Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Beauty | Revlon - Parfumerie Scented Nail Enamel in Beachy Review

I have to admit that the first thing that caught my eye whilst browsing for a summer nail colour was the shape of the bottle. It isn't like your standard nail polish bottle, it is almost like a little perfume bottle. Which swiftly brings me to the unique selling point of Revlons latest nail polish... it is fragranced! Albeit very subtle, each colour has its own fragrance, the colour I chose was Beachy, which smells of holidays. I love the colour as it is a golden bronze which is going to look great in the summer and with a tan. There are 24 colours in the range so there is a lot to choose from, but for what I was looking for, Beachy was the colour I had to go for. The applicator brush isn't the best polish brush I have come across, it is very thin, but it certainly isn't the worst and I managed to do a reasonable job very quickly (don't judge me too much by the pictures!). I really like the idea of a fragranced nail polish too as I am not a fan of the strong smells usually associated with polishes. When applying there is still a chemical type smell but afterwards the fragrance comes through, I am not sure how long it lasts as I have only just applied it. Overall, I think this is a nice edition to my nail polish collection, it may be a bit of a gimmick but the odd one doesn't harm! I am seriously tempted by the China Flower colour too!

Luxe Beauty | Smashbox - Always Sharp 3D Liner in Gemstone Review

I have quite a few products from the smashbox range and when I get to using them I am never disappointed in their quality or uniqueness. This product is no different. Thanks to the clever packaging (and you may have guessed it from the name...), this liner is never blunt, which is useful for always getting a precise line. I chose Gemstone so that I could wear it during the day as a more subtle eye look and it really is perfect for that. It adds a bit of colour without being the focus of your face.There is a slight bit of shimmer in there that you can just about see in the swatch, this gives it a bit of a sparkle and your eyes a little bit of a pop. I have found that it stays put all day and doesn't smudge or mysteriously disappear into the corners of your eye (always a nice trait in an eye liner!). I really love the fact that all the smashbox products I have had each have a little quirk or wow factor, whether it is the quality of the packaging or that the lid keeps the liner sharp, I am always pleasantly surprised.

I have also reviewed some eye liners from the limitless range too (read here).

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Beauty | Kiko Cosmetics - Velvet Touch Creamy Stick Blush Review

Another product from my Kiko Cosmetics haul recently, I have far too many blushers, but I couldn't resist this one. In the same range and packaging as the Radiant Touch Creamy Stick Highlighter (read here for a review), this cream blush is easy to use with the perfect amount of colour pigmentation. As the name hints, it has a velvety soft texture which doesn't leave the skin sticky and it blends easily. I like this being in a stick form as it is easier to measure how much product you put on each cheek, whereas I find it hard to judge when scooping out of a pot. I often use a combination of cream blush and powder blush, and this is great accompaniment to a lighter more shimmery powder. The benefit of layering powder blush on top of cream blush is it stays in place and you can blend to get the perfect blush colour for your tone. As anyone that reads my blog regularly knows, I can't rave about this brand enough as I love their products, prices and packaging, anyone else tried out any Kiko Cosmetics products?

Beauty | Kiko Cosmetics - Radiant Touch Creamy Stick Highlighter Review

As part of my Kiko Cometics haul when I was in Florence, I picked up this highlighter stick. I liked the idea of a highlighter stick as other highlighters I own are in liquid form. The packaging is sturdy and feels good quality. As you can see from the swatch pic, the effect (I put a little more on than you would on your face so the camera could pick it up) is very sheer with a gorgeous golden shimmer. The application is very easy, so easy that I added it to my everyday makeup routine (read here) and it is hard to overdo it with this stick unlike liquid highlighters which can go wrong quite easily if you put too much on! The product doesn't leave your skin sticky either, it sits on the skin lightly. I have said it in many of my posts but I will say it again, the value for money in the products from Kiko Cosmetics is unbelievable! Great beauty products at good prices, that is always going to put a smile on my face!

Luxe Beauty Life | Makeup for Work Routine

Well, I don't know about you but in the morning before work I just want to get ready and out of the door as quick as possible... this means I get more beauty sleep (trust me I need it!). So the makeup I wear for work is about speed and ease of application. Top tip: Keep it all together in a separate makeup bag so there is no wasting time rummaging around trying to find what you're looking for. Before applying though I prep my skin...

Firstly I like to give my skin a bit of a boost so I use an oil cleanser in the morning, I find it gives a great base for makeup and the little bit of luxury perks me up. At the moment I am using the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil sample I got in a beauty box a few weeks ago, a little is going a long way! Then I spritz my skin with a brightening mist, it feels refreshing and acts as a toner - L'Occitane Immortelle Essential Water. I am currently using some No.7 serum and moisturising cream that I received in a gift set at Christmas, I really like the day cream in particular as it is fresh and light for the morning - No 7 Protect & Perfect Beauty Serum & No 7 Protect & Perfect Intense Day Cream

After that routine my skin is in a good place for makeup application. I use a primer to ensure my makeup stays in place, again I am using a sample from a beauty box at the moment as I like to save my Laura Mercia for weekends and going out. The one I am using works great and gives a radiance boost (which I definitely need on a weekday morning!) - Monu Illuminating Primer. In work I like my makeup to be as natural and barely there as possible, I find CC cream to be the best base for this and applying is a lot faster than foundation, I love the Olay CC cream and it isn't hugely expensive. Dark circles are always needing tending to, in the morning especially and this one is my every day, night, weekend, holiday favourite - YSL Touche Eclat. I like powder finishes so I use MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural which is such a great product, it perfects your makeup finish without leaving your skin overly made up and gives you a little bit of colour. I have used these blushers for years - Bourjois Blush in Rose de Jaspe, I have tons of other blush powders, tints and creams that I use at other times, but this is my go to in the mornings and the little brush that comes with it makes application so quick and easy. I use brown and black eyeliner all of the time but in work I like to play it down a bit so I use a dark plum colour, I find this works really well at keeping my eye makeup subtle. Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer in Perfect Plum is excellent for staying where it should do. When it comes to eye makeup I love nothing more than adding a bit of colour and blending till my hearts content, but there's no time for that in the morning so I grab one of the Maybelline Color Tattoo 24hr colours, my favourites are Metallic Pomegranate, On and Bronze and Pink Gold. They work really well for staying in place, I find eye creams really easy to apply and keep the eyes subtle but interesting. I really like using stick highlighters when I am in a rush so the Kiko Cosmetics Creamy Stick Highlighter does just the job and saves time compared to liquid highlighters. Finally I finish off with some GOSH Growth Mascara, it provides great volume and it has the added bonus of having lash lengthening formula in it so that it is encouraging your lashes to grow while you wear it. If I am having a lipstick day then I usually opt for a nude (reviews here) or just keep my lip moisturised with whatever lip balm I have to hand.

What is your make up for work routine?

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Beauty | Kiko Cosmetics - Mat Mousse Oil Free Foundation Review

This was a product I picked up recently when I went a little crazy in a Kiko Cosmetics store (luckily their prices are good otherwise I'd be on bread and water!). I have to admit, and being a makeup addict, I am not sure I am allowed to, I am not a huge foundation fan. Shock horror. I much prefer tinted moisturisers or a BB/CC cream as it is hard to go wrong with them, whereas foundations get tricky in application and making sure you apply evenly. However, that being said, every now and then I wonder how lovely my face could look and I buy the odd foundation. Seeing the words mat (matte) and oil free, my foundation curiosity was peaked yet again and I though 'ah go on then'. So, is it any good? Well, as I am not an avid foundation fan, I would say yes. One of my faves is the Nars Sheer Glow Foundation, but at a third of the price I would say the Kiko Cosmetics product is pretty darn good. It gives great coverage, matte finish, feels very light and natural and it smoothes skin tone really quite effectively. The products lasts really well too, I first used it without a primer and I have to say I didn't notice much difference after a few hours and the forehead shine I am a little prone to was kept at bay. I do love that is has SPF15 in there too to protect your skin. This product might well just creep it's way in to my weekend makeup! What is your favourite foundation?

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Luxe Beauty Life | Wishlist March 2014

Well, it is that time of the month where pay day feels far away, I have no money, but I have a whole load of things that I am lusting after! Here are my top 5:

YSL Touche Eclat Wild Edition - Touche Eclat dressed up in leopard print, need I say more?

Ying Yu Rose Quartz Face Roller - I have been eyeing up a face roller for some time now as I suffer from the odd bit of puffiness every now and then, this one is just so beautiful.

Bobbi Brown Nectar and Nude Collection - I am trying not to look, or read, or try any of this collection, I already know I want it, and I already know I don't need it...maybe just one product won't harm.

Kissing Elixirs Vanilla Mint Lip Balm- You all know by now I love a good gimmick, this is probably one of them, doesn't make me want it less though. Vanilla and mint, yum!

Guerlain Meteorites Pearls Powder - Radiance in pretty packaging, who could want more??

What are you tempted by this month?

Monday, 17 March 2014

Beauty | Kiko Cosmetics Boulevard Rock Limited Edition Collection

While I was is Italy recently I bought some makeup from the Boulevard Rock Limited Edition Collection by Kiko Cosmetics. The range has tons to choose from and it is all in funky and fun packaging which made it super hard to choose what to buy, but this is what I went for...

Kiko Cosmetics - Rock Attraction Bronzer in Steady Honey Review

I admit, I didn't need a bronzer, but I couldn't resist how the product was pressed into a zip shape! The container is really cool too with a colourful matte finish. The product itself is well pigmented and gives the skin a warm glow. It is very light and almost sheer so it provides a natural flush of colour, I think this will be great in the summer to give a radiance boost.

Kiko Cosmetics - Street Fashion Eyeshadow Palette in Grounge Couture Review

Again, very cool packaging which I completely fell for. The colours are vibrant and can be applied to a subtle or loud look as you want. The powder lasts well, but it does have a bit of fall out but applies to the eye lids easily and blends well. I would say this is another fun summer product.

Kiko Cosmetics - Glow Touch Lip & Cheeks in Magnetic Mauve Review

I love this balm, it smells and tastes like vanilla (which happens to be one of my favourite scents) and is light on both lips and cheeks. It isn't greasy, it has a velvety texture and it hydrates the lips well and gives a subtle glow on cheeks.

Kiko Cosmetics - Rock Idol Lipstick in 03 Rebel Coral Review

This lipstick has a satin finish but goes on to the lips easily like a glossy lip balm, it can feel slightly grainy on the lips though. I love this colour (dare I say summer again??) but it does slightly dry your lips so I would suggest applying lip balm first.

Kiko Cosmetics - Denim Nail Laquer in Tribal Purple Review

I can't resist buying nail polish, there are just too many colours to try out. The Denim Nail Laquer finish is matte which I love amd it applies easily and gives great coverage with two coats. The colour is dark pink/purple which works well for work and is still colourful enough to give you a lift.

In summary, I am really enjoying discovering the brand as it is quite new to me and this limited edition collection really showcases what the brand is all about...fun and colour with quality products, and the huge bonus of it being reasonably priced! Have you tried any Kiko Cosmetics products yet?

Luxe Beauty Life | Sunny Days Sunday

Aaaah give me sunshine! The last couple of weekends have been a glimpse of, hopefully (touch wood, fingers crossed, don't-say-it-out-loud), warmer months to come. In prepation for this warmer weather that (please please please) will be on its way I had a little sundance and started preparing. First thing first, some spring colours on your nails is a great way to get you in the mood and perk you up, I went for Cheeky Chat Me Up Nail Paint in Tongue 'n' Cheek (Click here). Lovely! Then I started on my feet, sandals will be incoming and my feet are not ready to be shown!! So I slathered on some Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Cream (Click here), it smells delicious, it doesn't leave your feet feeling sticky and warms up nicely whilst you massage it in...walking on a cloud right now! I use an epilator on my legs as I think it gives great results that last longer than shaving, and easier than booking in for a wax, but epilating does come with the down side of ingrown hairs. To combat this I exfoliate regularly and also use SkinDoctors Ingrow Go (Click here) which really helps prevent hair growing underneath the skin by cleaning and purifying pores and exfoliating the skin. The orange lips trend is perfect for a sunny day so I popped on some Revlon Colorburst Laquer Balm in Tease Seductrice. Top it all off with a spritz of Jean Paul Gaultier Summer Edition and now I am ready for some rays! What do you do to get ready for the warmer days?

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Beauty | Kiko Cosmetics - Unlimited Stylo Lipstick in Burgundy Review

Part of my Kiko Cosmetics haul from Italy was this long wearing lipstick, it is packaged well, the container doesn't feel cheap (even though the price is) and from first glance it looks like a lovely deep colour, which is No.12 Burgundy. First thing I notice when applying is that the shape of the product doesn't allow for following your lip shape easily. As you can see from my pic of of own application, the product is too chunky and not precise enough, so I would recommend using a lip brush. The lipstick is very pigmented and results in a beautiful colour on your lips which truly is long lasting. Once dry the lipstick doesn't budge and it takes a couple of hours before it needs a touch up. The lipstick doesn't dry out your lips either despite its matte finish, and when first applying it feels quite hydrating. In summary, there are plenty of positives about this lipstick, including the price, with the only negative being the limitations of not being able to top up on the go without a lip brush for a good lip shape. I'll be keeping an eye out for other colours with this one!

Beauty | Rimmel - ScandalEyes Eye Shadow Stick Review + Discount

I love anything that makes makeup application easy and fast, and this eye shadow stick is right up there! Application and blending is very easy due to the creamy texture, and the high pigmentation means just a small amount adds a lot of colour. The colour is long wearing too, so you can rest easy it will be as you applied it at the end of the day.

I got to try out the ScandalEyes Eye Shadow Stick in Blamed Blue, and as you can see from the pictures it gives a bright sparkly finish. On my eyes (sorry about the blurred pic!) I blended with a dark silver cream shadow to show how versatile this can be as you can have a bright pop of colour or something more subtle. Until the 18th March 2014 my readers can get 20% off at thehut.com when buying two Rimmel products here just enter code RIMMEL20. These  eye shadow sticks are great value so I will be stocking up on different colours and trying out some mixes. 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Luxe Beauty | By Terry - Baume De Rose 10 Year Anniversary Coffret Review

I have been lusting after this one for a while and when the 10th anniversary edition came out all lovely and decorated, it made me want it more. Lucky me received the gift set with the pot and tube version as a very generous birthday gift and I am delighted! It is a beautiful gift to receive, partly due to it not being something I would not tend to buy myself with such a high price tag. The balm itself has a gel like texture which is light on your lips but lasts for hours (right now it is lunch time, I applied at around 7am and I can still feel it there keeping my lips hydrated), it has a gorgeous rose scent which, personally, I love but I know it isn't for everyone. The tube that is included in the set is so luxurious with all the niceness of the balm in the pot but with added gloss and subtle sparkle. Also for the germ concious of you it gives the added practicality for being on the go and not worrying about poking dirty fingers in to the pot. In summary, I would say it is a hefty price tag but to receive as a gift or a one off present to oneself i would say it is a lovely balm to own and it looks soooo pretty on the dressing table!! 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Luxe Beauty | Yet Another Rave GlamGlow Review

The best face mask in the world is its tagline on the website...and I think it might be. I don't say that lightly at all but I have tried a LOT of face masks and none of them have been so instantly effective as this. I am sorry to be yet another blogger raving about GLAMGLOW, but how could I not?!

My skin has been a bit of a nightmare of late, spots, redness and shine galore! I received the try before you buy sample kit and decided this skin 'phase' would be a great test of just how good this product is. I whacked on the GLAMGLOW SUPERMUD Clearing Treatment like there was no tomorrow in a desperate attempt to clear up my hell skin, left it on for 20 mins and then cleaned off with water. I spent the rest of the day without makeup...my skin just felt way too gorgeous to be covering up. Not only was all signs of redness instantly cleared up, but my skin felt so smooth and even, like all was forgiven and we could be friends again.

Not wanting to stop there I thought my dark circles could do with a zap so I peeled open a GLAMGLOW BRIGHTMUD Eye Treatment, I was a little frugle and only used one portion for both eyes. Left it one for 3 mins, it tingled like crazy (I am guessing that is the peppermint) and the result was really shocking! I have a slightly olive complexion so I am prone to terrible dark circles which I am forever trying to sort out, after 3 mins with the eye mud on, they were visibly reduced, and continued to reduce over the next hour or so as some of the product is left on when you wipe away with a dry tissue.

The next day I thought I would complete the set and give the GLAMGLOW YOUTHMUD Tinglexfoliate Treatment...wowza! This is some serious face treatment, the 10 mins of tingling and tightening followed by an intense exfoliation as you wipe it off, leaves you feeling like you have a new face. I can completely see now why so many people rave about this and it is used my so many celebrities.

You can buy the pictured try before you buy sample kit here to try out all three but if you have the money I would just go all out and invest in full size as this is going to be a weekly treatment for me and, I imagine, the majority of people who try it!

Luxe Beauty Life | Mothers Day Present Ideas

This might be a little premature but Mothers Day will be here before we know it (30th March) so I thought I would write about some present ideas to spoil our lovely Mums.

Molton Brown Orange & Bergamot Replenishing Hand Cream
I just love hand creams and I think they make a lovely gift, at £10, this Molton Brown hand cream is a great price, smells divine and leaves hands moisturised without feeling greasy - click here

L'Occitane Free Gift Code
L'Occitane has hundreds of fabulous products and what is more, enter the code ADYY (valid 1st - 31st March 2014 when you spend £30 or more) and you will get a free Revitalising Spring Collection (worth £21.50) so you can give your Mum an extra gift - or keep it for yourself! - click here

Montagne Juenesse Gorgeous Gift Pamper Pack
I am a massive fan of these face masks and they are a great price at £5 for a gift pack - click here - and if you are lucky you will get to try one out too while you have a gossip over a cuppa.

Elemis Sparkling Beauty - Advanced Skincare Set
If your Mum really deserves a treat then this Elemis gift set will definitely get her smiling, and to save you wrapping it up it comes in a lovely gift box...smiles all round! £49.50 - click here

I hope my suggestions have given you some inspiration, have a great Mothers Day!

Luxe Life | io Osteria Personale, Florence, Review

As a birthday treat Mr D booked a table at io Osteria Personale in Florence. On approach this is a very unassuming place, without a hint of pretentiousness. It was well decorated inside with a modern contemporary feel, and the welcome from the staff was very warm, which was not something we found everywhere in Florence.

We opted for the 6 course tasting menu and we requested some matching wines too which weren't on the menu but the owner, Matteo, was happy to cater for us. The tasting menu is not set, it is simply a choice of 5 dishes and each person at the table can select their own dessert. Our meal went as follows:

Some tasty breadsticks to start which all had different flavours through the centre (my favourite was tomato)

Potato, lemon, anchovy and chive soup (compliments of the chef). This was a lovely appetite warmer with a thick consistency and plenty of taste.

Sea bass Tartare (a choice from Mr D). I would definitely not pick this dish as anything tartare doesn't jump out at me, but this made me think twice on picking this next time. The sea bass was served with ricotta, pine kernels, baby spinach and balsamic vinegar. The texture of the sea bass was not what I was expecting and served on a bed of ricotta it gave it a twist of alternative textures, and the tastes of the other ingredients on the plate complimented it perfectly.

Sichuan pepper Mackerel which was served with ginger-cauliflower cream and broccoli. I loved the combination of the strong Mackerel taste with sichuan pepper and ginger.

Pecorino Cheese Panna Cotta. Wow! The cheese panna cotta was a real lip smacker and served with turnip greens, dried fava bean puree and toasted tomato breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs were my favourite aspect of this dish, even though the panna cotta brought a huge smile to my face, the tomato taste was very concentrated in the breadcrumbs and provided a tangy after taste to each mouthful.

Duck Breast was next up and was so tasty that I only managed to picture the empty plate...oops! Served with caper powder, citrus mayo with candied orange and fennel - this was a real unique dish. The fennel left a fresh after taste and complimented the citrus mayo beautifully, whilst the duck was cooked to perfection with a lovely pink colour.

Cinta Senese Pork Fillet was the last of our savoury dishes but by no means the least, antichokes, mint pesto and lemon finished up the dish again with the meat cooked to perfection.

The two desserts we went for were:

Olive Oil Chocolate Souffle with Pear Sorbet. This souffle was a good height and airy texture with a rich chocolate and the sorbet so lightly flavoured that the pear was a hint of taste rather than overwhelming.

White Chocolate and Olive Oil Hot Cream with Lavender Slush. This dessert blew my mind! If I was to recommend one dish that you don't miss, this would be it. The white chocolate and olive oil hot cream acted like a warm soup with a conflict of cold lavender slush on top...heaven!

The wines that stood out that we tasted were; Sparkling Reisling, not one I have come across before but surprisingly close to champagne. Dessert wines, the two picked out for us complimented our desserts well and weren't overpowering and sickly as some can be when not well matched.

In summary, this was a spectacular meal with creative twists but still true to the tuscan region in which the restaurant sits. It wasn't busy on the Tuesday that we visited, in fact for the majority of the meal we were the only ones there, but the atmosphere of the restaurant didn't create an awkward environment in any way. We felt at ease and very welcome throughout. The source of all the ingredients are listed in the menu which is always great to see and I feel that we only scratched the surface of the potential of the menu choices.

Luxe Life | A Romantic Trip to Florence

I have just returned from a wonderful Birthday trip to Florence, Italy, where the weather was dry and mild, food was fabulous and the drinks flowed freely. Mr D and I flew out from London Heathrow and were treated to a spectacular view as we flew over the Alps... (now have a slight urge to go skiing!)

We had to fly into Pisa as there were no flights to Florence when we wanted but this was no hassle at all, hopped on the PisaMover bus to the train station and €20 for both of us and an hour later and we had arrived in Florence! It really was a lot simpler than we were expecting and pretty cheap to boot!

We arrived at the San Gallo Palace Hotel to drop off our bags and headed straight out. The hotel was just perfect for a city break, it was just 15mins walk from the centre (there was a bus service if you wanted to save your energy), the room was spacious, and clean, with an outside and inside seating area and a comfy bed...what more can you ask for? We walked in to town and found our bearings, with the help of a glass of prosecco and our first meal was pizza (I admit it, pizza is completely my favourite food, ever) washed down with some lovely prosecco (maybe there is a trend coming on for this holiday). Yum!

The next day we went and hit the shops, there is an amazing designer street in Florence called Via Tornabuoni where all the big names are, not to mention the flagship Gucci store and home to a cafe owned by Roberto Cavalli, called Cafe Giacosa, which has the perfect outside seating area to sit out and people watch...maybe with a glass of prosecco.

Duomo is hugely impressive and I just couldn't get enough pictures of it, we decided not to suffer the long queue to go inside as I had read that the inside was sparsely decorated and the big wow factor was the outside. From the square that Duomo sits on, there a other shopping streets which is where I stumbled across a Kiko Cosmetics store...WOW! I had a little splurge in there which I have posted separately about (click here).

For lunch on day two we had a meat platter (which was huge) and a glass of delicious red at a wine store called Obsequium which we stumbled across in the area South of the Ponte Vecchio (bridge). It was €10 each for a meat platter and a glass of wine, but the portions were so generous that it felt like a real bargain.

The high light of the day was going to Officina Profuma-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Nouvello, the oldest pharmacy in the world. The only way to describe this place was magical! It was like a dream world for anyone that loves their beauty products, we treated ourselves to a couple of colognes, but I really could have bought so much more! It was full of interesting lotions and potions that have been produced since they began production 400 years ago.

In the evening we were hoping to go to dinner at Obika, located on Via Tornabuoni, but it was super popular and they didn't have any tables so we had a wander and found a lovely little restaurant called xx which served mean ravioli and a spritz on the side. Of course before that we had treated ourselves to a wine stop in a little place called Panini Tartufati which was also located on the Via Tornabuoni.

Day 3 was Birthday Day! In the morning we went and soaked up some culture at the Uffizi Gallery (worth mentioning that many attractions aren't open on Mondays so plan your days well). The building of the gallery was stunning and it also offered some beautiful views of the surrounding landscape on the second floor. After working up an appetite walking around nearly 100 rooms of Uffizi, we managed to bag a table at Obika and we had a delicious sharing platter followed by (some more) pizza.

I have to admit to a little thing I have, it is widely known as a stationary obsession, usually found in children, and older children who haven't grown up yet! Florence has a number of beautiful and historic paper making stores so I spent the afternoon marching Mr D up and down the little streets of Florence seeking all these wondrous stores out.

It started to drizzle slightly so we went in search for (you guessed it) a little bar we could take shelter and we found this interesting bar called La Cite which was a cross of a bookstore/bar/cafe/music venue. We wiled away a couple of hours here chatting about the last couple of days and comparing to other cities we have been to.

Birthday dinner was a real treat, Mr D had booked a table at io Osteria Personale (which I have written in more detail here). This restaurant was located a little out of the way with a real understated frontage, you enter to a smart, trendy interior and you are treated to a taste sensation (I would definitely recommend the tasting menu!)

On the last day we only had the morning so we made a last minute dash back to one of the stores we had come across, called Alberto Cozzi, which is a 4th generation bookbinders also famous for their marbled paper, to buy a leather notebook with my name pressed on to the front...I am just a little bit in love with this notebook!

I had a fantastic time in Florence and I would say it is so worth a visit, a few things to take note of are; customer service isn't the best, maybe due to the fact that locals don't tip, but get used to service without a smile so that you aren't sat there bemused. Often in bars and cafes when ordering a drink there is food available to pick at for free or you are given some crostini with your drink. Lastly, if you are fit and able then walking is the best form of transport as much of the centre is restricted to vehicles and Florence is relatively easy to get around and places aren't too far away any way.

Anyone else with places you recommend in Florence or useful tips?