How to plan for a weekend getaway abroad

Well hello to my reader chums!

I'm an avid traveller, wherever it's the next city break or a 2 week holiday in the sunshine, any time I hear travel, my heart soars. I've experienced a few weekend getaways in Europe from Milan to Barcelona and over time learnt the best way to plan them. Here's a few of my tips..

How to plan a weekend getaway abroad

Go off season

Summer holidays, Easter break, Christmas time and half terms, all fit under the busy season, which is the last thing you'll want when travelling. Prices rocket during these periods and cities are much busier than usual, so if possible try avoid the higher season. Sunny and cooler weather are still all accessible during lower seasons - Late January- March (depending on when Easter break is) fall  under this category as do May and June- early July. You can experience stunning sunshine during the month of June that you wouldn't need to wait until it hots up in August time. September- October are also a lovely time to go away, with the weather getting cooler and crowds decreasing.

Search for the best flight times

Every airline has an email newsletter with their latest offers, including flights to any places in Europe from as cheap as £20! This will obviously vary throughout the year but during low seasons, these cheap prices are possible. I like to use Skyscanner to search my flights. It's a website, comparing all the best flight times and deals to in turn, offer you the cheapest option.

Use the hop on hop off bus tours

Every country I visit, whether it's a typical summer holidaymaker destination or bright-light city, there's always bus tours available. I'd 100% recommend these especially if you're visiting for a short amount of time. It allows you to see all the city's main sights and stop off wherever; the flexibility is endless. Depending on the location, there's usually a few different routes to choose from which vary on the sights they cover. Talk to a local tour vendor when arriving and book one in; they usually sell from 24-48 hour bus tickets.

Make an agenda

Organise, organise, organise! Going away for a short amount of time means you'll want to pack in as much as possible; the best way to do this is make a list of everything you'd like to see. From there, do your research and write up a rough agenda in the most logical order on seeing/doing these activities. This way you won't miss out on the main sights and assure yourself you've covered all you wanted to see.

Pack light

I may be the world's biggest over-packer, but when it comes to weekend break abroad, there's no need. As long as you bring (depending on the time of year), a few various layers aka jackets and that staples pair of jeans, you won't need much for a weekend of exploring. Miniature products from shampoos to moisturisers come in handy - you can find them at any local Boots, Superdrug or supermarkets.

I hope you enjoyed this travel advice style post. What are your best tips for planning a weekend break?

Thank you for reading <3

5 days in New York | what to see and do

Well hello to you my reader chums! If you've been following my Instagram, then over the past week you'd know I was lucky enough to take a trip to the dream-worthy New York City. I've wanted to visit New York for the longest time, so for an early 21st birthday present, my twin and I decided to book a trip there. Before our break, I did so much research reading blog after blog to find the best sights, restaurants, and must-do things while in the city. Now, after experiencing the Big Apple in all its glory, I've put together insight on how to spend 5 days in New York City.

This post contains affiliate links.

Day 1 - Travelling to New York City

The time difference between here and England is 5 hours so we knew upon arrival we'd be knackered from travelling. I decided the best way around this was to get a flight that lands in the evening, so we can sleep and then wake up ready for the 5 days of our trip. 

On Wednesday, we took a 4pm flight from London Heathrow and landing in New York around 7.30pm with Virgin Atlantic. Maria and I were by far impressed with their service, entertainment and not to mention all the free food we received on the flight! We went through customs and hopped in a taxi, arriving at our hotel, the Wellington around 9.30pm. Upon arrival, we unpacked and got ready for bed, in preparation for our adventure.

Virgin atlantic flight to new york city

Day 2 - Central Park and Top of the Rock

The first day in New York was beyond exciting. As we opened the hotel lobby door, the electrifying vibe hits you of the city; it's a feeling you can't explain. There's always something going on with people wherever you turn, the city never sleeps as they say. We wanted to begin our American journey right with a classic breakfast of pancakes so had a brief look around and found a place called Brooklyn Diner. It's safe to say, their food servings were massive but delicious and I didn't manage to finish the pancakes!

New York pancakes in a diner

After breakfast, our first stop was the ever so charming Central Park, a place we both couldn't wait to see! It exceeded every expectation with too much natural beauty to take in. I love how in the middle of one of the world's busiest cities, there's this relaxing place of nature. Surrounding lakes, chirping sounds of wildlife, and trees filled the air as you walked through the endless trails of Central Park.

Central park New York City

Central Park Bethesda Fountain

There are lots to see around Central Park. We focused on venturing around the bottom half of the park with all the main attractions including Bethesda Terrace, home to the Bethesda fountain and endless lake views. We were surprised to find the charming Belvedere Castle, set in the heart of Central Park so took a look around there. With a conservatory area, Loeb Boathouse, and many bow bridges, the park was full of undisturbed beauty. The Alice and Wonderland famous statue and Carousel were two hidden gems we also loved.

John Lennon memorial New York city

Our last stop at Central Park was Strawberry Fields, a small 2.5-acre area where John Lennon's memorial is placed. Many were gathered as we walked through this area, paying tribute to the famous singer.

Levain bakery cookies new york

I'm a massive foodie and after plenty of best bakery research in New York City, we had to visit Levain bakery, home to the best cookies. We finally came across the tucked away bakery and the cookies didn't disappoint. I chose double chocolate - the blend of moist cookie dough, melted chocolate, and a slightly crunchy exterior was heavenly. Even describing them is making my mouth water!

West gotham market New York City

For dinner time, we took a stroll around the Hell's Kitchen area and headed to West Gotham market, an inside market essentially with different food vendors providing dishes from a classic slice of pizza to tapas.

view from rockfeller center new york

It was then time to head up to the Top of the Rock, aka the famous Rockefeller Center. We chose to go up here instead of the Empire State because it's not as crowded and I've read you're able to get a better view of Central Park. As we got in the lift up to the 67th floor I didn't know what to expect, but once you get up there it's honestly unbelievable. 

The surrounding view of ongoing skyscrapers, rivers, Central Park, and the clear sky is something too incredible to put into words. We were both blown away and it will forever be one of my favourite moments of New York. We went up around half 7 so we were able to witness the daylight, the sun setting, and the scenic night view of New York City. I'd highly recommend going around this time so you're able to witness the 3 different stages. 

Day 3 -Times Square, Broadway, and a city bus tour of New York

Times square New York City

The 3rd day had to be one of my favourites in New York. Stepping into Times Square for the first time was like something out of the movies. The bright lights wherever you turn, crowds of people, and lines of shops, had the atmosphere you could only dream of; I loved the busy vibe. 

Near Times Square, we were able to find the famous Carlos Bakery, a place Maria and I wanted to try out for a while! The bakery goods didn't disappoint and were certainly worth the wait after being massive fans of the show Cake Boss.

Times square New York city

After a daytime venture in Times Square, we took a city bus tour around the Uptown route of Manhattan. This drove through Harlem, passed many museums, cathedrals, and buildings, offering you a little more insight/history into that area of the city. We bought the 48-hour pass for the city bus tour which gave us two days access and the option to stop off at all the main sights.

lion king minksoff theater New York City

Lion King show at minksoff theater New York city

For dinner, we found a little Greek place, tucked away a few streets over from Times Square. Then we got ready to make our way to Broadway and watch the incredible Lion King. We spend ages deciding on which show to choose but settled with the Lion King as both of us adored Disney and have wanted to see it for the longest time. 

The show blew us both away - seeing the songs come to life with massive production, costumes and dancing were phenomenal. On the day we went, surprisingly it was the show's 20th anniversary which again, another amazing experience.

Times square at night New York

As we walked out of the theatre, we got to experience Times Square at night. Let me tell you, it's completely different from the daytime. The bustling crowds and flashing lights were breathtaking. I've never been a fan of crowds however, the electric atmosphere is thrilling, you'll want to experience it over and over again.

Day 4 - Little Italy and Downtown exploring in New York

Little italy in new york

After a delicious chocolate pancake breakfast at diner Lindy's, we headed back on the bus tour to see the Downtown route of Manhattan. Unfortunately, the weather got the better of us and there was torrential rain the whole day, however, we tried to make the most of it. We stopped off to find Little Italy and China Town. Out of the two Little Italy was my favourite, walking around it almost felt like I was back in Rome. 

We had a little stroll and came across Lombardi's, a famous pizzeria. It lived up to their name with a scrummy pizza and traditional setting, I'd recommend it if you're in the area! Then, we did the rest of the tour, sheltering from the rain, and went back to our hotel to get ready for dinner.

Day 5 - Grand Central Station, Ground Zero, and Brooklyn Bridge

New York public library

The fifth day was a big list on the itinerary as there were many sights nearby to each other we wanted to see. It began with the New York Public Library, however as it was a Sunday it wasn't open till later and so, we went inside the next day. Then we visited the Grand Central Station, one of the grandest tube stations I've ever laid eyes on!

Grand central station new york

From here, we somewhat figured out the Subway system and headed towards the World Trade Center. I thought the Subway system in New York would be completely different from London underground, however, they are practically the same, just the trains look more like metal. The vibe wasn't as busy as I'd expected either!

New York City subway

9/11 memorial new york city

When we arrived at Ground Zero memorial, it was incredibly heartbreaking. Reading all those names as you walked around the two memorials to all those who lost their life was horrid. My heart will forever go out to the families who lost someone during this tragedy.

Brooklyn Bridge New York city

Brooklyn Bridge was only a short walk from Ground Zero so we made our way there afterward. The bridge in itself was amazing, we spent a while taking the perfect picture and then took a long walk across into Brooklyn. The scenic views of the whole city were outstanding as you strolled across! 

As we arrived in Brooklyn, I was taken back by a different vibe compared to Manhattan, the area is more residential and much quieter as you go through the streets.

Brooklyn Bridge new york city

We came across their main strip of restaurants, stopped off for a very late lunch, and looked around the harbour area. Where we stood, there was a panoramic view of the Brooklyn Bridge and a line of skyscrapers. After a big day of walking, we headed back to our hotel and got ready for dinner at an Italian place directly opposite.

Day 6 - New York Library, shopping day, and home time! 
Inside new york public library

Our last day began in one of my favourite spots, the New York Public Library. I'm a massive bookworm so couldn't miss out on seeing the library on my trip. It was as if all my book and library dreams came to life at once. The traditional design and old-school book vibe looked just like the movies. I wish I could study in New York just to sit and read a book here!

New York city library

With marble-washed walls and wooden banisters, every nook had an ounce of character in the New York Library.

twins in new york
Maria and I are massive bakery fans so our breakfast stop on the last morning was at the famous Magnolia bakery. Why not have cake for breakfast when in New York City? Their cupcakes and cinnamon treats were absolutely divine!

Rockfeller plaza New York city

We then embarked on our shopping day! Starting out at the Rockefeller plaza as the bakery was near there, we made our way along Fifth Avenue and popped into a few upmarket shops. Then, the biggest Macy's in the world had to be visited - the place was around 9 floors and took a few hours to get around! From there, we found ourselves in Sephora, Forever 21, and more, gallivanting around the stores.

5th Avenue new york city

We stopped off for dinner and then had to make our way to the airport, bidding goodbye to our New York adventure. Jaw-dropping sights, stunning shopping streets, delicious food, and an electric atmosphere, New York thank you for a trip of a lifetime.

I hope you enjoyed this travel diary-style post! Have you ever been to New York?

Thank you for reading <3

Girls active | How to get involved

Well hello to you my reader chums!

I've got some exciting news - I'm an ambassador for the Girls Active campaign! When they got in touch to ask if I'd be on board, I couldn't say yes quick enough. Their aim is to encourage young girls to get active and be more involved with physical activity, building their confidence/ self-esteem. This is an idea I love - so many young girls doubt themselves when it comes to a lot of things, especially sports just because they're a girl. It's time to change that status and empower us girls to being the brave squad we are! Find out all the info over on their website.

When I think back to the days of P.E or any sort of sports in my school years, they're not the fondest of memories. I never really participated in sports as I was always afraid I wouldn't be good enough and make a fool of myself. At my school, there was the choice between P.E and dance from year 9 onwards so I chose to study dance from that point, giving up on the whole idea of sport. I did however in my spare time, love to cycle and walk a lot during my early years of secondary school.

Take a look at their video below..

Today however, the idea of working out and participating in sports excites me. I love a challenge and pushing myself to achieve a goal with exercise. There's no other rush you receive quite like it - I wish I had this same mind-set during my younger teenage years. As part of the 'girls active' campaign, I want to inspire my readers especially younger ones to go out there and get involved with sports. Whether that's going to a fitness class, taking up tennis lessons or swimming more regularly, participating in sports will make you feel healthier and also build your confidence.

Here's a few tips on how to get involved..

1) Take it slowly - Sport isn't for everyone and those new to pushing the boat out can be shy around the matter. Take one step at a time, perhaps start with a fitness class every week, then begin going more regularly as time goes on. This will build your confidence with the chosen sport and you'll learn to interact with others at the same time.

2) Bring a buddy - If say, you'd like to take up tennis or join your school netball team, ask one of your friends to come along. This will help you to ease into that situation a bit quicker as you'll have a friendly face by your side. If you both mess up or aren't the best at your chosen sport, you can just laugh it off which will make the situation even more fun.

3) Branch out your comfort zone - In all walks of life, whether that's in school or your adult life, stepping out of your comfort zone is a must. This could mean walking a further distance or participating in a sport you never thought you would; being active is full of opportunities.

Being active is good for the mind and soul, keeping you healthy in all areas. Get involved and encourage everyone you can around you to exercise. You can begin by swapping that bus journey for a walk or cycling up the country path instead of strolling. These little things will eventually build up into a more set exercise routine. But the main thing is to be happy in whichever activities you're doing, to create a better future for yourselves.

I hope you enjoyed this slightly different post and get involved with the campaign. How do you keep active?

Follow along with them over on their Instagram, @girls_active. 

Thank you for reading <3

The best berry lipstick combination

Well hello to you my reader chums! It'll come as no surprise if you're a regular reader, that I adore a berry lip. My go-to in the wintertime, I love to rock the berry look with a cosy darker style outfit. However, just because the season of spring and summer has come around, it doesn't mean berry lips can't still be on-trend. For evenings out, I love to wear a vampy lip all year round and now I've found the perfect combination to do so.

Charlotte Tilbury Glastonberry lipstick

Urban Decay's 'Hex' lip liner

Urban Decay has to be my favourite high-end brand. Every product I've tried is always of high quality and I'm never disappointed. The lip liner in 'Hex' is no different. It glides on with such ease and given the size of the pencil, you can perfectly outline the lips but also fill in the colour. 

I find with some lip liners, they can really tug when you use them, however as this product is so creamy, that's not the case. A highly pigmented, rich burgundy shade, the pencil suits a variety of intense dark lip looks. With the 24/7 label, I didn't know what to expect. However, the lasting power on this lip liner is seamless, it clings to any lipstick on top and will keep in place all night long. With the stunning colour, intense pigmentation and long-lasting wear, it's an ace lip liner for me.

Urban Decay hex lip liner

Charlotte Tilbury's Glastonberry'

The name and brand Charlotte Tilbury is well-loved by the entire beauty community so when I finally received my first product, I was thrilled. It's safe to say, the lipstick lived up to the hype. The jaw-dropping rose gold packaging is to die for, the berry-toned colour fits the dark lip look and the consistency, creamy as ever. 

It's one of those products that sits and blends on the lips with ease; a light-weight lipstick. I can't say it's the most long-wearing lipstick I've tried, however upon application you can feel the high quality of the product. It's not heavy, or sticky but is richly pigmented with a stunning dark berry tone.

best berry lipsticks shades

Overall combination

The long-lasting lip liner paired with ultra-creamy lipstick has become my favourite berry combination. As both products have a creamy consistency, the wear is incredibly comfortable and sits with ease for a long while. The lip liner is slightly darker than the lipstick itself so makes the outline of the lips slightly more prominent, a look I adore. Given their combined pigmentation, colour pay off and lasting power, you couldn't go wrong with this lip look.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What's your favourite berry lipstick?

Thank you for reading <3

April favourites

Well hello to you my reader chums! I've somehow blinked and April has just swept by. This year is going beyond fast with events filling up the calendar, over and over again. Its been really exciting so far and I can't wait to see what the next few months bring. Over the past couple of weeks, I haven't had a crazy amount of new favourites items but complied a few things I've been loving.

Here are my April favourites..

Charlotte Tilbury's 'Glastonberry' lipstick

If you're a regular reader on my blog then you'd know my love for lipsticks, especially berry tones, reds and oranges. I finally got my hands on a Charlotte Tilbury product at Christmas time, the famous 'Glastonberry' lipstick. I haven't mentioned it in a favourites post and I don't know why. The colour is insanely gorgeous, crafted for the perfect dark berry, its creamy consistency glides on the lips and the packaging is to die for. The lasting power isn't the best I've tried, however paired with a lip liner, the lipstick can keep the entire night. Upon application, you can feel how amazing the quality is with a swipe across the lips. After lusting over this lipstick, I'd love to try out more of Charlotte Tilbury's products!

Garnier Micellar water mini version

Garnier's micellar water is my go to makeup remover. It takes off every bit of makeup with ease including water proof mascara and heavy eye makeup. As the product is incredibly gentle and contains no perfume, it's ideal for sensitive skin. Somehow, the remover just melts the makeup away as you swipe, only using a cotton pad or two to take off the entire face. I wanted to give the micellar eater an extra shoutout this month as I've been obsessed with the mini version. It's easy and compact to take with you on weekend breaks or longer travels. I couldn't recommend it enough. 

Revlon's crème eye shadow base in '705'

I'm a bit of an addict when it comes to eye shadow bases. As I have quite oily eye lids, if I don't apply a base before shadow, then my eye makeup won't last long. Which means, I love to test out new bases, whether that's a creamy formulation or a pencil. I think these Revlon bases are quite new to the market as I haven't seen them before. I decided to pick the champagne colour up as you can never have too many neutral bases. The consistency is very smooth, gliding and blending onto the eye with ease. The colour is subtle but enough to add a tad of shimmer to the eye. It's creaminess clings onto additional eye shadows, making them last all night long. I love this base and can't wait to get my hands on more.

Batiste dry shampoo

I never hopped onto the dry shampoo hype mainly because greasy hair wasn't something I suffered with. However, lately I've found on busy days when I haven't had the chance to wash my hair or would like a bit of volume, Batiste has been my go to.

Topshop's black denim jacket

When spring time hits, the lighter jackets come out to play. I have a few jackets I love to wear in this season including one of my new additions, the black denim jacket from Topshop. It's one of those pieces you can pair with skirts and dresses for every occasion or even double denim up with black jeans to give a more edgy look. I love the versatility of this jacket and the slight whitewash over it, for a more old school effect.

I hope you enjoyed my April favourites. Which products have you been loving this month?

Thank you for reading <3