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National Creativity Day | Creating A Wall Of Inspiration With Reeves

  • Tuesday, 29 May 2018


In light of tomorrow being National Creativity Day, I decided, with the help of Reeves, to get my creative juices flowing. I think it is good for the soul to do something creative whether it is to write, play an instrument, take some photographs, do some gardening or get creative with arts and crafts. 

When I was younger I used to love doing Art at school but I think that it is something we can easily not make time for in the adult world. Something always seems to be more important when you work full time and have a home. This is why I think that something like National Creativity Day is really important, because it allows us to take a step back and dedicate some time for ourselves. 

A WALL OF INSPIRATION


I am a huge fan of wall art and I love feature walls in living rooms and bedrooms. I felt very inspired by the mix-matched walls that are so popular on Instagram and Pinterest. I like that there is a mixture of different types of text, different sizes of print and a lot of different frames etc.

So I decided to make something that I could use in order to have my own wall of inspiration. I wanted to keep things simple and so I made some postcards with plain backgrounds that I could write inspirational quotes on. I have a small section of a wall in my living room that I have slowly been adding pieces to, and this became the perfect excuse to add some more. 


MY INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES


When deciding what quotes I wanted to include on my Wall of Inspiration, I had a bit of a think about what I thought would inspire me. I spent a while looking on Pinterest for different ideas and this is what I picked out;

‘Love People & Use Things Because The Opposite Never Works’
‘Collect Moments Not Things…’
I Would Rather Own A Little & See The World Than Own The World & See A Little’
‘Fill Your Life With Stories To Tell Not Stuff To Show’
‘We Buy Things We Don’t Need With Money We Don’t Have To Impress People We Don’t Know’

CRAFT SUPPLIES


- Small Bowl 
- Tap Water
- Sharpie Pen

HOW TO 


- Pick out your favourite colours from the Reeves Water Colour Pencil Pack
- Using one sheet of the Reeves Water Colour Paper at a time, gently cover the whole sheet with one of the Water Colour Pencils
- Once covered, put some tap water in a small bowl and dab in the Reeves wide head brush 
- Gently brush the pre-coloured paper with the wet brush until the paint is evenly blended and allow to dry
- Whilst the paper is drying, plan out which quotes you want to write out to add to your inspiration wall – Pinterest is great for this!
- Once dry, write your inspirational quotes onto the paper using a sharpie or thick-tipped pen
- Attach the finished postcards onto your Inspirational Wall using blue tack, washi tape or wall pins


Madolyn
xxx

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

Intentional Living | Making The Effort To Waste Less & Use Less Packaging

  • Monday, 28 May 2018


I am happy to say that recycling and zero waste is becoming more of a popular topic of late. Loads of people and brands seem to be promoting the idea of being more environmental friendly.

I have always recycled, since as long as I can remember, and I always try to do my bit for the environment. However, lately I have become a lot of conscious about the way I live, the products and packaging I bring into my home, and have tried to make much more of an effort to be less wasteful.

I am trying to live much more intentionally across all aspects of my life including my time, the possessions I own, the way I treat my body, and how much waste I create. Obviously we don’t live in a perfect world, but there are a fair amount of things that can be done to decrease the amount of waste we contribute. 

BE PREPARED 


One way in which to make an effort to waste less is to be prepared. By this I mean thinking ahead and planning for the day. For example, I never leave the flat without some sort of reusable or canvas bag. That way if I nip to the shops or need to carry something I don’t need to pick up a plastic bag. This not only decreases waste going to landfill but it also saves you an extra 5p every time you go shopping!

I also always carry with me a bottle of water. Bottled water contributes so much to landfill and it seems like such a waste. Rather than continually buying plastic bottles of water, I pop one in my bag every time I go out. And much like plastic bags, it also saves you tones of money in the long run. 

SAY NO WHEN YOU CAN 

Another way to waste less is to say no and when you can. For example, whenever I’m at a bar I’ve stopped asking for straws and actively ask not to have a straw in my drink. Plastic straws are so wasteful as they are only used once and then thrown straight into landfill. I have also started asking for my drinks to be put in the same cup if the venue is serving drink in plastic cups. Ideally I would have a glass, which can be washed and reused, but some gig venues only serve in plastic cups. 

For the last few years I have also said no to paper bills. All of my banking and household bills are all online and so nothing is printed on paper and sent to me in the post. Not only does it mean that it is better for the environment, but you also don’t have lots of clutter and bits of paper in your home. 

COFFE CUP


Coffee cups and waste are something that have been pretty prevalent in the media of late when it was suggested that the price of takeaway coffee should go up. Quite a few years ago Starbucks introduced the incentive to bring your own reusable cup into stores by giving you some money off your order. It seems however that this wasn’t as popular a concept as predicted and many people paid the price to have a throwaway, takeaway cup. The problem with this however is that these takeaway cups from coffee shops are extremely difficult to recycle and landfill waste was continuously increasing. 

I have been using these amazing flasks from Corkcicle* of late to carry my coffee in. It is an amazing flask with triple insulation meaning that it keeps hot drinks hot for up to three hours and cold drinks cold for up to nine. It’s great as it means that I can enjoy a nice coffee without the guilt of throwing a cup straight into landfill afterwards. It means that I can save a bit of money and I can also use it to carry coffee from home if I’m nipping out or walking to work. Plus, the Corkcicle* flask is one hundred percent recyclable, so even when you don’t want it anymore it still won’t contribute to landfills. 

OTHER WAYS TO REDUCE WASTE


- Take your lunch to work rather than buy pre-packaged food
- Buy loose fruit and veg rather than produce wrapped in plastic
- Buy in bulk to minimise the amount of packaging something comes in 
- Use cloths to wash off your makeup rather than multiple cotton pads
- Read blogs and online content rather than physical magazines



Remember, the less packaging you bring into your home, the less you have to throw away or recycle…

Madolyn
xxx

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

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, 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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