Wednesday 31 October 2018


I recently jetted off on a six day trip to Florence. Italy is my favourite place I have ever been to, and I know I am very lucky to have visited different parts of the country 9-10 times in my life. Florence was a city which I had never been to before and I had heard so many people saying it was a must visit place that quite spontaneously we went and booked it.

There is no denying that this trip was not cheap. Italy is not a cheap place a visit, I don't think it can really be done on a very tight budget if you want to see and do everything. Baring this in mind we did go in the October half term holidays which does always make it more expensive. My parents like to book a package holiday, for the simple reason you know that everything is sorted and it is an easier life. For this trip to get from the airport to our hotel, it involved getting our own way there. To get to Florence from the UK you fly in to Pisa airport. There is an airport in Florence, but it is for internal flights only. We got off the plane in Pisa, and we had researched before going how to get to Florence and the journey was in fact pretty seamless. We bought the train tickets at the airport and got on a small metro called the Pisamover which is easy to find within the airport and takes you to the Pisa Centrale station in 10 minutes. Once in Pisa Centrale we then got a train to Florence, the journey on the way took 48 minutes. The price of the combination ticket was 11.30 euros each. 

Before booking the trip we decided we would want quite a central hotel as we knew we wanted to take a few day trips to different parts of the country. The hotel we decided in was called the Hotel Caravaggio. It was an easy 10 minute walk from the train station to the hotel. The hotel was lovely, the staff was great and we opted for the bed and breakfast option.

The first day was long as we set off to Manchester Airport at 6am for our flight, and we arrived in the hotel at 3pm. We wanted to quickly unpack and then go and explore. It is great on your first day to go out and find your bearings. We had a great wander round and picked up some late dinner as we were all very hungry. After refuelling we wandered around the city and we found the Duomo. I have to say this is such a wonderful site, and I was very taken a back. It is enormous and it is such a stunning place. It was one of those where no matter how you tried to take a picture, it will never ever look as good as it does in front of you. It is the centre piece of the city, and we ended up seeing it on a daily basis in passing and everyday we would all stand and take it all in again. As it was the first night we didn't want to go too far, so we went for a stroll and we ended up at a small family run trattoria called La Divina Osteria on Via Guelfa. This restaurant is the exact reason Italy is my favourite place. I had my first pasta dish of the holiday and it did not disappoint. In Italy depending on where you are visiting the prices can vary quite dramatically. In this restaurant pizza and pasta dishes ranged from 9-13 euros, which we all thought was very reasonable. We were also very happy to see that a litre of the house white wine for just 12 euros!!

Ponte Vecchio was built in 1218 but then it had to be rebuilt in 1345 and overlooks the River Arno. There has been shops on the bridge since the 13th century. It originally used as a market for locals to get fresh produce. In later years, more expensive shops such as goldsmiths and jewellers moved on to the bridge. In more recent years, there is now a large variety of shops both high and low end which is bustling on a daily basis with both locals and tourists.

We decided that one place that we definitely wanted to visit was Pitti Palace. It is a large collection of museums all in on one site. You are able to go into lots of different parts of the palace where the generations of families used to live. This includes the museum of modern art, the silver museum, costume gallery, the porcelain museum and the palatine gallery. It is also surrounded by huge gardens which are beautiful.

That evening we decided to go to dinner at a restaurant near the Duomo, it was called Nuttini and was just off Saint Lorenzo square. We once again had fantastic food and the pizza was amazing!

On day 3 we had planned our trip to Pisa which was super exciting.

Before visiting Pisa, I thought that the leaning tower was on a site on its own. In fact the tower is located on a world heritage site called the square of miracles. There are four different sites to visit on the square - the leaning tower, Duomo di Pisa, baptistery and the cemetery.

The Duomo is built on top of a white marble pavement and is very impressive to look at. It is a prime example of romanesque architecture. The leaning tower is obviously the main tourist attraction that people flock to see. My dad and I paid 18 euros each to walk up the spiralling tower. It was a lot of steps, but it was great and the views from the top were incredible. I am going to write a post dedicated to Pisa next week.

This evening we decided we wanted to eat something a bit different and we had seen that there was a little Indian restaurant close to our hotel which was always bustling. It was called Indian Palace on Via Guelfa, and the food was delicious. On holiday it is always nice to try different cuisines and this definitely did not disappoint.

We had decided on day 4 to visit the city of Siena. This was a bit of a spontaneous trip, and we are so glad that we did it. From Florence to Siena on the train it was quite a long trip, it took about 1hr 30 mins and cost 10 euros each return.

This Duomo looked less impressive on the outside compared to the one in Florence, however inside it was absolutely stunning. It cost 15 euros to go round into all the different parts, which we thought was expensive but it was definitely worth it. It was honestly incredible. The floor was marble and each individual bit of the floor was carved with stunning representations as to what was going on in that particular period of time. The most stunning surprise was the library which had an incredible ceiling which had paintings on it. I am also going to be doing a separate post too on this trip.

On day 5 we stayed within Florence and decided to have a relaxed day of strolling, eating and shopping! We ended up in a little square called Piazza de Santa Croce, which was not as busy as lots of others as it is on the edge of the city. This is called the Church of Santa Croce which we didn't pay to go in as we had already been in to a lot of churches by this point. It is definitely worth a wander down into the square though if you have a chance. We went to a lovely pizzeria called Pizza Napoli on Via dei Neri, it was lovely and I had a to die for lasagne with some rose wine.

There were a few tourist attractions in Florence which we didn't actually go to. I think your holiday is yours to have and do what you want with it. As a family we are not into art or have a dying interest to go round galleries. However, if galleries are your thing and you are willing to wait in 3 hour queues then there are two which you should definitely visit. The first is La Galleria de Uffizi, this is a museum that contains one of the oldest and most famous art collections in the world. It displays work by Giotto, Paolo Uccello, Botticelli and De Vinci. The second being Galleria dell 'Academia, which is mostly known as it is home to some of Michelangelo's work including Prisoners, St.Matthew's and the must see statue of David.

On the last day we had a flight at 1pm meaning we had to get up early in order to make the journey back to Pisa. Overall, I had an absolutely fantastic time in Florence and its surrounding areas.


Sunday 21 October 2018

Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Foundation

The reason that I was very excited about the launch of this foundation by Makeup Revolution was due to it being described as the perfect combination with their concealer which you may or may not know that I am a massive fan of. I have an in depth review of the concealer here if you wish to read it. First of all, I loved the concealer due to its full coverage and how it felt when applied to my skin. I have repurchased this concealer numerous times since I published that post.

I described the concealer as being lightweight and easy to apply, and I agree with this when also describing the foundation. It once again comes with a doe foot applicator which is huge and I think it fine with the concealer as you are applying it to a precise area. However, with the foundation which you want to the entirety of your face it can be a little fussy. I end up applying it to each cheek, forehead and chin area, but I find it hard to know the amount I need and often end up going back for more, which I guess does stop wastage. As always, I use my damp beauty blender to blend it into my face. I have used this with a blending brush and it also worked well. I like how this blended into my skin and it did not crease or cling to any part of my face. I did first apply my trusty Kiehl's oil free moisturiser which I use on a daily basis before I apply any makeup.

I was most excited about it having a creamy consistency which I like nowadays due to my dry skin. Over the years, I have had oily, combination and now dry skin meaning I have tried a lot of different foundation finishes. The consistency to the concealer and foundation is so similar, therefore I checked the ingredients in case they had fooled us and had just upgraded the packaging with a new name, and all a long is was just a much bigger concealer. I am happy to report there are some differences within the ingredients. I feel as though the foundation dries to a more matte finish than the concealer. I am still working hard with my skin to get it to love a matte finish foundation. I have been testing this in all different ways and I do in fact like it rather a lot. The consistency is smooth and very easy to blend, I love how creamy it feels when applied to the skin. However much I love this, I have to say it does dry down quite matte on my skin due to its dryness. I think I can look a little flat and too matte so I need to add some glow back into my skin. I sometimes also notice later on in the day when I catch a glimpse in the mirror that it has started settling in to my skin. I have this problem with many foundations and often need a mist to freshen things up again.

It is a full coverage foundation which is great, as the high street definitely struggles at perfecting full coverage foundations which are not cakey or really thick. I do not know how they have done it, but it is still light and thin when applied to the skin and this is the stand out feature of the foundation. I love that it is also oil-free, as oils and my skin do not mix well and often causes breakouts. You can build it easily to how you desire, for me one application is perfect and it covers those imperfections which shine through with light to medium coverage foundations. I do not really have anything to compare this to as it is a demi-matte finish. The new Primark velvet foundation which I reviewed (link here) has a similar consistency.

In terms of shade ranges Makeup Revolution have done a fantastic job. There are 24 shades in this range which is fabulous and means everyone can buy budget friendly products. I choose F4 as I wear the concealer C4. I am so happy that the colours match up perfectly as it makes things so much easier when shopping. This is a really good match for my skin which is described as being light with a pink undertone by the brand. In my concealer post I mentioned the confusion with the size of the bottle, and I think Makeup Revolution have pulled the wool over our eyes again. This bottle looks pretty huge to me but on closer inspection for £9 you get 23ml. Most foundations have 30ml in them so there is definitely a lot of the bottle with no product in it. I think £9 is a really good price for this foundation, but compared to your average sized bottle you are losing over a quarter of amount of product compared to your 30ml bottle. I would still very much recommend this foundation, and it has fast become a go to product for me.



Sunday 14 October 2018

Finishing Roaccutane

My last roaccutane update was at the end of month 6. We are now at 7 and a half months and I have decided to finish taking my medication two weeks earlier than planned. I went to the dermatologist last week, and as soon as I walked into the consultation room he said "Lucy I think we should stop at 8 months". I was really happy he said it before I got that chance too, as I have wanted to finish it for the last month or so. Due to appointments I had ended up with three weeks' worth of medication left, so he said to finish that and then stop. I decided myself this week I wanted to stop. When I took my last contraceptive pill for this month, on that day I also took my last roaccutane tablets. It has been a long time coming and I have had such strange effects the last 8 weeks or so, I needed to do it.

I have felt such a change in my mood. I have been crying on a daily basis, not even because I feel particularly low in mood but anything triggers tears. This is something I have never experienced and it is either my pill or the roaccutane. My contraceptive pill I have been on is rigevidon and I have been on this many times before, and never had these side effects. I did a lot of research before deciding to take roaccutane and this seems to be a common side effect. I have also been over thinking everything which I have been doing, and it has made me a little on edge. I just have not enjoyed the way I have been feeling and I decided to finish it all at once. I want to be completely hormone free, I don't want anything extra in my body and I am hoping this will take me back to my old self.

There is no denying roaccutane has changed my life. I cannot describe how much happier it makes me being spot free. It is so nice talking about my acne in the past tense, as it has been with me for over 10 years. I am going to do before and after pictures, but I am going to post them in my final roaccutane post which will be up in December. The dermatologist wants me to have a final appointment in December to check that everything is still okay. I am so nervous about the aspect of the acne returning. He said to me that my nose was looking shiny and my eyes literally filled my tears. I looked in the mirror in the room and to me my nose has been so much shinier than it was in that moment. I am just going to try and not focus on it. I am so happy that I now feel confident makeup free, and that at the end of the day was my goal for this entire process. I feel as though I have lost my love for makeup as I have wanted to keep my skin as clear as I can, so I am excited to get back into the makeup love affair. I am still keeping my skincare routine as simple as possible as I know my skin is still fragile. I'll tell you what I am excited about - getting my eyebrows waxed and tinted!

In terms of other side effects, my skin has very much settled down. My lips are still very dry, my aloe vera vaseline is still my most trusty friend. They crack a ridiculous amount on a daily basis, and I cannot wait for them to get back normal.

I am really excited to see what the next month or two holds. However, I do not feel as though I am in the clear yet. I am praying that my skin is still beautiful and my hormones re-balance and I start to feel like the old me.



Sunday 7 October 2018

Getting my blogging game back on

I know I have written a few of these posts over my blogging years. I think having nearly had this blog for five years, it is definitely bound to happen over time. For a few months throughout the summer I literally had rock bottom motivation to even open up blogger and consider writing any kind of post. It was strange, but I knew that everything would be okay and it would bypass just like many times before. I always find that after a holiday I feel like I got my mojo back and I am reading to knuckle down with all things to do with my blog.

I feel like in my nearly 5 years of blogging things have changed so much, and does with such speed it can sometimes make you feel like you are not in the game at all. I feel like everyone around me is upping their game, and I am at the bottom of the heap struggling to stay afloat. I think this is often how you can feel in life in general. I have definitely experienced this many times, when you feel everyone around you is achieving and you are either plateauing or sinking. When I finally get that urge again to go out and get what I want, it spurs me on in wanting to better myself and my blog. I also use this moto in all aspects of my life. There is no way you are going to go through your life every day of every year being at the top of your game, life comes with peaks and troves and it's how we overcome them which is the biggest achievement.

I do find though that the blogosphere changes at such a rapid rate. When it is just a hobby, you do find yourself feeling as though you are left behind, I often remind myself this is not my job. Trying to beat the Instagram algorithms on a daily basis, posting at a certain time, having a specific theme all with the same colour, posting twice a day, it can all take a toll and it does sometime take the fun aspect away of blogging for me. It is no longer just your one blog and that platform, every time a new social media app comes out it is getting on board with it. It is the little things such as planning when I am taking my break at work to get my photo up bob on 8am, I just sit and laugh sometimes because it really is not real life in the slightest. I think out of all of the things I tell myself, remembering that social media really is just the greater aspects of someone's life on show, a snap shot, and someone's smile can easily fade after the photo has been taken. I love Instagram and I think it is a great app, but I find it the most stressful out of them all.

I think if I came into the blogging world now as a newbie other social medias would take preference over an actual blog. Calling yourself a blogger seems to have drifted out and it's either an influencer or a content creator, in all honestly I can't really get on board with either of those as I will and always will be a blogger, as this is where I started and what I enjoy the most. I do fear that blogging is slowly but surely taking a backseat. When I first started my favourite bloggers were posting every single day, and I know other social media outlooks have come into play, and for some they have definitely taken priority. People aren't taking the time to post lengthy, in depth posts about products anymore, when they can write it in a quick caption on Insta or Twitter. Blogging is what changed and structure this new and exciting industry, and things definitely do need to change along the way in order for it to continue to develop. However, I do fear blogging is slowly deteriorating as we have seen with other social networks sites such as MySpace. In all honesty, all of these thoughts and feelings are definitely what pushes me to continue with my blog, as I want the blogging space and community to go on for as long as possible.

I really have never been one to look at my stats closely and analysis them. I do however love it when I see a particular post which has done really well, as this then helps me to plan and create my future content. I think expanding from just beauty posts, into lifestyle and travel was such a great move for me as it allowed me to have so much more scope to write about. I love a blog with varied content which you get engrossed in to, as before you know it you have read 10 posts and it keeps you wanting to go back for more.

I do need to continue to push myself in order to keep my mind-set fresh and keep the content coming on a regular basis. I often get stuck in ruts; I won't take photos for two weeks and instead of putting time to one side to do this, I just let the time dwindle away with me. I recently went on a jam pack weekend away which involved lots of activities, and I picked up my phone only at night. I felt fantastic and I thought to myself why do I spend an hour scrolling Twitter endlessly when I could be utilising my time writing posts. I moan, like everyone does, about time management and being too busy. That weekend away really did put into perspective that it is how we choose to use our spare time, and that really counts. I am all for days of just doing absolute nothing, my job is demanding and sometimes I don't want to wake up and force myself to create content. However, I am definitely going to try and get into a better more structured routine. I love getting things done first thing in the morning, as it leaves me with the rest of the day to do whatever I want without that sense of guilt hanging over you. I know I waste endless amount of hours scrolling on my phone, and it is my goal to make that stop.

All in all, until I get a real urge that blogging is 100% no longer for me this blog will continue. I still struggle with explaining to my friends what I do and what it involves, and I really do not think until you have done it you can explain it. I do love that it is an outlet just for me, that none of my close friends actually share with me. It is my own little own project which I run by myself. Most importantly, it gives me a mind-set for a period of time for me to do what I want to as I complete control of it.


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