New Home: Dreams Vs Reality

2018 has not started off on a good note for me – I’ve been quite sick and what’s even more concerning is that nobody could figure out what’s wrong with me and I felt like I was falling into a deep dark hole… When you’re unwell it gets you thinking about your life, future (if any) and many other things you haven’t considered before.

I have never ever wanted to live in Ireland forever, it was never a part of the plan. The recent events made me rethink this idea as my family and friends brought me so much comfort and support. It got me thinking: Will I have this abroad? What will happen if I get sick again? Will I make new friends? (See what your mind can do to you?). During my time off work I went to visit a friend who recently bought a house and I FELL IN LOVE.

The house was absolutely stunning and one of a kind. All white everything with grey furnishings – Pinterest Worthy! That day it got me thinking that I cannot wait to have my own home. One that I will design myself and one that I will be able to call my OWN. This is how an inspiration for this post was born.

Getting Ready

Once you start thinking about a possibility or buying/building a house you need to have the $$$. It takes time to save for the deposit and show the banks that you can save and manage the repayments. Hence why you need to be in a decent job like right now. If you’re not, then it’s time to start hunting for one – better pay, benefits, less travel expenses – believe me I have gone through this recently and it will be so worth it. In the current state the banks will lend you 3.5 times of your joint gross income, i.e. if you both earn 30 thousand a year, then your joint gross income is 60 thousand; this means in theory you should be entitled to borrow 210 thousand provided all of your affairs are in order.

You need to think ahead, don’t leave these things to last-minute as this might set you back 2 or 3 years.

Expectations Vs. Reality

You need to really do a personality check between yourself & your husband/partner. Can you save X Amount? What area would you like to live in? Can you afford to live there? Are there schools nearby? Is is accessible for work? All of those things need to be considered. The amount you’re able to borrow might not be enough for your current living area and that’s where reality check comes in. You might need to look further out.

Another thing to decide – are you going to buy or build? If buy – new or “2nd hand”. If build – do you have the patience to do that? Can you buy a land in the desirable area? Does the land come with planning permission? How to source good suppliers? All of those things must be considered before you even step your foot in the bank asking them for money. Keep in mind that in Dublin area there is next to no land available and to buy a land somewhere in the country you must show family ties to the area, you can’t just simply want to buy anywhere you like – yes this makes things a little more complicated.


Ireland is known to be one of the most expensive places to live. Here’s an example:

Ireland – Kildare Area

3 Bedroom House (1 En-suite, 1 “double” & 1 Single (Box) Room) 2.5 Bath, living room, kitchen located in an estate with a small garden & neighbors all around is approx. €300.000-€325.000 minimum.

USA – Upstate New York

3 Bedroom House (3 Doubles – 1 of them En-suite) 2.5 Bath, Living Room x 2, kitchen overlooking a lake, 2 acres of land, plenty of privacy is approx. $175.000.

Can you see the difference?

Now, do not get discouraged when you see the prices, again be realistic with how much you can comfortably pay off; how much you’re willing to pay monthly – remember you will most likely be paying this for the rest of your life, so you want to pick a sum that will allow you to still live comfortably, enjoy yourself – have a nice car and go on a holiday.

What I can suggest is, get the basics in – Kitchen, Bathroom and 1 bedroom and you’re good to move in and stop paying rent elsewhere. The sooner you are in your own property the quicker you will start saving! It’s your house, therefore you can wait to have the rest finished! Heck, that’s what I’ll do. Paying rent to someone else’s bank account is dead money!


Pinterest is like that better looking sister/friend you have. You look in the mirror and think “Gosh, I look quite well today!” and then you see your friend and all of a sudden you feel rubbish! By all means, take as much inspiration from Pinterest as you wish – just don’t let it bring you down and make you feel bad about your current situation. Pinterest only shows the IDEAL world – that’s an important thing to remember.

Remember, at the end of the day Pinterest is a hugely successful visual marketing tool, where people “Pin Their Dreams Away”. You can have a house of your dreams, just take Pinterest with a pinch of salt, as most of the beautiful imagery you see there, took hours to put together just for 1 photograph.

Shop Around

Once you are happily in your new home or if you’re at a “nesting” stage of buying few home-ware bits here and there for your new home take a look around. There are plenty of affordable chic home-ware shops in your area and you don’t need to spend a fortune. For starters Primark are bringing out the best styling products for your home, from copper coated goods to the trendy marble cushions and prints. Another great however underrated place to go is your local Tescos. They really upped their game in the home section. They have beautiful wall hangings, clocks and prints. Their fluffy throws are to die for. If you are looking for more unique, once off pieces then TK Maxx is the place to go; it mightn’t be as affordable as Tescos and Primark however its worth having something different to everyone else.

For my Polish followers I can suggest two amazing home-ware shops which are JYSK and PEPCO as we don’t have the likes of Primark these two shops really make up for the lack of it and they’re super affordable.

Lastly, don’t be put off by going into your local charity shop. Recently, I went in with a donation and whilst I was there I just had a quick scan of the shop and oh my! Some of the things were like 50c; where would you be going with that! Honestly, these are underrated and there’s absolutely no shame in buying from your local charity shop – and remember you’re doing the world of good, by supporting these shops. If you follow Dainty Dress Dairies you will know that when she first bought her house she bought majority of her things second-hand or got it for free from etc and look how beautifully her home turned out.

Images: Dainty Dress Diaries Instagram

I hope you enjoyed some of the tips I have shared with you today. The photography I used in this post is for visual purposes only from Pinterest and some of my lovely fellow bloggers via Instagram. If there’s one thing you can take out of this post is, don’t be hung up on the beautiful world of visual marketing we seem to live in via Pinterest and Instagram and enjoy what you have and can afford. Don’t ever overspend.


Joanna x


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Canary Islands: A Week in Tenerife

I’ve recently returned from a trip to Adeje in Tenerife. Adeje is on the South West of Tenerife, approximately 15 minutes’ drive from Tenerife South Airport. Tenerife is divided into number of areas, each area caters to a different demographic. Today I will focus on Adeje.

We stayed for a week in a KN Panoramica Hotel located as the name suggests on top of a hill overlooking Tenerife island. While the view was breathtaking and the dawns were second to none, the walk uphill and downhill were quite a workout. If I were to know what I know now, I’d book a different hotel closer to the marina, bars and shops. While the taxi was approximately €7 one way which didn’t exactly break the bank for the additional €100.00 a week we could have stayed somewhere closer to town.

Things to do

  • Siam Park – Siam Park is one of the largest water parks in Europe. There are plenty of slides, kids world, aquamarine animals, rides and cafes and shops. You’d want to be there at opening hour as during peak season you’d be looking at queuing for around 30 minutes per ride. Admission tickets are €37.00 per person – if you’d like to go there for 2 days the 2nd day will then be €18.50 only. There is a special offer on also, when you buy Tickets to Siam Park, you will receive €10.00 off tickets to Loro Parque.   We did not buy a “Fast Track” option (additional €15.00) per person as turns out Fast Track only allows you to go on the same ride twice with the admission which defeats the purpose of skipping the queues. The best ride in the park in my opinion is Singha, its super fast and scary! If you’re going to drive to the Park, leave the car at the side of the building, because if you drive into their main car park you will be charged for the days parking. There’s also free WiFi which is always nice! 
  • Loro Parque – This is an exotic animal and aquamarine animal park. I have not visited Loro Parque on this occasion as I’ve already been there 10 years prior (makes me feel very old writing that!). Its a great experience, you can watch seals performing various tricks, you can get photographed with talking parrots and there is a killer whale show in which you get soaked when you sit in the splash zone. This is ideal for family day out in Tenerife.
  •  Volcano Teide – There is a dormant volcano in Tenerife which is approximately 35 minutes drive from Adeje. You don’t simply climb it, you can take a cable cart to the top. Sadly as its so heavy with tourists it’s €27.00 admission per adult and we said No Thanks! We drove up to the bottom, had a walk around and enjoyed the views on the way back. We had rent a car which allowed us to stop alone the way wherever we liked and take photographs.
  • Mini Golf by The Sea – For holiday couples who like to stay active, there’s an option to play quite difficult mini golf right by the sea. It’s €13.00 per person and in much needed of some TLC however it was fun none the less. It accepts cash only, no cards.
  • Local Mini Train – For those of you who haven’t been to Tenerife at all it would be beneficial to hop on a mini train which will show you around the place. We usually do that in places we haven’t been to before to familiarize ourselves and see what else is out there!

Places to Eat

  • Odissea Restaurant – Lovely restaurant right by the water with even nicer staff. Great service, plenty of choices of dishes and they are delicious. It’s not your usual touristy cheap however you’ll appreciate whats being served. 
  • Hong Kong Golden Palace – If you’re anything like me and LOVE a good curry whether on holidays or not then you’ll love the place! It’s a Chinese Restaurant in a beautifully set area. The area reminds me of New England – Cape Cod Architecture or something of a Kildare Village vibe (closer to home). It’s very affordable and they serve food till late!  
  • The Irish Oak – If like my husband you like to find yourself an Irish Bar while away then the Irish Oak is the place to go for a lovely breakfast. They serve it super fresh at a great price and there are variety of combos. At night there are live shows each day to keep you entertained! 

 I hope you enjoyed my mini Travel Guide of Tenerife, when I go away I always like to know in advance of things to do, places to eat and places to stay. Feel free to leave your Tenerife suggestions in comments below.

Joanna x

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Tenerife Travel Guide

Baby Shower: How to Make a Nappy Cake

This year I was in charge of organizing a baby shower for my sister. We already had a baby shower for her few years back, it was held in her house with snacks, games and people over however this time around with a very energetic 5 year old running around I decided we will organise it somewhere outside.

I chose a private function room with lunch in a local hotel in which I used to work in (keep those connections strong 🙂 ) and with that you obviously cannot bring your own food. I wanted to still mark this occasion as a celebration and I thought what better way than with a nappy cake!

I searched many YouTube videos in order to come up with the most straight forward way to create a nappy cake with items that I already had in my house. I love the idea of a good DIY but I hate to see DYIs involving various items which you might not even have in the house or use ever again after that – the less waste the better.

What will you need?

  • Nappies – I bought Newborn Nappies up to 5Kg – For this project I used 24 Nappies
  • Cake Stand – I used a 10″ Cake Stand
  • Super Glue – I used Gorilla Glue
  • Kitchen Towel Roll
  • Elastic Bands
  • Decorative Ribbon
  • Cake Topper – I used Faux Flowers as I had some left over from a previous DIY however it can be anything you like
  • Scissors

Nappy Cake Essentials


** The Complete Method in Photographs is available below **

  • Generously apply the glue on one end of the kitchen roll, measure out where the middle of the cake stand would be and stick the roll firmly onto it.
  • While the glue is drying for few minutes, take 6 nappies and roll them up. Once you roll each nappy secure it in place with a rubber band about 1/4 from the top to stop it from unfolding.  Some nappies have embellishments on them – if you want the cake to match ensure you roll each nappy on the same side. Some nappies are all one color and it will not make a difference.
  • For the first “tier” of the cake you will need 6 nappies. Line them up along the kitchen roll on the cake stand.
  • Once they are all in place, take a rubber band and place it over the 6 lined nappies keeping them all secure in one place.
  • Slowly remove the small rubber bands from each individual nappy you rolled.
  • Roll additional 12 Nappies, secure them with small rubber bands 1/4 from the top & lined them along the 6 nappies that are already securely standing on the cake stand.
  • Once you have lined up the nappies, again take a large rubber band and secure them all in place. Remove the remaining rubber bands from individual nappies. This marks the end of tier one.
  • Tier 2 is essentially tier one using the last 6 nappies.
  • Once both tiers are finished, take your decorative ribbon and line it against the large rubber bands that hold all nappies together and tie it (Essentially covering them up). This is where you can get as creative as you like, have as many colors as you like. Do this for both tiers.
  • Last but not least, place your cake topper on the top. HINT: Try to use something that can go into the kitchen roll and not actually fall into it.

** Cake Stand is available from Dealz for €1.50; Pack of 44 Nappies is available from Aldi for €2.50 **

Nappy Cake

Nappy Cake

How to make a nappy cake
How to make a nappy cake

How to make a nappy cake

How to make a nappy cake

How to make a nappy cake

How to make a nappy cake

The Finished Product


I hope you enjoyed this DIY Nappy Cake Post. I’d love to know if DIY is something you’d like to see more of, as I have many projects coming up.

Joanna x

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How To Make a Nappy Cake