For the past 3 years that I have been blogging, and whenever Easter has arrived, there is always one thing that I look forward to each time which is, a bundle of gorgeous treats from Betty’s! I feel proud and lucky to be able to work with such an iconic brand known both nationally and internationally, so it feels only right to share with you; Betty’s Easter Gifts for 2019!
I had been gifted some treats which include:
Trio of Filled Chocolate Eggs - £10.50
A gorgeous little box which contains 3 pastel coloured eggs, all made from Betty’s finest Swiss Chocolate! A white chocolate egg filled with vanilla caramel, a pink egg filled with raspberry ganache and an eau de nil egg filled with Moët & Chandon and Marc de Champagne ganache. All of which have been hand-decorated with Royal iced-spring flowers. To purchase, click here!
Praline & Milk Chocolate Eggs - £7.95
A continental styled paper cone, this treat contains both solid milk and praline-filled milk chocolate eggs! A fun way to enjoy some delicious Easter goodies with Betty’s illustrations displayed on it. To purchase, click here!
Dark Chocolate Shimmer Egg - £7.50
A Venezuelan dark chocolate easter egg, a perfect alternative to those who favour dark chocolate to milk chocolate (I know I do!) - hand finished with a gold lustre and a piped design based around Betty’s Centenary emblem!
To purchase, click here.
Betty’s Tea Room Blend (80 Tea Bags) - £4.25
A fragrant blend of teas from East Africa and Assam, these teabags can be enjoyed at any given time and these come encased in the stylish box designed by Yorkshire artist; Emily Sutton! To purchase, click here.
Milk and White Speckled Rabbits - £7.50
A group of 4 Spring rabbits, these were created using milk and white Swiss Grand Cru chocolate which are presented on a milk chocolate base. So tasty! To purchase, click here.
I hope you have enjoyed this tasty guide from Betty’s, hopefully to inspire you when it comes to selecting your Easter treats for this upcoming Easter weekend! (Friday 19th - Monday 22nd April).
For more details and to have a look at the full range of Betty’s Easter treats, simply click here, or why not pop along to one of their cafes/tea rooms such as Harrogate, Harlow Carr, York, Stonegate, Ilkley, North Allerton!
Have you visited Betty’s before? If so, which tea room did you go to? Do you have any favourites from Betty’s? Let me know below as I would love to hear from you and don’t forget to click the ‘like’ button!
I had the pleasure of being able to attend the recent launch of Jo Malone’s newest collection; Blossom. The e-vite came through and it promised to be an ‘immersive way to experience the new Blossoms Collection through sound, vision and scent.’ Having attended Jo Malone events before, I knew I was going to attend something rather special, and so I naturally jumped at the chance of going!
JO MALONE - BLOSSOMS COLLECTION
The event took place at Victoria House in London, and as I made my way through the entrance, a whole sea of Jo Malone goody bags were there to greet us with different lights twinkling to set the mood. I then navigated through several dark rooms, and I stumbled across a long corridor with tranquil music playing throughout, again with different coloured lights changing with every beat. Once through the corridor, I walked into a large room with a long table in the middle of it displaying the most beautiful of flowers which proudly took centre stage with a DJ playing the latest tracks in the background.
What initially caught my eye when I first walked in, were these 4 rooms, hidden behind a fuzzy screen, all of which were lit up in different colours to represent the four Limited Edition Blossom scents;
Green - Star Magnolia
Pink - Silk Blossom
Yellow - Frangipani Flower
Orange - Orange Blossom
My personal favourites were the Star Magnolia and the classic Orange Blossom and much to my delight, the Orange Blossom was actually found inside my goody bag which made for the perfect treat in time for Spring! I will be doing a separate blog review on the Orange Blossom fragrance shortly, so do check back for that.
The full Blossoms Collection includes:
Frangipani Flower Cologne 30ml £49 // 100ml £98
Silk Blossom Cologne - 30ml £49 // 100ml £98
Star Magnolia Cologne - 30ml £49 // 100ml £98
Orange Blossom Cologne - 30ml £49 // 100ml £98
Silk Blossom Home Candle - 200g // £49
Star Magnolia Hair Mist - 50ml // £44
Orange Blossom Hair Mist - 50ml // £44
Orange Blossom Diffuser - 165ml // £65
I had a wonderful time at the Blossoms Collection Launch and I found it to be a unique, innovative way to experience fragrance! The Blossoms Collection is out now and is out for a limited time only, so do be quick to try out these treats! For more details, click here.
For more of my Jo Malone reviews and events, see below!
Have you smelt any of the Blossoms scents and fragrances yet? Do you have any favourites? If so, which ones? Will you be trying any of these out? Have any of these caught your eye? Let me know below as I would love to hear from you and don’t forget to click the ‘like’ button!
I am still riding high on that Prague hype and to be quite honest, I have no plans to come down anytime soon! Following my recent trip to the beautiful city, I came across five gorgeous little cafes and eateries that were both as aesthetically pleasing as they were tasty! I wanted to put together this little blog post as a guide and inspiration in case you were looking for those ‘Instagram Cafes’ in Prague, somewhere worthy of being on your Instagram feeds (whilst being delicious, of course.)
Situated on Rytířská 10, Café Café was the first stop on my cafe/restaurant list that I made whilst in Prague. I liked how stylish the decor was and particularly liked the Vogue Czech covers blown up on the wall as you walked in which instantly made the place feel chic! Perfect for that Instagram shot. I opted for their avocado and ham sandwich which was so, so tasty and wolfed it down with a rum and coke! You can find Café Café just 2 minutes away from Old Town Square, ideal if you’re wanting to stay within that area, and if you like industrial decor with a twist of glamour, then I would advise you to check it out!
Cafefin was a real hidden gem that I had no idea about until somebody recommended it to me on my first night! A cute, cosy, warm, little cafe found at Nám. Jiřího z Poděbrad 4, 120 00, Praha 2. This cafe in terms of logistics and to get a better idea of where to find it - if you were at Charles Bridge or Old Town Square then it is a good 40 minute walk away. Yes that’s right, 4-0 minutes. Of course, there is the tram service which would get you there a lot quicker, however, if you want to really soak in the atmosphere and get away from the busy, touristy, hustle and bustle, then the 40 minute walk isn’t so bad! I actually enjoyed walking around and got a real authentic feel to Prague whilst looking up at the stunning architecture of the buildings along the way. Once I arrived, I opted for the ‘big breakfast’ which came with sausages, eggs, toast, avocado, beans, salad and bacon. A real feast with a very Instagrammable ‘Pink Latte’ to wash it down with!
Now, Bar Cobra was right up my street. Slick, understated with a real chilled out vibe! On the outside, you could easily walk right past it without knowing what it was, but once inside, the decor had an industrial feel to it and the rounded ceiling gave an impression that was reminiscent to a bunker? I didn’t get food from here as I found it was more of a bar than a cafe/restaurant and I opted for Kraken Rum - neat, and similar to Cafefin, Bar Cobra was around a 30 minute walk from Old Town Square but in the opposite direction, just behind the National Technical Museum. Bar Cobra can be found at Milady Horákové 8, Praha 7 and there you will find many Instagram opportunities!
EMA ESPRESSO BAR
I visited EMA Espresso Bar on my last morning arriving there at 10am and looking back, I wish I had got there a little earlier… It was rather busy when I went (but with good reason!) I went for a latte which was probably the nicest latte I had had during my trip to Prague, and I’ll admit, I panicked slightly when deciding what to eat as I didn’t understand what each items were, so out of panic I pointed to this pizza shaped looking treat with berries on top. You’re probably thinking ‘ew’, but honestly, it was SO tasty! Plus, it was covered in berries so I classed that as my ‘5 a day’… Despite being busy, I managed to grab a seat by the window and it was nice to just pass a little time, people watching and hearing the different languages that people spoke around me. The interior was clean, minimalistic and very modern. Instagram heaven! EMA (the one at Masaryk Railway Station) - Na Florenci 3, Praha 1.
Prior to arriving in Prague, no matter which Instagram account I looked on for Prague inspiration, I kept seeing these ice cream treats everywhere! I did a little investigating and found that although you can get these ice cream treats pretty much anywhere (and everywhere) in Prague, Good Food do them the best. I think what sets Good Food apart from the others is that they base their designs solely for the purpose of Instagram, and well, just look at what me and my friend had! I had the ‘Strawberry Kiss’ and my friend opted for the ‘Devils Chimney’. A definite must if you’re visiting Prague! You can find Good Food 30 yards away from Charles Bridge on the Klementinium side.
I hope this guide has helped you for any future trips to Prague that you may have coming up, and to add some inspiration to your Instagram feeds! These were definitely my favourite spots whilst I was there, and I will most certainly be returning to these again on my next trip. Let me know what you think down below, possibly any new cafes/bars I should check out next time?
Following my recent blog on my struggles with mental health, I had stated that prior to feeling low, my trip to Prague had already been booked, and thank God it was! Prague was the perfect escape and a trip of many firsts for me;
My first solo trip abroad
My first time visiting the Czech Republic
My first time hearing the Czech language
My first time being away from the TV for more than 24 hours… (Thank God for record.)
I have a friend who rents out holiday apartments in Prague, and I had been told that I would be able to fly out and stay over whenever possible and naturally I jumped at the chance and in my head I was already booking time off work… Now, I want to be clear that this trip was not in exchange for a blog post/review, nor was it to promote their apartments! I wanted to mention the accommodation in this blog post regardless as it was genuinely a beautiful place to stay so I guess this is classed as an #AD but not an #AD? Anyway! I also have been lucky enough to be able to share a discount code for you all, should you choose to visit and stay in Prague, so keep reading until the end!
I flew out to Prague on Sunday 31st March and came back on Thursday 4th April. I was rather nervous about this trip as I felt spending 5 days alone, abroad, in a foreign city was rather daunting and my biggest worry was ‘What if I get bored after the first day or two?’ If only I knew how wrong I would have been for thinking this! I flew from Leeds/Bradford Airport and after a brief 2 hour flight, I landed into Prague at 8.30pm.
Once I arrived in Prague, my transfer had been arranged and off we set to the accommodation. I couldn’t see much due to it being pitch black outside, but as we were driving through the hills, I was in complete amazement by the sheer size of the houses. I would even go as far as to say they were mansions? As we left the hills behind, we drove past the ‘Dancing House’ and I knew I wasn’t too far away at this point. We pulled up to the apartments - Escape to Prague, and I had been given a quick tour around the building and shown into my apartment. My first thought? ‘WOWOWOW this is huge for little old me!’ My apartment sprawled across 4 rooms which had its own bathroom, kitchen/diner, a lounge and then a rather large bedroom with two double beds. Bliss!
On the first night, I made the decision of staying in and catching an early night, mainly because I wanted to wake up extra early the following morning to really maximise my time whilst in Prague and I knew if I had a lie in, I’d have been fuming. The first night was a strange one I’ll admit. Despite the building feeling incredibly safe and secure with many doors being locked etc, I still felt slightly on edge as for those of you who don’t know, I am deaf, and for those of you who also don’t know, when I go to bed to sleep, I take my hearing aids out. I will talk more about this in a separate blog post as I feel I have some tips on how to tackle this if you’re deaf yourself and are unsure about travelling and feeling safe alone!
My first morning in Prague began at 8am and as I began to get ready, I remember thinking ‘Crikey, is the heating on?’ only to realise that actually, it was 16 degrees outside! I had arrived in Prague at the most perfect time weather-wise and off I set for the day. The Head of Franz Kafka was situated just 2 streets away from where I was staying and was my first destination on my ‘tourist checklist.’ As I made my way through the streets of Prague, I kept looking around in awe of the beautiful detailing of the architecture, and the whole city had a very clean feel to it as a whole. I then arrived at Old Town Square which has the iconic Astronomical Clock with the U bílého jednorožce taking centre stage. I completely fell in love with the whole area and came to realise that everywhere in Prague is near enough centred around this area!
I then ventured over to Charles Bridge where I climbed up the steps to get a better ‘Instagram’ view of the bridge from above inside one of their towers, and it is definitely worth visiting! Once I had taken in the view, I then stayed over on that particular side of the bridge and came across:
Lennon Wall - Brightly coloured wall found hidden away just a few metres from Charles Bridge, expect to find many tributes to John Lennon with many Beatles lyrics and graffiti. Please note, this area gets incredibly busy with tourists so if you were to visit, I’d recommend getting there early morning or on an evening!
Petrin Gardens - Prague’s beauty spot, Petrin Gardens overlooks all of the main iconic features and I found this area of Prague simply beautiful and very peaceful! If you visit in Spring, then expect to find many Blossom trees dotted around!
St. Nicholas Church - I couldn’t resist stepping inside this particular church, and I am so glad I did! The architecture is absolutely breathtaking and at just 100CZK for entry, it’s absolutely worth it.
Prague Castle View Point - No matter which direction you’re coming from, please bear in mind that it is all uphill! Trust me, I tried 2 different approaches before deciding to just power on through. Once I was up there, again, I was in awe. Similar to Petrin Gardens, this viewpoint gives a panoramic view of many of the Prague attractions and a little tip for you! There is a Starbucks cafe at the top with the most gorgeous cherry blossom tree too.
I then retreated to Café Café for a late lunch where the vibe inside was incredibly chic and stylish with many Vogue covers adorning the walls before heading back to my apartment to recharge my phone and camera - the downside of trying to capture everything! After a quick change, I headed back out at around 8pm before finding a bite to eat and I climbed the other side of Charles Bridge tower to have a different viewpoint lit up at night, and again - beautiful!
The following morning came, and after having seen how busy the Old Town Square the day before, I got there for 7:30am only to find a wedding photoshoot was taking place and I actually thought the photos were rather sweet which is why I have included it here! I then walked over to the Dancing House and had been recommended a cafe for brunch; Cafefin! (I do have another blog coming out this week with the chic cafes/restaurants I visited whilst there hence the reason for being vague about them in this particular blog.)
After brunch, I made the mistake of walking back over to the other side of Charles Bridge and the reason I say mistake is due to not realising that the walk from Cafefin to Charles Bridge was near enough 45 minutes! Having said that however, I am glad I did walk it rather than take a tram as it meant I got to soak in the atmosphere and take in all of the surroundings. Once I had arrived at my destination, I knew I had to travel back up to Prague Castle View Point in order for me to get to St. Vitus Cathedral, and I know this is becoming a little repetitive and boring hearing me ramble on about how beautiful Prague was, but honestly, it was BREATHTAKING! St. Vitus Cathedral is also the huge building that dominates the Prague skyline when looking at it from afar which is something I only realised once inside.
I then took to the streets of Prague once again and this time came across Jewish Quarter situated just a street away from the Old Town Square, my idea of heaven! Celine, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and many more designer luxury stores can be found here. For the evening I then met up with my friends who coincidentally were in Prague at the same time as me, and even more of a coincidence, we were all on the same street!
My last full day came and it felt bittersweet for me as this was the day I finally felt like I’d settled in so to speak. I had done all of the tourist attractions, visited those Instagram/photography hotspots, worked out which shortcuts to take and I felt as though I could take it easy and not have to worry about rushing to an area to say that I’d been and whatnot! I took a stroll around the city streets and stumbled across a secret garden tucked away out of the busy hustle and bustle of the tourists; Vojanovy Sady. I came across the biggest cherry blossom tree I think I have ever seen in my life, I could even go as far to say it was the size of a small house!? Inside the tree were peacocks, hidden away making various noises that could be heard from across the gardens. If you ever get the chance to visit Prague, make this secret garden a priority, you won’t regret it!
The final night came and I caught up with my friends and we treated ourselves to Prague’s iconic snack, an ice cream with a waffle/dough based cone! Yummy. As I began packing for departure the following day, I took a moment to reflect and my time in Prague felt as though it had all taken place in one day. The time just seemed to have vanished and I actually felt rather sad about leaving as I mentioned earlier, I felt more adjusted to the city and completely fell in love with it all! If you have never been to Prague and have always wondered what it was like, then just go. You won’t regret it!
*For my trip I stayed at Escape To Prague Apartments and stayed in the King Wenceslas 6 apartment. I have also been lucky enough to share a discount code with you all which will knock 10% off your stay! DISCOUNT CODE: LUKE10 Valid until early December 2020 but excludes both Christmas and New Year 2019.
For the past couple of weeks, my mental health hadn’t been too great - so much so, that I decided to take a step back from both my blog and social media channels.
Having been a blogger now for three years, I found myself in a position that I wasn’t used to, nor had I felt before. I was constantly comparing myself to others on social media. Where I was in my life compared to others, whether it be my job, social life, my blog, feeling like I wasn’t moving forward yet everybody around me was, and I was even comparing my own physical appearance and body to others that I viewed on social media.
The overwhelming thoughts of ‘That’s it now, you’ve peaked - you’ve had your moment and nobody cares what you do next.’ ‘You’re clearly not good at what you do because you would be doing what they’re doing.’ ‘You’re shit.’ kept swirling around in my head, and I guess I just began to feel bogged down and as though these thoughts were right.
Why was I blogging? What was the point? Does anybody actually care? Do I even enjoy this anymore?
As these thoughts became louder and my feelings became more mixed, I could feel my enthusiasm levels dwindling, not only for my blog, but for everything in general. I remember one Sunday I left my home and drove around aimlessly for 7 long hours almost in a daze until coming to the realisation that actually, it didn’t matter if others didn’t care, because I knew I no longer did.
People around me knew that something wasn’t right as I became quieter and began to withdraw from conversations and making an effort. It’s hard sometimes as I feel that I enjoy and love making people laugh so when I do, I tend to be rather dramatic (I blame my love for Tiffany Pollard/New York for this) so that when I do feel down, I fear that I won’t be taken seriously as I myself, try not to take life too seriously.
Luckily I was strong enough to be able to make the decision of taking a step back from social media and my blog as I could feel this was the main cause of my low mood and negative thoughts. The love and messages that came through once I had told my followers that I wasn’t feeling too great mentally, took me by surprise. Perhaps I had got into my head too much at this point? But I couldn’t shake off that ‘failure’ feeling. A colleague at work told me that she thought I was brave for putting myself out there for as I came across as vulnerable which got me to thinking… We need to start opening up more of a dialogue when it comes to mental health, and it certainly shouldn’t be seen as something that’s embarrassing, nor will it make you appear weak!
Being somebody who wears their heart on their sleeve, I try to be as transparent as possible, which is why I’m writing this. In my process of moving forward, I have since unfollowed those who no longer make me feel good about myself. I’ve just written that sentence and I have just cringed.
OF COURSE YOU SHOULDN’T BE FOLLOWING ANYBODY WHO DOESN’T MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF. FACT. END OF. PERIOD. THE END. GOODBYE. SEE YA LATER. TOODALOO. SHEEYA.
Prior to me feeling this way, I had booked a trip away to Prague, and I’ve always been a huge believer in ‘Everything happens for a reason’ and I truly believe that this trip was supposed to have happened at this particular time in my life for me to be able to step away from everything, and re-evaluate what is important to me. Having this time away from familiar surroundings allowed me to push myself out of my comfort zone and to switch off. I remember feeling apprehensive when the plane was beginning to land back in Leeds/Bradford airport in case all of those dark, negative thoughts came flooding back and I’ll be honest, those thoughts aren’t as loud anymore.
I do enjoy blogging, and having had the time away to reflect, I now know what is important to me and what simply isn’t. If I don’t get a chance to post on a particular date or a time, then it’s okay! I have now realised and learnt that sometimes, it’s not always about how much or how little you post, it’s about how you feel when doing something. If it makes you feel good, then that’s all that matters. I’m fully aware some people may read this and think ‘Oh chuffin’ ‘ell, what’s he got to whinge about???’ but writing this and posting it is a way forward for me. So that I am able to reflect on this period in time, and hopefully I’ll be able to see how far I’ll have come since then.
If you are struggling or struggle with your mental health, then please don’t suffer in silence.
With Mother’s Day fast approaching us here in the United Kingdom this Sunday 31st March, I have put together a little Gift Guide of fragrances that will win your Mother over and make her day!
MARC JACOBS - DAISY (SUNSHINE EDITION)
Top Notes: Strawberry, Violet
Middle Notes: Marigold
Base Notes: Woody Notes, Wild Berries
A must have for any woman in your life, Daisy by Marc Jacobs is instantly recognisable with its floral-woody presence throughout its performance.
The Limited Edition ‘Sunshine’ fragrance differs to the original Daisy by feeling a little more fruity with the Strawberry note remaining prominent throughout that feels fresh, light and refreshing which is perfect for the upcoming Spring/Summer seasons.
If your Mother enjoys a fragrance that has a fruity kick to it, then this is the scent for her! To purchase, click here.
TOM FORD - SANTAL BLUSH
Top Notes: Cinnamon, Caraway, Spices, Carrot Seeds, Fenugreek
Middle Notes: Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, Rose
Base Notes: Musk, Sandalwood, Virginia Cedar, Benzoin, Oud
A sophisticated fragrance with its creamy, warm notes of the Sandalwood and Spices with rich and floral tones which makes this fragrance feel both mysterious and exotic. A confident scent that although has a soft projection, it leaves you wanting more.
Perfect for your Mother if she is a strong woman who knows exactly who she is, but wants to leave an air of mystery about her… To purchase, click here.
CHLOE - NOMADE
Top Notes: Mirabelle, Bergamot, Lemon, Orange
Middle Notes: Freesia, Jasmine, Peach, Rose
Base Notes: Oakmoss, Amberwood, Patchouli, Sandalwood, White Musk
Nomade by Chloé is a take on its original ‘Chloé’ fragrance which was launched back in 2008 and is a staple in many womens fragrance collections!
The Nomade scent differs by feeling less floral than the original, and more ‘dirty’ by focusing on a more earthier, woodier feel. A fragrance that is possibly the heaviest within this Gift Guide, this is ideal for your Mother if she prefers a stronger, more powerful scent!
To purchase, click here.
CALVIN KLEIN - WOMEN
Top Notes: Eucalyptus, Black Pepper, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon
Middle Notes: Orange Blossom, Magnolia, Jasmine, Hedione, Raspberry, Tea
Base Notes: Cedar, Olibanum, Ambroxan, Cashmeran, Violet, White Musk
Created by Raf Simons, this fragrance is inspired by his passion for photography and the inspiration of strength and power in women. A fresh, clean and linear fragrance, Women feels citrusy with an undertone of the woody notes coming through during the dry-down. If your Mother enjoys a fuss-free fragrance that is fresh and light on the skin, then this is the one for her!
To purchase, click here.
& OTHER STORIES - NOMADS POEM
Top Notes: Plum, Coconut Water
Middle Notes: Patchouli Leaves, Orange Flowers
Base Notes: Black Amber, Marshmallow, Patchouli
A light fragrance that feels spicy yet mellow with its earthy tones running throughout the fragrances performance. Nomads Poem could be classed as unisex, with its delicate touch yet dense feeling which is a complete contradiction in itself which lends for an interesting journey! This fragrance would be perfect if your Mother knows no boundaries and enjoys scents that have an interesting twist to them.
To purchase, click here.
APPLEYARD LONDON - SECRET GARDEN
The bouquet of flowers which have been featured in each of these photographs were kindly gifted to me by Appleyard London for who I am a social ambassador for!
This stunning bouquet features soft pinks and delicate purples with sweet avalanche roses, antique carnations, delicate alstroemeria & soft pink sugar flair hypericum berries.
A perfect alternative gift for this Mother’s Day, and to make things extra special, I have a 20% off code for all bouquets at Appleyard London! CODE: LUKE20
(Please note, this code excludes any additional gifts/add ons and delivery charges.)
To purchase, click here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Gift Guide and I would love to know if any of these have inspired you for when it comes to choosing a gift!
Have you smelt any of these before? If so, which ones? Do you have any favourites? Do you already know what you will be treating your Mother too? Let me know below as I would love to hear from you and don’t forget to click the ‘like’ button!
*Please note, some of these fragrances were gifted to me for the purpose of this Gift Guide.