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Sunday, 7 February 2016

Lisbon Snapshot

Last weekend I headed to Lisbon for a 4 day trip as part of a Christmas surprise for my boyfriend. We'd both been to Portugal many times before, but neither of us had been to the capital, so were excited for a city break. 

Lisbon is a beautiful city steeped in history and known for its lively culture and soulful music. It's a hilly capital meaning if you climb high enough you'll see breathtaking views of the city's pastel-coloured buildings and famous landmarks. 

We stayed in a charming Airbnb in a wonderful setting round the corner from Barrio Alto an area known for it's bars and buzzing atmosphere, although we were far enough away for our evenings to be uninterrupted and peaceful. Once we'd arrived and settled into our new home, we headed out for the afternoon to explore Lisbon by foot. One of the first places we went was up to the Sao Jorge Castle which we'd actually been advised by a Lisbon local to go to for the view, and not inside the castle itself. It was a great tip as it was our first glimpse of the city in one unobstructed view and it really was magical. We found a cafe up there and sat in the sunshine for the afternoon with a drink. 

Speaking of the weather we were incredibly lucky as most of our days were basked in sunshine and blue skies. It wasn't summer weather, but it was warm enough to wear a light jacket which was a real treat in contrast to England's weather. 

On our second day, we woke up bright and early to explore more of the city and to do a bit of shopping (I literally can't help myself wherever I go). One of my favourite things about Lisbon were all the elaborately painted tiles (called azulejos) dotted around the city - they were so beautiful and really helped add to the city's charm. 

One of my favourite areas in Lisbon was Alfama, the oldest neighbourhood in the city. It's a picturesque neighbourhood composed of a maze of narrow streets, winding alleys and steep steps. It's medina-like layout is deliberate - this is the city's ancient Arab district and the tightly packed lanes, small archways and cobbled terraces are full of atmosphere. 

A stones throw from our apartment was the River Tagus which was such a lovely area to stroll along. It was gave us the perfect view of Lisbon's famous Golden Gate replica, otherwise known as the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge.

That evening, we decided to get the train to an area called Caiscas, which we'd heard offered the best seafood around. It was a 40 minute train ride, but a really easy trip as the station was round the corner from our apartment and Lisbon's transport system is incredibly easy to use. We ate at a restaurant called Maria Pia which was exceptional - the most delicious fresh fish (basically all I ate in Portugal) and was well worth the trip out of the city. 

On our third day we headed to LX Factory, a modern, hip art centre that has become a home to various start-up businesses, ranging from workspaces for designers and artists to quirky restaurants. On Sunday's it hosts a flea market along the main street where vendors are able to present vintage and local designer clothes, handmade jewellery and vinyl. I really enjoyed strolling along the stalls and even managed to pick up some gluten-free, raw cookies which were much more delicious than they looked. Best of all, was all the amazing street art that adorned the walls around the factory - it was a theme that was common across the city but the best pieces were definitely to be found here. 

Later that day, we headed across the bridge to Amalda where we'd been recommended a restaurant by a friend. Sadly the restaurant was closed when we arrived, but we ventured into the traditional restaurant next door (called Ponto Final) and had yet another amazing meal of fresh fish, including some of the best prawns we've ever had - we ordered the dish again it was that good!

On our last day, we woke up late and spent the morning packing up as we were heading home that evening. We decided to head to the largest market in Lisbon, the Mercardo da Ribeira (or TimeOut Market) which was another jewel close to our apartment. Once a famous fish market, the Mercardo de Ribeira has opened it's doors to accommodate a large food pavilion where some of the city's top chefs are ready to satisfy the needs of hungry customers. The food court offers a variety of snacks and full meals and is a must visit in the city. 

We had a wonderful time in Lisbon and I'd highly recommend a trip. Both the flights and accommodation were really inexpensive, and the food and drink was also on the cheap side too so it's an ideal city break destination. I'd definitely like to go back and explore a little more as there were many areas we didn't get the chance to see. 

Have you been to Lisbon? What's your favourite place for a city break? 

Thursday, 4 February 2016

I Just Love It Gifting Website

When I Just Love It, a personalised gifting website got in touch to see if I might like to check out their site and pick a few products to review I was excited. I love anything personalised, monogrammed or initialed as I feel it adds a unique and individual feel to an item. With that being said, the items I ended up choosing weren't actually that personalised but as I'm moving in with my boyfriend later this year I couldn't help but choose a few items that I thought would look nice in our home.

First up I chose this LED wall light* in the letter A as I love how stylish and contemporary it is, whilst still maintaining a rustic charm. It looks lovely glowing on my shelves in the evening and is a really nice addition to my flat.

Secondly I chose this charming little vintage butter knife*. Some might think it's an odd pick, but I think a specific knife for the butter is one of life's essentials. I chose the phrase 'Spread Love' on mine, and loved the idea of being able to personalise this with a particular message or name. All the knives are silver plated and vintage so are one off pieces and in my opinion would make lovely little keepsake gifts - particularly for those that like butter!

I Just Love It is a great website for original and unique gifts for friends and family, and with Valentine's Day only around the corner is definitely worth a look for any last minute gifts.

What do you think of the pieces I chose?

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Radiant Magenta

When I was in New York earlier this month I nipped into Sephora to have a look around and was immediately drawn to the Hourglass stand. I've lusted after the Ambient Lighting Powder palette for some time, but came to the conclusion that I probably wouldn't use it half as much as I'd envisioned. I decided to pick up a blusher instead as they looked like such wearable shades and I was keen to try something from the brand. 

I chose the shade Radiant Magenta which is a pretty golden fuschsia pink. Unlike traditional blushes which tends to be flat, Ambient Lighting blushers exhibit depth and dimension. They integrate Photoluminescent Technology which results in cheeks with an otherwordly flush. 

Whilst this shade sounds like it'd be particularly bright, it's actually quite delicate. It lasts really well on my skin and I love that it adds a hint of highlight to my cheeks, but nothing over powering - I'm still able to use my usual highlighter afterwards. These blushers are super pigmented so only a very light swirl is needed to apply, and they leave a pretty, soft flush on the cheeks. 

This is hands down one of my favourite blushers, and I'll definitely be growing my collection and checking out some of the other shades. The Ambient Lighting Blushers can be purchased in John Lewis or House of Fraser for £28, or from a host of other retailers. 

What are your favourite Hourglass products?

Monday, 25 January 2016

Quick & Easy Acai Bowl

If you read my 2016 wishes post, you'll know that one of my new year goals was to adjust to a healthier lifestyle. I've been pretty firm this year that I'm not looking to follow a fad diet, but to make little changes to become more conscious about what I'm putting into my body. 

Now that I'm exercising more regularly, I've started making Acai bowls in the morning. They're delicious, easy to make and so incredibly good for you. Acai has been recognised as containing one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants in a food and as a result it's become really popular with health lovers. Here are some of the benefits of the Acai berry:

  • The fibre found in Acai berry skin and pulp can aid digestion and help support a healthy cardiovascular system. 
  • Acai is naturally high in essential fatty acids having a fatty acid profile similar to olive oil. Essential fatty acids aid in a healthy nervous system. 
  • Acai berries contain amino acids which help promote muscle performance, energy production, endurance and strength. 
  • Acai berries contain as much Vitamin C as blueberries as well as sources of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and E. It's also a source of calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper. 
Acai bowls are really easy to make and have fast become my go to breakfast. I thought I'd share my recipe for anyone else looking to inject some health into their day to day. 

You will need: 
  • 2-3 tsp of Acai powder (I buy this one from Holland & Barrett)
  • Frozen berries 
  • Banana
  • Almond Milk 
For the topping:
  • Granola/Muesli
  • Fresh fruit
To make your Acai bowl, you just need to place all the ingredients into a blender and whizz it up. I like to use frozen berries because it's extra delicious when it's cold, but it's also more cost effective this way. Whilst your smoothie is blending, you can chop up some fresh fruit to decorate your bowl. You can essentially put whatever you like on top, from nut butters to chia seeds - whatever you feel like that day. I used to put Lizi's granola in mine, however I've recently found out that I have a gluten intolerance so have had to switch over to Eat Natural's Toasted Muesli, which thankfully is equally tasty. 

As you can see, this isn't difficult to make. Acai powder is expensive, however as you're only using a few teaspoons at a time, it'll last a while and in my opinion the nutritional benefits really outweigh the price tag. This is my new favourite breakfast, and I'd really recommend you give it a try! 

Have you tried an Acai bowl? What's your favourite healthy breakfast?

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Miu Miu Eau de Parfum

Back in August of last year, Miu Miu released their first ever fragrance. For a brand that's been around for over 20 years fuelling our desire for beautiful handbags and accessories, it's surprising that this is their first fragrance launch. Nevertheless, I was hooked from the moment I first spritzed the scent during a Selfridges shopping trip and was overjoyed to receive it for Christmas from my sister.

The scent is absolutely beautiful - a soft, floral fragrance of real jasmine and rose absolute set against a deep, earth-toned background of Akigalawood. It's both feminine and sensual and feels like a timeless scent which you'd expect from a brand like Miu Miu.

The bottle itself is darling, it's soft blue base with cherry red lid is fun and stylish, and would make the prettiest accompaniment to any dressing table. I love this fragrance and believe that Miu Miu have absolutely nailed their first fragrance release, I'm excited to see what they come up with next. Miu Miu's perfume is readily available in department stores like House of Fraser and John Lewis, with 30ml costing £48.

Have you tried this scent? What's your favourite designer scent? 

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Mejuri Hummingbird Bracelet + Giveaway

I was recently introduced to Mejuri, a company who aim for beautiful jewellery to be a luxury available to all women, at accessible prices. As a company, they hand-make and hand-set every piece of jewellery on their site to ensure flawless quality and durability - making stunning pieces that can be worn all day every day. They also feature capsule collections from lots of different designers (and bloggers) which I love and my particular piece was made by blogger Evelina from Evenlina's Fashion Cafe.

I was sent this gorgeous Hummingbird bracelet* which an absolute dream, and everything I look for in the jewellery I wear - delicate, elegant and cute. I love the origami bird design and how it's an unusual but incredibly wearable design. The bracelet is made in gold dipped 925 sterling silver and is a piece I've been reaching for nearly every day.

If you love this bracelet too then I have good news as Mejuri have very kindly given me another to giveaway to one of you! As ever, to be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is enter using the Rafflecopter widget below and complete as many entries as you wish (some are mandatory). If anything else takes your fancy on the Mejuri site, then I have a discount code that can be applied at checkout for 15% off: TeaParty15.

  • This is a UK only giveaway
  • The giveaway will run for 2 weeks and end on the 4th February
  • The winner will be contacted within 24 hours of the giveaway ending and will receive the bracelet direct from Mejuri. 
  • Entrants will be added to Mejuri's mailing list, but can opt out at any time.
Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Kikki K Medium Personal Planner

Whilst I've very much embraced the technical age in the majority of my life, I've always been one for a paper diary. I'm happy to schedule my work meetings and events on my iPhone, but my social life will remain on paper for the foreseeable future.

I decided my diary needed super charging in 2016. I wanted something that could be used for both my social life and my blogging - which is why I decided to invest in a filofax. Kikki K are a brand I've been following on Instagram for ages, but it was only when they came over to the UK (with a couple of gorgeous standalone shops in Covent Garden) that my dreams became a reality.

I decided to pick up this beautiful textured leather personal planner in Ice Blue, which is the perfect size to sit on my desk or pop on my bag for on the go. It comes with an 18 month perpetual calendar to help me keep track of all my appointments and deadlines, although I will be purchasing the weekly refills as I couldn't possibly plan my life by month. The planner also comes with stickers to label and customise each section as you wish, which I really like.

I'm delighted with my pretty planner, and hope it continues to keep me organised and on top of my game in 2016. The good news is that this particular planner is currently on sale for £23.40 (usual price £39) so the perfect price if you fancy a January treat.

How do you keep yourself organised?

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