Gym Skin, Gym Make Up and Nutrition Advice from Catherine Carroll

A Lot of you have been asking about what I do to keep fit, what I eat on a daily basis and also about wearing make up to the gym, so I have decided to do one big blog post to cover everything.
I am been a member of Active You Gym for maybe three years now, usually attending around 3 classes a week. In the past I could eat what I want and never bothered with exercise, my diet was terrible consisting of a lot of sugary foods and takeaways. In my early twenties I didn't put on weight, I genuinely stayed around the same weight for years even though my diet was appalling. Coming in to my late twenties I noticed a change and realised my old lifestyle wasn't sustainable and my metabolism was no longer the same so that is when I decided to join a gym.
The main objective for me was so tone up and get healthy, it has definitely been more about making a lifestyle change then losing weight for me. In the past two years I have really put in a huge effort to clean up my diet, sticking to whole foods and avoiding processed food. The funny thing is that I actually eat more now then I did in the past, I am just eating the right foods.
I started personal training at Active You about 9 months before my wedding last year and by the time my wedding came around I felt the best I had felt probably ever. My skin, hair, moods..literally everything was  better then ever and I was fitter then ever aswell. After my wedding I wasn't great for a few months but I started back at it in January of this year and started personal training with my friend Catherine at Active You and she has totally got me back on track. Catherine is a mother of three, looks amazing and is so motivating. She texts me regularly with little reminders and some encouragement and like me totally believes in 'living' and having the odd treat, not being too hard on yourself and just trying your best. If you have a bad day and over indulge, just start again tomorrow and not feel guilty about it.
Catherine is full of great advice so I asked her could she share some tips with you guys. She is the professional and I just try to follow her guidelines and advice as much as possible.

Catherines  Nutrition Advice

1.Have 2-3 litres of water every day.
2.Never go longer than 3 hours without eating.
3.Eat 3 main meals and 2 snacks a day. (Subject to your time available)
4.Eat protein at least 3 times a day, eg turkey/chicken/fish/eggs.
5.Eat 2 good fats a day, eg nuts/oily fish/avocado.
6.Eat 2 good carbs a day, eg oats/quinoa/brown rice/sweet potatoes.
7.Post workout is one of the better times to have starchy carbs.
8.Pack in as much veg as possible, particularly green veg.
9.While healthy treats are a much better option as in its always better to get some nutrition from your treats, treats aren't treats if you have them all the time so keep them to a minimum.
10.Rule of thumb, if the ingredients say MORE than 5g sugars per 100g you should probably walk away. Or keep it for a cheat meal.
11.At least three times a week ensure there are 12 hours between your last meal in the evening and your first meal the following morning. This is allowing your body to detox naturally.
12.Try a new food/meal once a week.
13.Don't eat any food you hate because you won't keep it up! This is your new lifestyle, not a diet!! (no food plan should ever have an expiration date)
14.If it doesn't have a mother or come from the ground don't eat it!
15.Keep coffee/tea to a minimum and try replacing it with green tea.
16.Take a multivitamin and mineral and fish oils.
17.Eat like a king/queen in the a.m. and a pauper in the evening!

Gym Skin

It was actually Catherine that suggested that I write a blog on skincare and make up in the gym, and when I mentioned it online lots of you were asking questions so I will share what I recommend.
Pre Gym
My advice is to completely clean the skin of all makeup especially if you are coming from a long day at work. Remove everything with your regular cleanser, if you are in a rush The Cleanse Off Mitt is handy as it genuinely removes everything with just water so you can do this quickly before your session in the gym.
I usually use Bioderma micellar Water to remove my make up for the gym and then use a small amount of Biofresh Rose Water on a cotton pad and gently sweep it all over.
  • Avoid wearing a moisturiser or rich serum to the gym as it is likely to clog pores and possibly result in a breakout.
  • It is so important to remove your make up before working out, again it will definitely clog your pores.
  • Even if you have little or no make up on your skin it is still important to clean it before working out so there is nothing sitting on your skin that may clog your pores.

Gym Make Up

Ideally it is best to wear no make up to the gym at all, so many foundations are heavy on the skin and will just sink in to your pores as you work out potentially causing you to break out. There are simple things you can do if you really don't feel comfortable going completely bare faced that will hopefully make you feel more confident.

  • If you don't feel comfortable going bare faced to the gym opt for a mineral foundation like Bellapierre Mineral Powder. it contains just 4 ingredients, all of which are kind, gentle, protective and nurturing on the skin. Its non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic so won't sit in or clog pores like other foundations will. If you just have a few spots that you want to cover just pat this on with a fluffy eyeshadow brush like the E25 from blank canvas just to those areas instead of applying it all over the skin.
  • I have semi permanent eyelashes which do make a difference to me when I am going bare faced to the gym as I feel like I have something on. I know some people will not leave the house without mascara on so for the gym I would highly recommend opting for a waterproof one.

Post Gym

What you do post gym is so important for you skin, cleaning your face as soon as possible post gym session is what I recommend. You don't want a combination of dirt, oil and sweat clinging to your skin  and clogging your pores resulting in a breakout so wash your skin as soon as you can. I usually go to the gym in the evening so now is the time I do my night time skincare routine.

  • If you are rushing to work post session bring a mini face wash with you or a micellar water to clean your skin straight after your workout.
  • I like to use Pixi glow Tonic post workout on cleansed skin to close my pores. It is a gentle exfoliator so I use it every other day.

Tara xx

Tara Travels to : dubrovnik

I'm just mid flight returning to Dublin from Dubrovnik after an amazing week away.

Dubrovnik isn't somewhere that was really on my radar or somewhere I considered going before but after speaking to my god mother and cousin and hearing how beautiful it was  I had to check it out for myself.

The Hotel 

It certainly did not disappoint, infact I'm already researching other parts of Croatia to check out for our next trip abroad.

I've said this before but when I'm booking a holiday I spend a couple of weeks researching the best location to stay in, the best restaurants to try  etc and I haven't been disappointed with any of our trips over the years. I would never recommend somewhere to stay unless I was really happy with it. We decided on The Dubrovnik Palace Hotel which I would highly recommend. Every room has a beautiful balcony and sea view, there are 3 outdoor and 1 indoor swimming pool and a private beach ( this was our favourite part) the water is crystal clear and you can see little fish and crabs swimming close to the shore. It's so nice to be able to walk out of your room and to be swimming in the sea in under a minute.

Breakfast was amazing with a huge selection of choices, actually out of all the places we have stayed it was probably the nicest.

Every 15 minutes a bus stops outside the hotel and brings you to the Old town which is about a 10 minute bus journey away.

I would actually recommend this Hotel for honeymooners as it's so fab and I know a lot of brides to be follow me. It's great for families too and the staff were lovely and helpful. It wasn't the cheapest hotel in the area but if you keep an eye online you can get a better price.


The Old town is the main place to go for dinner and there are loads of restaurants to choose from. We would be quite fussy when it comes to food and would always try and go for the less touristy options and see where the locals are eating.

If you go to Dubrovnik you have to go to this restaurant

1.Lucin Kantun : When you enter the gates into the Old town there is a Main Street, some of our favourite restaurants were up the alleyways to the left of the Main Street.

This one was both of our favourite and we went twice. The food is fresh, local produce and the best value of all the restaurants we ate in but also the best food!

It's tapas style so order 4/6 dishes to share and you can always order more.

You will not be disappointed.

2.Lady Pi Pi : Up one of the alleyways to the left at the very top of the stairs is this hidden gem, it's quite a few steps so don't where heels for this one. It's really popular and we did queue for an hour to eat here which is a little annoying but the food is good. All barbecued meat and fish that you can see being cooked in a huge barbecue, it's reasonably priced too and. A gorgeous setting.

3. Lokanda Peskarija : We ate here twice too, once for lunch and once for dinner. It's over looking the harbour and if you are fan of really fresh fish you will love this. The portions are big so you can definitely share. I highly recommend the cuttlefish risotto and the prawns. It's a nice place to sit even with a coffee and people watch. Again this was good value for really good fresh food cooked perfectly.

4.Orsan Yacht Club

We got the bus to Babin Kuk (5 mins from our hotel) and walked to the yacht club which took another 5 minutes. It's another nice little harbour and this restaurant is lovely for lunch or dinner. We went for lunch and then walked the scenic walking route all along the coastline of Babin Kuk. The Copacabana beach is on the route which is really nice to go and lie in the sun or have a drink. We walked all the way around which took about two hours but the views where unbelievable and it's nice and quiet too so you can take it all in. We finished the walk in the cave bar of the More Hotel and had a couple of drinks and watched the sunset. We actually went here a couple of evening for drinks and it's really nice. It's another lovely hotel with gorgeous views and a private beach too. There is a strip of bars and restaurants about two minutes from it.

Note: The old town gets quite busy with tourists and some of the restaurants take advantage of this with high prices and not so amazing food.

Things to do

The island of Lokrum 

This was our favourite place and we got the boat over twice. It's the most beautiful island only about a 20 minute boat ride from the harbour of the old town. You can just walk around the island and admire its beauty and wildlife or find a spot on the rocks and swim in the most beautiful clear sea. There are a couple of places to have a drink and relax but I recommend bringing a picnic and sitting by the sea. There is also the Dead Sea lake which is a gorgeous spot to sit or swim.

If you are going bring carrots and bird food as there are bunnies and peacocks everywhere and it's so cute to feed them especially if you have kids or are an animal lover like me.

The City Walls

This was actually a gorgeous way to spend a few hours. The initial steps up to the top of the walls are quite steep and there are quite a lot of them so definitely wear comfortable shoes or you won't be able to enjoy it. It takes about 2 hours to walk around the city walls, you are up quite high so the views are unbelievable. There are lots of places you can stop along the way for a drink and take in the sights too.


We got the boat here from the harbour and it took about 45 mins. It's another gorgeous spot to walk around or take a swim. There are loads of restaurants and cafes facing the harbour where you can sit and watch the amazing yachts come in. Seriously some of the yachts we saw were insane, definitely over the 30 million mark so if you are nosy and like to people watch ( like me) you will enjoy! We went to the prosecco and oyster bar on the harbour which was lovely.

Note: get the boat over one-way and buy a return ticket in Cavtat it just means you can leave when you want and you aren't tied down to a certain time. There are boats leaving every 20/30 mins.


  • Kuna is the currency in Dubrovnik, we exchanged some euros in the airport in Dublin and you can exchange euros over there in lots of banks for 0% commission.
  • The bus system is really convenient and cheap. We got buses everywhere for about €3 return to the old town. There is genuinely no need to get taxis.
  • I know I sound like I'm 100 years old but definitely bring comfortable shoes or you won't enjoy it. There is quite a bit of walking and steps so you will need them. I will 100% pack runners next time.
  • The beaches are rock or shingle beaches and there is no sand so most tourists wore sea shoes which made walking in and out of the sea easier. You can buy them everywhere over there.
  • Go off the Main Street of the old town and wander up the alleyways especially along the coast side as you will find some hidden gems along the way like bars built into the coastline.
  • There are cats and kittens everywhere so if you are animal lover like me buy some cat food and feed them, I couldn't cope looking at the little kittens wandering around.

I have literally written about everything I can think of so I hope this helped anyone travelling to Dubrovnik or thinking of going.

As I said we will definitely be back , it's a beautiful part of the world with the most stunning views and coastlines.

Tara xx

3 Of My Most Commonly Asked Beauty Questions, Answered.

I am delighted to be working with TK Maxx again sharing some of my top makeup tips with you. Anyone that follows me on snapchat will know how often I frequent my nearest TK Maxx and always share some of the gems I have picked up each time! You all know I love a bargain and have found some of my favourite designer brand products in TK Maxx for a fraction of the regular retail price.

This week I filmed some short videos for TK Maxx sharing some of my top make up tips and shared what make up tools I couldn't live without.

I am going to go into a little bit more detail here and cover some of my most commonly asked questions.

How to change your make up as you age...

This is something I get asked on a regular basis and my mum who is in her sixties now has taken on board all of these tips and people always comment on how great she looks.

  • As we age our skin loses its natural glow and plumpness, it can start to look a bit dull so we need to bring back that youthful radiance. Skincare is important here and I always recommend investing in some hydrating brightening serums or masks. Sheet masks are everywhere at the moment and I have recently become a huge fan of them myself . Once you peel them off you can usually see an immediate glow to the skin.  Another really good quick fix and one that I absolutely swear by is introducing a liquid illuminator in to your make up routine. Simply mix it in with your regular foundation for an instant lift to the skin. I love trying this on older women and seeing their reactions when they look in the mirror, its so simple but literally transforms the appearance to the skin. Most brands have Liquid illuminators and highlighters in their ranges now so they are really easy to find.
  • Eyebrows are another important area to define at any age but especially as we age as if done right they can knock years off your appearance. There are lots of handy eyebrow kits on the market now and they are so simple to use. Less is more when it comes to brows and even just a small bit of definition can make the biggest difference.
  • If I had to choose one item to bring with me in my make up bag it would be lip-liner. As we age our lips tend to get thinner and lack definition. A lip liner is going to give you that definition and also add volume to the lips making them look fuller. I always go for a natural lip colour and finish with a pop of gloss on the lips for added plumpness.

How many make up brushes do I need....

A lot of you may follow make up artists and bloggers who seem to have an endless supply of make up brushes. I get asked all of the time how many make up brushes does the average lady need just for doing her own make up. Brushes for me are the most important part of my kit and I simply would not be able to achieve the looks I want without using the right tools. Every woman needs the following:

  1. A foundation Brush
  2. A Powder Brush
  3. A fluffy blending eyeshadow brush
  4. An Eyebrow brush
  5. A blusher brush

These 5 brushes are the essentials and can be doubled and used for other things like contouring etc. I always recommend buying a brush set that includes the essentials and it usually works out cheaper.

How do I apply lashes....

Lashes are one of the quickest ways to transform your whole look. Full lashes will make your eyes look bigger and brighter but be warned they can get addictive. When choosing your lashes always go for the ones with a nice thin band as seen in the picture below. This is going to help them adhere to the skin a lot easier and make for an easy application.

  1. Measure the strip up to your eye and see if you need to trim any off to fit your eye shape. I always trim about a centimetre from the outside of the lash which also makes them easier to apply.
  2. Once it is the right length apply a thin coating of eyelash glue to the band of the lash. Let it get slightly tacky.
  3. Sit the strip on to your own lashes using them as a shelf for the lashes.
  4. Gently press the strip up on to the eyelid closely along the lash line until the glue sticks to the skin.

When choosing lashes always go for a fluffy natural lash for the best and most flattering results.

This Thursday TK Maxx will have their biggest ever beauty offering arriving in stores across the country with 1ooos of big beauty brands  available including some of my favourite make up and skincare brands.

Happy Shopping!

Tara xx

Disclaimer  This post has  been sponsored by TK Maxx  and as always all opinions are my own.