Travel Time: Portugal with the Portugyaldem

This summer I headed to Algarve in Southern Portugal with two of my friends to relax, refresh and recoup. We had a week full of sun, sand (oh so much sand but we’ll talk about that later) and sea.

So what did we do all day?

Sleep. No seriously. I am notorious for being able to fall asleep anytime and anywhere and I’m sure that if I wasn’t in the company of early risers I’d sleep all day. It’s a good thing too, there was so much to see!

The Old Town

p5As the name suggests, the Old Town is the hub of the Albufeira’s culture and history and it is so beautiful too – white homes set against the backdrop of a sandy beach. It’s a great place to grab a cocktail, watch live street entertainment and visit historic monuments all at the same time!

Praia Da Oura

We were very lucky in that our hotel was a very short walk from the Praia Da Oura beach. The beach is relatively quiet with a few bars on the waterfrp2ont – definitely a place of relaxation. I really enjoy swimming and the very choppy waters made battling the waves exciting… until they were 10 metres high… and there were no life guards… and I nearly died. Please exercise caution! I would say I’m a relatively strong swimmer and still ended up half drowning with a mouth, ears and a *ahem* crack full of sand.

Full English Breakfast on Tour

We spent a significant amount of time p7eating. Everything from Caldo Verde (Apotato, kale and spicy sausage traditional Portuguese dish) to a Chinese takeaway but my favourite has to be the all day Full English Breakfast. At €4.00 it was the biggest and best bargain I found in Portugal. You can take the girl out of South London but you cannot take South London out of the girl!

Slide and Splash!

One of the first thing we noticed when looking for day activities was the sheer number of water parks. After much deliberation, we chose Slide and Splash. It’s the oldest water park in the region and we definitely got to see why it was still running after 30 years. Like its name suggests, it’s largely made up of water slides and has something for everyone.

8I made the mistake of listening to Leanne and going on the mother of all slides – the Big Wave. My legs started trembling before we’d made it half way up the concrete stairs. Seeing a couple almost fly off the ride had me ready to march back down the stairs too. But nope, Leanne is a sadist and wouldn’t let me. After saying a few Hail Mary’s, I grabbed onto the inflatable, held my breath and we were off. In all fairness, the ride wasn’t that awful… until I slammed my neck into the back of the ride and hobbled off in excruciating pain. The first aiders at Slide and Splash were incredibly helpful and took good care of me at no charge. I almost have full rotation in my neck now… almost. Despite almost being decapitated I would definitely recommend!

And in the night…

The Albufeira Strip

p9We were very lucky that our hotel was only a five minute walk from the Strip. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that there were very few people being loud and lairy in the street and families frequented the restaurants well into the night. If you’re looking for a ladies’ or lads’ holiday full of drugs, drunkenness and debauchery, Albufeira might not be for you. That being said, there were great happy hour offers and there was a range of club nights. They ranged from 80s and cheese to pop to dancehall and reggaeton, there really was something for everyone. With a plethora of fast food outlets and pancake and churros stands to end your night.

All in all, my trip to Portugal with the portugyaldem was good fun. We managed to get in some culture while topping up our vitamin D levels and sampling the party scene. I would definitely recommend the trip!

Vonique xo

P.P.S. The images in this post were taken by me and I reserve all rights to them. If you would like to use these images please contact me using the details in the contact page. Thank you.


Alda by Jonalda Peppermint Lip Balm Review

Hello loves, I know it’s been a while, put the pitchforks down!  I’m back and with a beauty review of Alda by Jonalda‘s Peppermint Lip Balm – I’m excited, are you excited? Let’s go!


Jonalda is a good friend of mine who is just as obsessed with beauty as I am! When I heard that she was coming out with range of lip balms, I placed my order straight away! Alda by Jonalda is a range of home and handmade lip balms made with natural ingredients to soothe, moisturise and care for your lips. I’m quickly going to throw this in – while Jonalda is a friend, I am dedicated to honest and authentic reviews. Rest assured I will only write what I actually feel!

PASSIONATE ABOUT PEPPERMINT and other ingredients…

I’m reviewing the peppermint lip balm today as I think it’s the most versatile! The first thing I noticed about the lip balm was the fact that it smelled beautifully of sweet peppermint (and tastes like it too). The peppermint made my lips tingle which I really liked. The tingling means that the lip balm is stimulating blood flow through the lips which can have a slight plumping effect so it’s great underneath drying liquid lipsticks.

The lip balm contains beeswax, coconut oil, almond oil and mango butter as well as peppermint oil. Coconut oil is one of my very favourite beauty products, it has mild antiseptic properties, it’s fabulous at locking moisture and it smells divine! All the oils and the mango butter work well with the slightly sharper peppermint oil to leave my lips soft and supple.


When I first applied the lip balm, I thought oh – okay. It took a few seconds for my lips to warm it up a little but when it did – it was fabulous. It glided over my lips and a little went a very long way. My lips were moisturised all night long and considering the fact that I put it to the test under Colourpop’s Liquid Lipstick – that was no mean feat.

As I said earlier I loved the Peppermint tingle but the lip balms also come in Rose and Orange depending on your personal preference.


Alda by Jonalda is currently only available on EtsyI ordered on Wednesday and my lip balms arrived on Friday so that was a major plus for me because I am incredibly impatient (this will become evident when my Birchbox review comes out next week…).

The packaging is cute and clean with the accent colours matching the flavours which I thought was cute. It’s not quite the iconic EOS sphere but it’s cute enough!

Alda products retail at £3.00 at the moment which was fairly reasonable for all the handmade moisturising goodness.


Overall, I was very impressed with Alda’s lip balms. I’m usually an EOS lip balm girl but I think Alda is definitely a pocket friendly alternative. 4/5!

Until next time!

Vonique xo


Scrubs, Acids and All Things Exfoliation

Hello loves, this week’s post is all about exfoliation!

Exfoliation is simply the process of removing dead skin and allowing the beautiful, bright new skin to shine through. The most common form of exfoliation is physical. Most of us have come across exfoliating scrubs or loofahs or gloves and they all do the same job. Probably less well known is chemical exfoliation which has been made popular by the rich and famous and their chemical facial peels. There are some great pocket (and skin) friendly alternatives to facial peels which I’ll talk about later!

Why Exfoliate?

As I wrote earlier, exfoliation is process by which the top layer of skin is sloughed away to reveal the fresh new skin underneath. This leaves you looking brighter, fresher and more youthful. I also find that my make up looks 100 times better on an exfoliated face as it gets rid of any flaking dry skin I may have on my cheeks. Another benefit, I’ve found is that topical treatments such as acne medication (subject to a discussion with your dermatologist) or even face masques and essential oil solutions work better on an exfoliated face. This is because the treatments don’t have to penetrate through layers of dead skin to start working!

Chemical vs Physical Exfoliation

Most of us begin our journey into exfoliation with face scrubs! To this day it’s still my favourite even if not the most effective way to exfoliate. Tiny exfoliating particles, aided by gently rubbing the facial wash into the skin essentially wear away the top layer of skin. I like this because I really feel like I’ve exfoliated, especially when I can feel a slight sting when I put on a face masque afterwards (I’m weird, don’t judge me). My favourite face scrubs are: Lush’s Dark Angels, St Ive’s Apricot Scrub and The Body Shop’s Vitamin C Microdermabrasion.
Another form of physical exfoliation is using a brush or loofah. These essentially do the same thing as a scrub but are not in the form of a cleanser/face wash. The facial loofah, I use when I want a more gentle form of exfoliation. The loofahs expand and soften when wet so please be careful and don’t make the mistake of ripping your skin off by trying to use it dry like me! Electric facial brushes are fast becoming a skincare cult staple thanks to YouTube. On the pricier side, these tools are used with a mild cleanser in circular motions on the face and neck. Some electric face brushes are incredibly soft and are meant as aids to turn a regular face wash into a deep cleanse – these are not technically exfoliators but work brilliantly, Clarisonic is an example. For a more abrasive exfoliation brushes like Rio Sonicleanse Exfoliating, Cleansing and Smoothing System are an excellent choice.

Low percentage acids can work wonders for all kinds of skin complaints and make great exfoliators. Chemical exfoliants can come in a range of forms such as cleansers, toners and serums. They work by breaking down the dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliators can also be a more gentle way to brighten skin as there’s no scrubbing! Please be careful with chemicals if you’re taking any medicated skin treatments and consult your dermatologist.
Skin friendly acids come in two types – AHAs and BHAs. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are great for those of us dealing with hyper-pigmentation and uneven skintones. Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are better suited for treating large pores and blackheads. Some of the chemical exfoliators I like the most are from the NIP+FAB Glycolic Fix range. Glycolic Acid is an AHA and this is really helping to brighten up my dark marks.

Tips, Tricks and Techniques

While exfoliation leaves your skin smooth and supple, your skin is also a little vulnerable – but I’ve got you guys, don’t worry!

  1. Moisturise!
    Exfoliation strips your skin of moisture and it’s important to put it back.
  2. Protect!
    Your newly exposed skin needs to be protected, especially if you’ve used a chemical exfoliant so a moisturiser with SPF is imperative. It will help to prevent the new skin from developing new skin complaints.
  3. Eyes!
    Your delicate eye area does not need to be exfoliated. The skin around your eyes is very thin and susceptible to wrinkles. Avoid that area completely.
  4. Neck and Décolletage
    Well I would say exfoliate your whole body but like everything in this post that’s completely optional! Exfoliating your neck and décolletage, however, prevents and obvious line of demarcation between an exfoliated face and your neck.
  5. Gentle!
    I know that we can sometimes be desperate for our skin to change quickly but we must be gentle and patient. Rubbing your skin raw will do more harm than good. The same goes for leaving acids on longer than prescribed. It is often counterintuitive and can leave you drier and more flaky than you started. Gentle upwards strokes and no more than twice a week. Give your skin time to heal and grow.
  6. Know Your Skin!
    This one’s a little more tricky and I will be doing a post to cover this one. Knowing your skin type means knowing whether you’re normal, dry, sensitive, oily or combination. Knowing which type of skin you have is your best tool in tackling whatever skin complaints you may have. If you’re sensitive, for example, you may want to avoid physical exfoliation. If you’re dry, you may want to use a creamier cleanser with a physical form of exfoliation or try a chemically exfoliating moisturiser.
  7. Make Your Own!
    Coconut oil (or a carrier oil of your choice) melted down with a few drops of rosehip oil (or any essential oil you like) and a dash of lemon with some brown sugar makes an excellent natural and moisturising exfoliator. I would advise you be VERY gentle if you’re using Demerara sugar.

Phew! I hope that gives you an overview of all the different kinds of exfoliation! What products do you use? Do you have any tips that I’ve missed? Let me know!

Vonique xo



Self Care Sundays: Friends, Family and Food

Friends, family and food are three of my very favourite ways to unwind from a stressful week at work. I find that conversation over a warm and filling meal to be an excellent stress reliever. Venting is good for you!

Friends and Family

I started my internship last week and the long hours and overload of new information meant that I was ready for a long chat over dinner with friends. While a lot of forms of self care involve introverted thinking and solitude, getting up and out and meeting friends can do just as much to help your mental state. Talking over new developments in your life and musing over any stressful situations helps a lot. It helps me to realise that half of the things I worry so much about aren’t really worth worrying about at all. The saying ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’ is certainly true in a lot of circumstances.

Food for Thought

I prefer having catch-ups over dinner. Food and eating are enjoyable and sensory experiences which is only enhanced by dining with loved ones. I wouldn’t want to encourage comfort eating as a form self care. Food as a crutch is something I have struggled with myself and it is not a healthy way to deal with emotions. Sharing over food, however, can be beneficial. It is much easier to tackle your problems when you’re looking after yourself and have a belly full of warm, hearty and nutritious food. While chocolate ice cream doesn’t take away the sting of heartbreak like teenage films would have you believe – sharing sweets with friends is a cute rite of passage and many essential life tips have been shared over a box of chocolates.

Honest Burgers, SE15

IMG_0358I spent the evening catching up with one of my best friends eating delicious burgers and rosemary chips at Honest Burgers, SE15.

I would definitely recommend a visit! The service is exceptional and the menu is very reasonably priced. Burgers are made to order so you never have to worry about the beef being too pink or too tough. I was a bilemog fan of the rosemary chips – I’m usually wary of variations on my beloved french fries but the herbs add an extra delicious dimension to the side dish. I was also pleasantly surprised by the homemade lemonades which were fresh and flavoursome. The restaurant is on a side road just off Rye Lane and away from the bulk o pedestrian traffic. It wasn’t too busy when we were there and the option outside seating meant that we were able to enjoy the sun as well!


I hope that this week’s Self Care Sunday illustrates the fact that self care doesn’t have to be lonely and friends, family (and food!) are also excellent ways of letting go of stress.

Vonique xo


Self Care Sundays: Walking through the Woods

Hello loves! This Sunday I went walking through the beautiful city of York and found peace.

One of the things I’ve noticed about myself is my inability to keep still. I am always going somewhere, talking to someone or worrying about something. While I enjoy keeping busy, this restlessness means I am drained very easily and have difficulty finding calm. I enjoy walking through the woods. Walking gives me the solitude that brings serenity and restores my spirit. If you find it difficult to unwind but you enjoy being active, I find taking walks to be a fantastic reviver.

Why Walk?image

As well as being a great low impact form of exercise and source of endorphins, walking is versatile! If self care means losing yourself in music, taking in nature or measuring your thoughts like me, walking could be for you.

I enjoy an amalgamation of the three. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by natural beauty in York, I can walk for hours on end finding new side roads and little bits of history. I also like looking at big trees! There’s just something about huge imposing trees that have seen so much change and stood firm in the last few hundred years as well as the smell of earth that ground me. Walking gets me up and basking in calming fresh air when my mind is racing. I can sift through my thoughts in peace and come up with a plan to attack the week ahead. Alternatively, when I’m feeling energised, blasting (yep, I’m probably going to get tinnitus) my favourite tunes and trotting through the (well lit) woods ensures the longevity of my high.

imageWhere to go Walking?

Walking as a form of self care is all about creating the conditions that allow you to thrive. If you’re looking for solitude and solemnity, walks by large bodies of water or foliage are usually calming and quiet. If you live in a big city like London, solitude may be hard to come by! I would advise lesser known, local parks and less popular times like sunrise and twilight. These times have the added advantage of giving you spectacular views but remember to stay safe if you’re walking at these times by letting someone know where you are and when to expect you back and also by staying on well lit paths. Sticking in some earphones and putting on whatever music allows you to reflect on events and gather your thoughts works just as well as silence! Here are some trails you may enjoy.
Happy walking!

Lots of Love,


P.S. The images in this post, excluding the featured image were taken by me and I reserve all rights to them. If you would like to use these images please contact me using the details in the contact page. Thank you.