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Five Winter Fashion Trends That I Will Never Get Bored Of

  • Friday, 12 January 2018



I have always been one to dress to match my shape and my style, rather than bow down to fashion trends. 


I am constantly attempting to maintain a capsule wardrobe and one of the ways that I have been able to do this is by shopping and buying staple pieces that correspond with pieces I already have, as apposed to buying one off pieces that will look good for a season, but don’t match me or my wardrobe. 

Saying this, there are a few winter fashion trends that I will never get bored of and that I feel will stand the test of time. Or at least the foreseeable future...


HEELED ANKLE BOOTS 


I have just bought my fourth pair of black, heeled, ankle boots and I can’t see this fashion staple going anywhere soon. I love how simple these shoes are; yet they add a layer of sophistication and glamour to any winter outfit. They are practical, comfortable, and completely universal. They work perfectly with any winter outfit and they keep my feet feeling warm and dry, no matter what the elements decide to throw at me. They are an absolute fashion staple of mine and they barely leave my feet during the colder months. 


CAMEL COAT


I have had this blazer style, camel coat for the last two winters now, and it is still standing strong as a fashion staple of mine. I fell in love with this fashion trend as soon as it hit the stores. I ended up buying a petit version of this Topshop favourite and I absolutely love the way that it fits me. It is tailored in a way that is flattering, without being figure hugging so I can still layer clothes underneath. I love the colour and find that in winter, coats are usually a dark shade and as I wear a lot of black clothes, I like having a bit of colour in my coat. 


OVER SIZED SCARF


I am a huge fan of an over-sized scarf and again, I can’t see this fashion trend disappearing any time soon. I have had one to hand for the last four years or so, and I am sure that I will have one for years to come. They are not only perfectly practical in keeping you warm, but they also add a level of casual effortlessness to any outfit. I really like this checked style that adds a bit of colour and depth to any outfit, either when worn with a coat or on its own. 


BERET


This is the newest fashion trend that I have welcomed into my wardrobe and I have to say, I have really warmed to it and love wearing it. I was inspired, as usual, by my Instagram feed, in particular Alice Catherine. I fell in love with the effortless style, and it is the perfect bad-hair-day cover-up! I love the way it looks and I know I will continue to wear it throughout the cooler months. 


BACKPACK HANDBAGS


I usually always opt for an over the shoulder handbag, finding them practical and easy to style. However, when I traveled to Bratislava last winter, I wanted something that I could keep all of my personal bits and pieces in, and allowed my hands and arms to be free. I found this little backpack in New Look and it was perfect. I love this trend and can’t see my love for it fading. I’m actually on the look out for another backpack handbag, this time a little bigger to take traveling with me when we go to The States in March…


Madolyn
xxx

SHOP THE LOOK: HEELED ANKLE BOOTS | LINK, CAMEL COAT | LINK, OVER-SIZED SCARF | LINK, BERET | LINK, BACKPACK HANDBAG | LINK

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Why Lush Will Forever Be My Go To Brand For Bath Products

  • Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Although it may be freezing outside, the nights are dark and the thought of disposable income is a distant memory, I find solace in the fact that I can always run myself a hot bath, filled with Lush pamper products and soak the night away…

AN INTRODUCTION TO LUSH 


I have been a huge lover of Lush products for years and years. I was first introduced to the brand when I was in my early teens, going though my ‘vegetarian\hippy stage’ as my dad called it. For those that aren’t aware, Lush is a company that is heavily involved in charity projects, aiming to create vegan, chemical free, not tested on animals, beauty products that contains sustainable, organic and natural products. 

Their range has grown a ridiculous amount over the years, starting with predominately bath based products, they now create make up, perfume, body products, hair care, tooth care, and even have their own spas across the country. It is a beautiful brand with an amazing message and their products are truly incredible. 

SOME OF MY FAVOURITE LUSH PRODUCTS | MY PERFECT BATH


I use a range of Lush products including their No Drought dry shampoo, MINTY toothpaste as well as a range of their facemasks and moisturisers. But my favourite products from Lush are their bath products, mainly their bath bombs. 

I love nothing more than having a couple of hours to myself on an evening to run myself a hot steamy bath, so that I have a good ol’ read of whatever book I am currently ploughing through. It is all the better if I have a lovely little collection of Lush bath bombs to pick from! With it just being Christmas I was lucky enough to get some lovely Lush goodies so I’m fully stocked for a good while now. 

One of the great things about Lush bath bombs, besides their natural ingredients, amazing smells and the way that they turn your bath into a mermaid inspired paradise, but also the fact that they are so big, you can certainly get two, three if not four baths out of just one bath bomb. I am also a huge fan of their bubble bars, which can be used again and again to create a sweet smelling, bubble bath. 



Are you a fan of Lush bath products? 
What are your favourites?

Madolyn
xxx

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Travel Plans For 2018 | USA Road Trip

  • Monday, 8 January 2018


One week into the new year already, isn’t that mental?! It’s crazy to think that this time two weeks ago we were about to sit down for Christmas dinner and we were in the mist of enjoying all of the festivities. 

Fast-forward to the start of the New Year and it truly feels as though a new chapter has begun and I am so excited for the year ahead. One of the main reasons am looking forward to 2018 is the fact that James and I are going travelling for six weeks across the USA. 

WHY WE WANT TO TRAVEL


James and I both love to travel. I have been fortunate to go on some amazing family holidays whilst growing up including traveling to Hong Kong and doing a road trip around California. The summer before University James and I went inter-railing around Europe for a month, which was incredible and we have always wanted to do a similar thing in the states. 

We have been dreaming of doing this trip for years but because of University and other commitments we haven’t ever had the money, or the opportunity to do so. We decided at the start of 2017 that we would take the leap to travel in 2018 after a couple of things didn’t work out the way we had planned. Throughout the year we did lots of research and planned and booked a few things for our trip. 

However, due to us setting the date so far in advance, it has felt like this little dream just beyond the horizon. But now that 2018 is here it feels like it is just around the corner, which is mental! 

WHY THE USA?


I have been to the states five times now and have always loved the thrill of visiting America. I also have family over there and it has been so amazing visiting them. Half of my degree majored in American Studies, which cemented my love for the country, and I have always wanted to go across and do a massive road trip. 

We are both huge fans of the culture, the music scene and of course the food! The history of the place, as well as its amazing wild life and scenic views are just a few of the reasons that made us want to travel there, and I am so excited.


WHERE ARE WE GOING?


Although this post was supposed to be a bit of a chatty informal overview as to why we have decided to go traveling, I thought that I would include a bit of an outline as to where we are going. There will be plenty more posts to follow I’m sure with advice, tips and ideas about how we planned our trip, but for now I’ll write a little bullet list of where we will be traveling too…

New York
Chicago
Nashville, Tennessee
New Orleans, Louisiana 
LA, California
Joshua Tree, California 
Phoenix, Arizona
San Francisco, California 

These are our main stops for the trip, but because we are driving we will be stopping off at different places along the way – any advice or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

WHAT HAVE WE BOOKED IN ADVANCE?


Again, I will most likely be writing more in depth content about how we booked things, why we booked what we did in advance, how we decided where to go and what to do, as well as tips and advice of things that we learnt along the way. But for those of you that are a little curious, we booked a number of things in advance for a number of reasons…

Outward Flights
New York Accommodation
New Orleans Accommodation
New Orleans to LA Flight
Flights Home

We still want to book the car hire for the two legs of the journey, pre and post New Orleans, as well as some accommodation for San Francisco, ASAP. Apart from that we may book the odd motel, attraction or Air BnB, but we want to keep things fairly loose and casual. 


I am so excited and March can’t come soon enough! If you would like some content on a break down of the cost, who we booked with, where we are staying, what we plan to do in each place, why we’re going where we are, how we planned our route etc, please let me know in the comments down below. Like wise, if you have any tips, advice or recommendations please get in touch by dropping me an email to madolynblackburn@gmail.com or tweet me @Maddy_Blackburn!  

Madolyn
xxx

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Style Diaries | A Casual Cosy Outfit Of The Day

  • Saturday, 6 January 2018


How amazing was the lull between Christmas and New Year?! Having lie-ins, not wearing any make up, eating all the Christmas chocolate and left over bubble and squeak… But the best part? Not having to ever get properly dressed. 

I lived in joggers and leggings, hoodies and oversized jumpers – the perfect post-Christmas attire. 


However, now that it is a new year, we’re back at work and have to do all of the normal boring things like going food shopping and have to act like real adults again. 


However, I missed dressing like a slob and feeling uber comfy, and so I raided my wardrobe for an acceptable outfit that I could wear out of the house, whilst remaining comfy and cosy. And this is what I came up with…

I love this cream, over-sized, loose knit cardigan and I have had it for years. It is so easy to throw on over the top of any outfit to give it that casual vibe. Plus, it definitely feels like I’m wearing a giant dressing gown whilst I’m out and about. It has almost bat-style, three-quarter sleeves which again gives a casual look. 


I decided to pair the cardi with an over-sized, black, tee-shirt dress. I picked this up from ASOS the year before last. It is seriously nothing special, but I think that any sort of black dress can act as an all round wardrobe staple as it is so universal. When paired with tights and heeled, black boots, this dress looks fairly classy, especially when I’ve put more effort into my hair and makeup. 



The pairing of the slightly classy black dress and the slouchy cardi creates the perfect comfy outfit that is acceptable to wear in front of the general public. And because everything is over-sized and baggy, it is the perfect cover-up for the Christmas-food-baby I have grown over the last two weeks!


What are you top fashion picks for this time of year?


Madolyn
xxx

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3 Books That Will Change Your Mindset For The Better

  • Friday, 5 January 2018


Throughout 2017 I found out a lot of information about minimalism, living in the moment, health and figuring out what is important in life. I really feel as though my mindset has changed throughout the year from watching various documentaries, YouTube videos, reading blog posts and reading a couple of different books. 
With it being the start of a new year, I thought that I would share some of the top reads that really changed my mentality for the better. Each of these books have really inspired me and altered my mindset in regard to materialist possessions. They have allowed me to let go of clutter, needless worries, and embrace what is important to me.    


THE MAGIC ART OF TIDYING | MARIE KONDO


I read this book at the start of the year, after having read a fair amount of information about minimalism. I really liked the concept of only having what I needed, reducing the amount of stuff that I owed and learning to live with less. 

Marie Kondo has written this book, which breaks down your possessions into categories, and explains how to de-clutter and tidy.  I really enjoyed reading this book and it truly inspired me to reduce my home. As you may already know, I recently moved from a two-bedroom house in York to a one bedroom flat in Leeds. It was a struggle to move and condense everything to fit, but having read Marie’s book earlier in the year, it certainly helped the process. 

I was amazed at how much ‘stuff’ we still had even after we moved and James and I are both still on a mission to condense and de-clutter further. We are also going traveling for 6 weeks come March and so I think that I will read this book again to help me prep for the most minimalistic travel bag I can pack. 


ENOUGH | JOHN NAISH


As soon as I picked up this book I literally could not put it down and finished it in a matter of days. John Naish examines all different aspects of modern day life and claims that we need to measure when we have had enough. He explores the themes of social media, advertising, materialist possessions and food to name a few. He breaks each category down and looks a why we as people become all consuming and constantly strive for more, whilst constantly promoting the message that we need to learn when enough is enough. 

Naish looks at the current obesity crisis, claiming that we need to learn to say enough to food and make our society healthy. He explores the idea that social media can be damaging as we strive to have that picture perfect life that people project online. He discusses the excessive need for storage units because people have so many possessions that they can longer fit them all inside their homes. Ultimately his message is that enough is enough, we need to change our way of thinking and measure our lives in a different way. 

I found this book extremely thought provoking and it has definitely made me look at my life in a different way and has changed my mentality for the better. 


THE LITTLE BOOK OF HYGGE | MEIK WIKING


Although this book doesn’t discuss minimalism, de-cluttering or getting rid of things, it is focused on embracing the idea of Hygge; a Danish concept of enjoying life, comfort, time with friends and loved ones, and taking time for yourself and doing what brings you joy.

I really enjoyed reading this book and dipping into it every now and again over the course of the year. I then read it again cover to cover before Christmas. It explores the idea that we should all spend time doing things that we enjoy and that we should take enjoyment from the little things in life. 

I loved the self-love that this book promotes. It is all about being calm, winding down and living life in the moment. It has inspired me to turn the TV off, light some candles and read a good book. It has taught me to sit and enjoy my meals rather than mindlessly eat before rushing off somewhere. It has allowed me to think that it is ok to be a homebody and enjoy time by myself at home, that I don’t need to be sociable all of the time and be out of the house 24/7. It has justified that I can have time to myself without the feeling of being selfish, unproductive or lazy. 


Understandably, not everyone wants to reduce their possessions, live a more minimalistic lifestyle or change their mindset. However, each of these books are really interesting reads, and I feel that anyone would be able to take something from each of them. 

I really feel as though my mindset has changed for the better, and these books have made that happen. I feel more free, more focused and more meaningful, and have less stress and less worry. Not to mention I feel as though I have more time to do the things I love, I have more money as I don’t spend nearly as half as much as I did before. I feel so much happier as a person and feel as though I am starting 2018 the right way. 

Madolyn
xxx

SHOP THE POST

THE MAGIC ART OF TIDYING | LINK, ENOUGH | LINK, THE LITTLE BOOK OF HYGGE | LINK

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Blogging Tips For Beginners

  • Wednesday, 3 January 2018


With it being a new year, now is as good a time as any to try new things, start a fresh and take the first steps towards your goals.

A few years ago I decided to start my blog and thought that a new year would be a good time to begin. The blogging world is continually growing, changing, adapting and expanding, and it is always worth having a read of any advice if you have the time. If you have been thinking about starting a blog, or even if you have been blogging for a while, be sure to keep reading for a couple of tips and ideas in regard to promoting, writing, design and layout.

Focus On Writing - Before worrying about the blog itself, you need to focus on the quality of your content. Developing a writing style that will suit your company’s audience is key. Training Connections Microsoft Word classes will help you learn how to turn those ideas into computer documents. While great writing alone won’t generate success, it should form the heartbeat of your blogging endeavours. Besides, this gives you a chance to build a body of work that can be scheduled for on-going content updates. 
  
Think About Other Media - The ability to paint pictures with words is great. However, the Internet is a resource that allows you to embrace several media types. A great SLR camera enables you to take photos and videos, which will brighten up your blog greatly. Apart from adding diversity, it makes the content easier to digest for non-English natives. The best posts are those that combine all of those features along with interactive ideas like quizzes and surveys. On a separate note, audio clips can be used with great results. 

  
Get The Design Right - First impressions count for everything in the world of online media. Visitors won’t even read your posts unless the website is blessed with a professional and eye-catching design. Hiring a professional is always an option. However, the fact you’ve managed to navigate yourself to this page shows you’re more than capable of creating a simple site. Word press guides from Website Setup will point you in the right direction. Simplicity is fine as long as the pages look clean and navigate well. 

Schedule Regular Posts - Readers of your blog have several expectations, and quantity is as important as quality. As a small business blog, you don’t need to match the frequency of the BBC or news sites. However, posting at least once or twice per week is essential. Users will soon grow bored if the website is never updated, and that lost readership will cost the business too. Those posts that you drafted on Word can be organised to be posted at automatic times via Word Press. When combined with automatic social media posting, you cannot go wrong. 

Promote It - Sharing posts on social media is one thing, but the blog needs far greater promotion. PPC ads on Facebook and other platforms will generate more traffic from the desired audience in a cost-efficient manner. Meanwhile, asking existing clients to share it or tag their friends can see the readership grow too. When combined with a strong Google ranking, which is achieved through SEO, those figures will soar. In turn, that will give you the best chance of pointing them towards a purchase."


I hope that this information has been of some use and that you are able to apply it to future work.

Madolyn
xxx

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This is a collaborative post that contains contributed content and affiliated links.

Happy New Year | An Introduction To My Bullet Journal

  • Tuesday, 2 January 2018


Happy New Year!

I love the idea of starting the New Year with big burst of motivation. It is the perfect opportunity to set new goals, try new things, plan and organise for the year ahead. Also, could it have been any more perfect that the new year fell on a Monday this year?!


I am a huge lover of diaries, making lists, staying organised and planning what I want to do. However, I find that I have so many notebooks, diaries, planners and lists and it can feel a little confusing. This not only means that I have to carry around multiple books and bits of paper, it is also not very minimalistic or productive.
I discovered the idea of a bullet journal towards the end of 2017 and decided that come the first of January, I would adopt this concept of organisation. 


BULLET JOURNAL | THE CONCEPT 


If you are new to the concept of a bullet journal, or have heard of them but need a bit of a re-fresh, I would strongly recommend watching this video. The video explains the concept of the bullet journal, as well as practical ways in which to use it. 

The basic premise is that you are able to have all of your lists/goals/plans/diary entries/schedules/monthly, weekly or daily trackers all in one place, by using a simple and straightforward method. The trick with using a bullet journal is that you record everything on a contents page, which allows you to remain organised and focused. 



MY BULLET JOURNAL 


The best part of a bullet journal is that it is completely personal and tailored to you and your needs. So although I haven’t adopted every aspect of the bullet journal as shown in ‘How To Bullet Journal’ I have picked out ideas and concepts that I think will work well for me. 

My bullet journal consists of; an index page; a yearly view in which I can pop important dates/birthdays etc.; a new year resolutions page; a monthly stats tracker for my blog and social media; a weekly weight tracker and a page for books read in 2018. I have also dedicated a double page for each month to brainstorm blog ideas and a way to schedule these posts, as well as a section to fill in my monthly favorites. This way I can easily keep track of everything and see it all clearly laid out. 

I have then created a monthly overview in which I can fill in workdays, gigs, coffee trips etc. and use it as you would use a calendar. I then plan to use the following pages for daily entries to write out to do lists etc. 


BULLET JOURNAL ESSENTIALS 


The Bullet Journal Itself
A Pen
Sticky Notes to add detail/phone numbers etc
A Ruler to create grids/boxes/lines/dividers


Madolyn
xxx

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New Year's Eve Plans...

  • Sunday, 31 December 2017


The pressure of New Years Eve can become overwhelming. Deciding what to wear, who to spend it with, picking the right party, the build up to the countdown of New Year and choosing who you want to stand next too, who you want to kiss…



In my teenage years and early twenties I loved the thrill of New Year and everything from the wild house parties, drunken celebrations and getting dolled up, all with the idea of ending the previous year with a big bang. 

However, every January the first I would wake up hung-over, tired, and grumpy, feeling extremely unproductive. Call me boring, but now that I’m older, I have decided that although it might be a fun way to end the year before, it certainly isn’t an ideal way to start the year ahead. 



This year, James and I have decided to have more of a casual New Years Eve, and have opted for a few quite drinks. I want to feel feminine and dressed up, without being really glammed up. This straight fit, mid-length dress from Marks and Spencer’s is the perfect compromise. Its thick, striped fabric offers a casual element to the fitted style and frilled sleeves. 

I find that a more casual outfit allows for heavier, and fuller makeup in order to compliment and balance out the entire look. I like to keep my base fairly natural, yet apply darker eye shadow shades, winged liner and a bold lip. Having the same shade of lipstick as nail varnish, also helps to tie the outfit together, creating a more complete finish.



I hope you all have a lovely New Year and celebrate it in the best way possible. Thank you as ever for following and reading my blog, it means a great deal to me and I hope to see more growth in 2018.


Happy New Year! 

Madolyn
xxx

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Ways To Refresh In Preparation For The New Year & Resolutions That Are Worth Making

  • Saturday, 30 December 2017


With the New Year being just around the corner, I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking about ways to grow and improve come the first of January. I always like to spend a bit of time to refresh my home and mind and allow myself a bit of down time to prep for the year ahead. The Virgo in me loves a good ol’ list to plan and organise myself and so I thought that I would share a few ways to give your self a refresh, as well as a few New Year resolutions that are worth making. 



Ways To Refresh


HOME 


In this odd lull of time between Christmas and New Year, I find that it is the perfect time to re-organise and sort out my home. I love starting the New Year with less clutter, mess and things that I don’t need. I feel it sets me up for a more focused start to the New Year. My mindset has become a lot more minimalistic this year in regard to materialistic things, but I have still enjoyed going through my possessions, clearing, tiding and organising. So whether your living space is a bedroom, a flat or a house, allow yourself some time to have a sort though and clear out before the New Year. 


Things To Clear Out & Sort Through


Wardrobe
Beauty/makeup/skincare stash
Handbags
PJs/socks/knickers
Book Shelf
Food cupboards
The fridge
The car boot
Towels/bedding
Bills/household paperwork


HEALTH


Whatever your goals for the new year, I think we can all be in agreement that we could improve our health. So whether it is continuing on with amazing habits that you already have, or wanting to pick up new ones, it is a good time to get prepped and start the New Year in the healthiest way possible. Hit the shops and pick up a fridge full of fresh produce, lots of healthy greens, fresh fruit and veg to make sure that you have plenty of healthy options for meals when the New Year begins. You can also join a gym, buy some new workout gear, or have clear out of the stuff you already have and get it washed, dried and ready to pop in your gym bag for your first work out of the year. 

HEART


Before the first of January, practice some self-care and enjoy yourself. Whether this is having a bath with some of your favourite lush products, spending some time with loved ones, going out on a lovely walk to enjoy some time outside, reading a book or watching your favourite childhood film, be sure to allow some time for your head and your heart to re-fresh, rejuvenate and be mindful in preparation for the new year.  


NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS


In terms of New Year Resolutions, I find that it is always best to be as simple as possible in order to make them last. This year my plan is to not have too many resolutions and to be realistic with the ones that I make.

Resolutions Worth Making 


Smile more
Be mindful when spending money
Read more
Travel to somewhere on your bucket list
Meditate
Spend less time on your phone
Enjoy more time outdoors
Eat more fruit and vegetables
Walk when you can
Practice being mindful and live in the present
Focus less on what others think
Spend time doing the things you enjoy
Do not work to live


What are resolutions are you making for 2018?

Madolyn
xxx

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