The Travel Diaries: Venice September 2015

Words can’t express how sad I feel writing this post now that almost 4 months have passed since I was in the most beautiful and enchanting city I have visited so far. Writing this makes me want to jump on a plane tomorrow and enjoy the trip all over again, it really was some of the best days of my life. However, with Valentines Day approaching, I thought it was quite an apt time to fill you in on my time in this romantic city. Tom and I were fortunate enough to spend 4 nights in Venice and were both blown away by its beauty and charm. 11224032_10207923403033079_5640331581475703422_o.jpgIt also helped that we had absolutely gorgeous weather whilst we were there, around 26 degrees everyday which the locals said was pretty warm for late September! I thought I would share a few of my favourite things I discovered on my visit and naturally share lots and lots of pictures!

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Where To Stay:

If like Tom and I, you don’t have a colossal budget to spend on a hotel then you really do have to lower your expectations when it comes to accommodation in Venice. Everywhere is very expensive and quite traditional in its decor which makes it difficult for a young couple like us who like luxurious and contemporary accommodation. There’s no slumming it for the two of us FYI. I spent a lot of time panicking that we were never going to find anywhere suitable and we would have to sleep on a stray gondola, whereas Tom actually did some searching and found us a great little place to stay. We stayed in the district of Santa Croce which is walking distance to pretty much all the major attractions that you may want to see. We stayed in Venice Resorts, which is basically a collection of apartments that also provide a breakfast service and free wifi. Perfect! The rooms were spacious and homely and we found them just what we needed for the duration of our stay. We were treated to breakfast every morning just up the street at a tiny family-run cafe that overlooked one of the many canals. If time had stopped on one of those lazy mornings, I simply would not have cared. It was bliss!

What To See:

The Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge are definitely worth a visit when you are in Venice. The canal is pretty break-taking when you see all the boats heading up and down. It is incredibly relaxing to just stroll along the side, looking at all the restaurants and just watching the world go by. Unfortunately, the Rialto bridge was under renovation when we visited but it I believe it was the first bridge to cross the canal.

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Another key thing to visit is Saint Mark’s square! The atmosphere is unlike anything else with many people bustling around, high-end shops lining the perimeter and classical music playing in every restaurant. There is also the basilica and a large tower to take a trip up if you’re a fan of large panoramic views. One thing I would suggest is to not eat in St Mark’s square as it is absolutely extortionate! There is a ‘music charge’ per person just to sit down which could make simply grabbing a coffee very expensive! Overall, I didn’t find venice that expensive as long as you avoided the main tourist sections.

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One final thing that you may not have heard of is the Scala Contarini Del Bovolo which is a lovely ornate spiral staircase that is quite off the beaten track. It is a beautiful example of Venetian architecture and is a must see in my opinion. It would only take a few minutes to visit but it is pretty breath-taking!

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Overall, I would have to say that Venice is my favourite citIy to date. It has everything: fantastic food, friendly people, beautiful sights and incredible architecture. I don’t often go back to a city again once I’ve visited it as I feel like I want to see as much of the world as possible and revisit my favourites later on in life when things may have changed, however I would visit Venice again tomorrow in a heartbeat. It really captured my heart and the memories Tom and I have taken from those 4 days will last us a lifetime. I am incredibly lucky to have been able to visit it with the person I love and would recommend it to anyone! Next time I go I’d like to visit the islands such as Murano where they make the special glass. There are lots of shops selling the glass but I would have liked to have visited the factory shop to buy it first hand. Have you visited Venice? Let me know your favourite places!

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Much Love

xoxo

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MAC Viva Glam Ariana Grande!

Ever since I heard this was coming out I knew I had to get my makeup-loving hands on it! If you aren’t aware, Viva Glam lipsticks are a special range that MAC produce with all the money going to support women, men and children with HIV or Aids. Naturally, this is a very worthy cause and combine that with my love for Ariana Grande and dark lipstick, I was sold.

Now, initially, the packaging looks a little different to the regular MAC lipsticks as it has a pinky/red section to the bullet and also features Ariana Grande’s signature. I really like the pink section as it set’s it apart from all my other MAC lipsticks. These retail for £15.50, which is the same as all other regular line lipsticks.

Now, onto the shade itself. In the bullet it looks so dark it could almost be black but on the lips it is more of a very dark plum. It is one of the matte formulas, so doesn’t really have a sheen to it and stays in place for a lot longer than some of the others! One thing I would say about this particular shade that I haven’t experienced with other mattes, is that it applies a little bit patchy! This is a little disappointing but I did find that once you moved your lips together and reapplied over the lighter areas it soon evened out. A dark lipstick like this was never going to be low maintenance though was it?!

Unlike a lot of mattes, I haven’t found this to be too drying or to cause that stiff feeling on the lips which is definitely a plus for me! I do think I am probably going to have to invest in a decent dark lipliner to work alongside this though. In my mind MAC currant would probably be a good choice but if you have any other ideas then please let me know in the comments!!

Overall I am really happy I picked this up, I plan to do a MAC lipstick collection post in the next month so I will include lip swatches then so they are comparable to other colours. I have been doing a bit of splurging on lipsticks lately so this is my last for quite a while now but it is so different to anything else in my collection! What do you think of the colour? Would you dare to wear this?

Much Love

xoxo

A Bodyshop VIP Evening!

Tonight I was lucky enough to attend the Bodyshop’s VIP evening to celebrate the launch of some of their newest additions to their Drops of Youth range. I believe that these events may also be happening in other stores around the country so I thought I’d let you all know what to expect in case you want to try and get yourself on the list to attend!

Upon arrival we were all greeted with drinks and nibbles and were allowed to wander round the store to have a look at all the products both new and old. I was driving so sadly only had an orange juice but my friend Fee (Hello if you’re reading!!) was lucky enough to have some fizz!

We were able to chat one-on-one with the consultants and there was also a special member of the team there to give us a talk about the new range which was really nice. I didn’t really know too much about the Drops of Youth range, so hearing more about the different products and their benefits was very interesting! There were two products that really caught my eye and they were the Wonderblur and the Bouncing Sleep Mask. The wonderblur reminds me a little bit of the Instablur primer but it’s even more smoothing! The sleep mask has an AMAZING texture, I could see myself poking at it for hours!! It is a mask that you put on every night like a night cream. Unfortunately, being the student I am, these were a little out of my price range today so I didn’t pick them up but they’ve been added to my wishlist!

My favourite part of the evening was the demonstration one of the lovely girls gave me. She showed me the Himalayan Charcoal Mud Mask and the salt scrub from the Spa of the World range. If you haven’t tried this range, it is the Bodyshops higher end, more spa-like range that has essential oils in that smell incredible! She showed me how to use them on my arms and finished off with the Hawaiian Kukui cream which smelled divine!

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I obviously didn’t leave empty handed… Naughty Molly! So what did I buy? I really liked the Himalayan Mud Mask as it is for your body rather than your face so I can use it on my back which is a bit of a problem area for me. The mask claims to be purifying so I am hoping it will help me clear up some of those pesky spots on my shoulders and back! I used it tonight when I got home and I do love the scent! It is a little messy as it is a clay mask but I am hoping the benefits will outweigh that negative! I will keep you updated on the results!

The final thing I bought was the Honey & Oat 3-in-1 Moisturising Scrub Mask. I love a good face mask and the idea of a mask being both exfoliating and moisturising ticked all the boxes for me! And, in typical Body Shop fashion, it smelled incredible! I also used this tonight and was really happy with the results! I wouldn’t call it very ‘scrubby’ but once you’ve got past the ‘I look like I have porridge on my face’ stage then it really is a lovely mask! My face wasn’t dry at all when I took it off and felt plump and fresh.

As a thank you for attending, we all got a goodie bag and I was SERIOUSLY happy with the goodies inside! If you have read this blog from the start, then you are probably aware that the body shop Chamomile Cleansing Butter is my favourite cleanser of all time. I have used up both the butter and the oil versions over the last year but never in a million years did I expect to find BOTH of these in the goodie bag! I used the butter again tonight and I am so happy to have it back in my regime as it really is second to none. Yes, even to the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish!! The final two things were a muslin cloth, which can never ever go amiss and the Chamomile Gentle Eye Makeup Remover. I have never tried this before but I was literally just about to buy an eye makeup remover so I am really pleased! They all came in the body shop’s Feel Unique tote bag which is adorable! This means the bag had a value of £40.50! You got this regardless of whether you bought anything or not which was brilliant and very generous!

I am so happy with all my goodies from tonights event and there was even the added bonus of 30% off all existing products and 10% off new ranges which made my purchases even more of a bargain! Have you attended one of these events before or tried any of these products? Let me know what you think!

Much Love

xoxo

Worth The Hype? – Caudalie Beauty Elixir

For years and years now, I have heard the Beauty Community talking about the Caudalie Beauty elixir and I have always wanted to get my hands on it! I love skin care and I love the whole spray concepts as it’s quick easy and refreshing but is this one worth the hype it gets?

Firstly, the packing is just lovely and luxurious. It is a frosted glass bottle with embossed printing on the front and a nice silver cap. My favourite thing about it I would say is the actual spray element. Caudalie have clearly put a lot of thought into that element as it spritzes such a fine mist across the face and is so evenly distributed!

In terms of the product itself, this is what Caudalie have to say about it:

Inspired by Queen Isabelle of Hungary’s elixir of youth, this powerful plant based anti-dull complexion treatment smooths away fine lines, tightens pores and gives the complexion an instant boost of radiance. A Caudalie cult product favoured by make-up artists, beauty addicts and celebrities, the elixir also works wonderfully to help set make-up.

The product is heavily based around having natural botanical elements included and has no parabens, mineral oils, or animal ingredients among others which, in my opinion is great as I don’t like to apply chemicals to my skin if I can avoid it. The scent is absolutely divine! The main natural essences that are included are Grape, Orange blossom, Rose, Balm mint & Rosemary and that is very evident in the scent. It is so refreshing yet calming at the same time and I do see why a lot of people use this on a plane as I bet it is really soothing! I love spraying this on my skin as I feel so awake and my skin feels nice and hydrated however I don’t feel like it really does much else for my skin. I think the ‘smoothing fine lines and tightening pores’ is a load of rubbish really. This is honestly a glorified natural face spritz!

The one element that really niggles at me is the price! This 30ml travel bottle set me back £11.50 and if you were to buy the full size 100ml bottle, its a massive £32!! I do feel like that is incredibly over priced for what the product actually does. Yes it does feel quite luxurious and yes I love spraying it on my face but I don’t really feel like it is any better than any of the others on the market! The scent is a massive plus point but the price is a real downer! Would this put me off buying it again? Sadly no! I just love the scent and the whole spritzing refreshing process but it would only be bought as a treat and I would use it rather sparingly!!

Is it worth the hype? In my opinion no, however, I see why beauty guru’s keep buying it as the whole process of spritzing it on your face and the scent does feel very luxurious and quite ‘at home spa’. If you have a spare £11.50 lying around give it a try as it’s nice to try such an infamous product however, if you’re tight on cash or want something that works wonders, don’t waste your money. This is purely a statement product that doesn’t really have a purpose however I do love using it. Clearly I’m a sucker for pointless products!

Have you tried this? If so, what do you think of it?

Much Love

xoxo

A Rather Belated December Empties!

I’m Back!

Thank God for that hey?! It’s been way too long! Exams are over and I have a few days before I start my lectures again so i’m going to try and get a few posts written and get back to normal! If you read my update post, you’ll know what I’ve been up to over the last month or so, so if not, make sure you check that out if you like being nosey! To follow up that post, I’m so pleased to say that I have got the internship! *happy dance*

Anyways, this is an Empties post so I better show you what I finished off in December right!? I finished some big things off this month so I was pretty pleased with myself so here’s what I’ve finished up:

  • Body Shop Glazed Apple Body Wash – Hands down my favourite ever scent from the Body Shop and that’s really saying something! I was so sad that this ended until…. my brother Alfie bought me two more bottles as part of my Christmas present!! I am going to be saving them to stretch them out though the year until I can stock up again! Seriously, I’m obsessed!
  • Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator – I finish one of these off roughly every three months and I will continue to purchase these until I find anything better as they thoroughly exfoliate your skin without drying it out. The scent is also pretty delicious and feels very spa like! I have a couple of cheaper exfoliators to finish off before I pick this up again but I definitely will be as it’s my holy grail exfoliator! I think this is the third of 4th one I’ve been through so that surely says something?!
  • Carmex Lip Balm – I have had this on the go for probably two years! It just never seemed to end!! However, it finally has and I feel like I have really achieved something haha! I love how moisturising it is and I like the tingly feeling it gives to the lips. Tom still swears by vaseline but I find that a bit greasy so I prefer something like Carmex. I do prefer it in the tube though so if I picked it up again it would be in the tube form. I have some high end lip balms that I’m trying out at the moment which will probably be featured in a future post!
  • J’Adore Dior Eau De Parfum – I was so so sad to finish this off. I had managed to use it so sparingly that the 30ml that Tom bought me last Christmas lasted me a year! It is my favourite perfume as it is so sophisticated yet a bit sexy and lasts all day. It’s not cheap but I will definitely keep repurchasing it until my scent preference changes. Luckily, my Grandparents bought me a new 50ml bottle of this for Christmas so I was never without it! Hallelujah! Here’s hoping that this will last me until next Christmas or at least my birthday in October so I can ask for another bottle!!
  • Benefit Roller Lash Mini – I loved this mascara! For me it is definitely Benefit’s best mascara to date. It lengthens, adds curl and just makes your eyelashes genuinely look like you’re wearing falsies! The curved wand grabs all the lashes and this has definitely changed my opinion of plastic wands! I would have bought the full size of this anyway, however I received the half size as part of a set for christmas so I am a happy bunny!
  • Batiste Cherry Dry Shampoo – Batiste is definitely my favourite dry shampoo brand as it works the best with my thick curly hair. I’ve mentioned before that my hair barely gets greasy so I only need to use this after a week or so! I know it sounds gross but I like to think of myself as lucky!! This scent and the Blush scent are my favourites so I will keep purchasing them, but alternate between the scents. I have the Colab ones to finish off first though which really do not work with my hair so I may end up grabbing one of these anyway!

It feels like the first time in ages that the majority of my empties are favourites and repurchases so this is a nice positive post to get back into the swing of things! I have SO many posts planned now, thanks to a bit of a break, so hopefully I will be back to posting more frequently! What did you guys manage to finish in December? Leave any links to Empties posts below as the likelihood is that I missed them during my revision period! Also, if you’ve tried any of these products I’d love to know what you think!

Much Love

xoxo

Giveaway! Charlotte Tilbury + Mac!

What an amazing giveaway!!! Good luck everyone! xxx

Beauty by Gigi

Hi everyone!! I’ve been so busy lately but have finally gotten around to hosting my giveaway to celebrate 500 followers – I’m so excited!! Thank you so, so much to everyone who has followed this blog, I can’t believe that Beauty by Gigi has hit this amazing milestone! To celebrate, I decided I had to host a giveaway – I did this to celebrate my 250 followers too and it was so fun, so I thought why not do it again! The giveaway is open internationally, too!

Now for what you could win! One winner will receive the limited edition Charlotte Tilbury Nocturnal Cat Eyes to Hypnotise set in ‘The Huntress’, which includes a stunning single eyeshadow and a mini Rock’n’Kohl liner in the shade Amber Moon – I reviewed this recently on my blog which you can read here. The post includes swatches and a demo of the products…

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A quick update!

Hey Guys!

First of all, I hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year! We had a lovely time in our house, however, as per usual it has all gone by way too fast for my liking!! I wanted to give you a little update as to what I’ve been up to as I know I’ve been a bit M.I.A over the last month!

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Tom & I on New Years Eve!
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My favourite part of Christmas! Taken on my NEW camera!! (Thank you Tom!!)

Firstly, I disappeared off to Prague for a week with my good friend Emily from school. It was so lovely to get into the Christmassy spirit and enjoy a good bit of exploring around a new city! I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was the perfect end to yet another intense semester at Uni!

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My gorgeous friend Emily and I on the Charles Bridge in Prague. 

That swiftly brings me on to point number two: EXAMS! Yes, it’s that dreaded time of the year again where I just want to curl up and hibernate and hope that when I wake up they will all be over! Sadly, that has not yet happened so I am battling on through. My exams will be between the 13th and the 20th of January so any further posts will be made after that I should think as I just do not have any spare time at the moment which is horrible! Between the sales and some very lucky christmas gifts, I have loads of reviews and product recommendations to write for you all so there should be some really good new content up here soon! I’m also hoping to do a few ‘Face of the Days’ with completely new products too so keep your eyes peeled!

Finally, I have been trying to get my career sorted, or at least get on the start of a path!! I have applied for internships at some of the leading accounting firms across the world, and let me tell you, they don’t offer those internships lightly! I have been through so many rigorous assessments and interviews that I don’t know whether I am coming or going! The two main companies I have applied for are KPMG and Pwc which are huge global firms so I am really lucky to have been considered!! For both I have had to initially submit my CV and all my grades; complete 3 online assessments testing numerical, logical and business reasoning; complete a telephone interview; attend an assessment centre, which I have done for Pwc but I am still waiting to do for KPMG. Thankfully I passed the Pwc one so I am finally at the last stage which is a face to face interview!! It has been a really long process with both companies but I am really excited about the future prospects and fingers crossed that I may get offered one of the places!

With all these things combined, I have been a busy busy lady and I am so sorry that this blog feels somewhat neglected at the moment! I promise that it will go back to normal as soon as exam season is over and done with! Thank you so much for all of you that have still kept reading old posts or following me on social media, I really appreciate it! Finally, I thought I would announce the winner of my Zoeva Giveaway on the blog too. The winner, Elma, has already been notified via Twitter and her lovely palette is sat in my room ready to post when I have a spare few minutes, but I thought I should let all of you know over here too! I hope you all are doing well and that Father Christmas truly spoiled you this year!! I will catch up with you all again soon!

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My current life motto – Believe me it’s helping me get through exams!

Much Love

xoxo