Sunday, 14 October 2018

A Stay at Cowley Manor

A few hours ago (please appreciate my efficiency with this post!) I returned home from an amazing stay at Cowley Manor with my boyfriend, which is situated in the Cotswolds. Cowley Manor is a country house hotel with contemporary interiors and an award winning spa. The Main House consists of 15 spacious bedrooms, public areas, a bar and a restaurant. The Stable Block contains more bedrooms built over one, two and three levels. Cowley Manor offer a variety of rooms to stay in, which differ in price - we stayed in one of their 'Great Rooms'. This consisted of a king size bed, Green & Spring toiletries, mini bar, LCD screen and Bose Sound link.

Cowley Manor is situated in 55 acres of Grade || listed gardens. You can get a map of the grounds from the reception so that you can go exploring. The grounds looked spectacular in the autumnal weather and, even though it was quite rainy when we visited, Cowley Manor provide wellies and umbrellas to borrow. There are three lakes in the grounds - our room overlooked the Upper Lake. There are also some sculptures displayed within the grounds, which are previous winners of The Cowley Manor Arts Award.

The C-Side Spa offers an outdoor pool, indoor pool, steam room, sauna, gym and treatment rooms. The indoor pool has a floor to ceiling glass wall, which provides beautiful views out to the woods. Unfortunately, I didn't get a treatment whilst I was there but they have a selection of facials and massages to choose from.

The Malt Restaurant provides delicious locally sourced food. The dishes are more creative than a standard restaurant menu - I had beef and truffle ravioli to start, followed by roast pork with seasoned parsnips and carrots and sage croquettes. Although the dishes were delicious, they were also quite small and the service was a bit slow (which is disappointing when you're hangry!). After dinner, we had cocktails at the bar. Cowley Manor offer an extensive range of cocktails, spirits and wine - I would highly recommend their berry one.

Overall, Cowley Manor was a lovely getaway for the weekend. There were plenty of things to see and do there, but equally you could relax in your room (and massive bathtub) for your whole stay. Generally, the staff were really helpful and attentive - we ordered a cooked breakfast and got it delivered as room service promptly. So, if you're looking for somewhere to go on a staycation, you should definitely consider Cowley Manor. Are you going away anywhere soon?

Sunday, 15 July 2018

One Night at Casa do Principe

On the last night of our holiday, my boyfriend surprised me with a stay at Casa do Principe (he's a keeper!). This was the most beautiful place I have ever stayed in! Casa do Principe is named after the Royal Prince, King D. Pedro V, and has 9 suites which each refer to a significant part of the King's life.

We stayed in the King D. Pedro V Suite, which has a spacious bedroom and lounge area. The ceiling in this room is incredible - look how elegant it is! There is also a balcony overlooking the Principe Real Garden. The room includes free wifi, TV, air conditioning, daily maid service and an ensuite bathroom with toiletries. Breakfast is also included, which is a selection of croissants, cereals, meats and cheeses. There are loads of fashionable shops to wander around in the area surrounding Casa do Principe and there's also the University of Lisbon Botanical Garden down the road.

If you're in Lisbon and want to indulge a little, then you should definitely book yourself a night at Casa do Principe - you won't regret it! Are you going away anywhere this summer?

Sunday, 8 July 2018

The Ultimate Lisbon Travel Guide

For the second part of our trip, we stayed in Lisbon for five nights. Lisbon was a bit cooler than Seville, which made it more bearable to walk around in, however I have never been to such a hilly place - everywhere we went involved climbing up and down several hills (but at least we got our cardio in!).

Things to see:
There are loads of beaches if you go further along the coast of Lisbon, however these beaches tend to get really busy, so, instead, we went across the 25 de Abril Bridge to Costa da Caparica. We had to get a taxi across to it so it was slightly more expensive than going to one of the other beaches, but that was worth it in my eyes because I'd rather go to a quieter beach. One thing to note is that you shouldn't try to leave the beach when people are finishing work because the traffic on the bridge is horrendous and most taxi drivers won't pick you up at that time. There are also loads of museums in Lisbon for you to visit. Unfortunately, MUDE was closed whilst we were there but we still went to the Berardo Collection museum and the MAAT. I particularly enjoyed the MAAT because it contained loads of interesting exhibitions based on art, architecture and technology. A short walk from the MAAT is the Torre de Belem - this apparently gives great views of Lisbon, however, when we went it was incredibly foggy so we didn't bother going up it. If you have an afternoon free, then you should have a wander around the Alfama district. This is the oldest district of Lisbon and you can really see a difference between Alfama and the other districts, plus it gives amazing views. We visited the National Pantheon whilst we were in Alfama, which is where important Portuguese personalities are buried. To get back from Alfama, we got Tram 28 - which is one of the oldest trams in Lisbon. Usually this tram is really busy but, because we got on later in the evening and at a quieter stop, there was plenty of space on the tram.

We were lucky enough to be in Lisbon when the 'Lisbon Under Stars' immersive spectacle was being shown at the Carmo Archaeological Museum. Virtual dancers and visual effects were projected on to the ruins of the old Church of Santa Maria do Carmo to show the history of Lisbon. Unfortunately this spectacle has finished now, however, if you're planning on visiting Lisbon, then I would definitely recommend keeping an eye out to see if something like this is happening again.

Places to eat:
We went to The Mill for breakfast three times whilst we were in Lisbon - it's THAT good! The place is quite small so we had to wait outside for about 10/15 minutes every day, but it's worth the wait. I had the veggie breakfast a couple of times (perfect for any avocado lovers!) and I also had the pancakes (these were the fluffiest pancakes I'd ever seen!). The best lunch we had was at O Prego da Peixaria - they served delicious steak sandwiches. In fact, their steak sandwiches were so good that we had them for both lunch and dinner one day - please don't judge! Lastly, we found that the Time Out Market was the best place to go for dinner. There's loads of different stalls you can choose from and the meals are generally cheaper than if you were to go to a restaurant. However, there's limited seating here so you need to get here early to guarantee a seat.

For the final night of our trip, my boyfriend surprised me with a stay at the Casa do Principe aka the most beautiful hotel I have ever stayed in! I'm going to do a separate post on that because I feel like it deserves a whole post to itself. So there you have my summary of Lisbon, hopefully you've found it useful. Have you been to Lisbon before?

Sunday, 1 July 2018

The Ultimate Seville Travel Guide

Hola! If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I've recently been on holiday with my boyfriend to Seville and Lisbon (if you don't follow me then why not!? Jks). We stayed in Seville for four nights, which was the perfect amount of time to explore the main sights of the city and still gave us some time to relax. For accommodation, we used Airbnb and found a lovely apartment in the heart of the city with a rooftop terrace - this was so much cheaper than the hotels.

Things to see:
Seville isn't as touristy as other cities, which meant that it was a lot quicker to get into the attractions and nothing was too pricey. The Metropol Parasol was one of my favourite attractions - it's a wooden structure located in the old quarter of Seville and it provides incredible views across the city. We witnessed the most beautiful pink sunset when we went up and it only cost €3. Another thing that you must see in Seville is the Real Alcazar. For this it's definitely worth buying a ticket in advance because this was the one attraction which had a massive queue when we went. The Real Alcazar is a UNESCO-listed palace surrounded by beautiful gardens, which you can spend hours walking around. Also, for any Game of Thrones fans out there, the Real Alcazar has been used for filming the series (so maybe you could go there and recreate some of the scenes!). The Plaza de Espana is a square in the Maria Luisa Park. The square has a river around it, where you can hire row boats, and the tiled bridges are a beautiful example of Renaissance and Moorish Spanish architecture styles. Seville Cathedral is another UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site and it's the largest cathedral in the world - you can't fully appreciate the size of it until you go inside. We bought tickets for the rooftop guided tour, which allowed us to see parts of the cathedral that we wouldn't have seen otherwise. I would definitely recommend the rooftop guided tour if you are wanting to learn more about the history of the cathedral. The Giralda can be accessed via the cathedral and gives amazing views across the city, however, you have to walk all the way to the top!

One attraction that I wouldn't bother with if you're on a strict time schedule is the Torre del Oro. The tower is located next to the Guadalquivir river so it provides a different view point across Seville, however, it's not as good as the views you get from the Metropol Parasol or the Giralda.

Places to eat:
Seville offers amazing value for money when it comes to food and drink. Everywhere we went the food was so cheap but also so delicious! COCOME offers a selection of healthy breakfasts made with fresh ingredients. We went here a couple of times during our stay and both times I had the yogurt bowl and a fruit smoothie. You need to check this place out if you ever go to Seville! For lunch, Casa Morales is a great tapas place. Each tapas dish is roughly only €3 each so we shared six dishes between us. Their tapas menu varies from day-to-day but there were plenty of options to choose from. Possibly my highlight of our trip was the place we went to dinner for our last two nights in Seville; a tapas bar and restaurant called Eslava. The tapas here is INCREDIBLE - two of their dishes have won awards. Yet the price was no more expensive than the other restaurants we had eaten at. If you're in Seville, you must go to Eslava - but make sure you get there early otherwise you might have to wait a long time for a table (the first night we waited for 40 minutes but it was still worth it!).

And there you have my ultimate guide to Seville. Hopefully you have found this useful and, if you're planning a trip to Seville, then hopefully I've given you some ideas of what to see and do. Seville is the cheapest city I've visited so it's perfect if you're wanting to travel on a budget. Are you going away anywhere over summer?

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Pink Parcel Monthly Box

Pink Parcel is the UK's number one period subscription box. The box includes a mixture of tampons and pads, as well as beauty products, tea and chocolate to help you feel your best during that time of the month. Additionally, when you subscribe to Pink Parcel you can choose to have just tampons, just pads or a mix of both.

The box is split into sections so it's easy to know what to use when. The patterned bag is 'for now' and contains plenty of tampons and pads. The 'for later' box contains even more tampons and some other pads which are slightly thicker. The box 'for night' contains pads for nighttime. Overall, Pink Parcel provided me with plenty of tampons and pads - there were 12 tampons, 5 thin pads, 8 thicker pads and 5 nighttime pads. Also, all of the tampons and pads are from established femcare brands, such as Tampax, Bodyform, Lil-lets and Always, so you know you are getting good quality products.

The exciting part is the 'for you' box, which contains lots of goodies for you to treat yourself. I was really impressed with the products I received because they are well known brands and good-sized products. My box contained: The Beauty Crop Fabulous Flocking Lashes, Beauty Pro Eye Therapy, Catherine Malandrino Style De Paris, Greenfrog Botanic Natural Bodywash, Jelly Pong Pong Lip Scrub, Cocoba Orange Milk Chocolate, and t+ Multea Lemon and Peach Green Tea. Therefore, there are plenty of products to try until the next month.

There is over £40 worth of femcare and beauty products in each box and you pay roughly £11 per month (depending on which membership option you choose). In addition, if you buy the 12 month membership option, you also get a birthday treat and VIP extras. Pink Parcel have kindly given me a code for you all to get 20% off your first box - use the code 'PP20'.

Hopefully you love the sound of the Pink Parcel box as much as I do! Will you be subscribing to Pink Parcel?

I was kindly sent this box for free from Pink Parcel, however this post contains my honest opinion.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

The Magazine Every Blogger Needs

Bloggers are constantly trying to improve their blogs; whether your aim is to gain more followers, work with more brands on collaborations, or increase the number of page views, one magazine that can help you do that is Blogosphere Magazine.

For anyone who doesn't know what Blogosphere Magazine is, it's a quarterly publication all about the influencer industry. Each magazine is packed full with useful blogging tips (for example, the latest edition has an article on paid-for vs. free apps), there's interviews with some of the biggest names in the industry (who else is a fan of the latest cover star Lydia Millen?), and a handful of blogs from various categories get selected for each issue so it's a great way to discover new blogs.

Personally, I get a lot of inspiration from the magazine and it motivates me to improve my blog. Blogosphere features other bloggers blog posts, which helps me to come up with new blog topics and also gives me ideas for my photography. Additionally, if I'm stuck on something, they've usually covered it in one of their articles, so it's a great resource to refer back to.

Blogosphere Magazine recently introduced The Blogosphere Network. This gives anyone the opportunity to sign up to the network and, as long as your application is accepted, brands can view your profile and contact you about collaborations. Signing up to The Blogosphere Network also means that you have the chance to feature in the In The Spotlight section of every issue, where three bloggers are picked from a shortlist of ten and interviewed about their blog.

Blogosphere Magazine brings everyone in the influencer industry together, featuring bloggers with followings in the hundreds right up to the millions. They also hold weekly Twitter chats every Sunday at 8pm (@BlogosphereM), which is a great way to connect with new bloggers and you could potentially get featured in an article in the magazine.

If you like the sound of Blogosphere Magazine (and I don't see why you wouldn't!?), then by subscribing you can save 7% and receive the issue before it hits the shelves. Just head on over to their website!

P.S. This isn't a sponsored post - I just really love Blogosphere and wanted to share it with you!

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Urban Decay Masterclass and Blogger Event

Last Thursday I was lucky enough to be invited to a masterclass and blogger event at Urban Decay in Debenhams (Exeter). The event was an opportunity for Urban Decay to demonstrate how we can use the new Kristen Leanne Collection to create both day and night looks.

For a daytime look they used the Daydream Eyeshadow Palette, which contains five nude matte shades. They applied the lightest shade in the inner corner of the eyes and then built up to the darker shades in the outer corners. To bronze and highlight, the Beauty Beam Highlight Palette was used. The shades in these palettes are so pigmented and shimmery - perfect for a night out! The last palette we were shown was the Kaleidoscope Dream Eyeshadow Palette, which contains eleven vibrant and sparkly shades. This isn't a palette that I would usually pick up as I don't experiment with bright colours, however, after swatching these shades I immediately changed my mind. The shade 'Corona' is a beautiful rose gold colour (every bloggers dream!) and the shades 'Leo + Brixton' give a holographic look. All of the Kristen Leanne Collection is limited edition so act fast to avoid disappointment!

The event was really interesting and inspired me to be more daring with my makeup. Thank you to Georgina from One Voice Media and PR for inviting me to the event, and thank you to Emily and her team for putting on such an amazing masterclass. Now to order myself some items from the collection...

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser

For the last 3 years I have been using the Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush every morning and evening, so when my beloved cleansing brush stopped working a few weeks ago I couldn't decide whether to fork out £80 on a new one or try something different. I decided on the latter after hearing about Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser. I suffer from oily skin and large pores but this cleanser promises to reduce the appearance of pores.

The cleanser contains Amazonian White Clay, which removes dirt and oil from the skin's surface, and Oat Kernel Meal, which is a natural exfoliant. This combination of ingredients leaves my skin feeling deeply cleansed and mattified (without drying my skin out!). Additionally, I noticed a reduction in the appearance of my pores from the first couple of washes - unfortunately I don't think that this cleanser will ever be able to make my large pores disappear completely but it definitely helps to minimise them. Also, you only need a small amount of the cleanser to cover your whole face so the bottle will last a long time. I leave the cleanser on my face for a couple of minutes before washing it off - in the hope that I'll achieve maximum results!

The Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser isn't too harsh on my skin so I'm able to use it daily and this is the first cleanser I've tried that has improved my pores - after many years of searching for one! This cleanser is a must if you're having difficulties with your pores. There is also a masque, toner and moisturiser in the range, which might enhance the effects of the cleanser so I'm tempted to give these a go too. Have you tried anything from the Rare Earth Pore range?

Sunday, 28 January 2018

VLOG: Copenhagen at Christmas

Following on from my last blog post, here's some clips of what I got up to in Copenhagen over Christmas. Let me know what you think of it and leave your channel name below too so I can check out your videos!

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Copenhagen at Christmas

Long time no blog post! I had a pretty hectic Christmas and, as a result, my blog suffered. However, I'm back now and I'm hoping to get into a routine of posting weekly again. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year - seems a bit late to be saying that still! Anyway, over Christmas I visited Copenhagen with my boyfriend for three nights and it's one of my favourite places that I've ever been, so I thought that I would share with you what I got up to whilst I was there. Prepare for a lot of photos...

Where to stay:
We stayed at Wakeup Copenhagen in Borgergade, which was centrally located and meant that we could walk everywhere. The hotel was relatively inexpensive and boasted a cool design, as well as spotlessly clean facilities. The room included: air conditioning, free wifi, TV, desk, and there was the option to have breakfast in the restaurant but we decided not to do this. Wakeup Copenhagen is perfect if you don't want to splurge on accommodation but also still want to be in a good location (it took about ten minutes to walk to Nyhavn).

Where to visit:
Copenhagen has plenty of things to do - even just walking through the streets is enjoyable. We came across Christiansborg Palace whilst we were on our way to Christiania. The Palace has a tower, which is free to go up, and gives amazing views across Copenhagen. You can also buy tickets to access other areas of Christiansborg Palace but we didn't do this. Freetown Christiania is very different to the rest of Copenhagen - it's an old military base which was taken over by hippies in the 1970s. The neighbourhood is green and car-free and features colourful homemade houses. It's definitely worth a visit if you want to experience a different side to Copenhagen. The Design Museum was only a ten minute walk from our hotel and featured fascinating exhibitions - some were permanent whilst others were only temporary. My favourite exhibition was 'I am black velvet', which displayed some of the haute couture designs by Erik Mortensen for Balmain (this exhibition is there until 18th March 2018). Rosenborg Castle was also quite near to our hotel and it wasn't too expensive to visit. There's plenty of things to see in the Castle and it's situated in a park, which would be a nice place to relax in Spring/Summer. Whenever I think of Copenhagen I think of the colourful houses that line the canal in Nyhavn. It's worth a stroll down the canal just to see the picturesque houses and there's also a bridge which contains love locks, so maybe you can add your own lock to it. Finally, Tivoli Gardens was my favourite place that we visited. It was the most festive place in Copenhagen! There were loads of Christmas trees, fake snow and sparkly lights. Also, Tivoli had a really nice food area, which wasn't too pricey and had loads of different options. Tivoli has an amusement park (it's the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world), so it's still worth a visit even when it's not decked out with Christmas decorations.

Where to eat:
Meyers Bageri was just around the corner from our hotel and their kanelsnegle (aka cinnamon roll) came highly recommended - it did not disappoint! They sell a selection of delicious pastries and at a reasonable price - you should definitely go here if you're near by. For lunch, the Faetter Faetter Toast Bar in the Norrebro area serve amazing toasties. These are quite expensive for the size of them and you need two or three for a sufficiently sized lunch. However, if you don't mind spending a bit extra on lunch one day, then this is definitely worth a visit. We didn't eat dinner at any restaurants whilst we were in Copenhagen because they're all quite expensive. Instead, we went to Copenhagen Street Food on Paper Island, which was so much cheaper than the restaurants and the food was delicious! Unfortunately, Copenhagen Street Food closed down a few days after we left but there's a new food market opening in May 2018, which will hopefully be just as good.

This is probably the longest blog post I've ever wrote - I just had so much to share with you! Hopefully, you'll love Copenhagen as much as I do if you visit. Are you going away anywhere this year?