Friday 29 November 2019

Netflix Picks #4

I think my Netflix viewing statistics are only on a rise. They are consistently releasing outstanding content which I find myself engulfed in to watching. Amongst my friendship group I feel as though I have rightfully gained the title of Netflix queen.

First up, is Jailbirds I stumbled across this as it turned up in my recommended for you category. This is set in America in a high security prison and follows the life of mainly women who have been locked up for all kinds of reasons. It highlights the reason issue of drugs in prison and the lengths people go to in order to get their kicks. It also shows the men's part of the prison and how different the units are between the genders. One thing that made me shocked about this series is how much emphasis inmates make surrounding building relationships. The inmates empty the toilets in their units and put together a chain of material so that it reaches toilets of others, this means they can pass notes and contraband easier between themselves. An interesting watch and I hope they do future series of this.

60 Days In is a series which has been set up by the prison itself in Arizona. The prison has recently seen a huge surge in violence and smuggling and the chiefs are trying to eliminate this, they do this by enlisting members of the public for help. The volunteers are all prepped on what to expect, but even I was shocked at what they endured. One inmate was assaulted and ultimately asked to leave the show. The most interesting part was how hard the volunteers had to sell and keep up their story of their reasoning's for their arrests. There were many occasions where they became the subject of hounding from other inmates about their reasoning for being locked up. I thought this was a very interesting concept for a show and it gave a real insight into life in prison.

Unbelievable follows the story of a series of rapes which take place in Washington and Colorado. It follows a young lady named Marie who was charged with lying about being raped as she struggles to piece together what happened to her. With lots of pressure on her she ends up changing her statement to say she lied about being raped. As the story unravels more rapes happen in surrounding areas and everything links back to her. At times I found this tear-jerking and also thought-provoking. I binge watched this as it definitely kept my hooked and I found myself wanting to know right away what was happening next. I think this highlights real life issues and how young girls struggle with the pressures from authorities on these awful life-changing experiences.

Styling Hollywood is based around a celebrity stylist agency and the behind the scenes outlook on what really happens. It follows a married couple Adair and Jason who are well-known for their work with the stars of Hollywood. Whilst Jason is known for his interior side of business, Adair focuses on dresses the stars for the red carpets. I like that this offers two insights in to their lifestyle business as it flickers between the works of them both. This gives me the same good feels which Queer Eye and Selling Sunset did. I have featured both of these in my previous Netflix picks post. It is an easy watch show which you can flicker in and out of and pick up at any stage. It features some very well-known celebrities, and in one episode there is a major wardrobe malfunction which needs resolving at the last minute. I most enjoyed seeing the time and input which goes into finding 'the' best outfits for the red carpets.

Our Planet is a nature documentary which is narrated by the ever-so-loved David Attenborough. This follows the success of his previous planet based series which the BBC has created. Netflix brings the same vibes with this focusing on the human impact on the environment, centering on the importance of climate change and the effects it is having on creatures. This programme was four years in the making and was filmed in over 50 countries. I love this type of series as it is such an eye-opener to what it actually going on in the world and the devastating effects which are taking place. There is no lying that this is thought provoking, which is what makes this such a special show as it doesn't hide the real realities of what is happening. The frozen episode following the penguins had me in tears. I was completely gripped from start to finish. It genuinely leaves you asking yourself how you can help to improve the ever-expanding impacts of our behaviours on our environment.



Wednesday 20 November 2019

Sephora Individual Eyeshadows

(swatches top to bottom - unicorn dust, milky way and let's party)

The British beauty stores both high street and luxury have really stepped out and bought into the brands which we used to only be able to get from Sephora. I feel as though this has had a massive impact as a whole on the beauty market, and the old Sephora hype has taken a back burner. However, over the last few months I featured on this blog quite a few on Sephora's own brand products, and today I am here to discuss their individual eyeshadows. There are so many colours and finishes in this range. I have spent quite a long time in Sephora stores swatching many shades deciding which ones I want.

I finally choose these three and I have been very happy with all of these shades. I bought two from the glitter collection in unicorn dust and let's party. Within this line they also have pearl and matte finishes. Unicorn dust is a beautiful light lilac which has a full silver shimmer running throughout it. I have worn this in the centre of my eye to add a pop of colour. Let's party is a mid toned gold which has a little pink/rose gold, which is a great combination and it looks really pretty on the eye. This glitter range has really impressed me and I don't often wear glitters but these are not too in your face or full glitters. It is finely milled into the formula and when applied to the eyelids it is nice and soft. I do like chunky glitters for certain occasions, but having it as a fine consistency makes it more wearable.

I also bought milky way from the metal effects range. Milky way is a classic me shade, it is a light to mid toned golden which is super gorgeous. It has a very creamy consistency which is something I always look for in an eyeshadow with high pigmentation. This is a shade which requires a good primer in order to really get the full effect. The finish is beautiful and is super easy to apply which is always a bonus. This is really pretty but I wouldn't wear it on an everyday basis, it is one which I will gravitate towards when I want a more intense look. There is also a sequin range which runs alongside the metals collection which I would love to try.

I have really enjoyed wearing all of these shades and for just 6.99 Euros I feel as though they have been a great find. Many other brands would sell these for much higher prices and the consumers wouldn't bat an eyelid. Sephora have done really well with this range and have got a very wide array of colours and finishes available. Having used these products I would definitely recommend them to others, and I will definitely look at purchasing more on future visits.


Wednesday 13 November 2019

Disneyland Paris' Halloween Party

For this halloween trip it fell that on the Saturday whilst we were they, Disneyland Paris were holding one of their annual halloween parties. My sister and I had never heard of these parties and we were excited that it was being held whilst we were there. This year they had two parties, one on Saturday 26th October and one on actual halloween the 31st. It took us a while to decide whether we could afford to pay for tickets to the event, and also whether it was actually going to be money well spent. The tickets costs £60 per person. We did a bit of research and there had been a lot of good feedback about some of their parties, however there had been some negative feedback regarding the length of queues for the character meet and greets.

My sister is an absolute gem and is always surprising me and whilst at work she sent me a ticket to the party. This is funny as in hindsight I had been planning on doing the same, but waiting until pay day. We were both so excited and instantly changed our initial plans for the weekend. I did a blog post all about how this time we decided to stay outside of Disneyland Paris, this meant that we had to be a lot more organised with our time. At this point, we had already bought our three day park tickets. With the halloween ticket any guest can get into the park from 5pm and have access to the rides. On this evening, the park closed earlier than usual. Over the Autumn months we hadn't realised that the park closes much later than usual. When we went in February the park closed at 8pm, whereas this time it closed at 10pm. We were surprised at this as we thought 10pm was late for children to stay up in order to be able to watch the fireworks. On the day of the party the park closed at 8pm and the fireworks took place earlier than normal. We decided to leave the park around 6pm and got back to our hotel to get changed, we got back to the park for 8pm for when the party officially started. We were astonished to find out that the party goes on until 2am!

We had managed to get our hands on the programme for the evening before the actual night of the event. We are planners just for the plain fact that we want to be able to make the most out of time at the parks. We had looked to see the meet and greets which we were available, and we were really happy as they have party exclusives that they don't have at any other times of the year. The party also features other favourite characters who wear special halloween attire and they all just look so fancy. They released the times and locations of each meet and greet so we had a rough idea as to where we needed to be at what time.

It is no secret that we are both massive lovers of the parades as they just make the whole experience 10x more special. On these two evenings they put on a special exclusive parade which they only perform at the night time parties. They did two performances of the parades in the evenings which we both absolutely loved. They had all the classic villains but also some special guests.

My sister's favourite character is Daisy and she looked super cute in all her attire so we headed there first. We then decided that we would get into the queue for Marie and in retrospect this was the worst decision. She isn't normally a character which you can meet in the standard meet and greets. We queued for about 45 minutes and quickly realised that the queue was not moving at any kind of normal pace. It was one of those situations where we had dedicated ourselves to the cause and in the end the queue was for over an hour and a half. If you like villains such as jack skeleton, oogie boogie, or the evil queen, I would for sure recommend heading there as soon as the party starts. We met two girls the day after the party and they said that the queue for oogie boogie was 5 hours!

We headed to frontierland which is where they had this fantastic fiesta style party going on. It had djs, goofy dancing and performers everywhere. We were stood waiting for the mickey and minnie meet and greet and having a fabulous time as the atmosphere was absolutely fantastic. Everyone in the queue and all of the meet and greet staff were dancing and singing along to the music, it definitely made the 45 minutes of queuing fly by. We were sad that by the time we got to the chip n dale queue it was already closed. Each character had specific time slots, chip n dale's was between 11-00.30. We got there by midnight and the queue was already closed for any more guests to queue which was slightly disappointing.

Another great aspect of the party is that every guest member is able to get on every single ride in the park. This is fabulous as lots of the guests buy just the party ticket and you get all the benefits of the normal park tickets but all of these exclusives as well. For £60 it is good value money and I think this is the reason why it is such a popular event.

All in all, if you asked me if I would go again the answer would be yes. In all honesty I don't think I would book to go back to the halloween party again next year unless we planned to go again for halloween. However, if they had these parties at other times of the year, for example at Christmas I would for sure be up for attending a special party as we did both thoroughly enjoyed it.


Wednesday 6 November 2019

Can you do Disneyland Paris on a budget?

If you have read my latest post all about our trip to Disneyland Paris at Halloween you will know that this was very much a last minute trip. It was approximately two weeks before we had a crazy idea to just "have a look" at prices. Back in February as it was our first trip so we decided to book it through Disney directly to make it a little bit easier. This time when we looked at booking it through Disney the prices to stay at any Disney hotel were extortionate. I'm sure it was due to it being last minute, so we have definitely learnt to book it in advance. When we go at Christmas we are staying in the Hotel Cheyenne and have booked it as a package through magicbreaks. It is definitely about looking around at the best prices and deals which are out there.

My sister and I have read lots of blog posts and watched vlogs about staying outside of Disney and how you can save so much money. We started to look around at booking everything individual and we soon discovered it was working out much cheaper. Lots of people had recommended staying at the Ibis hotel at Marne de Valle. We decided to stay there and for two nights it was £180, which for £90 each we thought was a decent price. Honestly, this hotel was in the best location and we were super lucky that we had fallen upon this. We got on the RER at Chessy (the stop for Disney), and it is just one stop which is a 3 minute journey to get to Val d'Europe which is where the hotel is located. You go up the train station stairs and the hotel is literally directly in front of you. The RERs are every 9 minutes in the morning and about every 15 minutes at night. My sister and I were convinced that we were able to get on the train and to the Ibis hotel, quicker than the 20 minutes walk it takes to get through the Disney village and to the Disney hotel which we stayed in last time which was Hotel Santa Fe. The tickets for the short train journey cost 1.90 Euros each way. We actually bought a book of ten tickets for 15.80 Euros which saved a little bit more money. We have both said that for future trips we would definitely stay here again. It was also easy to get from Charles de Gaulle airport to Val d'Europe. The tickets were 19 Euros each and the journey was about 15 minutes. This saved a lot of time compared to getting on the DisneyExpress bus which goes around the houses and takes well over an hour to get to the Disney hotels. 

Once the hotel was sorted it was time to sort the flights and this was the biggest test of all. They were all so expensive. As we were only going for two nights we wanted to ensure that we had booked good flights so we could make the most of the time we actually had there. We for sure could have saved £100 or so on flights if we wanted to fly out at 1pm and come back at 11am. However, we would have lost so much actual time in the parks. We decided to fly with EasyJet there and back, the flight out was at 7am and on the way home at 8pm. The flights were expensive at around £200 each, but like I have said it ensured we had time to do everything we wanted to do with only having such a short time span. We thought it was 100% worth paying the extra money. 

We researched the best and cheapest way to buy the tickets for the Disneyland parks. On the Disneyland Paris website for two three day/ two park tickets it costs £371. We looked on Attraction Tickets Direct which is who we have booked some of tickets for Florida next year through and made a small saving as it totalled £354. This was very easy to book. 

In total we paid £490 each. I know some of you will be reading this and saying to yourselves that this on not on a budget, and in some respect I completely agree. On this trip it was the flights which made the total cost increase. However, we did only book it two weeks before and as already stated the flights are always expensive if you want an early morning flight out and a late one home. Both flights there and back were completely full to the brim, there wasn't one free seat. For future though I would recommend booking the flights as far in advance as possible to save as much money as you can. I think it is difficult to actually do Disneyland Paris on a very tight budget as the ticket prices are always going to be the same amount. I think our hotel was a very reasonable price and as a whole Paris is not a cheap place to stay. In the end we were both happy with the amount we paid. The deal offered by Disney including hotel, flights and park tickets was coming out at a minimum of £800 each.

An important aspect to think about is the price of food. Back in February when we went we booked a full board meal plan. I would recommend looking at the price comparisons between staying in Disney with a food package and the difference compared with staying outside of the Disney complex. The quick service diners are the cheapest food option that they offer, but I would definitely not describe it as 'cheap'. If you opt to buy a dining plans I would definitely recommend using the restaurants over counter service as you can pre book all your reservations meaning you can utilise your time so much better.  As we experienced the quick service counters can have huge queues, we queued for one and a half hours in Videotropolis. You may be thinking why did we queue for so long, and the answer is it was one of those things where we were in the queue and we had dedicated ourselves to it and we thought if we left we would only end up in another huge queue some where else. It was frustrating however in the end the food was nice and we managed to get on with our day. A burger meal in there with a drink was 20 Euros. I would say over the three days on dinner and tea in the parks we spent at least 50 Euros a day each. Therefore, like I have said already you have to think about the different in price between getting a dining plan and paying yourself.

When we go at Christmas we have booked a package just like the first time we went. It is about going and doing it in different ways and working out what is the best way to make it work for yourselves. I know for myself that going for your first time it can be very overwhelming, and I have a post with some other tips I wish I have known about before our first trip. My one top piece of advice is to definitely shop around look around the internet for different deals, and like we did this time the different options which are available.



Thursday 31 October 2019

Halloween at Disneyland Paris

Since going to Disneyland Paris for the first time in my life back in February, I have been dying to go back. In May we booked a trip to go at Christmas as we thought it would just be so magical. However, we then saw the theming for Halloween and my sister and I decided we just had to be there. It just fell that we both had annual leave the same week, and after a short conversation of should we / shouldn't we? we quickly decided we needed to be there and started the process of scrolling the internet for the best deals. As it was last minute we thought we might be able to get a fabulous deal. We were definitely too optimistic and to stay in any Disneyland hotel like we did last time it was coming out way above our budget. With a bit of research we decided to stay in Paris and travel in ourselves. I have an upcoming post on how we did it on a budget.

Once we went through the gates at Disneyland Paris we were overwhelmed with the spectacular theming throughout the park. They really do go to town which is great as it makes the experience even more magical. They change their programme for October and have special parades, performances and meet and greets.

No matter what time of year you visit they do two different parades each day. In the morning they always do two of the same parades which have the theme as to whatever season you are going. Then every night at 5.30pm they do the disney on stars parade which is just the most fabulous spectacular, and every single person watching has a continuous smile on their face. This time it was obviously a halloween themed parade in the morning  featuring all of the disney villains. It was led by mickey and minnie dressed up in the absolute most divine and cutest costumes you have ever seen. This parade had lots of characters who you would not normally see on a daily basis and it was great to have more variety and not to just have the 'bigger' characters. It featured cruella de vil, queen of hearts and jack skeleton. It is also huey, dewey and louie who are just the cutest next to donald and daisy.

There was also lots of exclusive meets and greets. I love that the programme of meet and greets change throughout the seasons and the characters change up. Throughout halloween the meet and greets include characters such as stitch, queen of hearts, cheshire cat, max and daisy duck. As always they had all the princesses in the princess pavilion which you can meet, but the queue is normally very long. I discussed in my first post all about using an app called lineberty and how you can get exclusive meet and greets with characters such as woody, buzz and minnie so head over to that post for more details.

They decided to have some halloween exclusive food and snacks which we thoroughly enjoyed. I have written an in depth a post about where you can eat in disney and my recommendations. This time we didn't have a meal plan and had a very different experience to last time. There is no denying that the food everywhere is expensive. However, using the counter services makes things cheaper. We queued in videotopolis for over an hour and a half just for burger and chips as we thought the prices were reasonable, but it was just soooo busy. If you do book any kind of disney meal plan I would very much recommend taking advantage and booking in advance restaurants for all your meals. The counter service although much cheaper than all the restaurants, we found on all three days we had to queue no matter where we chose and it added a lot of time and effort on to the day.

Overall, we had an absolutely incredible time and we both said we would recommend to everyone and anyone to visit at halloween. The whole feel was just so special and we had a fantastic time. Going for a second time means you have so much more knowledge on just the simple things which we spent our first trip trying to get our heads around. We used the fast passes to our full advantage, used the Disneyland app to watch for the queue times, find the parades information and we planned our days out so much more to ensure we got everything done. When I came back from my first trip I wrote a post listing all of my top tips for first time visitors, as I would have found it so useful to have read something similar before my initial trip. We also treated ourselves with tickets to the halloween party which is an exclusive event which happens twice during the week of halloween. It costs £60 per ticket but the park closes to all non-party visitors earlier than normal at around 7pm. The park is then only open to party members for the entire night until 2am. The party has exclusive meet and greets and one-off parades, you can also go on all the rides and enjoy special food and snacks. We thoroughly enjoyed the party but it was a very long day and also very busy meaning the queues for all the meet and greets were huge. Although, if you are a huge disney lover I would recommend going and treating yourself as it was lots of fun.



Wednesday 23 October 2019

Santa Ponsa Majorca

I was lucky enough to be able to escape the normality of life and head off to Majorca for a family holiday for two whole weeks. We are very lucky that we have a close family friend who owns an apartment on a private golf complex. It is amazing to be able to step out of the back garden and be at the pool. It is so peaceful and tranquil and it was the break that we all needed.

We have stayed here before so we know the surroundings very well. The apartments are situated on a golf complex between Santa Ponsa and Port Adriano. Santa Ponsa is the biggest town near to where we stay. In a taxi it takes less than 10 minutes to get right into the heart of the town. Santa Ponsa itself is a lovely bustly place which brings tourists on mass each year in the summer months. It has lots of shops offering a variety of goods, it is great to take an afternoon just to walk around the many streets and go in and out of the shops to see what they all have on offer. There is also the beautiful beach which is clean and enjoyed by everyone. Surrounding the beach there are lots of bars and restaurants which you can stroll to, to have a little break and refuel. There are a variety of hotels and apartments both budget and high end depending on what you are wanting.

Most nights we went into Santa Ponsa for our evening meal and some drinks. If you want to just go for drinks there are some lovely bars situated on the beach front, or if you are wanting to have a little more of a messy night you can definitely indulge into that! We have pretty much eaten in 90% of the restaurants within the area over the years and I am going to go through some of my favourites. The area has a great variety of cuisines which is fabulous if you are a foodie like me. If you are wanting some american type foods like burgers there are two restaurant recommendations - O'Brady's and Fat Sam's which we have been too many times. There is a lovely restaurant on the edging of the beach which is always very popular it is called Empathia. This sells a variety of foods including more traditional spanish foods such as paella, we all had lovely food on this visit and my pizza was delicious. Jackie's is a little restaurant on the main strip near the beach which we always ensure we go to, and on this trip we went twice. They do incredible pasta dishes and my rigatoni bolognese was delightful. To add some variety to our palate we ate at both chinese and indian restaurants. Bombay is a little indian restaurant which is always busy which is obviously a great sign, they do a lovely set meal and the food was delicious. On the same street is a chinese restaurant called China Ming which the entire family love, it does great food at very reasonable prices, it is not fine dining but it is all round somewhere we all leave with full tummies.

If you are staying in Santa Ponsa you can easily get to Port Adriano and is definitely worth a visit. It is a secluded port where many boats come in and out of on a daily basis. The port is surrounded by a variety of restaurants and bars which are all high end, however in the day you can definitely have a nice chilled lunch overlooking the port. We love going to down to the port and it is lovely just to stroll around it.

I have already done blog posts on visiting both Palma and Soller, they are must see places if you have the time and money to get to them. Santa Ponsa is in a very central location which is great meaning you can easily get out and about. There are lots of local buses to get you around. If you are going with children or just want a great day out you can get to Western Water Park easily it is a great day out and we have visited many times, unless you go like we did this year on the only day of the year where there was a storm and flooding! All round, Santa Ponsa is a lovely place to visit and it caters to everyone.



Wednesday 9 October 2019


Palma is a beautiful city and one which I have been fortunate enough to visit numerous times. It is a city which is full of vibrancy and style. As there is a big port in Palma the city is often full of tourists who are on worldwide cruises and they stop here. We visited in August and the city was definitely bustling with both tourists and locals. It has lots of picturesque buildings and churches. It is home to their stunning cathedral which is one of the main tourist attractions. It is very clean and well maintained and you can tell that they take pride in their city and its surrounding.  

As always there are lots of little coffee and cake shops which you could stop off at to refuel. There is a main street called Paseo de Borne which houses lots of fabulous shops. Some of these are higher end and if you want to treat yourself then you will definitely be able to.

We spent the day strolling and exploring the city and ventured into the Old Town which consists of narrow cobbled streets, pretty quaint squares and courtyards, and little bakeries to stop at. When the sun is shining it is a perfect time to go for a stroll into the quieter parts of the city. Like I mentioned before if you are a little bit of a shopper like me, you can definitely take advantage here. I love high street shopping and the Zara here is huge and three stories high. I always take a few hours looking around the shops every time I visit, as alongside the well known stores it is lovely to see the individual shops. There are so many great shops selling lovely gifts and clothing. Me and my sister love to look in these stores and pick up some unique pieces such as jewellery. There is also Palma's city beach which is easily accessible from the centre and is beautiful at all times of the year.

We keep saying as a family it would be lovely to take a weekend away and to stay in Palma itself. I think me and my friends would also love it. I know a few people who have been to Palma for weekends away and they have all thoroughly recommended it. If I was to take a weekend away I would do it in the summer months in the nicer weather. I say this is as in some cities there are lots and lots of tourist attractions to see and do. This city is not somewhere to visit if you want to be able to constantly have things to do and have to rush around in order to get everything done. It moves at a much slower pace and whilst there are things to see and do it is more about taking a relaxed approach.



Wednesday 2 October 2019


I have been lucky enough to visit Soller a few times now. I was trying to work it out and I think this was my fourth time visiting. It is a lovely little quaint town located on the northwest coast of Majorca. It is quite interesting as to get to Soller there is a train that runs from Palma on a daily basis. If you miss the last train you are basically stuck! 

We got on the train early in the morning from Palma and the journey took about one hour to get to Soller. This journey is a very popular tourist attraction and our train was full to the brim. The trains run approximately every hour and the last one back is around 7pm. One piece of advice would be to sit on the right hand side of the train as it is more of a picturesque journey. The train is a pleasant but slightly rickety journey which is expected as you are literally spiralling up in to the mountains. Once the train has pulled into Soller you enter the main square of the town. There are some lovely shops, the church and lots of cafes. This area is always bustling with both tourists and locals.

If you want to get down to the port you can either walk or you can get the tram which run every 20 or so minutes from the train station right into the port. When you buy your train ticket in Palma you can get a combination ticket for 32 Euros return and you get the tram included. If not you can buy the tram tickets once you get on for 7 Euros. As expected these are also very busy with tourists but it is a short and pleasant tram ride. Once in the port it is beautiful. It is surrounded by lots of little cafes and souvenir shops. There is a great range of restaurants some along the front looking over the port, and a few set back into the little streets. We got off the tram and were in desperate need of a pick me up so stopped at the closest coffee shop we could find. I have to say it was a great choice it was called Can Tambora and had such a wide range of cakes and treats.

We spent about 6 hours in Soller strolling around and taking in the views. It is a lovely day out and I think it is a must if you are visiting within the vicinity. One of my work colleagues visited Palma last year and took a day visit to Soller. She loved it that much that this year she actually stayed in Soller for three days. She said she would definitely recommend staying there if you have the chance and they also have a beautiful beach. Everyone is so welcoming and it has such a lovely relaxed feeling to it. We sat having a drink looking over the gorgeous port for well over an hour.


Wednesday 11 September 2019

Listening to your own advice

Sometimes in life on top of the challenges which we are constantly trying to tackle and work on, other obstacles get thrown into the mix. I feel amongst my friends I dish out advice often. It can be hard to give advice on situations which you have never faced yourself. However, you are still able to give advice and I base this upon what I think I would do if I was in their shoes. The advice you give out I often don't think I will ever need to deal with myself, but then life happens and a spanner is thrown into works. This has happened to me recently. It can be crazy to think about how easy it is to dish out advice which you think is correct left, right and centre but when it's yourself everything changes. I have constantly been thinking about what I would say to others. This is so important in any decision making. Giving advice can at times be brutal, but I always want to give an honest and open opinion as that is what I would want to receive in return.

When my friends have asked for advice I like time to think about what I want to say. There are situations when advice is needed in an instance and that can be hard. I like time to process and think. I have often been in situations where I have gone back in a day or two and put in a different spin on my take. Recently I have learnt that sometimes I can beat around the bush on what I really feel in order to protect the feelings of my friends, I'm often the person who puts in an alternative opinion to try and help them see things from both points of view. I am not however a person who holds back, but I like to think I am protecting their feelings as sometimes they need a gentle approach. I listen to everyone in the discussions input as this may trigger your opinion to slightly change when you hear it from someone else's perspective.

What I have learnt is listening to your own advice can be much harder than you may think. It becomes frustrating as often you know what's right, but you are thinking of the alternatives on repeat. My friends have often said to take a few days to think about things and let it stew. I am not great at this and like to get things sorted as soon as possible, but in this scenario it worked for the better. I allowed myself to think of all the different options knowing that it's up to me to put a time limit on my decision. If you are certain of what you want I would always say go ahead and nip it in the bud. If you need time, give yourself time. These situations always seem to happen when you are at your busiest, already trying to juggle life and work and then this gets thrown in as well. I think it is often important to prioritise it when you can in order to make a decision which has been well thought through.

Depending on what you have decided it will now be the time where you actually need the most advice from those around you, whether you have made the choice to go against what they have said or not. As the person receiving the advice though you have to sometimes understand that it can be difficult for the other person to see it from your point of view. I would always hope that this would only happen because they love and care for you. I have been in situations when someone has asked me for advice which I think has been open and well-rounded. The person has then done the complete opposite. That can be hard for you to get your head around, and can be difficult to offer support but that's what friendships are about - being there in their hardest times. On top of this it can be a time where you learn who your real friends are. Who actually sends a text to ask if you're okay and who doesn't bother.

I have found in many different situations that consciously you know what to do. I often think about the bigger picture, think about in a month's time or even a year where do you see yourself. This may be that you're thinking about getting a new job, but you've been too scared to take the plunge. It could be something completely different to do with friendships or relationships. I am often a here and now person which can be great. I would say I try to be as optimistic as I can be, but I struggle at times. I do believe in having a gut feeling about something and it is a lot of the time right. Contemplating backwards and forwards can you leave yourself feeling crazy. Depending on what is going on, taking a risk can sometimes be worth taking. It is important to think about all the possible outcomes, and if it ends badly whether you are willing to take the risk and be able to deal with the consequences. Most importantly, you know some decisions are only going to end in hurt and the likelihood for a happy ending is very unlikely. Something which makes you happy for a short period of time is better to end now, rather than prolonging and ending in a much more complicated and hurtful way.

Listening to yourself and following what you know you should really be doing is the best advice which I will ever give to anyone. You have to be selfish and think about yourself and what is best for you. Taking a few days or even weeks to make a decision is fine. We often feel as though everything has to be done there and then, if it is something important to you ensure you are not going to regret your decision. You are in control of your decisions and outcomes. In months or even years you often look back and reflect on decisions you have made. In my job we are encouraged to do a lot of reflection, in order to look at the positive, negatives, barriers and improvements which can be made. This has made me an open thinker, but also an over thinker. I allow little things to build up and bug me and others probably think I am just over thinking which I know I am. I do however think I am good at listening to my own thoughts. We need to learn to all be kinder to ourselves, and this is something which I try to continuously work on and often encourage others to do as well. I am also a firm believer in what is meant to happen, will happen.



Wednesday 4 September 2019

Holiday Reads

I am sad to say I am one of those people who doesn't read on a daily basis. I am a bit of a binge reader, when I go on holiday I read consistently and then when I get home I just don't seem to find the time to pick up a book. I really want to change this habit and read on a regular basis and put it into my weekly routine. On holiday I managed to get through seven books, so I thought I would give a little run down of them all.

Lullaby was quite a short story compared to my other reads. It is a very interesting read about a young couple living the average millennial life trying to juggle work with a baby. They decide to hire a nanny, from the start you get an unnerving feeling about her and the introduction actually lets you into the nit and grit of what is the final outcome. Overall, this was a very thought-provoking and sad book which shocked me with its ending.

Who doesn't love David Attenborough really?! Adventures of a Young Naturalist is a trilogy of adventures which he went on when he first started in TV in the 60's. This was by far one of my most interesting reads in a while. I thought it was a little bit crazy to see how things have changed from then to now, as we now live in age which rightly so highlights animal conservation and welfare. This book explores how David and his team went to different countries to find a variety of exotic animals which had never been seen before all in aid of a TV programme called Zoo Quest. In the grand scheme they go and catch these animals and bring them back to the UK to then feature on the TV programme. They then take residency in London Zoo. It was interesting and laugh out loud funny at some points imagining them to trying to catch these animals especially the story about the pig!

The Sister is a thriller where Grace's best friend Charlie dies suddenly, and Charlie's wish has always been to find her biological dad. Grace sets out to find him and in the process she meets a girl named Anna who tells her she is Grace's half-sister. There are lots of twists and turns in this book, and I was definitely sucked into the story line. I really enjoyed this book and I was shocked at the ending, this has made me interested in reading Louise Jenson's other books.

As a children's nurse I am always into reading and watching films which can be very sad, but delve into the true realities of teenager illnesses and the harsh realities of their lives. If you have read or watched My Sister's Keeper or The Fault in the Stars then this will be right up your alley. Five Feet Apart follows a teenager friendship of two friends Stella and Poe who met whilst in hospital over a period of time receiving the same treatment for cystic fibrosis. Another teenage boy Will then arrives on the unit, he is not following his regime and has essentially just given up as his mum struggles to accept the reality of the situation, and she is constantly sending him for different therapies all over the world. Stella falls in love with Will and takes him under her wing. However, there is a rule in order to not spread any bacteria between them which could be life-threatening they have to officially keep six feet apart. They decide they should keep five feet apart. This is a tear-jerker and an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. It is a book which made me think in great depth and I highly recommend it.

The Sunshine Sisters is a story around an actress called Ronnie Sunshine and her three daughters. Ronnie has always been dramatic and her daughters feel there upbringing was not the most loving. The girls grow up and all leave to lead different lives, when Ronnie asks them to all get together they are all expecting a different reveal as to what is the real problem. She tells the girls she is seriously unwell and only has a few days to live. The girls all have their own major personal life troubles and this is just a big spanner thrown into the works. It is a great book which explores the ins and outs of being in a celebrity family and the challenges along the way.

The Couple Next Door really had a great element of suspense to the story line. My dad and I sometimes have similar interests in books and I have given this to him to read. It all starts with a normal loving couple who has a 6 month old baby. The parents are left down by their babysitter last minute and their neighbours suggest leaving the baby in their house with a monitor on and to take it in turns checking every 30 minutes. However, when the mum goes to check the baby is missing. The book holds great suspense and the story line moves on at the perfect pace. I did at some points find some elements a little unrealistic, but by the end it all comes together and I was shocked to discover who and what caused the disappearance of the baby.

The F Word is a book I had wanted to read for ages. It is by Lily Pebbles who is a blogger who I have been following from day dot. She is always so down to earth and relatable and she always comes across as a strong independent feminist. This book explores female friendships and it is interesting as Lily delves into different types of friendship and puts them into categories. Whilst I was reading this I was thinking of my own friendships, and it really made me cherish the friendships that I have and realise how special they are.



Sunday 11 August 2019

Plaza Beach Marbella

We had decided that at some point during our girl's holiday to Marbella we would attend a pool or beach party. On Instagram and through some research we had seen that there was a large range of pool and beach parties within Marbella available. I discussed in my first post which detailed our entire holiday to Marbella that Puerto Banus is the higher end part of the town where the majority of these events are held. After a lot of research and calculations we decided that Plaza Beach was not only the best value for money, but also looked the best for us.

We went on a Tuesday which turned out to be a great decision. If you go between Friday-Sunday the price doubles if not triples. We bought a package which in total costs 230 euros. There were four of us and we split the price between us. With our package we got a jacuzzi which was much much bigger than we had anticipated, they fit 12 people and it was fabulous. We also had a big day bed with towels and a magnum of prosecco included in the price. This was our big treat of the holiday and it was worth it for sure. Plaza Beach opens at 1.30pm and finishes at 7pm.

We anticipated that the drinks were going to be expensive and we had looked at the price list online when we booked it. The drinks were very widely priced depending on what you wanted. The magnum of prosecco that we got included with our package was 75 euros to buy individually. We did the maths and for just under 19 euros each we got another bottle as we got 8 full glasses of prosecco out of it. My friend bought a large jug of strawberry daiquri which in hindsight was probably not worth it as it did not go very far and cost 60 euros. We then moved on to bottles of rose which the cheapest was 26 euros. We thought this was a pretty decent price. If you want individual cocktails they were 15 euros or more each. Spirits and mixer varied from 15-17 euros each depending on which spirit you choose. Some of the prices were laughable as there was a bottle of champagne available for over 1000 euros. Thank the lord we didn't get too merry and pop that on the credit card!

We were a little bit unsure as to what the vibe was going to be like. We wore heels there but took them off and wore our sandals for the rest of the day. There was music playing and we were actually all relieved that everyone was just chilling and enjoying themselves. We had seen pictures from places like Ocean Beach and Nikki Beach which seemed to be a little too wild. At the weekend I expect that there is much more of a party vibe but I think you can make it what you want it to be. The jacuzzi 100% made this afternoon the best it could be. In all honesty we were definitely living our best lives. It is a little more money to spend and all though the jacuzzi fits 12 I think that would probably be too many people as the day bed would fit 6 comfortably.

All in all, we had a fabulous time at Plaza Beach and if I was ever to visit Marbella again I would definitely go back.


Sunday 4 August 2019

A Girls Trip to Marbella

This holiday with my friends was just what the doctor ordered. Going on holiday with three of my best friends what more could I ask for? I had briefly been to Marbella a few years ago on a day trip when we stayed in a resort a little further along the beach called Benalmadena. I was so excited to go back and explore further with my friends. Marbella over the last few years has become well known for its party scenes and beach clubs. We wanted it to have a holiday where we could go to the beach and pool during the day, and then be able to go out and enjoy ourselves at night.

We booked the trip for 4 nights and we flew out on a 9am flight from Manchester. From the airport we got on the bus to the centre of Marbella which only costs 8.50 euros each. We then got a taxi from the centre to our hotel which was 7 euros. Our hotel was located on the beach front it was called Skol Apartments. We booked this trip only three months before we went and we were struggling to find somewhere to accommodate four adults. We were impressed with the location of the apartments and the accommodation itself. We were staying on the seventh floor and the apartments are two tiered. We had a lovely view from our balcony overlooking the town and across into the sea. We decided to stay in Marbella rather than Puerto Banus which is where we thought the majority of the nightlife would happen. To our surprise Marbella itself had a large range of bars and places to drink. We all agreed if we were to visit again we would make the same decision. Marbella had much more of a chilled vibe and we liked that we had the option of going to Puerto Banus if we wanted to rather than the other way around. To get a taxi into Puerto Banus it costs approximately 12 euros.

The night we arrived we went to explore Marbella and try and get our bearings. We decided to head for some tapas and a few drinks. It was lovely and we found so many little bars to drink at. Our first Tapas experience of the holiday was at La Bodega Del Mar which was located on the sea front in Marbella. The food was lush and it got the holiday started in the perfect way.

We spent the next day on the beach front relaxing and taking in the sun. We hired beach chairs which were 6 euros and came with a thick mattress which were heavenly to lie on. That night we headed in to Puerto Banus for the first time and we went for a walk along the harbour which was very impressive and had some pretty hefty sized boats. We had pre-booked a table at La Sala which is a well known high end restaurant. We had decided it was our fancy dressing up and going out night which did not disappoint. The food was incredible in La Sala and after 9.30pm they have a live singer on who was fabulous. After we finished our food we headed inside to the bar area to listen to the music and have a little a dance. We then headed out to the main part of Puerto Banus and well let's just say we got home at 4am.

After surviving a mild hangover from the night before, another day at the beach was calling us. After the heavy night before we decided to stay around Marbella and we ate in a lovely Italian restaurant called La Tagliatella. The concept was great - there were 10 pasta choices and over 15 sauce options. You mixed and matched to your choice so you created your own perfect dish. The portions were huge when they arrived, we definitely could have shared. I had rigatoni ragu and it was really tasty. All the girls said that their food was lovely, just that the portions were a little too large.

Before the holiday we decided we wanted to attend one of the bigger pool or beach parties. We decided on Plaza Beach. We had had some friends recommend it and also it seemed the best value for money. We did quite a lot of research into which one to choose as some of them are really expensive. We booked before we went and there are a lot of different price options depending on what package you choose. We splashed out a little bit and chose a day bed with a jacuzzi which costs 230 euros in total. When we got there we were really surprised at just how big the jacuzzi was as it fitted 12 people. We had a big day bed and for the price we also got a magnum of prosecco included. I am going to write a separate post detailing more in depth information about our experience at Plaza Beach, so keep your eyes peeled. After the party had finished at 7pm we headed back to our apartments and headed out for some dinner. We headed into Marbella's Old Town and stumbled across a lovely Pizzeria. We drank sangria and ate pizza until we couldn't fit anything else in.

On the last day we headed to the pool area of our apartments. We were really impressed by the size of the pool area, it was two tiered with two massive swimming pools. We took in the last of the rays and then headed out for some final tapas tasting. We felt as though we hadn't quite taken in all of Marbella's Old Town (mainly due to the ample of wine consumption the night before!), so we headed there to explore a little further. We wanted some final tapas and we found a little restaurant and ordered a large variety of the menu. We weren't that impressed with the food in all honesty. It was average and everything was extra salty. After this we headed back to the hotel and waited for the bus to take us to the airport.

Overall, I think I can speak for all the girls when I say this was one of my favourite holidays that we have ever taken together. A lot of memories were made and we all enjoyed exploring both Marbella and Puerto Banus.


Wednesday 17 July 2019

Current Travel Plans

So I am very lucky to say that I have quite a few holidays in the pipeline. At the start of the year I had plans to try and save and put any holidays on the back burner. However, lots of exciting opportunities have come up.

First up, I am off to Marbella in Spain with three of my best pals. We still love our girls holidays and I am excited to get away with the girl's and forget about normal life for a few days. We have a few beach parties and trips planned which will hopefully be fantastic. This is only two weeks again now so it is getting very close.

I get home from Marbella and then I head to Santa Ponsa in Majorca for 2 weeks. This holiday is a family trip with my parents and sister. Everyone always say they think it's lovely that we all still go on holiday together and I don't get why we wouldn't. We are staying on a golf complex which is private and is just luxury and pleasant. You can do what you want and when you want. We can walk into the town centre at the night time. It's lovely and will be the break we all need.

Earlier this year in February my sister and I went on out first trip together to Disneyland Paris. It is all we have talked about since we got back and we knew we needed another trip in the pipeline in order to dust away our Disney blues. We originally wanted to go in October but it was really expensive. We then decided to look at the prices to go the weekend before Christmas, and by some miracle it was cheaper than any other time that we were looking at. It is sooo exciting and we are staying in a Disney hotel again. This time we have chose to stay in the Hotel Cheyenne which is toy story themed.

The most exciting trip which I have lined up is my sister and I have also booked to finally go to Walt Disney World in Florida. Once again after going to Disneyland Paris this year, it set us into overdrive about finally getting to go to Florida. We have booked to go at the end of May 2020. We have booked it so far in advance just for the simple reason that we have longer to pay it off. This is going to be a once in a life time trip as boy it has cost a lot but we are already soooo excited. We have booked a package holiday so we are staying at a Disney hotel called Colorado Springs, and we have access to the Disney parks for the 11 days which we are there. We are hoping to also do some more exploring outside of Disney and also head to Universal Studios.

One of my close friends from university is taking the dive and moving to Canada. I had the original plan to go out and travel with her for around three weeks when she first moves out there next February. We had booked onto a travelling tour for 10 days but it has since been cancelled. We have struggled to find another tour which we want to go on as February is not the best time to travel around Canada due to the weather at that time of year. Therefore, we have made alternative plans that I am going to head out there around September/October time when the weather is better and there are plenty of tours available. The plan is pretty much the same to go out for about 3 weeks and travel around Canada.

For now they are all of my travel plans which I currently have in the pipeline. My ultimate travel goal is to at some point head to Australia and New Zealand. Realistically I think that is going to have to happen in 2021 as there is only so much that I can realistically afford.

Do you have any travel plans?



Wednesday 10 July 2019

Turning 25

I don't know what it is about turning 25 but it is scaring the life out me. I mean I know birthdays come around every year but after you get to 21 I feel like birthdays aren't quite as exciting. As a July birthday when I was younger I used to hate being the young one. I did not go out for any of my friends 18th birthday and then when I turned 18 everyone else's excitement at now being 18 had worn off. 25 is the age you've entered mid 20's territory well and truly. I feel like it is the age when you need to have your shit together, whatever that means.

It is so easy in life to compare yourselves to others. No matter how hard you try, it is normal to think I want what they have. This can be in many different forms. I often like to have these chats with others and see what they think. I recently discussed it with one of my friends and my interpretation of her having everything she wants, was actually very different to her perception. I have asked pretty much all of my friends recently about getting older and what they want to achieve. I quickly concluded I have definitely been putting a lot of pressure on myself. As I get older I often think about meeting someone stable and being happy. To have someone to buy a house with and build something together. When you have been independent for many years it would take someone very special for me to allow someone to come and change that. I think this is why my brain has been in overdrive, just constantly over thinking everything and feeling a little lost for a while.

I am so grateful for everything I have in my life and honestly I am content but I just don't know why turning 25 is freaking me out so much. All my friends are like Lucy it is not a special birthday pull yourself together. Life flies by and before you know it you are another year older, and the process of reflection as to what you have achieved over the last year can be the biggest sense of achievement. Being 24 was not the easiest year for me, it was challenging and testing at points but its how we overcome and learn from these things which are the most important. I see a new birthday year just like a new calendar year. People make pledges and promises to change and make adjustments to better their selves. This is how I see this year of turning 25. A year to do things I have wanted to do for ages, take the plunge and be more spontaneous. Not constantly worry (hence this post) about getting older. I met a friend recently who I hadn't seen in over three years and she asked me about my love life and said I bet you're too busy for it with work. I do make work a priority, but I do think I have managed to get a good work / life balance. I just want to be more open and willing to do new things and be more spontaneous.

Here's to 25 and it being the best one yet!


Wednesday 26 June 2019

Sephora Glow Perfection Foundation

On my last few trips abroad during my visits to Sephora I had been wanting to try their glow perfection foundation. I had not read any reviews or heard much about it and when I went to Italy is was about 18/19 Euros which is a lot of money if I am not sure if I am going to like it or not. I was also not impressed with the foundation shade range which they had. They was either way too light or too dark. When my mum recently went on her holidays to Poland, she popped into a Sephora to get me my trusty high coverage concealer (post here), and she me asked if there was another else that I wanted. I asked her to see if they had this foundation. She found it and got it in the same shade of the concealer which is 22 natural. She was surprised at the prices as they were much cheaper than other Sephoras in Europe. The concealer was only 7 Euros and the foundation was about 11 Euros.

I have been using this on a daily basis and putting it to the test. It is frustrating that the concealer and foundation shades do not match up, the foundation is much darker. When I have looked online there is about 20 shades available which is much better than the selection which I have seen in stores. Even though it is a little too dark, I can just about make it work at the moment. I am hoping it will be a great match when I have a bit of a summer tan. I have mixed this with my L'Oreal true match foundation to make it slightly lighter, and they have been a great combination together.

The foundation is advertised as being hydrating which is something I always look for as my skin is always dry. Matte foundations just do not work for me. It does provide a glow to my skin and gives an overall radiance. It it not too shiny and I think it works well on with my skin type. In saying that, I think it would work well with many skin types whether dry or oily. I also moisturise my skin well using a hydrating moisturiser and primer before I apply any base makeup. It does not feel heavy on the skin and has a light creamy texture which is great. There is nothing worse than the feeling of heavy makeup on my skin. I wear my makeup for long periods of time at work meaning that I want something that feels just like my natural skin.

Overall, I have really enjoyed using this foundation. The texture is great and one of its best features is that it allows you to build it to a coverage of your choice. These days I much prefer a light to medium coverage and this allows me to build up to exactly what I want. In terms of getting a full coverage which covers acne or scarring I am not sure it would achieve that as the consistency is light. If someone was to say whether I would recommend it or not - I would. I have been really enjoying using it and will definitely continue to use it. When I next go to Sephora I would like to pick this up in my everyday shade.



Wednesday 19 June 2019

Drunk Elephant and Aromatherapy Associates Cleansers

About six months ago I stumbled into TKMaxx and ended up head deep in their skincare section. I had heard so many good things about Drunk Elephant. However the price tag had been an instant turn off. I found their jelly cleanser which I had read a review about by a beauty blogger a few days before this trip. This has a retail price of £34.99 which I wound never, ever pay. I bought if for £19.99 which I thought was still expensive, but I was on the market for some new skincare as my skin had been through a lot after the roaccutane process and I needed some gentle products. My eyes were then drawn to this Aromatherapy Associates inner strength cleansing balm which I paid £15 for. This was the biggest bargain of all as to buy from their site it costs £40!

The Aromatherapy Associates inner strength cleansing balm is formulated for sensitive skin. It is marketed to gently remove impurities and makeup which helps to restore the moisturise levels. It is exactly what it advertises - a balm which is gentle and non-abrasive. It has an emollient base which contains primrose oil and I like the scent as it's quite relaxing. It comes out as emollient which is soft to touch and quickly melts into the touch of your fingers. I have used this in two ways straight onto my face to dissolve my makeup at night which I think does the job really well. The other way is to wet my face and then apply it in the morning for a thorough wake up cleanse. I have absolutely loved using this and it is one of my favourite cleansers which I have ever used. One of the best features of it is it doesn't leave a greasy residue on my face which you would expect with it's oily texture. It leaves a nice smooth and moisturising feel which is refreshing. If I could find this again for £15 I would definitely snap it up in an instance, but for £40 I just could not justify it.

The Drunk Elephant jelly cleanser differs a lot in terms of formulation and its use. It is a mild cleanser which contains glycerine which is an active ingredient to maintain high levels of hydration. It also contains oils to help with the cleansing process. First up I do not like the screw top to the bottle. You turn it one way and a small amount comes out, however when you close it more comes out meaning no matter what you do you end up wasting product. In my case I end up applying double the amount I actually need in order to not end up just wasting it. I like the texture of this it is soft and light and is nice when applied to the skin. This is a really good first cleanser in the morning and it instantly feels refreshing. I have noticed that is does sting my eyes a little bit which isn't great. You can apply this onto wet or dry skin, I massage a small amount of the gel into my skin, when water is added is creates a light lather which is easy to rinse away. It is a great no-fuss product. It is a great product, but for the price tag it is doesn't have a particular wow factor which blows me away. In comparison to other high street cleansers which do the same job equally as well for a fraction of the price. If the price tag of this was £10 or even £15 I would consider repurchasing it, as overall I have enjoying using it and my skin has felt soft and hydrated.


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