Sunday, 24 September 2017

48 hours in Amsterdam

My lovely dad turned 60 at the start of September, so as a surprise me, my mum and sister booked him a family trip to Amsterdam for the weekend. It is a city I have always wanted to visit, many of my friends have been and have always come back with positive reviews. 

We flew out at 5pm on the Friday night and the flight was surprisingly very quick. We only took hand luggage so it was very easy on the other side once we had left the plane. The airport is huge, probably the biggest I have been in. They have fantastic public transport at the airport - trains, trams and buses. We took a train (which was double decker and I was super excited!) to our hotel which we a very simple journey. The station which we were staying near was called Zuid. Once we had vacated the train, it was a short three minute walk to our hotel. We was staying in the Crowne Plaza, which was a beautiful hotel. It was all bright and white, and the rooms were lovely.

On the first evening, once in our hotel we went for a few drinks in the hotel lobby and then settled down for an early night. On the Saturday morning we got up bright and early, headed down for breakfast in the hotel which was offered a great selection of food. We headed on the tram to the Anne Frank Museum, which we had booked online before we set off on the trip. Heads up, that if you want to visit this museum unless you have booked a head online, you can only visit after 3.30pm. This is a must see for me, me and my family all have a huge interest in history and this was a real eye opening and spine tingling experience. As you would expect the place was packed with tourists, however at some times as some of the rooms are very small and there is thin ladders into different sections of the house and it was quite claustrophobic. This was my favourite museum of the trip hands down. 

We then headed into the main section of the town and ended up at the Cheese Museum. It is no hidden fact that my family eat a lot of cheese. This shop had every cheese under the sun that you could think of, we you go in you have a taster stick and you can try every cheese available in the shop. It was fabulous there were so many different varieties. By the end of it we didn't need our dinner! We did come out with two different types of cheese after a big family discussion which took place in the middle of the shop. A must visit if you are a cheese lover!

We decided to eat that night at Pancakes at Amsterdam Centraal. You can't go to The Netherlands and not have dutch pancakes. As well as my love for cheese, I also share a lot of love for pancakes, I should just move to Amsterdam it is meant to be! We had to queue for quite a while to get a seat in here, but it was worth it. The pancakes were incredibly tasty, and they had a huge amount of variety of the menu. They had lots of different pancakes already made up on the menu, but you also had the option of building your own which is what I did. I optioned for the traditional pancakes over the american version. I added strawberries and cream to mine, nothing too spectacular but boy did it taste like heaven.  

On the Sunday we decided to go on the Amsterdam hop on hop off tours. We were in Amsterdam for just 48 hours meaning we did not have a lot time to explore the entire city. We have used the hop on hop off buses in other cities and we always enjoy using time. I think they are great way to get a snap shot of a city. We saw the main central places within the city on the bus, but we also saw the outer parts of the city. I learnt a lot regarding when the city was built, we saw the only surviving windmill, and I learnt the fact that a lot of the buildings are wonky due to the sinking of the land over the centuries. With the ticket we also got to go on a river cruise which was great and once again educational. I loved going down all the smaller canals as well as the grand canal. We got to see the ballet and opera house, and I loved seeing the city from an outside view looking in over the city. 

Our flights on the way home were at 8pm meaning we really did get a full day on the Sunday. We spent the rest of the day doing a spot of shopping around the city. I did not realise how big the city really was, and the bus tour really opened our eyes to it as once we had eaten some dinner we ventured out into the depths of the city to the streets we had seen on the tour. Me and my sister are huge shopaholics and it definitely did not disappoint. There was a 5 floor Primark, Abercrombie and Fitch and lots of our other favourites stores. Our cases were definitely full to the brim and needed assistance closing on the way home. Before heading back to the airport, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe for our final dinner. The burger I had was amazing, and it finished the break off perfectly.

Overall, I had a fabulous time in Amsterdam and it was the perfect destination for a quick city break. The flight on the way home only took an hour which was great as when we landed back in Manchester it was not too late. There are lots of other aspects of the city we could definitely explore if we were to ever return. The most surprising part of the trip was realising just how beautiful the city is. There is over 250 canals and they are all lined with flowers and blooming trees. The houses and buildings are all still in the traditional dutch style with the wooden outskirts and are so beautiful to look at. One of the best city breaks I have ever been on.


Friday, 22 September 2017

Morphe Pressed Pigments

(top - rodeo drive, middle - socially broken, bottom - 5 star luxury)

I love it when I find products which are a secret gem and I have not heard very much about previously. I am all for buying a great product which has become hugely popular because it is a fab product, and not just because of the brand name. Morphe is a brand which has become widely available here in the UK thanks to BeautyBay. I have ordered Morphe brushes and their must have 35O palette from the brand before, and have been very impressed with both. I love the palette it is a holy grail palette for me, and that takes a lot as I own a lot of eyeshadows.

A few weeks ago I was browsing BeautyBay as I do often, and ended up on the page for these pressed pigments. I had not heard anyone from the UK or overseas chatting about these. That made me both nervous as I had nothing to go off, and excited as it was something new which looked very exciting. I love eyeshadows which are pigmented and do the job easily and quickly. I am not going to lie I can be lazy when it comes to my makeup some mornings, and I just want to get it done and dusted. I have lots of days when I spend lots of time blending my shadows and I really enjoy it. It just depends what I am doing, where I am going, and usually the biggest problem is usually that I have got up late and have to leave for work in 10 minutes.

I picked up three Morphe pressed pigments in the shades rodeo drive, 5 star luxury and socially broken. They are £6 each and each contain 3g. These are intended to deliver the coverage and finish of a loose powder, but without the faff and fall out. I am most impressed with how pigmented these are, they look beautiful on the eyelid and with one application my eyes are ready to go with just a coating of mascara on my lashes. These are soft and super blendable, which makes me super happy. They do not crease which gets a huge tick from me as I have massive issues with lots of shadows which crease and stick on my eyelid. They are also versatile are you can use them wet for a more high shine intense look, but everyday I use them dry for a more simple look but they still add some glitter and shimmer to my eyelids.

You can probably tell that I really like these. All three have been equally as good as each other, I have not come across one duff shade. I have used these daily for the last few weeks and I have barely created a dent in the products, a little definitely goes a long way. Rodeo drive and 5 star luxury are quite similar in terms of their shade colourings. Rodeo drive is the lightest out of all 3, it is a beautiful rose gold terracotta shade. 5 star luxury is also rose gold but when swatched next to rodeo drive it is much darker and has much more rusty red undertones, this one in particular is super pigmented and I love it. If you like a rose gold, sparkly eye you can blend these together and put rodeo drive into the inner part of your eye. Socially broken is completely different the other two shades. It is a medium toned chocolate brown but has lots of golden shimmer running through it. In some lights it definitely has some reddish undertones running through it, which is great as I do not own another shadow like this. I love wearing this on a weekend or on a day off, as it is darker and more smokey than the other shades.

I am definitely going to pick up some more of these shades up as I have been super impressed all round with their performance. For £6 these are on par with what high end brands would sell for easily £15+. I would definitely recommend picking these up. I have got my eyes on the shades powder room and merry the night next.


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer

Smashbox is a brand which I have not tried many products from, but their primers has always been a huge seller for them. Primers is part of my collection which is a on a one in one out policy, I only buy a new one when my previous one is pretty much empty. On my way back from Italy, Jet2 was having a big end of season beauty sale on their flights. This was around £14 which I have since found out was a bargain as it is sold in beauty stores for £26.

They only had one type of Smashbox primer available on the flight which was their photo finish foundation primer, and I think this is the original one which took the beauty market by storm when it was first released. The texture of the primer is very soft silicon, which blends into the skin beautifully. It feels silky smooth when I apply this with my fingers, which I really like. I use 2 pea size blobs on to my fingers for each application and this covers my entire face. I think maybe because it is a bit thicker than other primers, it does not go quite as far. It does have a slightly greasy/ tacky feel which I do think is a negative to this product as once applied, I want to wipe my fingers clean instantly. However, I can forgive the tackiness a little bit as it does helps to create a great base for my foundation. I am happy to say that this primer definitely does help reduce the appearance of enlarged pores, which is great as a lot of primers claim this but I never really notice it.

Due to the primers soft texture and its blend ability into the skin, it does create a really beautiful, blurred out base. This is great as I usually wear high coverage foundations which are quite thick, but when I blend it into my skin it meshes with the primer and it does help my foundation from sinking into the skin. This primer is also great at assisting with my foundations longevity, as it now takes that little bit more time to seep into the skin and start creasing. Overall, I do like this Smashbox primer a lot; I would give it a 7/10. I like the feel on the skin once the primer is blended, it does its job at priming the skin beautifully and creating the flawless base we all desire, and it also most importantly helps to keep my foundation in place.


Sunday, 17 September 2017

L'Oreal Paradise Extatic Mascara

I picked up this paradise extatic mascara from L'Oreal recently on the whim a month or so ago when it first launched. I had read a few reviews of this from bloggers before buying it, and they were all positive. I am happy to report it was £9.99 well spent. I do not buy mascaras often at all; I have three in my collection at the moment. However, two of those are on the brink of running out, so it was definitely time for me to invest in a new one. I really struggle to find one which does everything which I want - curl, lengthen and add volume. My eyelashes are long but I do not have lots, so they can look quite lifeless.

First of all, the packaging is rose gold and shiny. It is quite a simple packaging, but looks very effective with the white writing. The mascara wand itself is plastic, soft and quite malleable when applying to the lashes. The wand is also big and long, so you have to control it when applying it due to its width. The formula itself is actually quite wet, and you have to be very careful not to smudge it or catch the brush on your upper or lower eyelid area. I have loved using this mascara, it definitely adds lots of length and volume to my lashes. I have learnt that due to its slightly wet formula to let it dry before adding another layer, as it can easily clump. I usually only need a maximum of two applications to achieve my desired look. I do not use eyelash curlers myself, but I was impressed by the curl which this gives when applying the mascara from the root to the tip.

Overall, a lovely mascara which does what you want, L'Oreal has done a great job with this. I find many types of mascaras have a fancy name, packaging, and promotion, but in the grand scheme of things many do not do much in terms of adding anything special to my lashes. If you are looking for a new budget proof mascara which does what it says on the tin, then I suggest you pick this up next time you are shopping on the makeup aisles.



Friday, 15 September 2017

New Nars

I recently went into Nars and splurged, and had to take a deep gulp as I put my pin number in the machine after seeing the total on the screen. I had used both of my sheer glow foundation and laguna bronzer up completely. I went in just for the foundation, as there is no other foundation which I have owned or ever tried which has a glow element quite like this. I was prepared to spend the £31, but in the moment I got whipped on and rebought the bronzer as well for £29.

Their laguna bronzer was one of the first high end makeup pieces I ever bought. I remember it being on everyone's blogs and in magazine as the must have bronzer. As always I fell for the hype, and I was 18 and it was about £22 at the time and it was an entire shifts pay. But, it latest me 4 years and I used it a lot. I only have three bronzers in my entire collection, as this just always did the job for me. Therefore, I very much justified to myself (not that it takes much persuasion) that I needed a new one in my life. It is such a great colour for my skin tone, and adds just the right amount of shade and light to my face. There is nothing like having a fresh pan of bronzer to stare at.

The foundation is also just as fabulous, this is my third bottle which I have bought. This is a medium coverage foundation which is buildable. I think you can use both a buffer brush and a beauty blender, and the end result is just as good with both. Like I mentioned earlier, this foundation definitely does have a glow aspect to it. It adds luminosity to your face and is a satin finish. On a night out I never use a matte finish foundation as I want to look as fresh and radiant as possible. This is why this is my go to for this occasion as it adds a new leash of life to my skin. It does not claim to be a long wear foundation, this is why I would not wear it to an all day event as by the evening I can usually see signs of wear on my problematic areas. This is great for normal to dry skin types; I am not sure how well this would work on oily skin due to it being a satin finish.



Wednesday, 13 September 2017

A new lease of love for blogging

Back in June I wrote a post titled Loosing Love for Blogging, as I had completely and uttering lost my blogging mojo. For the first time since I started blogging almost four years ago, I had no love or interest in opening this blogger page to type up a post. I had no excitement, and was putting out posts because I had to and for no other reason. I am so happy to say that I have made a complete U-turn and  once again love my little blog. I cannot pin point as to what caused me to start feeling so different. However, I know that after I went to London at the start of July, I was super excited to have some new content and to getting writing posts. My blog has always been beauty based, but I have loved branching out into travel and lifestyle.

I feel liking blogging is my own little outreach away from work, and gives me something to enjoy. I think putting less pressure on me has also helped. I always schedule to have three posts up a week, but sometimes both life and work gets in the way and I only end up managing to get up two. This has happened twice recently, and I kicked myself for a minute or two. However, I quickly bring myself back down to Earth and realise I can only do what I can do. I have found that writing lifestyle and travel posts take much longer than beauty, however I have more of a bank of photos at the ready for these posts. Whereas, with beauty posts it is finding the time to set up and take photos when it is light and bright. Last week, I spent an hour taking 9 blog posts worth of beauty photos, and I can't tell you how fabulous I felt the rest of the day knowing I was ahead and would not be stressing trying to do it here and there.

I think a little bit of pressure and pushing yourself is good, it helps you to strive to achieve. However, I am definitely learning that I hate that feeling of getting in from work at 8pm, and realising I have not got tomorrows post ready to go. I thought I was going to need to have a big brainstorming session to help me get my mojo back, but in fact I found that it came back without needing a push. I think this was possibly why; I gave myself time to gently get myself back into the game. I was blogging in the moment, thinking of posts whilst I was in bed or shower and making notes and writing them up as soon as I could. I think as I have written out beauty posts for so long, I was getting a little bored. I needed to mix it up, and bring a new leash of life my blog. For the first time in weeks, today I wrote a beauty post and I enjoyed it just like I used to. I had fresh ideas, and I bought new products to trial out of genuine excitement and not just because they would make a good review.

I am much easier going now with my blog, and I like to only have a week or so of posts finished at a time. I have found that this has helped me to stay more on track, and keep my content as fresh as possible. I hate that feeling when I have nothing scheduled, my brain goes into overdrive thinking when I am going to find the time to get a post done. But, if you want to find the time, you will. I want to keep blogging, it is important to me. Therefore, I will find time to make sure I keep getting my content out. I have to be on a continuous routine, as I can only blog here and there around work and life. It is also important to me though to have a little bit of no blogging time, and be off social media and at the moment I am finding that hard. I am continuously scrolling through my Twitter and Instagram time. I need to switch off from everything on the internet every once in a while, as it can be so relaxing and help you to refuel. 

I am so happy to have my love for all things blogging back in my life, and I hope it continues!



Sunday, 10 September 2017

New Eyeshadows on Trial

I am currently putting lots of eyeshadows to the test, and I thought I would let you in as to what is going on trail. I have bought all of these over the last month, and I finally managed to find some time to take some photos so I can finally start using them!

First up, I wanted this palette from Colourpop ever since I set my sights on it. Being on their mailing list is proving to be dangerous for my bank account, as I always want everything that they email me! It comes from their collaborated range with Kerruche, and they have created a collection called Fem Rosa. It consists of a few different products, but the she palette was what I had my eyes on all along. This was $16 and I am super happy I managed to get it, as it sold out very quickly. It was smaller than I anticipated, but this in fact will be perfect for travelling instead of heaving my beloved MAC and Morphe palettes around with me. It contains a wide array of shades both matte and shimmer, and I cannot wait to now start putting it to the test.

I have heard absolutely nothing at all on the beauty market about these Morphe pressed pigments landing in the UK. For £6 I thought I would take a risk, and order three. I picked up rodeo drive, 5 star luxury and socially broken. To no surprise of my own, they are all gold shimmer shades. However, they are all different with some being darker than others, and one has a rose gold undertone. I have had a little swatch of these and they do look fantastic. I am hoping these are a great one swipe shade, with little fuss or attention needed.

I saw some bloggers instagramming looks using Glitter Eyes products. I had never heard of this brand before, but their website instantly drew me. They have such a huge range of pigments, loose glitters and pressed glitters. I decided to go with the Rose Gold Trio bundle as I loved all three shades. They look amazing, I swatched these as soon as they arrived and they are full on glitter. I am hoping these look as great on my eyes, as they did on my first swatch. These are going to be great for a night out when I want a total glittery sparkly eye look.


Friday, 8 September 2017


I am finally bringing you my last instalment of my Italian adventures. In case you missed my first two posts you can catch up here - Lido de Jesolo and Burano and Murano.

Today I am talking all about Venice. Venice is without a doubt my mum's favourite place on Earth. Every time she steps off the boat there is a permanent smile on her face, the entire time she is there. I must have visited 7 or 8 times now, and every time we are in the vicinity of getting to Venice easily where ever we are in Italy, we will go if we can.

In my Burano and Murano post, I posted all about how it easy it is to get to Venice and its surrounding islands. From Jesolo we got on a bus to the boat port and then got a direct boat to Venice. The boats are about every half an hour, but be warned if you go mid season they will be packed. We visited Venice twice whilst on our two week holidays. We actually know our way round Venice very well now. Although, there are so many back streets you can easily get lost, but within a few minutes you will be at a square where you can easily find your bearings again. We do however always take a map as there are lots of tiny streets.

If it is your first time visiting and you want to see all the sites then wherever you get off your boat head left. As we have seen the sites many times, one of my main tips if you are wanting to stay away from the hustle and bustle when you first get there and you just want a little time to explore, then head right. This time we headed right on our first trip and ended up in a little section which we had never been to before. We stopped for a drink and cake in a little cafe with the locals overlooking the canals. Everywhere we have ever visited in the Italy, the locals are always so lovely and welcoming. They are all so joyous and make you feel warm inside. I love Venice as there is so many lovely shops to walk around, there are streets and streets with a great variety of things to buy. I love the little souvenir shops, which are not tacky and sell lovely paintings, jewellery and home made crafts.

If you are going for the attractions then there are lots to see. First of all, the gondola ride is a must if it is your first time visiting. For a family of four it will easily set you back 80-100 euros. If you want a gondola exclusively as a couple without sharing with anyone else, it will cost you even more. It is great, as you get to see all the sites and go down the Grand Canal, but they also take you down the back streets where you get to see where the locals live. There is also the Rialto Bridge to visit which is lovely, but always busy no matter what time of day you go. You can take some great pictures and the views are fabulous.

Definitely take a trip into St Marco's Square, which is actually very easy to find as it is close to the Grand Canal. It is such a beautiful view and it is home to St Marco's Cathedral which we have never actually been into. Just from the outside you can see what a fabulous building it is. There is so much intricate detailing, it is just stunning. Every time I visit I forgot just how big the square is. One tip, if you want to sit in the square which we did the very first time we visited, be prepared to pay the prices. I always remember that none of the restaurants in the square had any prices on their menus, and we were planning on eating our dinner there. When we got in and ordered the drinks, we then saw the prices. You will easily pay 9-10 euros for a coffee. The view was beautiful and they often have a string quartet playing, and you are able to relax in the sun and take in the views. However, we decided to just drink our drinks and move on to find somewhere a little more purse friendly to eat our dinner.

To eat we have learnt to eat where the locals eat, as always in Italy. This is often the little restaurants which only have a few tables, and are situated away from the main squares on the little backstreets. These are the places which we now always head for. I have never had a bad pizza or pasta dish, so I do not have any particular recommendations as everywhere offers such fabulous food. On the trip which we took in our second week, it is a little family tradition to go to Hard Rock Cafe's whenever we are holiday. I always find this funny as we never go to the one in Manchester as it is too expensive. Anyway, it was a little treat and I have to say my burger was insanely tasty. The meals were not cheap, and I think they were even more expensive than in Britain. As always with Hard Rock restaurants it was busy, and I was surprised at the size of the restaurant as there was only about 25 tables all together. Thankfully, we did not have to wait too long and everyone thoroughly enjoyed their food.

I think I have just about covered everything which I wanted to! As you can probably tell by my enthusiasm I love Venice, and so does all of my family. If you want to ask any more questions then please feel free to in the comments.


Sunday, 3 September 2017

Beautiful Burano and Murano


I am currently in the process of writing a little travel series all about my travels in Italy. Last week I brought you a post all about Lido de Jesolo, which was where we were staying for the holiday. However, we went on a day trip around the islands and I cannot wait to tell you about both Burano and Murano.

So I am putting it out there, these two little places are going to be the new 'it' places where everyone heads for their 'perfect' Instagram shots. A few years ago it was Santorini, and everyone wanted to visit. This year it seems to be Lake Como which I actually visited in 2015, and I did write a post about how beautiful it was at the time. Bloggers love a place called Postiano around the lake, and I have to say it is stunning. However, I have a feeling that Burano in particularly is going to be the place everyone is heading very soon to get those perfect shots.

From Lido de Jesolo, we got a 30 minute bus to the port where we then got on a boat which takes you to Venice and the islands. The ticket was €25.50 which you can use to hop on and off the buses and boats all day. You can get on a slow boat or a fast boat, and we unfortunately ended up on the slow boat which literally made about 15 stops. However, it was lovely as we got to see the small islands which the locals live on. The water was very choppy as the boats are not very big, therefore travel sickness tablets were a must.

We have visited Burano and Murano back in 2010 when we last stayed in Lido de Jesolo, and I have always remembered it by their vividly vibrant coloured houses. It literally looks like Balamory. We got off the boat at Murano first as this is the smaller of the two islands. You may have heard of Murano before as they are known for their glass. Pandora use Murano glass for their beads. It is very interesting as on our last visit we went around a glass factory, and see you exactly how they make and paint the beads. A lot of the shops sell their own Murano glass jewellery, and I always end up buying something as everything is just so stunning. We had a lovely stroll around the island, stopping to look in all of the little shops, and getting an ice cream.

We then hopped back onto the very busy boat, and headed to Burano. This is the bigger of the two, and was more busier. There is one big main street which is so stunning, and if you walk to the very end the views are so beautiful as you are just looking out into the lake. I learnt on my previous trip that the Italian government ensure that all the houses stay painted in a variety of different colours and are kept in good condition, for the fact of the amount of tourism which it brings. I have to say I would very enjoy living on this little island, as I had a permanent smile on my face whilst walking round. 

We stopped for some lunch at a little restaurant and had a great table overlooking the water and the shops and houses. As always, the Italians are welcoming and always so upbeat. I had a pasta dish (of course!), and it was delicious. Even though we were sat in such a picturesque spot, the prices were no higher than usual. I kept spying a little walk through right next to the restaurant, and I kept having a sneak peek. The restaurant owner told us to have a little wander through as it so tranquil. Obviously, there was still multicoloured houses, but it was definitely where those who don't want to live in the hustle and bustle live. It was a big quarter and there was one bright pink house, which you can see from my pictures had a bench outside and I started a bit of a trend by taking the plunge and getting a picture, and then a few other tourists followed in tow. We spent a good few hours wandering around, taking lots of photos and buying lots of touristy souvenirs.

If you are staying within or near the vicinity of Venice then definitely take a little trip to Murano and Burano and I promise you won't be disappointed. I also have my Venice travel post going up next week.


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