All Posts By bridie

Three Course Heaven @ The Fox, Menston

Posted on 6 min read

What to do on a bleak, rainy day? What would perk up those senses and inject some vitality back into your veins? Why food, of course. More specifically, a delectable three course meal. And even more specifically, a half hour drive with the fam down the country roads of Yorkshire paying a visit to The Fox, Menston – newly refurbished and ready to welcome you with open arms, a log fire, and a cosy booth beside the panelled windows as you watch the world go by.

I was kindly invited down to The Fox, Menston to review their evening menu, last week. To immerse the revamp, indulge in as much food and drink as my feeble stomach can handle, and spend some quality time with my loved ones in a setting perfect for embracing the lot. Situated between Ilkley and Otley, it’s the ideal place for a traditional country pub with class – and a reachable distance from Leeds itself. Living in the city I don’t often get to experience the home from home dining feel so it was nice to settle into the rustic surroundings with some hearty grub. It brought me back to my childhood when we’d stop off in the countryside after holidaying at my grandparents’ caravan. The same lovely, warm, and friendly atmosphere!

I brought my mum, grandma, and brother along with me to enjoy the luxuries and we were all so totally spoilt. I haven’t heard anything but praise and a “we must go back again soon it was utterly divine”, since. The staff were so accommodating and serviceable; the whole range of culinary goodness was available for us, nothing was off limits, and so of course we made the most of it.

 

We all have different tastes which is an advantage when you’re reporting back. It provides a chance to experiment with variety and compare the best and the worst. Only this time, there was no worst. I don’t even think it’d be possible for the worst to exist, here!

My brother ordering Scallops of the Day was a close contender but that’s only because any kind of fish is a no-no in my books. He absolutely devoured them and almost licked the plate when he’d finished so that’s enough confirmation they were just as amazing as my starter. I opted for the Crispy Karaage Chicken to satisfy my taste-buds as a teaser of what was to come and it was finger-lickingly tasty. I love chicken – whether it’s fried, grilled, oven-baked, mixed within other dishes – it’s all I eat at home, but I am very fussy with the textures and the flavours. This appetiser was balanced flawlessly; just the right amount of succulent and crisp!

My mum is a mushroom fanatic so she predictably went for the Thyme-Roasted Portobello Mushrooms and I was actually a little envious. There was a ladle of creamy mushrooms in a bishop sauce served with rustic toast on the side and what a lush combination it was! My grandma also went simple but scrumptious with the Duck Liver & Port Parfait – she often has pâté as a light snack at home and this was a higher tier version. In her exact words – ‘it was absolutely beautiful’.

 

For the mains, I was the only one not to go for whole meats. I fancied some real juicy carbs so the Pancetta Carbonara stood out for me. It was 100% the correct decision, it satisfied my cheese admiring appetite and was mouthwateringly pulpy and creamy with smoky flavouring oozing from the bacon. My brother and his massive gusto for food in general were on the other side of carbs as he tucked into the homemade British Beef Burger (with added halloumi by his request). Layered up into a neat tower of rich, dirty tang, chunky, tender beef, and a fresh bun, he savoured the lot and there were many satisfied mumbling noises emerging from beside me. He said it was the best burger he’d had in ages which speaks volumes for the amount of food he consumes on a daily basis!

Staying with the meat, my mum and grandma had the same meal; 7oz Fillet Steak with chunky chips and a unique ale-glazed shallot tart with another Cropwell Bishop sweet, zesty topping. If you’ve read my past food reviews with my mum in tow from March and June last year, then you’ll know this was always going to be the obvious choice in her eyes. She’s steak mad and loves to trial the fillets and the sirloins when visiting different places to eat. She did, however, insist on stating this was a worthy winner as well as the soft, fluffy, dense potato to go with it. With one bite you could sense and distinguish just how much care had gone into both preparation and the cooking itself. It was firm and fresh, piping hot, melt in the mouth texture – and most importantly plated up meeting her exact call for nothing but well done, please.

 

 

 

Two courses would have been more than enough for our dietary contentment but thankfully we also got to experience the wonders of the desserts. Unfortunately the famous Melting Chocolate & Peanut Bomb was unavailable but there were plenty more options to fill my sweet tooth and sugary craving boots. My brother and I had the Home-Baked Triple Chocolate Cookie with a mix of Praline and Vanilla ice-cream – a divine combination which was demolished and ravished by us both, and my mum and grandma had the Sticky Toffee Pudding – the ideal winter finisher which was thoroughly enjoyed.

The food at The Fox, Menston was utterly impeccable and we couldn’t fault it. The exceptional quality really shone through, as did the presentation. Everything was hand cooked and made from scratch with your order in mind! The assorted menu catered for everybody and it was great value for money. However, it didn’t just stop there. Nope. The ample selection of cocktails were also on hand to complete your nightly feast.

The Fox, Menston actually held an event in October for bloggers to sample their new gin based cocktails in the midst of their makeover but unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend. Now, gin is my jam. I’ve recently become the biggest basic boozer with pink gin but my only problem is I hate tonic and soda and I’ll only drink it with lemonade. This is why I didn’t go for the newest cocktails on the list but after recently discovering my kick for rhubarb gin, I regret not having a glass of their Cucumber Ribbons.

 

 

My mum and I were still pretty complacent with our martinis, though. Mum had two of the Pornstar Martini because she couldn’t get enough and her eyes physically lit up as soon as she took a sip. I had the Candy Floss Martini which is something I’d never seen before but something that worked a treat! It came with genuine candyfloss in a glass and a dainty side bottle of rum and ginger that you poured in to create – in their words – a magical marvel. It was then washed down by a cuppa and a coconut biscuit which was the ultimate ending to a fab night!

 

 

Whilst we relished in the atmosphere and the cuisine (and the dreamy toilets) I couldn’t help but notice the festive menus on display. My mind went straight to how amazing it would be to sit by the roaring fire with your family; revelling in the merriment, the speciality beverages, and classic delicacies, on Christmas Day. I know for sure there’d be no disappointed faces around the table. Now all I need to do is persuade my own family to dine there on the 25th in the forthcoming future!

If you’re Yorkshire based I couldn’t recommend The Fox, Menston enough. Huge thank you to the team for providing us with unlimited indulgences, and for hosting an evening to remember for all four of us!

 

*Food and drink were all kindly complimentary by The Fox, Menston in exchange for a review. All thoughts, opinions, and images are my own. See my full disclaimer for more information.

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AD | When Jewellery Becomes More Than Just Finery – Christmas Gifting With Nomination Italy

Posted on 9 min read

This is a sponsored post written as part of a collaboration with Nomination Italy.

It’s been a few weeks now of having my customised Nomination Italy bracelet close by, adorning my wrist as I go about my daily activities, and it’s fast become my favourite trophy piece. But as the title declares, it’s become more than just attire I add to my get up as I get dressed for the week ahead – it’s become a real part of me, a sense of my personal identity, and a safety blanket for when I need that uplifting reminder that there’s no one like me, and nothing like the life represented on the bracelet that is filled with personally picked mementos I can draw strength and meaning from.

The Nomination Italy composable bracelets really are such a beautifully unique and simply subtle way to express who you are and being in the company of my new possession has made me think good and hard about who I am and what’s important to me, lately. What I love the most is how the charms give a firm nod to your identity – a metaphorical link to how you’re built as a person via a physical link, per say.

It’s your virtue. The gorgeous designs of the charms and the message they hold speak things words can’t. And the best bit is, often it’s only you and your closest ones who know the narrative behind it.

Redefining those parts of your identity is what makes this statement piece of jewellery so special. In the past year or so I’ve really grown into my introspective self. I’ve found my purpose and what I stand for, I’ve honoured my honesty, and I’ve grown to love those parts of me I didn’t before. So, really, discovering something that can convey that side of me couldn’t have come at a better time. Having a bracelet brimmed with segments of yourself that serve as a reminder to everything I embody and am thankful for, really does allow me to feel proud and to be comforted.

If I’m having a dreadfully low day of pain and anxiety and loss of hope, I can look at the purple heart as a sign of how strong I remain. If I have a sudden wave of emotion and am struggling with how much I miss my dad, I know I have an indication to how important he still is placed on my wrist. It’s those little things that mean the most.

It makes sense that you’d want to pass that feeling on to the people you treasure in life and with the big C approaching, gifting season has never been easier.  You’ll remember me chatting about how a Nomination bracelet is a gift like no other when I first introduced you to my own bespoke bracelet, and having the chance to revisit and shop for myself – I still stand by my word.

I headed back to the charming Wakefield store earlier this week and was instantly hit with that festive feeling. The tree was up, Christmas music gently playing, and the shop floor all trimmed and garnished with brand focused decorations. It made creating a bracelet for my darling mum just as, if not more, fun than creating my own.

I always get more joy out of buying for others than I do myself. That’s the aspect I love the most about Christmas. The glitz and the glam, the food, the songs, the movies, the markets, the decorations, the priceless family time, are all great, but nothing beats finding that one surprise and knowing by the lit up look on their face and the fuzzy feels you get when you witness that look, that you’ve nailed it.

Christmas gives you the perfect opportunity to do this. To think out of the box. To search high and low for that ideal, unusual gift that is far bigger and better than the ordinary. Sentimentality, thought, and effort are key. Something put together with care and love. Something that shows you know the person well and you haven’t just picked up the popular gadget off the shelves that everyone will be opening come the 25th – and Nomination Italy have this in the bag!

There was only one person that came to mind when thinking about who deserves a gift this significant, and as I said before, that’s my darling mum. The biggest babe (and best cook) in Yorkshire. She’s my rock. She’s by my side every single day – through the good and the bad, and the so funny you can barely breathe. She’s my sidekick, we come as a team. And she always puts her children before herself. So, I wanted to give something back. I wanted to give her the treat she deserves. Nomination Italy’s jewellery allows me to present her with something she can wear everyday. Something that serves as a reminder to her stand out qualities, and her value. Something that gives me the chance to show her how much I love her, and her the chance to see how much we do!

My mum and I are similar in many ways, and that goes for jewellery tastes as well. I opted for a stainless steel bracelet, like mine. And a majority of rose gold charms, like mine. We’re both quite classy and feminine so these are perfectly fitting!

So, what did I choose this time?

First of all I chose a simple Mum charm, en-scripted in a heart with a tiny shiny diamond beneath. That speaks for itself, to be honest. My mum is held close to my heart now and forever more, and she definitely is a diamond!

Secondly, I went for a charm that I think sums up our relationship entirely. A knot of unity which represents the powerful and unconditional bond between a mother and daughter. She’s brought me up to be the woman I am and she’s always been the woman I look up to and find inspiration and strength from – so this is very apt.

Thirdly, I picked a double stone blue topaz opposed to the standard. The blue topaz is representative of the month of December aka her birth month and  I thought the twin option would be a nice change from just the standard single stone. In a way, it’s double the love and affection as that’s the official blue topaz symbol!

Fourthly, there was another engraved charm that reads ‘I love my family‘ because she really does. This alone sums up her family approach. She loves her kids, she cherishes her mum, she does so much for the rest of the family without second thought because there is no purer love than that of your family. We’re lucky to have the close family we have with so much love and support surrounding us and we’ve both always vowed we’d be nowhere without our immediate relatives. Our family are a group of warriors who won’t be defeated and it’s nice for her to carry that sentiment around!

Lastly, there was a cluster heart filled with precious silver stones and ready to sparkle. Truthfully, I just went for that because it looked pretty paired up with the rest. It doesn’t always have to have meaning but what I adore is that it can do if you look closely. Every single charm has such an essence encompassing it. You could say this heart is the epitome of love – overflowing with glow!

There’s still so much potential to expand the bracelet for my mum! I do have a couple of ideas to add mine and my brother’s initials, and something symbolising remembrance for her husband and her dad but shhh. Mum, if you’re reading this, please pretend you don’t know!

Now the bracelet is well and truly alive it’s not going to be as hard to shop in the future. I can keep focusing on charms to add when birthdays and Christmas comes around and soon enough we’ll both have a jam packed bracelet overflowing with eloquent expression and emotion. Another lovely touch is that you get to keep the links you replace with charms so you can continue forming another blank bracelet to give to another special person in your life!

 

Along with the personal bespoke bracelets, Nomination Italy also have a wide range of standard jewellery to browse and buy as foreseeable future gifts.  Their collection of stacking bracelets (bracelets without the charms but are just as fetching) are an amazing extra to sit beside your composable one. I went with the Trendsetter collection, simplistic but stylish. The gold star composition may or may not have been entirely my influence but I also thought it’d be a nice contrast with the silver stainless steel AND a star is a sign of Christmas!

Speaking of Christmas emblems, Nomination Italy have specific seasonal jewellery as another gift possibility. I also picked out a snowflake necklace and matching drop earrings from their Winterland collection and I just know it’s going to be a hit building up to Christmas Day for the festive events and outings, and on Christmas day itself. That Christmas Day outfit is the ultimate finisher so throwing some dainty jewellery into the mix is bound to up the spirit.

The last task of the day was to choose some matching earrings to the new gemstones I was able to add with my steadily structuring bespoke bracelet. This would be another great gift idea either for someone starting out with a bracelet, or for someone who already has one to hand – quite literally!

 


I promised over on instastories that I’d show you the five spanking brand new gemstones I attached to my bracelet so here they are in picture form. There was a classic oval faceted stone in a gorgeous royal blue colour and after a tough decision and debating which would be most appealing (they are all fyi) this is the stone I wanted to match the stunning, delicate oval earrings.

There was another blue oval topaz in a twisted shape. That one had a slight aquamarine tinge to it so I thought that would be ideal to represent my astrology sign. There was also a beautiful oxidised rose gold leaf rock crystal which stood out to me straight away! Then the last two did hold a little more meaning. The first was a white heart next to my dad charm. The colour white is clean and pure and rich. It’s spirituality and humanity and heaven so my late dad is always adjoined to that notion. The final one was a mother of pearl with wings which holds similar definition as it’s angelic and holy!

 

All of these wonderful gifts were carefully and expertly wrapped up neat but not only that – a jewellery box was included to store all the fab new pieces! This Black Friday (running up to Monday 26th) you can make the most of their all week offer and grab yourself your very own exclusive jewellery box worth £25 when you spend £100 or more in store! But you have to be quick!

I’ve raved about Nomination Italy so much now but I don’t think I can ever say enough. If you are looking to buy that special, distinctive gift for a loved one this Christmas I’d definitely recommend heading into a store near you. Having a wander at their jewellery is one thing but browsing through the huge selection of charms is a real pleasant experience.

The staff are so helpful and attentive and totally knowledgeable. They know exactly what they’re talking about and have a great eye for detail. The layout of my charms is mainly down to Lara and her mastery. Laying the charms out side by side and arranging them like a puzzle piece so they look their best together is the complete highlight! I’ve already planned how I want to fill my bracelet with the six links left! Something tells me I’ll be paying my newfound fave place a final visit before Christmas comes around.

Are you a fan of Nomination? What charms would you focus on? Is there any in particular that speak to you or your loved ones’ individual quirks and traits? I’d love to hear!

*This post is a sponsored collaboration with Nomination Italy. All things listed were kindly gifted but all images, words, and views are my own. See my full disclaimer for more information.

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AD | Creating My Own Bespoke Bracelet With Nomination Italy

Posted on 7 min read

In today’s materialistic day and age, where everybody has everything, it’s hard to discover a special, sentimental gift that will have an impact; either on a loved one you want to show your love and appreciation to, or as a treat to yourself. But on my visit to Nomination Italy’s stunning Wakefield store, yesterday, and after a wonderful, hearty experience with the lovely Lara I can ultimately say I’ve found The One. The answer. The prizeman.

I was invited down specifically to create my own bespoke bracelet and choose my own composable links that can and will be built up over time. Links that tell a story, links that showcase your individual distinctive character, and links that will last forever as a piece of you.

This is a sponsored post written as part of a collaboration with Nomination Italy but all images and words are my own.

The Wakefield store resides beside the food sector of Trinity Walk; a square foot of solid class and just one of over 5,000 independent retailers and 100 monobrand stores around the world. Opposed to the White Rose Shopping Centre kiosk in Leeds, this is a proper inbuilt shop filled with tasteful displays and endless jewellery possibility – and just a short train ride from Leeds, so well worth the visit!

Upon arrival I was welcomed with open arms and instantly felt at home; comfortable, excited, and ready to learn.

And learn I did.

There wasn’t one portion of information that I had to research myself. Lara told me everything I needed to know thoroughly and passionately – from where Nomination began, to what the brand stands for, their message, exactly what kind of products are readily available, how they’re made, the significance of the composable bracelets, a schooling walk and talk through of each and every beautiful charm that holds meaning, an instructional guide on how to fasten and extend your bracelet as you go along, a tour of all the pieces they have to offer, and of course a help in hand to choose links that are personal to me and perfect for me.

 

She started off by taking me back in time to when Nomination Italy first began. The international company was formed on a foundation of family and friendship and that is still incorporated to this day. The whole team are part of the family; not just for business but for love. Lara told me she’s never felt more at home in a job than she does here and there’s many of times she’s gone on trips with the gang – over to Florence – not just for work but to spend time together.

And this is what they want to reflect on to their valuable jewels; fellowship, quality, originality, and innovation.

Nomination actually began with the Composable Link Bracelet back in 1987. This established their philosophy and made them who they are and it’s continued to thrive 30 years down the line.

Every single ensemble of jewellery is handmade in Italy under the expert gaze or artisan craftsmen and women with traditional jewellery making techniques and with materials of the highest quality – ranging from stainless steel, to 18K gold, 9K rose gold, and sterling silver; Cubic Zirconia, precious and semi-precious stones.

But not only are Nomination the worldwide leader in steel and gold, they’re also designed with you purely in mind. The bracelets are made with a hypoallergenic surgical quality stainless steel meaning they’re wearable for everyday without irritation and with resilience; enamel details are painted by hand, gemstones are set by hand, and sterling silver is rhodium treated to help to prevent tarnishing.

Not only that, the focus is always on the prices and keeping them as inexpensive as possible. As they’ve grown, Nomination have released more costly material but the boss was keen to bring it back to the original silver to make sure there was still enough choice without the extortionate price tag.

I fell in love with the concept of the composable bracelet at first sight, and as the thousands of interchangeable delicate links were shown to me tray after tray, that love only expanded.

Described as the ‘epitome of La Dolce Vita’ the series of inimitable Italian style links are there to treasure and to tell a tale through nothing but gorgeously modern elegance. It’s there for you, and what you want, and that was the key notion as I began to have a wander through the intricate gems.

Nomination allows you to personalise your bracelet link by link to your tastes and this element really draws you in. Instead of traditional charm picking, it becomes unique. Mixing and matching with over 3000 charms means no two bracelets are the same and that’s the beauty of it!

I adore the way you can really capture your personality and imagination with the links. Browsing got me thinking back to the past, present, and future – making the path I’ve been on and the memories I’ve made a core part of my final decision, as well as the many facets that mould me into the woman I am.

There’s no way I could list each and every one of the links. You do need to see for yourself just how amazing the variety is and how there’s something suitable for every earthling. Words don’t do it justice because it’s what you see in front of you that sparks that expression.

However, I can tell you what sorts of categorised links there are. From letters, to numbers, to symbols, to all your favourite gemstones. There’s links to celebrate the important people (and animals) in your life – family, friends, pets. There’s links to evoke, remember and commemorate the monumental moments in your life. There’s angels to be beside you spiritually and there’s even double links you can have especially engraved. In particular, I found the cheeky lil extra fact Lara gave me even more endearing. She informed me for certain cities they also offer exclusive charms, for e.g. when she vacated to Berlin there was one there that you wouldn’t be able to pick up anywhere else. I now regret never hunting down the Paris store!

The simple stretchy structure of the bracelet is great for people who struggle with clasps and people who may suffer with medical conditions. For me, this is also a pro point! When my pain‘s bad I don’t have to worry about using too much effort to take the bracelet on and off. The hook and bar links are also taken out to fit your wrist shape as you go along so there’s zero sign of discomfort.

 

 

 

 

I opted for the standard silver stainless steel with a mix of rose gold and yellow gold links and left a space between each link as with some more advice and demonstration I did think this had the most stand out appearance. Rose gold is my jam so there was no avoiding my go to cliche blogger shade! I was absolutely spoilt for choice and kept umming and ahing on which five gems to stick to – but in the end, with some great guidance I chose and arranged each emblem in order of preference and significance.

So, what did I pick?

First up, there was dad. I lost him almost ten years ago but it doesn’t mean he’s completely gone and I always like to keep his presence alive – in my mind and in my heart. Unfortunately it can’t be done physically, but it can be done through cherished things like this. That was placed on the end anti-clockwise.

Secondly, there was an encrusted star. Not just super pretty, but utterly moi! If you know me, you’ll know I’m star mad. On clothing, bags, shoes, jewellery, prints, the list goes on. I couldn’t walk out of there without a star!

Thirdly, there’s a purple heart. It was actually one of the last charms I saw and I ended up swapping another heart for this one purely because it was purple. Purple is the trademark colour for stroke survivors, and for the Stroke Association itself. My entire teen youth to adulthood was spent as a stroke survivor, and the rest of my life will be. Nothing made more sense than this one!

The fourth one was also related to what I’ve been through. It was an angel of health and well-being and that’s definitely something needed on a daily basis. Angels assure destiny so that’s a destiny I wanted to secure.

Lastly, there was my birth month – June. Effortless but effective. And with the tiniest, loveliest little pearl to accompany the writing. That was placed on the other end, contrasting with symmetry to the dad inscription so it made a nice finisher.

 

 

 

I had such an amazing time at Nomination. It was undoubtedly the best, most enjoyable hour I’ve had in a long time! I didn’t want to leave but I was more than happy with my bracelet and the beautiful gift box and wrapping that came with it – delighted, in fact. And I can’t wait to head back there soon!

Currently there’s a brilliant October offer in store up until the 28th – so you have two more days to make the most of it. Spend £35 on composable links and get the rest of the bracelet free!! How on earth can you resist?!

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Halloween: The Three Way Glam Way

Posted on 4 min read

Halloween. AKA, the most wonderful time of the year.

Forget tinsel and twinkling lights when pumpkins and eerie nights exist. I don’t think there’s anything more fulfilling than that spooky, cosy feel; a few candles lit tucking into the sweet bowl with some mediocre horror movie playing in the background. Or, the alternate option –  going all out, metaphorically and literally.

Last year I talked you through a glitzy makeup tutorial – the look I opted for as I headed off to an actual Halloween celebratory occasion – and this year I’m about to do the same but in the form of a trio of possible events adulthood fetches on that last October day.

The versatility of Halloween is what I love the most. It’s just one day on the calendar yet there’s so much to get involved in and no matter what the heathens say, you’re never too old to have as much fun as your haunted heart desires. Whether you’re choosing to have a night in, heading out trick or treating with your younger sibs, attending a party, or creating your own get together and using it as a perfect excuse to get drunk – there’s high spirits all round (pun definitely intended).

The artistic and imaginative side of Halloween is also one of the best elements, in my eyes. Shopping for Halloween gear even if I’m not actually doing anything is one of my favourite pastimes because there’s just so much possibility and potential. Spend a tenner on a couple of cosmetics, some jewels, and stickers, and you have a whole guise to work with. Spend even less on some supermarket bought items and your gory, ghastly look is ready to go.

Ugly or glam, diva or deadly, it’s all there to choose. And for a gal who appreciates any reason to dress up, of course I’m going to make the most of dramatising and vamping up to full effect (pun certainly intended, again).

Doing Halloween the glam way is actually pretty easy to achieve and my crafted costumes have been made even easier with PLT‘s epic collection. From killer dresses, to staple basics and fright night accessories, what PrettyLittleThing have to offer fits my idea of bewitched style Halloween shindigs.

 

 

You May Go To The Ball

First up, there’s the event that was at the top of my list. A ceremony, a gala, a ball. I was a guest at a charity Halloween ball a couple of years back and it was honestly one of the best nights of my life.

The formal grooming is so enjoyable you can’t help but embrace the elation. Picking out your dream dress, fancifying your makeup to the extreme, thinking glitter, sparkle, diamonds, vivid colours, and jewellery; piecing it all together to create a masterpiece you feel a million dollars in.

This gorgeous gothic dress did just that. It was the classiest I ever felt, yet I still pass as Halloween appropriate. Arriving to the red carpet in a gown adorned with lace and ruffle and a silhouette that turns heads is bound to be the ultimate Halloween winner. Belle of the ball personified.

 

Til Death Do Us Party

Secondly, it’s time to up the exposure if a posh party is on the agenda. What a better way to show off your best assets than a skimpy but sexy dress. Think Mean Girls level of outfit competition, except there’s no qualms you’re the one slaying the rest.

Not that you have to be head to head with your friends, of course. This statement LBD is the quintessential get-up to pull from your wardrobe in time for social gatherings on the fallen Halloween weekend. One that you can feel like a queen in and one that you can make more haunted than hot by throwing in some creepy embellishments. Strutting along with your girl gang who have deliberately paired with your attire is guaranteed to grant you the popular honour.

And if you can’t release the puppies on Halloween, then when can you?!

 

 

 

 

No Tricks Just Treats

Last but not least, there’s the generically glam outfit, the one that can be worn with versatility whatever you have planned. A sassy novelty slogan bodysuit teamed with some plain black cycling shorts always does the trick. It widens the Halloween horizons because if you stick to plain and simple, you can rock it however you want to and wherever your imagination takes you.

A devil is pretty common but a devil with heavy hues of red on the eyes and streaks of blood running down the face?? Now you’re talking. Add in some matching tall court shoes to elongate the leg and you’re championing the uptown girl vibe.

So, whether you’re just venturing around the corner in your local area, rolling up to a house party, or spending time with your family – character glam is where it’s at!

*This post is in collaboration with PLT. Items were gifted but all words and images my own. Please read my disclaimer for more information.

 

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Why I’m Not Letting Numbers Define My Worth

Posted on 6 min read

As I’m writing this post, the sun is blazing, the ladybirds are swarming, and if I really concentrate on my surroundings I can pretend it’s summer again. Brought back to reality by the whooping winter cough that’s been depriving me of my much needed beauty sleep for weeks on end, of course. But never has there been a better time to pretend I wasn’t supposed to publish this at the beginning of last month when the photos were taken because this week’s temperatures means I can still get away with winging the denim skirt and cropped shirt look. Speaking of summer, that time period is what instigated this mentality of numbers aren’t everything, and that’s what I want to drive home about.

 

The summer months tend to be the doorway for my most creative outlets. It’s warm, you can go outdoors into the natural light, it doesn’t get dark ’til 10pm, and my Vitamin D filled, motivated mind is brimming with new ideas. The trouble is, for as much effort as I put in, there’s not much to show for it. No increase in engagement, no sudden influx of traffic, followers still dropping like flies, and little to no changes seen in any social media surveillance. Only recently have I realised, none of that matters as much as you think it does.

As you will probably all know, this summer I visited Paris for the first time and that meant I had a chance to capture content that really came from within the heart of me and fit the boxes in which my preferences and passions lay. Content that I was happy with. Content that I truly enjoyed getting out there. And although it was something I personally relished in, at the forefront of my mind was that constant thought of impressing others and perhaps this being the opportunity to grow my platform further. Architectural art, notable backdrops for outfit locations, famous landmarks and the cliche poses was bound to grab people’s attention, right?

Nope, wrong.

There were a few (very much appreciated) uplifting comments and praises from my avid readers but nothing out of the ordinary. No life changing recognition or sudden insta fame, and I don’t know what I expected because I’m well aware I’m not in the exceptional category of incredible content creators who boss it in every image and every sentence, but it was a kick in the teeth when I really thought I’d reached the best level of quality and received nothing in return.

Only when I moved on from that did I realise I’d been hyper focusing so much my real, sincere gusto took the back-burner, because no matter how much blogging and generating influencer work you’re proud of is a key vocation, becoming so transfixed and overwhelmed by the numbers side of things only turns you into your number one own worst enemy.

No one actively likes a decrease in their audience, that’s a fact. Spending hours perfecting that photo angle, editing, analysing, and feeling as though you’ve hit the jackpot, just to get zero response, isn’t pleasant. It is discouraging and it does make you feel like shit. Especially, if, like me, you’re a paranoid over thinker anyway, and you spend a solid portion of your day wondering why. What am I doing wrong? Are my photos really that bad? Are they not superior or varied enough? Have I just bored people to death with my lengthy ramblings because I don’t know when to shut up? Everyone must hate me. Yep, that’s the only conclusion.

It’s easier said than done, not getting caught up in the hype of a follower count. And it is difficult not to be at a loss when it feels like there’s always someone better than you. Someone getting recognised by the high end brands, building a massive following in just a few months, radiating with personality and unique traits that make you feel like the white crayon of the pack. But it’s also good to remember, no one does you like you do.

It’s got to the point now where I’m just like, why don’t I just post for me? Do what I want to do without worrying how many people are going to take interest or whether my monthly users will be impacted? Snap away without fretting about if my photos are luxe enough? Post what I like with no added pressure, no hidden meaning behind it, or try hard attitude. It’s quite the revelation, but it’s hitting me right where it’s supposed to. It’s turned my mindset right around. In today’s industry, you do need to go that step further to stand out amongst but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing that your own way and staying true to your colours. Forcing yourself to push the boat out isn’t going to do you any favours.

Right now I’m all about letting it all flow naturally instead of getting so worked up about every single thing I post. If that means my ditziness and overdramatic uncoolness and the rest of my ugly parts shows, then so be it. That’s just a central part of my ambition and overall nature.

Social media is often outlined with rose tinted glasses, anyway. It’s all magnificence and professionalism and ‘here’s what you can do to improve your niche and reach your goals‘. You can’t scroll through without Twitter without spotting the latest SEO strategy, and you can’t open up your Instagram app without an advert for a new E-Course popping up amongst the overly saturated pictures. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with that. Absolutely not. You do what’s most helpful for you and what suits you, individually. I just think right now that’s not the place I want to be at. I’ve tried the whole tips and tricks scheme and actually, have in fact found more long term fundamental results just by being authentic.

I want to post as and when I want to and not because I feel I have to. I don’t want to have to think I must be constantly producing 100% sterling content in fear of people losing interest and pressing the unfollower button. I want to post without thinking too hard and if that means crappy iPhone pics then that’s what it will be.

I want to stop caring about the negative impact of the algorithm. I want to interact with others in the community just out of pure goodness and engrossment, not for any gaining intent. I don’t want to be attached to Google Analytics and media kits and DA’s. I mean, it’s beneficial and it helps put yourself into perspective, but I don’t want to be seen as the lower grade of someone else. I like to think that if PRs and brands like what they see, they will contact you anyway, no matter what that number on the page says.

The opportunities I’ve had certainly aren’t based upon a few digits. Blogging is so much more than the amount of likes, followers, and views on your screen. That isn’t what makes you special. Your life, your worth, and your skill as both a blogger and a genuine human isn’t defined by that. Putting your heart and soul into everything you do and remaining true to yourself whilst forming experience is what makes you great.

Taking it back to the beginning is the direction I aim to go in. Remembering exactly why I started and reflecting on my blogging journey. I’ve never been one to intensely track my success in numbers but even as I implemented this into my approach, it wasn’t why I began to explore and develop my very own corner of the internet in the first place.

So, yes, I do lose followers quite rapidly. I’m not the chattiest or the funniest or flawlessly consistent and I’m past letting that one curated, fixated side take over my life. Feedback is amazing. An increase in likes and messages and followers are bloody brill but I’m done taking offence if I don’t see that regularly. It’s flattering to know people are recognising how hard you’re working and valuing that but if it isn’t your cup of tea, then that’s okay!

Since lowering my expectations in myself and my relevance, quitting the harsh focalising, and ridding of the tactical notion I’ve noticed a lot more genuine appeal head my way and that says more to me than anything.

I’ll never be mega popular, that’s just not who I am. I don’t have the lifestyle privileges to allow me to be on board with the top dogs who absolutely slay their way through their online career and I ain’t even stressed about it anymore.

Maybe people just aren’t a fan of my universal tableau and that’s fine, as long as I’m still being me.

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The Ivy Leeds Launch

Posted on 3 min read

Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to the pre-launch event of the brand spanking new restaurant that’s just hit Leeds City Centre and situates within the acclaimed Victoria Quarter in a lavish, historic, listed building located on the bustling streets of Vicar Lane.

With a wide range of culinary mastery set across two floors, two terraces, and a beautiful bar setting, this botanical space is bound to draw the crowds in… and it certainly did on a warm, celebratory September night.

Mingling in with the professionals and the stars, drinking far too many exclusive signature rose cocktails and glasses of champers as they were handed to us one after the other, and nibbling on some canapes as we giggled the night away, myself and 1/7 of my gal pals honestly had some top tier fun to shake those Monday blues away!

Thankfully I’d thought of photographing the flamboyant decor before the fizz went to my head and sent me spiralling (quite literally) and also before the swarms of people headed in to create a merry buzz that lasted until after hours. The atmosphere was fab; everyone chatting and never without a drink in hand, the bar staff running their rocket speed service underneath the ember lighting, faces displaying all smiles and flushed cheeks, but the hundreds of attendees did end up blocking the views of the gorgeously decked out views!

The interior is everything my heart desires; walls full of quirky, bold artwork that takes bland and squashes it right down to dust. Bursts of colour and plush prints in every corner. Dreamy flower bouquets on the marble tables, monochromatic tiled flooring, a greenery theme throughout – whether that be authentic towering plants or patterns plastered on the walls. Sophisticated but retro and exactly what a brasserie should be.

 

 

We stayed downstairs in the capacious bar area for the majority of the time but somehow towards the end of the night we ended up upstairs as we trailed to the fancy washrooms. That means we also got a taste (pun intended) of how the second floor looked and that was just as aesthetically pleasing, if not more. It’s the perfect place to sense that homely warmth as you’re enjoying your meal; large windows making it light and airy, high ceilings, and comfortable seating.

 

Speaking of meals, I must venture back there sometime soon to trial and savour their food offerings properly. In all honestly I can’t even remember what little bites I was grabbing off the silver platters all night but something that sticks in my mind are the delicious mini crème brûlée donuts and the berry tarts. I must have had about five and I easily could have had more! The desserts were sublime and I have no doubt the rest will be, too.

They have such an amazing range of menus available – breakfast, a la carte, afternoon tea, weekend brunch, and of course the drinks and desserts. I saw a bloggers breakfast was held this week and all the grub looked divine. That alone has tempted me to go and indulge myself! I promised my mum I’d take her for some food and cocktails before the year is up so it’s no surprise that The Ivy is right at the top of my list of where to go.

With venues already in Harrogate and York, this Leeds addition is a welcomed treat to the popular Leeds eatery scene and I am excited to see it flourish. It opened for the public on Tuesday so if you’re thinking about paying a visit, it’s all ready to go!

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