4 February 2016

My New Favourite MAC Lipstick

I have recently become crazily obsessed with MAC make-up and, in particular, their lipsticks.

At £15.50 a pop, they're not cheap - but maaannn are the shades gorgeous! The quality is also incredible which means that they last a long time so it's worth the initial investment.

My new favourite MAC lipstick is called Heroine; it's a dark shade of purpley goodness. I've been mostly wearing it at night as it is quite vivid, or during the day for those fancier occasions.

It was a Christmas present from my sister and I've worn it a handful of times since I was given it - it's so lush and I find I always get compliments when I wear it.

This brings my MAC collection of lipsticks up to a nice number of 5 and I cannot wait to keep it growing!

[Image courtesy of Pinterest]

(What MAC lipstick shades are you currently wearing? Thanks for reading! Katie-xo)

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10 January 2016

Dubai, The Atlantis and a Very Special NYE

This New Year, I was given the opportunity to fly to Dubai on a week's family holiday.

I'd been to the airport before twice on my travels in 2014, but always wanted to stay in the city to see what it's got to offer after hearing good things from friends and acquaintances who had already been. 

The holiday itself was just lovely. It's always so good to get away, even for a little while, and have a change of scenery! The vitamin Ds from experiencing sunshine 6 days out of the 7 were also welcome after a cold and wet Christmas at home in England. 

Additionally I couldn't fault the resort. It was an incredible hotel based on at the top of The Palm islands with an Aquarium, Water Park and private beaches complete with numerous bars and restaurants where the staff were sweet and couldn't do enough for you.

For NYE, we had the most delicious five course meal I think I've ever had. You could choose which of the hotel's many restaurants you would like to eat at. We chose Nasimi Beach, an outdoor restaurant based (you guessed it) on the beach which is so young, trendy and luxurious with a constant stream of DJ's that you feel like you're eating your dinner in the middle of an Ocean Beach Club rave in Ibiza. 

After the meal, we were given access to the hotel's Gala event complete with live band, fireworks and a free bar. Hello, copious amounts of champagne! 

This event reminded me of a posh version of a festival - it was set up like a festival with a big stage at the front, dance floor and stalls of food and drink. 

It was tons of fun with a good crowd and electric atmosphere. I really rated the band too - the name of which I cannot recall (must be the champagne).

Also the firework display was truly the best firework display I have ever seen with my own eyes. The whole night was a treat from start to finish and it will definitely be a NYE to remember in years to come!

Now for the downsides of Dubai. For me, personally, it's a city that feels like it's trying too hard.

Everywhere you go they are building something. Whether it's a new skyscraper or a new man made island (The World, I'm looking at you), there's cranes in every eyeshot. It does ruin the ambience somewhat. 

I suppose it's good that the city is just trying to better itself but, let's just say, the man made beaches ain't got nothing on natural beaches. Sometimes less is more, you know? 

Furthermore, I know I shouldn't generalise but a lot of the locals and even some of the tourists were very rude and pretentious. Yes, Dubai is one of the wealthiest cities in the world and don't you just know it when you're there.

I think because I've been a budget traveller and I've experienced a lot of different places and cultures where the people don't have much, I've come to appreciate the smaller things in life. For me, money doesn't equal happiness and my theory was kind of proved in Dubai when I saw lots of rich people walking around with miserable faces on. 

I do have some positives though! One of my favourite parts of Dubai is actually the Dubai Marina. It's perhaps the prettiest bit I saw of the city with the luxurious yachts and serene water in the foreground, coupled with what can only be described as what looks like a skyscraper painting in the background.

One thing I will say about the skyscrapers is that the architecture is extremely impressive. They have buildings that twist, buildings that layer, buildings in unusual shapes, buildings that replicate the Chrysler in NYC and who could forget that they have the tallest building in the world in the form of the Burj Khalifa (at 127 floors precisely). If you're an architecture nut, you will love Dubai.

They also have the world's largest shopping centre (imaginatively titled Dubai Mall) which has a good mix of high street and luxury shops (along with an aquarium plonked in the middle of it, as you do). I have to admit, I did spend a decent amount of time in there participating in some retail therapy during the one day that it rained (as well as staring absent-mindedly at the fishies).

Other than this, we just chilled on the beach in the resort, had a bit of a drive around the Souks to have a nosy, visited the Aquarium, went to the Water Park twice like big kids and stuffed our faces with Afternoon Tea at the Burj Al Arab as a special treat.

Dubai, you were fun. I feel so happy and lucky that I've visited you so I can tick you off my bucket list - but, to be honest, I wouldn't feel the need to visit you again. (For me, there's so many more naturally beautiful places out there in the world.)

But, hey, maybe I'll pit stop in your airport again someday!

Catch you later.


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21 September 2015

Guess Who's Back

Hey everyone! 

I'm really sorry I haven't posted in an awfully long time - sometimes life gets in the way of blogging and, while I try not to let it, it has this ability to make me succumb at particularly busy/stressful times.

So what have I been doing while I haven't been blogging? 

- I've been working super hard at my job on the Technical Design team at a Leeds-based menswear suit supplier. 
- I've been on a break with my boyfriend (details of which I'm going to keep private, I'm afraid).
- I've been making more time for my friendships and catching up with people I haven't seen for months/years since living darn Sarth.
- I've been making more plans to travel (watch this space)!
- I've been spending a lot of time with my family as my sister is going through a particularly difficult time.
- A couple of months ago I took up Zumba and have been going to classes once or twice per week. (Fat, be gone!)
- I recently had a birthday which means I am now a grand old age of 25.

I will try to post more regularly as we head into Autumn/Winter and I find myself preferring to snuggle up indoors in my onesie with a cuppa than be out and about in the cold darkness.

My love of blogging is still there - it's just had to take a back seat for a while! But, rest assured, I will be rekindling the flame very soon.

Thanks for reading!



9 May 2015

10 Must Do's When Visiting the Big Apple

(This is the final post in my America series. If you missed the previous instalments, you can catch up on them hereherehere and here.)

If there's one thing that you must do before you die, it's visit the famous New York City.

Also known as the Concrete Jungle, Big Apple or just simply NYC, New York it’s a place where dreams are made. I’ve been a grand total of five times now and with each and every trip it has exceeded my expectations. There's nowhere quite like it anywhere else in the world and if anybody says otherwise then they're lying!

This time around, my sister and I were supposed to be there for three nights on the way home but a delayed flight from Boston meant that we arrived a whole 24 hours later. I was also still incredibly ill from my time in Boston, which unfortunately spoilt it a little for me. As I’d already been four times before though, I just re-visited some of the sights I’d already seen and tried to take it a little easier.

Here’s my top 10 must do’s when visiting the city for the first time:

1. Have a picnic in Central Park.

This one is obviously weather permitting as no one wants to sit on wet grass in the rain eating soggy sandwiches when they’re on holiday (or ever)! Central Park goes on for blocks and blocks so there’s quite a lot of ground to cover. It surrounds a lake and, in the summer, it’s rather nice to buy an ice-cream, set up camp in the sun and just people-watch the day away.

2. Sail past the Statue of Liberty.

A lot of tourists spend tons of dollars to go on the trip to Liberty Island; however, if you’re on a budget, you can just take the free Staten Island ferry. This sails right past the Statue of Liberty which allows you to get some amazing full length shots completely for free! Then you can simply hop on the next ferry back.

3. Visit the One World Trade Center and Twin Towers Memorial.

When I was a wee young girl (aged nine) on my first visit to NYC, I was lucky enough to ride the elevator to the top of one of the Twin Towers before the 9/11 tragedy occured. This meant that when I visited Ground Zero for the first time post-9/11, I was even more overwhelmed with sadness for what happened on that devastating day as I remembered it how it was previously. I’m not going to lie, visiting the memorial is heartbreaking. I haven’t actually been in the new Museum but I went in the temporary Museum while the One World Trade Center was being built and cried my eyes out. It’s unbelievably sad but worth going to pay your respects and learn more about what happened.

4. Shop until you drop in Soho.

The majority of the shops in Soho are all on one street and go on for about 26 blocks. Have fun but try not to spend all of your money! Also please learn from my past mistakes and always remember your suitcase space limitations. Having to panic pack and sit on your suitcase while your travel companion tries their best to zip it up a couple of hours before your flight is nobody’s idea of a fun time.

5. Take your camera to Seaport.

Seaport is a cute little shopping district at the most southern point of Manhattan (hence the name Seaport as it’s right on the sea). From here you can see both the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges which means there’s some pretty awesome photo opportunities.

6. Go up the Rockefeller Centre.

Now, you might have heard that going up the Empire State Building is THE thing to do. A lot of people do it and thoroughly enjoy it; however my advice is to NOT go up the Empire State Building. Go up the Rockefeller Centre instead. By hitting the Top of the Rock, you get spectacular views of the city INCLUDING the Empire State Building. Also, if you’re strategic with your timing, you can get incredible photos of both the daytime view and sunset view, as well as seeing how pretty everything looks lit up in the dark. You’re welcome.

7. Stroll down Fifth Avenue.

Fifth Ave caters to all your shopping needs as it’s where all the tourists like to make their purchases. If you want the luxury market (a la Louis Vuitton), you can find it here. But if trashy souvenir shops are more your style, there’s plenty of them around too. Do me a favour and go in Trump Tower on the way down/up. It’s rather cool and they do nice coffee.

8. Explore Times Square.

Times Square is, undoubtedly, the best bit of the Big Apple (in my opinion). It’s the most visited place globally with over 360,000 pedestrians per day. The dazzling lights, skyscraper buildings and charged atmosphere are what the city's all about. You're very likely to stumble across the next big premiere or marketing event right in the middle of it, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled. When I visited Times Square for the fourth time, I walked right into the Transformers 3 premiere and got to see the cast and crew being interviewed on the red carpet.

9. Go see a Broadway show.

This is a pretty obvious one but I just thought I’d throw it in here in case some of you have been living under a rock for the last however-many years. The shows on Broadway are unbelievably amazing. I’ve seen Peter Pan, West Side Story, Chicago and The Lion King and loved each and every one (especially The Lion King as that’s one of my favourite films of all time)! It’s a bit pricey, so make sure you ask your hotel Concierge for deals. Or you can wander through Times Square where a lot of show reps will approach you with ticket opportunities. There’s also a ticket booth in Times Square where you can queue early in the day for discounted show tickets for the following night. Enjoy!

10. Have lunch at The Plaza.

Are there any Home Alone lovers out there? I ask as the hotel where Kevin McCallister stays when he gets lost in NYC in the movie is right next to the south entrance to Central Park. It’s a gorgeous building and a great place for lunch. It has a food hall in the bottom, a bit like the food hall in Harrods, and there are plenty of yummy choices on offer. Bon Appetit!

Whatever you do in NYC, try to make the most of your time there as the city is so fast-paced that you might blink and miss it. Then you’ll be home before you know it, chewing your friends’ ears off and reminiscing about your time in the Big Apple – just wishing you'll have a future opportunity to take another bite.

(Have you been to NYC before? What’s your favourite thing to do? Thanks for reading! Katie-xo)


28 April 2015

Mini Primark and Matalan Haul

Good news: I've got a new job! Not so good news: I'm having to resist splurging until I get my first pay cheque.

However, I couldn't resist a cheeky little visit to my local Primark and Matalan as I knew I'd find some bargains at these stores that would cure my spending withdrawal symptoms without breaking the bank.

First up: Primark.

Pineapple Print King Bedding - £13
Pineapple White Candle and Holder - £1.50

I saw this adorable, funky pineapple-print bedding in the Leeds store a couple of weeks ago and immediately fell in love. I have a purple-themed bedroom at the moment and thought this multi-coloured bedding would be a nice way of adding a bit of colour and brightening up my surroundings, as well as complimenting the present colour scheme (some of the pineapples are purple). I also thought the use of the pastels on a white background looked super fresh for spring/summer and would be a fun addition to my existing bedroom decor. But, unfortunately, the Leeds store didn't have right size bedding that I needed for my king size bed so my dreams were temporarily ruined.

Although, imagine my sheer delight when I was shopping in Harrogate a few days later and managed to find the exact same bedding but in king size! Hurrah! I also managed to pick up this cute little matching pineapple-shaped candle at an unbelievable £1.50 #winning.

Next up: Matalan.

Black and Berry Embroidered Dress - £9
Gold a Double Stacked Rings - £1.50
White Butterfly Candle Holder - £6

I'd been looking for a new dress to go out in on the bank holiday weekend for a while and have wasted a lot of time and effort in doing so. Well, I should have just gone to Matalan in the first instance. As soon as I stepped into the store, I spotted this black beauty with berry red coloured embroidery in the sale for a mere £9. I immediately thought it was pretty but didn't know if it would suit my figure - it's a dress but it looks like a two piece co-ord and they never usually flatter my body shape. However, when I tried it on, it looked really nice and I could just picture myself wearing it on my night out - boho style - with layered necklaces and midi rings aplenty.

Additionally, I saw these gold double stacked rings in the sale for £1.50 which would compliment my usual array of midi rings. 

I then trotted over to the homeware section and found that I adored several of the pieces. Due to my budget limitations, I thought I'd just pick out one cheap thing to buy. It ended up being this white butterfly candle holder for £6. I love it's vintage look and have many bits and bobs the same style currently in my bedroom, so I thought it would fit right in! 

Overall I'm really happy with my mini haul - I'm just concerned I won't be able to stop myself from spending again before pay day! Life's hard being a blogger sometimes. Wish me luck!

(Do you like my purchases? What's your favourite piece? Thanks so much for reading! Katie-xo)

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