Saturday, 24 March 2018

Successfully Attempting No Makeup, Makeup With L'Oreal

Successfully Attempting No Makeup, Makeup With L'Oreal
I'm on a journey to find the best no makeup, makeup. Don't get me wrong, I love full coverage foundation, falsies and a bold lip but sometimes it's nice to just let my skin breathe, especially in the warmer months. I'm aiming to nail this by the time I go America in July  which I know is a few months away but after my recent purchase from Glossier not being entirely as successful as I'd hoped, I decided I needed to continue my search. After the ever-fabulous Lydia Millen posted this photo on Instagram, I knew my next stop was L'Oreal. 

Now I'm a huge fan of L'Oreal when it comes to haircare and skincare but their base makeup  products haven't *always* worked so well with my skin. However since Lydia's skin looked so incredible and with my no makeup search still in full swing, I couldn't wait to give it a go. Their latest campaign is about finding great no makeup makeup - My goal exactly.

The first product into my basket was the Bonjour Nudista Skin Tint. Seeing the words 'Skin Tint' sent shivers down my spine after my experience with Glossier - my skin is still quite dry so I really didn't want this to have the same effect as the Glossier Skin Tint. Thankfully it didn't, this product  is so much creamier and worked a lot better for me.

I found that a little bit goes a long way and the best way to apply it is actually with a sponge. I did try and blend it out with my fingers but because it's a little thicker, I was leaving streaks and finger marks everywhere. When the product first goes onto my skin it's very noticeable which isn't what you'd expect but after a couple of minutes it sinks into the skin and leaves the nicest dewy glow. As the formula is a little thicker as I mentioned, I do feel the need to add a light dusting of powder or a setting spray over top but other than that, it works perfectly. It's a great contender for my holiday makeup bag. 

Next was a toss up between the Glow Mon Amour Highlighting Drops in Champagne and the La Vie En Glow Palette in Warm Glow. In the end, I went for the highlighting drops as currently, I don't have any in my collection. Also I figured they could be extremely versatile and I was right. They have the most gorgeous pearlescent glow without being glittery which is brilliant. They work lovely as a highlight over the skin tint and also mixed in before application. I do find the formula to be a bit oily so for me, one drop is enough. I also tried this over my current favourite foundation, Maybeline Superstay 24hr and it looked lovely and as with the tint, I also mixed it in before application and had no problems. I like the idea of using them on a bare face however my skin is quite red so I fear it may look a little odd.

Last into my basket and the biggest win of them all was the Life's A Peach blush. Not only does this blush smell like peaches but it's the most beautiful shade for spring and summer. It has a slight luminescence but it's not overpowering. It's super pigmented yet still buildable and blendable. Honestly, I can't see there being a makeup look that doesn't work with this blush - I think it's giving my Benefit Dandelion a run for it's money! The packaging also comes with a mirror and brush underneath so it would be great for touch ups on the go. 

Overall, these picks from L'Oreal are absolutely great. I've found a way to use them that works best for me and if you pick them up, I urge you to try them a few different ways and see how they work for you. Not everyone's experience will be the same.
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What do you think of the No Makeup Makeup collection? Will you be picking anything up if you haven't already? I'd love to know your thoughts and experiences!

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Tuesday, 20 March 2018

What To Eat, Drink + Do In Las Vegas

What to Eat Drink + Do in Las Vegas - Las Vegas Guide - ItsHollieAnn
If you didn't know already, my other half and I are heading back to Las Vegas in July to celebrate her birthday. Like our two trips before, once again I found myself researching, planning and writing post-it after post-it listing all of the food, drinks, shows and attractions that I want to check out. I compiled such a hefty list that I thought it was worth a share, not just of things that have come highly recommended but also things we've experienced first hand. 

I know that there are so many blog posts, websites and videos online dedicated to showing you the best things in the city but everyone's experience is different and the more recommendations the better. As a bit of background on us, we're not high rollers or fine diners, just two gals having fun in the best adult playground. 
Chin Chin, New York New York For Chinese & sushi. Hefty portions and deliciously spiced Chinese food. The Chili Beef was to die for and the Honey Shrimp balanced to perfection. One entree would be enough for two with a rice bowl or small side. 

Slice Of Vegas, Mandalay Bay For beer & pizza. Mouth watering pizza and extra strong cocktails. This place is a hidden gem and great value for money. The pizzas are definitely big enough to share and the locally brewed beers are great to sample. 

Bruxie, The Park For chicken & waffles. Allegedly the best chicken and waffle sandwich in town. It's definitely high on my list as a breakfast spot to visit when we're next in the city. The chicken is fresh and fried to order which is a bonus. 

Gordon Ramsay Burger, Planet Hollywood For burgers. These burgers are stacked higher than I ever imagined and are incredibly juicy. Everything is cooked to order and brought out fresh - No sitting under heat lamps. Seating is on a first come first served basis but for groups of 3 or more, see the host first as they may be able to offer a specific time to seat you. 

Strip House Steakhouse, Planet Hollywood For mouthwatering steak. The red decor and mood lighting seem like something out of a movie and the cuts are cooked and seasoned to perfection. The wine list is incredibly extensive but servers are more than happy to recommend. Pricey but worth every penny. 

Giordanos Pizza, Ballys For Pizza. After Victoria's Las Vegas vlog, I can't get this place out of my head. They offer Chicago style pizzas in the heart of Las Vegas and are famous for their Stuffed Deep Dish variety. 

House Of Blues, Mandalay Bay For breakfast. Always a great setting for bacon and eggs with excellent music and attentive staff. I'd love to try their world famous Gospel Brunch which offers an all you can eat breakfast and a gospel choir. Amazing. 

Carlos Bakery, The Venetian For your sweet tooth. Cake Boss' Buddy Valastro's bake shop offering an amazing selection of cookies, cakes, cannoli - You name it. Well worth a visit to take out and enjoy later.

Double Barrel Roadhouse, Monte Carlo For the all american vibe. Hands down my favourite place to eat in the entire city. Not only is the food to die for, the western-industrial vibe is right up my street. They have live music on weekends and sports showing through the week. 
Commonwealth, Downtown For a relaxing setting. Cocktail lounge with live music and a rooftop bar. The festoon lighting for me, is the ultimate relaxation factor. The design and architecture was inspired by the pre-Prohibition era and it has it's own text-to-access speakeasy. 

Mickey Finnz, Downtown For Happy Hour. This beach themed bar is a favourite of ours for it's fab mid-week happy hour offers. They also have live music most nights of the week and are in a prime location for people watching on Fremont Street. The outdoor seating is also a bonus. 

Air Bar, Stratosphere For cocktails. Air Bar offer some of the the strongest cocktails I've ever tried, 800ft in the air. You do have to pay entry to the Stratosphere Tower to visit but it's well worth it since you can walk freely between the bar and the observation deck above. You'll never have another cocktail with a view like this. 

Fat Tuesday/Chonga Bar For convenience. Fat Tuesday have several locations up and down the strip whilst Chonga Bar is just in the Luxor. Both offer generous sized refillable cups filled with alcohol and slush. My favourite is the Chonga Bar tequila and pink lemonade. Sounds peculiar but it's ridiculously refreshing. 

Chandelier Bar, Cosmopolitan For style. Think of it like going to bar inside a chandelier that spans over three floors that all offer different menus. 

Atomic, Downtown For history. Atomic is Las Vegas' oldest freestanding bar. In its heyday it was frequented by stars such as Barbara Streisand and Clint Eastwood, looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the strip. 

Voodoo Nightclub, Rio For views. An open air club on top of the Rio hotel offering great music and spectacular views over the strip. It was an experience like no other and was definitely a great way to spend a Monday evening. 

Foundation Room, Mandalay Bay For atmosphere. Foundation Room is primarily a members only club but non members can use the dining room and enter the lounge after 10pm which isn't so bad. As mentioned in my photo spots post, this place offers amazing views looking north up the strip, 63 stories high. 
High Roller, The Linq The worlds tallest observation wheel. Offers a mean happy *half* hour.

Stratosphere Observation tower complete with thrill rides, an observation deck and bar mentioned above. 

Mob Museum Museum of Organised Crime and Law Enforcement located in Downtown.

Slotzilla A zipline suspended above Fremont Street. Choose to sit (v uncomfortable) or fly like Superman!

Neon Museum Home to neon signs from old Las Vegas hotels and businesses. 

Big Apple Roller Coaster Themed like a New York taxi, wraps around NY,NY and is absolutely terrifying.

Bellagio Fountains An absolute must see and sometimes, a real tear-jerker. V impressive.

Valley Of Fire Stunning state park not far out of the city known for it's bright red sandstone.

Grand Canyon One of the Seven Wonders of the natural world and to this day, the most amazing thing I've ever seen. Whether you drive, fly or hike, you won't want to miss it.

Seven Magic Mountains Seven towers of colourfully stacked boulders part of a public art piece by Ugo Rondinone and on show until the end of 2018. To the best of my knowledge, you do have to drive out to them. 

Helicopter Strip Tour Las Vegas is helicopter central so why not take a sunset trip over the strip in style. Be sure to research companies and consider safety before booking. 

Pool Party The majority of hotels offer daytime pool parties and most seem to have an act on throughout whether it be an artist or DJ. Marquee at Cosmopolitan comes highly recommended. 
Penn & Teller As a big lover of magic, I was so excited to see Penn & Teller perform. The show was incredible, their involvement and relationship with the audience was great and they even stayed for a meet and greet after the show. Lovely. 

Zumanity An erotic, obviously adult focused, Cirque De Soleil show. It has rave reviews from absolutely everyone and I bet it'd be well worth the watch. 

Artist residency Seeing a singer/artist/performer is really down to personal preference. I've not been to one myself but I can tell you now, if Shania is ever back in town, I'm right there!
I once heard that Las Vegas is one of the best places to shop in the world. I don't know how true that is but there really is something for everyone. Grand Canal Shoppes is quite upscale along with The Shops at Crystals. The Forum at Caesars is a more traditional mall but still houses the likes of Gucci, Chloe and Cartier. Las Vegas North Premium Outlets is a world favourite for outlet shopping. Sign me up.


There you have it, my top recommendations for all things food, drink and fun in Las Vegas. If you have anything to add, be sure to leave it in the comments, I'd love to check out some new places when I'm back in town. 

Below, just for you, I've created a checklist of the best bits from these recommendations. As with the details above, I've not included hotels to visit or where to gamble as those are completely personal preference. There is, however, a whole host of food, drink and entertainment must-do's that you're welcome to Pin or save for later.

What to Eat Drink + Do in Las Vegas - Las Vegas Guide - ItsHollieAnn


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Sunday, 11 March 2018

Making More Of An Effort Offline

Making More Of An Effort Offline
I met up with my friend Alex on Friday after not seeing him for almost a year. We'd planned to meet for drinks on on far too many occasions but in the end one of us would always fathom an excuse and bail. Over time, we'd drop each other Facebook messages, exchange likes on Instagram and reply to each others Snapchats but ultimately, when it came to meeting up in person, quite frankly, neither of us could be arsed. 

So on Friday, whilst sitting in the bar laughing and catching up, I got thinking about a Zoella Q&A I watched last week (Skip to 12:33). I thought, the reason neither of us could be arsed meeting up despite living no more than 10 miles apart was because we already felt like we'd caught up because of what we'd seen online. The more we chatted, I realised I already knew about his trips away over the past year and gigs he'd been to, he knew about my promotion and even who I had round for Christmas dinner. 

For almost a year, we'd managed to fool ourselves into thinking we were great at keeping in touch but as the cocktails kept coming, we started to realize that we'd been neglecting our friendship massively. 

Then, I started thinking back to my birthday on Tuesday. Some friends and family wrote on my Facebook to wish me well but as I read through each one liking them aimlessly, I noticed that there were some people that hadn't posted. I don't know what's worse. That they'd seen it was my birthday and chosen to ignore it or that they didn't know it was my birthday because they hadn't been on Facebook. Do you see what I mean?

Either way, it makes me a little sad that we rely so heavily on social media to inform us of these things - Myself included. I have no idea when my sister-in-laws birthday is and it's just occurred to my that I didn't even ask her about her trip to Dubai because I'd seen it plastered over her social media pages.  

I'm not naive,  I know full well we live in an online world that advances everyday and for the most part, it's great. I've made some amazing friendships online and managed to keep in touch with those who I can't see everyday. The thing is, I no-longer want social media perusing to be my poor excuse for communication. 

I'm not trying to imply that we should give up social media, quit posting online or stop communicating through the internet all together. What I'm saying is I don't want to scroll aimlessly not conversing, not engaging - I no longer want to sit back, make assumptions or just be damn right lazy. 

I don't want to feel like I'm catching up with someone when I haven't really seen or spoken to them. I want to more of an effort to meet up in person or even just pick up the phone. My friend Ben and I caught up over some tea and biscuits back in February - He's been to San Francisco with his boyfriend since and the most I've heard is the mini review he sent to my work email. I don't think I even replied - Why didn't I just call to ask how the trip was?

Also, I want to stop making assumptions - I don't want to assume who went for drinks with who or who's sleeping together purely based on what I see on social media. We've all done it and besides the odd Sherlock Holmes feeling, we mostly assume loads of shit and find out it wasn't true anyway. 

I know that this must seem very dramatic and slightly woe-is-me but after having such a good night with Alex, I kind of forgot what it's like to have fun and really connect with people, not just hope that someone replies to my Snapchat story to ask how my day was. 
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What are your thoughts on online and offline communication? How do you keep a balance?

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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

What To Eat, Drink + Do In St Andrews

What To Eat, Drink + Do In St Andrews
If you follow my Instagram and aren't sick of my constant love for a Boomerang, you'll know that I spent the past few days in St Andrews. We headed up there on Sunday morning ahead of my birthday to catch up my cousin and soak up all the great things St Andrews had to offer before she graduates this summer. Despite the awful weather, we managed to fit so much in to just a few days and I couldn't wait to share it all with you. In a nutshell, the town is absolutely adorable, rich in history and full of super lovely students. 

ItsHollieAnn 
St Salvators Hall St Andrews is a university town and probably the most notable halls of residence is St Salvators Hall. Not only are they the halls where Kate and Wills stayed during their time at uni, but they're also super traditional with shared bedrooms and High Table dinners every week - I just love everything about it. 

The Quad One of the oldest parts of the university and the hub for most uni events and rights of passage including the 'Raisin Monday' foam fight - How is that even a thing? Nearby is also the famous PH which students will never - legit never - step on. It marks the spot where Patrick Hamilton who was tried for practicing religious heresy was burned at the stake. Watching people avoid walking on it is actually hilarious but I love that they still follow old traditions. It's also worth noting people that do step on the PH do the 'May Dip' which is basically running into the sea at sunrise on May 1st to 'rid the curse'. 

St Mary's Quad Another university quad with a thorn said to be planted by Mary Queen of Scots. Pretty cool and worth a look. 

Eden Mill Tour If you're a gin lover then the Eden Mills distillery would be a great activity to pop on your to-do list. It's £10 and can be booked online - Unfortunately they were fully booked for our visit but to be honest, I'd go back just for that. 

St Andrews Cathedral I'm a sucker for ruins and since the cathedral is the largest medieval church in Scotland, on just about every travel site, postcard and Instagram hashtag, I knew it was worth the visit. It's ridiculously picturesque, even more so in the sunshine and also has a bell tower offering views over the sea. 
What To Eat, Drink + Do In St Andrews

ItsHollieAnn
St Andrews Brewing Company A fab little pub offering 15+ craft beers, 20+ craft gins and host of classic board games. This place was so welcoming and full of friendly faces that I could have sat there all evening sampling the gins on offer. Well worth a visit and offers souvenir t-shirts!

Old Union Cafe An intimate little cafe with walls dedicated to past university rectors. It's inspiring to see how many students go there to work and that actually offer a mean coffee too. 

Mamacita After hearing someone say 'The best margaritas I've ever had', I added this place straight on to my to do list. They carry around 25 tequilas and the classic margarita was so good that I had three. They also offer frozen margaritas and a bunch of Mexican street food.
What To Eat, Drink + Do In St Andrews

ItsHollieAnn
Northpoint Cafe Also known as the cafe where Kate met Wills (for coffee). It's the cutest little cafe but tends to be a little busy in the mornings. We actually managed to get in for birthday brunch - The all day breakfast was delicious and comes with the fluffiest pancakes and maple syrup. 

Ziggys I booked Ziggys so far ahead of our visit because it looked right up my street. The staff were super friendly and the food was to die for, especially the garlic prawns.

The Vic We headed to The Vic after asking my cousin for somewhere chill but with really great food - She was absolutely right. The three of us opted for the chorizo burger and it was bloody delicious. This place also has a lounge & social club for drinks in the evening. 
What To Eat, Drink + Do In St Andrews

ItsHollieAnn
There are a whole host of hotels, B&B's and also AirBnb's around St Andrews. We stayed with my cousin but websites like Trivago & Booking.com list all of the popular places to rest your sleepy head. 
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I'd love to know if you've visited St Andrews before or if you'd visit in future. I'd LOVE to go back in the summer. 

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We actually got lost on the way back - After a wrong turn on my part, our satnav took us down a bunch of B roads which were still full of snow and water for no particular reason. After crying and finally getting back on track, it then took us off route again, down more ridiculous B roads to cut out part of the main road. I cried again. 

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