Wednesday, 17 January 2018

My dream hotel stays around the world

It's not often that I stay in a hotel - I'm more of an Air B n B girl (sign up with my link n get dolla off, yo: but sometimes I see a hotel and just get such an urge to book it. So here are some of my dream hotel stays around the world...

When we were in Prague, we came across Fred & Ginger / The Dancing House, which truly stands out amongst the rest of the city's architecture. It's modern and a strange shape and stunning to look at - and it's now a hotel, and all the rooms are really luxurious, all glass and grey and plush. Soooo dreamy and the view is to die for.

Ever since I found out that Armani hotels existed (there's one in Milan and one in Dubai) I've wanted to stay in one - it would have to be the Milan one for me, unless I was in Dubai on a stop over to somewhere else, but they're both gorgeous and even the 'classic suite' is more classy than any hotel room I've ever seen. There's a spa and a restaurant and from above, the hotel itself is in the shape of a letter A. Honestly remarkable.

The Byron at Byron is a hotel that's set in 45 acres of Australian rainforest but still only a 10 minute walk from the beach - and it's just beautiful. There's an infinity pool and wooden walkways through lush green spaces, and while the rooms aren't anything particularly special it's the location that's drawing me here. Imagine the views - imagine the 'gram.

Photo included with permission from Hotel Not Hotel
Amsterdam isn't particularly somewhere I'm dying to go back to in a hurry (although it is a gorgeous city, just a bit expensive for my liking) I've fallen for Hotel Not Hotel with its Kevin Bacon Bar, rustic decor and funky themed rooms. Okay it has shared bathrooms but you can't win 'em all and I don't think it would put me off that much - if I do end up going to Amsterdam any time in the near future, this is where I wanna stay.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

My 2017 film highlights

2017 was the year I went to the cinema more times than I can count - I've got an Infinity card for my local cinema, meaning I pay around 17 quid a month to watch as many films as I want. And let me tell you, I've made the most of it. There's been SO many good films out this year, and some not so good, and to promote the rise of the 4KTV Panasonic asked me to share my film highlights with you all - imagine watching any of these in cinema quality from the comfort of your own home! Whew. Here we go...

Hidden Figures // this one really stands out in my mind; it made me laugh, made me cry, taught me things that I had no clue about and made me realise that history isn't always taught in the way that it actually happened. It's a gorgeous story and one that I think everyone should see. Truly outstanding.

Boss Baby // maybe I'm putting this in just to wind up Olly but honestly, this film just made me laugh SO much. It's a funny feel-good cartoon, one that you don't need to concentrate on, with a really lovely story line.

Churchill // while he himself is a questionable figure from history, the film is fascinating and really well done - I love historical films, and this has some gorgeous scenery as well as some really poignant moments.

Lego Batman // I'm not massively into Batman, but I absolutely LOVED the Lego version - it's cute, funny, fast-paced and has some brilliant actors doing the voices. I could watch this over and over and not get bored.

Book of Henry // this one is absolutely wild; beautifully heart-wrenching with some really heavy twists, and it truly made me bawl but I adored it.

Baywatch // between Zac Efron and the Rock, could you go wrong? It was everything I wanted it to be and more, and it's genuinely one of the best and funniest films I saw this year.

The Mummy // there is a massive place in my heart for the first two Mummy films, so I was a bit nervous to see if this one lived up to my expectations - and it's so different to the originals, but still SO good. The storyline and the cast were great, and the little nod to Jekyll and Hyde really got me.

Atomic Blonde // I'm usually not one for action films, but Charlize Theron can do no wrong in my eyes and I loved this film. I was on the edge of my seat from start to finish and it's genuinely a rollercoaster of emotions - it's so passionately done and just an all round excellent film. Would highly recommend.

Hampstead // last but not least is this little beauty - it's such an amazing storyline, so heartwarming and genuinely lovely, plus the cinematography is something special. It's an easygoing but really touching film and I could definitely watch it again and again.

I know there's some I missed out, and I loved It and the new Kingsman, but I've been the cinema SO MANY TIMES in the last year that I'd be here all day if I wrote out aaaalll my favourites. I also didn't see the new Star Wars til 2018 so that's why it's not on here but rest assured I absolutely loved it. Let me know your 2017 film highlights too!

This is a paid collaboration with Panasonic - for more info please see my disclaimer.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Optiat Purifying Hemp Face Mask

Inside the #CarnLIVal goody bags was a tiny little sachet from a brand called Optiat, who make scrubs and face masks. The face masks are made from repurposed hemp husks, and they come in three different variations: purifying, nourishing and mens. I tried out the Purifying mask*, and here's how I got on...

Now, I'd forgotten it was one of those masks that comes in powder form and as per usual I didn't read the back of the packet when I was actually about to use it, so I ripped it open and black powder went everywhere. Miraculously I managed to salvage some, mix it with a few drops of warm water to make a grey/black paste, and smother it on my face. It smells quite nothing-y, just fairly natural, and it's not as gritty as I imagined it would be - I think you can make it more/less gritty depending how much water you add, too.

When it was on my face, it felt quite irritating - my face was stinging, but I persevered so see if I got good results anyway. And truth be told, I did. I was expecting my face to be a bit red and tight after I washed it off but it just felt normal until I added moisturiser, and then it was soooo soft. It's stayed that way since (it's been about 3 days now) which is amazing. My skin also looks brighter and my spots don't seem to be as glaringly obvious as they were.

At £17.95 for 30g, it's a bit pricey but you only need the tiniest little bit and it's really easy to store and re-use because you mix it yourself as and when you need it. I can get past the stinging sensation and the mess for the results it delivers, so if your skin needs a bit of a refresh then I'd definitely recommend this one! It's also vegan, cruelty-free, certified organic and has nice packaging.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

#CarnLIVal goody bags - the best bits

When it comes to #CarnLIVal, easily one of the most exciting parts of the day is when we hand out the goody bags then sit back, relax, and watch everyone sit in awe as they pull out all the magnificent things we've managed to gift them with. So without further ado, here's the best bits of the #CarnLIVal goody bags from our latest event.

In terms of beauty products, Kat Von D were sooooo generous and allowed us to give everyone some full size Everlasting liquid lipsticks, some full size Studded Kiss lipsticks and a Rock Candy Studded Kiss lipstick set, which has five little miniatures. Glitter Lips and NYX sent make up, too, and we also had a hair mask and a face mask from Garnier, and some facial oil from Nourish.

Most Wanted Wines and Babycham both sent some alcohol, Primark sent candles and Feather & Down sent some gorgeous pillow sprays. We got some books, too, by Katie Khan, Meik Wiking and more - and Paperchase sent us all a 2018 diary (!!!) which was just AMAZING. There were chocolates from Choc on Choc, jewellery from Lisa Angel, and prints by the amazing Jane Foster.

So thank you thank you thank you to all the wonderful brands who sent products for our bloggers to take home, test out, review & share - keep an eye on the #CarnLIVal hashtag if you want to see any reviews that our bloggers do of the various products, and here's to trying our best to make the next goody bag even better...

Sunday, 7 January 2018

My 2018 to-read list

This list isn't particularly long, but I've had barely any time for reading lately and I can't see that changing much in the next year so I went to set myself a realistic goal for the time being - hopefully I will read more books than these, but I figure this is a good enough starting point. If you have any recommendations that I can add to my 2018 to-read list, pleaseeeee let me know!

Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven // this was in our #CarnLIVal goody bags, and it's all about little changes you can make to improve your life. It's definitely a coffee table kinda book, one to dip in and out of, and I can't wait to see what's inside.

hold back the stars by Katie Khan // another #CarnLIVal offering, this is a Utopian love story - apparently it has a really unique plot and is incredibly complex, which is definitely my sort of book. I plan on taking this one on my next holiday, and I can't wait to get stuck in!

Little Sister by Isabel Ashdown // I got this for Christmas, and it's 100% the perfect book for me: a family-based psychological thriller that has amazing GoodReads reviews. I love this sort of book and again, it'll probably come on my next holiday with me as we have a hefty coach journey involved...

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonksy // I skim-read this as part of my MRes dissertation, and the chunks I did read I loved so I'm hoping the whole book lives up to that. It's a YA book about a trans girl and I'm excited to finally read it properly.

yesterday i was the moon by Noor Unnahar // I've followed Noor on social media for ageeeeesss and her poetry is truly stunning - I'm in absolute awe of the way she manages to put words together in a way that speaks to so many people, and I've had her poetry book on my list for a while so to finally have it is amazing.

David Bowie: A Life by Dylan Jones // this was a Christmas present from my mum, and I can't wait to read it. David Bowie has always been such a love of mine, and I already know he led such a remarkable life so I can't wait to learn even more about him. Biographies aren't something I read often, but this one looks like such a treat.

What's on your 2018 to-read list?