My Guide To Marrakech: Where To Visit?

Part 2: Marrakech: Excursions & Activities (here)

Part 1: A Bloggers Guide To Marrakech: Where To Visit? 
After spending 5 nights and 6 days in the heart of Medina of Marrakech as well as exploring around other parts of Morocco I thought i'd put together a 2 (maybe even 3) part post to share my favourite places to visit, tips, tricks and excursions (trips) we booked!

Where to visit in the heart of Marrakech? 

The Souks
The infamous Souks where the real culture of Marrakech comes alive, you’re 5 senses are overpowered and ‘non, merci’ is your most used phrase. The Soaks are pretty darn incredible and I’ve never experienced anything like it before. An intricate network of interconnecting pathways filled with individual markets spilling onto the streets and darting through indoor areas. A giant maze that’s impossible to guide yourself through without getting lost. Motor cyclists wizzing through the alleyways, stockpiles of spices, cats patiently waiting beneath the meat counters, locals enticing you into their shop, Moroccan lanterns strewed across the walls like oversized glitter particles… it’s definitely something else.

Bahia Palace
This place was absolutely stunning. Teeming with hand painted Moroccan mosaic tiles, intricate wood carvings and beautiful open spaces, it’s the type of place you want to sit for hours reading a book and admiring your surroundings. Although there were a handful of visitors the Palace was very quiet and the court yard was incredibly tranquil.

El Badi Palace
A huge historical palace with a peaceful atmosphere set in the heart of the hustle and bustle. Like a long lasting ancient ruin the Palace once consisted of 360 richly decorated rooms however after a period of rapid decline the Sultan removed its contents, building materials and decorations to construct a new palace elsewhere. Your imagination runs wild with the sparse clues of hand painted tiles, flourishing gardens, remaining mud walls and tall bolt doors, piecing together what once was. The scale of El Badi Palace is hard to believe until you step foot inside the walls, roam the open spaces and watch the dozens of stalks dance and nest upon the ruins.

Henna Art Café
We had planned to visit Henna Art Café on the last day but unfortunately ran out of time. Not only is it the best place to get safe henna art but you can have Moroccan lunch, play with their pet tortoises and relax with a coffee, all whilst getting henna! The proceeds from the café (food, art and drink) go towards charitable causes too, so what’s not to love?

Majorelle Garden
I was in cacti heaven when we visited the Jardin Majorelle. Twelve acres of botanical gardens filled with an incredible collection of plants/ cacti, host to 15 species of bird and several water features designed by a French artist during the period that Morocco was a settlement of France. The contrast of Berber blue walls, neon shaded koi fish and rich green shrubs were a photographers dream. Yves Saint-Laurent was a shared owner of the gardens and when he died in 2008 his ashes were scattered in Jardin Majorelle hence it also being known as the YSL memorial garden.

Marrakech Museum
After lunch in the main square we challenged ourselves to find the Marrakech Museum just by walking in the direction of the minaret of mosque located nearby. We wondered through The Souks, getting deeper and deeper into the markets, twisting and turning down alleyways trying to keep to the direction of the minaret until we finally stumbled upon the museum! The museum itself was small but impressive. Similar too Bahia Palace, tiles filled every inch of the room, floor to ceiling, and the biggest chandelier I’ve even seen hung impressively in the middle. History packed into glass boxes stood sternly around the edges of the room whilst tiny hidden passages where decorated with newly painted art available for purchase.

Jemaa el Fna (The main square)
Similar to The Souks the main square is bustling with locals selling goods, snake charmers, henna artists (although I wouldn’t recommend using these as the henna isn’t pure substance), working donkeys, pet monkeys,  musicians, motorcyclists, horses, food stalls, dancers and of course the dozens of fresh orange stalls! I think we paid the equivalent of 27pence for a freshly squeezed cup of incredibly tasty orange juice. Around the outside sits a number of restaurants with great views, side streets leading off into The Souks and more beautifully decorated mosques. We had ‘in lunch at a restaurant called Taj’in Darna Café were we people watched for hours in a quiet space above the hustle of the markets.

Café Clock
We actually stumbled across Café Clock on the first day as we decided to explore the streets around were we was staying. A couple of the locals had mentioned an infamous restaurant tucked away down the side street which was very popular with English folk. Being me, I hate stereotypical tourist loving restaurants but on the 2nd day we thought we’d give it a go and tweeted to book a table. It was one of the best nights of the whole holiday. Great food, incredibly swift service, chilled atmosphere, quirky decorations and on that night amazing live reggae style music from Bobo Wane. We loved this place that much we went again on our last night to try the popular ‘camel burger’… it was amazing


Beki Xo

Mio Skincare (*)

Diet and exercise play a huge part of a healthy lifestyle but what about skincare? When it comes to fitness products what immediately comes to mind is trainers, sports bras, leggings, water bottles and earphones but what about moisturisers, muscle relaxers, bath soaks, body buffs and energy boosting gels?

Mio Skincare are a chemical free skincare brand that have a range of products of which aid in motivating the skin for exercise, helping those troublesome areas and relaxing the body post workout. Their large range means that they’ve covered all areas, from boobs, bums and tums, arms and cellulite to muscles, skin and even the mind. Their formulas are free from parabens, petrolatum, mineral oil, synthetic fragrances, xenoestrogens, phthalates, PEG’s and glycols so there are no harmful nastiest being soaked up by your fit self.

I was lucky enough to try 3 of their most popular products and give you my feedback!

Boob Tube+
I already know what you’re thinking and I thought the same, no gels or creams in the world can tone, lift or firm skin. However although this is no miracle product, unlike most that claim to ‘lift and largen’ breasts this is not what Mio are about. The Boob Tube+ product is targeted to improve the skin by making it smoother, healthier, glowing and nourished. It contains ingredients such as Chinese Angelica Root, Gotu Kola Leaf, Cucumber, White Mulberry, Omega 3 and Shea Butter all in which aid in creating that smooth and plump appearance.

The formula itself is a thick cream with a refreshing lemon scent in which on application smoothes over the skin leaving it feeling soft, nourished and non sticky. On the first application I already noticed that my skin felt smoother and ‘tighter’. After 1 week of using the product I could see that the skin tone looked more even and the area itself felt incredibly supple. After 2 weeks I could visually see the difference in the texture, tone and overall appearance as my boobs looked smooth and ‘healthy’ in way that small veins and fine lines where less visible and the skin was plump. I honestly love this product, its nasty free ingredients and delicate formula means it can even be used on your face - bingo!

Liquid Yoga
Anything with the word ‘yoga’ in the title immediately conjures up a  peaceful, tranquil setting that makes your body feel incredibly relaxed and to be honest that’s exactly what this product does. Targeted to ease the body and mind these products aid in relieving stressed, tense and tired muscles (great for post workout) as well as calming and reenergising the mind.

The bath soak contains Epsom salts, sage, basil, murumuru butter, arnica, horse chestnut, fig, v-tonic and andiroba oil, all of which bind together to create this incredibly spa like magical scent. All it takes is one glug of the Liquid Yoga under a running tap to turn your bathroom into a tranquil haven. And the best thing is that once you step out of the tub the experience continues.  My skin felt incredibly soft, clean and re-energised as though I’d was winding down from a 25minute massage.  Again another highly recommended product which I will be buying!

Workout Wonder
Described as an ‘energy shot’ for your muscles this product is targeted to uplift your mood, energise your muscles and set you ready for the workout or refreshed post run. The product itself contains V-Tonic, Horse Chestnut, Chamomile, Fig, Shea Butter, Spearmint Leaf and Peppermint which help to cool and revitalise your skin pre or post workout. This was my least favourite from the 3 I tried as aside from the uplifting scent that did give me an energy boost and the satisfying cooling sensation from the mint on my tired muscles the actual effect of the cream didn’t aid towards easing any aches, pains or felt like it sped up any recovery. Due to this I’ve started to use the product more as a pre workout cream to uplift my mood, energise my mind and use the scent to get my body ready for exercise which is great. 

Beki Xo
The Winter Delight Bouquet - Prestige Flowers (*)

Bare trees, rain filled streets, frosty breath and warm cups of morning coffee. Its official that Autumn is here, Winter is on its way and Christmas is to follow. But with the need to wrap up warm and cower under an umbrella outside, inside you have cosy evenings, hot chocolate, fairy lights, spiced candles and pretty bouquets of Christmas inspired flowers. 

When i was given the opportunity to review a wonderful bouquet of 'snow white roses, festive carnations, lilies and seasonal blooms' i couldn't help but feel but get a little excited about the festive period. Yes, for some the holiday is months away but for others the Christmas festivities are creeping up quite quickly and we will soon be (if not already) listening to classic songs, buying gifts and drinking spiced mulled wine. 

Prestige Flowers offer a wide range of luxurious floral bouquets to offer a Christmas display of incredibly beautiful flowers to decorate your home or to gift to someone special. The flowers come in a range of 3 different size bouquets to offer a thoughtful surprise, impressive bunch or incredibly beautiful large assemblage of flowers depending on your preference or gesture. 

It was a tough decision choosing my favourite bouquet from the range however i finally decided on The Winter Delight. A stunning mix of fresh linen white roses, frilled carnations, blossoming freeshia and punch packing lilies delicately placed between beautifully bold cabbage flowers, silver painted pine cones and seasonal twigs. This bouquet is beautifully unusual with its light festive touch and perfectly balanced flowers all used to create an impressively eye catching floral arrangement. 

Upon delivery the flowers arrived in a tall cardboard flower box, secured with template and delicately wrapped with cellophane and to keep them fresh whilst in transport Prestige Flowers attach a moisture bag to the bottom of the stems. Within the box was a tear shaped medium sized vase, a small box of delicious Beglian chocolates and a Flower Care Guide booklet. The small extras and the care information that arrived with the flowers was a nice touch to accompany a stunning bouquet. 

The booklet provides information on the care of each individual flowers, how to prepare the stems, how to make flowers last longer and the best place for them to stand. A huge help for the receiver and a thoughtful touch to get the most out of the floral bouquet.

The floral bouquet looked impressively stunning, high quality and unlike some flower deliveries I've received via post, each individual flower was perfectly formed with no unhealthy stems, ripped petals or loose cuttings.

After 3-4 days the lilies finally bloomed and the scent of the bouquet was equally as freshas the first day they were cut, prepared and delivered. After almost over 1 week (following the flower guide provided) the bouquet is still going strong, looking fresh and giving my home a wintery floral ftouch!

Beki Xo
Nip & Fab Kale Fix Range Review (*)

Superfoods continue to be promoted throughout retailers as nutrient powerhouses that aid in multiple ways throughout the human body. Filled with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and polyphenols (micronutrients that help prevent degenerative diseases), it’s no joke that superfoods are extremely beneficial.
   
Kale is listed as one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet so when Nip & Fab launched their Kale Fix range in September 2015 I was surprised why no other brands had introduced superfoods into their skincare before!?

The range itself contained ingredients such as kale and watercress too ‘reinvigorate the skin with vitamins to protect against the free radical damage and soften/ hydrate dry skin’, sounds like the perfect winter skincare range too me!

Nip & Fab Kale Fix Moisturiser
Although the scent of these products aren't too my liking (being a creamy, milky like pungency), this moisturiser has to be one of my all-time Nip & Fab favourites. The moisturiser itself has a thick consistency that glides over the face like silk and melts into the skin almost like a serum. Quenching the skins thirst the product leaves a protective film barrier over the skin that protects it from damage and is great to use before applying makeup. Although once applied it leaves the skin looking slightly shiny I’ve had no trouble applying my makeup on straight after and it turning into a semi-matt appearance with the aid of a finishing pressed powder. This product is also great for breakouts as it helps to calm the skin as well as smooth it over ready for your base of foundation or tinted moisturiser.

Nip & Fab Kale Fix Clay Mask
This again has the same scent however it obviously doesn’t bother me too much as I use these products quite often (the moisturiser on a daily basis). The clay mask seems just like any other face mask with a thick consistency and grey/ cream tint however as it is a hydrating mask my skin drank the whole product up within minutes. After applying the face mask the grey/cream clay soon disappears into the skin as it pulls in the ingredients and leaves the skin feeling hydrated but don’t forget to wash it off! There has been a few occasions where I’ve applied the mask, started doing something else and forgotten I ever had it on! However the end result leaves you skin feeling smooth, soft and rehydrated with very similar results to a popular brand of overnight face mask!

Nip & Fab Kale Fix Makeup Remover Pads
I previously use to use the Nip & Fab Glycolic Facial Pads which were great in between removing makeup and moisturising as they prepped and exfoliated the skin. These however (although they are ‘makeup remover pads’) are so tiny I decided to use them in the mornings after washing my face to cool and calm, and awaken the skin after a night’s sleep. They did freshen my face a little but I didn’t really get enough benefit from them to use them on a daily basis. They are great to use to remove non waterproof eye makeup as they are soft and delicate on the skin but again I couldn’t imagine using these for my whole face.

Beki Xo

Neal's Yard Remedies Manchester Store Launch #nyrmanchester

On Tuesday I was invited to the launch night of the new Neal's Yard Remedies Manchester flagship store. As of a few weeks ago they’ve recently moved to a brighter and fresher location situated in the heart of King Street, Manchester.

The store itself is beautifully decorated with Neal's Yard bottle lights, giant jars filled with purchasable organic ingredients, neatly arranged products with finishing touches of living plants and blossoming flowers. It was almost like having a spa like experience straight from entering the door, with the stunning aroma of essential oils being dispersed from the aromatherapy diffusers (and yes, i really want one).

I’ve used NYR skincare products before (how can you not love the classic blue bottles and herbal scent) but didn’t realise how many ranges there now are, from makeup, consumable ingredients and herbal teas to aromatherapy accessories and natural remedies. The store is packed with everything Neal's Yard sell and they’re packed with everything organic and natural.

The Manchester flagship store has 4 holistic rooms tucked away in the down stairs of the store, offering a wide range of treatments from massages to reflexology to counselling to acupuncture. The products used during the treatments are all available to buy in store and with every treatment you get 15% off the full priced product.

The launch night was a great way to experience what Neals Yard Remedies has to offer, meet the friendliest of staff and discuss their individual product ranges, all whilst sipping on Prosecco and nibbling those tasty vegan treats!

Beki Xo
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