Thursday, 20 June 2019

Is an £85 primer worth the money? Avant Pro Perfecting Collagen Touche Eclat Primer

Until recently, I was a Glossybox subscriber - I recently cancelled my subscription as I found the boxes to be a bit same-y and just not worth it for me. I think beauty subscription boxes are a great idea, and I've discovered some great products through using Glossybox, but it's time to try something new. Regardless, in my most recent Glossybox I received the Avant Pro Perfecting Collagen Touche Eclat Primer which is a ridiculously long name for a primer. Here's my thoughts...

Avant Pro Perfecting Collagen Touche Eclat Primer - the lowdown

This retails for £85 - it's 30ml full sized, and the packaging of product looks like a glass bottle with a pump from what I can see on their website. I got a full sized 30ml sample, but it was just in a squeezy tube. Packaging isn't a massive deal for me, and I was looking forward to trying this out. It's marketed as 'silky and lightweight' and claims to hydrate, matify, soften, nourish and protect the skin while improving texture. As you can imagine, with the high price tag and the lengthy claims, I had high hopes for this stuff!

tube of primer on a blanket with a small unicorn toy

Avant Pro Perfecting Collagen Touche Eclat Primer - my experience

I've used this around 3 or 4 times now and I have to say, I'm really not impressed. It feels like your bog standard moisturiser, rather than an actual primer - it doesn't go tacky, nor does it have that matte/silicone kind of feel to it. It doesn't seem to have much of a scent to it, and the tube dispenses the product easily. My make up applied absolutely fine on top of it but within a couple of hours it looked AWFUL each time. The first time I wore it was for a bar shift, which can get a bit hot and sweaty, so I put it down to that. However, I've used it a few more times with similar results - my make up just doesn't stay on my face, and genuinely looks worse than the days when I forget about primer altogether!

If I'd paid £85 for this, I'd be fuming. As it is, I'm a bit miffed but I'm going to pass it on to my mum to see how she gets on with it. For reference I have quite dry skin, so maybe if your skin is oily you'll get on with it a bit better - though I personally don't think it's worth trying with the £85 price tag...

Have you tried anything from Avant? Let me know!

For a super-old blog post about primers, CLICK HERE

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Visiting Gdańsk | my top tips

I recently went to Gdańsk in Poland for a 5 day trip, and I loved it - you can read my travel diary series to see what I got up to, but I wanted to briefly compile a list of my top tips in case you're planning on visiting and want to make the most of your trip!

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Getting to Gdańsk

I flew to Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport with Wizz Air, a Polish airline, from Liverpool; Ryanair also fly to Gdańsk from the UK, and there are various other airlines flying to Gdańsk from different counties such as KLM, Norwegian and more.

We landed on a Sunday night, so we opted to get a taxi from the airport to our apartment. There's a taxi rank outside the arrivals hall and we got in a Neptune taxi which cost us around 80zloty (approx £16) for the 25 minute (ish) journey. If you're arriving during the day, there's a bus that goes directly from the airport to the city centre (the 210 bus) as well as a dedicated airport shuttle bus which takes a bit less time but is a bit more expensive than the regular city bus.

a row of coloured buildings against a cloudy blue sky

When you're in the city

A lot of these tips are quite random and might not make total sense until you're actually in Gdańsk, but if you are planning a trip there then do bear them in mind...

The bridge across the main waterway (the Wartka Bridge) goes up and down every half an hour; it lifts on the hour, giving boats the chance to get through, and then comes back down for pedestrian access on the half hour mark. There is a timetable at either end of the bridge but we just didn't notice it, as it's quite easy to miss. We were staying on the far side, and it's also where the Amber Sky big wheel and the big GDAŃSK sign are as well as the SS Sołdek and other branches of the Maritime Museum (see more here). Chances are you'll need or want to cross the bridge at some point, so it helps to get your timing right!

There are public toilets in abundance, and they cost 2zloty to get into - the attendant will likely have change, but it helps to carry some too.

Wednesday seems to be the day that all the cruise ships dock in Gdynia, which is around 45 minutes away, and a LOT of the passengers will make the short trip to Gdańsk. It was definitely the busiest day of our trip in terms of the volume of people around us, and we were there Monday through Friday.

big wheel and some buildings on the waterfront in Gdansk with some trees and a grey sky

You can leave your suitcase in lockers at the train station as well as the left-luggage office; we opted for the lockers, and a 'big locker' cost us 14zloty - this fit two cabin suitcases in as well as my neck pillow and book (I didn't want to lug them around all day) with plenty of room to spare. You can leave your bags in the locker for 24 hours and it works out cheaper, I think, than paying per-piece at the attended luggage room.

Tram ticket machines are really confusing, just opt for a 'single journey' or 'return journey' ticket rather than trying to faff around choosing your actual tram stop, and you'll be fine. Remember to validate the ticket when you get on!

iTaxi is a really handy app if you need to a book a taxi to get you from A to B while you're in the city itself - I always use it in Poland and you can pay by cash or card.

There are several day trips you can do from Gdańsk, such as Westerplatte and Sopot - don't be fooled into spending all your time in the pretty city, because there's plenty to do if you hop on a train, bus or boat!

In terms of basic tips for visiting Gdańsk, I think that's everything! It's an incredible city with wonderful people and a fascinating cultural history. If you are planning on visiting, check out this post to find the best restaurants in Gdańsk.

To learn about recovering money on cancelled holidays, CLICK HERE

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Five recent reads | june19

Time for another 'five recent reads' post - five quickfire book reviews featuring the books I've read recently which is entirely self-explanatory but I thought I'd explain it anyway. It's been a while since I post my last recent reads post because two of the books in this post are *big* so it took me a little bit longer than normal to read 5 books...

Firstly, Truth Will Out by A D Garrett, which I loved - it's about a university lecturer who's wife and daughter were abducted, and year's later a similar case is happening that he gets dragged into because he lectures in forensics and he's mates with some police officers. It's actually part of a series and I've never read the others, but I loved this and definitely want to read more from Garrett! click here to buy

Next up is Tick Tock* by Mel Sherratt which is the second in a series, following Hush Hush which I read last year and featured here. I mentioned that I found that one a bit 'meh' and while I did like the storyline of Tick Tock, I spotted a LOT of editing/proofreading mistakes which just really put me off. This one was sent to me by the publishers but there's nothing to suggest that it's a proof copy, and it wasn't sent pre-release so it seems like the mistakes are in the sold copies which just stresses me out. But if you can look past that, it's an alright read. click here to buy

two books, some pens, some earphones and a lipstick on a blanket

The Furies* by Katie Lowe was my next read and oh, my god. Never has there been such a cool, clever and twisted book written so perfectly - if you're into witches and teen drama that isn't even trashy, and like your books to be peppered with history/myths/etc, you will absolutely LOVE this and I can't recommend it to you enough! Just so bloody wonderful. click here to buy

The next book I read was The July Girls* by Phoebe Locke; it follows the story of Addie, growing up in London just after the 7/7 bombings - I liked that it was set in the UK, recently, because the references to actual real life events peppered throughout gave it such a realistic edge. Anyway, it's Addie's story about London and growing up in a dysfunctional family and these murders that take place on this one day in July, every year. It's SO good and twisty and wonderful, definitely read it when it comes out!

My final recent read was The Shock of The Fall by Nathan Filer, an incredible book amount mental illness. It's told in first person from the perspective of Matt, who has schizophrenia and spends his time between a little flat and a day unit in Bristol. He tells his life story, about the death of his older brother and the way things go downhill for him after that. But it's beautiful and uplifting, and shows a real side to mental illness that a lot of books fall short with. click here to buy

As always, leave me some book recommendations below!

For some more recent reads, CLICK HERE

Friday, 14 June 2019

Bundobust, Liverpool | review

Bold Street in Liverpool is home to some amazing food, and there's new eateries popping up all the time. One of the latest additions to Bold Street is the all-veggie Indian street food venue, Bundobust. I popped along to their press lunch to see what all the fuss was about...

A little bit about Bundobust

Bundobust currently have three stores: Leeds, Manchester and most recently Liverpool. The Leeds store was the first to open, back in 2014, 'inspired by the vibrant and varied street foods of India' - the dishes have their own modern twist, and there's plenty of craft beers to choose from to go alongside each item on the menu. Bundobust's menu is entirely vegetarian, and they offer many vegan options too.

Bundobust, Liverpool

I was lucky enough to be invited to the press lunch ahead of the Liverpool store opening, and I was treated to the most glorious food ever. I had the onion, broccoli and kale bhajis (£4.50, served with a tamarind & red pepper chutney) as well as the vada pav which is basically deep friend mashed potato in a burger with both red and green chutney, which will set you back £5.50 and make you fall in love. To drink I had a chai spiced cider, which was a bit sharp for me but still tasty. Honestly, I'm not good with spicy food but I really enjoyed everything I had for lunch - so flavoursome and perfectly cooked, and I'm still dreaming of the vada pav...

I also took home the paneer kadai, which is paneer cheese cooked with cinnamon, fenugreek, red pepper and tomato sauce served alongside bhatura which is a really soft bread. The curry was spicy but not too spicy and the paneer made a really good alternative to chicken. I'd brought it home and just microwaved it for a minute before tucking in, and it was perfect!

I'd really recommend Bundobust if you're looking for somewhere veggie - whether you are a vegetarian or whether you're just looking to substitute meat every so often. You don't need to compromise on taste to skip out on meat, and Bundobust is proof of that plus it's really affordable. With millennial pink walls and friendly staff, it's a winner for me. Liverpool's Bundobust is actually the only store of there three which is fully accessible, too - obviously this is good for the people of Liverpool, but it's a bit shit that the other two aren't accessible for everyone and that's the only downside I've found with Bundobust.

Have you been to Bundobust? Let me know your thoughts down below!

For where to visit on Hope St in Liverpool, CLICK HERE

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Gdańsk museums | the lowdown

When I go on holiday, I absolutely love to cram in as much as possible - especially when it comes to museums because I love learning. Gdańsk does not disappoint in terms of the amount of museums it has to offer and when the Gdańsk tourist board offered to provide me a sightseeing pass for my recent trip, I knew it would come in handy. So for full disclosure, some of my museum trips were 'free' in exchange for promotion of the city card which I talked about over on Instagram and also in day 2 of my Gdańsk travel diary series. City cards and tourist passes are a brilliant way to see any city when you're travelling on a budget but know you want to get a lot done! Find out more HERE.

collage of 3 images from the gdansk archaeology museum: 2x sudanese patterns and some amber

The first museum we visited was the archaeology museum which starts off with a small exhibition about Sudan (I'm not sure why) and then goes on to Polish archaeology - particularly Pomeranian archaeology; there's a whole room of amber, some of which has fossilised bugs in it, and loads of urns, and plenty of information about tribes and paleopathology and how Polish people used to live way back when. It's a great museum and costs HERE to get into, though it's free with the sightseeing pass.

collage of 4 photos from the gdansk maritime museum: me giving a thumbs up in front of some buttons, 2 images from the deck of the Soldek, stop wheel

Our next stop was the maritime museum, which spans a few different buildings and sites; it was around 2.30pm when we got there and the woman on reception told us we were too late to see the whole museum and had to pick one (1) area of it. We opted for the Soldek, a now-disused boat that sits on the waterfront in Gdańsk, and you can go inside and downstairs and all the way around it, into the engine room and up on deck. You get to see cabins and the crew kitchen and all sorts, and it was really interesting. It costs HERE to visit the Soldek, or you can get in for free with the Gdańsk sightseeing pass.

collage of 4 images: ww2 museum in gdansk, TERROR sign, my hand on a screen showing an open book, old Polish street

On the same day we finished off with the museum of the Second World War which is absolutely - and I can't stress this enough - massive. It has mock ups of old Polish streets, there are cars and tanks and weapons, books, decorations and endless photographs. I know a lot about WW2 as it is, but this museum definitely taught me some new things which is brilliant. It will take you ages to get through it all but it's so interesting and informative with loads of interactive parts. It's free on Tuesdays, which is when we happened to go, and free if you have the sightseeing pass; otherwise it's 23zloty.

a sign saying BASTION in front of some trees

I'm not sure if you can quite count our visit to Westerplatte as a museum, but it kind of is - a big, DIY, outdoor museum that's completely free to walk around. There are different areas and things to see, like a guard tower and a few ammunition factories and defence barracks each with information boards. There's also some bigger info boards that talk you through the entire history of Westerplatte. If you're interested in history and the war, I can't recommend it enough. Find out more about getting to Westerplatte via pirate ship here; there's buses that go there, too, or you can get an Uber.

two images: a signed football, and a sheffield wednesday shirt alongside a newspaper clipping and framed image of the team

On the last day of our trip we went to the Lechia Gdańsk Museum at the Energa Stadion; it is pretty much entirely in Polish, so it was mostly just looking at trophies and old kits and various balls etc - but it was interesting nonetheless and it only costs 5zloty to enter so it's worth a look around if you make it all the way to the stadium to find out there's no tours running that day. Ahem.

collage: my hand holding the audioguide, Lech Walesa's ID card, the pope mobile and some flags hanging from the ceiling

Last but not least, we visited the European Solidarity Centre which is hands down one of the best museums I've ever been to; I didn't know much about the Solidarity (or Solidarność) movement beforehand but left with so much knowledge and genuinely feeling so inspired. You pay 20zloty to get in (there's a discount with the sightseeing pass) which gives you a little headset and audio guide - you get taken around the museum by this guy talking in your ears, telling you to look left or right and explaining what's there, then he says things like "I'll let you explore this area in your own time, and I'll meet you next to the posters on the right hand side when you're done". I loved it, and we only went on a whim because we had time to spare but if you are coming to Gdańsk, put this one on your list as it's well worth it!

So there's the museums we visited in Gdańsk - they were all great in their own way, and there's SO many more museums that we didn't even get around to. Have a look into the sightseeing pass if you think it'll be worth your while, too!

For the museums in Brussels, CLICK HERE