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Friday, 28 April 2017

Styling The Perfect Trench Coat With Jack Wills


As much as I love the spring season, it can be a bit of a funny time of year weather wise, which can sometimes make it difficult to know what to wear on a day-by-day basis. This is also true when it comes to deciding what coat to wear. It can be freezing cold on a morning, baking hot on your lunch break and then raining on your walk home. At this point it is difficult to know what to put on that will get you through all weather-types.

It is at this point that I am drawn to Trench coats. They are the perfect go between when it comes to both the spring and autumnal months. They are cool and lightweight for those bright sunny days, yet they keep you covered, warm and dry as you can pull them tight and tuck your hands in the pockets, when the weather is a little less bearable. I find that a trench coat is the perfect companion for this time of year and I have been seriously lusting over the Jack Wills Women’s Trench Coat collection of late. 


Not only is a trench coat an easy transitional piece of clothing to wear, I find that it is a very versatile item to style. I love this Dollyhill Swing Trench Coat from the lovely Jack Wills range. I think that this is such a cute twist of classic trench with its higher collar and shorter cut. It can be styled with skinny jeans, a stripped tee-shirt and left open for an easy day time look, or buttoned up with a little black dress and heels as a spring-time evening jacket. 


For something a little more classic, the Duncombe Coat has more of a standard length and lapel that you would expect to find on a trench. I love the belt that fits around the waist for a very flattering and sophisticated style. I think that this would look perfect with a pair of black cigarette pants and some loafers, which could be worn both during the day and on an evening. 

Be sure to have a look on the Jack Wills website to find out more ways on how to style a trench coat

What are your thoughts on trench coats? 
How would you style yours?

Madolyn
xxx

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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Recent Reads | April 2017


The past few weeks have been a little disappointing for me reading-wise. I haven’t read as much as I’d have liked to, and I haven’t exactly been blown away with what I have managed to read so far. April had been a little busier than expected and although I have some exciting weekends coming up in May, day to day I am a lot more free so hopefully I will be able to get a lot more reading done. 

The Tiger’s Wife | Tea Obreht

The Tiger’s Wife was chosen as April’s novel for the Women’s Monthly Book Club that I attend. I had never heard of this book, nor its author before being handed a copy and so I had no expectation as to what it was going to be like. I have to be honest and admit that I really struggled with this historical novel. I found the story difficult to follow, the characters hard to connect with and I only got a third of the way through before giving up. I am not usually one to stop reading a book part way through but it was becoming a chore for me to read it and so I thought it best to call it a day. 


A Twisted Tale | A Whole New World | Liz Braswell

Much unlike The Tiger’s Wife, A Whole New World was an absolute breeze to read and I finished the book in just under a week. The premise of the story is a twist on the Disney classic of Aladdin; re-writing the tale as though he did not get to keep the lamp and Jafar was able to make his wishes instead. It was a simply written novel, perhaps for a younger audience, but I enjoyed the story never the less and would recommend it for any Disney lover. I have another Twisted Tale sat on my bookshelf, which I am sure I will read in the not too distant future. 

Hollow City | Ransom Riggs

The third book that I have read this month is the second part to the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series. I really enjoyed the story of the first book and the second lived up to my high expectations. I won’t ruin the story for those who haven’t yet read the first, but you can expect a fast paced novel filled with action, fantasy, twists and turns which will keep you wanting to read page after page. You can read my thoughts about the first book in my Recent Reads & Reading Plans For 2017 post, but if you are a lover of all things magical and I would strongly recommend this as your next read. 


Possession | A.S. Byatt

Possession is the next book on my list that I will be reading. This is the next novel from my Book Club and although it is a bit of a beast, based on the reviews on the back, it promises to be a great read. It is set in the Victorian times, an era that I really enjoyed studying, and I am excited to get stuck in and see what it is all about. 

What have you been reading lately? 
Have you got any recommendations for me? 

Madolyn
xxx

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Monday, 24 April 2017

Top Things To See & Do In Prague


My recent trip to Prague was so much fun and I would really recommend a visit to this beautiful and historic city. I only spent a few days exploring but due to the amazing weather we had whilst we were there, we were able to walk around continuously and packed in a lot, in just a short space of time.  

Below is a list of the top things that I would recommend to see and do whilst in Prague:


1. Have a Beer In The Old Town – Prague is probably most well know for it’s beer and so we were sure to take the time to relax and enjoy a few. There are some lovely bars in the Old Town and it was so nice to soak in the city, whilst enjoying the sun and sipping on a pint or two.



2. Prague Castle – The castle is situated on the left side of the river in the center of the Old Town, looking down on the city of Prague. It is certainly worth a visit but I found that views of the castle itself were more impressive.


3. Walk Around The Streets – As I said, we were fortunate to have some brilliant weather whilst we were in Prague and so we were able to explore the streets and really soak in the atmosphere. Walking around allowed us to appreciate everything Prague had to offer and we really got a feel of the city.


4. Sit & Enjoy The Sun Sets – When the sun sets in Prague it does so over the Charles Bridge and it seems to illuminate Prague with a gorgeous orange light that is so pretty to experience. On our first day, we sat in some gardens and just watched the sun slowly fall, looking across the bridge over towards Prague Castle.


5. Try The Local Food – this is a bit of a must in any new place that I visit, however, Prague has some particularly good food on offer. One of the highlights for me were these amazing chocolate sweet treats that tasted like warm doughnuts, They were a hollow cone that was rolled in sugar and lined with Nutella, which tasted pretty incredible – although not the healthiest of snacks!



6. The Astronomical Clock – I was really looking forward to seeing this famous clock chime on the hour and watch it’s display. It wasn’t the most incredible thing that I have ever seen, but considering it was built in 1400s, it became easy to appreciate the technology involved.


7. St Nicholas’ Church – this was a must see, purely based on the skill and detail of the decoration inside. It was a truly beautiful church filled with amazing artwork, stain glass windows and the most impressive chandelier. The original organ was also still there, which was once played by Mozart himself. 


8. The John Lennon Wall – This wall of art is tucked away from the main streets of the Old Town, but it is worth a visit if you have time. It is covered from top to bottom of many years worth of graffiti, which is really bright and colourful.


9. Prague Tower – I seem to have gotten into a bit of a habit of going up a tall tower in every city that I visit. Although we took the stairs, that seemed to go on forever, it was worth it for the panoramic view of Prague. I find it so breathtaking, looking down on a city from above and feel like it’s a great way to get an impression of the place. 


10. Beer Spa – I touched on this briefly in my 12 Cities In 12 Months post about Prague, but it was a seriously fun way to spend an evening. It is exactly what it says on the bottle, you sit in a spa-like tub which is filled with the ingredients used to make beer, and enjoy a refreshing glass or two whilst you’re there. It was so much fun and a definite must-do when visiting. 


Have you ever been to Prague?
What things do you love to do when you visit a city?

Madolyn
xxx

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Sunday, 23 April 2017

Simplifying My Skincare Routine | Exuviance Brand Focus


Skincare can sometimes a bit of a mind field. There are so many brands, so many products and so many skincare issues; it can get a little confusing when deciding what to use and what would suit individual needs. I have tried lots of different products and have found that my skin is at my best when I have a simple skincare routine with a minimal amount of products. 


My skin-type is a bit of a combination. I tend to get a fairly oily T-Zone, with de-hydrated cheeks yet I am quite prone to break outs depending on the time of the month. For this reason, I can find it quite difficult to stick to a skin routine in which each product satisfies each skincare need. 

I have recently been introduced to Exuviance, which is a dermatologist-developed skincare range whose aim to correct the visible signs of aging whilst providing a salon style experience at home. This company pride themselves on the fact that they have a huge range of products, which are each designed to aid in many difference skincare concerns. 


Daily Exuviance Products 

I have been using the Age Reverse Day Repair SPF 30, which is designed to firm the skin and target uneven pigment. It has an SPF of 30 and contains vitamins A and E, ingredients that reduce the effects of environmental damage, enabling the natural skin cycle to begin. It doesn’t at all feel oily on the skin and it contains a plumping agent, which decreases the appearance of fine lines. I have loved applying this on a morning before my make up as it soaks in really quickly and doesn’t leave my skin feeling greasy or dehydrated. 

Another Exuviance product that I have been using on a daily basis is their Gentle Cleansing Crème. This is a lovely cleanser that is soap-free and gently dissolves makeup and impurities. It contains antiaging ingredients as well as skin conditioners which lightly moisturises the skin and improves tone and texture. Due to its simplicity, it is suitable for all skin types and so it hydrates my dry patches without aggravating my oily T-Zone. 


Weekly Exuviance Products 

I have been using the Exuviance Skin Rise Bionic Tonic bi-weekly as a gentle exfoliator for my skin. These green tea and cucumber infused pads are designed to re-awaken the skin by encouraging new skin cells to the surface. Once my skin is cleansed on an evening, I have been using one of these bionic tonic pads a couple of times a week to act as a liquid exfoliator. It is much more gentle on the skin than using a harsh scrub, as it exfoliates the dead skin cells without decreasing any natural oils.

The final Exuviance skincare product that I have been using lately is their Purifying Clay Masque. This is a detoxifying masque that I have been using once a week to deeply cleanse my pores. It contains pro-Vitamins A, C and E, which aid in protecting and conditioning the skin. I find that my face feels so clean yet soft and firm after I have used this product and I couldn’t recommend it enough.


Have you tried any of the Exuviance range?
What are your current skincare Favourites?

Madolyn
xxx

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Friday, 21 April 2017

Bloggers Spotlight | An Interview With Sabreena From The Girl In The City


Happy Friday! 

I’m kicking off the weekend with my fourth Bloggers Spotlight, which is an interview with the lovely Sabreena, writer of the blog, The Girl In The City. I first met Sabreena in the December before last at the Soeurs De Luxe #Bloggersxmas Event and we have met up at a number of different blogging events since. It is so nice to meet like-minded people who have as much of a passion for something that you enjoy and it makes the whole process a lot more fun! 

Sabreena has a beautiful blog which is filled with some amazing fashion content, keep reading to find out more…

1. Introduce us to The Girl In The City, where did the name come from, what can we expect to find there?

The Girl In The City is a little fashion & lifestyle blog. You can expect to find outfit posts and motivation posts because we all need a sprinkle of motivation now and then. As well as travel posts and a roundup of amazing brands I find at events I attend. The Girl In The City’s aim is to inspire readers, keep them motivated, take fashion risks, have fun and to be confident no matter what. Growing up I was always worried about what people would say about how I look or what I'm wearing but now I'm happy to say I'm more confident and urge others to also be & to have fun! 


2. How would you describe your personal style, where do you get your inspiration?

I don’t necessarily follow every trend, but generally my day-to-day personal style is quite business-like. I’ve always loved the city work vibe, so I try to merge the smart/casual look in my day-to-day style. I guess you could say my aim is to look classy even while relaxing. It’s all about a good mix of high and low items but I tend to splurge more on bags and shoes.

3. What is your favourite thing to blog about?

I like to blog about a little bit of everything. Mainly, its fashion and lifestyle but I'm hoping to take more trips this year and start vlogging. At the moment my favourite things to blog about is fashion and motivation because I like spreading the positivity as well as following your own trends to your hearts content. 

4. When you're not blogging, what do you like to do in your spare time?

With a full time job in the City and a blog of my own, I feel like I don’t have a lot of free time. But when I do have free time I spend it by catching up with friends, catching up with movies/dramas, doing DIY and believe it or not I enjoy cleaning.. I find it mildly therapeutic! (surely I can’t be the only one)


5. What are your favourite, must have, beauty items?

Carmex lip balm!! Does that count as a beauty item? The weather is so temperamental in the UK, so my lips always need to stay moisturised, so I never leave home without my little carmex pot. With working full time and trying to catch up with everything in the evening, I don’t find myself getting a lot of sleep. So my Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer, in the shade ‘nude’ is my day to day saviour to help cover up the puffy eye bags. And lastly, my benefit mascara, because they make my eyes pop, even though some say my eyes are big enough I just love how it completes my look. 

Be sure to follow The Girl In The City on Bloglovin, Twitter and Instagram!

Madolyn
xxx

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Thursday, 20 April 2017

12 Cities 12 Months | Prague



Continuing with my twelve cities in twelve months challenge that I have set myself, April’s focus is the beautiful and historic city of Prague…

James and I travelled to Eastern Europe late last year and spent a long weekend in Bratislava. The architecture, food and scenery was stunning and we were both itching to explore more of that side of Europe. For Christmas this year, James surprised me with flights to Prague with two of our best friends and so, towards the end of March we packed our bags to spend five lovely nights in the city of Prague. 


Things To See & Do

Before we went my only impression of Prague was that it was a very popular stag party destination, so I bought myself a Berlitz travel guide book and became very excited to see and explore this city. It is truly filled with so much history, which is practically oozing out on to the streets through its amazing buildings, beautiful backdrop and lovely culture. 


We were so lucky with the weather whilst we were there as the weekend we spent in Prague was filled with glorious sunshine. We struggled a little with the clothes we had as we were expecting a similar climate to the UK. Due to the stunning weather we ended up spending the majority of our time outside, exploring the city. It felt like there was so much to see, as there were impressive and beautiful buildings around every corner. We spent a lot of the time just soaking in the atmosphere, walking where we liked and stopping occasionally for a drink or something to eat. 


It was a lovely time of year to visit the city as tourist season hadn’t yet peeked and the springtime flowers were all bursting into bloom. I couldn’t resist taking tones of flower pictures as each of the shop fronts and cafes were decorated so beautifully with fresh flowers. 


Food & Drink

Prague is pretty well known for its beer, which is very popular and very cheap. I wouldn’t class myself as a ‘beer drinker’ but even I was getting into it whilst I was there. I think that for the cheaper, more local varieties, the alcohol content was lower which is probably why I was able to drink it without wincing! On our last night we went to a Beer Spa, which was a really fun way to spend an evening with friends. It was a hot-tub style treatment with the main ingredient being beer. There were taps on the side so whilst your body was soaking in the yeasty goodness, you could also drink as much beer as you liked. It was a novelty and I would definitely recommend it!


The food in Prague was particularly good. They are huge lovers of sausages so we consumed a fair amount of hotdogs whilst we were there! As it was the build up to Easter, Prague had filled its streets with a sort of festival, which gave off a very warm and welcoming vibe. There were stalls throughout the streets decorated in brightly coloured ribbon selling everything from crafts to amazing hot food. I could not resist these amazing sweet treats, which tasted very similar to a hot doughnut but in a tube form, which were then lined with Nutella – it was pretty incredible as I am sure you can tell by my face. 


We had such a lovely time in Prague and I can’t believe how long ago it seems now. Be sure to have a read of my 24 Hours In Prague post which is a bit more of an in depth review of one of our days spent exploring the city. Keep your eyes peeled for a Top Things To See & Do In Prague post, which is coming soon!


Have you ever been to Prague?
What city breaks would you recommend?

Madolyn
xxx

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Monday, 17 April 2017

Quick & Easy Ways To Be Healthier Day To Day


Lately I have been trying to improve my health levels by increasing my exercise and making little changes to my diet. Not only are we on the build up to summer, but I have also been invited to two weddings next month and so I want to feel a little healthier, a little trimmer and a lot more confident.

In today’s post, I wanted to share a few quick and easy healthy little tweaks and additions that I have incorporated into my daily diet. I am by no means any sort of dietitian and I certainly wouldn’t class myself as a health or fitness blogger. Below is merely a few things that I have picked up from various sources and altered to fit my own personal tastes and lifestyle.


Protein Shakes

I try to go to the gym a couple of times a week and I have been making more of a conscious effort to go at least three times a week. I tend to have some sort of cardio session as I have always had the aim of toning and trimming down rather than building muscle. Lately however, I have read more and more about protein shakes and the benefits of having them pre or post a workout.

I have not only read about the recovery benefits of having then after a cardio or weight session, but that they are also a great way to add extra protein into your diet if used as a breakfast or snack alternative. I use the Strawberries and Cream powder from My Protein and usually mix it with almond milk in my Cute Nutrition shaker*. I tend to make myself one after I get back from the gym or on rest days I might have one for breakfast to give my body a bit of a protein hit.


Smoothies

Another healthy boost that I have been having lately is fruit smoothies. I love smoothies and think that they are perfect for a lovely breakfast or afternoon snack. I have a fairly inexpensive smoothie maker from Next that I used a lot last summer, and I have started using it again over the last few weeks.

My favourite smoothie to make is a banana and peanut butter one which has almond milk, two small ripe bananas, a tablespoon of Whole Earth peanut butter and a drizzle of honey for sweetness. This is a lovely smoothie I like to make for breakfast on days when I’m not in the office as it is filling and pretty healthy. 

I have also been adding half a teaspoon of Organic Supergreens Powder* by Indigo Nutrition into my smoothies for an extra boost of highly nutritious antioxidant vitamins and minerals. I think on a day-to-day basis it can be hard to hit the nutritional quota and so adding this one hundred percent, pure, organic Supergreens powder means that I am easily getting a huge health boost.


Greek Yoghurt & Fruit 

This final healthy product that I have recently incorporated into my diet is Greek yoghurt and fruit. I have a very, very big sweet tooth and I struggle the most on an evening once I have eaten my tea. Weather I’m watching television, reading my book or just chilling out, I get such a craving for something sweet like chocolate and sweeties on an evening. 

So I have started to make myself a bowl of Greek yoghurt, berries, chia seeds and honey for my pudding. Not only does this curb my sweet cravings, but it is also quite filling and so I feel really satisfied after having it. I sometimes have this for breakfast with a sprinkle of muesli, which is easy to take to work on a morning.  


There is also a new video on my Youtube Channel all about these healthy habits that I have recently incorporated into my daily diet so be sure to have a watch if you haven’t already!


What tips or tweets do you use daily in order to be healthier?
Are you trying to be a little more health conscious on the build up to summer?

Madolyn
xxx

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Friday, 14 April 2017

A Fashion Staple To Carry You Through Spring | Zara Culottes


Over the past few months I have been trying to minimize my wardrobe and ensure that any new items of clothing that I buy are flexible and interchangeable. You can read more about my thoughts on this on my Minimalizing My Wardrobe post. 

One key item of clothing that I have picked up of late is these black, tailored culottes from Zara, which have become a wardrobe staple of mine. I think that this is a great transitional piece of clothing to carry me through spring and well into summer. 


I love the sophisticated ease of these trousers. They are true to size and have a very flattering fit. I love the style and feel as though they can be worn both casually and in a smart fashion. I teamed them with heeled pumps, a blazer and a cropped tee as a classy look for the #BlogConLDN event I attended a few weeks ago. Yet I also took them to Prague with me and wore vans and a cotton bomber for a much more casual look. 


I feel as though these culottes are a perfect springtime fashion item as they are thin and loose meaning that they are cool to wear in warmer weather. Yet they are of a suitable length that I feel covered up whilst my legs still maintain their Snow White winter glow. 

I really like that I am able to get away with wearing this type of fit. As I am on the petit side of the scale, I was worried that culottes would shrink my legs and make me appear even shorter. However, this cut seems to work somehow which I am so happy about. At just £19.99, these really are the perfect companion to take me through the rest of the season.


What are your spring wardrobe staples?
What are your thoughts about culottes?

Madolyn
xxx

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Thursday, 13 April 2017

Top Tips For Booking Accommodation Through Air BNB


Traveling can be one of the most exciting and fun experiences but it is often one of the most costly. I love to travel but before planning any trip I am forever researching the cheapest time of year to go, how much transport will cost, the price of accommodation and how expensive it is when you arrive. 

Lately, James and I have become fans of city breaks using search engines such as sky scanner to get good deals on the price of flights. Another way we have been saving money whist we’re away is by booking our accommodation through Air BnB. 

For those of you that don’t know, Air BnB is a fantastic website that is a collection of hosts that offer a huge range of different types of accommodation. This can range from a bedroom in a family home, to whole villas with swimming pools. The difference being, that you are able to contact the owner directly. This means cutting out administrative fees, the middleman and companies that charge for this sort of service. You are able to type in a destination, pick accommodation within your price range with all of your criteria and organise your stay directly with the owner. 


I have used Air BnB a number of times now, the most recent being when we took a trip to Prague a couple of weeks ago, and we couldn’t have been happier with the apartment that we stayed it. If you have not booked with Air BnB before, or fancy having a peek before you plan this year’s summer holiday, below are some top tips that I would recommend reading before you begin. 

Decide In Advance What Type Of Accommodation You Are Looking For

It is important to know what type of accommodation you are looking for before you start researching. As Air BnB becomes more popular, there are more hosts which means that you could be searching through hundreds of properties trying to find the right one. We often opt for a ‘Whole Apartment’ option because we like our privacy and it becomes a little home from home. Although they are a little bit more expensive, we have found that you often save money in the long run as you have use of the facilities meaning that you can cook and prepare food for yourself. 


Research Prices In Advance

I would recommend having a quick Google to find out what the average hotel or hostel price is in the area that you want to visit. The last thing you want is to spend £100 a night through Air BnB if the average price for hotels is only £40. Like wise, if it is a more expensive city or town you might struggle to find somewhere for £20 per night or if you do, it may not be in the best area…

Be Sure To Read The Reviews First

Pictures can be deceiving and so I would always recommend that you read the feedback first. Be sure to have a read of the feedback of the host as well. We had a fantastic host in Prague that couldn’t have been more help and it really made a difference to our stay. 

Check What Is Provided In The Details Section

There is a list of details provided for every property so be sure to give this a read, especially if you want something specific. For example, we knew that we wanted access to WiFi so we double-checked this in each placed we viewed. It will also list simple things like a hair dryer or a kettle; so don’t take anything for granted. If you wanted to ask about something really specific however, there is always the option to contact the host before hand.  

Always Read The House Rules & Finer Details

This is an important thing to read before booking your stay as it often provides strict information that cannot be negotiated once you have paid. This section lets you know the check in and check out times. It may also specify if there is an extra charge per person for parties more than two. It may also provide some house rules such as no loud music or that shoes cannot be worn in the house.


Ultimately it is important to remember that Air BnB accommodation is often people’s homes or their own property. It is not a chain hotel and so you must respect the rules and wishes of the hosts and treat these places as you would your own home. It is a wonderful community to stay with and I am sure that we will be booking through Air BnB for many holidays to come. 

Have you ever booked accommodation through Air BnB?

Madolyn
xxx

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Just a little disclaimer, this post was not sponsored, I am just a huge fan of Air BnB!
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