Exploring Amsterdam

Earlier this year I finally got to visit one of the cities on my bucket list – Amsterdam. With its unique brick architecture, countless bridges and maze of canals, Amsterdam has long been a tourist hot spot in Europe with many attracted to what this cultural city has to offer. With something in store for everyone, here’s my top things to see and do whilst visiting:

 

The Heineken Brewery

One of Amsterdam’s most popular attractions, the Heineken experience, is located in the original Heineken brewery which has been transformed into an interactive tour. I’ve visited many brewery’s around the world but the Heineken brewery has so far been the best for me! The brewery itself is no longer in use but this tour combines the history of Heineken and brewing, with a look at Heineken and their advertising in the modern world. But most importantly…free beer! You can purchase tickets for the tour here.

 

Canals

With over 60 miles of canals and nearly 1500 bridges, Amsterdam really is the Venice of the north! The ring of canals in Amsterdam has recently been added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites and is the perfect place to get your stereotypical Amsterdam Instagram photo. If taking pictures on land isn’t your thing then there’s an array of boat trips to choose from for as little as €15. Head to the Jordaan, if your looking for the more picturesque canals and you can stop at one of the many indie shops and boutiques located there whilst your at it!

 

Food, food, food.

If your anything like me then your favourite thing about exploring a new country is trying the local food! You may have heard of stroopwaffles from the great British bake off, but in Amsterdam you can find these heavenly gooey treats being sold freshly baked, and they definitely make the perfect snack to nibble on whilst you’re taking in the sights. If stroopwaffles don’t do it for you, then ‘proffertjes’ definitely will! You’ll find proffertjes, which are fluffy mini pancakes, being sold at many street food stalls and they’re often accompanied by sugar, cream, butter, syrup or strawberries; it’s hard to resist this bite sized treat! If you’re feeling adventurous, then you could try the Dutch delicacy of ‘Hollandse Nieuwe’, which is raw herring served with raw onions and gherkins, which doesn’t sound the most appealing dish but is proven to be popular with tourists willing to try new things. But if you’re a fussy eater it’s probably best to play it safe and stick to the Amsterdam favourite – chips and mayonnaise!

 

Museum time

Amsterdam has some of the best museums in the world, and with over 40 museums you’ll definitely find a museum for you. The biggest and most well known museum in Amsterdam is the Rijksmuseum; the dutch national museum. Here you can a mix of both history and art, hosting some of the worlds most famous artists. But if you’re a lover of the famous Dutch artist Van Gogh you wont find your fix here…head over to the Van Gogh Museum which hosts the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings and drawings in the world. If you’re not interested in art, history or museums in general then there might museum there which will change your opinion…the sex museum located in the red light district. This place is definitely not one for the shy or prude, and perfect if your up for a laugh! If none of these museums take your fancy then maybe the house of one of history’s most well known figures will – Anne Frank’s House. The house is located along the Prinsengracht canal and is house in which Anne and her family hid from nazi persecution during World War II. Here you can learn more about Anne and experience her life story with audio guiding. Even if you’re not into history it is most definitely worth a visit!

 

‘Tulips from Amsterdam’

When exploring a new city I can’t resist the opportunity for the perfect ‘instagrammable’ photo, and in Amsterdam you are spoilt for choice with the beautiful scenery. The Netherlands are famous for their tulips and in Amsterdam you can’t go 500 meters without seeing them being sold somewhere, but the most beautiful display of their national flower can be seen in the Keukenhof Gardens located a 40 minute drive outside the city centre. The floral displays are out of this world, and the best time to visit is mid-April to early May when the flowers are in full bloom. Unfortunately when I visited the flowers outside hadn’t bloomed due to a cold winter, so I was only able to get photos of the indoor displays. However if you search the gardens on google images you can see how amazing they are in full bloom.

If you don’t fancy the travel to Keukenhof gardens, then the floating flower market in Amsterdam is your next best option! Located along the Singel canal the market is made up of floating house boats, which have been turned into stalls. The market is amass with fresh cut flowers, specifically tulips, as well as the odd souvenir shop. A good stall to visit is the first market along the floating market which is exceptionally picturesque as it has hundreds of bunches of dried flowers hanging from the ceiling creating a colourful and innovative display. Apart from the beautiful scenery you can buy every colour and variety tulip bulb to take back home and brighten up your garden!

 

Amsterdam is such a vibrant city, and there’s so many things to see and do whilst there. My guide has only briefly listed some of my favourite things from when I visited but needless to say you’ll never run out of new things to do there. Amsterdam deserves so much more than the outdated reputation many hold of it due to the red light district and ‘coffee shops’, so why don’t you give it a go and get your own opinion on this quirky and picturesque city!

Have you got any tips for must see places whilst visiting Amsterdam?

Laura 

Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayons

Much to my excitement last month I received my first ever Influenster voxbox. The box was in collaboration with Marc Jacobs, and I received two Marc Jacobs Matte Highliner Gel Eye Crayons in shades Deja Blue and Earthquake. If you have never heard of Influenster before, it is a website where you can review products, ask questions and create lists among other things. Every so often Influenster sends selected members voxbox’s, which are boxes containing complimentary products for the member to review and post photos of. Although I received these products complimentary from Influenster, all views in this post are my own.

I’m an avid fan of eyeliner and can’t go a single day without wearing it! However I mostly use liquid eyeliner, so I was very interested to see how I got on with them. The first thing I loved about the eyeliners was the packaging. Its glossy black packaging just screamed class, as you’d expect from a brand like Marc Jacobs, and the liners themselves are simplistic in design with their metallic finish. I was extremely happy at the fact that they were roll up liners instead of liners that you need to sharpen, because if your anything like me then you constantly lose your eyeliner sharpener! I’ve tried every brand of eyeliner you can think of in the past but what shocked me was how pigmented these eyeliners actually were. You can tell they’re not like your standard eyeliners, and are in fact gel crayons because of how effortlessly they glide onto your skin, as well as their smudge resistance after drying. I tested them out wearing the liner all day and they did not budge one bit!

I was a little apprehensive about the light blue (Deja Blue) liner as this is a colour I have never worked with before, so I chose this shade to create my first look. Below is the look I created using Marc Jacobs Matte Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Deja Blue and L’Oréal Paris Superliner in Ultra Black. I will eventually get round to creating a look using the Earthquake shade, which I will be posting on my Instagram account. I found Earthquake was brilliant for creating a very casual everyday look.

Overall Verdict

These eyeliners are available for purchase at John Lewis, priced at £20. I have never paid that much for an eyeliner in the past, but I can honestly say that these eyeliners are worth the price. I was not expecting them as good as they are, eyeliner that is so pigmented, glides on so smoothly, and doesn’t budge one bit throughout the day is what every girl needs. If your feeling to invest in a high end eyeliner, I’d definitely recommend checking out Marc Jacobs Matte Highliner Gel Eye Crayons because you really are getting good quality for your money. The Highliner Gel Eye Crayons come in a wide selection of colours, so it’s great if your feeling brave and want to experiment with something new. I’m thrilled that I got a chance to test these products, as I will definitely be purchasing a Marc Jacobs Matte Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Black some time in the future to add to my makeup collection.

What is your go to eyeliner?

Laura 

10 Things To Do Whilst in Dublin

Dublin, the capital of the emerald isles that just oozes charm. I’ve been lucky to visit Dublin many times due to my father being born there, but never had chance to see all the main tourist attractions because as you can imagine, my dad had already seen it all hundreds of times and didn’t want to be a tourist in his own city. On an off chance in November I managed to blag some return flights to Dublin with Ryanair for £4 in total. Yes you heard right…four whole British pounds! So me and my friend packed our bags and headed to the airport, and this time I was determined to see ALL that Dublin had to offer.

1. The Guinness Storehouse
A trip to Dublin wouldn’t be complete without visiting the famous Guinness Storehouse located at St. James Gate. A visit here will teach you everything you need to know about Guinness, from the history of it, to the fermentation process. The tour begins at the bottom of the worlds largest pint glass and continues up through its 7 floors which are full interactive experiences. Upon reaching the top floor you enter the Gravity Bar, where you receive a complementary pint of Guinness to enjoy the panoramic 360 degree views of Dublin City. With adult ticket prices starting at €16 this is not one to miss!

2. Temple Bar
This thriving cultural hub is the area in Dublin which is most popular with tourists. Temple Bar is a maze of cobbled streets that are full of life and vibrancy. You can find anything here, with many traditional pubs, clubs, art galleries, and restaurants; not to forget a fair share of quirky shops. If you want to expand your cultural horizon, or just have a good old drink then this is the place to go.

3. National Museum of Ireland – Natural History and Archeology
If your on a budget then look no further! Located not far from each other are two museums run by the National Museum of Ireland; the natural history museum and the archeology museum. The archeology museum hosts an array of treasures from Ireland’s prehistoric times, with Celtic, Gaelic, and Viking artefacts on display. The most popular exhibition is the famous ‘bog bodies’, which are mummified bodies from the Bronze Age which were found preserved in bogs; definitely not for the faint hearted! In contrast the natural history museum is almost like a dead zoo. The attraction is filled with 10,000 specimens of species from Ireland and all over the world. Admission is free to both of these attractions so are worth a visit.

4. Phoenix Park
Although Dublin is relatively small for a capital city, it hosts Europe’s largest urban park at 1750 acres. The park is a short bus journey from Dublin City centre and hosts Dublin zoo, the official residency of the president of Ireland, the residency of the US ambassador but best of all a large herd of deer which are tame enough to come up to you if you have food! If walking isn’t your think, bikes can be hired from the main entrance to Phoenix park which is located on Parkgate street which allows you to enjoy the 14km of cycle paths found within the park.

5. Ha’penny Bridge
When I think of Dublin I think of the Ha’penny bridge. Built as a pedestrian bridge over the River Liffey, this bridge has become one of the most iconic spots in Dublin. An average of 30,000 people cross it each day, so why not pop down as well and get your perfect tourist shot for Instagram.

6. The Gravedigger Ghost Bus
Why not hop onto the worlds first ghost bus? This hair raising tour takes you around Dublin’s ghostly past, from the chilling Kilmainham Jail, to the passage tomb known as the hellfire club, where Satan himself is said to have appeared. The tour costs €28 and lasts around 2 hours that are packed full of laughs, frights and interesting stories. The live actors definitely make sure you’ve screamed at least once by the end of this tour, and you even get a free drink included at one of the oldest pubs in Dublin, The Gravediggers pub! You can purchase tickets for the tour here.

7. Trinity College
Located in the heart of the city, Trinity College is the oldest and most prestige university in Ireland. The university hosts over 40 acres of rich architecture and green open space, with notable alumni including Courtney Love, Niall Horan, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde. The university often hosts exhibitions, including the science gallery and the Book of Kels. The 9th century illuminated manuscript known as the Book of Kels is regarded as one of Ireland’s finest treasures and can be seen inside the university for a small entrance fee.

8. St. Michans Mummies
This is one of the lesser known tourist attractions in Dublin but is still worth a visit. Underneath this 1095 Protestant church lies vaults which contain many mummified remains, that have been uniquely preserved by the dry, limestone conditions within the vaults. As you walk down the eerie cobweb lined stairs you will be greeted by a passageway with several rooms off it, all containing coffins and mummified remains. The tour guide gives you information on the people who are found there, as well as letting you get up close and personal with the mummified body of ‘the crusader’ inviting you to touch it! This is definitely not one for the screamish. You can find out more the tour on their website.

9. Grafton Street
No trip to Dublin is complete without visiting the renowned shopping strips. Just a short walk from Trinity College, Grafton street is usually the first choice for shopping due to its vast array of shops and a multitude of street performers. The famous Brown Thomas department store is located here and is definitely worth a visit; it is often frequented by celebrities so you never know who you’ll bump into! St Stephens green park is located at the top of Grafton Street allowing you to escape the hustle and bustle of the inner city for some peace and tranquility. In addition Henry street is another principle location where you will find a great choice of shops including Arnotts, the oldest department store in Dublin.

10. Have a drink at one of the 751 pubs in Dublin
You’re never far from a pub when you’re in Dublin, with the city hosting over 751 pubs! You’ll find everything from the old traditional pubs, to swanky cocktail bars, but in my opinion you can’t experience Dublin fully if you don’t try and soak up some of the culture, so leave those cocktails bars for now and get yourself through the doors of those little old pubs, for a good pint of Guinness and some Irish music.

Have you been to any great places in Dublin that I didn’t manage to visit?

Laura 

Review: liner.designer by beautyblender


I first saw liner.designer on a video posted by Camila Bravo, a makeup artist who I follow on Instagram @kamilabravo. Her eye makeup turned out amazing using this tool, and her eyeliner was perfect. As someone who has always struggled to get perfect eyeliner I purchased liner.designer straight away for £14 from Cult Beauty with high expectations.

liner.designer

It came packaged in a plastic case, which contained a compact with 5x magnifying mirror, a suction cup which sticks to the compact so you can position it wherever you want, and the liner.designer itself. Additionally you received a small booklet telling you how to create certain looks.

Review
I was so exciting to receive liner.designer after reading some of its boasts on the beautyblender website, one stating that ‘It’s now easy to achieve your favourite eyeliner styles with ease and makes applying liner effortless‘. I followed the instructions to rub the liner.designer in my hands for 15-20 seconds to warm it up so it would stick to your face. Initially it did stick but would fall off frequently much to my discontent. However I looked past this flaw and went on to try it out.

The result? The worst eyeliner I have ever done on myself. I sat there for 20 minutes trying out different ways to do my eyeliner, using this tool at different angles and placements, but I still could not get on with it. I don’t see myself as someone who is amazing at doing eyeliner, but my free hand eyeliner was considerable better than any of the attempts using liner.designer.

Overall I was so disappointed with this product, I had very high expectations and was so to say liner.designer did not meet them! Neater eyeliner can be achieved using masking tape, which is considerably cheaper than the liner.designer and a lot better in my opinion. This product reminds me of a guitar pick, which cost around £1, so maybe if you do want to try this product out then you can use a guitar pick as a cheaper option, which I have seen many MUAs on Instagram do so. I’m sad to say liner.designer will probably be thrown to the back of my drawer and never used again. If you want to make your own mind up about liner.designer you can purchase it here.

Have you ever used this product? Would love to know how you got on with it! 

Laura

Welcome!

Hi!

Welcome to inside the makeup box. With the ‘new year, new me’ saying being flung around on social media all of January I decided that it was time to have a refresh and start a new blog. After a stressful year at university I neglected my last blog, and eventually stopped posting all together. However I feel that 2017 is the year I get into gear and continue with my once loved hobby.

So who am I? I’m Laura, a 22 year old university student, with a keen interest for makeup, beauty products and all things related. My friends see me as a makeup hoarder, but clearly they’re just weird because I mean who doesn’t want every naked palette ever made?! I created my last blog because I found that I was the ‘go to girl’ whenever one of my friends had a makeup question or needed some advice. I decided to start documenting my thoughts regarding products I had purchased, hopefully helping others who where interested in purchasing the said product or just wanted to hear my opinion.

Inside the makeup box will be different to my last bog in that in will host honest beauty reviews but also include lifestyle, food everything in between! So new year, new me, new blog, and I hope you enjoy reading it.

Laura x