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!


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!

Style
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)

Fit
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.

Comfort/Practicality
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.

Food
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!

Music
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!

Scorecards
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!


Sweepstakes
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.

Costume
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!

Finding Your Summer Hygge

Finding Your Summer Hygge

If you've been around here for any length of time you'll know that I'm a big fan of Copenhagen. I literally wrote a whole post about how I like pretending to be Scandinavian, it's a minor issue! Today I'm going to talk about one of the most well-known aspects of Danish culture, their concept of Hygge. AKA All things cosy. Hygge is so often seen as a winter thing and while winter hygge is the cosiest dang thing about, I'm also all about that Summer hygge. Now I'm not renowned hygge expert Meik Weiking (seriously check this book if you haven't already) but I have some fun tips on how to best embrace the hygge in this summery season.


Venture Outdoors
Parks in the sun are literally the greatest place to be! Everybody who's there is just so happy and enjoying the sun, it's always got such a nice vibe to it. Go for a walk, Go for a cycle (I can't ride a bike so this one I definitely won't be partaking in), grab a couple of friends and head to the park together and have a picnic or play some games together (this is one of my favourite things to do with my friends). I'm lucky enough to go to university by the beach so we love to go to the beach when it's sunny but also at night it's the best place to have a bonfire and toast marshmallows, The ultimate cosy experience!

Finish That Book You've Been Putting Off
Reading is my ultimate hygge but I haven't been reading nearly as much as I'd like to this year so I'm excited about this Summer to properly get stuck into my reading again, I have so many books I'm excited to read!

Make a New Iced Drink
Last year I mastered the raspberry lemonade and it was DELISH (although Costa probably still made it better, but it's not available in Belfast!) but I'm excited to get some more iced fruity drinks out this year!

Explore Somewhere New
Go on a walk somewhere new or take a long drive and let the wind blow through your hair, although it's more likely rain if you live in Northern Ireland! We only get a few days of sun a year so it's important to make the most of them when we do have them! Even exploring somewhere local that you've never been before can give you that same rush you get when you're on holiday discovering somewhere completely different.

Get Together
Spend time with friends! Making memories is one of the best ways to spend your summers, even if it's nothing elaborate just have some friends round and have a barbecue, have a bring and share, or a pizza night. Just enjoy the longer nights with some good company!

What is your ultimate hygge experience?

The Tales of a Wannabe Travel Blogger (aged 12-13)

The Tales of a Wannabe Travel Blogger (aged 12-13)

I just unearthed my old digital camera that I had before I got my DSLR and with that came trying to find an SD Card which led to me discovering all of my old travel pictures from back in the day so I thought I'd do the only thing I know how to do and edit them the same way I edit now and see if I can find anything fun and unearth some memories from old trips. This should be a RIDE! (All of these pictures were edited with my Scandi Collection presets which you can find here if you're interested!)

Italy 2010
I went to Italy for the first time with my family in 2010, we're actually heading there again this summer so this one will be fun to see the difference between the two almost 10 years apart!



You can't truly be a travel blogger without a view from the plane window photo now, can you?



In the words of James Acaster 'I came up with this', no but for real I was the touristyiest tourist ever to tourist. There's an even better version of this picture where I'm pushing some random guy in the background's head instead of the tower.



 When in Rome (Tuscany), Do as the Romans (Tuscans) do (Eat Gelato)



Getting those blogger poses started from an early age, still lots of work to do!



I included this picture because 12-year-old me thought it was pretty dang cool that my name was on the side of a Ferrari!


This last one is my absolute favourite from our whole trip and if I ever end up going back to Venice it's the one that I want to try and recreate.

Germany 2011
In 2011 I went on a German Exchange trip with my school, here's a collection of the photos that I took while I was there, there's not as many as in Italy because I clearly hadn't fully developed the knack of travel photography quite yet.




This is the view from a Gondola across the River Rhine in Köln before we flew over a nude swimming pool, the things that make an impact at 13 eh!



Included these because they're my favourite Haribo and they're not available here so if anyone is in Germany and wants to buy me a packet that would be greatly appreciated ;)



Also still shook about this ice-cream shaped like spaghetti, like is this not the coolest ice cream you've ever seen!

That was a fun trip down memory lane, I hope you enjoyed looking back on my travel adventures with me. If I unearth some more I may just do another of these.