Saturday, 12 July 2014

My travel tips!

As I'm writing now I'm in an airport waiting for the rest of my friends to arrive (their coach is delayed by an hour)- I cant check in yet and there are no shops; so naturally I've parked myself near a phone charging station and decided to write a blog post!

I've travelled a fair amount so far- I was lucky enough to get a week or two abroad every year with my parents when I was younger and in 2010 I spent three months backpacking through Australia and New Zealand with a friend. Add to that lots and lots of camping trips and I've become pretty good at packing and travelling! Here are a few tips I thought I'd share (hopefully some new things you may not have heard)

Before you go:

-Plan way ahead! Research any vaccinations, visas etc you will need, decide how you'll be taking money on holiday, book all flights, accommodation, all other transport- all as early as you can, it's often cheaper in advance and it saves you worrying about it when you could be buying new clothes for the trip!

- Photocopy everything! Keep a copy of your passport, tickets, booking confirmations, visas etc in your checked bag, as well as a spare copy in your hand luggage. I always keep a PDF copy in my email inbox! Perhaps it's overkill, but there are somethings I like to be very prepared with!

-Write a big list of everything you want/need to take several weeks before you go, and double check you have (working/vaild/fitting) things like suitcases, swimsuits, travel adapters, passports... well in advance; so you have plenty of time for holiday shopping (like you needed an excuse!) and getting everything you need well before your travel (new UK passports are taking months to get hold of at the moment!)

-Instead of packing like a maniac 5 hours before you need to leave your house my strategy is to leave my suitcase out and open for about a week before I leave- that way I can gradually add bits and bobs to my packing pile (eg clean clothes get put into case instead of in the wardrobe, new items go straight in) as you can put things in when you remember them!

-Rememer all of the rules and regulations with hold an hand luggage (they recently brought in a new rule for US flights that all you must be able to prove all electronics switch on before boarding!) The best places to check are your airport and airline websites. 

- Roll clothes, don't fold- they take up less space that way! Make use of random little pockets of space- stuff socks into shoes (packing a suitcase is just real life Tetris) and put breakable and delicate things in the centre of your case, surrounded by layers of clothes. Baggage handlers are not know for their gentile approach, so prepare for your case to be thrown around.

- Try to travel light (I know it's hard!) Save travel sized bottles and small containers (moisturiser tubs etc.) and decant products- surely no one needs 500ml of shampoo for 2 weeks, and unless you're going somewhere remote or very expensive the chances are you can buy extra there!

The flight:

- Always wear (comfy) layers for flying, I always find air conditioning really cold (I hate it!) so I get cold on planes, but it's often really hot when you land. I hate when celebrities are photographed looking glam at airports- I want to wear cosy slouchy clothes! Particularly if you have a long flight or plan to sleep! I always wear slip on shoes or flip flops; they're easy to take off at security and when I get on the plane (I always pack socks in my carry-on so I don't have cold feet!)

- Be nice to your skin! Again, air con is pretty evil- it can really dry out your skin do I always pack a moisturiser, toner and plenty of lip balm for flights (plus eye drops as I get really dry eyes) and I definitely don't faff around with putting my make up back on before I land! This year I've got a bottle of rescue oil so I can really moisturise my face, and Astral for my hands, feet etc. And I'm going to be testing out a tea toner I made this week (if I like it I may post a 'recipe')

- Please don't be an annoying fellow passenger: no loudly chatting with a friend 3 rows down, stealing both armrests, kicking the back of the chair infront, siting in the middle of a row and going to the loo 6 times an hour, leaning over strangers to see out the window.... I really could write an essay.

-Drink a lot! Again you can get very dehydrated in the air, try to drink lots of water (preferably no alcohol, although I know it's very difficult to say no to a free G&T!) And on a similar note, remember you don't have to eat whenever a lovely flight attendant hands you food! :)

Anyway I hope these tips might help you-  I'm now finishing off this post sitting by the pool in our villa- we got here safely (with only a few minor dramas; turns out travellig with 6 other people is hard work!) and our house it is beautiful- I don't want to leave already!

What are your favourite travel tips?


Sunday, 6 July 2014

Review: Astral All Over Moisturiser.

A couple of months ago I was approached for the first time to trial and review a product and after a little research I leapt at the chance- Astral is marketed as an all-purpose richly moisturising cream, for use on anywhere on the body (much like Nivea Creme). I think it has a bit of a reputation of being targeted for older people (Joanna Lumley has done TV adverts for it in the past and I think it does advertise as being suitable for mature skin) but I don't think it deserves that- it's a great product at any age!

I was generously sent both a 50ml and a 500ml tub; I'm about 2/3 into the 50ml and I think it'll take me quite a while to get through the 500ml but I think a review is way overdue! (Aside: I've updated my About Me page, and I really want to reassure you that my posts and reviews are and always will be 100% honest, even if I've received a product for free)

The ingredients are quite similar to Nivea Creme- fairly simple with lots of moisturising ingredients. The product itself is a smooth cream- with a texture that actually reminds me of thick sun cream (liquidy, but thicker than a regular facial moisturiser, and nowhere near as thick as a body butter)

I think it sinks in a lot faster than Nivea Creme, and definitely does not leave my skin feeling greasy at all (I prefer using this at work rather than Nivea as it does sink in faster) but is also really lovely and moisturising. As I've said so many times before I have really dry skin, and sometimes have eczema on my hands/fingers/wrists so products that moisturise and do not irritate are very important to me (I don't use body butters on my hands because the fragrances can irritate my skin)

I've used it on my face several times (at night- I think it would be too rich during the day even for my skin) and I've not had a problem with clogged pores or greasy feeling skin (though I do have dry skin) Although it does sting a little if I manage to get it into my eyes.

The only slight issue I have with Astral is that I don't love the scent- it's kinda musky and it is stronger than I would like. I don't often use it on my face because I'm put off by the scent, however it doesn't seem to linger on my skin once applied, and I like the formula too much to let the scent put me off using on my body.

I'd recommend testing/smelling it before purchasing (I know some people are more fussy with scents than I am), but overall I really do love Astral. If I ever get through the giant 500ml tub  will almost definitely repurchase. The 50ml is currently £1.29 in Superdrug and the 500ml is £7.99 (you can also get a 200ml for £3.89) though you may be able to get it cheaper/on sale elsewhere-  though the price is pretty reasonable, particularly when you can do so much with it.

Have you tired Astral? What do you think?