Monday 25 November 2019

Travel skincare routine for dry skin

Dry skin can be difficult to manage in everyday life. I've known this for a fact since I was around 14 years old and realised that my skin felt like sand in winter and turned into an incurably spotty mess when transitioning into summer.

But having dry skin while travelling can be even worse. Travelling is such an enriching hobbie, and I couldn't imagine life without visiting different countries and taking in sights and cultures, however, it takes its toll on your skin. The plane journeys, the flitting between air conditioned hotel rooms and hot beaches, the different foods that your body isn't used to - all these (and more) are ingredients in a recipe for skin disaster. So it's vital to make sure that your skincare routine is up to scratch!

Earlier this year, I spent six weeks solo travelling in Australia (you can read more about my trip in the travel section of this blog). I left in April, and my skin was in the worst condition that it had ever been - so I was praying that the warm weather and sunshine would do it some good. 

I put together a bag of my absolute favourite products - the products that I would always turn to, time and time again, no matter how many new products I tried. When I'm travelling, I don't get homesick, but my skin does. So I knew that this kind of familiarity was what I needed in case the going got rough.

Here's what's in my travel make-up bag

Dermalogica travel minis

Dermalogica is my go-to skincare brand. I can always rely on their products to keep my skin in check if it gets dry or if I have a breakout. These particular travel minis were gifted to me, but I've been using Dermalogica since I was 18, so I've got all of these in their full sizes as part of my regular skincare routine.

I start by doing a double cleanse, which is Dermalogica's secret recipe to perfectly cleansed skin. I take my make-up off using the Precleanse, which I've always thought smells really fresh and slightly zingy. Then after rinsing that off, I use the Special Cleansing Gel as the second part of the cleanse.

Because I have dry skin, regular exfoliation is essential for removing dead skin. I like to shake a little bit of the Daily Microfoliant into my palm, then mix with a few drops of water until it forms a paste. I just rub that gently into my skin, then rinse away with warm water.

The final step is the Skin Smoothing Cream, which I would usually apply after a serum so that it really soaks into my skin.


A soft, reusable, eco-friendly face cloth, CloudCloth is a brilliant product to have at home or while travelling. What I really love about this cloth is that it's made of a lightweight, fast-drying fabric, which is so handy when you're travelling, as you don't want to be waiting around for things to dry.

It's £12 for three CloudCloths, but they last ages and they're so much better for the environment than wipes.

Under eye patches

When you're sitting around on a long haul flight, there's no harm in catching up on your skincare routine. I usually carry a sleep mask with me while I'm flying so that I can completely block out the light if I want to sleep. Underneath the mask, I can pop on some under eye patches to maximise on some much-needed skin hydration.

These patches from STARSKIN are £8.50 for two lots. They feature coconut juice, chamomile, and more, to keep your under eye area moisturised.

Leakproof waterbottle

No matter how many skincare products you use, you won't get the optimum benefits if you don't hydrate yourself from the inside.

A water bottle is a real must-have when I'm travelling. Nowadays, there are drinking water stations available in popular public spaces across the world. When I was walking around the waterfront in Cairns, Australia, there were points where you could fill up a water bottle almost every 100 yards, so I took my bottle everywhere that I went. It saved me money on buying bottles of water from the shop, and it helped the environment by allowing me to use less plastic.

I look for leakproof water bottles where possible, like this one from Chilly's. It stops the water leaking all over your belongings, whether you're on a plane or catching a twelve hour bus from Byron Bay to Sydney (yes, really).

Clear makeup bag

It always helps when I'm travelling to have a clear-ish makeup bag, so that I can easily see the contents and avoid fumbling around for my tiny kohl eyeliner pencil. I don't really like getting all my makeup out in hotels or hostels for hygeine reasons, so seeing all my makeup inside a bag is so handy.

This makeup bag from Skinnydip is pretty and see-through!

Sunday 17 November 2019

What to wear for working out in winter

I love working out in winter. The gym isn't super hot and stuffy, and you don't have that 'hot weather fatigue' like in summer (or is that just me?). Walk outside after a workout in winter, and you're greeted with crisp, fresh air - rather than walking into a roasting oven in mid-July. Your water stays cold, you aren't absolutely drenched in sweat, and you might even be able to get away with not washing your hair afterwards (long and curly-haired girls, you feel me?).

One thing that's difficult about working out in winter, however, is deciding what to wear to keep you warm and comfortable while allowing you to work out with ease. You want to feel unencumbered by layers, but at the same time, you don't want to catch a chill when you walk outside.

I've put together a list of items that I like to wear for my winter workout. It took me a few attempts to nail the perfect combination, but now that I've found it, it's all I wear. Here's my go-to winter workout look.

[I hope you love the products recommended here! Please note that I may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.]

Cropped hoodie

For me, a full-length hoodie is too much fabric to wear while working out - and you don't want to have to take it off at the gym and carry it around with you. A cropped hoodie is a far better option, giving your body some breathing room during your workout, and keeping you warm once you leave the gym.

Sweat-wicking leggings

When you really go for it during your workout, there's no doubt that you'll get a sweat on. In winter, this situation gets a little uncomfortable when you leave the gym and the cold weather makes you feel even colder because you're sweaty. I like to use sweat-wicking leggings when I work out - they draw sweat away from the skin and allow it to evaporate on the surface of the fabric, meaning that you won't feel drenched after your workout.

These leggings from MyProtein are the same ones I'm wearing in the photo at the top of this post [gifted]. They're a customer favourite on the MyProtein site, thanks to their sweat-wicking design, body-hugging material and high waist. They're really comfortable and easy to move around in, whether I'm doing cardio or weightlifting. And I love the colour!

Ear muffs

These probably seem like an unlikely accessory for gymwear, but they're only for entering and leaving the gym. If, like me, you wear your hair up when you're working out, your ears will be unguarded from the cold weather when you leave the gym. My ears are quite sensitive, and if they're cold for too long, I become susceptible to ear and headaches. Therefore, a pair of ear muffs keeps my ears toasty and ache-free.

You might be wondering why I don't just wear a sweatband - it's because I haven't found one that's warm enough for my ears! I'm also a little adverse to wearing beanies after working out, as it feels a little uncomfortable with all the sweat.

What do you like to wear to the gym during winter? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday 11 November 2019 / Daintree Rainforest, 2333 Cape Tribulation Rd, Cape Tribulation QLD 4873, Australia

Cape Tribulation rainforest tour with Cape Trib Connections

Daintree rainforest

If you’re staying in Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef isn’t the only attraction available to you (although it is a must-see, especially if you’re thinking about scuba diving – read more about my scuba diving trip in the reef here). The thousands of acres of lush rainforest in the nearby region of Daintree is just a drive away, and totally worth a day trip or even two.

Booking a rainforest tour from Cairns

Booking a rainforest tour was so easy. When I got to Cairns, I visit the Cairns Tourist Information Centre, which has several branches throughout town. The lady at the centre recommended Cape Trib Connections because their tour includes lots of different areas and attractions.

The tour cost $154 (aaround £80 in spring 2019), and it was worth every penny, as it was almost a 12 hour tour with so much to see and do, and an expert tour guide to make the trip as fun and educational as possible.

The Cape Tribulation rainforest tour with Cape Trib Connections

The tour bus picked me up from right outside my hostel in Cairns at around 7am. Peter, the driver and tour guide, greeted me and checked me in. The tour group was small – only around a dozen people – which made it much easier to get to each part of the tour quickly.

Walking around the rainforest

Peter drove us quite a way up the coast to Daintree, where we disembarked for a walk around a small part of the rainforest. We were introduced to enormous Golden Orb Spiders, the smallest of which was around three inches in length. These fascinating (and, for some, nightmare-inducing) creatures are called Golden Orb because of the golden colour of their silk.

Golden orb spider

Unfortunately, we didn’t spot any cassowaries. If you haven’t heard of these before, they’re huge blue and black birds native to Tropical Northern Queensland. They’re pretty rare, with under 10,000 left in the world, so sightings don’t occur very often. However, when they are seen, it’s best to observe from a distance – cassowaries have been known to kill humans with their huge, razor-sharp claws. But your tour operator should be able to tell whether a cassowary is on the offence.

Cape Tribulation Beach

After the rainforest walk, we drove to Cape Tribulation Beach. This is a picturesque bay of golden sand, nestled between two rainforest-shrouded peaks. On one side of the sand, you’ll find hundreds of mangrove trees, which look like they’re on stilts; on the other side, you’ll see crystal clear water. It’s idyllic and so calming. You only need to walk up and down the beach to feel at peace.

Cape Tribulation Beach

We spent an hour in this location before moving on. A quick toilet break treated most of us to a sighting of a massive Golden Orb sitting in the centre of a web outside the toilet block. I’m not exaggerating when I say that its body was only just smaller than a golf ball.

Daintree Ice Cream Co

One thing that I’ve eaten a lot of in Australia is ice cream. However, I have never had ice cream that was as delicious as the ice cream that I tasted at the Daintree Ice Cream Co. Here, there is a huge farm with hundreds of fruit trees growing in plain sight. The ice cream company harvest the fruit from these trees to produce seasonal flavours on site.

Daintree ice cream

Rock up to the cute little shack at the front of the farm and purchase a tub of four flavours of the day. We were able to try yellow sapote, Davidson plum, coconut and wattleseed. I couldn’t decide which was my favourite. Each flavour was so rich and intense; it was a true taste of the rainforest. I’m so sad that I won’t be able to sample their ice cream again until I next visit Australia.

Daintree River cruise

It's hard to pick a favourite part of this trip, but the Daintree River cruise was pretty high up there. We hopped on a boat from the side of the river. There was plenty of room on the vessel, and it was open on all sides, meaning that everyone could get a great view of the scenery.

On the tour we spotted several crocs, each of which were known to the tour operators by name, as all crocs have their own identifiable territories and habits. The eagle-eyed captain was also able to point out birds, butterflies and other unique animals, even from metres away.

Daintree River crocodile

At one unforgettable moment, a huge Brahminy Kite glided towards us, appearing as if it was actually going to fly through the boat. We all watched with anticipation as it gracefully swooped at the last moment and flew away into the distance behind us.

As the trip ended and we began to moor, the tour guide showed us a trick with some archer fish that had gathered by the side of the boat. He balanced a biscuit on the mooring line, prompting the fish to shoot water out of their mouths, knocking the biscuit off the line and into the water. I had never seen this before, and left the trip with a huge grin on my face.

Mossman Gorge

Mossman Gorge was the final location on our trip. In favourable conditions, you can swim in the gorge; however, as it was heading into autumn, we were advised that that wouldn't be possible on this occasion.

We arrived at the visitor centre, where you can find Aborginal art and expensive trinkets and souvenirs. We then took a shuttle to the gorge, where we were left to explore on our own (there are very clear walkways and paths, and everything is signposted). It doesn't take long to walk around this area - probably around 20 minutes at a normal pace.

When you get to the gorge, you'll see fresh water running through giant granite boulders amongst lush rainforest. This actually reminded me of forest walks in Yorkshire; the scenery was very similar.

After completing the walk, we were taken back to the tourist centre on the shuttle, then re-embarked the bus for the journey home. There was a short stop along the way, at an area on the highway with beautiful views of the coast.

Take a look at the Cape Tribulation Day Tour here. See more of my travel posts here and follow me on Instagram @jenloumeredith.

Sunday 3 November 2019

7 things to do on a long haul flight

Long haul flight

If you’ve read previous posts on this blog, or you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve been travelling in Australia. Before I left for Oz, one thing that came up in conversation a lot with my friends and family was the long flight. My travel time was 24 hours, including a three-hour stopover in Singapore – that’s a long time to be travelling.

If you’re going on a long haul flight, you’ll have to get a little creative if you don’t want to bore yourself to tears. Here are a few ideas on what you could do while you’re in the air.

1. Read

This tends to be an obvious option. Having been especially busy with work before I left for Australia, I was looking forward to getting on the plane and reading a good old paperback. Pick something long that you won’t finish on the flight, as you don’t want to sit there twiddling your thumbs if you’ve got a fast reading pace.

2. Watch a film

There are dozens of great films on flights these days, and often they’re new releases. On my flight I watched Crazy Rich Asians and Creed II. Watching films makes the time go quicker, and breaking up the time with sleeping and eating will make your long haul flight go by as if it were short haul.

3. Play cards

If you bring a pack of cards with you on a flight, you can easily play a few games of solitaire to pass the time. This is also a way to meet people, as the person sitting next to you might know a card game or two and ask to join you.

4. Walk around

When you’re sitting on a plane for such a long time, there is a risk of deep vein thrombosis if you don’t move around. To get the blood flowing, take a walk up and down the aisles of the plane. Try and do this every hour or so to break up your journey a bit more.

5. Go online

On larger airlines, you can usually take advantage of the in-flight WiFi. At a cost, you can access the internet or social media to talk to your friends, do some online shopping, or research your destination. The cost is worth it if you’re absolutely bored out of your mind and have nothing else to do.

6. Work

If you’re a workaholic like me, bring your laptop onto the plane and do some work from your seat. You won’t be bothered by calls or emails (unless you opt for in-flight WiFi, as above), so you can put in some hours for offline work.

7. Listen to a podcast

There are so many amazing podcasts available to listen to, and a flight is the perfect time to do so. If you use Spotify or iTunes, download a few long podcast episodes before your flight to listen to while on board. I really like My Favorite Murder for true crime and comedy, and Household Name for untold stories about big brand names and businesses.

Whatever you decide to do on your long haul flight, I hope you have a safe journey. Comment below letting me know what your tips are for things to do on a flight, and see more of my travel posts here and follow me on Instagram @jenloumeredith.
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