The Barcelona Travel Guide

 The city views are EPIC
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Barcelona is an interesting place. Before I went to Spain and Portugal, Barcelona was THE most hyped place. Everyone was giving me tips of where to go and what to see (yes, it was helpful, im not saying it wasn’t), however. I personally think it can be a little overrated. No one tells you about the 4million tourists who come out after 10am. 
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But in saying that, I still did love it and would go back because you just can not see enough in 4 days!
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QUICK FACTS:
Pickpockets are a thing here so just have some common sense and keep a hold of your personal things. Keep bags close to you, don’t put phones etc on tables etc – Especially on the Ramblas!
Currency = Euro
Language = Spanish & Catalan –  Touristy Places people speak English too
How to Pay = Card & Cash – Definitely have a small amount of cash on you
Best time to Visit = Between April & June or between September & November
QUICK TIPS:
– Get up early in the morning to do sightseeing
– Book tours earlier in the day and make sure to book in English
– download offline maps to get around – however location tracking is a bit off in the lane ways
– Loads of places have free Wifi – if you get stuck – go to Starbucks
– Walk as much as possible – I came across so many random amazing buildings just from walking around and getting lost
– Sangria & Alcohol in general is very cheap
Tinto de Verano is the ‘traditional’ drink in Barcelona? (Do not quote me on that – it’s basically Sangria)
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ACCOMMODATION
 Hostels: I would highly recommend staying in hostels. As someone who had never done it before, I chose not to stay in a hostel for my first city but I really do regret it! Hostels are a great way to meet people and generally all the good ones are located in the city centre. After speaking to a few people the ones that continuously popped up were: Kabul Backpackers & St Christopher’s Inn.
Airbnb: Airbnb is a great option for couples or if you are a solo traveller meeting up with friends. They can generally be found in all areas of the city and for a great price! You will get to meet some of the locals which is always great and they can give you some recommendations & tips you may not have had before for that area.
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The little street I stayed in – El Born
 GETTING AROUND
I won’t lie. I don’t think I’ve EVER walked as much as I did when I was in Barcelona. I personally think there is no better way to see the city. One of my many joys of this city was seeing all the nooks and crannys that you can only see by being on foot. I clocked up a ridiculous amount of steps.
 However other options for the less able/ time restricted would be:
  • the Train/ Subway/ Bus – It’s fairly inexpensive.You can get a T10 ticket for around 10 Euros… and I think I only used about half while I was there.
  • Taxi’s are a pretty good option for when you have luggage etc. I used them to get to the airport and from the main area in the city to my Airbnb and it wasn’t too expensive. TIP: Generally the taxi drivers do not speak English so good luck!
  • I personally never used a bike while being here however, I wish I had, especially early in the morning when there is no one around.
THINGS TO DO
There are SO many things to do in Barcelona. You could seriously spend a week here and still not have seen half of it. It can be quite hard to pick and choose so I thought I would just give a run down of my favourite things!
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This magnificent Roman Catholic Church kind of speaks for itself. I have never seen anything quite like it. Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí was really one of a kind and when this is finished it should be one of the wonders of the world. Photos really do NOT do it justice.
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It isn’t expected to be completed until 2026–2028 and I 100% would love to go back and see it once it is done. I would recommend doing a guided or audio tour.
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Some of the best views of the city can be seen from up here. I would recommend coming near the end of the day as its a great place to see the sun set. Also, look out for the days and times of the Magic Fountain Show as its definitely worth staying to see! Although to get a good viewing spot you need to be early. I would recommend going an hour or so early and wandering around the grounds as you can really see some great views from less popular spots!
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View from the top – Can see Mt Tibidabo in the distance
You can get here via the train – which would be the easiest or you could potentially just walk, bus or take a taxi.
Tip: There is no Uber in Barcelona at this point so taxi is the best option if you have luggage.
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Unfortunately due to the amount of people in the market at the time I didn’t manage to get any photos however I loved this place. Its so vibrant and beautiful! A lot of Fruit and Vege as well as Seafood and Meat. There is also the usual Deli’s, Bakeries & Crepe stores! And, all the Spanish food you can imagine (plus Cheese Cones. Google it)
It is located just off the Ramblas (on the left hand side if you are walking from the beach) so it is quite easy to find!
A tip I will give is to go tot eh back, the further you go into the market, the cheaper it gets!

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View from the bar at the top of the Cable Car
The cable car goes from Barceloneta Beach up to Mt Montjuic and you see some of the most amazing views of the city. I will say that it is a little overpriced and is much better going from Montjuic Castle to Barceloneta rather than the other way around because the queue is insanely long!
 SHOPPING
Although I didn’t do a lot of actual shopping in Barcelona, I did do a lot of wandering and window shopping. I was mesmerised by the sheer size of some of the stores such a Zara and Mango. It was insane.
The places where I found the most popular with the best shops to, shop, were Passeig de Gràcia & la Ramblas. There were also a lot of small laneways off the Ramlas which had Outlet stores and smaller brand stores. I would 100% wandering through these just to have a look in some of these stores.
No matter where you go in the city, there will be a lot of shopping opportunities
  BEACH
Now, I will say this straight away. If you love the beach, this is for you however, go early (like, before 10) because after that there are just SO many people walking around trying to sell you things that it is seriously off putting.
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I didn’t spend a whole lot of time at this beach because of that. It’s really quite annoying. But, if you walk a little further down to the other beaches, it SO much nicer.
I never thought I would be one to enjoy visiting castles. But here we are, like, 4 down and I have to say, I love it! Castles and the history behind them is awesome. I visited this castle on my last day in Barcelona as I had a change of plans and needed something to do. I took the Cable Car to half way and then decided to walk the rest of the way up. TIP: Don’t do that.
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The views from the top of the castle are seriously spectacular. You can see the whole of Barcelona – 360 degree view. Which if you think about why these castles were built, is quite important I guess!
I would recommend going early in the day. But in saying that, in terms of tourist amounts in comparison to the rest of Barcelona, it was quiet!
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FOOD
I don’t want to add much in here because in all honestly, I researched a lot of restaurants etc before I went to Barcelona and I don’t think I even went to one of them! I was so busy that I basically just ate on the go half the time or popped into small hole in the wall places – which I would highly recommend!
There is however a bar/ restaurant I went to which was fantastic called La Luna which had great food and drinks.
I also had a ‘local’ coffee shop which I went to every morning called Cafés El Magnífico because the coffee was top notch and the people were really lovely! They didn’t even mind my extremely broken Spanish!
 LANEWAYS
The Laneways in Barcelona were really just something else. SO beautiful. Nearly every other corner you turn, you will see something different and unique. Because of the history with all the different cultures and people. The structures can be quite different from one lane to the next.
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The Jewish Quarter and the Gothic Quarter which I saw whilst on a walking tour  (P.S highly recommend this walking tour!) were probably by favourites.
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 This place to me was like being inside a fairytail. It felt magical being here! The architecture really is something else. I spend probably 2 or 3 hours here . You basically buy a ticket to go in at a certain time but there is another part of the park which is free so you can wander this part in the wait time.

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View from the little house

They let in a limited number of people so book in advance – but you can also see quite a lot without entry ticket. You can bus to and from or walk which I did. However it is quite the hike.

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The famous seating which you have to get a photo with

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Other places worth mentioning:
Picasso Museum
Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar
Cathedral of Barcelona
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Tibidabo Amusement Park
Casa Batllo & Casa Mila
Placa de Catalunya
Chocolate Museum
 DAY TRIPS
There are SO many options for day trips from Barcelona. Check out Viator for some great group options / ideas.
My Top 3 day trips had I had the chance:
1. Andorra –  Would a LONG day but amazing to be able to go to such a small country! Its in between France and Spain and is about 3hrs from Barcelona. I thought about doing this trip through Viator.
2.  Girona – If you are a Game of Thrones fan, then this place is for you. It is another big city in Catalonia and full of amazing sights and history.
3. Montserrat – This is the day trip that I was actually going to do whilst in Barcelona. It fell though because I may have slept through my alarm that day. It is a short train ride from Barcelona and is home to a beautiful mountain and Monastery. There are a lot of guided tours that go here so maybe do that if you aren’t confident to go yourself. A tip I read is to go early in the AM to see the sun rise.
 All in all, all said and done, Barcelona is in my top 5 cities I have visited. It has the  traditional architecture with instagramable beaches, narrow atmospheric (stinky)  streets with delicious & not so nutritious local cuisine. I loved the local vibe of where I was staying as it was saturated with culture and cute laneways.
I leave you with my best tip. Book in advance & Go to these places as early as possible to avoid crowds! The Sagrada Familia’s of the world are packed for a reason, so you just need to get in early (and deal with it) .
To see more photos of my Barcelona Adventure, follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Beauty Bits I’ve Been Loving

I use all of these things.. on a good day

SKIN

Elizabeth Arden 8hr Cream – Lip Protect: I got this in the airport (as you do) recently as a very ‘it was on the paying counter’ purchase. But I am so glad I did. I have noticed that working in an air conditioned office really does a number on my lips and this stuff has been a moisturising lifesaver. Bonus, its smells and tastes like grapefruit.

Swisse Argan Oil Moisturiser – I got this moisturiser mainly because I wanted a change. Plus, winter dried out my skin worse than ever. Lets just say. Best choice ever. I will not be saving this only for winter as it is now my all year round moisturiser! It just leaves my skin feeling so soft, even when ive been wearing makeup all day. During Spring & Summer I don’t think ill be wearing this during the day as it would be too heavy, but as a night time moisturiser, its a dream.

Kiehls Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado – I recently turned 25 and as such. The eye cream has come out. Not yet the wrinkle cream but knowing my genes, should probably get on to that too. Fine lines are the worst and whether they are only in my imagination or not, I shall begin to treat/ prevent them. This cream goes on great under makeup and is super hydrating. It can take a few mins to soak in but its def worth the wait. I do sometimes use this under my makeup too which works fine!

HAIR

La Bang Body Hair Oil – Now, I know, I gave in to the hype. Its the one all of the Australian Youtubers and Instagramers are talking about and guess what. They are right. Its not a con. I am not being paid to say this!

I generally leave this in all day if I can (If I am bumming around the house and not seeing actual people) and wash it out before bed. i have found since using this that I have less split ends and my hair does take longer to feel dry and frizzy. Which for me, is a revelation.

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Tea Tree oil Shampoo – For me this is a more natural alternative to my medicated shampoo. Now, it doesn’t work the same but it does keep me tied over for that little bit longer than if I weren’t to use it at all which is good. Because it is tea tree based it is also antibacterial and I find it takes my hair longer to become oily.

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Garnier Leave in Oil – As someone who has the driest of dry hair and is living with a constant frizzy nightmare. I need a hair oil that will be softening without weighing it down. This tends to do this. But only if I use it on first day hair.

I am thinking about trying out a leave in conditioner. Let me know if you have any recommendations.

MAKEUP

Collection Mascara –  I am a sucker for collection makeup and as they do not sell it in Australia, I try and top up on my favs while im in NZ. However, I thought while I was at the counter that I would try something new. This is where I discovered my new fav mascara! Its lengthening, separating and quite dry formula so basically everything I love.

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Topshop Lip Liner (in Ceramic) & Lipstick (in Naturist) Combo –  I never thought I would rate TopShop makeup highly. When I saw the collection I wasn’t too wowed, but at the time it was all on special, so why not. This happened to be a great idea because the Lip Liner and Lipstick i got are fantastic. The colour is my perfect everyday colour. My only con is that it doesn’t last THAT long. A few coffees in and you have to reapply. But it reapplies fine so for me, no issue!

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E.L.F. Cosmetics, Blush, Candid Coral – This particular purchase seemed to slip into my overloaded Iherb (discount code: RAC8923) order last minute and when it arrived, I was quite disappointed. I saw the colour and thought straight away. NOPE. However, I tried it and was quite impressed! It is definitely quite subtle, but it is buildable which is the main reason I enjoy it. Its almost impossible to overdo it. Its a peachy pink colour and has a slight shimmer. Perf for Spring!

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Nars Laguna – I remember when I first bought this bronzer, it was all because of the hype. I got it… and never touched it. I was too scared! I wasn’t confident doing my makeup and couldnt believe I had bought this product I couldnt use as it was really pricey!

However, I used it as a way to make myself learn. I wanted to be able to use it to its full potential. Voila! I have. Its now my fav bronser by far and works really well as a contour shade on my skintone. Unfortunately, I have hit pan, so will be looking for alternatives so that I dont run out!

NYX Micro Brow eyebrow pencil – When I was in Spain, I discovered that NYX and Kiko, Have their own stores!! The most I had ever seen was a ratehr big counter in Priceline, I was blown away and decided I HAD to buy something.

Fortunately, I had infact forgotten to pack my beloved Benefit Eyebrow Pencil so was in a position to justify a new one and I am SO glad I did because its now my new fav. Not only is the tip really small and easy to use, its less than half the price of the benefit one!! Although I have never tried the ABH one, I feel as though this would be a good dupe too. Seriously, try it.

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What have your favourite products been recently?

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My Travel Bucket List

Work, Travel, Save, Repeat

As someone who has been lucky enough to travel to some amazing places it has got me thinking about the places I really want to travel to. Now, I am not saying I want to see all these places anytime soon… but I am 25 and have a lot of travel time ahead of me.

Go on Safari in South Africa (DONE)

Stay in a Apartment in Brooklyn New York
Skydiving in New Zealand – Preferably Queenstown
Scuba Dive in the Great Barrier Reef
Cuba
Spend a month travelling around the Greek Islands
Hike an Active Volcano
Surf in Costa Rica
Zipline from Spain to Portugal
Take the Trans-Siberian Railway
Go skiing in the South Island of New Zealand
Sail around Croatia
Go on a Solo trip somewhere (DONE)

Go on an Active Retreat
Go Bali island hopping
Relax in the Maldives
Scuba Dive Thunderball Grotto – Bahamas
Hot Air Balloon Ride over the Serengeti National Park

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Go to the Pacific Islands
Swim in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland
Snorkel with turtles in Hawaii
Snowboarding in Canada
See the Northern Lights in Iceland

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Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu

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Drive Route 66 – California Road Trip
New Years Eve in Dubai
Zipline in Vegas
Visit the floating markets in Vietnam
Helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon
Visit a really remote island
Live in the UK
Tour an abandoned city
Sail in the Galapagos Islands
Book a spontaneous holiday
Learn a new language
Roadtrip around Cyprus
Travel through South East Asia for a month
Mario Kart tour in Japan
See the cherry blossoms in Japan

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Hike the Great Wall of China
Do a Wine Tour in France
Sail around the Caribbean
Partake in Oktoberfest in Germany
Madagascar
Visit every continent
Ride a Gondola in Venice
Hiking in San Sebastian – Spain
New Years in Times Square

Times Square
Go whale-watching in Alaska

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Climb Mt Kilimanjaro  in Tanzania

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Go to the Olympics – to watch
Have dinner in an Under the Sea restaurant
Hiking in Myanmar
Go on a trek through Mongolia
Go to the tip of Denmark where the 2 seas meet
Winter adventure in Switzerland
Day trip to Andorra

I can imagine there will be a few more things added to this list over time & hopefully I will get to cross some of them off soon!

Let me know what is on your travel bucket list!

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A Mini Beauty Haul & Mecca20 Review

Sale Season & Vouchers makes for a good time

Unless you have been living under a rock, you would have heard about the big birthday celebration Mecca is having for its 20th Birthday!
I managed to find a quiet-ish time and go in and have a squizz around and omg I was not disappointed! So many of your (and my) favourite brands have teamed up with Mecca to come out with some AHmazing Limited Edition Products, Sample Packs and Travel essentials as well as some Mecca Only Limited Edition product shades! There really is a range for almost anybody with prices from $20 to $424 (unfortunately not in my budget).
I didn’t go crazy and only picked up two things but I really could have gone crazy. Here’s what I got…

SKINCARE

ORIGINS – MECCA20 Mini Mask Trio – $41.00 

Travel/ Trial Sizes of (50ml):
Containing Out Of Trouble 10 Min Mask (50ml), Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask (50ml), Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask (50ml),

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I was SO excited when I saw this pack that I just picked it up and put it in my basket without thinking. Considering these mini face masks alone are over $20 I thought it was a pretty good bargain!

Soap & Glory – Hand Food (50ml)- $4.00 or the 125ml for $9 

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Ain’t gonna lie. The minis at the front counter got me I was in need of a new hand cream for work so picked this up and OMG it smells like H E A V E N. Honestly. The best way I can discribe the smell is ‘Lime Fruju’ – (you know, the iceblock). But they describe it as Sweet Lime & Vanilla. Which I guess is pretty much a Fruju.

MAKEUP

This also comes as a set option which includes:
Limited Edition Colour of Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick, full size Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner, and mini Huge Extreme Lash Mascara – $67
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You know that cute paper that Mecca tends to wrap your #giftstoyourself in? Well that’s the best way I can describe the colour of this. It is beautiful. Completely mylipsbutbetter.

My other top picks from the MECCA20 Collection:

Luckily I had a voucher which I used to buy some of this but otherwise, it really didn’t break the bank! I love a good bargain & a good mini. I will be testing these products out over the next lil while so keep an eye on this space.

Thats it for now! In the meantime you can find me on Instagram and here, Facebook and Twitter.

The Lisbon Travel Guide

Pasteis de Nata – Google it and, need I say more?

LX Factory 2

I have waited a while to write these travel posts about Spain and Portugal because I feel that when you first get back from a trip, its all a bit depressing and a little overwhelming! It takes talking to various people to realise all of the things you really loved and want to see (and eat) again.

Lisbon was probably my favourite place I visited in those 2 and a half weeks. Which is a tough call considering I managed 2 countries, 5 cities & 3 towns during that time. It was just SO beautiful and I would say if there’s one place I would (and do) recommend to everyone, that would be it.

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As you would have seen on my Instagram I went to Spain and Portugal earlier on this year and let me tell you, I LOVED IT. Lisbon especially, stole my heart – and my stomach. Dreams people. Dreams.

There were MANY things on my to-do list for Lisbon. However I was only there for 3 days so couldn’t quite finish the list however these are the places I did go and would highly recommend.

FOR THE VIEWS
Alfama. Alfama is great for many things. The small lanes, the hole in the wall coffee places and the teeny tiny restaurants that have old men living above them yelling and shaking their fist if you are noisy after 10pm (Not only is it the oldest suburb of Lisbon, it has the oldest residents..)
But best of all, I think it has the best views of Lisbon. Every ‘I went to Lisbon’ picture you see on Insta will include the view from here because it really is amazing.
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At night
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During the Day

WHAT TO EAT

PASTÉIS DE NATA  Famously, there is a shop in Belem that does the ‘best ones’ however, there wasn’t a chance in hell I was queuing up for an hour to get in. I found the best ones I tried to be from a place called Manteigaira at the Time Out Market.
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In fact, the Time Out, was where I got some of the best food I ate in Lisbon, So I would highly recommend going there and trying a few of the different places.
Its a great stop on the way back from Belem and is also very close to the city centre (as far as I remember) if not, there is public transport just across the road.
You HAVE to try Ginjinha which is a traditional Portuguese Liqueur made from Sour Cherries. You will find little hole-in-the-wall places all over the place (Even in Sintra) and I promise it is delicious.
Fresh fruit. I found myself eating a lot of fresh fruit on this trip. 1, because it was so hot that fruit, just sounded good. 2, it was easily accessible with little carts of cherries and berries scattered all around and 3, its cheap! and tasty.
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On my last night in Lisbon, I had dinner with one of my new friends in a place called Lisboa Tu & Eu. We tried a lot of different things on the menu (sardines were… interesting, wine was delicious!) and the atmosphere was fantastic.
After having the old guy living above the restaurant come down and yell at the owners for the noise, we were moved inside and for the inconvenience, offered alcohol shots along with the other 10 or so people in there (which might I add were mostly older people). It was great. I happily declined the small beverages but I decided from that point on wards that this place was my favourite.
  THINGS TO DO
  • São Jorge Castle – there are also some beautiful gift shops on the way up to the castle
  • So many museums
  • Santa Justa Lift – Didn’t do this myself but have heard the views are to die for
  • Heard great things about the Aquarium
  • The Sight Seeing Trams (Just be aware of pickpockets)

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LX FACTORY
This place was really cool. Super arty, funky and trendy. Its a little strip of old factories which have been turned into boutique, cafes, music stores, cork retailers & creative hangout spaces. I had the BEST chocolate cake i’ve ever eaten here from a place called Landeau. Def try if you get a chance.

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BELEM
About 6kms west of the city is a suburb? called Belem. It is well known for the Belem Tower & Pasteis de Belem, which drew me here and I never had 😦 but I also discovered it had beautiful scenery, gardens and the walk/ bus/ tram trip here alone was worth the visit.

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ACCOMMODATION

There is many a beautiful Hotel here, just in any city. But I say, if you want to get to know the locals and get a bit of a different feel, stay in an AirBnb or a hostel. I booked my accommodation quite far in advance and because I wasn’t so sure on this solo travel thing just yet (hindsight tells me BOOK THE HOSTEL). However, my airbnb was great, the location was fantastic and the people were seriously cool (with many pets).

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GETTING AROUND

As with many cities in Europe, the public transport here is great! I used mostly trains and trams to get around Lisbon which worked a treat however there is also Uber which I used a fair bit and buses. All options really cheap.

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Praça do Comércio

I would say however, if you are semi-fit. Walk. Its a BEAUTIFUL city and is best seen that way (just wear sensible shoes because its hilly AF and also slippery!)

DAY TRIPS

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While researching Lisbon, I knew I wanted to do at least 1 day trip and the place that stood out most to me was a Town called Sintra. It is very well known and there are many ways to see it. I chose to do it alone and not with a tour group as I knew there were particular places I wanted to see and didn’t want the time crunch. Good choice in the end I say.
It really does live up to the hype.
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Pena Palace
the Gardens.  It was seriously stunning. I could write a whole post on this place ( if you want it, lemme know) so I will just leave it there. If you would like more info on how to plan a day trip to Sintra let me know!
Overall, Lisbon, Portugal was the best last minute travel decision I could have made. I spend HOURS planning this trip and when a few extra days came up in my schedule I had a really hard time deciding between here and Paris but decided, you know what. I ahve plenty of time in my life to go to Paris and Lisbon won’t be an under-rated destination for long. Overjoyed with my choice. Absolutely can not wait to go back and next time visit the rest of Portugal too!
If you would like to hear more about lisbon or just follow me in general. You can find me on Instagram and here, Facebook and Twitter.

Sukin Loves’

Everyone needs great skincare  

General Products

Skincare is one of those things where, once you find the right products for you, its hard to try anything else as you fear it will either break you out or make your skin freak out in general.

I am now that person. I struggle to bring myself to try anything other than Sukin because I know it works for my skin. There are many reasons I love this brand but mainly because its more natural than some other brands available, it is free from Parabens and Sulphates, the range of products is huge (Minis’!!!) and its really affordable, especially when they have specials!

FACE SCRUBS

I use a range of the face scrubs from Sukin. Partly because I wanted them all and partly because I wanted to see the difference between them. My favourite of the three is still the original (Middle of photo). I use this probably 5 or 6 times a week. Now I know some might say that is excessive but it is just what my skin likes and I notice a difference in the surface of my skin and my makeup application if I haven’t used it. The other 2 I only use occasionally or when my skin needs a little extra.

 Scrubs

MOISTURISERS

I believe moisturising your face is the ONE step that everybody should be doing everyday. Whether your skin is oily, dry, normal or combo – you need to moisturise! The 2 moisturisers I love from Sukin are the ‘ Facial Moisturiser’ and the ‘ Replenishing Night Cream’. I find that when I use these 2 products everyday my skin looks its best. When I don’t, Hello Dry Patches.

FOAMING FACIAL CLEANSER

 This is a new discovery of mine. I don’t use this everyday as I find foaming cleansers can dry out my face if I use them too often. However I maybe use this once a week when I need a quick fix to clogging and removing texture and it works really well. If I have a bit more time I will spend time masking instead.

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DETOXIFYING AND MASKING

On days where I feel as though my skin needs a little bit more love and I have time, I choose to use the Detoxifying Mask followed by the scrub. May seem a bit excessive? Yeah probably! But afterwards my skin always feels so refreshed, looks a lot brighter and feels all kinds of clean! I really recommend the Detoxifying Super Greens range from Sukin.

Super Greens

All in all. I love trying new skincare products here and there but if there is one brand I know I can always go back to, or use when other things mess my skin up, Sukin is it! I am really looking forward to trying more of the range when I can justify it next! 😀

**DISCLAIMER – The products in these photos are well used and loved so may look kinda gross lol**

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The Great Ocean Road Travel Guide | Australia

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page

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I have now been lucky enough to travel the Great Ocean Road a few times. Once, with a tour & once hiring a car and driving down for the weekend. So I feel as though I can give (a few) tips on what to see & do.

TIP

Go in Winter. Off peak season – less tourists, less cars on the road – you actually get places quicker. Also hot spots such as The 12 Apostles are a lot quieter and you can take all the photos you like.

GETTING AROUND

Another advantage of this is that things such as rental cars are a lot cheaper. We got this bad boy below from Avis Rentals and it cost us $130 for 3 days! Bargain!

Holden Commodore SV6
Comfy, reliable & safe with great fuel economy. Great for road trips such as this!

KOALAS, PARROTS & KOOKABURRAS
Obviously this is Australia and what would a trip be without seeing some of the locals. My favourite spot to see these is a little place called Kennett River. You are (almost) guaranteed to see some of these guys on a trip here! It’s pretty cool. They are definitely there, but you just need to keep your eyes peeled as Koalas especially blend in with the surroundings really well.

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Spot the koala
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Kookaburra
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Feeding the locals

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Look higher up than you think – including the really small branches you don’t expect the koalas to be. Go early in the morning! By about 11am, there will be so many tourists that you can not move and also buy some seed from the ‘Kafe Koala’ to get a chance to get up close & personal with some parrots & cockatoos.

Feeding the birds

THUNDER CAVE & LOCH AND GORGE

On my first trip to the GOR, we did stop at Loch and Gorge, however, only for a few minutes so we did not get to see much. The second time, it was pissing down with rain so we just ran off in one direction to (quickly) show Dietmar what it was all about. However, we ran the wrong way, BUT it worked well because as well as eventually finding Loch and Gorge,

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we discovered the Thunder Cave which is quite possibly one of the coolest parts of this place!

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APOLLO BAY
This little town is the perfect place to stop for a snack, a quick beach trip or lunch along the Great Ocean Road. Its about smack bang half way between Melbourne and the 12 Apostles – right before heading into the Otways! Because of this, this is also the place we decided to stay for our weekend trip.

We booked a motel last minute and there were many to choose from (even in winter). Most of the Motels & Hotels are really close to the centre of the town (we stayed here .), so everything is really only a 5-10min walk away which is perfect!

Motel
View from our Motel Balcony

WHERE TO EAT

Great Ocean Road Brewhouse – Great dinner options. The food was really good pub food and the atmosphere was great. Get the Lamb & the date pudding, dreamy.
The Bayleaf Cafe – Breakfast and coffee both top notch!

THE CANOPY TREE WALK/ OTWAY FLY
I’m not gonna lie. I am not the most adventurous person. However, one thing I have always wanted to do is ziplining (don’t get excited, I did not go ziplining) and when I discovered a place that had this, I was (almost) sold. We then did some googling and discovered that for this trip it wasn’t in the budget. BUT they also had a more reasonably priced activity, which was The Canopy Tree Walk and it was awesome.

The walk itself is the tallest and longest of its kind (at this point). Its around 600 meters long and 35 meters above the ground, so maybbbbeee not your thing if you don’t like heights! There is also a spiral tower which goes up an extra 12 meters above the ground and gives you an amazing view of the forest! But, be aware, it does sway around with the wind which can be a little unsettling!

Tree Canopy

CRAFT BEER / WINE / WHISK(E)Y
Strangely enough, this area of Victoria has a sheitload of breweries, wineries and even a whisky distillery. We stopped by a brewery near Forrest called Prickly Moses and it was pretty cool. While known for their beer, they are a small scale wine and cider producer so if beer isn’t your thing they can cater to you also.
The tastings are fairly comprehensive and reasonably priced so I would recommend stopping in if you are in the area.

Other recommendations in the area for the crafty scene (which we were recommended) are:
Timboon
Forrest Brewing Company – Their fish and chips were top notch!

THE 12 APOSTLES

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These natural rock stacks do look pretty cool. However, they are so hyped up that when I first saw them I was very underwhelmed. I do think that they are worth going to see because the history behind how they got there etc. is quite cool but I think the trip actually getting to this point (and beyond) is much cooler. If I was to go back I think doing the helicopter ride would be the top of my list.

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LIGHTHOUSES
Along the Great Ocean Road there are quite a few lighthouses. My favourite would be this one.

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There are a few walks around here, including up to the lighthouse and I think at certain times you can even do a tour of the lighthouse and get some pretty amazing views down to the marine reserve.

There is also a (very) small chance of seeing whales here as they do come into the bay at certain times of the year. We weren’t so lucky, maybe next time?
I would recommend coming up here earlier in the day because I think we only saw two people.

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WATERFALLS
One of my favourite stops on the second trip up the GOR was Sheoak Falls. Its only a short, easy walk from the carpark and well worth it. It was really quiet too which was lovely considering how busy the road can get!

Waterfall

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Fun Fact: To the left of this picture there is actually a guy sitting on the edge reading a book. Other waterfalls we didn’t manage to get to but would have loved to had we had more time were Erskine Falls & Phantom Falls.
Go check em out!

I would really recommend a trip down the Great Ocean Road and could really add about another million and one things into this post. If you do have any questions or want to know more about certain things, feel free to leave me a comment!

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