Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 Films | October - December

2017 has been a good year for films in my opinion, and I've also been to see nearly every single film that I've wanted to see in the cinema, which makes such a change. There wasn't much out between Halloween and Christmas, but I did get to see two films which I was very impressed with and one I wasn't so impressed with...maybe it's because I'm a bit more of a DC girl than a Marvel girl.

Thor: Ragnarok
I really wasn't too impressed with Thor. To me it was an average film and it didn't keep my interest (I may have fallen asleep because I was ill, but it also could've been the film). There was a lot of forced humour in it and I'm usually a huge fan of Marvel films, but this one just didn't cut it for me.

Justice League
I loved Justice League, it really captured my attention and since I loved Wonder Woman so much, Diana being in this film really helped to keep me interested too. Ben Affleck being Batman also grew on me in this film, as I wasn't so sure on him playing Batman when I saw Batman v Superman. I would definitely watch this again, it's definitely one of the best films I've seen this year.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars needs no explanation for why this was an amazing film. Obviously I'm not going to include much information about this at all because I'm afraid of spoiling anything, I but I loved it. I am obsessed with Porgs and teared up a little every time Carrie Fisher graced the screen with her presence. 

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Friday, 29 December 2017

What I Got For Christmas 2017

I've been away from this blog for a long while, I hope everyone has had a lovely Christmas and managed to relax with whoever you wished to. I thought I'd come back and do a what I got for Christmas post, including the usual disclaimers. In no way am I boasting, I'm purely writing this because I love reading what I got for Christmas posts and I know there are a few others that do too. I am so grateful for all the gifts I've received and the time I've spent with loved ones over the Christmas period. Unfortunately for blog photos the weather wasn't great on Christmas Day, but I did my best!
The present I was most surprised to receive this year was a GoPro Hero 6 from my boyfriend Rhys, he must be listening to me more than I think he does! This was such a thoughtful gift because he knows that I take my DSLR everywhere with me, and he said he thought this would be easier, it would be great for events and also when we go on trips. I am still so shocked that he bought me a GoPro, I'm so grateful and I'm currently loving testing it out.

To go with my GoPro, his parents bought me the floating grip for it, which is perfect for keeping the camera stable, for panning shots and also it will be perfect for our holiday next year.
Shower Bits and Toiletries
I think this is the first year anyone asked me what I wanted and I actually asked for shower gel. I can't get used to being a student and not working full-time, so needs must! My friend Katy bought me four shower gels from The Body Shop, in my favourite scents (which was a lucky guess!). My friend Emily also bought me an Indian Jasmine shower gel from The Body Shop, my friend Danielle bought me a chocolate scented shower gel and I also received another shower gel from The Body Shop from work, so I'll be all set for showers for a long time.

My friend Herrington bought me a few travel minis and a shower puff, these will come in handy when staying over anywhere overnight. Rhys' sister bought me the most amazing Lush gift set, I was so happy to receive this as Snow Fairy is one of my favourite Lush scents. Rhys' grandparents bought me a L'Oreal SerieExpert Shampoo and Conditioner set, which I am so excited to use to get super soft hair. My sister also bought me a Joules gift set which comes in the prettiest tin.

I also got a few gift sets to make sure my lips get through these winter months and stay super soft. Rhys' parents bought me a Vaseline tin with three tins of different Vaseline in, and Rhys' brother and his wife bought me a set of Coca Cola Lip Smackers which will be great to pop in my handbag.
Nightwear & Clothing
I was in serious need of pyjamas for winter because mine were so old and literally falling apart. Luckily I received a few pairs for Christmas this year, which I am so grateful for because they're keeping me so cosy in my cold room! My Mom bought me a Christmassy pair from Debenhams which I am in love with. My Auntie & Uncle bought me a pair from M&S which have a penguin on (which is amazing anyway) but they are so warm and cosy, much like the pair Rhys' sister bought me from Primark, which are keeping me so warm currently.

I'd been wanting a new dressing gown for so long (mines quite old and isn't very soft) and my brother bought me one from FatFace, which is the softest one I've ever felt. My brother's girlfriend bought me some cosy footlets and socks from Primark which are perfect for my constantly freezing feet. Rhys' parents also bought me unicorn socks from New Look which are adorable.
All of these presents I had no idea I was getting and I love all of them. My Mom bought me the classic present of a 2018 calendar with pug puppy pictures, which is adorable. My Auntie & Uncle bought me a bag, purse and scarf set which is lovely. My other Auntie & Uncle bought me a Kipling accessory pouch to go with the pyjamas they bought me, which is perfect for when I'm travelling or stopping over somewhere and want somewhere to put my jewellery (or SD cards and camera batteries).

I got a few baking related items because everyone knows how much I love baking. My friend Chloe got me a book called 'Life is Sweet' which is full of old fashioned sweet recipes, I'm really looking forward to trying some out. Rhys' sister bought me the 'Salted Caramel Dreams' book which is obviously full of caramel recipes, I can't wait to try these recipes out because caramel is so tasty. Finally, my Secret Santa at work this year bought me Christmassy oven gloves which are perfect for me.

As I passed my driving test this year, my friend Danielle bought me a Yankee Candle car jar, which I can't wait to put in my car. Rhys also bought me a few stocking fillers alongside my GoPro. First of all he bought me a Chewbacca pop vinyl, but one of the new ones holding Porg so I'm even more thrilled about it. He also bought me a Grumpy mug and socks set, both donning the phrase 'Back off I'm Grumpy' which could either be for my love of Disney or a hint about my personality haha.
Make Up, Fragrance & Skincare
I am a huge fan of skincare and my skincare routine, so was happy to receive a Simple skincare set from my friend Marnie, and a mini of my favourite micellar water from Katy, alongside some cotton pads to use with it.

This year I've ran out of most of my make up and fragrance, so I was happy to receive some under the tree. Emily bought me Indian Jasmine body mist from The Body Shop, which smells so lovely. Chloe bought me a lovely Next fragrance, which I can't wait to use. I received my first Make Up Revolution product in the form of the Flawless Resurrection eyeshadow palette from Danielle, which I've heard so much about and can't wait to use it. Finally my Mom gave me my favourite Chanel mascara, Le Volume de Chanel and my favourite Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer, as well as a new Charlotte Tilbury powder to try. 

A few gifts weren't included in this post because I'd started using them or couldn't get a decent photograph of them in the dark! Thank you to everyone that bought me a gift or wished me a Merry Christmas, I appreciate it so much.
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Monday, 30 October 2017

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

I feel like I haven't done a baking post for ages, so I thought it was time to put one up. I made these cupcakes for a 'Bon Voyage' party a few weeks ago and they were a hit. For some reason salted caramel reminds me of this time of year, so I think these would be a perfect bake for Bonfire Night if you're looking for an excuse to make them! I baked these cupcakes using this recipe from Jane's Patisserie. Also check out my great choice of Toy Story cupcake cases!

You will need:
175g Softened Unsalted Butter
175g Light Brown Sugar
3 Large Free-Range Eggs, beaten
175g Self Raising Flour
2tbsp Whole Milk
12 tsps Carnation Caramel
A pinch of Sea Salt

For the buttercream and decoration:
150g Softened Salted Butter
350g Icing Sugar
100g Carnation Caramel
Extra Carnation Caramel (for drizzling)

1. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar using an electric mixer until smooth, then add in the beaten eggs and flour, and beat again for about 30 seconds. You might need to loosen the mixture with the whole milk.
3. Spoon the cupcake batter into the cases and bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Leave the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
4. Mix the caramel for the cupcakes with the pinch of salt, and cut a small hole in the cupcakes to fill with caramel.
5. For the buttercream, beat the butter with an electric mixer for a few minutes to loosen it. Gradually add the icing sugar on a slow speed - so it doesn't go all over you - until combined, and then speed up the mixer and beat for 3-4 minutes until fluffy and smooth.
6. Add the caramel into the buttercream and beat for another 5 minutes until whipped.
7. Decorate the cupcakes by piping on the buttercream, and then drizzle them with the extra caramel. Now they're ready to eat!
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Friday, 27 October 2017

Lush Halloween Haul 2017

This is probably going to sound like such a generic Lush lover's comment, but I really cannot pass up an opportunity to pick up Lush's seasonal products. I wish that I could've bought the whole Lush Halloween range - the Ectoplasm jelly bomb looked really good - but I couldn't justify spending so much on bath bombs. I picked up a small selection, mainly focusing on their smells and how they look, so I'm excited to see what they do in the bath!

Bewitched Bubble Bar - £4.25
I picked this mainly for the fact that it's a black cat, you can't get much more 'Halloween' than a black cat, but also because it smells like blackberry. I love the scent of blackberry so I think this bubble bar smells incredible. It turns your bath black and glittery from what I've seen on YouTube, which is perfect for a spooky Halloween bath.

Pink Pumpkin Bubble Bar - £4.25
I decided to buy this bubble bar because it was new for this Halloween and it looked so pretty. It has a floral jasmine scent and from what I've seen on YouTube it produces so many bubbles and sends the bath a beautiful shade of light pink, filled with the chunky glitter that it's covered in. Unfortunately, I've had to give this one away due to me not reading the ingredients online, as it contains a cinnamon stick...whoops!

Monsters' Ball Bath Bomb - £4.50
I first saw this adorable monster bath bomb last year at the Lush Showcase in gigantic form, and never actually got around to buying one. It has a fresh citrusy scent and from what I've seen it sends the bath a gorgeous shade of purple, with pink and blue dotted around the bath. I cannot wait to use this bath bomb!

The scents of the bath bomb and bubble bars I picked up don't necessarily remind me of Halloween or Autumn, but they definitely have the look and all of them smell incredible nevertheless. What's your favourite Lush Halloween product, old or new? 
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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Thrive: Feel Stress Free

Recently I've been under a lot of stress for various reasons, and I find it difficult finding time to actually manage it. I was contacted to see if I'd like to try out the Thrive: Feel Stress Free app and it sounded like something that would really help me out. Over the last few weeks I've been trialling the app to see if it helps me to destress. There are three different pages on the app, and all of them have different features.

The first page on the app includes Message, Progress, Wellbeing and Mood Meter. Message is a feature where you can send a message in a bottle, which is a message of encouragement to another person using the app. I like this feature because I like the idea that I'm making someone somewhere smile and giving them a message of encouragement.

Progress is a graph of your progress over the month or week, it records results of your feelings from each day, your daily activities, your goals and your thought trainer (what you complete when you do your mood meter). Wellbeing is all about treatments you can receive for your conditions such as depression and anxiety, it also encourages you to seek help if you need it.

The Mood Meter has a metre of how good or bad you're feeling on that day, and asks you questions based on how you feel, which is called the thought trainer. The questions differ daily so that you can set your goals to exactly how you're feeling. I find that it's best to complete this everyday to track your progress so that you can see how far you've come.

There is a whole page dedicated to meditation and breathing techniques to help relieve stress. With the breathing techniques you can do between 3-15 minute durations, it says that 3 minutes of deep breathing techniques 3 times a day has been proven to have long-term benefits. Deep Muscle Relaxation is an activity where you tense and relax all of your body, then parts of your body separately. I found this similar to the exercises you do in Pilates towards the end of a class. Self-Suggestion is an activity that makes you think of a certain word or statement and associate it with being calm.

There are a few different types of meditation under the meditation section on the app. The first type is between 5-25 minutes duration of meditation. There is also mindful walk, which is meditating whilst taking a short walk on a route you're familiar with. Mindful Earth encourages you to let go of worrying thoughts, while Mindful Body Scan helps you to focus your attention on what you want to focus it on rather than your stressors. The final type of meditation is Sensory, which is guided meditation and enables you to transfer the skills you've learnt to any soundscape.

The final page on the app includes Zen Garden and Zen Challenge. Zen Garden helps you to create your own virtual zen garden, which is a relaxing distraction if you just need five minutes. Zen Challenge is a mini game that isn't very challenging, so it won't stress you out.

I've found this app to be beneficial for de-stressing and I particularly enjoy using the mood meter to see how my mood progresses each day. I also enjoy Deep Muscle Relaxation because it reminds me of the techniques you use in Pilates, which I really enjoy. It does make you feel relaxed and the fact that most of the activities are rather short or you can pick a short option helps, as most of my stress is because I have too much to do and too little time.

If you're interesting in trialling the app for yourself, you can head here and select I have a coupon, then enter the code FSFOCT300917. You'll then be able to download the app from your app store and log in using the account you just created.
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Sunday, 15 October 2017

NBN Event | Autumn Winter 2017

At the end of last month, I attended the Next Blogger Network event at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch. I headed down on my own and met up with Molly, Joey and Georgie who were absolutely lovely! The Ace Hotel was an incredible setting for the event, the views were amazing and there were hints of Next all over The 100 Room (including their incredible New York Collection candles!). The event was so relaxed and you were able to explore the different sections to your hearts content.
I was greeted with a glass of prosecco and set about exploring what the event had to offer. WAH nails were at the event doing nails, and it made me feel gutted that I'd got gel nails on so I couldn't have them done! Monica Beatrice was also doing a flat-lay masterclass and it made me feel so inspired to attempt to take some gorgeous photos.

There was plenty of food and drink on offer, with a beautiful Smeg fridge holding the drinks. The food available was an afternoon tea style buffet, with sandwiches, mini sausage rolls, fruit skewers and scones with clotted cream. Before the Q&A kicked off, mojitos were served and I think it was the best mojito I've tasted.
At 5pm, there was a Q&A with The Anna Edit, Lily Pebbles, Niomi Smart and Chloe Digital. It was really informative and made me feel inspired to get home and blog. They shared their personal experiences of blogging and YouTube, how their working day goes and tips on how to improve your blog. I got the chance to speak to Anna and Lily afterwards and I told them how I sometimes feel down about my blog and they told me to keep at it, because the opportunities it can give you are incredible.
We were kindly gifted a goody bag when we left the event, which included some incredible items. The Next Blogger Network notebook and pen will get so much use. I think this will be my new blogging notebook, it feels like it's such a high quality notebook and I love the typographic writing on the front. The Chiltern Collection candle included in the goody bag smells amazing and will be making my living room smell amazing as soon as I've finished photographing it. I'm excited to use the make-up included in the bag as I haven't tried any Next make-up before.

The last two items in the goody bag I was so happy about - I'd been looking at a pair of red earrings just like the ones in the bag and I'm in love with them. I was also in need of a small black bag for when I don't need a huge bag, and this one is perfect for fitting the essentials in.

It was an incredible event and I'm so grateful that I was invited, I can't wait for the next event!
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Sunday, 8 October 2017

147 Things by Jim Chapman

Never have I a YouTuber's book before. It's not that I haven't wanted to, I just haven't got round to it yet. I have been subscribed to Jim Chapman since about 2013, and always liked watching his videos for the comedy factor and the fact I could relate to some of them. When 147 Things landed in my postbox, I was excited to start reading, mainly because I'd already watched Jim's video on his channel about it a few months ago, and I was really looking forward to it. 

147 Things is a book all about weird and wonderful things, some being scientific facts, some being about Jim's personal life experiences. There is so much information that I never would've known (or bothered to look up myself) without reading this book. Each 'thing' has a bit of a write-up to it, and most of the 'things' are absolutely hilarious if they're not super serious. There are a lot of things in the book that seem to describe how small the odds were for us to exist, yet here we are, and it's incredible to know you had a 1 in *insert massive number here* chance of being alive on this earth right now.

Because of the way Jim has written this book, I find myself reading it in his voice. He has also recorded an audiobook for 147 Things, so you can listen to him reading the book, which would be especially great for listening to his anecdotes.
My personal favourite out of all 147 things is Thing 69 - Penguins are my favourite animal for many reasons; this is not one of them. This is probably because, like Jim, penguins are my favourite animal and any fact about them I will be automatically drawn to. Penguins are fascinating creatures and it's so interesting to learn how they're different from other birds and also other sea creatures. Another favourite of mine is Thing 8 - Having a pet is really weird when you think about it. Purely because it is, isn't it?!

If you love books that have personal anecdotes in or just interesting facts in general, I'd definitely recommend this book. It was an easy read and I got through it very quickly, although it is something you can always look back on whenever you'd like. The book has been out since the 5th October 2017 and is available to purchase on Amazon.

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Thursday, 5 October 2017

What's in my college bag?

You may think this post is a bit late in the year to be a 'back to college' post, but I actually only went back in mid-September and was desperate to put a few posts up before this one. I thought I'd do a classic 'what's in my bag' post, as I love to read them on blogs and also watch them on YouTube, they are perfect for nosey people after all. I don't carry too much with me to college because it's such a long journey, so this is genuinely everything that is in my college bag.

The Stationery
I don't take much stationery to college, I like to do most of my extra note writing and highlighting at home. I take an A4 ring binder which includes plastic wallets, a refill pad to write all of my notes on and all of the UCAS information I need as it is that time of year, eek. I also take my diary with me, to write in my assignments and whether any lessons are cancelled. I take a small pencil case because I only need a few black biros and a highlighter, it fits these in perfectly. All of my stationery is from Paperchase, it's such good quality although it isn't always worth the money.

The Essentials
Water is a very big essential when it comes to my bag, I need it to get through the day and to prevent me from getting headaches. The medication I have in my bag is also essential in case I get a headache anyway. My bus pass and keys are essentials for me to actually return home. On the way home I'll use my headphones to listen to music, although I usually have a book in my bag as well to read on my 2 hour bus journey home - I couldn't pick which one I wanted to photograph. I keep my memory stick in my bag in case I need to save anything to it, which I rarely do. I barely use my purse as it doesn't contain much but I carry it with me just in case!

The Toiletries/Skincare Items
With the use of public transport, a large amount of time outside of the house and also the colder weather setting in, these are my essential 'toiletries' to take to college with me. I have to take anti-bac everywhere - so it's not a shock it's in my college bag. To make my hands and lips soft, and to protect them from the cold weather, I carry my Palmers Cocoa Butter hand cream and lip balm with me. I take a Jack Wills body spray with me, women's perfume doesn't stay on for very long so I like to freshen my smell up during the day. Finally, I take make-up wipes and tissues. You never know when you're going to need a wipe or tissue!

What do you carry in your bag?
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Sunday, 1 October 2017

2017 Films | July - September

Between July and September, some incredible films have come out and I've seen most of the ones I wanted to see. There are a few different genres here, let me know if you've seen any of them and what you thought. My Dunkirk ticket isn't pictured due to the fact I left it in my jeans and it visited the washing machine...oops!

Spider-Man: Homecoming
I'm not exaggerating when I say this is the best Spider-Man film I've ever seen. I'd been excited for it since the announcement as Spider-Man is one of my favourite superheroes and it didn't disappoint me at all. I laughed throughout and that's one of my favourite things in a film, I'd definitely watch this again and can't wait for a sequel.

War for the Planet of the Apes
I'd only recently watched the previous two Planet of the Apes films before going to see this one, and I loved them. I'd say this was the best one out of the three and it kept my attention the whole time. I would recommend watching this trilogy, it kept me on the edge of my seat and had me feeling emotional throughout.

I have one of the shortest attention spans ever so for a film to keep my attention like this, it must mean it's incredible. I spent half of the film with my hand over my mouth in suspense, it made me feel so many emotions and I think that was mainly because for a large portion of the film I was thinking 'This is real, this really happened'. It's heartbreaking to think about, but this film portrayed perfectly all of the emotions and British morale of the time. Christopher Nolan's directing and Hans Zimmer's composing did not disappoint at all. I would 100% recommend watching this film to anyone.
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Sunday, 24 September 2017

Sal, Cape Verde | Trip Report, Hotel Review and Travel Tips

Before you go on holiday somewhere, you like to research it a lot, or at least I do. Usually my way of researching something is by reading blog posts about it or watching vlogs on YouTube. I found a severe lack of this for Sal in Cape Verde, so I thought I'd write my own travel guide about the island for anyone thinking about booking a holiday there. We decided on Cape Verde on a bit of a whim really, it looked gorgeous and so we booked to go there.

The Island and Weather
Sal is a very small island at 216km², but it is beautiful nonetheless. Their perfect white sandy beaches is what sold it to us. However, exploring the island a bit further you will find despite your 4/5* resorts, there is still a large amount of poverty surrounding you. There isn't a huge amount to do on the island, you could easily fill a week or 10 days, but I'd say 14 days would be a bit too long to stay.

The weather was amazing the whole time we were there, it was always between 26-31 degrees celsius. With hot weather comes lots of flies, which is to be expected as it is Africa and nothing can really be done about it. It didn't ruin our holiday at all, despite what I'd seen on TripAdvisor before we went. For the evenings and nights, I'd say it is essential that you take high repel spray and mosquito bands, which we used throughout our holiday. I was only bitten once using all of these! The final thing I would mention about Cape Verde is the currency. The country's currency is Escudos, but they are not available to exchange outside of Cape Verde, so we just used Euros. 

The Hotel - Oasis Salinas Sea
We stayed for 7 nights at the Oasis Salinas Sea on an all inclusive basis. On arrival, whilst waiting to check in we were given juice which was incredible after the long journey. When you're checking in you have to pay local tourist tax of 2€ per person per night, for up to 10 nights. Our bags were taken up to our room for us - I felt sorry for the man carrying my suitcase!

There is entertainment every evening which is either a show or live music. On the night we arrived, The Lion King was on but we were too tired from the travelling to watch. In the hotel reception there is a sign telling you what entertainment is on each evening.

At the beginning of the holiday we found it impossible to get a sunbed by the pool, but after a few days it got easier as the hotel was a bit quieter. You don't have to pack your own beach towel for this hotel, they are provided. You are given a card each to exchange for a pool towel and you can exchange them twice a day, which is great when they're wet and/or sandy! Because we had a late departure from the hotel, we asked to keep our towels until we left and we just had to pay a 10€ deposit each. The swimming pool itself was amazing and so clean - we loved the swim-up pool bar, it's great not even having to get out of the pool to get a drink. 

Everyday there is a cocktail of the day, one alcoholic and one non-alcoholic. A few they had to offer were Sex on the Beach, Pina Colada and Frozen Raspberry Daiquiri. We drank plenty of Sex on the Beach while we were there, they were so nice.

As I previously mentioned, we had a late departure from the hotel and spent all day in and by the pool. There is a left luggage room, which comes in very handy as you don't want to have to keep an eye on all of your stuff and lug it around with you. There are also two male and two female shower rooms so you can freshen up before your long flight home, it was lovely to be able to shower the pool water and suncream off.

Hotel Food
We played it quite safe on holiday with food, we wanted to avoid being ill at all costs. We ate at the hotel everyday, we only had one meal out which was on an excursion. There are five places to eat in the hotel, so we didn't feel like the food was too repetitive. We didn't actually try Restaurant Tradi├žon (a la Carte), Restaurant Sakura (Sushi) or Morna Beach Club for food during our stay, but we heard good things about the dinner at both Restaurant Tradi├žon and Morna Beach Club.

Restaurant Tabanka is the buffet restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is served from 7-10am and there's a lot of choice. To name a few options there is cereal, pancakes, omelettes made-to-order, churros, waffles, bacon, egg, bread, croissants, fruit, juices and strange tasting sausage. There was also a door hanger with a breakfast form on in the hotel room in case you wanted breakfast in bed. Lunch is served from 12:30-3pm. We didn't notice much of what was available for lunch as we didn't have a big lunch at all, but there was always chips, pasta, chicken, pork and bread available. Dinner is served from 6:30-10pm and there were similar options to lunch as well as crispy chicken, tuna steaks and sweet potato. There was a bar inside this restaurant where you could get bottles of water, fizzy drinks and Strela, Cape Verdean beer, which is actually quite nice!

By the pool there's a restaurant that has two menus, Batuko and Pano di Terra. Batuko is a grill menu and you could get pork, chicken, lobster and more, this serves food from 12:30-3pm and 6:30-10pm. Pano di Terra is a pizza menu and as well as pizzas you could get toasties, this serves food from 12-3:30pm and 5:30-10pm. The bar by the restaurant is open from 8am-12am.

There was a lot of food available between and after meal times too. You could get ice cream, which was two scoops in a cup, we didn't actually have any but noticed vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. 
There was a hot & cold buffet in Restaurant Sakura during the hours of 10am-12pm and 3:30-5:30pm, which had pizza, chips, bread and juices. There was also a buffet at Bar Ponton (the 24/7 bar) between 12am-4am, which had sandwiches, yoghurt, cake, biscuits and fruit. Behind the bar there were also snacks available to purchase but they were quite expensive, it cost us 5,50€ for a lion bar and snack bag of crisps. I'd recommend visiting the mini supermarket across the road from the hotel where you could get Lays, Pringles and Oreos for a smaller price. 

Excursions (Thomas Cook)
We went on 3 out of 19 excursions Thomas Cook had to offer on the island, the Turtle Watch, Island Tour and Sunset Beach Dinner. They also had boat trips, shark watching, snorkelling, scuba diving, quad bike and buggy excursions. 

The Turtle Watch is held on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday and they pick you up from the hotel reception at 9pm. They take you on a mini bus as a small group, just a warning it's a very rocky drive to get there and back, which isn't pleasant! It was incredible to see turtles in 'the wild', we saw 3 going back into the water after they'd laid eggs, one of which we saw laying the eggs. I can't remember the name of the tour guide but he was great and seemed really enthusiastic! Earlier in the day we had walked to the Riu Funana hotel to see their turtle hatchery, my advice would be don't walk along the beach, it's a very hot and long walk.

The Island Tour is held on a Monday and they picked us up at 8:30am. We went to Palmeira (a fishing village), up a small mountain, to see the buracona and the blue eye, we also went to Espargos, to the Salinas at Pedra de Lune and to see a mirage. We had a buffet lunch whilst we were in Espargos at Restaurante Universo, there was some traditional Cape Verdean food, but also chicken, white rice, chips and salad. You also got one drink with your meal. It wasn't that tasty but it filled us up until we could get food back at the hotel.

We also went to the Sunset Beach Dinner at Odgo d'Agua which was fun and the food was good. There was fish, pork and chicken on the BBQ and then you could add to your meal with the buffet, which included sweet potato, rice, sausage, salad and bread. You got two drinks included with your meal. For dessert there were two types of cakes and some fruit. Whilst we were eating, there was live music which was a mixture of English and Cape Verdean songs. After our main, there was a fire eater which was really fun to watch. Afterwards, we watched Cape Verdean dancing and then had a go ourselves on the stage, which was enjoyable.

Trip Report
Thursday 7th September 2017 - The first day of our holiday! We got to the hotel quite late, so once we'd checked in and got into our room, we went for dinner in Restaurant Tabanka and then went back to the room to unpack.
Friday 8th September 2017 - We slept in as we were so tired from travelling the day before, so we spent the day by the pool before going to have a look at the pier. We had dinner in Restaurant Tabanka and then watched the live music outside. We went to the beach bar, danced and we may have had one too many.
Saturday 9th September 2017 - We chilled by the pool, before going to the hatchery at Riu Funana to see the baby turtles. We ate at the restaurant by the pool and then went on the turtle watch excursion, which was incredible to see. As it had been a long day we went to bed, but we were awoken by the carnival which was coming along the street, which we wish we would've known more about to get involved.
Sunday 10th September 2017 - I have a motto and belief that Sunday's are lazy Sundays. We spent the day by the pool and in the pool, we had food at the pool restaurant and then went to the beach bar, before heading on to the 24/7 bar. 
Monday 11th September 2017 - We went on the Island tour which we loved, it was amazing to see pretty much all of Sal island. When we got back and got ready, we ate at the pool restaurant then watched Grease. We then carried on the evening with the wonderful group of people that we met whilst on holiday, by dancing the YMCA on stage and then doing karaoke in the beach bar.
Tuesday 12th September 2017 - Woke up with a hangover so took persuading to get out of bed before going to chill by the pool. After getting ready we went to the sunset beach dinner, then we went to the Ocean bar in Santa Maria afterwards for a drink.
Wednesday 13th September 2017 - We spent the day by the pool and then went for dinner at the pool restaurant, sat with all the people we'd met. Then all of us went to the beach bar and some of us went to the 24/7 bar before heading into Santa Maria.
Thursday 14th September 2017 - We spent the day by the pool before travelling home later on in the day.

I hope this post has given you a bit of an insight into Sal and the Oasis Salinas Sea hotel. We had the most amazing time on our first holiday together in Cape Verde and loved the hotel we stayed in. We met incredible people on holiday, who made our holiday even better.

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