Friday, 17 October 2014

How to buy perfume without smelling it first



Some of us don't live in big cities and our nearest beauty hall is a decent car drive away so buying things like perfume, which is a very personal and individual thing, can be difficult without making that trip out in the car. I've bought a few perfumes online now without trying them first but it can be quite worrying at first, especially if you're spending over £20 on something which you've never smelt in your life!

Basically, you'll probably notice that there are some keywords which are used when describing perfume; 'fresh', 'floral', 'fruity' and 'oriental' are all common words used by brands and shops to describe scents. Generally people tend to favour certain types and I now know which keywords to look for when choosing perfume and which ones to avoid.

I really aren't keen on 'fresh' perfumes (Davidoff Coolwater) and I also don't tend to go for overly floral perfumes like Marc Jacobs Daisy and Chloe. I look for keywords like 'oriental' because it puts more of a musky, spicy spin on the perfume... it can also makes it a stronger scent which can be very easily recognised if you smell it on someone else. My number one perfume of all time is Jean Paul Gaultier which is a heavy floral-oriental perfume; so I look for those keywords in the descriptions of other fragrances. Perfumes with similar descriptions are Armani Code, Valentino Valentina*, Dolce & Gabbana The One and Gucci Guilty so it seems sensible for me to choose something which has a similar description.

To do this yourself you just need to do is look at the perfumes on your dressing table and have a quick google to see what the keywords are used when they're described then have a browse on some different perfume websites (as they all have their own ways of categorising perfumes) and you should find something that's perfect for you without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Do you prefer fresh or oriental scents?

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Sunday, 12 October 2014

Rhodes 2014

So I lied a little in my previous blog post title and made out I was going to Jamaica, but this time I actually have been to Rhodes; Not as exotic or as far away as a Caribbean Island but every bit as enjoyable. We went at the end of the season (1st October - 8th October) so it was quieter than normal but most things were still open and the weather was still gorgeous (between 24 and 29 degrees all week!). We stayed in a hotel called Sentido Port Royal Villas and Spa which was in the small, lesser known resort of Kolymbia (also spelt Kolimbia); the hotel was like nothing I've ever seen before...




It had 2 pools, 3 restaurants and the rooms were arranged in blocks rather than just being one big block of balconies which really set it apart from other hotels. We had a standard pool view room but the view was still amazing (first photo is the view from the balcony) and the room was amazingly spacious with a massive bed, sofa, flatscreen TV and mini bar. 


View from the back balcony (was a tad windy that evening!)

The only thing about the hotel was that the evening entertainment wasn't great and drinks were very expensive if you weren't all inclusive (we were half board) so we tended to venture out every night or stay in our room and watch films (might sound sad but we don't really get to watch TV and films at home because we work a lot so it's a luxury to just be able to relax in front of the tele). We hired a car for 3 days which was a very reasonable 100 euros and used it to travel to neighbouring resorts. One night we went to a Greek night in at the 'Cannon Bar' in Falaraki; our friends stay there every time they go to Rhodes so we thought we'd pay a visit to see what all the fuss was about...




The owner, George, was grilling fresh octopus caught that morning served with garlic bread and there was lots of shouting and singing coming from his direction. As the night progressed (and the carafes of wine were flowing on my table!) the plate smashing and Greek dancing started which was really fun to watch and George really made an effort to try and get everyone involved. I'd highly recommend a visit to the Cannon Bar if you're around Falaraki; it happens every Saturday night at 9pm.

We also took a trip to Rhodes Town in the hire car (the driving there really does leave something to be desired; safety is not on their list of priorities!!!) and we explored the old walled town for a while and also paid a visit to Sephora (what I want to know is why Greece can have a Sephora and we can't?!)






Rhodes Town although busy, is a really beautiful place and the old walled town really does take you back in years to how life used to be there with the maze-like streets and old medieval buildings. If I was to go to Rhodes again I'd probably be quite tempted to stay in a Boutique hotel in Rhodes Town... it has the hustle and bustle of the city but with a Greek touch. 


And then of course, the main reason why I love any Greek island... the food! I love pitta breads and taramasalata and tzatziki dips, I could literally eat them until they come out of my ears! 

Have you visited a Greek island? 

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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Woah, We're going to Jamaica

Totally Tropical went to Barbados, the Vengaboys went to Ibiza and I'm going to Jamaica!!

Ok... I'm maybe not lucky enough to actually be going to Jamaica but I've been making some cocktails to get me into the holiday mood! Cocktails are known for being free flowing abroad, especially in the Caribbean and the taste always reminds me of being somewhere just a little warmer than the UK.

Every country seems to have their signature cocktails; Cuba has the Mojito (one of my favourites), in Barbados is the Rum Runner and one of the signature Jamaican cocktails is Planters Punch. Virgin Holidays have created these great cocktail masterclass videos and kindly sent me a cocktail kit, challenging me to make my very own Planters Punch with a few extra treats from the Caribbean Island to try...




I had a bit of a Jamaican themed night in the pub last saturday when I got out packets of plantain crisps and unleashed the cocktail shaker. Plantain is a traditional Jamaican snack which is similar to our crisps, it's similar to dried banana but in savoury form; it sounds a lot weirder than it tastes because I can tell you now they're very easy to just keep eating and eating... and it's the closest thing you're going to get to banana without being banana so it's a fruit... right??? Anyway I got on with making the Planters punch and actually made some so everyone could have a try, it was incredibly easy to make and doesn't include loads of expensive ingredients; here's how it's done...

Ingredients: 
25ml Jamaican Overproof Rum
50ml fruit juice (I used orange)
Dash of cane syrup
Squeeze of lemon and lime

- Grab a tall glass and fill it with ice
- Pour the rum and fruit juice in (at the same time if you're feeling adventurous)
- Finish with a dash of cane syrup and a squeeze of lemon and lime
- Garnish with a slice of fruit (orange, pineapple... whatever you have)

So simple yet so tasty (and quite strong so be careful!) and you could use any fruit juice you have laying around in your fridge and I'm sure that regular rum would work just as well (and it wouldn't pack such a punch in the alcohol content department!).

If you fancy getting in the holiday mood then here you can find lots more cocktail recipes.

What are your favourite holiday cocktails?

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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

A 'small change' purchase

The worst part about reading blogs is seeing products that I want but simply can't afford... talk about dangling a carrot! I know that lots of you are in the exact same position as me so today I'm bringing you something which you should be able to go buy without any guilt or real damage to your bank account, I like to call it a 'small change' purchase; one which you could probably buy with the money you find lying around your house/car/old coats and bags...

Powder Brush £4 Wilko

Wilkinsons (or 'Wilko') isn't a place you'd expect to find some decent beauty tools/products but since the recent launch of Essence and Wilko's very own tool line, things are looking up for the high street chain. It looks like they might have taken a little bit of design inspiration from another high street makeup brand launched by two very popular makeup artist turned Youtubers with the sleek black handle and bronze colour block handle and the quality of the brush is certainly one of the best I've ever seen, especially for the money. 

As you can see the brush is very dense, with hues of red running through the black bristles creating a kind of ombre effect. It is so incredibly soft, like so soft I could just sit and stroke it (at the risk of looking a little bit weird). The large surface area means that you get plenty of product on and it makes powder application an absolute doddle; I've only used this with a pressed powder but you could use it with a loose powder and I would imagine the results are just as good. I compared this to the Real Techniques powder brush and I do think the handle is slightly more ergonomic than this one but the bristles on the Wilko brush are much softer.

So what I'm basically trying to say is that you need to get yourself to a Wilko's store or have a look on their website. Even if you don't need a brush, you need to see how soft these are!
Have you seen Wilko brushes yet?

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