Thursday, 31 July 2014

Holiday haul: what I bought

The final installment of my holiday related blog posts is a dedication to the thing I'm most skilled at, shopping! As I mentioned in my previous ramblings, we paid a visit to the new shopping boulevard which was heaven upon entrance! The small gift shops owned by friendly Chinese families were also another favourite of mine, you can rely on them to provide everything but the kitchen sink (or maybe even that would be lurking around somewhere). I think visiting those kind of shops everyday became a norm of mine despite already knowing every item they sold in there and whereabouts they were placed, off by heart. In the end (along with the fridge magnets, the tea towels and the usual gifts you bring back for your friends and family every year without fail), I only came back with 10 new purchases which I guess for me, is an acceptable, guilt free achievement.

KIKO Purifying Mask - €5.90 | Pure Bliss Organics Eczema & Psoriasis Healing Balm - €4.00

KIKO is a brand I've never really heard much about but when I saw the new KIKO shop in the boulevard and noticed how presentable the layout and overall classiness of the store was, it drew me in. Browsing round the cosmetics, the pretty packaging and the vibrant colours, I had to stop myself from jumping into buying something I probably won't ever wear. I don't like purchasing products I've never read reviews on, I like to ensure it will be suitable for me and my skin first before anything else but trudging over to the face masks and being in need of another beneficial purifying mask which seemed to tick all the boxes, I just couldn't resist this. Thank god I did discover such a wonderful product! I've used this mask around 4 times now and am just, if not more impressed with every use. The mask does exactly as it says; when applied (for 10-15 minutes which is definitely the longest amount of time I've left a mask to set) it feels so lightweight, it doesn't leave a heavy feeling on your face yet when it is rinsed off you can completely see the difference it's made to your skin. It leaves me with a healthy, fresh glow, erases all dullness and redness in my skin, my face feels smoother, more matified and most of all, improves the visibility of my blemishes, reduces my excessive oils and prevents my skin from breaking out, keeping the spots at bay. I couldn't recommend this enough, just one application of this soothes the skin and provides a new appearance; you wouldn't even think you'd had a nasty breakout the day before the morning after you'd applied. I wish I'd have picked up more items now, but luckily you can purchase KIKO products from the UK too!

The Eczema Balm was sort of a quick, random buy sort of thing. As we walked past a boutique shop one night, there was an advertisement in the window about a new organic treatment for eczema that has had positive results around the globe. At only €4.00 for a decent sized pot, I thought I may as well give this a try. I've had eczema for a good few months now, I never used to suffer with it but for some reason, it's appeared out of the blue. The eczema is only around my hands, fingers, and wrists and is mainly irritable by itching constantly, being extremely dry, flaky and often this leads to me making the redness worse or sometimes even making it bleed by scratching. Using this whenever I have a flare up has definitely improved the severity and the texture of my scaly skin. It is a very greasy balm and the smell isn't too pleasant but I do believe this works a miracle. Before, the appearance of my eczema was horrible and when running your hand across it, it was rough; now you can't even tell I have it and there are only the odd few dry patches. My itching has reduced and my hands are now super soft. Mild eczema sufferers, I advise you do look out there for this product or even something similar, it calms the skin instantly and improves your overall confidence and insecurities when it comes down to eczema. 

H&M Necklace - €2.00 | Belly Bar - €5.00 | Patchwork Purse - €12.00 

Wicker Basket - €3.00

H&M Mint Green Cami - €5.00 | Primark Peach Vest - €6.00

Floral Crochet Cami - €7.00 | Tile Print Skirt - €13.00

H&M having a sale whilst I was abroad wasn't the greatest of things, for my purse that is. (Talking of purses, I ironically even bought myself a new one of those that I shall get on to later). However, I'd brought enough euros with me to accustom my shopping habit and that allowed me to treat myself to a few things. One of those things was a €2 necklace which I thought would make a perfect casual staple piece. The next thing was a mint green cami top with lovely lace detail, ideal for the hot days we've had back in England and goes with pretty much everything! Building a Primark in my most visited holiday destination wasn't the best thing to do either. Once I hear about a Primark or see a Primark sign, that's me gone before I can even catch a warning. The Spanish Primark wasn't the biggest of Primark's, but I still managed to pick up a few pieces (of course). The first being a plain peachy coloured chiffon vest which I thought would be ideal to chuck on as a basic piece and dress it up or down. The second was the cutest floral crop top with crochet trimming. I'm a sucker for crochet, or anything floral in fact and it just so happened that I picked this up without second thought and  added it to my over the arm struggling to walk collection (seriously, who forgets to go grab a basket in Primark?!). The third item was this beautiful tiled print skirt. Oh my, it was love at first sight and like it was there ready and waiting for me, they only had one left in my size! My initial thoughts were how it looks more like a Topshop or a Zara skirt, than a Primark skirt. Even the quality looks and feels more expensive than it actually was. It's definitely become my most worn item since returning home!

My belly bar was bought from the dainty street market when we spent the night in the centre, there were loads to choose from but I went for this charming white rose with tiny speckled sparkles. The only reason I bought it was because being the plonker I am, I forgot to bring any belly bars away with me and when you're in your bikini more or less 24/7, I think it's nice to jazz things up a little (if it is pierced of course, I don't promote drunken mistakes of piercing body parts). The gorgeous wicker basket with lace and flower detailing was another household object I couldn't tear myself away from. At only €3, I thought it would make the perfect addition to my already over decorated with lace and floral bedroom, and would be handy to store pretty much anything. Finally, a couple of days before we went home, I paid my final visit to the Chinese gift shop. I'd spotted this purse on my first week there but kept putting the buying off and telling myself I don't need to spend €12.00 for nothing. However, as you've most likely guessed, that thought rolled away from my brain and into the distance... I went ahead and bought the purse anyway. I loved the patchwork style; the pattern was so unique, which made a change from the plain, cheap purses I usually go for and with it being real leather, I hope it will last me a lot longer than those cheap purses too.

So that's that, I managed to contain myself and not go too overboard when there's an opportunity to shop till I drop hovering over me. Does anyone else find holiday shopping the best kind? Because I know I do. 


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Holiday Lookbook

Night 1: Jumpsuit - AX Paris | Shoes - Primark | Bag - eBay
 Night 2: Playsuit - Primark | Shoes - same as above | Bag - same as above

Night 3: Dress - Select | Shoes - Primark | Necklace - Primark
Night 4: Dress - Boohoo | Shoes - ASOS | Bag - Primark

Night 5: Co-ord - Missguided via Depop | Shoes - ASOS | Bag - Primark
Night 6: Co-ord -  Boohoo | Shoes - same as above | Bag - same as above

Night 7: Dress - Missguided | Shoes - Primark | Bag - Primark
Night 8: Co-ord - New Look | Shoes - same as above | Bag - eBay

Night 9: Co-ord - somedaybylaura (Instagram) | Bag - eBay | Shoes - Primark
Night 10: Bralet - River Island | Skirt - Missguided | Shoes - ASOS | Bag - Primark

Night 11: Dress - Missguided | Shoes - Public Desire | Clutch - Primark
Night 12: Dress - Missguided | Shoes - ASOS | Bag - Primark

Slouching around all day and then glamming up on a night is something I've always done when on holiday. I much prefer to wear something different every night and like to go all out with the heels, the clutch bags and the fancy outfits, compared to the casual clothing I'd normally wear in my own company. The only issue is, there's a huge barrier when it comes to packing and planning, and that barrier is a woman's worst nightmare; the luggage allowance. Luckily (and surprisingly), I've never gone over the authorised 22kg but it limits your choices when it comes down to the accessories,which is why I have to carefully think how many times I can pair a staple piece with my selected outfit. At this time, you never realise how far one pair of shoes and neutral coloured bag can go. It's almost like if the outfit you're wearing has a smudge of white in the print or the colouring, then the white bag and white shoes it will be; and that's just the way it has to be, even if you do pine for the lonely collection you've left behind back home. With me, every day I wore the same shoes/carried the same bag out of the four I brought with me, but just styled them in a different way.

Formalising my sense of style when going out on holiday is a routine I've continued to stick with. I love the feeling after a refreshing shower, putting on the items you've carefully chosen and erasing the gross, stickiness you've had to cope with when lazy sunbathing throughout the day. I think dressing up does a whole lot of good for your confidence too, you can actually take advantage of embracing the fact you've made the effort to look nice, therefore are allowed to feel nice; and with me not being a night out kind of girl, I'll grab that opportunity straight away. 

There was never really any real decision making going into what I wore, I just went with however I felt that night. As long as it was comfortable, light enough for me not to overheat in the soaring temperatures (yes, even at night!) and allowed me to walk freely to the shops and restaurants without stumbling and allowing painful blisters to form, I was ready to go. I also did the sensible thing of saving the brighter clothing till the last few nights when my tan had properly formed and the summer colours weren't highlighting my 'representing a lobster' burnt bits. You've probably noticed a variation in the flushing of my skin from the top picture to the bottom. It's as though I instantly transformed to my ghostly pale self, to some golden goddess (which I have to thank Mr Sun for). You've also probably noticed a repetition in where I've purchased my things from, I seem to always head straight for Missguided, Boohoo, and good old Primark for my holiday clothes; not only is everything fairly priced, the clothes have that 'holiday' vibe to them and you can enjoy wearing pretty gear without being uncomfortable. The final thing you may have picked out (or maybe this one is down to my self criticism) is the same awkward smile facial expression and statuette pose I seem to be pulling off rather well in almost every photo. I can blame this on the quick captures and the lack of preparation but frankly, I think I just need to improve my stance and grasp that stereotypical 'blogger pose' but don't count on it, I can only try my best...


Saturday, 19 July 2014

From plane to Spain

Hola, I'm back! And when I say I'm back, I mean I'm back with a heavy load of photos, 3 pound of the weight I'd lost, and a miserable mood. Technically, I got back on Tuesday afternoon but have only just grabbed a spare moment to prepare and post the favourite holiday photos I picked out (of about 500, oops!). Quite frankly, I've had to force myself to shift my blues and gear up some motivation. Holidays are an evil source in life; the feeling you get when you step on the plane to go abroad is the most uplifting feeling you will ever feel, breathing a sigh of relief as you awkwardly shuffle your way past the narrow aisles and knock into complete strangers as you reach your seat, daydreaming about how much enjoyment you're going to have and how long you've been waiting for this break but it's a different story when you stroll grumpily back on to the squashy economic plane once your holiday is over, with that doomed sense of reality and troubles on your back again, making you want to stay in the hot weather forever despite how disgustingly sweaty you felt for the entire duration. It's all dandy when you leave but not so good when it all ends and you have no choice but to return. The sun and a change of scenery can take you into a different world; it makes you feel so much better about yourself, the way you see your golden tan starting to form within a few days of being there, the way you feel so refreshed, relaxed and happy, laying out by the pool or the beach with no worries and only pleasant thoughts, getting dressed up in your best summer clothes, exploring the pretty sights and appreciating the architecture and nature around you. It's a shame it has to end so quickly, which is why you (well for me, excessively) need to take lots of pictures to remember those times clearly.

Playa Flamenca, Torrevieja in Spain has been a location me and my family have visited for 5 years in a row now. We've become familiar with the area, the residents and the setting and have loved been there each and every time so we end up choosing the same place over and over again because A) It never gets boring, B) We know everybody and everyone is so friendly thus resulting in free drinks, great company and lots of laughs. It's tradition for me to go abroad with my mum, grandma and brother. Despite the fact I'm 21 now, I still can't see anything changing, nor do I really have anyone else to go with. My mum is my best friend, my grandma is the most comical little lady and my brother is my partner in weirdness. I don't think it'd feel right not being around them with how close we are as a family.

Moving on to what we actually got up to during our 17 days in paradise... as I said, we've been here plenty of times so know the routine and what to expect. However, since blogging and developing a massive interest in culture and the beautiful places you can newly discover encouraged me to do more than just laze around and get out there with my Nikon. Upon arriving in our rented apartment, I saw that my room was painted fresh white with a cute, little bed and headboard, accompanied by a dream catcher, some white blooms and complete with the prettiest bedding and throwover. I swear they must have known I, a sucker for anything pink and floral, would be arriving. That was another thing I wish I could have taken home with me!

For the first few days (and many after that), we just chilled and ate our body weight in ice cream sandwiches and Italian food (not good folks, I do not recommend indulging because you can will easily get addicted). In the first week, we decided to take an evening trip into the centre of Torrevieja, a place we've only passed by before. It was certainly a highlight of my holiday, it was such a lovely evening. We had an all English meal in a Hungarian restaurant (how that works I do not know), took a long stroll down the dainty street market, met a headless man, enjoyed the views and then settled down for a hot beverage at the most charming bar beside the harbour. Watching the sunset in the picturesque background was bliss! Within the same week, we visited the new boulevard which featured Primark, H&M, Zara and Bershka (just to name a few). Pretty dangerous where I'm concerned but I did manage to behave myself (although I do still have a haul to show off). The shopping centre was nothing like the ones back home, it was all open with the sun still blazing through at 8pm. The atmosphere was cheerier; nobody rushing around or rudely bumping into each other, just laid back browsing, with the shops open till 11pm and plenty of restaurants and cute little cafes and kiosks to sit and have a rest at. There were decorations all around, in particular vintage style bicycles painted in fresh colours topped with fancy flowers, and then there were the mini waterfalls paired with vibrant lights as it turned to night, the children running through the water in their underwear like it was the norm. All in all, I loved it. So much that we ended up going back there for a second time. The second time, we ate in the most beautiful 50's American Diner. I was in awe with the whole presence of what it delivered; the food was amazing (and unhealthy, but who's watching?), the staff were dressed head to toe in the stereotypical pink for girls and blue for boys, with their hair made up in 50's styles and class streaming through them, and then there were the cheesy but laughable quotes on the wall.  The entire vibe was fabulous and the place was spotless, very much to the point of sparkling. It was like I stepped into a time machine and transported back to something from Grease. If I'd have stayed in there a bit longer when the crowds died down, I may have even broke into a song.

A day at the beach is always on the agenda when we go away, despite the heat being somewhat unbearable, it's a time to soak in the sun, the sea and the clear blue skies (even though the waves were pretty violent this time round). Up the stairs to the beach and around the Playa Flamenca area, there are the quirkiest streets with a range of large to small adorable houses and villas. The Spanish buildings have so much character to them, every inch of detail is delightful, well thought through and almost tells a story in some way. I'm always envious when admiring the houses. The plain, unattractive brown English brick is nothing in comparison. Another usual place we visited was the waterpark; Aquopolis. Without spending a day there, I don't think our holiday would be complete. They've even added another kids section, a Disney sort of themed pool play area which I just couldn't resist taking a picture of.

The last few days were spent just like the first few days, laying by the pool and making the most of the fattening foods before I was home and back on the salads. We grabbed the chance to visit the Saturday market which I'd heard about but never bothered to go to. It was packed with individual street sellers selling all sorts of useful bits and bobs. It was the longest market I've ever been to; when I say long I mean long, the kind of long that made me think as we walked further along that we'd end up in a different part of Spain! We had to stop for an ice cream and a icy cold drink as we grew more exhausted from the heat but I couldn't think of a better way to finish our holiday.

If I've bored you with my huge amount of photos and diary-like ramblings, I do apologise. However, just to prompt all you lovely readers, I will be cramping my outfits of the nights spent out in Spain into one post very soon for you to take a peek at how I styled my new clobber so keep an eye out for that (if you'd like, there's no pressure ;) )

Have you been on holiday this summer? Or have you ever visited Torrevieja before? I'd love to know what others think of it.
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