Sunday, 15 October 2017

Visiting Bovey Castle

I'M BACK! Sorry for such a long unintentional blogging break - I've been trying to prioritise uni work and grad job applications but I didn't mean to completely neglect my blog. Anyway, earlier in the week I visited Bovey Castle with my boyfriend and it was so amazing so I have to share it with you guys.

Bovey Castle is situated within the Dartmoor National Park and within it's grounds there's a golf course, fishing lake, driving range and tennis courts. Luckily, when we arrived the weather was sunny so we explored the grounds - which are kept beautifully. Later on in the day we used the swimming pool and steam room. There's also a spa which offers a variety of treatments, however, unfortunately we didn't get to try any of them out. Bovey Castle has two restaurants; The Great Western and Smith's Brasserie. We ate at Smith's Brasserie (the burger there is delicious!) and I would recommend booking in advance because it was quite busy. In the morning, we had breakfast included with our room so I made full use of this trying the Eggs Benedict and American pancakes - both were amazing!

We stayed in one of the Castle rooms which included a king-sized bed, TV, fridge, kettle and coffee machine, bathrobes, slippers, hairdryer, and complimentary sloe gin. The room was very spacious and any blogger would be jealous of the marble bathroom! Our room overlooked the courtyard, however, some of the Castle rooms have views of the woodland.

Bovey Castle is a place that I would love to visit again. The service was excellent and they had everything which I needed. If I had stayed for longer then it would have been great to explore more of the Dartmoor National Park but even from within the grounds of Bovey Castle you could see for miles across the countryside. Where do you like visiting for a short getaway?

Sunday, 27 August 2017

MyVitamins Collaboration

Over the last few weeks I have been sampling some of the products from MyVitamins, which are part of The Hut Group along with Look Fantastic and Beauty Expert. I didn't want to feature these products on my blog until I'd given them a long enough trial period since vitamins aren't something which I usually buy, however, I've been really impressed with the results so far.

Coconut + Collagen:
This is one of MyVitamins best sellers. It contains Coconut Oil, Collagen and Vitamin C which protects against oxidative stress. MyVitamins recommend that you take two tablets a day, however, I've only been taking one and I've still noticed an improvement in my skin.

Catwalk Queen:
These tablets contain a blend of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C and Zinc, which improve the health of hair, skin and nails. MyVitamins recommend that you take two of these tablets a day, however, again I've only been taking one and I've still noticed a difference in my skin - I always used to get a few blemishes on my face but I've pretty much been spot-free for the last two weeks now! My nails have also seemed a lot stronger recently. The only downside to these tablets is that I really don't like the smell of them but it's something that I can put up with long enough to take them.

Bean Body Coffee Bean Scrub:
This is probably my favourite product which I tried. The Coffee Beans stimulate blood flow to minimise the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks, whilst the Cacao and Vitamin E help to repair and restore skin. The Himalayan Pink Rock Salt and Demerara Sugar remove dead skin cells, helping to eliminate blackheads and leaving skin feeling so smooth. I read that coffee bean scrubs are best to use after exercising so that's when I normally use this. It leaves your bathroom smelling of coffee for an hour or so after using it but it's worth it for the silky smooth skin!

3 More Inches Conditioner:
I'm trying to grow my hair longer so I was excited to try this product. The conditioner contains proteins and amino acids to make hair stronger and protect against the damaging effects of heat styling, which should in turn mean hair grows faster. This conditioner left my hair feeling soft and looking healthy but unfortunately I didn't notice much growth. I feel like you might need to use this over a longer period of time and also use the shampoo in this range to notice a significant difference.

There are plenty more products on MyVitamins that I think would be great to try. You can get 15% off your order with the code EMMABW15 (valid until the end of 2018). Have you tried anything from MyVitamins before?

*These products were kindly sent to me for free from MyVitamins, however, I have given my honest opinion in this review.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

VLOG: Visiting Milan

SURPRISE! I decided to bite the bullet and upload my first YouTube video. It features clips from my recent trip to Milan. Let me know what you think of it and if you've got a YouTube channel then leave a comment below so I can check it out.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

5 Shows To Watch On Netflix

Thanks to the British Summer weather I have spent a lot of time recently binge watching lots of TV shows on Netflix. So I thought that I would share with you some of my favourites in case you get stuck with what to do on a rainy day.

OMG this is getting so intense at the moment! It's set in New York and follows a drug dealer and his gang. Without giving too much away... in the first series the main drug dealer starts having an affair with his childhood sweetheart who then turns out to be an AUSA agent that's looking for him (but she doesn't realise that he's the guy she's looking for!). It's nearing the end of it's fourth season but it's just started to get really good as they've arrested one of the agents for being corrupt - definitely worth a watch if you like crime dramas.

Pretty Little Liars
I've been watching this since it started and, although it's finished now, you're missing out if you don't watch it! I'm sure most of you know what PLL is about but if you don't; PLL follows the lives of four girls who's best friend has gone missing, they then start receiving anonymous texts and try to work out who the texts are from believing that whoever it is knows what happened to their missing friend. Unfortunately I found the finale a bit disappointing because I was hoping that A would be someone else, however, the show keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout and will make you never want to go into a dark room alone!

Orange Is The New Black
I haven't caught up with the latest season yet, however, the ending to season four was so dramatic I'm excited to find out what happens. OITNB is Netflix's most-watched original series so I'm sure most of you have already seen some of the episodes. It follows a woman who's convicted of transporting drug money for her ex-girlfriend, which happened a few years prior to the start of the series, and she then ends up in the same prison as her ex-girlfriend. OITNB is a comedy but it also touches on some issues that prisons today are facing.

Gossip Girl
Every girl has to watch Gossip Girl at least once in their life! It revolves around a group of hyper-privileged students who seem to get whatever they want (trust me, it'll make you wish you could live like them!). However, there's an anonymous blogger who releases secret information about them. I'm really hoping they do a reunion show in a few years because I love this show so much.

The Vampire Diaries
I've been watching this show since the beginning and I'm so sad that it's over now. The Vampire Diaries follows the life of a girl who falls in love with a vampire and things become very complicated when a past lover from centuries ago who's also a doppleganger reappears. There's also werewolves, witches and loads more supernatural creatures. At times the storyline can get quite complicated but if you like supernatural dramas then you'll love this.

Hopefully I've given you some ideas about what you could watch on Netflix. What are your favourite TV shows?

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Visiting Paris

When Audrey Hepburn said that "Paris is always a good idea" she wasn't joking! Last month I visited Paris for the first time and I would love to go back there already!

Where to visit:
On my first evening in Paris I went for a wander around the Champs-Elysées area (where you can visit the Arc de Triomphe) and conveniently ended up near the Eiffel Tower at sunset - talk about perfect timing! To go to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower cost around €8 and it's so worth it for the views over Paris. Also, if you go to the Eiffel Tower when it's dark then you'll see it lit up and every hour on the hour the lights flash for 5 minutes, which is really pretty. The Louvre is the world's largest museum and has some impressive architecture. Unfortunately I didn't have time to go inside The Louvre but it's well worth the visit even if you only see the glass pyramid - and maybe you can try get a classic tourist photo with your hand on top of it! The Notre Dame cathedral is free to enter and includes a treasury, towers and crypt. Unfortunately it was very busy when I was there so I never went inside. On my last day I went to the Sacre-Coeur and, although there was a lot of steps to climb up to it, the view at the top was incredible. I didn't get the chance to go inside the Sacre-Coeur but entrance is free so if you have the chance then you should definitely do it.

Where to eat:
Paris is renowned for it crepes so obviously you can't leave Paris without trying one! You're spoilt for choice with creperies in Paris and most of them are very similar to one another - I bought one from a place near the Eiffel Tower and ate it whilst watching the flashing lights go off. Another food you have to try from Paris is macarons. I went to Maison Georges Larnicol, which is close to the Sacre-Coeur, and it offers a massive selection of flavours for a reasonable price. I would highly recommend going here.

Day trip:
Can we all take a moment to admire that sunset!? The sky actually matches the castle - I don't think I've ever seen anything more beautiful! If you're in Paris you HAVE to go to Disneyland. This brought out my inner child and was without a doubt the best day of the whole trip. I would recommend looking into the fast pass tickets before you go because some of the rides I ended up queuing for over an hour, which meant I couldn't see as much of the park as I wanted to. Also, as expected, the food's very expensive at Disneyland so it's worth bringing your own snacks with you if you don't want to spend too much.

Hopefully you have found this post helpful. I would love to go back to Paris to explore more of it. Have you visited Paris before?

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Raspberry and White Chocolate Cupcakes

These are my favourite cupcakes ever and they're perfect for Summer!

(for cupcakes)
- 110g unsalted butter
- 180g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 125g self-raising flour
- 120g plain flour
- 125ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp raspberry jam
(for icing)
- Raspberry jam
- 100g white chocolate
- 80g unsalted butter
- 45ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 375g icing sugar
- 3 tbsp double cream
- Fresh raspberries

- Preheat the oven to 160*C (fan)/180*C/350*F/gas mark 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tray.
- In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until pale and smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition.
- Combine the two flours in a separate bowl. Put the milk in a jug and add the vanilla extract to it. Add one-third of the flours to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk have been added.
- Fold in the raspberry jam until most of it's combined but still have a few streaks running through it.
- Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and leave them to cool. Once they have cooled, cut a small hole in the centre of each cake and place a teaspoon of jam inside.
- For the icing, melt the chocolate by putting the pieces in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until it has completely melted and is quite smooth. Leave to cool slightly.
- In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and half the icing sugar until smooth. Gradually add the remaining icing sugar and beat again until the buttercream is smooth and creamy.
- Combine all the ingredients and beat well. Pipe onto cupcakes and add fresh raspberries on top.

Hopefully you like the look of these, will you be baking them?

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Visiting Venice

The last place we went on our trip around Italy was Venice. This was probably my favourite place because of how pretty and different it was from the other places we visited (although they were all amazing so it was difficult to choose!).

We stayed in Cannaregio which is more residential than the other areas in Venice and it's further away from the centre. However, this meant that it was more peaceful and we found some lovely restaurants that were a lot cheaper than the places in the touristy areas.

Where to visit:
The Rialto Bridge is a must-see and if you stand in the centre of it then it gives you a great view down the Grand Canal. The Rialto Bridge is extremely busy so I would recommend visiting it either early in the morning or late in the evening. The Basilica di San Marco has incredible architecture and you can buy tickets to go inside. The Basilica is based in St Mark's Square, which has loads of lovely shops and restaurants around the edge. If you visit the square at night, it's a lot quieter and is lit up. The Campanile is the tall tower in the square and it gives amazing 360 degree views of Venice. I would really recommend going up this if you have the time. Of course, you can't leave Venice without going on a Gondola! We went around the quieter canals of Venice because if you go down the Grand Canal on a Gondola you'll get stuck in loads of traffic. The Gondolier we had told us facts about Venice during our ride which made it really interesting and, although it was very expensive, I'm glad that I got to experience it.

Where to eat:
On TripAdvisor we found an amazing street food place called La Bottiglia, which was reasonably priced and away from the busy streets. They offer a selection of fresh meats and cheeses, as well as a few other foods, which you can have in focaccia bread or on a platter. Restaurants in Venice were quite expensive so we bought fresh pasta from Giacomo Rizzo to cook in our apartment instead. The pasta from here was some of the best I've ever had and I bought some to take home with me too!

Day trip:
Most people don't go to Venice for the beach, however, if you want a break from the hordes of people then the beach is the perfect place to relax. We got line 2 of the water bus to Lido di Venezia, which took around 40 minutes but it also gave us the opportunity to see more of the Grand Canal. At the beach you can hire loungers and umbrellas for the day and then relax!

This is my last post from my trip around Italy so hopefully you've found these posts enjoyable and helpful. Are you going away anywhere over Summer?