Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Healthy 'Caramel' Slices

Hello My Loves

These healthy treats are by far my husband's favourite of all the ones I make.  These last just about the evening in our fridge and if we have some left over by the following morning, he takes them for his drive to work! They are so easy to make and even tastier to eat.  So sweet and all great ingredients.  They taste even better than caramel slices and totally guilt free!


200g Almond Flour (ground almonds)
4-5 tablespoons coconut oil

'Caramel' Centre 
250g soft pitted or medjool dates (soaked for at least one hour in water, preferably soaked overnight)
4 tablespoons of almond butter
4 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of coconut milk

Chocolate Topping
Dark Chocolate
Hazelnuts or Strawberries



  • Melt coconut oil in a saucepan over a low heat until it is liquid.
  • Pour almond flour into a bowl 
  • When coconut oil has melted, pour it into almond flour and mix until well moist (how disgusting is that word?!)  
  • Spread the mixture into a flat baking tray or dish, keeping the mixture around a half inch thick and flatten well with the flat side of a spoon.
  • Pop into freezer

'Caramel' Centre

  • Put the dates, almond butter, honey and coconut milk into a nutribullet or blender and blend together until smooth.  
  • This may require stopping the blender a few times and scraping the mixture off the edges, but after a few tries, you will get it blended smoothly.
  • Take the base out of the freezer and smooth the mixture over it with a knife or spoon. 
  • Pop into freezer

Chocolate Topping

  • Melt some dark chocolate
  • Take the mixture out of the freezer and spread chocolate over the top.
  • Add any toppings you like.  I like hazelnuts for a Nutella taste or strawberries

Do tag me @leopardandspice if you make these, as I would love to see them!

Love, Mini

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Gucci and Louis Vuitton Mini Haul

Hello My Loves

I absolutely adore luxury designer items.  From the beautiful merchandising in store, to the sales assistants and the feel of luxury just being around these items, I love love love them! I am a total marketeers dream! Wrap it in fancy packaging, show me some celeb wearing it, make it expensive and I want it!

When I do purchase a luxury item, it is really special to me. I really value it and feel special with it as part of my wardrobe.  For the past few months, rather than buying high street items, I much rather save and get some really good quality pieces.  I suppose you could call them investment pieces and I always make sure I will get lots of use from the item, so the cost per wear works out really well.

I think a few key designer pieces really can make a high street outfit look fab and expensive! My love will always be for handbags and so I am so excited to share these two new items with you.

Gucci French Flap Wallet - €370

Louis Vuitton Key Pouch Damier Azur - €135

I bought them both a few weeks ago and am happy now to be able to recommend these items.  They are such good quality and I use them both every day.  The leather is hard wearing and durable and they look great!

I talk more about them in depth in this video as to why I bought two fairly similar items and how I use them.

I hope you like them as much as I do!  Do you have any key designer items in your wardrobe?

Keep an eye out on my Instagram for my next luxury item which I have just ordered.  It's a biggie!



Thursday, 23 March 2017

Making Memories

Hello My Loves

Our favourite family memories to make are not always the ones on holiday or in expensive restaurants.  But rather, it’s the little moments at home that truly warm our heart.  It's those times when I throw myself on the couch after a long day at work to watch our Panasonic television and my hubbie joins me to surprise me with some chocolate as we snuggle up and chill out.   

It's those Saturday mornings, when our little boy wakes up early and the cartoons on the television amuse him, while my coffee wakes me up. He laughs and dances along to Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig while he eats porridge on the weekends. There is no rush to be at work or out the door and we really make the most of the ease of time.  It’s those moments that really frame our family life. 

So when I was asked to give my thoughts on Panasonic's 4K TV range, it was easy to paint a picture of how it is very much a part of our family life. The television looks so sleek and elegant, it adds a touch of class to our living room.  Everyone who enters our house always comments about how impressive it looks and how realistic the graphics are.

As a mother, I love my evenings.  It’s a time when once my little boy is tucked up asleep in bed, I can have some ‘me time’.  My favourite way to relax is to indulge my love of my guilty pleasure television and watch ‘The Real Housewives’.  Lounging in my comfy clothes, I totally zone out in front of the Panasonic television.  Its 4K features really make me feel as though I am living in Beverly Hills basking in the sunshine enjoying lunch with them!  

My husband, like many men, adores sports and really enjoys watching a game or three of football at the weekends.   Last weekend as he watched the boxing on the 4K Panasonic television, he said to me that it was almost like he was in the ring but without having to take the pain of the punches! 

A match always leads into a movie once our little boy is asleep.  We prepare some popcorn and snuggle up watching a horror movie.  It is our favourite way to spend a Saturday night.  The television is so realistic, it feels like we are in our own personal movie theater, without the hassle of having to leave the house!

How are your favourite ways to spend a weekend? Let me know in the comments below.

Love, Mini


Saturday, 14 January 2017

Donald Trump and Conor McGregor's Secret Weapon: The Law of Attraction

Hello My Loves

I want to talk with you about this topic as I think it is so relevant being January and being the New Year. Everyone is trying to stick to those new year resolutions and loose a few pounds, or try make more money or meet that new lover, or whatever all our resolutions may be.  I imagine this is the time of year when the self help books fly off the shelves. Which brings me nicely to this topic...The Law of Attraction.

I was first introduced to this topic as many of us were through the very famous book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.  One of my friends in university gave me a copy as she thought it might sound like something I would be interested in.  I read it and found it a bit fluffy.  The DVD was little better, it was produced more like a Disney movie than real life. But some parts of it definitely resonated with me.

People like Donald Trump, Conor McGregor and Oprah have been using this law to their benefit for quite some time.  McGregor is very vocal about how he got interested in it after reading his sisters book on the subject.  He famously went from being on social welfare of €188 a week to being a now double world champion in UFC. Now, that is really something.

'The Donald' may have heard positive thinking teaching's early on in his life by his pastor Norman Vincent Peale. Peale through his preaching and his book 'The Power of Positive Thinking' was a big believer in using thoughts to manifest what you want. We all know his story, multi-million real estate developer to the President-Elect of the United States. You may or may not support him, but there can be no doubt he knows the power behind his words and has had huge success in life.

I did some more research on the law of attraction and came across some quantum physics that appears to back up that indeed it is possible to influence 'reality' and manifest what one wants by directing our thoughts and feelings.  Now, I must say that I am not a physicist or an expert in the scientific field and I am only going to touch on the basics here.  If you want more detailed scientific analysis,there are a lot better qualified people with articles on the net than me. 

The Double Slit Experiment shows how focused thought can affect how atoms form. In basic terms, how thought affects reality.

Stay with me, this would mean that reality is perceptual and indeed open the possibility to the existence of parallel timelines.  I know all this can sound a bit Star Trek, but when it is backed up by scientific experiments such as the String Theory and the Uncertainty Principal it certainly does raise valid questions.  Is our reality just what we perceive it to be?  Can you change your current reality by changing your thoughts about what it is?

Abraham Hicks, Louise Hay and Dr Wayne Dyer to mention just a few have been teaching these life premises for decades.  Hugely successful authors and speakers, their basic premise is; think happy thoughts, try to slow down the momentum on negative thoughts and be more specific about your positive thoughts and your life will become more positive as a result.  

I have been following these basic principles as best I can for a few years and have enjoyed some fantastic manifested results.  More importantly though, I am a happier, more positive person.  If you are interested in reading a more detailed post about how I changed my life and what I manifested, let me know in the comments below and I will post about it.

Thanks for reading

Love, Mini

Sunday, 1 May 2016

How I Avoided a Caesarean Delivery in Labor

Hello My Loves

This is only part of my whole labor story, but while I was telling a friend this the other day she suggested I share it on my blog as other women may find it helpful.  I will try to keep this post as concise as possible as writing about my delivery is full of emotions, but Ill try to keep it as factual as possible for you. 

When I was at the start of my labor, I had checked into the hospital and waited until I was further along before I went to the delivery suite.  I had no pain relief at this stage and was just doing as much walking as I could to let gravity help baby engage further and trying to keep calm through the contractions.  

The anesthesiologist visited me as I had expressed I might want an epidural later on.  So he visited me to ask some medical questions and whilst with me he looked at my bump and said 'You will be a cesarean delivery'.  I asked him on what grounds he suddenly seemed to be able to predict the future and he said 'You are progressing slowly, and look at the size of your husband'.  

I found this really maddening as he was informing me I wouldn't be able to have the delivery I had planned on, simply by looking at his watch and looking at the size of my husband.  It went against what I felt in my core about my baby and my body.  This made no sense to me and I thought it was pretty irresponsible of him.  

I replied that the midwives who checked me in said that because I went into labour naturally and it was my first baby that it would probably be a slow labour and not to worry about this.  They would be reluctant to give me medication to make labour faster as I was progressing at my own pace and once baby and me were monitored and happy there was no need for medical interference.  He just smiled at me patronisingly and said I would be a cesearan.  As if he was God Almighty of Every Womans Labour! It made me so annoyed.  Why say that to me in the middle of labour? 

I told my midwife on the ward what he said and she nodded in agreement.  She said 'I thought the same the minute I saw you and your husband, I mean look at the size difference'.  I am 5 foot tall, very slight build and my husband would be around 5,11 and a stocky build.  I got so annoyed by this as it really went against what I felt deep in my body.  I knew I could birth my baby naturally.  I knew my body would only give me a large baby if my body knew it would birth the baby.  I knew I was progressing slowly but that it was fine and both me and baby were calm and happy with the progress.  His heartbeat and mine were monitored all the time and there was no sign of distress. 

So, in my utter determination and listening to my inner voice, I turned to my hubbie and said 'Come on, we are going walking and giving our little baby a little helping hand with gravity'. And so in my pretty Topshop maternity dress, I threw on my Nike Air Max and a hoodie, for once not caring how un-coordinated I looked, we marched up and down those hospital stairs, pausing through contractions along the way. We walked the car park, we walked the grounds of the hospital and I spoke to my baby and encouraged him to come out for a hug and a kiss! 

I went back up the ward and was informed I had progressed enough to be admitted to the labour ward for delivery.  A few hours later, my big boy was born naturally. The most magical moment of my life when I felt my true power as a woman, and felt the instant bond of love with our new baby .  This was now our new family.  

I am not anti cesareans in any way.  They are medically necessary for some woman and babies and thankfully they exist so they can save lives and ensure safe deliveries. But for me, I knew in my core a cesarean was not for me and I felt the medical staff were giving me insufficient reason as to why I should have one.  

Because my husband is big and I am small is just not a good enough reason for me when everything was progressing smoothly. Each individual case is different and this is just my story but I believe its important to listen to the mothers voice in labor and to also remember that you have a voice and not be steam rolled by medical staff's opinion.  At the end of the day while medical training is vital, no one knows you, your body and your baby like you do.

Have you any similar experiences?  I would love to hear them.

Love, Mini 

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Luxury Shopping & Cocktails VLOG - Valentino, Jimmy Choo, Saint Laurent

Hello My Loves

I hope you all are having a fantastic weekend.  I have had such a lovely one, though as I write this, I am wrecked! I feel like I am constantly so tired from having a 6 month old baby, that any trips tend to totally exhaust me. But I am happy and content, so its all good. I can sleep when I'm 50!! 

Hubbie and I had such a lovely day yesterday and enjoyed some quality time sans bebe! We went for a luxury shopping trip to Brown Thomas (The Irish equivalent of Harrods/Bloomingdales) and I lusted over some Valentino Rockstud shoes.  I am not sure if they will go out of fashion soon though, as they have been around for a while. The sales lady assured me they wouldn't but what do you think? I fell in love with the pink pair.

I also saw a beautiful pink Saint Laurent Sac de Jour and other fab handbags. How cool was the carousel one by Kate Spade? Talk about unusual! Which were your favourites from the video?

Love, Mini 

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

What Its Really Like Being on Maternity Leave and How To Enjoy Being on Maternity Leave

Hello My Loves

I want to share my thoughts and feelings of what its really like to be on maternity leave.  My son is 6 months old now and I have been on maternity leave from 2 weeks before his birth so I have been on it for long enough to write this post.  Being on maternity leave is very different from being at work, that's for sure.  There are no coffee breaks with co-workers anymore or engagement with adult conversation about last nights soaps or even over mundane things like spreadsheets! There is no more using your brain for a financial or business gain. Those skills you have, whether you are a CEO or work in a fast food chain, those skills which are acquired for business, are not required anymore.  Instead, other, new mothering skills are learned.

Suddenly your whole day begins and ends with caring for your new bundle.  Lets be clear, being a mother and being a stay at home mother means you get no break during the day.  You get no tea break uninterrupted, hell, you don't even get an uninterrupted toilet break! It is non stop 24/7.  You spend your day cleaning throw up, changing nappies, feeding be it breast or bottle, introducing solids, running errands with a child and all their equipment en tow, playing with your child, loving your baby, cuddling, wiping away tears, ensuring they have sufficient nap time, taking them for walks... and that list could literally go on forever.  

Life changes dramatically when you have a baby.  This was my first baby and oh my did I get a shock to my system.  I lived for my routine before and now suddenly, life is literally up in heap!  The sheer anxiety of trying to do things right fuels you through the sleepless nights and utter exhaustion.  It is without a doubt the most demanding job I have ever done.  But ill let you into a little secret, it is also the most rewarding. The intense love you have for your child gets you through all those little hills you face as a new mother.  I would lay down my life for my child in a second.  I wouldn't do that for anyone else on this planet, but for him, I wouldn't even have to think.  It is that intense a love.

A lot of women find maternity leave lonely and isolating.  They went from leading extremely social lives to now being stuck indoors while they get the hang of breastfeeding, not feeling comfortable or confident to venture outside yet, they are anxious about baby screaming their head off in a restaurant, so would rather stay at home for just a few more weeks or simply are too exhausted to slap on make up and move off the couch. 

I, am a bit of a loner by nature.  I really like my own time.  I am social and see friends about one a week or once a fortnight but I generally really like my own company.  I find calm and peace by sticking on some Real Housewives or opening a book and de-stressing.  However, even I need some adult time too.  So here are a few tips I have picked up along my journey:

1. Join a Mother and Baby Group
I know, you are throwing your eyes up to heaven.  Its just not simply your thing.  I know, I get it, trust me, it wasn't my thing either.  But I am so glad I took advice and joined a breastfeeding group. I thought it would be so uncomfortable, sitting in a group of strangers, talking about breastfeeding.  I couldn't imagine actually feeding my child in front of them.  What are we? Bloody hippies?! Apparently yes, yes I am! It was fantastic.  To openly breastfeed my child in a public setting, while in a country that doesn't do that, normalized breastfeeding for me.  It was empowering.  It was exactly what I needed.  It was great to have people to talk to and ask questions about the issues I faced, not just with breastfeeding but every aspect of motherhood.  Try it, other mothers with older babies are your best Google.  They know the answers to your questions through tried and tested methods.

2. Get Out of The House
I cannot emphasis this one enough.  I think this is something that needs to be done everyday. Take your baby for a walk in the stroller, go shopping, take baby to swimming classes, meet your friend for lunch, whatever it may be, stay busy and get out of the house.  Staying at home all day every day staring at 4 walls and dirty nappies will drive you to drink!

3. Engage with Other Mothers on Social Media
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc have all made it possible to have a conversation really easily with people on the other side of the world.  That includes other mothers.  Through my Instagram @leopardandspice I have found myself chatting to other mothers in neighboring countries and across the globe.  You can search for mothers that have babies the same age as you and chat to them.  I found this such an amazing way of communicating with other mothers and learning tips and tricks as well as sometimes just venting and being heard by people that understand.

4. Remember This Time is Precious
All too soon you will be back at work, having meetings and debating work processes.  This time with your child is precious and you will never get it back again.  Watching my son becoming big and strong, while he gets the best care he can from me is amazing. Seeing him learn to crawl, grow teeth, eat solids and starting to see the world around him are moments I will treasure forever.  The bond the one on one care has created is intense to say the least.  No one can comfort him like I can, no one can take care of him like I can and no one can love him like me, his mother can.  We are as thick as thieves the 2 of us.  

I hope you found this useful if you are currently on maternity leave or are pregnant.  Do let me know if you have anything to add to this post. As always, I love to hear from you.  Or come say hi on Instagram.

Love, Mini


Monday, 4 April 2016

Girls Night Out

Hello My Loves

Last weekend I had my first girls night out in absolutely ages. When I couldn't remember the last time I had put on some fake tan and left the house without my buggy in tow, I knew I needed to get out sans baby for a few hours!  

So me and my friends decided we would go to a wine bar and drink some prosecco and eat alllll the cheese.  I was so excited at the thoughts of tanning, doing my hair, picking an outfit and wearing something nice! My hubbie tells me all the time I need to get out more, but I am just so tired of an evening that my idea of some me time is a bath watching The Real Housewives on my laptop rather than having to stir outside the house!

Being a mummy is an amazing experience but it can be tough at times.  Us new mummies are functioning on very little sleep after being pregnant for the best part of a year (why do they say 9 months, when pregnancy is 10 months?! 40 weeks = 10 months) Its a demanding job and we never have a break at all, even when they are sleeping we worry!  So we do need regular little breaks to re-charge ourselves and also its good for baby to have some alone time with daddy or grandparents or whoever the babysitter might be.

I put together all my videos and picks into a vlog.  I absolutely love putting together and editing videos for my YouTube channel.  I have so much more to learn about them, but I really enjoy it.  I hope you like watching my videos too.

I have some exciting videos coming up as we are finally moving house in a few weeks into the home we have built and we are also going on our annual South of France holiday.  If you have anything you would like me to do a video on do let me know!

Love, Mini

Sunday, 13 March 2016

The Wild West Coast of Ireland

Hello My Loves

I had taken a little break from blogging as I have started a YouTube channel and on those rare occasions that I have spare time i.e. when the baby naps, I am filming, editing or uploading a new video. Click here to have a look. But I missed you all and wanted to share this special family day out with you. 

I adore the beach and luckily living on this island of Ireland, we are not shy of a vast supply of stunning beaches. Especially on the West Coast, or more specifically on the South West on The Wild Atlantic Way.  I find the sea invigorating and cleansing at the same time.  I feel like the huge energy of the ocean revives me and grounds me back in nature.  

This was our first time bringing our son Michael to the beautiful beach of Ballybunion, County Kerry.  It is a seaside town in North Kerry. Hubbie and I both went there during the Summer as children and so it was extra special to show our son where we built sandcastles and played in the surf as children.  

What a day it was, the sun shone and even though it was cold, the sunbeams danced on the ocean like glitter. We walked the beach, had some lunch and walked the cliffs after. The views were stunning and we had such a lovely family day out. I felt so blessed on the drive home.

I hope you all are having a lovely weekend

Love, Mini

Friday, 29 January 2016

How to Get Breastfed Baby To Take a Bottle

Hello My Loves

A few weeks ago I had a big dilemma on my hands.  My little baby refused point blank to take a bottle.  He screamed the house down as if it was a bottle of poison I was trying to feed him and under no circumstances was that bottle going into his mouth.  

I was so confused as I wasn't even giving him a bottle of formula, but rather it was a bottle of my own expressed milk. I could not understand why he would not take it.  So I visited a lactation consultant in my local maternity hospital and she explained to me that breastfed babies are notorious for refusing to drink milk from a bottle.  They crave the comfort and closeness of breastfeeding and also, it is harder to drink from a bottle, so they just refuse until they get the breast.

Now that's all well and good, as I happen to enjoy breastfeeding but for the rare times that I need to leave baby with someone, like when I need to go to the dentist, or want to go see a movie with hubbie, I found I just couldn't do it.  Unless I could be back within an hour for his next feed, I could not go. As you can imagine I found this all very stressful and started to feel like I had cursed myself by ever breastfeeding!

Eventually, after a difficult few weeks, we got baby to take a bottle and he now takes it like a champ. No tears, no fuss, no problems. So I wanted to share my tips with you of how I learned to give baby the bottle;

1. To initially get baby used to drinking from a bottle, give the bottle when baby is half asleep. About 10 minutes before baby is due to wake up from nap, when he is still sleepy but not asleep, I gave him a bottle (while sitting him upright).  He was not cranky at that time as he was after a nap and he was hungry enough to want milk.  He gently sucked away and this got him used to the bottle.

2. Heat the milk. Simple, yet it made a huge difference for us.

2. A company called Minbie contacted me to say their bottles and teats were designed for this very problem so I tried one out.  This is the only teat my little one will drink from.  The fast flow mimics my own fast let down and it suits my little one perfectly.  Try to figure out what kind of flow you have and find a teat that matches that.  They have all kinds of different flow teats, from very slow to fast.  I could have spent hundreds of euro's on teats, but this is the one that worked for us. There has been no nipple confusion with this teat.  

3. Get someone else to give him the bottle.  Initially it was my husband who gave the bottle. Baby can smell the breastmilk from me and associates me with breastfeeding, so he used to always refuse the bottle from  me.  My husband had more more success in the early days.  Eventually baby started to take the bottle from me too.

4. Patience.  Set aside time each day where you try to give baby the bottle.  He may not take it at first, but gradually he will start to get used to the bottle.

5. Once your baby takes the bottle, keep giving it regularly as otherwise, baby might refuse to take the bottle and you will have to start all over again!

Do let me know if you have any questions below in the comments. It took a while, but we got there eventually. Don't loose heart.  You are doing the best for your baby by breastfeeding and if my baby can go from full on screaming sessions at the sight of the bottle to happily taking it now then so can yours!

Love, Mini

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Mulberry Lily Medium Review

Hello My Loves

I hope you all are having a great week.  It has gotten so cold in Ireland, but its dry for once so that's good. I actually enjoy the crisper air of frosty weather.  I like to think that it kills germs and everywhere is a bit cleaner! (am I a weirdo for thinking this?!) Also because it has finally stopped raining, our builder can start putting the roof on the home we are building. The project is behind 8 weeks at the moment because of the wet weather so we are very excited to get things progressing again!

I finally did this YouTube video reviewing my Mulberry handbag. I found it quite daunting talking to camera at the start, and was nervous of what I look and sound like on camera, but I actually enjoyed it by the end and want to do more! Do you guys want to see anything in particular and I could do a video on it? Anything fitness or fashion or anything?!  Also if you have any tips on my video, on how to make things better I would appreciate it.  Some of you are so great technically and have a fantastic eye for artistic touches.  I appreciate all the support and love you always show.

Let me know in the comments if any of you have YouTube channels.  I would love to check them out and show support. 

Love Mini
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