2 February 2020

A day trip to Tavira, Portugal

Last year we went to Portugal for our last sunny holiday for a while (hello home renovation life!), and took a spontaneous day trip to Tavira. It's a beautiful historic little city, and offers just enough places to explore in a day.

After a long steep walk up one of the many cobbled paths, we climbed the steps up to the castle and walked along the walls. Tavira Castle offers beautiful views right across the city, and is located next to one of the 37 churches, the Church of Santa Maria do Castelo. When we reached the top the sun was really beating down, so definitely take a hat and suncream if you're planning a visit as there isn't much shade!

Tavira castle, Portugal

As you walk through Tavira, you'll be met with beautiful views of the sun glistening on the Gilão River which runs through. My favourite thing was the man playing a guitar on the roman bridge which made it feel so atmospheric as we got even more steps in walking along the seven arches.

Gilão River Tavira, Portugal
Roman bridge, Tavira, Portugal

There are lots of places to eat, and with so many cobbled 18th century streets we were spoilt for choice. We stumbled across Pizzeria Luzzo which was hidden away and as we visited at a quiet time, we were able to enjoy pizzas sat outside the restaurant enjoying the sun. You're offered an iPad to place your order which means you can spend time building your perfect pizza, as well as order more drinks throughout your meal.

Pizza restaurants in Tavira, Portugal

If you like the idea of slow living, Tavira is the place to go. It's somewhere I could definitely retire to (in about 50 years!) - there are no big fancy shops and everything feels very traditional.  I loved the historic cobbled streets and the peaceful atmosphere - if i'm ever in Portugal again I would go back as it felt like a real escape from the stresses of work back in the UK!
8 January 2020

The best books I read in 2019

In 2019 I read 15 books which i'm really proud of as it's definitely been a journey to get back into the habit of reading after a few years off! I picked up the pace towards the end of the year to meet my target and this has really helped me to make reading something I do every night rather than a couple of times a week.

I'm much more of a non-fiction lover, opting for medical themed books and ones I can learn from rather than a novel. I've got a couple of fiction books on my to-read pile so 2020 could be the year I finally go back to getting lost in a story! Here are my top six reads of 2019...

This Is Going To Hurt is a book that almost everyone has read and describes life as a junior doctor in the NHS. My final book of 2019 was Adam Kay's follow up 'Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas', which was a festive take on the original and the perfect book to read in December.

Flight Risk is Dr Stephanie Green's experience as a doctor at Heathrow Airport. A really interesting book that captures everything from the challenges of immigration and mental health, through to the responsibility of stopping outbreaks of disease. This book is really well written and without doubt the fastest one I read as I enjoyed it so much.

The Gynae Geek is a book every female needs to own. It's a great way to learn more about how your body works and goes a long way in tackling what can be the taboo subject that is gynaecology. Written by a doctor, this book will put your mind at ease and make you realise that everyone is worrying about the same things and we just need to talk about them more often!

Just Eat It has really made a difference to my relationship with food and explores the concept of intuitive eating. If you feel any kind of guilt when it comes to eating certain foods and spend your life labelling them bad and good or wishing you looked like everyone on Instagram then this is a book you need to read.

Unnatural Causes has made me consider a complete career change. Find out what it's like to work in a mortuary helping to answer questions about how people died, as well as the challenges faced by one of Britain's top forensic pathologists, Dr Richard Shepherd. Many people don't realise that the respect and kindness shown to the dead is exactly the same as those alive and this book does a great job of highlighting this.

Mad About The House is an interior design bible, offering some simple but effective ways to improve your home. It covers everything from how to light a room to the psychology of colour and is a must read if you're planning to renovate your home. I would also really recommend Kate's podcast with Sophie Robinson, The Great Indoors!

My favourite book of 2019 was Unnatural Causes - a book that i've thought about a lot since I read it and one that I would absolutely read again. 
18 December 2019

9 stand out beauty favourites from 2019

I love looking back on my yearly favourites and this year i've made a real effort to showcase some different products as there are so many i've repurchased and featured on here already that I could have chosen!

One of my best beauty purchases was the Sleek Face Contour Palette which has fast become my go-to face product. It's the perfect shade to add a bit of colour to your cheeks with minimal effort and is also really versatile so you can just use the highlighter or the bronzer - a little bit goes a long way and I love the packaging too!

The Sigma F80 Air Brush is a new addition that I bought as i've been using their standard F80 brush for years and have never found anything any better. This brush is a dream, it's slightly lighter and the bristles aren't as densely packed as the standard F80 - I wouldn't say there's a massive difference between the two but I prefer the lighter application this one offers.

The Benefit They're Real Mascara gives me the biggest lashes without much effort and the brush isn't as fiddly as some similar mascaras i've tried. Although it's a bit of a nightmare to remove I love that it rarely smudges and can be used to give either a natural or dramatic effect with plenty of volume.

I haven't bought many nail polishes this year but a new discovery for 2019 from a brand i've never tried before has been Butter London. I got four neutral shades and they really are worth paying a bit more for - they last at least a week without any chips which is so much better than my usual Barry M favourites.  My most worn shades have been Ta Ta! which is a light grey, and Royal Appointment which is a nude/taupe.

It's been a while since I bought any Lush products but earlier this year I repurchased Dream Cream in a bigger size and thought i'd also pick up the Sleepy body lotion to try too after hearing lots of great things. I now use it every time i've had a shower at night as the calming scent really helps me to relax and feel ready for bed, as well as moisturising my skin!

The Nuxe Precious Scented Shower Oil is a product i've recently purchased in full sized after trying this mini one in the M&S advent calendar. It feels so luxurious to use in the shower, with a beautiful scent and oils that help to stop my skin drying out.

Making it into my favourites for another year is the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleanser. This little gem is a bit like a spa treatment; it smells amazing and easily melts off your makeup to leave soft cleansed skin. Although it's quite expensive it's the best treat for my skin and the full-sized one has found its way into my life to remove all my makeup in a gentle and moisturising way.

Finding the perfect moisturiser for my dry skin is an on-going challenge and this year i've got a new product to sit alongside an old favourite (the Soap & Glory Speed Plump moisturiser). I use the Beauty Sleep Accelerator every night - it smells amazing and the rich formula feels like it really makes a difference without making my skin oily. I do find that it doesn't last as long as i'd like but thankfully it's usually on offer in Boots.

If I had to pick one favourite for 2019 it would be the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm. Although more expensive than my usual high street favourites, this is easily the best cleanser i've ever tried!