Slovenia Travel Diary

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Lake Bled
I mentioned in my World Duty Free VIP post recently that I was travelling to Slovenia on the day I got pampered and preened at Duty Free. Well, I can't not write a post about Slovenia eh?

Every year me and my bestie do a holiday together and go somewhere new. 2016 was Orlando in Florida, and 2017 ended up being Slovenia due to images we had seen of the Lake Bled area. What we didn't realise though is that we booked it for January and Slovenia gets cold in January. Very cold. Like highs of 0 degrees kinda cold
Lake Bled
I planned our trip so that we paid for flights and 2 seperate Air BnB's. We spent 2 days in Bled and then 2 days in Ljubljana before coming back home. This made our trip something like £160 in total each (not including spending money)
I didn't want to just stay in Ljubljana and do day excursions to Bled like some people do. I wanted to try and experience as much of Bled as possible

In hindsight I should have maybe done this in summer as some things we wanted to do weren't available due to ice and snow. Mainly the Vintgar Gorge. But it gives me another reason to come back at some point when it isn't so cold and snowy
Lake Bled
I never hire cars when I go abroad. Mainly because I am terrified of the idea of driving on the other side of the road. I'm a good driver in the UK, but I have this fear I will drive on the wrong side elsewhere and crash and then die. I managed to find a company though that helped us get to Bled and back! Bled is about 40 minutes drive from Ljubljana airport and Zup Prevozi is a company I found who picked us up from the airport and drove us to our Air BNB in Bled for about 18 euros each. Much cheaper than a taxi. We then used them for every other journey so that includes Bled to our Ljubljana Air BNB, and then Ljubljana to the airport. The Ljubljana to the airport trip was all of 9 euros each. So cheap! It's cheaper if you pick an economy shuttle and share it with other people, but it made our travel so much easier as public transport between Bled and Ljubljana is confusing and pretty much nonexistent really

We then proceeded to walk everywhere else. So from our Air BNB to all the bits we wanted to do, we simply walked
Lake Bled
Our Air BnB in Bled was amazing. It was like this little cabin annex attached to our hosts house and had electricity and a shower, but also had a little log fire for extra heating. It had a little balcony at the front entrance and below was this little creek/stream and a view of just snowy fields. It felt like a little piece of snowy heaven and a real nice place for some RandR

It was about 40 minutes walk into Bled town centre, but totally worth it when you are walking around the edge of Lake Bled and taking in all of the beauty surrounding you. You can see mountain ranges and forestry everywhere you look and then you also have the view of the castle and the little island in Lake Bled
Frozen Lake Bled
20 minutes from our Air BNB were a couple of restaurants and a small shop, as well as a little section of boats that would take you around the lake for a small fee. We decided to get on one and take the trip. We assumed it would just take us around the lake for the views and then back

For 14 euros we actually got rowed to the little island in the middle, left there for an hour to explore, and then rowed back! An absolute bargain
Whilst being rowed we could see that parts of the lake had actually frozen up it was that cold, and we were told that if the lake ever freezes up completely the locals like to skate and walk across it. Hell no to that
Lake Bled
We then explored the island in the middle of the lake. It was a bit treacherous to walk around as us Brits aren't really designed to be walking on ice and snowy walkways, but after some careful footwork around any ice patches we made it to the church on the island. That is really all there is on that island. A church, a little cafe, and an art/gift shop

It is said ringing the bell in the Church brings good luck. I wish I knew that before I left the little island. I only found this out later in the day and any bad luck I have in 2017 I will now blame on the fact I didn't ring that damn Church bell
Lake Bled
When the boat dropped us back to land we decided it was time for some lunch and for a trek to Bled Castle
Google Maps told us it would be about a 45 minute walk to the pizza place we were recommended (FYI eat at Pizzeria Rustika, it is the bomb for pizza in Bled and so cheap), so we just walked around the lake being mindful of all the ice around and staring at the beauty surrounding us whilst also freezing our extremities off

It was so cold when we were out there that my camera decided to die whilst walking around. Once heated back up again inside it was fine. This is because camera batteries are affected by real cold and real hot weather. The cold weather basically drained the battery but once the camera had warmed back up it sprang back to life and allowed me to use it again. Thank goodness because the next stop was Bled Castle and I definitely wanted to get some pictures of this!
Lake Bled
The trek to Bled Castle was treacherous. It definitely is a Spring/Summer time kinda thing. Ice everywheeeeere and it was a good 20 minute uphill struggle! I am now jealous of all the day excursion people who had a coach take them around to all the places in Bled and who didn't have to walk the uphill trek to the castle

But once up there and in the castle, the views definitely made it worthwhile. We could see the whole of Bled and everything was so quiet and peaceful. You could see the mountains and the Bled ski slope and how vast the lake actually is

I think Bled is somewhere I want to come back to in Spring/Summer. They have campsites dotted around the lake and I think it would be amazing to be one with the natural world and camp out around this area of true beauty

Bled Castle

Our time in Bled then came to an end and it was time for us to head to our second Air BNB in Ljubljana, Slovenia's capital

We hadn't really researched what to do in Ljubljana so we didn't really know what to do or what to expect when we got there. Our Air BNB was about a 20 minute walk from the main Old Town area of Ljubljana where everything is and this is where we got into Pokemon Go again to help us on this walk. It was much safer to walk around Ljubljana though then Bled as everything was gritted and cleared away properly

One thing we had researched and definitely had to go and visit was something called Muzej Illuzij, which means Museum of Illusions. We had researched that it was a museum of optical illusions and we thought this could be a fun few hours! It was also less than 10 euros so a win if you are trying to be frugal when abroad
Muzej Iluzij
It's definitely worth a visit if you are ever in Ljubljana, and it provides a bit of silly and trippy fun! I think there is also one in Zagreb, Croatia so that will be on the list if I ever go to Zagreb
Muzej Iluzij

Muzej Iluzij

Ljubljana Castle
Like Bled, Ljubljana also has its own castle. This was a long weekend of feeling like a Queen at the top of her castle. You'd think I'd also get bored of castles after visiting two in the space of two days but not the case at all

Ljubljana's castle had more to do and exquisite views of a different kind. This was more of a cityscape view rather than a mountainous landscape view. In Summer you can walk up to the castle yourself and trek up the hill (why are Slovenia's castles all on treacherous hills?!) I imagine, but this was closed off due to so much ice and snow so we hitched a ride with the Funicular up to the castle itself. This is again another thing to do that is about 10 euros and totally worth it for the breathtaking views you can experience within the castle
Ljubljana Castle

Ljubljana Castle

Ljubljana Castle

VIP at World Duty Free

Monday, 20 February 2017

World Duty Free Stansted
When I travelled to Slovenia recently, I ended up going from Stansted airport rather than my usual and local Luton airport. Luton used to be a World Duty Free airport but it no longer is and has become an Aelia duty free which I still dislike and grumble about as I know about some secret perks you can get at World Duty Free (World Duty Free is at Stansted, Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Bristol and many many more so keep on reading to hear more about these perks for your next travel adventure!)

For example, did you know that if your World Duty Free has a Jo Malone section in it that you can get free and complimentary hand and arm massages?! You don't pay a penny and all you have to do is ask a staff member there! You can choose which oils they use as well as which body cream and fragrances they use. I asked for the Red Roses bath oil which they whisk up within warm water to cleanse your skin, I then had the Peony and Blush Suede body cream to go with the massage, and finally got spritzed with both their Red Roses cologne and the Peony and Blush Suede cologne to mix the two fragrances and make it more unique to me. I literally smelt like roses all day and right up until I showered 24 hours later. So yanno, goes to show that Jo Malone is definitely worth the price tag if I could still smell it on my skin 24 hours later
The hand and arm massage was just what I needed also to wake myself up and invigorate my skin. We were at the airport at 5am so it meant a 3.30am wake up call and I felt pretty grim, but this perked me up no end. Aromatherapy and massage is now what I want every day to wake me up
World Duty Free Stansted
We were being guided around World Duty Free by the lovely Ellan from the Concierge desk and she also brought us cocktails from the bar to enjoy with our hand and arm massages. It was a blend of vodka, gin, cranberry juice and apple juice and was refreshing, but still felt a bit like a breakfast juice with added naughtiness. As my bestie Danni says, it was past 11am somewhere in the world so alcohol is totally OK for us to be having at 5am

Second perk of World Duty Free airports. You can enjoy free drinks at the bar! This wasn't just for us. You can go up to the bar and enjoy free cocktails. If that doesn't put you in the holiday spirit I really don't know what will. Free cocktails always scream out VIP to me so I definitely started to feel like a part of the Kardashian clan getting treated before their next travel adventure
World Duty Free Stansted
The third and final perk I want to introduce you to is FREE MAKEOVERS. Yes that is right, free makeovers. They have so many beauty counters and each one can offer consultations or complete makeovers for absolutely free. Just what I needed as I had no makeup on due to my 3.30am wake up and being so blurry eyed in the AM that I just could not cope with makeup at that time

I was booked in at Urban Decay and Danni went for Bobbi Brown. But we could have gone to Chanel, Benefit, Lancome etc etc. The World Duty Free section was our beauty oyster. All you have to do is just talk to the member of staff on that particular beauty section

Danni went for a natural makeup look with a bit of a statement lip, whereas my Urban Decay look was all about the eyes that resembled a sunrise with yellow and orange tones. The best thing about this is it also allows you to try out products you have been wanting to for a while, as well as have flawless makeup for the day as it was applied by a professional
Since this makeover I have now bought pretty much everything Urban Decay that was used on my face. The foundation, the prep spray, the lash primer, the brow beater. Tried, tested, loved, bought. And obviously you can't forget about the discounts you get at World Duty Free seeing as you are doing tax free shopping. The best place to pick up your beauty bargains
World Duty Free Stansted

If you remember these perks for the next time you fly, I can guarantee it will make your whole trip so much better. You will enter your holiday feeling like a VIP and who doesn't love that kind of feeling? Not to mention you'll be entering your holiday with a face of makeup fiercer than a lion and that alone is truly worth it. I did not want to take my makeup off that night at all

You can also visit the Concierge desk which will be at any World Duty Free if you have any further questions. They are there to help you out!
Thank you World Duty Free!
VIP Treatment is complimentary and open to anyone, but my time at the airport was organised by the PR's with little extra perks that aren't mentioned in this post. All views and opinions are my own

NEW // Neon Power

Thursday, 16 February 2017

I don't just shoot fashion bloggers and their OOTD's, or fashion editorials. I can also shoot just simple portraits for whatever you may need them for. Check out what I do over at Fordtography - my portfolio

Sian got in touch with me as she wanted some portraits for her blog. Mainly for her "about me" section, but it turns out she booked in with me for a whole bigger reason than just the fact she wanted portraits

I don't want to detract from what Sian has so beautifully written, and been so open and honest about, so I implore you to go read her blog post about our shoot
It has filled my heart with warmth and glee that I have been able to help someone break free from things that used to terrify them, and that I have been able to help with anxiety and insecurities and completely make a person forget they even had them to begin with

It makes me think about the journey I will soon be taking as I am booked in with Alexandra Cameron for a body confidence shoot. I am a photographer, I take other peoples pictures, I don't ever take my own and it is time I break free from that and try and boost my own confidence
It has been proven that I can help boost others confidence, so I need to step in front of the camera myself and see how beautiful I can be. I also need some professional headshots for my website but I may as well try and be body confident whilst I have some time with Alexandra. Her shots mesmerise me, and being a photographer myself, I know she will be the one for me and to help me out

This is the kind of feedback I only ever want to hear within my photography. I don't really care about the fact I am not getting major Vogue campaigns (although it would be nice and is a dream of mine), I love the fact that I can actually help people through my art and my work. And maybe this is the way forward for me. If a shoot with someone can help increase their confidence and eliminate anxieties and fears they had, then that is worth more than its weight in gold to me and definitely the client is getting major value for their money from me

Since this shoot with Sian, I have actually had others enquire with me as they want to do the same. They want to do something that scares them and it seems a logical thing to book in for a photo shoot with me after reading about somebody's experience. I am all for this way of helping people within their lives and I would love to do more of this

But back on to the shoot itself. Sian explained how she wanted a Winter feel to her images, and she always feels wintery all wrapped up under the glow of lights (because yanno it gets dark super early and so all we can do is walk around basked in the glow of warm lights)
Neon lights are everywhere at the moment, and the main area for this I can think of is Soho. So we took a wander around Soho and I shot away. Something new and different for me as I am so used to shooting in daylight, but this was shoot was so exciting and so much fun because it does present problems when you are the photographer

You do have to get the angles just right of your model, whilst also making the shots candid and not too forced or posed. You need a camera that can focus and cope with high ISO's, as well as a lens that can let a lot of light in. I was using my 50mm F1.4 at an aperture of about 2.8 for these shots and luckily my Canon EOS 6D can go to decent ISO's with no loss of image quality

Revive Your Lunch Life

Monday, 13 February 2017

Do you ever get stuck in a lunchtime rut? Ugh same to be honest. It can be such a nightmare. £3 meal deals just add up as well during the month and before you know it you realise you have spent a lot of money on expensive and disappointing store bought sandwiches

New Covent Garden want to help revive your lunch life and get you out of this sandwich rut! Their cartons are suitable for 3 servings and will survive at least a week within the fridge, and they are totally resealable so you can just pour out your serving, heat it up, stick it in a flask and off you head to the office
However, they have challenged me to revive my lunch life by not only trying out their soups but also by making a quick and easy batch accompaniment that will give the soup a little extra something something

When I have soup I like to eat it with something that will give it a bit of crunch and will help compliment the flavour of soup I choose. But I also need something that is quick to make and I can make a batch of to store and keep for whenever I want soup
Bread is a popular complement to soup, but it won't last a week or longer. However, something that will is crackers! Crackers are something you normally store buy and never think of making yourself, but actually they are so quick and easy to make at home. 45 minutes within an evening and then you have a batch of about 100 crackers, and you can flavour them in any way you want to

Best thing with making your own crackers is not only choosing whatever flavouring and topping you want, but also if they start to lose their crunch you can just heat them back up in the oven to re-crisp them up. It's so easy and hardly costs anything!

I topped my crackers with paprika as I knew straight away I would be having New Covent Garden's Skinny Peri Peri Chicken soup and it seemed like the perfect way to make a complimentary cracker to this soup. It would also go so well with the roasted tomato soup and helps give it a little zing

To make your own crackers you will need:
- 3 cups flour (what is this cups measurement?! I managed to convert it to approx 385g)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teapsoons salt
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or any kind of oil really. I used whatever I had lying around
- 1 cup water. Again, with the cup measurement. Approx 230ml
- Whatever toppings you want! You can choose from herbs, spices, seeds, sea salt, pepper. The world is your oyster with this to create whatever you want

You want to preheat your oven to Gas Mark 8 and then it is as simple as mixing together the dry ingredients, and then adding the oil and the water and stirring until a soft and sticky dough is formed

Divide the dough into two halves and set one half aside. Sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour as you need to pat the dough into a thick square and then rooooooooooll it thin. You can roll it as thin or as thick as you want, but with crackers you want about 1/8 inch thick ideally. Once you have rolled it out you can sprinkle the dough with whatever topping you choose! But before doing that lightly sprinkle a bit of water on to the dough and then your topping

I then used a pizza cutter to cut my crackers up into rectangular shapes and I placed them on to a baking tray. Make sure to prick with a fork before placing in the oven, this prevents them from puffing up during baking. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges are golden brown, take out, leave to cool, and then place them in an airtight container until you want to enjoy

Complete the same process with the second lump of dough you had and you should have a decent amount of crackers for a week easily

It really is as easy as that and took me about 30 minutes in total

It really is easy to create your own crackers to enjoy with any flavour of soup you wish. It is also as easy as spending 30 minutes one evening baking, and then heating some soup up in the morning, sticking in a thermos and taking your crackers and soup into the office as a lunch treat. It also saves a lot of money and beats those disappointing sandwich blues. Get out of that rut and enjoy your lunch life again!

Are you going to revive your lunch life? What's your ultimate accompaniment?
Flask and compensation for soup/ingredients were provided to me. All views, opinions, ideas are my own

Perfect Valentines Night In

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Valentines isn't too far away now and I always love having a date night on Valentines. However what do you do if you don't fancy going out? You don't always have to go out out to celebrate V-Day and you can have a real lovely time inside as much as going outside to fancy restaurants

Even if it means Netflix & Chill is your perfect Valentines date night. Go for it. You do you! Here are just some of my ideas though for the perfect Valentines night in
EatFirst Valentines Menu
Press Image from EatFirst

If you are London based in zones 1-4, consider bringing the restaurant to the comfort of your own home by using EatFirst. EatFirst brings you meals that are cooked by London's best chefs, and then chilled for delivery to your house where you can reheat when the perfect candlelit dinner time is set. (You could also trick your bae into saying you cooked these amazing dishes)
Their Valentines menu is available from the 7th Feb until the 14th Feb and features some real Italian treats like Beef Meatball Tagliolini (£7.95) and Duck Ragu Papperdelle (£8.95). You can even get the wine paired with your dishes and delivered. Reasonable prices and exceptional quality. Just visit EatFirst or download the app to find out more!
Lekue ChocoFondue

For dessert or as a decadent treat with some wine/prosecco/GIN, why not consider your own chocolate fondue by using Lekue's ChocoFondue. Chocolate and strawberries is always considered romantic and decadent, and you can indulge yourselves by making your own fondue quickly and all in the microwave also. Simply fill up Lekue's ChocoFondue with water, put the red lid on top, fill the spaces with whichever chocolate you want, and then all you need to do is pop in the microwave for a few minutes. Really easy and simple. Give it a stir once taken out of the microwave and enjoy melted chocolate for over an hour. Surprise your bae with their favourite chocolate melted up and use fresh fruit, marshmallows, profiteroles, nuts, bread, or anything else you may want to dip in. I do love using fresh strawberries and marshmallows. FYI, melted Toblerone is the one. You can have that tip for free
Lekue ChocoFondue

Cuddle up together under a blanket and watch your perfect date night movie. Just because it is Valentines doesn't mean you have to watch rom coms (unless you are both into rom coms of course). Watch something new that will interest both of you. Keep your chocolate fondue hanging around for snack-age and you got the perfect little love nest in front of the TV. Me and Connor are currently watching a documentary on Netflix called "Locked Up", about people in jails/prisons in the US and we are obsessed. There is nothing better than us snuggling up and watching this programme together
Lush Bubble Bar

Lastly, for the most perfect romantic date night in, why not consider sharing a bubble bath before bed? I love baths and so does Connor. Even better is when you get Lush involved! Their valentines collection is amaze this year and this Lovestruck bubble bar is too cute not to gift and use. I love a good bath bomb also, but bubble bars last a lot longer and create that romantic bubble bath. Set some candles up safely and you have the perfect wind down after a top notch night in full of love for each other
Post features press samples. All views and opinions are my own

Red Hot Lyps for V-Day

Monday, 6 February 2017

Valentines day is coming up and that normally means it is time to prepare to pucker up for whomever your Valentine may be that day. Whether it be your boyfriend or girlfriend, and even your own family like your sister, mother, father, your sister from another mister, brother from another mother. Valentines is all about showing love, care, and affection for anyone within our lives that we have love for (although I like to think we should show love any and every day) so even you singletons can get involved

How am I prepping for that valentines kiss? With Lypsyl. This is mine and my boyfriend's first valentines day together and so I want it to be extra special, but I can't do that if I am not looking or feeling good about myself. With Valentines day being in February also my skin suffers. It suffers really bad and it gets all dry, dehydrated, sensitive and sore. My lips are the worst. You can't be going round spreading Valentines love with chapped lips! (or dry hands either FYI. Soften those babies up for any hand holding moments)
Lypsyl have a new and improved formula to ensure your lips stay in peak kissable condition, as well as some new flavours to tantalise. Each new formula balm includes shea and cocoa butters, avocado oil, beeswax, aloe vera and vitamin E. These are ingredients that have been proven to hydrate and soothe and they really do work. They also feature SPF which is a must for any skincare I reckon, regardless of it being Winter currently

To go with the romance vibe you can get two flavours in red packaging. Strawberry and Pomegranate (which is my faaaaaaave) as well as Cherry and Almond. There are other flavours if these aren't up your street such as original, Vanilla, Coconut and Almond, Cucumber and Aloe, Mint and Fennel. The Vanilla one is an SPF of 50 FYI and the rest are SPF 15

The boyfriend has actually stolen my Strawberry and Pomegranate flavour so I might say that is one of his Valentines day gifts ;) but at least it means we both have kissable lips ready for valentines day and whatever plans we end up having for it

How are you getting ready for Valentines day?
Lypsyl items were sent for review. But all opinions and views are my own

NEW // Defences

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

I don't just photograph fashion bloggers. I photograph people in general. I love taking portraits and capturing people within moments. Documenting and capturing candid moments. I think this stems from the fact I used to document London Fashion Week runways and backstage moments, and that documentation shows a moment in time that you can never get back again

So yeah as well as photographing all you Fbloggers out there, I also photograph people and moments. I have a few friends in bands, and one of them asked me to photograph their band and some behind the scenes of a new music video shoot of theirs

NEW // Joey, Northern Magpie Blog

Friday, 27 January 2017

Joey, Northern Magpie blog
Joey of Northern Magpie blog is a blogger that I have followed for ages and have always admired her style of fashion as well as the aesthetic to the images she posts also
When she got in touch with me to shoot I jumped at the chance! I just knew I had to shoot her and see what we could create together

Her style of images is very grunge and gritty and I thought that certain areas of Shoreditch would be perfect for this! There is plenty of street art around Shoreditch which always helps give a cool and hip urban vibe to images

A weekend in Amsterdam

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Amsterdam is a city that I see loads of people go to, fall in love with and then want to live there, yet I have never actually been myself and it never used to intrigue me
It only really intrigued me within the last year when I noticed blogger baes such as Leigh Travers and Queen Beady go a lot and adore it and their Amsterdam content made me want to go so badly. I ended up booking a last minute trip with my bae Connor the weekend before Christmas

I now completely understand the appeal for Amsterdam and, like a cliche, I fell in love with the place and can't wait to make a trip back

Detox your Skin with Sönd

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

January tends to be a time for new beginnings. New diets: Veganuary and dry January, new gym regimes, new ways in which to change ourselves for the better and make ourselves a better person for 2017. Have you ever considered something such as a skin detox though?
I didn't know you could even detox your skin! The people over at Sönd skin, with the help of Dr Isabel Sharkar, have created videos and a skin detox regime to help explain a skin detox for any of us sensitive skin sufferers to undergo. Because beauty starts from the inside out
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