Broadstairs Weekend Beach Break: Exploring Sandy Beaches Near London

Kingsgate Bay

A sandy beach is last thing that crosses my mind when I think of England. Sure, I've heard about the famous Cornwall beaches, but living a five-hour drive away from them, they're not exactly a day trip material. I thought Brighton and its pebbles is the only way to go for us Londoners, but boy was I wrong. 
Botany Bay
It turns out Kent, an area in South East England, has quite a few gems in its pocket! Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs are all reachable within two hours from the capital and are a home to dozens of beautiful sandy beaches. Last Sunday my housemate's friends were kind enough to take me along to Broadstairs for a chill day of sunbathing, picnicing and general life loving. It's been ages since I felt so relaxed. There's nothing better than sitting by the ocean, soaking up the sun and burying your toes in the sand. At least not in my books. 
Joss Bay

There was no swimming going on on my part - after all, this is still England and the ocean doesn't have more than 16°C - but I did enjoy experiencing the British way of 'beach life'. There were picnics, barbecues, tents and yes, even people swimming in the freezing ocean. Not what I'm used to from my previous beach breaks in Greece and Croatia, that's for sure. I spent the majority of the day at Joss Bay, which was the largest and the most 'convenient' of the three beaches I visited. There were public toilets, free parking by the road and even a bar. I assume it must be quite popular amongs the locals, as there were lots of families there, but even though it was busy, we still managed to find our own spot without having others walking over us. 
Kingsgate Bay

Kingsgate Bay was our second stop. The beach looked really impressive from the top of the nearby road, but once we took a closer look, we decided to give it a miss and move on to the next one. You might like it if you're looking for a quieter, less busy place or a beach that allows dogs, though. It is also known for its sea caves, which are supposed to be some of the best in the country, so if you're brave enough to jump in the freezing cold sea and explore the cliffs, it might be right up your alley. Just note there's no lifeguards on this beach, and the parking next to the nearby pub is not free (I think it's 10 GBP for a day). Speaking of the pub, it has great views of the beach and the castle above, so do stop there for an amazing photo opportunity. 
Botany Bay



Botany Bay was the last place we visited. I do think you can park near the area, but we just ended up walking from the before mentioned pub. There's a cute path with amazing views leading straight to the beach. I think it takes ten minutes tops to walk there, if you're not like me, stopping every few seconds to take yet another shot. And by shot, I mean a photo. I'm not an alcoholic. Lol. Anyway, the beach was super busy when we arrived, so we ended up finding a spot right above the bay instead, on the grass, to catch the last sun rays before heading back home. However, we did take a look around beforehands, as the beach sports some awesome cliffs and stacks. For those of you wondering, there's also a public toilet and a lifeguard. But no dogs allowed. Do you guys know of any other stunning beaches or seaside towns near London?

Bali Luxury Gourmet Experience on a Budget: The Mulia Cafe

Bali Luxury Gourmet Experience on a Budget: The Cafe at The Mulia Review

I've been writing about food so much lately The Puzzle of Sandra's Life is unintentionally starting to resemble a food blog, haha. Today I don't have a recipe or a restaurant review per se for you guys, but I do have one amazing tip that you'll be glad I told you about when you visit Bali. It's called The Cafe.
Bali Luxury Gourmet Experience on a Budget: The Cafe at The Mulia Review


Bali Luxury Gourmet Experience on a Budget: The Cafe at The Mulia Review

You can find it inside The Mulia, a luxury five-star resort in Nusa Dua. Essentially, it's a buffet restaurant, but a very fancy and rather affordable one! I know, that's two words you don't see in the same sentence very often, which is a reason enough to give it a go if you fancy experiencing luxury on a budget.
Bali Luxury Gourmet Experience on a Budget: The Cafe at The Mulia Review


Bali Luxury Gourmet Experience on a Budget: The Cafe at The Mulia Review

You can go there for either breakfast, lunch or dinner, and enjoy top-notch meals from all around the globe for about €30 per person. Being a buffet, you can try whatever you want and go fill up your plate as many times as you like. I would recommend starving yourself beforehand, because everything looks and tastes so good there, you will want to eat all of the things. I went there for lunch, and indian, korean, italian and thai were only some of the cousines I tried. That's before I made it to the famous dessert bar. Insert blushing emoji.
Bali Luxury Gourmet Experience on a Budget: The Cafe at The Mulia Review


Bali Luxury Gourmet Experience on a Budget: The Cafe at The Mulia Review

Even though I said the place is a buffet-style restaurant, it's not exactly your typical buffet. It looks luxurious, the food is prepared by some of the best chefs in the world, and everything is cooked fresh, sometimes even in front of your eyes. Ten out of ten! If I ever repeat my visit to Bali, we'll definitely meet again. Would you give it a go too?

Wintery June


June in London does not equal cloudless skies and warm temperatures, I have learned. We had the most terrible, almost winter-like weather up until a few days ago, so I made sure to take advantage of every single sunny day and enjoyed the green and not so green spaces the city has on offer. I've been a proper tourist recently, trying to squeeze in as many activities as possible, until I get shoved out of the country thanks to Brexit, teehee. I'm joking now, but this might turn out to be a real deal in a couple of years' time, so here's to living to the fullest while I still can! Life is a funny thing, and you never know when you'll find yourself cleaning toilets for a living back in your home country... Speaking of future jobs and careers, June was the month when my new website was launched! You may or may not know I decided to go freelance a couple of months ago (still not sure if that was the best or the worst decision I've ever made), and what does every freelancer need? A professional looking website, that's what! You can check mine out over here, and while you're at it, tell your friends about it too pretty please?! I don't want the toilet cleaning situation to become a reality for me. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but I think we can all agree I'm not cut out for it. I'd rather to stick to content creating and social media.

Barraka: London's Best Mediterranean Street Food

Barraka: London's Best Mediterranean Street Food

I didn't expect so many of you to love my recent restaurant food review post, but I'm glad you want to see more of, because I'm quite happy to keep the momentum going. Today I'll be talking about Barraka, a fairly new mediterranean street food joint on Artillery Lane, just a short walk away from the Liverpool Street Station. Open only on weekdays, they cater mainly to people who work in the area, but they keep their doors open until 9 pm, giving you plenty of time to drop by for a quick dinner as well.  
Barraka: London's Best Mediterranean Street Food


They have a pretty simple, straight-forward menu, which is super easy to navigate when you're in a hurry. Kudos for that! But don't think this means there isn't enough choice. I can assure you you'll have no problem finding something that suits your taste buds. Unless you can't stand spicy food. They have five main 'meat' options. You can choose between chorizo, chicken schnitzel, ribeye, mediterranean chicken and halloumi served in either a baguette, a laffa wrap or a salad bowl. They prepare the meat in front of you and then ask you for your preferred toppings, which include four different sauces (barraka sauce, tahini, chimichurry, chilli mayo) and freshly cut salads (tomato, cabbage, chilli peppers, chopped salad, gherkins, mixed leaf salad, houmous). 
Barraka: London's Best Mediterranean Street Food




I popped in with my housemate on Thursday, after 3 pm to avoid the lunch crowds, and was kindly welcomed by the lovely guys who work there. We decided to have our lunch inside, as there are some tables and chairs set aside, but all food comes nicely wrapped, so you can also take it with you if you wish so. 
Barraka London Chicken Schnitzel BaguetteI ended up going for the chicken schnitzel baguette and did not regret the choice one bit. The baguette was nice and toasty, the veggies were fresh, and the meat was glorious. The chicken breast strips were coated with sesame seeds, panko breadcrumbs and spices, and reminded me of the chicken schitzels I used to eat back home in Slovenia, minus the spicy twist. I could tell the food was freshly prepared, because there was nothing 'plastic-y' about it, which is the word I like to use for the food from the likes of McDonald's and those tasteless grocery store ready-to-eat meals. 
Barraka London Ribeye BaguetteMy housemate tried out the ribeye baguette and was just as impressed with the freshness of the toppings and the tenderness of the meat. I was offered to try a piece myself, and even though I rarely steer away from white meat, I would be more than happy to demolish Barraka's beef, prepared with salt and pepper only. 
Barraka London Hand Cut Chips with Fresh Chilli

Last but not least, we also had some hand cut chips with fresh chilli to share, which I think was my favourite part of the meal. Not being a huge fan of spicy food, I didn't touch the fresh chilli, as my mouth was already on fire, but I couldn't stay away from the chips. The texture was quite soggy, similar to sweet potatoes', which I didn't expect (or mind) at all, but boy, did it taste amazing! I'm definitely coming back for these. 
Barraka London Street Food




As you can probably tell, the portions were very generous. So much so, I had to skip my dinner, because I was still so full by the time evening rolled around. The prices get a thumbs up from me as well. My chicken schnitzel baguette would cost yo£5.95, the ribeye baguette £8.75 and the chips only £2.25. A great value for the quantity and quality, I think. Don't you agree? What would you order if you visited the restaurant? Let me know by voting below! If you're a Londoner yourself or are visiting London soon, you'll also be happy to hear the vote will get you a 25% discount on your Barraka order. :)

What gets your taste buds going? Vote for your favourite dish to reveal your perk from Barraka. Valid in July 2016 only

Summer Fashion Haul: H&M, River Island & Topshop

Summer Fashion Haul: H&M, River Island & Topshop

I thought you might like to see another haul! I did some shopping at H&M and Topshop recently, as well as received an exciting parcel from River Island. Say what?! They have a brand new plus size range called RI Plus out, and between you and I, I see another River Island haul on the horizon very, very soon... My wallet already hates me. 

DIY Memory Pinboard Planner

DIY Memory Pinboard Planner
I've never been great at DIY. I always loved creating things when I was younger, be it bracelets or Christmas cards, but I'm the first to admit my creations were never up to standard. That's the main reason why I decided to stay away from crafts in my adult life, unless I'm dealing with something that's super easy to do, like spicing up my pinboard, which was my latest mini project. If you fancy copying me, feel free to watch the 'tutorial' below for some guidance.

When Glamour Base & The Last Choice Sheet Masks Review

When Glamour Base & The Last Choice Sheet Masks Review

Dry, dehydrated skin is the bane of my existance. Every time I forget to use my face scrub or apply my night cream, it's a mess. A very dry mess. For me, the best way to deal with it in an instant is to pop on a sheet mask! The ones I've been using and loving recently are from When, a lovely Korean (duh!) brand. I developed a ritual of putting them on before bed for thirty minutes a couple of times a week and my skin has been more than thankful.

If you've never used a sheet mask before, the only thing you need to do is to take it out of the pouch, discard the top and bottom layers and apply the middle one to your face. And then, after half an hour, you toss the mask away and gently massage any leftover essence to your skin. There's absolutely no need to wash your face right after. In fact, you shouldn't do it. 

I find sheet masks perfect for when you're travelling, because they're so convenient and fuss-free to use, and then another aspect I've been especially enjoying recently is their cooling effect. I've been suffering with hayfever this past month and noticed they really help calm my itchy skin down at the end of the day.

The two When masks I've been trying out are called Glamour Base and The Last Choice. Both are infused with intensely hydrating, lightweight serum and other ingredients that are supposed to keep your skin happy, healthy and glowing. I didn't notice any major differences between the two, but they both left my skin super soft, hydrated and dry patch free for at least 24 hours, like promised. I'd never been waking up with such plump skin before! 

Glamour Base promises smooth and firm looking skin, for when you're preparing for your special day and want your makeup to look flawless and last longer, while The Last Choice drenches your skin in moisture, making it perfect for when your skin needs copious amounts of hydration. I'm a fan!

How about you? Have you tried any sheet masks before? 
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