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I've been feeling a bit uninspired this week so I wanted to sit down and do something I haven't really done since my uni days, but something I know that when I'm feeling lost can start to help me get back on track, and that is make a moodboard.

I got back from Las Vegas last week and despite feeling super positive just before I left and ridiculously positive and inspired whilst I was there; coming back I feel like I've lost a bit of my mojo and am just feeling meh, the perfect word to describe those feelings which are indescribable, not happy, not sad, just meh. 

For the last few weeks I've been experiencing some shifts in relationships in my life which has left me feeling introspective, self doubting and quite upset if I'm honest, so I started thinking about the idea of escaping. Whilst in Las Vegas I loved how my hotel room became my own temporary home, the relief I felt as I climbed into the giant bed and the luxury of spending time pampering myself in the hugely decadent bathroom; the way we adapt to our surroundings and can become attached to something so unfamiliar is an idea I really like to indulge in. 

So whether your escape is somewhere near the water, surrounding yourself with plants, exploring a new city or on the sofa with a book, I introduce to you my first moodboard: Escape.

Where do you like to escape to?


5 Reasons You Should Visit the Dominican Republic

Now I meant to post this weeks ago, but as is so often the case with me, time once again ran away with me and I didn't get round to sorting this before my most recent trip to Ibiza.

And it's coming back from the White Isle that has made me want to post this even more. Now don't get me wrong, having visited Ibiza a few times before, it's a stunning island with some pretty fab ways of spending your time, however, this holiday really made me evaluate travel and seeing the value in traveling further a field and making the most of any holiday time, especially if you work the traditional full time hours and travel opportunities (and holiday days) are few and far between.

Having grown up in the UK, the few times I have travelled have always been to Europe, and when it comes to a typical sun filled, beach holiday one of the Spanish or Greek islands was usually on the agenda. And yes, these are beautiful islands, but when you're pretty much sunbathing all day and having dinner and a few (too many) drinks in the evening, you could really be anywhere, most of these islands are very similar therefore most of your holidays will be pretty similar, whichever one you visit. So saying that, I wanted to do a post surrounding the importance of travel and specifically, traveling outside of your comfort zone. A nine hour flight to the Caribbean is something I never really thought I would undertake, but here we are, well over a month later and we made it out the other side.

I never travelled much in my 20's and being that I am in more of a position to do it than ever before, it's something that is really important to me. But travel is expensive, and being that I'm not in the position to flit off here and there whenever I feel like it, when it comes to picking a destination I no longer 'just want some sun'. I want culture, I want to see a different way of life and most importantly, I want a completely different experience; something out of my ordinary everyday life and something that will broaden my mind and open my eyes to the endless possibility the world has to offer. After all, our planet is so vast, why waste time visiting the same places?

So incase my travel vlogs and travel diary haven't convinced you, here's 5 reasons you MUST make time to visit the Dominican right now.

1. The Weather
I mean that one is obvious right? I know I said sun isn't the most important thing anymore but it's definitely a requirement.

2. The Culture
Call me ignorant but I didn't realise the DR was a Spanish speaking island. For some reason I've always felt particularly drawn to Spanish and Latino culture; maybe it was growing up idolising Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez and Lorena from California Dreams, maybe it's just 'coz all the hot gurls in hip hop videos were always Brazilian. Whatever it was, I love everything about it; the music, the dancing, the language; so that coupled with a bit of Caribbean spice creates the most fantastic cultural experience. The Dominican people are so diverse in how they look due to Native Indian, Spanish and African settlers that they even have a saying, 'no two Dominicans look the same'. And in light of how depressing the world can be sometimes in terms of social progression, visiting an island where the people are so friendly, so proud of their heritage and so enthusiastic to open their landscape up to tourists is a really positive and comforting experience.

3. The Beautiful Boys srsly, just google image search Dominican men and thank me later.

4. The Landscape
We went out on safari tour on one of the days and it was so incredible to see the country as opposed to just our resort. I never expected the island to be so diverse in terms of landscape, the lush green countryside looks just like the UK on one of our rare good weather days and the stunning beaches are postcard perfection.

5. The Food
Like any Caribbean country the food is obvs gona bang! From the fresh mango, coconut and watermelon to the perfectly spiced meat, this is a diet I can defo get on board it possible to grow a coconut tree in my communal gardens?

Have I convinced you yet? I have a huge list of places on my 'to travel' list now, but let me know any recommendations, I want to go EVERYWHERE!


Desperately Seeking Summer

When you love the picture so much you have to ignore the fact you didn't hide the remote!

I took these photos a couple of weeks ago and have only just got round to sorting this post. 

Since coming back from holiday I have been obsessed with bardot tops, I cannot get enough. Unfortunately due to the hideous weather in the UK I have little opportunity to wear them. Thank god I go away again in two weeks ey?! I also this bag from Zara, I bought it to use on holiday but it's perfect for weekends too when meeting friends or having a little shopping trip.

Will summer ever get started in the UK? If not where can I move to ?!

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A Guide to Choosing the Right SPF

When it comes to SPF, it can be a minefield. Which factor to choose, is higher really better? If I use SPF 50 will it stop me from tanning? Do I really need a separate cream for my face and what about sensitive skin? Now I've always been pretty good with SPF but after my recent holiday to the Dominican Republic, I've stepped up the sun protection knowledge big time. So as it's that time of year I wanted to do a dedicated sun care post to hopefully help some of you guys who are jetting off to warmer climes this summer.
The High Factor Myth

For those of us that crave that beautiful, bronzed skin there's a common misconception that wearing a high factor SPF will prevent/delay this; but the fact is, this is just not true. I kind of thought this myself but after the tan I got from that Caribbean sun I can testify that wearing Factor 50 definitely did NOT hinder my tanning, infact only wearing SPF 30 with sun as intense as that is asking for trouble. Both Grace (who is part Caribbean) and myself (who never usually burns) burnt on the first day, I was wearingmy Piz Buin SPF 30, Grace opted for SPF 6...come the evening both of us were sporting some rather unattractive red raw skin. After this I slathered on the Garnier Ambre Solaire SPF50 for the rest of the holiday and the tan I got was intense, golden and still hanging around a month later.

Now there are SPFs available higher than 50, I saw ones as high as 100 so I thought I would give Factor 80 a go...honestly the sun in the DR is something else, however after reading up on this there is no need to go higher than 50. This is a really good piece to read about why you don't need to go higher than SPF50 - essentially SPFs higher than 50 don't have all the UVA/UVB preventing ingredients that we need so best to stick between SPF 30-50.

Always use a separate SPF for Face and Chest

It's really important to remember that the skin on your face and chest is a lot thinner than the rest of your body. I've always treated the skin on my chest as if it were the skin on my face as it responds really well to my facial skincare regime and looks so much healthier than when I neglect it. So anything I put on my face I always drag down onto my chest. I failed to do this on holiday and consequently burnt my chest. My face however, absolutely fine thanks to the Clarins SPF50 Sun Wrinkle Control Cream for Face. I usually opt for the Elizabeth Arden SPF 50 for Face but that was sold out meaning I gave Clarins a go and I'm so happy I did - I absolutely love this stuff and will never leave the country without it. In fact, it's so good I'm almost tempted to try the Clarins SPF 50 for body on my next trip to Ibiza. Suncare is an investment and after having burnt in the DR I'm more convinced than ever that the better quality creams are so worth the money, also never go below SPF 50 on your face, especially of you wan age like Goldie Hawn in Death Becomes Her.

Don't forget your Lips, Ears and Scalp

I burnt all of these to some extent on holiday, not badly but my scalp did go very crusty (TMI). I always burn my scalp a bit on holiday but this was something else, like actual scabs. You can get hairspray SPFs but they don't really work so I'd always suggest getting a cute hat or head scarf situation. You're especially vulnerable in the pool so if you have too, dab some SPF down your parting especially if your hair is tied back. I found this SPF lip balm in Boots but they also have this one which could be better on John Lewis by Ultrasun and thought it was pretty good as my lip line did go darker but my actual lips felt fine, in fact I quite liked it; my own natural MAC lip liner ha! I tended to wipe this just over the lip line as well just to make sure, I also dabbed some of my Clarins SPF on top of my ears as they're so easy to forget but so vulnerable to sunburn.

Pre Holiday Prep for Sun Sensitive Skin

About 7 years ago on one of my first girly holidays, I realised I got prickly heat. If you've never had this it's basically skin irritation from where sweat, suncream, sea salt and pool water layers over each other and irritates the skin resulting in a rash of tiny bumps. It can go quite red and is bloody uncomfortable, at some points I've felt like my skin is burning and literally cannot put on anymore suncream without feeling so uncomfortable and itchy. One of my friends imparted the best piece of advice to remedy this which I've made sure I do every time I go away and my prickly heat is so much better and on some occasions, I've not had any at all. So, a week before you jet off and then everyday on the holiday take antihistamines, then opt for an allergy specific suncream, I have used the Piz Buin Allergy suncream and the Garnier Ambre Solaire Sensitive Advanced Suncream and both work really well. I'd advise on going for the Garnier one purely because the Piz Buin only goes up to SPF 30, can be hard to get hold of and I've not heard great things about the Piz Buin protection.

I have dark skin so don't need to use SPF

This is a huge misconception, and I'm always trying to convince the boyfriend, whose parents are Jamaican, that he still needs to use SPF, particularly when we go away. Dark skins do have a higher natural SPF (melanin) than fair skins however this doesn't mean they aren't affected by ageing and sun damage. SPF 30 is a good one to go for but try not to go below SPF 15. Things like skin cancer are harder to detect in darker skin tones so it's important to be vigilant as they can often be in advanced stages when discovered.

Have you got any SPF tips? And has this post helped you? Wherever you're going away to make sure you look after your skin and happy tanning!



Travel Diary: 10 Days in the Dominican Republic

For those of you that watch my youtube channel, you'll know I recently returned from an amazing 10 Days in the Dominican Republic.

Having not travelled for the last 3 years I would never have imagined I would go anywhere like the Caribbean. I'm not the best flyer and the thought of a 9 hour flight is pretty daunting, even for the most seasoned of travellers, but when would I get this opportunity again? So I bit the bullet and made the trip. And I honestly cannot explain what an incredible journey this was, it's one of those holidays I feel has kind of changed my life; changed me as a person and definitely changed my outlook on the world as well as my day to day life. I've come back a more confident, more ambitious and more optimistic person and it's all down to this beautiful island. I can't quite explain how but the Dominican Republic has definitely gotten under my skin and I can't wait to go back one day.

We stayed at the Catalonia Bravaro Resort and I would 100% recommend it. Everything from the staff, to the food, to the beach was wonderful. Upon first arriving however, once entering into our room I did think things were a little rough around the edges, the room was a great size but needed a bit of TLC, however after a couple of days settling in it quickly became home and I would absolutely return.

Being that it's an all inclusive resort in the Caribbean it had the works, 5 restaurants to choose from (the Caribbean one of course coming up trumps), a swim up bar (need I say more!), the freshest and most delicious breakfast buffet and the resorts own private beach complete with beach bar and activities; although I spent 90% of my time on a sun lounger drinking PiƱa Coladas.

Another thing I loved about the holiday was the trips, we traveled around the island on an Outback Tour where we were taken to a few villages, a Dominican school, a Dominican family home, coffee and chocolate plantations and one of the only public beaches in the DR before heading back to the resort, honestly if you visit the DR you MUST do this trip and fingers crossed you'll get Angel & Papi as your tour guides, who we just fell in love with. We also visited Saona Island for lunch and lounging complete with return trip on a Catamaran as well as spending a morning swimming with Dolphins, reading all this back I can't quite believe I've done it either.

One of the best things about the island has got to be the people, they are all so lovely and so proud of their country, tourism is one of their biggest industries and they really embrace the fact that people want to come and visit their country, and rightly so, it's beautiful.

I made so many other fantastic memories on this trip and the best thing has to be the person I made these memories with. If it wasn't for Grace, I would never have gone on this trip and she really is the best friend I could have ever hoped for. It's not to be taken for granted the fact that I spent 10 days with her and not once did we fall out or even get arsey with each other, it was mega LOLs all the way and I couldn't ask for a better holiday buddy...which is relief seeing as we're going to Ibiza together in 4 weeks for another 10 days; could you imagine if we wanted to kill each other!

So if you're needing some destination inspiration, definitely look into the Dominican Republic, and have a Pina Colada for me of you end up going!


New Release: Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo

Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo in Light Tones | Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo in Dark Tones

The Blurb

'Developed to refresh tired, lack-lustre locks between washes, Moroccanoil's Dry Shampoo for Light Tones is ideal for post-workout, travelling or transforming your style before a night out.
Fortified with ultra-fine starch, the lightweight spray instantly revives hair between washes to banish any signs of odour, product build-up or grease, whilst argan oil and subtle violet undertones balance brassiness in blonde hair. Expect touchably soft, revitalised locks with enhanced radiance. Provides UV protection.'
The Verdict
I've spoken about the Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo over on my youtube channel in a number of videos because, to get to the point, I love it! Now you wouldn't think a dry shampoo that's fortified with argan oil would work, but it really does. If you hate that crispy, stiff feeling you usually get from dry shampoo, or any texturising spray for that matter, you will love this. The oil infusion works to get maximum flexibility and add shine whilst the starch works so soak up any excess oil and refresh the hair for that perfect 'second day hair I promise' texture (even if it's more like day three or four!). The scent isn't too overwhelming which I much prefer and overall, I really can't fault this product. I've been using the light tone one and it's even got a slight purple tinge to it which helps with brassiness, perfect for blondes at this time of year. Another thing I think is fab is the fact it offers UV protection, essential for blondes in summertime and it doesn't leave a hint of a white cast.
Have I sold it to you yet?! Seriously though, my search for the perfect dry shampoo is well and truly over, and I never would've expected that from an oil brand; what a time to be alive ey?!
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Call it spring?

We've managed to go from hotter than Ibiza to monsoon season in a matter of days; good ol'british summertime ey? I had a few blissful days spent in my new summer dress from ASOS but have now had to return to my weatherproof uniform. Oversized shirts are my go-to in any weather, comfortable, put together and super low effort...tick. I practically live in my Topshop Joni jeans and these &otherstories boots are perfect for when the weather decides to turn. 

I also need to give some air time to my beloved Daniel Wellington watch. I'd had my eye on one for a while and was super happy when they reached out and offered to gift me one along with a discount code for you guys! Simply type GIRLSLIFE at the checkout for 15% off your order but you'll have to hurry, it ends on the 15th May so get those orders in quick!

Lucky for me I'm escaping to the Dominican Republic on Friday so I can hang this uniform up for a couple of weeks, I'm sure however it won't be too long until I'm layering up again!

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I don't really have a point to this post, other than the fact that I wanted to draft something as more of a reminder to myself that it's OK to get into a creative slump sometimes.

As someone who partakes in the blogging world as a hobby, it's easy to forget that that's all that it is. It's fun, it's how I spend my free time and it's something I do out of choice. And I think that's the key word here, choice. I choose to do this, as and when I want, however often I want, about what I want, but being that blogging has become what it has become, it's very easy for me to forget this and put pressure on myself to create. Now I'm not someone that likes to do things by halves so of course, I set goals and expectations for myself, just like I would with anything I care about. I want to upload regularly, I want to create meaningful but also creative content and of course, I want to grow my platforms.

I took this picture on Sunday as I hadn't uploaded to Instagram for a while and felt guilty for not doing so. Despite the fact I didn't have any images I'd taken that week, nor was I feeling particularly inspired, in fact this weekend I probably felt the most uninspired I have for a while, I just didn't want/couldn't be bothered to create anything, but I still felt I needed I ended up with this. Which in actual fact sums up my weekend perfectly, a much needed two days of nothing much but tea, bed and magazines.

So really, the point of this post is this, if I don't feel like creating, I simply don't have to. In a time when blogging has become centre stage for so many, it's easy to get caught up and feel like you're not doing enough, or if your blog isn't your job why are you doing it? Well I'm doing it because I enjoy it, I love to create and despite having the odd creative block, I simply couldn't just stop. I don't do it because I think people are reading, I do it ultimately because I love the process. I think it's really important when you do work full time to have something that's just yours, that you love to do and makes you happy. And that's ultimately what this does, but sometimes I just need to be reminded, it's quality not quantity.



Let's Eat | Brunch at Balthazar

One of my favourite things to do has to be going for a good brunch. There's something about the anything goes factor to it that just makes me sublimely happy. It's comforting, it's social but also leisurely and if I didn't have to hold down a full time job, I would absolutely be a lady who brunches, pretty much everyday.

My old flatmate Angela was over from Kuwait so we decided to meet up at one of my favourite London spots, Balthazar. I don't know what it is about this place but I just love being there. I've never been to New York (and there's also a branch there) but I'd imagine being in Balthazar is what it feels like. I feel really Sex and the City when I'm there but can't put my finger on why. It's quite art deco in design, similar to The Ivy, and just one of those perfectly traditional but still very classy places to eat.

Of course poached eggs and avocado was the order of the day for me and this comes with a delicious, crisp and fresh salsa on the side. And when I say fresh, I mean literally just chopped tomatoes, red onion, chillies and coriander, no pre made sauce; it's the perfect accompaniment. Angela opted for scrambled eggs with crab and we couldn't resist getting an order of pancakes to share, which definitely didn't disappoint. The pancakes were nice a thick but perfectly light and fluffy with the most delicious maple syrup and freshly chopped bananas on top. We washed this all down with Flat Whites and sparkling water and were left sufficiently stuffed but not uncomfortable.

So if you're heading to London and you want somewhere that's wonderfully decadent but welcoming at the same time, Balthazar is the one. I absolutely recommend everyone eats here once in their life and who knows, perhaps one day I'll make it to the New York one!

*If you're into afternoon tea definitely head down there before September as they are currently working with Bobbi Brown to celebrate their 25th anniversary with their exclusive Bobbi Brown Afternoon Tea; it's defo in my diary, any excuse for lipstick and cake ey!