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Wednesday, 24 July 2013

On Monday, I headed down for my free Hammam Ritual at Ajala Spa, another exclusive treat from the Beauty Bloggers Tea Party I attended. I'm not going to lie, having never been to a proper spa before for a proper treatment, I was extremely excited. The closest thing I've come to a 'spa' before is sneaking into a closed sauna after hours on holiday when I was a teenager. 

I was slightly apprehensive about my Hammam treatment, not really knowing what to expect. Google taught me that Hammam treatments are taken from Turkish hammam bath houses and utilise steam, mud, heat, aromatherapy and massage. My sister told me that they basically throw you around on a hot stone whilst spraying a hose at you, which is apparently what happened at her super traditional treatment when she was in Turkey. Lovely.

Once I'd decided what swimwear to wear (my skull bikini with it's bottoms a size too big that make me look like I have a saggy bum, or my skimpy Aztec print bikini which wasn't very 'safe' being that I'd lost the straps months ago and it was now strapless? So many choices...) I headed down to London. By the time I'd arrived, I was ready to relax after sitting on a hot stuffy train for so long.

I must have sounded like a div with my constant questions 'Where shall I leave my stuff?' 'Where's the loo?' 'I am supposed to be wearing a bikini, right?' but once I was offered a drink upon arrival and shown to the changing room, my mind immediately cleared. The spa it's self is beautiful and tranquil, relaxing you before you've even started a treatment.

The pool at Ajala Spa, image taken from google

I got changed into my bikini and extra fluffy robe and followed the lady performing the treatment down past the pool and into one the Hammam Ritual room. It was like a steam room with a big large marble slab in the middle (it was actually a lot comfier than it sounds!). The lights were dim and the atmosphere was relaxing with a really relaxing scent in the air.

I can't tell you exactly what happened - I was far too relaxed to pay attention to the random lotions and potions being used on my skin, but I can tell you that it all felt amazing. The whole thing varied from having oils massaged into my skin to cleanse it, scrubs applied to my body with a rough massaging mitt to really scrub off any dirt (this was oddly relaxing), and finally a mineral mud mask which, once washed off, was then replaced with a relaxing oil which left my skin feeling silky smooth, shiny and very, very clean. In between each lotion or scrub being applied with a beyond relaxing massage, I was sprayed with cold water to help wash it off. Being that I was in a steam room, it was incredibly refreshing and helped the treatment apply better.

The whole process was really relaxing, I left the treatment room feeling so laid back and the treatment really helped me unwind. It was definitely something so much more than your average massage with the cold water hose and the various products to applied my skin, but I felt that it benefited not only my state of mind and mood, but my body too because even two days later my skin feels amazing.

Afterwards I had use of the spa facilities too so I went for a dip in the pool and also relaxed in the hot tub/jacuzzi for a bit, which was amazing. It overlooked the pool and the water was actually hot and not just warm like some jacuzzi's are.

I was pleasantly surprised at just how amazing I felt afterwards. I left the spa feeling confident and very feminine, like I just wanted to put on my highest heels, backcomb my hair to fuck and go out on the pull. Is that a normal reaction for amazing massages and spa treatments? I don't know but I'm definitely already planning my next one...

What I wore in the day (not inside the spa obviously, but you get what I mean) - very Parisian chic!
Thank you SO much Ajala Spa for my beyond amazing treatment, not only do I still feel mega relaxed two days later but my silky skin has also given me a sexy confident boost and made me feel very feminine and flirty.

You can find out more about the different treatments offered at Ajala spa and book yourself in for a Hamamm ritual here!

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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Hello everyone!

It can't only be me who is suddenly finds themselves in an amazing mood now that the sun is shining. I'm forced to question what the hell is going on. This is England. I can't even remember the last time we had a genuinely nice summer and although the suns appearance has come a tad too late, it doesn't seem to be disappearing anytime soon. All week I've gotten home from work and straight away thrown on my bikini, grabbed my iPod and a good book and headed into the garden to relax. It has been nothing short of heavenly.

Remember when I did a playlist back for Valentines Day? Well even though it didn't get a huge response, I enjoyed spreading my awesome music taste to you all and ever since I've been itching to get another playlist up. So welcome to my Summer Playlist 2013! I tried to make it shorter but there are just too many songs that belong on this list. I've also tried to include songs that are currently quite popular so that there's a real mix but..that idea didn't really work.

So I'd suggest downloading it all to your iPods/phones etc, grabbing some large sunglasses and just kicking back and relaxing with this music. Listen here on Spotify, or just click play below.

I don't know why these songs are 'summery'. They just give me that feeling, you know? That feeling of the hot sun on my skin or they help me imagine being on a beach somewhere with the sand between my toes. Basically, these songs just always remind me of summer, without fail. Drive By by Train was particularly popular last summer and I listened to it on repeat whilst in Egypt. I can't help but be reminded of relaxing by that pool, drifting in and out of naps, relaxing in the sun going or reading my book and only taking breaks for food or a refreshing swim in the cool water. Heaven!

Please note, I've put a lot of thought into this list and had to miss out including many songs that also remind me of summer simply because they belong better on a 'road trip' playlist, which may also be coming soon!

What songs are on your essential must listen to summer playlist? Are you a fan of any artists or songs I've featured? Let me know!

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Monday, 15 July 2013

There's just something about having your nails painted a nice colour that makes you feel like you've got your life together, isn't there? I don't know about you but that, along with actually making the effort to eat breakfast, just makes me feel like for once I've got my shit together. It's often when you've got your nails painted all nice that you feel feminine and like it's the perfect final touch to putting together an outfit. 

I probably do my nails a lot more now than I used to, in fact I'd say I go through phrases where sometimes I'll paint them a new colour every week and other times I'll leave them to chip and then even in some horrible circumstances, just paint over the previously chipped ones (Don't judge me!). But with my Accessorize addict rearing it's head again, I can't show off my beautfiful new bracelets with horrid looking nails. So there you go. Here are my nails this week.

I also stuck on some flower nail stickers just because I felt extra girly. I'm pretty sure I got these from the pound store! And, as shown above, the nail varnish shade is obviously Models Own Top Turquoise.

What do you think?

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Thursday, 11 July 2013

Remember when I got invited to the beauty bloggers tea party at the Ajala Spa? Well here's what I wore to the event! I knew right away I wanted something quite stylish and sophisticated for my first ever proper blogging event, but as it was taking place in a spa I wanted something quite feminine too. Luckily for me, I have a very stylish older sister and remembered when I'd borrowed these clothes from her and worn them in Egypt last year. It isn't my usual type of look but I instantly loved how nice the whole outfit look put together and have since been on the look out for my own maxi skirt. A long maxi skirt is again something I never thought I'd be able to pull off!

Top; Primark // Skirt; Zara // Necklace; Unknown

I thought I'd struggle a little wearing the long skirt, especially as I'd be travelling into London by train so I'd be not only walking around but also stepping on and off the platform. I had this fear that the bottom of the skirt would get stuck in the tube door or something and the train would take off, ripping the skirt off me...alas I was fine, but I did have to hold the skirt up a few times.

It was a real lovely day though and nice and warm so for the most part, after the event me and Lisa just strolled around soaking up the sunshine so I think the outfit reflected our very relaxed day! I paired the outfit with gold sandles (and hot pink toenails!), loose bangles and the stunning gold leaf necklace (which is also my sisters). I think the only downside about this outfit is that I now have to give it all back to my sister :(

Still, I've got to admit, it was kind of nice dressing a bit more girly for the day and feeling far more sophisticated as usual!

What do you think? Do you think maxi skirts are easy to pull off, or perhaps it's a tad risky wearing a maxi skirt when using the tube? Let me know with a comment!

P.S Check out the Look Of The Week tag for a mooch at some of my other 'Look Of The Week' posts or please feel free to check out/give me a few votes on my LookBook - just click the image above!

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Tuesday, 9 July 2013

I headed into town recently and couldn't deny myself a quick mooch in TK Maxx and Accessorize. I really love what I bought so thought I'd do a little shopping haul post!

First up, I bought these beautiful bracelets from Accessorize. I adore Accessorize, everything is so feminine and delicate. Plus, we all know the right accessories can transform any outfit. Of course I had to buy the bracelets with the little skulls on and had a little chat with the cashier about my love for all things skull related. She insisted that the new season of jewellery is going to be filled with skulls! I'm so glad, especially after I missed out on that other Accessorize skull bracelet that I was looking for, even after searching about five different shops!

Aren't they gorgeous? The turquoise and gold bracelet set was £4.00, and the friendship bracelet set was £8.00. I then also 'accidentally' ended up picking up this gorgeous skull necklace whilst I was in there today. To be fair it was only £6.00 so I've justified's so cute!

And finally I got this lovely grunge top from TK Maxx. It was a little pricey (for TK Maxx anyway) at £12.99 but I love it - it's got an all lace back and just reminds me of another 'New York City' top I almost bought earlier this year from Miss Selfridge which was about £35.00 if I still remember rightly soooo I guess that justifies it ;) I think it'll look great with my leather shorts. There was loads of nice stuff in TK Maxx as usual (somehow I found myself eyeing up a pair of red shorts!) and I had to talk myself into walking out to avoid buying anything else.

Have you bought anything nice lately? Are you a self confessed Accessorize addict like me? Let me know with a comment below!

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Sunday, 7 July 2013

Although I adore blogging and writing, what many people don't know is that I also have a huge interest in other sides of the media or anything 'creative'. In college I took a media production course which covered lots of different platforms in the media. I filmed a music video, directed a documentary, recorded a radio show, practised photography and learnt lots about editing. I really enjoyed being hands on and earlier this year I volunteered with a company called TV Bedfordshire, which is basically a local company that films and produces local content that goes up on their website. Next year, we'll also be applying for a Ofcom license which means hopefully our content will actually be seen on TV and not just online!

Anyway, to make a long story short, we cover all different local events and we were invited to cover AmpRocks which is part of Ampthill Festival, a boutique annual three day event that takes place in Ampthill. This year was the festivals fourth year running and hosted performances from The Hoosiers, Toploader and local band, Skies On Fire. We also managed to cover The Hoosiers meet and greet/signing which they held in a restaurant in the city centre.

You can find out a little more about TV Bedfordshire on their website here, and keep your eyes peeled for coverage from the event. At the event we had the chance to interview all three bands as well as excited members of the crowd. However, until then, I thought I'd do a little behind the scenes lifestyle post about the event. 

I got to meet The Hoosiers and Skies on Fire, and in between interviewing people and taking behind the scenes photo, got the opportunity to enjoy a really great event. It was a lot of fun and was even sold out! Me and one of the other crew members enjoyed mingling in the VIP area and getting the word out about TV Bedfordshire and we also had the opportunity to chill out on the VIP section of the bus. Yes, I said bus. The bar was a double decker bus and the top floor was part of the VIP section, which offered amazing views of the festival.

I had a great day ; the sun was shining bright, I got to do a lot of networking and be very hands on with the whole filming process and finally, because Toploader didn't allow anyone to film them, I was able to relax for the last couple of hours and just kick back and enjoy the festival with a nice cold beer and the rest of the crew.

For anyone that lives local, I would without a doubt recommend attending this festival next year! It had such a great atmosphere and the line up was amazing. And please, please check out TV Bedfordshire because we're trying to spread the word as much as possible so we can get our Ofcom license next year! We're always looking for contributors and if you want to see some footage from the festival and interviews (and laugh at my shoddy presenting skills!) then do check out the website as the footage will be up soon! Or just feel free to give us a like on Facebook or a follow on Twitter ;)

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Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Recently I was given the opportunity to review Snaptee, a brand new mobile app that allows you to design and order your own custom t-shirt completely in app. Not only can you completely customize the design to how you want it but you can also 'sell' the design, allowing other people to purchase your t-shirt and earn you some money!

I was immediately intrigued - I've never really had the opportunity to customize my own t-shirt before and the fact that it can all be done quickly and easily through an app definitely got me interested. I thought perhaps if it was all done through an app then maybe I wouldn't have the chance to be as creative as I'd like - but I was wrong. If anything, you can be even more creative then I'd have imagined! You can grab photos directly from your photo album or Instagram and from there you can pick your design - choosing from a variety of different sizes, shapes, patterns and effects. You can even add text if you choose to.

Any thoughts I've had about customizing t-shirts before have gone out the window. I used to think that the process would be picking a random website online or going to see the bloke who has his own market stall, having the choice between either neon sparkly font or a standard box image photo and being disappointed with the quality of the print and the t-shirt. However, Snaptee has made it so easy and the process is completed within moments.

Designing my t-shirt was only half the battle (although that was hard enough, there were so many ideas to choose from!) and once I'd placed my order, I eagerly waited to see what would turn up at my door. I was a little worried at first because the image I used is tiny and has small text, so I did wonder if it would end up being blurry or unreadable on my shirt. My t-shirt arrived really quickly and I'm more then happy with it all! The design is clear and easy to read and the top is really good quality - it fits perfectly and is soft and comfy to wear.

Snaptee basically helped me feel like a fashion designer without any hassle. It actually all coincided with an idea I've had for ages about making t-shirts featuring lyrics from my favourite songs. I didn't think the idea would work really but using Snaptee has changed my mind. I found an image that included lyrics from a personal favourite song of mine and it looked really cool and not at all corny. I think, considering I looked into the copyright of it all, I'll hopefully be able to make loads more cool tops with my favourite lyrics by using Snaptee!

The only other thing I'd like to say is that I'd love to see Snaptee expanding the range in future and hopefully including other types of t-shirts! I think it would be a great idea to have the opportunity to add your designs to vest tops or something, although to be honest it's not hard to cut a standard t-shirt into a vest top anyway.

If you're a budding fashion designer, have ideas for some great t-shirt designs or even if you're just stick of whats in the stores at the moment, check out Snaptee for an easy, creative and affordable alternative option to designing your own t-shirts.

*Please note, this post contains a PR sample.

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Monday, 1 July 2013

The Runaway Princess is the latest novel by Hester Browne who has also written bestselling novels Swept Off Her Feet, The Little Lady Agency in the Big-Apple and The Finishing Touches. Despite being the author of so many best selling books, I'd never read any of Hester Browne's stories before so I was eager to discover her writing style and get stuck into her latest book, The Runaway Princess.

The story follows Amy Wilde who is married to her less than glamorous job as a top gardener. Despite her flatmate Jo (who is the complete opposite of Amy) continually trying to set her up, it just doesn't happen. Amy is comfortable with her life - it might not be glossy but she's happy. However her life is turned upside down when she a meets mysterious and handsome man called Leo and experiences an immediate mutual connection. Imagine her surprise however when she discovers that he's a prince and his life is everything hers is not!

The blurb reads -

Amy Wilde is tired of the idiots her glamorous flatmate Jo tries to set her up with - she'd much rather be landscaping a garden with her dog Badger at her side than trying to find the man of her dreams. That is, until she meets Leo Wolfsburg. Handsome, polite, funny, intriguing - Leo is everything Amy could want in a man. Best of all, the attraction seems mutual.

But Leo's lifestyle is a world away from her own. Private planes, charity balls, exclusive members' clubs - Amy begins to realise that her simple existance has been turned upside down. And just where is Leo's home country of Nirona, anyway? Is this all too good to be true?

This book deals with exactly what happens after the 'happy ever after' - something we don't often get to read about in books. It's a much more realistic example of a fairytale - as much as we'd all like to be swept off our feet by a handsome man who turns out to be a prince, there's a lot more to it than that. For example, Amy isn't too happy that Leo lied to her about who he actually was and then she's more than convinced she's not cut out to be a princess. Then there's family members - those who want the crown for themselves and those who don't think Amy could fill the role of a princess. It's refreshing to know that not everyone lives happily ever after without their fair share of pressure, especially when it comes to marrying a prince. I'd like to think should any ordinary girl meet a prince, this book is an accurate representation of how it would all play out. And I love that. I really, really love how this book manages to stay realistic but also inspiring at the same time.

I thought Hester Browne's writing was really witty and found myself giggling along constantly. The story was just right ; it was heartwarming and uplifting but it also had it's fair share of moments that made you stop and think which I liked. It definitely made me laugh a lot more than other stories too.

I loved Amy's character because I think we can all relate to her in someway. She's slightly shy around people she doesn't know - worrying about saying the wrong thing or giving off the wrong impression and prefers staying in the kitchen eating foods at parties instead of socialising. But she's also head strong and determined, especially when it comes to her career. Sure, she could definitely do with glamming herself up a bit, but at the end of the day she's just a normal lady like any of us.

My favourite character would hands down have to be womaniser Rolf. He's absolutely hilarious - he has no clue about woman (but manages to bag them all somehow anyway?) and is devilishly handsome. In fact, is it wrong that before I fell in love with Leo's character, I kind of wanted to explore things further between Amy and Rolf and wanted to know what would happen if she'd given him a chance? What can I say, I always did prefer a bad boy womaniser over a romantic prince any day..

Overall this book was really witty and inspiring and I loved how long it was. It started from when Amy and Leo met, but didn't stop when they fell in love. We found out exactly what happened when Amy struggled to fit in with their royal family. This seems like a lot, the book covering their relationship from the very beginning but it felt just right - it wasn't rushed but the writing didn't seem forced either.

And as a final note, I'd also like to add that the book cover is SO cute. It's very girly and sophisticated, which is a perfect reflection of the story.

You can purchase Hester Browne's The Runaway Princess on Amazon now.

P.S Check out the Book Reviews tag for more book reviews! Also, please do visit Hanging On Every Word - another blog I'm part of. It's a collaborative book review blog between myself and some other bloggers and there are some great reviews on there! Please do check it out!

*Please note, this post contains a PR sample.

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