24 Hours in Venice

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For as long as I can remember, the world has been all “Venice! Venice! Visit Venice!” And I’ve just taken it at face value. If everyone you meet tells you that you just haaaave to visit a place, you’re inclined to believe them. So at the ripe old age of 23, I finally got around to it. For a day at least. Admittedly I wasn’t there for very long, but I think I sussed out the place enough, and that is: I’m not really convinced that Venezia lives up to the hype.

Don’t hurt me! I can explain, I swear. After a jam-packed 26 hours on the island, walking its entire length and seeing the sights, this is what I took away from my visit. As unbiased as I can possibly make it… even if my travelling companion made me contemplate throwing myself into a canal on more than one occasion.

 

Let’s start with a pro, I at least owe it that, Venice is super beautiful! If you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy trip, Venice has you covered. I’m not sure anything can top the train pulling into the station, zooming over those crystal blue waters with the sun shining in the sky. Pictures could never do it justice. But once you’ve left the station, you’re right in the middle of the action. And in this instance, ‘the action’ is men screaming “DO YOU WANT A SELFIE STICK?” at you every three seconds. Which, despite living in a major touristy city myself, is not something I have to deal with to the extent it is in Venice.

Which brings me to my main con of the city, you really can’t imagine anyone actually living here. I may complain about tourists from time to time in Madrid, but damn Venice is something else. It’s just so damn touristy, I can’t comprehend how people can possibly go about their daily lives here. Flocks of slow moving crowds, your only form of public transportation being a boat, and the extortionate prices for even a can of Coke is enough to put me off for life. When I visit a city I want to truly get a feel of what local life is like there, but in Venice I just felt like I get was getting the same package deal as everyone else. Maybe if I had stayed there more than a day I could have discovered some of these types of places, but I don’t think I could have taken another day trapped in the tourist bubble. Maybe I should have bought one of those selfie sticks after all, if only to hit people with.

So if you’re looking for a place to experience living like a local, then Venice isn’t the one for you, but if you just want to take some pictures next to bridges, then go for it.

 

Speaking of the bridges, Venice is not an easily accessible city. Particularly if you have a wheelie suitcase. Stopping, pressing the handle down, picking it up, crossing the bridge, putting it down, and pulling out the handle again. About 600 times a day. KILL ME. And what’s more annoying is when people in front of you do this without moving to the side. Stop. Learn tourism etiquette, people. It’s also not really an accessible city in the sense that it totally fucks Google Maps up. I paid for an EU expansion on my sim for this trip, and it was pretty much made redundant in Venice. The city is so labyrinth-y that it can’t really tell what side of the canals you’re even stood on half the time. So my tip for Venice is to definitely invest in a good map or guide book before setting foot on the island. Because if you buy it in Venice, it will cost 3x times as much.

 

But however negative I’m being right now, I do still want to end on a pro, and in this case it’s the Venetian Ghetto, my absolute favourite part of the city. Historically, this was the area of Venice that Jewish people were compelled to live, but nowadays, its a quiet haven away from the bustle of the city. It’s genuinely like being in another world. You enter the neighbourhood by crossing a tiny bridge and walking through an archway before finding yourself in a little piazza. If you turn right here, you’ll discover cafés and gelato shops and eventually find the crowds again. But if you turn left and cross the river, you’ll see laundry hanging between buildings, people beating rugs out of windows, and families working on their boats. It was definitely an eyeopener for me, and I think the people who live here really lucked out with their location. If I can only recommend one spot to see in Venice, this is the one I’d pick.

Honestly, it’s been a month now and I still can’t decide if I enjoyed my time in Venice or not. I’m definitely glad I’ve visited, if only for the ability to tell those people I mentioned in the first paragraph that “actually, I’m not too fond of Venice!” I may go back in the future to give it another shot, but as of right now my heart only has room for one Italian city, and that’s Florence. Gushing blogpost coming sooner than you can say “mango gelato”.

My Lush Skincare Routine


Okay, real talk, my skin right now is the worst it’s been in years. It’s angry, it’s dry, it’s the skin of a scaly lizard queen. In other words, I in no way have any authority to be talking about skincare right now. But is that gonna stop me? Nah.

As I’ve mentioned before, my skin is A) sensitive B) dry and C) blemish prone. HASHTAG DREAM TEAM. Ugh. What I mean is I have pretty awkward skin and have spent a lot of time, effort, and (most importantly) money trying to figure out a routine that works for me. As of now, I’m pretty happy with how things are working out, and I figured I’d spread the magic around a little. You’re so welcome.

Oh, and because this is me we’re talking about, IT’S ALL GONNA BE FROM LUSH.

Cleanser: Ultrabland

The first thing I do at the end of the day is remove my makeup. I gave up using makeup wipes over a year ago now and since then have been trying out a bunch of different products to find the best way to remove my raccoon eyes, and this is the one. Admittedly, on the first few uses, you will hate this product. It’s thick and oily and not a really appealing colour… but stick with it! After a week of daily use, you’ll have figured out how much product to use, how long to rub it in for, and how to properly remove it. And you’ll fall in love. For the latter, I use a reusable makeup cloth from Sephora and it definitely does the job. Cotton pads just won’t cut it here. After about three months of constant use, I’m sold. My skin seems fresher, cleaner, and softer by using this daily, in contrast to the slight burning sensation I got from using wipes. This is definitely a keeper.

Face Mask: Mask Of Magnaminty

I’ve spoken about this face mask on the blog before, but months later I’m still singing its praises. I use Magnaminty 1-2 times a week and always repurchase it. I genuinely believe that it clears my skin up a bit, as well as ensuring I don’t need to buy a separate exfoliator, and just making my skin feel like it’s never been tainted by anything else. What more could you want?

Moisturiser: Enzymion

After my face is makeup free, it’s time to give my skin a treat. Technically speaking, Enzymion is not a moisturiser for dry skin… and I actually picked it up my accident. But my face is so happy I did. This moisturiser is perfect for my skin issues. The fact that it’s made for oily skin means it doesn’t irritate any of my blemishes and its lightness means my sensitive skin doesn’t feel clogged. Essentially I put this on before sleeping and my skin wakes up feeling happy and fresh. It doesn’t tackle my major dry skin areas, but we’ll address that problem later.

Lip Balm: Buttered Brazils

My dry flaky lips have always been a huge source of annoyance for me, and for years the only way to remedy that was Burt’s Bees. However I recently learnt that despite having the Leaping Bunny logo on it, Burt’s Bees is owned by a parent company that tests?! How rude. I finally ran out of my beloved BBees in Florence, and because travel stress was taking its toll on me, I ran to the nearest Lush and tested out all the lip balms before settling on this one (and €50 worth of other products…). As well as tasting and smelling amazing, this balm fully hydrates my lips meaning I can keep channelling my outer Kylie Jenner with my love of lipliner. I thought I was destined for a life of dry lips, but NOPE.

Moisturiser (again): Vanishing Cream

All though all of the above belong to my nighttime skin routine, I do have one more step that follows before I reapply my makeup the following morning. Due to the aforementioned dry skin, before I apply my foundation, I have to do one more round of moisturiser. My other moisturiser is a little too heavy to put on right before foundation as it needs a while to soak in, so I picked up this little baby in Florence to fix the damage caused by traveling. (Side note: I’ve been to a lot of Lush stores in a lot of different countries, but the staff in Venice and Florence were the nicest, most informed, and happy employees I’ve encountered. Good job, Italy!) The Lush Lady told me that Vanishing Cream was one of the thinnest moisturisers they have and recommended it for skin. And after using it for a while, I agree wholeheartedly! It’s perfect for sitting under makeup and really tackles my dry T-Zone area. Combined with Enzymion, they’re a match made in makeup heaven.

So that’s my face. It’s still not perfect, but I’m starting to realise Hollywood lied and that I’m gonna have bad skin way into my twenties. That or I’m just cursed.

One Day In Milan

Last Friday I got back from a week of traveling around Italy, and after seven days of recovering from the experience, I think I’m ready to talk about it. So I’ll start at the very beginning of the trip:Milano.

The very first thing I learnt on my trip is that Milan Bergamo Airport is a very liberal name, as it’ll take you over an hour to actually get into the city*. So if you’re a budget airline connoisseur like I am, plan accordingly. My flight to Milan got in at 23:20, and the busses aren’t as regular at that time of night, so I didn’t end up getting to Milan until 1:30. Which was great, as I only had one full day in the city and obviously wanted to experience it with sleep deprivation.I stayed at the Hotel Ambrosiana, which I would recommend if you’re only in the city for a short time like I was. I didn’t spend much time in the hostel other than sleeping, so I can’t really comment much on the place, but they have a 24 hour reception was useful for my awkward ass flight time and the staff were polite and accommodating. And most importantly, it was clean. My room had a private bathroom, which helped, and the prices were affordable. It was definitely a good base for my trip, as it’s 15 minutes walking distance from the train station (where the airport bus drops you off), although I did end up taking the metro to the city centre. Which, by the way, is very reminiscent of the New York Subway in its aesthetic. I’ll keep the Madrid metro thanks. Far less dingy.


The centre itself is very catered towards tourists. I’m sure if you wander off into the side streets you’ll eventually find some less extortionately priced cafés and restaurants, but I only had a few hours and was running on very little sleep, so I stuck to the main areas. The plus point of this was that everyone spoke English, which don’t get me wrong, is definitely the opposite of what I look for when travelling, but living in a major city with such poor English skills (and y’know, teaching it for a living), I’m always interested in a place’s use of the language when I visit.

Now, I know Milan is a major fashion capital, but I didn’t get a chance to check out the fashion district or any of the fancy expensive stores. I did, however, go to the highstreet because, hello, have you met me? If you’re a fan of shopping when travelling, then Milan is definitely the city for you. Gorgeous,mosaicked, pedestrianised walkways with stores at either side; I could definitely see the perks of living here as a young fashion lover.


On a more cultural note, I have to mention the Duomo. When I was obsessively googling ‘things to see in Milan’ and ‘Milan in 24 hours’, all signs pointed to one thing: this giant ass cathedral. And it was definitely the highlight of my time in the city. Essentially you pay money to climb up a tiny, winding, ancient staircase with people trying to squeeze past you coming the other way. And that’s it. Loljk, you’re climbing to the top of the cathedral. To walk around, talk to gargoyles, and marvel at the amazing views of the city you get. I can’t remember how much it cost me (#BestBloggerAward), but I can remember thinking ‘wow, this view was worth the money’. Mainly I just admired the architecture and sat on the roof overlooking the city. And thought intently about why the Duomo is guarded by army men in gnome hats. Conclusion: no idea but it’s pretty unnerving.

The ticket price also included entry to a religious relic museum. And if you like depictions of God surrounded by tiny, burning babies, it’s the place for you.


But I’m afraid that’s where my positive view of the city ends. Milan, for me, was underwhelming. It could be any European city, so if you’re looking for something Italian, it’s gonna disappoint you. You certainly don’t get a Mediterranean vibe from it.

Overall, if you’re looking to go to somewhere like Venice but want a cheaper flight, I definitely recommend flying into Milan and getting the short train ride to Venice… but only stay a few hours, or a day maximum. My two nights were pretty excessive. It’s a nice city, but to be honest I barely felt like I’d left Madrid.

* If you want to experience something cool, stay in one of the Zzzleepandgo pods at the airport. I did this before my 7am flight back to Madrid and thoroughly enjoyed how stress free the entire experience was. Sleep pods are great!