just some random september picks

just some random september picks

Long time no post! After a summer of travelling and blogging A LOT I decided to take a little break so now I'm going back to the blogger roots with this post and decided to share a few things that I've been loving lately with a good old fashioned favourites post. This is a very eclectic mix of stuff because I'm notorious for liking too many things and liking too many things too quickly and seriously so without further ado let's get straight into this.

What I'm Watching
It's no lie that I'm a bit of a Netflix fan, actually, a LOT of a Netflix fan and particularly Spanish Netflix. Elite season 2! I've been waiting for this to drop. I was literally up at 8am for the drop ready to go and binge the HECK out of this show! It did not disappoint and I have many, MANY thoughts, (Which if you follow me on twitter you've probably read enough of SORRY!).

What I'm Reading
Before I even owned Red, White and Royal Blue I knew it was going to be my favourite book of the year and boy oh boy oh boy. Simon Vs The Homosapiens Agenda is one of my favourite books of all time and this book gave me a similar vibe. I LOVED. I've had a pretty terrible reading year this year but I absorbed this and deffo recommend.

What I'm Listening To
I have the strangest taste in music ever. I can go from acoustic, to rock to something obscure and Swedish and here's a selection of everything and in fairness, all I've really been listening to this month is Los Dias Raros by Vetusta Morla after it's exquisite use in Elite (yes sorry back onto Elite again). But my pick for this list is the New Maisie Peters BOP 'This Is On You'. I love everything Maisie puts out and this is no different. DEFFO recommend listening to all her stuff, she's the BEST!

What I'm Wearing
I recently finally picked up Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara and I AM OBSESSED. I'd seen people talking about it forever and was like 'surely a mascara can't be THAT good' I'm always wary about buying high-end makeup products because I know I'm going to end up loving them and ends up costing me more money but alas I love it!

Back to uni means freshers and we had a board games night and It's rekindled my love of Monopoly Deal which I genuinely haven't picked up for years but is such a good game. I love board games and table games so if you know any good ones fire them my way!

What things have you been loving recently?

Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting Uni

Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting Uni

It's September (honestly where did the summer go!) and that means two things schools are back and universities are ALMOST back. Thank goodness for long university holidays am I right? I'm going into my final year of university this year which is a scary scary old time but starting university for the first time can also be really scary so here are some tips of things I've learned in the past three years that I wish I knew when I started.

The backpack is the Mint Backpack from Madlug and is not owned, purely modelled for editorial use however I do own nine other Madlug backpacks.

No one cares what you look like
Your uni wardrobe can seem like a daunting task but in reality, for class, most people will turn up in sweats and a t-shirt with their hair up in a messy bun. I'm the anomaly that likes to dress up for every single occasion of my life and yes people have commented on my style in class but for the most part it's pretty much a non-event so don't stress too much about waking up at 6am to make yourself look presentable for 9am lectures because in reality nobody really cares.

Budget, budget, budget
Student life can be expensive and as someone who's just started life on their own, it can be really tricky to learn how to manage your money. I was fortunate enough that my dad is a debt coach and money management specialist and he gave me all the tricks on how to best manage money as a student. The one that saved me the most in first year was using cash, take out a select volume of cash for the week and try to limit yourself to only using it also using separate bank accounts to manage your direct debits, your spending money and your savings. I also definitely recommend checking out Monzo to help with managing your money. Sign up here* and get £5 automatically credited to your account. On the whole, don't blow your student loan in the first week on fresher's events because more than likely you'll need it more at a later stage when you've run out of money to pay your rent (raises hand that I'm most definitely guilty of this).
*Affiliate link- I'll also receive £5 for every referral 

Have fun
While you are predominantly there to study and get a degree, your uni years are some of the most formative years of your life and if you spend them all locked up in the library studying, chances are you'll regret it later. What I'm really saying is the FOMO is real! Yes work hard, but don't let your need to succeed and do well in class stop you from enjoying yourself.

Lectures will only get you so far...
but please go to lectures! Lectures are really beneficial to your understanding of the modules but in order to actually do well, you need to also do additional reading. Taking notes in lectures doesn't need to be immensely detailed but anything you think is useful or interesting is usually good to jot down and you can supplement your notes with independent reading and study later.

Not everyone will be 18

I felt like when I started university I was just expecting everyone in my class to be in the same stage of life as me but that's not necessarily the case. Yes, a lot of people will be fresh out of school but many people will also have taken gap years or even have worked for a number of years before pursuing a degree. Especially if you're older and starting uni for the first time, there may be an overwhelming number of 18-year-olds milling around but it's not like school and not everyone is the same age.

Pinterest Uni Rooms are a lie!
As you go to uni you'll be so ready to have your own space to design exactly how you want it and make it as Pinterest ready as possible but realistically, if you don't have a Pinterest room at home, you're not going to have a Pinterest room at uni. I'm so guilty of thinking I was suddenly going to be tidy and organised when I moved into my own space but that most definitely did not happen and the infamous floordrobe made its unwelcome return.

What is one thing you wish you knew before starting university? Or if you are just starting out what are you most excited about?

Feeling Myself With Pink Parcel

Feeling Myself With Pink Parcel

Your period is a funny old time. I miss the early days when your period used to just be a slight inconvenience because now I always have the WORST cramps during the first few days but then they die away but I also have to suffer through really long periods. Oh, how I envy people who don't have to bleed for a week.

I recently received my August box from Pink Parcel which is a period subscription service which caters towards you by providing you with all the sanitary products you need as well as some goodies to keep you feeling yourself during that time of the month.

I received the product free of charge for review/content creation purposes but it retails at 3 different price points. 

The Needs: £5 a month
All the sanitary products that you'll need for the month, you get to choose your fem-care products between tampons or pads so it's catered towards your needs. You can schedule it to arrive when your period does. It works to you.

The Wants: £8 a month
Just a little box of goodies and pick-me-ups for you to treat yourself while you may not be feeling your best.

All Of It: £11 a month
All the needs and all the wants in one place. (this is the one I got)

What was in My August Box?
I'm a pad user, I have a love-hate relationship with tampons but it's predominantly hate, so I chose to receive pads as my fem-care product of choice, they even let me choose my favourite always pads with the wings! The fem-care I received was a little bag that says self love full of pads and liners, a box of night pads, and another box of pads.

For my wants box, I received: a milk hot chocolate spoon from Cocoba, a lip gloss from Floss, a hair mask from Mudmasky, a face mask from Minus 417 (which I'm most excited about because I love a face mask), a coffee bag from Lyons and an spf lip balm from Anatomicals and a makeup brush from Moonface.

If you want to sign up to Pink Parcel you can do it here!

Rwanda: My First Time in Africa

Rwanda: My First Time in Africa

Hello! I've spent ten days in Rwanda this August. If you don't know where that is, it's a tiny little country in the very centre of Africa (I say tiny but it's actually twice the size of Northern Ireland). I've travelled a lot around Europe but this was my first time ever venturing into Africa and similar to my Naples post I thought I'd do a little travel diary of this trip as well.

My Safari Experience

My Safari Experience

I recently had my very first safari experience and it was pretty surreal. I thought I'd do a little write up about it and discuss my expectations and experience, pretty much because I have so many photos I want to post.

Surviving Long-haul

Surviving Long-haul

Even for frequent travellers, long-haul flights can be a bit of an ordeal. I love flying but I'm so used to my quick little 45 minute flights to England and my 90-minute flights to Copenhagen that sometimes I forget that you can actually sit on a plane for 8 hours. 

My first long-haul flight was a 6-hour flight to Boston in 2017 and I was such a novice that I was so lost the whole time but I recently flew to Kigali in Rwanda and I've learned a few things so I thought I'd share my top tips to flying long-haul.

In-Flight Entertainment
One of the best things about long-haul is the in-flight entertainment. I always like to research what films are available on the airline before I go and I come ready with a little list of possibilities. On my Kigali flight, I managed to watch: The Hate U Give, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and Coco (and let me just tell you I SOBBED at Coco and I'm ashamed I hadn't seen it until now). Or you could always binge a Netflix series if none of the provided entertainment appeals to you.

Live for the snacks
I lied. The best part about long-haul is the snacks. I'm so used to flying EasyJet that I forget that all snacks are provided to you included in your ticket price! I missed out on free pretzels on my Boston flight because I thought I had to buy them. Nothing makes your face light up quite as much as the air-hostess walking towards you with the food trolley knowing you're getting treated to some top quality aeroplane grub. On my last flight, I had a creamy vegetable pasta served with a salad, cheese and crackers and some bread with a lemon muffin for dessert which was TOPS and then for mid-flight snack we had mozzarella and tomato sorrentina and an apple crumble muffin (which was also tops). You also get unlimited drinks orders so make the most of them!

Have a lil walkabout
Just because you're up in the air, it doesn't mean that you can't stretch your legs. Even if that's just to the toilet. Just make sure that the seatbelt sign isn't switched on!

Have a chat
Odds are that the person you're sitting beside is also going to be bored on said flight so don't be afraid to have a conversation with them, find out a bit about where they're from and why they're on the plane, the worst they can do is ignore you but at least try to engage a little.

Have a snooze
Nobody is going to judge you for going to sleep, that's the whole reason they provide pillows and blankets. I didn't sleep on my last flight because it was during the day and there was no time difference so I wanted to maintain my sleep schedule but if you're flying overnight I can guarantee that almost everyone else on the plane will be asleep.

Travelling is as stressful as you make it. So just relax and have a good time and the time will fly! (see what I did there). What's the longest flight that you've ever been on and how did you decide to put in the hours.

My Favourite Foreign Language Shows

My Favourite Foreign Language Shows

I have a problem. That problem; is a mild obsession with watching foreign tv shows. I can't tell you how many times I've been planning on watching a different show and then a random foreign show will pop up in my Netflix recommendations and suddenly I'm 3 episodes deep and I really need to go to sleep. So I thought I'd put this large waste of my time to use and give a list of my recommendations of foreign shows to watch.

This is the show that started it all and is still my favourite show that I've ever watched. I've literally watched it start to finish 3 or 4 times. (I actually wrote a whole post on it hereIt's a Norwegian teen drama. It follows the lives of a single student attending a school in Oslo (there's a different main character in each season, so each season is different). You see everything from their perspective and the episodes were released in clip format throughout the week to then be compiled into one episode on Friday, so they all differ in length with som being under 20 minutes and some being almost an hour! It's actually been adapted into different languages but the OG Norwegian version will always be my favourite. This one isn't on any streaming services as it was web-based but if you dig around enough you can usually find it! 

ELITE (Netflix)
Another teen drama but this time it's a lot darker and it's also Spanish. There's been a murder in the most prestigious school in Spain and the police are trying to get the bottom of who was responsible. You get to see the interrogations of the main characters as well as seeing the whole unfolding of the murder and how it came to be.

HIGH SEAS (Netflix)
I've JUST finished this one and it's the absolute best thing I've ever watched. I've been trying to figure out how to sum it up and I think the best way is that it's like The Grand Budapest Hotel except in Spanish and on a cruise liner. It is literally just so good and I'm eagerly anticipating the second season.

Nothing quite says scandi-noir quite like a Swedish teen drama complete with murder. Maya is on trial for murdering her classmates in a school shooting. Yes, it is as dark as it sounds but yes it is also AMAZING. (I may have only watched this one because Felix Sandman was in it but minor details).

It sounds dodgy but all my favourite shows sound dodgy apparently. After his longterm girlfriend dumps him, a German boy and his friend accidentally end up running one of the largest drugs empires in the whole of Germany.

Do you enjoy foreign TV? If you have any other recommendations for me don't hesitate to throw them my way!

Anthems I'm Currently Proclaiming

Anthems I'm Currently Proclaiming

Every so often songs come into your life and they just speak exactly into how you're feeling. Those songs become the anthems for your life. The truths I find are the truths I like to proclaim, whenever I'm having a bit of a low day I just remember how powerful our God is and who He is and therefore who I am! I am chosen, I'm not forsaken, I'm a child of God. So here are three of the anthems that I'm currently proclaiming!

1. Here Again - Elevation Worship (x)
This was my original anthem and will forever be the anthem I choose to sing! I choose to say that not for a minute was I forsaken. I listened to Tauren Wells sing this having heard the song approximately 50 times before but preached on it in the middle and it spoke to me all over again. I even wrote down what he said because I loved it so so much. Honestly, this song will probably be the anthem for the rest of my life because it still continues to wreck me every single time!

2. Goodness of God- Bethel Music (x)
This is another one that came to me at just the right time. I was going through a bit of a rough patch with a whole load of things and I was just really drained but getting to join and proclaim that God's goodness was running after me and chasing me down every step of the way.

3. What A Beautiful Name - Hillsong Worship (x)
I first heard this song at Hillsong Copenhagen while I was there in 2016 so it always carries happy memories for me but how great that NOTHING can stand against the name of Jesus. All we need to do is proclaim his name and the darkness runs and flees.

What anthems are you currently singing over your life?

Adventures in Naples

Adventures in Naples

Travelling is always my absolute favourite thing to do, I love exploring new places and discovering different cultures. This Summer I headed to Italy with my family. So I decided to put a little itinerary together of what we got up to while in Naples, kind of as a diary for me and as some recommendations if you're planning on visiting.

I dyed my hair pink

I dyed my hair pink

... or at least I tried to.

Every summer I always say, 'This is the year that I dye my hair pink', and every year without fail, I don't. Until this year.

Stargazer Cosmetics sent me over some of their Yummy Colour 4 colour hair strips (these ones) to try out so I thought that it was as good an opportunity as any to seize control of my dreams of pink hair for summer. I opted to use the pastel pack as I wanted a lighter shade of pink.

I enlisted the help of my friend who regularly dyes her hair and we sat in my room following all the instructions and everything appeared to be going well. You can even see from this photo that the pink was taking to my hair.

However, that was when the fun stopped. On the box, it says that the dye was supposed to last 5-15 washes depending on colouring. I hadn't pre-lightened my hair and that may have been the issue but as soon as I stepped in the shower after leaving it on my hair for longer than the allotted time. It all washed out IMMEDIATELY! I had to wave goodbye to my dreams of pink summer hair. I still have a couple of brighter colours left so I may have to try again but for right now I'm afraid I have to give this dye a thumbs down :( 

I'm sad because I love the concept and I really wanted to love them but unfortunately they just didn't work for me! 

Have you dyed your hair before? If so what colour and how did you like having funky hair?

Getting Thrifty With It

Getting Thrifty With It

I'm not going to lie to you, this post has been sitting in my drafts for MONTHS so I thought it was definitely time I finished it and got it posted, more for my own sanity than anything else but here goes.

I love a good thrift. I think my love of thrifting stemmed from the fact that I used to be a checkout operator in a local charity shop and when the store was quiet I would always take a look around to see if there were any bargains I could snatch up. I usually ended up with t-shirts, some jackets and mostly books but my most incredible thrift shop purchase to date (and probably ever again if we're being realistic) is this mustard yellow Zara puffer jacket (pictured below), which I managed to pick up for the bargain price of £2.25! I KNOW RIGHT!

Anyway, some people really struggle with thrifting and how to find good things when thrifting but the art lies in knowing where to look and as someone who has previously worked in a thrift store, I feel like I have a unique perspective. So here are my top thrifting tips!

Shop Around
When you're starting out, don't just limit yourself to one shop. Usually, if your community is anything like mine, you'll often find multiple thrift shops or charity shops in pretty close vicinity. So don't give up if you don't find anything you like in the first one you look in. Different shops will cater to different people, so someone else's favourite shop may not be yours and vice versa.

Frequent Visits
If you pop into the same shop often enough, chances are the staff will start to remember you and may be able to point out some stuff that they think you'll like or even keep some stuff back for you. While I worked at a charity shop, they got in a whole load of science textbooks and because they remembered that I studied Biomed, they kept them over for me and they just so happened to be my exact recommended reading for my course that year!

Don't limit yourself to one section
It's quite easy for things to get mixed up in thrift stores so the exact items you're looking for could be hiding among other sections. I can't tell you how many times I incorrectly labelled men's clothing as women's clothing and vice versa.

Give yourself time
Don't expect to just walk in and instantly find things you love. It can take a lot of hoaking about to find something so you may need longer than you expect to have a look at everything, even if the store seems small.

Don't be afraid to try things on
Thrifting is exactly the same as normal clothes shopping. Things can look good on the hanger but once you try it on it's a completely different story. Thrift stores typically have dressing rooms for a reason. Use Them! While it looks like a bargain, if you don't actually like it, it was just a waste of money!

Online Thrifting
While depop and poshmark have been around for ages my new favourite thing is an online thrift store called Thrift+ (check it here). Not only can you find preowned/preloved clothes but it also supports different charities through purchases so you get to be ethical and support charities. It's also super easy to navigate and they have a boutique section so  you can shop either high end or high street brands.

Do you like thrifting? If so what are your top tips and what is your best thrifting find to date? Let me know in the comments below!

My Travel Essentials

My Travel Essentials

I'm so excited for this summer season. If you look out the window it might not look all that much like summer right now but for me, the summer holidays are all about travel. I have lots of exciting trips planned so prepare yourselves for ALL the travel content in these next few months. As a pretty seasoned traveller, I tend to think I have all the basics down for the essentials that you need for your trip.

A backpack

This is my hand luggage bag of choice, so many airlines are now limiting you to only having a small hand luggage bag but I always have my trusty Madlug by my side, these bags are made in Northern Ireland and also operate on a wear one, share one policy where for every bag purchased, a bag will be given to a child, currently in the care system in the UK, who doesn't have a bag. They're my favourite bags (I literally have 9 different ones!) Check them out here!

This is the Rolltop Daypack in Burgundy and was kindly gifted to me for content creation purposes!

Denim Jacket
This may seem like a random one, but you will never find me at an airport, or travelling anywhere to be fair, without my denim jacket on. Why is that you may ask? INTERNAL POCKETS! The Internal Pockets are the stuff of dreams! If you're only travelling with hand luggage you can fit so much stuff in the internal pockets of your denim jacket that it frees up so much space in your hand luggage bag. I one put a 400-page book and my purse in there. It was wild. My jacket in this photo is super old from Zara but you can generally get super cute jackets from any thrift store or vintage store but I've linked a few cute ones below.

Portable Charger/Powerpack
I don't even just bring this travelling, this is in my bag at all times, because you never know when your phone may need a top up but wherever I am, I always get asked about this setup. This power pack is from Ideal of Sweden (gifted and I've worked with them in the past but this post isn't sponsored I just blimmin' love this thing) I have this one in the Flower Meadow pattern but it comes in loads of pretty designs. You can also get 20% off with the code ID20-AL110*. The cable is a Xoopar octopus cable, mine was kindly gifted to me by VOXI but you can get unbranded ones here* or you can use any cable on it, but the octopus is perfect if you want to charge more than one type of device while you're away.

Keep Cups/Reusable Water Bottles
For me, airport travel is incomplete until I'm sitting in Starbucks sipping my Mango Black tea Lemonade waiting for my gate to open. But with a huge shift to sustainability, did you know that you can fly with a keep cup in your hand luggage, provided it's empty going through security that is! A lot of cities also have water stations so you can refill your water bottle if you get thirsty with the summer heat!

A good book!
I read the most when I travel, not even long distances, I used to get through books so quickly when I was travelling up and down to uni on the train. But flights, I find, give the perfect opportunity to get stuck into a good book. I'm planning on doing a book recommendations post in the near future so keep an eye out if that's your thing!

What are your must-have travel essentials?

I'm an introvert but that doesn't mean I hate people

I'm an introvert but that doesn't mean I hate people

Where are you finding your joy? This is a question I was asked and at the time I only gave a one-word answer but in reality, I think it needs more than that because a good question requires a good answer.

Recently, I availed of Instagram's newest feature, Story Quizzes, because who doesn't enjoy having even more ways to pester your friends with your constant Instagram stories/need for attention. and boy oh boy was it an eye-opening experience! Don't get me started on the fact that a third of the people who answered didn't know I'd been to Portugal despite the fact I attended Eurovision there last year being my main topic of conversation for the last 12 months! But the biggest shock for me was how many people thought I was an extravert. More than half said I was an extravert as a major introvert it made me laugh a lot, but then I got to thinking, what is it about me that apparently screams extravert?

When asked where I found my joy, after a lot of deliberation, I responded 'when I'm with other people'. Now, this might scream extravert to you but hear me out. My love language is quality time which for an introvert might seem weird, but it really means that I'm particular with my time. I don't love spending time with just anybody and it takes me a while to feel comfortable around people but once I'm comfortable with someone, with them is my favourite place to be. I also have massive FOMO so I'll hang out even if it tires me. and that's the biggy. I don't get my energy from being with people, I get my energy from spending time in my own company and resetting.

So I'm not riding in here like a saviour on a white horse come to redeem the good name of the introverts but I think we should end the stigma that introverts are always shy and reserved and just don't like people. I love people and I need my people time but more importantly, I need my ME time. Time to myself to reflect on the great times I had with the people I love.

So that's where I find my joy, not necessarily from spending time with people, but not from being alone either. Instead, it's from using my energy to do things I love and knowing when to quit so that I can refuel and enjoy those times even more.

So where are you finding your joy?

Bringing My Nails into Summer with OPI

Bringing My Nails into Summer with OPI

I was never a big nail polish person as a teenager, while everyone was out doing their elaborate nail art and getting gel nails and the whole shebang I was always just there with my natural nails looking all plain, but that's how I liked it. Once  I actually did start wearing nail polish, I was still very much rooted in my baby pink (big up to Essie Ballet Slippers). Even now I'm not the most dramatic with my nail choices very much staying with my tried and tested formula of baby pink, white and baby yellow (occasionally chucking in a darker colour every so often) so when Influenster got in touch and wanted to send me some colours from OPI's Tokyo Collection I JUMPED at the chance to shake up my monotonous nail life with something a little more exciting!
 The colours I got sent were 'How Does Your Zen Garden Grow' (pictured) which is a beautiful pistachio green colour, 'Rice Rice Baby' which is the loveliest pink colour and I'm so excited to use this one this summer, and 'All Your Dreams In Vending Machines' which is a bright shimmery pink and definitely VERY out of my nail comfort zone so I'm not entirely sure how much wear out of this one! I also got sent the Start to Finish Treatment, which is a base coat, top coat, and strengthener all in one AKA your new manicure best friend!

I've used OPI products before (hello 'Met a Boy Cute as Can Be' my absolute favourite nail colour ever) and they are long lasting, go on really smoothly, great colour pay off and there is such a good selection of colours to choose from. I definitely recommend checking out the whole Tokyo Collection here because there are so many cute shades!

The Netherlands: A Tourist Guide

The Netherlands: A Tourist Guide

I consider myself a pretty seasoned traveller, I was fortunate enough to have parents who really treasured having the opportunity to explore foreign countries and experience different cultures that I ended up going on my first overseas flight before I even turned one! But if there's one place that I've been to the most and I'm most familiar with, it's most definitely The Netherlands. While I'm loud and proud about my love and affection towards Denmark (where I've been 4 times), I often somehow shy away from talking about all TEN of my experiences in The Netherlands (My Dad lived in Amsterdam for a year and became a little obsessed so we went there A LOT as kids). Amsterdam is quickly becoming that place where absolutely everybody on Instagram is going to or has been to in the past year and now since they've won Eurovision the likelihood that tourism will peak again is huge, so I'm going to share a few tips about visiting Amsterdam as well as a few other places you should try to get to while you're there because the Netherlands is more than just Amsterdam and is definitely more than just 'Holland'.

Amsterdam Tips
We'll start with the biggie! Everyone and their cousin is going to Amsterdam at the minute and while I did just mention that the Netherlands is more than just Amsterdam it's also great to know some tips for getting around Amsterdam easily as well as what to do and what not to do etc. I'm not a local so I'm sure there are people better qualified than me but here's just a little summary of the things I like to get up to when we visit the city.

Dwaze Zaken
If you're not staying in the heart if the city (which we rarely do) you'll most likely be hopping off the train at Amsterdam Centraal. Once you get out of the station, almost straight ahead of you across the canal is Dwaze Zaken. We love this place and no trip to Amsterdam for our family is complete without it. In fairness, my dad worked here when he lived in Amsterdam so that's why we go all the time, but I think it's definitely worth a visit. It's described as a Lively, Christian-oriented cafe serving hearty meals & beers on tap, plus art exhibits & live music. Also if you ever do visit pop in and check out their toilets. You think I'm kidding but really these toilets are next level, that's all I'm going to say to keep up the suspense!

Book Museums in Advance
If you want to go to certain museums and art galleries when you're in Amsterdam make sure you book them at least the day before you're planning on going to save yourself an unnecessary hike out to Museumplein only to be turned away, This happened to us first hand because we never thought to book the Van Gogh museum in the height of summer, oops, so make sure you avoid our mistakes so they weren't made in vain!

Use a Map
I know, I know, you don't want to look like a tourist, I hate looking like a tourist on holiday because I always just want to blend in but if you can get your hands on a city guide it'll have a whole load of places you can choose to visit on it, That's where I discovered Hortus Botanicus which just so happened to be one of my favourite places we went to in the city.

Canal Tour
Amsterdam is obviously famous for its canals so if you're going you DEFINITELY have to go on a canal tour, otherwise, what's the point in going to the city of Canals? There are so many different tours to choose from but they basically all offer the same thing. 

Obviously with weed cannabis being legal in The Netherlands that can be a big draw for people but if that's not your jam (It's definitely not my jam) just be aware that the smell of weed can be very strong at certain times. And research actual coffee shops before you go so you don't end up going into the wrong kind!

Footwear Choice
Obviously, when you're on a city break you're going to be walking a lot so make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear. That doesn't necessarily mean trainers or walking shoes but any shoes that you're comfortable walking long distances in, I wore my Arizona Birkenstocks and they suited me perfectly but that's because they're comfortable for me, but maybe just avoid heels if your planning on exploring a lot of the city.

We can't go on holiday to The Netherlands without a trip to a pancake house for lunch. If you can find an authentic Dutch pancake house it's definitely worth hitting up and I'm just going to recommend you try a Cheese and Bacon one, it will blow your mind!

Other Places I Think Are Worth Visiting
As I mentioned, the Netherlands is more than just Amsterdam so while I've been to Amsterdam a fair few times, there are also many other places in The Netherlands that we've explored, so here are a few of my favourites from throughout the years.

I love Tilburg, it's completely different from Amsterdam but it's got that big city vibe without being overpowering. There are so many things to do and there's loads of good cafes and restaurants that I think it definitely warrants a visit! In fairness my opinion may be tainted by the fact that we watched Mamma Mia Here We Go Again here and I'll forever associate it with Young Bill but minor details. (Films are all in English in The Netherlands with Dutch subtitles so it makes going to the cinema really easy, if it's maybe raining one day and you need something to do inside)

Famous for its blue pottery, it has the most beautiful centre with renaissance buildings and you can even see some cheese rolling although that's probably less exciting than it sounds it's really fun to be able to experience authentic Dutch culture.

WINDMILLS! Nothing screams The Netherlands more than Windmills and Kinderdijk has an abundance and it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been since 1997.

If you're looking for a beach resort, this is THE beach resort of The Netherlands, we've spent countless holidays in Zandvoort fulfilling the beach needs that always creep in when you're on holiday. Anywhere in Zeeland is also a good shout if you're looking for a 

This is a place that not a lot of tourists actually visit but it's got a modern centre with cool street art with multitudes of restaurants, cafe's, and bars with great nightlife but it's also got a medieval part and lots of old architecture, surrounded by a moat. All in all, it's pretty cool!

Basically, it's mini-Amsterdam but with fewer crowds so if you're after the aesthetics of Amsterdam but without the people everywhere, Haarlem is probably your best shot! Corrie Ten Boom's house is also here if you're interested in the Holocaust then this is a good visit!

Each village in The Netherlands is unique so if you stumble across one, have an wander. The last time we visited, the village we stayed in had an exact replica of St Peter's Basilica in Rome in the centre which was really random but also really cool to explore.

Is there anywhere in The Netherlands that you've visited that you think other people should too? Let me know below!

3 Products That I Can't Give Up

3 Products That I Can't Give Up

I was a late bloomer, I always get taken aback when I walk by 12-year-olds with a full face of makeup on, I didn't start wearing makeup until I was 15 and even at that I literally just wore eyeliner and concealer. I bought my first proper eyeshadow palette when I was 16 after my GCSEs (Urban Decay Naked for all the OGs out there) and since then it's been a bittersweet love affair with makeup, and too this day, eyeshadow remains my absolute favourite beauty product, remember your roots, my friends! My makeup tastes have changed a lot over the years but there are always those products that you keep coming back to no matter how many times you try to change it up. 

Anyway on that note, here are the 3 products that I can't seem to stop buying again and again and again!

Rimmel Stay Matte
This is the true OG powder of OG powders and the one that I'm probably most ashamed to admit I still use. I tried to make the switch to loose powders which I did love using but inevitable as soon as I use them up I go straight back to my Rimmel Stay Matte ways even though I know deep down that it's probably not a good product, I'm still gonna use it anyway. Sue me!

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation
I originally intended to purchase this as a one-off 'Treat Yoself' purchase but I'm currently on my 4th bottle! I initially planned to revert back to drugstore foundations but my skin just did not thank me for it at all so I'm back to my beloved, Born This Way, slightly pricey but worth it in my humble opinion (I use the shade Snow if anyone was interested!)

Benefit Hoola Bronzer
This is the big one, is there a person alive who doesn't use Hoola bronzer, this was actually the first bronzer I ever used, I got a full sized one in a gift set I bought on the ferry after Christmas for £15, A BARGAIN, and it lasted me for years, then I got a free sample in my Birchbox and it's lasted me another year so basically this is the first time I've actually had to replace it but once you go Hoola, you never go back, and boy have I tried but here we are again.

What are your Holy Grail beauty products that you keep on buying again and again? I'd love to find some new products!

Sustainability and Stationery

Sustainability and Stationery


I don't know about you but I love getting some new stationery, nothing says useless purchase like the 14th unused notebook you have lying on your shelf but I'm here with some good news for all stationery lovers everywhere, and it comes in the form of A Good Company.

So what's so good about A Good Company, well... It's the first climate positive stationery brand! Which is fab as there's been such a shift lately into people using more sustainable products, so if you want to make your note taking more environmentally friendly then these just might be the products for you!

A Good Company exists to create elegant, thoughtful and sustainable everyday products, refusing to take shortcuts and make sure that every single step in the journey of the products, from how they are made to how they end up on your doorstep is ethical and sustainable.

Their main aims are: regardless of cost always picking materials with the least environmental impact, only work with suppliers they know inside out ensuring that they all share values, never using harmful chemicals in production, and identifying the potential environmental impact of all operations compensating for emissions resulting from shipping and travel, they also plant a tree with every order!

The pages in their notebooks are all made out of recycled stone, which isn't only better for the environment but also waterproof and smudge proof. Even the packaging it comes in is sustainable! I literally carry mine everywhere so I can wholeheartedly testify to the fact that they have not sacrificed quality for sustainability at all.

If you want to check out A Good Company for yourself you can find them here*. You can also get 20% off your purchase with the code agoodcoXalice*

They don't even just sell stationery, there's a whole load of sustainable products on there from notebooks, to pens, to paint, to bamboo toothbrushes, to bamboo cutlery. So I definitely recommend checking it out! Here's a little selection of my top picks!

The Clogs Craze and Why I'm Here For It

The Clogs Craze and Why I'm Here For It

Okay, so I can't be the only one who's seen everybody on their Instagram feed trodding about in the cutest little wooden clogs ever and been like I NEED A PAIR! If you are that person I GOTCHUUU COVERED with the latest clogs lowdown and some things you're deffo gonna need to know before you make that purchase!

If you don't already know, Scondi style is my absolute favourite thing so I JUMPED at the chance to buy myself a pair of authentic Swedish clogs, I recently ordered a pair of (wait for it) Highwood Taupe on Brown Brown Base from 'Lotta from Stockholm' (these ones) but there are so many brands about depending on your budget! Swedish Hasbeens is definitely the most popular, but Lotta's are a great lower budget alternative and just as good in quality. Now here's the three big questions. Style, Comfort, Practicality!

So as you can see from the photos everywhere clogs are CUTE, and they come in a whole load of cute styles. The ones that I have are the Highwood, closed toe version but here's a selection of other ones that I like! (all from Lotta)

If you're not sure on sizing, aka like me you have size 5 1/2 (UK) feet but bordering on a 6, I can't comment on all of the different brands but Lotta's are very true to size. I got a size 6 and they fit perfectly, a 5 would definitely have been too small, but with clogs, it's really important that they fit you properly so if you're really not sure, have a look at their sizing guide and it'll put you right.

This is the biggy! I'm a big comfort over style person so when I buy shoes I have to be sure that they're going to be comfortable and practical for everyday use, hence why I pretty much live in trainers! Now as heels go these are super comfy and functional, I wore these all day for work and had no issues whatsoever. However, there is a dark undertone of clogs, that I found out the hard way, and that my friends, is the buckling of the ankles. I have a very quick walking pace and have notoriously bad walking posture (think pregnant woman meets mother duck) so buckle in for story time... 

I was casually (well more like briskly) walking to church on Sunday morning, the roads were quiet and there was barely anyone about (which was a good thing) when suddenly my ankle buckled and I fell flat on my ass in the middle of the street and honestly lowkey thought I was about to die but nothing was bruised except for my pride and then the same darn thing proceeds to happen just a few metres farther down, this all happened only a couple of hundred metres from my house and I'd already fallen TWICE! What did this teach me? (Clearly, nothing because I'm still wearing them and recommending them to people but just making sure you know the dangers before you go ahead unlike me). I managed to make it the whole rest of the way to church without falling and even wore them to the airport later that day, and walking around Bradford the next week. But they've actually improved my walking before I have to be so so careful and conscious about how I'm walking and where I'm placing my feet. But the main thing I've realised is that cute clogs were not built for Belfast streets, city centre streets maybe, but definitely not the inner city streets where I live with their uneven pavements. I haven't fallen (or buckled) since that time on Sunday morning but it's really shaken me so now I walk about really aware that I could fall at any minute.

IN CONCLUSION: Clogs are cute but are definitely NOT appropriate footwear for everyday wear around inner cities with uneven pavements. If you live somewhere with nice flat and even pavements (uphill is also weirdly good) then these are perfect to walk about in, literally, the difference between flat surfaces and uneven pavements is STAGGERING! Despite my injuries, I still definitely recommend getting a pair of these if you're after a new pair of cute shoes, but please please please be aware of the formidable buckling ankles!! 

How to Host the Best Eurovision Party of All Time

How to Host the Best Eurovision Party of All Time

It's my favourite day of the year again, truly, there is no day better than the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. I love Eurovision so much that my friends even threw me a Eurovision themed birthday party for my 21st. This time last year I was in Portugal sitting in the Altice Arena watching Semi Final one live in front of my very eyes and it's up there with one of the most incredible moments of my life.

I may love Eurovision a tad more than the average person but one of my favourite things to do on final day is invite all of my non-eurofan friends round to my house and force them to take the contest seriously, which is, in fact, a lot more fun than it sounds. This year's party has been months in the making but even if you've only got a day you can still host a great Eurovision Party, even if it's just you and a few friends. 

I give a lot of tips on here but I've been doing this for years so this is probably the one thing you can trust me on the most. EUROPE'S LIVING A CELEBRATION.

Nothing screams a party more than food, so get yourselves some food from different countries represented in the final. Here's a checklist to get you started!

Set the atmosphere, before the show kicks off you may want to play some of this year's entries which can all be found in this Spotify playlist below, or if you'd prefer to keep it a surprise Spotify also has some other playlists with some old school Eurovision Bangers sure to get the party started!

The biggest part of my Eurovision parties is making everyone rank their top 10 songs and then I compile the whole thing together to get our overall party leaderboard. (Last year Ireland won and it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that we are Irish). To make this easier for you, Here is a link where you can download the Scorecards that I've made for my Party this year and are free for you to use for your respective parties!

I personally don't like doing sweepstakes because I'd rather have people support the songs they actually like not just because they want to win but sweepstakes can be a fun way to get people to root for countries, especially if you throw in a nice prize for them.

Why not come in costume? Give each of your guests a different country and get them to dress up in suitable attire from that country or take it a step further and come in full-blown Verka Seduchka tribute wear.

Hopefully, that's given you some fun ideas of how to host the Eurovision party of dreams. If you had a party, let me know how you got on, let me know your favourites or just yell at me down below about all things Eurovision!