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. 

Weed...
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.

Pancakes
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.

Tilburg
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)

Delft
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.

Kinderdijk
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.

Zandvoort
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 

Breda
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!


Harlaam
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!

Villages
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

*THIS POST IS IN PAID PARTNERSHIP WITH A GOOD COMPANY*
*THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS*

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!