Thursday, 30 June 2016

Summer Ball Make Up

Summer Ball Make Up

Last weekend I attended the rugby club summer ball with my parents - a lovely evening of good food, catching up and plenty of dancing. I haven't written a post about the night because I have zero photos, thanks to the fact that my new(ish) phone is too big for the clutch bag I took... and if doesn't fit my phone it certainly wouldn't have contained my camera!

However, I thought I'd trial a little beauty post about my make up look for the night instead :) 

My day to day make up is a pretty simple affair, ranging from non-existent to a quick flick of eyeliner and mascara. But I love an excuse to dig out a few forgotten products and put together a fuller make up look.

Simple Summer Ball Make Up

Summer Ball Make Up - Base and Skin products

I started with Pore Professional primer by Benefit - a little sample tube that has been hanging around in my make up collection for a while and is nearing it's end! I wouldn't say I had any worries about pores, but I find this makes a good base for smoothing out my skin ready to apply foundation.

I then used a Natural Collection concealer for a bit of brightening and correction - a cheap concealer that performs its job perfectly well for me.

Normally I use a mineral powder foundation, but this time I opted for No 7's Essentially Natural Foundation in the shade Calico, applied with a Real Techniques foundation brush. I don't like to look like I've layered on the make up, so this light to medium coverage suits me just right and it blends in beautifully, while feeling lightweight all night.

I don't have the patience or precision for a full contouring routine, but a quick brush of the Sleek Contour Palette is enough to give a little cheekbone definition and to warm up the cooler tones of my foundation.

Summer Ball Make Up Eye Products

If we're sticking to the 'eyes or lips' make up mantra, then I'm eyes every time! I have many, many palettes of warm browns and smokey greys which are my two go-to looks. On this occasion I opted for a warm brown look, using metallic golds and a darker brown. 

I often go for quite a defined eye look with black eyeliner - a mix of a kohl pencil (a treasured Estée Lauder eye pencil in soft smudge black) on the bottom and outer corner, and a thin line and small flick of liquid liner on the top with the trusty Collection Fast Stroke Eyeliner that I have repurchased many, many times.

In terms of mascara, I've been trying to use up a free sample of Benefit's They're Real tinted primer which looks great on it's own for lengthening lashes, or underneath a couple of coats of Bare Minerals' Lash Domination volumizing mascara

Summer Ball make up finishing touches

And final finishing touches were a little of Benefit's High Beam highlighter (possibly another freebie), a little eyebrow definition with Benefits Brow Zings (one of my favourite make up items) a slick of a Bare Minerals lip gloss, and a touch of sparkly Essie nail varnish.

I also took inspiration from this YouTube video for a DIY updo that was surprisingly simple to master.

Then it was a quick change into a pink dress, nude heels and some silver accessories and off to dance the night away!

Let me know what you think of this post and if you'd be interested to see a little more beauty on the blog :)



Wednesday, 29 June 2016

A Tea for Every Occasion

Teapot and mug with Jadu Tea

I never used to be much of a tea drinker.

When I was younger, I didn't really do hot drinks - other than a steaming cup of sweet, milky coffee served with buttery crumpets for breakfast, or a mug of Cadbury's finest drinking chocolate.

I only learned to make tea when I started working on Sundays as a teenager... serving tea and coffee to parents at a sports club.

In fact, it's only in the past few years that I've experimented at all with different teas, under the influence of my much more worldly university friends. There's still a place in my heart for strong, sweet, yet milky tea - mainly as a home remedy to stave off an impending cold (five years of medical school has apparently taught me nothing about viruses) - but I like to think I've branched out a little now!

During the house-sharing years of university, we often had an impressive selection of teas between us, from fruit to peppermint to rooibos... and always a big box of PG Tips! And then of course, afternoon tea just isn't afternoon tea without a cuppa.

The wonderful people at Jadu Tea offered to help me keep expanding my tea experiences by sending a very generous package* of some of their delicious teas.

The first things I tried out were the handy tea bags - perfect to pop into a mug and infuse. A good English Breakfast in the morning, requiring nothing more than a dash of milk. And a lovely Mademoiselle Grey, the perfect accompaniment to biscuits or a slice of cake in the afternoon. I'm a big fan of Earl Grey tea as an afternoon drink, so I really enjoyed the fruity twist that is the Mademoiselle Grey. Also, it's super pretty for a tea with the red cornflowers making it all colourful! (In the tea leaves that is. Not the drink).

They also included some packets of loose leaf tea - and some very tempting flavours including Rooibos Creme Brulée and White Mango Lime. During my time in South Africa I got used to drinking Rooibos tea, so it was lovely to have a packet of it when I got home. I don't think I've every tried white tea before, but mango lime sounds like a delicious concoction!

Now if I'm honest, I'm not a huge fan of green tea, finding it a little bitter - but I know it's meant to be good for you! The package from Jadu Tea included a bag of green tea, presented in a luxurious gift box. Their China Green tea comes from the Yunnan province of China and I have a feeling that it's rather good stuff. So if this doesn't sway me towards green tea, I don't know what will!

Thank you to the team at Jadu Tea for providing me with a range of tasty tea samples. All I need now is a few friends over for a tea party... any offers?!

And if you fancy ordering someone special (or treating yourself to) some luxury tea, head to Jadu Tea's online boutique!


Monday, 27 June 2016

Exploring Budapest - Day 1

Exploring Budapest - Summer European Travelling

Having flown in from Milan the evening before and done little else besides buy some vegetables for a homemade lentil and veggie dinner, we were ready and raring to go for our fist full day in Budapest.

We were staying in a lovely little apartment in a block of flats on the Pest side of the River Danube, close enough to walk only a short distance to find ourselves in the centre of the city.

We made rough plans to spend the first day mainly on the Buda side of the city (although taking in a few things on the Pest side as we passed through) and set off to cram in as many sites as we could. The first place we stumbled upon was the rather impressive St Stephen's Basilica, supposedly the most important church building in Hungary. 

St Stephen's Basilica Church in Budapest

Pausing only to get some cash and bottles of water, we made our way through the beautiful streets of Budapest admiring the colour and architecture as we went. I have hundreds of street levels photographs of the buildings - all slightly differing in styles and colour, and all contributing to the character of the city.

Street and Buildings in Budapest

Shopping street in Budapest
It wasn't long before we reached our next 'must-see', the palacial Hungary Parliament Building. Looking not dissimilar to a fairytale castle, this building is simply stunning to admire. With dark red tiles against bright white stone it stood out from its surroundings, looking every bit the important building it is. 

Statue and Hungarian Parliament Building, Budapest

Hungarian Parliament Building, Budapest

Hungarian Parliament Building, Budapest

Flowers outside Hungarian Parliament Building Budapest
Budapest is a beautifully maintained city - very clean and with colourful flower displays everywhere you look. It's really rather photogenic! Also, does anyone else find that a tram can really make a photo?! I found myself capturing shots of them everywhere I went!

Tram in Budapest

Tram and buildings in Budapest
We wandered north along the river before crossing the bridge to Margaret Island (or Margitsziget) , a beautiful island 2.5km long in the centre of the Danube. We strolled the length of it, pausing to admire and photograph all kinds of wonderful things - from rose gardens, to churches, fountains, and even chickens!

Fountain on Margaret Island in Budapest

Flowers in the gardens on Margaret Island in Budapest

Flowers on trellis in flower gardens on Margaret Island Budapest
Once we reached the top of the island, we crossed to the other side of the river and walked through some of the backstreets before coming out on the river's edge again. Feet beginning to ache, we went in search of a cafe and settled down for lattes and freshly squeezed orange juice - just the pick-me-ups required in order to keep exploring!

Back in the thick of the city centre, we admired the Hungarian Parliament Building again, look majestic besides the river and continued to wander, gazing up at buildings and spotting the details in the architecture.

Hungarian Parliament Building besides River Danube, Budapest
Architecture in Budapest

Detailed church archway in Budapest
We perhaps should have stopped for lunch sooner than we did, walking too far and passing many cafes and restaurants and eventually sitting in a slightly more touristy than desired cafe by a big roundabout. But food is food and we all felt much better for having eaten before carrying on.

Our next stop was to climb Gellért Hill to see the Liberty Statue. It was a steep climb in the humid, mid-afternoon heat, but the view from the top made it well worth the effort! We could see right across the city and along the river - and it was obvious why the owner of our accommodation had been so keen that we go.

View of Budapest from Gellért Hill

View of Budapest from Gellért hill

View of Hungarian Parliament Building from Gellért Hill
Despite blistering feet and the encroaching black clouds, we continued to walk, wandering round the Citadella and onwards to Buda Castle. We admired the castle courtyard and facades before walking thorugh to the quaint little town within. 

Buda Castle in Budapest

Buda Castle in Budapest

Matthias Church in Budapest

Coloured tiled roof of Matthias Church in Budapest
Eventually we could no longer ignore the huge, dark clouds coming ever closer and we dashed back home as fast as we could, making it safely indoors before the heavens opened! Luckily the rain didn't last too long and we were able to head out for dinner to a nearby garden restaurant. 

I've decided to split my Budapest adventures into two posts because there were just far too many photos. So make sure to come back to read about day two!


Sunday, 26 June 2016

Little Things I've Loved This Week #28

Little Things I've Loved This Week Number 28

It's been far too long since I last did one of these! But they're some of my favourite posts to look back on - it's lovely to have a collection of all the little things that make me happy. This week I've been getting used to be back home again, while also sorting out things for when I start work in just over a month's time!

So here are some of the little things making me smile this week...

Finding a perfect graduation dress, and it being half price! I actually find shopping a bit of a chore, especially if I need something specific. So I was pretty pleased to find a gorgeous white dress in Reiss that hopefully will be just right for my graduation ceremony this month.

So much daylight. Just as the days were getting longer here, I headed off the southern hemisphere for two months and they got all short again. So I've especially appreciated the bright mornings and long evenings this time around. 

Striped t-shirts

Refreshing my wardrobe with some quality basics. I've had a good clothing clear out this week, sorting through all the pieces I've accumulated without realising it over the past few years (easily done when I often had it spread between three places!). I ordered a selection of cotton t-shirts from John Lewis that will be easy to wear both smart and casually - plus you can never have enough stripes, am I right?!

Getting some cooking inspiration at a low-key cookery class. I've got a post to come about this, but mum and I went for a cookery lesson based around simple, healthy food. We cooked a delicious lunch and it's definitely got me keen to cook again.

Dog playing in the rain

Watching Saffy playing in the puddles during some of the worst rain we've ever seen! A massive downpour at dinner time on Thursday very quickly had our garden looking rather more like a lake than a lawn. Saffy wasn't the slightest bit worried about jumping straight in and was happily splashing around with her toys.
A photo posted by Jennifer (@ginevrella_blog) on

Rugby Club Summer Ball. I love an excuse to dress up and it was great to catch up with people I know and enjoy a dance :)

What have you been up to this week? Leave me a comment, I love knowing what other people have been doing!


Friday, 24 June 2016

36 Hours in Milan

36 Hours Travelling in Milan
Of all the places I visited on my post-elective travels, Milan was the city that surprised me the most. In fact, we hadn't even originally planned to come here at all! Initially we were meant to be meeting in Rome, but during the planning process, the other girls' flight destination changed to Milan. A surprise, but happy incident for all of us.

I've visited Italy on a number of occasions, but this was my first time to Milan and I didn't really know what to expect. I'd imagined streets of expensive shops and minimal character, but I couldn't have been more wrong! Milan is a charming city with stunning architecture, fabulous food and a pretty stylish crowd of people.

Duomo Milano Cathedral in Milan
Following a short afternoon flight from Heathrow, I had a well-timed reunion with my two travelling buddies at the baggage carousel of Milan Malpensa airport. After collecting our bags and passing swiftly through passport control, we boarded the train to Milano Centrale Railway Station and settled down for an hour of catching up on what we'd all been up to for the past two months.

We then successfully navigated the Milan Metro system, finally arriving at our apartment around 9pm. Being so central, taking trains and the metro was a great way of getting to our accommodation and probably way cheaper than trying to arrange a private transfer.

By this point we were all hot, tired and hungry so we dumped our suitcases in the apartment and wandered along the street in search of some dinner. We didn't have to go too far to find a small restaurant serving pasta, cold drinks and Italian coffee.

Vespas viewed from balcony in Milan
Refreshed after a good night's sleep, we rose early the next morning and walked the short distance into central Milan, admiring the Milan Cathedral and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The Catherdral (or Duomo) was exquisitely ornate, with endless detail to marvel over. The Galleria is one of the oldest shopping malls in the world and is also full of detailed architecture. In fact - I barely even noticed the designer shopping names I was so distracted by the building itself! We had a tasty breakfast of almond cream-filled pastries and cappuccinos, then marched off into the city...

Almond pastry and cappucino for breakfast in Milan

Exterior of Duomo Milano, cathedral in Milan
Front of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan

Architechture and detail inside Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan

Versace and Prada shops in Galleria in Milan
Architecture of archways in Galleria Emanuele Vittorio II in Milan
With just one day to sight-see it was lucky that we'd asked our host for some suggestions and we set 
off towards Castello Sforzesco, a 15th Century Italian castle. It's free to wander the grounds of the castle, admiring the patterned walls and the intricate stonework. There are also a number of museums sited here as well as tours, all of which you can buy tickets for. In the interests of time and money though we opted just to explore the grounds. 

Castello Sforzesco, Castle in Milan
Tower of Castello Sforzesco in Milan

Courtyard of Castello Sforzesco in Milan

Detailed walls of Castello Sforzesco in Milan

We walked through the castle to the Parco Sempione, a picturesque park situated behind the Castello. We strolled between the greenery and water features in the warm sunshine, pausing to take photos and watch the terrapins basking on the rocks! 

Bridge in Parco Sempione Milan

View of Castello Sforzesco from Parco Sempione in Milan

Terrapins in water in Parco Sempione, Milan
Exiting the park through the castle, we decided to base our explorations on the principle of 'walk in the direction of pretty buildings', a method that served us excellently! Because Milan has no end of 'pretty buildings'. We sought out smaller churches as advised by our host and admired the architecture around us.

Tram and monument at Largo Cairoli Milan
Buildings in Milan

Brick building in Milan
Detailed church archway in Milan

Front of church in Milan
Snaking our across the city, we made our way down to the canals for lunchtime - taking our time to wander up and down before settling on a waterside restaurant for delicious salads and a chance to rest our feet. 

Buildings alongside canal in Milan

Buildings along canal in Milan
Pear and cheese salad for lunch in Milan

Then we continued to walk (and walk, and walk), heading back into the bustling heart of the city around the Duomo and made a little detour into H&M, followed by ice creams - because you can't go to Italy and not have one! Weary after walking almost all day, we meandered home through smaller streets, eyes peeled for a good place for dinner.

Once we'd rested and freshened up, we walked back into town for dinner - classic Italian affair washed down with Prosecco before heading home for a good night's sleep after nearly 40,000 steps of walking in one day!

The next morning we treated ourselves to breakfast out - fruit, yoghurt and croissants plus more coffee, before zipping up our cases and catching the metro back to Milano Centrale, from where we boarded a bus to Milan Bergamo airport, ready to make our way to Budapest!

All in all, Milan was a beautiful city and I glad we made the most of our short time there. It was by the far the most expensive of our locations, but with relatively cheaper living later on in the holiday it all balanced out nicely. Taking public transport and doing all our exploring on foot kept costs down, whilst also allowing us to wander at our own pace and see as much as we wanted.

Have you visited Milan, or would you like to?
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