Saturday, 19 October 2019

16 photos that will make you want to visit Gdańsk, Poland, right now

I didn't want to overload my travel diary posts with photos, but I did take a lot of photos when I was in Gdańsk in May - so I thought I'd pop some of my favourite ones into a separate post. Who knows, they might even make you want to book a trip there!

me on a bridge in gdansk wearing blue jeans red t shirt and black jacket, water and buildings behind me
Hanging out on the bridge
a red and green building with fountains in front of it
En route to the old town
waterway with buildings in the background under a cloudy blue sky
The main waterway
view of rooftops in gdansk under a cloudy sky
My view from St Mary's Basilica 
waterway with buildings either side under a clear blue sky
The waterway on a sunny day!
pirate ship on the water in gdansk
The famous pirate ship in Gdańsk
a cool metal sculpture in gdansk under a clear blue sky
This looked cool but I've no idea what it is...
some coloured buildings in gdansk under a blue sky
The top of Długa Street
dluga street in gdansk, pastel buildings under a blue sky
Looking down Długa Street
big wheel of gdansk in the background of the water way with trees and buildings alongside
The Gdańsk big wheel
the baltic sea and some trees
The Baltic Sea (from Westerplatte)
tall monument behind some trees under a blue sky
Westerplatte Monument
pastel coloured buildings under a cloudy sky
The prettiest buildings
intricate building under a cloudy blue sky
The Great Armoury
the baltic sea under a cloudy sky with rocks in the foreground
Another shot of the Baltic
monument outside the solidarity museum in gdansk
Monument at the Solidarity Museum
I miss Gdańsk so much - it's definitely a city I fell head over heels in love with, and I hope to go back soon! But until then, I've got trips to two other Polish cities coming up so keep your eyes peeled for the blog content...

For some photos from Mallorca, CLICK HERE

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Revolution Beauty: Conceal & Define vs Conceal & Hydrate foundations

A while ago, Revolution released their Conceal & Define Foundation - I bought and loved it, and wear it regularly. I saw recently that they had now released the Conceal & Hydrate foundation, which is supposed to be similar but aimed at those with drier skin (like me). It was out of stock for a while but I picked mine up in Superdrug a couple of weeks ago, and thought I'd do a bit of a comparison post in case you're interested in seeing which Revolution foundation would be best for you...

Packaging


Mostly, the two foundations look exactly the same. 30ml bottles, frosted glass packaging with shiny rose gold lids. The only visible difference at this point is that the new Revolution Conceal & Hydrate foundation has a longer lid, making it taller when you stand the two foundations side by side.


Application


The first difference between the two foundations is their applicators. The original Conceal & Define foundation has a doe-foot applicator, a large spongey thing that doesn't distribute massive amounts of product. There is also the issue of bacteria from the face going back into the foundation when you have an applicator like this, though I think it's kind of a non-issue personally.

L: Conceal & Hydrate R: Conceal & Define
Anyway, the new Revolution Conceal & Hydrate foundation has a pump!!! It works so much better, allowing you to just squirt some foundation onto the back of your hand, or onto your sponge/brush/face. Love it!

Consistency


I find that the Conceal & Define is slightly thicker and less runny. Also, despite having the Conceal & Define in F3 and the Revolution Conceal & Hydrate foundation in F2, they are pretty much the exact same colour. Just something to bear in mind when you're trying to shade-match!

L: Conceal & Hydrate R: Conceal & Define

How it looks


For me personally, the Revolution Conceal & Hydrate foundation is thinner - I find I need a second layer on my cheeks, where I have a lot of scarring. This isn't really an issue, just something worth mentioning. It builds nicely, too. The Conceal & Define, however, is fine with just the one layer.

Conceal & Define
Conceal & Hydrate
In terms of longevity, I find they both last the same on my skin. I always use a primer (usually this one) and both last most of the day which is amazing. Of course, the Revolution Conceal & Hydrate foundation looks a lot more dewy - if you're wearing it in warm weather or to do any sort of activity then be warned that you will look like a sweaty mess!

The finer details


Both foundations retail for £9, and are cruelty free. Each comes in 50 different shades, and is available at Superdrug or on the Revolution Beauty website.

All in all, they are both lovely foundations. If you have normal to oily skin, the original Conceal & Define is probably spot on for you whereas if your skin is on the drier end of things, I'd recommend the Revolution Conceal & Hydrate foundation.

If you've tried either of these Revolution foundations, let me know which one is your favourite!


For my thoughts on the newest Urban Decay foundation, CLICK HERE

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Marino Lounge gluten free menu

Near where I live there's a cute little bar/restaurant called Marino Lounge; you can often find me holed up in there with my laptop getting some work done and drinking pints of coke. Anyway, I eat food there sometimes too and I was pleased to see they've got a HUGE gluten free menu. Here's some bits I've tried out so far... (on separate occasions, I promise)

Gluten free buttermilk fried chicken (£9.95)

This was the first offering I tried from the specifically gluten free menu. A pretty bog standard meal, and I've had their regular buttermilk fried chicken before I started cutting out gluten. And honestly, this is basically the exact same.


The crumb on the chicken tastes absolutely no different and from what I remember, the texture is similar too. The piece of chicken you get is HUGE and it comes with fries (their fries are so nice) as well as coleslaw and chipotle mayo.

Absolutely 10/10 would recommend, especially if you're a fussy eater like me!

Gluten free sausage butty (£4.95)

I came for breakfast recently, and treated myself to a sausage butty. It comes on a gluten free seeded brown roll, which I'm not a massive fan of. I prefer white bread, as it goes, and this just didn't hit the spot for me. It wasn't awful, but it definitely isn't the best thing on the menu. I opted for a side of hash browns (£1.10 for two) and some BBQ sauce.


I'd give this a 6.5/10 personally. If you like brown bread, you'll probably enjoy it a lot more and it is a really easy meal to have!

Gluten free halloumi burger (£9.50)

I'm not a massive burger person but I've recently got into halloumi and decided to give this a go. You get a brown seeded roll (see above) but it works a bit better with this because there's so many other flavours. The halloumi has a lovely crumb, and the burger also has hummus, roasted red peppers, chilli jam and salad on it. I didn't have the chilli jam and I took the tomato/red onions off, but the burger was honestly delicious. It comes with chips and coleslaw and it's a really decent amount of food for a tenner!

Sorry for the shite photo it's dead dark in there
most of the time but especially at night!

Giving this one a 9/10, just because it was really messy to eat. SO nice though!

I'll absolutely endeavour to update this post as I try more items from the Marino Lounge gluten free menu; they have locations across the country, and I'd definitely recommend for a mid-priced gluten free meal.


For my thoughts on the gluten free menu at Casa Italia, CLICK HERE

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Hotel Riviera, Santa Susanna | my experience

If you know me or follow my blog, you'll probably know I don't really do relaxing all-inclusive holidays. Nothing against them, obviously, I'm just more of a city break girl. And I book everything myself. But when my friend suggested we go on a trip together and spend some time just doing nothing I thought yeah, why not - then I went on Holiday Pirates and booked a week at the Hotel Riviera, Santa Susanna. Here's everything about my experience...

Booking the trip


Like I said, we booked through Holiday Pirates who are part of Love Holidays. The holiday cost £720 for the two of us - flights, transfers, 1 20kg suitcase, and one week in a premium room on an all-inclusive basis. That's £360 per person, and we paid a £50 deposit each on the day. We paid the remaining cost of the holiday over the next 4 months - it was SO easy! I would highly recommend booking with Holiday Pirates as they find some great deals without you having to do any legwork.

Hotel Riviera - first impressions


During our transfer which was, to be fair, not the best (it just took so long and the driver was pretty rude) I decided to re-read the Trip Advisor reviews for the hotel. Obviously there was nothing we could have done at this point, but I had time to kill and I think I wanted to find out something about food times or whatever. Anyway, some of the reviews from the previous few weeks were awful. I'm not going to re-write them here but you can click the link and read them if you feel so inclined, just know that they're wrong and I honestly think these people stayed in a different hotel to me.

One side of Hotel Riviera
We arrived and checked in, which was easy, and had to pay the tourist tax upon arrival which I'd kind of forgotten was a thing - just worth remembering, or checking if it's included in your booking etc. You also have to pay a €10 deposit for your all-inclusive wrist band; if you hand it back by midday on your last day you get the money back, and if you continue to use it past midday you don't, but you also continue getting free food & drink so it's up to you!

Our room was on the 6th floor, and there's a glass lift overlooking the pool that goes up there. There are normal lifts too, but they don't service every floor. There are toilets on the ground floor as well as the gym and spa - both are really basic - and pool tables, air hockey, plenty of seating both indoor and out, and the bar area.

Everything looked really clean, and while the reception staff weren't the most joyful people I've ever met, they certainly weren't rude either.

Hotel Riviera - the rooms


We were in a premium room, as I mentioned, on the 6th floor. You walked in and there was a bathroom on the left - really clean, decorated in white and grey with those fancy tiles, a huge sink unit, toilet and massive shower. Like, one of the biggest showers I've ever seen. The bathroom door definitely wasn't see-through either, which I'd read about on Trip Advisor. Honestly...

Cute artwork in the room
More of the room!
There was a desk area with a mini fridge underneath (empty and free to use) and TV above, a big wardrobe with plenty of hanging and shelf space, two single beds with COMFY mattresses and a little bedside table area on each side. We also had a balcony with a table and two chairs which overlooked the side of another hotel - not the best view but it didn't matter to us!

The room wasn't massive but it definitely wasn't small; it had everything we needed and more, was cleaned daily and didn't smell funny. I was made up!

Hotel Riviera - food and drink


We were all inclusive which meant breakfast between 8 and 10, lunch between 1 and 3, and dinner between 7 and 10. It also meant drinks between 11 and 11 - as many as you wanted and contrary to one Trip Advisor review you could order multiple drinks at once, like you can in every other hotel I've ever been to...

The food was basic but fine. At breakfast there was bread, pastries, pancakes, cold meats, cheese - everything you'd expect, and that typical hotel orange juice too. One morning there was chicken nuggets which was unexpected but fantastic. Lunch and dinner were similar to each other: always a salad bar (with chocolate buttons????), chips, plenty of meat/pasta/veg/fish/bread and also a selection of puddings.

Vodka-Fanta Lemon by the pool
Drinks at the bar - beer, sangria, various cocktails (quite weak) or local spirits and mixer. They did all the normal fizzy drinks, as well as slush and milkshakes, with water available too. There's also all sorts of coffee on offer!

My overall thoughts


Honestly, I had the best time at Hotel Riviera, Santa Susanna. It's a quite, family-friendly hotel within easy reach of an English pub, various bars, shisha, supermarkets, a pharmacy, market stalls and the beach. The staff are lovely - special shoutouts to Miguel from the restaurant, who knew our drinks order by the second day, and Isabelle and Manolo who ran the bar of an evening. For £360 per person for a week's holiday, and that's everything, I think we really got lucky! If you're looking for a budget Costa Brava break, I'd recommend Hotel Riviera every time.

Sunrise on our balcony
So that's what I ended up with when I booked my first ever all inclusive holiday. I was pleasantly surprised and I'd definitely go back! Cheers to Holiday Pirates for finding banging bargains all the time and that x


To see my favourite holiday outfits, CLICK HERE

Friday, 11 October 2019

Eight recent reads | oct19

I'm back with another recent reads post and this one is long. Having recently been on holiday, I've read SO much lately - which is never a bad thing! I'll just crack on with it, though, so here's EIGHT recent reads...

First up this month is Girl Unknown by Karen Perry. I loved this - such a tense storyline and I really didn't see the twist coming. It's about a university lecturer who finds out about a daughter he was previously unaware of, and how she slots into their family. Would recommend! BUY HERE

I finally read Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan after having it on my bookshelf for around six years. I didn't hate it but I also didn't exactly *get* it, and I love YA so it's not that. I just found it really odd - maybe too far fetched? I'm just not sure what to say about it! It follows two young lads, both called Will Grayson, and details how their lives intertwine. There's also a big musical at the end. BUY HERE

I picked up another Karen Perry book, Can You Keep a Secret?, which I enjoyed - not as much as Girl Unknown, but it is a really interesting storyline and I liked the way it was written. The story is about a woman who goes back to a big house that her childhood best friend lived at, for one last hurrah before the house is sold. Needless to say, everything goes a bit skewiff. BUY HERE

I found Second Glance by Jodi Picoult at a 20p book stall which sees to pop up in my local shopping precinct every month or so. May I continue to reiterate that this is a FANTASTIC way to stock up your bookshelves if you're a fast reader! Anyway, this book was beautiful. Almost poetic in style, it's about a tiny town in Vermont where all this unexplained stuff is happening, and about a guy who is still trying to get over losing the love of his life. It is truly one of her best books and I would highly recommend it! BUY HERE


The Missing by C L Taylor was my next read; I really enjoyed this one, except for the proofreading errors. The story and writing were great, though - it's about a woman who's son has gone missing, and they're six months down the line still trying to figure out what happened and how to heal. Definitely read if you're into your psychological thrillers. BUY HERE

Next up I read Try Not To Breathe by Holly Seddon which was fantastic - SO clever. It's from two POVs: an alcoholic journalist, and a coma patient who survived a brutal attack. Their lives come to overlap, and it's just brilliantly written. I did guess the twist, but only just! Would really recommend this one, I loved it. BUY HERE

I then read Into The Water by Paula Hawkins - and truthfully I found it a bit meh. I've never read Girl on the Train, but it's so revered that I expected this book to be incredible. And it was just okay, really. It's about a woman who's sister is writing about women who have died in this drowning pool in the village where she lives, and then she (the writer) dies there herself so the sister has to come and sort everything out. It's alright, but I wouldn't say it's a must-read! BUY HERE

Last but not least, another YA book - Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Bloody hell that book is just gorgeous. Set in the 80s, it's a double POV story about a boy and a girl who meet on their school bus. It's so overwhelmingly lovely and heartbreaking and raw, and I really do think this is one everyone should read. BUY HERE

So that's everything I've read recently - I'm getting ever closer to having read 50 books in 2019, which you can follow along with on Twitter if you're interested...

For more book reviews, CLICK HERE