USA Haul – Beauty Bits

Ah, America, home of outlet malls and amazing brands you can only dream of getting in the UK! I couldn’t resist splurging on a few things while I was holiday in Orlando, and I couldn’t resist even more sharing them all with you.

First stop was Sephora (surprise, surprise!) and I actually took two trips there. I stocked up on a few essentials, like their skin care line, their own brand makeup brushes and beauty tools, and a few high end goodies.

Sephora have a huge selection of makeup brushes, I was in awe when trying to pick the ones I wanted. Eventually I ended up with the ‘Sephora Pro Blending Brush Large 27’ and the ‘Sephora Crease Shadow Brush 73’. I also picked up a Beauty Blender. Although I’m a devotee to my Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, I’ve heard good things about the Beauty Blender so I thought I’d give it a try seeing as it was a little bit cheaper in the US.

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I recently hit pan on my NARS Laguna Bronzer, and when I went to re-stock, so I decided to buy the NARS Blush/Bronzer Duo in Orgasm and Laguna for the best of both. Sephora has the worst thing for when your queuing… the sample sized section! I threw the Benefit Roller Lash and the Origins Clear Improvements Active Charcoal Mask into my basket at the last moment. They are both really great products that I’d love to buy again in full size.

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I wanted to invest in a new eyeshadow palette. I picked up the Tarte 2 In Bloom.. Which actually smells delicious! This is the first (of many) Tarte products I’ve tried and I’m falling in love with the brand. The neutral palette has a mix of matte and shimmer shades, and is part of their Amazonian Clay Range. My favourite colours have to be Smarty Pants, Rocker, and Funny Girl.

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This next product I totally didn’t just buy it for it’s name… The BECCA ‘Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured’ in ‘Moonstone’. It is a super compact cream highlighter that blend so smoothly into your skin. It is quite subtle, but you can layer it up for a more intense effect. It’s quickly become part of my everyday makeup.

What are your Sephora favs? And what should I definitely pick up next time I’m across the pond?

Thanks for reading! X

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Toronto Blog

It’s been a few weeks since returning from the True North and I’m missing it so much! I thought I’d write up a little recap of what I got up to when I was exploring Toronto and the Niagara Region with my sisters!

 

Niagara Falls 

This was one of my many visits to Niagara Falls in my life. We had a wonder down by the falls and then went for a wonder up and around Clifton Hill. We stopped by Hershey World for a look around as well.

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My Sister was lucky enough to be working at this music festival doing photography so we got to tag along and help out. It was an amazing experience and we saw some brilliant bands like The Wombats (flash back to 2009!), Daughter, and The Cure.

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Food

Oh my how I missed the food! I may not have been the healthiest, but I was only there for a week, can you blame me? Timmies was first on my list for a food pit stop, and ice caps and the maple dip donut are my new favourites. We took a trip to Fran’s Diner, and had the most amazing diner experience! I would highly recommend the chilli!

To top everything off we went round the corner to Dutch Dreams… A family run ice cream parlour who go above and beyond your average ice cream cone. I had mint choc chip and mango ice cream and said yes to the ‘free toppings’ = cotton candy and lots of fruit!

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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis 

I have to be completely honest and say that Macklemore is the best performer I’ve ever seen live, it’s not just his music, but his personality comes out so well during the show. I had the best night down at Echo Beach- which is also a really cool venue, right on the lake front with sand by the stage- singing my heart out (and trying to rap…) to Downtown and Thrift Shop!

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Take me out to the ball game…! 

We got last minute tickets to see the Blue Jays play against Philly at the Rogers Centre. We won by a whopping 3-11! The atmosphere was crazy. It’s a must do when visiting Toronto!

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Toronto Islands 

On one of the nicest days we took a trip over Lake Ontario to Wards Islands (the Eastern End of the Centre Island). We had a little swim in the lake and had a wonder around seeing all the cute houses. You get the most amazing view of the Toronto skyline at the island as well as on the ferry.

 

Thanks for reading! XSignature

 

Prague April 2016

As mentioned in a previous post, my family and I jetted off to Prague for 4 days at the beginning of April. I was so excited to get away, have a change of scenery, and immerse myself in a new culture.

We have a family friend who lives in Prague, and having your own personal tour guide who speaks the language was unbelievably handy!

Prague is such a big city, and there is so much to do and see, it’s impossible to cover everything in three days!

The Flight 

We flew with Easy Jet from Edinburgh early Monday morning and arrived in Prague at around noon that day. The flight was so quick (around 2 hours).

The Hotel

We stayed at The Three Crowns Hotel. It was recomended by our friend, and it didn’t disappoint. The staff were so friendly and welcoming. The rooms were modern and comfortable, with a gorgeous bathroom with the most amazing open waterfall shower. Location wise it was close to a tram stop which was a few stops away from the main part of the city centre.

Day 1 – Monday 

Since we only had a few days, time was quite limited, so we headed out to explore as soon as we dropped our bags off at the hotel. We jumped onto a tram/street car, and headed to Wenceslas Square where all the main shops are restaurants are. We nipped into a local restaurant for a bite to eat then we went on to Old Town Square to see the famous Astronomical Clock! This really is a must see, it’s so detailed and interesting to look at. We didn’t get a proper view as there were lots of crowds, but we went there again the day after and we managed to get up close. After dinner, we went for a walk over Charles Bridge, which was lined with buskers playing traditional music, street artists and little stalls selling knick knacks.

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Day 2 – Tuesday 

On Tuesday morning we had an early breakfast and then my Dad and I went for a little wander around the area of our hotel. We got a pretty good view of the Radio Tower and the national memorial at Vitkov. We were invited for lunch at our friends Grandmothers house in Prague 7.. Where we were treated to a warm welcome and a traditional home cooked Czech lunch of potato salad and pork schnitzel! It was delicious! 

After lunch we headed to the area of Prague Castle. It was a gorgeous sunny and clear day, so we thought it would be a good idea to head up Petrin Hill and climb the Observation Tower. It was built as a mini version of the Eiffel Tower in 1891. It offers breath taking panoramic views of Prague!

We then went down Petrin Hill and went on to Prague Castle. The walk up to the Castle was very grand, and before entering you were greeted with huge golden archway with two enormous stone statues at either side. This first lead us to a large stone courtyard with a fountain right in the middle. After the courtyard we walked through another arch way and there was the castle. It’s pretty hard to miss, it is the largest medieval castle in Europe!

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Day 3- Wednesday 

Wednesday was our last day and so we had a few things to squeeze in before we headed home. We headed back into the centre of town and went to see the oldest Synagogue in Europe. We didn’t go inside, but it was still a very interesting place to visit.

We then went for a little stroll around the Botanická Zahrada gardens.

After that we went for a spot of shopping at the Paladium Shopping Centre, followed by a mandatory coffee break! 

Prague has a plethora of museums to see. My sister and I were desperate to go and see the Museum of Alchemy, but unfortunately it was undergoing renovations at the time we were visiting (gives us another reason to go back! 😉 ) so instead we went to the Mucha Museum, the Chocolate Museum, and the Wax Museum– which I’ll admit wasn’t the best, but at least we tried it out!

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Day 4- Thursday 

We had a very early flight to catch so only had time for a quick breakfast before catching a taxi to the airport!

 

 

Have you guys been to Prague? Let me know what you thought of the city? I’ll definitely be going back! 

Thanks for reading! 

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Weekend Away Up North

For an early Valentines day present my boyfriend treated me to a night away at a hotel up north! He booked the Mansion House in Elgin, Scotland. This year has been pretty stressful with his final year of Uni (aka dissertation time!!) and with me working almost full time, so we don’t get the opportunity to see each other as much as we both used to back when I was at Uni. So it was really nice to be able to spend some time together ❤

We drove from Edinburgh up to Elgin on Saturday morning, which took roughly 3 and a half hours.. A long trip but it was definitely worth it!

When we got to the hotel, we checked in and settled in to our room. We then decided to look round the hotel and check out the spa facilities (they had a lovely pool, with a sauna and steam room). We booked dinner for around half 7, and went down to the lounge where we ordered drinks, I got my absolute fave- Gin & Cranberry- and they brought us Canapés (we felt v. posh!) which were Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Roulade with Fruit and Nuts. It was different, as I’m not a fan of smoked salmon, but we still enjoyed it.

We then ordered our food and after about 15 minutes we were shown to our table.

I ordered the Carrot Veloute with toasted hazelnut oil and croutons to start, the Fillet of Aberdeenshire Scottish Beef for a main, and then the Selection of Chocolate & Strawberries (With a difference!) for desert! We both really enjoyed the meal.

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I would definitely recommend the hotel to anyone who is planning a weekend away in Scotland. It is rustic yet modern, and the decor is gorgeous! The rooms are spacious and clean, and my favourite part was the bathroom (the bath was huge!). The staff were brilliant and could not have been more helpful.

The next morning we went down for breakfast around half past 8, we both decided to have a full cooked breakfast as it’s something we rarely eat at home. We then checked out and headed down the road! 🙂

 

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Roman Holiday

Last July my boyfriend and I jetted away to Rome for 4 days! It was my first time visiting Italy, and it hopefully won’t be my last.

We booked through Expedia online, and got a brilliant deal. The hotel we stayed in was called Rome Life Hotel and I would definitely recommend it to anyone unsure about where to stay.

I’ll just go over the highlights of the holiday… 
We pre booked some guided tours so we could see all of the main sites. We did a tour of the Roman Forum & the Colosseum, we had the most amusing and lovely American tour guide from Boston who made the tour that little bit more unique! I’d definitely recommend going on at least one guided tour if you’re really into learning the history of some of the sites. We also booked tickets in advance for the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel, and then got a queu skip into the museum, the last thing you wanted to do was wait in mile long queues in 35 degree heat!!

I don’t know if it’s a good thing, but the monument that really made me in awe was the Altare della Patria, also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II. It is a monument built in honour of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy. It occupies a site between the Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill. It was one of the first main building I saw as we were in the taxi coming in to the city from the airport, and you literally could not miss it! The reason I said that I don’t know if it’s a good thing that I liked the monument so much was because of the history behind it. It is the largest monument in Rome, and it is controversial as when it was being built the city destroyed a large area of Capitoline Hill along with a Medieval Neighbourhood. Some locals also regard it as being too ‘pompous and large’. I think the thing that stood out to me most was how glaringly white it is, and I found out that it was built from “corpse white marble”which was imported from Brescia, which makes it unusual and stand out from the brown buildings in Rome.

Another one of my favourite sites to visit was the Pantheon. We were lucky enough to stumble across it after having a wonder round the city after dinner in the evening. It was free entry which was good but we also gave a donation. This was another building that I was amazed by. I’ll need to go back here the next time I’m in Rome.

THE FOOD!! I think I may have OD’d on carbs while in on holiday, but it was so worth it. I think next time I’ll sample some more of the local cuisine and maybe try to be a bit healthier… But you’d be crazy to pass up some gelato in the heat that we had in July.

During the time we went the Trevi Fountain was undergoing restoration work and was covered up at the time, so we couldn’t really see it or get any photos. Instead we wondered round the shops in the area and I just had to take a nosey round Sephora and Kiko Cosmetics! (I think that’s where most of my money went..)

The people of Rome were absolutely lovely. We had some brilliant chats with some of the waiters and shop keepers. My boyfriend is
half Italian and so they had a little bit in common, haha!

Here are a few snaps of our holiday. Enjoy! Please feel free to pop any questions you may have in the comments! X

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Toronto

Back in October I decided to book a last minute trip across the pond to Toronto to visit my Sister, Kathryn! It was made even better as I spent my 21st birthday over there and Canadian Thanksgiving (which happened to be on the same day- October 12th!).

My Mum is Canadian, and so I was lucky enough to grow up with lots of visits over there, so I see it as a second home. However I hadn’t been there for many years, and so I was really excited to go back as an adult!

My Sister and her mates acted as tour guides for the week, showing me all the usual tourist sights- like the CN Tower, Niagara Falls, and Toronto Island- as well as the more of the local spots!

Here are a few photos from my Toronto adventure!

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