20 July 2016

The Travel Diaries / Madrid

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven't been so active on my blog this month, to be honest I'm feeling like I have a little bit of bloggers block at the minute, the inspiration to write anything just isn't really there but I'm hoping I'll get back into it soon because I miss it so much! Also I just wanted to add a little up date in for those who asked about this on my last post, but I did get my university results and I can now confirm that I will be graduating with a 2:1 in Psychology from uni which I'm so happy about!! My graduation ceremony would be this Friday but I decided a while back I wasn't going to it, uni wasn't the best experience for me plus getting up on stage in front of everyone really isn't my thing, so I'm just having my certificate sent to me but I've still got that really satisfied feeling of finally being done! Anyway a while back I booked to go to Madrid with my boyfriend Matty which coincidentally was really soon after I got my uni results so it was like a little treat, so I thought I'd do a post on my trip there because I love writing these and I love looking back on them even more! 

We only went for three nights so we flew from Stansted airport on the Tuesday morning, it's not close to us at all but it's ridiculous how much cheaper it is to fly from there than from say Newcastle airport which is so much closer to us in the car. We booked an apartment from booking.com on a street called Gran Via which is so central and close to everything, plus it's so easy to get to from the airport, we just got the metro rather than a taxi which saved us lots of money. Honestly the apartment we had is definitely up there with my favourite accommodation we have stayed in, it was amazing! If you are ever going to Madrid I'd 100% recommend them, they were called Gran Via Capital apartments, I think they only opened at the start of this year, they were so modern and you had amazing views of Madrid, we were right up on the 12th floor which I love because it's so much quieter and on the 13th floor there was a really nice pool and sunbeds and then a terrace with couches on the other side so you could watch the sunset.

We were all settled into the apartment by about 2pm on the Tuesday so we went out for food and did a bit of shopping and looking around the area we stayed in, There was a place that did these chips really close to our apartment where you picked from about 10 different sauces and they were honestly the best chips I've ever had, it was a Spanish style spicy sauce on them and I know chips definitely are not exotic but we were so hungry and went to the closest place near us and I don't regret it, I've actually got a chip obsession haha I eat them ALL the time but I feel like they're so underrated! After we'd had some food we looked round the shops a bit and I FINALLY for the first time ever got to visit a Sephora and it was amazing! I'm actually so sad we don't have them in the UK, they had such good stuff in that I can't buy in the UK, I go to Orlando in November though where I know they have a much bigger selection of brands I can't get at home so I can't wait to go crazy in a Sephora there! I bought a few face masks and some of Sephora's branded make up items which I really like so far.

 We were getting really tired at this point because of the heat so we went back to the pool for a sunbathe which was really nice, the sun loungers on the roof were so comfy, to be honest it was so nice to be just to be able to sunbathe, we usually go on a beach holiday where I turn into a sun worshipper and we aren't doing that kind of holiday this year so it made me so happy even to have a little time just to chill out on a sun bed. We didn't actually intend on going to Madrid to even bother with  the pool and a sunbathe but being out in the heat all morning does get tiring plus everyone goes out late at night so from around 3-6pm when it is really hot it's so nice to chill by the pool. After that we just went back to our room and had a quick shower and went out for some food, we found a cute little place that did lots of Spanish cheese and meats so had our meal there, also the croquettes in Spain are my favourite thing ever! I love cheese so much and they are all hot cheese croquettes so I ate so many while I was there, they're so nice. We went back to our rooftop after this to watch the sun set, the view you had was amazing and it was such a good way to spend our first night.

The next day we had an earlier start as we were going to Real Madrid's football stadium, we were actually so excited for this we'd been talking about it for a while before and it really didn't let us down, it's so much bigger in real life and on the tour you get to sell the trophy room which was insane, the view from the highest point in the stadium, the locker rooms, you get to go on the pitch and you can sit in the dug out, so if you like football you should definitely do this, it's only 20 euros for an adult ticket for the tour which I don't think is expensive considering how much you see and how long you're in there. Definitely go as early as you can though, it was really busy when we left and we were there for about half 10, when we left the queue was insane! 

We did my favourite part of the trip after this, which isn't a shock because I'm obsessed with food, Matty had said he wanted to go to the Mercado de San Miguel which is a really popular food market in the centre of Madrid, it's in a big glass building and I had no idea what to expect but the food was amazing! I think it's such a good way to try lots of different things as all the portions were small and there was so many different stalls to try from. I had quite a lot of breaded Camembert which is one of my favourite things, lots of fresh juices, chorizo, Spanish pastries and more croquettes, I was so full after it was so much cheaper than going to a restaurant and you get to try so much more so you should definitely go here if you go to Madrid. We had another couple of hours by the pool after this and went out for a wander in the evening, it's such a lovely place to just walk around because you see so much more than just hopping on those tourist buses, so glad we explored on foot.

I was so gutted when it came to our last full day, I really wish we had done 4 nights now instead of 3 but we still got to do everything we wanted, On the last day we spent the majority of the day in Retiro Park which is one of the largest parks in Madrid. It was about a 20 minute walk away from our apartment and we saw quite a few sights on the way there, it was such a gorgeous place when you got there, so huge with such a nice atmosphere and it was so pretty. We hired a rowing boat on the lake here which was really nice, you get 45 minutes out there and there is lots of fish jumping out the water and musicians busking around you plus the weather is so nice to top it off. Definitely another one of my favourite parts of the trip was being on the lake there. We had another couple of hours back at the apartment after staying here having a sunbathe then we went out for the evening for a meal in Plaza Mayor square which I probably wouldn't recommend, eating in the square is lovely but the restaurants there are quite expensive and the food isn't even that nice which was a shame. But after this we went to a famous churro place in Madrid called Chocolateria San Gines, it's really easy to find and the churros are amazing! You get a big cup of thick melted chocolate and six churros for about 4 euros I think it was and it's such a nice place to sit outside and chill out.

We had to fly home on the Friday morning which was so depressing, I absolutely loved it here and definitely want to go back at some point, thankfully I have Rome to look forward to in late August which I'm so excited for so if you've been and have any tips or suggestions I'd love to hear them! This was such a long post so if you made it to the end then well done haha, let me know in the comments if you've been to Madrid and what you thought!

4 July 2016

June Favourites

Hi everyone! I am so happy June is finally over it's been the longest month ever, this post is going up a little bit later than I'd normally post a favourites but I've been working a bit more since I finished uni, plus to be honest my mind has been completely elsewhere. I've been trying not to think about this but I get my uni results tomorrow and find out what grade I have received for my overall degree and it's been stressing me out so much! I've tried not to think about it, but so many people who were in the same year as me have all found out their results and graduated already, my uni is always so behind and it really bugs me, so I just need tomorrow to hurry up! I still really wanted to do my favourites post though because there are some products I've really been loving this month and I wanted to share them with you.

- Garnier Ultimate Blends Strength Restorer Balm (£4.49). I actually bought the shampoo, conditioner, and the balm of this little range, this is the honey treasures one and I absolutely love it! This is a more conditioning alternative to a standard conditioner I believe, it smells amazing and I can really tell a difference after using it. These ones are for damaged hair prone to breakage, which is definitely me because of my love (need) for hair straighteners, for a drugstore hair product I think it's such good quality, I would get the whole set if you want to try these as I've really noticed a difference, I only use the balm about twice a week as opposed to the normal conditioner as it's a bit heavier and I don't want my hair to go too greasy.

- Origins Checks And Balances Frothy Face Wash (£18.50). I'd used a sample of this a while back to use with my Clarisonic and I fell in love with it, but when it ran out I was a bit reluctant to repurchase as it is expensive, but it's honestly so worth it! This is for combination skin, which I was so adamant I didn't have, mostly because I didn't want to believe it as I feel like this is one of the hardest skin types to deal with, but I have an overall dry face with an oily t-zone and oily cheeks, and this face wash is targeted at combination skin to cleanse oily and dry places without cancelling each other out. Nothing makes my skin feel as clean after use as this product, with a Clarisonic it's amazing! It's got a really fresh peppermint scent as well which I think a lot of people would like.

- Vichy Dermablend 3D Correction foundation* (£21.50). I mostly use this foundation for work as it's matte, when I go for a glowy finish usually, so at work this is perfect for staying on all day. That's not why I love it though, it is seriously has the most flawless finish out of any foundation I own, and I have such problematic skin. If you have texture or redness like me I'd completely recommend this, plus even though it's matte and full coverage it doesn't feel drying or heavy at all and it blends so easily. 

- Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil in 03 Red Berry (£18). I bought this after I fell in love with the Barry M lip oils, and I'd seen so much about these that I thought I'd give in and try a high end version. They had 3 shades and I believe this is one of the new ones from Clarins summer range, but I seriously love this because it's got such a good tint considering it is an oil, and it makes your lips feel so amazing. I get quite chapped lips and this helps them so much while still making them look nice, plus the smell is so good it reminds me of red slush puppies which I'm still addicted to now! Plus I'm obsessed with the applicator, it's so fat and it feels so conditioning when you use it, these are expensive but definitely worth it if you prefer a more natural lip like I do at the minute.

- Benefit Watts Up (£24.50). I have had this for absolutely ages but it had been well and truly forgotten about until recently, I am a highlighter addict I love them so much, but I've been so set on only using powder highlighters for some reason, however I saw someone in a video apply a powder highlighter and then dab this over the top so I tried it and I was obsessed! I would only do that for an occasion though because it's such an intense highlight that I wouldn't want for everyday, however even without a powder highlighter underneath this is gorgeous and I think perfect for summer when you want to look nice and glowy. It would also look amazing with a tan so I can't wait to take it away with me this year!

- Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum (full size £43). I would usually never include a sample in my favourites post, however I've used this one up and I am so sad because I actually need it! I got this when I bought the lip oil and the woman working at the Clarins stand raved about it, so I tried it and I'm so obsessed with it, I don't think I've ever used a serum that's so hydrating and made my skin feel so fresh. It's so expensive which is what is putting me off buying it, but I go away next week for a little city break abroad to Madrid so I might have a look when I'm in the airport and see how much it is there. 

- Barry M Lip Oil in Coco Loco (£4.99). I know I already included a lip oil in this post, but the reason I bought the Clarins lip oil was because of this product. For £4.99 these are honestly such a good alternative to a high end lip oil, I think the only difference is the amount of product you get, and how long lasting they are. This one doesn't have a tint so it just applies clear but it still makes your lips feel amazing and look nice and full, plus the scent of this is so nice it just reminds me of summer! 

Watts Up, Clarins Lip Oil, Barry M Lip Oil

There are a couple of non-beauty favourites I've been loving this month, especially TV wise, I feel like I won't be the only one who has been obsessed with this show because everyone seems to be talking about it, but I can't stop watching Love Island! I didn't watch it last year and I thought it would be total rubbish but it's the most addictive viewing ever and I feel like you get so emotionally invested in it! I love Nathan and Cara I think they will win, but Malin goes back in tonight to confront Terry after everything that went on and it's so sad but I'm just wishing the day to hurry up so I can watch it. I have also been loving Big Brother, however I'm such a hardcore Big Brother fan that it's just a given every year with me, Hughie is my favourite I love him so much! I've also been non-stop watching Gilmore Girls now it's on Netflix which is such a big commitment as there are so many episodes but I'm making pretty good progress with it, let me know in the comments what you've been loving this month!

*PR sample however all opinions are my own
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