Super (face) food

Earlier this week I attended an event at The Body Shop, Trafford Centre, for the launch of their new superfood face masks. What else can I say other than I absolutely loved it and now want so many of their products! The evening started with an introduction to each of the masks, what they contained and what skin type they were best suited to. Following this we had chance to chat with the skin care expert 1-to-1 about our skin concerns and what products would be best for our skin concerns. This was really interesting for me and made me realise that I really don’t look after my skin enough! If you are ever popping into The Body Shop I’d definitely recommend speaking to one of their skin care experts to help determine what could work for your skin.

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One of Trafford’s lovely skin care experts.

Now more on those superfood face masks, I’ll give a very quick breakdown of them below and link each to The Body Shop website in case anyone wants to know more…

This is the best selling superfood mask by The Body Shop at the moment and the one I tried at home (thank you to The Body Shop Trafford Centre for the cute goodie bag I received at the event). The mask was lovely and cooling when I applied it, it is a clay mask that dries firmly. It probably wasn’t the best choice for my skin type (dry) as it absorbs excess oil but I was still really pleased with the results and felt my skin looked more ‘glowy’ afterwards. I also felt that it exfoliated my skin without being overly harsh like some exfoliators on the market can be.

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Trying out the Himalayan Charcoal Mask – dare to mask!
  • British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask: 100% vegan gel face mask, ideal for skin that needs re-hydrating to its dewy glow. This mask is designed to soothe and tone skin whilst also moisturising.

This seemed like a good choice for my dry skin and it’s already on my Christmas list!

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  • Ethiopian Honey Deep Nourishing Mask: 100% vegetarian melting face mask that assists in the restoration and replenishing of skin. Designed for skin that requires a dose of moisture to feel soft and smooth again.

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This mask felt amazing when I tested it on my hand – I’d love to give this is one a try as my skin tone is quite uneven. This mask is also on my Christmas list!

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All of the new superfood masks are priced at £15 each. The Body Shop are also offering Students 30% off until 31st October 16, visit Trafford’s instagram for the in-store discount code.

Speaking of Christmas lists (I am too early) I couldn’t resist listing some other items that I spotted in store and that were also recommended to me on the evening…
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 This was a lovely foamy cleanser used by the skin care expert on the night, the Drops of Light range is designed to help brighten the skin. This is definitely something I’m looking for as my skin is dry it can look quite dull. (£12).

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I also saw this cleanser being used on the evening and just loved the idea of the soothing camomile to wipe away the days make up. It can even remove waterproof makeup. (£10).

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 I noticed this gorgeous body moisturiser whilst browsing the store, mainly due to its cocktail connotations! I had to give it a try and my gosh did it smell amazing. It also soaked in to my skin super fast, what more could a girl want from a body moisturiser. (£8)
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Glamorous Monkeying Around

Being a student has it perks, the main one being having 6 weeks off over the summer! This means extra time to explore (especially when the great British weather is being so kind to us at the moment), so last week I went somewhere I have been wanting to go for sooooo long… Trentham Monkey Forest!  The Monkey Forest is located in Stoke on Trent situated in a 60 acre woodland, and you guessed it, in this woodland are lots of MONKEYS (140 Barbary macaques to be precise)! The forest is pretty unique as the beautiful macaques monkeys are able to roam freely within it, unlike some zoos were they can be quite confined, these endangered monkeys live very similarly to how they would in the wild. Even luckier for us, we get to watch without having to peer through bars and cages – it feels so much more natural this way!

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Visitors can roam the trail, walking amongst the monkeys (literally amongst – they walk or even run straight out within metres of your feet) in the beautiful surroundings of the forest. It’s just amazing to see the monkeys ‘doing their thang’, naturally play-fighting, cleaning each other and watching over their young. If you’re looking for a trip out for a couple hours I so recommend it! Keep an eye out in the pic’s below for the baby monkeys – they are just too cute… I couldn’t let you see all the monkey pictures just yet could I!

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Now where does the glamorous part come in?! I thought what a perfect opportunity to do a quick outfit post while I’m in such an amazing setting. Not wanting to go too glam I opted for a casual jumpsuit from where else but ‘Glamorous’. It was a hot day so it seemed pretty perfect as it was light, flowy and looked good teamed with a pair of trainers for walking around in. When I planned the outfit it was still available online, but it now seems to have sold out :(. Butttttt…check out this other cute jumpsuit from Glamorous that I’m also crushin’ on here (and its in the sale). I picked up the sunglasses recently from Topshop before my Italy travels, you can check those out here.

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The moment you’ve all been waiting for…MORE MONKEYS!

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The Dizzy Heights of Florence

My tour of Italy continues onto Florence. After catching the train from Pisa to Florence we made our way from the station to our super cute boutique hotel ‘Borghese Art Palace Hotel‘. The hotel was 4 star and I absolutely loved it, the standard of service was excellent from the buffet breakfast to the receptionists and concierge who were all so friendly and welcoming. Our room was lovely and I felt so comfortable there, it also had an amazing mirror for selfies…what more can an aspiring blogger ask for! Let’s not forget its great location which was 5 minutes walk from the main attraction ‘Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore’ (Florence Duomo to you and I) and the adjoining Giotto’s bell tower.

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Borghese Art Palace Hotel.
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The beautiful hotel bar in the evening.

Although we only had a 2 night stay in Florence we actually only had 1 full day to go sightseeing. Our main goal for this day was to climb to the top of the 3 main attractions: the Duomo cupola (463 steps), Giotto’s bell tower (414 steps) and Arnolfo’s tower at Palazzo Vecchio (416 steps). With all these steps you can see why I called this post ‘The Dizzy Heights of Florence’. Climbing to the top of these attractions is a great way to see the beautiful views Florence has to offer, Giotto’s bell tower was a particular favourite for me as it offered such great views of the Duomo. You can buy a combined ticket for all 5 monuments in the Piazza Duomo for €15 – this includes the cupola, bell tower, baptistery, crypt below the cathedral and Opera del Duomo Museum. This ticket can be bought from the main ticket office in the duomo or you can buy online here. If you buy your tickets from the ticket office PLEASE make sure you go to one of the electronic machines afterwards. These machines allow you to then book a time to enter the attractions, without a time you have to queue for hours. Booking a time at the machine allows you to skip the line at your scheduled time and costs NO extra. Unfortunately it seems a lot of people are unaware and spend hours waiting in line. Now cue the tourist photo’s…

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Duomo & Bell Tower
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Duomo
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View of Duomo from Bell Tower
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View of Duomo from Bell Tower
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Bell Tower
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Duomo
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View of Duomo from Bell Tower
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View of Palazzo Vecchio
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Looking down through floor of the Bell Tower
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‘Gates of Paradise’ on the Baptistery. These are actually a copy – the original doors can be seen preserved in the Opera del Duomo Museum.

Palazzo Vecchio and the surrounding square, Piazza della Signoria, was also beautiful and the Jan Fabre art exhibit of a man riding a giant golden turtle was something I particularly loved. Palazzo Vecchio was a medieval fortress that has been restored and allows visitors to climb Arnolfo’s tower and also see its museum. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit the museum (and we probably wouldn’t have given it the attention it deserved) so just opted to climb the 416 steps of the tower (Tower only = €10/€8 students. Museum & Tower = €14 / €12 students). I really enjoyed this climb as it wasn’t quite as busy as the duomo and bell tower which made exploring the different levels more fun, I felt less pressured to return down to make room for more people.

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Duomo view from top of Arnolfo’s Tower
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Piazza della Signoria
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Inside Palazzo Vecchio
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Jan Fabre Art Exhibit
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Palazzo Vecchio / Piazza della Signoria

One evening we decided to walk over to the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge, unfortunately all the shops on the bridge were closed, I think this may have been because we visited in August which is when a lot of Italians holiday for Ferragosto. At first we were a little disappointed (at this point it was still light), but once the darkness drew in the bridge really showcased its charm and beauty. The main picture below was taken from a little restaurant/cafe just over the bridge and on your first right turn – unfortunately I forgot the name! It had a small cosy terrace overlooking the bridge as offered stunning views…and obviously some delicious wine!

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Palazzo Vecchio view from Cafe.

Last but not least (as food and wine are involved) I thought I’d mention a couple of bars and restaurants we went to. The first night we got a bit peckish so went for a midnight feast at a Mexican called Tijuana on the same street as our hotel. Mexican in Italy – I know what you’re thinking! WHY? Well sometimes in Italy, you can get a bit pasta and pizza’d out (this coming from me who can never get enough pizza). We got the chicken fondue and it was AMAZING! We also had a margarita each and they were HUGE, any they definitely packed a punch.

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Tijuana Mexican restaurant.

Lastly, was this cute little bar we found whilst wandering home from Palazzo Vecchio, the decoration inside was so edgy – I just loved it and couldn’t resist giving it a mention.

I hope you enjoyed my whirlwind tour of Florence, if you have any questions about Florence or are thinking of heading there get in touch. Love…Jessica Ann xxx

Pit Stop in Pisa

This is my first travel post following my recent tour around Italy. My short tour of Italy began with what I can only describe as a pit stop in Pisa, mainly due to the fact I was unfortunately only there for around 16 hours before catching a train to Florence. The stay was short but sweet and I really enjoyed my quick tour of Pisa and of course its main attraction – The Leaning Tower of Pisa.

My flight landed pretty late at night and I caught a taxi from outside the airport to my hotel in the centre of Pisa, the taxi ride only took around ten minutes which was great but it did cost around €15. If it was daytime I may have jumped on a bus to save a few pennies.

The hotel I stayed was rated 3 star and named The Royal Victoria Hotel. I paid approximately £50 for 1 room and 2 guests. A buffet breakfast, wi-fi and and air-conditioning were all included in this price. The hotel was quaint with old fashioned architecture and marble floors which I loved, it had a very Italian feel. The room was quite basic and small, however we didn’t mind this as we were only there for one night. Despite being basic the room was quite charming, again with some old fashioned features as you can see in some pictures below (sorry they are a bit dark as I took them in the evening when we arrived). The hotel had a great location overlooking the river, one particular reason I chose this hotel was it close proximity to the leaning tower and also the train station for my train to Florence. It was central to both locations being a 10-15 minute walk to each.

Royal Victoria Hotel View and Room Features

 

The next morning we helped ourselves to the breakfast buffet which was pleasant and consisted of cereals, toast, ham, cheese, yoghurt and a selection of fruit. We then headed to the ‘square of miracles’, where the tower and other attractions are located.

The tower really is incredible to look at, how it is still standing I will never know! Not only can you just look at the tower, and get your ‘pushing the tower over’ photo, but you can also climb it. We booked online in advance which you can do up to 20 days in advance here. I recommend doing this as places are limited book and ticket queues on the day can be VERY long. Before queuing up outside the tower at your designated time, make sure to place your bags in the cloak room near the ticket office as no bags are allowed to be taken inside.

The views from the top of the tower were lovely, showcasing the Cathedral and the square. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of the view as I had left my camera bag in the cloak room. It was great fun climbing the tower as the stairs really sloped so it was an interesting experience. Although tickets are pretty ‘steep’ at €18 per person it’s still something that I’d thoroughly recommend.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa and Duomo

 

The tower is not the only attraction to see in the square, there are 5 others! These include:

  • The Cathedral (duomo) – free entry.
  • The Baptistry (the small circular building)
  • The Camposanto (cemetery)
  • Museo dele Sinope
  • Museo dell’Opera del Duomo

These sights can be visited on a combined ticket which can be purchased from the same website as for the tower tickets. You can also find further information on each of the attractions in the ‘square of miracles’ on this website. For €5, €7 or €8 per person you can visit 1, 2 or 3 of the attractions. Both museums were closed at the time of our visit, therefore, we opted for the €7 ticket and went inside the cathedral (free), Baptistry and Camposanto.

Baptistery and Camposanto Gardens

Once you’ve finished sight seeing, the lush grassy areas outside the attractions are perfect for a gelato and a spot of sunbathing. If you have any questions regarding Pisa please comment :)! Next stop Florence…

 

Tantastic…

I’m finally back from my Italy travels, unfortunately :(. But on a plus note I have so many blog posts planned that will keep me busy while I’m off for the summer. I thought I’d start with a quick one to showcase a super cute tan bikini from Serein Studios that I ordered online just before I went away. I’m pretty nervous for this post as you don’t often see pictures of me in a bikini but this bikini is too good not to share.

I hadn’t heard of the brand before until a friend posted a picture of this tan bikini on Instagram and I just had to have one too! All bikinis are made to order so take around 7-10 days to arrive. Mine came in 7 days and arrived in a cute plastic packaging, I was so pleased with it – the material is super soft and comfy. I’ll link the website below so you guys can check them out as there are 5 different colours available and also different styles of tops and briefs. Happy holiday shopping!

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Tan Bikini Top – Serein Studios

Tan Bikini Bottoms – Serein Studios

Statement Trainers…

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Today I went shopping for some holiday clothes at the Trafford Centre, Manchester. I love that the Trafford has so many shops under one roof, it’s perfect for rainy days like today. I was a bit nervous having my photos taken with this being my first fashion post and fellow shoppers wandering by kept giving me the nervous giggles but I hope you guys enjoy!

When I go shopping a comfortable outfit is a must. How do some girls manage to shop in heels – queue me toppling down an escalator (this has actually happened to me)! Due to my clumsiness and need for comfort (this might be related to long days as a student nurse), I usually go shopping in trainers so today seemed like a perfect opportunity to style up my new super bright green Nike Huaraches. I picked these up in the ASOS sale and I’m just in love… (all outfit links below)

 

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I ordered this cute wrap around choker from ASOS earlier this week, I was worried that it wouldn’t suit me but I really love it. Surprisingly, it also seems to just go with anything! Linked below.

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I got this cute little Radley bag back in May for my birthday and I just love it, it’s the perfect size for days out or nights out and the grey colour just seems to go with everything. Unfortunately this colour is now sold out but there is a beautiful dusty pink colour amongst others – links below.

Trainers – Nike from ASOS

Body – Topshop

Choker – Reclaimed Vintage at ASOS

Shirt – Topshop Petites, now sold out. Similar here.

Jeans – Binx Jeans at Topshop, now sold out. Similar here or here.

Bag – Radley

Olympus PEN arrival!

So my Olympus PEN EPL7 has just arrived and I’m so excited about it I had to share a little picture with you all.

I ordered the Olympus PEN E-PL7 Compact System Camera in White + 14-42mm EZ Lens from Jessops and also treated myself to the matching Olympus Nude Shoulder Strap because I just couldn’t resist the nude vibes.

Isn’t it just a total beaut! I can’t wait to get shooting with it and officially start my blog.

First things first…erm how exactly do I use it?

So here it is…my first blog post

Hey guys, so here it is…my first blog post. I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a while now, but I have been a bit nervous as to where to start. So wish me luck! I’m a regular northern girl, currently a student nurse, who loves fashion, travel, and pretty much any furry creatures.

I’ll be starting my blog over the next week or two with some holiday fashion as i’m due to touch down in Italy two weeks tomorrow after finishing my first year at uni (excited much)! I’m currently waiting for my Olympus PEN camera to arrive which I’m super excited about (eeek), so keep checking back for my first ‘real’ post which will lay down some of my holiday essentials.

If you like any of my posts please leave a comment or drop me any enquires over on the contact page.

Love

Jessica Ann xxx