out with limited edition versions of their products. Last year, I bought the limited edition cleanse & polish which used rose, I think. I ended up having a reaction to it which meant I broke out quite badly all over my forehead. So, I thing I'lll just stick to the original one.

So, would I recommend Cleanse & Polish? Yes! Not just for personal use but I also think it makes a great gift too. And it smells fabulous, what's not to love? Speaking of...I think I might use it now...

Have you ever tried Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish?

Love, Aoife xo

Cosrx Snail Mucin Power Essence Review

My inner product junkie lives on another day and this time bringing you my thoughts on the ever popular South Korean brand Cosrx’s Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power EssenceYep, I said it. It's snail secretion. I have used this product on and off for a couple of months which isn’t really long enough for a full blown review but a small one on first impressions will do.

Word on the street:


“Being 96% Snail Secretion Filtrate (Mucin), this essence helps the skin to lose less moisture while keeping the skin smooth and healthy.”

I love trying out hyped up products and this has been on my list for a while now. Snail Mucin is supposed to be really good because of its hydration properties. People have raved about Cosrx’s Snail Mucin serum for a while now and not just to use on your face, but on other parts of your body too! I’ve yet to experiment on anywhere other than my face but we’ll see.

Cosrx Snail Mucin Power Essence Review

Goodies in the mail:


I ordered my serum from YesStyle -well my friend ordered it for me- and it took a little while to arrive. As it would, coming from the other side of the world and all. It did take a little longer than I thought it would and by the time it arrived, I had almost forgotten about it.

I love the packaging of this serum! The bottle is clear, misted with a small label on the front. They were really going for a minimalist look when they designed the bottle. It doesn’t really list any of the other ingredients on it except from saying it has 96% of snail mucin. If you’re after the full list, it’s best to keep the box it came in.

Thoughts:


The first time I used the Snail Mucin Power Essence, I freaked out. I didn’t know what to expect but a gooey and stringy substance was not it. It made me cringe a little, to be honest. I don’t know what I expected but it felt and looked a lot like snail secretion. It was definitely an experience applying something so stringy, especially when you're used to seeing it on the garden shed. After a couple of days, I got over it and began to notice the differences in my skin.

As I mentioned earlier, hydration is a largely spoken about benefit of using snail mucin. After a week or so, I could tell there was a difference in the appearance and feel of my skin. 
It was only small but it was definitely there. I could see that my skin was a little plumper and it felt healthier too. I applied a couple of small pumps to damp skin and lightly patted it in.

One thing I will say is I did experience some under-the-skin spots around my chin. I wasn’t sure if this was caused by the snail mucin serum so I tested it again a month later and there’s definitely a connection. They weren’t inflamed and never came to the surface but it was annoying.

Would I recommend it? 


I think the jury is still out on this one. I don’t this product is for me, personally. I've given it a go a couple of times but I'm not a fan of something that breaks me out. However, I’m really interested in trying out other products from their range.

Have you tried it?

Love, Aoife xo


P.S- You can find more of my beauty content, here.