Wednesday 28 February 2018


Last weekend I went on my first trip of the year to Hamburg. It is not somewhere which was particularly at the top of my must see places, but there is a little story behind how we ended up there. So you may remember last October, I went to Madrid with my best friends. I had a fabulous time, however the holiday was not quite as smooth as we had expected. It was the time where Ryanair cancelled tens of thousands of flights. We were the unlucky people who got hit with this and our flight back to Manchester got cancelled and we ended up flying back to London. Ryanair were not giving compensation due them offering us a flight back to the UK. They gave each flyer a voucher for £80 to spend on any flights before June 2018. At first, I was so angry that the flight was cancelled and vowed to never fly with them again. After the holiday, I had the usual holiday blues so on the last day possible me and my sister started searching flights. My sister is a teacher so is tied to school holidays. However, we found return flights from Manchester to Hamburg for both of us for just £56! We booked the flights on the whim, and decided if we did not want to go nothing would be lost. 

We decided nearer the time we really fancied going and booked our hotel at the Holiday Inn Express which cost us £120 for both of us for two nights. So really we only had to pay £60 each to get there and back, and have our accommodation covered. Our flights left Manchester at 06.35 in the morning, so it was a 3am wake up call for us. The flight was only one hour and 20 mins, and with the one hour time difference we arrived at 9am. We headed straight to the hotel after collecting our cases, to drop them off and recoup. The service from the hotel was exceptional as it was so early we thought we would have to put them in the suitcase room, but they had our room already ready. It was a spacious twin room with a lovely bathroom and all the basic necessities you need. The hotel was located in Lubecker Strasse, which was a great location. It was a little bit out of the city centre, but it is conveniently located just a five minute walk to two different u-bahn (underground tram) stations. To get into the city centre from the hotel there was a direct tram which was just three stops, an approximate 15 minute journey. From the airport we bought a ticket which cost €3.30 and there was a direct journey to the Landbehr s-bahn station, which was also just a short walk to the hotel.

We had already planned most of the trip before we went as we were literally in the city for just 48 hours. We had bought a guide book and had done quite a bit of research before we set off. Me and my sister love zoos there is no denying it and we love to visit them whenever we are able to. The zoo was called the Tierback Hagenback and is located in Stellingen. It was easy to get to, but as expected it took about 30 minutes to get to as it was outside the city centre. Both of the full days we were there we bought all day tram tickets that cost €6.70. When we arrived we discovered that there was also an aquarium attached the zoo, so we decided to buy the combination ticket for €30 for both attractions. 


The zoo was huge, much bigger than we thought it would be. It had so many amazing animals including some which I have never seen before including walruses and chinese leopards. I have been to quite a few zoos over the years all over the world, and this zoo had many endangered species including polar bears and red pandas. I was so excited at the prospect of seeing brown bears as they are such inquisitive animals, and I am a massive lover of paddington bear. However, they were not in their outdoor enclosure, and unfortunately you couldn't see their indoor one. Hamburg is a cold place and they had had some snow over the weekend before we arrived so there was quite a lot of ice in the park. We came to the conclusion for the safety of the animals, most of them were kept indoors.  

We had our first experience of German food at the zoo, as I had bratwurst and fries which tasted incredible. After the zoo which took us at least 5 hours to go round, it was time to head to the aquarium. It was once again massive; it had such a great array of sea life. There was a walkway all the way round where there was lots of different species of sea creatures from fish to turtles. There was also a huge cinema size tank which you could follow around the aquarium, you could also sit and watch all the creatures swimming by. It contained once again a variety of fish, but also stingrays and smaller sharks. It was mesmerising to see and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. There was also a huge tank of jellyfish and my favourites the clown fish as I adore finding nemo.


After we had finished at the aquarium it was around 6pm and as it was a Sunday, we thought that if we went back into the city centre there would be nothing open during the Sunday trading. Therefore, we decided to head back to the hotel to recoup before heading out for our tea. When we were on our way back to the hotel we decided to go for a little walk, the hotel staff had said on our arrival that there were a number of restaurants on the street where the hotel was situated. There was a lovely little Italian we had stumbled across 2 minutes from the hotel, so decided we would go back there later in the evening to eat. As we had been up since 3am, we went to the restaurant at around 7.30pm. We both ate lasagnes and it was a lovely little restaurant with one man running everything. We strolled back to the hotel, and decided we would have a drink in the hotel lobby before heading to bed. We had a quick glance at the menu and quickly concluded it would cost €9 for a single vodka and lemonade. Me and my sister did that awkward glance at each other, and quickly backtracked and just ordered soft drinks. 

The next morning we woke up at 8am, and headed downstairs to the breakfast buffet which was included in our hotel booking. We had decided the night before that we would go on a bus tour of the city to see the sites at a glance, and would get off along the way if we saw anywhere where we wanted a further look. When we arrived we discovered the tours only ran every hour and we had just missed the start of one tour, so we had an hour to wait before the next one commenced. We did a quick Google search, and found out that Sephora was conveniently located just 5 minutes away. It is located inside a shopping department store called Galeria. It had a great array of different brands, and I obviously had to treat myself to a few things. A haul will be on the way in the next few weeks!

We finally made it on to the tour and we were able to see many of the main attractions Hamburg has to offer. First up, we saw the Hamburg Rathaus. This is the Hamburg's city hall and is the seats of government. It was built in the late 1800's, and has some amazing features. The building is a masterpiece, and is definitely the statement of the city.

St Paul's Church was beautiful and you are able to go inside for a further look. It was such a well kept church, and it has some gorgeous stained-glass windows inside. The architecture from the outside was timeless and I love how it has kept its original ornate features. 

Further around the tour we saw many more impressive buildings including the library, grand theatre and post office. On the tour we learnt that Hamburg is well known for its theatres, and the city hosts the largest number of theatre productions after New York and London.

The tour took nearly 2 hours to go around the entire circuit. After the tour had finished, we decided to head to the main shopping street called the Spitalerstrasse. We needed a drink so decided to nip into what looked like a very basic supermarket. We were very pleasantly surprised as we quickly got coaxed in by the chocolate aisle. It was so cheap and we decided to buy all of our souvenirs in here. We got caught up in the moment, and before I know it I had a basket and was heading down to the makeup aisle. Even though my basket was full I only spent €17. I am going to a German supermarket haul, as I honestly picked up so fabulous things. 

We then headed for a spot of shopping and stumbled across a huge shopping centre called Europa Passage which is located on the Monckebergstrasse. It had five floors, and lots and lots of shops mostly high street but some high end also. We spent a good hour wandering around here, and then went for some dinner at one of the cafes. By this time it was 4 o clock, and we decided to head to the higher end of the shopping parade called the Neuer Wall. We took a look in Abercrombie and Fitch, where my sister treated herself. I then went for a gander in Gucci, as those sneakers will be mine at some point. 

The weather over both days in the cities was very cold. The temperature was about 1 degree celsius, and there was a constant bitter wind. However, we were just glad there was no snow or rain, and the weather was actually quite bright and pleasant. We just made sure we wrapped up warm. To warm up a little we headed to Starbucks for a quick tea break, and took a little time to recoup. 

We had decided we would treat ourselves and go to The Hard Rock Cafe for our last meal. We usually have to wait a while as they are always so busy, but we only had a 20 or so minute wait. Yes it is overpriced, but I always thoroughly enjoy the food that they offer. The burgers we had were delicious, but once again alcohol was expensive and our cocktails were €10 each. We decided we would just have one each as a holiday treat. In all honestly after the burgers, we were in food comas and our feet were killing from all the shopping. We arrived back at the hotel at 9pm, and decided we would pack our bags and settle down for the night watching the winter Olympics. Our flight home the next day was at 09.35, so we needed to get up at 6am.

On the last day, we headed down for breakfast once again and headed back on the tram to the airport. The airport was huge, and the process through security and on to the plane home was very smooth. 

We would have liked to have spent another full day in the city, as we had planned to go the miniature wonderland which is the world's largest model railway system. We got a bit carried away with our afternoon shopping, and we just could not fit it in. Ryanair only flew to Hamburg three times a week so the flights were very limited. 

Overall, we both had a fabulous time in Hamburg and we both said we were really glad that we went. However, I don't think it is a city to visit for a long period of time. I think three full days is the perfect amount of time to be able to see and do all the sites. There aren't a huge number of sites to visit, and you can definitely fit a few things into one day. We thought everything (except alcohol!) was good priced, and to put things into perspective we spent €200 each over the 48 hours. We did both spend about €50 on personal shopping though!



Sunday 25 February 2018

Living My Life to the Full

I often find myself questioning myself constantly when I am buying something, or agreeing to do something. I constantly think can I afford it, should I do it, or should I be saving. I have been like this since a child. I would save my pocket money and birthday money and would never really buy myself things. I do think it is a good way to be always wanting to save money, and not be spending all the time. But recently I have found myself becoming very frustrated with myself.

I am 23 and I have worked hard to earn the money I do as a nurse. I often turn done socialising or being able to do something spontaneous as I either have work or I do the next day. That is just how shift patterns work. I feel in 2017, I went on this big money saving campaign and each month I would get paid, pay my bills and then I would give myself a tight budget to live by even though I didn't need to. I was constantly saying oh I'll save this, and I will save that. In the grand scheme of things, I feel as though I am not living my life to the fullest. I am saving for a house, I was an adult and finally opened a help to buy ISA. This is going to take me at least 4 years to just get a deposit together. As well as the money saving for this, I am always putting money away separately. I know this is going to take me a good 5 years to be able to afford everything. In the meantime, I do not want to just save every penny, every month, just to be able to buy a house a little earlier than planned. I am happy at home at the moment, and I am done with the pressures of everyone thinking your life is complete by buying a house. I think owning a home is a fantastic thing, but I want to also live my life.

Me and my best friends have this discussion often, and we say how fast life is going. How being 18 feels like two minutes ago and questioning where the time has gone. I want to live my twenties and do everything I want to. I love travelling, and everyone at work calls me the globetrotter for going on mini weekends whenever I am off work. For me, time off work is precious and I want to use it wisely. I want to create memories and live my life to the fullest. I do not want to have any regrets, and this is why I think I need to start living my life. I need to be more care free, saying yes more and not instantly doing quick sums in my head. I know I am in a lucky position to be living at home (I do pay rent!), but it still doesn't mean I can't treat myself to fancy things. Like I have said, saving money and be careful is a great quality of mine. My dad calls me tight all the time, and says the moths are coming out when I open my purse! I just want to be a little more care free and not being thinking about life in 5 years. I want to live in the moment, and not regret not doing anything. I am not talking about living beyond my means, and wrecking up credit cards. I simply mean being a little more free and stopping feeling bad for treating myself to something I have wanted for ages. I hate the feeling of guilt, and it is something which I feel often and it makes me feel so miserable.

I think with the hawks of the media, we constantly live on the edge. We are made to feel bad for being a millennial, with no house, being single and not having children. I am no way ready for any of this, and I think that is perfectly fine. I hear so many people saying I wish I had done this in my twenties, if I had my time again I would do things differently. This is why, I want to start living in the moment.  Life for every single person on this planet is different, people take different paths and this is what life is about. Not everyday is going to be easy, but we grow as a person as we get over these hurdles. Here is to me saying yes to more things, spending  more on myself and not regretting anything I do.



Wednesday 21 February 2018

It's Finally Happening

A few months ago I posted this post here which was my first ever proper blog post outlining all about my skin woes. I have had a never ending battle with acne for 10 years, and I thought it was time to be very honest. I went to my dermatologist appointment last week, and it was literally the quickest appointment of my life. I mentioned in the last post how I saw a different dermatologist at my last appointment, and I felt as though the ball was really starting to be put into motion.

At this appointment with the dermatologist consultant, he literally walked in the room and said "right I am putting you on roaccutane". I was a little speechless and did not know how to react and I my throat went instantly dry. I told him I had done my research and I understood everything involved in the process. He is starting me off with 40mg of roaccutane (isotretinion is the brand name) for two months and then I am going back to see how I am getting on. He thinks I am going to need to be on the course for a total of 6 months, and may up the dose after 2 months depending on how my skin is looking.

Due to the harsh side effects from the drug, I signed a pro claimer to say I understand the effects of getting pregnant on the drug. I am already on a contraceptive pill, so he was happy that I did not need to have the monthly blood tests and pregnancy tests. He asked me to have a blood test there and then to check my different levels before starting the treatment.

I felt as though the appointment was a bit of a whirlwind, but I did manage to ask him about skincare and makeup. He said all skincare should be for hydrating and moisturising the skin. He also said it is fine to wear makeup, as long as I make sure I remove it completely. He very much emphasised the fact that I should be using oil free makeup and skincare. This is as roacctuane is reducing oil production so products containing oil will counteract this.

I have a few a different ideas of posts which I want to do over the next six months. I am currently very excited at the prospect of finally having acne free skin. The thought is actually quite scary as this has literally become my life, and I have very much learnt to live with it. But, and it is a big but, I know this is not going to be easy. I am already worrying about the day my skin is going to purge, whether it is going to happen on a day when I need to go to work for 12.5 hours. I have been on many antibiotics, contraceptive pills and creams over the last 6 years, all of which have never had any serious side effects. I have tried to prepare myself mentally for what is going to happen, but I know I am still going to have many days where I am not sure what to do. I am just going to take everyday as it comes, and hope it will all be worth it once the treatment is completed.



Sunday 18 February 2018

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder

This is a powder which in the 4 years of having this blog, I am beyond shocked that this is the first time I given this powder its own dedicated blog post. I remember me and my best friend buying this in Boots during high school when we were probably 15 and we had saved up our dinner money to buy it. Over the last 8 years I have probably bought at least 5 of these, as along the way I really got into MAC's mineralise skinfinish which I have to say is a really great powder. As MAC continue to put up their prices when my last pan finished I refused to pay £22 for another powder. I am not sure what it is but to me a powder is quite a plain product, it doesn't look fancy and it seems like a bit of non exciting part of my makeup collection. This is the reason I buy just one powder at a time.

This Rimmel stay matte powder is definitely an underrated product in the beauty market. What I like about this powder is how lightweight this feels on my skin. I have quite a jam packed base routine, so I need a powder which is going to glide onto my skin and add a light coverage to my base makeup. I do not want a thick powder which is going to add cakeyness or uneven coverage to my skin. It feels very soft and smooth when first applied to the skin which is always an added bonus. I use the shade peach blossom, which has a slightly pink undertone and is a great match for my skin tone.

As the name suggests that aims to give a matte finish. My skin is currently quite dry, so I do not usually go for matte types of products. However, this sets my makeup and takes away any excess oil or shininess. This powder contains no fragrances or oils which means it will not clog pores. Many beauty products contain a variety of fragrances and oils, and I need to get into the routine of looking at ingredients lists.

Best of all, this powder costs just £4!


Wednesday 14 February 2018

The Acne Proof Base

I have finally got together the products which I find help keep my base products on for as long as possible. This has taken a good few months to crack, and it is finally worth me putting them all together in one giant post.

I start off after applying my moisturiser by adding the Smashbox photo finish silicon primer to my entire face. My foundation of choice for everyday wear is the L'Oreal true match which is a medium coverage foundation with a first application, but it is easily buildable to full coverage which is what I do. I blend my foundation with my beloved Beautyblender. I did not get the hype of this little sponge for years and years, but a year or so ago I finally purchased one and now I rave about it to anyone who will listen. I then add a layer or two of the newest item to this base routine, and it is the Makeup Revolution conceal and define concealer. This has become an absolute must have, it is a full coverage concealer which does everything you want, and costs just £4!

For powder I use the Rimmel stay matte powder. Last year, I tested a few high end powders including Charlotte Tilbury and MAC. I recently went back to the Rimmel one, and for £4 it is such a great powder and does the exact same job as the high end versions. I had wanted to try the RMCA powder for soooo long, and I finally picked it up after reading so many reviews. I use this lightly on the tip of beautyblender to set my makeup especially over my chin area, which is where my clusters of acne usually are. This is the area which 100% wears throughout the day the quickest, therefore it is the area which needs the most staying power. Lastly, I use the Gerard Cosmetics slay all day setting spray. I am not sure how good setting sprays are, but this does add some last minute hydration back into my skin and also helps to lock in the finishing touches to my base makeup. After this process is complete, I finish the rest of my makeup. Once my entire makeup is finished I add another spritz of the setting spray, for a final lock in. 

You may be thinking it must take me ages to do this base routine, but really it is just six simple steps and doing it on a daily basis means I complete it in about five minutes. The most important step is to make sure that the foundation is fully blended in, so that when the concealer and powder is applied it does not look cakey. 

I am definitely able to put products to the longevity test as my shifts at work are 12.5 hours, so I have my makeup on for approximately 15 hours a day. This new routine has mainly revolved around adding in the primer, RMCA powder and setting spray. From these extra products and steps I have definitely seen an improvement in the longevity to my overall makeup. I often pop to the loos at different times of the day to see how long my makeup is wearing. My makeup is usually still looking great at the 4-5 hour mark. Beyond this I definitely start to see some minimal wear, I always think until about 7 hours I am happy with my makeup. This is a definite improvement as previously at the 5 hour mark there would have been much more wear. After 8-9 hours it is pretty much a downward spiral if I am being brutally honest, everything starts to melt into my face and there are obvious signs of wear. By the time I get home my base makeup is just about still intact, but you can see in my greasier areas is where there has been the most wear.

On a more positive note, I use this base routine for my nights out and I always feel as though it is all locked in for the entire night. It is unusual for someone to have their makeup on their faces as long I do, but as I have mentioned these steps have definitely helped to add to the longevity and overall wear of my makeup. If you are looking for ways to add to your overall makeup staying power, try adding a few more simple steps to your basic base routine.



Sunday 11 February 2018

Olivia Burton Lace Detail Black and Gold Watch

This beautiful Olivia Burton lace detail black and gold watch was a present from my lovely big sister for Christmas. I had mentioned to her once or twice about wanting a watch from her line so much that she finally caved and bought me one. I think Olivia Burton has arrived on the scene with a bang, and good on her because my god are her designs beautiful.

I have been wearing this watch a lot since Christmas and I have had lots of compliments on it. I like the black leather strap as it definitely not what I would have chosen for myself, but it goes with every single outfit which I wear. The black dial face is a classic design and I love it in contrast to the gold detailing. As a whole I am more of a rose gold than a gold lover, but this has definitely added some variety to my jewellery. The stand out part of the watch and what I adore about it to most is the actual design of the watch face. The lace and the flowers intertwined is such a pretty combination, and I like that it is just around the bottom part of the watch. The size of the dial is 30mm which a perfect size for my arm, as I did not want anything too big or bulky.

The watch costs £78 which is I think it a very reasonable price as I think they have found their market with customers. The brand has created pieces which are delicate and she definitely has quite a classic girly feel to her jewellery which is honestly why I love it so much. I love pieces which are not too over the top, which are simple but have some details which finish the pieces off perfectly. She has recently launched a bee collection and I am simply obsessed with it. I recently treated myself to a bee a ring from the line as it is so beautiful.

Olivia Burton has definitely got my seal of approval with this watch and her simplistic designs. I know for sure I am going to be looking at her line when I want to expand my jewellery collection in anyway. She has a vast variety of watches out at the moment and there is definitely something for everyone.


Sunday 4 February 2018

The Jaclyn Hill Morphe Palette

The Jaclyn Hill Morphe palette first launched back in November and there is no hiding the amount of hype which surrounded its release. I am a big fan of Jaclyn Hill and her YouTube videos. I can always scroll through her videos and find a makeup look which I want to attempt to recreate. She I started watching her videos years and she has always been a champion for Morphe, and she has definitely contributed to the huge brand which is it now. When she announced a collaboration palette with Morphe, I had huge expectations for this palette. It is not hidden fact that I have been a Morphe palette lover ever since their famous 35O palette launched (post here), and took the beauty industry by storm. They recently brought out a 35O2 palette and I love it, I wrote a full dedicated post to it which you can read here.

I have had this palette for three months now, so I have definitely put it to the test. The palette comes in a white cardboard case, which looks nice but it gets very dirty and it is not as durable as there black plastic casings. I like the size of the palette though as it is not too thick or bulky in length and width. The palette contains 35 palettes which is a-m-a-z-i-n-g, as most palettes contain 12-15 shades. It is no lie that I am fond of warm golden and coppery shades, they are my ultimate go-to. What I love the most about this palette is there are around 10 shades which would be my usual go to shades. However, she has added some yellow and pinker undertone shadows to spice up the palette. On the left hand size she has also put in 5 green, blue and purple tones shades and I love that. She has added some versatility to the palette, and it isn't just the good old classic golden warmed toned palette.

There are 17 matte shades in this palette, and the others are a mix of shimmer and metallic shades.  I feel that Jaclyn has got this bob on and has a really got a great mix of textures in the palette. The most important aspect of any product is how good it performs. All the shadows have a dreamy creamy, easy to blend consistency. They are all highly pigmented and are one swipe shadows. The metallic shadows are must ultimate favourite especially firework (6th on the second row), queen (7th on the second row) and cranapple (7th on the third row). This came with a plastic sheet which had all the shadow names on, and this is a little bit annoying as it is super easy to loose. It would have been much better to have the shade names printed underneath each shadow. The only negative thing I have to say about the shadows performance is a few of the shimmer shades have quite a bit of fall out, so I have learnt take a little bit and build it up so I don't end up with it all over my face!

This palette cost £37 from Beautybay and is finally back in stock after so long. It took me so long to get my hands on it and I managed to get it in BeautyBay's first launch which was actually quite a few months after the initial USA launch. There was a little bit of controversy regarding the price of the palette as Morphe's other 35 shade palettes cost just £23. I totally get why consumers are a little sceptical about the added £14 difference. I understand that this is a limited edition palette, and also BeautyBay have to pay more for the import on these palettes. However, in the USA it is the same pricing, the Jaclyn Hill palette is $38 and their other palettes are $23. Overall, I think this palette is still worth the £37, and I think that Morphe and Jaclyn have created a unique palette which is different from anything else on the market right now. I don't often say I would whole heartedly recommend a product, but this palette is great and brilliant if you want something which you can travel with and has a vast shade range. All hail Jaclyn and her dreamy palette!


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