Wednesday, 20 June 2018

My Summer Road Trip Essentials

summer road trip essentials

With the weather unusually warm and sunny up here in Scotland, I've been making more of a conscious effort to actually get out of the house every single day. As someone who works from home, it's easy for a whole day to pass without me crossing the front door but every single day since the sun has started to make an appearance, I have made it my top priority to get out more. This is even more true when it comes to the weekends.

A lot of this was certainly spurred on by the brilliant CCW Blogger Road Trip (see blog post here) which took me out to The Trossachs, about an hour away from Glasgow. And it got me thinking about how easy it is to get out and about and that's what coincided with Fenetic Wellbeing's #FoldAndGo campaign, which I'll also be talking about briefly in today's post.

I'm still in the process of learning to drive but I'm in the really fortunate position that both of my parents do drive. This makes it a lot to easier to get the whole family together for a road trip. However, my Gran in particular, who probably loves a good road trip more than any of us, can struggle to get around unaided, that was until she got her folding wheelchair. It makes proper mobility possible again, whether it's to go to the seaside for a day out or simply down to the shops to get bread and milk, etc.

Fenetic Wellbeing's #FoldAndGo campaign is all about portability, saving space and being mobile with ease thanks to folding and electric wheelchairs. If anyone in your family struggles with mobility or walking great distances, this will no doubt be an everyday and holiday essential for them.

And since we've already made a few trips together, I thought that I would share what I've learned in terms of what's really an essential and what never gets used. Disposable picnic cutlery, I'm looking at you.

So here are my Summer road trip essentials;

Snacks, snacks and more snacks

Whether you're driving for a couple of hours or several days, snacks are key. If you're a little bit healthier than I am, protein bars, mixed nuts and dried food would be a good shout. We, on the other hand, tend to opt for a few share bags of sweets or crisps, ones that can be passed around the car easily, without taking up too much room or making a mess.

A decent sized bag

A decent sized bag, that you can pack everything into comfortably, is a must! I love this duffle bag from*! It's such a great size and instantly gets me excited for my next trip, wherever that may be. If, like me, you love but haven't been able to find their products here in the UK all that easily, Amara Living have many of their lifestyle and Summer holiday bits and bobs available on their site. I may or may not have my eye on one of their beach towels for my next trip abroad.

road trip toiletries

Your must have toiletries

And when I say this, I really do mean the essentials. I don't know about you but when I'm on a road trip or even when I'm on holiday, I certainly don't need my full beauty or makeup routine with me and 100% travel with the bare necessities.

Dry shampoo, a mini or travel hairbrush, antibacterial hand sanitiser, SPF, face wipes, body wipes and a travel toothbrush/mini toothpaste are all you really need to make sure that you're covered for every eventuality. Having Invisalign means that I'm never without my little travel toothbrush/toothpaste bag anyway, so it's easy for me to take that with me wherever I go.

If you're really making a conscious effort to go plastic free, as much as you can and to choose products that are ultimately better for the environment, be sure to check out Yes To's Coconut Cleansing Wipes.* They are paraben, SLS, phthalates and cruelty free, plus the coconut scent is divine!

Good music

You've got to have a road trip playlist or even just one for when you're out in the car. A good mix of music that everyone on the trip will enjoy is key. If your car enables you to connect your phone or pick your favourite Spotify playlist definitely take advantage of that, if not, go old school and make an actual road trip CD.

Offline maps

Going off the grid or exploring more of the great outdoors or even just somewhere a bit different to where you live, means venturing into the unknown. A lot of the time, particularly if you're heading into the countryside or a natural park, it means spotty reception at best and often none at all. By using offline maps you can continue to use the maps and your GPS without being connected to WiFi or mobile data. It really is such a game changer.

A portable charger or cigarette lighter charger adapter

I don't know about you but a portable charger is just an everyday essential for me and something that's always in my bag no matter where I'm off to. If you don't have one already, I can't tell you how much of an essential it will be, especially if you spend hours away from your desk/charger. Mine is from Box but you can find them pretty much everywhere these days. Even better when it comes to a road trip; a cigarette lighter charger adapter which allows you to charge directly from the car.

What are your roadtrip essentials? Do you have any trips or holidays planned this Summer? If so, where are you off to? And how many of my picks will you be using on your next trip?

Written in collaboration with Fenetic Wellbeing


Sunday, 17 June 2018

What To Buy From IT Cosmetics Now That It's Available In Boots

must have it cosmetics products

The time that so many of us UK beauty fans have been waiting for is finally here; IT Cosmetics have hit the British High Street and in a big way! If you've always wanted to try out some of their hero products (hello Your Skin But Better CC Cream!) or have been intrigued by this cult US beauty brand, you will be happy to know that you'll now find IT Cosmetics in Boots, both online and in-store. So I thought that I would share the products that I really love from their range, which also happen to be some of their best loved and biggest sellers.

Here's what to buy from IT Cosmetics now that it's available in Boots;

it cosmetics bye bye under eye concealer

Your Skin But Better CC Cream SPF 50+

Without a doubt when you think of IT Cosmetics, the first thing that I and many of us will think of is their iconic, bestselling and award winning Your Skin But Better CC Cream. I've already featured this dream of a product in my The Best Foundations For Someone Who Hates Wearing Foundation blog post. Basically, if you've been wanting to try this beautiful base product out for a while, get it now!

They also now do an illuminating version, which I've heard great things about as well, particularly if you're looking for something for the Summer months.

One of their brushes

It looks like at the moment Boots are just stocking the core range of brushes rather than the whole collection that's available on IT Cosmetics' own site and the likes of Selfridges but I simply had to mention this specific makeup brush. As someone who often just wears concealer on my no makeup makeup days, being able to blend it quickly and seamlessly is vital. I can't sing the praises of this Heavenly Luxe Magic Eraser brush enough. It's unlike any brush that I've used before and the bristles are so densely packed that it just feels like the softest thing ever. Hopefully it will arrive at Boots soon.

Although, I have heard really good things about their entire range of brushes and have been trying to buy more of the brushes that are designed to work with specific products, rather than just picking up a Zoeva or Spectrum brush, these days. And this specific brush leads me on perfectly to my next favourite.

Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer 

If you struggle with concealers that crease or cling to any fine lines and wrinkles, I would honestly urge you to give this a try. I will say, however, a little really goes a long way with this. If you apply too much it is quite thick and as a result just doesn't sit right, on my skin anyway. I definitely recommend squeezing out a little bit onto the back of your hand to then blend it in with your fingers or a brush.

My Mum, who's notoriously picky when it comes to her makeup routine, is also a big fan of this, so much so that it's now the only concealer that she uses. The lightest shade is also light enough for me and my incredibly pale skin, which is quite the feat.

it cosmetics superhero mascara

Superhero Super Black Mascara

Another one of their top 10 products, the Superhero Super Black Mascara* is a true black shade that promises to add volume and length to your lashes. I would say that this is similar to the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, which is one of my all-time favourites. Much like that mascara, however, Superhero can dry out quicker than other mascaras that I've tried in the past. To be honest, I probably use mascaras for much longer than I really should so maybe it's just me noticing that a few months into use but I thought that I would make sure to mention that as it is one of the slight cons of Superhero.

But whilst it is still in tip top condition, this is a great mascara that really makes a noticeable difference to my lashes.

it cosmetics superhero mascara review

I'm a big fan of the brush that this mascara comes with. It truly coats the lashes and clings to them. One to check out if you're looking for a new mascara, for sure.

it cosmetics brow power universal brow pencil

Brow Power Universal Brow Pencil

Now this is a brow product that you really need to try out for yourself! It is simply SO good! You can use it with a light touch to achieve an everyday or natural look and also build on that for a night out or bolder brow. What I really love about this is how natural that it looks. It also, bizarrely matches my hair and skin colouring, which was a big surprise, especially as it only comes in one colour or shade; universal.

When other beauty brands say that their product is universal, I usually scoff as there's no way that something which works for me (a pale, freckly, redhead), will work for the general consensus but this honestly does. It's not too dark and it doesn't have a strange reddish tinge to it either, like many other brow pencils. It lasts well too.

IT Cosmetics is also available from Selfridges and QVC Beauty here in the UK but them now being stocked in Boots means that it's a lot easier to try and to ultimately buy their products. Being able to click and collect from Boots is always a big motivation for me to buy from there versus other retailers plus I'm all about collecting those Boots Advantage Card points. Is anyone else the same?

Have you tried IT Cosmetics before? If so, what is your favourite product? If not, what have you wanted to try? And do any of the products from today's blog post sound like they could be the ones for you?


Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Is The New York CITYPass Worth It?

new york citypass reviews

There's no doubt about it, New York can be one of the most expensive cities in the world to visit but as you will have seen in my How To Plan A Trip To NYC Without Spending £££ blog post, there are plenty of ways to keep costs down and to seriously save both before and after you get there.

Today I'm going to be talking about CITYPass. And more specifically, is the New York CITYPass worth it or not?

If you followed me along on my travels to New York last Summer you will have seen me pay many of the big tourist attractions a visit. Before I jetted off, one of the biggest decisions to make, in terms of saving money, was whether or not to go with a New York CITYPass.

So let's get down to details and see what are the pros and cons of the New York CITYPass;

You are in control of which attractions to visit

First of all, there are two options open to you. You can either go for the traditional New York CITYPass or the New York C3, which I have detailed below;


New York CITYPass

The original New York CITYPass ticket consists of 3 preset tickets along with 3 option tickets, costs $126 (or £98) and will save you 42% compared to buying tickets individually.
The Empire State Building
American Museum of Natural History
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Top of the Rock Observation Deck OR Guggenheim Museum
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island OR Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
9/11 Memorial & Museum OR Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
New York C3

The New York C3 on the other hand, costs just shy of £64 (or $82), allows you to choose any 3 of the above attraction tickets, saving you up to 25%.


I went for the original New York CITYPass as it was my first trip to NYC and I basically had all of the tourist attractions on my travel to-do list.

So why did I go for the New York CITYPass and what were my thoughts after using it?

Pay in advance

One of the big bonuses of the New York CITYPass, for me, was the fact that I could pay for it in advance of my trip. I didn't need to worry about budgeting for attractions once I got there or dipping too heavily into my spending money. This was a big plus for me and allowed me to pay for my tickets several months before I jetted off.


You don't need to know the exact dates before you leave for your trip, like you might if you're booking Top Of The Rock tickets for example and this allows you to be a lot more flexible with your time in the city. This means that you don't need to rush off to make sure that you're at an attraction for your ticketed time, allowing you to go with the flow a lot more and as a result, discover places that weren't originally on your itinerary.

is new york citypass worth it

Shorter or dedicated lines/queues

Many of the attractions such as the American Musuem of Natural History and Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island have dedicated CITYPass queues, meaning that you didn't need to stand in the large general line. In a city where there is so much to see and do, the last thing you want to be doing is spending time standing about waiting.

The savings are real

There were a few attractions that I knew I really wanted to visit, namely the 9/11 Museum, Top Of The Rock, the American Museum of Natural History and the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island. A simple calculation showed that I'd be paying $162 for those tickets and would have to worry about buying each of them once I got there. So it made sense to save some money and get even more attraction tickets for about $30 less.

So is the New York CITYPass worth it? As you might be able to tell from the above, yes!

Even if you're only there for a few days and as a result won't be able to visit all 6 attractions on your CITYPass, I would still definitely recommend looking into one, especially if you already have the attractions on your list of places to visit anyway.

If you're looking for ideas of where to visit when you're in NYC both of the ticketed and completely free variety, be sure to check out My Top 10 New York Must-Sees or my The Ultimate Guide To NYC blog post.

Is New York on your list of places to visit one day? If so, which attraction would you want to visit most? Or have you been before? If so, where were your favourite places to visit?

Pin it for later:

new york citypass is it worth it new york city pass worth it new york citypass worth it or not citypass new york discount citypass new york review


Sunday, 10 June 2018

The Ten #CantLiveWithout Bobbi Brown Products That You Need To Know About

best bobbi brown products

Last month I was invited along to a Bobbi Brown makeup masterclass held in Glasgow City Centre and to say that the day changed my everyday makeup essentials would be a bit of an understatement.

So let's see what I mean when I say #CantLiveWithout and what I thought of each of the ten all-time favourite Bobbi Brown products that I got to try out;

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched face base review

Vitamin Enriched Face Base (£43)

Now this was a complete revelation to me! It's a primer but not like any that I've tried before. It gives the skin so much hydration and leaves it looking unbelievably glowy, even after you've applied foundation.

It's rich but in no way greasy and has quickly become one of my favourite beauty products of all-time and that really is saying something. I now can't imagine doing my makeup without it.

bobbi brown uk foundation

Corrector (£19.50)

As someone with darker under eyes and tiny little purplish veins and capillaries, I often find that I need to pile on the product to completely hide these imperfections, which often leads to creasing and the area feeling laden with concealer. I had never even thought about attempting to 'correct' or cover this before going in with concealer and that's just one reason why I was so happy to be given a real makeup masterclass from the brilliant Bobbi Brown Pro Artist Aimee Morrison who led the class so brilliantly and informatively.

There are two types of correctors to choose from; peach and bisque, which brighten, neutralise and cover any discolouration. I was the shade Porcelain Bisque in this, for reference.

Instant Full Cover Concealer (£23)

I'd already had a little play with this concealer prior to attending the masterclass and can now share just how good it is. Now this isn't the concealer for you if you're looking for very light coverage, something similar to Glossier's Stretch Concealer for example. This truly is full coverage and the concealer that I reach for when my dark circles are looking their worst. If you also have dark under eyes, I would seriously urge you to pay your local Bobbi Brown counter a visit to check this out!

It also covers spots and blemishes well but for me it's all about the under eye area when it comes to this concealer.

bobbi brown foundation reviews

Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation (£31)

Much like the Vitamin Enriched Face Base, this was another complete revelation for me. Bobbi Brown is one of only a handful of brands that actually cater to a really wide range of skin tones, including shades that really match me and my incredibly pale skin. I'm the lightest shade, Alabaster, in this, which if you're also someone who struggles to find foundation light enough, is where I would steer you first.

This brand new release from Bobbi Brown is such a big hit in my eyes. It honestly feels like I have nothing on my skin but it also covers everything that I would need it to at the same time, which blows my mind a little. Applied with the Full Coverage Face Brush, this just looks so seamless on the skin and really does last a whole day. You can also build up the coverage or wear it a little sheerer, which I really appreciate. It just looks so natural and as a result, I think I'll be adding it to my all-time favourite three foundations, as seen in this blog post.

Skin Foundation Stick (£31)

Talking of foundation, we also had the opportunity to try out the Skin Foundation Stick. You can either use this as you normally would a foundation or you can go for a slightly darker shade than your skin tone to create a contour or bronzed look to the skin. I've actually never tried a foundation stick before as I always worried that the consistency could be slightly drying on my dehydrated skin but it doesn't cling to dry patches or areas and blends nicely.

I'm also the lightest shade, Alabaster, in this, again for reference.

Bobbi Brown smokey eye mascara

Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil (£30)

When it comes to my brows, I'm pretty loyal to two brow products; the Charlotte Tilbury Brow Lift and NYX's Eyebrow Marker.

There isn't a shade designed for redheads, such as myself when it comes to this brow pencil but I did find that the colour Blonde (see below left) was a really nice match for my brows. The consistency is nice and allows you to fill in your brows quickly and precisely. It also didn't fade or smudge, even in this warmer than usual weather that we're experiencing in Scotland at the moment. I'm also always grateful when a spoolie is included on one side, which this one does.

Bobbi Brown Shadow Stick Swatch

Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick (£23)

Now, I'd heard a lot of good things about these shadow sticks but had never gotten around to giving them a try until now but I now completely get why so many people rave about them.

There honestly were so many different shades, textures and hues to choose from when it came to these but I ended up going for the matte neutral shade Sand Dune which is now my go-to daily shadow. I've already got my eye on some of the glittery shades such as Sunlight Gold and Pink Sparkle which would really make the eyes pop, so if you see me wearing eyeshadow these days, it will most likely be this one.

Smokey Eye Mascara (£24.50)

I actually hadn't heard a great deal of buzz surrounding the Smokey Eye Mascara but after applying that first coat, I seriously couldn't understand why not. This mascara promises thicker longer lashes and it really does give you that plus it's a true black shade, which is what I always look for in a mascara.

I don't know the last time someone remarked on my eyelashes. It was probably at school when I used to wear about five coats of mascara which I then topped with glitter eyeliner. Yup, I was 100% more bolder with my makeup back then for some reason. But whilst wearing this mascara, I had three separate people stop me midway through a conversation solely to ask where I got my lashes done. Now if that doesn't say something, I don't know what else does!

Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge Review

Pot Rouge For Lips & Cheeks (£22)

At the masterclass we were each set up with our own little makeup station (as seen on my Instagram) which housed a selection of shades and colours for us to pick from when applying our makeup along with Aimee. In mine there were three shades but one immediately stood out to me and that was the one that I went for.

For as long as I can remember my Mum has always warned me of wearing blush. Much like wearing white or horizontal stripes (as you will have seen me talk about in my CCW Blogger Road Trip blog post), I really wish I had ignored this advice as this is honestly the best blush that I have ever tried! It adds so much life to my skin and face and when you're as ghostly pale as I am, this makes such a big difference. The shade in question is Fresh Melon and it is so worth trying!

Luxe Lip Color (£27)

And last but certainly not least, we have the Luxe Lip Color. Again, much like with the Pot Rouges, we had three of the Luxe Lip Colors at our station. At mine I found a bright orange coral shade, a ruby red and this stunning berry hue.

It's so comfortable on the lips and wears off in a really nice way, unlike a lot of other lipsticks which inevitably go patchy or disappear completely. I'll definitely be seeking out more of these when I'm next out shopping to try some more of the shades.

Bobbi Brown Can't Live Without

If you want to try out the 10 #CantLiveWithout products for yourself, you can book in for your own complimentary how-to lesson with one of the Bobbi Brown makeup artists here.

Are you a fan of Bobbi Brown? If so, what product(s) can you not live without? Have any of the products in today's post caught your eye? And would you like to see more brand focused reviews like this in the future, say on Charlotte Tilbury or NYX, for example?


Sunday, 3 June 2018

The CCW Blogger Road Trip

loch lomond and the trossachs national park

Over the years I've attended quite a few blogger events. From pop up shops, to makeup masterclasses and spa experiences, I've always felt incredibly lucky and grateful to be invited along. But a few weekends ago I was invited on a blogger event like no other; a blogger road trip!

scottish lifestyle blogs

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have already seen a few snaps and Insta-Stories from the day but just in case you haven't, myself, Gillian from Elevatormusik, Lindsey from Lindsey Lou Blogs, Lis from Last Year's Girl, Lauren from The Luxe List and Roisin from Rose Keats were all treated to a day trip away by CCW Clothing and it's easily one of the best things that I've ever done as a result of blogging!

So here's what we got up to a few weekends ago;

CCW Byres Road

We started the morning at CCW's Byres Road store in the West End of Glasgow, where we were greeted by Ross, the second generation of the family owned and run business, along with a beautiful cake from Rawnchy.

fjallraven backpack uk stockists

We got a chance to explore the store and to change into our outfits for the day. At CCW, originally known as Caledonian Countrywear, you'll find fashion led brands such as RAINS, Seasalt, Patagonia and Fjallraven, as well as more functional brands. You'll also find staples for them such as the best-selling Barbour jackets and Ordanance Survey maps.

As soon as we stepped outside we soon realised that the weather honsetly couldn't have been better for the day out but you never want to jinx things or assume anything when it comes to the Scottish weather, so we all made sure to put on our newly gifted Lighthouse Abby jackets (can you believe that all six of us picked the exact same jacket?!) and Sorel Out 'N About boots.

visit scotland loch lomond and the trossachs

We said goodbye to Ross and hopped into the Ecotour Scotland Minibus, which transported us from Glasgow through to the Trossachs.

The Ecotour Scotland Minibus is wheelchair accessible, run on Bio-diesel and suitable for small children and pets. Being in a Minibus instead of a big traditional tour bus meant that we could go places that other tours just physically can't take you.

monachyle mhor hotel

Lunch at Monachyle Mhor

After about an hour and a half of driving past picturesque Scottish scenery and quite a few adorable little lambs and calves, we reached the first stop on our road trip; Monachyle Mhor.

Monachyle Mhor is a beautiful boutique lochside hotel, which also houses a working farm and an award-winning restaurant, of which we were there to sample some of the dishes for our lunch. Now have you ever seen a more blogger appropriate setting?! All it needs is a floral wall or archway and bloggers would seriously be making their way there by the busload!

monachyle mhor restaurant

For lunch we all opted for soup and sandwiches with the bread being some of best I've ever had. And you wouldn't expect any less when they have their own shop in the nearby town of Callander dedicated to just bread. Mhor really is more in that town as you'll find Mhor Bread, Mhor 84 (unlike any motel you've ever seen), Mhor In Store and Mhor Fish. I'm desperate to try some classic fish and chips from MHOR Fish (I think I'll always be happier with good wholesome comfort food than fine dining any day!)

We were seated in the bright and airy dining room whilst eating lunch and would you look at that view!

monachyle mhor reviews

And look at those stripes! To be fair, again it was really no surprise that every single one of us picked one of Mousqueton's beautiful striped tops when allowed to choose which one we wanted to wear that morning. I normally steer clear of white tops, often thinking that they will make me look enormous but this one certainly changed my mind about that. I even felt a bit Parisien in it and inspired to try out more striped tops in the future.

Exploring Loch Voil

loch voil blog

Tom from Monachyle Mhor then offered to take us over to the loch/lake in the back of his Land Rover and he certainly gave us a true countryside experience as we hopped into the back with the dogs and got absolutely covered in mud and muck. I may or may not have spent the rest of the day with a dirt splashed top, jacket and face but it was all part of the experience.

sorel out n about boots review

Unlike the rest of me, my Sorel boots looked shiny and new even after being put to the test in the wet grass and the mud. It may come as no surprise to you but I don't actually own a single pair of properly practical boots, despite the fact that I live somewhere like Scotland where the weather is less than predictable. These will definitely come in handy as the weather inevitably takes a turn in the coming days/weeks/months (believe it or not but it's currently hotter here in Glasgow than it is in Ibiza, as I sit writing this blog post!)

One thing I would say though, is to size up with them. I'm normally always a size 5 in boots but I found that the size 6 fit me perfectly and didn't rub or result in me developing several blisters, which is what traditionally happens when I first start wearing a new pair of boots, so they were definitely a hit with me.

CCW Callander

We then got back into the Ecotour Scotland Minibus and made our way to CCW's flagship store in Callander.

I'd never been to Callander before but I will definitely be back. It's just the most picturesque and pretty little town that I've ever seen and such a big departure from a city centre like Glasgow.

We met Bill and Liz, the original founders of CCW and one of the last truly family owned businesses in the country and had a good chat about how the business has evolved over the years, so much so that the Callander shop turns 30 this year!

ccw clothing callander

We then had a wander around the store where I spotted quite a few things that have immediately been added to my ever-growing wishlist. The sight of some sunshine and blue skies had me instantly drawn to sandals, bardot tops and denim overalls.

cafe circa callander

We then headed upstairs to Cafe Circa at the Atrium on the first floor of the shop for some refreshments/one of the best cupcakes that I have ever tasted!

cafe circa cakes

Let me just say; the buttercream on top of this cupcake was seriously out of this world. Oh, and those are little cubes of fudge sprinkled on top! I mean, how delicious?! I would genuinely plan a trip back through to Callander just to have one of them, that's how good they were and I think my fellow bloggers, who also mostly opted for one, could attest to that too.

A huge thank you to the team at CCW for inviting me along and for giving me an experience like no other, to Ecotour Scotland for getting us there and back and to Monachyle Mhor for having us round for lunch. It's a blogger event and day that I certainly won't forget in a hurry.

Have you ever gotten off the beaten track near where you live and found some real hidden gems? Which part of the day looks like it could be your favourite? And would you like to see me jump on a train or bus to check out more of Scotland's more scenic spots in the future, specifically if it's a day as glorious as this one?

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