Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Visiting the King in Graceland

Graceland



Graceland
On the way to the hotel in Memphis we made a little stop at somewhere a bit different that the usual petrol station. Whether you're a die hard fan, or only listen to him during Karaoke, everyone has heard of Elvis. Personally, I'm not really a big Elvis fan. I have some of his more well known stuff on my iPod, but I usually skip in favour of some indie band singing yet another acoustic song. But I have to admit, as we all jumped out of the van and made our way to the museum entrance, I was kinda excited.

Graceland

Graceland

Graceland

Graceland


After an iPad and a pair of headphones were given to us all, we were ushered onto retro buses and taken across the road to begin our tour of the mansion. That's actually one thing I really loved about the tour, it was completely self-guided so you could spend as long as you wanted in the different rooms. It did mean we were all juggling cameras, iPads and bags though; more challenging than you think. All the rooms have been left pretty much in tact. In the dinning room, Elvis' wedding china is laid out, and there is a tear on the pool table thanks to someone who messed up a shot. Every detail is explained by the audio tour, with snippets from Lisa Maria and Priscilla given to bring it to life. Although you can't actually wander round and sit on Elvis' sofa, you get a pretty good view, and it felt less like a museum, more like an interactive episode of Cribs. 

GracelandGraceland
Graceland


We all know Elvis is famous. Famous being the understatement of the year. It's only when you walk through the trophy room and see all the awards, discs and other amazing accolades that you really understand the scale of his fame. Think many walls of Tetris, but instead of multi-coloured bricks, it's shiny discs. There's a special section focused on his films, and his tours, but what I liked was that they paid attention to his charity work. There's no question that Elvis was a big earner, but he did his bit and helped a lot different charities, bringing them into the spotlight.

Graceland

Graceland

Graceland

The last part of the mansion tour is humbling. Tucked in behind the pool are the graves of Presley family. The tour skims over Elvis' death, proably to avoid any controversy or conspiracy theories that are floating around. We visited a short time after Elvis Week, honouring the anniversary of Elvis' death, so all the tributes from around the world were still scattered. Flowers from fan clubs from near as Memphis and as far as Greece showed just how popular he was and still is today. Whilst we might not have been the biggest Elvis fans, there's something about getting to know someone by going to their house and have a look. Ok, so it's not like we popped round for a cuppa, but the tour definitely made me think of Elvis as a person, rather than an untouchable celebrity. 

Graceland


Now that we have followed the story of Elvis' rise to fame and his amazing career right to his death, it was time to get back onto the the bus and go across the road again. We handed in our iPads, and were let loose on the many exhibitions housed in the main building. First stop was to the car museum and let me tell you, there are a lot. From Pink Cadillac's and a Rolls Royce to golf buggies and motorcycles, anyone into cars would be in their element. Me being me, I got a little excited about the pink cars, and pretty much picked out my new car from Elvis' collection. Each of the exhibitions in the main building has the usual format of exiting through a gift shop. What we didn't expect was that each exhibition had its own shop. There must have been 6 different shops in the museum all selling different themed Elvis souvenirs. In the end, Andy & I rated them all based on how good their air con was. To say that it was a hot day was an understatement. 

Graceland

Graceland

Graceland
Graceland


The last exhibition we went to was a tour of Elvis' private plane. Named after his daughter, the plane is the perfect way to travel, with a wardrobe, a dining table and gold bathroom. I wouldn't mind travelling across the Atlantic on that. Once we were back on the tarmac and through the final gift shop, we made our way back to the van, ready to go Walking in Memphis. 

Don't forget to follow me on bloglovin' so you keep up to date with all my Trek Tuesday posts!

xoxo
J
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Friday, 18 November 2016

Winter in a Mug || The London Tea Company's Winter Wondermint

Peppermint Tea review


I'm just going to come out and say it. I don't drink tea or coffee. Yep I'm that awkward person in the office that can't get involved in group brews and has to politely decline offers of a drink at interviews. You see, caffeine gives me migraines and, to be honest, I've just never got into the whole hot drinks thing (apart from Hot Chocolate, everyone loves Hot Chocolate). But lately I've been giving herbal infusions a whirl, and I becoming a bit of an addict.

My latest love is the Limited Edition Winter Wondermint(*) from The London Tea Company. Having tried a sip at the Blogosphere Magazine Christmas Market, I was over the moon when I found a packet of the blend in the goody bag. Inspired by winter frost, it combines polar peppermint leaves and natural peppermint oil for a refreshing alternative to your usual winter warmer. Meant to recreate the feeling of being out in the cold, this Peppermint tea is extremely minty, but in a good way (think the best polo mint ever, warmed up). What's more, peppermint tea is said to help your digestive system, aid pain and inflammation management, boost your immune system and weight loss, and encourage you to relax. Seeing as winter is a season when people are more likely to catch colds, start diets and suffer from SAAD now is the perfect time to enjoy a cuppa. 

If you want to get your hands on a packet, click here to go to the London Tea Company's website. Remember, it is limited edition!

I'm really loving my afternoon peppermint tea but would love to try some other blends. Any suggestions?

xoxo
J
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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Blogosphere Christmas Market

Blogosphere Magazine Christmas Market

Two weeks ago I headed to Manchester Piccadilly Train Station bright and early on a Saturday morning. I'd given up my Saturday morning lie in to get the train down to London. Of course I ended up wedged between some delightful football fans busy gossiping about the previous night antics, and drinking Jager straight at 9 A.M. After the longest train journey ever I finally arrived at Euston Station and made my way to the Embankment. The whole reason why I was in London was to attend the Blogosphere Magazine Christmas Market. If you're not a blogger or haven't got a clue what I'm talking about, Blogosphere is a magazine written by bloggers for bloggers. From food and travel to fashion and beauty, all genres are covered making it a must-read for everyone. 

Braving it on my own I was a bit nervous of attending my first event in London on my own, but there was no need because as always, I met some lovely bloggers. Greeted by a giant picture of In The Frow (hey Victoria!),  we trotted in to the Strand Gallery eager to see what was waiting for us. First us was the sweetest girls from So ...! Fragrances who showed of their Christmas Gift Sets and new range of body sprays. I think So Kiss Me must have been the first fragrance I ever wore so this was a blast from the past to try it again. The new body sprays smelled absolutely incredible, giving the Victoria Secret versions a run for their money. I particularly loved the Vanilla Milkshake scent so will snapping that up soon. 7th Heaven were also at the event, handing out stocking of face masks for us all to try! Although I love a luxury brand, these masks have been my go-to for as long as I can remember. They are such amazing value for money so it was great to be able to see the full range. 

Blogosphere Magazine Christmas Market

Blogosphere Magazine Christmas Market




We were also introduced to a brand new social platform called Social Superstore. Think a monetized version of Pinterest, this platform allows you to add items to your board, which you earn commission from purchases. After having a play around on it, I'm completely hooked, so if you do happen to sign up make sure you give me a follow here! Upstairs we were treated to a glass of Champagne with Latest in Beauty. You might recognise Latest in Beauty from their collaborations with British Beauty Blogger but they are also launching a brand new beauty box. The idea is that you will be able to select the contents of the box each month, with personalised recommendations guiding you. The girls also showed us their Beauty Calendar for this year and I must admit, I was impressed. Containing everything from Moroccan Oil to a full eye shadow palette, this is a great calendar for those of you who like a good mix of beauty products. Finally, I made my way to the London Tea Company for a sample of their new Winter Wondermint peppermint tea and a look at their gift sets. Aside from the cutest packaging, the herbal infusions and teas are Fair-trade certified meaning you can enjoy a cuppa without worrying about your conscious. 

After talking to all these amazing brands and having a good ol' natter with the beautiful bloggers it was time for me to catch the tube back to Euston and head back up North. 

xoxo
J
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Sunday, 13 November 2016

7 (Budget) Products used under 7 Minutes

budget make up picks


AKA my current face. We all have those days when you just don't have time to do some fancy dancy eyeliner or use multiple shades of concealer to get perfectly chiseled cheeks. For the last few weeks I've been feeling a little under the weather and going out has been a bit of an effort. With all that being said, I've wanted to look human (opposed to the bed-headed essay-writing snot nosed thing I've become) in the quickest time possible with the least amount of effort. Thanks to these 7 budget products I've managed to get that down to around 5 minutes. Now that is a quick turn around. 

  1. Lacura Beauty Concealer Pen - I have raved about this for years, but it is seriously good. A dupe for the YSL Touche Eclat, it brightens under my eyes whilst having enough coverage to hide the most sleepless night. What's even better is that it doesn't cake, and looks natural enough to be worn alone if you're skipping a base.
  2. Rimmel  Radiance BB Cream - To be honest, I'm not using this because it's a hero product, more for the fact I have a tiny bit left and it matches my barely-there face tan that I'm clinging on to from the States. What I do like about this though is that it gives you a medium coverage whilst looking natural. It's glowy without looking like an extra from some kind of sci-fi film and lasts all day. The shade range is slightly limited, but because of that I find it adapts to small changes in your skin tone, so if you don't really tan like me, this is a good option to work pre- and post holiday. Apply it with your fingers of using the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush for a more polished look.
  3. 17 Eyebrow Pencil The first eyebrow pencil that I ever bought (not this exact one, don't worry), and I still go back to it when I'm in a rush. It's a perfect shade match for me and lasts all day. If you don't have all day to get each of your brows looking like twins, this is great because it blends super easily and fills in gaps like a dream. An oldy, but a goody. 
  4. MUA Mosaic Bronzer There's only two contours I use; this and MAC Mineralise Skinfinish in Medium Deep. Pale girls listen up, if you want a natural contour without hours of blending to avoid harsh stripes across your cheek, this is one you might want to pick up. The mixture of shades means it looks super natural and flattering whilst suiting every skin tone. It's super cheap and you get loads. An everyday staple. 
  5. Sleek Rose Gold Blush I beg Sleek to never ever discontinue this blush. A perfect dupe for Nars Orgasm, it has enough shimmer to inject some life into your face without looking like a magpie's best friend. The rosey shade is perfect for any occasion so I have no fear when I liberally apply this to the apples at stupid o'clock. 
  6. Topshop Glow Highlighter I originally bought this because I forgot my beloved MAC Strobe Liquid but it's now found a place in my heart. This cream highlighter is quite thick in consistency and really packs a punch, so you need to have woken up for this part otherwise things could go horrendously wrong. Saying that, you can't get any easier than smearing a little on the top of your cheekbones with a finger before bending. Just think of it as metallic war paint. 
  7. Maybelline Colossal Go Extreme Volume Waterproof Mascara I do my mascara last, because, well, by this time I will have woken up a bit and have less chance of poking a wand in my eye. I'm not brand loyal when it comes to mascara and will try anything going. This one is the one I happen to be using at the moment and it's fairing pretty well. I tend to stick to waterproof because my eyes water and the winter wind makes me look like a panda. Whilst waterproof, it does still smudge a little so probably not one that will be appearing again anytime soon. 

So that's what's been on my face lately. A bit of a mish-mash of budget loves, and things I'm just trying to use up but they all do the job when time is tight. What products do you swear by when you're in a rush? I'd love to hear your recommendations. 

xoxo
J
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Thursday, 10 November 2016

An Ode to Brogues

why I love brogues


If you meet me in real life, chances are I'll be wearing brogues. Yep those kinda 'proper' looking, vintage-vibing shoes are my go to for pretty much any occasion. After being left with a rather unstable right ankle following a pretty nasty hockey injury in my first year of University, I came to the conclusion long ago that my options were flats, wedges and block heels. I will risk it (for a chocolate biscuit) for a beautiful pair of heels, but won't dare trying to walk more than a few meters and will bring an emergency pair of flats, just in case. With all this in mind, I've developed a long-lasting love affair with brogues. This isn't some cheap fling, ready to abandon them as soon as they next trend comes strutting down the catwalk. This style is for keeps, and here's why.

For starters, you can wear them anywhere. Pair them with jeans and a slouchy sweatshirt and not too dressy for a morning lecture. Pair them with a cute tea dress and you rock the vintage look for a family meal. Pair them with a cute skirt or going out-out dress and they make you look under-stated cool. Somehow they just work. A capsule wardrobes best-friend they will literally go with anything you throw with them, and that my friends is the sign of a true classic. Just like Disney films, it doesn't matter who or how old you are, brogues will save the day. A wardrobe staple, just when you think nothing you own will go with a skirt, they will prove you wrong. No matter the time of year, or in fact what year it is, the brogue will work. Fact. Lastly, I'm using the best argument I have. Their comfy! Yep, call them 'sensible shoes', but when you lot resemble newborn giraffes walking over those cobbles en route to the taxi while I'm gliding (slight exaggeration) along, I know who is winning at life. Oh, actually you know why I'll be gliding, because I won't need Emergency Services to put out the fire burning in the balls of my feet. Instead I can dance all night and still be able to skip home without braving bare feet. There was a time back in University when I was devastated my love affair with shoes had ended before it had really got going, but now I realise I'm not having an affair, I'm just in a fully committed, steady relationship. Brogues, I'd swipe right. 

Have you got a go-to style that you can always rely on?
xoxo
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Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Downtown Nashville


Nashville
Nashville


After a walk in Virginia we headed to Nashville. The Downtown Nashville Hostel looks straight onto the Cumberland River, giving a beautiful view of  the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. Known as Music City, Nashville has a unique atmosphere, with music pouring out of every open window and door at all times. Although I love a bit of Country music, it isn't as popular in the UK as in the States and I was a bit unsure if I was going to feel a bit out of place. Silly me. 

Country Hall of Fame & Museum
Country Hall of Fame & Museum Country Hall of Fame & Museum
Country Hall of Fame & Museum

Country Hall of Fame & Museum

Country Hall of Fame & Museum



I'm a massive Carrie Underwood fan, and have a few odd country songs on my iPod, but that's as far as my country knowledge goes. So where better to learn about all things country than the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum?! After the breakfast bruito that could possible be the best breakfast I've ever had, I began to explore. Set over three floors, the Museum contains everything from instruments and costumes to memorabilia and interactive displays. I did fan girl a little when I saw the Taylor Swift Education Center, only to learn that it wasn't a centre dedicated to Tay Tay, but a collection of classrooms for children. Nevertheless, there are several of her costumes dotted around the place! The record room was a sight to be seen, with shiny discs spilling out into the atrium and covering the entire lobby wall. It appeared that it was an unsung (lol) rule for all country singers to have rhinestones on everything. Well, I think I've found my calling. I have a Uke. I have a bedazzler. Move over Swift. After looking around the museum, it was time to head to the hall of fame. Set in a giant hall, plaques of the inductees circled us, most of them I, admittedly, didn't recognise. I did, however, learn something about country music, and even went as far as downloading a couple more albums from iTunes. 

Nashville
Nashville
NashvilleNashville
NashvilleNashville

There is, of course, a lot more to Nashville than just the museum. After a spot of lunch I headed down Broadway, looking in all the shops selling everything from hats to boots. Live music surrounds you as you look at the amazing skyline. It seemed like everyone was super talented and I didn't hear one bad band the entire day.  Like I said right at the beginning, I was a bit scared of feeling lost in Nashville through a lack of music knowledge but by the time it came to getting back in the van for Memphis I had country on repeat. I've been bitten by the bug.

Don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin' so you never miss a Trek Tuesday. 

xoxo
J
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Thursday, 3 November 2016

How To Avoid Buyer's Remorse (or at least get better excuses)


How to avoid buyers remorse

We've all been there. Decided to go on a spending ban in the morning, only to receive a sneaky e-mail with a life-changing (ok so maybe not life-changing) discount or can't-miss gift with purchase by lunch and end up with a new notebook by tea. Actually, this has literally just happened  to me. There I was declaring I'm going to stop spending in the run up to Christmas (it's November, it's now acceptable to say the C word), happily spending my day writing up an university assignment, when BAM! Space N.K. e-mailed me with the mother of all gift-with-purchases. How would I justify it? It was in the form of a beauty advent calendar and I hadn't got one yet. Oops. Anyway, while I sit here and not-so patiently wait for my present to-me-from-me to arrive, I thought I'd share some practical advice on how you can avoid that horrible guilt you get when you spend money on bags instead of bills. After all, tis the season to get spendy.

  1. Don't stop shopping, just do it wisely. Before heading out to your destination of choice, take a moment to weigh up what you have. If you only have flimsy ballet pumps and happen to live in the UK, your missing A/W footwear. Running out of a foundation? As long as you don't have a hidden stash lurking in your cosmetics cave, then go for it! Focusing on things that you actually need, or at least haven't got, will stop you doubling up on things and at least give your spending some meaning. 
  2. Apps are your new best friend And when I say app's I mean my new favourite thing, shoptagr. This little piece of magic is an add-on for your browser which lets you select items on any website that you quite fancy getting but can't justify it, and set an alert for when it goes on sale. You can create wish lists, update the alerts and it's just pretty magical if I'm honest. You can thank me in the comments ;)
  3. Compare and Contrast How many times does you end up buying something that doesn't tick all the right boxes, live with it a couple of days and then decide something else would be better without returning any option? I do it a lot. I end up spending double, if I'm lucky, on things I should only have to buy once. You know diaries? Really think about what you use them for? Do you need a day-to-page or a month? Does it need hourly slots or just a blank space? Big or small and portable? You wouldn't buy a new phone without checking out whats out there on the market, so it makes sense to do that with smaller purchases too. Otherwise you might just end up spending an iPhone sized amount on diaries for a new year that hasn't even started yet. Yeah.
  4. Keep to your budget Sometimes the simple ones are the best. Give yourself an allowance, weekly, monthly or even daily if that's how your roll, and do not go over it. Do not pass go. Do not transfer an extra £100 from your savings account to your bank account so you can snap up those glittery boots. Just don't. Now that I'm trying to save up for New York next year, I keep all my money in a savings account and transfer my "monthly allowance" into my current account each month. I know what I have going on each month, I know roughly how much a taxi from A to B will be or that I'm most likely going to end up having a gossip over a Starbucks after that event. Plan it out. 
  5. Money doesn't make you happy Said the billionaire to to homeless man. But shopping for clothes, beauty or homeware when I'm sad or stressed is pretty much the same thing as going on your big weekly food shop when your hungry. In the words of Eminem, you loose yourself in the moment, and endorphins lie to you and convince you that new things will take away your problems. They don't. Unless your buying a dog, in which case you win. But my point is your problems will still be there once you've clicked confirm and have a squishy bag of newness land on your doorstep. So you might be better dressed/ have a flawless base / live in a copper-decorated palace, but getting a sticker after you've had a tooth pulled didn't take away the pain, and neither will those shoes. Find your problem. Find a solution. Put that solution into practice. Then buy the shoes. If you want. 

So those are some of my tips for keeping post-purchasing pouts at bay. Have you got any tried and tested techniques? Let me know in the comments below!

xoxo
J
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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

#BloggerHalloweenParty


blogger halloween partyblogger halloween party

blogger halloween party

blogger halloween party

blogger halloween party
blogger halloween party
blogger halloween partyblogger halloween party

At 9.25 a.m. on Saturday I made my way to Manchester Piccadilly Station to catch a train down to Birmingham. Like always, I was super early for my train, but this time there was a slight twist. I was dressed as a minion. Now I'm pretty sure you've seen the photo's on twitter and instagram, but if you missed out check out my costume. I think I pulled off the yellow look pretty well right?!

Anyway, once I arrived at New Street and munched some Five Guys, I met up with the ever so lovely Natalie & Billie before jumping in a taxi and heading to the Rose Villa Tavern. Of course there was a reason why we were dressed as Wednesday Addams, Marilyn Monroe and a Minion, it was the Blogger Halloween Party organised by the amazing Kirsty & Ashton. I have such huge respect for anyone who organises blogger events, because to be honest, it's like herding cats sometimes. These two put in so much time, effort and stress so a massive thank you is in order! 

Moving on to the main event and it definitely didn't disappoint. We took over the first floor of the Rose Villa Tavern, which is a ridiculously cute hidden gem if you happen to be in the Jewellery Quarter. Think orange fairy lights, chocolate lollies and a seasonally spooky playlist and you wouldn't be far off. Kirsty & Ashton had lots of activities planned for us including designing our own pumpkin, which I got a little to into, and a scavenger hunt! We got to speak to Goodyfull, an organic ingredient delivery service, and the lovely girls from Dr. Botanicals who had brought along some of their deliciously smelling products. After not-so-descreetly dancing away to the Time Warp and trying some Juicy Fuel Cola (that's natural juice cola don't ya know?!), it was time for the most amazing raffle. Kirsty & Ashton has organised loads of prizes ranging including a Lemur Feeding Experience, and I even managed to walk away with a Millie Marotta Colouring Book! Quite fitting for the girl who was a little too keen designing her pumpkin. 

Before we went, I just managed to sneak into the last sitting of the Perfume Studio drop-in. Now we all know I like a good fragrance, so creating my own bespoke scent was the stuff of dreams. Something like this is reserved for celebrities right? Wrong. Surprisingly, you can have your own unique 2 hour experience for £39.00 (you can even add on afternoon tea at some locations). That's Christmas sorted!  We were taught the correct way to smell fragrance and had all the unique blends explained to us. After playing around with a couple of combinations, I very quickly knew what I wanted, fruity with a big kick of vanilla. It was then time to name it (The Crown Wings obv.), and bring home a little bottle to try! You know what the best bit is? They keep a record of it so when you want another bottle of your signature scent, you can just place an order. I felt completely spoilt. 

After being given a huge goody bag full of treats to try, I head home having met lots of new blogger friends.

xoxo
J
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