Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Mac powder review

So last time I was in Nottingham visiting my friends I picked up this little beauty with my Mac gift card which I had left over from my birthday back in April. There isn't a Mac store near me so I always have to pay it a visit if I am in Nottingham - it would be rude not to.

This apparently is Mac's latest product - skin finish powder which is used as a setting notion over your foundation. Now I did originally plan on buying the studio fix powder foundation, something my good friend uses and recommended. However after speaking with one of the in-store consultants she recommended I try this product instead for a flawless finish. Unlike the studio fix powder foundation, this product is solely for finishing purposes and therefore less likely to clog up your pores I imagine. I was a bit hesitant at first to part with my gift card and an extra £3 as I was looking to build extra coverage but I thought it would be nice to try something new on the market for a change.

I must say I am rather disappointed with this product. Unlike my previous powder by Rimmel, you can't really tell you have got it on and my skin has been rather oily lately which is unusual. I definitely don't think its worth the money as I cannot tell the difference between this and my drug-store Rimmel powder which I have been using for as long as I can remember. I must say I am not a huge fan of expensive make-up, let alone powders. As long as the powder does the job and sets your foundation, who cares about the price tag. However, I must admit it was nice to spend that extra bit of money in turn for a better quality product and finish, or so I thought anyway. I was also getting pretty annoyed at the fact that my Rimmel powder kept smashing in my handbag as it reached the end of its days...

This powder may be light to the skin and add a nice sheen to the face but in terms of setting your foundation, I don't think it does a great job at all and I often find myself reapplying this throughout the day. I won't be purchasing this product again.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Prague | Romantic Heights

Our final stop on our three week trip around Europe was Prague. Now I know this may sound cliché but I am going to say it anyway - we really did save the best until last. However much I fell in love with Paris, Prague literally stole my heart. I expected a lot of good things from this enchanting city but I wasn't expecting to find all what I did. 

We arrived after another lengthy journey from Munich to find that the sun was shining and our hostel not too far away from all the hustle and bustle of the city. Again we jumped on the metro from the train station which took us all of five minutes, if that. Yes it seems that they have metros everywhere in Europe which is handy when you're feeling too lazy to walk or in our case - exhausted from all the travelling! After arriving at our hostel which was the worst out of a good bunch, we went out in search of some food. Of course we weren't complaining (well I wasn't). For just nine euros what did we expect really. This was the cheapest hostel and therefore it was bound to be the least cleanliest. 

This will be the last time I say it but evidently we were starving! Who would have thought that train journeys could make you so hungry? After a quick shower and change we took a walk along the riverside and came across a crowded but quirky looking pub/restaurant which my friend was adamant we went inside. I trusted her instincts after some terrible restaurant choices on my part and we weren't disappointed. As you can see below, we over ordered massively but the food was so cheap! Despite the bill I think our meals only came to over £15 each and that was with a bottle of wine and a whole basket full loaded with potato chips and dips (see below). I am drooling at the thought...

The cost of our meals
My main meal - Mexican chicken and veg
Where can I purchase this in the UK?

You could say we made a meal of it and after a few hours of chatting, drinking and eating we decided to take a walk further down the river to see what we could find. Unfortunately we only had a day in Prague so planning our time was pretty crucial if we wanted to get everything done. One of the things that shocked me most about this romantic city was the amount of things to do. There is so much to see here - bars, restaurants, river cruises, the magnificent castle and course lots of little shops for all us tourists to enjoy. It's so much more beautiful at night, especially if you are with your other half I imagine. We saw so many couples hand in hand walking along the Charles Bridge which made me slightly envious I must say. However just experiencing this with your best friend was very special too. Taking in all that Prague has to offer as we walked across the famous Charles bridge which brings in thousands of tourists each year - I could have stayed there all night.

After a few more hours of exploring and a rather awkward encounter with a stripper bar (these are known as music bars in Prague ladies) we ended up walking back to our hostel for some well deserved kip. Surprisingly Prague wasn't as busy as I thought it would have been. I expected to see a lot more drunken stags rolling across the floor but this only allowed us to appreciate its real beauty even more.

Quick selfie before we headed out

Such a pretty sight
We were up bright and early the next day and decided to jump on one of the walking tours which took us all round Prague free of charge! What seemed like a great deal  at first after a few hours was mind draining. It was so hot and all I wanted was a sit down but at least we knew where everything was by the end of it so we could explore at our leisure. You couldn't fault the efforts of our fantastic tour guide either who lived off tips solely - these were surely rewarded. Another thing I was oblivious too before I visited Prague was its in depth history - it truly is fascinating. I think I learnt more in those three hours than I did on the entire trip! Not only did we get to explore the old town which was famous for its remarkable astronomical clock and heaps of history, we also got to explore the new town, the more modern part of Prague you could say. After the tour had finished we grabbed a quick drink in the square and headed up to the Prague castle on the metro which again allowed us to capture some spectacular views of the whole city. The Prague castle which was located at the highest point of Prague was utterly stunning. I had never visited a castle before this so it was a totally new experience for me. Even though we didn't pay to go inside we got to explore the beautiful surrounding gardens and views from above. I thoroughly enjoyed this day and couldn't have been happier as I sat overlooking Prague with a cup of tea in one hand and my camera in the other.

Casual shot overlooking the river the following day
So beautiful
Old market square
The famous clock tower

The view from the castle grounds
After a long day of walking we decided to head out for some dinner and a few drinks at our favourite pub again to finish off the evening. This for me had been one of the best days of the entire trip and I was so sad at the thought of travelling back to Paris the next morning to catch our early flight to England the following day. Not another train she screams! 

I really can't wait to come back here in the near future. Maybe next time I will be hand in hand with someone - who knows. But for now thank you Prague for being so utterly beautiful and thank you all for reading. I hope you enjoyed this journey as much as I did and sorry for the time it has taken me to upload all these posts! I didn't realise how much I would have to say and how many photos I had to get through.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Coconut water | Is it really that good for you?

So last week I decided to treat myself to a little shopping spree in the midst of nursing my looming hangover. Now for those of you who have ever been shopping with a hangover you will understand how painful this experience is, even more so when it's hot and your'e dehydrated. So what better way to rehydrate than to buy some water? I may have mentioned this previously, but I am a bit of a health freak, and if you haven't picked up on this already from reading my blog, you certainly will do in due course. I love researching and testing out all the latest health products on the market and have recently done a lot of research into the benefits of coconut water. Now I must say, this is quite a pricey product and I was quite reluctant to buy this healthy drink at first for this main reason. However, I decided one sunny afternoon that I would treat myself and hopefully tackle my hangover in doing so.

UFC Coconut Water
It even looks refreshing from the outside
Some of those benefits everyone's talking about
When poured it looks just like cloudy water
I quickly broke the seal shortly after purchase and was faced with a very strange sweet taste, nothing quite like anything I had ever experienced before. The taste itself was very overwhelming in fact, to the point where I could barely take more than a couple of sips out of the carton. I decided I would wait until I had got home and refrigerated my beverage until I drank any more. However even after refrigerating, this product still was undrinkable. I am not usually very fussy when it comes to trying new foods or drinks but this was a really acquired taste that I couldn't seem to stomach.

Yet there is no denying the plethora of benefits this drink contains. Referred to as 'mother nature’s' sports drink by marketers and made from Thailand's finest coconuts, this product is very popular with sports personnel. In fact this product has increased vastly in popularity after several celebrity and athlete endorsements. Everyone wants to get their hands on this new American craze it seems, but unfortunately it really wasn't for me. 

All in all despite the taste I can see why people love it. It's a guilt free drink with zero fat, barely any calories, and no nasty artificial additives or sweeteners which you can enjoy when you're hungover, dehydrated or after a workout. Some of it's health benefits include reducing blood pressure, slowing down ageing, hydrating the body and supporting digestive and urinary health. It is also said to contain more potassium than four bananas in just one serving which is incredible - I do love my bananas!

Have you ever tried coconut water and if so what do you think? I guess there is only one way of finding out if you're a coconut water fan and that's by trying it out for yourself!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Munich Germany | Sausage and more

It's been a while since I have done one of these but it's only right that I finish blogging about the rest of my travels. I have really enjoyed sharing with everyone my experiences up until now and have had some great feedback from you all. As my travels draw to a close, we head North to the beautiful Munich Germany where sausage is in abundance and beer it seems is the only beverage available on the somewhat unreadable menu.

The beautiful view on route to Munich

Heading down to Munich square
Arriving into Munich after a long and tiresome trip from Rome, again took it's toll on our bodies. It was past dinner time by the time we had arrived and evidently we were starving. Luckily our hostel was only a two minute walk from the train station (well after we started to walk in the right direction) and what a welcome we received. In fact the first thing I noticed after arriving at this hostel was the amazing atmosphere. Not only were the staff very friendly, there were a lot of travellers wondering around, drinking at the bar, socialising and generally having a good time.
After a quick rest in our room we headed out in search of one of the best authentic German restaurants in Munich, as recommended by our English hostel receptionist. The heavens had opened but it wasn't long before we stumbled across the thriving red brick restaurant with a name I won't even bother trying to pronounce. After being welcomed in by an old German fellow we took our seats near the entrance. Straight away it was clear that we were the minority in this German filled restaurant. Despite the food being delicious I have never felt so humiliated in my entire life. I must say before embarking on this journey I did have my concerns when it came to communicating with the locals as we were visiting so many diverse countries. So for my own knowledge and for sheer politeness, I decided to learn the basic terminology for each country. However, I hadn't quite prepared myself for what was in store that evening...

Despite this, our time in Munich was a pleasant one. The next morning after meeting our fantastic room mate from Hong Kong, we headed down to breakfast which again didn't fail to deliver -  it was amazing. I love buffet breakfasts and made sure I made the most of the delights on offer. Fresh fruit, cereals, unlimited tea and a selection of breads and fillings to stock up on in preparation for the rest of the day. So off we went in search of some of Munich's finest sights. As this is quite a small city (or so we thought) it didn't take us long to walk around. We managed to get a fair amount done during our short stay in Munich Germany including walking around the beautiful English Gardens which were one of my highlights of the whole trip, and not forgetting the wonderful German market. I finally got to see what all the fuss was about when it came down to the German sausage and the Bavarian beer. 

Munich Germany
Munich central
The English Gardens
A real German market

My first ever pint of bitter didn't go down too well
This was possibly one of the most chilled out days of the entire trip but it was definitely needed after endless hours of walking to and fro places. The town itself was fairly busy and they had all the shops you could dream of (a bit like Birmingham city centre) as my friend so elegantly put it. However, nothing about this city really amazed me and to tell you the truth and I was a bit disappointed. It just wasn't as vibrant as I had hoped and I felt it lacked any real sense of culture. Yet my faith in Munich was restored later that day when I decided to take a walk up one of Munich's finest church towers. Like every European city, churches are not hard to come by but at this stage I have to admit, I would have been glad to have seen the back of them! Walking up hundreds of steep old stairs to the top of a church tower would be a daunting experience for anyone. The never ending staircase defeated my friend who backed out halfway through after struggling to catch her breath but I was adamant on reaching the top. Like my friend I too have a fear of heights. I wouldn't say I have conquered this fear just yet but I am definitely on my way. After taking in the breathtaking views of the city, I felt content at last.

The view from above

And again - this picture doesn't really do it justice in terms of how high up I actually was
After a few more hours of exploring, we decided to head back to the hostel grabbing some food from a pizza take out on the way back. Not the most luxurious of meals but we had been indulging all day on different German foods and sometimes a good slice of pizza is definitely needed. Somehow our walk back to the hostel took us much longer than expected after we managed to get lost. However, after about an hour or so we managed to find our way and were up in time for our next journey to Prague the following day. 

So there you have it, Munich Germany in a nutshell. Even though I was fairly disappointed, I think this is definitely one of Germany's up and coming cities. It certainly attracts a lot of youngsters but if you're after a sight seeing holiday, I personally wouldn't recommend it. Next time I come back to Germany I will definitely be heading further North to the capital, Berlin and to some of the quieter less touristy places to get a better idea of how the German's really live.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Beauty Haul | Wake Me Up

So my second beauty haul this month consisted of some real beauty bargains including the popular wake me up foundation by Rimmel which I have been longing to try for months, and the just as popular Bourjois bronzer. I also purchased a new powder brush, another one to add to my collection of real techniques brushes. As noted in one of my previous posts I will be featuring a separate post on these brushes solely so bare with me on that one.

What a pretty collection
First off, let's start by having a look at the fairly new wake me up foundation by Rimmel. After using this foundation for over a week now, I must say I am not really impressed. A rather thick foundation, this I feel can look quite heavy on the skin. At just £6 though you can't really complain (original price £8.99). You are able to achieve all over coverage with just a few pumps which is great if you're in a hurry. 

Now I must say, I am not usually one for trying new brands of foundation after I fell in love with Clinque's anti blemish solutions foundation a couple of years ago. However I think it is good to experiment especially as you get older and your skin alters. Unfortunately this foundation wasn't for me and my oily combination skin so it looks like I will be reverting back to my old ways. Saying that, this foundation may be worth investing in if you have dry skin as it certainly gives your skin a glow as promised on the bottle. In terms of offering anti fatigue effects I am not so sure. 

This foundation I felt only clogged my pores making me break out in an array of spots which is quite unusual for me these days. It also wasn't very natural on my skin, which is something I love about Clinique's anti blemish foundation. Even though Clinique's foundation is much higher on the price scale, it allows your skin to breathe and prevents you from developing any imperfections. This I find it something this wake me up foundation doesn't do and reason one I probably won't be purchasing this again. 



Now on to the Bourjois bronzer which I have heard many great things about from my friends in particular. Again this was on offer at the time of purhcase and as I love a good bargain, I decided to purchase this chocolatey delight to add some extra colour to my cheeks during these summer months. Bronzer is not something I use a lot of so in terms of knowing which ones are the best ones on the market, I can't say I am an expert. However this bronzer did not disappoint. Even though this is quite a subtle bronzer, it's a great colour nd adds instant sheen to your skin or in my case, somewhat pale face. Definitely great for everyday use over the face and neck area. 

Inside your Bourjois palette 
In my next post I will be talking about this brush and more...
Thanks for reading and again remember to keep your eyes pealed for my next beauty post which will be featuring all my real techniques collection of brushes.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Shopping Haul | Summertime Sale

It is that time of year again, the sales are upon us and everybody is out searching for a bargain, including me. It was only by luck that I stumbled across the sales in my home town whilst out shopping for the last of my Glastonbury essentials last week. Amongst all the clutter I managed to grab myself a few bargains including these gorgeous midi rings which I have been wanting for ages from Topshop. These were only £4.50, half the price of their original sticker. Also in the sale, I picked up a patterned wrap black skirt, perfect to wear on a night out or even over a pair of black tights for work. This was only £10 when I got to the checkout, reduced from a whopping £38. A pleasant surprise I must say! Finally from the amazing Topshop sale I bought myself some tan suede boots. Again these were originally priced at around £40 but reduced to £10 in the sale. These will definitely come in handy when the colder weather comes around again. Yes I am prepared! 

The cutest midi rings
Hand display 
And another
I also found these shorts (below) which weren't in the sale but for £10 I couldn't resist! I took these to Glastonbury last weekend as the weather was really nice when I was travelling down there. Shame it didn't stay like that throughout the whole of the festival but that's British weather for you! I will also be taking these away with me on holiday later this year. These short shorts are perfect to lounge around in on the beach.

I love a good pair of casual shorts
Topshop goodies - all my bargains together

I think I spent a total of £35 altogether which is amazing considering how much this lot would have cost me if all the items were full price. I love the sales and luckily got there just in time to get some bargains. Until next time...

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Benefit Beautiful | Coralista Blush

So just the other week I was in Nottingham for the weekend and after running low on blusher I thought it was about time I invested in a new one. Now, I am always reading the latest beauty posts on what you bloggers feel are the best beauty products in the business. Yet, I feel without testing these out beforehand, it's hard to know which ones are actually worth investing in. So I decided it was time to sit down and let an expert do the work for me. I have never actually had my make-up done for me in store so this was a nice treat especially after a heavy night of drinking - it felt good to be pampered! 

Benefit has to be one of my favourite beauty brands at the moment. Their products are not only high quality, their packaging is funky and fresh and definitely suits those with younger skin like myself. The Benefit beautician was really lovely and talked me through a range of their most popular products at the moment including their amazing 'gimme brow' which I will definitely be purchasing in my next beauty shopping haul along with their amazing tinted lip balms. I was given about five different blushers to choose from in total and I managed to narrow it down to their popular 'sugarbomb' and gorgeous 'coralista' blush. In the end I decided on the 'coralista' blush as this one was really summery and complimented my green eyes and olive skin much better than the pinker tones which I usually go for. It's always nice to have a change I think. However, I will definitely be investing in the pinker tones for the winter as recommended by the beautician herself. 

My make-up haul consisted of one 'coralista' blush, one Mac powder and a real technique blush brush
Makeover complete
The 'coralista' blush cost me £23.50 in total which may seem a lot compared to some blushers on the market, however I think it is well worth the money. Benefit products are not only long lasting they give you instant results. As the beautician noted, you only need a small amount of this to achieve the desired colour so I am hoping this will last me a good few months at least. I do love a bit if colour on my cheeks but this blusher I feel is also great for a general all over colour too including on your forehead and around your neck area in particular. You may not even feel the need to apply bronzer with this blush at hand. The only thing I would say is that you may need to top up on your colour throughout the day. I always start by applying a minimal amount as it is quite a dark tone and you don't wan't to look orange! Then if I do feel like I need to build my colour up, I can do so throughout the day. The blusher itself comes with a natural bristle brush but I decided to purchase a new blusher brush to go with this as again this was something I was desperately in need of.

The natural bristle brush that comes with this gorgeous blush 
The beautiful 'coralista' colour close up

I went for the 'real techniques' blusher brush which I will be posting about along with my other 'real techniques' brushes in my next post. These brushes are amazing and a must have for any beauty blogger. Until then, I hope you have enjoyed reading and I look forward to sharing with you some more of my beauty secrets.


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