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Earlier this summer we were in Vienna with the Vienna Tourist Board to learn more abut the city and experience why Vienna is a must-visit destination! We had a grand time with our lovely host Rebecca and discovered beautiful parts of the culture and history. In comparison to a few other cities I’ve visited in Europe, I have to say Vienna definitely stood out in terms of its cleanliness, culture, overall chilled out and calm atmosphere (people, streets, everyone was so relaxed), and friendliness!

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In 2019, Vienna was chosen to be the world’s number 1 most livable city for 10 consecutive years and is the leading destination in the Economist Intelligence Unit Livable Cities report.

Why?! Well Vienna has more green space than virtually any other capital city in Europe. It’s a place where visitors can enjoy both the city’s lifestyle and relax at the same time in parks and at waterfronts.

Sharing some tips and highlights of our trip which I’d recommend you visit if you’re ever in the city!

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Vienna City Card

We used our card a couple times and based on those times the metro itself is quite easy to navigate. Would recommend looking into the card if you’re visiting as it offers you full mobility throughout the city: buses and metro alongside discounts on museums, theaters, shopping, restaurants, and sightseeing tours. Accompanying children also travel free which is grand! Depending on how long you’re visiting for, you can get a card for 24h, 48h, or 72h, the price point staying under 30 Euros. You can also purchase your card online prior to your arrival which makes life a little easier!

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Grand Hotel Wien

This was home during our time in Vienna. An extremely central location within walking distance to town, the metro, and these great shawarma/doner (halal) joints right across the street.

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Grand Hotel Wien is internationally renowned for its exquisite hospitality and refined luxury. Incepted in 1870 and a longtime hub for Viennese high society and discerning international guests, the Grand Hotel Wien offers a superb range of luxury rooms and suites, unrivalled gourmet dining and world leading customer service. One of the finest luxury hotels in Vienna, the Grand always guarantees an experience to remember.

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Walking tour

 I don’t know which tour exactly we did, but there are definitely plenty to choose from via a quick google search. Almost always they are free or on a donation basis, they’re a great way to see the city on foot whilst learning about what you’re seeing, historical context etc.

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St. Stephens Cathedral

St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the symbol of Vienna and located center-ish in town; you can’t miss it! Construction of the church commenced in the 12th century and  today it’s known as one of the most important Gothic structures in Austria. Guided tour are available but you’re more than welcome to enter and have a look inside, take photos, walk around etc. A beautiful place to worship x

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 Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien (Art History Museum)

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Alongside the most beautiful library I have ever been to, this is the most beautiful art museum I have ever been to! The Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum) was built in 1891 near the Imperial Palace to house the extensive collections of the imperial family. With its vast array of eminent works and the largest Bruegel collection in the world, it is considered one of the most eminent museums in the world. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll remember the random lady approaching me on the metro asking if she could ‘paint me’?! This was our ‘studio’ lol and definitely an experience for the books! Not too sure how similar the final product looks to me lol but again, an experience! Was super err skeptical about following a stranger to get her supplies in the museum and being aware of my surroundings more so than taking pictures of interiors but trust me, unbelievably stunning! Also, café of dreams! The Café-Restaurant at the first floor of the museum is literally interior, café, photoshoot, everything goals! So much so I didn’t get ‘the shot’ lol but ugh, breathtaking!

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Prater

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Prater is the world’s oldest amusement park and a green park twice the size of Central Park New York. The Vienna Prater is entertaining and exciting, but can also be relaxing and quiet. One part of it contains charming attractions ranging from a nostalgic merry-go-round to an ultra modern roller coaster and Vienna’s landmark, the Giant Ferris Wheel. This part of Prater is the oldest amusement park in the world and celebrated its’ 250th birthday in 2016. In the other area, known as the “Green Prater,” you can find meadows to lie on, shady trees, and quiet paths for an ickle stroll. It was raining and quite chilly this day so we didn’t get a chance to walk around as much, but did take a ride on the Ferris Wheel which gave the most beautiful view of the entire city. Definitely kid friendly too!

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Palmenhaus 

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The Palmenhaus is a large greenhouse featuring plants from around the world. It’s the most prominent of the four greenhouses in Schönbrunn Palace Park, and among the largest botanical exhibits of its kind in the world, with around 4,500 plant species. It’s also the prettiest botanical bar/lounge/restaurant unlike any I’ve seen and a must visit! Besides the food being amazing, the interiors are to die for and a perfect backdrop for photos. Kitchen goals, dining room goals, everything goals!

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Swarovski Kristallwelten

Seeing as I had recently done a collaboration with Swarovski for their #NoRegrets Summer collection, the tourist board set up an organized tour of the Swarovski Kristallwelten store on Vienna’s upscale shopping street, Kärntner Straße which was super lovely of them to do, thank you! It was such an informative experience learning about the history behind the brand and I think my favorite part was seeing the beautiful tiaras which are designed each year by a new designer and then debuted at the annual Austrian ball (total Anastasia vibes even though she wasn’t Austrian but you get me!)

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The store has brought together sparkling shopping experiences and spectacular art installations for ten years which were gorgeous! Its glass cubes and the art space are “windows into a world of dreams” that have served as a prominent stage for over 50 installations by more than 20 artists to date, including renowned personalities such as Philip Treacy, Susanne Bisovsky, Jean Paul Gaultier, and currently by Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen.

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National Library

We were told this was of the most beautiful libraries in the world and jeez was it ever! Belle herself would be head over heels over the beauty of this place!  The impressive state hall of the library is almost 80 m long and 20 m high and crowned by a dome that is magnificently decorated with frescoes by the court painter Daniel Gran. More than 200,000 volumes are exhibited here, among them two exquisite Venetian baroque globes: one for the earth and one for the sky, each with a diameter of more than one meter.

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 Boat ride on Old Danube

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The contrast between the skyscraper skyline and the calm waters of the Old Danube is quite the sight. The Old Danube draws about 1 million visitors per year; surrounded by gardens, lawns, restaurants with terraces on the water, promenades with pedestrian and bicycle paths, the Old Danube is a hotspot for swimmers, sailors, rowers, and surfers. You can rent a boat and sail the river; the cutest houses ever along the bank bringing back Noddy vibes!

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Schonbrunn Palace

Based on my mediocre google searches, I wasn’t as excited about this palace as I should have been. The minute you enter the grounds, to seeing the vintage horse-and-carriage rides, to the unbelievable garden round the back, ugh, you’ve fallen in love x if you’re ever searching for someplace to take your wedding photos, this would be the place. Felt like something out of Alice and wonderland tbh, so enchantingly beautiful and lowkey makes you wish it was your grandparent’s summer house lol the palace itself was built around 300 years ago. It was the imperial summer residence and beautiful Empress Elisabeth, the legendary Sisi, spent her first years of marriage with Franz Josef there. Apart from the palace (which you can go into), the park on it own is definitely worth a visit. The palace and the romantic gardens form a unit and reflect each other, in accordance with the Baroque notion of the princely palace.

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Karlskirche Church

Karlskirche Church is a stunning baroque church located on the south side of Karlsplatz in Vienna, also walking distance from Hotel Wien. It’s considered to be the most outstanding baroque church in Vienna, as well as one of the city’s greatest buildings. Worth seeing both in the day and night for the stunning reflection you get in the pond across!

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and there we have it! Little pocket guide above for you to screenshot and keep in your phone as an easy go-to next time you’re in Vienna! Check out my highlights on instagram for more videos and visuals of the city and as always feel free to send a message or email if you’ve got any question/comments/concerns! love you miss you bye xoxo

Had the pleasure of spending some time with my Radisson Blu family again (Dubai) and thought I’d do a quick run-down of the properties I stayed at in the event you’re ever in town and in need of a place to stay!

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First up is Radisson Blu Deira Creek

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Next up is Radisson Blu Dubai Media City

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and lastly we’ve got Radisson Blu Dubai Waterfront

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There are a couple other residences in Dubai and hotels in other Emirates, but these are the ones I’ve stayed at before as well and would definitely vouch for! Everyone at each hotel is always extremely friendly and personable, address you by your first name and wanting to go above and beyond to ensure you have an enjoyable stay x promise you won’t be disappointed!

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For as long as I can remember I’ve always been slightly insecure about my skin and longed for the day I’d feel comfortable enough to leave the house without any makeup on me face. Tried and tested loads of products throughout the years as I’m sure loads of you have as well, and I think I’ve managed to find a set routine which has worked wonders for me! Yay!

I was in Korea last year and in awe of everyones glass-like, glowy skin, completely clear of imperfections and the abundance of skincare products available on every street corner and wanted in on the secret – fact: it’s a super overwhelming experience and doing your own research on certain products and how to use them will save you so much time and money in hindsight.

If you haven’t heard about Korean skincare or the K-Beauty regimen, I definitely recommend you read up on it, check out some before/after photos, and give it a go before shutting it down completely. The objective of K-Beauty is to focus on your skin, nourishing/hydrating it, so it looks healthy and oh so amazing without the need for makeup (sounds too good to be true yea?!) It all comes down to the art of layering, no not clothes for once lol but your products in a specific order which I’ll go through with you below! Instead of relying on one particular product to do all the work, Koreans believe that layering products allow the skin to breathe and avoids clogging the pores.

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7-10 steps seems like a lot morning and evening, but I promise this will soon become one of the most therapeutic and rewarding parts of your day! It varies only because you don’t need to do certain steps every single day (exfoliate, sheet mask, oil cleanser) but you can gauge for yourself depending on what your skin needs that particular day.

A massive prerequisite would be to understand your current skin type and what issues you’d like to work on (excess oil, uneven skin tone, acne etc.). This will help make it so much easier when choosing which specific products you’d like to incorporate into your routine.

If you’re skeptical about going all in and purchasing an entire new skincare regime, I’d recommend you begin with the products you might already be using on the daily and try layering them in order as per the infographic above (in case layering doesn’t make sense, essentially means you simply apply the next product on top of the previous one!) Try that out for a couple weeks, see if you notice a difference and go from there!

I’ve listed and linked some of the products I’ve been using since December which have made a massive difference to my skin and in its appearance – can officially do the leaving house with no makeup on lol so your girl is completely sold on this!


 

This is a travel-size version of the original tub it comes in. Using two cleansers (oil and water-based) might seem like much, but double cleansing ensures all the gunk is completely removed and your face is squeaky clean (oil-based cleansers remove oil-based makeup and impurities)

I love this Heimish balm because it goes on as an oil (apply straight to your face makeup and all) and when you add a bit of water it turns into a bit of a cleanser consistency which you keep working into the face and then wash off. I double-cleansed religiously when I first started the routine but now only tend to do the oil-based on days I wear makeup; water-based is everyday.

Next is a water-based cleanser which gently removes the oil residue and any water-based impurities.

I usually apply one pump to my face, work it in and wash off; can use a FOREO or other cleansing device for a deeper clean if you like!

Toning is one of my favourite steps of the entire routine. I think you’re meant to apply a bit of toner to a cotton pad and wipe any residue left on the face which isn’t a bad idea lol  (I do this sometimes), but then I go in and layer my toner an additional 4-7 times to ensure it all really gets in there. Pour a bit into your palms, rub, and apply to your face using a patting motion. Definitely think the key is to pat with love so all the goodness gets soaked in, but I definitely recommend layering a minimum of 4 times to achieve maximum results!

The purpose of toner is to balance your skin pH levels; this toner in particular works amazingly, wasn’t super strong, targets a few issues, and one of my faves!

Essence helps add another layer of hydration to your skin prior to your serum/ampole. Adding an extra layer of hydration helps with the texture and plumping of fine lines and wrinkles. Essence tend to be of a thinner consistency than serums and help prep your skin to absorb the goodness to come (serums/ampoles).  One pump, rub between palms, and pat onto your face!

I’ve heard good things and bad things about SPF but it’s been a staple in my routine even before the K-Beauty routine. Korean SPF brands are the only ones I use because I find them to be perfect; not greasy or oily, don’t leave any white residue, don’t smell, and in my experience they just naturally come in higher SPF forms. You can also get great water-based ones but this one has been lovely so far. I’ve had this tube since December and we’re still going strong!

I remember doing loads of research on this moisturizer and trying to find it for ages a few years back, even in Korea and it never happened. It’s got a high count of collagen, meant to do wonders for fine lines and wrinkles, elasticity, firming, and an overall glow. It does all these things and I love it lol because it’s of a slightly thicker consistency I only use this in the evening to maximize its effect on me face; a little goes a long way, and again, patting is key!


 

I hope that’s provided a bit of insight into the entire process and inspired you to try it out for yourselves. I’ve been doing it regularly for about 7 months now and am still shook and saying bismillah and alhamdulillah to the changes it’s made to my skin. Granted it’s not just the products themselves, eating well, drinking lots of water, a healthy lifestyle etc etc. is obviously also key; what you put inside is obviously going to reflect on the outside, but this has helped loads too!

I’ve recently begun to alternate between some serums and toners, and using certain products in the morning/evening so might potentially do another (much shorter!) post just on products to provide some options to choose from.

Super excited for you to have a go at this and wish you nothing but lovely jubly glowy radiant skin inshallah! xoxo 

Was in Oman a few weekends ago and had an absolute fabulous time. Susan and Dagmo and I worked together in Kuwait and went our separate ways last year so it was lovely to catch up and see each other again! Dagmo’s moved out to Oman and we bunked with her lol so won’t be able to suggest accommodation this time around! She’s based a little out of Muscat itself, but nothing super far out; I was in Oman about 5 years ago and we stayed in Muscat so would suggest that be a starting point!

Created this ‘pocket-guide’ if you will with some of what we managed to get done over the weekend alongside an Oman bucket-list for a future trip so that might help in the event you’re planning to head over!

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I would definitely recommend renting a car or getting a driver whilst your over because it will make your life SO much easier! Last I was over I remember it being near to impossible to hail down a cab; depending on time of day and specific location it was so difficult! We were stranded at the Masjid for ages after prayers because there wasn’t a cab in sight. It didn’t look too promising this time around and from what I’ve heard it hasn’t improved much.. Dagmo having a car was a massive relief!

Sidenote: Omanis are some of the nicest people you’ll ever come across. Not once during our time did we feel unsafe or have creepy men making comments or staring etc. which fyi is kinda sorta common to encounter in most Middle Eastern countries. (I asked if I could take their photo hence them looking lol)

Sharing photos alongside bits&bobs below!

Nizwa Fort/Nizwa Souq

-5 OMR charge ($13USD)

-we drove and it took about 1.5-2 hours to get there. Easy straightforward road similar to the on from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, just a lot more scenic!

-timings vary especially on Friday due to Friday prayers [open on Friday from 8am-1130pm and then from 130pm-6pm]

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

-beautiful masjid and would always recommend Friday prayers at any masjid

-we had a bit of an unfortunate event in terms of who was and wasn’t a ‘tourist’; our friend Susan was kinda sorta kicked out/asked to leave because she wasn’t Muslim and told she should come back during tourist hours. Mind you the space was relatively empty and there was no reason for it..Dagmo and I entered and our Muslamic-ness was questioned quite thoroughly lol whether we were Muslim or not, despite being dressed in full hijab and abaya. Questions were then asked about why we were wearing sunglasses ‘like that’ if we were Muslim coming into a masjid..because it was sunny lol – mind you this isn’t typical

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-spent our last afternoon/evening by the pool which was probably the best decision we could’ve made. Gorgeous weather, stunning views, and the most beautiful sunset as the tide went out x would definitely recommend spending a day or afternoon here even more so due to the location of the hotel up on a bit of a cliff (I believe we paid 8 OMR p/p ($20USD) for a towel/access)

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Would love to hear from you or see photos of your trip if you ever venture to any of the above, or if you find new hidden secrets let your girl know! xoxo.

A couple weeks ago we spent the weekend in Abu Dhabi and had a grand time! I’ve been a couple times prior but this time had a chance to play tour guide to my sisters who were visiting so yay! If you know me you’ll also know that playing tour guide is one of my favorite things to do so I was obviously over the moon!

Sharing what our weekend consisted of in the event you’re ever in Dubai and fancy heading over for a little more than just Sheikh Zayed Mosque!

Day 1

We drove from Dubai to Abu Dhabi Thursday afternoon in wanting to catch the sunset at Sheikh Zayed and the transition from day to night with the lights. The drive was about an hour and a half, and if you don’t drive taking a Careem is always an option or a public bus (25 Dhs-one way)  from a few locations, Ibn Battuta Metro being one of them. There are also tours that head over almost daily solely for the purpose of the Mosque and other attractions (Emirates Palace) so Groupon would be a great place to check for that!

We stayed at the gorgeous Bab al Qasr situated on the Corniche which was unbelievably stunning and right across from Emirates Palace and Marina Mall so #primelocation.

First off, it smells divine as soon as you walk in – they wouldn’t tell what scent they use, but Tom Ford was name dropped lol (if anyone knows please let your girl know). The architecture and Arabesque interiors perfectly compliment a modern-day Bedouin feel which is consistent throughout the hotel and ugh. Just so so beautiful!

(sidenote: Bab Al Qasr means ‘gateway to the palace’ which kinda sorta sums it up exactly!)

Once we settled in, got over the prettiness, selfies taken etc. we headed over to the Grand Mosque. The Mosque is open to tourists on the daily except Fridays during prayer time (midday) so definitely don’t plan to go then (unless your Muslim and intending to pray because then yes, I’d definitely suggest it!) Prior to entering everyone has to cover; women are provided with a hooded abaya (long dress with a hood) to cover their hair which is standard procedure for most places of worship. Arms and legs for both need to be covered and bottoms need to be at least ankle length, nothing above. The mosque is always my favorite in terms to its beauty and just the serenity it brings to my heart and soul. Definitely not to be missed!

Spent the evening at Yas Mall for some shopping and munch which was lovely and worth checking out. I believe Warner Brothers Studio is also close by if that tickles your fancy and/or if you’ve got kiddies who need some entertaining!

Day 2

Afternoon was spent at Sheikh Zayed again for juma (Friday prayers), which again I will forever recommend.

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We were booked in for high tea at Observation Deck at 300 by Jumeirah later that day which was also perfect timing to catch the sunset from up above. The observation deck is located on the 74th floor of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers and is the highest vantage point in Abu Dhabi where you’ve got a 360-degree view of the skyline. Another place not to be missed!

Day 3

Reluctantly checked out in the morning and crossed the street over to Emirates Palace. In actuality Emirates Palace is a 5 star hotel in AD but feels completely palace-like from the moment you step through the doors.

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You’re free to walk around inside and dine at any of the 14 restaurants inside. It’s also where you can grab a coffee with 24k gold dusted on top because why not lol

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Heritage Village is just up the road if you’re interested in a bit of traditional Emirati history. Entry to the park is free and it’s another touristy place to hit up.

The Louvre was next and I was super excited for the sisters to see the beautiful dome on the outside bit. Another favorite of mine which would be a shame to miss!

Apparently the ceiling was designed to reflect light into the museum like palm trees do; you don’t necessarily get the palm frond, but the reflective light is spot on and so beautiful [the museum itself is grand as well!]

We stumbled upon a place called Manarat Al Saadiyat as we were looking for places to eat nearby. Such a neat creative space used for exhibits and the arts which was nice to have a look at. There’s a restaurant inside called L’Arte which had good munch, wasn’t busy at all, and quite the Instagram location, so worth checking out in my opinion!

Evening was spent at the St. Regis back by the Corniche for the launch of a new Afternoon Tea held at the Azura Panoramic Lounge . Unbelievable views and would recommend the lounge for sunset views yet again!


Regardless of only being a couple hours away, our time in AD genuinely felt like a holiday and my sisters actually preferred it to the hustle-bustle of Dubai. It’s smaller, quieter, and less touristy, but not to be overlooked if you’re ever in town, moreso now that you’ve got a bit of an itinerary made xo.

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Special thanks to Bab al Qasr for hosting me during my stay in Abu Dhabi. Thank you also to Jumeirah at Etihad Towers for hosting us for afternoon tea. All opinions and views expressed are my own.