Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Brighton City Guide


It's been a couple of weeks since our stay in Brighton, so I thought I would round up all my recommendations into one post for you all. Brighton has been on my 'to visit' list for as long as I can remember, so when I had a few days off in October, I thought it would be the perfect place for an autumn getaway.

The one thing I found with booking so close to when we were planning on visiting is that the hotel prices were sky high, which meant we settled on an Air BnB just outside of the city.

We were there for four days and three nights and visited quite a few different places during our time, but I would have loved to have had more time to explore as there was so much to do and see. Brighton is often referred to as 'London by the sea' and it was easy to see why after only spending a handful of days there because of the bustle of the place.

Stay

Kemp Town

As I mentioned, we settled on an Air BnB I found about 20 minutes walk from the centre of Brighton, which suited us perfectly. Kemp Town reminded me of the Northern Quarter in Manchester, and had a lot of trendy bars and restaurants; I think it also had the biggest student population in the city, meaning there was always something going on.

The apartment was easy to find and had on-street parking, which was a dream in a city full of permit-only roads. It was nestled in a residential part of the city, two roads back from the sea. It was in a gorgeous converted townhouse on the 5th floor so the views were pretty good. We both commented on how spacious it was, and the host even left us tea, coffee, bread, milk and eggs, which was lovely.

The walk into town was either via the main high street in Kemp Town, which was full of bars, cafes and independent shops, or walking along the coastline, which was lovely and peaceful.

Brighton was a mix of old cobbled streets (known as the lanes), sandwiched between modern buildings, white-washed townhouses and a seaside. I loved the fact you could wander down any street and discover something new and end the day watching the sunset on the pebbled beach.



Visit

Lewes

This was a place that was on my list to visit after one of my favourite bloggers, The Anna Edit, went there with her husband for a roast dinner. We decided to go on Saturday morning after we had had breakfast, and it took us about 15-minutes from where we were staying.

Although we found it quite hard to park with it being a Saturday morning, I'm definitely glad we persevered because the town was lovely and worth a visit: It was full of independent shops, cute coffee shops and there was also a castle which we had a wander up to.


Hove

Although Brighton is technically called Brighton and Hove, the two are separate towns, albeit next door to each other. Hove was slightly further away from us than Brighton, so we decided to get the bus there from Kemp Town, which took about 40 minutes because of the amount of traffic.

Of the two, Hove was my favourite because it was less busy, but had the same amount of shops, restaurants and bars and the beach was just as lovely. Also, if you're looking for the famous pastel-coloured beach huts, head that way!




Eat

Curry Leaf Cafe

I'd heard of this restaurant before as I follow quite a few bloggers who live in Brighton, but it was actually someone I used to go to school with who now lives there, who recommended it on Instagram. There was one about five minutes from us in Kemp Town, but it was actually the one in the lanes in the city centre that we visited.

I was worried that we wouldn't get a table because we hadn't booked and it was a Friday night, but luckily we were there quite early and they seated us within 10 minutes. The cuisine is Indian street food with a modern twist and is delicious. We shared the poppadum starter, chicken malai tikka and the chicken kori gassi curry with rice and a naan and we were stuffed.

The food was definitely some of the best Indian food I have ever had, and the staff were amazing; I would highly recommend visiting if you're in the area, and I would go back in a heartbeat if I was to visit Brighton again.




Wood Box Pizza

We stumbled on this place when we were walking home one afternoon to get changed only about 10 minutes from our apartment: It was also recommended to us by our Air BnB host, and it looked so amazing that I convinced Jordan to go back two hours later.

I'm a big fan of wood-fired pizzas and the fact that you can see your food being made in front of you. Although Wood Box wasn't huge, the restaurant was really cosy and smelt amazing because of their good quality ingredients. We shared the Nduja and the Black Forest Ham.



Shogun Ramen

This was another restaurant that we stumbled upon by chance, but after a quick google search, we found out that it was voted one of the best Japanese restaurants in Brighton, and I can hands down see why.

I love Japanese food; I'd even go as far as saying it's one of my favourite cuisines, and our meal at Shogun was definitely up there with one of the best I've had. We shared Gyoza, Char Siu BBQ Pork Ramen and a Chicken Katsu Curry and had a Japanese beer.


Drink

The Cocktail Shack At Artist Residence

This is a place I wanted to go to as soon as I found out we were going to Brighton as I've seen a few bloggers doing photo shoots and filming at the hotel. The bar is next door and is done out with neon lights with a tiki vibe with a view of the sea.

When we went in, we were lucky to get a table by the window because it was really busy in there. All of the cocktails were plays on celebrity's names: I went for the Rhubarbara Streisand and Peaches Goldof.

There was also a secret bar downstairs behind a bookcase, but there was a private event on so we couldn't go in, but it looked cool from the outside.


The Gin Tub

This was easily my favourite place we visited on our trip because it was one of the coolest bar experiences ever. The bar itself is actually in Hove about a 10-minute walk from the train station or a 15-minute walk from Brighton.

We were seated by one of the waiters on a booth that had a vintage telephone on it. He told us that to order a drink, you had to dial zero, and it would be brought to us. I had an Edinburgh rhubarb gin with ginger beer and a raspberry flavoured one with mint and elderflower - both were amazing.



Twisted Lemon

Another one of my favourites that we visited was Twisted Lemon, based in The Lanes. It was very easy to miss as you walk through a side gate and the bar is at the back.

It was really quirky, bright and yellow inside, and although it was busy with it being a Saturday evening, we were served straight away.


Brunch

Marmalade

We didn't visit Marmalade until our last morning in Brighton, which was a shame because it was my favourite brunch spot. It was less than five minutes form where we were staying, and had a rustic vibe to it with tiles and bare walls, and the menu handwritten on a piece of wallpaper.

It was a really cool place to go for brunch, and the cakes, sandwiches and pasties that were on display looked incredible. I went for a sausage and egg sandwich with a wake me up smoothie, which had banana, granola, yoghurt, milk and honey in.



The Breakfast Club

I'd been to the London branch of this a few years ago, but the Brighton one was definitely my favourite. We had to queue for about 20 minutes to get a table, but it was worth it for the overall feel of the restaurant.

If you've never visited, most of the locations are in London. It is done out like an American diner. with bright leather sofas, green ceilings and yellow brick outside. We both went for pancakes, which had banana, vanilla cream, salted caramel and chocolate sauce. It's safe to say that I was in a sugar coma for most of the day.


Six

We went to Six for more of a lunch than a breakfast, but we both ended up getting avocado on sourdough toast, because lol, basic. I went for the avocado royale which came with halloumi and cherry tomatoes - any breakfast with cheese gets a thumbs up from me.

They also did a selection of smoothies, which I wasn't going to order until I saw the table next to us get one. I went for the 'temptation' one, which was banana, raw cacao, cacao nibs, walnuts, dates and almond milk. They also did an option for bottomless drinks, which I'd be doing next time for sure.

The restaurant is right in the middle of Brighton and Hove, so can be walked to from either of the towns. The day we visited was really sunny and warm and we ended up sitting on a table outside.




Coffee & Cake

Flour Pot Bakery

This place was an Instagrammers dream - whitewashed walls, pretty tiles and wooden tables amidst perfect pastries and coffees. I loved this place because it was so cute and cosy inside, but didn't feel squished at all.

We stopped here on our walk around Hove, but they also have locations in The Lanes, Seven Dials and a couple more dotted about the Brighton area, all of which look just as adorable. They also sold fresh bread and pastries that were baked on site to takeaway which meant it smelt amazing too.



Red Roaster

This place was one that we walked past on our first walk into Brighton and I commented on how cool it looked inside. The door into it was a full-length glass door (which I struggled to open...) and inside it was done out in black and white tiles with pops of green everywhere from plants.

We only stopped here to get our caffeine kick on the way into town, but the cakes looked amazing too. It was slightly more expensive than the other places we visited, but worth a visit if you're in the Kemp Town area.


Trading Post

Trading Post was on a road that was no entry, meaning that all of the tables that were outside were full of people enjoying the autumn sunshine, including us. We went to Trading Post after a morning shopping, and needing a little pick me up.

I went for a tea and slice of lemon drizzle cake, and Jordan went for a beer, which did make me extremely jealous when he came back with it. This is a good choice if you're around The Lanes or the shopping centre area.



Sugar Dough

I thought I would mention this one, although we didn't get a chance to visit it, because it was such a cute little cafe in the middle of The Lanes. From the outside it was painted pastel green and white and looked like the inside of a lollipop.

The cakes looked unreal - tiers of sponge and buttercream with crazy toppings - perfect for any sweettooths out there, like me! They also have a bakery in Hove if you're over that way.


La Mucca Nera

Technically not coffee and cake, but worth a mention. If you were following me on Instagram (here if you're interested) you'll know that the first thing we did once we arrived in Brighton was to go for an ice cream.

We found a gelateria on the walk into town, and couldn't resist: I went for cherry and Nutella and it was so smooth and creamy - some of the best gelato I have had outside of Italy.


And there you have it, all of my recommendations for a short stay in Brighton. I would 100% go back for another visit and hopefully for longer next time, preferably when its warm enough to go in the sea - it was so peaceful and calm being by the beach, and I enjoyed walking through different villages every day, seeing how different they all were from each other.

Have you been to Brighton? Where would you recommend? 

xx
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Monday, 16 October 2017

Weekly Love #41


This week has been a lovely introduction to autumn weather, and what we can expect when the temperatures start to drop that little bit more.

October is one of my favourite times of the year for a number of different reasons, but mainly because I'm a home bird at heart and I enjoy spending time wrapped up in blankets on the sofa. This year, in particular, I'm going to try and incorporate more Hygge into my life and enjoy some home comforts.

Autumn Sun

This week, I've noticed how dark it has been when I've been getting up in the morning and how late the sun is rising. Although I prefer getting up in the light, the darker mornings have made some pretty incredible sunrises, which always makes my commute in the morning, that little bit more colourful.


Podcasts

It's been a while since I've listened to a podcast, but this last week I've been enjoying Emma Gannon's Ctrl Alt Delete again whilst I'm in the car. I really enjoyed Emma's book when I read it last year, and the podcast does not disappoint. I'm always up for discovering new ones, so if you have any you think I'd like, let me know in the comments.


WMHD

On Tuesday it was World Mental Health Day, which is a cause very close to my heart. Although I find it difficult talking about my struggles with anxiety, I always feel as though it helps to get some of my thoughts on paper, and I had some really lovely messages about the blog I wrote on the matter. Have a read here.


Homemade Pizza

On Wednesday, we decided to have a bit of a different meal and made homemade pizzas. This month has taken its toll financally already so we are trying to use up everything we have in the freezer before we do another food shop - that said, any evening that involves pizza is fine by me.


Friday Night Club

Last week was quite a crazy one. Jordan and I had planned to go out for dinner on Friday night, but instead, we cooked up a Mexican feast and stayed in instead. Although I love going out for dinner, especially for date night, sometimes you need to listen to your body and relax.


Crash Bandicoot

A bit of a random one to be included in here, but a love nonetheless. On Saturday afternoon, I went over to my friends flat to play the remastered version of Crash Bandicoot, which was a game I was obsessed with when I was a child. I didn't realise but we were playing it for over 5 hours - what a productive Saturday!


Crazy Pedros

It was one of my best friend's birthdays on Saturday night, and we went to one of my favourite pizza places in Manchester, Crazy Pedros - if you're ever in Manchester and never been, I would highly recommend it. The pizzas are crazy flavours, but delicious, and its got a New York pizza parlour vibe about it - the cocktails are pretty good too!


Brunch

When Jordan and I lived with my parents, we used to go for brunch all the time at a cafe in Altrincham called King's Court Cafe. The food was always amazing, so we decided to get out of the house on Sunday morning and have breakfast there. We sat inside, but the gorgeous autumn sun was shining and everyone seemed to be in such a good mood.


Walk

Because the weather was so gorgeous on Sunday, we made the most of it and went for a walk along the River Mersey into Didsbury village to a pub (also called The Didsbury). The walk took us about 45 minutes, but because it was so lovely and warm, it didn't feel long at all. I love living near such beautiful countryside.


Olive And Vine

After a couple of gins in the pub, the hunger started to creep in. There is a Mediterranean restaurant opposite The Didsbury, called Olive and Vine, which neither of us had been to but I'd heard really good things about. We went over and had some tapas to share, which was delicious and the restaurant itself was lovely: One we'll definitely be going back to.


What have you been loving this week?

xx

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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Travel | Italy Days 3 & 4


If you haven't caught up with the first instalment of my Italy travel diary post, you can find the Rome run down right here - now it's time to talk about what we got up to for the last two days of our trip.

We'd pre-booked our train from Rome to Florence, which was a good idea seen as it was completely full. The journey lasted about an hour and a half, and the views of the Italian countryside were incredible: I'd do the journey again just for that reason alone.

We were staying in another Air BnB in Florence which was about a five-minute walk from the centre. After getting off the train, we walked the 20 minutes to the apartment through the centre of the city. We were both amazed at how different Florence was to Rome, although some of the architecture was similar.

The Air BnB we were staying in was on a quiet road in a residential district, and the owner lived upstairs so it was really easy to get in touch. He showed us the best way to get around, and all of the sites to see. We quickly changed and went out for a mooch.

The buildings in the city reminded us both of Barcelona's gothic quarter and were much more dark and striking than Rome. We walked to the Duomo in the middle of the city, which was a dark green colour, and was breathtaking.

The thing I noticed most about Florence is the array of designer shops they had on offer - you could tell that people definitely fled to the city for this reason. We wandered about for around 3 hours and crossed the Ponte Vecchio to the other side before heading back to get changed for dinner.

We thought it would be nice to watch the sunset on the riverbank, so after a couple of glasses of wine in the apartment, we headed out to do this. We went to another bar before going for dinner in a restaurant that overlooked the main square.




The next day we woke up quite early to take in the views at Piazza Di Michelangelo. The walk up to the top of the hill took us about 30 minutes, but it was worth it. We took our time strolling back through the city before getting lunch and heading for the train to Pisa.

I didn't know much about Pisa, apart from its famous landmark. Our lovely Air BnB host picked us up from the train station and showed us around the apartment we were staying in, which was bigger than my first flat! He showed us the best route into the city, and what else there was to see.

Our first port of call was the Leaning Tower. The best thing about seeing it in real life was the amount of tourists trying to get the perfect snap. We wandered around the city walls and visited the Piazza Dei Cavalieri at golden hour. We saw the building that Galileo studied in, and wandered down the banks of the Arno river.

Although the pizza and pasta were out of this world in Italy, we were carbed out and decided to try and find an alternative meal for our last one. We settled on a restaurant down a little side street and had one of the best meals of the whole trip. I went all out and got a steak with Italian beans and roast veg and potatoes - it was honestly one of the best steaks I have ever had in my life!

Of all the cities, Pisa was definitely the quietest, but even for a Sunday night, the streets were still full of performers, locals and tourists, which gave it a good buzz. The walk home was very peaceful, even though we passed through the student district.



If I'm honest, I wouldn't rush back to Florence or Pisa: Although they were both beautiful in their own way, I felt as though a day in each was enough and we saw all the sites that we wanted to. I would, however, use the cities as a base to discover more of Tuscany, but overall I was slightly underwhelmed, especially with how highly regarded they both are.

That said, the trip was one of the best ever and Italy still holds the title of my favourite country in the world - I just can't wait to explore more of it in the coming years.

xx

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Friday, 13 October 2017

Travel | Italy Days 1 & 2


Last month, myself and Hannah went to Italy for a few days as a late summer break. I've been to Italy twice before, but Hannah had never been, so we decided to go to three different cities in the time that we were there - Rome, Florence and finishing off in Pisa to see as much of the beautiful country as we could.

We booked the trip back in January when it was more than ideal weather in the UK, and it was nice to have something to look forward to throughout summer.

I've decided to split this post into day 1 and 2 that we spent in Rome, and follow up with what we got up to in Florence and Pisa.


Day 1 & 2

We flew super early on the Thursday to Rome and arrived about 11am Italian time. After a coach journey to the centre, we decided to walk to the Air BnB because it was such a beautiful day, and stopped for pizza on the way, which was delicious. After meeting the host, we unpacked, freshened up and headed out of the door to explore the city.

I'd been to Rome once before about 4 years ago, and we were staying quite close to where we did the first time I was there so I attempted to get my bearings. After a wander around, we found a square called Campo De Fiori, and stopped to have some drinks - luckily, we arrived during the Aperitif hour, which is now my favourite Italian tradition: In brief, it's basically just happy hour, but the drinks are cheaper and you get given free snacks too, which is great if you constantly crave food, like me.

We spent a couple of hours moseying around the different bars in the square before walking over to Piazza Navona as the sun was setting. The square was super busy, and the beautiful Italian architecture glistened in the sunshine, making it the perfect backdrop for a few slightly tipsy snaps.

After a wander around the surrounding side streets, we walked over to a wine bar, which was recommended to us by a fellow blogger. We had to make our way through a crowd of people who were drinking outside (apparently indicating that the bar is enjoyed by the locals, always a good sign) and found a table just as a couple was leaving.

This bar was amazing: The walls were covered with wine bottles and they had cured meats and cheese on display. Because of the heat, I went for a chilled white wine and we got a charcuterie board to share between us, which was delicious, and made up feel incredibly fancy. We spent a couple of hours here talking to random people, enjoying our wine and watching the passers-by.

We wandered back to the Air BnB via a couple more bars and bought a gelato to see us through the 10-minute walk (I had Nutella and pistachio and omg so good...)




The morning after, I wandered to the nearest corner shop to get some supplies for breakfast and we chilled in the apartment for a bit. Last time I was in Rome, I didn't make it to The Vatican because of the queue, so we aimed to get there as early as possible - a decision that 99% of the tourists in Rome also took. We swiftly decided against queueing in the 26-degree heat and carried on to more sites.

Our first port of call though was caffeine. We found a really cute restaurant to have a coffee in before heading to the Trevi Fountain. As expected, it was teeming with tourists, but we did manage to get a couple of snaps after we elbowed our way through. We then walked to Piazza Navona for lunch and shared an antipasti board and a pesto linguine dish.

We found a little van selling Peroni for 1 euro which was an offer we couldn't refuse and carried on to the Spanish Steps, beer in hand. After a sweaty 138-step climb to the top, we took in the views before heading to the Colosseum: Luckily the queue wasn't too long!

After the Colosseum, we went back for Aperitif and got talked into having a Negroni, which, although is a traditional Italian drink, I don't think I'll be rushing back to. We walked back to the Air BnB and changed quickly before heading to the Trasvertere region of Rome, which was only about 5 minutes from where we were staying.

My recommendation if you ever visit Rome is to definitely check out this area. It had the vibe of Manchester's Northern Quarter mixed with the charm of 'real' Italy. There were so many fewer tourists, but it was still busy enough to give the whole place a buzz.

After a wander around the streets watching people dancing on the canal bank and finding bars that we definitely wanted to visit later in the evening, we settled on a pizzeria, which we both agreed did the best pizza we had ever had. As we are two of the most indecisive people, we chose two pizzas (Parma ham and steak with different cheeses and rocket) and shared them. The restaurant was heaving, but the staff were so attentive and lovely. When we finished dinner we went for a few drinks in a little bar with fairy lights outside before getting a crepe and wandering back along the canal bank.

The next day we had a bit of time in the morning before we needed to catch our train to Florence so we decided to go back to Trasvertere in the daylight and stopped for a coffee and some breakfast at one of the restaurants in the main square.


Overall, the two days we had in Rome were absolutely amazing. The city is one of my favourites because although it is a capital, you never feel rushed. Italian people have such a chilled way of life and its accentuated through the whole place and they always go out of their way to make you feel welcome.

Come back next week to see what we got up to in Florence and Pisa.

xx
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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

It's Ok To Not Be Ok


In support of World Mental Health Day, I thought I would share a bit of a mental health update with you all. If you know me or have been reading my blog for an amount of time, you'll know that mental health is something that affects me personally, and something I am a strong advocate for talking about.

For as long as I can remember, I have suffered from anxiety and depression, but only in the last few years did I do anything about it. When I was younger, I used to have feelings of being completely overwhelmed and powerless with life, but I always pinned it down to going through puberty, and I assumed that every teenage girl felt the same as me.

It was only as I got older and found my feet a bit more that I realised that some of the feelings I was having were not 'normal' (which is a term I use loosely, because who the hell knows what normal is anymore?) and I began to open up more.

I remember first going to the doctor and not really knowing what to say: I wasn't at a stage of crying myself to sleep with worry, but I felt so anxious day to day that I was cancelling plans, shutting out those closest to me, and keeping myself to myself - and because I was such a worrier, I was convinced that I was going to lose everyone because I was doing this.

It was a vicious cycle of wanting to feel ok. but not knowing where to turn in case people didn't understand or I couldn't explain myself. Anxiety is quite tough to deal with on a day to day basis and it only gets harder with the amount of responsibility you have of being an adult. Everyone's experience is completely different, but for me, even the simplest task can trigger it and I feel helpless.

Over the years, I have tried a whole range of things for my anxiety, including hypnotherapy, councilling, online chats and medication. Some days I feel as though I've made so much progress with my mental health, and some days set me back to square one, but I have my own ways to deal with it, and opening up is definitely one.

You may be wondering why I'm telling you this? Well, in short, it's because I'm not afraid anymore. I'm no longer worried about what people will think of me if they know I take medication; I don't mind if people know I worry and over-analyse every situation and I'm ok with people knowing something about me they might not have been aware of previously.

My blog has always been a place to share my feelings and a place to clear my head and I for one am all for breaking down the stigma that surrounds mental health issues. I know from personal experience how hard it is to talk about mental health, but our society is getting more clued up on the different issues and symptoms surrounding us, which seems like a step in the right direction.

There is no magic way to click your fingers and feel better - if there was, I'd be all over that. The first step is identifying that something isn't right (which only you will know), and if you've had a particular feeling for an amount of time, I would suggest seeking some professional advice.

Don't be embarrassed to talk; it's the first step to the acceptance that your mental health is just as important as physical.

xx
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Monday, 9 October 2017

Weekly Love #40


Although I might be on my own by saying this, I am really enjoying the darker nights already. October is such a beautiful month in terms of the autumn lighting and colours and it makes me feel so happy and cosy when I spend time indoors - this is the first autumn as well that we've owned our own house, which makes it even more special.

1. Lunch

On Monday, I fancied something a little bit different for lunch, so when the girls suggested going out to get a few bits from Tesco, I decided to get an avocado and have that on a bagel with some cherry tomatoes and feta. I'm quite bad with making interesting lunches for work, so it was a nice welcome change to have something a little bit fancier!


2. Wardrobe Clear Out

On Tuesday evening, I came back from work and decided to clear out my wardrobe and get some more of my autumn clothes out as the weather is getting a bit colder. I managed to get a whole bag of stuff together for the charity shop and there is much more order to everything now, which is a weight lifted off my shoulders.


3. Apprentice

It's no lie that one of my favourite times of the year is when The Apprentice comes back on TV, which was this week. I was out on Wednesday so I didn't manage to catch it on the night, but it is definitely something I'll be looking forward to for cosy nights in.


4. Catch Up's

I was working in Manchester on Wednesday as I was going to a conference in the afternoon, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to meet up with Hannah for a bit of a lunchtime catch up. We went for a Barburrito, which was delicious, and put the world to rights in the hour we had.


5. Byron

You might recall that I've mentioned on here a few times that my best friend is going travelling to South America and then NZ and Aus, and Wednesday was our final meal with a few of her close friends. We went to Byron Burger in the city centre, and it was really lovely to spend some quality time together before she jetted off.


6. Airport Goodbye

On that note, I took Laura to the airport on Friday to see her off on her travels, and although we both got very teary in the car (the fact that it was 4am probably didn't help...) it made me feel so proud of her that she is following her dreams and I can't wait to hear all about her adventures.


7. Brighton

After a few more hours in bed after the airport, Jordan and I took a trip to Brighton, which we booked only the week before. We had arranged to go back in August, but the dates didn't fall so well with me starting my new job, so we postponed it for a bit. I'm going to do a full post about what we did when we were there and why I recommend it as a UK trip.


8. Kiehl's Mask

My skin and the weather change don't go hand in hand together, and this year I've noticed it more than ever. I'd been using a Garnier clay mask when I felt as though my skin needed a bit more TLC, but I found one by Kiehls that I had kindly been gifted, so I gave that one a go. It is the Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque and I already love it.Kiehl'ss products are always so well made.

xx

What have you been loving this week?
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Sunday, 8 October 2017

Are We Nearing The End Of Celebrity Endorsements?


However much this does sound like the title of a dissertation, it is something that has been on my mind for a while. For the last few weeks, I have been inundated with adverts on my social media channels with celebrities endorsing products, that I will guarantee, they have never used.

Trackback 10 years ago... Celebrities were all over the place advertising drinks, cars, perfumes, haircare, makeup - the lot. They were used to maximise the impact of a marketing campaign and build brand awareness amongst consumers with their recognisability. But fast forward to the present, and these well-known endorsements are few and far between.

Back in the day, when we saw a face that we knew advertising a brand, the teenager in us would associate the familiarity with trust, and with that, we would more than likely purchase the product - easy for big brands to make a sale to susceptible youngsters who want nothing more than to fit in with the masses.

But now, with the more and more brands that there are out there, the harder it is for companies to get into our heads and influence our buying habits, even if they do use a celebrity to try and sway us.

Around eight years ago, something amazing happened to the way that we would purchase items for the foreseeable future - something that was so disruptive for brands, and something none of them knew how to jump on as it was happening - the YouTuber, Blogger hybrid, was born.

YouTube had been around for many years before this, but it was only in about 2009 when girls from all over the world started showing their ever-growing audiences what they had purchased - and the haul video as we know it, was born.

This was such a new way for consumers to see what clothes and makeup looked like on actual, real-life girls and not 6-foot tall, size 4, airbrushed-to-the-max supermodels. All of a sudden, the fashion and beauty industry had to take these new 'influencers' into account and try and get them on their side to promote their products.

At first, a lot of these new YouTubers were happy to accept clothes and makeup for free in exchange for an honest review on their channels, but as the industry got bigger and bigger, a lot of them realised that they could make a living by doing this full-time.

However, because of the uncertainty surrounding the blogging industry, a lot of brands didn't see a future in this and continued to endorse their products with celebrities; but they soon realised that the average twenty-something is much more likely to buy a dress from a face they know and trust, who, at the end of the day, is a twenty-something themselves, telling them the honest ins and outs of a product.

Do you remember back in 2016, where Scott Disick pasted the instructions of what a brand wanted him to write into his Instagram caption? Or when Daley Blind broke the illusion that he actually liked and purchased his new Adidas shirt instead of being paid to advertise it? Brands are now just telling their endorsers what to write showing that the celebrity has no interest in the product whatsoever, as long as they are being paid to talk about it, which makes the blogging industry even more refreshing.

For the past few years since I have been a part of this industry myself (albeit, on a much smaller scale) I have noticed that Bloggers, YouTubers and Instagrammers all have so much more sway on what the 14-30 year-old market is buying because they are people just like you and me.

With the introduction of Instagram stories and the ability to add in links to the products you are wearing (the 'swipe up' links that you can only do if your following is more than 10,000) as well as YouTubers linking every product they are talking about in their videos in the description box, it is becoming even more accessible for us to purchase these items in a quick and timely manner - because as a generation, all we ever talk about is our lack of time - so anything that is made quick and easy for us, we love.

To me, celebrity endorsements have been dying out for years, as the evolution of consumer's buying habits continues to change. We are no longer drawn to Pantene because Ellie Goulding has nice hair; we no longer want to buy L'Oreal because Penelope Cruz looks flawless, and we longer want to shop at Iceland because Kerry Katona told us how cheap it was - that one was a long-shot anyway.

As consumers, we are more likely now to make our own decisions, instead of being swayed by a face we know. We're not stupid: We know the amount of choice there is out there, so we want to make an informed judgment instead of jumping on the bandwagon.

The honesty and relatability of the everyday girl talking about Topshop Joni jeans, the latest Naked palette and which foundation is the best for night's out if much more appealing than air-brushed celebrities on our TV screens who have probably never picked up the product in their life.

Maybe I'm wrong; maybe one-day celebrity endorsements will make a comeback: But in my eyes, the new generation of influencers are becoming the celebrities that we recognise and trust, and it's only a matter of time before we see social media taking over another part of the world.

xx
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Friday, 6 October 2017

Food | Comptoir Libanais


Last week I was in London for work for a few days as I was attending a conference at Olympia. I really love London because of the amount of choices for food and drink, and this time was no exception.

After we finished the conference on the second day, I met up with a friend for a couple of drinks before deciding where to eat with my manager and work colleague. We had our heart set on Dishoom, but apparently, there is little hope of getting a table if you haven't booked, so we decided on Comptoir Libanais instead.

I'd heard of Comptoir before, as we had used them to cater a work event and they have a restaurant in Manchester, but I'd never been. I absolutely love Lebanese food, and this restaurant describes itself as a real experience of middle eastern cuisine, so I was pretty excited to try it.

We went to the restaurant in South Kensington as it was the closest to the hotel (side note - if anyone wants to treat me to a London pad, this is where I'd like it to be...) When we walked in, I was amazed at how bright and colourful it was, with gorgeous patterned tiles and an almost Andy Warhol inspired mural to a woman on the wall. After I researched into it, the picture is a vintage photograph of Arabic actress, Sirine Jamal al Dine who has become the beacon of the brand.

We were seated straight away, which was impressive because it was a Thursday night in a busy area of London and the waiting staff were so friendly. The menu was quite extensive, but I loved the amount of choice they had including wraps, mezze boards and tangines.

Obviously, we went for drinks first, and I had a vodka Roomana, which was pomegranate and orange blossom lemonade with vodka and it was delicious. For food, I started with halloumi and tomato (£6.25) which was amazing, but then again, when is halloumi not... and for the main, I went for a chicken taouk (£8.50) wrap which came with a side salad and pickles.

The food was so tasty and the service was really quick. I was really impressed with the whole experience and the ambience of the restaurant and how lovely and knowledgeable the staff were. I will definitely be going to the Manchester one now!

xx
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Monday, 2 October 2017

Weekly Love #39


Happy October everyone!

Like the rest of the UK, I really can't believe that it's already the 10th month of the year - but I've got some plans this month to look forward to and I'm a true autumn lover.

I spent most of the last week trying to figure out what day it is after coming back from Italy for one day and heading off to London with work, but I'm not one to complain about going all over the place!

1. Coming Home

As much as I had one of the best trips ever to Italy, I was so happy to get home on Monday, especially seen as I was quite sick in the morning. I love travelling and taking little trips throughout the year, but I will always be a home bird at heart.


2. Sushi

Because I was feeling sorry for myself on Monday and we didn't have any food in the house, we had a sushi takeaway from one of our favourite places. We always seem to get a feast when we order from there, and I was half expecting to have some to take to work the next day, but who was I kidding really?


3. London

On Wednesday, I found myself on the 6:30am train down to London for a conference at Olympia. I love trips to London, and it also meant I got to catch up with two of my friends who lived down there. I went to Meat Liquor on the Wednesday night with my friend Louise and then to a rooftop bar, which made me feel very fancy indeed.


4. Comptoir

On Thursday evening, after a very hectic two-day conference, our team headed for some food and drinks in Kensington, close to where we were staying. I asked my friend from work for recommendations as she used to live down there, and we ended up going to Comptoir Libanais, which was absolutely delicious - a definite recommendation from me, plus the restaurant was so cool inside too.


5. Pamper

After a pretty busy couple of weeks, I was feeling as though I needed some 'me' time on Saturday and ended up booking a massage and to get my nails done as a bit of a wind-down. Although I preach that having some time to yourself is incredibly important, I'm pretty rubbish at actually doing it for myself.


6. Leaving Do 

On Saturday evening, my best friend, Laura, had her leaving do at The Con Club in Altrincham. It was a bittersweet occasion as I'm so happy that she is living one of her life's dreams by travelling the world, but I am also going to miss her so much, and it finally hit me that night that she is really going. Despite that fact, it was really nice to catch up with some of my friends who I hadn't seen in a while.


7. Pet Show

On Sunday afternoon, Jordan and I went to the Family Pet Show at Event City to gaup at cute dogs and cats. We went last year and it's such a feel-good day out and no one cares about you playing with their pets, which is always good for me who loves animals.


8. In-Laws

After the Pet Show, Jordan and I went to his parent's house as it was their anniversary and his Dad's birthday. I always enjoy catching up with them and hearing what they have been up since the last time I saw them, plus they had a couple of boxes of Thornton's chocolates on the go, which were perfect with a cup of tea!


What did you get up to last week?

xx
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Sunday, 1 October 2017

October Wishlist


I had to remind myself that I was doing these blogs as a regular feature at the start of the month because my brain couldn't quite come to terms with the fact that it's already October.

I had a great September - it was full of fun, friends and family, which always puts me in a good headspace for the darker days and countdown to the end of the year.

1. Invest In More Candles 

I'm one of those people who find it quite hard to switch off in the evening and just relax,  but I feel as though now the evenings are getting darker, and when the clocks go back, I want our home to be as cosy as possible, which definitely gives me an excuse to invest in some more candles. I really enjoy the smell of rose, lavender and similar scents to that, so I think this month I will definitely be spending more time teaching myself to wind down.


2. Explore A New City

Next weekend Jordan and I will be heading to Brighton, which is a place I've always wanted to go. I love having no plans in a new place, but I also really enjoy being recommended places to visit or where to go to eat as it takes some of the strain of trying to find somewhere good - so if you have anywhere you think I'd like, let me know.


3. Say Goodbye To My Best Friend

If you read my last wish-list you'll know that one of my best friends is off on her travels next week around the world. It is something she has always wanted to do, and I'm so happy she has finally had the chance to do it and I can't wait to hear all about it along the way.


4. Watch A New Film 

I'm not a film person - never have been, never will be - but with the nights drawing in and it getting significantly colder in the UK, I think I'll find myself spending more and more time at home, and one of the things I really want to do is curl up with a glass of wine and lots of snacks whilst watching something new. I do have quite a short attention span when it comes to films, but I'm going to put in extra effort to find one that me and Jordan both like.


5. Start Thinking About Christmas

When you think about it, we only have two more paydays until Christmas, which means I am going to have to start thinking about what I want to get for people and have a look round the shops for some presents before the mad rush starts.


6. Celebrate My Best Friend's 30th

One of my other best friend's is turning 30 this month, and although we don't have a plan set in stone yet, I really can't wait for our group of friends to all be together again. Although I'm not a massive fan of celebrating my own birthday, I do really enjoy celebrating other peoples.


7. Get More Motivated To Blog

At the moment, I've been in a bit of limbo when it comes to blogging and a part of me really wanted to have a clean break for a while, but that just wasn't an option. I love writing, and this slice of the internet gives me so much headspace from my everyday life and I'm hoping that this month I will be able to put some more time and effort into writing some new and exciting posts.


8. Research A Christmas Trip

Last year was the first time I had done a trip abroad just before Christmas (to Hamburg) and I loved experiencing the different culture and traditions and it's something I want to do again. This month I'm going to price up some different options and hopefully have something to look forward to soon.


9. Dust Off The Slow Cooker

Jordan and I invested in our slow cooker about three years ago, but we haven't used it since the start of the year. As we both work fulltime, I want to start making recipes in our slow cooker so we don't have to think about what to cook for dinner as it will all be done by the time we get home - plus it makes the house smell amazing.


10. Have People Over

At the moment, I am toying with the idea of having a Halloween party at our house, as I just want an excuse to host all my friends coming over. We've had such a busy summer that we have never really found the time to have our group over, and a lot of people haven't been round to the house since we bought it, so I think this would be a great excuse - plus, what 27-year old doesn't love to dress up?


And that's my October wishlist for you. What are you hoping to achieve this month?

xx
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