Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Top tips for going vegan

I've recently made the transition from a vegetarian/pescetarian to a vegan after a lot of post reading and YouTube videos making sure I was armed with a load of knowledge and some recipes to fall back onto. So I thought I'd write a post on my top tips, things that would make it easier if you're thinking about ditching the meat and dairy (which I seriously recommend, I feel AMAZING). 

Be prepared
This sounds simple and really it is, make sure your cupboards and fridge are full of things that are easy and to hand to eat. Love milk and cheese? Arm yourself with vegan options if the craving hits you. I actually drink more milk substitutes now than I drank milk. Coconut, soya, almond, hazelnut, rice & oat are all out there on the 'long life milk' isle waiting to be found. 

Read up/ look up
This is one I did a lot of to get some recipe ideas which have ranged from salad inspo, smoothie bowl mixes & lentil curry options. I also looked up some local vegan cafes that I can't wait to explore in the future. I found that my local family run health shop has a fantastic array of vegan friendly products which makes life so much easier for me. As well as that, I am supporting local businesses rather than large corporations which is something I love about living in a small town. 

Open your eyes
Okay, not to be patronising here but if you really open your eyes to this way of life you can see that it's not that restrictive. Think you're limited to salads when you go out to eat? Think again. Big chains like Nandos cater to vegans! A veggie pitta minus the Mayo with chips is completely vegan and perfect if you're going out with nonvegans. Holland and Barrett also have possibly the best vegan selection - especially the cheese and frozen food bit. Tesco's have a huge chilled/frozen 'free-from' selection whereas I find Sainsbury's has the best dry selection (vegan chocolate is what it's all about). 

I hope these tips have been useful for anyone considering the change or those just interested in a different type of post. I think veganism has a bit of a bad online rep as there are many passionate vegans who choose more aggressive methods of discussing veganism. I hope that I can use my blog as a platform to discuss it in a positive manner, as well as exposing how easy it really is to make the change! 

Vegan Nandos 

Vegan chocolate 

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Favourite "fuller lips" Combo

Over lined lips are definitely a trend at the moment due to the amount of celebrities getting lip fillers and the hefty price of doing so. Lip liners therefore are the perfect alternative to a cosmetic procedure, and can have a real impact, without looking obviously drawn on. 

This is me with overly lined lips, it's not massively obvious but it definitely makes a difference. This is the combo I'm wearing quite a lot at the moment, and both items are pretty well known. The lip liner is Spice by MAC and the lipstick is Brave, also by MAC. 

Monday, 18 January 2016

Jo Malone Leeds

This is a little ode to Jo Malone after going in for one of their hand massages with tips on combining scents to create your perfect scent. It's one of my mums favourite shops so she was invited for her birthday for her and a friend (read:daughter) to experience this little treat. It's a completely bespoke service which begins with a little discussion of which sent you want to choose to be your base scent. I chose Peony & Blush Suede and mum went for Blackberry & Bay. The photographs are of my mums treatment, which was before mine. 

The treatment began with a spray of a relaxing linen spray on our towels and then a cleanse using either the body wash or the shower oil. I was given the Peony & Blush Suede shower oil which felt incredible and utterly decadent as it contains macadamia oil and coconut oil (always a winner for me!).

This was removed with a hot towel then followed with the corresponding moisturiser and a relaxing arm and hand massage. 

Finally we were treated to some of the Jo Malone expertise as one arm was covered in the scent that matched our treatment, whilst the other was a choice of scent combinations. She mixed Blackerry & Bay with Mimosa & Cardamom for mum. Whereas I got to choose between Peony & Blush Suede with English Pear & Freesia or with the cologne intense Rose & Oud. I went for the latter, and fell head over heels with the combination. Unfortunately I didn't leave with a bottle of Rose & Oud, it's a shame they don't sell them in the 30ml bottles just the 100ml at £105. A little too spendy for a Monday morning but definitely will be on my birthday list! 

A massive thank you to the girls in Jo Malone in Leeds for creating a lovely atmosphere, spoiling us with your knowledge & leaving me smelling my arms hours later! 

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Travel Guide // BALI

After a visit to Bali in November it has quickly jumped to the top of my favourite places list as well as my summer 2016 hit list as I will definitely be returning. I thought I'd write an ode to Bali in the form of recommendations and tips that I've picked up along the way. I've separated each area in order to organise my thoughts more!

We stayed on Jalan Legian at a very modern hotel right in the heart of the main bars and a fair few restaurants so that we were in the optimum location for sight seeing and getting around. This wasn't my favourite place in Bali as it's heavily westernised, think McDonald's and knock off designer shops, but it was definitely interesting to visit. I would recommend getting a hotel with a pool because the beach was not the best, it was super windy so we only wandered down it one afternoon. A couple of our friends took surf lessons on Kuta beach as Bali is known for it's phenomenal waves and surf scene, which is noticeable from the amount of surfboard shops dotted around as well as the surf clothing brands. Sky Garden is definitely worth a visit if not for the sheer size of the nightclub, the buffet was definitely worth the money £5 for all you can eat and drink (alcohol too!) for three hours. We stayed here late one night but spent about 5 minutes on the dance floor as we loved the atmosphere at their rooftop bar, the relaxed sofas, balmy air and music wafting through.

This is probably the nearest we got to the 'real' Bali, it definitely felt more authentic and relaxed with the yoga vibes it's famous for being visible. We stayed on Jalan Monkey Forest so that we were in the heart of things and, again, in walking distance (nobody wants to be cooped up in taxis in that heat). Monkey Forest itself is definitely worth the visit, it's done a bit like a national park in the UK so you pay entry which goes towards the maintenance etc of the area and the monkeys. It was a couple of pounds but definitely worth every penny if you love to see the primates! You can pay a pound for a bunch of bananas which guarantees monkeys running up and down your arms and legs in order to get to them. We spent a few hours here because it was so amazing to see these monkeys in (more or less) their natural environment, just don't take any food or water bottles with you! We spent one evening watching a traditional Balinese dance troop in the Palace at the top of Jalan Monkey Forest which was so mind blowing. The musicians, playing instruments I had never seen before, working in time with the dancers, building the tension whilst unravelling the story they were telling us. We stayed for three days but probably only needed two maximum as there isn't as much to do in Ubud without organising a trip to the surrounding areas. Spend one afternoon wandering around the markets at the top of Jalan Monkey Forest, you will definitely get lost and pestered by the traders but don't be intimidated, if you smile and say 'no thank you' they will often back off. It is a nice way to break up a trip to Bali due to the relaxed nature of Ubud, all the bars and restaurants are relaxed and alfresco style and everyone is tucked up in bed by midnight.

Lombok/Gili Islands
Gili Trawangan had its own love letter on my blog as it has become my favourite place on the planet, I could quite happily move to the island and run a coffee shop on the beach. We only spent one night in Lombok on Sengiggi Beach but it looked gorgeous from what we saw, winding hill top hotels with beautiful infinity pools and spacious rooms. Awaking to a beautiful sunshine filled day we traveled to the port to catch a quick speedboat to the Gili Islands. A little tip to help you with this immensely stressful experience (we had read up on it luckily so knew what to avoid), you will get absolutely hounded on the walk/horse ride up to the port (the taxi will drop you off further down the road to encourage you to pay more for a horse and cart, we walked, it's less than five minutes) for 'quick cheap speedboats' to the Gili Islands, IGNORE THEM they are private boats. Walk right up to the port by the dock itself, you'll see a big building where you can pay to go on the public boat (10/15 minute wait often) which is more than half the price of the private speedboats. For the sake of a ten minute wait until the boat fills up you can save yourself a fair amount of money. Whilst on Gili, go scuba diving or snorkelling, you'll see so much and more often than not will see turtles. Rent a bike and travel to Villa Ombak Sunset to swing on the famous sea swings whilst watching a beautiful sunset. Traveling back from Gili T to mainland Bali is an hour and a half boat journey on a more substantial (often Australian run) boat and was the only time I have ever felt seasick, it's a rough crossing - be prepared.

Let me know you're favourite places to visit in Bali below, I definitely want to explore the island more, especially the less tourist places!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Liquid Lipsticks // Gerard Cosmetics

I'm a bit of a lipstick lover and matte lipsticks have always appealed to me for their flawless finish and the lack of 'hair caught on mouth' issues that I find with glossier lip products. The rise of liquid-to-matte lipsticks in the UK is something that excites me so much after seeing them mentioned on many American YouTube and Instagram pages. My first forray into this area is through the form of Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte Liquid Lipsticks in the shades 'Serenity' and 'Ecstacy'.

 I love to mix the two lipsticks together to create an ombré effect as once dried they stay on for such a long time without the colours blending. 
Without flash ^
With flash ^

I specifically love the shade Ecstacy as its quite out there for me (being more purple toned) but I got so many compliments wearing this combo that I can't really complain. It's good to branch out of your comfort zone anyway right?

I can't wait to try some liquid lipsticks from other brands, at the moment I've got my eye on the Kat Von D, Anastasia Beverly Hills & Jeffree Star ones. I like the look of the Too Faced Melted lipsticks but I'm worried they might be too sticky in formula, what do you guys think? 

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Why a volcano eruption was the best thing to happen whilst I was traveling...

A volcano erupts. A flight delay. A flight cancellation. 1 day becomes two weeks. A nightmare situation for some, and one I was originally heart broken over.

After a two week stay in Bali it was time to wave goodbye and move onto my final destination of my two month jaunt around Asia and Australasia, Brisbane. Then onto Cairns, sail around the idyllic Whitsunday's and end up in Sydney before the long flight home. However it just wasn't meant to be. The volcanic eruption of Mt Rinjani in Lombok meant that all flights to Australia were being repetitively cancelled and rescheduled, only to be cancelled again. This left us stranded in Kuta unable to plan ahead and paying for our hotel night by night whilst crossing our fingers that we wouldn't be turfed out due to online bookings. Waiting around in the hotel day after day checking our emails to see if we were the lucky ones to be going out today.

Eventually enough was enough and after rescheduling our flight for a fair few days in advance it was time to venture back to the motherland, Gili Trawangan. The most Instagram worthy beach and island out there. We had already spent nine days out of our two week stay in Bali in beautiful Gili T (after falling in love on what was meant to be a three day stay) and were itching to return. After more flight cancellations we ended up staying in Gili T for over a week and it became the best part of our entire two month trip.

Sailing round the islands whilst partying with people from all around the world on Jiggy's Boat Party, spending our nights in LAVA bar avoiding the dreaded Vodka Joss shots and watching the locals break dance whilst serving drinks. Seeing what the island was doing in relation to conservation and protecting their beautiful turtles, actually swimming with two turtles thanks to one of the many dive companies out there (Aquadiction was the one for us, can't beat a British expat owner!). Before falling into our beds in Gili Beach Bum hostel/hotel (3 people rooms only in Gili hostels), ready to meet our new room mate in the coming morning. I never thought being stranded in a foreign country could end up turning into one of the best weeks of my life but I guess that's what happens when you're stranded in paradise!

Thanks to the amazing team at STA Travel we eventually decided to skip Australia and spend three luxurious (cheers mum and dad!) days in Dubai before returning home.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

NYE Inspo

New Years Eve, it seems to be something that people either go all for or dismiss as a pointless excuse to be charged over the odds for food, drink & nightclub entry. But it's a good excuse to get dressed up regardless so I thought I'd give you all a little inspiration for different scenarios you could be faced it!

Bar Chic
A bit glam, a bit sophisticated, for the girl who wants to be dressed up to the nines without too much skin on show. I love the little side cut outs on this dress as they give it something a bit different about it. This outfit might actually have the power to make me go out with my hair in a ponytail, the high neck makes it possible.

Dress Topshop | Tights Marks & Spencer | Shoes Louboutin

 Club Girl
One for those brave souls who want to spend midnight over intoxicated with a load of strangers paying over the odds for cocktails - I salute you! I actually wore this dress out just before Christmas with all my girls and its surprisingly supportive for its low cut front.

Dress Topshop | Tights M&S | Boots H&M

Dinner with Friends
This is my go to look so so often for evening meals and dinner parties, it's comfy and is relatively suitable for all occasions, spice it up with a lacy black bra and you've made a 'safe' outfit rather more risqué!

 Shirt French Connection | Jeans Topshop | Shoes Next | Bra ASOS

House Partier
The outfit I'll be donning this year. House parties are my absolute fav as there is no pressure to be dolled up to the max. I've dressed up a crop top and jeans by adding a sparkly crop top and this gorgeous belt which is actually one of my mum's from her younger days.

Top Topshop | Belt 'Vintage' | Jeans ASOS | Trainers Adidas 

I hope you all have a lovely New Year whatever you get up to. 2016 come at me, lets toast to a good one!