travel

96 HOURS IN PRAGUE

Prague has always been on my travel bucket list, since as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to travel there! I’m not really sure why to be honest but it’s architecture and history has always intrigued me. As I mentioned in my Hamburg post my boyfriend and I decided to swap trips as our presents, so last week I decided to take my boyfriend to Prague for a long weekend! We booked 4 days (3 nights) in the capital and it is honestly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and 4 days were definitely not enough! Prague is such a beautiful, interesting and intriguing city and I would definitely recommend everyone adds Prague to their bucket list. There is so much to see and do and I’m not sure you could ever be done with it! I’m already planning my next visit.

IMG_2936We stayed at the Panorama Hotel which was an old school but very fancy hotel! It had a spa on the top floor with a pool, hot tub, spa and sauna – the hotel was lovely with a bit of an 80’s vibe. Our bed was MASSIVE – we could both starfish which is good because James already runs hot. The hotel was covered in gold – which I obviously approved of! But I would like to try something modern next time, maybe an air b&b or something a little more chic. IMG_2945

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On our first night we went to this really cool bar called Vzorkovna – it was a literal maze, full of swings, ladders, twist, turns and spiral staircases. The bar worked on a chip system which meant to gave money over at the door and then at the bar itself you just place the chip on a pad and it takes the money off – pretty much just like contactless payment. It was such a cool place full of people from around the world listening to random music, drinking tasty (and cheap) beer! Plus there was this massive dog pictured above which I could literally ride into battle – it was so random but it fit into the bar so well! I would definitely recommend if you’re heading to Prague that you definitely pay this bar a visit – you will not be disappointed. IMG_2941The second stop on our first night was this really strange but cool bar on a boat – the view from the boat was beautiful and my drunken picture does not do it justice haha! We have friends who live in Prague who took us to these bars and they seriously have good taste. My first night life experience in Prague was perfect, it was full of laughs, good drinks, good company and full of life! I love European cities which don’t stop at night, Prague still has a buzz about it even at 4am – I’m disappointed we didn’t get to find more bars like these – but I’ll definitely be back to find them all.

IMG_2947With 4 days in Prague we had a lot to see in such ashort time. Thankfully the transport system in Prague is really impressive! Trams, underground, buses and boats – there are a number of ways to get around Prague and all of them are cheap and quick! For 24 hour ticket on the transport it only costs £3.50 – can’t really argue with that! The one thing I would say for the transport is ALWAYS BUY A TICKET AND GET IT VALIDATED! We always bought tickets but didn’t understand they you needed to get them stamped once you got onto your transport! One night we were heading back to our hotel after a few drinks, we were sat on a tram for a few stops and then all of a sudden three men dressed in everyday clothes nodded at each other and then stood up and pulled out their badges asked for our tickets – it’s was the strangest moment of my life haha! We got a little telling off for not validating our tickets (which we had no clue we had to do) but they went on their way – my heart was seriously racing haha!

As I’ve mentioned Prague is such a beautiful place! Here are some of my favourite pictures from our trip!IMG_2953We indulged in a light lunch in the sunshine which was stunning, especially when we heard it was snowing in the UK! IMG_2957IMG_2958Charles BridgeIMG_2959Vltava RiverIMG_2960IMG_2967This is definitely my favourite photo from our trip! It is the view that makes me fall in love with Prague again and again! We were lucky enough to grab a table by the water and enjoyed a drink in the sunshine.

prague-2.jpgLetna beer garden with a sunny view prague-3-e1493653038153.jpgThe astronomical clock prague 1Prague CathedralIMG_2970After a long walk up a steep hill we reach Prague Castle and the palace and were rewarded with this view! I took this picture on our last day and it just made me want to stay even more – the sun was shining, the view was so appealing and I just knew there was so much more to see of this beautiful city.

One of the foodie highlights from this trip was the Tredlnik – this delicious treat is 100% Instagram porn and the second we walked by we knew we needed to try them.  They are cones made from the same pastry as donuts (which are delicious!!) and then they are coated with chocolate on the inside! We opted to have them topped with vanilla ice-cream and topped with chocolate sauce – literally it was heavenly, a little heavy and next time I’d just go for the chocolate coating but still heavenly. Here are the chocolate cones being made!Have you seen a more perfect picture?

Honestly, I would 100% recommend Prague to anyone and I will definitely be going back some day! Have you ever been to Prague? Let me know your favourite things to do there and if you have any tips for when I return.

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Lifestyle

ENZO MANCHESTER

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I was invited by the lovely team at Enzo to head down to the launch party and try some of the delicious pizza and pasta dishes from the menu, and as a girl who never refuses free carbs how could I resist?

Enzo’s Manchester site is bright and spacious, the restaurant is colourful and has a light laid back atmosphere – perfect for a quick bite, a coffee with a friend or even a first date venue!  The venue also has seating outside which will be perfect for lazy summer days (fingerscrossed we get more sun).

When we entered the restaurant we were met with smiley and welcoming staff who offered us a cold glass of prosecco to start the evening.

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As a vegetarian I was really impressed with the menu, there are so many options for veggies, vegans and anyone who is gluten free – it was refreshing to have exciting and tasty options – not only just a standard cheese and tomato pizza.

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As a lover of pesto I really enjoyed the Pesto Genovese which is made with fresh penne, homemade basil pesto, toasted pine nuts and rocket – I really enjoyed the flavours and the pasta tasted really fresh and the texture was just perfect.

One of the most popular items on the Nantwich menu is the all-day-breakfast pizza, which features two fried eggs as well as all the usual breakfast trimmings. This was made clear as when the breakfast pizza arrived it was met with cheers and excitement from many of the other guests.

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The first pizza I tried was the Pesto Genovese which is made with pesto and feta base, peppers, cherry tomatoes, rocket and basil olive oil. As mentioned before I LOVE pesto and the feta cheese was the perfect pairing! The base was lovely and thin, as pizzas go this is definitely one of my favourites and I’ll definitely be ordering this again.

I also tried the bread twists which are made with chilli, rosemary & sea salt and oregano. These were served with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze and tasted amazing! Definitely worth the extra hours in the gym! One of my favourite sides of the night were the dough balls which are served with homemade garlic mayo and they can also be made cheesy! Mozzarella and dolcelatte inside a warm dough ball? Hell yes! (sorry for the lack of pictures of these – I just couldn’t help myself)

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I also tried the Veggie Feast pizza which is made with lashings of fresh vegetables and topped with fresh basil oil – this version of the pizza was also made with vegan cheese! As a veggie, I’ve often thought about becoming a veggie but the thought of giving up cheese was also the deal breaker! However, after trying this pizza I could hardly tell the difference – the cheese wasn’t as strong but topped with veggies it was beautiful.

 

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Beauty

MY MAKE-UP BAG

Growing up a tom boy I was never really into make-up – a simple clear gloss and sparkly eye-shadow was enough for me but from being 16/17 I started to love make-up! From High street to High End I was hooked and my make-up bag began to grow and grow and well.. grow! Here are a few of my favourite bits at the moment and what is currently sat at the top of my make-up bag!

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I was gifted some new brushes from Spectrum for Christmas and I absolutely love them! They are beautiful to look at and they feel really so nice on my skin – I’ve really enjoyed playing around with my eye make-up at the moment and these brushes are so fun and easy to play around with and create new looks! I also use Real Technique brushes and some Bobbi Brown brushes which I’ve had for YEARS – they are gorgeous and have lasted really well!

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For about 2 years I always used the same Bobbi Brown foundation which I loved – it always sat really nicely on my skin and gave me a really nice coverage, however, a couple of years ago I was tempted by the Nars counter and tried the ‘Sheer Glow’ foundation and I fell in love – the coverage was amazing, it sat really nicely on my skin and I loved the dewy finish the foundation gave me! I also used the Bobbi Brown cream concealer while I was using the Bobbi Brown foundation and I did love it, I’d never used a concealer which was a cream before therefore it was something new and excited in my make-up bag, however, once again I was tempted by Nars and decided to try the liquid concealer and OMG – its seriously amazing! I do notice little creasing under my eyes now therefore I’m not sure if the concealer isn’t working as well as it use to or my wrinkles are getting worse (sobs) but I’d definitely open to trying something new.

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Currently I’m using two Mascaras – The Roller Lash from Benefit and one from W7. I loved the benefit mascara but I was really upset to find out Benefit still test on animal, therefore, I’m trying to use up and replace anything I have which is Benefit. I picked up the W7 mascara after a friend recommended it to me and told me it was a cruelty free dupe for Benefit! Cheaper and just as good? Definite win-win! I’m still not crazy in love with either of these mascara therefore if anyone has a suggestion please let me know!

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As mentioned before I’ve really started to love playing around with eyeshadows recently, I think it can finish off any look and it fun working with different colours, styles, techniques etc. I’m bought a 12 shade eye shadow palette from MAC which is simply stunning – it’s one of my favourite palettes I currently own. I have blue eyes therefore the oranges, golds, coppers and warm tones work really nicely and make my eyes pop!

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You’re making me blush! Sorry – I’m currently using deep throat from Nars and I’ve just picked up this gorgeous new blush from H&M! The pigmentation is really good and the colour really sticks to my brush! I’m looking forward to using the blush more and see how it goes.

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Lifestyle

When Depression Hits

At the age of 19 I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression – my depression materialised in a number of ways – eating too much, eating not enough, not sleeping, sleeping until noon, crying uncontrollable and emotionally checking out and so on, I was all over the spectrum and from then I’ve had my highs and lows with depression.

This week, well on Friday my depression decided to make an unwelcome appearance once again. When I say make an appearance I don’t mean that my depression come and goes at will, but a large amount of the time my depression doesn’t overly affect me, it’s like a light humming in the back of my mind which I can ignore and work on to silence it. However, there are times when that light humming becomes an intense screaming alarm which clouds my mind and makes everything harder. So, like I said on Friday my depression hit me like a tonne of bricks and it was a massive shock to the system as this hasn’t happen in a very long time. On Friday night I got home from work at around 5:30pm and sat in my bed and then fell asleep with some waking up in between until 9am the next day – I was meant to go out with my family for food and drinks but I just couldn’t do it, my mind and body wouldn’t connect and the thought of getting up and ready was too much for me to handle – so I stayed in bed and protected myself from everything. I appreciate to this might sound a bit pathetic to some-one who doesn’t suffer and can’t understand but this isn’t laziness, it’s your body going into defence mode and putting up the shutters to anything which might trigger it more. So Saturday rolls around and I have all these plans in my head to get up, go out shopping, call up some friends for a drink etc! It’s a beautiful Saturday so why not hey? Yet none of these things happened, I didn’t really leave my room if I’m honest and it sounds so pathetic to admit this but it’s true – I locked myself away with some films, some food and some H2O and spent my Saturday on my own dealing with my emotions.

Personally, I find depression incredibly isolating even though I have people around who love me and try to understand what I’m going through, but I know they don’t understand and they will probably never truly get it. I remember sobbing to my mum about how I didn’t want to be this way and I wanted to get better but I just couldn’t seem to work out how and being so frustrated that there wasn’t a permanent solution to my problem – just bandaids which help me cope from time to time. I’ve been on anti-depressants and in counselling for my depression which have both helped and I would recommend looking into all options for some one who is struggling but I think we can admit it’s a big thing to overcome that this is something that will also be apart of us.

So, now it’s Sunday and i’m two days into my low and I’ve showered and left my flat to pick up some things and do a little bit of shopping – so we are moving in the right direction, I’m still avoiding phone calls (not important one) just off some friends and family who are just checking up on me, but they know how I shut down slightly when this happens. My depression makes me feel hopeless and pointless and so unmotivated – I don’t means this in a way that it makes me want to end my life, just in a very ‘what is the point’ kind of way. I don’t know how long I’ll be in this phase – previously I’ve been here for a month, 2 weeks, a couple of days it really depends and there isn’t a rhyme or reason. Seeing how this is something I’ve been dealing with for almost 5 years I believe I am getting better with how I deal with it and how I react to the situation – I use to so angry and I would snap at everyone for saying the simplest of things, I use to shout at my mum so often and always have to go and apologise once I had realised how nasty I had been, but now I feel that I deal with it in a healthy way.

I thought it would be interesting to talk about my depression when I’m in the eye of the storm so to speak and honestly this has been very therapeutic – I hope anyone suffering with depression seeks the help they need and I hope they realise it will pass. Please let me know your thoughts and if you find this helpful/interesting!

Sarah

x

 

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Beauty

SKINCARE SAVIOURS

My skincare collection is constantly growing from moisturisers to serum, eye creams and exfoliators I have enough to open my own shop! I don’t buy everything on the market but I’m also interested to try different products and test them myself.

I’ve mentioned before but a couple years ago I had a massive breakout along my cheekbones and it really affected the way I treated my skin and the products which I use – I want to make sure I’m giving my skin everything it needs without using too many products. I’ve found that a lighter routine in the morning and a heavy and longer routine in the nighttime works better for me – firstly because I love to sleep and have less time in the morning but also my skincare products don’t always work well with my make-up. I’m currently using a selection of products from different brands which include Nip + Fab, The Body Shop, Emma Hardie, Flint + Flint and Elemis – I don’t use all of these products every day but I mix and match depending on what my skin needs and what skin issues I’m having at the time.

At the moment I’m currently suffering from dry skin and large pores on my nose – I’ve always suffered from blackheads and large pores on my nose from a young age but I still haven’t found the hero product which has helped me with this, so if anyone has suggestions please let me know! For my dry skin, I use The Body Shop sleep mask at night after cleansing, toning and applying a serum! From time to time I sometimes use my Nip + Fab Glycolic fix daily cleansing pads at night especially when my skin feels especially dirty in the evenings. I like this moisturiser because it feels nourishing without feeling too heavy and I can see the difference in the morning when I wake up. I also love using a serum in the morning and at night to help hydration – I’m currently using the Flint + Flint Vitamin C Serum and Nip + Fab Dragon’s blood fix pumping Serum which are both amazing and has had great results on my skin! Obviously, I try and drink as much water as possible to help hydrate my skin which is obviously benefiting all aspects of my skin.

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My hero product at the moment is the Camomile cleanser from The Body Shop, it’s literally the best thing I’ve ever use! It melts makeup off it seconds and the second is light enough to keep the product over for a couple of minutes – I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks and it’s definitely something I will be buying again and again.

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Though I’m pretty happy with my skincare routine at the moment it’s far from perfect and I’m definitely still lacking in certain areas – I don’t wear any SPF throughout the day which I know is affecting my skin, I’m not sure where to start to be honest, is it worth buying a foundation with a SPF in it or is it better to by a primer and moisturiser with SPF in it? There are so many options and advice out there and it’s one I’m not really sure on, to be honest, I’ve tried all the options I’ve mentioned but one hasn’t stuck yet – if anyone has advice please let me know!

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As you can see from my pictures I’m skincare obsessed and I wish I had taken care of my skin earlier and cared more about that than make-up but it’s all about finding a balance. If you have any tips of advice let me know in the comments below!

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Thanks,
Sarah

 

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Fashion

PARTY FASHION WITH LONG TALL SALLY

 

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The latest addition to my wardrobe is this beautiful playsuit from Long Tall Sally’s curated line! The new collection from Long Tall Sally is stunning and 22 piece edit fresh from the runway! The line is full of gorgeous pieces which are perfect if you’re looking to create a timeless wardrobe. This item is the perfect mix of a playsuit and dress, the long material at the back makes this item feel elegant and graceful while the shorts add practicality and a rocker edge.

Long Tall Sally is a new brand for me but so far I’ve been incredibly impressed with the styles and quality! I’ll definitely adding more pieces to my wardrobe soon! Here I’ve styled it with my staple black boots also from Long Tall Sally, simple earring from Mango and a long delicate pendant necklace from & Other Stories.

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travel

The Nepal diaries part 3

The final part of our journey took us to Pokhara, which is the 3rd largest city in Nepal. The drive was a long one but that was nothing new! I had recently discovered the song Home by Gabrielle Aplin and it was the perfect sound track to my journey! Here I was driving through this beautiful country listening to a song that describe a love of home but the need to be more!

We got to Pokhara without any major hiccups apart from one of the boys leaving his phone of the bus and having to run around to find it! But disaster was averted!

While in Pokhara we stayed in  Peace eye hostel, I really loved the feel on this place, great customer service, great food and good rooms if you’re on a budget! We were also really close to the main strip of bars and restaurants and also the lake!

Our time in Pokhara was a lot more chilled than our time in Chitwan, we took the time to sight see, visit some museums ect. A couple of the group hired out scooters and went on a day trip, I would have loved to do this but as a born klutz I thought I better leave it for another time! We also spent our time eating/ drinking out and mixing with the locals and other tourists! One night we met a bunch of people from America, we got talking and continued drinking which was really nice, it was interesting to hear about other peoples time in Nepal and share tips/ activities!

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The heat in Pokhara was very different to other places we have been; it was more of a dry heat that just burnt down on you constantly! Being the pale and fair one of the group I was the first to get burnt and I obtained the weirdest tan lines in the group! I still have a faint line for one on my leg!

One of the day we were in Pokhara we decided to hire of three row boats and spend the day on the lake! It was an amazing time, the lake was so quiet and tranquil! As September isn’t a popular time for tourist so the lake was mostly empty! A warning though, being on the lake all day in the constant sun was a little overwhelming after a while! We all decided to jump into the lake and go swimming.. It was a relaxed day and a nice change for the fast paced/ jam-packed days we were use to!

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After getting some lunch at a lake side cafe and spending a lot of time in the sun we decided it was best to head back and freshen up! I loved spending the day on the lake, however I felt I held my self back because how I felt about my body.. being surrounded by 3 beautiful girls was a little to much pressure! Sometimes I do look back on that day and wish I had enjoyed myself a little more.

Once again it was time to pack our bags and head back to Kathmandu in time for flight home! However we decided to travel back in a slightly different manner! We got a mini-bus to a river… somewhere and spent the next couple of hours rapid river rafting! It was honestly one of the most thrilling things I have ever done, there was no certainly that our boat wouldn’t flip or that we would fall into the water (which we did). When the river smooth out we were allowed to jump into the lake and just drift down stream! At one point I realised I was drifting slightly too far from the boat and tried to swim back upstream like a slightly panicking salmon! It was at that moment I realised my gold swimming badge meant nothing!! Once we were back on the boat we reached several rapids which were close in succession.. this was the moment we had all been waiting for! With wide grins on our faces and our heart racing we all paddled in unison to break through!

This way of traveling was slightly expensive but it was definitely worth it, and much cheaper than if you were to do it back home!

The one thing we didn’t realise was that our luxury travel ended there, as we had to get a local bus back to Kathmandu! I’m sure you’ve seen this sort of travel of TV before.. overcrowded buses, bags strapped to the roof and you can forget about leg room! At this point we were all exhausted and we still slightly damp. Our journey would take about 6 hours and it was not pleasant.. morale was definitely low at this point! I tried to sleep on the bus but I had nowhere to place my head and the constant fear of plunging off a cliff made it hard to relax! The driving rule in Nepal are slightly different to what we have back in the UK!

Thankfully we all made it to Kathmandu (bags and all) and after searching for a number of hostels we found one that was cheap, close by and open! Unlike every restaurant!! I’m not sure what is the rule in Nepal but staying open late is definitely not on the OK list! We found a shop to buy some snacks and headed back to the hostel for some much needed sleep!

With our last days in Nepal we shopped around for presents and souvenirs, bartering became one of our favourite things to do and we all try and get the best deals, however one of the girls (Alice) was amazing at it! She was definitely the person to have with you when shopping! After we had finished we return to our hostel to find our Sherpas there waiting for us! It was an amazing surprise and lovely to see them again.. we had become so close over the time we spent with them! The main reason they came was to talk over our travel arrangement for the next day.. back to England and back to reality!

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