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A Very Unordinary Review | The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

13 January 2018
If you're a regular reader of my blog you will remember that in may of last year I wrote a post reviewing The Ordinary's High Adherence Silicone Primer and it's safe to say I was a little bit disappointed. But after hearing so many good things about the brand I decided to give it another go and picked up the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% which is also known as the High-Strength Vitamin and Mineral Blemish Formula (not very I catchy I know), on a recent trip to London.

The High-Strength Vitamin and Mineral Blemish Formula 'is indicated to reduce the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion. A high 10% concentration of this vitamin is supported in the formula by zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid to balance visible aspects of sebum activity.' In short the solution is designed to reduce the appearance of blemishes and pores while also balancing the skins oil levels. Interestingly, The Ordinary specifically state that this is NOT a treatment for acne, and that it will not get rid of spots completely. For persistent acne-related conditions, they recommend the use of Benzoyl Peroxide and/or Retinoid Acid.

It's not often I can say this, but this is one of the first products targeted at blemished skin that actually lives up to it's claims. From the first day I tried this I instantly noticed a visible difference in the appearance of my skin. I used it before I went to bed and when I woke up in the morning the redness in my skin and around my acne was almost gone. My skin looked more even in terms of texture and pigmentation, and the pores around my nose significantly smaller. The difference was honestly incredible and applying my makeup  was much smoother.

So after these miraculous results I continued to the use the solution. I'd apply 3 drops in the morning before my moisturiser and 3 drops in the evening after cleansing my skin, and kept doing this for a week. My skin looked great but the more I used the product the less it started to work; my skin had become immune to the product. 
Unfortunately this is not the first time this has happened. I often find that when I use a product it's great at first but after time stops working and it is so frustrating. As a result the only thing you can do to get it working again is to stop using it regularly and save it for a special occasion.

This product is great if you have something coming up where you want your skin to look amazing but if you want it look amazing everyday this probably isn't the right product. But for £5 the High-Strength Vitamin and Mineral Blemish Formula is definitely worth a try.

What product from The Ordinary should I try next?

Eleanor xx

Our Trip to Paris | Part 2

17 December 2017
The Itinerary 

We arrived in Paris on the Monday night and flew back on Saturday morning meaning that we had 4 full days and 5 nights away. While we could've probably covered the city in 3 days we wanted a relaxing break and that extra day made sure we didn't have to rush.

On our first day we planned to go to Disneyland Paris, and while it may not be at the top of everyone's Paris to do list, it was something we really wanted to do. To save time on the day we pre booked our tickets on the official Disneyland Paris website, as it was off peak we could book the 'mini' tickets meaning it was £38 each for the main park, which isn't bad considering tickets at peak times are £61 each (adult). To get to the park we took the RER train from Charles de Gaulle – Étoile (the metro station at the top of the Champs-Élysées by the Arc De Triomphe) to Marne-La-Vallée (the station near the park) and it was surprisingly easy. A single ticket on the RER is just over €7 but make sure you have plenty of change unless you want pay by card or queue up at the ticket office. So after grabbing some cheap pastries from a boulangerie (we did this for breakfast most mornings) we hoped on the train and ate our breakfast during the 45 minute journey, arriving just in time for when the park opens at 10am.

The rest of the day was honestly just magical. We went on the all the bigger rides (yes, Disneyland does have big rides for adults) including Hyperspace Mountain and Thunder Mountain while Karl was kept entertained with all the new Star Wars attractions and I relived my childhood watching the end of day parade. 

It’s hard to describe but the atmosphere of Disneyland is just incredible, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many happy people in one place. I can happily say that I was living my best life. So while Disneyland may not be for everyone, I’m slightly ashamed to say that it was both our favorite day of the holiday.

On our second day, we walked to the Eiffel Tower in the morning and then took the metro to Notre Dame in the afternoon. You can go up the Eiffel Tower and the tower in Notre Dame but we decided to just do one and go right to the top of the Eiffel Tower and then just walk round Notre Dame. The views from the Eiffel Tower were incredible and it is definitely worth paying extra to go right to the top even if the lifts are a bit rickety. As for Notre Dame, while it was nice to say we’d been, it wasn’t my favorite attraction. That being said, it’s free, beautiful inside and doesn’t take long to look around, so if you have the time you might as well squeeze in a visit.

The next day we visited The Louvre and the surrounding area including Le Palais Royal. Having done GCSE art, this was quite high on my to do list so we gave ourselves plenty of time to enjoy The Louvre and all it has to offer. As we’re both within the 18-25 age bracket and are residents of the EU (well for now) we both got into the Louvre for free by just showing our passports in place of tickets, so make sure to check out the Louvre’s official website as you may be valid for free admission. 

The Louvre itself is massive and took us quite a while to walk around all of the different areas, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes and allow yourself plenty of time if you want to look around it all. My favorite part of the museum is the Paintings, Prints and Drawings section where you will find the world famous Mona Lisa, but the museum does also have a lot of beautiful sculptures if paintings aren’t your thing. After the Louvre we then walked around the gardens nearby and then also over to Le Palais Royal for those all-important tourists snaps.

While we had reserved our last day for shopping by the Arc De Triomphe and Champs Elysée we made a quick trip in the morning to the PSG ground so that Karl could visit the stadium and have a look round the club shop. For those of you who have football obsessed partners, the club shop is lovely. It's also worth visiting if they want a shirt as the PSG store on the Champs Elysée charged quite a bit more and there were restrictions on buying more than one shirt. In return he patiently waited for me while I browsed Sephora. My top tip for shopping would be to think about the exchange rate, as while we were there the rate was so poor that it was actually cheaper to buy the majority of things at home. 

We honestly had such a lovely time in Paris, and for a last minute holiday we ended up being quite organised (apart from nearly missing our airport transfer back - oops!). I would love to go back again but not for quite a few years as there are so many other places I haven't visited and I feel like I have seen the majority of what Paris has to offer.

To read about our hotel and my money saving tips check out part 1.

Have you been to Paris or are you planning a trip? I'd love to hear in the comments below!

Eleanor xx

Our Trip to Paris | Part 1

10 December 2017

Back in October myself and my boyfriend Karl, went on our first holiday together. Destination: Paris. I have been to Paris before, but only as a child and therefore my memories consist of repeated trips on the Dumbo ride at Disneyland and being refused entry to Notre Dame as my sister (also only a child at the time) was wearing shorts. As for Karl, he has been to Germany and The Netherlands but that's about it in terms of holidays abroad.

Why Paris?

Originally we had planned to visit Barcelona due to the warmer weather but after several factors including terrorist attacks and political unrest in Catalonia, it just didn't feel like the right time. With our week booked off work fast approaching and still nothing booked, we began to ask our families and friends for suggestions, this lead us to Paris.

Where We Stayed

After a bit of research we decided that while Paris would't be the budget holiday we'd first planned, it was somewhere we both really wanted to go and were therefore willing to spend a bit extra so that everything was perfect. The hotel we stayed in was Hotel Pastel Paris and as the name suggests the rooms are beautifully decorated in pastel colours. Our room had pastel blue walls with millennial pink accents while the double bed was adorned in mix and match scatter cushions.

Hotel, Pastel, Paris, Review, Room, Decor, Arc De Triomphe, 3 Star, Good, Nice

As with most Parisian hotels, the room was small but the space was utilised with an open wardrobe and small dressing table/desk, making it the perfect space for a couple staying for anything just under a week. To save money on the flight we just took hand luggage, and while we had to pack cleverly the suitcases were much easier to store in the room than one or two large suitcases.

Hotel, Pastel, Paris, Wardrobe, Open, Decor, Layout

I believe that the hotel may have not long changed hands and undergone a massive refurbishment throughout, as it does not have many reviews on trip advisor. As you can see though when looking at the reviews they are largely positive and personally we had a lovely stay at the hotel. The staff at the hotel were all very friendly, with the receptionist even providing a recommendation for a restaurant nearby on our first night and offering to arrange our transfer back to the airport on our last day. The hotel also operates a policy where they look after your key when you leave the hotel which was quite handy and stopped us worrying about loosing the key while we were out and about.

Hotel, Pastel, Paris, Relaxing, Weekend, Away,  City Break, Hotels, Pretty, Decor, Luxury

Hotel Pastel is just a mere 10 minutes from the Arc De Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées and just a 15/20 minute walk to the Eiffel Tower, making it perfect for sightseeing or if you are anxious about using the metro. On the downside we did find this area quite expensive for eating out compared to other areas of Paris, with most restaurants charging €25+ for your main evening meal. That being said, there are some more affordable gems including Italian restaurant Sgabetti that was just over 5 minutes away from the hotel.

What if I’m on a budget?

Paris can be expensive but if you do your research you can save yourself money here and there. Including transfers to the airport and back, our flights and hotel cost us about £450 each (though we did end up getting some cash back on that by using TopCashBack). We then gave ourselves just under €100 spending money per each full day (including any treats we wanted to buy ourselves) but I’d say I spent about €50 a day on food, drink and transport. We saved money by buying pastries for breakfast from boulangeries, looking around for cheaper places to eat in the evening and then buying extra drinks from supermarkets (a can of diet coke in a café costs about €5 compared to €1 from a supermarket).

Stay tuned for part 2 of my trip to Paris to find out about what sights are worth visiting, plus more ways to save money.

Eleanor xx

4 Things To Try As We Transition Into AW17

17 September 2017
Transitioning your wardrobe can be a nightmare. You wake up in the morning and it's freezing so you put on a jumper then by lunchtime the sun is blazing and you're overheating. Don't even get me started on the constant "Do I really need a jacket?" dilemma. But don't worry because I've got some simple and easy things you can try to get you through to the winter months...

Frills, Cold Shoulder, top, river, island, floral, pink, blue, styled, leather, jacket, fashion, uk, blogger, hughstreet, birmingham

Leather Jacket
A leather jacket is not only one of my autumn/winter staples but a timeless classic. It being a jacket and not a coat means that it will keep you warm as it starts to get cold but t it can easily be draped over your shoulders if it gets a bit warm. Leather is also (sort of) water resistant meaning that if you get caught in an autumn shower you won't immediately get soaked. So if you haven't got one in your wardrobe already now is the perfect time to invest.

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Nude Accessories 
While 'all black everything' is a staple look for me, it's nice to soften an outfit with some lighter accessories. For example I love how this quilted Marc B Bag* and these studded Primark flats contrast with the dark florals and the tough leather jacket, telling the world that I'm not quite ready to let go of summer.

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Burgundy Smokey Eye
When it comes to eye makeup I look that sexy effortless look that you get with a simple smokey eye. Mix it up a bit by using a deep burgundy red all over the eye then smudging either a dark brown liner or shadow into the lash line before finishing up with lashings of black mascara. Just remember to use a clean blending brush to soften the edges and then a beauty blender to wipe away any fallout.

Combining Trends
I fell in love with this top as soon as I saw it and instantly knew it was the perfect aw17 piece. Combining some key SS17 trends (including ruffles and cold shoulder tops) with dark, yet still pretty, winter florals; makes this top the ultimate transition piece this season.

What I'm Wearing | Zara Leather Jacket (Similar), River Island Top, Marc B Knightsbridge Bag*, Asos Jeans, Primark Shoes (Similar)

Eleanor xx