Monthly Favourites | January 2017

Hello again,

January has been a pretty relaxed month for me so I haven’t been trying many new products. However, there are four products that were real game changers for me this month…

Soap & Glory Thick and Fast HD Mascara

This is an old favourite of mine but I haven’t used it since about 2015. I always loved it but never bought it again because I had other mascaras to use up. However, I got two for Christmas so started using it again and I don’t want to go back to using anything else. The applicator is really good at separating your lashes but adding volume making them clumpy. 10/10. Definitely buy it – unless you’re looking for a waterproof mascara – I’d stay away if that’s the case…

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L’Oreal Pure Clay Detox Mask

I’m really late to the bandwagon on this one. I didn’t buy this face mask before because I already own too many. However, Superdrug have been offering students 20% off recently so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to buy it. It worked out at less than £5 which is cheaper than my favourite Lush face mask. I won’t say much about it because I’m going to do a full review of it once I’ve used it a bit more. However, I will say that it basically rips the dirt out of your pores. As disgusting as that sounds, my face feels a lot cleaner after I use this.

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Garnier Moisture Restore Night Care

I’ve been using this for a couple of months now and I really really love it. If I apply this after I’ve cleaned my face just before I go to bed, I wake up with hydrated skin. Because my skin is naturally really dry, not using a night cream makes my skin much worse. This has been a bit of a winter skin saviour for me. I think it cost just over £2 from Superdrug too which is really affordable for the how well it works.

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The Original Beauty Blender

I’ve tried beauty blenders before but never actually tried the proper Original Beauty Blender. I’d heard that it was better than other brands of sponges so thought I’d give it a go, even though I usually prefer used brushes for my concealer and foundation. I was really surprised at how well it works! If you wet it a little before applying your foundation, it applies really evenly and doesn’t let the product dry out. I have really dry skin and I was finding it difficult to apply makeup with a brush. It wouldn’t blend easily on my skin even though I was using I really good moisturiser and primer before my foundation. This is a much better alternative to brushes. *Thumbs up*.

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As always, thanks for reading!

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these and how you got on with them…

Ways you can reach me:

Bye for now,

Courteney x

The Original Beauty Blender | Review

Hello again,

I have used makeup sponges before but they’ve always left me feeling a little disappointed. In the past, I found that they absorbed more foundation than they were actually putting onto my face. After a while I decided that they weren’t worth buying anyone and stuck to stippling and buffing brushes – mainly the Real Techniques ones.

I don’t live under a rock so I’m quite aware that the Original Beauty Blender has a reputation for being the best. Most people actually claim that no brush or sponge can be compared to this one. I’m a sucker for anything a) pink or b) that will make my life easier, so I decided to give it a go.

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I ran the sponge under the tap a little and then rinsed it out so it was damp enough to blend my makeup but not so wet that the product would drip down my face.

Although I’d say I had to use more product than I would with a brush, it wasn’t enough to put me off. I started off by using really small amounts of foundation and built it up slightly just in case it started to look cakey.

I found that because the sponge was damp, it spread the makeup across my face a lot easier than a makeup brush usually does. My skin is naturally really dry and I’ve found over the past couple of months it’s been a lot harder to use foundation brushes on to blend in my foundation and concealer. I feel like the brush has just been drying out my skin even more.

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Although I wouldn’t say that the Beauty Blender made my makeup last any longer, it definitely made it look a lot better throughout the day. My skin feels a lot more hydrated and my makeup looks a lot dewier. Because it covers my face so easily and blends so well, I end up using less makeup than I did with a makeup brush that took a long time to blend properly. I feel like my makeup doesn’t dry out my skin as much as it usually would when I use a brush. Believe me, my skin needs all the moisture it can get.

Overall, I’m really impressed with this. It’s true: the Original Beauty Blender is a lot better than other makeup sponges.

As always, thanks for reading!

Let me know which sponges and brushes you use to apply your makeup, and how well they work…

Ways you can reach me:

Bye for now,

Courteney x

Gellért Hill and The Biggest Pizza | Budapest 2017

Hello again,

When me and Cem went to Budapest, one of the places we really wanted to visit was Gellért Hill. It’s essentially a 235 m high hill overlooking the River Danube. The bottom of the hill starts next to the Elisabeth Bridge, which we crossed to get to it.

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It only took us about 20 minutes to walk to the very top, which was a bit of a mission seeing as it had been snowing for two days by this point. Walking up stairs that are covered in ice and snow isn’t easy at all.

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The sun was also starting to set so we tried to get to the top as quickly as possible so we wouldn’t have to walk back down when it was pitch black. Still, I doubt the view would have been as pretty if we’d have gone before the sunset.

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This statue sits about half way up the hill. I didn’t know anything about it before we visited but I had a little look online and read that the man holding a cross is Gürz Elyas, a holy man from the Bektashi order whose shrine and grave on top of the hill was a place of pilgrimage in the 17th century.

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Luckily by the time we got to the top of the hill, the sun hadn’t finished setting so we could walk back down without slipping over. However, Cem nearly fell down the stairs at least 7 times. He didn’t manage to fall over completely though, which is an improvement on our previous ice skating adventure…

As you can see, it was well worth the steep walk.

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As a reward for walking so far throughout the day, we decided to order pizza instead of going out for dinner. I’m not a huge fan of pizza so I just got a standard size one and only managed to eat 2 or 3 slices. You can probably guess that the rather large looking pizza is Cem’s. He didn’t finish it which I was quite relieved about. Surely no normal man can eat a pizza of that size…

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As always, thanks for reading!

Let me know if you’d be interested in visiting Budapest…

Ways you can reach me:

Bye for now,

Courteney x

The Longest Walk Ever | Budapest 2017

Hello again,

On one of our days in Budapest, we worked out that we walked around 12 miles. To some people that may not be a lot but it definitely is when you’re in a country as cold as Hungary.

We set off fairly early because we knew we wanted to see a lot of things throughout the day. The mains things that I wanted to see were the Hungarian Parliament Building, St Stephen’s Basilica and the Dohány Street Synagogue. So, anything that we saw along the way was a bonus.

Our hotel was on Margaret Island on the Danube River. The Parliament Building, Országház, was the closest to where we were staying so we thought it would be the best place to start. It’s near enough impossible to get a photo of the whole building unless you’re stood at the other side of the river, as you’ll see later on in the post. I don’t know how else to describe it over than it was overwhelmingly tall and looked like something out of a fairytale.

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Across the road is the Néprajzi Múzeum, which translates as the Ethnographic Museum. We didn’t go in but I thought it was well worth taking a picture of at least. I read that the museum is the home to pieces from everyday Hungarian like pre-World War II so it would probably be worth having a look if we ever visit again.

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As you know, the thing on our list was St Stephen’s Basilica so after we wandered around the grounds of the Parliament Building, we went on our way to find it. On the way we found the Statue of Imre Nagy, which actually faces the Parliament Building. I hadn’t heard of it before we saw it but I checked online to find out what is was. Imre Nagy was the Prime Minister of Hungary on two occasions and ended up being a symbol of freedom.

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Another short walk later and we came to St Stephen’s Basilica, after walking through Szabadság tér. We had to stop for a while so Cem could watch some kids play football and I could look at the memorial.

There was a lot of work going on around St Stephen’s Basilica. It looked like people were either putting together or dismantling a stage. After we’d have a look at, we decided we needed a cake and hot chocolate break in Starbucks. I remember my fingers were freezing even though I was wearing the thickest gloves in the world.

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The final place that I desperately wanted to visit was the Dohány Street Synagogue. Before we went to Budapest, I’d read about it online and found out that it’s the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world. The building is also attached to the Jewish Museum. We went in and had a look until in started to get darker and colder and we thought it was best to head back to our hotel and to the spa.

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We probably took the longest possible route home. We walked down to Erzsébet híd, Elisabeth Bridge, to cross the river. We probably could have tackled Gellért Hill it wasn’t getting dark but we decided that it was best to leave that for another day. We started to walk back up the other side of the river and we moaned and moaned about how cold it was and how much our legs were aching. We carried on and got the see the Budavári Palota and Parliament Building light up so I’d say it was definitely worth it…

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As always, thanks for reading!

Let me know if you have any travel recommendations…

Ways you can reach me:

Bye for now,

Courteney x

Ice Skating in City Park | Budapest 2017

Hello again,

One of the first places we visited in Budapest was City Park. We actually came here twice because there was so much to see. On one day, we looked at the museums and walked around the whole park to see what was there and on the other day, we went to Budapest Zoo and went ice skating in the evening.

There’s quite a few things to do in City Park so if we visited every single thing, we’d have spent our whole holiday there. City Park is home to Heroes’ Square, an amusement park, a circus, Széchenyi baths and Vajdahunyad Castle as well as the zoo and ice skating.

Heroes’ Square

Heroes’ Square sits between Kunsthalle Műcsarnok and Szépművészeti Múzeum, which are both art galleries. Although we didn’t go inside either of them because we were short on time, we still got to see the sun setting in the middle of it all, which was lovely all the same.

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Vajdahunyad Castle

Across from the ice skating rink, we saw this palace and thought we’d have a little look around. The photos don’t really do it justice, it was a lot taller and more stunning in person. Bizarrely, when we were walking around the castle grounds we saw a man dressed up as the grim reaper and loads of people were lining up to have pictures with him. Not sure what all that was about to be honest.

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Outside Vajdahunyad Castle a little bit of water had frozen over and some children were actually ice skating on it too. Cem made me walk on it with him and I was terrified that the ice was going to break and we were going to fall in the water, even though the water was probably a few inches deep. In the photo above you might notice Cem pointing and smiling. As I was taking that picture he was showing me that he wanted to go and walk on the ice. I’ve never seen someone so excited about a frozen puddle…

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Széchenyi Thermal Baths

We didn’t go in to the baths but we caught a glimpse of the inside and walked all the way around it. The building itself is huge and looks like a palace and the baths were also packed with people.

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Ice Skating

After the practise we had at Winter Wonderland, I was hoping that me and Cem wouldn’t fall over in front of all the ice skating pros, who pretty much skated like olympians compared to us. The more and more laps we did, the more faith I had in our ice skating abilities.

A few laps in, Cem must have tried dancing to the music that was playing but failed terribly and started to fall backwards. As I tried to stop him from falling, he fell forwards instead and used me to cushion his fall. He fell on me in front of everyone and as painful as it was, we could barely skate afterwards because we were laughing so much.

We definitely need a little more practise before our next ice skating adventure.

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We couldn’t believe how big the ice skating rink was or how many people came to skate either. Compared to how much we’ve paid to go ice skating in Winter Wonderland, skating here was incredibly cheap and definitely worth the money. Also, you don’t just get an hour slot. Once you’ve paid to go ice skating at 4pm when it opens for the evening, you can stay until 8pm when it closes. We ended up skating for about an hour and a half but if we so keen to rush back to our hotel and go into the spa we probably would’ve skated for ours.

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We ended up getting the taxi home because I felt like I was going to freeze to death if I walked back to our hotel again, which in fairness was over an hour’s walk away. It was worth it though because it meant we could sit in the spa for longer.

As always, thank you for reading!

Let me know where your favourite holiday was and what sort of things you did…

Ways you can reach me:

Bye for now,

Courteney x

2016 Highlights

Hello again,

Here’s a little reflection on some of my favourite moments of 2016. It was an amazing year so these aren’t all of the good things that happened, just some of the ones that stood out.

Finishing my first year of uni 

If you didn’t already know, I study Journalism at London Metropolitan University. In May I finished first year with a 2:1, which I was really pleased with. It’s a shame first year’s grades don’t count towards my final grade but it was still uplifting to finish with the grade all the same.

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A weekend in Paris

Me and Cem went to Paris for my birthday in November and, despite a bit of turbulence, it was a lovely weekend.  Our hotel was an hour’s walk from the Eiffel Tower so we got to see all the sights along the way. It was bitterly cold but I suppose it wasn’t far from London in that respect. I’d love to go back.   

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Getting back into blogging

Towards the end of this year, I started blogging again after quite a lot of time away from it. I bought my own domain name, started posting consistently, told my friends and family about it and started talking to a lot more bloggers and brands. This year was definitely a success for my blog, in my opinion. Although I want to learn more about them designs and the layout of my blog, I’m happy with how it looks for now. I also hosted my first blog chat on Twitter on The Bloggers Hub account, which was a huge step for me in my opinion.

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My first sponsored blog post

I was recently contacted by a company called Tekfirst who asked to collaborate with me. Long story short: I was paid to write a blog post. Hopefully this was the first of many blog opportunities. I really enjoyed writing the post and learning a bit more about working with brands on blog posts.

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Getting an internship

In 2016 I started my first internship in social media with Brain Füd, a startup drinks company. It’s a 3 month long internship that will come to an end at the beginning of February which feels crazy – I feel like I’ve only been doing it for a couple of weeks. I’ve learnt a lot from my time there so I’m really glad I’m doing it.

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As always, thank you for reading.

Let me know some of your highlights from this year…

Ways you can reach me:

Bye for now,

Courteney x

This Time Next Year | 2017

Hello again,

Seeing as 2016 has come to an end, I thought I’d think about all of the things I’d achieved over the past year and everything I hope to achieve over the next year. This post is basically going to summarise where I want to be by this time next year.

Firstly, I hope I’m working in a job that I truly love and enjoy doing. At the moment I hope that this job involves freelance writing or social media, but who knows what sort of job I’ll want to be doing in the future? I could completely change my mind. It will only be a part-time job because I’ll still be in uni, but it will be a job nonetheless.

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Another thing that I want to be doing is making money from my blog. Although my blog is primarily a creative outlet for me, my life would be a lot easier if I got paid from it. I’ve just completed my first paid blog post which is a start but it would nice to have a steady income from it.

If I want to do this then I need to self-host my blog, which is a boring concept if you’re not a blogger. Basically, by this time next year, I want to have completely self-hosted by blog so I can use Google AdSense etc.

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I also hope that I’m doing well in uni. I’ll be in my third and final year so I hope that I’m on top of all of my assignments and I’m getting the grades that I want (firsts, obviously).

Hopefully I’ll still be going to the gym this time next year. I’ve barely been over the past couple of months but I recently got back into it. So, I hope that I’m still going regularly and I’m enjoying it instead of seeing it as a burden.

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It would also be a bonus to have completely cleared up my acne. It’s ok at the minute and there are times where I have no acne at all. I now know what I need to do and what products I should be using to clear up my skin so hopefully by this time next year it won’t be an issue for me.

Most importantly, I hope I’m happy with all of the decisions I’ve made up to that point. Even if I make bad decisions, I hope that I’ve put those decisions down to experience and moved on. If nothing else, I really hope that I’m happy.

 

As always, thank you for reading.

Let me know in the comments where you hope to be by this time next year…

Ways you can reach me:

Bye for now,

Courteney x