Cambridge, Travel, UK

Punting on the River Cam

June 30, 2015

Punting in Cambridge

Carrying on from last week’s post about a drizzly weekend in Cambridge with Travelodge, I’m going to share a few photos about our punting trip on the River Cam. 

I always enjoy exploring places from water, Tom wasn’t particularly keen but I wore him down in the end. 

There are a few punting companies in Cambridge, and plenty of students walking around selling tickets at different prices, however you can haggle with them easily and they will match the price the Tourist Office give. 

We booked our tickets and met outside King’s College just before 11am. A guide took us from there down to the boat, and we got chatting to her about her home country (Italy), what she thought of life over here in comparison to Italy, and her studies. 

At the boat, we met our guide, hopped on, and set off down the River Cam. Our guide told us about the history of the buildings we passed, traditions, and interesting stories. 

Cambridge garden party

We punted (Sailed? Drove?) past a few garden parties. I’m guessing students were celebrating the end of the year. We also saw lots of students who looked worse for wear and couldn’t figure out if they’d got incredibly drunk very quickly, or were still drunk from the night before. 

My favourite story was one that involved Lord Byron and a bear. The poet went to Trinity College in 1805 and tried to take his dog, but was told that dogs and other “domesticated pets” were forbidden. The dog went, and Byron came back with a bear. 

No where in the college’s rules did it say bears were not allowed, so the bear stayed. Unsurprisingly, this didn’t delight people as the bear apparently tried to have a little gnaw on a few people. 

Mathematical Bridge on the River Cam

Mathematical Bridge, Cambridge

The bridge in the photo above, is called Mathematical Bridge. The story is that when it was originally built, there were no nuts or bolts. Careful planning meant that it held together all by itself. It was also alleged that Sir Isaac Newton built it, which was impressive given that he had been dead for 22 years when the bridge was built. 

Apparently, students then took the bridge apart to figure out how it worked but couldn’t put it back together without the use of nuts or bolts, which is supposedly why the bridge now has nuts and bolts. 

It’s all untrue, as it was designed by William Etheridge and built by James Essex, and it did contain some kind of nuts and bolts when it was built in 1749. 

While I’m sharing interesting facts with you, there is no bridge in Cambridge called Cam Bridge. 

That’s it, I’m all facted out. 

Have you ever been punting? 

Beauty, Beauty Reviews, Cruelty Free, Skincare

InstaNatural Hyaluronic Acid Serum & Eye Gel *

June 29, 2015

I’ve got my cleansing routine nailed, but for the past few months I’ve felt my moisturising and skin care routine was lacking because my skin looked dull. 

InstaNatural got in touch to find out if I wanted to try their hyaluronic acid serum, and eye gel, and I jumped at the chance after discovering they were cruelty free, vegan, and use natural ingredients. 

I’ve been using both of these products twice a day for the past two weeks, and my skin looks much brighter than it did before, and feels much softer. 

 

InstaNatural Hyaluronic Acid Serum – £13.97 on Amazon

Many skin care adverts harp on about hyaluronic acid, and to be honest I always thought it was a gimmick so I’ve never really paid attention to it.

Before I began using the serum, I did a bit of research and discovered that it’s naturally present in the human body in eye and joint fluids. It has multiple uses from being a moisturiser to being used in eye surgery. The reason it’s in so many moisturising products is because it retains over 1000 times it’s weight in water in skin cells. 

As you can probably tell from the bottle, this serum comes with a dropper. It’s quite runny, so you only need around 4 – 5 drops to cover your face and your neck. 

It feels really light on skin, and dries quickly without leaving a sticky layer, so it’s easy to add into your existing routine. 

Since using it, my skin has looked much clearer, brighter, and it feels more hydrated than it has done. I noticed an improvement after a couple of uses, so I think this is something I will repurchase when I have used this bottle. 

 

InstaNatural Eye Gel – £14.95 for 50ml on Amazon

Along with the hyaluronic acid, I’ve been using an eye gel under my eyes and on my cheeks. You can use it on your whole face if you want, but as I use a moisturiser over the top, I’ve only been using the gel on areas where my skin is naturally drier. 

The gel is dispensed by a pump and like the the acid serum, you only need a small amount to give good coverage. It sinks in quickly, and doesn’t feel sticky, though I have found that if I use too much it can feel a little tacky.

Having never used a specific eye product before, I’ve really noticed an improvement after using the gel. The skin under my eyes feels softer and firmer, and looks brighter. 

I have got some fine lines around my eyes and they appear to be less noticeable after using this for a couple of weeks. 

 

Conclusion 

I’ve been using the serum and the gel twice a day for the past couple of weeks, and I have noticed a definite improvement in my skin. It feels softer, is more hydrated, and looks brighter than it did before I started using it. 

I have combination skin which gets quite oily towards the end of the day, and I always worry about adding new products to my routine in case they make things worse. I found that these two products have actually helped to control the oiliness though. 

On a few occasions I’ve just worn the serum and gel and my skin felt great by the end of the day. Whereas if I just wore moisturiser, my skin would feel oily towards the end of the day – I think I need a better moisturiser to be fair. 

The two products also make a good base for makeup as well. 

 

My favourite thing about both of these products is that they’re cruelty free, vegan, and they’re not harsh on your skin at all. 

* I received both of these products in exchange for an honest review, this does not affect my opinion at all. 

Any recommendations for a combination / oily skin friendly moisturiser? 

Life, Things That Made Me Happy This Week

6 things that made me happy this week

June 27, 2015

6 things that made me happy this week

Tom’s home! – Tom has been doing a practical week for his course so he’s not been working away this week, which made me super happy. On Friday we stuffed our faces with pizza, way too much pizza, and watched a film. 

Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour – On Wednesday, my sister, my mum and I went to see Taylor Swift play in Manchester. She put on such a good show, and some of the crowd had created amazing outfits; I felt a little jealous that I hadn’t thought about making a light up dress. I mean, when else are you going to get the chance to wear a light up dress if not at a Taylor Swift, or Katy Perry, gig? 

In short, it was a fantastic night, though the videos of her friends talking about how awesome she is between clothes changes were a little awkward. 

Kacey Musgraves – Kacey Musgraves’ new album, Pageant Material, came out on Monday and I’ve had it on repeat since then. I’ve booked tickets to see her on her UK tour later this year, and I’m really looking forward to it because I’m still kicking myself for missing her when she played here last year. 

#LoveWins – I’m sure you don’t need to me to tell you how historic Friday was with gay marriage being legalised throughout the US. 

The garden – Ever since I can remember, my Nan has always made the garden look stunning. All the flowers are coming out at the moment, and it looks so beautiful. 

Hard work pays off  – This week, my best friend told me she’d got a training contract and will be starting her new job in a few weeks. I’m so happy and excited for her, because she’s worked so hard for this, and truly deserves it. It’s always heart-warming to see hard work be rewarded. 

What made you happy this week? 

Blogging, Life

8 of my favourite posts you might have missed

June 26, 2015

8 Eat Read Glam posts you might have missed

I’m taking a cue from Oddly Lovely, and sharing some of my favourite posts that you might have missed. 

I don’t know about you, but when I find a new blog, I love going through the archive and discovering older posts. 

There are 670 published posts here on Eat Read Glam, and I’m going to assume that I am the only person who has read all of those posts. Don’t worry, I’m not going to list all 670 posts, but I’m going to share some of my favourite posts that you might have missed either because you’re a new reader, or you just simply missed it. 

Some of these posts were published earlier this year, but I’ve gained a few new readers this year, and as someone who follows a lot of blogs, I know how easy it is to miss out on posts. 

 

Here are eight posts I loved writing, that you might have missed.  Continue Reading…

Beauty Reviews, Cruelty Free, Face Masks, LUSH

LUSH Oatifix face mask review

June 25, 2015

LUSH Oatifix fresh face mask

I’m beginning to wonder if my obsession with LUSH is making me sound like a broken record? Either way, sit back and a grab a cuppa, because I’m talking LUSH’s Oatifix fresh face mask. 

My go-to LUSH face masks are Cupcake and Mask of Magnaminty. I’m so obsessed with them that I don’t tend to consider picking anything else up. A couple of months back I took a five black pots back to LUSH and got a free face mask, so I decided to give Oatifix a go. 

Containing bananas, illipe butter, oatmeal, ground almonds and kaolin, LUSH say Oatifix will moisturise dry and sensitive skin, and gently exfoliate it. 

The texture is like rubbing mashed bananas on your face, which makes sense given that it contains bananas. It’s fairly smooth with some lumps, but there are no harsh or gritty particles, which means it glides onto your face. 

It’s not a drying face mask either, so it’s easy to wipe off and you don’t have to worry about picking dry bits of face mask out of your eyebrows three hours later. Just me? Ok. 

Unsurprisingly, it smells like bananas and oats. It’s not a harsh or overpowering smell either. 

Oatifix makes my skin look and feel really clear, and it’s gentle on my skin. In comparison to Cupcake and Mask of Magnaminty, I don’t feel it made my skin feel quite as soft, or look quite as bright, as they do. 

That said, I have no doubt that I will buy this again, especially if my skin is being a bit naughty and needs something gentle, or is dry during the winter. 

A 75g pot of Oatifix costs £6.50 (correct at time of publishing), which might initially seem a bit steep, but you will get a few applications out of it. I would say I got at least five applications out of this, so when you work that back it’s much more cost-effective. 

Since it’s a LUSH product, you can slather this on your face happy in the knowledge that it’s cruelty-free, and Oatifix is vegan also. 

To conclude: A gentle face mask that makes your skin look clear. 

Have you tried any LUSH fresh face masks? 

Dystopian, Louise O'Neill, Young Adult

Only Ever Yours – Louise O’Neill Review

June 24, 2015

  

 Only Ever Yours was recommended to me a few weeks back by someone on Twitter, and it turned out to be much more intense than I first expected. 

Synopsis: In a not too distant future, girls are no longer born, they are created to be perfect. They spent the first 18 years of their lives at school, learning how to look perfect, never say anything to intelligent, and be just what a man is looking for. 

My first thought when I began reading Only Ever Yours, was one of horror. After a couple of pages, I could tell that this book was going to get me riled up. 

The writing is captivating, and gripping, it’s the content that was getting me frustrated. And I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. 

As you may imagine from my synopsis, women are treated like objects. They’re not supposed to be intelligent or have any kind of opinion about anything; their job is to maintain their weight, and look pretty. 

On top of all of that, there’s a really horrible atmosphere the girls have to grow up in, in which they judge each other’s appearances freely, generally bitch about one an other, and try to consume less calories than their classmates. It’s programmed into them that their appearance is the most important thing they can contribute to society. 

When they are punished, they listen to a voice over telling them they are fat and useless. And at night, they are played recordings of voices telling them they have a long way to go and improve. 

Basically, Only Ever Yours takes issues both women and men face in the society we’re currently living in, where the media tries to brainwash us into thinking appearance is all that matters, and magnifies it by 100. 

Our main character is called frieda (that’s without a capital letter, women’s names are not capitalised in the book, while men’s are) and you can’t help but feel for her. The book is slightly stressful to read because you feel some of the pressure frieda is under, and it’s overwhelming. You feel the frustration and pressure from all of these girls who are bitching, and are dragging her into it. I cannot fault the writing in Only Ever Yours at all; it is so gripping and enthralling. 

The ending does not really give much of a conclusion; it’s sudden, and you’re left there thinking ‘wow’, and your brain just begins whizzing. 

Nothing nice, or happy, happens in this book. It’s not easy a happy, or easy read; not the kinda book I can imagine reading around the pool on holiday. 

It makes a point about society, the way we’re taught that appearance is everything, and how women are objectified. Obviously, it’s taken to extremes, but the points are valid all the same. 

In short: A shocking, enthralling, captivating, and eye-opening read. 

Have you read Only Ever Yours? 

Only Ever Yours Book Cover Only Ever Yours
Louise O'Neill
Young adult, dystopian,
Quercus
July 3rd, 2014
eBook
400

In a world in which baby girls are no longer born naturally, women are bred in schools, trained in the arts of pleasing men until they are ready for the outside world. At graduation, the most highly rated girls become “companions”, permitted to live with their husbands and breed sons until they are no longer useful.

For the girls left behind, the future – as a concubine or a teacher – is grim.

Best friends Freida and Isabel are sure they’ll be chosen as companions – they are among the most highly rated girls in their year.

But as the intensity of final year takes hold, Isabel does the unthinkable and starts to put on weight. ..
And then, into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.

Freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known. . .

Cambridge, Travel, UK

A drizzly weekend in Cambridge with Travelodge #BloggerLodge

June 23, 2015

Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

Four red telephone boxes, Cambridge

When you think of England, one of the first places you might think of is a beautiful, old city like Cambridge. Despite it only being a couple of hours away, it’s taken me 22 years to visit Cambridge. 

Earlier this month, I was invited to stay in Cambridge Newmarket Road Travelodge for a couple of nights. Before we go any further, I want to point out that I wasn’t paid to say anything nice, and being offered this chance would not affect my opinion in anyway. Continue Reading…