London Leopard ♥

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Travel Diary: A Day In Toulouse ♥

Satarday 27th January 2018
I'm waiting for my flight at Stansted airport. I am deciding to possibly give up alcohol and I am sat at my favourite cocktail bar. Usually I would get a glass of champagne before my flight, but today I decided to get a mocktail (non alcoholic cocktail). It has berries and mint which tastes quite refreshing. I can't wait to get to Toulouse and explore. 

I've just eaten Brunch in a french cafe which included a lot of food. A glass of orange juice, a cappuccino, carrot cake, pancakes, bruschetta, egg salad, and a salmon bagel. I am so stuffed and could not finish the pancakes :(. My impression of Toulouse so far is positive because I like the atmosphere. People are also friendlier than I expected...you know about the France stereotype right?. Speaking of people, my waiter is so gorgeous! I don't know what it is about French men that makes me weak. Anyway I think it is time to go and explore now because my time is limited. 

I am currently taking a relaxation break in a church. Prior to arriving, I took a trip to a violet themed boat shop. The purpleness reminded me of Marseille minus the hefty price tag. I bought myself a towel, and can't help thinking about how I should of bought it in Marseille because it was half the price. Oh well. I feel like Toulouse is generally expensive apart from transport. A day pass cost me 6 euros which is the cheapest I have seen in Western Europe so far. Anyway, so after the lavender shop I came to Basilique Saint-Sernin church. It is so peaceful and quiet in here which is nice. I am guessing that this church has some historical significance because there are sculptures and information plaques everywhere. But...they are only in French so I don't understand anything. I'm going to relax here for a while and then head off to a museum. 

I am now "reporting" from the airport. So I went to Musee des Augustins and it was really cool. They had some Roman things but yet again everything was in French. I guess that is not a bad thing because it means that tourism has not taken over Toulouse yet. A staff member told me off for using a selfie stick in the museum gardens. I could understand not using one inside but this was outside in a quiet area! So of course I did it again when the woman was gone. It was a beautiful garden and I needed at least 1 selfie to remember the trip. After that I wondered to the Pont Neuf bridge to explore and snap a photo. 

Anyway, I have enjoyed my day in Toulouse despite the rain and freezing cold. I personally don't think that any longer than a day is needed to explore this city. I am off to Paris next month so that will be a continuation of my France adventure. But for now I am going to enjoy my pasta and wait for the flight back to London. 

                                                                                            au revoir

                       llondon leopard
                            xoxo

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Sunday, 28 January 2018

Japanese Beauty Subscription Box ♥

This subscription box is called "nomakenolife". This is what I got in January 2018 from the company.  


 1. Fiancee fragrance powder-a translucent powder with SPF 23. 

 2. Beauty world beauty glitter- used to create eye shadow.

 3. Honeil cleansing oil- for your body.

 4. Chocomint mask- a Japanese sheet mask.

 5. Mochipuru strawberry daifuku mask- a Japanese sheet mask.

 6. Mapepe eyelash curler- comes with spare grips.

              
                 llondon leopard
                       xoxo
   
 
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Saturday, 6 January 2018

Shea Moisture Frizz Defense Shampoo ♥

I bought this shampoo from my local Superdrug store.  I have mixed feelings about this product to be honest. It left residue in my hair the first time I used it which was very annoying. I have used it a few times since then and it has been fine. I like the fact that it is sulfate free so it is not too drying on the hair. But I think that I do have to use a lot more of the product because of this. It has a very strange smell which I would describe as something like...sweets mixed with herbs. It's not a horrible smell but it's not amazing either. I think I will continue to use this shampoo until the bottle is finished, but i'm not sure if I would buy it again. I am on a hunt for the perfect sulfate free shampoo and this one has not exactly wooed me. However, I would still recommend it for anyone who likes to live a pro natural lifestyle.

                      llondon leopard
                           xoxo
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Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 Reflections: The Good The Bad And The Ugly♥

       
What made me happy and inspired?
We all know what my top answer is going to be...travel. It is pretty much at the top of my list for happiness.  To be honest travel has also inspired me in many ways. It has inspired me to be brave, to be confident, to be flexible, to try new things. I always vowed to myself that I would only feel safe travelling solo in "western countries". But this month I have reflected on all my travels and just thought...why limit myself?. So I booked a trip to Turkey for next year.

So many other things have made me happy, and it is sometimes just the every day simple things in life. The Autumn leaves, the Spring flowers, the blissful silence as I watch rain drops trickle down my window. I am happy when soaking in a colourful bubble bath. I can just be free and let my body float away, as my mind drifts off in to another world. Cocktails made me happy. Airports made me happy. I always feel like a supermodel who is walking down a runway with her suitcase. Seeing friends and family made me happy. Knowing that I am progressing in life makes me happy. Journaling my thoughts feelings and dreams made me happy. These are the things that I need to hold on to next year.

What made me sad, irritated and uninspired?

Bitter people made me sad. But I have learnt to ignore the snide remarks and keep as much distance as possible. All the war has made me sad but I realise that there is nothing that I can do to stop it. The increase in food prices has irritated me. The fact that we are leaving the EU has left me uninspired. It is my generation who will suffer the consequences. Colds, flus, and the usual winter bacteria have left me irritated. 

What have I learnt in 2017?

I have learnt that you should do whatever makes you happy...not what makes society happy.
I have learnt that hard work will pay off eventually. 
I have learnt that it is important to save money because you don't know what the future holds.
I have learnt that bubble baths are really good for relaxation.
I have learnt that I am happy with who I am as a person. 

Habits to keep
Travelling frequently
Saving money
Buying more vegetables than meat

Habits to ditch
Spending money on lunch at work
Sleeping too late
Forgetting to floss



                                                             llondon leopard                                                         xoxo
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Friday, 29 December 2017

My Travel Resume ♥

The year is almost over and I got this cool idea from a travel blogger to write my own travel CV. Have a look at mine to see where I have been...



Personal Information
Name: Zainab 
Date of birth: 25-02-1994
Place of birth: London, England 
Nationality: British 

Education
The world (1994-present)


Relevant travel experience 
<2007
-Dubai
-Wales: Llandudno

-Pakistan: Islamabad, Gurjranwala, Jhelum

2008

-America: Philadelphia, Maryland, New Jersey, DC


2009

-Uganda: Kampala, Entebbe




2012
-Netherlands: Amsterdam 


2014

-Netherlands: Amsterdam (again)
-Spain: Barcelona


2015

- Greece: Crete
- Switzerland: Geneva, Zurich
- Scotland: Edinburgh
- Wales: Cardiff 



2016

- France:Paris
- Belgium: Brussels, Bruges  
- Germany: Berlin, koln, Frankfurt
- Denmark: Copenhagen 
- Norway: Oslo
- Spain: Madrid
- Ireland: Dublin, Belfast 
- Thailand: Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Pattaya 
- Laos: Don Sao Island 
- Slovenia: Ljubljana, Bled,
- Montenegro: Podgorica, Kotor, Budva
- Kosovo: Pristina  


2017
- Denmark: Copenhagen (again)
- Bulgaria: Sofia
- Italy: Milan, Rome, Venice
- Luxembourg: Luxembourg city

- Portugal: Lisbon, Sintra, Cascais  
- Netherlands: Amsterdam (again) 
- France: Marseille
- Poland: Krakow, Oswiecim


Achievements 

- Climbed mount Triglav in Slovenia.
- Taught English to some sexually inappropriate... Typical teenage monks in Thailand. 

- Found accommodation within 5 minutes of being kicked out of the hotel in Montenegro. 

- Became an expert at communicating with people who cannot speak a word of English.

- Survived a kidnapping attempt in Bangkok.

- Taken selfies with over 100 tourists who have never seen a black person before.


Skills

-10/10 scam raider
- Cheap flight expert

- Master of solo travel
- Outstanding trip planner
- Elephant riding
- Camel riding
- Flirting to obtain freebies/discounts
- People watching





                  llondon leopard 
                        xoxo
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Sunday, 17 December 2017

The Little House Of Hygge Subscription Box ♥

I have never been one to purchase subscription boxes, but I also feel like everything is worth a try. I wanted to purchase a travel themed subscription box but they are all based in the US which means that shipping costs are ridiculous. I am a lover of Scandinavia and it is currently the Danish "hygge" season. So I bought a one off Christmas subscription box from The Little House Of Hygge

    It came in this beautiful box which was decorated with ribbons.


...and this is what the box contained. There is a tealight holder in the shape of a house which is really cute. There is a Christmas candle which I have been burning all weekend. It smells like gingerbread and cinnamon. There are also some cute cookies in the shape of Christmas pudding...I will be saving those until 24th December. There is a gingerbread man bath bomb that I cannot wait to use this month. Then there are two hanging decorations and a Christmas tree decoration, which I have placed on my bedside table. I think it's a cute seasonal box which is definitely going to liven up my December. 

llondon leopard
xoxo


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Saturday, 9 December 2017

5 Reasons I Will Never Go Back To Venice ♥


It's not very often that I come across destinations that I don't like. I have enjoyed almost every place I have visited...and trust me there are MANY. Before Venice the only other place I did not like was Oslo, Norway. Now I will have to add Venice to the list. It's okay to not have the same opinion as everyone else, which is why I am writing this post. 

Venice is expensive. Switzerland is very expensive but it provides value for money, whereas Venice really doesn't. You can argue that going outside of the tourists areas is cheaper but the value is still bad. I paid 20 Euros for a 1 day ticket on the local bus boat. The food is also expensive and has to be the worst food I have ever tasted in Italy. I don't know what they cook in Venice but it's certainly not authentic Italian food. For example, I ordered spaghetti alle vongole from a restaurant which is popular with the locals. It was expensive and happened to be the worst vongole I have ever tasted in my life. I also ordered arancini from a snack bar and it tasted like plastic!. Oh and you have to pay extra to eat/drink in at many places including bars. I think it is absolutely  ridiculous.Things are expensive but the quality never seems to match the price. 


Venice is overcrowded. Many places are crowded with tourists but Venice is just something else. You have to queue for like 10 minutes just to get a nice photo because there is an army of 500 tourists trying to get the same photo.  It's hard to find any local Venetians, and that is something important for me when travelling. I like to avoid tourists and prefer to observe and interact with the locals. 

Venice is a tourist trap.  The whole city is like a theme park specifically made for tourists. Almost every shop in the city is a souvenir shop selling the SAME souvenirs. You would expect that from places like Paris or Rome but no. They only have souvenir shops near the attractions. Where is the Italian culture? that is what I came to see but everything is focused towards tourism. It was such a disappointment.

Venice canals stink. Okay I will admit that i'm exaggerating with this one. Yes the canals do smell but it's not that bad. You will occasionally inhale a gassy smell from canal but It will go away after 10 seconds. 

Venice lacks toilets. It is not easy to find a public toilet in Venice and most snack bars don't even have a toilet (because many things are strictly "take away"). There are only a couple of public toilets in the whole city!

                       llondon leopard
                            xoxo

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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp

My main reason for visiting Krakow was to see Auschwitz concentration camp. It is in a town 1 hour away from Krakow called Oswiecim. I tried to prepare myself by watching the movie "Schindlers List" before my trip. But nothing could ever prepare me for what I was about to see. The entrance of the camp is labelled with the words "arbeit macht frei" (work sets you free). Most of those people would never be free, nor would they even have the opportunity to work. 

I saw many things that made me feel physically sick. I heard many stories that made me feel physically sick. One of the pictures above shows a pile of suitcases taken from the Auschwitz victims before they were gassed. Their names and places of birth were written on the suitcases. I saw a display case full of hair from the victims. Their heads were shaved and the hair was used to make socks and cushions. I am still struggling to understand how human beings could be so evil. 

The first photo shows pictures of the victims, the date they entered Auschwitz, and the date they died. There was a man who only survived three days. I have been back in England for 2 weeks but I still can't get the images of those prisoners out of my head. I deliberately went to Auschwitz in the winter, so that I could try to imagine how cold they felt. Dressed in nothing but a pair of striped pyjamas.

I could go on for days talking about this place, but that is not the purpose of this post. I just want to stress how important it is to see this place. I think it is something that every human needs to see. There are so many horrible things going on in the world and I would hate for something like this to happen again. I just wish that humans could be at peace with each other. 

                    llondon leopard
                          xoxo
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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Photo Diary: Krakow Poland ♥

I have just returned from my first trip to Poland which was a weekend in Krakow. I absolutely loved it and I want to visit Gdansk next year. There were horses in the main square ready to give rides to tourists. The Galleria Krakowska is a beautiful shopping centre connected to the main station. The prices of clothes were pretty much the same as the rest of Europe! So why does everybody think that Poland is dirt cheap?. Well the food and transport is certainly cheap but not the clothes. 


 Sukiennice cloth hall is definitely a must visit. It's an indoor market full of souvenirs and clothes. I came here twice during my visit to Krakow (that is how much I love this place). As you can see from the top picture, there is a lot of amber stalls. I am not too sure whether it is real but I bought an amber necklace and matching earrings. I also bought some wool winter slipper socks, gloves, a tote bag, a Krakow t-shirt, and wooden box. 


Polish food is amazing! I ate pierogi (dumplings stuffed with meat or veg) on my first day. It was at an outdoor restaurant which was covered with a glass roof and had fire heaters to keep everyone warm. I also tried a mushroom bread bowl soup which was a little bit disappointing. There are many carts in the city selling Obwarzanek krakowski which is like ring shaped bread. I got one with cheese and brought it back to England. Oh...and don't forget the vodka. It is really cheap in Poland and comes in many different flavours. I went to a vodka bar and got 6 LARGE shots for 30 Zloty (roughly £5). 

                    llondon leopard
                          xoxo
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Friday, 27 October 2017

How I Get More Out Of My Day ♥


1. Wake up early
Waking up early really does make difference to your day. I personally function better in the morning (given that I have had at least 8 hours sleep). I run errands early and have the rest of the day to myself. This is also how I managed to balance university with my travelling. Waking up early everyday meant that my work was always completed ahead of time, which gave me a few spare days to meet up with people or travel abroad. 


2. Eat breakfast
skipping breakfast is definitely not wise. I find that I function better when I have had something in the morning. It does not have to be a full English, a simple croissant or some fruit with a hot drink works well. How does it allow me to get more out of my day?...well It gives me more energy which motivates me to get things done.


3. Create a to do list
This is the most important thing for me. It really helps when my tasks pile up and it is a busy month. Having a "to do list" allows me to have a clear plan. Ticking things off one by one motivates me to try and complete the list as soon as possible.


4. Cut off negativity
Negativity can come in many forms. For me I cut off negativity in terms of people. I started to get more out of my day when I wasn't surrounded by drama and negative people. It is easier to focus on what you need to do when you are surrounded by positivity. 

                                                          llondon leopard
                             xoxo





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