LEMON SUGAR SCRUB


Today I will be sharing with you my homemade lemon sugar scrub. It is just so simple to make and only takes a few minutes. Plus it leaves your skin feeling wonderfully amazing.

What You'll Need:

- 1 cup of caster sugar
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp of olive oil or coconut oil
- lemon zest
- little jar or container

How to do it:


In a bowl, pour in your cup of sugar and add in a spoonful of oil. Squeeze in the juice from the lemon and mix in some lemon zest. Put your mixture into a small container and you are all done!
If your scrub is too liquid and runny, add in more sugar which will also be better to exfoliate the skin.

Sugar is a great way to soften the skin by removing the dead skin cells without causing any harm to the pores.

Lemon contains vitamin C which is a natural way to lighten the skin as well as exfoliate.

Olive Oil  contains vitamin E which aids in soothing the skin and is a natural moisturiser. 

Enjoy!

FLORENCE: TO DO LIST 2017



Hello everyone, I have yet again come back from another trip to Italy and this time my destination was the magnificent Florence, Tuscany.
As a student of the Italian language and the Italian culture, Firenze was the ideal location as it is the heart of the Renaissance. I had no idea what to expect, having only seen Florence through films.
I fell in love with this city after watching A Room With A View, my all-time favourite film, at the age of 7 and from that day on, I made it my goal to visit Florence with my mum and at last, we did it! We went to Florence!
Like I said, I had no idea what to expect, no idea how we were going to get around Florence. I was told that Florence is not as wonderful as it is pictured to be which worried me a little. I had such high expectations after watching James Ivory's film, wanting to relive every Florence moment (or almost every moment) of the film. So we did just that!
I decided to organise my trip around A Room With A View. Strange idea, I know but to be honest, it made our trip all the more memorable and exciting.
I will be sharing with you what I think is worth visiting in Florence along with a few pictures and tips!

1. Piazza Del Duomo



Now there is no way that you can visit Florence without going to the Piazza Del Duomo, that's like going to a pizza shop and just ordering, oh I don't know, garlic bread or something. Anyway, this is where you will find Florence's most famous monument, the Cattedrale Di Santa Maria Del Fiore, the 3rd largest church in the whole world after St. Peter's in Rome and St. Paul's in London and Florence's main church. Dedicated to the "Virgin of the Flower", the building alludes to the lily, a symbol of the city. This gothic style church known as the Duomo di Firenze was designed by Arnolfo Di Cambio and was begun in 1296. It was only completed during the 15th century and stands at a height of 90 metres and measures 153 metres in length.
The Cathedral complex includes the baptistery di San Giovanni, Giotto's Campanile (bell tower) and Brunelleschi's dome.
The basilica is free to visit but not the bell-tower and the dome. Tickets are available online on their website and at the ticket office near the cathedral. I advise you to buy the tickets online to save some time. The queue can be quite long.

Brunelleschi's dome

Baptistery Di San Giovanni, the basilica, Giotto's campanile and Brunelleschi's dome

This next part will mainly focus on some of the film locations from A Room With A View including the Basilica di Santa Croce, the Piazza della Santissima Annunziata and the Piazza della Signoria. To make matters more interesting, I saved some movie stills onto my iPad which I then placed in the locations where they were filmed. Excuse the bad quality!

2. Basilica Di Santa Croce

Basilica exterior.

Lucy Honeychurch in the Basilica.

Monument to one of the major Italian poet of the late middle ages, Dante Alighieri.

Tomb of Galileo Galilei.

Statue of Dante Alighieri in Piazza Di Santa Croce.

The Basilica Di Santa Croce is the main Franciscan church in Florence. It is located in the Piazza Di Santa Croce which is only about 800 meters away from the Duomo.

3. La Piazza della Santissima Annunziata

Eleanor Lavish and Charlotte Bartlett saluting the statue of Ferdinand I.

The Piazza Della Santissima Annunziata with the Ospedale degli Innocenti in the background.

Statue of Ferdinand I.

The Piazza della Santissima Annunziata is a square named after the church of the Annunziata located at the head of the square. In the centre of the square is the bronze statue of Ferdinando I and you may also find the Ospedale Degli Innocenti, a historic building in Florence designed by Brunelleschi. It was originally an orphanage.

4. Piazza dell Signoria

Lucy Honeychurch in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. There are two statues standing in front of the Palazzo including a copy of the Statue of David.

Copy of the Statue of David.

Interior of the Palazzo Vecchio.

Interior of the Palazzo Vecchio.

The Tower of the Palazzo Vecchio.

Lucy and Cousin Charlotte in front of the Loggia dei Lanzi.

Lucy Honeychurch at the Piazza della Signoria.

Cellini's statue Perseus with the head of Medusa.

George and Lucy sitting under the Loggia. 

Equestrian Monument of Cosimo I.

View of the Arno.

The Ponte Vecchio.

Lucy and George with the Uffizi Gallery and the Tower of the Palazzo Vecchio in the background.

The Piazza della Signoria was one of my favourite places in Florence. It is an L-shaped squared in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. It was named after the Palazzo Vecchio also known as the Palazzo Della Signoria. It is the historical centre of the Florentine Republic as well as the political focus of the city. This is where the Florentines come to meet up and is a popular tourist location. You will find the Uffizi Gallery nearby as well as the Ponte Vecchio which is just 500 meters away. The Loggia dei Lanzi is home to some of the most famous Renaissance sculptures and is in fact an open-air gallery. Make sure to check out the Fountain of Neptune. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see it as it was under construction.

5. Galleria Dell'Accademia

The famous statue of David by Michelangelo in all its glory!

The Galleria Dell'Accademia is an art gallery in Florence. It is home to Michelangelo's statue David. It has a few other sculptures by Michelangelo and some Florentine paintings as well. 

6. Santa Maria Novella

The Basilica di Santa Maria Novella is a church just a short walk from the train station. It is the first great basilica of Florence and the main Dominican church. I unfortunately was unable to get a picture as it was too dark outside.

Near the Basilica is a a very old pharmacy known as the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. It is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world and was founded by Dominican friars in 1221. The pharmacy uses medicinal herbs grown in the monastic gardens to make medication, balms and pomades for the monks' infirmary. Today, the pharmacy is almost like a museum with many tourists visiting. This was also where Hannibal Lecter buys his dear Clarice some perfume and soap in the film Hannibal, the sequel to Silence of the Lamb. If you plan on buying something, why not buy yourself a lovely Almond Soap just like Hannibal himself! :)

Officina Profuma interior.

Next if you want a gorgeous view of Florence, I advise that you go to the Piazzale Michelangelo. Designed by Giuseppe Poggi and built on a hill, this square is dedicated to Michelangelo with another copy of the statue of David. Great place to watch the sun set over the city or to just take in the incredible view of Florence! This was my favourite spot.

7. Piazzale Michelangelo

The Duomo view from Piazzale Michelangelo.

Beautiful Florence! We were very lucky to have nice weather that day.

Copy of the statue of David in the centre of Piazzale Michelangelo.

We also got to meet the sweetest cat who looked absolutely great with the Florence backdrop.

I also got a pretty sweet view at the hotel we stayed in for a night. It is called Hotel Cardinal and is only 500 meters away from the Dome. Unfortunately, the rooms weren't great with a very uncomfortable bed. The terrace view was honestly the only positive point.

8. Food Spots

We actually didn't eat much spending most of our time visiting museums but we did enjoy a nice chocolate coffee at Lindt Chocolate Town around the Pizza del Duomo. I also had the biggest gelato i've ever had in my life which they call "Medium size".

We ordered two Lindtottos at the Lindt store with a chocolate filled beignet and a chocolate filled croissant. They even came with edible spoons!

Look at all this chocolate! For any chocolate lover, this must be heaven!

It doesn't look that big but I can tell you that people were staring as I walked down the street with my gigantic gelato. The flavours were Pistachio and Tiramisu from Coronas Cafe.

Tips: 

- Don't bother buying a bus or tram ticket when you stay in Florence. We made the mistake of buying a 3 day ticket (€12 each) and only used it 4 times during our entire stay and that was with us trying to make the most of the ticket. We didn't really need it. If you really need to take the bus, to go to the Piazzale Michelangelo for instance, buy a one-way ticket (about €1.20) but I warn you transport in Florence isn't top notch. We waited over half an hour for a bus to the Piazzale Michelangelo which is the same amount of time it would have taken us to walk there from our AirBnB. 

- If your flight lands in Pisa and you need to make your way to Florence, you have the choice between taking the bus/coach straight to Florence or taking the train. We took a bus from Pisa to Florence which was €12 each. We did waste some time having to wait over an hour for the coach. It is an hour long journey to Florence and the bus took us to the bus station (autostazione near Santa Maria Novella). From Florence to Pisa, we decided to take the train because waiting for the bus was too long and we would have missed our flight. The train is slightly cheaper but isn't direct. You would need to take the train to Pisa Centrale and from there take the people mover to the airport. It sounds a lot more complicated than it really is. It took us slightly over an hour to get to the airport. I would warn you though to leave yourself some time to buy the tickets. For the bus tickets you need to buy them at a coffee shop (I unfortunately forgot the name) and for the train, just go to the ticket booth in the station. The ticket is €11.20 per person including the people mover.

- If you go during the Autumn/Winter season, make sure to bring an umbrella with you. We didn't and that was a huge mistake.

- Take loads of photos!


And that is all from me! I hope you find this post helpful in planning your future trip to Florence and that you enjoy it as much as we did!

EASY SUPER GREEN SMOOTHIE

Green smoothies are super popular and let's not forget, they are super healthy so today I will be sharing with you my super easy, delicious and healthy green smoothie recipe, perfect for breakfast and to take with you on the go.



Ingredients:

- green apples
- baby spinach
- kiwi
- banana
- low-fat yogurt
- almond milk

How to do it:


In your blender, add in 1 whole banana, half a green apple, a handful of baby spinach and a whole kiwi. Now add in two spoonful of yogurt and 1/4 cup of milk. Blend it all in and serve.

Enjoy!

VENICE: A GUIDE



"If anything can rival Venice in its beauty, it must be its reflection at sunset in the Grand Canal."
Peggy Guggenheim

With its stunning architecture, hidden paths and alluring canals, Venice is unlike any other city.
This historic Italian city situated across a group of small islands is overflowing with beautiful views and incredible buildings. If there’s one place you should go at least once in your life, Venezia is it.

Whether you plan on staying a couple of days or a few months, your time there is sure to be an unforgettable one. To help you make the most of your trip, I will be sharing with you my itinerary. I spent 5 days and 4 nights in Venezia, a dream come true, but of course everything that I have listed can be done over a shorter or longer period of time. Hopefully this will help make your trip even more memorable.

Day 1:

Our plane landed in Venice Marco Polo Airport at around 3PM. From the airport to Venice Island, you can take a vaporetto (water bus) which costs about 14 one-way or 25 for a return ticket per person. We however preferred taking the bus (ATVO "Venezia Express") straight to Piazzale Roma for only 8 per person. It is a blue bus. If you prefer taking a round-trip ticket, it is only €15. Once we got to Piazzale Roma, we only had to walk about 5 minutes to our hotel located on Santa Croce. The hotel is called Hotel Canal. It offers decent bedrooms for a reasonable price. We only stayed here one night however as we were meant to be staying  in an AirBnB with my aunt and her husband who also came along to Venice. We had a lovely view on the Canal itself and on the Ponte della Constituzione.

The rest of the day was spent strolling around the Canareggio area just over the Scalzi bridge. Here you will find plenty of shops and touristy restaurants although I recommend that you opt for a local one. I say this from experience (Spaghetti Meatballs at €16 with only 4 meatballs). My aunt and her husband ate instead at a nearby local restaurant called Trattoria Dalla Marisa situated on Fondamenta San Giobbe. It is a cosy trattoria serving nice home-cooked meals for good value. The menu is limited but a lot more satisfying than the expensive tourist hot-spots. 


Day 2:

We started our day with breakfast at the hotel. Nothing fantastic but we were still glad to have it. We were to check-into the AirBnB at around 3PM. Having plenty of times on our hand, we spent the morning visiting some of Venice's most famous sights. We visited everything on foot, saving quite a lot in water bus fares. For some of the most beautiful views you should definitely check out:

The Ponte Rialto:



This 16th century footbridge with shops and restaurants crossing the Grand Canal is a must see!

The T Fondaco Dei Tedeschi:


The T Fondaco is actually a retail chain offering duty-free goods but it also has an amazing terrace with a stunning view. 

The Ponte Dell'Accademia:


The Ponte Dell'Accademia is a large bridge crossing the Grand Canal towards its lower, southern end  and linking the San Marco district to the Accademia gallery. This was by far my favourite view of Venice!

All this took us about 3 hours to visit (I took lots of photos) and of course, we did get lost on the way and back to the hotel which is the best way to discover all of Venice's mysterious passageways.
We later checked-into our AirBnB located in the Guglie area on Fondamenta San Giobbe. It was the perfect location, close to all the amenities and attractions and ideal for a large family.
We still had a good few hours before nightfall and decided to fit in one last attraction.

The Libreria Acqua Alta:



A stop at the Libreria Acqua Alta is a must for book-lovers. Because of the constant floods during winter, books are kept in bathtubs, boats and gondolas. Take a photo climbing up the stairs made of books and watch out for all the cute cats!


Day 3:

Day number three was spent at Piazza San Marco, Venice's main public square usually just called La Piazza. Once again, check out some of the amazing views at these locations and take in all the breathtaking architecture:

The Basilica di San Marco:


The entry to the basilica is free however to visit the museum and see the view from the terrace, the price was €5 per person. The inside of the basilica was unlike anything I had ever seen before.


The Campanile:


The Campanile offers one of the most beautiful views of Venice. For only €8 per person, see every angle of the city at a height of 50 meters (160 ft). Don't worry, there is a lift.


We later did one of the most touristy thing you could possibly do which is of course taking a gondola. For just 30 minutes you pay €80. When you think of Venice, you think canals and gondolas. Yes it is romantic and makes for a cute Instagram photo but is it worth it? No. You are better off taking a vaporetto.




After that, we made our way to the other side of the Ponte dell'Accademia to get a closer look at the beautiful Basilica Di Santa Maria Della Salute.



After experiencing an outbreak of the plague in 1630, the Republic of Venice built a church dedicated to "Our Lady of the Health". The humble interior bears references to the Black Death. Santa Maria Della Salute has become an important addition the Venice's skyline. 

Day 4:

Day 4 was unfortunately cut short for us after my aunt got her purse stolen whilst buying gelati for everyone. We did however manage to buy some souvenirs on that day. I bought myself a gondola snow globe. In the evening, we had dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant called Al Brindisi. Our waiter was extremely kind and made our night all the more pleasurable. The food was good for a decent price. We ordered about 4 starters for 13 people which was very filling and then we each had a main course and a dessert. The plates are quite large so be warned. 

This is the address: Cannaregio, 1307, 30121 Venezia VE


Yum! Gelato!


Day 5:

We made the most of our last day since our flight was only at 11:55 PM. We decided to take the vaporetto to San Marco (€7.50 per person one-way) and we were fortunate to have nice weather. I had the chance to take quite a few pictures on the way.






We then made our way to the Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace), one of the main landmarks of the city of Venice built in a Venetian Gothic Style. The interior is unlike anything you will ever see! My photos do not do it justice.





Inside the Palazzo, you have to possibility of walking through the famous Ponte Dei Sospiri (The Bridge of Sighs) which connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in Doge's Palace. The view from the bridge which you get to see was the last view the prisoners saw before being imprisoned. The name given to the bridge is believe to come from the suggestion that the prisoners would sigh at their final view of the city before being taken to their cell. You can view the bridge from outside but I think it is even better being able to walk through it.



What a view!

And to finish our trip, we sat down in the oldest cafe in the world, the one and only Cafe Florian born in Venice in 1720. It is a bit pricey (an espresso costs €6.50) but completely worth it. Just be warned that if you decide to sit outside on the Piazza San Marco you will be charged extra to listen to the orchestra playing.



The Mint Hot Chocolate was delicious!

Final note: Try not using your Iphone for GPS or a map. Just let yourself wander and maybe even get lost. It is the best way to discover a city especially Venice. Here are a few more photos from my trip to Venice:







If you have been to Venice, let me know what your must-have experiences are, if not, I hope you found this guide helpful in planning your next trip to the city of Venezia!