…damn that’s a lot to review. I was off sick from work when the postman delivered the goodies from the amazing PR team behind St Moriz. Cheered me right up.

That was a few weeks ago now, and I’ve been using all of the products non-stop. They are simply gorgeous.

We all know about St Moriz, it’s the cheaper rival to St Tropez. They’ve recently launched four new products, including a new mitt, gradual tanner, tan primer and the one that piqued my interest – the Insta-Grad. Yep, instant tan whilst the gradual one develops underneath.

St Moriz Insta-Grad Tanning Mousse

Absolutely loving this, I’ll be having to get some more soon. Had my concerns about developing into a tangerine over a few hours, but it just didn’t happen. Using the new mitt, I applied all over. It does come out rather dark, but it went on really smoothly and blended out to a dark-ish but still natural tan – the perfect colour for me. You can see a picture below of one leg done – absolutely shite photography by me, but you get the picture. It dries really, really quickly with no greasiness or stickiness, which on the one hand is great, but also means you have to work quite quickly to ensure you get everywhere evenly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It doesn’t transfer much, even onto our white bedsheets. It comes off in the shower, leaving behind a lighter, golden tan which I’d say lasted me a good couple of days. I’ve been using it every weekend since. 10/10 would recommend.

St Moriz Professional Golden Glow Moisturiser

I’ve been using the gradual tanner in the week. It gives a similar shade to the washed off Insta-Grad I mention above. It’s perfect for everyday as it’s moisturising too, and I don’t feel like it’s too much for work either. I’m going to squeeze some out into a 100ml bottle for when we go to Thailand to boost my golden glow.

St Moriz Exfoliating Skin Primer

Again, pretty much in love. I use this in the shower about twice a week to stop that weird self-tan orangey build up. It’s got quite fine particles, which suits me fine as some of the coarser ones irritate my skin. It smooths the skin’s surface to create the perfect base for new tan.

I am really enjoying ALL of the new products. Side note: they all smell amazing too and don’t have a weird biscuity smell I seem to find in many of my other tans. I really would recommend, and at less than £10 per item, you’d be silly not to.

I’m now looking forward to flashing my legs in summer, knowing they’ll look naturally golden and glowing, thanks to St Moriz.

 

There’s a new cosmetics brand over here in the UK. KNOW Cosmetics have come across the pond to the UK and you can now pick them up in Superdrug.

I was sent No Bleeding Lips, No Thin Lips, No Dark Shadows and No Bare Brows…and am pretty impressed.

Unfortunately, at the moment I can only see the concealer on the Superdrug website, but the rest of the products should be online soon!

No Bare Brows £15
The No Bare Brows Kit is a 4-in-1 product, containing a brow pencil, taming wax, brow brush and pencil sharpener. Gotta be honest and say that I thought ‘universal’ was a bit of a stretch for the brow colour – it’s definitely on the darker side and I had to be quite careful not to give myself slugs. However, it’s really, really smooth and buildable, and adding the clear wax on top just added to its longevity. If you need a comparison, it goes on so much smoother than Benefit’s Archery. I accidentally went to sleep with my make up on after a heavy night (BAD MOVE) whilst wearing the brow kit, and the sistas were pretty much perfect in the morning.

 

No Bleeding Lips £15
I’ve only recently started wearing lipsticks on the reg, and am having a grand old time figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t. A reason I shied away from bright / dark or actually, any kind of lip colour was because I was so nervous it was going to go all over my teeth, or smudge. I’ve pretty much solved that issue with the product sent from the gods, Lipcote. KNOW cosmetics actually do a sealing top coat too, but I’ve not tried this.

But there’s nothing like a little bit of extra security, right?

No Bleeding Lips is applied around the lips, to stop feathering and bleeding. Simply twist the pen up, and apply before your normal lip routine. It went on really smoothly, and worked like a dream – so if you’re one for bright reds, this is definitely one for you.

No Dark Shadows £15
This light-diffusing concealer offers medium coverage, is waterproof and is free of minerals and parabens. Unfortunately, this shade was too dark for me! PIZZAZ has yellow undertones and I would need the rosier tone called WOW. Although I couldn’t wear it, I did try it out anyway to check consistency and how well it blended. I did actually like the formula! If I could have a lighter tone, this would have been fine.

 

No Thin Lips £15
So excited to try this one! I’m a sucker for lip plumping tricks that don’t involve needles. This one actually worked, too. It reminded me of the Soap & Glory Mother Pucker gloss I used to use religiously. I used it straight on my lips on a night out and there was a difference in size, although Will couldn’t tell (but he is just a boy).

The downsides for me on glosses like this is that they irritate your lips – I mean, that’s how they work. Sometimes I can’t be dealing with that faff. Also, it is a GLOSS. My hair gets stuck in glosses, I worry I’m a throwback to year eight, and I don’t feel like the product worked as well over a colour. Overall though, if you’re wanting a little bit of a boost, this is perf.


Have you tried KNOW Cosmetics before? I’d love to know what you think!

After our epic adventure in Thailand last year, in which we managed to visit Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi and a fair few islands too, we were super excited to book our next adventure for this year.

We spent absolutely ages poring over forums and websites, considering where to go next. Coming out on top were Vietnam, India and Nepal. Unfortunately though, we simply couldn’t decide where to go! There were so many pros and cons to each place.

It was difficult because Thailand last year was just such a pull [not least because I’d wanted to visit for so long]. It was super easy to choose where to go because we both had a set idea of what we wanted and expected from our travels. The country has the best of everything. Shopping, nightlife, animals, tranquillity, bustling cities, religion and culture alongside just the right amount of sleaze.

We managed to fit a hell of a lot in, although we had to cut out some must-go places simply to fit into the time we had. On our hunt for the next adventure, we kept finding ourselves saying things like “Why don’t we try to fly to XX via Chiang Mai” and “Perhaps we could do half in XX, half in Thailand?”. In the end, we just looked at each other and decided there and then that we’d return to Thailand.

And here we are.

We worried that returning to Thailand would be a cop out. Why not try somewhere new? But then again, why not return to somewhere you loved? We’re changing up our itinerary to fit in all the stuff we couldn’t get to last time.

We also have more time, and a considerably bigger budget than last year [watch out, ballers coming through], so we can afford to live in style. Here’s what we’ve got planned so far. Let us know if we’ve missed something amazing.

Be massive poshos in Bangkok
Our first night in Bangkok, we were happy to forgo Khao San Road and head to the Sky Bar from The Hangover for ridiculously overpriced cocktails. Totally predictable, but whatever. Unfortunately, the receptionist at the hotel who was arranging our taxi took one look at Mr Jones’ shorts and told us they wouldn’t let us in. It wasn’t the end of the world, we just had the craic in the form of buckets and a game of checkers above KSR. We’ll make sure Will has something suitable to wear this time round and head to the bar. I feel like it’s just one of those things that needs to be done. Literally so excited for hangover Schweppes Manao as well – we’ve missed this shit so much!

Patong
We have a thing by which we visit a strip bar in every new place we visit. That sounds wrong, but it’s out of hilarity’s sake than anything else. Whilst we went to a few go-go bars in Bangkok, we found that the main ‘action’ was over in Patong. However, last year we’d heard about a few scams and because we were fresh off the boat as it were, we decided not to go. We’re going to head over this time though. I’ll write about it here if I can get away with not being TOO graphic.

Although, I’m not sure anything will beat the guy in the go-go bar in Chiang Mai. He was basically dressed as the KFC Colonel, drinking tea from a cup and saucer and cheers-ing with it every so often.  He was loving it!

Pai
One of our friends travelled around Thailand before heading off to Australia – he recommended Pai as the place to go. I’ve heard about the 726 curves to Pai and don’t really fancy sitting in a mini-bus trying to avoid other people throwing up on me [Will included, he’d get motion sickness on an escalator!] – but apparently it’s worth it.

There is also an opportunity here to visit a Karen Long Neck tribe…but I’m torn on this. This is something that really interests me, but I’ve read a fair few reviews that have put me off slightly. Quite a few have mentioned how much of a tourist trap it is – and really, how authentic can it be? Like the elephants last year, I’m going to have to do some more research into whether or not this is ethical, or even worth it.

Cooking class
Since we began living together, we’ve cooked up a storm in the kitchen. We’re always up for trying new things and I’d love to learn how to cook some authentic Thai food in an authentic setting. We couldn’t do this last year as we ran out of time, but I’ve found an amazing deal to do a half day at the famous Mama Noi cooking school for under £20 each! Bangin’.

More animals
One of the best experiences of my life was visiting the elephants at the Chiang Mai Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. We did a load of research and found so many cheaper options. Unfortunately, a vast majority of these had tethered and ridden elephants. So sad! The elephants at EJS looked so happy and were literally loving it – although we did nearly get trampled by some over-zealous teenage ‘phants! You know when they say “my life flashed before my eyes” …literally.

Anyway, similarly to the above, we want to have the best experience possible…ethically. I do like the idea of hanging out with tigers in theory – but it’s unlikely we’ll find somewhere we can see them where they’ve not been drugged or taken from their mothers. Do you know anywhere?

More beach time
As I say, we crammed a shit ton of stuff into two weeks, and barely rested. We spent one or two nights in different places and lived out of our bags. We finally slowed down and spent four days and three nights on Koh Phi Phi. Absolute dream – stay at Beach Front Divers Resort for a brilliant experience and practically your own private beach! They also run a diving school which is much less overrun with tourists than the ones nearer the ferry port.

ANYWAY. We loved those days on the beach to just chill, take boat rides island hopping, eat and drink at leisure without worrying about catching our next flight. In fact, we loved it so much we considered missing our flight back to Bangkok and booking a new one because we really didn’t want to leave.

This time, we’ve been able to learn from experience and have set aside a good five days to be beach bums and simply be. That being said, which island should we choose? Top of the list are Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Lanta or Koh Tao…

We’ve got a whole travel bucket list [and another 14 holiday days spare later in the year], so are looking for inspiration to go elsewhere this year and next. Where would you recommend?

We recently got back from a weekend in Berlin [Ella’s Christmas present to Will – NBD] and wanted
to share some of our experiences with you. Plus, we’ve got a whole host of new camera equipment
and wanted to try it out!

We love making videos like this – we did the same thing for Thailand last year and will aim to do
something similar when we head back there this year.

There’s a few Berlin-centric blogs coming up too, covering the best food, experiences and top tips,
so keep an eye out for these.

Enjoy!

Because it was pretty much taking over my life, is the short answer.

Alarm goes off – straight on Instagram, Snapchat and a scroll through Facebook. Light goes out at night – best have one more scroll to be sure I haven’t missed anything.

I’ve had Instagram for a long ass time, and for the most part used it as a kind of picture diary for myself, uploading images of parties, people and travels. Sometimes I’d go back through it to look at seriously fun times. It was fun! It was supposed to be fun.

Something changed along the way though, in that it became more than that to me, and became a numbers game.

I had a phase in the summer in which I tried to ‘theme’ my Instagram, uploading bordered, similarly filtered images, three times a day, with clever hashtags and formatting. It was so boring and limiting, and made absolutely no difference whatsoever to my engagement. If anything, it was worse because the images weren’t ‘real’ any more.

I’m not proud of it, but it got to the point where I was doing research to try and understand Instagram’s algorithms to figure out why my images weren’t doing as well as someone else’s.

And the long and short of it was, and still is – that actually, I really don’t care who looked at the images. I couldn’t give a shit whether Jim Bob from high school has seen my Saturday Night Out post and liked it or not. It wasn’t even about the people – it was about the numbers. And unfortunately, I was the only one in my weird, self-centred race.

The other issue of that was some serious stalking. I think it’s okay to dabble in some light stalking, we all do it to some extent, especially when people leave their lives so open online. However, when you’re 29 weeks into some bird’s photos you don’t even know, it’s time to step away from the smartphone, lady.

Going cold Turkey
Halfway through a bottle of wine, and having just had that heart-stopping moment of accidentally liking someone’s picture I wasn’t even following (maybe they won’t notice, surely they wont notice? Note: THEY’LL FUCKIN’ NOTICE, YOU DOUGHNUT), I deleted all of my social media apps.

Now, I’m clearly back on social media. You may not have even noticed I’d gone. However, the way I’m using it is a lot different now.

It was really hard, though. The next morning, I’d forgotten I’d done it and went to look at Instagram. Cold reality settling, I did something else. In fact, I ‘did something else’ a lot, whenever I found myself unlocking my phone for no other reason than to scroll through someone else’s life or post some picture for likes. I read the news, read a book, I wrote for my blog, I researched things for my new job, for travelling, for my health. I went for a ‘walk’ spontaneously for the first time in my life.

The first couple of days were tough, and what shocked me was the amount of times I’d have that urge to open an app. Any spare second and I’d go to open one. Over the course of the next couple of weeks though, I found myself thinking less and less of social media. I even watched an entire film through with Will, without having a sly scroll.

I do however, need social media, for my job, blog and general knowledge. I decided to reinstall and set myself limits. Ten minutes max, twice a day – no stalking whatsoever. To aid this, I did a massive unfollow / unfriend cull.

It has worked! I don’t scroll endlessly. I usually have a purpose and I am much more able to switch off.

So for now, I’m back. Still liking, still scrolling – but on a much smaller scale. And the numbers? Yeah, I might still post a selfie if I’m particularly feeling myself that day, but I realise that what’s important is whether I like the picture, not anyone else. I also know that some people think I’m beautiful and awesome no matter what – and that’s what I care about.