Travel and lifestyle blog. Used to do beauty and throw some in for good measure now and again.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Gift Ideas for the Man in your Life

When it comes to getting presents for the males in my life, I always struggle. After having a few years experience buying presents for men, I feel I can put together a comprehensive gift guide together. As Christmas is around the corner, I hope I can shed some inspiration on this somewhat difficult matter whether it be your partner or your lil bro. 






Sports tickets - What man doesn't love some sort of sport? Whether it be football, rugby or cricket, try get tickets to a sport he really likes. If you can't afford that and it is a bit out of your price range, why not get tickets for a stadium tour? You can get football stadium tours to Old Trafford and Anfield for around £15 a ticket. 

A nice trip - It was my boyfriends 21st birthday recently and I took him on a trip to Liverpool. We visited Anfield stadium, stayed in a nice hotel and went for a meal by the docks. You can read my post here. A nice trip away, or a night away as I did, would be a great present for you and your partner to create memories together.

Aftershave - This is such a classic present for a man that has everything. Whether it be his favourite scent or a new one, almost every man wears aftershave. Expensive ones may be an ideal luxe gift to make him feel special. Men like to feel good too!

DIY Scrapbook - This is particularly effective when buying for a partner. Make him a scrapbook of his life or perhaps a scrapbook of your relationship. You could include photos of yourselves on holiday and tickets you got when being there ie. train tickets, attraction tickets and boarding passes. Believe it or not, men do actually like to be soppy. I made one for my boyfriends 21st and he loved it.

Money/Gift Vouchers - This is more useful if buying for a nephew or something, but you can't go wrong with a gift voucher. Teenage boys are going to love gift vouchers, and more so will love receiving money.

Gaming Things - If he has a Playstation or Xbox then why not get him a new game that has been released? There's always some new game phenomena! If you have a big budget, you could always get him a new console. You will definitely be in his good books for quite some time.

Make a personal gift box - I did this for my boyfriend last Christmas and he really liked it. I put some random favourites in there such as his favourite chocolate, a bottle of port, some Christmas socks and boxers, a mug and a scratch map. It is a thoughtful gift and then he has lots of presents to open (or look at!)

A Hip Flask - I feel this would be a great present for men both young and old, as what man doesn't like alcohol? The young en's like it to avoid paying ridiculous prices for drinks in the club and the old men like it as a nice sophisticated product. This hipflask from SWIG is such a nice present idea as they are designed to last for generations, a truly memorable keep-sake present which are of an amazing quality! You can buy gift sets and even get a hip flash engraved to make it super personal! This is their story:
"SWIG was born when the lightening storm of fate struck the electrolyte water of destiny, creating the wiggling proteins of inspiration, and I realised just how bloody hard it is to a buy a man a gift. At exactly the same time, I was also struggling to find a decent hip flask. Most were either comedy items or valuable antiques, and both impractical. So, clasping these twin problems in one hand, and a lightning bolt in the other, I forged SWIG: the UK’s first hip flask brand, dedicated to making the best flasks on the market, and perfect for gifting." 
I think it is a great gift idea, especially if you want to buy something that can be handed down through generations and is of the best quality. It is ideal for any man of legal drinking age and is a sophisticated and personalised gift.
So there are some ideas if you are struggling to think of what to get your boyfriend, dad, uncle, nephew, granddad or just your male friend this Christmas. Obviously, these gifts would be good for someones birthday too. Let me know if you have any more ideas, we can all help each other out!

 Lots Of Love,

Alice
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Sunday, 25 October 2015

A Surprise Trip To Liverpool

So recently I took a trip to Liverpool for the night as a surprise gift for my boyfriend. Some of his family originates back to Liverpool therefore he is a LFC supporter so I thought it would be nice to take him to Anfield stadium followed my a nice meal by the docks and a stay in a nice hotel. I really liked the city and would love to go back again. It makes me realise that there is more of England I need to discover: I haven't actually been to that many places in the UK! Anyway on with the post... hope you enjoy! (Apologies about the photography - I actually forgot to take my camera away with me so ended up taking pictures on my phone and the sizing of the photos messed up so some photos may be a little small! :( )


We began by visiting Anfield and I found it interesting to see the stadium as it is a world famous football club. The Steven Gerrard Collection in the museum at the end of the tour was particularly heart warming. 


We left the ground and headed for a bit of food and coffee at a really nice italian place where they sold traditional pizzas, coffee and gelato. We then headed to our hotel which was the Signature Living Hotel right in the city centre. Our bathroom came with a double jacuzzi bath which was rather cool and yes, that is a TV in the wall right there.


We then headed out to the Albert dock where we went for a nice meal. We went to Gusto which is a really nice italian restaurant. I'm not usually overkeen on chain restaurants but this one is rather special. It isn't too expensive but it isn't cheap either. There is a nice mixture of pizza, pasta and fish dishes. It felt particularly special as we were right on the Albert Dock. Before dinner, we had a drink sitting looking out at the docks. I had a Strawberry Dacquiri, my favourite.

 I didn't take many pictures of the food as it was quite dark but I managed to take one of the garlic pizza bread and olives we had. This wasn't even our starter. For starters we both had prawns. We also had a lovely bottle of wine to share and then I had prawn pasta for my mains.


After dinner, we headed to Seel Street which is supposed to be 'the place' for bars in Liverpool. We weren't really in the partying mood, we just wanted a nice drink. It was a Sunday night so it wasn't busy but we went into Alma de Cuba and had a nice glass of wine. We headed back to the hotel a little tipsy as you can probably see from the next photo.

The next morning, before we headed home, we went to Bills for breakfast. I think I chose badly though which is a shame as it is quite expensive. I went for pancakes (no bacon) and my boyfriend had pancakes with bacon. The pancakes were just quite thick which I think is the american style. I prefer them thinner as they are less stodgy that way. I didn't eat too much of my breakfast and kind of wish I went for something else, but oh well! I know for next time! It made for a good instagrammable picture though...

Despite the train drama I had before we left regarding tickets and the not-so-great breakfast, we had such a lovely time. It was a really nice way to spend a Sunday and part of Monday, away from the student life. The hotel was pretty luxurious and we enjoyed a day of exploring and a night of eating and drinking. My boyfriend seemed to like it so that's always good.

Have you ever been to Liverpool? Where do you recommend going there if I visit again?

 Lots Of Love,

Alice

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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Current Beauty Favourites

Hello everybody, long time no see! I have been super busy with university work and my life schedule is rather hectic. One weekend, I took my boyfriend on a trip to Liverpool and the weekend after, I spent 3 nights at his house down south. This weekend I am going back to Leeds and the weekend after that is my birthday weekend, so I have to cram my weekdays with work work work. That been said, I have a few blog posts scheduled so hopefully I won't be absent for too long from now on. As the title suggests, here are a collection of some of the beauty products that I have been loving. Enjoy!

1. Neals Yard Remedies Eye Make-up Remover / £11 / Link I purchased this product after a recommendation from a friend and I'm really glad I did. It is a really gentle product that removes mascara whilst hydrating and conditioning the lashes. I feel that a lot of eye make-up removers can be quite harsh on the eyes. I must say, it isn't like the oil based formulas that melt off your mascara in an instant and it probably wouldn't easily remove waterproof mascara. However, it doesn't take long to remove at all and I really like the fact it is made from all natural products and ingredients.

2. Make-up Forever Full Cover Concealer / $32 / Link My sister picked this up for me when she went to New York as the brand is unfortunately unavailable in the UK. It is a full coverage concealer but does not look cakey in the slightest. I do, of course, love the beloved Collection Lasting Perfection concealer but I do think this concealer has slightly more coverage and is less cakey. This is considerable more expensive though, but I know it is going to last me a LONG time as a little bit goes a long way. 

3. YSL Touche Eclat / £25 / Link My lovely boyfriend bought this for me at duty free in Madrid as he knew I really wanted it. He tried to surprise me with it in the past but ended up buying me the YSL mascara by accident. (Not complaining!) It is really brightening under the eyes and gives a nice glow. I think it is definitely worth the hype and is a staple product in any beauty lovers stash.

4. YSL False Lash Effect Mascara/ £25 / Link This is the mascara I previously talked about, the one that my boyfriend bought for me. At first I wasn't a big fan but now I love it! I think it may have been too wet when I first tried it out but now it has thickened up a bit, it gives a much better effect. It is quite pricey but I definitely think it is worth it for the luxurious packaging.

5. Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner / £18.50  / Link I tried using gel eyeliner a while ago and purchased the Maybelline one. After lots of disuse, it soon dried up. I only really wear eyeliner when I go out on an evening but gel is definitely my preferred eyeliner so I thought I would try it again. I was in El Corte Ingles in Madrid (I did a Madrid beauty haul post - read here) and I got this one to try out. I love it so much that I have been wearing it so much so it HAD to be in my current beauty favourites.

So there are my beauty favourites of the moment. Let me know if you have any of these products and what you think about them.

 Lots Of Love,

Alice
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Saturday, 3 October 2015

My Incredible Trip To Halkidiki

Recently I went on holiday to Halkidiki, a beautiful part of northern Greece. I stayed at the Ikos Oceania hotel for one week and it was so dreamy! From the food to the incredible sunsets, it was a trip I miss already. I definitely want to go back next year as it was pure luxury and relaxation. It isn't what a lot of people think when you say 'all inclusive'. It is way more than that. In the hotel, there are 4 a la carte restaurants; 2 of which have a michelin star menu. But I'll get on to that soon! Warning: it's going to be quite a photo heavy post, but I enjoy that. Hope you like hearing about my trip!


The views from our room were incredible. As the sun set, Mount Olympus appeared, which was magical as you cannot see it during the day. I can imagine this was pretty magical back in the days of Ancient Greece. We also had  a view of the deluxe pool and the glistening sea. We actually went as a Deluxe guest as it wasn't too much more expensive and all the added extras were worth it. The deluxe block with the deluxe pool was in a great location and we also got a bottle of champagne on arrival as well as a complimentary massage. Deluxe guests also got a section of the beach to themselves as well as a private dinner on the beach. We did this and it was so lovely. Read about this later on!


My room

Views the day we arrived. I fell asleep here due to the tiredness from travelling and woke up thinking 'Wow where am i?!'


View from the balcony

View from the balcony



The food at the resort was amazing. As it was all inclusive, everything was free but you would think you were paying hundreds of pounds for the meals. As well as the Mediterranean buffet 'Flavors', there were 4 a la carte restaurants: an Italian, Greek, French and Asian. The Italian and Greek had michelin star menus but I thought all of them were fantastic.

We ordered room service as soon as we got there as it was 4pm and the restaurants had closed. I had a stir fry type thing with rice noodles, aubergine, courgette and pepper in a stir fry-esque soya sauce.  It was delicious. One morning, we had room service for breakfast. I'm not really into eating meat so I just had some crossaints with honey and jam as well as some fruit and orange juice. Another comment to make about the hotel was the quality of food. Never have I been to an all inclusive that serves chickpea curry and real vegan/vegetarian options, it was fantastic. Gone were the days of burgers, chips and pizza at tacky resorts.
Smoked salmon & avacado nibbles and cocktails by the pool

We also could have a dine out experience as part of our all inclusive package which meant we could go into the local town and eat at a local restaurant. I had mousakka - real greek food! It was nice to sit by the harbour with the locals and see what they were eating.

Aside from laying by the pool, we went for a look around the local town Nea Moudania. We did this the morning before eating there actually. We also took some pedalos out and did some kayaking. I wanted to try paddle boarding but you needed a lesson beforehand so we didn't bother. It felt so good to be looking out to sea feeling the heat of the sun and being able to slide down the slide into the clear sea. It made me realise that I really didn't want to leave this beautiful place! We even saw jellyfish and fish in the water which was cool. (Although, made me unwilling to go in the sea that day!) I also participated in aqua aerobics, morning yoga in the pool and beach yoga which was a pretty cool experience! We got a free massage too so that was a brilliant way to start the holiday and was definitely painful at the start as I had some serious knots in there!



The most amazing part of the holiday is when me and my boyfriend had a romantic dinner on the beach. Luckily, noone else that had this deluxe benefit had booked to have this on the same day so we had the private beach to ourselves as well as a private waiter. It was the menu from the greek restaurant which was great for us as we went there at the start of the week and loved it. Before you order, you get bread, olive paste, Tzatziki, hummus and anchovies. Real greek meze.


It was an amazing trip and I recommend the Ikos Oceania hotel if you  fancy a romantic holiday to Greece! It's very luxurious and the staff couldn't do enough to make your trip incredible. (This post is not sponsored at all, I just loved it!) I hope you enjoyed this post and if you want to see the outfits I wore on holiday, here's a link to my last post where I did a Greece outfit diary!

 Lots Of Love,

Alice
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