Monday, 28 July 2014

Travel: Dominican Republic

Isla Saona (Saona Island), Dominican Republic
Last month I went on holiday for 10 days to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and I must say it was an amazing holiday. We stayed at an all inclusive hotel called Now Larimar and I must say the staff there made our stay even more special, their attention to detail was just amazing. We chose the Preferred option which meant that as soon as we got to the hotel to check in we were taken to the lovely preferred lounge away from the normal check in desks and was greeted with champagne glasses and a "butler". We had a sea view room with a jacuzzi on our balcony, free wifi throughout the hotel which wasn't just limited to the lobby, special lounges with top shelf alcohol served at the bar, a quieter pool area for preferred guests and a designated area on the beach for breakfast and lunch. In addition to the normal breakfast, lunch and dinner hall the hotel had 5 specialist restaurants such as Japanese (the best of them all), Italian (also really good), French, American and Mexican. If you ever happen to stay at this hotel I definitely recommend paying the little bit extra for the preferred stay it well worth it and to be honest we didn't even pay that much extra at the time of booking for the preferred option.

Despite how great our hotel was we did manage to leave the premises to explore the Dominican Republic on a few excursions. I am one of those people who cannot spend my whole holiday by the pool or beach, I get bored of it after a few days and I always want to explore. My favourite excursion was the Outback Safarai where we visited local areas on a safari jeep such as a family run coffee and chocolate farm where we got to sample their amazing produce. Saona Island was another top excursion we went on, it is an island away from the mainland which feels like paradise as we pulled up to it on our speedboat. We drank lots of rum and coke (Cuba Libre) on the island and had an amazing local lunch which included freshly caught lobster. After a few hours on the island we then headed back to the mainland on a catamaran dancing the sun away and once again with copious amounts of Rum and coke. We also made a 2 hour coach trip to the capiatal city Santo Domingo to learn about it's history and Christopher Columbus who found the island on his many voyages, I did enjoy the trip but it was so hot and dry and we were walking around the city for hours I literally clocked off and didn't hear much of what our tour guide was saying. I just don't do well in heat!

Anyway I think I have said enough I will let the pictures do the talking now. Please click the link

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Holiday Essentials: Sun Care

I have terrible skin when I am in the sun or in hot climates. I have sun allergies and a very sun intolerant skin meaning that I break out in a rash, sometimes hives and get swollen lip whenever I am in the sun for long periods of time without protecting my skin. Because of this over the years I have had to find products that help limit the extent of my allergic reaction and help my skin recover afterwards. Trust me you don't want to see me when this happens, I am a sight for sore eyes I tell you! (think Will Smith in Hitch type of allergic reaction). Sun care is important for everyone regardless of skin colour and I only took this into consideration when I developed these reactions over 10 years ago. Now I can't leave the house without adequate SPF protection during the Spring/Summer months because I am one of those people that can spend a day in the sun in the UK and get sun burnt (even with SPF 50 on).

After lots of research and a lot of trial and error I have found the best products that work well for my sun sensitive skin have the following ingredients. The La Roche-Posay Anthelios range was created specifically for sun sensitive and intolerant skin. Anthelios provides high sun protection for sensitive skin by offering:
  • high protection against not only UVB rays but also provides protection against UVA rays, which together are responsible for 80% of the signs of premature ageing. 
  • minimalist formulas (fragrance-free, no parabens, non-comedogenic, tested under dermatological supervision). 
  • specially formulated textures to suit all skin types and skin concerns. 
Despite the La Roche-Posay Anthelios products being great my sensitive skin they are also amazing on normal skin too, and I have seen that they are quite popular within the 'blogspehere'.

I recently came back from holiday and wanted to show you guys my sun care essentials I take on every holiday I go on.

My Sun Care Essentials (pictured below):
Somewhere on the beach in Tanzania

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Protective Oil - £17.50 from Boots
This is just heaven in a bottle. I was a bit skeptical about buying it at first because I am not used to using oils as sunscreen and I hate feeling oily whilst in the sun. However, this Protective Oil is not oily and once applied it dries to a moisturising finish that is not oily at all. You have to try it, I know its a hugh  SPF but trust me I use this every time on holiday and still manage to tan, quite a lot actually.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+Extreme Face Fluid - £16.50 from Boots
I bought the pictured Extreme Face Fluid 2 years ago but I think they may have changed it to the Ultra Light Fluid.  This is fluid for the face and it is very light and little goes a long way it. It does look a bit scary at first because of the white look to it, especially on my Afro- Caribbean skin but I find that if I mix it with a very little bit of a light  moisturiser and then apply it to my face it doesn't leave a white cast. I tend to use this more when I am on holiday simply because the sun is a lot more stronger and hotter therefore I need maximum protection to stop my skin from reacting.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Stick (for on lips) - £11 from Escentual
Because this stick has a high SPF in it I find it leaves my lips with a lslight white finish to it however, I usually wear this wear under a lipstick with no problems. If I am not wearing a lipstick I then rub a very small amount of it into my lipsuntil it is clear. I habe to use this because my lips are the most sun intolerant and have the most reaction, so I must say this has been a life saver product for me and my sun allergies.

Simple Lip Protection SPF 20 approx £3-£4 from Superdrug 
This is a lot more moisturising than the La Roche-Posay stick and does not leave a white residue. It is my fave of the two sun protective lip products I use. However, they are so hard to find, one summer they are available then the next they are not, which is why I buy at least 5 when I find them. Simple, please sort this out!

Garneir Ambre Soilare Face Cream Sensitive Advanced Protection Lotion SPF50+ mini size (not pictured) - approx £4 from Boots
Very similar to the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Face Fluid, I think they have similar ingredients in it specifically for sun sensitive skin. I bought this in the mini size which is great for leaving in my bag to use throughout the day to top up. I find that this formula is a lot more moisturisng than the Face Fluid which is why I use this a lot more when at home in the UK, it blends well into my skin without leaving a white cast.