Monday, 30 June 2014

Holiday Purchases

Hello again, little blog! I got back from my holiday around North America and Canada on Tuesday and have spent the rest of the week recovering from the jet lag and general lack of sleep- getting up at 6 each morning to travel to and explore a new city is so tiring! However I would definitely recommend the experience though and will be going on more coach trips like this in the future- you get to see so much within a short period of time!

The above picture just goes to show how many hotels we stayed in this trip- I won't need to buy any shampoo and conditioner for a while!

Clothing-wise, I purchased the following:
From the duty-free shop in Niagara just before we crossed the boarder back to America, I bought this oversized 'Canada' hooded sweatshirt- complete with a picture of a beaver! I knew I wanted something Canada-related before we left so it was quite lucky that I found something I liked! This cost $24.99 which was very cheap in comparison to some of the ones I'd previous looked at!
I picked up the shoes for $9.99 in the Urban Outfitters sale. There is a cute hexagonal pattern on them and even though they remind me of the plimsolls I wore in Primary school I still really like them!
Both the lace top and grey skirt are from Forever 21. I thought the cream lace top would look nice with a pencil skirt for work and the texture and design of the skirt (it dips lower at the front and back) made it a must-have for me. Both of these items were $15-$19.
The striped crop-top was from the Zara sale, $9.99. It has the square back design that I really like in crop tops at the moment and the elasticated hem makes it a lot cuter. I'll be wearing this a lot this summer!
Lastly, I wanted to buy something special that I would use a lot to commemorate going back to one of my favorite places in the world: New York City. I'd walked past The Strand bookstore a few times during my trips and I love their motto 'where books are loved' so I thought that I'd remember my time here by buying one of their signature tote bags for $14.95.

Each time one of my family members wanted a drink or a snack it meant that I could have a look in an American supermarket, so I'd glue myself to the make-up and see what was available in the US that I couldn't buy at home. Some of the make-up seemed a lot more expensive here, but I was excited to see a 'Wet 'n' Wild' stand in CVS as their make up is stupidly cheap. The trio palette I bought was 'Silent Treatment' and all three of the colours are gorgeous. The lightest colour is very sheer and shimmery, the middle colour is quite dark but with golden flecks in it and the bottom colour is smoky- gorgeous! This cost me $3- although I have since seen these palettes on Amazon for £2.99 so I didn't save too much money. I'll definitely be having a browse at their other products online as I didn't have too much time on holiday! As well as this, I also bought an EOS lip balm in CVS as they're usually quite expensive on Amazon. I got the scent 'Strawberry Sorbet' for about $3 and it smells lovely and the balm itself is quite big.
We also managed to go to a Walmart in the US where I bought a couple of things. The first was this Revlon nail polish in the shade 'Minted' as I wanted to paint my nails a new colour while I was away. I had a look in the clearance section and managed to pick this up for $2.50 so I was very happy with that! From all the early mornings I felt like my face needed a little pick-me-up so I bought a new Neutrogena product to help me. I'd never used a power cleanser before and it makes my skin really soft! I've had a look at Amazon since and there are a few different varieties of refill packs available so I'll be stocking up from there when I run out! The product itself was about $9.00 and the refill packs were $5.00 so only a small decrease on the online prices.

Here is the miscellaneous section of my purchases. The first is your standard red plastic party cup that can be seen in every American teen house party in a movie. These are made out of thick plastic rather than the throw-away ones so I'll be able to keep it for longer, and I couldn't say no when they were $1!
I also bought a body spray from Forever 21 which supposedly smells like cherry blossom. I'll agree that it smells like this after the scent has died down, but beforehand it smells a bit odd so I won't be spraying this one in public! This cost $4.50.
Another thing I wanted to buy from Canada was maple syrup as it is known for it and I found an awesome stall in a food market selling these little glass bottles for $3. I've already tried it and it tastes so sweet- just need to make some pancakes to put it on now!
In Toronto we found the large indoor shopping mall and after 3 trips to the US looking for one, I finally found a Bath & Body Works that was easy to find! I didn't go all-out as we didn't have much time to shop before the mall closed but there was a 3 for $5 offer on their hand sanitisers so I got two while my Mum got one. I chose 'Perfect Beach Day' and 'Pink Chiffon'- both smell amazing!
I felt like I had to get some sweets for my team at work so also in the Duty-free shop I found these Niagara Falls saltwater taffy sweets. I've tried one and they are slightly too salty for me, but still taste alright.
Lastly I thought I would bring back the bottle of my favourite drink while I was away; flavoured Arizona Ice Tea. The raspberry one is my favourite, although I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with this glass bottle now!

My next post will probably be a gathering of my favourite pictures I took during the holiday- I did manage to post a video on my Instagram page every day while I was away so you can see what I got up to there if you're interested!
Hope you enjoyed this post!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Travel Essentials

As I mentioned in my April favourites, I'd been trying not to spend much money in May so that I had a lot more freedom when going shopping on holiday this week. It's been a lot easier as it was my birthday on the first of this month, so anything I wanted to buy I just said I would be getting for my birthday instead! I picked up a few things that I think are essential for travelling (on top of the obvious) and thought I would share them with you in a may favourites/travel essential mash-up.

My favourite thing to do when on holiday is to take pictures using my Nikon D3000 which I've had for a few years now and is a trusty camera that always seems to take a good-quality photo with ease. I love travel photography so a good SLR camera is essential for me to keep the best memories of the trip.

Another essential is music. Because of the 8-hour flight and travelling in a coach for a portion of the holiday my hefty iPod Classic needed an update; although I still need to put a few more recently released albums on there as most of it has been on there since I bought it 3-4 years ago! Another thing I like to do when travelling is save up all the YouTube videos I'd normally be watching and use a converter to put them on my iPod when I'm especially bored in the airport so that I can keep myself entertained with a few vlogs!
Headphones are also important as the ones they give you on aeroplanes are always the worst quality so I always make sure I have some in my bag that work really well; I've had my eyes on some rose gold ones I saw in TK max for a while but I'll keep with my older ones for now!

A product that I've recently decided is essential to a plane trip is a neck pillow. I've never seen the point in them, probably because I never sleep on planes, but I thought I'd get one for this trip because of the amount of travelling involved. I thought I would go all-out and get a memory foam one from TK Maxx as I assume that it will be a lot more comfortable than other types and because they clip at the front they can be attached to bags so they're not difficult to carry around. I also added some socks to my essentials as my feet always get really cold on the plane, especially when I'm wearing sandals to the airport!

Clothing-wise, I've just chosen the standard items that have found themselves in my suitcase as I've been packing. For the first time ever my Mum has commented that I haven't got enough clothes for the holiday in my bag, but I think this is because everything I've chosen is interchangeable so I can wear the same items a few times during the trip with different things. The 90's crop top has made its way back into shops and I love it. My favourite design comes from Miss Selfridge and I've bought three; the black and white striped (above) and the standard black and white ones. They go brilliantly with every other item of clothing I've packed; my black baggy trousers for travelling, kimonos, printed shorts, lace shorts and my two pairs of denim levi shorts. I've also packed a few more crop tops as they're perfect for hot weather as well as my birkenstock knock-offs from Primark which I really like. Shoes that are easy to take off are a good idea when going through baggage control to save time undoing laces and putting socks back on before you go through to duty free.

I always make sure I take my favourite beauty products with me on holiday with the help of some travel bottles from poundland, and my top choice is the Neutrogena Visably Clear range to clean and exfoliate my face and leave me feeling fresh each morning. I've already mentioned my love for Garnier's Micellar Water and it always does it's job of getting rid of all my makeup whatever I'm doing. I also like to bring my own shower gel simply because it smells a lot nicer than what is given in hotels!

Is there anything I've missed that is essential for my holiday?