Weekends Away: Prague

Time for another weekend away! I recently headed to Prague with my boyfriend, luckily we had some time of work so this wasn’t technically a weekend but it was over 3 days. Prague has been one of my favourite cities in Europe that I have visited so far, and I really recommend it to all! So read on for my experience and a bit of a city guide.

Getting There:

I’m not sure if I just have bad Europe geography, but I was shocked when the flight from London – Prague is only an hour and a half! We flew with easyjet for a really reasonable price – definitely under 150 pounds return. Getting from the airport to the centre is pretty easy on a bus to the metro station – it is clearly sign posted in English. You can also get to Prague through rail or car directly into the centre.

Getting Around:

After living in London, I expect everywhere to be expensive in regards to public transport, so it was a pleasant surprise to find that the price for 90 minutes on public transport in Prague is 32Kr or around 1 pound! The transport system is excellent, made up of buses, trams, metro and trains. You can buy 90 minutes tickets from ticket machines (keep your coins!) and then you just validate them when you get on.

General Expenses:

In general Prague is such a cheap city to visit! They have not yet adapted the Euro so are still on the Czech Kroner which the pound is very strong against. In general meals were around 5 pounds, beer was a pound or less, public transport is cheap – if you are on a budget then this is the place to be!

Itinerary/Things to Do:

Of course there are a million and one things to do in Prague but I will give a run through of what we did.

Day one:

We arrived around lunchtime on Sunday so the main points of the day were finding the hotel and our bearings! We stayed at the gorgeous Hotel Questenberk which is right next to Prague castle and up a giant hill. We were recommended to get the tram but decided to walk instead –  a wee bit of a hike, but we got some amazing views.

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Day two:

As we were right next door to the castle we decided to explore for most of the day. The castle is made up of many different areas, a cathedral, a church, state rooms, palace, gardens – it’s the biggest castle complex in the world. We kitted up with audioguides as I am a fact junkie and made our way around. I really recommend this if you are interested to learn about the culture, history, religion and political standings of Prague!

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This is the entrance to the castle and always has guards standing outside – the guards swap every hour and there is a changing of the guards at 12pm.

 

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We paid to go into St Vitus’ Cathedral – it wasn’t expensive and had an amazing gothic section. One of the most beautiful cathedrals I have been in!

 

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This is the main room in the palace and state rooms and is where the previous Presidents and Kings were all appointed. It has an amazing vaulted ceiling!

After the castle we had a full wander round the centre of Prague, I think the best bit about Prague was the architecure, all of the buildings in the middle of the town are beautiful. It is one of the only major cities in Europe which wasn’t bombed in the war and you can definitely tell. There are two main squares, Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square:

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In old town square you find a lot of tourists! But you also find the astronomical clock which is gorgeous to look at, it does chime on the hour but it’s nothing too exciting if you’re not nearby.

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Wenceslas square is a bit different, it has a lot of shops and bars and is more modern. On one end there is the national museum but it was shut when we went. I also found the very exciting shop of Sephora! I blogged about my purchases here.

Day Three:

If I have the time in any of the cities I visit then I always like to get out of the centre for a bit and see some of the wider area. Paul is a keen cyclist so I thought a bike tour would be a good way to go. We went with Praha Bike Tours and did the Troja River Tour. Essentially we cycled along the river all the way out of Prague for an hour, we visited the Troja Summer Palace, went to a couple of the huge parks in the area then stopped in the trendy area of Letna for a beer in a beer garden! Even though I couldn’t remember the last time I rode a bike I still managed to keep up! I did have to walk up one hill but it was lovely to be by the river and see a less well known site.

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Here is me and Paul posing in front of the summer palace!

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And cycling through one of the main parks!

Day four:

This was our last day and we did a food tour! I love doing food tours in new countries as eating is one of my favourite things. Sometimes I find it hard to get a handle and really find and eat good food in new places so this provides an excellent remedy. Ideally I like doing this on the first day I get somewhere as it gives you a good idea of where to eat for the rest of the trip, but in this case there was no availability so we did it on our last day.

A food tour essentially consists of eating a lot of food and walking around! There were 7 stops and you tried something Czech at each stop – 6 were food stops and 1 was a brewery stop. It was a really great experience and we got a lot of really good food! Plus we got to see beer being made which was really interesting. We went with Eating Prague Tours.

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Possibly the best soup of my life – sauerkraut soup with bacon and dumplings.

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We went to an old clock tower and ate up there which was amazing!

After the food tour we wandered about and headed to the airport to come home! Prague is an excellent city which is cheap, cultured and full of things to do. I really recommend if you want a weekend away somewhere in Europe.

I have done some other weekends away posts, you can read about Anglesey or Lisbon!

JC xx

My New Eye Staples: Too Faced LashGasm + Sephora Jumbo Eye Liner!

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If you follow me on twitter or instagram then you will know I very recently went to Prague for a few days! I will be doing a full post on that soon so keep an eye out but whilst I was there, I was wandering through the Wencelas square and out of the corner of my eye I saw the black and white stripes of Sephora! This is one of the most exciting sights for someone in the UK because, who knows why, Sephora aren’t there! So I dragged Paul in picked up a couple of items which are quickly turned into staples! I am reviewing the mascara and eyeliner below, then will have a separate post for the little face masks I picked up once I have chance to give them a good try.

Too Faced LashGasm Mascara:

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I’m such a sucker for mascaras, it’s my favourite make up item and I just want to buy more and more! So when I saw the Too Faced section, I had a look through all the brushes and decided to pick up the LashGasm Mascara.

This comes with a small plastic brush which reminds me of the Benefit They’re Real brush and is my favourite type. I find it doesn’t pick up too much product and distributes it evenly. It is also symmetrical which is essential for me in a mascara brush as I always seem to mess up with asymmetrical brushes.

The formula is also great – it sweeps on evenly and really extends the length of my lashes without clumping. It’s not particularly volumising but it’s the length I want! Even after one coat, which is usually all I have the patience for, my lashes look defined and I’m ready to go! This isn’t waterproof and does flake if you rub your eyes (as expected!) but stays put otherwise. I also enjoy this as it comes off easily without smearing everywhere and giving me panda eyes! I have been using it everyday since I bought it and is the new staple in my make up bag!

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Sephora Jumbo Eye Liner in Beige:

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This is one of those make up purchases which really throws a spanner into your make up routine. I have been so into my palettes and mixing it up and wearing lots of colours (mainly neutral on the lid) but this is going back to basics and I love it! This is a jumbo eyeliner but I think of it more as an eyeshadow stick. It is a gorgeous champagne colour and reminds me a lot of the Charlotte Tillbury eyeshadow sticks.

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This goes on so smooth and does not budge. I have been wearing it on top of Urban Decays Primer Potion and it will last all day without a problem, even if I constantly rub my eyes because of hay fever! I have been drawing a thick line alone the lash line, down into the inner corner to brighten it and then along just the outer lower lash line. I think it complements my eyes so well and it so quick and easy to do in the mornings. I have worn this everyday for about two weeks and I really want to pick this up in more colours! I am a true fan girl when it comes to this one. Hopefully you can see the brightening effect in the picture of me below!

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So I would keep your eyes out for the above! Let me know what your eye staples are down in the comments.

JC xx

Ingredients Explained: SPF – What should you be looking for?

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I have wanted to write this post for awhile – and as it is summer this is the best time to start! So let’s dive into sun protection, SPF and what we should be using.

So what is UV and why should we be worried about it?

As we all know the sun produces Ultraviolet (UV) waves – these are like the rays of light except we can’t see them and they have the ability to be absorbed by our skin. Most of these rays are filtered by the ozone layer so we only get a very small fraction (we couldn’t survive without this!), however, some of the rays which do reach us are absorbed by our cells and disrupt our DNA.

Our skin is protected by a substance called melanin, this is a protein pigment produced by cells which stops the waves from being absorbed. When we are exposed to the sun, we produce more melanin, which in turn gives us a tan. However, too much exposure results in DNA damage, the DNA gets disrupted by the waves making it unstable. This can result in freckles, moles, premature ageing, growths and even cancer.

There are several types of UV rays, however the two we are concerned with are UVA and UVB. UVA does not damage the DNA directly, but through producing other substances which harm it and the collagen in the cell which results in premature ageing, whereas UVB causes direct DNA damage which results in the skin burning. Luckily, we can do something to protect ourselves from both of these!

What is SPF?

SPF stands for sun protection factor and is found in products which protect our skin. We can put substances on our skin which block the UV rays and protect our cells from DNA damage. The amount of sun protection in a product is determined by the SPF number on the packaging. This number can range from 5 all the way up to 85!

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How does SPF work?

The sun protection doesn’t come from the SPF itself, this is just a way of seeing how well the ingredients in it work. There are two types of ingredients which protect us from the sun:

  • Chemical compounds which absorb the light, this acts like the pigment in our skin to absorb the rays before they enter the body and our cells.
  • Particles which reflect and scatter the light, this acts as a barrier, causing the rays to bounce back and not enter our skin.

SPF is not measured in a linear scale, so SPF 80 is not four times better than SPF 20. In reality SPF 30 blocks out 98% of the suns rays whereas SPF 50 blocks out 99%. So in reality, it isn’t worth spending extra on a higher number.

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What Should I be Looking For?

  • You need to make sure you are using a broad spectrum sun protection product. This should ideally state on the packaging that it protects from both UVA and UVB rays to get full protection. These are also often labelled sun block rather than sun screen.
  • Do not go under SPF 20 – ideally you are looking for SPF 30. As above, there is not much point in going higher than this, especially if it’s more expensive.
  • Recent research suggests that SPF should be applied then reapplied around 15 minutes later to get the full benefit of the UVA protection. I recommend applying moisturiser with sun protection in as soon as you wake up, then I reapply again when I am doing my make up.
  • You should be aiming for around 1/3 to a 1/2 of a teaspoon to cover your face.
  • PA+ is a different scale used for SPF – it means the same as the SPF number so just keep an eye on that.
  • Sun protection is very rarely effective in water, always apply as soon as you get out of water and do not believe when a product states that it is water resistant!
  • Cosmetic tans, such as through using sunbeds or after a day out in the sun are caused because of exposure to UVA, resulting in already produced melanin to be released, whereas a prolonged tan which develops over weeks is as a result of exposure to UVB. The tan from UVA does not protect our skin in any way as it is the same amount of melanin as when you were not tanned, keep this in mind over summer when you think you may need less SPF!
  • Always remember to protect your skin in other ways – loose fitting clothing which covers the arms and legs, a sun hat, and sunglasses are a great place to start!
  • Try and avoid the sun at the hottest parts of the day – between 10 and 3 in summer.

I hope that was useful to you all – I will hopefully be doing another post on my favourite sun protection products so keep an eye out for that one soon!

I have done some other ingredients explained on collagen, keratin and parabens so please check them out! If you have any suggestions for other topics in this season then let me know.

JC xx

Revlon Colourburst Matte Balms Review!

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I’m not too huge on wearing lip products, I like to wear them for nights out but almost never wore them to work or during the day. I get really frustrated as most lip products don’t last too long and if they fade unevenly then I can look a bit of a mess! However, I have started changing my mind on this ever since I picked up the Revlon Matte Balms.

Not gonna’ lie, the fact Emma Stone models for this did slightly make me want to buy them. I do think she is awesome and usually no celebrity will make me buy a product, but after watching Spiderman 2 and Easy A all in one weekend, she just drew me in! I picked up two colours – elusive which is a medium pink, not too bright and a great everyday shade and audacious which is a bright red coral. I love wearing the bright coral shade out in the sunshine in the summer – the colour just reminds me immediately of summer!

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These come in chubby stick form, which I really like, makes it easy to put on without having to stop and sit in front of a mirror with a steady hand. As you can see with elusive, I really wore the tip down which I regret now as it does make it a little harder to apply. The lighter elusive I can apply without a mirror, the brighter coral I do like to stop just to make sure I don’t have some giant smear down my chin. This is such a win for me as it means I can apply during the day without having to run off to the bathroom or start whipping out mini mirrors at my desk.

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The formula is also a win for me, it is creamy and pigmented. It applies matte but doesn’t dry my lips out which is essential. I am a real fan of the matte lip this year – I think it looks nice and professional for work. I like that it remains feeling creamy during the day and doesn’t dry out. It also fades evenly and lasts a significant amount of time before it does. It’s always a pleasant surprise when you hit a mirror and your lipstick is still in place. This product has really reignited my love for lip products and I am wearing them more and more!

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In the above, I have elusive on the left and audacious on the right!

I really want to try some other shades and will be picking them up! I’m interested to try the different finishes as well in the Revlon range so if you have any recommendations then please let me know!

JC xx

 

100 Happy Days: Halfway Point! Days 41-50

Let’s jump right back into 100 happy days! I have hit the half way point which is crazy – never thought that I would enjoy this so much or that I would remember everyday. It’s such a great way to find a bit of sunshine in everyday and I really recommend even if you don’t want to commit to this, to find a bit of time each week to really think about what you’re grateful for! Right let’s end the motivational speeches and get into it.

 

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Day 41: I finally had a relaxed evening in with the boyfriend, had some pizza, sunshine and a movie.

Day 42: I went to the Global Reddit meet up day in London. Always a great bunch of internet people to hang out with and got to see some good friends whilst enjoying the sunshine! Here Barry stole my sunglasses so I got a hand shade from a nice passerby!

Day 43: This is a picture inside the British Museum! I went to see the Ancient Lives behind the mummies exhibition which was excellent and is still on so if you’re in London I really recommend it.

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Day 44: I had a bit of a lame day so decided a motivational quote was always a good move. I enjoy this one, especially in regards to starting something new such as the blog.

Day 45: Paul and I had a little date night and hit up our local Nandos as we hadn’t been in years.

Day 46: We put up a shelf in the flat which looks great. We moved the photos to another bit of the wall which you will see later but I love some London snaps.

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Day 47:I said in my summer bucket list that I want to start volunteering so I took the first step. It’s going to take a little while to get all the paperwork done but hope to start this sometime this year.

Day 48: This was sadly my last day at my old work! I got a great send off and some amazing red velvet cupcakes and some other goodies!

Day 49: We went off to Richmond Park for the day, the weather was so hot and it is such a lovely part of London. It was great to go and see the park and get out of the London hustle.

Day 50: Day 50 was a great mark to get to! It was also a very special day as my bestie in NZ for the past ten years got married! Sadly I couldn’t be there but I spent all day thinking of her and wishing them the best!

What made you happy this week?

JC xx

PS I am posting this everyday on instagram! I’m over at jasxcharlotte if you want to follow along.

 

Collection 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner Review!

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Time for another make up review – we are moving into the world of eyeliner! I am a big fan of liquid eyeliner and will usually wear it in the evenings if I’m going out for dinner. I have used many different types and although I do like the pot and brush kinds, I find the felt tip liners are the easiest and fastest to use. I hadn’t bought a new one of these in a long time so I headed out to Boots in search!

One of the worst things about felt tip liners is that they dry out, really, really, quickly and in the past this has frustrated me! So this time I was determined to find a cheap, effective product so that even if it does dry up in a few weeks, I won’t have wasted my money. The Collection stand called out to me and for a mere £2.50 I decided to grab the Collection 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner in black.

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I was very pleasantly surprised by this product! It has a thick black nib (apologies if you can’t see it too clearly on the photo) and dispenses product evenly and smoothly on the eye. It applies very similarly to other eyeliners of the same description. I find it easiest to apply this is you rest your elbow on a hard surface, such as a table then draw a thin line on the top eyelid – this means my hand is held steady and I can get a clean line. I have also used this for a cat eye which went on successfully (surprisingly!!).

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However, the best bit of this eyeliner was it’s lasting power. I can get oily eyelids in the summer which drastically reduces the longevity of products but this did not budge! I can’t say if it lasted 24 hours as it promises but it did last at least 12 hours from when I got up to when I got home from work. And as of 3 weeks later – ensuring the lid has been screwed on every time, this is still going strong! So I will keep you updated as to when it finally dries out.

I really recommend this if you are looking for a new eyeliner which doesn’t budge and doesn’t hurt the purse!

What’s your favourite eye liner lately?

JC xx

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Crispy Greek Pie – Vege Recipe and Guide!

I thought I would start doing a few recipes here on Jasmin Charlotte. I don’t cook too often as I don’t have the time during the week but I love it when I get chance. I love making easy, healthy and delicious dishes.

I recently had my first dinner party and as I had a vege guest I decided to make this pie as a vege option. It is quick and easy and can be prepared in advance then just assembled on the night. It’s simple and delicious, I originally got this recipe from BBC good food – an awesome repository for great recipes!

Ingredients:

  • 200g of fresh spinach (I used young spinach)
  • 120g sun dried tomatoes in oil (I used half a pack of the Sainsbury’s brand which you find in the deli section)
  • 200g feta
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed garlic
  • 3 sheets of filo pastry (defrosted)

 

Only a few ingredients but a tasty dish! First we need to prep the filling, I did this part during the day then made the pie in the evening. You will need to wilt your spinach by placing it in a pan with just a dash of water, then heating over a medium heat.

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Give it a stir every now and again as the spinach down the bottom will wilt to expose the top leaves to the heat. Once all the spinach is wilted, you will need to squeeze the water from it. I popped it into another bowl then put it in the fridge. I then just squeezed it over the sink by hand.

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Once the spinach is prepped, chop the sundried tomatoes into quarters and add to the spinach. Make sure you keep the oil as we need it later.

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Then crumble 200g of the feta – again I did this by hand but you could use a fork and add to the mixture along with some minced garlic.

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Once this mixture is prepped I popped it in the fridge to chill. Also remember to preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

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We then need to assemble the pie! This is the trickiest bit, but if I can do it then you can. Make sure your pastry is defrosted. The problem with filo pastry is that it dries quickly, so as soon as you take it out of the pack make sure you keep it covered with either a damp tea towel or damp kitchen roll. Take one piece of the filo and brush it with the oil from the sundried tomatoes – I didn’t have a brush so just used a spoon to spread it over. Arrange this piece of pastry face down in a foiled tin. Take a second piece and repeat, place oil side down on top of the first piece of pastry but perpendicular so you know when it is folded together it will be sealed. Then take a third sheet and repeat, but place on the diagonal.

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Grab the mixture we made earlier and pile in the middle of the pastry, fold the pastry sections over the middle mixture to make a sealed pie. If you have any oil left over then spread this on the top.

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Once ready, pop it in the oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry on top is browned.

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This gives a lovely, full flavoured filo pie which is sure to please any vegetarian! I found these amounts fed 4 people if accompanied with a carb and veges, or two if just by itself!

Hope you enjoyed this recipe and let me know if you give it a try yourself. This is a first for me on the blog so let me know what you think and whether you would like more posts like these! This is also my 50th post here on my blog so thank you all for the support! It is always very much appreciated and keeps me posting away.

JC xx

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