A Night of Shopping with World Duty Free UK

A Night of Shopping with World Duty Free UK

AD – this blog post contains a collaboration with World Duty Free UK, whereby I was gifted products.

On Wednesday evening I was incredibly lucky to be invited to an event at Bristol airport, where I am a regular visitor, for a collaboration with World Duty Free. In recent years, World Duty Free at Bristol has really developed, and I absolutely love walking through and having a look around to see what bargains I can get. The two newest editions to the airport, which came in December 2018, were MAC and Jo Malone. For me, these are two very significant brands, as MAC is one of my favourites for makeup and Jo Malone for their one of a kind candles. There really is something for everyone, as well as lots of great products perfect for travel and your impending trip.

So, on the evening, 8 local bloggers including myself attended, and after the quick introductions and sweep through security we were all let loose to explore and fill our baskets. Luckily, I knew all the other bloggers there, so it made the experience even more enjoyable being able to have fun and enjoy spending time together whilst seeing what was on offer. Being the free spirits that we are, we knew exactly how to navigate ourselves around swiftly choose all the products we love. As I was there technically for blogging, and not just having fun, I wanted to be strategic about how I shopped. This meant that I chose pieces from each section of the shop, which included makeup, skincare, fragrance, fashion and homeware.

As you can imagine, I did pretty well and am so pleased with everything I managed to get. I thought to mix things up a little, I would share each thing I got individually, also sharing some price comparisons of what they cost on the high street, compared to duty free. I do think it is amazing how much less some things are. If you would rather watch this in video form, without the prices, I have also published a video on IGTV with everything you can see here. So, let’s get into it.

Makeup

So, I purchased three makeup items during the trip, two from MAC and one from Benefit. From MAC I bought a lipstick from the new matte collection and a rosy pink liner, as the amazing makeup artist there did an Ombre lip on me in the colour tones I normally wear. I loved the look and had to buy it to recreate it at home. The new matte lipsticks are a huge step forward in my eyes as they go on a lot more easily than the last, feel comfortable on the lips and do not crack. It really is the perfect shade for me. Then, from Benefit I bought the newest item to them, the eyeliner. I love that it is easy to use and just swept on like a pen. I am really excited to see if this works for me as I have never used on before.

MAC Lipstick – shade ‘Sultriness’ | MAC Price £17.50 >> Duty Free Price £15.35 

MAC Liner – shade ‘Rosy Rim’ | MAC Price £14.00 >> Duty Free Price £11.85

Benefit Roller Liner | Benefit Price £18.50 >> Duty Free Price £15.70

Skincare

So, a new line of skincare that I have really enjoyed using recently is from Clarins, called My Clarins. It is an entry level range, perfect for skin my age. I have been using the cleansing milk and day cream. As I have been enjoying using this and my skin is feeling the benefits, I thought whilst I had the opportunity I would stock up and repurchase the cleaning milk. I definitely prefer this formula of a cleanser compared to a gel, as I find it just more of an enjoyable experience to use. The World Duty Free at Bristol Airport has got a huge variety of brands with excellent skincare ranges, such as Dior, Clinique and of course Clarins. There really is something for everyone and the service provided by the retail assistant is amazing.

My Clarins Cleansing Milk | Clarins Price £17.00 >> Duty Free Price £14.65

Fragrance

It seemed as if it would be a major regret of mine if I visited Duty Free with vouchers and not bring home a perfume. So, I did. However, instead of going for a new fragrance I decided to stick to what I know. For a few years now I have been using two perfumes, one in the day and one for evenings and special occasions. The day perfume is the now very famous Gucci Bloom. I absolutely adore this scent and for me nothing has really ever come close. I think we all have this when it comes to fragrance, and really what is the point of trying to change something when what you already have is so good. So, I stocked up, with the smaller bottle that sits so elegantly on my girly bedroom shelf.

Gucci Bloom 50ml | Gucci Price £75.00 >> Duty Free Price £59.60

Homeware

So, it is probably pretty obvious that my homeware item within the goodies I purchased was from Jo Malone. To make it even worse, or well good for me, is that it is something I buy repeatedly. I tried a few of the other scents, but for me nothing is quite the same as ‘peony and blush suede’. I just absolutely adore it and it really has become a smell that makes my home feel like a home. It is bright and happy, whilst also being very girly and poignant in scent. To add, I went for the candle, not a diffuser. I adore everything Jo Malone has to offer, and really do want to explore more such as fragrance. Perhaps when I head back to the airport in a few weeks I can do just that!

Jo Malone Candle | John Lewis Price £47.00 >> Duty Free Price £39.15

Fashion

So to finish off the trip, and explore the last range, I headed to the Pandora stand. The lovely lady there got a huge tray out with different goodies on and it was so nice to see everything laid out and try as I went. In the end I went with two items. The first being a small silver ring for my little finger. I have wanted one of these for a long time, so it was the perfect find for me. Simple and plain, that I can wear every day. The second was a pair of earrings with a cool twist, that I have actually been on the lookout for a while. They are sparkly and silver, and the back of them goes behind the ear to add great texture and just something a little bit different. In fact, I put them on as soon as I got home and still haven’t even take them off! A very good purchase in my eyes

Pandora Infinite Shine Ring | Pandora Price £35.00 >> Duty Free Price £29.15 

Pandora Princess Wish Stud Earrings | Pandora Price £80.00 >> Duty Free Price £58.00

Total price on high street – £304

Total price at Duty Free – £243.45 

Duty Free Saving – £60.55

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This blog post was in collaboration with World Duty Free, however all views and opinions are my own, and I was not paid.

 Thank you to Becky and Ema from World Duty Free for organising this event and allowing me to be part of it.

Finding the perfect mini break

Finding the perfect mini break

Imagery by Hana Dallimore Photography

Is there anything more perfect than the feeling on a Friday, when you know you get to escape for the weekend, enjoying time away from home? I love a good mini break, whatever days of the week or wherever we choose to go. Last year I was really lucky to travel a lot, and a lot of the trips were very much short and sweet. But sometimes that really is all you need. You need a chance to get away from the stress of being at home, an opportunity to switch off and recharge, boosting yourself through life when you get back again. Mini breaks have become a very easy option for  a lot of us, with amazing deals all year round and a huge variety of places to go and things to do.

A mini break for me has to include a lot of food, beautiful scenery and very good company. It is not all about romantic breaks anymore, sometimes it is just about spending time with a loved one, whether that be your mum, grandma or best friend.

Last year my favourite mini break was in December, for a little Christmas trip with my grandparents to Palma. It was a short and sweet three nights in a beautiful hotel, with lots of food, lots of festive fun and just a really good rest. It was everything a mini break should be, and inspired me to write this post. In 2019 I really want to focus a lot more on travel, tips and the places I go, as last year I went away a lot without actually talking about it. I thought I would just put together a quick little mini break guide, with all my tips and tricks and some of my recommended destinations.

Search for packages in the sales (EasyJet sales & Booking.com)

So when booking a mini break, my first suggestion would always be to take a little time and search around to see what is on offer. I do think it is amazing sometimes the deals you can get, especially for a trip abroad. EasyJet always have some great offers, especially last minute, as well as Booking.com. I personally have used TUI a few times too, and have found it to be a really pleasant and easy experience. There are so many websites you can use to find a reasonably priced mini break, wherever you want to go. To book accommodation I personally always use Booking.com as I love the fact that you can cancel up until the day before for free.

The Best UK Destinations

I love a good UK mini break, and do think a lot of the time we underestimate how many beautiful places there are in this country. Dartmouth has to be one of my favourite, however only out of season. It is such an easy and relaxing place to visit, with an abundance of restaurants, cute shops and picturesque places to walk around. My next favourite would be Edinburgh. From Bristol we can get there with a  cheap plane fare in under 50 minutes and it is such an amazing city to spend a night or two. There are endless shops and restaurants, a big theatre and cinema, as well as lots of things going on each and every day. There are also lots of other destinations that I see people sharing online, that I often can’t believe are here in the UK. Have ever spent some time in the Welsh countryside, down south in Ilfracombe, or even beautiful Chester where I love to spend time with my bestie who goes to uni there.

 

My Top Five Abroad Destinations

So, I thought I would make this point quick and just based on where I have been, and enjoyed a mini break with someone I love. Obviously, as previously mentioned, Palma is one of my favourites for a quick and enjoyable trip, and definitely a must on your bucket list if you have never been. My second favourite, but by far probably the most expensive is Paris. For the ultimate foodie, fun and cultured trip, Paris is a definite must. I absolutely adore this city and think it could possibly be my favourite place in the world.

Other destinations for a mini break for me would also include Madrid, for a beautiful shopping trip, Bilbao for the best tapas and Copenhagen for a fresh and beautiful trip. Copenhagen was one of mine and Finns first trips together and we both still rave about the time we spent there whenever we are trying to decide on where we want to visit next.

Spa Breaks

So one of my other favourite mini breaks is a spa night. Spa breaks is always my go to when I am looking for a very quick, relaxing trip, somewhere that is easy to drive to and has an amazing spa to indulge in. What I love about Spa Breaks is how you can decide on the region, and there are different tiers for the trip that you can choose. They also have some amazing sales and discounts, which are perfect for when you want a last minute, spa trip away.

 

Shop this post:

 

T-Shirt – New Look

Blazer – New Look

Jeans – Zara

 

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I have not been paid to feature any brands, and all views and opinions are my own.

Madrid 18 | Needed Girl Time

Madrid 18 | Needed Girl Time

My bestie and I have managed to get away every summer for the last few years, for some much needed girl time and time off life. This year we couldn’t decide where to go at all, so left it down to the days we wanted to go and the most reasonable flights. Finally, we decided on Madrid, as it all worked our perfectly and it was somewhere neither of us have been. We have this new pact that we can’t go anywhere that we have been before as there are so many places in the world to see. In fact, this is also a pact that I have made with myself no matter who I go away with. My one exception may however be Venice, as I have never been to such a beautiful place in my whole life. It was honestly like being in a giant movie set. Anyway, back to Madrid, the amazing capital of Spain.

I think my favourite thing about Madrid had to be the architecture. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but it certainly exceeded what I thought it could be like. The Palace was one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen.

Our aim for the holiday was not at all to explore the whole city and tire ourselves out by walking around all day everyday – that is just really not our thing. We both needed a rest from work and life, to enjoy the sunshine, some good food and lots of cocktails by the pool. We are very good at eating and drinking our way through a trip. Obviously we wanted to see the city, so we tried our best to get the balance right, but as we are both on the same page it always makes life much easier. Which was, in our true style, after a very generous lie in each morning. I never get to sleep all night and until late in the morning nowadays, so it honestly did feel like I had died and gone to heaven every time I woke up!

Situated just about 20 minutes from the airport, and a 30-euro taxi ride to the hotel, it was a very easy transition into the city. We booked a hotel right by the Plaza de España, the giant palace home to the Spanish royals, that boasts a handy 3,000 plus rooms. Imagine all the space! ‘Dear, Hotel’ is a handy city boutique hotel, with generously sized rooms all decorated in a light and Scandi style interiors. Just my cup of tea. Overlooking the popular street named Grand Via, we were in the best location, with restaurants and shops all around, as well as slow walks around to explore the city. The hotel also has an amazing roof top bar and plunge pool, which let’s be honest, is the main reason I booked it. We decided that we simply couldn’t be in 38-degree heat without an outdoor pool. The hotel was convenient, peaceful and had all the facilities you could wish for on a relaxing city break. Although, one drawback being the extreme road works going on, on the main street meaning that the sound of drilling was very apparent for the duration of our stay. Not a deal breaker, and by no means the hotels fault, just a little annoying when you’re trying to sleep!

As we wanted to use these few days away to rest, we used the rooftop quite a lot, once for a whole day, then a few afternoons when it just got too hot to be walking around. The girl time was just what we needed, sitting and chatting for hours with drinks, soaking up the sun and getting through a book or two. I never have time to get through chunks of my book, or even talk about half the stuff we got to, so it really has made me feel like a massive weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It was also really nice, as one day we got there early before anyone else, so had a good opportunity to get some gorgeous photos of the pool with that amazing view! When Abby and I get going with the camera, there really is no stopping us!

One of my favourite things about traveling is taking pictures and being able to document the memories that we have made. Obviously, having an aesthetically pleasing photo for Instagram is a bonus, but having this bank of photos to reflect on is one of my favourite things.

If I’m being completely honest, we didn’t get too far walking through Madrid, however on our first day we did make it to the Plaza de España, strolling through the gardens, stopping for a cocktail and enjoying some Spanish tapas. It was so gorgeous just to sit and see the world going by. My first impression of Madrid on that day was how up together the city is. The gardens are perfect, everything is clean and it feels very safe with an extensive number of police every time you look around. Everyone was polite, and as you would expect from a European country, the fashion was on point. There is something about how people dress in Spain, France and Italy, that just isn’t like the UK. Everyone has such a beautiful sense of style and are very poised in their stride.

On the Friday, before we left as we had a late flight, we decided that we hadn’t seen enough of the city so we only had one option left. A city bus. This is my go to in every city, as you really see everything and get all the facts that you don’t get from just walking around by yourself. We got on right by the whole town and did the whole hour and a half tour around the entire city. We saw absolutely everything and could appreciate everything the city had to offer. In a way, by the end of this, I felt like we had seen absolutely everything we need to and had made the most of a new place. We learnt so much in that short space of time, and really got to understand the history behind the capital.

Overall, I absolutely loved Madrid and would definitely go back if given the chance. It was so nice just to go somewhere new and enjoy a proper rest from work and the stress of life. As well as some quality time with the bestie, which is always needed as we now live about 4 hours away from each other 

Shop this Post:

White Bikini – New Look

Red Dress – New Look

Blue Dress – H&M

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I have not been paid to feature any brands, and all views and opinions are my own.

Where to Eat in Paris | 2018

Where to Eat in Paris | 2018

Oh Paris… my favourite city on Earth. Last week I was lucky enough to spend a few days in this beautiful place with my grandparents, as it is somewhere we try to go to as often as possible. Every time I go there I feel utterly at home and completely happy in myself. The vibrant buzz of the city is everything you expect after watching the city in movies and nothing ever really disappoints. You can walk around the beautiful park and streets, admire the views of the Eiffel Tower, indulge in countless calories of delicious food and shop to your hearts content. This trip was definitely more relaxed than others, with us just all enjoying some time together and taking a break from the hectic lives that we were leaving behind in the UK for just a few days. Don’t get me wrong, I do not by any means think that city breaks are a rest, but mentally they do wonders for the human mind. 

Paris is probably my favourite place in the whole world. The buzz of the city intertwined with the beautiful, historic culture is something that I have never found anywhere else before. It is relaxing, whilst also being exciting.

My favourite thing about Paris every time I go is the countless amazing meals that I get to eat. There really is no such thing as a bad meal, or a horrible glass of wine. Wherever you go, you are guaranteed to be indulged by even the simplest of recipes, which definitely tastes even better when you can sit outside in the sun watching the Parisians going by. It really is an incredible feeling, and probably the one thing that brings me back every time. We ate in a few different restaurants this time, all offering delicious food, great wines and amazing hot chocolates. I thought I would just sum up the best places that we ate, with a few little pictures to sum up the amazing trip that we had.

La Coup D’or

This restaurant is situated right by our hotel, Hotel Duminy Vendome, by the beautiful gardens. We went there on the first night for convenience, as we had been twice on our last visit. It is such an easy restaurant, with traditional seating outside and dark toned gold interiors. To celebrate being in the beautiful city, I treated myself to a steak with French fries and béarnaise sauce. It was beyond delicious and everything you would expect from such a traditional French meal. I think a big part of eating in France is the atmosphere, as well as the food. It genuinely makes it taste better when you can see all the French life walking past the window, and for me, admiring all the beautiful clothes. As you can find in most restaurants in the city, they offer a very traditional menu, including ‘Croque Monsieur’s’, packed up salads and chicken and chips. We actually did go back one night, where I had the delicious chicken and chips. It is a very relaxed restaurant, with doggies wondering around, traditionally dressed French waiters, and a delicious glass of Bordeaux served in an instant.

Paris London

This beautiful café is placed perfectly in the middle of Madeleine, around the beautiful square that surrounds the amazing French architecture. We have been to this café a few times and it really is the perfect spot to sit with a drink, soaking in the sun rays and watching the world go by. In fact, it is quite an eventful area of the city… we even got to see the French police pull over a motorcyclist. I must say, the French really don’t hold any prisoners. Whilst my grandparents enjoyed a coffee, I opted for a Venetian hot chocolate. To be honest, it is very hard to ever find a bad hot chocolate in this city, unlike in the UK where they are mainly watery and have absolutely no flavour or rich taste of real chocolate. This one though, was incredible. It was a thick, dense tasting chocolate, topped with the most delicious vanilla whipped cream. It really was the perfect thing to enjoy whilst having a mid afternoon sit down.

La Rotande St Honoré

This restaurant is situated a little higher than the hotel, along the beautiful road of Rue Saint-Honoré, with a view of three beautiful Parisian streets. We went to this restaurant twice, as I think I actually had one of the best meals of my life. For lunch on the second day, we sat outside this beautiful restaurant, in the blazing sunshine. I had a much needed glass of cold Prosecco, which was utterly delicious, as I was celebrating the fact that I was 6 month post my operation. I mean really, is there anywhere better in the world to celebrate such a special day?! 

Anyway, back to the food, we all went for the Chicken with a tarragon sauce and potato puree. Oh my gosh, it was incredible! The sauce was packed with the right amount of mouth watering flavour, and I have never had such a smooth and delicious posh mashed potato. It was everything you would expect from a good Parisian meal, and in fact, maybe even a little bit more. It was so good, I had it twice.

Ladureé Paris

 

I’m sure this is somewhere that most people have probably heard of, and probably even been to if you have been to Paris, but it honestly is my favourite place to go in the whole world. My grandparents and I have a little tradition of what we have when we go in there, and all three of us absolutely love it. We always share a massive Pistachio cream cake as it is beyond rich, but honestly the yummiest cake in the whole entire world. I always have a Ladureé hot chocolate, which is thick and creamy and the best tasting hot chocolate in the world. I love how it comes in a beautiful silver jug and the waiters pour it in front of your eyes.

My grandparents actually had iced chocolates this time as it was such a hot day, but I just couldn’t stray from my tradition. This restaurant/ café is not just great for the food and drink, but the interior is the most beautiful design I have ever seen in my life. There is beautiful artwork on the ceiling, the most Parisian table and chairs and the attention to detail is just incredible. After our hot chocolates, I always then have to go into the shop next door and buy myself a ridiculously expensive box of macaroons. They are the best you can get and no others will ever compare once you have had those. My favourite flavours are the Pistachio and the Blackcurrant.

Café Palais-Royale

This restaurant is right by the Musée D’Orsay and is so traditionally French. It is a very easy going restaurant with dark leather interiors, perfect for a quick and delicious lunch. I opted for a hearty salad, with goat’s cheese, beans and that one of a kind French dressing. Again, that dressing really doesn’t taste the same anywhere else in the world. Paired with a delicious glass of wine, it couldn’t be a more perfect combination. In France, I am really always leaning towards a dry and crisp Rosé, which is something I cannot stand to drink at home. For some reason, I can never really find one that isn’t overly sweet. Paired with the goat’s cheese, it was ideal.

Shop this Post:

Black Coat – Ted Baker

Denim Jacket – New Look

Pink Bag – Mulberry England

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I have not been paid to feature any brands, and all views and opinions are my own.

 

4 Years of Lady Hunter

4 Years of Lady Hunter

Four years ago today, I wrote my first ever blog post. I’m pretty sure it was some sort of extremely cheesy introduction, probably incredibly boring with me just going on and on about how I needed to find a hobby and all the things I wanted to share on here. I can kind of forgive myself, as I hope you can too, as it was just the childish 16-year-old me writing on something in a way that I had never done so before. Before blogging, I had always felt like I was missing something – something to keep me occupied and somewhere to express all the thoughts and creative energy going on in my mind. I came up with the idea of starting a blog after I was sharing lots of photos on Instagram and really enjoying the thought process, taking and editing photos, as well as the engagement that I got from it. To be completely honest, I had never read a blog before and hadn’t even heard of the YouTube sensation, Zoella. I mean, I literally must have been living under a rock or something. I was never really someone who was constantly glued to their phone, so I guess that is why I didn’t really know that this huge blogging bubble industry really existed.

I still remember now running into my grandparent’s bedroom and screaming to my grandma ‘I’M GOING TO START A BLOG, I’M GOING TO START A BLOG!’ I was always coming up with new and extravagant ideas, so by this point she was probably just thinking it was another phase that I would not stop talking about. Well, four years later, I am still here and I think it probably is a shock to both of us!

“I am very excited to be writing my first ever blog. So, let me introduce myself. I am Abigail Hunter. I have been debating about whether to start a blog for a while, as i just love capturing all aspects of life and sharing it with people over social networking sites… my favourite being the amazing Instagram! I am a very passionate baker, even though I struggle to find the time with all these dreaded exams, however they will shortly be over and I will have a lot of time to bake and blog! I cannot stress enough how much I cannot wait to leave school and never have to wear my horrible uniform again. It is dreadful. This leads me nicely on to my next major love, fashion. As my best friend would probably tell you, I am very much in love with fashion, especially when it comes to shopping. I live with my grand-parents in Bristol, which means that I am able to take full advantage of grand-parent perks, such as clothes! It is truly fantastic.

Lady Hunter, May 9th 2014

OMG – I CANNOT READ THAT quote WITH A STRAIGHT FACE! So so so so cringe!

I say this a lot, but I am going to say it again anyway, blogging has become such a big part of me as a person, to the point where it has just become more than a part of my life. I think about the blog at all times of the day and night, whatever I am doing. It is like a baby, that I have to nurture, protect and drive to do well. Yes, sometimes it can be incredibly overwhelming, but that never seems to out scale how much enjoyment I get out of it. I don’t do this to make loads of money by becoming a successful blogger, or even to please and entertain others, it is very much something for me that just so happens to be read by others. I feel incredibly lucky to have found a hobby that I love, that can follow me through all the important stages in my life, as well as how I have used it to create a career for myself. I am not a full time blogger – but I do work in social media, and the jobs were opened up to me as a result of blogging. So in a weird way, all those hours of photographing, editing, writing and marketing the hell out of everything on social media really has paid off. It has saved me going to university for a degree and getting into lots of debt, as well as messing around for a few years working in a minimum wage job, not knowing at all what I actually want to do with my life.

I think my favourite thing about Lady Hunter is how it has already followed my life through some pretty tough and amazing times. I have got my life when I was a teenager at school, my proms, family holidays, choosing not to go to university, living a bit more in the real world, falling in love, becoming a cat mummy and going through major surgery. A lot has happened to me in the past four years, and I am so different to the girl who sat writing her first blog post on this date four years ago. It makes me feel so happy to know that I have that transition and time in my life documented somewhere that I know I can always come back to and hopefully it can follow me through with the next stage of my journey – travelling, buying a home, getting married and maybe even having a baby. I mean how incredible would it be to have all that on here?

I just wanted to put together a little post to reflect on the amazing four years Lady Hunter has had, getting the opportunity to work with some incredible brands, meet so many people through this online world and be able to share my experiences in a way that others can relate to what I have been through, and essentially help each other along the way. It also feels quite good to know that I have proved everyone wrong who has ever been nasty about me blogging, or just generally take the piss. It never really bothered me because I was enjoying it, but it is still quite a nice feeling to know that I have proved people wrong and carried on despite what they thought.

<3 <3 <3

This industry has become such a huge part of the world we live in, where companies actually get more traffic and customers out of working with bloggers than they do with original marketing strategies. I feel proud to be doing something that so many others creators do so beautifully, with their really being room for everyone to shine and appeal to different audiences. The blog itself has grown massively since I started, and I do always joke that it is like I only started properly last year. At the beginning of last year, I was going through a pretty tough time in my life and really used the blog to help me get through. I started to use photographers for my photos, I was writing much more detailed and thought out posts and in general started to get a lot more engagement. In the years before that, the blog wasn’t my priority and I didn’t have the time to do what I do now. Last year was when my motivational level for blogging really shot through the roof, and I was proud of the content I was creating. Over a year later, I hope that I am still producing just as good content, perhaps even better?

My 5 Favourite Blog Posts

In the last year I have got so many posts that I am so proud of, but these are probably the top five for photos and content!

Things I Need to Change

How I’ve Become More Confident

Become a Cocktail Expert with Fentimans

My Office Reveal

My Everyday Fashion Tips Ft. Joy Clothing

Do you have a favourite of mine?

<3 

Thank you so much to everyone who supports what I do, loves being a part of this journey and constantly motivated me every day to carry on doing what I love! xo

Shop this Post:

Top – Primark

Skirt – New Look

Belt – Gucci

Shoes – Lacoste

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Imagery by Hana Dallimore Photogaphy | Location: Anna Cake Couture, Clifton, Bristol

Birthday Celebrations & Venice

Birthday Celebrations & Venice

Last week I celebrated my 20th birthday, followed by a trip to Venice with my partner. I booked the tickets whilst I was in recovery and it was the perfect thing to look forward to when I was twiddling my thumbs away at home. Venice has always been somewhere that I have had a really big urge to visit, mainly because of the originality of it. When I started to tell people I was going everyone raved about it and couldn’t wait to tell me more. It made life so much easier with all the advice people had given us and the places we simply had to see. They were not at all wrong – it is one of the most amazing places that I have ever been and I simply cannot wait for the chance to get back.

Venice was the perfect way to celebrate entering my 20’s. It was the perfect place to relax and unwind, whilst also discovering the history and culture of the magical city.

 

My actual birthday was the day before we went to Venice, so I opted for a seriously chilled day. The first part was a lovely lie in, which actually was kind of different. My boyfriend had work that morning, so he woke me up early and gave me my presents. It was the perfect start to my birthday. I had giant balloons, my gifts and a delicious cinnamon roll cake with birthday candles. He really did pull out all the stops and it was perfect. In the day I then spent the day at my grandma’s house with my family, having a really chilled out lunch, lots of delicious pink Champagne and time to spend with everyone. In the evening I had to pack, which takes me a very long time regardless of where I am going, and had a lovely dinner. It was nice to just have a really chilled day before heading away.

 

On the Sunday our flight wasn’t until 3pm, so we had the morning the get organised and sort nelson the kitten out. He went to stay with my grandma, who I think found him a real handful! I am so not down for the early 4am flights – they make me feel so ill! Anyway, so we landed up getting to a very wet Venice at around 7pm. It was absolutely pouring and the streets were literally flooded. It wasn’t the best start to the trip, however once we were dry again and had food in us it was all good. Even though I hate the early flights, a part of me does really wish that we could have got there a little earlier as it would have been much less stressful figuring out where we were going in the light.

So we basically had two full days to explore the city, of which the first one was to go a little further afield and explore one of the islands just off from Venice. Once we had left the hotel, after breakfast, we walked to San Marco square which was only a convenient 5-minute walk from the hotel. The square itself is absolutely breath-taking, with the incredible architecture and views of the water. However, it was so busy with tourists, which isn’t particularly my favourite thing in the world. We then went to Murano, which was recommended by my boyfriend’s mum who had been there before. Murano is where they make the most beautiful glass, from fantastic vases to the most incredible chandeliers. The island itself is small and a real extension of Venice. The minute we got off the water bus we stopped for lunch on the island, where we landed up having a delicious meal and trying the most delicious balsamic vinegars. It was a real treat to learn so much about the history behind the gorgeous food, including vinegars, truffle oils and different kinds of pasta. Once we had eaten lunch, we walked around the island and went to have a look in the glass museum where we learnt about how they make the glass and the whole history behind it. It was such a mesmerising place to visit and somewhere I am now really glad I have seen. That afternoon we walked back through San Marco square to get back to the hotel, again taking in the beautiful views and buildings.

Late in the afternoon we decided to have a bit of a rest and go out a bit of a late dinner. Since my operation I am really not able to be walking around all day and seriously need an hour or two to recharge in the afternoon. It makes me feel like a complete old lady! Although, seeing as the holiday was also about having some time to chill, I didn’t feel guilty about my power nap. That evening we decided to just have a quick dinner, which consisted of red wine and tomato spaghetti which I had been craving for so long! I find it so hard to find really good tomato spaghetti.

 

The food in Venice was really good; I don’t know exactly what I was expecting but it was so nice to eat some proper Italian food and not feel guilty about eating all the carbs. The main thing I had learnt from other people’s previous experiences of Venice was that you need to be careful about where you eat and always check the prices. To be honest, we didn’t find it a problem at all. We stayed away from the squares and main tourist attractions and there was no problem at all. It was nothing like eating in Paris or Geneva. We stayed well within budget every day and I didn’t feel at all ripped off at any point. I had been told that the dish of the city was Spaghetti with Clams, which I can’t eat as seafood just doesn’t sit right with me. I am sure it is amazing though!

On the second day, we decided that we wanted to get lost in the city. Everyone had told us that the best thing to do is just to walk around all the little streets and see where you land up. So that is exactly what we did. We headed off over the Rialto bridge and just kept walking and walking. It was so magical to explore all the little streets and I couldn’t believe just how narrow some of them really were. We had lots of coffee stops enjoying the Italian espressos and stopped for lunch early in the afternoon and even managed to sit outside. I think everyone thought we were a little crazy but it was warm enough with coats on and there was a cover which was great for the two minutes it decided to rain. That day I had a beautiful Salmon dish, as well as lots of red wine which was perfect whilst watching the world go by. It was so sunny on the second day, which made walking around even more enjoyable. I must admit, I don’t think I would want to go there in the middle of August. The heat and the crowds would definitely be a bit much for me.

So again, after my inevitable afternoon nap, we decided to find somewhere really nice for our last dinner in the city. We looked on TripAdvisor and found somewhere really good which was luckily only two minutes away from the hotel. We had the most incredible dinner, lots of wine, a delicious steak and a crème brulee which was served on fire. I can actually say I have never seen that before! This place was so well placed in the city and an amazing place to really enjoy what food Venice has to offer. This was by far the best meal we had on the whole trip.

 

Overall I couldn’t rate Venice enough. It as a must see destination to visit and really was the perfect place to celebrate my birthday.

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Splendid Venice Hotel 

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