August 2015 Empties

Hello everyone! As you may know, I’ve been moving for the last couple of weeks and till now, we still don’t have internet at home. Telkom is coming tomorrow to set up our internet and to move our line – yay!! 🙂 I must tell you it has been absolute torture not having wifi at home, Snapchat is just not the same and not only that, I could barely browse any social media apps via my phone because I’ve bought data bundles of 1GB twice already! Absolutely ridiculous! Hopefully I’ll be able to shoot some lookbooks for you this weekend, which will be up next week, not promising anything though but thank you all for your patience and I’m really glad that you guys are enjoying my snaps too, I really enjoy snapping, it makes running errands less “lonely”.

I haven’t done Empties posts in so long now, mainly because I really haven’t finished any products as of late but towards the end of July and this month, I’ve managed to finish a few products that you will see below.

 

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know what I cannot live without my Fix+ by MAC, I use before and after I apply my makeup. I’m currently using the Charged Water by MAC which is similar to the Fix+ except it claims to have more minerals and better for hydrating dry skin. I finished another bottle of the Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream, I’ve been using this cream for years and I used to buy them overseas when Benefit was no longer available in SA. This moisturiser is so rich and perfect for my dry skin. I finished my first tube of Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer, I got this in New York last year October. I’m not sure if I’m riding on the rave train for this concealer because it does crease a little on me, but it is a great drugstore under-eye concealer.

 

I finished a tube of this Prep + Prime lash serum by MAC. I’m pretty sure most people don’t even know that this product even exist because no one really promotes it when you visit a MAC store. I’ve used it for a good few months, can’t say I’ve noticed a visible growth in terms of my lashes but it does make me feel a little better that I am apply some form of nutrient to it before I go to bed at night. I absolutely love the Creme Sheen glosses by MAC, this one I finished is in Just Superb, very flattering on all skin tones, it may look super light but it looks great worn on its own or over a lipstick. This is currently my favourite MAC mascara, it’s the Extreme Dimensions mascara, I’ve blogged about it before. I love the big brush applicator that comes with it and the formulae is great for lengthening your lashes.

 

I finished a Maybelline and a Kat Von D eyeliner, they are both brush tip (I only like using brush tip liners) and very pigmented. I’ve bought backups of them both when I go overseas so I still have enough to last me another year! 🙂

 

I know this is not a beauty product but I have to talk about it because I’m so obsessed with Yankee Candles right now! The Champaca Blossom candle was amazing and the scent is really carried throughout your home if you’re burning this candle. I haven’t bought another because I like to try new fragrances when it comes to candles but definitely try this out if you’re looking for a great fragrant candle.

Hope you enjoyed my empties post! Remember to go like my Facebook Page 🙂

With love…xxx

LoveMaryLu Flight Essentials

Travelling for Beginners

Hi everyone! Since i’ve been back from my holiday, many of you have been sending me emails asking me questions about my travels i.e. hotels, visas, airlines and so on. Seeing that many of you asked the same questions, I figured it would be pretty useful to address it all in a blog post rather than reply to you individually (I promise I read each and every single one of your emails). 🙂

 

First things first, if you still haven’t heard, I’m giving away an Urban Decay Naked 3 Eyeshadow Palette on my blog, see details by clicking here. 🙂

IMG_7075

If you’re planning your first holiday overseas, I really hope that you find this post helpful because everything on here is knowledge that I’ve gained over the years of my travels. I started travelling at a young age because my parents are immigrants in South Africa, so naturally we have a lot of family overseas. Of course it’s not until recent years that I started to travel to places that I truly wanted to go instead of the family visits. Since I’m old enough to travel on my own, this comes with planning and paying for my own holidays (booooo). When it comes to holidays, I prefer minimal surprises (unless good surprises) so I always do a lot of research beforehand, here’s a simple step-by-step guide of how I plan and execute my holidays:

1. Manage your finances…

Many of us travel on a budget, whether you stick to it is another story but the first thing I ask myself is, “how much am I willing to spend on this holiday?”. I promise that once you have carved out your budget for your trip, everything else will flow naturally because your budget will dictate your holiday destination (assuming you’re not sure where you want to go yet), your hotels, your flight and your entertainment while you’re on holiday. You’ll have to set a total budget of your whole holiday, then you’ll need to break it down between flights, hotels, transport, food, shopping and entertainment. Don’t worry, it’s just a rough estimate for now because things will change when you start doing your research.

art-artsy-colorful-countries-Favim.com-2125583

2. Where to go… 

I’m sure there are many of you out there who are like me in that I don’t know where yet but I just want to travel and be on holiday. One of the deciding factors of my decision on where to go is where I went last, did I go to the East or the West? Was it an island or a city type of holiday? Was it winter or summer on my last holiday? This is just to give me an idea on where I should go next, preferably the opposite of my previous holiday. Obviously you can’t be asking yourself those questions if you’re planning your first holiday, so then you’ll have to ask yourself whether you want to relax or explore, and also what activities will make you the happiest.

IMG_7692

3. Visas…

Once you’ve settled on a destination, it’s always good to find out what the visa requirements are with the passport that you hold. I’m just going to assume that you have a passport but if you don’t you can apply for one from your nearest home affairs and it’s usually pretty quick, takes about 3 weeks. I recommend going on the website of the relevant country, read up on your visa requirements if you need to apply for a visa beforehand or just an arrival visa when you land. For example, both the UK and the USA require you to apply for a visa before you fly if you hold a South African passport. Places like Thailand, Hong Kong and the Philippines just requires an arrival visa when you land. Some visas that you apply beforehand will require you to have confirmed your flights and hotels but some recommend that you don’t book your flights or hotels yet until your visa has been approved.

LoveMaryLu Flight Essentials

4. Flights…

Although there are many good deals that the travel agents may be offering, I always recommend doing your own research first. Once you have decided on a destination, you need to get on Google and make sure you find out all the airlines that fly to your destination, some may have layovers and some may be direct. I’ve often found that the direct flights are always a little more pricey compared to ones with layover, of course it’s better to fly direct because some layovers are so long and horrendous, plus it cuts your holiday shorter just by a little bit when every second counts!

South African Airways fly to many destinations worldwide directly but SAA isn’t always the cheapest or more comfortable choice. Singapore Airlines is one of my favourites, it flies directly to Singapore which convenient for trips to Asia and the Pacific, plus Singapore is such a great city to stop over if you want to stay for a day or two. Emirates always have great specials and discounts for their flights so make sure you watch out for those, the only thing about flying with Emirates is that you have to stop-over at Dubai, unless Dubai is one of your destinations, the stop-over can be quite long and tedious. After you’ve checked the prices of your flights, you can either call a travel agent to see if they offer a better price or just book them online. Last thing, join the loyalty programme of the airline that you fly, most airlines are members of a club so you can accumulate points even if you fly with another airline but in the same club.

w_taipei_2

 

4. Hotels…

I am super picky about the hotels I stay at because even though I’m not OCD, I’m petrified of dirty beds and bathrooms. I believe that all good hotels use white sheets and bedding so you can actually see how clean they are (what do they have to hide?!). I always choose my hotels very carefully when it comes to my holidays because convenience is very important for me, I always make sure I stay at a convenient location close to all transport and shopping. Of course hotels aren’t the only accommodation you can find, I also recommend going on Airbnb to take a look for cheaper options. Before we decide to stay somewhere, we always do some research to find out where the financial district is of the city because then you’ll have an idea where all the great hotels are. I recommend going on a few websites before booking your hotel, definitely compare the prices between the hotel’s website and others such as Booking.com and Expedia.

rio-carnival--danc_2841261k

5. Entertainment…

Besides from actually going on holiday, my favourite part up until then is the actual research. I like to know a place relatively well before I go, I like to know my way around (roughly), what activities there are and what restaurants the masses recommend. This is when Tripadvisor comes in pretty handy, there you’ll find reviews of cities, suburbs, restaurants, recreational activities, hotels and everything in between. Try starting your research by typing in Google search, “top 10 things to do in…” and trust me there are tons to be found!

I really hope this post was informative! Good luck with the planning!

With love…xxx

 

IMG_6736

London Day 1

Hi my loves!! Sorry I’ve been so MIA on the blog lately, I just had the most manic 2 weeks of my life! Now let me take you waaaay back, since I’m doing the get to know me on a more personal level kinda thang 😉 Starting on the week of 16th March which is about 2 weeks ago, E and I attended a stunning wedding at the Shepstone Gardens on the Thursday, on Friday we attended a surprise 30th then Saturday we celebrated my most amazing’s birthdays at Kong with some friends, got home at about 5am on Sunday, yes… I know! Then Monday I flew to Port Elizabeth for the new Ford Focus launch, had the most amazing time with the most amazing people! Got back to Johannesburg on Tuesday morning, then attended E’s MBA graduation ceremony in the afternoon, which was followed by dinner and drinks with some friends to celebrate his great achievement, I’m super super proud of him! Wednesday and Thursday was spent doing admin and packing for our London trip! We left for London on Thursday night and got back this morning at 7am… so yes I am shattered with exhaustion but I have so many amazing memories that I would like to share with all of you. Bits and pieces of it all will be coming up later on the blog including some pre-london photos from my High Tea experience at the Saxon will also be uploaded. Apologies for all this slacking 🙂

Since London is still fresh on my mind, I think it’s a good idea to start with some photos from the first day that we were there. E and I went to London for my birthday and also just a quick getaway since we both haven’t been for so long. The last time I was in London was probably 10 years ago so I was super excited to explore the city again and see the changes over the years. We arrived on Friday morning at 6am so we took our sweet time getting out of the airport and to our hotel.  The cheapest way to travel in London is visa the underground without a doubt, it is extremely convenient because there are stations scattered all over London with trains at minute intervals but be prepared for rush hour manic. During our time in London, we stayed at The Cumberland Hotel, which is a Guoman Hotel, the location is fantastic! It is right on Oxford street (which is where all the shopping is) and plus it is right next to the Marble Arch station on the Central Line. After we checked into the hotel, it was about 10am, they were nice enough to let us check in early, generally hotels don’t allow check-ins this early. We unpacked, freshened up and decided to spend the day shopping and walking around Oxford Street. We took a train to Piccadilly Circus so we can start our day’s adventure from Tottenham Court Road, the station there is closed temporarily for revamp and will only re-open in December.

How convenient it is that we always manage to stumble into China Town everywhere we go, the China Town in London is by far the cleanest one I’ve ever been to. The streets were clean and the restaurants were rather pleasant to be in. So we stopped off to start our day with an Asian style breakfast and then we were on our way. Hope you enjoy the photos!

IMG_6739

IMG_6738

IMG_6736

IMG_6745

IMG_6748

IMG_6757

IMG_6762

IMG_6744


IMG_6773

IMG_6774

 

IMG_6779

IMG_6780

IMG_6781

IMG_6783

 What I’m wearing: 

Fluffy jersey by Forever 21 New York 

Scarf by H&M New York 

Zara leather jacket from SA

Riding pants from Country Road 

Louis Vuitton cross body bag

Booties by Steve Madden

Hope you enjoyed my little catch up and some photos taken on the first day in London! On another note, Hong Kong in 2 weeks!! 🙂

With love…xxx