Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Eleanor and pals take Albufeira

(I couldn't resist using a title worthy of a Kardashian spin-off series)
I currently resemble a cross between a tomato and a radiator, which can only mean one thing: I've been on holiday! Dousing myself in after sun and sitting awkwardly half naked while it dries is now my regular past time. You probably didn't want to know that, but I like to take time to really set the scene. 

Upon landing in Faro, a place I presumed to be warmer than the sun, it became immediately apparent that my choice of travel outfit could not have been more wrong. At 3am I'd donned my favourite Forever 21 khaki shorts in anticipation for arriving in Portugal and being greeted by blistering heat. What I got, however, was an overcast sky and a slight chill in the air. Hmm. We shared the 45-minute taxi ride to our final destination with a group of potentially-murderous-but-overall-quite-cheery German lads and a driver who checked Facebook on her phone while barreling down the motorway. God I love the Europeans.
Luckily, we arrived at our location in one piece. The town we stayed in for the week was called Albufeira, which I'm guessing translates to "the hilliest place you will ever come across" in Portuguese, because oh my gosh, everything is on a hill. And it is lethal. How we all returned home with no injuries is beyond me! I learnt very quickly that Portuguese and Spanish are almost entirely different, even after my dad assured me they were basically the same. Our first floor apartment was perfect for the three of us, it was light, spacious and had a beautiful view overlooking the sea... as well as the man in the apartment below who sat on his balcony each morning wearing Speedos.

Still, after a disappointing start weather-wise, the sun soon made an appearance and we enjoyed a super fun and relaxing holiday; hanging by the pool, making friends with local stray animals (I'm still upset we didn't bring back the resident pool cat), having heated games of Uno, spending hours choosing which ice cream flavours we wanted, drinking funky cocktails, never quite being sure what to tell servers outside restaurants what we're "in the mood for tonight", and running around applying copious amounts of after-sun to our rather warm skin.
The town of Albufeira really does have something for everyone, regardless of age, gender or marital status. Whether you want to lie by a pool for seven days and relax, hit up a new adventure/water park each day, or have a whirlwind drink-a-thon that you will never quite be able to recall the entirety of. Hen do's, Stag crews, family units and teen holidaymakers all appeared to be having a whale of a time. It just goes to show that if you advertise free wifi and Sex on the Beach, you're onto a winner.

And the biggest learning curve of this girls trip? That sun cream and after sun have expiration dates. Do not set off on your travels with two year old sun protection. Your skin will sting like a bitch and you'll be spending your evenings with an ice pack on your stomach. Because I applied out-of-date sun cream for six days, I now have one very tanned armpit after it went bright red on the first day. Be SPF wise, kids. #SunCreamIsCool #AlwaysCheckTheDates

~ Eleanor xo

Fly to: Faro Airport (45 minute car journey to the town)
Eat: All the meat and all the fish (it's all super tasty and super fresh!)
Drink: Iced tea, preferably peach (because, obvs)
Snack on: Oranges (They are humongous and so full of flavour)
Visit: Old Town Albufeira (it is beautiful)
Avoid: Handsy restaurant servers (no, your hand on my back will not make me choose your restaurant)
Wear: A light, loose top and shorts - with shoes that have a good grip
Enjoy: The beautiful views of the bright blue sea from pretty much every vantage point
Buy: All the tacky souvenirs - or anything with a cockerel on it
Listen to: Sweet Caroline (not by choice, but every bar in this town plays it on repeat)
Forget: All your troubles #yolo

Sunday, 14 June 2015

What's in my travel bag

Guess who's finally going on their hollibobs! God I hate that word, but it sounds more joyful than 'holiday' so it seemed appropriate.

Finally, six months (and countless breakdowns over university workloads) after we headed to EasyJet.com, two of my best gal pals and I are off to the distantly sunny land of Albufeira in Portugal for a whole seven days.

It's going to be pretty strange taking my summer wardrobe for a spin, seeing as it remains largely unworn for the majority of the year. Floral tank tops and teeny tiny shorts will be donned, bikini's tied with bows and flip flops slipped onto feet with brightly coloured toenails. Cocktails will be sipped, ice creams devoured and hair bleached blonder by our distant friend, the sun.

Having not seen much of the sun since my last holiday, almost a year ago, my luggage will largely consist of sun cream, after sun and sunburn pain relief - oh Garnier, where would I be without you? I like to keep things relatively simple and let my skin 'breathe', if you will, while I'm on holiday. Vitamin D is really good for you so I try and ensure my beauty and skincare is kept light and easy - whilst obviously keeping my skin protected with the help of trusty SPF 30. See below for what I'm chucking in my suitcase.
  • Garnier Ambre Solaire Suncream: Easy to apply, no white marks and a smell that always reminds me of summer.
  • Dior Expert Travel Studio (& So Eco Brushes): All of my favourite make up in one handy palette.
  • Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Facial Wipes & Simple Spotless Skin Rapid Action
  • Sure Crystal Invisible - Pure
  • Vaseline Essential Moisture: Being out in the sun all day almost guarantees dry skin, but by applying this each day, my skin keeps hydrated and feels happier.
  • Garnier Caffeine Eye Roll-On: I just really like how refreshing this feels under my eyes - just don't accidentally get it in your eye... that shit hurts.
  • Miss Dior - Eau FraĆ®che‎: I'm obsessed with this perfume and having it in a handy handbag size means I don't have to try and ensure a full size glass bottle gets to my destination in one piece.
  • Johnson's Lipcare - Classic: Another problem with sun exposure - dry lips. Johnson's has always got my back and this lip balm flavour is, unlike some lip balms *cough* Vaseline *cough*, not revolting.
  • Hairbrush & Hairbands
  • The Body Shop - Seaweed Matifying Day Cream: I love this stuff - I'm not so sure if it's as matifying as it says, but it smells amazing, feels really nice on my skin and doesn't irritate it.
  • Garnier Ambre Solaire After Sun: My saviour, always and forever. Never leave home (in the summer) without it.
  • Toothbrush & Colgate Toothpaste
  • Aussie Miracle Shine Shampoo & Conditioner: I'm not so sure this really provides the results it claims, but I'm half way through the bottles and I didn't really want to pack new, full containers.
  • The White Company Bath & Shower Gel: The perfect travel size and it smells heavenly!
  • Neutrogena Spot Stress Control: Because no one wants a breakout while they're on holiday.
  • St Ives Apricot Scrub: I only just started using this but I really like it so far; the scent isn't all that strong which is slightly disappointing, but I really like having a face scrub that is gentle enough to use everyday, leaving my skin feeling clean and nourished.
  • Venus Satin Care Shaving Gel: Because nothing accompanies beautifully tanned skin quite like silky smooth legs.
  • Marie Claire & Glamour Magazines
  • Headphones & gadget chargers (plus numerous European adapters)
  • A good book... or three: This holiday I'm planning on delving into 'The Sun in Her Eyes' by Paige Toon, 'Five Days Left' by Julie Lawson Timmer and 'Still Alice' by Lisa Genova.
  • Ray Ban Wayfarers: In classic black and Ice Pop Strawberry.
  • Eye Mask (this one was a gift and it's part of the 'Hotel Collection' from Zara Home. Similar here)
  • Notepad & Pen: Who knows when inspiration will strike!
  • iPad: For games, films and anything else you could want when you're feeling anti-social.

Obviously, I haven't forgotten the most essential items of all: passport, boarding pass and euros - but they're being kept under lock and key by my parents because clearly they don't trust me. God knows why...

See you soon, amigos!
~ Eleanor xo

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The Tea Party, Lee-On-The-Solent

In Britain, as soon as someone catches even the slightest glimpse of the sun, the barbecues come out, the sun-cream gets lathered on, ice cream is purchased by the gallon and we all remove as much clothing as legally acceptable (and then complain when we all feel a bit red and sore a few hours later).

On Saturday, having seen an almost too-good-to-believe weather report, one that predicted high temperatures and completely cloudless skies all day (the stuff of legends), my parents and I decided to head to the South coast and pay the little town of Lee-On-The-Solent a visit.

We used to come here a lot when I was younger; oh the memories I have of blustery, rainy half term days, eating a picnic of squished and unnaturally warm homemade sandwiches while huddled in the car with the window cracked open ever so slightly so we could all claim how much we enjoyed the fresh sea air.
Luckily, Saturday's visit was different; a) it was actually sunny... for the most part and b) we enjoyed lunch the cutest little independent tearoom called 'The Tea Party'. I know, you're sold already. I was too.

Even though the sun was shining brightly, the wind was practically hurricane level, so after walking along as much as the beach as we could before our bodies could no longer take the gale-force, we mosied through the high street and took shelter in the tearoom. This place is everything you'd want a vintage tearoom to be; the wallpaper was quirky and girly, as was much of the decor, the menu had a great selection of light bites and freshly made cakes (I mean, just look at that counter). The staff were really friendly and it was a cozy place to sit, drink tea and enjoy some delicious homemade food.

My dad and I shared a pot of loose-leaf Darjeeling tea (in some of the cutest mismatched chinawear I've ever seen), my mum went for, in the words of the waitress, "ordinary tea". I laughed. To eat, I ordered one of the specials; mashed avocado, poached egg & fresh grilled tomato served on bloomer (long name, suuuper tasty), my dad went for a salmon and cream cheese sandwich and my mum also picked a special, choosing the apple, cheddar & chutney quiche, both of which were served with a freshly made side salad. Served on, of course, beautiful floral crockery. I was in heaven.
Apart from almost being swept off the face of the Earth, we had a great day wandering around the seaside, feeling ever so British. And whilst I tried not to lose my iPhone in the wind while taking artistic photos of the sea, my parents enjoyed some ice creams... that mostly ended up all over them. Who's the child here again?

If you're ever on the South coast of England, be sure to check out Lee-On-The-Solent, and definitely have a pit-stop at 'The Tea Party'. I promise it's worth it.

~ Eleanor xo

Thursday, 4 June 2015

This week's paint: Berrylicious

After having discovered the brand nearly three years ago in a drugstore in Spain, I have loved every single thing about Lola nail polishes... except for their tendency to chip pretty much as soon as the final coat has dried. I've had this colour on for just over two days and it's yet to chip (even after a crazy day running around London, hopping on and off tube trains left, right and centre!), so I know I'm now living on borrowed time, but I hope I'll be able to enjoy complete nail coverage for at least a few hours more. I'll let you know how that works out.

The fact that these polishes chip so quickly is kind of upsetting (it sounds lame, I know) because honestly, this line of polishes simply cannot be matched; the name choices, the variety and beauty of the colours, the packaging, the formula, everything makes it a total winner - making it more than worthy of its £8 price tag (it costs less in Spain though, bummer!).

The size of the brush makes the polish so easy to apply and if you're like me, a twenty year old who is still unable to apply nail varnish neatly and instead gets it everywhere, this brush really helps to keep it on just your fingernail, meaning you can paint without worry - super handy!

The formula is also so great that you only really need one coat. I usually apply two out of habit, as well as the fact that I like my colour to really hold, but you can definitely get away with less if you're in a hurry.

Berrylicious isn't exactly the most summery of colour choices; I know, I'm so rebellious (plus, I can never be sure if it really is summer in Britain, you know what I'm talking about) but I really love how striking this colour is and I feel like it works for any occasion, and c'mon, who can resist anything with 'ultra shine' in the title?
You can buy 'Berrylicious' and shop the entire Lola Make Up range at M&S and online here!

~ Eleanor xo