Eurotour: Barcelona



I've visited Barcelona once before, a couple of years ago, but that didn't stop my excitement for my return visit. We managed to cram a lot into our three days there, but the city is so beautiful that even walking around the rambling streets is an activity in itself. Whether you're planning a trip to this amazing city or not, I hope you enjoy the photos and some of my tips for getting the most out of your time there if a visit is on the cards. 



Travel: We got a taxi to our hostel the night we arrived, as it was late and splitting the cost between several of us meant it wasn't too pricey. For a cheaper option though, there are aerobuses situated right outside the airport, which you can hop onto for a mere 6 euros each. From then on we used a mixture of the metro and taxis to get back when it was late at night. Metro cards are easy to pick-up in the station for specified time periods and they run nearly everywhere. 

Hostel: Our first port of call was to check into our hostel, the Kabul Backpackers Hostel. We were moved into a dorm of 22 beds, which was a bit daunting at first, but actually ended up working out really well. Each bed had curtains round it, so there was enough privacy, and massive lockers as well to keep all your belongings safe. Sharing rooms not only made the experience cheaper, but was also a good way to meet other similar people and have proper conversations with them, if you're up for the experience, I'd definitely recommend it! Location was also amazing, right in the Placa Reial, just off Las Ramblas we were surrounded by a lot of restaurants, clubs and bars, perfect for the evening time - and the rooftop terrace and bar was bliss in the sun. 

Clubs: There are plenty of clubs in the Placa Reial, but the one that we decided to go to was Otto Zutz, a little further out. Tickets are available for all the clubs in the Night Tourist Information Centre which get you in quicker and entitle you to a free drink and shot inside. I think Barcelona night-life was probably my least favourite of all the cities in terms of clubbing, but the bars looked really nice for a more chilled evening. You have to be prepared for constant harassment by reps trying to get you into their places and it's all just a bit more overwhelming. Saying that though, we did have some really great nights out and crashing a party is a story I won't forget.


Sights: One could easily spend a couple of days exploring Las Ramblas alone, but we decided to try and explore further afield to get the most out of our stay. Extremely kindly, a school friend of ours from the city offered to take us round for one of the days so we ventured out to Tibidabo, the big hill with Jesus on top which overlooks the city. The view was breathtaking and well worth the travel if you're thinking about doing it. If the weather is good, we also enjoyed our trip to the beach, however, it isn't the most relaxing place as you are constantly being asked to buy things. 

Other places to visit: Picasso exhibition, Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Fountain Show on Catalunya Square


Food: If you're looking for the authentic spanish experience in terms of food, Tapas is probably the way to go. I'd recommend trying to pick restaurants a bit off the beaten track though, because the food seemed to be a lot better in these places. For the evening, we loved Ocana (found in the Placa Reial) which mainly did a mixture of meat and seafood plus amazing cocktails. Unfortunately for me, I did have to break my veganism in Barcelona as there weren't really any vegetarian options without dairy. Being intolerant I didn't want to risk it so opted for the fish. Despite the fact I wouldn't have ordered it given other choices, the scallops and jewelled couscous was delicious, and I'd definitely recommend it to anybody that does eat fish. If you're still a bit peckish after that, one of the many gelato shops in the area is sure to have the answer. 

Do you want to visit Barcelona? Any things you would have done differently? 

Eurotour: Amster-dayum



After the most stressful year of my life, I've finished school forever!! (well hopefully, assuming I haven't failed). To celebrate, a group of 9 of me and my friends decided that travelling around Europe would be a nice way to 'relax' - didn't end up quite like that but nevertheless it was one of the best holidays of my life with endless nights, banter and fun. Out first stop was Amsterdam, we were only there for three days so had to pack in as much as possible, but we managed to do everything we wanted and more! 

In short, here's a few things that we did and recommendations .... 


- Although battling impressive hangovers nearly every morning, we managed to get out and about and see quite a lot of the city. There are quite a few paid for attractions like Van Gogh and the Anne Frank House, which we didn't end going to, but you can pick up so much even from just wondering around the city like visiting the flower market and all the cheese shops - I'd also recommend Dam Square, Rembrant Square, Vondel Park, the canal belt and getting a free ferry across the river if you get the time. Of museums that we did end up going to, I'd recommend all of them, and if you're a student, don't forget you can claim a discount in most places! (Jewish Memorial, Kindermuseum, Jewish Synagogue, Sex Museum - be warned, it's graphic!). The Botanical Gardens are also worth a visit for the butterflies and tropical gardens.

- In terms of travel, the trams make everything super easy, although the lines can be a little confusing to work out to start with. There are self-service machines in the airport that allow you to buy a travel card that you can then use during the week. Although it's a small city and you could probably walk everywhere, public transport makes it just that little bit easier.


- In a group of 9 girls with gluten allergies, dairy allergies, veggies and vegans, finding places to eat wasn't the simplest of tasks. Bagel and Beans seemed to be their equivalent of a Starbucks and catered to all of us with a variety of allergy free options. Top recommendations for toppings from me would have to be the banana, cinnamon and maple syrup and the humous and sun dried tomato. I can't lie, A LOT, of chips were consumed on the holiday and Amsterdam did them particularly well. I can't eat it myself but my friends raved about the Frite Sauce so make sure you don't forget your topping of that! The nicest dinner that we had in Amsterdam was from deItalienne, a cute restaurant just off Dam Square which did really lovely pizza and pasta suitable for everyone to enjoy.

- We had a little bit of trouble finding the clubs on the first night to say the least - at one point I even started leading us out of the city of Amsterdam, convinced (with the confidence of one too many pre drinks) that it was the right way to go. Thankfully, Facebook messenger exists so we contacted a school friend who lives in the city and she was able to guide us to her top picks. We ended up at Club Up and Sugar Factory which were both great (although you may want to avoid the latter on a Tuesday if techno isn't your thing!). There are plenty of cute little pubs around for earlier in the evening, especially in the Red Light District, which although uncomfortable, is probably a sight worth seeing if you're in the area.


- We stayed in the Inner City Hostel, which wasn't the best and I'd probably recommend seeking out somewhere else. The rooms were a little run down, it didn't have the vibrant atmosphere of some of the others that we stayed in later in the trip. It was also a little overpriced for what it was - make sure you watch out for the extra 5% city tax that they add on, although Amsterdam was probably the most expensive city to stay in anyway! Saying that though, although a little far out from the clubs, the location was really nice and it was situated right next to beautiful Vondelpark. 

Have you ever visited Amsterdam? Where are your favourite places?


SUMMER NOODLE SALAD.


When summer hits, there's no meal that I love more than bowls of noodles loaded with a rainbow of vegetables, and fresh, fragrant herbs balanced with the tang of a chilli and sweet garlic lime sauce. Typical England not letting me enjoy food in the right weather though. I've 'veganised' this version (all apart from the fish sauce which I am yet to find an alternative for - please let me know if you have some), but for those of you that can't do without the meat, you could easily substitute in some chicken or prawns as your protein. 
Unless you're the fussiest of eaters, I can't see who couldn't like this...


For the Sweet Garlic Lime Sauce: 

3 cloves garlic squeezed 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 
¼ cup agave or brown sugar 
¼ cup fish sauce 
⅓ cup lime juice 
⅓ cup vegetable oil 

For the Bowls: 

Rice Noodles 
Basil, Mint, and Coriander
Chillies 
Chopped Peanuts/Cashews
Avocado
Veggies --> like carrots, bell peppers, and cucumbers 
Protein --> like shrimp, tofu, chicken (optional
Onion crispies 
Prep the sauce by mixing it all together
Cook the noodles by soaking in boiling water for about 30 minutes, careful not to overcook them because they can get really sticky 
Finely chop the herbs, peel and julienne the vegetables and mix into the drained noodles 
Toss the noodles and veg with the sauce, sprinkle over some onions and enjoy!

Updated Skin Care Routine.


Back track to a couple of months ago and my face was an angry, spotty mess. It was really affecting my confidence and I knew something had to be done , so after a trip to a doctor resulting in a prescription for Zineryt, I also decided to try and create a routine that I knew I would stick to. It's short, simple and easy enough to manage on a daily basis, and whilst my skin may not be 100% perfect yet, I'm getting there with it. 

I've always had combination skin so coping with it is a little difficult, but I've learned to accept that trying to dry out spots is NOT the way to go, it just doesn't work like that. Skin needs to be treated and protected with care so I try not to strip it as much as possible by using a gentle foaming wash from Vitage on my Magnitone at the lowest setting and then replenishing with lots of oils afterwards.  My favourites come from Caudalie and Nuxe. Keeping skin clean but nourished is the best way, at least for me, to keep it looking healthy and radiant. 

If everything is still looking a bit dull after all of that, I'll occasionally also use Merumaya's Gentle Exfoliating Toner after washing my face to freshen everything up and get rid of the dead cells. My Zineryt is also a nightly go to for me, and has done wonders in clearing my face up. When I have the time, usually about once a week, I really love to treat my skin with a face mask. Cosmetic Catastrophe from LUSH is one of my favourites for calming everything down and soothing angry skin.

And that's it! Simple enough that I always stay on top of it but with a whole host of really effective products. How do you take care of your skin? 

Everyday Hair.


My haircare routine is pretty standard. No fuss, simple. It's just an area of beauty that doesn't really interest me, and therefore I try and make it as quick and easy as possible. For months I was using the L'Oreal Brunettes Shampoo, a quick run through with my Tangle Teezer and a touch of my Moroccan Oil to give it a bit of love. Not even a blow-dry in sight. I admit though it's nice to change things every once in a while, so welcome to four new additions in my stash...

The Envy Blow Dry Set (£40) has really changed the way my hair looks. Basically, you massage the pre-wash Dual Fix into your hair, blow-dry, and then wash normally with the other two. The SLS/SLES Paraban Free formulas work together to give both moisture and body and smooth out hair. My hair has a tendency to get frizzy, especially in the winter when it can get really dry quite easily but I've found that the combination of these products stops this from happening - probably thanks to the Keratin and silk blend. Plus, they cut down on the need for any after styling products. Couldn't be happier! 

My hairs always been a bit on the limp side, and my not so beefy strands could definitely do with a bit of filling out. I've been using the intense version of the Grow Gorgeous Serum, which you are meant to massage into the roots with a little dropper every evening to promote growth. Not only that, but it gives a really nice glossy shine much like an Argan Oil would. I'm notoriously sceptical of products like this so I'm not sure how well it is actually working but I'm guessing it takes time. Here's hoping ... 

Good hair routine that won't take forever? Sorted. 

What do you like to use on your hair?

10 Ways to Get Yourself out of a Mood.


I have to be honest, I'm probably the queen of the bad mood. It's one of my worst qualities and I find it so hard to dig myself out of them once I'm stuck, but there are some things that never fail to make me feel a little better. Here are 10 of my favourite ways to do it: 

1. Exercise
2. Bake
3. Try to be rational about your bad mood
4. Treat yourself to some beautiful new lingerie - boohoo have an amazing and pretty inexpensive range at the moment (pictured
5. Have a cup of tea 
6. Watch cute animal videos on youtube 
7. Going out with friends 
8. Pamper yourself with some of your favourite products 
9. Listen to some of your favourite music and dance around 
10. Binge on netflix

What about you, how do you like to cheer yourself up?