Thursday, 11 May 2017

Cagliari, Sardinia: 9 Recommendations For Your Trip (Featuring Food, Wine And More Wine)

Hello hello, it's been a while! I've recently returned from a five-day stay in Cagliari, Sardinia. We managed to get some cheap(ish) return flights with Easyjet and found a decent Airbnb apartment for a good price. During our time there we didn't really do a lot of sightseeing, it was more an exploration of the food and drink. But it was still incredible and I managed to squeeze in an hour's nap (minimum) each day. Hard slog, eh?

Anyway, now that I'm home and craving another holiday, I thought I'd jot down nine recommendations for anyone who might be venturing there in the future. 
Without further ado, here they are:

1. Stay in an Airbnb

Yes hotels are all well and good, but to get the true Italian experience, try and bag yourself an Airbnb apartment in the city centre. We managed to stay in an apartment which was not only very authentic (it had old-fashioned beams in the ceiling and little Juliet balconies which looked out over the narrow streets below), but it was also ideally located - literally a hop, skip and a jump from all of the restaurants and shops. Here's a link to the apartment we stayed in, which was a 10 minute walk from the train station. The owners are lovely and really helpful, I'd defo recommend.

2. Eat at Stella Marina Di Montecristo

Stella Marina Di Montecristo is like no other. While it might not look like much aesthetically, this restaurant does incredible seafood. They don't have a menu or anything, you simply rock up and eat what they serve you (which, in hindsight, is not ideal if you have a food allergy!). We had a mind-blowing seafood starter with lots of different nibbles to try including prawns, mussels, octopus and other fishy delicacies - all presented on large shells. This was followed by some form of seafood pasta. Then came the main, which was a huge platter containing beautifully grilled fish, prawns and loads of fruit. It was fresh and it was very tasty. There was also bread, a bottle of wine and limoncello to wash it all down with. The meal cost 30 euros per person and was absolutely spot on. Booking ahead is a must though as it's popular with locals and tourists alike.

3. Drink latte macchiatos at Dulcis Pasticceria

Dulcis Pasticceria was our local haunt. Every morning, at about 11:30am, we'd venture to the café for a coffee. We'd often sit outside in the sunshine and people-watch. The latte macchiatos there are delicious - super creamy coffee with loads of foam on the top. They also do lots of cakes and nibbles. We had a selection of 10 mini treats such as pizzas, burgers, hot dogs, pastries etc for five euros. Top tip: if you ask for a 'latte' in Cagliari, nine times out of 10 they'll bring you a glass of hot, frothy milk as they take it very literally. Instead, make sure you ask for a 'caffe latte'.

4. Try the biscuits at Durke

Durke is a lovely little shop selling traditional Sardinian biscuits - *sings Rihanna's 'Work' but with the word 'Durke' instead*. They sell a variety of biscuits and small Italian cakes with delicious flavours - some taste like almond, others taste like Christmas cake, others are very lemony. The biscuits themselves are quite crunchy on the outside, with a softer centre. One evening we walked past the shop, which was directly below our apartment, and decided to buy a selection. We ended up with a sizeable bag of treats and at about 10:30pm at night, we sat eating them in the flat and washed them down with a bottle of red. It was the absolute dream. The next morning we walked outside and the Hairy Bikers were filming there - so it must be good!

5. Visit Castello di San Michele

Climbing up a big hill to Castello di San Michele (especially after an hour's walk to get there), it can be easy to wonder why the hell you're there in the first place. Your legs hurt, it's hot, you need a drink and to top it off, you've got a lovely blister forming on your ankle. But all of that is swiftly forgotten when you get to the top of the hill and peer out at the whole of Cagliari. If you do go, I'd recommend getting some form of public transport to the actual hill instead of walking all of the way there. There's also a bar at the top of the hill where you can stock up on fluids. Winner, winner.  

6. Shop along Via Giuseppe Manno
If you fancy a mooch around some shops, head to Via Giuseppe Manno. I ended up spending a good hour in the Zara there which was full of colourful clobber and some super-funky designs. I ended up purchasing some high-waisted gingham trousers. Because, well, why the hell not?!  
7. Drink wine and eat cheese in BuffHouse
The name alone is enough to make you want to drink there. BuffHouse is this dark, cellar-like bar where you can sit and drink red wine and eat cheese and prosciutto to your heart's content. One of our afternoons in Cagliari was spent in there and we had a whale of a time (helped, of course, by the fact I was suitable sozzled by the end of it). I'd definitely recommend though. The cheeseboard is a must! If I went again, I'd definitely like to try their cooked food too. (JUST GIVE ME IT ALL.)

8. Dine in style at Ristorante da Marino al St. Remy

When we chanced upon this restaurant one evening, we struck gold. Despite not having a reservation, they managed to find us a table and we had an absolute corker of a meal. I still have dreams about the black seafood spaghetti. The atmosphere in there is amazing and the service was most definitely the best we received during our time there. It's a fine dining experience, and the price reflects that, but it's definitely worth visiting. 
9. Cool down with gelato from Gelateria Vaniglia e Pistacchio
If I could ship this gelato to England and eat it every day I would. Situated down Via Napoli, this gelateria is very, very popular - with queues out of the door. And no wonder, because the gelato is incredibly creamy and just generally downright delicious. The coconut flavour (or cocco, as they call it) is my absolutely fave. The pistachio's not bad either. *Dribble*

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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

By Terry 'Terrybly Densiliss Concealer' Review: I've Officially Found 'The One'

Today I'm going to be talking about the facial area again (sorry), I will take some more outfit posts soon, I promise.

Last year I decided to ditch foundation for good in favour of a splodge of concealer over the old dark circles and blemishes. I'll be honest, the main reason behind the move was because it meant extra time in bed of a morning (I mean, who wouldn't opt for sleep over a dreamy complexion?). The second reason was to give my skin a bit of a breather. After the whole makeup wipes ft rashy forehead ordeal, my skin began to clear up and I realised that, most of the time, I could get away without wearing foundation. 'Where am I going with this?!' you ask. Well friends, I want to talk to you about a concealer that changed the game for me. You see, I've found 'The One'.

Roughly a year ago, I received a voucher to spend in Space NK. I'd just run out of concealer (Estée Lauder 'Double Wear') and thought I'd try something new. So I plodded around the shop aimlessly and, after looking at a fair few concealers with a blank expression on my face, I decided to ask someone to help me. They immediately recommended the By Terry 'Terrybly Densiliss Concealer' (£44). At the time I thought 'Christ, that's a bit steep', but I wanted a change and was impressed with how smoothly it went onto my face and covered my dreaded dark circles. I also had a £30 voucher which meant it was technically only £14 coming out of my own pocket. So I took the risk, purchased the little blighter and let's just say we've been in love ever since.

The concealer provides good coverage but I'd say the most brilliant thing about it is that it's quite light and creamy so it doesn't dry out the underneath of the eyes. With 'Double Wear' I found that sometimes the underneath of my eyes would look a bit dry and crispy, and more lines seemed to appear - despite the fact I was using eye cream every day. Now, though, my concealer glides on like a dream (think a nice bit of Lurpak for the face). The coverage, as I said, is pretty good. Halfway through the day I sometimes have to top it up, as my face seems to do a sterling job of absorbing it, but you never really need to use more than a few dabs here and there. A tube of the stuff lasts me about four months - if used sparingly - which works out at £11 per month (not bad in the grand scheme of things, especially when I'm saving money on foundation too).

All in all, I'm super thrilled to have stumbled across this concealer and would highly recommend it.

To quote Dawn French: "It's not (By) Terry's. It's mine." 

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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

I Ditched Face Wipes And My Skin's Never Been Better

Today I want to talk to you about my face. 

For a number of years I removed my makeup every evening using face wipes. It required minimum effort and suited my CBA attitude towards beauty perfectly. But then something pretty rubbish happened. I started to get these really dry patches of skin on my forehead and between my eyebrows. They were pink, dry and bumpy - and itched like hell. When the winter months came, the problem would become exacerbated and I became pretty upset with the way my face looked. I couldn't cover the dry patches with makeup because it seemed to make them spread even more and become even more aggravated. So I had to go around with a pink, crusty forehead. FIT. 

I tried changing my moisturiser and shampoo, drinking more water, eating better, etc etc. The one thing, however, that seemed to make an impact was when I gave up using face wipes and began to clean my face properly - with actual water.

Face wipes, it seems, are pretty naff if you have sensitive skin. When you use them, residue is left behind on your face, as well as grime that hasn't properly been removed. According to dermatologist Dr Craig Kraffert, the residue that's left behind exposes your skin to high concentrations of cleansing agents that can dry and irritate it. In addition to that, the wiping motion may also cause aggravation as wipes are more abrasive than water. 

I'm just going to throw this out there, I believe my crusty forehead was down to using face wipes, mainly because when I gave them up my face returned to normal. Funnily enough, a friend of mine was having a similar problem and, when I mentioned that I'd given up face wipes, she tried it too. A few weeks later she told me that her dry skin was on the mend. Coincidence? I think not. 

So, in the absence of face wipes, what should we be washing our wonderful faces with? I'm a huge fan of Emma Hardie's 'Amazing Face' cleansing balm. When I moved to London, I suffered another bout of bad skin which I put down to being exposed to a lot more pollution. My Clinique face wash didn't seem to be helping, so I decided to try something new - and that something was Emma Hardie's *wonder* balm, which has helped to put some moisture back into Crumble Ville. I've been using the cleansing balm for a year now and my skin has never felt better. The product is quite oily in texture, but those oils sink into your skin and make it silky smooth.  

'Amazing Face' Moringa cleansing balm by Emma Hardie, £38 from Space NK

Nowadays, my face-washing routine consists of scooping a bit of balm onto my hand, adding a tiny bit of water to it, lathering it over my face (doing a nice little massage as I go), and then using a warm cloth (which came with the cleanser) to wipe it all away. Afterwards, my face feels dreamily soft.

The cleanser contains Moringa seed extract, wild sea fennel and vitamin E to 'balance, purify and help to minimise the appearance of open pores'; orange, neroli and mandarin extracts to 'rejuvenate and revitalise'; and jasmine, cedarwood and rose to 'recondition dull, dry, dehydrated and mature skin'. It's pretty costly compared to other cleansers I've used - it costs £38 - but for the sake of having a nice, smooth face it's totally worth it. Also a pot of the stuff lasts me about half a year, which equates to about £6 per month. 

My skin is by no means perfect - as you can see from the pics above, I have blemishes around my nose and small spots on my chin - but the crispy, rashes of yesteryear have been banished (hopefully for good). So if there's one thing I'd recommend in 2017, it's to give the face wipes a miss and try something else instead. After all, you and your face are in it for the long haul.

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