7 things I love about Miami (and then a few more)

I got withdrawal symptoms the moment I left Miami at the end of last year. I visited again in early April and felt EXACTLY the same, and after reading these next few paragraphs through, I think it makes sense…

The buildings
The spiritual home of art deco and actual home of the former Versace Mansion, Ocean Drive is the place that makes Miami Beach the icon that it is. It’s full of gorgeous photo opportunities and is just a really beautiful place to experience.

The food
Cuban influences are everywhere in Miami, and nowhere is it more apparent than in the food, whether it’s a classic Cuban sandwich, or a punchy chicken with rice, beans & plenty of plantain. I highly recommend everything from the menu of Havana 1957, particularly their tres leches dessert.

The people
I love the American attitude to meeting new people, and my experience of the states so far has only made we want to return more and more. But Miami is on another level for me. The service, the ViBeZ, and the laidback but forever helpful mentality blew me off my little British feet when I first arrived, and I’ve still yet to find any place that compares when it comes to the shiny happy people factor.

The mojitos
I mean, do I need to explain?

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The ‘Ultimate Mojito’ at Havana 1957

The nightlife
Like any big city, there is a lot going on in Miami, at pretty much any time of the day or night. However, there aren’t many other places where you can walk down the street past a Michelin star restaurant, a dive bar, a jungle themed mojito spot and an open-air jazz gig outside what looks like the back of a warehouse. And then you have the clubs and bars for those who want to get dressed up and go ‘out-out’. It’s the most bizarrely beautiful mix of things, all of which you learn to love & appreciate.

The views
There’s something incredible about the mix of huge skyline with sprawling beaches, and even the bridges and roads connecting the city to the beach have the most beautiful views across the water.

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The art
In particular, the street art, found in the Wynwood area of the city, a lively and up and coming place filled with craft beers, independent stores and the famous Wynwood Walls. The Walls represent a new era of art gallery, showcasing stunning and expressive pieces in an outdoor space accessible by all, and giving street artists a place to show their talents to the world. It’s definitely one of those places you have to actually visit to fully appreciate – no photo would ever do some of the work justice.

Annnnd, a few other Miami based shout outs while I still have you:

W South Beach Hotel, 2201 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
This place quite literally incorporates all of the things I’ve mentioned above. Just stay here. It’s mindblowingly good and there’s no beating that sea view…

BACON/DRUNK BITCH, 860 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
Bacon on one side, cocktails on the other, all with a serious amount of personality. If you’re a fan of coconut, I’d recommend trying the ‘Fame’ frozen daiquiri.

Love Hate Tattoo Studio, 1360 Washington Ave, Miami Beach
The home of Miami Ink, and more recently, the birthplace of my latest tattoo. The fact that I went in and left a few hours later with a beautiful custom-designed tattoo says everything about this place.

Mac’s Club Deuce, 222 14th St, Miami Beach
The oldest bar in Miami and the longest happy hour of any bar I’ve ever come entered and the ultimate Miami dive bar. Make sure you keep one of the chips as a memento, it’ll bring back a LOT of memories when you find it in your bag a few weeks later.

Alter, 223 NW 23rd St, Miami
Chef Bradley Kilgore takes you on an insane and incredible dining adventure through local Florida staples, all with a twist. If you go, do the full seven courses and add the drinks pairing.

Havana 1957, 405 Española Way, Miami Beach
Mentioned above but worth repeating. I’ve eaten at this branch of the Cuban change three times, had three different meals and loved EVERYTHING, and their Ultimate Mojito is a thing of beauty. If you’re looking for more of a view, there’s also a branch down on Ocean Drive.

Duvet days are important

It’s without a doubt that life is hectic these days, and it gets ever more challenging to make plans with yourself, never mind other adult human beings. Before the risk of complete burnout starts to set in though, I want to talk about possibly the most basic and underrated self-care concept; the duvet day.

By definition, this involves a few simple ingredients:

  • A duvet/blanket
  • A bed/sofa
  • Comfortable clothing/PJs
  • A TV remote (with TV connected, preferably)
  • Snacks & drinks of choice

A buddy to share all of this with is also an optional addition, along with video games & books – depending on how you’re feeling at the time.

Personally, I like to get up, shower, get into clean ‘comfies’, set up a little spot in my living room, and binge watch a series or two (movie marathons are also great though).

For anyone wondering about the general purpose of a duvet day, it’s about giving your brain a well-deserved life nap and putting yourself into a relaxing situation where you can switch off from the outside world for a day.

It’s also a great way to make time to reflect on what’s going on in your world, and having some time to yourself in this way even once every few months can put things that you might feel you don’t have time to think about into perspective.

Think of it as a mini holiday without the stress of travelling, and if you’re still thinking of a New Year’s resolution that doesn’t involve starving yourself or cutting the fun out of life, but has the potential to make you feel pretty fucking great, ‘HAVE MORE DUVET DAYS’ might be the one for you.

Skincare Essentials | The Travel Edition

I love pretty much everything about travelling. Even the airport and the build-up is all fun for me. But the one part I had always found challenging, is how to keep up my skincare routine both en route and mid-trip.

Having been lucky enough to escape to various different places over the past twelve months, I’ve finally collated my list of go-to products to get my blemish-prone, forever challenging skin through any kind of trip.

Supergoop, Everyday Sunscreen
The importance of protecting your skin against the effects of the sun year-round has definitely been communicated more widely online of late, and having dabbled in the world of acids and peels which make the skin even more sensitive the sun, my need is that much greater.

After trawling through numerous brands and formulations and experiencing countless breakouts, I finally came across the Supergoop brand, along with their brilliant reputation and penchant for making killer sunscreens.

‘Everyday Sunscreen’ sounded like where I needed to be, and it was definitely the right option for my skin. There’s no heavy fragrance, the texture is robust enough to reassure you that it’s there but not overly thick and cakey, it doesn’t mess with your moisturiser and makeup goes over it like a dream.

It’s here to stay and possibly my favourite product to date.

Origins, GinZing Eye Cream
My eyes are notoriously puffy when I’m tired, and flying increases that tenfold.

I’m pretty new to the world of eye creams, but after being a religious user of the scrub in the same GinZing range from Origins, it seemed to be a good place to start when buying my first product.

The texture is thick and creamy but blends well into the under-eye skin with a soft dabbing motion. I use it day and night as it too sits very well under makeup, and it’s brightening formula takes away the need to apply concealer in that area.

But most importantly, I noticed a huge improvement in my puffy eye bag situation in just a few uses, so this one is definitely a keeper.

Glossier, Super Pure Serum
If you’re looking for a serum that plays well with blemish prone skin, I’d recommend this one for sure. It’s almost watery texture sinks into skin in seconds and doesn’t leave the tacky layer on my skin which can usually be associated with serums.

Because of this, it’s a great product for keeping moisture balanced throughout the day, without leaving a sticky base for your makeup.

Nip + Fab, Dragon’s Blood Fix Plumping Mask Extreme
I love a good sheet mask. They’re my pre-flight holy grail for keeping skin hydrated and preventing those horrendous breakouts.

This is one of my favourites, firstly because of it’s incredible after effects, but also because the scent and general experience of using the thing is so great. It’s not overly gloopy like some sheet masks can be, and it sticks to your skin really easily without slipping around.

Pop one of these on for 15 minutes before you head to the airport and it might just change your whole trip…

Glossier, Balm dotcom
I went for the coconut option and this universal balm is quite simply the best thing I have found for mid-flight or climate affected lips. It smells UNREAL and can consistently be found loitering in my handbag.

The Ordinary, AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
After a course of high-intensity salicylic peels, I wanted something to keep my breakouts at bay on a weekly basis, which led me to this product from one of my favourite skincare brands, The Ordinary.

It looks a bit like you’ve smeared blood all over your face during the 10 minute treatment time, but the effects (and the ability to fuck with your loved ones) are worth it. Using this once or twice a week while away helps to keep the nasties away and keep skin soft and clean in any climate.

 

The great thing about all of these products is they’re all suitable for travelling light, so you won’t need to worry about sacrificing your skincare routine on your weekend away. Just make sure you remind your drunk self to actually use them…

The value of ‘doing you’

We hear a lot around the subject of ‘self-care’ and ‘self-love’ these days, but how many of us are good at giving ourselves the space and time we need to actually follow through with it?

The idea of simply looking after yourself may seem like a necessity to most people, but more often than not, our lives run away with us and we find stress creeping into our daily routine.

These stresses, which manifest themselves in many different, inconvenient ways, can affect not only our own wellbeing, but also that of our friends, loved ones and even acquaintances. Basically, not where any of us want to be.

Over time, stress can lead to more serious symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, mood swings and erratic behaviour, which if left unresolved, impact the way we interact with others in our day to day lives.

Preventative practices of self-care are the best possible defence against these things and while it isn’t about putting yourself before others, it’s about making sure that your health and wellbeing take priority so that you’re emotionally and physically equipped to care for others.

In the words of RuPaul, ‘if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else.’ AMEEEEEN.

Everyone needs space to breathe from time to time, and looking after you means listening to the signs your body is giving you and not pushing yourself to the point of burnout. So take a break, have a lie in, break at the candles or disappear off to a different country for a week (I often find that helps). Just do you boo.