Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Hot in Miami

A few weeks ago there was an instagram post with pictures from the USA and then a USA Beauty Haul of some of the goodies that were picked up but I haven't actually posted about some of the wonderful things that we got to do when we were in the great big US of A.

First stop for us was the city of Miami. I'm not going to lie, the reason we went is because we are both obsessed with the television series Dexter and thought that Miami looked like a cool place to visit. 

Warning this is picture heavy.

We arrived in Miami on a Saturday evening. After queuing for what seemed like hours getting through immigration we picked up our convertible treat, popped the roof down and pulled out of the car park...where it was absolutely chucking it down. We looked like such idiots having to stop and pull over to put the roof back up. After a hairy drive to our hotel in the dark and rain, driving on the wrong side of the road we made it. The rain continued but the next day the sun was shining. 

We started the day with a little trip to the beach...I mean come on it was South Beach!!!! Amazing beach and those gorgeous art deco hotels and pastel colours.

Oh yeah I was a total geek and carried around my East Coast Lonely Planet like a comfort blanket along with the Trip Advisor city guide app. They both had a couple of walks that would take you around the sights of South Beach so I thought (lesson learnt) that it would be a good idea.

I just loved these gates. I mean they have Flamingos on.

Our little walk took us to the arts center and its little park outside. It is a weird inside out building but it was quite cool to look at. We happened by chance across the Lincoln Mall. To me an American mall is a massive out of town building but this was so not that and so cool and different. First of all it was all outside. So a bit like a really big (clean and well manicured) high street. As it was a Sunday there was a market on, and lots of restaurants serving brunch. 

In Lincoln mall were these 2 buildings that I had to take photos of. The first is the first church in Miami and it was just so cute and I loved how it looked. The second is an old style movie theatre which I felt just totally epitomised the architecture and art deco style that Miami is famous for.

The next little find was Espanola Way which wasn't much to behold on a sleepy Sunday morning but...

...we headed back that night and it had transformed into a little Spanish style piazza. A lively street with restaurants and pastel ice cream parlors  and magical lighting. It was buzzing in the evening and we had our alfresco dinner at a Cuban style restuarant yum yum.

The walk wasn't such a great idea because let me tell you it was HOT HOT HOT which made it almost impossible to enjoy. So we headed back to the hotel and grabbed our car to go cruising around South Beach including Ocean Drive which we were unable to stop on so there are no photos :-(

Such a massive fan girl - on my itinerary (and trust me there was an itinerary) was a trip to DASH. Lots of skinny and expensive clothes in here but picked up a few souvenirs for my equally obsessed sister.

A couple of food highlights. The first was an amazing mojito from the Cuban restaurant. For obvious reasons it wasn't Cuban but the restuarant had over 40 types of rum and so I had to get the waiter to talk me through a few options. I choose well and thoroughly enjoyed this.  The second is the husbands hot dog. I should have put his arm next to it so you could see the size of it. My lunch was Calamari which turned up on a huge platter and on further inspection was a pound of the battered rings! I just thought this was so American - large hot dog, wrapped in ham covered in warm cheese *food memories*.

Organising a trip like this is difficult and I was really struggling to work out where to stay. I randomly tweeted Ruth from A Model Recommends because I had seen a few posts of hers from Miami and so wanted to see if she had any recommendations. She did have a few and I went for Townhouse. This is just on the corner of 20th Street and Collins Avenue so in the middle of all the action in South Beach. Its a paired back, relaxed boutique hotel that has no art deco elements about it at all. It is white, white, white with highlights of red all over it and so cute that you get a Townhouse beach ball on your bed.

A cool roof terrace was our respite on the afternoon after our little tour around South Beach and if you craned your neck over the balcony and looked right you could just see the ocean.

Our second day in Miami really was a highlight and I was able to tick off one of the 3 things I had on my 'must do' list for our trip and that was swimming with dolphins.  We headed to downtown Miami to the Seaquarium where we had booked ourselves on the Dolphin Odyssey

In small groups we were invited into the pool to meet the dolphin pod that we would be interacting with. There are 3 different pods at the seaquarium and they take it in turns to work and play. The instructors are really entertaining and informative about the animals you are sharing the water with and know who each of the dolphins are and their individual personality traits. 

We got to do a few tricks and feed the dolphins and watch them from underneath the water. They were real posers and we were able to have a photo together cuddling the dolphin. A couple of times we had to get out of the water because they were misbehaving a little. The finale was the dorsel fin pull to the other side of the tank. It is just amazing to see how powerful but graceful these animals are.

The last photo is the peacock at the seaquarium who put on a full display for us and just looked stunning in the fading Miami sunshine.

We ended the day driving to Orlando.

Have you been to Miami and if so what did you get up to?

Monday, 26 August 2013

Rocking Benefit

Well it didn't take much convincing to add this beauty to my collection as soon as I heard it was a rose gold shimmery shade. I've long been obsessed with anything 'rose gold' and am still on my quest to get the perfect eyeshadow. It is generally more flattering and subtle than a plain gold or silver.

This was hyped and they have done flash sales releasing it on Benefit counters for one day only and then for 3 days only in Debenhams before the full launch which is where I picked this up - with beauty points on top of course.  

Benefit blushers are always of high quality and I already own Coralista, Dandelion and Hoola (if you consider that a blusher). This is different as it has this great design set into the blusher to really show off the products highlighting potential.

What you get is a warm shimmer that is perfectly buildable to give you the level of intensity that you want. It is shimmery and so you can skip the highlighter for a perfectly acceptable day time look. It has that beautiful floral scent that I associate with the Benefit box blusher collection.

The only negative is that as soon as you use it the 3D pattern starts to break down taking it from pristine to well loved in a couple of days. 

If I'm honest this isn't going to replace Coralista as the best Benefit blusher but it certainly comes a close second.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Blog Sale Buys

So a couple of weeks ago the lovely Emma from Glossy Boutique had a little blog sale and I just so happened to log on to bloglovin when this was at the top of my feed. It took me all of a couple of minutes to have sent her an email asking for these 2 premium products.

The first being this gorgeous Clarins Odyssey palette in 09 which a little google has shown me is from last years Christmas collection. Look at how amazingly gorgeous the gold packaging with motif is. 

You open this up and the first thing you see is the GLITTER and I was excited. The other colours that you get a beautiful nude shimmers offering just the right amount of sheen to make them constantly wearable. Wearable is an understatement because I shed a little glitter tear when I have to take these off at night - I've been wearing them everyday.

I've been wearing the lighter shade all over with the top left mid-brown in the creases. The dark brown is great for a smokey eye, but it makes a great eyeliner a little less harsh than black which I apply with a damp brush to get the best colour pay off. 

The glitter is amazing and is best patted on and I've been loving it in the corner of my eyes. Below are some quick swipes but I can attest to them also looking amazing when applied with a damp brush. 

I've never really been interested in Clarins make up but I now can't wait to see what they have in store for us this Christmas. 

The second thing I picked up was the Hello Flawless powder in the shade 'Honey' which I had previously been colour matched to at the Benefit counter. 

There is not too much to say about this other than it is a seriously mattifying powder that does give you that flawless finish. It took a little while to get used to it and I was a bit heavy handed at first and suffered from the dreaded 'cakey' look. 

I have now got to grips with it and use it on my T-zone and nose on those days where I need a long lasting non-shiny look!

Thank you Emma for these lovely pieces and I will definitely be making purchases from blog sales again if something catches my eye. 

Have you managed to buy some lovely things from blog sales? Link them up so that I can read your reviews. 

Friday, 2 August 2013

The Lovely Lady Lena

I haven't been living in Bristol a long time and can probably count my friends on one hand so I was thrilled to be invited to a new chums hen party. I was even more excited when she said it would be in Bath which is fast becoming one of my most favourite places ever!

It was such a special day with an intimate crowd determined to let this bride to be enjoy her last day (well almost) of freedom in style. The maid of honour booked us on a river cruise that was just a little bit special so I wanted to share. 

 From Bath Top Lock we were met by the most beautiful boat, with its blue and white awning, carpet and crystal glassware. This little boat has serious character. Owned by Jenks and Helen who have lovingly restored her to her former glory she effortlessly glides between Bath and Bathampton along the Kennet and Avon canal. 

A pop of the champagne cork and we were off. Treated to wild life, a fine cream tea and many a stag party easing their way into the morning and heading to their next watering hole.

  Helen was a wonderful host, and the couple are clearly well thought of along the water way stopping to grab teas from a floating cafĂ© and waving at many a boat owner. 

We gentley chugged our way along, enjoying the scenery, the sun and the hen party goodie bags. Helen told us the story of the Lady Lena and the times they have had on it. Of course we wanted to hear about the proposals and the one that got a 'no' - awkward on a 2 hour boat ride!

This couldn't be a more perfect treat for a blushing bride and her hens particularly if you are serious about vintage style. 

After leaving the boat we headed to the Thermae Bath Spa to relax a little more before our night out. No pictures allowed in there I'm afraid but I'm happy to report it was as wonderful as ever. 

Have you been to a hen do in Bristol and Bath? What did you do?