Eleanor Graceful

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Weekly Love #7



1. Massage

My auntie has recently taken over a salon in Alderley Edge (called Cheshire Beauty if you're wondering) and offered me a complimentary treatment. On Tuesday I decided to take her up on the offer and went for a full body massage. The salon is right in the centre of Alderley Edge and it smelt amazing - think air diffusers, scented Neom candles, and massage oils. The treatment lasted around 45 minutes and was amazing. It reminded me that we all need to take a bit of time out for some self-care every now and again.



2. Baked Eggs

For as long as I can remember, I've seen recipes for baked eggs pop up all over the place, but I'd never actually tried making them even though I love eggs. Last week I found myself buying a book dedicated to cooking with eggs (I know, wild child, calm down...) and found a pretty easy recipe to follow as I am quite inept in the kitchen. We had it for dinner on Thursday after a very stressful day, and it was so easy to do! I can't wait to do it more often and discover other dishes to try from my book. Maybe I'll start the #eggupdate hashtag... (but probably not for my sanity...)



3. Jack Whitehall

On Wednesday I had a very intriguing text from a friend saying he had a spare ticket to Jack Whitehall on Friday night. If you've known me for any length of time, you'll know that I absolutely love him as a comedian and actor so I jumped at the chance to see him again. We saw him about 3 years ago at the MEN and he didn't disappoint this time either! His support act was also really good.



4. Artisan Market

If you know me, you'll know I love a good food market. This weekend was the monthly Artisan Market in Wilmslow, so me and my boyfriend took a trip over that way on Saturday afternoon and met up with my Mum and my Nan and had a browse around the market. It turned out to be quite a lovely day weather-wise as well so really enjoyable overall. Plus, I will always welcome free samples of food!



5. Birthdays

On Saturday night I went in to Manchester for one of my oldest and dearest friend Emily's birthday. We started at Eastern Bloc Records in the Northern Quarter and then onto Ply. It was a really nice group out and all of her friends who I hadn't met before were lovely. I also managed to have a catch up with some of my favourite girls which always makes my weekends better.



6. Fashion Network 

On Friday lunchtime, I noticed that my latest blog had been shared on the Fashion Network facebook page which has over 5,000 unique likes. I'm not sure where they saw my post, but I was really chuffed that they had decided to share it. Sorry for the shameless self-promotion but it did make me really happy knowing that a brand like that wanted to share it!



7. Curling Wand

On Monday afternoon, I came home to a parcel from Salon Success. I'd seen on a couple of blogger's posts recently that they were sent the curling wand kit* to try out by Paul Mitchell, and I was lucky enough to have one too (as well as really love smelling hairspray and a brush). Because I didn't have any proper plans during the week that warrented curly hair, I waited until Saturday to try it out, and it didn't disappoint. The actual wand is a gorgeous copper colour and it heated up really quickly. I'm used to using a wand, so I found it easy to use and didn't burn my fingers once #bonus. If you're looking for a new styling wand, this one is out later this month.



8. Chapter One

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Hannah and myself had gone for tea and cake at Chapter One in the Northern Quarter and it was my new favourite place. Well on Sunday, I decided to head there again with her and my other friend Africa. I opted for a regular breakfast tea (because I panicked as I was fixated on the cakes) and a slice of Earl Grey lemon drizzle which sounded intriguing. The overall vibe of Chapter One is really chilled and we sat right next to the fire which was lovely as it was quite drizzly in Manchester. A lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


xx

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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

7 Fashion Bloggers Who Are Killing It


Killing it is an expression right? Am I cool if I use it?

I'll carry on...

London fashion week is upon us, colour is actually making a comeback, and it feels as though the fashion bloggersphere is really upping its content in terms of the photography we're seeing all over the place. I for one absolutely love following fashion accounts and I think it's refreshing seeing real girls modelling clothes rather than size 6 stick insects with bony backs.

For me, I want to know that the clothes I fancy buying look good on curves and girls with bigger legs, real figures etc. I think that's one of the reasons the blogging world has become so big in recent years and celebrity endorsements are slowly dying out.

And on that note, these girls are ultimate goals right now (I'll stop with the 14-year-old lingo I promise...)

1. Samantha Maria

You wouldn't know that this mega-babe had a baby in December (who btw is one of the cutest babies I have ever seen) because she is back up and running in the world of fashion. She is a beautiful girl inside and out with a fashion sense that is muted, yet adds a dash of colour here and there. One of her new year's resolutions was to be more adventurous with her style, and I for one can't wait to see what she wears next.



2. Hello October

Suzie is the queen of skinny jeans and oversized shirts and is a petite princess. Her style is effortlessly cool and she looks amazing in everything she wears. She did a really interesting post called 'saying hello to 2017' where she used previously taken photos of her in a bikini on a beach in Costa Rica (I know... how the other half live...) and looks incredible. It's refreshing seeing real curves on the internet!



3. In The Frow

I couldn't not mention Victoria as she's a fellow Northerner and even went to my uni! Victoria works with some amazing high-end and high-street brands and makes all her clothes look especially cool. It may help that her boyfriend is a photographer and can make her look great in everything, but it's definitely her innate style that shines through in his photography.



4. Shot From The Street

I've followed Lizzie's blog for about a year now when I discovered she was a fellow Manchester blogger. She brings a new meaning to the word 'grunge' in 2k17; think darker photography, lots of earthy tones and bucket loads of attitude and you've got Lizzie posing on the streets of Manchester, putting us Northern girls on the map. Her personal style shows off that she is not afraid to mismatch prints, wear fur and trainers yet still rock the 'cat mother' poses.



5. Frock Me I'm Famous

Hayley is the epitome of girly fashion, and it's fair to say her embroidered jackets, polka dot dresses and adorable floral prints are becoming her statement look. She is someone who isn't afraid to wear colour or experiment with her style and her wardrobe is second to none. I love the fact that she mixes up prints in a world full of monochrome.



6. The Elle Next Door

Maybe I like Ellie's blog because she has the same name as me... maybe it didn't cross my mind... who knows? Think a lot of pastel tones yet bright, bold photos to match, and you've got Ellie's blog down to a tee. Another great mix of high-end and cheaper pieces - a bit of something for everyone.



7. I Covet Thee

I only discovered Alix's blog just before Christmas, but I'm already in love. Her photography style is what every blogger dreams of, and she has a style that I love - it's very wearable, understated, yet stylish and she makes even just a striped Breton t-shirt look amazing. Alix is also a mega-babe for not shying away from her gorgeous curvy figure, flaunting it in high waisted jeans and bardot tops. Also, is it just me, or does she have a look of Drew Barrymore?


Which fashion accounts are you loving at the moment?


xx

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Sunday, 12 February 2017

Weekly Love #6


1. Strictly Come Dancing

Way back in December, my cousin asked if I wanted to go and see the live tour of Strictly Come Dancing in Liverpool as a Christmas present for my Mum and my Nan. Even though I've never watched the programme in my life I said yes because I love spending time with my family (especially when it's all of the girls!) However, when Tuesday came around this week, I felt as though I really couldn't be bothered going all the way to Liverpool to see the show and almost cancelled, but I knew I'd enjoy myself once I was there so we battled through rush hour traffic and made our way to the Echo Arena. I didn't know what to expect from the show (except dancing of course) but I absolutely loved it. I can't explain it properly (and the two glasses of wine I'd had might have helped slightly) but it was just amazing and my whole family had a really good time. There was a competition throughout the night and the contestants did their two favourite dances from the show, with Louise Redknapp winning the glitter disco ball (and my favourite Ed Balls coming runner up). It's definitely encouraged me to watch the show when it's back on TV later in the year and was a really great way to start the week.



2. Liverpool

You may or may not know this about me, but I am half scouse! My mum was born there and I still have a bit of family over that way. I hadn't been to the city for a good couple of years (the last time was for a leaving do) and it had been even longer since I'd visited the docks. When we went on Tuesday evening for Strictly, although we only spent a few hours there, I realised how much I loved Liverpool as a city and how much it had changed over the years. We ate at Smuggler's Cove on the docks which had a mixture of everything. I shared a deli board and some chips (and wine) with my cousin and the food was lovely and good value. I definitely want to go back to my second city and spend more time there this year.



3. Eat Kaizen

On Wednesday me and a few of my blogger friends went to the launch of Eat:Kaizen which is a healthy food place in Altrincham. I loved not having to go all the way into Manchester for a launch and have people come to my hometown! It's a really good addition to the ever-changing face of Altrincham and I can't wait to go back soon. The owners were really lovely, the staff were very attentive, and the food was really good too! I also got to catch up with some of my favourite health and fitness bloggers, which is always a plus.



4. Victoria Baths

On Friday evening, me and Hannah went to see '10 Things I Hate About You' as part of the pop-up cinema at Victoria Baths. I'd only ever seen pictures of this venue, but I'd always been intrigued to go; so when I saw that they were doing a valentine's special, I thought it was a great opportunity. The venue was so cool, and the film has always been one of my favourites making it even better. Plus we had blankets, coats, scarves and enough food to feed a small army, so it was nice to be all wrapped up. Little tip - if you do find yourself here in winter, wrap up warm because it is freezing!



5. Things To Come

If you follow me on Twitter or Snapchat, you might have seen me hinting about things I have planned for this little blog. I've said from the start of the year that I want to put more effort into my space on the internet, and I hope to continue to do so. I've even got some external work planned which will see me writing something longer than a blog post but I've got to keep it quiet for now!


6. War Dogs

On Saturday night we decided to stay in and have a film night. I'm not a massive film buff, but I'd heard really good things about War Dogs, plus I really like Jonah Hill. When I couldn't convince the other half to watch 'Bridget Jones' Baby' we both agreed on this and I really enjoyed it. For some reason in my head I thought it was a comedy, and although there are funny bits, it's more of a action-drama. If you haven't seen it, give it a watch; plus, it's based on a true story which I always think is pretty cool.



7. Flapjacks

To go with the film on Saturday night, I decided to whip up something in the kitchen. If you know me, you'll know that 1. I have the biggest sweet tooth ever, and 2. I love baking! I found this recipe online, but decided to use more honey and less oats so they would be really gooey. They only needed 10-12 minutes in the oven, which was perfect for me because I am pretty impatient when it comes to food! (Apologies for the awful picture!)



8. Katy Perry's New Song

On my way home from work on Friday night, I heard Katy Perry's new song 'Chained to the Rhythm'. I am a huge KP fan and have seen her in concert a couple of times, so I am pretty damn happy that she is back!


xx

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Friday, 10 February 2017

The 10 Lessons I've Learnt From My Travels | #travellessons


I wouldn't call myself a traveller by any means. I've been to a few places around the globe yes... but I've never had the experience of packing up for a few months, living out of a backpack and making friends with strangers... The opportunity has never really arisen for me. I mean I've had the option when I dropped out of university, but I felt as though I needed to get a job before I went back to study in order to survive the big wide world: I had the option when I finished university a few years later, but I went straight into full-time work and I am still here today: I have the option every time I get paid to uproot my life and not look back, but I have a boyfriend, friends, family and bills to pay - so it never really seemed like the responsible choice.

Travelling is one of those things that has always appealed, and something that I know I will do one day. I mean heck, it says in my blog bio that I have incurable wanderlust (or on checking, it definitely used to) which in some sense is true. Almost every day now I post a picture on my instagram of somewhere I have been in the world or want to visit, and I am glued to Sky Scanner in my spare time just planning my next trip. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I realised how important visiting new places is to me, and how much it helps you grow as a person to experience new cultures, foods and ways of life. I completely agree with the expression, 'Travel is the only thing you pay for that makes you richer' (unless you know, you buy the winning lottery ticket)

Although I haven't travelled far and wide to all the corners of the earth in my lifetime, what I have done in the last few years though is taken a fair few short breaks here and there which have not only allowed me to experience new and exciting places in the world, but also taught me some 'tricks of the trade' when it comes to travelling (and allowed me to keep my job and my holiday allowance).

One day I will see the world though, mark my words!

1. Do your research!

Quite a straightforward one really, but honestly, the amount of people I have spoken to who don't research where they are going before they go, astounds me. Yes, there is much to be said about not having a plan when you go away, but surely something attracted you to that destination? Research what is around where you are staying, where the best places to eat are, where to go at night, free things to do, walking tours, how to get to the beach, where to get brunch etc.

2. Have some sort of plan

On the same note, having things grouped together by day makes it easier for you to navigate around and spend your time wisely. Have a look what tourist spots are close together, and do them all on the same day to maximise your time on your travels. Bus tours are a great way to see a city and you can usually get 1-2 day tickets which let you hop on and off as many times as you like. I tend to spend one morning/afternoon getting my bearings and then from there I know where to go the next few days and the easiest and quickest way to get there.

3. Make a note of how to get from the airport

I mention this one because there have been numerous occasions where I have ended up in a brand new city without the foggiest idea how to get to where I am staying (like the time me and my friend convinced everyone we were on the right train to Amsterdam and ended up in Den Hague, which evidently does not mean 'the centre'). It's easy when you are younger as you just follow your parents out of the airport and just go with the flow, and even when you are a young adult going on your first holiday without your parents, chances are you'll have a really organised friend who has booked a minibus, or a coach, or if you're really lucky, your hotel might have arranged a transfer already. But if you want my advice, check how to get from the airport to the city centre and book ahead if you can because if you're anything like me and book the cheapest flight going, Ryanair do not fly to the city's main airport!

4. Have a look at the weather

I'm a sucker for googling 'what's the weather like in [insert city] in [insert month]' and just taking it word for word, but the fact of the matter is, global warming is playing havoc with our weather every year, so you can almost guarantee that the weather won't be the same as it was in 2014. Use iPhone weather, or the met office updates and only have a look a couple of days before you go because, like everything in this world, it won't stay the same for long.

5. Leave some time to aimlessly wander

I did mention before that having a rough idea of things to see if a good way of getting the most out of your time, but some of my favourite holiday memories are those where I didn't have a plan. Getting lost in a new city is a great way to see the real sites that aren't in your lonely planet guide (as long as you have google maps ready and waiting to get you back to your hotel) and you'll be surprised at all the beautiful side streets and interesting places to see that are just off the beaten track. This is a great way as well to not spend a fortune on restaurants that just hike the price up for being in a touristy area.

6. Don't forget your adapter

Pretty self-explanatory. If you want to be able to charge your phone, use your laptop and straighten your hair, make sure you pack your adapter (and also make sure it's the right one for the continent you're going to so you're not searching the airport in a sleep-deprived state at 6 am right before your flight to Oslo...)

7. Ask people for the recommendations

In this crazy social-media-obsessed world, the chances are that someone you have in your network has been to where you are going. I love hearing people's travel stories and recommendations for places I'm about to visit, so ask friends, family or just people on twitter for their suggestions. Sometimes the best finds come from right under your nose.

8. Only pack what you're going to wear

I am the worst at this, but I find I am getting better the more I go abroad. Also, I'm not one of those people who takes a year to pack for a three-night trip away. I literally will pack the day before because A) I don't know what the weather is going to be up until that point (see point 4) B) I tend to write a list of things on my phone when I think of them so want to leave packing until the last minute C) I usually use all the makeup and skincare products I want to take with me up until the morning of my flight so I can't pack them anyway! Aim to plan your outfits based on the weather so you don't over pack (or at least try not to...) and always travel in comfy clothes, remembering how cold the UK is bound to be when you get back!

9. Only pack what you're going to use

I decided to add this in as a separate point after what happened to me when I went to Germany in December. After going to Oslo only a couple of weeks before and not being able to fit a lot in the plastic bag they give you, I decided to be clever and buy my own clear makeup bag off Amazon for my upcoming trip. Except no... you aren't allowed to do that - you have to use the bag they give you. Because of this, I ended up having to throw my deodorant, shampoo, conditioner and mini moisturiser away which meant having to replace them in the airport 5 minutes later; not ideal when you think you have the answer! My advice is, only pack what you know you are going to use; there's no point in packing your whole night time skin routine because you'll probably be too exhausted to do it all anyway! Also, be warned that all your liquids cannot exceed 1 litre altogether; but you'll never get 10 x 100ml bottles in one of the bags anyway so yeah...

10. Film your travels

A picture speaks a thousand words... it sure does, but do you know what speaks two thousand words? A video! This is something that I don't think I've ever done, but definitely something I am going to inflict on everyone that comes away with me from 2017 onwards! Not only are travel vlogs one of my favourite to watch on YouTube, but now I have a decent camera, I want to be able to relive all of my experiences through video as well as pictures. Even if it's just a few seconds on your phone or a saved Snapchat story, think about how great it'll be to play back at a later date.

xx

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This post was written in collaboration with GoEuro.co.uk for their #travellessons blogger competition - wish me luck! Find out more information here. All views are my own. 
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