Europe, Travel

Paris, France

A day in Paris, France:

If someone told the twenty-years old me that I would someday find myself in Paris, I would have laughed them to shame. This year however, I did find myself in France and my oh my, it is absolutely everything they say it is and more. Well kind of!

My partner and I are in a long-distance relationship and with that comes traveling to each other’s countries. This year instead of me going to see him, we planned to a cross country road trip to Paris. In my head, I always imaged Paris as this expensive and inaccessible city where you must spend thousands of Rands to make the trip work. Here is how you can spend a day in Paris and spend less and still get to visit ALL the sites:

Paris is designed in a way that all the tourist and historical sites are in a semi-circular way when using the metro. We stayed in a hotel 35 minutes outside of the city center called Hotel Tilde , a cozy hotel that is close to the best bakery ever! (side note: my life will never be same after those croissants. It’s unfortunate I don’t remember the name). The best thing about this hotel and Paris is that there are Metro stations EVERYWHERE!

Where to go:

paris tour map

As seen in the map above, we visited five sites which we visited smaller and “in-between detour” sites while heading to the rest. This can be done from 9 am to ensure you have all the time to enjoy each place you visit. We visited:

  • Sacre-Coeur: The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France.
  • Arc de Triomphe: Is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, standing at the western end of the Champs-Élysées at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, formerly named Place de l’Étoile — the étoile or “star” of the juncture formed by its twelve radiating avenues
  • Eiffel Tower: Is a wrought-iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. It is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower
  • Notre Dame de Paris: Meaning ‘Our lady of Paris’ is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris. The cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture
  • Louvre which is the largest art museum in the world!
  • Champs-Elysees which is the longest avenue in France filled with restaurants and luxury shops.

There is so much to visit which we could not because of the service protests are currently happening.

Getting there:

As mentioned, there are Metros everywhere and it is so easy navigating the city with google maps. Google maps gives you detailed routes to all the places including which metros to take- either buses or “trains”. In Europe, the train we use on a daily is what they use for long distance travel and they call their daily trains “metros” and “trams”.

The best thing to do is buy a minimum of 20 metro tickets for € 14,90. You are given 1h40 minutes to use one ticket however you want between stations for all metros within the city- great right! I mean who has money for parking because it costs €15 a day out of the city, imagine how much it is within the city.

Things to look out for and more:

Paris is not really a clean city so don’t be shocked when you get there and get shook by the sites. It is not entirely dirty, but it is not as clean compared to the Netherlands or other European countries and the issue might be the huge number of tourists coming in and out of the city, so I am hoping there will be some sort waste management system going on around the country.

The city is insanely beautiful! The only mistake I made was wearing heels throughout the entire trip and I had a bad case of sore feet.

Eating out can be nice but Europeans love discounts so always ask around for restaurants that have specials and nice food. I always eat anything and everything on holiday because I do not have time to watch my weight or eat clean.

P.S: You can add more stops to your map as you go along. Also, something you do NOT want to miss, Paris by night is a sight for the gods especially the Eiffel Tower.

Here are some of Auguste Rodin’s work from Musee Rodin which is a must visit! 

Enjoy Paris if your next stop is there! I do however wished we went into the Louvre and Versailles.

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Africa, Travel

Victoria Falls, Zambia

Imagine going on an amazing holiday only to find out that the airline providing the a connecting flight sold you dreams and then find yourself stuck in the middle of home and nowhere. On Monday I left Europe with the hopes that I will be home in time for a one man brunch and my bed. Instead I found myself with others stuck in Zambia courtesy of Kenya Airways (the story will be told another time).

Sometimes getting lost can lead to unexpected adventures. 

I met a group of people who were coming back from different corners of the world and we decided to use the opportunity to visit Victoria Falls.

Flowing from the Zambezi River over a cliff and into the Boiling Pot before flowing through a series of gorges is Victoria Falls, located in the western area of Zimbabwe. This is where you will find the Devil’s Pool, a natural infinity pool, is on the edge of a sheer drop. Spanning the river is 1905 Victoria Falls Bridge. The surrounding Zambezi National Park is home to white rhinos and elephants.

Myself and other companions entered Victoria Falls from the Livingstone side in Zambia where you can see a quarter of the waterfall and even though it is not everything, it is worth visiting!

What you will need:

  • We had to find transport which picked us up from the hotel and drop off back and also entrance fee fee into the park which totaled to 280 Zambian Kwacha.
  • Due to the intensity of the waterfall, the water hits the ground and there’s mist and little showers by the waterfalls, you will need a raincoat.
  • Because the ground is wet, make sure you were good shoes because it gets slippery.
  • For those scared of heights, you will need to cross a bridge that is high up to get to a different side to see more of the falls.
  • Take your time and just breathe in the freshness of the waters and surrounding.
  • There are monkeys everywhere, get your camera out.
  • Make sure you have cash, it is easier than finding a card machine.

What you need to know:

  • Zambia is hot! People who are like me, buckle up because you are going to be sweating your tits off.
  • Visit the falls super early when there are less people around then you get to really enjoy it. They open at 6am and close at 6pm.
  • Wear comfortable clothes. Zambia is great because even the gravel roads have names, something you don’t see in South Africa.
  • There are lots of lodges, it should be easy to find accommodation close to the airport.
  • Livingstone is 5km away from the Zimbabwe boarder and 200km from the Namibia boarder.
  • It is not expensive but the Kwacha is stronger than both the Rand and Dollar.
  • Zambians are beautiful people- I mean of course, you are in Africa anyway!
  • You will most likely fly with Kenya Airways, prepare yourself.
  • I had beer from there and it was really good for someone who does not enjoy beer, I think you will love this one.
  • 52% of Zambians speak Bemba and some words are similar to those in other South African languages (e.g: There is a street called ‘Mosi-oa-tunya’ translated to “the smoke that thunders” which happens to be another name for Victoria Falls.

I would like to thank the people I was with who put the idea to visit the falls in action. I never thought I would one day visit Zambia- even though it was not planned, I loved it.

Beauty and Travel

Eye Candy Brows

When traveling, you always try to spend less time on grooming because you want to focus more on site seeing and enjoying time with friends and family . Lucky for me, being a Eyecandy Brows Ambassador means I get all kind of treatments to prepare me for my travels so I get to enjoy myself and not worry about how I look.

Eyecandy Brows is the biggest specialist of Eyebrow Threading in South Africa. They can be found in the following Cape Town and Johannesburg centres:  Lifestyle Centre on Kloof (CT), Tygervalley Center (CT), Carlton Hair Cavendish Square (CT), and Sandton City Mall (JHB).

Eyebrow threading and tinting:

This treatment offered by Eyecandy Brows is affordable and quick. Both the treatments cost R190 and take about 45 minutes max to get done. I had a bit of an uncomfortable feeling with the threading because its remove the brows from the root which is great because eventually, your brows stop growing (the unwanted ones that is).

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Lash lift:

The lash lift is a new thing to me because I naturally have long lashes and I think faux ones are heavy. I do however love how Agnes (Eyecandy Brows Specialist) applied mine because she applied them between the real ones to create an illusion to make them look real. Each one is applied to fit the natural size of your lashes and they come in different shapes and sizes. It took about 2 hours to get mine done and they stay on for two weeks and that is long enough to go with. The price of the lash lift is R550 and is totally worth it!

Eyecandy brows offers a range of services and treatments, but remember to always make an appointment. Even though they do take walk-ins, its best to know you will get your treatment done without having to wait in line.

Eyebrow Do’s and Don’ts from Eyecandy Brows:

  • Don’t use a razors to shape your brows because they cause skin irritation and then ingrown hairs which are very painful.
  • You will not get all the unwanted hairs out.
  • Always go for threading or plucking as it removes hairs from the root.
  • Plucking is more painful than threading.
  • You definitely will have some skin irritation after threading but that is just from removing the hairs.
  • Always follow-up with your treatments.
  • Be open with your consultant about how you want your brows done or ask them for advice on what they use so you avoid any allergens like myself, I can’t use coconut oil as an “after threading” oil.

Have you done your brows before? threaded? and how did it feel? Would you do it again or do you want to try it? Please let me know your thoughts on this in the comment section.

If you have visited any Eyecandy Brows bar, how did they treat you and what did you get done?

visit them online or contact them:

Email: info@eyecandybrows.co.za

Tell: +27 72 452 0264

IG: eyecandy_brows_sa

Facebook: Love Eyecandy

 

Travel

The cash passport.

You have booked your flight. Got your visa. Bags packed. Now what?

At this stage you are probably thinking of calling your bank to notify them of “irregularities” that will be taking place in your account because you will be swiping your life away and living your best life. Well, not exactly! In most cases, banks block your card if they see unusual activity on your account even if you notify them prior to your travel. Great banks will even inform you of what to do in order to avoid that but hey.

A cash passport is a method of banking almost anywhere around the world without using your official bank card but rather transferring your monies from your bank account to a temporary card which can be used anywhere in the world. You have access to a maximum of 4 currencies on your card which are transferable as you travel and as you shop- NICE RIGHT!

I am with FNB and they somehow offer the quickest process for the cash passport, however, I could not apply for mine in time. Did you know FNB charges you R70 a transaction outside the country? That is a lot of money! That is a cheap burger and drink.

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You are required to have a minimum of $100 which is about R1,500 to start using your card. You can also reload it anytime you want, online. This card is valid for 5 years and the currencies can be changed every time you travel so which means you don’t have to apply for another in order to have a different currency loaded.

Service providers to apply for your cash passport:

  • FNB
  • Standard Bank
  • Western Union
  • Educonnect
  • Travelex
  • ABSA

Ever used a cash passport card before? How did it go? How were the charges?

You may ask how this is different to any credit card like American Express-

Please comment with your thoughts in the comment section.

Beauty and Travel

Hair and make-up tips while traveling

In less than a 24 hours, I will be traveling from Cape Town to the Europe for the holidays and I am pretty much excited about it because instead of just visiting the Netherlands, my babe and I will be doing a couple of trips cross country vibes. Plane tickets booked, accommodation booked, dinners booked and we are well ready for it all.

One thing that always graze me off though is looking beautiful without wasting time when getting ready and also being ready for anything that might happen during the course of a day touring places and meeting friends for dinner. My first concern is always my hair! I would rather not have to deal with my fro during the festive season, I honestly do not have time to be brushing and detangling.

Keeping the skin clear and clean while looking amazing is essential and here are a few tips on how to not burden yourself with all that and still feel great:

For hair:

  • Be versatile about your hair. It’s always great to get it box braided and you just switch up the look every time. Or have simple but funky cornrows which can be covered with a wig to make your look even more interesting.
  • Get a beret or a hat that can help with looking different everyday.
  • Always carry an essential oil for your scalp to help with any climate changes but keep it at a 100ml.
  • If it is cold, it is always best to wear a wig so not to stress out your hair.
  • Visit a local salon for a nice braid wash if possible to keep the scalp clean. I have realised it is difficult washing braids than anything else.

 

For skin:

  • Exfoliate!!
  • Drink water.
  • Stay away from make-up when flying. It is not good for you. Like, who the hell are you trying to look good for? the flight attendants?!!
  • Always have some wet wipes with you to wipe your face during transfers or every 5 hours to help your skin breathe especially during long flights.
  • Drink more water. This is very important.
  • Apply a night cream oil to help getting rid of bags or signs of tiredness.

For nails: 

  • Always have your hands dry (obviously)
  • Moisturise
  • Keep a hygienic habit when it comes to hands and face
  • It helps carrying a hand sanitiser
  • Trim your nails all the time. This helps with breaking and polish chirping
  • Base coat is important to protect your nails from nail polish stain. You can also add a layer of base after every coat for lasting shine and protection.
  • Give your nails a break. The way you give your face a break from make up. Let your nails breathe for a moment. So a week before you travel, just have clear, clean nails before bedazzling them.

I guess the point here is that, try keep your hair and skin routine as natural as possible. Only apply make-up when you know you won’t be sleeping on the road- overnight to help your skin breathe and get used to new climates. Your hair should not be a priority but taking care of it is important- which means, keep it minimal while giving it what it needs.

I hope this helps. What do you do to keep your skin and hair clean during the holidays?

Beauty and Travel

Cape Town Mobile Massages Experience

Can you believe that I just had my first ever massage experience thanks to Cape Town Mobile Massages . I have been privileged enough to have been contacted by them to partner on the things to do before and after the holidays to prepare your body for the festive activities and to calm your body after the festive season and this is all about the massages.

Cape Town Mobile Massages offers both Swedish and Sensual massages to its clients and they each cost R300 person. What is great about them you may ask. What makes them different to all the other spas? THEY DO HOUSE CALLS! The only thing you have to pay for is the service. Swedish and sensual massages differ in that Swedish massages are more intense and focus on muscle relief from tension rather than the touch (best way I could describe it) and the other focuses on the soft touches to relieve stress and to get your body into a relaxation state.

The reason why I was excited to get a massage before the holidays is because in my family, the holidays mean we will be doing a lot of traveling, cooking, cleaning and hosting different family members from all walks of like- this means I will be making tea every 2 hours everyday. I have to then get my body prepared for all the work, get it calm and relaxed with no muscle tension otherwise I will be having a tough time.

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There after upon my return, I will need a massage to get my blood flowing and preparing mind and body for what will be the busiest year of my life with my business launching and going strong, being a full time employee, traveling and writing about all this, I am going to need all the massages Cape Town Mobile Massages has to offer!

The benefits of massages:

  • Reduce Stress
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Reduces pain either from working out, bad sitting habits, etc
  • Eliminate toxins
  • Improves sleep because your body is relaxed
  • Enhances immunity
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Alleviates depression and anxiety
  • Reduces post-injury swelling for all the clumsy hikers like myself.

There are however so many things you can do by yourself that will not need money to cleanse your body and get it to relax such as 10 min yoga poses which you can get off YouTube or asking your little sibling to walk on your back softly to release tension from your back muscles- I know 2018 has been tough for almost all of us! Treat yourself to a massage and check out Cape Town Mobile Massages so they come to you- you can do a girls date day and just call up your friends, have some wine and ask the CPMM to come to you.

I would like to thank Sean from CPMM for his professionalism and constantly asking me if I was comfortable considering it was my first massage.

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Travel

Applying for a Schengen Visa- for South Africans

First rule of wanting to travel and not knowing how to start: NEVER feel embarrassed, shamed or sorry about things you don’t know. Traveling is about discovering things and you learn as you go. Countries are different, travel reasons are different and so documents needed for your Visa application are always different.

The only Visa I have done so far is a Schengen Visa under the friends and family visit category which I have no idea what number or visa type is formally know as in code. As long as you know what you are going to do wherever you are going, then you are on the right track! Before I discovered Visas and all this, I used to think a Visa looks like a card, like the kind of card we have now as a form of new card ID system. I would always wonder “Where do they stamp on the visa anyway?”. It never made sense but eventually you start the process and understand how it goes. So, take your time- it will feel overwhelming but it’s okay, just follow the rules and you will be fine. It will be over soon.

Schengen refers to the EU passport-free zone that covers most of the European countries. It’s the largest free travel area in the world.

A Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that allows a person to travel to any members of the Schengen Area, per stays up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.

The Schengen visa is the most common visa for Europe. It enables its holder to enter, freely travel within, and leave the Schengen zone from any of the Schengen member countries. There are no border controls within the Schengen Zone.

Visa terms

It is nice right! Just remember that, if you are planning to stay more than 90 days, you must apply for a national visa which has its own code and name. There is a third party institution that assists people with visa applications. Then there are people who assist other people in getting docs to apply for instance, people who don’t have time to search what needs to be submitted. So someone will do all that for you and tell you what you need to have. They schedule and appointment on your behalf and tell you when you need to go there and time. I however choose to do it by myself because there is no money for that and I do it through VFS Global South Africa

 

They take care of all the process and you pay them and they take care of everything. Remember you always need to schedule an appointment (you don’t just rock up) Schedule here and track your application online Track visa application. I am about to go for my Schengen Visa to visit my boyfriend in Europe and these are the documents I had to get:

  • Copy of ID
  • Passport (they will take this for your application so don’t freak out).
  • An invitation letter which the person you are visiting must fill up and get it stamped by his government and courier it if they are not with you. They can also do it in your country at their consulate (A fee applies) Invitation letter
  • If you are paying for your stay, a bank statement must accompany the docs.
  • A letter of employment in this case too.
  • Copy of flight reservation and medical insurance (these will show your travel dates and duration of stay).
  • A fee of R1065 at this moment will be charged (last time I paid R1400 and before that R700) It changes with country and other factors.

A lot of docs are needed but once you are done, it will take 5 days to process your visa and can choose to collect it at VFS Global or have it couriered to you at an extra charge. If you are struggling, just comment below and we can have a chat on your application. I am only familiar with Europe short stay visas by the way.

Whatever you do after your visa has been approved and you are living your best life in a different country, DO NOT OVERSTAY! You can get banned for a number of years, maybe 10.

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