Thursday, 8 October 2015

Lisbon and Cascais

A couple of weeks ago I spent 1 week in Portugal, with 3 nights in Lisbon and 4 nights just outside the city in a beautiful little fishing village called Cascais. From the moment I arrived in Lisbon I completely fell in love with the city. From the cute, narrow streets to the quirky bars and restaurants to the funky street art, it is the perfect mix of contemporary and history. 

Ben and I stayed in the most gorgeous Air Bnb in the Sao Cristovao area of Lisbon. We felt like locals in the city centre apartment with local brasseries and wine bars right on our doorstep. We spent our 3 days in Lisbon exploring everything the city had to offer, from the historic castle with the most stunning views over the city, to a tour on the old-fashioned tram. I always like to do a walking tour on the first day in a new city to get to know the area and tick off the main cultural sights. We did a tour of the Belem area of Lisbon which is a short tram journey away and home to many historical sights. It is also home to the famous Pasties de Belem which are known as the best Portuguese tarts in the world, and trust me, they were! 
Just outside our Air BnB in Sao Cristovao
Cramming in some drawing wherever we can!
Another must-do in Lisbon is the Mercado da Ribeira which is the old market hall which has been transformed by Time Out into a foody heaven! The huge space consists of some of the city's favourite food and drink stalls. It is basically an upmarket and very cool food hall, with some amazing food. One of my favourites was the green bean tempura which was amazing! Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the place! Talking of food, we ate at some fantastic places. Portugal isn't known for its food, apart from its fresh fish, but I think we got lucky and picked some great places. Most of our meals consisted of cheese, meats and wine- the best holiday food! On our last day in Lisbon we ended up in a tiny restaurant just round the corner from our flat and sat on one of the only three tables scattered around a small square. We had an incredible cheese and meat feast whilst sitting and doing some drawing of the incredible street art. I think that moment in time is the happiest I have ever been, it was just perfect! 

As well as seeing the sights and being cultural, we also had a wild night out in the Bairo Alto area of the city. This area is known as the bar and restaurant area with nearly every door along the narrow, cobbled streets being a different establishment. We did a lot of bar hopping and tried to test out as many as possible, from a convent which has been converted into a beer hall to an old brothel which is now a quirky multi-roomed bar, you could spend weeks on a bar crawl! We ended up meeting up with some of Ben's friends who happened to be in Lisbon at the same time on a stag do and spent the night drinking plenty of cheap beer and dancing the night away. 

Being the massive foodie that I am, I often find the best part about visiting a new city is scoping out amazing restaurants and bars. As well as the places I have mentioned above, if you are visiting Lisbon, dinner (or drinks) at a funky place called Lost In is a must, with an amazing view over the city with a hippy-ish vibe. Another place we tried to go to was a bar called Park, which is on top of a multi storey car park, once again with incredible views for a sunset drink. However, we went on a Sunday and it was closed! So we ended up just watching the sunset from the top of the car park instead.... same great views, just no beer to enjoy it with!
Lost In
Mercado da Ribeira
Watching the sunset on top of a car park!
View from the Castle
After our 3 days in Lisbon, we took the 45 minute train journey along the coast to a small town called Cascais. We stayed in another Air BnB here right next to the towns many beaches and above some delicious fish restaurants. Cascais is a gorgeous little seaside town which has grown in popularity in recent years. Apparently a lot of English people now have holiday homes here, and you can see why. We had a wonderful 4 days here, mostly consisting of chilling out on the beautiful beaches and of course, eating at some delicious restaurants! 

On our first day, we took a day trip up to a stunning town called Sintra which is home to beautiful castles and palaces on a backdrop of lush hills and forests. We took the bus to Sintra and explored the little town before embarking on the long trek up the hill to visit Pal├ício da Pena. We didn't quite realise quite how much of a hike it would be, but it was worth it when we got to the top and took in the incredible views over Lisbon and the surrounding area. The palace itself was breath-taking and had a definite Disney feel to it with bright coloured walls and intricate detailing. 

We also hired bikes for a day and cycled round to the West coast and to the famous surfing beach of Guincho and the surrounding area. As you know, I love a good bike ride, and riding whilst on holiday in the sunshine was event better! Luckily it wasn't too hot while we were there and it was the perfect temperature for sunbathing and exploring the city without getting overheated! 
Mussels straight from the sea- delicious!
All in all, I completely fell in love with Portugal and it was the perfect place for a week away with a mixture of cultural times and relaxing times! If you haven't been to Lisbon, you need to go!! 

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Moving into Autumn

A few weeks ago I received this stunning bag from Yoshi. Yoshi is a handbag brand which mixes Osaka inspired design and a British penchant for quality and design. All Yoshi products are crafted using the finest leather and amazing attention to detail to every last feature and stitch. The brand has loads of gorgeous, timeless pieces which will last a lifetime and will be forever classic, as well as some more fun, fashion designs which are bang on trend for this season. I received the beautiful Brewster Brown Leather Tote Bag which I have been using non-stop since I got it! It is the most amazing quality and I love the really simple, classic design which literally goes with any outfit. I always need a large handbag as I seem to carry a of of crap around with me... therefore, this is the perfect size to fit all my 'necessities'! 

This outfit is me starting to transition into I mentioned before, I find it very hard to let go of summer and always try to keep the summer spirit alive for as long as possible, however, I am slowly starting to embrace Autumn and I am loving all the new A/W fashion in the shops at the moment. Therefore, I guess it is time to put my toes away and start embracing autumnal fashion... my arms are staying out for now though! 

Top- Luxemme
Trousers- Monki
Waistcost- New Look
Bag- Yoshi
Hat- River Island
Watch- Uniform Wares

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Got2b Mind Blowing Range

I am always on the lookout for a game changer when it comes to haircare. I am not particularly loyal to one brand and I like to switch up my routine and try new products all the time. I have crazily thick hair and it is a nightmare to manage and style, therefore I need as much help as I can get to keep it under control. I tend to wash it in the evening so that I can sleep on it and it is less 'poofy' in the morning. It takes forever to dry so any product which will cut down the blow dry time gets a huge thumbs up from me. That is why I was super excited to try the new Mind Blowing range from Schwarzkopf Got2b. 
Mind Blowing Xpress Dry Styling Spray

This is my favourite of the three products and one that I now use every time I blow dry. I have never really used a styling spray when drying my hair before, but now I can't live without this! Firstly, I think the thing I love most about it is the smell. It smells delicious and it lingers around for a while, giving your hair that yummy just washed smell, even the day after washing. I always use a heat protection spray when straightening my hair, but never bother when drying. This contains heat protection as well conditioning and detangling your hair. As far as speeding up the blow dry time is concerned, it is really hard to tell if this works without timing myself... but it feels like it does!
Mind Blowing Fast Dry Hairspray

I am not a big user of hairspray as my hair is so long and I don't like it to look too 'finished'. I only tend to use it if I am doing a bit of backcombing or sometimes to give it a bit of volume. I have used this a few times and love that it is super light and doesn't make it look (or feel) like you are wearing hairspray. There is nothing worse than that wet/hard look hair from hairspray overdose! It also holds really well and actually lasts instead of dropping out after an hour like some hairsprays do. 
 Mind Blowing Quick Shape Mousse

This little beauty is a pretty similar concept to the Xpress Dry Styling Spray. It is all about speeding up you blow dry time. However, the mousse allows for more hold than the spray. I tend to use this when I want to leave my hair wavy or curl it as it gives the hair a bit of texture. Once again, the smell is just to die for! 
 Have you tried the Mind Blowing Range? What do you think?

*PR Sample

Sunday, 27 September 2015

White on White

I am obsessed with two pieces and love how versatile they can be. When I am in a bit of a wardrobe rut, I can always rely on one of my trusty two pieces as a go-to outfit. Which I why I was super excited when the lovely people at Luxemme sent me this gorgeous number. I have just returned from a wonderful week in Portugal where this was the perfect outfit for an evening sipping sangria by the sea! I love that I can wear this dressed down during the day with a pair of trainers and a jacket or at night where it looks more like a dress. I have also worn the top with a pair of stripy high-waisted trousers and the skirt with a plain t-shirt crop... there are just so many possibilities!

Two piece- Luxemme*
Jacket- Goldie
Shoes- Topshop
Watch- Uniform Wares
Sunglasses- Quay

Thursday, 17 September 2015

That Time I Climbed a Mountain

On August Bank Holiday weekend, Ben and I decided to take a trip to Wales to climb Mount Snowdon. It was quite a last minute decision as we wanted to take advantage of the long weekend and go on a staycation somewhere. We booked an incredible BnB about an hour away from Snowdon and spent the weekend exploring Wales. 

The airbnb we stayed in was an old boat which had been 'moored' in a field and converted into a bedroom! There was also a kitchen/living room area which the owners had built using an old rowing boat as the roof, winning Shed of the Year 2013! We wanted to stay somewhere a bit quirky and different, and it certainly was that! Plus it had the most breath-taking views over the Welsh Valleys which was absolutely magical to wake up to the morning and admire with a cup of coffee in hand.

On our first day, we headed over to Portmeirien for the afternoon to explore the gorgeous beach and architecture, which was built to look like an Italian fishing village...with a very man-made 'Disney' feel! The place was beautiful and we were lucky that the sun was shining on it, allowing us to dream that we really were in Italy.

After dinner in a cute local pub we headed back to base camp to get lots of rest before the big climb the next day. 

Ben did a lot of research on the different climbing routes for Mount Snowdon, and we decided to climb up the Miners Track and down the Pyg Track as these were a good mix of difficulty and popularity. The climb itself was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be, we were really scrambling at one point, using my hands to climb... I think we may have gone off-piste at that point! It took about three and a half hours to get up to the top, with a few pit stops to refuel and admire the views. And the views were absolutely spectacular! I wasn't prepared for how beautiful it would be. By the time we got to the top, we were victorious and awarded ourselves with a sandwich and a mars bar! Unfortunately, as it was bank holiday weekend it was very busy at the top, which we didn’t realise when climbing. You can also get a train up if you can't be bothered to walk, so there were swarms of people up there. After taking in the view (which was in the clouds) and revelling in our accomplishment we headed back down again. The whole climb took about 7 hours altogether, and boy, did my legs know that! I could hardly walk the next day!

When we got to the base of the mountain, we headed to a little village nearby called Beddgelert which Ben had visited before. It is the cutest little Welsh town with plenty of local pubs to choose from. We had a lovely meal in a local restaurant with a well-deserved glass of wine, before heading back to our accommodation. 

The next day, we were planning on climbing some more Welsh mountains, however, our legs were protesting and we were having some problems with the car (we broke down on the way up) so we decided to head home and take our time with the journey. We stopped off in some lovely little villages on the way home, including Bridgnorth in Shropshire for lunch, which was gorgeous!

We had a wonderful weekend in Wales and I am still reeling about how beautiful the country is. I would 100% recommend a visit, and definitely recommend climbing Mount Snowdon! Just make sure you have some comfortable shoes!! 
Shed of the Year 2013


At the top! 

In the clouds