27 July 2017

7 Ways To Spend a Weekend in London

I might have been back from London for over five weeks - yeah I know, time flies - but I'm still reminiscing over the amazing time I had. With my American squeeze. Eek!

We hit up Brighton first for five days, before heading to London for the weekend.

Now, I've been to London like 282 times already (okay, slight exaggeration - more like 281), but I always enjoy it each and every time I venture there.

London is a bit like marmite; you either love it or you hate it. I, personally, love it. When I'm visiting, that is.

I don't think I could live there. Too many people. Too much hustle and bustle. And everyone's always racing everywhere all the time. It's so fast-paced that there's no time to just breathe.

But being there for a little while - man, it's exciting! There's always something going on in London. There's so much to see and do. There's such a good vibe about it.

I do love visiting; however, I find it rather exhausting if I go for longer than a couple of days at a time. The city is incredibly spread out, so you end up taking tubes everywhere. And doing a lot of walking. My little footsies were aching like crazy after being there for only 2 nights this time around.

Trust me though, it's worth the pain! And it's a helluva good workout. Here are 7 ways you can spend a weekend in London.

1. Sit out in the sunshine at Trafalgar Square...

...Presuming the weather is decent, of course.

Can you believe that my American bf had visited London previously but never went to Trafalgar Square? He was amazed when I told him it was one of the top tourist spots.

Naturally, I had to show him it. It's such a gorgeous area!

During the summer, people sit out during the day and admire the view of the statues and the fountains. And it's simply divine.

2. Visit The National Gallery.

Trafalgar Square is also home to The National Gallery - and I absolutely love The National Gallery!

Not only does it have over 2,300 paintings, but it's supposedly one of the greatest collections in the whole entire world. Monet, Picasso, you name 'em - you can find all the famous artists here. It's a must-do if you're an art lover, like myself.

Oh and did I mention that it's free to enter? Win, win!

3. Have breakfast at The Bluebird in Chelsea.

Okay, so I might be a wee bit of a Made in Chelsea fan. (You know, the TV show about a bunch of twenty-somethings living in the Chelsea area of London?)

And the MIC gang are always at The Bluebird cafe. Therefore I felt it was only right that I experienced The Bluebird cafe. Obvs.

We had breakfast there on our first full day and it was yummy. They have a pretty little terrace where you can sit out in the morning sunshine and it was just so pleasant. Definitely check it out if you ever have the opportunity!

4. Wander around Leicester Square and/or Piccadilly Circus.

Another two famous tourist hot spots. And another two places the bf didn't realise he had to tick off the London bucket list. (I keep saying bf, shouldn't I just call him by his name? That's easier, right? Nathan - his name is Nathan.)

So I took Nathan for a little mooch around Leicester Square and its array of bars, shops and restaurants. He couldn't believe the amount of people that were in that one area at one time!

Unfortunately, Piccadilly Circus was undergoing some kind of renovation during the day we were there - so he couldn't see it in all its glory. FYI it's usually best to see it at night anyway when it's all lit up.

We still really enjoyed exploring the surroundings though.

5. Stay at the Holiday Inn at Kensington Forum. 

I'd never stayed in Kensington before, but I adore the area! Before we booked to come to London, we spent ages looking for a budget hotel that was near the city centre and easily accessible by tube.

We found the business suites at the Holiday Inn at Kensington Forum hotel on a deal and just had to lock one down for our 2 night stay! Not only was the room spacious with a king size bed, but we also got access to the Executive Lounge throughout the entire duration of our stay.

This hotel is right next to Gloucester Road tube station, which made getting around so much easier! It really was a great place to stay - I highly recommend it.

6. Go shopping on Oxford and/or Regent Street.

A must do whenever I'm in London, I just can't resist browsing the shops in the Oxford Street/Regent Street area.

There's so much choice on offer, whether you're looking for high street bargains or luxury designer goods.

Nathan and I both picked up a couple of goodies each! You can easily kill a day purely by shopping in this area. But, if you're limited on time like we were, why not just head there for an afternoon?

7. Have dinner at Olives restaurant in Kensington.

We were looking for a restaurant on our last night where we could have a nice dinner when Olives popped up on Google.

The food was Italian (my favourite), the reviews were excellent, and it was literally a two-minute walk from our hotel!

Well, we certainly weren't expecting the restaurant to be so high in calibre as it was. The drinks were tasty. The servers were warm and welcoming. And the food was out of this world!

I'd love to go again the next time I'm in London - so I certainly recommend it to you, if you've never been before!

Overall, Nathan and I had such a fantastic time during our two nights in London. Sure, it went quickly, but it always does when you're in the Big Smoke!

I always have fun down there and I'm sure I'll be going again soon enough!

In the mean time, I've got all this beautiful Yorkshire countryside surrounding me to enjoy. It's just a shame Nathan has gone back to Wisconsin for the time being and can't enjoy it with me!


20 July 2017

4 Ways to Style an Outfit for a Summery Occasion

We've all been there. We've got that big event coming up. Whether it's your best friend's daughter's christening, your cousin's wedding reception, or your boyfriend's Uncle's birthday BBQ - it's the summer, our wardrobes are giving us headaches, and we've not got a clue what to wear. Do we dress up, do we dress down, or should we just not bother going at all? The struggle is real. I hear ya, sisters. Here's 4 ways to style an outfit for a summery occasion.

1. Dress up a white tee.

In summer, you can't go wrong with a classic white t-shirt. No matter what the occasion. White looks smart, it stands out in the sunshine, and it compliments any other hue.

I was heading to a Baptism when I wore this outfit, the sun was shining, and I needed to look dressy without going overboard. I chose to pair my white tee with a floaty floral skirt. Essentially any pattern looks summery with white, but I just can't resist a good floral print! #sorrynotsorry

2. Add colour.

Who wants to stick with neutral colours in the summer months? The sun's out, the days are longer, and everyone's happier - so why not choose joyful colours to wear? If you do decide to go with a white tee, like moi, then make sure you add at least one other bright colour to your outfit.

Personally, I went with a blue, coral and green combo skirt - then I picked out green to accent through my handbag and jewellery.

3. Accessorise to the max. 

Speaking of accessories, when it comes to summer outfits, go big or go home. Seriously. I ain't lyin'.

Adorn your white tee with a bedazzling necklace, or throw on some bling in the form of your earrings and rings. It's the best way to take your outfit from "I'm going food shopping" casual to "I'm looking fabulous at an event" smart casual real quick.

4. Apply a bright lip.

If you're going sassy and summery with your outfit, then you need to go sassy and summery with your make-up too. Obvs.

It's okay to tone your face down if you're going to be out in the sun all day and you'd rather wear your lightweight tinted moisturiser with SPF instead of cake your skin in foundation. However, if you're going to keep it simple with the face and the eyes - because there's a good chance you'll be wearing sunglasses - then go bold with your lip.

Pick a colour from your outfit and then choose a lipstick that will compliment the whole outfit. For my summery occasion, I went with coral. Coral is the perfect summer hue and looks kick-ass with white. It also looks great if you colour block it other loud-and-proud hues, such as blue and green in this case.

Whatever you decide to wear for your summery occasion, wear it with pride. And that confidence will shine through, making you the most unstoppable gal in the room.

White Tee - NEXT
Floral Skirt - Topshop
Nude Sandals - Primark
Green Handbag - FOSSIL
Aviator Sunglasses - Rayban
Earrings - Matalan
Necklace - Primark
Rings - DKNY

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13 July 2017

5 Reasons Why Brighton is Brilliant

As I explained in my previous post, it's been a fair few weeks since I returned from beautiful, sunny Brighton. And I'm still sad.

It was my first time visiting, initiated by my lovely American boyf on his trip over from the United States. I'm still astonished how I managed to overlook this gorgeous little seaside town for 26 years of my life so far. It's seriously something else.

Situated on the southern coast, an hour's train ride away from London, Brighton doesn't feel like England. Its unique pebble beach, colourful Regency-era buildings and charming back streets make you feel like you're somewhere else. Somewhere abroad. Somewhere that gives you the magical "I'm on holiday" feeling that you only get when you're overseas.

Brighton is breathtaking.

I have to admit, I wasn't entirely convinced at first. When we arrived off the train and walked down to the ocean for the first time, it was overcast, it was rainy, and it just looked like any other coastal town in England.

But then the sun came out. And I saw the pier. And the travel butterflies started. You know, the butterflies that kick in when you see a new place for the first time? The butterflies that fill you with excitement at the prospect of exploring a new area? The butterflies that make you feel alive?

Yes, those.

And, all of a sudden, I was overcome with love for a town I'd only stepped foot in a couple of hours prior. And I couldn't wait to get to know it better. Here are 5 reasons why Brighton is bloody brilliant (IMHO):

1. That broad shingle beach.

All of the English beaches I'd ever visited before Brighton had sandy beaches. Brighton's pebble beach makes it stand out a mile. In a good way.

Sure, the pebbles are hard to walk on, hurt your feet and give you pebble-shaped imprints at the bottom of your soles - but that's all part of the fun! Right?

The important thing to note is that the beach looks super impressive, especially from the pier. And it photographs like a dream.

2. The shopping.

Brighton has a wide range of shopping opportunities, from high street stores in Churchill Square, to vintage boutiques in the Royal Pavilion area.

If you're a high street gal like myself, you will want for nothing in the Churchill Square zone as they have every high street store you can think of - and then some!

Churchill Square is where I visited Pull & Bear for the first time in England (read my blog post all about it here) and picked up a couple of bargains.

3. The Lanes.

The Lanes backstreets (similar to The Shambles of York if you've ever been there) also have an abundance of little stalls and shops where you can pick up some unique trinkets. In fact, Nathan and I have never seen so many jewellery stores in one place before. There's literally one on every corner!

In addition to shops, The Lanes has lots of restaurants, cafes and pubs to check out. Put it this way: you'll never go hungry or thirsty!

The area itself is so quaint and adorable. There's currently multi-coloured bunting hanging off the buildings which looks ever so summery in the sunshine. Nathan and I rather enjoyed grabbing a coffee or an alcoholic beverage down one of these backstreets, sitting outside and simply people watching the day away.

4. The vast choice of eateries.

Brighton is home to every cuisine imaginable, but I can't do a post on the town without mentioning one of the best dinners that I've ever eaten in my life.

For goodness' sake, if you live in Brighton or you're visiting, go to vegetarian restaurant Food For Friends. The food is insane, even if you're a meat-lover, and very reasonably priced!

Also check out Lucky Beach Cafe on the seafront. They have a seating area at the edge of the pebbles where you can sit out and enjoy their tasty brunch. All of their food is locally produced and organic. (And did I mention scrummy?)

5. Palace Pier.

Ah, the pier. One of my absolute favourite things about Brighton! Yes, alright, England has a few decent piers. But this is the best one I've been to yet!

Not only does it have two arcades packed with games where you can quite easily spend an afternoon, but it also hosts a variety of rides, free deckchairs to sunbathe on, refreshments, and bars with beer gardens. There's plenty to keep you occupied - and the view of the beach from the very end of the pier is just incredible.

It's like England's version of Santa Monica Pier in LA.

And they have sugary doughnuts. So, you know. There's that. Drool.

You can't help but fall in love in Brighton. Especially in the summer. The sun is shining, there are people visiting from all around the world therefore the atmosphere is electric, and there's never a shortage of things to see and do.

It's just so lovable! I hope to visit again soon. But I'll never forget my first time in Brighton.

The memories of being in such a beautiful spot with my American love are etched into my mind, and my heart, forever.

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6 July 2017

Travelling Brighton: The Perfect OOTD

Hey, dolls! 

So I've been home from my week-long adventure in Brighton and London for almost three weeks now, can you believe it?!

And, just as I was settling back into everyday home life and in the process of accepting that I won't have more time off until September, guess what decides to strike... Only the stomach flu!

That's right, I've been laid up in bed for the past four days. I've had to cancel social plans. I've had to tell freelance writing clients I'm unable to work. Heck, I've even had to cut phone calls short with my long-distance American boyfriend. All because I feel so terrible. 

I haven't felt this poorly in a while - probably since my tonsillitis episode during the last couple of days of Thailand. (Man ALIVE, did that suck.)

I'm crossing all fingers that I nip it in the bud sooner rather than later, as I really miss normality. I miss work. I miss my friends. I miss my three hour long FaceTime seshes with the boyf.

Anyway, I thought I'd cheer myself up by going through my Brighton photos. I'll be doing a Brighton-based travel post shortly when I've kicked this illness' ass, but firstly I just wanted to show you guys one of my purchases from when I was down there. 

For me, I have to be comfortable when I'm travelling. If I'm out all day every day whilst exploring a new place, I have to choose something that's fashionable yet functional.

Leggings, jeggings or stretchy jeans of some kind are a must, as are walking sandals during the summer months.

My walking sandals are from Teva and they've been with me ever since I did my first backpacking trip in 2014. Yes, we're talking three years! Not only do they have staying power, but I can wear them 24/7 and they never rub me or hurt my footsies in any way. That's what I call miracle workers!

Then there's the top half of the outfit. If I'm wearing jeggings or leggings, I tend to choose a tunic over a top so that it covers my bum. Ain't nobody that wants to see all the junk in my trunk.

This little beauty is from Pull & Bear. Chances are, you might have not even heard of this Spanish retailer that's part of the Zara family. They have limited store locations in the UK at present, so I actually went into my first Pull & Bear during my trip to Singapore last October. However, Brighton has one. And gosh it's good! 

Everything Pull & Bear is really pretty but reasonably priced, like this dusty pink floral number. Not only does it have a choker piece, which anybody who knows me will know that I love, but its jersey fabric makes it so comfortable to wear!

Furthermore, the short sleeves and cut-out chest section makes it a perfect garment for a warm, sunny day (which it was in Brighton on that particular day).

I loved this tunic so much that I bought it in black too! (And that's not like me. I usually find people who buy the same item of clothing in multiple colours a bit excessive. HELLO, walking contradiction!) 

Teamed with a half up topknot and half down do, and my wayfarer Raybans, I was ready for a full day of exploring the beautiful southern seaside town.

Tunic - Pull & Bear
Jeggings - Topshop
Sandals - Teva
Handbag - Coach New York
Sunglasses - Rayban
Watch - Skagen
Ear Jackets - Matalan
Rings - Vintage

And explore, we did! Watch out for my upcoming post on what the American and I got up to during our time in Brighty. 

And, in the mean time, wish me luck in defeating this stomach flu! 

Thanks for reading, as always, you lovely lot.



29 June 2017

GlassesShop.com Summer Specs

I've been craving some new glasses lately.

You know what it's like, fellow glasses-wearers. You reach a point where you're just absolutely sick at the sight of your old glasses - and you crave a shiny, new pair. A pair that you haven't accidentally sat on, isn't covered in smudges and you haven't been photographed in 2,324 times.

(Okay this might be a slight exaggeration, but you get the point.)

You want a new pair of glasses to add to your collection and you want it now darn it.

I had all of these feels recently. I was about to make an emergency trip to my local Specsavers when an email from the good folks at GlassesShop.com arrived in my inbox. At exactly the right time. (How did you guys even know?)

For those of you who aren't already aware, I introduced y'all to GlassesShop.com back in January. (Y'all? I seem to have turned American - it must be the consequence of dating one.)

GlassesShop.com are an online American retailers specialising in prescription sunglasses and eyeglasses.

They kindly sent me a fabulous pair of floral blue glasses frames late last year from their AW16 collection (which I absolutely adore, still wear and haven't yet sat on - FYI). And this time I got to choose a pair from their sexy SS17 collection.

Usually I play it safe and go for rectangular frames; however, I really fancied something different. As I touched upon earlier, I have an American boyf, and he recently bought a new pair of glasses that were oval-shaped Wayfarer-style.

The top half of the frames is black acetate and the bottom half is metal. And I liked them so much that I decided to copy him.

I saw these black/golden beauties on the website and immediately fell in love. I adore the fusion of textures and the oval frames themselves seem to suit my face shape. Plus, I've seen a lot of glasses on the market recently with this style of frame - they seem to be extremely fashionable for this season - so it's a win, win!

Now this means that the boyf and I are twins - but who cares when my new glasses are this nice! I'm all kitted out, in terms of glasses, for another season. Thank you, GlassesShop.com!


(Please note I was sent a product to review by GlassesShop.com for this post, but all opinions are my own. You can use my code 'GSHOT50' at the checkout on GlassesShop.com to get 50% off all eyeglasses and sunglasses with free lenses only. The offer excludes sales frames.)

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