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One Fine Day, In Joshua Tree National Park

  • Sunday, 20 May 2018


We landed on the West coast on the fourth week of our trip around the USA, and our first stop was Joshua Tree…

I blame Instagram and Pinterest for my wanderlust of Joshua Tree. It is an extremely picturesque place, completely unlike anywhere I have ever been before. The remote location added to the beauty of the place, and it felt truly tranquil to stay in such an amazing area for a few days…



We spent three nights in Joshua Tree and stayed in one of the best Air BnB properties that I have been to. The owners were incredibly thoughtful and had amazing taste. We had a beautiful garden to enjoy and on one of the nights we cooked ourselves an incredible BBQ. 
After spending the previous four weeks travelling around city after city, we spent our first full day in Joshua Tree, relaxing in the garden; sunbathing and reading our books. It was something that we were both craving for, and it was such a nice feeling to have no agenda and just enjoy our beautiful surroundings. 


On our second day however, we drove over to Joshua Tree National Park. The park itself is huge and I wouldn’t really recommend going unless you have a car, or are going with other people that do have a car. We stopped off at the information desk before heading in and they were so helpful. After we explained that we would only be visiting the park for one day, the guy behind the counter gave us a map and marked out a great route for us to take… 

We drove in through the main entrance and down toward two sections called Barker Dam and Hidden Valley. Each of the stops had a mapped out hike that took about an hour. It was so nice to explore the areas at our own pace and see more of the park off the roadside. We then drove down to Keys View, which enables you to look right down across Coachella Valley. It was truly spectacular to just look down and see no evidence of people or man made structures. It was completely calm, and it really made me appreciate the beauty of the natural world.  



After taking in the Keys View, we drove further along to the Jumbo Rocks. We had a quick little pit stop before heading toward the east side of the park to the Cholla Cactus Garden. This was a lovely section of the park, jam packed with tones and tones of cacti. By this point, we had reached the end of our mapped out route and so after walking around the Cactus Garden we got back in the car to start our journey back. 

As I’ve mentioned, there was no man made structures in sight, and apart from a couple of portable loos, there were no shops, water points or petrol stations. Baring this in mind, I would strongly suggest making a pack up with plenty of food, fill up your car before you head into the park and take lots and lots of water!!


Madolyn
xxx

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Style Diaries | Eating Beignets In Jackson Square

  • Wednesday, 16 May 2018


If you have a blog and you go traveling, it is inevitable that you are going to; constantly have your camera out, take 298456 pictures of the same thing from different angles and refuse to let anyone eat anything until you have ‘that’ picture…

But as annoying as it may be at the time, I am always grateful when I have a huge selection of photographs to look back on. It allows me to remember really specific things that would have become a hazy memory, if it wasn’t for me documenting everything. 



Yes, I do take a lot pictures whilst I travel with the idea that I can use them in a blog post. But I often take pictures to cement a memory, which is what a lot of this collection of Style Diaries, have become. 
This particular set of photos was from one afternoon in New Orleans. Weirdly, it is one of my favourite memories from the entire trip. James and I had wondered around the outskirts of the French quarter and came across a beautiful little café called Café Beignet. Although the décor was beautiful with its crisp black and white tilling, complete with the cutest little sets of table and chairs, the weather was calling us back outside…


We ordered an iced coffee and a portion of beignets, an amazing French doughnut served warm, coated in icing sugar. We took them to-go and walked around the corner to Jackson Square; a lovely patch of greenery set amongst the buildings of NOLA. The weather was perfectly warm and we sat on the grass eating our beignets with enthusiasm and merrily chatting about our plans for the rest of the day. 

This tiny little snap shot felt like absolute perfection. And although it was killing James to wait to eat these little pillows of heaven, I’m so glad that we took the pictures that we did. It has made the memory more concrete and allowed me to reminisce when I may have otherwise overlooked this moment. 


Madolyn
xxx

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Maintaining My Summer Glow With Rimmel Sun Shimmer

  • Monday, 14 May 2018


The weather has really picked up over the last few weeks here in the UK. The mornings have become much lighter and the evenings are lasting a lot longer, which has really made it feel as though summer is on its way. The sun has also been shinning and I have found myself reaching for float-y lightweight materials, strappy tops and sandals. This has also meant that I have had a lot more skin on show and so I have also been reaching for all the fake tan products I can get my hands on!  


There are so many different types of fake tan on the market and it can be a bit of a minefield trying to decide which one would work the best and for when. I have been using the Sun Shimmer range from Rimmel London over the past couple of weeks to keep my natural tan topped up. They offer a few different types of fake tan to suit a range of preferences. 


I have loved using their Self Tan Mousse in Light. This stuff is super easy to apply, it dries within two minutes and develops within an hour, lasting for up to seven days. It is extremely lightweight and leaves the skin looking golden and streak free. I caught a bit of a tan whilst in America a few weeks ago and this product has been fantastic at maintaining my natural glow. 

Rimmel also have a Self Tan Lotion as a part of their Sun Shimmer range, which is formulated with Chia Oil and leaves the skin looking naturally bronzed and hydrated. They also have an Instant Tan in the collection and this can be used on both the body and the face. Although it has a ‘wash off’ formula, it is water resistant and will last for up to twenty-four hours. 


As with most fake tan products, it is always best to apply the Rimmel Sun Shimmer tan onto clean, exfoliated skin. I like to dry brush my entire body, especially the elbows, knees and ankles, before jumping in the shower. I then feel prepped and ready to apply the fake tan, to provide the most natural and bronzed looking finish. 


  Madolyn
xxx

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This post contains PR samples provided by Rimmel London & Influenster, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Spring/Summer Wish List

  • Sunday, 13 May 2018


It might just be me, but every time I try to cut back on spending, I always find tones of things that I want to buy! It can be so frustrating as I seem to find loads of things all at once that I want to purchase, just when I’ve made a promise to myself to go on a bit of a spending ban.

As I have just been away on a pretty lengthy holiday, which also happened to be pretty expensive, I am trying to save, and not spend, as much as possible. And then just like that, I find one hundred and one things that I am itching to get my hands on! I have spotted tones of pieces from a holiday playsuit, to the most amazing bar cart that would look so so cute in my flat!

With it being on the cusp of a new season, everywhere seems to be releasing new lines and collections and I have really enjoyed having a mooch about the shops over the past week or so, gathering lots of inspiration. I always feel as though this is the time of year that we can have a deep spring clean and have a huge clear out of our homes and wardrobes. I love the feeling of having a sort out and re-organising my living space. To me, it feels good to let a few things go that no longer serve a purpose, and make room for new pieces that will add value and joy.

I have a list on the notes section of my phone titled Wish List, which I continually add to as and when I see something that I really fancy or that I plan to buy come pay day. I thought I’d share a few things from this list, all of which you can shop via the links below. Sometimes it’s nice to daydream and other times it’s nice to have something to work towards, knowing that if and when you have the money, you can go ahead and treat yo’ self! 

Warehouse Jumpsuit | New Look Candle | New Look Earrings | New Look T-Shirt | Lush Coffee Scrub | Glossier Priming Moisturiser | Glossier Serum | Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo | Oliver Bonas Drinks Trolley | Topshop Skirt 

Madolyn
xxx

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This is a collaborative post with Warehouse, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Travel Inspiration | A New Orleans Travel Guide

  • Thursday, 10 May 2018


New Orleans is well known for Mardi Gras, a festival vibe, The French Quarter, Crawfish, Swap Tours, Jazz Music, Beignets and everything in-between. And don’t get me wrong, I was excited for all of these things… But the main reason James and I were heading to the Big Easy?? WRESTLEMANIA!


Now, I haven’t ever really spoken about WWE on my blog. I have never really had the opportunity or the need to bring it up. However, over the last four years, I have become a bit of a wrestling fan. My brother has always followed wrestling, especially WWE, and a few years ago, he and James bonded over it, and by default I ended up watching it – and enjoying it! 

James and I have been dreaming of this six week trip around the states for years, and when we worked out that we could fit it around WrestleMania week, we leapt at the chance to go and watch it live! Annndddd, we were excited that it was being hosted by New Orleans as well – winning!!!


WHERE TO STAY


Canal Street – we ended up staying in one of the most central locations that was within walking distance of pretty much everything! Canal Street is just a couple of minutes walk away from the French Quarter and we really felt like we were right in the middle of things.

Air BnB – We had a bit of a cock up when it came to our New Orleans accommodation. The Air BnB owner of our original stay ended up cancelling with less than 24 hours notice. And although we had to fork out a fairly big chunk of money for another place, we ended up getting something so much nicer and much more central. We had a beautiful apartment with a full kitchen, bathroom, living room and access to a rooftop pool.


WHAT TO EAT



By the time we got to New Orleans we had eaten a fair amount of pizzas, doughnuts and fast food. We knew that we were staying in the city for a week, so on our first night we took a trip to Wal-Mart and stocked up on food. As we had a full kitchen we ended up eating in quite a bit, had cereal for breakfast and took snacks for our lunch.  

Beignets – We did however have some of these amazing French doughnuts. They are a bit thicker and heavier than regular doughnuts, served warm and covered in icing sugar. They tasted so heavenly and went perfectly alongside an iced coffee! 

Domenica – One afternoon we went on a mission to find some Italian food. Not exactly the most typical cuisine to eat in New Orleans but if you are in the mood for pizza, the ones here were incredible. It felt like a very traditional recipe and the fact that there was a half price happy hour on whilst we were there was all the better. 

WHAT TO DO 


Hop-On-Hop-Off City Tour – The tour was around $30 each for a day pass, however for an extra $10 the pass will be valid for 3 days and a walking tour is thrown in for free. The tour in total lasts around two hours and there is a commentator constantly explaining what we drove past, providing lots of historical information. The tour went right around the city and gave us a great overview of everything New Orleans had to offer. 

The Museum Of Death – Now I know that this doesn’t sound like the most exciting activity to do, but we actually found it really interesting. I love watching anything from Criminal Minds, to Making A Murderer, to Lock Up. The Museum Of Death offered a history of autopsies and doctors tool kits, to serial killer profiles and how different cultures deal with the notion of death. It was a bit of a Horrible Histories kind of vibe, but for adults.



See What Events Are On – There is always something going on in this bright bubbly city, and it has become well known as a great place for various different events. Whilst I was visiting, WrestleMania was taking place, but we were also able to get tickets for the WWE Hall Of Fame Ceremony, an induction of retired and incredible athletes that have contributed to the industry. It’s well worth looking ahead if you are planning to visit, to see what’s on whilst you’re there! 

Walk Down Bourbon Street – This is where the main strip of bars, clubs and eateries are located in The French Quarter. It was filled with people having a good time and we had so much fun wondering down on a night. It is legal to drink on the streets in New Orleans so James and I would buy a can or two and just soak up the atmosphere of the street, without having to pay the major price tag in the bars.  

Explore The French Quarter, On foot! – We were staying just a few minutes walk away from this beautiful section of New Orleans and had so much fun exploring it on foot. There are so many cute little houses, cafes, shops and more to wonder around. There is also a huge market filled with everything from fresh food to clothes, crocodile foot key rings and beignets galore. 


Jackson Square – Jackson Square is located just outside of the French Quarter before you get to the docks for boat rides on the Mississippi. It is a beautiful patch of grass that has a lovely fountain. We spent an afternoon there eating beignets and drinking coffee, soaking in the sunshine – although we both got a little pink!

We had an incredible time in New Orleans and it was the perfect stop before heading over to the West Coast of America for the second half of our trip. You can also read all about our time in New York, Chicago, Nashville and Memphis, and be sure to have a watch of my Vlogs over on my YouTube channel, including this one from New Orleans…


Madolyn
xxx

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Ways To Get Into A Healthy Routine | Diet, Sleep, Exercise & More

  • Wednesday, 9 May 2018


They say routine is good for the mind body and soul… 

Well, I’m not too sure who ‘they’ are, but I’ll stand by that notion. After traveling for six and a half weeks and returning back home to horrendous jet lag, I am in much need of a solid routine. That’s not to say that I want an hour-by-hour, structured weekly timetable, but after being all over the place, there are a few things I want to work on in a regular manner. 


SLEEP 


It is pretty common knowledge that a good night’s sleep can do a world of wonder. It heals your body in terms of exercise, increases your metabolism, clears your skin, makes you less hungry (or less willing to reach for sugar and high energy foods at least) and is an overall healthy practice. After getting back from the States I am slowly getting back into a regular sleeping pattern, but I want to ensure that I am getting my eight hours worth each night. 

I’m very guilty of staying up and watching ‘just one more episode’ of whatever I’m currently binge watching. I’m also really bad for scrolling through social media just before going to sleep and setting unrealistic alarms just to keep snoozing them on a morning.  My goal is to start going to bed much earlier, and have more of a bedtime routine. To allow myself time to take off my make up, read a few chapters of my book and fall to sleep naturally. 


DIET


Whilst in America, it was hard not to notice the huge amounts of greed and processed food in all of the eateries and supermarkets. It felt pretty much impossible to avoid meat and dairy whilst we were there, as we were on a budget and not able to prepare and cook much of our own food. 

I have been thinking for a number of months that I want to have a mainly plant-based diet and I have been actively doing so since the start of the New Year. It is not only for the animals but also because of environmental issues and the effects these types of products can have on our bodies. I want to have a bit of a detox and aim to make sure that 90% of my diet is vegan and plant based.

One way in which I am doing this is by having more smoothies, which are not only full of antioxidant-rich berries, but because of the sweetness of the fruit it is so much healthier at satisfying my sweet tooth than chocolate. I am also making little changes like having sweet potatoes instead of carbs. I had read that the glycemic index is lower making you much fuller for longer, meaning I won’t snack as much in-between meals.



EXERSICE 


Being in the USA also meant that any form of exercise completely went out of the window. We were able to go to the gym a couple of time whilst we were in Memphis and we also tried to walk as much as possible, but because of our diet (hello pizza, five guys, doughnuts and Mexican food!) it didn’t really help much in the grand scheme of things…

I want to get into more of a regular routine when it comes to exercise and actually make the effort to see a change in my body. I have put on weight in America and I want to feel as confident and as healthy as I possibly can, especially on the build up to summer.  My plan is to go to the gym around four times a week as well as sign up to a local yoga class that I have had my eye on since we moved to Leeds…


OTHER PLANS


Blogging – I seem to have gotten out of the swing of things in terms of my blogging and social media content. I’m planning on getting back into the routine of publishing posts four times a week, as well as uploading some more YouTube videos. 


Alcohol – Although I am in no way a big drinker, and it is not as though I will be attending alcohol rehab anytime soon, I have been drinking a bit more than usual over the last few weeks. I just want to become more intentional when it comes to my alcohol intake and be more aware.

Water – It is a no brainer that drinking plenty of water keeps you hydrated, helps your skin as well as your fatigue levels, increases metabolism and much more. I want to become more intentional and make a conscious effort to drink plenty of water each day. 

Reading – I love to read and as I mentioned above, I want to read more on an evening as a way to wind down from the day and ease me into the land of nod. Plus, my ‘To Read” pile is absolutely huge at the minute!

Socialising – On the build up to our trip away, James and I were in ‘save-like-crazy’ mode and left no money in the pot to spend on visiting friends or going out for meals and drinks. Now that we don’t have the pressure of the trip looming over our heads, we both want to make more of an effort and regularly meet up with friends and family. 

Madolyn
xxx

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Travel Inspiration | A Travel Guide To Memphis

  • Friday, 4 May 2018


My Grandma has always been a huge Elvis fan. Ever since I can remember she has listened to and talked about his music. I think that is maybe why, in the back of my mind, I have always had Memphis on my bucket list. I wasn’t sure when I would get the opportunity to visit, but I knew that I was going to go one day…

WHERE TO STAY


Close To Beale Street  - as with most places on this trip, James and I had never been before, so wanted to pick the most central accommodation we could find. We stayed just off of Beale Street, which ended up being perfect. We felt very much in the middle of everything that was going on, and most, if not all of the main attractions were within walking distance, or a short Lyft Ride away. 

Air BnB – Again, we stayed in another Air BnB property whilst we were in Memphis. However, I would recommend booking accommodation as soon as possible for Memphis. It isn’t the biggest of cities and as we booked a few things only a little while in advance, we didn’t have many options to choose from. Although the location was brilliant, it wasn’t the nicest of apartments but fit well within our budget.  



WHAT TO EAT


Food in the southern states of America isn’t well known for being the healthiest of choices… but we managed to find some pretty cool places to eat in whilst in Memphis.

Kooky Canuck – This restaurant was so nice that we actually went twice – something we tried not to do during our trip. Its menu is filled with hearty, all-American food that certainly lined our stomachs! The Nachos were seriously good and James stated that it was one of the best burgers he’d had whilst in the States. 


Trolley Stop Market – After we’d been to Sun Studios we stopped for lunch at this cute little place before heading over to Graceland, home of Elvis. It was really cool and the café walls were loaded with lots of local produce. I opted for a grilled cheese sandwich with avocado and tomato, and yes, it was as good as it sounds. 

Margaritas of Downtown – We had A LOT of Mexican food whilst we were away and we were so happy to find that this place was just around the corner from where we were staying. I could have eaten the unlimited tortilla chips and salsa all night, but the fajita, taco salad bowl was pretty incredible too. 


WHAT TO DO 


Civil Rights Museum – This was an absolute must for me as I studied Civil Rights whilst at university. It is located at the Loraine Motel, the location in which Martin Luther King was shot 50 years ago. It was really interesting and went right back to the slave trade and followed the history of black people in America. I was so inspired by the people that stood up for everything that they believed in, in the fight for Civil rights. 

Graceland – How can you visit Memphis and not go to the home of the king of rock and roll. Elvis’ house is completely preserved to look the way it did whilst he lived there and it was like nothing I have ever seen before. The tour included an iPad and headphones so there was a constant supply of information being re-laid to us whilst we wondered around Graceland.

 

The Gibson Guitar Factory Tour – This was something we stumbled upon whilst we were looking in the Gibson Store, just off of Beale street. We overheard that they gave hour-long tours of the factory and it was one of the best $10 I have ever spent! They took us through the whole process of how to make a Gibson guitar, it was really interesting and worth a visit. 

Have A Drink On Beale Street – Beale Street is known for it’s party atmosphere. I also could not stop singing ‘Walkin’ in Memphis…” the whole time we were there! On our first night we got a beer, sat on a roof top bar and watched the sun set whilst watching everyone party in the street down below. It was a really cool atmosphere that was great to be a part of. 


Sun Studios – Although no longer in use, it was really interesting to visit this tiny little recording studio just on the outskirts of Memphis city center. It recorded music for some of the biggest names in the music industry such as Cash and Elvis, even though it was only in use for 10 years. 


Memphis Zoo – We had checked off everything on our Memphis list and so we decided to spend an entire day at the Memphis Zoo. It was so much fun exploring the grounds and learning lots about all of the animals. We spent 7 hours walking around, enjoying the weather and having a true escape from city life. If you were spending more than 1 or 2 days in the city I would really recommend heading over to the zoo. 


Be sure to have a watch of my Memphis Vlog! 



Madolyn
xxx

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