Sunday, 30 November 2014

Travel: Inspiring Istagrammers

I'm obsessed with any kind of imagery, so Instagram is a natural daily (and guilty) addition when it comes to social media. I follow bloggers, tattoo artists, photographers, mums, shops, celebs, and of course, lots and lots of travellers.

Here is my little list of the ones you should follow...I guarantee they will all inspire you!

One of my favourites to follow...expect a feed filled with adorable babies, beautiful homeware and colours, endless Bali adventures and plenty of humour. A Brit who married an Ozzy, she shares her daily Balinise life, amazing home and endless adventures with her little brood. Warning: You WILL want to leave the UK for a tropical country after following her!
A photo posted by Claire Alexander-Johnston (@jetsetmama) on

You may have already heard of this couple, or seen one of their stunning pictures. They travel the world photographing it in their own unique way, with Murad holding his stunning girlfriend's hand in every image with striking backgrounds. It almost makes you feel like you are there.

This lady fulfilled her dream of visiting Paris and then decided to stay there. Follow her Instagram for down to earth accounts of a foreigner's fascination with the city of Love, where she shares anything that she finds pretty, interesting, delicious or intriguing. Great inspiration for your next trip to Paris or just for some French decor ideas!
A photo posted by Carin Olsson (@parisinfourmonths) on

A proper 'lumbersexual' as the current trend would label him, this guy lives by the 'home is where you park it' motto. Foster Huntington left his job and moved out of his New York apartment to hit the road in his VW Vanagon. In two years he traveled more than 80,000 miles surfing, and meeting other people who were also living in their vans. He now has a book, and his Instagram is filled with wild adventures.

A photo posted by Foster Huntington (@fosterhunting) on

Perhaps an obvious one to follow, but let's not undermine the stunning photography work shared here from the company's many will get access to things you'd only dream of seeing, and their educational texts will inspire you to make that happen.

One of many travel bloggers, Nelly will take you on a regular-girl-gone-travel junkie adventure filled with pretty colours, delicious food and great photography spots. There's the occasional competition,too.

Another travel blogger, this time a lover of nature, greenery and beaches. She also posts occasional mini videos showing her followers where she is at the time.
A photo posted by Kate McCulley (@adventurouskate) on

Taken with an iPhone, this couple's intriguing photos give you access to the most interesting parts of the world, the non-touristy little towns, the curious places you don't see in the guidebook, and the beautiful smiling people along with it all. They also provide lovely and thoughtful descriptions alongside every image, giving you little nuggets of information.

She calls herself 'the master of Europe' and so she seems to be! Follow this travel blogger for European adventures to the expected, AND the unexpected including my beautiful country Bosnia. I really hope that travel bloggers like this will inspire people to explore more of Eastern Europe and discover it's cultural and natural beauty.
A photo posted by The Blonde Gypsy (@theblondegypsy) on

Michael is a National Geographic photographer. 'Nuff said.
A photo posted by @michaelchristopherbrown on

This travel blogger incorporates her love of fashion, food and sense of extreme adventure into a never ending stream of envy for us all!! Her most recent trip was to Iceland, my 2nd home.

Travel round the world in thousands of dishes and see if food alone can inspire you to go to a different country!

Follow Contiki to find your next adventure holiday, a company that creates fun holiday activities and packages tailored to what you like, whether you want adventure or you're a proper beach bum! Emphasis here is on the 'you only live once' motto so be careful as you will want to go to every place they present to you! Great for when you have a certain amount of money saved up and want more for your buck but aren't sure how to go about it.

Beautiful real time photos from this American blogger living in New Zealand.
A photo posted by Liz Carlson (@youngadventuress) on

Last but not least...I'll be a little cheeky and remind you of my own Instagram account where I share everything from fashion, food, beauty, London adventures and travel escapades!



Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Food: Lactose-free AlproTops Breakfast Day 2

When Alpro got in touch and challenged me to taste all of their Big Pot plant based yogurts - Simply Plain, Vanilla, Strawberry with Rhubarb and Lemon & Lime, I couldn't wait to try them all and experiment with different toppings every day to make my breakfast little more adventurous.

They sent me a lovely hamper with every flavour, plus lots and lots of pots filled with different healthy but delicious toppings to choose of the things I received was this adorable little box alongside the various toppings in cute little labelled boxes which was really handy.

Alpro's soya alternative to yogurt, with it's mild taste and smooth texture, is delicious on its own or with fruit, granola, seeds, nuts, etc. It is 100% plant based and rich in plant protein, is naturally low in saturated fat and sugar, lactose and gluten-free, and contains calcium, vitamins B12 and D. 

The little pots Alpro sent me were all labelled and made mixing things up even easier and more fun...try separating all your toppings in small dishes or inside cups like these to make it quicker in the all you have to do is scoop with a spoon rather than opening up packets individually.

On day 2 of my adventurous breakfast experiment, I went a little lighter than I did on Day 1 (when I went a little crazy on the combos!). I used the Vanilla big pot flavour as a base (my favourite!) and added dark chocolate swirls, cinnamon powder, chia seeds, and goji berries.

Dark ChocolatePowerful source of antioxidants (yes it's good for you, but only dark!)

Cinnamon Cinnamon helps control your blood sugar, which influences your risk of heart disease

Chia Seeds - Among the most nutritious foods on the planet...they are full of finer, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various antioxidants

Goji Berries - The real deal...A standard 100gm serving of goji berries fills your body with vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K along with various essential minerals. They also contain high concentrations of proteins and amino acids, and have been known to boost human’s immunity against various diseases, improve eye health, and protect liver and kidneys

Although some of the ingredients I chose in this combo were very simple and didn't necessarily add to the flavour, the Vanilla base provided what was missing and it was delicious. I always struggle to chew goji berries but try to eat them whoever I remember due to their many health benefits!

It's really easy to add little things to our daly meals such as these seeds, super foods and little we should always try to eat them. Keep pots of them on your desk at work and then just add whenever it feels right with your lunch!

Come back in a couple of days for a few more of my #AlproTops creations!


Beauty: Yardley London Jade Perfume

I’m always up for trying out new perfumes – I've always used J'Adore Dior, and this summer changed it up to Lancome's La Vie En Rose...recently I also came across this mysterious little brand Yardley London, and their lovely new perfume called Jade.

Experts in creating high quality floral fragrances for over 240 years, Yardley London just launched Jade, a contemporary green floral chypre that captures the free-spirited energy of the swinging sixties!

The sixties represent a pivotal time in the brand’s history, when it became renowned for its ground-breaking advertisements featuring iconic fashion models Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton...

Celebrating the trend for green floral chypres as a popular olfactory choice in fine fragrance, revered perfumer Anne-Sophie Chapuis has created a modern, fresh green floral bouquet that captures the bold, exuberant spirit of the ‘mod’ age. The scent is gorgeous, strong in 'character' and distinction but still subtle enough to be classy. It's great to wear during the day or with a casual outfit as it has quite clean, refreshing tones.

The design of the bottle is gorgeous too, so would make a lovely gift.

Yardley London Jade Eau de Toilette 50ml bottle is £19.99 and available in Boots and online


Saturday, 22 November 2014

Food: Lactose-free AlproTops Breakfast Day 1

You may have seen my previous posts on gluten-free foods, as I am on a bit of a mission to try lots of new alternatives and make my daily diet healthy but fuss-free. It's been a bit of a challenge limiting myself, removing certain foods from my diet completely, and finding great tasting alternatives to gluten and dairy foods.

I found that I had tummy ache after eating creamy foods, and drinking anything with milk so I had to cut this out, too. I now drink Lacto-Free milk, but I had't tried any yogurts just yet.

When Alpro got in touch and challenged me to taste all of their Big Pot plant based yogurts - Simply Plain, Vanilla, Strawberry with Rhubarb and Lemon & Lime, I couldn't wait to try them all and experiment with different toppings every day to make my breakfast little more adventurous.

They sent me a lovely hamper with every flavour, plus lots and lots of pots filled with different healthy but delicious toppings to choose from. I'm not much of a morning person and usually eat quickly, so the hamper and goodies made the experimenting all the more fun!

Alpro's soya alternative to yogurt, with it's mild taste and smooth texture, is delicious on its own or with fruit, granola, seeds, nuts, etc. It is 100% plant based and rich in plant protein, is naturally low in saturated fat and sugar, lactose and gluten-free, and contains calcium, vitamins B12 and D. 

Alpro sent me three beautiful bowls to match with my colourful toppings, and even a personalised silver spoon!

I went a little crazy with my first try, adding five different toppings to the Strawberry with Rhubarb yogurt - desiccated coconut, raspberries, dark chocolate flakes, flax seeds and muesli.

Desiccated coconut - Full of iron, healthy fats and dietary fiber. Dietary fiber bulks up your food, helping to stave off hunger between meals. It also helps prevent digestive disorders

Raspberries Eating one cup of raw raspberries will provide 54% of your vitamin C needs, 12% of vitamin K, 6% of folate, 5% of vitamin E, iron, and potassium, and 41% of manganese needs for the day

Dark Chocolate - Powerful source of antioxidants

Flax seedsSome call it one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet. They are high in omega-3s and charged with fibre, and can really fire up your metabolism. (If you have IBS you need to be careful and consult your GP on how much to take)

Muesli Muesli is also a good source of dietary finer, and a great healthy breakfast mix to give you energy for the day

I thought that after throwing in this crazy combination of toppings, that my meal would taste a little odd, but it was absolutely delicious. Every different topping gave something yummy to the mix, and the main yogurt flavour was so light but with great taste. I was comfortably full after eating it, and my tummy was very happy, too! :) 

Those who suffer from intolerances will really understand and appreciate this as it's a great feeling to find something that suits your diet,but that tastes amazing, too.

Come back in a couple of days for more of my #AlproTops creations!


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Five Best: Super cute clutch bags

After recently buying this really cool Patricia Field Coca Cola bag, I've noticed a lot of high street brands have got in on the trend since Fashion Week, too.

Anya Hindmarch had the most original designs with super cute and fun retro bags in collaboration with Kellogg's, and Chanel worked with the whole trend on one of their supermarket-chic themed shows.

Now you can grab one of these yourself for as little as £12.99! Check out the best of the high street below.

1. The clear clutch trend is still in, but now with some adorable designs added on like this one from Asos, £30. Simple but trendy, it's easy to wear with any outfit.

2. The cheapest of the lot but also the closest to the supermarket chic trend, this £12.99 New Look chocolate bar clutch is a great neutral colour meaning it's easy to wear but quirky enough to be a conversation starter. I'm super prised that nobody has collaborated with the Willy Wonka licensees yet!

3. For the more adventurous ones, this SkinnyDip popcorn clutch bag is perfect for dressing with a big furry coat in the winter to add a bit of fun and pop art to it! £25

4. This Skinnydip clutch is my favourite! So pretty and elegant, and looks a lot more expensive than it really is (£45) due to the gold tones. How cute are the little bees? Wear it during the day with jeans and a leather jacket, or during the evening to glam up an outfit.

5. This Asos clutch is the closest you will get to the designer look, as it's most reflective of the retro supermarket packaging design. Wear it during the day with your high waisted jeans and faux fur jacket! £35


Monday, 17 November 2014

Travel: 10 Best Travel Apps

To help make your life and holidays just that little bit easier...

JetLag Genie
One of the most annoying things that could affect your holiday mood is jet lag. There are numerous ways to beat it, but this clever little app can give you some help. Once your travel dates, destination and usual sleeping times are added, the app will give you a bespoke guide on when to sleep, seek dark or control jetlag by getting up a little earlier a few days before your trip. It doesn't seem to have a lot of reviews but it's worth using even just once, if you are going on a long haul trip.
iPhone (£1.99)

This app is really useful if you are waiting for a loved one, or just want to check in on your own flight. It follows the path of international flights on maps, with all information about arrival, departure, delays, and cancellations.
iPhone (£2.99), iPad (£2.99), Android (£2.99) and Windows Phone (£3.99)

Something I always struggle with is knowing when, where and how much to tip (or not tip!) when traveling. In some countries, it is offensive to tip anything, while in others you need to tip more than usual (New York...). This app is a tip calculator which will help you determine how much to take off your bill, or the best way to split it with others.
iPhone (£0.69)

Clean, efficient, quick and to the point, Skyscanner's brilliant apps are super handy for any traveller as it finds the best and cheapest flights across all bookers for you. Search for flights via their flights app, or for hotels with the brand new hotels app (pictured). In the flights app there's an option to pin your search to your start screen and keep an eye on price fluctuations, and in the hotel app you can 'heart' your favourite hotels to compare them.
Available on iPhone (free), iPad (free), Android (free) and Windows Phone (free)

Banksy Bristol Tour
I've thrown this one in the mix as I really like the niche nature of it. We need more apps like this! I haven't personally tried it yet but think it's a genius idea. The legendary street artist Banksy is from Bristol, and this geo tagged map is your guide through the city via his artwork. It even has informational notes and artistic interpretations for each piece. Pretty cool!
Available on iPhone (£1.99) and Android (£1.99)

iStone is yet another very useful app that could be your daily saviour and eliminate a lot of time wasting or awkwardness with the locals. Containing more than 300 phrases, it translates into 12 languages and even helps with native pronunciation. No Wi-Fi needed!
iPhone, iPad (Free) 

Forevermap enables you to download any international map before you get there, and you can then use it on aeroplane mode and without incurring any data or roaming charges! Winning!

Wi-Fi Finder
Does what it says on the tin - absolutely essential with such high roaming charges nowadays. You can also download the WiFi maps before you head out, meaning you can find an internet spot anywhere without incurring any costs.
iPhone (free), iPad (free) and Android (free)

Real and honest reviews by real people - that's what you want when searching for anything from restaurants and hotels, to shops, attractions and even tourist spots. A traveller's free guide book, great for finding recommended spots, but don't panic if you see a negative review here and there on even the best hotels and restaurants...there will always be someone a little too picky out there.
iPhone (free), iPad (free), Android (free) and Windows Phone (free)

I'm personally not a big fan of all the other food apps which make life a little too complicated with too much choice, reviews, and text in them. When I'm abroad, I'm usually in the middle of nowhere in the city and starving, so need to find a good place to eat straight away without thinking too much about it. What makes this app great is how specific it is to YOU. You can search for whatever you want to eat, and then browse the pictures of meals in your rare to choose the best restaurants for a specific dish! The pics make it so much easier to choose.
iPhone (free), Android (free), Blackberry (free) and Windows Phone (free)

One of the best things out there for frequent travellers, this free app enables users to make free calls to one another with 3G or WiFi. Sometimes the signal or sound isn't that great, but it beats paying rip off prices for a quick chat with mum!
iPhone (free), iPad (free), Android (free), Desktop (free), Blackberry (free) and Windows Phone (free)

I hope some of the above will be of use to you, or even inspire you to take a trip abroad soon!

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