Travel Guide to…MEXICO

Most visitors to Mexico head to the usual spot, Cancun. But the best places
to visit are the off-the-regular-tourist map destinations below which will
provide you will a TRUE Mexicana experience. Sunblock at the ready!



WHERE TO GO -
FOR BEACH LOVERS
TULUM

 

 

 

 

The Tulum Ruins are the third most visited archaeological site in Mexico. It is the site for the Maya Walled city serving as a port for Coba which consists of the City Square, Temple of the Descending God, The Temple of the Initial Series and the Kukulcan Group: truly a must-see sight. If you are looking for lazy days in seclusion on beaches, relaxation, pampering and trekking through historical archaeology sites, then Tulum is for you.

WHERE TO GO -
FOR PARTY PEOPLE
CABO SAN LUCAS

 

 

 

 

There is a reason this is a college Spring Break must-stop: sun, sea, sand, and one hell of a party town! Featuring many a time in hit US reality TV show The Hills, Cabo consists of twin resorts; San Jose del Cabo (a beautiful city full of lush pal groves, charming restaurants, boutiques and the more laid back, less touristy of the two. Cabo San Lucas is the more louder of the two, with a very active nightlife full of bars and clubs, a 300-slip marina (which enables deep sea fishing) and a 29 km stretch of beach: bliss!

WHERE TO GO -
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS TYPES
SOUTHERN MIGRATION TREK

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those who are seeking more than your average beach/party break then the Green Tortoise’s Southern Migration Trek is most definitely for you. Having partaken in their North America trek, I can guarantee you will love every minute  of one of their treks. The Southern Migration tour lasts for 28 days; Departing San Francisco and taking in Tultepec, a train ride through the majestic Copper Canyon (balanced on the rim and your base for the night will be the mining town of Creel), a jungle trek or beach day in San Blas, Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende will provide you with ample restaurant and shopping opportunities, before setting off to Teotihuacan with its Temples of the sun and moon, then the city of Oaxaca, then the ruins of Monte Alban before hitting quaint little Mexican towns for a true Mexican experience then watch the sun rise against the ruins and beaches of Tulum. Finishing at Cancun; you can still take part in some good old partying – Mexican-style. Prices around $1789. (www.greentortoise.com )

Beauty Essentials

L’ORÉAL PARIS REVITALIFT REPAIR 10:

I don’t think I have seen a daily moisturiser that offersto fix more than this cream; dryness, wrinkles, fine lines, dull complexion and so on and it really does live up to its must-buy status. Although I don’t think it helped with my wrinkles, it did provide great help with my dryness, dull complexion and used daily I really did notice a change to the condition of my skin. Rating: 5/5

 

 

NARS
Via Veneto Larger
Than Life Long Wear
Eyeliner (in Black):

Really is long-lasting. After a few hours my liner was still intact and in no need of a touch-up. The eyeliner also blends on really easily and it is easy to smudge in for that grunge look.
Rating: 5/5

 

 

 

DARPHIN PARIS
Hydraskin Intensive
Skin-Hydrating Serum:

As soon as I applied this serum my skin immediately looked hydrated, youthful and glowing. The serum’s ingredients help reinvigorate water reserves within the surface skin cells so is perfect for tired, dull winter skin.
Rating: 5/5


 

BENEFIT
They’re Real! Mascara
(in Black):

I LOVE this mascara – you can literally feel the bristles brushing your eyelashes. I used two coats and had glam, fuller and volumised lashes. Cheryl Cole eat your heart out.
Rating: 5/5

 

 

TIGI CATWALK
SESSION SERIES
Transforming
Dry Shampoo:

What I loved about this product was that it really gave me great volume and was great on day old hair and
providing grip and texture for hairstyles. I did feel that I had to really rub it in and brush it in as it left tell-tale white specks but loved the smell so gets my stamp
of approval.
Rating: 4/5

Beauty Essentials

 

 

CLINIQUE: Chubby Stick (in Super Strawberry)

This is my new make-up bag must-have. The chubby pencil lip balm applies easily and stays put well. Great colour and provides your lips with moisturisation. A great alternative to lipsticks. I want them all!   Rating: 5/5

 

 

NARS: Eyeshadow Duo (in Dogon)

Comes in the iconic NARS compact packaging with mirror. Love the shades – the silver/grey on its own is amazing. Coupled with the charcoal shade and you have a smoky eye to rival Kate Moss.  Rating: 5/5


ESTEE LAUDER: BG Island Oasis ES Palette

Finally an eyeshadow palette which I love! I’m always wary of eyeshadow: paired with my fair skin it can sometimes make me look like an evil clown, but these six shades actually worked really well. In shades of copper, bronze, gold, coral, silver and turquoise, I was left with ultra glam eyes. A must-buy!  Rating 5/5

 

SIENNA X: Extra Sparkle Silver Shimmer

For body or hair, I preferred using this on my hair and OMG did I feel like a Hollywood superstar. Wow! Although the fumes had me in a coughing fit: not so good. Rating: 5/5

 

 


THE BODY SHOP: Coconut Oil Hair Shine

I used this on day old hair to get extra shine and then scrunched it up to get the bed head look. The added coconut smell is a great bonus. Rating: 5/5

Style File: Vanessa Hudgens


Star of the High School Musical films and on-off beau of Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, is a style queen in the making. Pairing laid back boho cool with a hippie/rock edge, I have to say, I want her style! Look for fringing, studs, chiffon, plaid, denim and hats for inspiration. The best place to shop would be http://www.freepeople.com. Not only does Vanessa shop here (it’s where that awesome floppy hat she is always seen wearing is from) but it has aaamazing boho inspired pieces. Another star with boho-led style, Vanessa’s look consists of hippie style patterns and accessories. She has fun with fashion and never seems to take her look too seriously which is what makes her a style icon: plus she has the best hair in the business!

HOW TO RECREATE THE VANESSA LOOK:

  • A big floppy hat
  • Embroidery detail on bags, shoes & jewellery
  • A pretty sun-dress
  • Waistcoat
  • Bright hues
  • Shirt dresses paired with tan belts
  • Add a little glitter to your outfit at night
AStylishLiving’s top Vanessa picks from ASOS:
From left-right, top to bottom: Floppy Hat £25, Fringe Drop Necklace £12, Bag £45.50, Top Price on request, Sheer top price on request

					

AStylishLiving’s Guide to the US of A: Part 2

Following on from Part1 of our USA Guide we are now heading to LaLaLand so don your Raybans and denim cut-offs and get ready to party – SoCal style!

LOS ANGELES

WHERE TO STAY – LUXURY

THE HOLLYWOOD ROOSEVELT HOTEL

– HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD, LA

I stayed here the first time I visited LA and my my, what a wonder this hotel is. Being the site of the first ever Oscar’s ceremony back in the day I knew it would be everything you would look for in a hotel and indeed it was. The monochrome décor rooms made me want to redecorate as soon as I got home, the location is ideal – across the road from the Kodak Theatre, a shopping mall and The Chinese Grauman’s Theatre, and the hotel has the infamous Teddy’s Club (hotel guests can get into the club and party with its celeb clientele), and the Tropicana Bar sits alongside the sun-loungers and pool – an ideal way to lie-back and drink a cocktail, or 2 and bask in the California sunshine. www.thompsonhotels.com/hotels/la/hollywood-roosevelt

WHERE TO STAY – BUDGET

BANANA BUNGALOWS

– 5920 HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD, LA

LA isn’t as expensive as NY to stay in and you can find many budget hotels that will cater for all your LA needs. The Banana Bungalows is a hip & funky hostel based in the furor of Hollywood Boulevard and  features dormitory style rooms as well as single rooms. Facilities include free continental breakfast, a bistro, small store, communal kitchen, internet access, gym, laundry, swimming pool, library and car rental agency. Movies are shown nightly on a large screen TV, parties thrown throughout the week and free shuttles provided to area attractions.    www.bananabungalow.com

WHERE TO SHOP – VINTAGE

ROSEBOWL FLEA MARKET

–1001 ROSEBOWL DRIVE, PASADENA, LA

Every second Sunday of the month, LA descends on the Rosebowl Flea Market to pick up some flea market bargains. Flea Markets are the equivalent of a masssssive car boot sale with wares such as clothes, jewellery, antiques, home furnishings: and with over 2,500 vendors – you could spend a whole day here.

WHERE TO SHOP – DESIGNER

RODEO DRIVE

– BEVERLY HILLS, LA

Yes, yes, indeed this is the street from the infamous Pretty Woman scenes. Surrounded by palm trees, open-top cars and wads of money, Rodeo Drive is a haven for all fashion-loving, designer label loving hipsters. Chanel, Dior, Cartier, Armani, Gucci, Harry Winston, Prada, Tiffany’s and Versace all have branches on this infamous, world renowned drive with every A-Lister worth her Jimmy Choo’s shopping here as well. An LA must-see!

WHERE TO SHOP – FOR SHOPAHOLICS

THE BEVERLY CENTER

- 8500 BEVERLY BOULEVARD, LA

With over 160 specialty boutique stores such as Diesel, Louis Vuitton, Thomas Sabo, Tous, Banana Republic, Burberry, H&M, GUESS?, Prada, Victoria’s Secret and department stores Macy’s and Bloomingdales: designer and high-street fanatics will LOVE this mall.  www.beverlycenter.com

WHERE TO GO FOR TV FANS

WARNER BROTHERS LOT

– 100 UNIVERAL CITY PLAZA, LA

I checked out the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Carson Daly Show last time I was there where you get to sit in the audience of world-famous chat shows. The lovely Ellen De Generes has her show on this lot too which was also the set for shows such as E.R. Warner Brothers do electric cart tours of the lot where you can check all these studios out and see the sets for current TV shows such as Two and a Half Men, The Mentalist, and Chuck.   www.vipstudiotour.warnerbros.com

WHERE TO GO FOR PEOPLE WATCHING

VENICE BEACH

So-Cal at its best! There is no better place for people-watching – or rollerblading for that matter – than sunny Venice Beach. The Venice Beach Boardwalk is infamous so make sure you check out all the little shops, cafes and performers along it before checking out the Pacific Ocean waves (and the lifeguards) on one of the dreamiest beaches in the world.


AStylishLiving’s Guide to the US of A: Part 1

There are many reasons why one should visit America; the shops, the labels, the weather, the attractions, the culture, the food, the people…It can be hard to cram in so much in such a short space of time so I have done the hard – but fun – job for you and brought you the best that the two main locations – NY and LA – have to offer. Plus I give you a sneak peek at other areas in the US of A that might suit your tastes instead. First up, we head to New York, my favourite place in the world.

NEW YORK

WHERE TO STAY – LUXURY

THE PLAZA HOTEL

– FIFTH AVENUE AT CENTRAL PARK SOUTH, NYC

Anyone who has ever watched Home Alone 2: Lost in NY – one of my favourite films by the way – will recognize this landmark hotel from the movie. Situated directly opposite the infamous Central Park, guests can take a leisurely morning stroll through one of the most famous parks in the world. Now, most people don’t come to NY to sleep, or even spend much time in their hotel for that matter but with its famous Oak Bar, as well as an interior, Tranquility Garden with reflecting pools there will always be something to keep you amused. Mixing the old traditional with new technology (i-Pads in your room anyone?) this hotel will continue to be at the top of my NY hotel list. http://www.theplaza.com

WHERE TO STAY – BUDGET

THE POD HOTEL

– 230 EAST 51ST STREET, NYC

There is a pod room to suit everyone at this hotel; single, bunk, double, queen…all climate controlled and fitted with mp3 player docking stations and dimmer control lighting system (swazzy), plug into the Internet with free Wi-Fi access, and catch your favorite shows on LCD TVs. If that isn’t enough for you then the hotels ideal location – steps away from classic sights as Radio City Music Hall, Times Square, Rockefeller Center (which you can gaze at from the hotels roof top garden bar) – will have you in NY heaven.  http://www.podhotel.com

WHERE TO SHOP – VINTAGE

WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND

– 351 WEST BROADWAY, SOHO, NYC

Everyone who is anyone is NY will be caught at this hip and much-loved vintage haven. Chloe Sevigny practically lives here! WGACA’s vintage collection for women includes a diverse array of clothing and accessories covering more than a century of modern fashion history. As well as carefully sourced vintage garments, co-founders Gerard Maione and Seth Weisser have set up The Collection which sees them creating garments from vintage inspired pieces. The WGACA’s Collection counts Robert Pattinson, Nicole Richie and Katy Perry among its biggest fans. For those not able to go to the store in NY, The Collection is sold in some major department stores worldwide, including Harvey Nichols. http://www.whatgoesaroundnyc.com

WHERE TO SHOP – DESIGNER

FIFTH AVENUE

Tiffany’s, Saks, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Bergdorf-Goodman Apple, Barnes & Noble, Chanel….need I say more? As well as having these DIVINE stores to do major damage on your credit card with, make sure you take a pit-stop at sights such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Guggenheim Museum, Rockerfeller Centre (check out the huuuge tree and ice-rink during the festive period), The New York Public Library and of course – The Empire State Building – go right up to the top people.

WHERE TO SHOP – FOR AMERICAN BRANDS

MACY’S

- 151 WEST 34TH STREET, NYC

I have always loved this store and make it one of my pit-stops whenever I am in the US (as well as Forever 21) when I need a USA fashion fix. With brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, DKNY Jeans, GUESS?, 7 for all Mankind; it really does have something for everyone across its 8 floors. http://www.macys.com

WHERE TO SHOP – FOR KIDS

FAO SCHWARZ

- 767 5TH AVENUE @ 58TH ST, NYC

Adults and kids alike will LOVE this toy store on 5th Avenue – a legend in the toy store industry – trust me, you won’t be able to leave without buying something! The store features a breathtaking Grand Hall adorned with more than 20,000 computer-controlled colored lights, a giant dance-on piano keyboard – you will remember this from the movie Big and “FAO Schweetz,” a classic New York candy shop that offers hundreds of scrumptious confections = heaven. http://www.fao.com

WHERE TO DO BRUNCH Sex & the City style

MAGNOLIA BAKERY

- 401 BLEECKER STREET, NYC

Oh dear…this bakery is dangerous for someone with a major sweet-tooth like myself! Grab the girls and head to the 401 Bleecker Street outlet and act like Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda for a few hours. It really is cake heaven and has the best cupcakes in town with icing big enough to satisfy even the harshest critics. http://www.magnoliabakery.com

WHERE TO GRAB A NY PIZZA SLICE

LOMBARDI’S

– 32 SPRING STREET, NYC

Who would ever think of coming to NYC and NOT having a NY-style pizza slice? Quelle horreur!? Lombardi’s is America’s first ever pizzeria and has been running since 1905. Make sure you pop in and get a takeaway NY sized slice of my favourite Margarita. Hmmmm…. http://www.firstpizza.com

WHERE TO CATCH A THEATRE SHOW

BROADWAY

I saw Hairspray here and it was amazing!! The usual popular theatre shows such as Wicked, Jersey Boys, Chicago, and Avenue Q can all be found here with many famous actors taking to the Broadway stage such as Hugh Jackman, Tate Donovan, Glee’s Matthew Morrison, Rupert Everett, Scarlett Johansson, Katie Holmes…

WHERE TO CATCH A SPORTS GAME

NEW YORK KNICKS – MADISON SQUARE GARDENS, NYC

Ok so I am never going to entirely understand or appreciate the rules of basketball, but I can appreciate the atmosphere in Madison Square Gardens, the obligatory popcorn, hotdogs, huge drinks, big fake hands, the Kiss Cam and of course, the abs’s!

DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT…

SUNBATHING – OR ICESKATING – IN CENTRAL PARK.

Both of these can make your trip to NY a dream holiday. I love nothing more than sitting with my friends in the middle of Central Park with a picnic and picking up an ice-cream and soaking up the atmosphere and looking up at the skyscraper landscape surrounding the park – words cannot describe how truly awe-inspiring it is. It also has a zoo that you should check out.

Part two of our USA Guide next time….


					

Beauty Essentials

AROMATHERAPY ASSOCIATES: Enrich Massage & Body Oil

Perfect for those stubborn dry areas. Packed with essential oils and natural plant extracts; this is a must-buy product for those glam goddesses out there. Skin is left soft and smelling divine. Rating: 4/5

 

 

 

LUSH: Sex Bomb Bath Bomb

If anyone wants to know what it feels like to be Megan Fox for the day then pop this bath bomb into your next bath. With Jasmine as one of its ingredients, I had a relaxing bath and smelt A-mazing afterwards. Rating: 5/5

 

 

 

ESTEE LAUDER: Bronze Goddess Soleil Eau Fraiche

Even the bottle radiates a summer and beach vibe. With notes of citrus, tangerine, lemon, grapefruit mixed with warmer blonde woods; this newly launched scent is perfect for summer: making you feel like you’re moored on a yacht off the Amalfi Coast. Rating: 5/5

 

 

 

JEMMA KIDD: JK City Chic Lip Kit

Love the packaging: a chic travel and bag friendly compact with flip mirror. With four glosses and a lipstick, there’s a colour for anyone wanting to achieve a chic city lip. Wear alone or mix shades – I loved mixing strip and sassy to achieve a glittery pink glamorous lip. Rating: 5/5

 

 

BENEFIT: Bella Bamba

I don’t love this colour as much as their dandelion shade but it gave me a great pop of colour on my cheeks. Only use a small amount. The fact it also smells of lush watermelon adds a point. Rating: 4/5

 

Mood Board: FRUIT TREND

                    Moschino Cheap & Chic S/S11

Now that the weather is finally starting to act like summer, it has me in a fruit loving mood. And I don’t just mean food-wise. Bombarding the catwalks at the likes of the Prada, Stella McCartney and Anna Sui shows, fruit designs became a hit micro-trend and the new trend du jour.

There are many ways you can inject a lil bit of fruit flavour into your wardrobe…

These killer shoes from Charlotte Olympia can get me into trouble with Mr Bank Manager any day plus they are now down to £679 in the sale. Bonus!

This charm bracelet fro Red Herring at Debenhams is a steal for £12!

For those able to enter the bolder fruit print territory, this H! by Henry Holland at Debenhams vest is a snip at £16. Great for getting a designer trend at a high street price.

In the words of Rachel Zoe this dress from Prada is just “bananas”.

Style File: Leighton Meester

Another trendsetter fresh from the set of Gossip Girl, Leighton – out of all the cast on the show – is probably the furtherest away, fashion wise, from her screen alter ego. Gone are the Upper East Side pretty girly pieces and headbands a la Blair Waldorf, to be replaced with fun, quirky and directional pieces. This girl loves her Alexander Wang’s, Marc Jacobs’ and Philip Lim’s. Her look is all about sexy sophistication; figure-flattering dresses being her main go-to look. She LOVES a great dress; silk/satin dresses and gowns for dressy events whilst preferring city shorts, tank and a blazer for her day look. She isn’t afraid of colour, instead embracing bright hues and prints and pairing with a fierce pair of heels. Like her fellow Gossip Girl BFF Blake, she is the face of a fashion brand, currently starring as the face of Missioni.

HOW TO RECREATE THE LEIGHTON LOOK:
-A fierce pair of heels
-Printed dress paired with black tights
-One-shoulder dress
-Bright colours
-Blazer jacket
-City shorts

 

AStylishLiving’s Top Leighton Picks:


From left-right, top-bottom: Dress by Lipsy, Dress £50 by Julien MacDonald at Debenhams, Clutch bag £6 by Matalan, Sandals £60 by Schuh, City Shorts £24.99 famed101.com.

SPA DESTINATION OF THE MONTH: BLYTHSWOOD SQUARE

HOTEL SERVICE/ROOM:

Leanne says: When we arrived we were early so went to the spa first. Our concierge who was showing us to our room couldn’t open the door so to our delight we got a free room upgrade and oh my the room – and bathroom – were huge. The bathroom was filled with marble décor and had underfloor heating, a large bathtub and shower and an amazing waterfall style water system in the sink basin. Our kingsize bed was more than enough room for watching the free just-released on DVD movies that are provided for guests. Rating: 5/5

Joanne says: I can’t find any fault at all with the room we were given. The room was very spacious and the bathroom massive. I loved the decor in both. The room was styled very modern but also had a homely touch with lots of pretty scattered cushions on the bed and chair. The kingsize bed was massive and the most comfortable I have ever came across in a hotel. To top things off, there was a large flat screen TV which offered a range of newly released films to watch for free! The bathroom was decorated in dark marble and had an amazing rain fall shower. Something which I have always wanted to try and I was not disappointed. Rating: 5/5

RESTAURANT/FOOD:

Leanne says: The restaurant’s décor provides a very relaxed yet classy atmosphere. For starters I had a soup which consisted of vegetables, leaves and cheese blended together – was so lovely but filling. Round two saw my main meal of vegetarian pasta which baffled me and Joanna with its shape – the shape and size of lentils, accompanied by a type of stock, some mushrooms, lentils and other veggie delights. I actually really liked it even though I hate mushrooms. Our dessert was a rhurbab Panna Cotta which was summery, yummy and I could eat one right now just thinking about it. Rating: 4/5

Joanne says: The restaurant was stylish, bright and modern. The staff were great, very friendly and helpful. We had to choose from the market menu which did not have loads to choose from, but enough to satisify most tastes. To start I had a chorizo and smoked haddock mousse dish. This was very nice and just enough for a starter. For main, I had the pasta. The pasta was completely different from anything I had seen before but very tasty. The desert I chose was the rhubard panna cotta. This was a lovely desert and actually very refreshing. Rating: 4/5

 SPA FACILITIES:

Leanne says: Before we had our treatments we tried out both the hydro and vitality pools which were a highlight of our spa experience. The hydro pool is in a dark chamber which you enter and sit down in the circular poll. Upon pressing some buttons the pool begins to bubble and massages you. I loved it. Next we checked out the vitality pool which upon pressing a button turns half the pool into bubbles with massage fountains and swimming jets – truly relaxing. Post-treatments we headed into the Thermal Experience which sees you alternating between hot and cold temperatures which help detoxify your body. You are put on a journey beginning at the lower end of the sauna scales and work your way up. I have to say when Joanne opened the door to one of the more hot ones and a cloud of steam came flooding out I did have my reserves but we did manage to stay in for a while and had amazingly glowing skin. The ice fountain also helped us to cool down in between saunas with flakes of ice you can put on your body. Rating: 5/5

Joanne says: The spa was located on the ground floor of the hotel and was absolutely gorgeous. The staff where very friendly and helpful. After the spa treatment, we took advantage of the spa facilities and went through the Thermal Experience. This was fantastic and featured a number of sauna/steam rooms and also an ice fountain. The use of both left my skin even softer than before. My favourite parts of the spa however were the gorgeous jacuzzi room and pool. I could have sat in them for hours. Rating: 5/5

SPA TREATMENT:

Leanne says: I opted for the ila Vital Energy Full Body Massage which just completely rejuventated my aching body. The massage therapist was lovely and began by massaging my feet and asking where I had tension in my body. Then she massaged me in sections by hand and also by using the application of Himalayan herb poultices which were warm and left on for a while as she moved around to other parts. Reflexology, marma massage and lymphatic drainage are also techniques used. I would definitely recommend this treatment for anyone with tension in their body and just anyone who wants to harness and restore the energy in their body – the treatment promises this and it delivers. Rating: 5/5

Joanne says: I got a ila Bio Energy Body Wrap treatment. The treatment was brilliant, the best I’ve had. An exfoliating scrub was massaged into my legs, arms, back and stomach followed by a cream. I was then cocooned within a number of towels and was given a head massage during this time. I was then asked to wash all of the scrub off in the shower and once clean a body balm was massaged onto my arms, legs back and stomach. The treatment left me very relaxed and my skin smooth for days. I would definitely recommend the treatment. Rating: 5/5

Make sure you take advantage of Blythswood Square’s current offers at:http://www.townhousecompany.com/blythswoodsquare/?utm_source=Noir%2BMagazine%2B&utm_medium=Weblink&utm_campaign=Noir%2BMagazine%2B