Reviewed: Hesperia Hotel Lanzarote

Oh wow, a whole month has passed since I last blogged. Where has time gone! I’ve been super busy, and yes, boyfriend finally arrived from Australia, so I’ve got blog post ideas coming out of my ears from the time I’ve missed!

Last week we got back from a week in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, and I just had to review the hotel we went to. I’ve actually been here before, would you believe it, FOUR years ago with a friend, but we went in January (the Canaries are hot all year round, so its perfect for winter sun ideas, FYI!) – the vibe was definitely different in July, but we’ll get to that.

Anyway, we went for 5 nights (not a whole week sadly, but I had to comply with my work rotas), but it was the perfect little break. I came back feeling totally relaxed and inevitably disgusted at the slap in the face we call reality. But still, even though I was back at work, I was doing so all bronzed and sunkissed, and we all know that anything you do – ANYTHING – is better with a tan, right?!

LOCATION
So, the hotel. Hesperia Lanzarote. Its a 5* property and its located in Puerto Calero, the cutest little marina town just set aside from the main bustle of Puerto Del Carmen, which is one of the main resorts. It really makes a difference to be in such a secluded spot. It was so peaceful all the time, and the hotel is just a 5-10 minute walk to the marina area, where there are loads of really good restaurants and bars, and a supermarket and pharmacy. There is also a selection of elite shops, like Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and Lacoste. The entire atmosphere is just divine.

POOL
The island is volcanic, so the majority of beaches are laiden with jet black sand (the ones that aren’t are artificial), so always pick a hotel with a good pool offering, as you’ll end up doing most of your tanning here! The Hesperia certainly offers that, with 5 pools set among rocks and bridges, with a variety of islands and pool bars to swim around. Its a real wow factor pool area, to say the least.

IMG_0100

IMG_0375

Don’t get me wrong, the hotel was A LOT busier than in January when we previously visited, which is to be expected, but there was never an issue getting sun loungers, or the daily fight to place your towel before breakfast, which quite frankly makes me nauseous, and such behaviour belongs in Benidorm, if you ask me! The entire pool area, around all the pools is really open, and so there isn’t a prime spot to fight for. Anywhere you choose gets the sun all day, generally, so its a really nice and relaxed approach.

THE ROOM
When we checked in, around noon, (as our 7am flight from London Stansted had got in to Arricife at around 11.15) our room wasn’t quite ready, so we were told to wait until around three. We were given cards to collect towels from the pool lifeguard, and shown where we could change our clothes. I won’t lie, I was a little dissapointed that the room wasn’t ready, but I hadn’t gotten around to emailing ahead to let them know we would be arriving early, and I’m not a frequent summer traveller – I usually go at quieter times, and love winter sun trips, so I’m often used to hotels being empty and my room being ready immediately, so I really couldn’t complain. Around 2.30 we went back to the desk to ask if our room was ready, and it was (hurrah!), and my my my, it was definitely worth the wait. Our bags were carried to our room for us, and we had been upgraded to a pool view room, and were given a south facing balcony which got all the best afternoon and early evening sun. Our room was packed with upgraded amenities, like robes and slippers and toiletries, but the location was really the best part. We had been in our room all of 10 minutes, when we received a call from the Guest Relations Manager welcoming us to the hotel. About 10 more minutes passed, I was sunning myself on the balcony taking it all in, recovering from the 2am start we had earlier that day, when there was a knock at the door. A waiter was standing there with a platter of olives and mini breads with various toppings. He passed it to me, and left. I was baffled to say the least, assuming it was a mistake, until I saw a handwritten note from the Guest Relations Manager informing us that the platter was in fact for us as a welcome gift! The service really was impeccable.

IMG_0104

IMG_0090

IMG_0372

IMG_0468

IMG_0373

IMG_0374

FOOD
We took the Bed and Breakfast board option at the hotel as I knew the great range of restaurants nearby, though it appeared that the majority of other residents had booked All Inclusive. The breakfast was absolutely fantastic. I knew it would be, as it was last time, but there really was everything you could possibly imagine. Every type of cheese, bread, yoghurt, bacon, sausages, pastries, juices, teas, and fruit. The chefs were cooking eggs to your liking in front of you, and a the other end of the buffet was a pancake bar, also serving omelettes and grilled sandwiches. The only thing we could fault was that upon arrival you were seated by the host, and then another member of staff came to take your tea and coffee order. The first three mornings this ran smoothly, though on the last two mornings, we were completely ignored, and it seemed as though everyone around us was being offered hot drinks except us. Very minor moan, but quite annoying! Other than this, we couldn’t fault anything about the breakfast offering. It really exudes 5* quality. You can certainly set a 5* apart from a 4* based on breakfast, and this lives up to expectations.

IMG_0115

IMG_0359

IMG_0360

IMG_0361

IMG_0362

IMG_0363

IMG_0364

IMG_0365

IMG_0366

IMG_0367

IMG_0368

IMG_0369

IMG_0371

IMG_0154

IMG_0155

IMG_0156

Though we never got around to eating there, we heard very good things about the evening buffet dinner, where you could have various cuts of fresh meat all cooked to your liking by the chef at the open grill, and there were two other a la carte restaurants to dine at, but were very strict on booking times. If I’m honest, I found the staff at the El Risco restaurant to be quite rude upon our enquiry as to whether they had available slots one evening. It was 9.30pm, so I had expected it not to be peak time and that perhaps there would be a table, but we were abruptly informed that they only take four tables per half an hour. Instead, we got room service. This was just one evening that we had lost track of time and couldn’t muster the energy to walk to the marina, and we were also quite full, so just wanted something small. The room service was disappointing. The menu seemed quite limited, though does say if there is something else you would like, we will try our best to provide it. With that, we called and ordered a pasta carbonara, and a delhi sandwich. The pasta had four options of which style of pasta, and four sauce options. We selected tagliatelle and carbonara, but were phoned back later to say they only had penne, which wasn’t a big deal, it just seemed odd. The sandwich was listed as containing pork, but on the phone I had asked for chicken instead, but the lady seemed baffled and acted as though I had asked for unicorn meat instead, so we held out no hope. When it arrived, it was okay, but nothing exciting. On another occasion we ordered the chocolate fondant, which came cold and hard, so I went to reception and asked for a new one, which was slightly better, but still average. We also ordered beer, which came in glass bottles with no bottle opener, so we had to go and get those opened as well. In sum, the restaurants are great, but avoid room service!

LOCAL AREA
We tried a few restaurants in the local area of the marina. The Mexican restaurant was amazing – we had nachos and shared fajitas and enchiladas. It was full of flavour and really really tasty. We also had steak at Cafe Milla, which was really good, and we had pan friend chorizo for a starter. Delicious. Azure does great mains and snacks – we had coffee here on our first day, and a couple of milkshake runs throughout the week! (yes I have a weakness for shakes!). La Papardella served nice Italian food, though don’t be put off by the fact they insist on showing photos of the food on the menu. We had a tomato, mozzarella and avocado salad, followed by fresh pastas, and they were surprisingly good. Bad first impression, but good food and lovely staff. We became named the “Kangaroo Couple” upon our waiter seeing my boyfriend had an Australian bank card! We met friends who were also on holiday on the island at Buda Bar for cocktails, which is a cool chill out bar with sofas outside on the marina. Great Mojitos and Pinacoladas!

IMG_0348

IMG_0350

IMG_0469

All in all, it was a great holiday, made better by this amazing hotel. Despite a few tiny niggles, and the worst and slowest check in experience ever, its still one of my favourite hotels I’ve ever visited, and will definitely be going back as soon as I can!

Advertisements

Chinese Dumplings Cook Off From One Side of the World to the Other

Now, I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely obsessed with oriental food. Moving from my small home town to the bright lights of London, one of the first things I learned was, there’s more to life than Wagamama. London is packed with loads of authentic chinese and japanese restaurants that are much better than main stream chains, and my go-to choice of entrees are ALWAYS dumplings. Or gyoza, for the intellectual linguists amongst us. When I was in Australia, the suburbs are actually packed with restaurants specialising in dumplings, so I was in food heaven! Only problem is, I’ve been harbouring a severe allergy to shellfish, which eliminates a high proportion of restaurants, as they don’t offer plain chicken, beef or pork on their own. After finally tracking down some plainer ones, my boyfriend and I vowed that we would learn to master them at home ourselves. We decided we would make them together over Skype, in the evening his time (which was sadly 10.30am for me, but by the time we had finished it was like an early lunch). They actually turned out really well, and they’re super easy to make, really cheap, and actually pretty healthy (about 30-40 calories per dumpling, depending on fillings). A great treat for a down day!

Anyway, I snapped some pics of our progress, and how they turned out! Thought I would share it with everyone! I based mine on an online recipe for help with the dough, but the filling and cooking was all our own!

1. Create the dough (yes, we made this from scratch!). Its simply plain flour and water. I used 140g of flour and 150ml of very very hot water. This dough makes enough for about 15 dumplings. Mix the two together in a bowl until it makes a ball of dough.

2. Kneed the dough for about 6-8 minutes until its smooth and stretchy.

IMG_7282

3. Put in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth and leave while you make your fillings. (I’m unsure exactly what this is for, but a few recipes I had looked at online told me to do it, so I did.)

4. Chop up chives, four spring onions, two chilli peppers, two cloves of garlic, and one chicken breast into the smallest pieces you can. If you have a food processor, mince it and mix it together. I pre-cooked my chicken, but the bf used his raw. Neither of us died so its up to you. I’m just a serious raw chicken germophobe, so I pre-cooked mine. Just remember to make sure its cooked through at the final stage, particularly if you’ve used raw chicken. You’ll need to cook them a little longer if you have.

5. With your mixed up filling, add a bit of soy sauce (as much as you feel you need to get the ingredients to stick together), and some chilli oil if you like it spicy.

IMG_7283

6. Take out your dough, and roll it into a long, thin sausage shape, about the circumference or your thumb and forefinger when you make a circle. Cut the sausage shape into equal pieces. Usually about 15.

7. Roll each one into a circle shape, put a bit of filling in the middle (only a little bit – you don’t want to over stuff them), and fold the dough over like a pasty. Dab water onto the edges to make them stick, and press together with your fingers to make the edges flat. It looks a bit like the back of a stegosaurus.

IMG_7284

IMG_7286

8. Once you’ve used all your dough and filling (the above proportions should make it just about exact), you can either fry or steam your dumplings. For frying, use a shallow pan, heat some oil until its hot, and place the dumpling in. Let it sizzle in the oil (use more chilli oil for more flavour if you like), and flip it onto both sides until they brown off. (Leave them for longer if you’re waiting for the chicken inside to cook). Also try and get the base side to flatten and let it stand up like that for a while too. For steaming, I tried various options as I didn’t have my steamer here with me, but the easiest and most effective method was just plop the dumplings into a pan of boiling water and leave for a few minutes until the dough becomes, somewhat, chewy. You’ll be able to tell by watching the colour and texture change. Remove with a draining spoon and serve!

9. For dipping sauce, use either soy sauce on its own, or add chilli oil or fresh chillies, and some chinese rice wine/vinegar. Serve as an entree, or on a bed of egg/chicken fried rice as a main course!

IMG_7287

Easy and SO delicious!

Have a great bank holiday weekend, all!

Love always

Coco xx

Bond Girl

Hey guys, hope everybody is enjoying the sunshine as much as I am! Life is just that little bit brighter when the sun is shining. The endless summer evenings make the days seem far longer, rather than waking up in darkness and leaving work in darkness, trudging home losing yourself in the sofa cushions until the end of time, aka the British winter.

Today I am hounding you with yet another plug of an Aussie brand that I fell in love with, called BONDS (and I expect you’re now nodding your head as you now understand the pun embedded in the title of this post). I was introduced to it for the first time when I saw the name sprawled across the waistline of my boyfriend’s boxers, and concluded that it was the laid back, Aussie surfer equivalent of having Calvin Klein peeping out the back of your jeans, rather than an advert for Australia’s investment yield prospects (the finance geeks reading this will appreciate). This was until my visit to Australia, when I spotted an entire store filled with underwear, sleepwear and sportswear, for men AND women. It has a Nike/Sweaty Betty/Victoria’s Secret Sports feel to it, and has uplifting summer prints and bright colours available, as well as more plain options. Cool workout gear is hot for 2014, and this brand is packed with ideas. I grabbed a bra (with the bonds logo not-so-subtly plastered around the underbust, an adorable palm print bandeau also sporting the logo, and some grey sweatpants that are so comfy I have had to actually talk myself into letting them go in the wash as I’ve been living in them. I’m already having withdrawals.

Anyway, as always, I’ve chosen some of my favourite bits from the site, and even better, they now deliver to the UK, AND its free deliver over $100AUD (thats only about £50, so go nuts!).

1. Wide waistband jungle line print briefs, $17.95AUD

2. Low rise shorts, $16.95AUD

3. Logo Sweatpants, $49.95AUD

4. Active leggings, $49.95AUD (I wanted these SO badly to wear with my pink Nike Free Runs…cry!)

5. Tube Bra, $39.95AUD

6. Neon print g-string, $14.95AUD

Screen shot 2014-05-15 at 22.34.03

Enjoy, Bond Girls!

As always,

Coco xx

 

AWOL again, back again!

Hello there!!!! No, I haven’t evaporated! I’m still very much here. And ‘here’ is now a different ‘here’ to before. Yep, that’s right. I have returned to the best city in the world, our very own London. And yes, in case you’re wondering, London really is my favourite city in the world. While my love affair with New York and Barcelona lives on, I really just love British culture, and you just don’t get that anywhere else!

So yeah, I’m back in London. I’ve been lucky enough to land a lovely flat with my favourite housemate of all time (we lived together during first and second year of uni, and vowed we would one day be cohabs again!). Both of us are truly amazed we actually did it. Among our busy schedules, my timeline being all off due to doing a four year uni course, Sian being a year ahead of me in academic years anyway, AND the wild goose chase that is London flat hunting, we’re still reeling at the fact we actually live together again! Our pad has just the right amount of cosy-ness, but still loads of cool and modern features, so I’m super happy with it. Its a tiny bit of a trudge to the tube station, but on the bright side, my legs could benefit from some extra toning, and there is a bus that goes right by the flat, for those lazy (or rainy) days. I’m really struggling to fault anything about it, as you might be able to tell!

Anyway, I’ve had blog post ideas coming out of my ears over the past week, as I continue my ongoing battle with my Three mobile internet dongle, which somehow gave me full signal in the depths of the New Forest when I was at home, yet here I am in the busiest city in the UK, and nada! No, niente, nish. So that’s my excuse for not posting anything! I’m not going to lie to you and say I’m back on track, because unfortunately we still haven’t got our WiFi sorted, but it should be coming this week! I’m currently nabbing the connectivity in a local coffee shop – which, by the way, is amazing. Its a cute little coffee-shop-come-vintage-store, with kitsch furniture, and you’re surrounded by loads of little vintage bits that are all for sale. Just sitting here is sparking ideas for a new blog post all about it!

So, here’s the beginning of what you’ve missed! A couple of OOTDs and some new beauty bits I’m giving a go!

IMG_4891

I’ve been fascinated by this new phenomena of skin perfecting potions, particularly the new Lancome Dream Tone, but despite its promising reviews, the price is just too steep a risk for me unfortunately. So, I’ve opted for the L’Oreal range. There is a day cream, eye cream, serum, and a BB cream, and this ‘instant blemish blur‘ cream, which I’m going to try. It was £8 something in Boots in some sort of promotion. I think it usually retails around £12.99, but it feels really nice on the back of my hand, so I think it would make a good even out base for makeup.

Screen shot 2013-09-24 at 11.49.34

I’ve also recently finished my Chanel Perfection Lumiere foundation, and was on the look out for a change. Not in any part because Chanel was anything short of divine, I just like to try new ones out, and fancied something new. I had seen the Dior Airflash Spray Foundation advertised as “new”, but I knew this was a classic brand relaunch, because I know for a fact it has definitely been released before! None the less, I was desperate to test its ‘air brushed skin’ claims, so dashed out and snapped that up for £33. I got shade 201 Linen, after being torn between the 200 and 201. The 200 seemed to have a slight pinky undertone, while the 201 was more yellow, which seemed to suit my skin slightly better. Full review to follow! Spoiler alert – ITS AMAZING!

IMG_4828

This MILAN perfume from NEXT was only £8 and it smells absolutely gorgeous! Its an eau de parfum as well, so you get the intensity and staying power that you lose out on with an eau de toilette, which a lot of high street fragrances are (like the Zara one I mentioned here). Its really fresh and feminine. There are others in the range, that all smell lovely as well. Definitely one for the handbag! £8 for 50ml, £12 for 100ml!

IMG_4826

These mint green Vans were a leaving gift from my wifey…which no, I’m not too ashamed to admit brought a tear to my eye! They were a limited edition colour that I had wanted for a while, but each store apparently only had one pair of each size, and she managed to track them down for me! I’m going to replace the laces to white, but I’m loving them with skinny jeans and a baggy tee for a relaxed style. AND they’re super comfy!

OOTDs Galore

Our new flat has a gigantic wall to ceiling mirror – AMAZING FOR OOTDs! One of these day’s I’ll learn to work self timer on my phone and not have to do the awkward selfie shots, but for now, I don’t care! It may subject me to extensive ridicule among my friends, and I’ve even been branded “selfie queen”, mainly attributed to my year long moan about people who do them! But, I admit it! I hold my Dido style white flag up in surrender, and I have jumped right on the bandwagon. Though I maintain that its okay for blogging purposes. Its when people are just attention seeking on Facebook that its a pain! At least this what I will tell myself!

Anyway, here we go: OOTD #1

IMG_4848

photo-8

Being in London makes me want to make much more of an effort with my outfit choices. You can really turn a corner without seeing some chick you’re ridiculously jealous of, and the time I have on my hands while job hunting is certainly well spent exploring my wardrobe! Also, having moved 3 times in the space of 6 weeks has allowed me to familiarise myself with the depths of my wardrobe that don’t often get seen, so I feel like I’ve got loads of new outfits made up of forgotten treasures!

Here I’m wearing:

Chinos, £10, Zara (Sale, sold out)

I got the chinos in stone and green, the latter being an impulse purchase because they were such a bargain, but I tried them on with this outfit and actually think they’re pretty cool!

Brogues, £165, Russell and Bromley (Discontinued. Style Name: Campus)

Belt, £2, Primark

Camisole, £18, Topshop

Blazer, £32 Next

I really love this jacket from Next because it has a really structured, tailored look, but its really soft feel and comfortable. A real bargain, and it comes in other prints!

OOTD #2

IMG_4877

Here we have a similar outfit (making use of the chinos before winter fully sets in!)

Blouse, £8, Primark

Chinos, £10, Zara (Sale, Sold Out)

Loafers, £28, River Island

These loafers come in amazing colours as well, so I’ll definitely be investing in another pair!

Belt, £2, Primark

Watch, £28, Next

(Online it says £45, but I definitely paid £28 in store!)

OOTD #3

IMG_4888IMG_4890

Dress, £13, Primark (Selling out fast, hurry!)

Necklace, £4.99, H&M

Coat, £98, Helene Berman at Asos

Shoe Boots, £45, Asos (discontinued years ago!)

Watch, as above

I snapped up this dress after seeing it on another blog. I had to make a mad dash to Primark as I knew it would be a fast seller. I went straight to the big store on Oxford Street (which I try to avoid as its just one massive free-for-all most of the time) and it sure as hell was yesterday) But I got it didn’t I! I will tell you now though, there was only 3 left in the deep red colour. It comes in teal as well though, so now I’ve tried on the shape and size, I’ll definitely be buying both! This Helene Berman coat is a style I’ve been looking for for a while, and I love the mid thigh length of it. So many I have tried on are either too short (as I’m 5″8 which is apparently tall these days), or too long and come down to the knee, which just doesn’t suit me. Its a lovely tweedy style with green panelling at the bottom, and bright orange piping for a colour pop. Overall, very happy! It was a slight splurge, but worth it.

And finally…THE FLAT!

As I’ve mentioned, we’re in a new gaff, and I absolutely love it. I won’t upload loads of pics as I don’t want to plaster my home all over the internet! But one quick snap to mark the occasion can’t hurt! And the winner is….THE KITCHEN! The hub of all gossiping while cooking, morning coffee at the breakfast bar, and of course, chilling the vino!

IMG_4857

Anyway, I think that’s you all caught up!

More posts to follow! And tonight is #theSOproject night, so stay tuned!!! Its blusher week!

Toodles!

Coco x

September Glossy Box

Its that time of the month again. The time that brings Glossybox to my door, full of beauty goodies for me to try! This month’s box has by far been my absolute favourite…I can just tell I’m going to love all the products. Usually I wait until I’ve tried them to blog about them, but I have just this moment torn it open and I can’t wait any longer to share it with you!

This month was the British themed box, and lord knows I love anything and everything British. Red white and blue plastered smothered all over the box exuding patriotism as it engulfed the beauty goodies inside. Here’s a little peek…

IMG_4790

 

Clockwise from bottom:

Be a Bombshell Eyeliner Pen

Eyelure Preglued Lashes

Rimmel Blush Liquid Cheek Tint in 004 Sunkissed Cherry

Elizabeth Arden Untold Eau de Parfum 5ml

Tony and Guy Shine Gloss Serum

IMG_4791

IMG_4792 IMG_4794 IMG_4795 IMG_4793 IMG_4796

 

Reviews to follow as and when I’ve tried them all!

Have a fab weekend xx

The coolest thing I’ve seen in ages…One Fine Stay: The Unhotel

Today, I came across one of the coolest things I have ever seen in all my years as a hotel obsessive – One Fine Stay. Basically, in a nut shell, it is the real life, living embodiment of the Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet house-swap-come-romantic-comedy that captured our hearts in the film, The Holiday, in 2006. Okay, so it was kiiiind of Jude Law that stole our hearts, but the scene that brought us Kate Winslet’s oh so British arrival in the LA mansion was complete gold.

So, as I was saying. People let out their homes and you can book to stay in them for a few days, just as you would a hotel. You can even book online, just as you would do for a hotel. Its super easy! The best part is, as if you weren’t sold already, is you even get the hotel treatment, even though you’re staying in someone’s home. The guys at One Fine Stay are on hand for anything you need 24/7. They’ll either sort it for you over the phone, or pop on over like a handy, constant beck and call, neighbour! You also don’t have to sacrifice your haul of mini toiletries! They even sort all of this for you too, and there’s optional maid service, so you still don’t have to make your bed! It really is a home away from home, with a sprinkling of the glitter and glamour that you get with a hotel stay. Basically, you get total control of the sundae (your holiday), and One Fine Stay are the cherry on top! They even have a ‘home truths’ section on each property, giving you the black and white downsides or limitations, i.e. lack of TV.

Obviously, the downside would be that you do have to be super duper careful. No crazy parties and a smashing spree of the mantlepiece’s resident ornaments! These properties are owned by the world’s elite. Treat their home as if it were yours.

So, having been completely stunned and elated by the entire idea, I gave the website a good old scour, and picked out some of my favourite properties, to show you what sort of thing is available! These beauties will certainly make you reconsider your next visit to Late Rooms 😉

MAYFAIR – LONDON, UK

One Fine Stay have branded this property the bricks and mortar embodiment of George Clooney or Marilyn Monroe, and take a peep inside and you’ll see exactly why. Boasting two original fireplaces, an all round opulent feel, and artistic furnishings, this two bed two bath 17th century property is the ideal spot for a luxury stay in the British capital. Nightly rates around £400.

Screen shot 2013-09-11 at 15.22.41 Screen shot 2013-09-11 at 15.23.00

CHELSEA – LONDON, UK

If, like me, you’ve been embarrassingly transfixed by the likes of Marc Francis, Spencer Matthews and Millie Macintosh on Made in Chelsea, then a couple of nights pretending you’re part of the glittering wonderland that is Chelsea life, would be an absolute dream.  With One Fine Stay, you most certainly can. This property on Cheyne Walk comes complete with amazing views from the chic balcony overlooking the harbour, vintage style interiors and an all over air of purity, evident from the abundance of white hues. Also with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, you and three friends can make like the MIC cast from £280 per night. All of the upper class amenities of the Royal Borough are all close by too.

Screen shot 2013-09-11 at 15.31.56 Screen shot 2013-09-11 at 15.32.03

NEW YORK, USA

This New York Soho loft looks like the set of so many American sitcoms, namely New Girl. The exposed brick and high ceilings just exude the coolness of your average New Yorker, and you can get a slice of the action from $299 per night. The owner is an architecture and design connoisseur, with a love of photography and contemporary art, which is evident across the decor of the open plan living room of the apartment. The stylish bed (photographed) is a unique touch to the classic white themed bedroom, with a door-less three step decent to the artistic bathroom. Screen shot 2013-09-11 at 15.45.10 Screen shot 2013-09-11 at 15.45.20 Screen shot 2013-09-11 at 15.45.39

PARIS, FRANCE

This Parisian apartment is owned by the coolest Grandmother I’ve ever heard of. The site states that when she’s not sipping on a café crème, she’s chatting on Instagram and Facebook. Now she sounds like my kind of temporary landlady to me! Her hip-ness is reflected in her elegant, classic styled apartment, featuring original parquet floors. Vintage, antique furniture graces the living space, while a contrastingly modern kitchen depicts the fun and wild character of its owner. Located on the Rue Raynouard, this apartment is nestled in a quiet and secluded spot, close to the River Seine.

Screen shot 2013-09-11 at 15.56.00 Screen shot 2013-09-11 at 15.56.13

I really could blog all day about these properties, but I’ll let you explore the rest for yourselves. Its giving me inspiration for my next birthday, actually. I’ll be 23 next June (scary!), and perhaps whisking myself and my closest girls off somewhere to pretend we’re rich and famous for a few nights would be so much fun. Pamper nights on the leather corner sofa, living it up like locals on the streets of some of the best cities in the world, and dinner parties on the glass dining tables?! Perfection!

Have a good week, all! Only two days til Friday!

All my love

Coco xx

All photographs remain owned by One Fine Stay.

VINYLUX – saving the world one nail polish at a time

Okay, so, this is my second attempt at reviewing VINYLUX for you all. I wrote out a beaaaaautiful post yesterday, pictures sorted, links sorted, THE LOT. And what happens?! OH YEAH, wordpress deleted the whole thing. Cheers then! This is the thing with all this fancy technology. Its fabulous when its working, but the second it doesn’t – yes, I admit it – I throw my toys out the metaphorical pram and have a good old paddy. Hence why its taken my 24 hours to flush away the frustration and actually type the whole thing again.

So…here we go!

Last Thursday I purchased VINYLUX nail polish. For those who haven’t heard about it yet, its basically like Shellac, but without the lamp, as it hardens itself when exposed to natural daylight. You can also remove it with normal nail polish remover, without having to take a tedious trip back to the salon to have your nail beds hacked at with various scraping tools.

You buy the top coat, and then you can use that with any of the colours. Each bottle is priced at around £10, generally, and they’re all 15ml. I picked up a pinky colour called Gotcha #116, and I found it really lovely.

APPLICATION

You apply two coats of the colour (no base coat required), and then one coat of the top coat, and leave to dry. I found it dried pretty quickly, and didn’t smudge or gloop about at all.

DURABILITY

I have taken a picture of my nails on each day after I applied the polish, so you can see how well it held up under pressure. It endured a drive to London and back (95 miles from the South Coast), two pretty hard nights out (and the accompanying ‘getting ready’ process), countless tube and bus rides, a trek around Westfield, and the packing and unpacking of my suitcase. So, all in all, a pretty busy few days for a home mani to endure.

I was dubious about the product as I was wondering whether it was too good to be true, but I have to say I actually couldn’t be more impressed. Despite claiming to last 7 days, I only wore it for four, because my job doesn’t allow me to wear nail colour, so it had to come off, but it was still in such good shape by the end of day four I have no doubt that it would live up to its 7 day claim. If not more!

You will see a little chipping on my right index finger by day 3, but to be honest, my nail had broken a bit itself, so I’m giving the polish the benefit of the doubt.

day one

dayt wo

day three

day three chip

day four

REMOVAL

I was a bit worried because I had to remove the polish 10 minutes before my shift started, and I realized I hadn’t actually checked that normal remover would take it off! My beautician had told me it did, but the leaflet that came with it said it is best removed with CND’s own remover, so I started to panic! Luckily, my trusty beautician, Becky, was absolutely right. It came off really easily and didn’t stain my nails (even though no base coat is used!).

Overall, I was really really happy with this product. I would definitely recommend it to all fellow nail addicts (Emily, if you’re reading…I mean you!). It has revolutionized nail painting for me! If I was made of money I would replace all my colours I have already with VINYLUX ones, but sadly, with a collection of 100+ bottles, I can’t do that!

Check out all the colours available here. My next purchases, I think, will be Tropix and Azure Wish.

If you have any thoughts on VINYLUX, let me know about it!

I hope everyone made it through Monday!

All my love

Coco xxx

Smellin’ Swell

Recently I have reignited my love of perfumes. There is nothing better than getting up in the morning ready for the day, and choosing from a lineup of gorgeous bottles for a scent that matches your mood, your look, or where you’re going. I always like to have more than one perfume on my shelf, but my signature scent is Calvin Klein Euphoria. I’ve worn it for about three years, and people who know me just, well, know, that that’s my perfume! Its great to find one that suits you, for every day wear, and then have some secondary bottles for special occasions. My secondaries are Chanel Coco Mademoiselle and Marc Jacobs Daisy at the moment, but recently some more have caught my eye, and I thought I’d share them with you. 

CALVIN KLEIN DOWNTOWN

This is the new one from my main man CK, and I absolutely love it! Its really deep and intense, with base notes of cedar and velvety musk and with a citrus top note, making it slightly sweeter than some other CK fragrances. I like!

Image

ZARA WOMAN

Sadly I can’t link to these because they’re not available to buy online, but please do check out the ZARA perfumes next time you’re in there. They’re only £12.99, and they actually smell really pretty. They’re sweet, feminine and flirty, and great secondaries to have on your shelf, or to carry around with you for a daytime spritz! The pink one is great!

MARC JACOBS HONEY

Another new one, this is the latest from Marc. The bottle is in the standard ‘cute as a button’ MJ style, and the scent has notes of honeysuckle, peach, apricot and vanilla. Its a gorgeous girly fragrance, and very summery – its a shame it came out so late! It’s definitely a contender to challenge its predecessor, DOT, as the MJ fave. Its only available in 50ml and 100ml at the moment though, but maybe hold out for Christmas and snap up the gift set!

Screen shot 2013-09-04 at 23.08.46

 

RALPH LAUREN ROMANCE

This aptly named flirty and romantic fragrance has a sophisticated floral tone with a deep, sensual musk. Its a lot sweeter than some other Ralph fragrances so I was pleasantly surprised.

Screen shot 2013-09-04 at 23.13.57

 

Got something to say about these or other perfumes? Let me know!

Have a fab week all 

Coco xx

Reviewed: Nivea Express Hydration Primer

I’ve tried a few primers since the phenomenon broke out, and haven’t yet settled on one that I like. Some I have found look great under makeup and have great staying power, but really don’t feel good on my skin and just make me feel like i’m clogging it up (yes you GOSH primer), so when I saw that Nivea had brought one out, I thought why not give it a go. Now, I’m not usually one for high street skin care, but I do find that Nivea are quite plain and simple with their products, and they do do exactly what it says on the tin. (FYI, the new in shower body moisturiser is fabulous – a real time saver!) I picked up the primer for £3.30 in Tesco (its usually £4.00, but there was some sort of discount). I have used it twice and am so far impressed. It feels really refreshing when applied to cleansed skin, and makes a nice base to apply makeup. Two people said my skin was looking really healthy while I was wearing it too, which is a bonus!

I do think, also, that people sometimes expect primers to work miracles. You can’t simply apply a primer and then expect your £5 foundation to stay on all day and night. You do need to keep up the good work and treat your skin to a decent foundation. I applied the primer, followed by Chanel Perfection Lumiere liquid foundation, and dusted NARS bronzer in Irrisestiblement across my cheek bones with my Real Techniques brush. Working as a waitress I really do put my products to the test, particularly with regards to staying power, and the primer held my makeup on really well all day and evening, so I am really impressed. It felt lightweight and I didn’t feel like I was degreasing my oven when I cleansed before bed. I wouldn’t say its the absolute best on the market, but for £4, its a great little pot to have on hand.

Have you tried it? What did you think? Let me know!

Coco xx

Screen shot 2013-09-03 at 00.29.05

£3 Perfume!

Today was my day off after working 6 days in a row, including two double shifts, so I was super duper excited to do some shopping! Thursday nights are also our payday, so I usually spend Wednesday jumping the gun on what I expect my wages to be, and splurging cash I don’t even have yet 😉 Thank you Master Card!

Anyway, I am going to do a full post on my purchases from today, but this one item needs its own post because I am still totally baffled by it. We were walking through the high street and spotted a market stall selling nail polish for £1, so we decided to have a rummage. You know. Anything for a barg. On the stall I also spotted some pseudo designer perfumes, with some very familiar packaging, so I sort of snorted in a condescending manor at the stall owner and went over for a sniff, expecting fragrances that mimic my cat’s urine. Well. I picked up the white and gold box with MISS TUTU printed on it, smirked and thought, oh right, so this is supposed to be Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel is it, which I have in my collection and paid about €50 for. I sprayed it and could not believe it. It smells so similar! It is slightly sweeter, but for £3, I really was blown away. Now I’m not suggesting you boycot Chanel and go for this. No. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But I snapped one up for things like throwing in your handbag, taking on a night out or in an overnight bag, to a festival, on holiday….basically anywhere that you might risk losing your bottle of the good stuff. They had other fraudy fragrances there too, but I wasn’t familiar with any of the originals so I wasn’t sure how strong their resemblance were, but this one was actually really good. At £3 for 50ml, anything that doesn’t smell like wee is a bonus really! I looked up the ingredients of both, and the vanilla base notes are mirrored in the Miss Tutu copy, as are the extracts of jasmine and rose, making it a fab bargain copy cat!

Image

C x