Thursday, 22 March 2018

72 Hours in Paris | Guide

Paris
Since coming back from Iceland I had a serious case of the 'travel bug' and needed to get it out my system with a little city break. We were torn between Paris and Amsterdam, but ultimately Paris won with our beautiful hotel view of The Eiffel Tower.

We stayed in Paris for four days and three nights, giving us plenty of time to explore the beautiful (be using this word a lot!) city of romance. During our time we managed to tick off so many iconic sites of Paris and still had time to go on spontaneous late night strolls and eat lots of scrumptious sweet pastries.

Here are a few photos of things we got up to during our stay!
The catacombs
The Catacombs of Paris
Twenty metres below the heart of the city lies the remains of over 6 million Parisians. Transferred there in the late 18th-19th centuries as graveyards were being closed because of the risk they posed to public health. If you are really into your history I'd definitely recommend travelling down 130 steps to explore this eerie, poignant place.

Tips/Advice:
1.) Book in advance to avoid the long two hour waiting line
2.) Bring a set of headphones to listen to the audio without any disruptions
3.) Wear comfy shoes as you will be walking a lot of steps!
The Louvre
The Louvre Museum
The worlds largest art museum and historic monument, essentially where the famous Mona Lisa painting is located. Not that we went into the museum, but when in Paris you MUST go visit the Louvre and take lots of touristy photos! We only stopped here for 15 minutes to get a photo, but if we had the chance to go back, I'd go during the evening when it's beautifully lit up.
Notre Dame
Notre Dame
A fine example of French architecture, this Gothic cathedral is definitely a site not to miss! Stained glass windows, quirky sculptures and the beautiful sound of the chime that is reminiscent to The Notre Dame Disney film.

Tips/Advice:
1.) Come here early to avoid all the tourists   
MonmartreSacre-Couer
Sacre-Couer
Montmartre
Probably my favourite location in Paris and an area you could definitely spend all day at. After walking up lots of cobble streets and hills, there you will come across the iconic Sacre-Couer Roman Catholic church. This is an amazing site to see if you want to see the view of Paris up a height. It was lovely and sunny when we came here so we sat on the steps and took it all in.

The streets in Montmartre are absolutely beautiful I sometime felt as though I was in Italy never mind France. Home to lot's of interesting architecture, stunning views and the Moulin Rouge. I would definitely recommend spending a good few hours here.

Tips/Advice:
1.) Climb the steps to the Sacre-Couer and take a photo of the beautiful city view!
2.) To the left of the Sacre-Couer is a building, if you tilt your phone you can create an optical illusion to make the building tilt. Pretty cool huh?
3.) Visit Amorino Gelato for the best ice cream shaped as a rose.
The Invalides
Arc De Triomphe
Eiffel Tower
Sites At Night
How can you not go visit the Eiffel Tower in the evening and watch it magically sparkle?! I loved all of Paris, but for me the nighttime was the best as you could really take in the iconic landmarks. Every night in Paris we would go out for food and wander the streets of Paris until our feet were ready to drop off. I found myself constantly looking up at the Eiffel Tower and watching it glow, it really is one of the most stunning views I've ever seen.

Tips/Advice:
1.) At night every hour on the dot for 5 minutes the Eiffel Tower sparkles, have your video record at the ready!
2.) It is supposedly illegal to post online The Eiffel Tower sparkling and you may get done for copyright as it is classed as art. I wasn't sure if this was true, but so many articles online say so, therefore it isn't worth the fine.
Montparnasse Tower
Montparnasse Tower
Before we went away I spent ages looking up places with great views of the city (including the Eiffel Tower) and the building that stood out was Montparnasse, which you just cannot miss, it is ginormous - 59 floors to be precise. The Pretemps building is also meant to be amazing (+free), but we went for this one and paid 17 euros just so we could see all angles and spend some time up there without getting cold. It was quite scary to think about how high we actually were, but the views we got were incredible! 

Tips/Advice:
1.) Go during the morning as the prices go up in the afternoon
2.) Maybe book online to avoid the que as we waited a little while to get up
3.) I would also suggest going in the evening I can imagine the view to look unreal!
Val Girard
Other tips/advice:
1.) Watch for pickpockets, especially on the metro, don't keep any valuables in your back pockets.
2.) Be cautious of street hagglers, people will approach you asking you to buy items (roses, drawings, souvenirs, bracelets) and they don't always take no for an answer
3.) If you are taking the metro look online for metro passes as they are pricey and we were ripped off once or twice.

We stayed at the Val Girard hotel and the view was incredible outside of our balcony. I loved Paris and would love to go back and maybe see Disneyland and spend more time in different areas. This city break has made us want to see more of the world, maybe Budapest/Hungary next? Little fact for you I am a quarter Hungarian so it would be interesting to see where my granddad was from.


Have you been to Paris??
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Friday, 9 March 2018

A Skincare Reshuffle

A skincare reshuffle
After devouring countless amounts of sweet pastries in Paris and Quality Streets over the Christmas, it's fair to say my skin has broken out on/off these last few months. It's no secret that I like to spend my monthly pay checks on new skincare, but since I had a major room declutter ~post here~ I decided to strip back to basics and stop spending my wages on new products, until my skincare cabinet is near-on empty and ready to rent some newbie's.

Here in the UK, the weather has been awfully cold and snowy, which has had a huge impact on my skin needing an extra bit of TLC. I've been reshuffling my routine up a lot as well as upping my knowledge on skincare ingredients ~post here~ and, I think, *touch wood* I've managed to keep my skin at sort-of bay.

Here are a few products I have been using religiously lately that have made a bit of a difference to my skin.

Caudalie Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil
From a lazy girl's perspective, I've always used a cheap micellar water to remove my makeup, which is great for quick getaways, but my skin always felt unsatisfied and occasionally dry. I do love the Liz Earle Cleanse&Polish, but I found it quite rich on my skin so I popped into Space NK and decided to try a brand I would never think of trying out. The Caudalie Cleansing Oil has been amazing on my skin and removes all traces of makeup within a couple of minutes, it even removes harsh makeup. This is my second bottle now, which speaks for itself as it really is just so nourishing for my skin, I feel as though it has brightened my complexion and doesn't dry my skin out at all.

Dermalogica Breakout Kit
Only recently have I rediscovered this and have been using it all the time. I love all the products in the kit, but the ones that have really made a difference to my skin are the Cleansing Wash and their SPF15 Matte Moisturizer. Dermalogica is a bit on the pricey side, but I think it's worth it, if it has the key ingredients that your skin craves. 

The Cleansing Wash contains salicylic acid, which is obviously great for spot prone skin. I use this cleanser once a day as a double cleanser after I have used the Caudalie Cleansing Oil as my makeup remover. I then pop on the moisturizer and my skin is all prepped and ready for the next day. They've both been amazing for keeping my oiliness at bay and drying up any pesky breakouts, I am definitely considering buying the full size bottles once I've ran out.

Sunday Riley UFO (Ultra Clarifying Facial Oil)
I have had my eye on this product on Cult Beauty for ages, but it's either never in stock or I just can't justify spending £60 on a facial oil. Until I found myself in Edinburgh in Harvey Nichols on my birthday splurging on  this, in desperate need of a skin update. Honestly, this is probably one of the best products I have ever splurged on and I will be heartbroken when I run out. It contains so much goodness for the skin, ingredients like salicylic acid, tea tree oil, chamomile, black cumin seed oil - just so much good stuff! I only use this once or twice a week as a fancy-ass treatment, but when I do use it the next day my skin feels brand new. This has helped so much with redness, breakouts, blackheads, hydration and adding radiance back into my skin. I mean it doesn't smell the nicest, but the results I've had from this are incredible.

The Ordinary Niacinamide
A cult favourite of mine that I just cannot ditch from my skincare stash. This little beauty has changed my skin the most in terms of clearing up my pesky spots and redness. Containing zinc to help balance the aspects of sebum and Niacinamide to help reduce the appearance of blemishes and congestion. Both ingredients have done exactly what they've said to my skin, I pop a little bit of this on every other night when I don't use the UFO and wake up the next morning with healthier looking skin. I would go as far to say this is a game changer that will remain in my skincare regime for a very long time, yep shocker!

Kiehls Avocado Eye Cream
Yep, I use eye cream and have done for a couple of years now, I heard if you start when you're young you're in a better position to avoid wrinkles as early, so I mean of course I am going to do this! I love this eye cream it is so moisturizing under my eyes and really absorbs into my skin. I pop this on every evening before bed and wake up as though I have slept for 12 hours and have drank litres of water. Bit pricey, but out of all the eye creams I have tried this one has been a favourite, followed by Origins.

Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream
I have definitely mentioned this on my blog before, it is such a staple piece in my skincare routine and it tends to come everywhere with me. It is amazing for not just moisturizing your lips, but for hands, elbows anywhere that gets dry. I would be lost without this stuff and god knows what the state my lips would be without it.

What skincare products are you enjoying atm??
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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

5 Days in Iceland, Reykjavik

Reykjavik
Iceland has been on my bucket list for what seems like forever and I am so over the moon to say I've been and saw the Northern Lights and swam in the unwinding hot springs. Reykjavik is such a beautiful, scenic city, especially with the snow that it almost doesn't feel real. I can imagine Iceland is stunning all year round, but for me the snow made it feel that little bit more magical and special.

Myself and three of my good friends travelled up to Reykjavik for four nights in the middle of February, potentially when Iceland was at its thickest with snow, although it felt anyways. We stayed in a lovely, cosy Air BnB in the centre of Reykjavik, where everything was pretty much walking distance from us.

We were lucky enough to go on all of the Icelandic tours we had booked despite the snowy conditions, we did however not get to see any whales when out in the sea. But that is what Iceland is all about, it's a hit and miss, you can't always predict it.
Hallgrímskirkju
Hallgrimskirkju
All the streets in Reykjavik were so picturesque with the colourful houses against the clean white snow, especially on top of the Hallgrimskirkju Church at the top of this little city. I'd definitely recommend making a trip up on top of this church to get an amazing panoramic view of Iceland from all angles. Although it is absolutely freezing on top of this 74.5 metre high church, it is such an illusory view to take in.

Tips/advice:
1.) Maybe book in advance if you can to avoid the long ques
2.) Wrap up extra warm it can get chilly on the top
3.) Go visit the church at night time and take a photo of it lit up
the harbour
Reykjavik harbour
Harbour concert hall
Reykjavik Old Harbour
Now this is the perfect place to come if you want that view of the mountains in the distance. This area again was quite chilly, but you tend not to care when you are taking in the beauty of the snowy mountains. We took a little stroll along to the Harpa Concert Hall, which is a stunning building with amazing architecture. This building in the evening is even more magical when lit up.
The golden circle
Gulfoss waterfall
Geysir
The Geysir
The Golden Circle Tour
Probably my favourite tour of them all was The Golden Circle, a popular tourist route in the southern part of Iceland. The three primary stops on the route are the National park, the Gullfoss waterfall and the geothermal which contains geysers. This tour for me was the key to what Iceland is all about, which is why I enjoyed it so much. The geysers were incredible to see, especially when they erupted. I loved the Gullfoss waterfall despite the busy crowds of people trying to take photos. I would definitely recommend doing this tour if you want to see what Iceland has to offer away from the centre.

Tips/advice:
1.) Try and go as early as possible to avoid all the tourists
2.) Be patient when trying to view the sites, I had no patience when I was stuck in a crowd of people trying to escape.
3.) Try the lamb soup in the cafe next to the Gullfoss waterfall
The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights
Unfortunately my camera wasn't equipped to take decent photographs of the Northern Lights therefore I saved the ones that were taken on the evening we went off Super Jeeps page. I didn't have high hopes for the Northern Lights if I'm honest, our first night was cancelled due to bad weather which just set the mood for me. However, my mood sharp changed when I was in the back of an off the road jeep bumping around in the middle of nowhere looking out for stars in the clear sky. The Northern Lights weren't anything like I imagined, but it was such an incredible, out of this world moment being able to see the green light in the sky whilst drinking a hot chocolate. I would 100% recommend this, I mean you can't not see the lights if you are in Iceland!

Tips/advice:
1.) Wrap up warm, my feet were absolutely freezing standing outside in the middle of nowhere.
2.) Book with an off the road tour, you get more of a chance to see the lights if you go with a private company that take you to great areas to see them.
3.) Be mindful that there's always a chance you don't see them
The blue lagoon
The blue lagoon
The blue lagoon
The Blue Lagoon
Our last stop before heading back to the airport home was of course the Blue Lagoon hot springs. Another experience you just cannot skip out of your itinerary here in Iceland, what better way to end your trip than to soak up all the hot air and relax in the Blue Lagoon with a snowy view of the mountains. Me and my friends spent pretty much our entire time here taking photographs of the beautiful view. This was definitely the best way to end our stay in Iceland and something I'd love to be able to do again!

Tips/advice:
1.) Go early to avoid ques and crowds
2.) Go either on your way or from the airport as it's not that far away
3.) Invest in a waterproof phone case if you are wanting to take photos, I got mine off Amazon.


I absolutely loved my time in Iceland, Reykjavik, especially with the snow it made it feel more realistic and in some ways festive with all the fairy lights sprinkled outside peoples homes. I would love to go back and be able to see the whales and discover secret hot springs in the future, but for now I am happy to say I've seen The Northern Lights and swam in the Blue Lagoon.

Have you been to Iceland??
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