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Style Diaries | Sunset Views From The Brooklyn Bridge

  • Friday, 30 March 2018


The Brooklyn Bridge is arguably one of the most iconic sights of New York City. It is high on anyone’s top sights to see, alongside the Statue Of Liberty, Ground Zero, The Empire State Building, Central Park and Top Of The Rock. However, despite it being my third trip to the big apple, this was my first time visiting this popular landmark. 

The weather whilst we were in NYC was super cold, and although it was bright, it got a little cloudy during the evenings. We decided to hold off heading to Brooklyn Bridge until the Sunday, which ended up working out perfectly. We had heard from a number of people that the sunset as you walk back over the Brooklyn Bridge towards Manhattan was definitely a sight to see, and I’m so glad that we held out. 


We decided to walk down from our accommodation in Hell’s Kitchen (read my New York Travel Guide for more inspiration and information) although you can take an uber/bus/subway if you’d prefer. We enjoyed taking in the sights however, and I always feel like I pick up so much more about a city when walking around. We stumbled upon the Italian Quarter as well as SoHo on our walk down, so it felt worth it. 


We walked over the bridge and spent the afternoon in Brooklyn. We found a bench that was a little more sheltered from the wind and we had the most perfect view of the Manhattan skyline, stretching from the Empire State Building on our right, all the way to the Statue of Liberty on our left. 

As the sun started to set we took a slow walk back towards the bridge and the views really were incredible. There is something about the way that the last light of the day hits everything that makes it look so beautiful. It’s a bit like candle light, it is much more flattering and makes everyone look stunning. It was a pretty chilly walk back without the intensity of the sunshine, but the views across the water were well worth it. 


Be sure to have a watch of my New York Vlog!


Madolyn
xxx

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Travel Inspiration | A New York Travel Guide

  • Sunday, 25 March 2018


New York is probably one of the most sort after destinations in the world. It seems that most people have either been or would like to go and as a result there are one hundred and one travel guides and sources of information available…

Annnnndddd, here’s another one for you!

I have recently just left the city that never sleeps and thought that I would throw in my two cents about the famous destination. New York is so big and there are so many different things to see and do, to the point that everyone that visits will have a slightly different experience whilst they’re there. 

I have been fortunate to have explored the big apple twice before and so I have already done the main ‘tourist-y’ things (i.e. The Empire State Building, Ellis Island, The Statue Of Liberty, Top of The Rock etc.) As a result, this travel guide is a little more of a relaxed and casual exploration of New York, including things that are a little more off of the beaten track, but a little more interesting and a bit different to your usual New York bucket list.

WHAT TO EAT


Two bros Pizza – This amazing pizza was $1 per slice, which was incredible and it tasted so good! I shudder to think how many slices I actually had whilst we were in New York, but it was honestly so good. It was the perfect light lunch, or a couple of slices were great as an option for tea if we weren't too hungry. 

Black Tap – Famous for their amazing burgers and shakes, James and I ended up sharing one of their ‘Crazy Shakes’, which was incredible. I’m so glad we shared though because it really felt like a meal. The Cookies & Cream shake had a rim of chopped up Oreos, Vanilla and Oreo Ice cream topped with whipped cream and a giant Oreo Ice cream sandwich, phew!



Big Daddy’s – This cool little diner is located in down-town Manhattan and serves some incredible food as well as some gorgeous shakes. I opted for the Mac n’ Cheese sandwich followed by the best chocolate milkshake of my life! It was super affordable and had a great, old school ‘American Diner’ feel to it. 

Five Guys – I know that this chain is all over now, including the UK, but there was something so good about eating a genuine NYC Five Guys burger and fries, especially before heading over to Madison Square Garden to watch the New York Knicks.


WHERE TO STAY

Hell’s Kitchen – We decided that we wanted to stay in Hell’s kitchen, which is incredibly central. It is two blocks away from Times Square and a really quick walk over to Central Park. It was the perfect spot and we ended up walking everywhere we went. 

Air BnB – I would really recommend having a look through Air BnB before booking any hotel in New York. We found that it offered great locations and it was actually much cheaper than any chains. We were really luck with our studio apartment. It had everything that we needed, was perfectly located and really felt like a home from home. 

WHAT TO DO 


The Classics – As I mentioned, we went to New York a few years ago, so we weren’t too bothered about doing that again. However, if you wanted to go to The Top Of The Rock, see the Statue Of Liberty, go to The Natural History Museum, I would really recommend looking into getting a City Pass. You Can save loads of money and you are guaranteed entry to all of the city’s main attractions.

Watch An Event MSG – With Madison Square Garden being one of the most famous venues in the world, getting a ticket to one of their events is pretty cool. The Knicks were playing whilst we were in NYC and so we decided to get some tickets to their game against the Charlotte Hornets. It’s such a good atmosphere and it feels very ‘American’ – I would really recommend seeing what’s on if you fancy some evening entertainment. 



Cool Shops – Times Square is arguably one of the top attractions to see in New York and is one of the more popular tourist spots. There is something a bit magical about looking up at all of the lights, it really does feel like something out of a film. What’s more, it is a great way to spend an evening walking through and exploring all of the different shops on display. The Hershey’s and M&Ms store were both really fun, and I couldn’t wait to have a peak in Sephora. However there are some really cool stores a bit further out including the Nintendo Store and quirky little sweet and taxidermy shops. I would recommend having a wonder down some street to find some real gems.  

Street Art – This may not be something that is at the top of everyone’s to do list when they visit New York, but there are some really cool pieces of art and memorials located around the city. We went to Down-Town Manhattan and saw some really cool pop up pieces from Banksy, as well as some tribute art work of the Beastie Boys and Blondy. We also went into the old CBGBs venue, which is now a pretty sweet clothes store. It has loads of photographs of musicians that created the iconic setting of the music venue including the Ramones, Misfits, Blondy and many more. 


Sight Seeing – There is plenty of sight seeing to be done in New York, however there are so really fun things to do that wont cost you a dime. On one of our days we walked over the Brooklyn Bridge and spent the afternoon in Brooklyn before heading back over the bridge at sunset. It was so beautiful to look at the Manhattan Skyline and we didn’t have to pay a thing to enjoy the amazing view. We also spent a huge day in Central Park, which again, was really beautiful to look at and it was all completely free. 

High Line – This mile long abandoned railway track was a great way to explore the city from a different angle. There were plenty of plants and trees and I can imagine that it would look so beautiful in the summer months. It was something a little different and gave us the perfect excuse to explore the far left of New York.  


INSTA WORTHY SPOTS

Pietro Nolita – If you follow any blogger on Instagram and they have been to new York, chances are that they have a picture of this pretty little pink café on their feed. As a cliché, basic blogger babe, I of course wanted to head to this little spot in down-town Manhattan and take a snap outside. Although the outside is cute, the inside was really cramped, super busy and massively overpriced. It was a little deflating as so many people had raved about this coffee stop but I wasn’t overly impressed… I still popped my picture on Insta though!!



Sprinkles Cupcake ATM – This little cupcake spot is another classic ‘blogger in New York’ place of interest, plus the idea behind it seemed so cool! It’s a tiny little shop that sells the nicest cupcakes (I opted for the Vegan Red Velvet option) and they have their very own cupcake ATM machine outside! How millennial…! I’d really recommended heading over if you get the chance through, not only is it a novelty, it’s the perfect girly background for a great insta-shot! 




Be sure to have a watch of my New York Vlog!


Madolyn
xxx

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Style Diaries | Travel Staples When Traveling Around The US

  • Friday, 23 March 2018


The USA is such a vast country that the weather can differ greatly state by state. Depending on where you are and the time of year you’re there, your wardrobe may vary quite a lot. 

This can be especially difficult if you are traveling across the US. I know that for me, it was hard to gather together a collection of clothes that would not only be suitable for temperatures of -1, but would also be wearable in temperatures well in the 20s. Oh, and it also all had to fit into a bag that I could carry…! 

It may seem a little anal to some, but I am so glad that I researched the average weather for the last few years in each place we are visiting, and also started planning what I wanted to pack about four weeks in advance… But I’m pretty happy with the collection of clothes that I brought, and although we’re only a week into our six-week venture across America, it has so far served me well. 

You can have a read about my Minimalist’s Guide To Packing For A Six Week Road Trip Around The USA, here.  

There are however, a few key travel fashion staples that I have brought with me that have really stood out. 

This light, drizzle proof, floral, hooded jacket from Zara has been my go-to jacket for the last couple of years. I bought it completely spare of the moment on my lunch break for £13 in the sale and it has become an absolute staple of mine. It sits just below my waist and although it isn’t padded, it is very weather proof and great at protecting me from the elements. As we are heading to warmer places once we leave Chicago, I didn’t want to be carrying around a bulky coat for the rest of our trip, and this will serve as a great evening jacket in the sunnier states. 


As my jacket is fairly thin, I have also brought with me, my huge orange blanket scarf that was a mere £4 from Primark! This has kept me warm in the windy city, and has also been the perfect blanket when traveling on the Greyhound. I have also packed my beautiful Goggles 4U sunglasses that I have worn every day of our trip so far. Although it was pretty chilly in New York and very windy in Chicago, the sun has been amazingly bright! Shoes wise, I have brought with me my trusty, pale grey vans. I bought these the last time I was in the states and I can honestly say that they are the comfiest shoes I have ever owned. They have been great so far to explore the concrete jungles in, and they will be perfect when walking around New Orleans and Joshua Tree. 

I also have to give a huge shout out to my Kanken backpack, which has been an absolute lifesaver in terms of traveling. I had wanted one for ages and had read so much about how they were the perfect travel companions; however, I refused to pay the ridiculous £75 price tag! A few eBay searches later however and I found this perfect little replica for just £13!! It has a great design that is super lightweight and I love that the zips come further down the sides meaning that you can pack it (and un-pack it) more like a suitcase. 


Madolyn
xxx

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Hello From New York | Our Six Week USA Road Trip Itinerary

  • Sunday, 18 March 2018


As I’m writing this, I’m sat in our little Air BnB studio apartment in the center of New York City. It’s crazy to think that after almost a year of planning, we have finally started our six-week road trip across the USA. 

I thought I would share the outline of our trip so that you can get a feel of what to expect here on Madolyn Thinks. I’ll be blogging on the road and hope to document as much of our trip as possible. I love sharing travel content on here as it is a great way to look back on past experiences, and hopefully provides some sort of insight or inspiration for you guys. 

We have spent the last few days exploring and absorbing everything that New York City has to offer and it has been a magical way to start the trip. Tomorrow we’re getting an overnight Greyhound bus to Chicago where will be spending four days in the Windy City. From Chicago we are getting another Greyhound down to Nashville, before heading further down to Memphis. 

After Memphis, we are then traveling down to spend a week in New Orleans and it is there that we are watching Wrestle Mania!! (Yes, I’m a bit of a WWE geek…!) After New Orleans we are flying over to LA, picking up a car and driving over to Joshua Tree to spend a few days trekkin’ in the national park. We’re then driving up to Phoenix to stay with my cousin for a few nights, before driving further north to Las Vegas. After a few days of the Vegas strip we are then traveling to San Francisco (one of my favourite places ever) where we will spend the last five nights of our trip, before flying back home. 


It is mad to think that this is all to come, I still can’t believe that we are traveling around for six whole weeks, exploring and seeing so much of the US. 

I’m going to be uploading weekly Vlogs and little travel diary blog posts, but if you want to follow along daily or see what I’m eating/wearing/doing, then be sure to pop on over to Instagram, (@madolynthinks) which I will be regularly updating! 

Let me know if you’re following along! 

Madolyn
xxx

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A Minimalist's Guide To Packing For A Six Week Road Trip Around The USA

  • Sunday, 11 March 2018


Six weeks, two people, one backpack…

I think I’ve mentioned once or twice (ok, maybe a couple of hundred times…!) that I am going on a six-week road trip around the United States of America! I actually can’t believe that in just a few days, this trip that James and I have been planning for over a year, is finally happening!


When it comes to traveling, as much as I like planning where we’re going to go, what we’re going to see/eat/do etc., one of my favourite parts is packing. I know, it’s really sad, but I love getting organised, planning out my outfits, deciding what makeup and skincare to pack, and challenging myself to take only what is necessary. 

James and I have decided to pack extremely light for this trip to the States. We are traveling by plane, bus and car and know that we will have to literally carry everything, everywhere. It may sound a little anal, but by being really strict and planning in advance, it has really helped us to pack only what we actually need. 


I appreciate that six weeks is a long time, and not only are we away for that long, we are also traveling across the whole country from chilly New York City, to the baking hot, Joshua Tree. So not only have we had to create a capsule wardrobe to last us six weeks, we have also had to take into account the various kinds of weather we will have to dress for. 

I think the fact that we have been living a much more minimal lifestyle of late has also helped, as my wardrobe is now the smallest that it has ever been. This made it much easier when picking out items that I wanted to pack for our trip. Below I have listed all of the clothes that I am taking to the USA, which all fits into a small and medium packing cube. We are taking one backpack to hold all of our clothes, and then a Kanken backpack for my laptop, camera, travel docs etc. 


PACKING FOR A SIX-WEEK USA ROAD TRIP 


TOPS


- Three/Four Casual T-Shirts
- One/Two Dressy Tops
- One Shirt
- One Workout/Gym/Active Top
- One Evening Cardigan
- One Casual/Day Jumper


BOTTOMS


- One Pair Of Casual Jeans
- One Pair Of Smart/Black Jeans
- One Pair Of Denim Shorts
- One Pair Of Day/Casual Shorts
- One Pair Of Leggings
- One Pair Of Jogging/Gym/Workout Leggings

PJs/COMFIES


- One Pair Of PJs
- One Pair Of Comfortable/Baggy Trousers
- One Oversized Universal Jumper


UNDERWEAR


- One Pair Of Tights
- Seven Pairs Of Socks
- Seven Pairs Of Knickers/Thongs/Pants

DRESSES/EVENING WEAR


- One Casual Day Dress
- One Black/Evening Dress
- One Shirt Dress


OUTERWEAR


- One Pair Of Trainers/Day Shoes
- One Pair Of Sandals
- One Jacket
- One Scarf
- One Day Hat
- One Bobble Hat
- One Pair Of Gloves

ACCESSORIES


- One Day Bag/Small Back Pack
- A Few Key Pieces Of Universal Jewellery



There is obviously no right or wrong way of packing for a trip as everyone’s preferences and routes are different. We knew from the get-go that we didn’t want to pack much, and we are staying in Air BnBs whilst in America so we can wash our clothes on the go.

I would love to know if you found this post helpful in any way and if you would like to read more of this sort of content here on Madolyn Thinks!

Madolyn
xxx

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Minimalism | How To De-Clutter Your Make Up Collection

  • Thursday, 8 March 2018


Ever since I started earning my own money, I have always spent a large proportion of it on beauty products - mostly makeup. I have always had an interest in makeup even during my childhood days when I would apply clear mascara, lip-gloss and roll on glitter (ahhh, the nineties…) However, if you have read my blog before or follow me on instagram (@madolynthinks) then you may already know that I am an aspiring minimalist. I am in the process of applying minimalism to all aspects of my life and this also includes, my makeup collection. 

I thought it might make an interesting read if I wrote up my tips on how to streamline your makeup collection. I know that this would have been a blog post I would have loved to have read, and I would love to know what you think!


GET RID OF UNWANTED PRODUCTS 


One thing I would recommend before de-cluttering any items is to gather them all into one area so that you know what you’re working with. I would then recommend pulling out any and all of the products that are unwanted. I find that this is the easiest way to start the process as it is quick and simple but it gets the ball rolling and builds momentum. So throw away those eye shadows that you never wear, those lipsticks that you don’t like, and any products that are old, out of date or have been open past the recommended time. 

This also allows you to pave the way for new pieces. For example, I completely cleared out my false eyelash collection, getting rid of any old or unwanted lashes and glue. This then allowed room in my makeup collection for a pair of gorgeous, high quality false lashes from Esquido. I picked out the Lashlorette* design that has a collection of criss-cross and straight strands to create a full, yet natural look. The lash glue that comes with them is a fantastic size with easy-to-use application, which meant that I could throw away any old, leaky or sticky tubes of glue that I still had in my collection.


THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ACTUALLY USE ON A DAILY BASIS 


Once you have got rid of any unwanted products, I would then make a pile of products that you like to use on a daily, or occasional basis. Daily makeup products might consist of your favourite foundation/tinted moisturiser/concealer/powder/bronzer etc etc, and then occasion products may be glittery eye shadows/specific lipsticks etc. I would then recommend putting aside your favourite seasonal products which again maybe specific eye shadows/blushers/lip products etc. If anything doesn’t fit in any of these piles then it needs to go!


SIMPLIFYING YOUR ROUTINE


Once I had majorly reduced my make up collection, I then looked at how many products I had left. I would recommend having a think about your current makeup routine. Maybe have a play with your makeup and ask why you use this many products and is there a way that you are able to reduce it. For example, I was rotating between a couple of different concealers rather than picking just one concealer and sticking with that. I managed to massively reduce the amount of products that I used on a daily basis, ultimately streamlining my collection.


QUALITY OVER QUANTITY


The final point I want to make, which is a bit of a mantra that I have picked up from reading and learning about minimalism is; quality over quantity. This notion can be applied to all aspects of life, including your make up collection. It is a simple yet effective rule that enables you to live with less but appreciate more. So rather than having a number of different foundations/mascaras/concealers etc, that are ok, I now have one of each in my daily collection that I am one hundred percent happy with. 


Let me know if you enjoy reading these types of posts about minimalism and de-cluttering! 

Madolyn
xxx

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This post contains PR samples but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Embracing A Plant-Based Diet & Living A Vegan Lifestyle...

  • Wednesday, 7 March 2018


I have been trying to write this post for a while now without much success…

Before I begin I just want to state that I am not a nutritionist, I have no scientific qualifications, I am not a health and fitness blogger and I do not have an animal activist background…

What I do have however is a Netflix account, an Internet connection and a heart and mind, which has been deeply affected by recent things that I have watched and read. 

Over the past nine months or so I have been on a bit of a mission to find out more about plant-based diets and vegan lifestyles. It began when I watched Cowspiracy on Netflix and I was absolutely distraught to see what animals go through in order for us to enjoy them on our plate. I was also shocked to discover how much eating and consuming meat and diary has had an impact on our environment and our health! I became a little obsessed and before long I had watched pretty much every food/animal/vegan/lifestyle documentary that Netflix had to offer.

Now, I’m not going to get all preachy, and I completely understand that not everyone will agree with me here, but all of this information completely changed my outlook about how I buy, cook and eat food. At the start of the year I made a conscious decision to at least stop eating meat. I am also massively cutting back my dairy intake and trying as much as possible to consume food that is plant based. 

Obviously there are exceptions (hello dinner at the parents house; no mum, I’m not going to force you to cook a vegan chili for me!) and there will be times when I really fancy that doughnut/macaroni & cheese/pizza/pain au chocolat… But my point is, I am trying to change my lifestyle. I have absorbed so much information on this topic, that it was getting harder and harder for me to turn a blind eye. I can’t enjoy a chicken curry in the same way, knowing how crappy the life of that chicken probably had. I can’t sink my teeth into a beef burger like I used to without thinking about the bad effects it will have on my body. 


I am making a conscious effort to try however, and it has certainly made me more adventurous in the kitchen! Plant-based meals aren’t actually as hard as I thought that they would be. I have found that organisation and making sure that my cupboards are fully stocked is the key! I have loved using some great products from Indigo Nutrition* that I have recently been introduced to. They are an organic, vegan brand and have a huge range of products from whole foods to herbal teas, from green powders to natural sweeteners. They also have a huge amount of vegan and health food inspiration on their website. 


As well as reducing my meat and diary intake, I also wanted to reduce my sugar intake. Rather than go cold turkey however, I looked at alternate sweet treats and have been happy to discover that there are so many options available! I have recently been eating Esthe Choc*, which is a vegan chocolate that is not only a great chocolate fix; it is actually good for your skin! I know – mad right?! They have done some great studies, which you can read more about on their website, and it has been proven that consuming one of their chocolates a day is a great anti-aging fix – who knew! 

I am in no way saying that this is the life to lead or that anyone is doing anything wrong. But I do believe that a lot of this information about the meat and dairy world is swept under the carpet, and we are often ignorant as to what is actually going on. 


If you have the chance, I would really recommend having a scroll through Netflix to watch some of these documentaries. Be sure to let me know if you do, I would love to know your thoughts and experiences on this subject. 

Madolyn
xxx

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This post contains PR samples but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

The Beauty Cabinet | A Few New Products & First Impressions

  • Monday, 5 March 2018


As a self-proclaimed beauty lover, I adore trying out new products and discovering new brands. I feel like the beginning of a new season is the perfect opportunity to have a clear out of used products, in order to make room for some new beauties. 

Although this past week, in the UK at least, hasn’t exactly felt very spring-like, with the lighter days, flowering bulbs and the shops clearing their shelves for their summer collections – spring is definitely on its way. With this being said, there have been a couple of new products that I have introduced to my beauty routine of late…

 

Lee Stafford CoCo Loco* | Link


Lee Stafford products have been a staple in the hair care world for years and their new Coconut range does not disappoint. The range smells truly incredible, however if you’re not a fan of coconut then this may not be the one for you! It literally feels as though I’m pouring coconut macaroons on my hair!! I have loved using the shampoo and conditioner, which has left my hair feeling silky soft and shiny. I have also been using the Coconut Spritz leave in conditioner from the range and it has done wonders to my ends. It acts like a very light oil, adding a serious boost of hydration and I think it will be perfect when we finally get some warmer weather!



So Luscious Eye Lash & Eye Brow Growth & Regrowth Serum* | Link


I am pretty fortunate in that I have fairly dark and thick eyebrows and eye lashes. Although this wasn’t all the rage in my teenage years (hello skinny, non-existent brows!), my mum would never let me pluck my brows (which I am so thankful for now!) and it has certainly paid off as now it seems everyone wants thicker and fuller brows and lashes. However, I do use a bit of product to fill in my browns where the hair is a little sparse…

Recently however, I have been using this lash and brow growth serum from So Luscious, which is designed to stimulate hair growth, creating a fuller, longer and thicker appearance. The serum comes in a beautifully packaged, glass bottle and is dispensed using a rollerball. I have been using it as a part of my evening routine, rolling the product along my brows and lash lines, once my face is completely cleansed. So far I have noticed an increase in growth and my hairs feel thicker and fuller. The best results will be seen after a month or so of using the product, but I have loved it so far!


Mz Skin Eye Cream* | Link


I have been making a conscious effort lately to apply eye cream both morning and night. I know that it is important to keep this area hydrated, especially during the colder months. I have loved using this one from MZ Skin. It is designed to soothe and smooth the eye area and it feels extremely luxurious when applied. It contains collagen-activating ingredients, which is fantastic for slowing down the aging process and keeping the eye area plum and youthful. I like to apply a small amount both morning and night and so far, I have absolutely loved using it!


Sensse Sonic Facial Cleansing Brush* | Link


The final new addition to my beauty routine of late is this electronic face brush from Sensse. It is a perfectly, compact little device that cleanses your face, whilst providing a deep clean and an element of exfoliation. I like to use this on a morning with my Urban Veda face wash, which featured in my January Favourites if you fancy a read! It is really handy to use and makes me feel really fresh, cleansed and awake as soon as I get up. 


Madolyn
xxx

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This post contains PR samples but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 
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