Saturday, 13 February 2021

Places I'd (probably) never travel to again

I miss writing travel content and seeing as nobody's allowed to travel at the moment I thought I would reach into my memories and talk about some places I've been that I probably won't go to again, for whatever reason. No offence if you live in any of these places or they're your fave holiday destination, but they just weren't really ... for me. You know?

Vienna


I planned to fall in love with Vienna but honestly, I didn't like it at all. It reminded me of London but way less friendly - so busy and full of people, dirty and graffitied and just a bit weird. Also, SO expensive. There are hardly any affordable bars in the city centre, and even those further out can be pretty pricey when you just want a pint and to rest your feet after a day of sightseeing. What I will say about Vienna is that there is a LOT to see and do, so you do need a fair few days there if you want to see it all. I just didn't enjoy my experience in Vienna; I'm sure some people love it, but it was just *a lot* for me.


Dominican Republic


Not to sound like a brat, of course. But the Caribbean just really isn't for me - with my fair skin, I ended up getting severely sunburnt on the first day and spending three days in the room with the air-con on, applying yoghurt to my shoulder every hour or so. You can imagine how bad that smelt. As beautiful as the Dominican Republic is with its white sand and glorious blue water, I felt quite restrained; I love exploring, but you can't really leave the resorts except on (expensive) organised tours so it really was just a pool and beach holiday. There's nothing wrong with that, obviously, I just prefer city breaks!

Barcelona


I like Barcelona, it's just too busy for me - I've been three times, each for the day, and I am always astounded by the sheer amount of people. It never feels safe, and I also think I've probably seen everything I want to see there now! It's a nice city and I can see why many people do love it, but I'll pass... You can read about my last trip to Barcelona HERE.

New York City


I know, I know. But again it's SO expensive, a lot of tiring travel, and another extremely busy place. I never thought I was remotely claustrophobic until I went to NYC, looked up and couldn't see the sky because the buildings are so tall. It's a fast-paced city whereas I prefer something much more laid-back, and honestly I preferred Boston much more. I mean, I wouldn't say *no* to an all expenses paid trip to New York that didn't involve any of the main tourist-y things, but I wouldn't book one myself!


Is there anywhere that you definitely wouldn't go back to? Let me know where and why! 

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

My favourite travel themed books

Two of my favourite hobbies are reading and travelling, and while we can't do the latter right now I've been trying to escape by reading more. I'm really busy with work/life right now so not currently reading *as much* as I'd like to be, but I wanted to share some of my favourite travel themed books that are perfect for a bit of escapism right now!

Two Steps Forward


Two Steps Forward, by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist, is a dual narrative about two characters who are walking the Camino de Santiago. This is a really long pilgrimage route through Spain, ending at the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. The story is beautifully told in a way that makes you feel as though you're doing this mammoth walk too. With stunning descriptions, plenty of humour and a bit of heartache, it makes for the perfect travel themed book!

Messy, Wonderful Us

 
I love Catherine Isaac as an author, and Messy, Wonderful Us is easily one of my favourite travel themed books. It follows Allie to Lake Garda with her best friend Ed, trying to unravel some family secrets that might be best kept hidden. Italy is a beautiful country and you get such a lovely sense of it in this novel, plus the plot is fantastic. A high recommendation from me! P.S how nice is that cover?!


The Holiday


T. M. Logan is a thriller write, but The Holiday is also one of my favourite travel themed books. As the name suggests it centres around a holiday - three families in a villa in Provence, what could go wrong? A lot, apparently - love affairs, stroppy teenagers and murder... If you love thrillers with a bit of travel thrown in, I'd highly recommend this one.

Starry Eyes


I couldn't not include a YA book in this round up, and I loved Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett. It follows Zorie and her friends (and her sworn enemy) to the wilderness for a weekend of camping that predictably goes wrong. It's such a fun story, with a boss enemies-to-lovers plot and lovely descriptions of the North Californian mountains. If you love YA and want something travel themed, try this.


Love Your Life


Sophie Kinsella is a god among humans when it comes to writing, and Love Your Life is one of my favourites of her's. Ava heads to Italy for a writing retreat where she falls in love at first sight, and the romance unfolds both at the retreat and when they're back home. There's plenty of ups and downs, a lot of humour, some sadness and some really poignant moments. Jumping off rocks on the Italian coast? Yes please!

Do you have any favourite travel themed books? These are five of mine that are perfect for escaping to somewhere new while we're all stuck at home. Let me know if you've read any of these! I have included Waterstones links to the books in this post, but if you prefer to shop through Amazon click here.



Thursday, 28 January 2021

Coming soon on Disney+ | February 2021

My Disney+ subscription was one of my best 2020 purchases and I'm still loving it in 2021. I can't see myself getting rid of it any time soon! Disney+ have just announced Star, a new tile for the app filled with films, TV shows and original content. Here's what you need to know...

What is Star on Disney+?


Star is the sixth tile on your Disney+ home page: the five current tiles are Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. Star will sit alongside these and give you access to a range of titles from Disney Television Studios, 20th Century Studios, 20th Television, ABC, Searchlight Pictures and more as well as some upcoming Star on Disney+ originals.


Do I have to pay extra for Star on Disney+?


No, this is part of your current subscription. New customers get £10 cashback on Disney+ annual subscriptions through Top Cashback. If you aren't already signed up to Top Cashback, WHY NOT? Sign up HERE and start getting freeeeee money.

When does Disney+ Star launch?


The new content drops on February 23rd in the UK and Ireland. You won't need to do anything to activate it - it'll just be there!

What's coming soon on Disney+ with Star?


I'm not going to list everything they're planning to add in this content drop, but I am going to tell you the ones I'm most excited about. We'd be here all day otherwise... You can find a full list here, if you want to though!

Tv shows on Star


American Dad
Bones
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Family Guy
Modern Family
Scrubs

Films on Star


Adam
The Fault in Our Stars (don't judge me!)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Ruby Sparks
The Secret Life of Bees
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 
Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet


There's loads more, and Star on Disney+ will have original content too - apparently there is going to be new shows and films added weekly, but this is what I'm most excited about in the first drop.

If you haven't got Disney+, why not?! There's sooooo much good stuff on there and it is fast becoming my favourite streaming service out there.

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

My Etsy candle favourites 2021

I am LOVING writing homeware content, and I'm just obsessed with scouring Etsy for inspiration. Today's post is a round up of my favourite candles from independent small businesses over there - all of these are so cute and would just look adorable in my future home. 


First up is this birthday cake scented candle COMPLETE WITH SPRINKLES! I love the bright colours and the quirkiness of it - imagining this in the kitchen because baking scents are perfect for kitchens, right? I love the simplicity of the packaging, too! Unfortunately this is from the US so with postage it costs around £30 but I'll be on the hunt for something similar in the UK.

Next are these David sculpture candles. I love history, and this is based on the statue of David by Michelangelo. It comes in different (neutral) colours and you can get it scented or unscented depending on your vibe. Thinking this would be a cool office candle, no? It comes all the way from Ukraine but even with postage will only set you back around £15.

Speaking of sculptures, these nude body form candles are all the rage lately aren't they? This one has gold flecks in which I love and I think it would look stunning in a bathroom! You can choose sooooo many scents (including Alien and Snow Fairy!) and frankly I'm just obsessed. £10.70 with postage, too, which is decent in my eyes!

I love these simple shell-shaped pastel candles, again perfect for a bathroom. They're £6 each and come in pink, white or blue - I just think they'd make such a cute addition to a windowsill or shelf. The shop does a variety of other shapes, too.


Next is this twisted bright pink candle - not sure you'd ever burn it, because it's so funky, but again I'm feeling this in the kitchen for some reason? They do it in yellow, white and green, too. I just think this is such a unique shape for a candle and it looks so cool. They're £28.95 each including delivery which is pretty expensive, but they're cool nonetheless. 

Obsessed with this tiny cloud candle that has a bit of glitter in it too. So cute! They're a tenner with postage so again not the most affordable, but so lovely. Little bedroom candle, I reckon. Adorable.

I adore Le Bon Candles, a brand I found on Instagram - their Etsy store is full of gorgeous, interesting candles including these wavy candles. They do a lilac wavy one and you can choose from a few different scents, too. Just an all round lovely small candle business that I would highly recommend! These wavy ones are £11.50 each plus postage and in my eyes, worth every penny.

Last but not least is another jar candle - this is a crystal candle with actual gems in it. I LOVE the look of these and just think this would look so nice in a living room or maybe the hallway. These are so visually interesting and I've seen a few businesses offer similar candles - big thumbs up from me. Again this is from the US so postage doubles the cost of the candle but there are definitely UK sellers offering similar!

If you know of any small businesses on Etsy or otherwise offering unique and funky candles please let me know - I'm making a list...

Sunday, 24 January 2021

Beauty empties: Jan 2021

Some of my favourite posts to write are beauty empty posts - a round up of beauty products I've used until they're completely empty, alongside quickfire reviews. Would I repurchase this lot? Read on to find out...

Products with a * denote PR samples.

Skin Therapy Epsom Salts


I bloody love epsom salts in a bath - I'm not entirely convinced they really *do* much, but it feels luxurious, right? These are Wilkos own brand and I'm pretty sure it cost me less than two quid for a  kilogram of the stuff. I'd definitely repurchase them if I was in there!

PS... H2OHH! Micellar Wipes


I know, I know, face wipes. But we're in a pandemic and sometimes I just can't be bothered going downstairs to the bathroom just to take off my mascara and brows before I do my toner, moisturiser etc. I really should but sometimes I just don't want to. These are okay - I prefer the other Primark wipes in the white and green pack (the PS... Naturals wipes) but these are my second choice and I do repurchase them if the others are out of stock. They're biodegradable, too.

Schwarzkopf Beology Deep Sea Extract Smoothing bi-serum


I bought this in Poland or Latvia a few years ago and it's taken me that long to get through it - I don't even know if you can buy it any more, at least in England, but I wouldn't bother as it's just a bit 'meh'. Smells nice but I didn't see much noticeable difference with my hair! More info here.


John Frieda Frizz Ease*


The original and the best, right? I've already repurchased this as I really did see a difference in the amount of frizz when I was using this. Plus it smells lovely and you can pick it up in the supermarket on offer a lot of the time! Whack it into soaking wet hair and it really does the trick. Love it. Buy it here.

Revolution Conceal & Hydrate Foundation


I love this foundation - it's less than a tenner, has great coverage, comes in loads of shades and doesn't irritate my sensitive skin. You do need a bit of powder with it, but overall it's just a cracking product. I'll definitely pick it up again when I'm in need of a new foundation! Buy it here.

Tropic Pure Lagoon Blemish Prevention Serum*


You'll probably have seen a lot of Tropic products on my blog, and this serum is brilliant. It does a great job at reducing redness and taking the anger out of spots/blemishes - plus it smells nice, isn't drying and just feels lovely on the skin. Pricey, but worth it I reckon. I already have a back up of this, too. Buy it here.


Vichy Normaderm 24h Hydration*


This is a great moisturiser, especially if you've got blemish-prone skin. It smells amazing and doesn't leave the skin feeling greasy whatsoever; it sinks in fast, reduces redness and makes for a great base for make-up. This is the second time I've had this and I genuinely think it's a fantastic daily moisturiser! Buy it here.

Bath & Body Works I'm Really a Mermaid cleansing hand gel


Obviously we're all still going through a lot of hand sanitiser, and I love the Bath & Body Works' ones for a great scent. This one smells fresh and lovely, a bit like aftershave, and has just been a really handy (get it?) product to have around during the pandemic.

So there's 8 products I've used up recently and what I thought of them - mostly great, to be fair! Let me know your current favourite beauty bits in the comments below...