Part 1 – A Bloggers Guide To Marrakech (here)

Part 2 – Marrakech Excursions & Activities - What To Do?
We stayed in Marrakech for 6 days in total and within that time we wanted to squeeze in as much as we could to get to know the city, its culture and Northwest of Africa.

Our Riad (and so do many others) offer a wide range of excursions to take you in, around and outside the city. From travelling to see the most beautiful sights, experiencing your first camel ride, seeing Morocco from the air to traveling by camel across the sand dunes, there’s so much to choose from. 

So to make the most of our stay we chose 3 completely different excursions. One that would allow us to explore the infamous Atlas Mountains, see stunning landscapes, experience the history and have lunch in a Berber village. Another that would be a deep contract to Marrakech but a relaxing one at that and last but not least an excursion that would be fun, different and relaxing on our last day.  


Kasbahs / Atlas Mountains
Our driver picked us up early in the morning; we spent a couple hours driving through the Atlas Mountains, stopping to take in the unbelievable contrasting photos of the landscapes and exploring our surroundings before heading to a local café for a coffee with a view.
We then headed through the quiet Berber villages to our first Kasbah (Kasbah Telouet) which looked incredibly deserted sitting amongst the sand-peppered valley. However upon entering the main door the interior couldn’t be any more of a comparison to its exterior. Although the Kasbah has significant damage from being abandoned nothing could district from the hand painted ceilings, mosaic tile floors, stunning iron twisted window bars and oversized carved wooden doors.
After spending time in Kasbah Telouet we travelled through the terracotta rock valleys pooled with tiny rich green oasis before reaching another small village for lunch.
After consuming all things Moroccan (yes fresh bread, tagine and olives) we walked over the sand dunes to Kasbah Air Benhaddou. A breath taking giant fortification formed from 6 earth clay Kasbah’s perched on the once gold Sahara trade route. Known for being used to film movies and TV shows such as Gladiator and Game of Thrones the landscape was breath taking when reaching the top!
An hour or so later we headed back through the Atlas Mountains, again stopping to take photos and watching the sunset as we made our way back to Marrakech. It was incredible.


Essaouira
A completed contrast to the bustling streets of Marrakech, Essaouira is a port fishing city on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast.
A quiet and blissful old town with contemporary inspiration from Greece reflected in its white and blue architecture.  Similar to Marrakech, Essaouira has a large souk that runs through the town however the locals are a lot more relaxed and you’ll find that so are the travellers.
With an expanse of a crisp-clean sandy beach, a small bustling fishing port, a large souk and long promenade to explore it was like being somewhere else! A perfect day to unwind, walk and relax by the beach.


Palmeraie Horse Riding 
As I mentioned before on our last day we chose to do an activity but wanted something a little less adrenaline filled (although the quad bikes did look amazing!), so we chose horse riding! We went for the 3 hour excursion with a lunch break in between. We rode our horses (alongside 2 guides) through the deserted palm groves of Palmeraie, cantering through streams, varied terrain and taking in the small oasis of plant life. We stopped off at the local restaurant for a Moroccan pastry and mint tea before heading back out to experience horse riding in the rain! It only rains a handful of days a year in Marrakech (or so we were told) and we happened to catch our last 30 minutes of horse riding in it but nevertheless it was an experience!

Beki Xo
The Body Shop Eye Shadows: Fig Leaf/ Coconuts About You/ Sand By Me, Maybelline Eraser Concealer, Bourjous Healthy Mix Powder, The Body Shop Baked Bronzer: Golden Bronze, Rimmel Eye Brow Pencil: Dark Brown, Bourjois Chocolat Bronzer, Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation: Vanille, Bourjois Clubbing Liquid Liner, Elizabeth Arden Mascara, Calvin Klein Red Matt Lipstick: Sinful

My Autumn/ Winter Makeup Look

Typically when Autumn/Winter rolls around out come the dark berry lips, bronze brown eyes and a flawless high coverage base. For me finding the perfect gothic lip is pretty damn impossible, I've had a couple favourites in the past but they're not quite 'the one'.

So, although I love the look of a deep vampy lip, this year I've been experimenting a little more with eye shadows. I'll be completely honest in saying that I've only ever worn neutral shades as (for me) filling your lids with block colour can look a little too 'put together' however from changing the application my perception has completely changed.

Along with my trusty matt red Calvin Klein lipstick i wanted something a little darker on the eyes without being too bold or smokey and this khaki green shade (Fig Leaf) from The Body Shop fitted the bill!

Although I'm technically breaking all the makeup artist colour wheel rules by choosing a shade situated next to my eye pigmentation (blue) i think it works quite well, bringing out a more forest hue to my pupils. To create a more non-dramatic day time look i applied the eye shadow in a 'clam shell' shape across the eyes, winging it a little in the corner before blending it outwards and upwards. I then added a cool brown shade in the crease to darken the tone ever so slightly and highlighted my brow bone/ inner corners with a shimmery cream eye shadow to open the eyes.

As my foundation and eyeshadow are of a matt look i felt like i needed a little highlighter or bronze glow on the tops of the cheeks so i added my favourite baked bronzer in 'Warm Glow'.Along with this to create a more contoured look I lightly brushed on the infamous Bourjois bronzer just under the cheek bones.

To finish off the look applied my trusty Calvin Klein matt lipstick (Shade: Sinful) which has an orange/ red tone and sits on the lips for hours! Its my go to lipstick for any bold lip as it perfectly compliments my skin tone and works well to district when you're not feeling the whole eye makeup vibe but want to look put together.

Beki Xo 

Giveaway: Win A Lookfantastic Limited Edition Beauty Box 

Monthly subscription beauty boxes are everywhere and I don’t know about you but I’ve found it so darn difficult to choose which to subscribe too. Each and every one has great reviews, decent sized products and a large following, all wrapped up in a pretty little box delivered to your door every month.

However after meeting up with #TheCityGirls last month and discovering that one of my favourite online brands (Lookfantastic) have their very own beauty box, I think I’ve finally found my next beauty monthly subscription!

I don’t know how long I stood gazing at the Pinterest worthy white and gold boxes stacked in the corner of event room but it was long enough to be asked what I was doing!

Their limited edition Christmas boxes are packed with 6 surprise beauty products (for hair, body, skin and makeup), each worth £50! I was pretty impressed with the sizes and range of the product; there was no ‘product type’ duplication and the size means they will last long enough to get a real feel for the product before deciding if you want to buy it full size!

So in celebration of the first Manchester based #TheCityGirls event and the launch of the Look Fantastic Limited Edition Christmas Boxes, I’m giving you the chance to WIN the first Christmas 1/3 box shown above!

Enter Below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Beki Xo
Healthy Pumpkin Spiced Latte Cupcakes

The most exciting thing about autumn/ winter if not for the cosy knitwear has to be pumpkin spiced consumables and warm cups of morning coffee. So to combine my two favourite things together I've created a healthy recipe that can be eaten as a mid morning treat, late afternoon snack or comforting evening dessert without the guilt!

Ingredients: For The Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
¾ cup Coconut Flour
1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree
¾ cup Maple Syrup
5 Eggs
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
½ tsp Ground Ginger
¼ tsp Ground Cloves
¾ tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Lemon Juice
½ tsp Ground Nut Meg

Method:
1.       To make the pumpkin puree, take 1 small-medium pumpkin and using a sharp knife stab half a dozen holes through the flesh and pop it in the oven (mid shelf) at 180c for approximately 40mins. Once cooked (the skin will become wrinkled and begin to cave) leave to cool. Remove the flesh and add to a blender to smooth and create a puree. Do not include any pumpkin seeds, outer flesh or stringy parts!
2.      Next in mixing bowl beat 5 eggs and add the pumpkin puree, coconut flour and maple syrup. Fold the ingredients together until the mixture looks evenly combined. (The consistency should be similar to your average cake mixture so if it’s still a little runny just add coconut flour).
*remember coconut flour absorbs liquid quickly and requires enough moisture to rise in the oven so only add a tablespoon at a time to be safe*
3.       Next add the pumpkin spices into the mixing bowl and stir rapidly
4.       Take 12 cupcake cases and add a small amount of oil to each case to prevent the mixture from sticking (I used coconut oil).
5.       Spoon the mixture into the cases and pop them into the oven for approx. 30mins at 180c.

Ingredients: For The Vanilla/ Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting
2 cups of low fat cream cheese (keep this refrigerated until last minute)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp natural sweetener (I used stevia)
1 heap tsp of powdered coffee

Method
1.       (For vanilla cream cheese) Quickly mix 1 cup of cream cheese, 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 2 tsp of sweetener into a bowl.
2.       Pop it back into the fridge until you’re ready to pipe
3.       (For coffee cream cheese) Quickly mix 1 cup of cream cheese, 1 tsp sweetener and 1 heap tsp of powdered coffee into a bowl and refrigerate.
4.       To create a ‘latte’ cream cheese frosting, take a piping back and half the two separate mixtures onto either side of the bag (this way when you pipe onto the cupcakes the cream cheeses will mix together half and half).

Decoration: For The Dairy Free White Chocolate Pumpkins
25g of dairy free white chocolate
Vegan orange food colouring

Method
1.       To create the white chocolate pumpkins I simply melted 25g of dairy free chocolate and added vegan orange food colouring.
2.       I then left the mixture for 5 mins to cool slightly before adding it into a piping bag (the consistency is quite thick so this made the piping a lot easier although mine aren’t the best!)
3.       I then simply piped the chocolate onto cling film freehand and refridgerated
4.       Once the chocolate had hardened I popped them on top of my cupcakes and tucked in!

Tips: Keep refrigerated and serve chilled (so the cream cheese keeps firm) - consume within 5 days or alternatively the cupcake mixture is freezable! 

Beki Xo



 The ultimate glasses guide for the party season (*)

So Christmas is looming, the high street stores and shopping centres are well on their way to becoming a winter wonderland and Tesco have revealed their top 3 favourite looks for those whom wear glasses. Although I'm not a glasses wearer myself they're the perfect accessory to instantly change someones appearance and sometimes I do find myself lusting after a pair of two. 

In first is the perfect pair of glasses for those cosy days beside the fire, watching endless Christmas films, sipping on a hot chocolate and wrapping up presents. A metal frame would be the obvious choice due to it being the lightest and thinnest frame of glasses. This will ensure maximum comfort, making you forget they’re even on, so you can tuck into your treats and escape into the film! Here are the designer Diane Von Furstenberg glasses, carefully selected for your sheer comfort and relaxation over the winter period!
Secondly we have searched for the perfect pair of outdoor glasses, to accompany you on your winter walks up the mountain, and maybe then down into the local pub. Come rain, wind, shine or snow, you need to ensure you have a protective pair of glasses to put on when you’re enjoying the great outdoors. The pair we have selected will maximise visibility so you can take in every second of the wonderfully wintery scenery! This pair of Oakley glasses adds a touch of style to their practicality!


And finally, of course the biggest party season of the year needs the perfect party lens to set off that fabulous Christmas dress! You wouldn’t go out the house without your clutch bag, or jewellery, so you definitely should not forget the perfect pair of glasses to complete your outfit! Of course everyone’s style may vary, but having done some trend research, it seems a chunkier frame is on point this season, alongside the classic cat-eye frame, so either go for one or the other, or even combine the two into your style. We have chosen these gorgeous designer frames by Fendi, we hope you love them just as much as we do. Choose between tortoise or black for the perfect, glamorous party glasses!



So your guide is complete, so now it’s time to get those three looks sorted before Christmas is upon us!

Beki Xo
The Owl Print Smock Dress
Shoes-NewLook, Dress-ASOS, Bag-Primark, Hat-DorothyPerkins, Watch-Primark, TurquoiseRing-BohemianCollective, FurKeyring- Primark

It's feels like its been such a long time since i blogged an outfit post. Part of me wonders if it was due to the lack of clothing i was lusting after in Summer but then i know its probably because outfit posts take a little more time and effort then your usual review and i just didn't make time!

However, as usual I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things and since I'm all over A/W layering I should be introducing some new pieces into my wardrobe to style and show you guys. 

This owl printed smock dress from ASOS is something i picked up last year, stored away for a while and then unexpectedly rediscovered. I'm one of these people that throws an item of clothing I've not worn for a couple months on eBay, then somewhere down the line regret it so I'm pretty glad i didn't with this piece!

I've been very much into styling my outfits around a black base with autumnal shades used in the layering and accessories. It means that i can use the basic black pieces i already have in my wardrobe and introduce new jackets, hats, bags and scarves to style them up and create multiple looks!

Beki Xo



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