Sunday, 31 July 2016

Lux Life's July 2016.

The first half of July was a goodun. A couple of weeks of loveliness, friends, and enjoying the British summer. Oh, and Beyonce. The last half has been full of hospital visits and recovering from surgery at home with box sets of Friends, James Bond, and Gossip Girl. I've also lost 3kgs from not really being able to eat much. I'm sad I haven't lost more tbh, but I guess I have just been sitting around doing nothing all day every day, haha.


Saturday, 30 July 2016

London Dating Issues When You Live an Unusual Lifestyle.

There are two things I don't really talk about on my blog; work and dating. They're two very personal and private things that I like to keep to myself and my close circle of friends. However, over the next month I'm partnering up with Luxy, a relatively new dating app that hopes to help connect like-minded people (and wallets) together. And so as a little intro, I thought I'd get my girls together, find out their own experiences on dating apps, and tell you all about it. Because let's face it, it's kinda sucky at times.


Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Enjoying Life Post-Op with Sunshine and Shaken Iced Tea.

I first discovered iced tea when I was 14 years old, and went on a roadtrip around the deep south of the USA. It was everywhere, in all the cafes and shops. I discovered a taste for Snapple and Lipton and all those amazing home made ones in the little country diners. I got back to the UK and ever since then I've been obsessed. During the day I don't drink many drinks other than water, but every so often when I need just a little something more interesting, I always go for iced tea. Lemon and Peach are my favourites. So when I heard Starbucks were bringing their famous Teavana Shaken Iced Teas (that have been popular in the US for a few years now) to the UK, I was pretty darn excited.

A coupla years before that roadtrip I found Starbucks's cream Frappuccino's, I was about 11 years old and they've been there for me ever since then through good times and bad. A cooling comfort blanket of creamy sugary goodness. It's funny how you can develop such a fondness for a coffee house, and how you can get way too excited about new items on the menu (is it just me who feels the need to try every seasonal new sweet treat? And every seasonal Frappuccino and Refresha flavour? Also hello over-excitement every year it's time for #redcups.).

Many of you know that I was recently in hospital, as I had surgery to remove very enlarged lingual tonsils that were blocking my throat and impacting my day-to-day life. A week after the operation I ended up being rushed back to hospital when something in my throat ruptured and, to put it bluntly, I had blood pouring out of my nose and mouth at an alarming rate.

Last weekend I was allowed out of the house for the first time in over a week, and it was the first time I felt well enough to walk further than from the living room to my bedroom. As you all know from this blog, I'm usually the type of person who is on the go non-stop, I'm always busy and living life to the full, so to feel so ill was a bit of a shock and made me feel so helpless and miserable. I have pretty awesome friends, with one of my oldest and dearest friends stopping by to offer hugs and a beautiful bunch of flowers, and another coming all the way to Guildford to take me for my first outing after my hospital visits.

Phoebe and I have been firm friends ever since I started working at my current agency 2.5 years ago. We even went to Paris together last summer! She moved back to Brighton last year so I don't get to see her very often these days, but she came up to Guildford after work on Friday, and after an evening of catching up and watching old James Bond movies, we woke up bright and early on Saturday for a day of sunshine, ice-cream, and iced tea.

I really adore Guildford. Other than our two years in Australia when I was in high school, I've lived here since I was two years old. It's full of happy memories, and every time I walk down the high street it makes me smile. Phoebe had never been to Guildford before, so I showed her around and we grabbed a couple of Teavana Shaken Iced Teas from Starbucks to take to the Guildford Castle Grounds. The Castle Grounds are beautiful in summer, the flowers are incredible, and it was so relaxing sitting on the grass and watching the oldies play bowls, and gossiping about all of the new and exciting things going on in our lives.

I was feeling pretty rough and weak still, but I was determined to make the most of the sunny day after being stuck inside for so long. I'm so glad I did, because we had the best time! It's amazing how wandering around your favourite town, armed with your favourite drink and an awesome friend by your side helps to lift your mood so much and make you feel 10x better!

We had a look round the shops and picked up a few cheeky sale bargains, and then stopped off for a Froyo before heading home for lunch. After lunch we headed to Shere with my parents and Dylan. Shere is the cutest little village just outside Guildford, and it's our favourite place for a wander. It's also home to the best ice-cream shop EVER. So we unashamedly had an ice-cream...even though we'd had frozen yoghurt earlier. I mean, life's too short to not eat ice-cream, right?

We then dropped Phoebe back at the station, and went home so I could have a rest after my busy day. I'm so grateful to Phoebe for coming to visit, and SO happy I got to make the most of a sunny weekend and get out and about again! It was pretty darn hot, and my Shaken Iced Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade was the perfect way to cool down, while Phoebe loved her Shaken Iced Peach Green Tea!

I'm not a huge fan of hot teas (I only drink Peppermint and fruity ones), so sweet iced teas are great for people like me, and summer is the perfect opportunity to have the excuse of "it's too hot for tea..." and drink iced tea instead :P

When we lived in Perth in Western Australia, I went almost an entire year without my beloved Frappuccino as they don't have a Starbucks in Perth. When we went on holiday to Sydney for my 17th birthday, I had the biggest caramel cream one to make up for it! As you can see in the photo below, I was very happy about this. I always thought Starbucks could come up with nothing that was better than the Frappuccino...but I'm telling you now, their new Teavana iced teas are total game changers...and great for anyone who can't drink dairy products!

My tanned-fresh-faced-Starbucks-loving 17 year old self...

The Teavana brand is all about using the highest quality pure teas and botanicals in the world, chosen with great care and blended for extraordinary flavours, and their Shaken Iced Teas are honestly delicious and such a refreshing low-calorie treat to cool down in the summer months. The cooling iciness also helped soothe my sore post-op throat! Thank you Starbucks for partnering with me for this post, and THANK YOU for finally bringing Teavana iced tea to the UK! It's totally unfair that the USA get to have all the best things ;) *cough: all the best Frappuccino flavours*

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go and make the most of feeling better, and make the most of the new lease of life I have since my operation! There are events and parties and airplane tickets calling out my name...and I'm so excited to finally get my energy back and be able to do these things without constantly feeling exhausted and struggling to breathe! 

*This post is written in collaboration with Starbucks, but all thoughts and Starbucks love are my own

Monday, 25 July 2016

Shotgun BBQ, Soho.

Nestled inbetween the tourist-traps of Regent and Carnaby Streets, is a little slice of America. I love my American BBQ food, I love nothing more than ribs, brisket, and cornbread. And Shotgun BBQ from the people behind The Lockhart near my office in Marylebone, delivered some of the best pork belly and brisket I've ever had outside of the USA.

It came recommended from the lovely Colleen, and as she's a Kansas City native, I trusted her opinion and persuaded Jasiminne it would be a great idea to plan our upcoming NYC trip there, whilst feasting on yummy BBQ food before my operation two days later and soft-food diet for 10 days after that.


Saturday, 23 July 2016

Top 7 Products to Use on Coloured And Bleached Hair.

For 24 years I was a hair dye virgin. I refused to use any kind of colour or bleach on my hair, the closest I had ever come to 'colouring' my hair was using Sun-In once (which is shit, fyi). But I've been talking about doing it for years, and my hairdresser Daniel (who I've been friends with since we were 13) has also been tryna persuade me to do it for years. So back on NYE, I did it. My hair is now highlighted with colour, bleach and toner. And since then I've re-done it every 6-8 weeks (including an amazing colour session at Nicky Clarke!), which has meant I've been testing out a lot of products to keep it shiny and healthy, and now feel comfortable recommending my favourites.


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Luxury in 24 Hours: Milan, Italy.

I am so excited to tell you all about my recent trip to Milan! It was so wonderful just being back in Italy with the incredible food and oh-so-stylish men. This blog post is the first in a little mini-series I'm doing called 'Luxury In', designed to tell you how to have a luxury weekend away to maximize your holiday days, if like me, you only have a limited amount each year due to work. I feel like it's so easy to write listicles with a list of things to see and do, but this series will really show you and explain exactly what we did and in what order we did things to see as much as possible in a short amount of time.

The first in the series is 24 Hours in Milan, then in August I'll bring you 24 Hours in Geneva, and 48 Hours in Marrakech (because it's a little further away than the others ;)). So, what can you do exactly with just 24 hours in Milan?


Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Lingual Tonsils: Cryotherapy vs Tonsillectomy.

So I wasn't going to post anything about my operation on my lingual tonsils because, well, it doesn't really fit with the 'brand' of Lux Life. But then I remembered why I started this blog and how it's about my life. I have to remind myself of this sometimes, and forget about the fancy branding aspect of it. I was going to post a blog post today about my recent trip to Milan, but I've been feeling so awful since my operation that I just can't really concentrate enough to do a good job on telling you all about Milan (it's gonna be a huge and very lengthy -but awesome - post), so thought I'd get all my thoughts and feelings on my operation down instead.


Monday, 18 July 2016

An Authentic Italian Lunch at il Salumaio, Milano.

I was really unprepared when it came to Milan, and didn't do a whole lot of research before going. If you remember my blog post about my 25th birthday, well, Adam came to the rescue again. Milan is one of his favourite cities, so he pretty much gave Jasiminne and I a full itinerary, and said we had to go for lunch at Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone. So after checking into our hotel, Palazzo Parigi, and freshening up, we headed over to Il Salumaio for the most delicious Italian lunch!

Cheesecake at Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone Milano Restaurant


Saturday, 16 July 2016

Hotel Review: Palazzo Parigi, Milano.

Milan is known for being the ultimate city for luxury and fashion, and with just 24 hours in Milano, Jasiminne and I were lucky enough to be staying in one of the most luxurious hotels in the city, right in the heart of the fashion district. Palazzo Parigi Milano is beautiful and classic, but with a certain grandness about it, with marble everywhere and the feeling that you should be swishing around in a ball gown. 


Thursday, 14 July 2016

Polo Bar at the Westbury Hotel, Mayfair.

Now that all of my Antigua posts are out of the way, things are sort of returning to normal on Lux Life for a little while. There will be more foodie and lifestyle posts over the next month or so, with a couple of short escapes intertwined. A few weeks ago my best friend Emma and I went to check out the Polo Bar at the Westbury Hotel. I often walk past it, and I often park right opposite when I go on a night out. Well, they invited me to go and check it out, so I finally visited and discovered just how incredible the cocktails are...


Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Fine British Cuisine at Picture, Marylebone.

Picture in Marylebone is located on New Cavendish Street, where The Joint used to be (*sob*),  and is the sister restaurant to the famous Picture resturant just down the road in Fitzrovia. It's predominantly British food, with a European twang, and it was pretty sensational. I wasn't actually going to blog this, but it ended up being too good to not tell you all about it! It was a relaxing evening with friends, and I tend not to blog most of the dinners I have with friends, just because I like to keep some things private and personal and off the blog, so I'm afraid you'll have to forgive me; I didn't take my camera, which means you'll have to put up with phone photos. 


Sunday, 10 July 2016

The Importance of Sun Protection.

All my life I've suffered from getting sun burnt, I have pretty fair skin and used to have bright blonde hair as a kid. But I never really took the risks of sun exposure seriously until it effected my family. So today I just want to talk to you a little bit about sun protection, and why it's so important to cover up and use that sunscreen, and get your skin and moles checked every so often.


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

A Helicopter Tour of Montserrat's Lost City.

Ever since I was a kid I've heard about Montserrat and the huge volcanic eruption that destroyed the main city of Plymouth, burying it under layers of rock, pyroclastic flows, and ash. Montserrat used to be your typical Caribbean island, popular with tourists due to it's proximity to Antigua, and the fact it's an overseas territory of the UK, meaning no visas needed for British citizens! The  Soufriere Hills volcano was inactive, and the main city of Plymouth had been built on historical lava deposits that were hundreds of years old. And then after hundreds of years of inactivity, the volcano awoke, and destroyed everything in it's path...


Monday, 4 July 2016

Exploring an Abandoned Fort & Dickenson Bay, Antigua.

Dickenson Bay is famous for it's red phone box perched right on the beach. While we were staying at Galley Bay, Claire and I decided to hire a car again (you can read all about our adventures driving around Antigua in a Jeep here), and head up to Dickenson Bay and see the north part of the island. It was a cloudy and overcast day so wasn't ideal for hitting the beach, but it turned out to work in our favour as it made for some great shots of an abandoned fort we stumbled across!


Friday, 1 July 2016

Lux Life's June 2016.

June had been a funny old month. It's been emotional, fraught with stress, but it has also brought welcome relief and a huge sense of excitement for what it is to come in the future. I have some pretty huge news, and although I can't reveal anything just yet, I will be telling you all in the next couple of weeks once everyone in real life has been told (although some of you know already...). So just like May, June was a pretty busy month, with lots of events and things going on! 

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