Inform. Inspire. Innovate

Sunday, 18 December 2016

UncommonGoods; A gift for literally everyone

I'm constantly on the look out for new, unique and innovative gifts for my friends and family, particularly at this time of year. As we get older, I've found it so much harder to buy for people (and write my own wishlists) because generally we're all old enough to be able to afford anything we need for ourselves which leads to the helpless feeling of 'what do I buy someone who has EVERYTHING'?! 

So I've currently been on the UncommonGoods website for 2 hours and 43 minutes, and counting. They offer a massive variety of creative and obviously 'uncommon' gifts for every type of person you could know. Not only is the company a great unique alternative to more standard gifts, but they are also steadily working to make UncommonGoods more environmentally friendly, socially responsible and an ever-more rewarding place to work.

They are commited to creating, A Positive Impact: In the Workplace, In the World, offering Handmade, Recycled and Organic Products, being more green and giving back. In 2001, UncommonGoods created the Better to Give Program, which allows customers to select a non-profit organization to receive a $1 donation from them at checkout. UncommonGoods has donated over $1,000,000 since they have created this initiative. 

Now I don't know about you, but all of those things make me really want to get behind this company. If everyone large retailer thought in the same way, I truly believe the world would be a better place.
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Monday, 12 December 2016

#PartyAfterParty Christmas Dresses with Boohoo

If there's one fashion retailer that all of my friends and family would associate with me, it's Boohoo. I love the variety of everything they offer and that everything is at affordable prices - something that it really important to me right now having a mortgage and a zillion other outgoings. 

Every Christmas I buy a zillion Christmas dresses from Boohoo - most of which I unfortunately don't even end up wearing because I don't have enough occasions to wear them to, and this year yet again, my wardrobe is stocked with their party pieces. 

#PartyAfterParty Christmas Dresses with Boohoo
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Thursday, 8 December 2016

How to be more productive

People often ask me how I manage to juggle so many things with a full time job which sends me flying around the world, a blog, freelance work and blogger events. Even I admit that reading it all back sounds a little crazy that I manage to do everything yet still have time for a life outside all of that!

Someone once told me I need to be working smarter, not harder, so I started to criticize how I spending my time to ensure I was being as productive as possible in as short amount of time as possible to ensure I still had more than enough time to relax and do everything I enjoy.

How to be more productive

Obviously productivity is a personal thing, but here’s my tips on how to be more productive.

  • Spend the first 15 minutes of every day planning for that day

  • Take a look at the list and identify two or three tasks that you NEED to do that day and accept that you may not complete everything but it’s fine for things to be carried over

  • Of all the tasks that are left, prioritise in order of importance

  • Spend the last 20 minutes of every week planning for the following week and repeat the steps above

  • Be flexible in your methods but stubborn with your goals. Sometimes things change and we need to be flexible to adapt to that. Being productive is about being able to change direction quickly when needed

  • Tick things off your to-do list – it’ll make you feel great!

  • Reward yourself. Create mini milestones throughout the day/week and reward yourself with something. Not only will it motivate you to reach your goal, but also it will re-energize you ready to get stuck in again.

  • Declutter your work space. This is a big one for me as I’m really really messy but I do feel much better with a tidy desk – when I get around to doing it…

  • Surround yourself with positive people who motivate you and want to see you do well. This is something I’ve really learnt this year. Negative people who aren’t happy to see you winning are so destructive, more so than you might think

  • Create a motivation quotes board on Pinterest and scroll through when you’re not feeling very productive. I have one and I can’t tell you how much it helps. You’re your biggest cheerleader remember!

  • Make a decision and don’t dwell on it. Hindsight may be a wonderful thing but once a decision is made, it’s made and there’s nothing you can do about it so dwelling on it won’t change anything, you’re only wasting your time. Allow yourself a short amount of time to reflect but do not dwell, there’s a difference

  • Split out your time per task. Don’t spend too long on one task and if it is taking too long, move on to something else and come back to it later with a fresh mind

  • Identify what is stopping you from being productive. For me, it’s my phone, scrolling and re-scrolling through social media all the time. I purposely put it away from me and use ‘phone time’ as a reward when I’ve ticked a few things off my to-do list. Who am I kidding?! When I’ve ticked one thing off my to-do list! But still, the theory is there..!

  • Work out when you’re most productive in the day. My time is definitely in the morning so I usually try and force myself to do all the bigger/harder tasks then and leave easier/smaller tasks to the afternoon

  • As well as writing a to-do list, keep a list of everything you are waiting on so that nothing slips through the net. This is a trick I’ve definitely learnt this year as my job heavily relies on working with a lot of different suppliers, I’m always waiting on something. Sometimes you can forget what you’re waiting for and then you realise months down the line that the task wasn’t done at all

  • Stop working overtime and be harsh on yourself about it. I’m not talking staying late on the odd days, I’m talking about every single day. No job should require you to stay for an extra couple of hours every single day. Either you’re not working hard enough during business hours, or your work load is way too high, in which case, don’t be afraid to talk to your manager

  • Say no. This is something I continue to have a problem with because I say yes to everything and try to please everyone when realistically I can’t do it all. I have got better, and now I don’t feel as guilty saying no but this is definitely something I need to practice.

  • Stop being a perfectionist. I think this one is also hard for a lot of us, especially bloggers who always want to ensure their content is perfect. But keep track of how long you are spending on tasks to ensure they are perfect. Could that time be spent more wisely? Is it worth spending all this time on one task potentially sacrificing others? Probably not most of the time…

  • Don’t try and multi-task, I don’t care what they say about women multi-tasking, it’s basically impossible in most situations and will most likely lead to mistakes.

  • Don’t be afraid to switch from one task to another. I personally need to do this to keep my productivity and motivation up. Spending short amount of time on each task and then going back to it after doing something else for a while really helps me come back with a fresh mind and fresh eyes. It also helps to stop me getting bored of one task and ultimately helps my productivity. I would probably say this tip is the key to my productivity personally.

I hope these tips help you become more productive, let me know if you try any of them out or if there's anything you could add!

Love Lauren xxx




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Monday, 5 December 2016

Nightwear with Next

I would be more than happy if I could spend all my time in my pj's, and with winter well and truly here, all I want to do is cuddle up on the sofa in a comfy outfit watching a film.

With the increased popularity of loungewear, I think a lot of high street brands have really stepped up their game in the loungewear and nightwear department. One of these retailers is Next. With hundreds of choices, there’s a shape, style, colour and design for every taste, which means something for every wish list this Christmas. 

Nightwear by NEXT nightshirt
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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Best 'Black Friday' Week Bargains

There's not much I love more than a bargain. I constantly buy stuff I'll never wear or never need simply because it's on offer or on sale so this week for me is a nightmare! I've been super super good on my spending ban recently so it's finally time to splurge a little in the sales.

I'm going to be keeping this blog post constantly updated between now and next Tuesday after Cyber Monday has calmed down, to bring you the best deals I can find every single day.

Happy Shopping!!
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Monday, 21 November 2016

Why I love working in Travel

For as long as I remember, I’ve wanted to organise events for a living. I have always been very career focused and took all of my a-levels around Events Management before going on to study the subject at University. After a year out in the industry, I realised one of the most exciting parts of working in events was organising the events abroad.

I’ve never been the type to want to go travelling (proper travelling). I take my hat off to people that do, but the whole living out of a backpack in hostels on hardly any money just isn’t my kind of fun. I love to travel and see the world but personally, I’d rather enjoy the experience from a lovely hotel with my 23 kg of luggage for a week… So, a career which means I get to do this while getting paid is the perfect job for me. Okay so I am glamorising it slightly, organising events overseas is often extremely hard work; you’re in a country where you don’t speak the language, far away from home in a strange City where you don’t know where anything is and you’re working 18 hour days every day to ensure the event runs smoothly, but even still, for me, there’s no better job in the world.

Rome Colosseum; working in travel
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Saturday, 19 November 2016

A Taste of Japan; Chicken Teriyaki with Vegetable & Brown Rice Stir Fry

Hopefully you've already caught my posts on my evening at Jamie Oliver's Cookery School and the first of the recipes we cooked - Miso Soup and Pork Gyoza with Gomadare Sauce. My favourite part of everything we made was the teriyaki chicken and stir fry so I wanted to share the recipe with you all.

Chicken Teriyaki with Vegetable & Brown Rice Stir Fry
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Friday, 18 November 2016

A Taste of Japan; Miso Soup and Pork Gyoza with Gomadare Sauce

After a fantastic evening at Jamie Oliver's Cookery School at Westfield Shepherd's Bush, I wanted to share the lovely recipes with you of everything we cooked on the night. This post will focus on Miso Soup and Pork Gyoza with Gomadare Sauce and the next will show you how to make the Stir Fry and Teriyaki Chicken.

Miso Soup and Pork Gyoza with Gomadare Sauce
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Thursday, 17 November 2016

A Taste of Japan at Jamie Oliver's Cookery School

Following on from my recipes for a Greek inspired dinner, I visited Jamie Oliver's brand new Cookery School in London for a Japanese cookery lesson. Jamie Oliver is a household name and his empire is only growing. The latest of his growing enterprises is the Cookery School at Jamie's Italian in Westfield Shepherd's Bush.

It's not a place you would know exists as it's tucked away at the back of the restaurant which actually I really like because it means general guests aren't disturbed by the cookery school and vice versa. Being a new venue, everything is absolutely pristine and well thought out. 

On arrival to the cookery school we were given a glass of prosecco which was a lovely touch before being shown into the 'kitchen' which was a lovely room, with a really homey feel and enough space to cook comfortably. 

On the menu for this lesson was was Miso Soup, Pork Gyoza with Gomadare Sauce, green vegetable & brown rice stir fry and chicken teriyaki. For a two hour lesson, I was really surprised at the amount of items we learnt about and also got to cook, and taste!

A Taste of Japan at Jamie Oliver's Cookery School
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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Healthy Fried Chips using the Tefal ActiFry

I could probably safely say, you've never met anyone that loves junk food more than me. It takes every ounce of my self control not to be stuffing my face with takeaways morning day and night - I save that for the weekends! So if you're anything like me, you're going to love this...

What if I told you, you could get HOMEMADE fried chips, but cooked in a healthy way, that still taste great? If this sounds good to you, you need to invest in an ActiFry. 

Healthy Fried Chips using the Tefal ActiFry
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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Cookie Dough Cupcakes Recipe

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

I'll be the first to admit, I have the sweetest tooth and absolutely love baking. I've had my eye on this recipe for ages and it definitely didn't disappoint. It's pretty easy to make so for those of you, like me, that don't have a natural talent in the kitchen, it's a perfect recipe to wow your guests.

Ingredients

170g baking butter/marg, softened to room temperature - I use Stork
150g light brown sugar 
50g caster sugar
1 large egg
250g plain flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda
225g chocolate chips - or if you're me... the whole bag
Cake cases if you want the serrated edges
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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Personalised Ladybird Books from I Just Love It

I usually spend hours trying to find the perfect gift for people, and the one thing I can always rely on, is personalised gifts. I Just Love It is a website full of personalised gifts, perfect for any occasion. 

We all remember our beloved ladybird books from childhood, telling the tales of our favourite stories. Well the books are back, with an adult, modern and personalised twist. 

Personalised Ladybird Books from I Just Love It
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Thursday, 27 October 2016

Best Restaurants in London - My Top Four

After having so much fun writing my previous post on my favourite bars in London, reminiscing about many fabulous nights dancing until I can hardly walk, I decided I couldn’t possibly write about London without mentioning the food.

Deciding on my top four restaurants in London to write about was ridiculously difficult. Firstly, there’s too many to even count (and I love them all for different reasons), and secondly, I have a list as long as my arm of restaurants I keep meaning to try but as they’re not tried and tested just yet, I can’t include them – but I guess that’s another blog post in the making.

For those of you who know me, I’m a big meat eater, so anywhere I recommend will be very meat orientated. I’m definitely not a food snob either so all of the below are places to visit if you like simply good food and a great atmosphere.

Best Restaurants in London
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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Best Bars in London - My Top Four

This time last year, I wrote a post about how I used to say I would never live or work in London and yet now, I have completely fallen in love with the City and everything it has to offer.

Having been inspired to write this post by a friend who has never visited London, (I know, weird right?!), I wanted to share all my favourite things to do in the City and all the places that make me love London beyond the standard tourist attractions that everyone already knows.

As there were just too many to fit into one blog post, I've split them up into my favourite bars, restaurants and activities, so don't forget to visit again and check out the other posts in the series.

Best Bars in London - My Top Four
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Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Paris with Farfetch

When I first saw the invitation to Paris with Farfetch in my inbox, I definitely thought they had the wrong person. I mean, it's a pretty big deal. Whilst I'm not predominately a fashion blogger (because I can't reign my posts in to one topic!), the fashion side of my blog is definitely something I am currently expanding and working on more and more so I was beyond delighted to be given the opportunity to go. 

Farfetch is a British International fashion website stocking luxury designer goods from over 1000 different labels. They have also partnered with over 400 carefully chosen boutiques across the globe offering an inspirational shopping experience to fashion-forward consumers.
With such a visionary fashion company, what better City to visit than Paris in the weeks leading up to Fashion Week?

View from the Eiffel Tower
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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

RUSH Hairdressers King's Cross Review

Considering the amount of time, effort and money I spend on the rest of my appearance, my hair is something I've always neglected. I always used to visit the hairdressers regularly as I loved the time out and pamper but as I've become older, and most importantly, busier, getting my hair cut is something I keep putting off - and besides, I love how long my hair is and usually hairdressers cut way too much off!! 

When I had the opportunity to visit RUSH Kings Cross, I was so excited as it was 6 months since I last had my hair cut and with all the travelling I'm doing with work at the moment, I could definitely do with the pamper. And pamper they did...

RUSH Hairdressers Kings Cross
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Sunday, 18 September 2016

Three hours in Rome; Photo Diary

Whilst a lot of people think my life is a whirlwind of organising glamorous events and exploring beautiful destinations, that's definitely not the whole reality. Yes, I am lucky enough to visit a new country every couple of weeks, but I don't get to spend much time outside the event venue - an evening if I'm lucky, but usually only an hour to two.

Whilst running an event in Zurich back in July, I vowed to make sure I would try my absolute best to make the most of the cities I visit with work and make an effort to go and and see at least something in any spare second I had.

Over the August Bank Holiday, I was running a couple of events in Rome and managed three glorious hours to explore the City Centre. Of course, I didn't get to see much, especially as I was in the queue for the Colosseum for an hour, but that, along with the Trevi Fountain were the two things I feel like I waited my life to see, well since Lizzie McGuire anyway.

Colosseum Rome
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Monday, 12 September 2016

Annika Nail Varnish by Edge Nails

Bright summer nails isn't just a seasonal trend for me, it's an all year round go to. I love having bright, vibrant nails whatever the weather or time of year. I've tried so many brands of nail varnish from high street to high end and always look for a product that doesn't need 10 coats just to reach the colour in the bottle, and also one that is quick drying and easy to apply. 

I've recently been introduced to the Annika range of nail varnish by Edge nails. They've released 30 gorgeous, vibrant shades which promise exceptional durability, a high shine and a smooth glossy finish. 

Annika Nail Varnish by Edge Nails
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Sunday, 11 September 2016

Girls of Summer #OOTD with Quiz Clothing

There's nothing I love more than summer clothes, the fit, the colours, the style. Summer dresses in particular are such an easy option when the weather decides to play nice.

Quiz Clothing's #GirlsOfSummer range is me all over so when I got the chance to pick a dress to wear, I took me longer than I care to admit even to settle on one!

The dress I settled on was the Cream Grey And Red Flower Print Skater Dress.

#GIRLSOFSUMMER by Quiz Clothing

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Sunday, 28 August 2016

Our House - After Photos: Garden

This post isn't so much of a before and after, because we haven't really changed much of the garden, except adding to it. The people who lived in the house before us, someone in their family was a gardener so we were quite lucky that when we moved in, the garden was in pretty good shape. However, a lot of the plants are really high maintenace and to be honest we don't really have the time, nor knowledge to look after them properly.

Next year, we plan to spend some money getting the garden exactly how we want it but for now, we've bought a large corner sofa and table (you know, for all those boiling hot evenings we have...), a swinging chair, two giant beanbags, a fire pit, had a classic brick BBQ built just like my Daddy's and added a few decorations - a Buddha, lanterns and outdoor garden flares (which by the way, I don't recommend!).

Garden DIY Makeover
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Saturday, 27 August 2016

Our House - Before and After Photos: Bedrooms & Bathroom

After the fiasco of losing the first house we were meant to be buying (you can read my ranty post all about that drama here), we only ended up buying a two bedroom house so we know space would be tight considering my mountains of essential 'stuff'.

You can catch up with my post on the inspiration behind everything in our bedroom here

Before

Bedroom before photo
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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Our House - Before and After Photos: Kitchen

Of all of the rooms in our house, without a doubt, the kitchen has had the biggest transformation. There's not even much I can say about our new cooking haven other than we went for white, white and more white.

The 'before' kitchen wasn't bad at all, I know a lot of people would have loved it, but it just wasn't us. We wanted something more streamlined, cleaner and more modern, to match our plans for the rest of the house.

You can read my previous post on the inspiration behind this room here.

Before

Kitchen before photo
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Monday, 22 August 2016

Our House - Before and After Photos: Lounge & Dining Room

In December 2015, Luke and I bought our first house together, and we (when I say we, I  mean he), spent the first 8 months decorating every single room. Finally we're in a position where almost everything is finished so I'm really excited to share the 'after' photos.

Considering when we bought the house, it was in a relatively good state, most people said we were crazy to waste our money decorating much when it was 'fine'. Yes, it was fine, but it was someone else's house, their style, their tastes. Now it's us, every single inch of it. 

I have previously written posts about our inspiration for the lounge and dining room which looking back, we completely stuck to throughout. We knew all along we wanted a white house with touches of grey, a pop of colour and some mirrored furniture.

'Before' photos

Living room before photo
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Thursday, 21 July 2016

Body Confidence with Boohoo

When I sat down to write this post, I spend a lot of time thinking about my body confidence story and how my feelings about myself and how I look have changed over the years. It's actually been really therapeutic to think about how far I've come in regards to accepting myself and taking steps to ensure my own happiness.

After a couple of negative relationships when I was younger, my body confidence was pretty low between 16 and 18. I had put on some weight and was generally unhappy with relationships, friendships, stresses of getting into uni and all the normal pressures of being a teenage girl. The day I found out I got into University was the day I said to myself that things would be different from now on. It was my chance to get away from a bad relationship and start again in a place where no one knew me and I could be the person I've always wanted to be. And I did it. 

Boohoo Swimsuits, body confidence
Swimsuit from Boohoo

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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

St Martins Lane Hotel, London Review

One of the reasons I love my job so much is because I get to travel, a lot. As most of the events I organise are now overseas, I very rarely get to stay in hotels in London which is a shame because there are SO many amazing ones in our City. 

I recently organised an event at a London hotel that has had my heart for a very long time (and even more so since their recent refurb!) , St Martins Lane Hotel. Every Morgans Hotel Group property meets and exceeds my expectation and this one was no different. 

Just a couple of minutes walk from Leicester Square, St Martins Lane Hotel is a hotel like no other. Morgans Hotels are mostly known for their futuristic, quirky, high end style, and this hotel's recent refurb has definitely put it top of my list of favourite London hotels.

St Martins Lane Hotel
photo credit

On arrival, there's no signs outside, which adds to the secret, exclusive feel of the hotel and probably part of the reason why some people don't even know it's there. Once inside, it's like Willie Wonka's Factory for the hotel world, with so much to explore, look at and get excited about. 

Check in was quick and easy, and the staff were extremely friendly which is something I always notice on reception. I have been to the hotel before, and was slightly disappointed in the size of the bedrooms (considering the cost!), so wasn't expecting much from the room. The corridors are super dark, so much so that you can hardly see - which I later found out is so that when you enter your bedroom with floor to ceiling windows, you're hit by the intense light. 

Opening my bedroom door I was most certainly hit by the light! 

Squinting for a few seconds whilst my eyes adjusted, I realised my room was INCREDIBLE. And I mean, I visit a lot of hotels with work, and have been very lucky, but this is hands down my favourite by a mile. My bedroom has a beautiful outdoor terrace which, for being in Central London, is very very rare. It was so silent and tranquil, even though the streets outside were buzzing, and decorated perfectly. The bathroom and bedroom were all open (although you could shut off the bedroom doors), and I felt so peaceful and at ease, I could have easily woken up thinking I was staying somewhere tropical with the room's decor and colours. All of the rooms have floor to ceiling windows and custom made Philippe Starck furniture with interactive light installations (which I hold my hands up to playing with for a good 20 minutes) and smart TVs.

St Martins Lane Hotel bedroom

St Martins Lane Hotel bedroom

St Martins Lane Hotel bedroom

St Martins Lane Hotel


Most people know St Martins Lane Hotel but it's famous Asia de Cuba restaurant. Critically acclaimed and serving a fusion menu, the decor is in keeping with the rest of the hotel's stylish and quirky style. Now if you've been to Asia de Cuba, you'll know (well you should know) about their famous Mexican doughnuts. EVERYONE I speak to absolutely raves about them and whilst I'm more of a chocolate lover, than doughnuts, I have to say, hand on heart, they were incredible. And I ate about four... every day... for a week. 

St Martins Lane Hotel Asia de Cuba

St Martins Lane Hotel Asia de Cuba Mexican doughnuts


St Martins Lane Hotel Asia de Cuba desserts


St Martins Lane Hotel decor


One thing I LOVE about all Morgans Hotel's is their bars. Each one is unique and fabulous, and the Blind Spot at St Martins Lane fits that criteria to a tee. Hidden behind what looks like a boutique tea counter is Blind Spot, a speakeasy style bar serving guests bespoke and signature cocktails bursting with flavours influenced by the British Empire and its ancient tea trade. With an incredible line up of jazz and swing acts as well as DJs, this bar, really is the place to be. Look for the Golden Handshake to enter...

St Martins Lane Hotel Bar
 photo credit

St Martins Lane Hotel Bar


For more of a relaxing drink or catch up, the hotel's lounge, The Den, is the perfect cosy place. Styled after a Gentleman's Lounge, is perfect classic addition to the rest of the wholly modern, contemporary hotel. The Den serves a fabulous afternoon tea that I gawped over on more than one occasion whilst in there working. If you ever visit, ask one of the staff to tell you the stories behind the paintings on the wall, it's absolutely fascinating to understand the thought that went into the decor.

St Martins Lane Hotel den
photo credit

Not that most of the people reading this care, but, the event space at St Martins Lane Hotel is so great for any events where you're looking for more of a contemporary blank canvas space. I've run a lot of events throughout my career in all types of hotels around the world and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the service at St Martins Lane surpassed everything. Every single staff member who was involved in our event was attentive, patient, kind and accommodating. which makes my life a hell of a lot easier as well. I was so impressed with the service, I will be putting this hotel forward for my next event in London, and any others in the future.

St Martins Lane Hotel Meeting Space

Birthday cake
The stunning cake made by the hotel chef literally within 20 minutes of asking with no complaints - trust me this is beyond rare for a hotel!


Last but most certainly not least, guests at St Martins Lane Hotel can also enjoy complimentary entry to the largest hotel gym in Europe. Now why am I telling you to check out the gym when you're staying at such a great hotel in Central London? Well this isn't just any gym, this is Gym Box. Not only do they have state of the art equipment and an Olympic sized boxing ring, they also have nightly DJs to turn your workout into a night on the town. What more can anyone possible ask for from a gym?!  The hotel also rents out free bicycles to guests so if you fancy taking a bike ride around London, the City is your oyster. 

I'm sure, I have said enough to convince you get get on St Martin's Lane Hotel's website immediately and book your next staycation, because trust me it's worth it. If you're in the area make sure you pop in for those Mexican doughnuts, and a cocktail at Blind Spot, then there's always the gym after if you've indulged too much! I CANNOT wait to return!

St Martins Lane Hotel


You can also read my review of another fabulous Morgans Hotel, 10 Karakoy in Istanbul.

Love Lauren xx
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Monday, 27 June 2016

Monday Motivation When I Need It Most

I haven't blogged in quite a while, and that's okay. Really, it is. 

In my latest vlog, I talked about how we all need to stop making excuses for ourselves and justifying what we do, or in this case, not do. This is our space, to do with what we want so if you need a break because you have a million other things going on in your life, do it, and you don't need to apologise for it! You can watch the vlog here, but I warn you, I rant a lot...

I wanted to write this post to share with you all my favourite quotes about working hard and motivation so when you are feeling overwhelmed with the pressures of a blog/work/life balance, you can think of these, and work through it!

Life quotes to live by
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Wednesday, 8 June 2016

The Best Swimwear from ASOS - Swimsuits and Bikinis

With summer arriving and two holidays coming up, I've been shopping like crazy for swimsuits and bikinis. The one place I trust more than anything for swimwear is ASOS so I wanted to put together my top picks of ASOS's swimsuits and bikinis, because there is just SO much choice, it would take you hours to get through everything. All the photos are clickable to make it easier for you to shop straight away.

Let me know your top picks!

Love Lauren xx
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Monday, 30 May 2016

Blonde Vision Turns Two! Reflections and Musings on What Makes a Successful Blogger

So this weekend, my tiny slice of the internet turned TWO YEARS OLD!! A pretty incredible feat knowing my track record. I love my blog now more than ever so I thought it was a good time to firstly say thank you to all of your for your support, but also consider everything I've learnt about blogging in the past two years. 

Blonde Vision Blog

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Thursday, 26 May 2016

How to Cook a Healthy Greek Dinner

If you hadn’t already noticed by my incessant tweeting about it, I’m currently on a pre-holiday diet. This is how I feel about it -_-

I love food, but all the food I love, is bad for me. I’m a massive emotional eater; I eat to celebrate when I’m happy, and eat to console when I’m sad. Having food that tastes good, and that I enjoy eating, is really important to me, so I’m always on the lookout for recipes and meals that taste as good as all of my junk food, that also don’t require a stupid amount of complicated equipment/processes.

Part of my new ‘Food and Drink Simplified’ series on Blonde Vision, with inspiration taken from Greek influences, I recently cooked a low fat, massively filling meal for Luke and I, which included, homemade flatbread, grilled chicken kebabs, tzatziki sauce and a Greek salad, so I wanted to share the recipe with you guys!

How to make a healthy Greek Dinner
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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

How To Make A Simple Passionfruit Martini at Home - Cocktail Series

There’s something about cocktails that make me sublimely happy, other than just the fact that it’s alcoholic, I think it’s also the sense of occasion that comes with drinking them, and in addition the fancy glasses, decoration and more than likely, fabulous company. When I look back to times I’ve had cocktails, I’m reminded of happiness, laughter, friendship and holidays, and you can’t get a combination better than those!

The problem I find with making cocktails at home is the sheer amount of ingredients usually needed to make it like they do in bars and also the equipment. All this fancy sugar and sugar syrup, it’s not stuff we would usually have lying around the house, and it’s not even stuff we can get from our local supermarket which is even more annoying, and don’t get me started on the zillion utensils needed to make something that seems so simple.

As part of my new 'Food and Drink Simplified' series on Blonde Vision, and because we all deserve to be able to make quick and easy cocktails at home, this recipe will only use utensils and ingredients you can buy in your local supermarket and make yourself – without being an expert mixologist.

How to make a passionfruit martini
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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Nair Nourishing Argan Oil Collection Review

Whilst we’re all feeling the excitement that spring is finally in the air (just about), wardrobes across the UK are being overhauled and big jumpers are being replaced with summer dresses. My first thought relating to this annual occurrence is YES, OMG MY SUMMER CLOTHES ARE AMAZING AND BEAUTIFUL AND SUMMERY AND COLOURFUL AND MORE FLATTERING. My second thought, guess I can’t get away with not shaving my legs any more. Come on, I know I’m not the only one here…

I’m always on the lookout for products to make the whole ‘de-fuzzing’ process quicker, cheaper, easier and basically less agg, because, in my opinion, it takes up more time than I care for it to, and I have better things to do, like scroll Twitter. 

So, introducing Nair’s new nourishing argan oil collection. Four products to make the hair removal process, easier than ever whilst leaving our skin not only silky smooth, but moisturised too. The collection is infused with moisturising Argan Oil and Orange Blossom, containing natural softening agents which can boosts skin’s radiance, sooth, nourish, detox and heal. Sounds great right?

Nair Nourishing Argan Oil Collection Review
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Wednesday, 18 May 2016

The Best Home Workouts with PopSugar Fitness

Since starting #FitBunniesChat in January of this year, the question comes up most weeks about everyone's favourite ways to work out. Without a shadow of a doubt, mine is with PopSugar Fitness YouTube videos.

Through my life, I've owned most workout DVDs going from the beginnings with Rosemary Conley, to Davina and Ministry of Sound Danceacise but I always found them so boring, repetative and very 'dancey', so I simply stopped buying them.

It was a couple of years ago that I found PopSugar Fitness on YouTube and literally haven't looked back since. Most of the videos are in either 40, 30, 20 or 10 minutes sessions, which means you can mix and match, making your own workout programme.

The Best Home Workouts with PopSugar Fitness
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Friday, 13 May 2016

Amba Hotel Marble Arch Review; Have they created London's best hotel bedroom?

Co-creation. A concept so brilliant, it’s hard to understand why every business doesn’t implement it, in some way, into their business strategy. Whilst the idea of co-creation isn’t brain surgery, nor is it a new idea, it still astounds me when a hotel (or anywhere for that matter) has so obviously used the approach to create a product to not only meet their customer’s expectations, but also firmly plant themselves above and beyond their competitors. 

The Amba Hotel Marble Arch (formerly Thistle Marble Arch) is currently just finishing a multi-million refurbishment. If you saw it pre-refurb, you’ll know it was most definitely needed, and having visited the hotel before and after, it was without a doubt, money well spent to give the hotel a much needed, brighter, fresher, more modern look. However, I won’t go into depth on the whole refurb of the hotel as I wanted to specifically concentrate on the bedrooms in this post.

Amba Hotel Marble Arch
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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Bperfect Fake Tan Review - The Miracle 10 SECOND TAN!

I will hold my hands up to admit that in the last year, I have become a fake tan addict. I went through a stage of getting constant professional Fake Bake fake tans, spending a fortune because
1. I’m lazy 
2. I thought I’d be rubbish at tanning myself – it seemed like a LOT of effort, and 
3. I was so scared of fake tan disasters with patchy and streaky tan all over the place. 

However, in recent months, I’ve been experimenting with a couple of different tans and exploring the market. Usually with fake tans, the ones that you put on for it to develop overnight are the long lasting ones, meaning that putting them on in the first place can lead to some dodgy tanning disasters as you can’t always properly see where it’s going, and if you’ve missed a bit. Whilst on the other hand, I find the instant wash on wash off tans pointless. I get that people use them for a one off night out but to me it’ just a faff to mess around spending ages putting on a tan for it to wash off in the shower the next day, is that just me?! 

Anyway, after falling in love with the Bperect brow powder last year when I visited their stand at Olympia Beauty, I was intrigued by their ’10 second tan’. I’m never one to believe the claims of a bottle and clever marketing so I had to try it out for myself. 

Bperfect Cosmetics, Self Tanning Spray with Instant Bronzer - 10 second tan
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Friday, 6 May 2016

#BigBloggerExpo

LDN meet up has come a long way since our very first event in January 2015. We've done chocolate making, hula fit, Urban Food Fest, Center Parcs holidays (twice!), nights out at Dirty Martini, trips to Winter Wonderland and the ICEBAR London, and not forgetting the biggest event of them all, we hosted the #BigBloggerConference in August 2015. 

Since the conference, I've had so many people asking if we're doing it again this year. Even though, (like I do after every event), I promised myself I would never do another event like it due to the amount of work that goes in, yet again, I'm here, about to tell you about 2016's big event... What can I say, events is in my blood!

LDN meet up


So, for those of you who attended the #BigBloggerConference last year, this year's event will be similar to the afternoon section. For those of you that couldn't make it last year, let me tell you a little about what to expect this year...

On the 24th July, a big bunch of beautiful bloggers will be descending on a London hotel to meet with loads of wonderful brands, all exhibiting, wanting to show you guys what they have to offer. This year, we have a wider range of exhibitors from different sectors to cater to everyone and every blog from beauty to food to parenting. On top of this, we also have beauty treatments, activites and networking areas to ensure you all have the most fabulous afternoon. 

As always we will be hosting a raffle, this time in aid of the British Heart Foundation and everyone will go away with a gift box of goodies to review back at home - no samples, just great, full size products that will give you something to write about! 

Tickets for the event will be released in batches weekly, starting from 7th May 2016. You will need to be signed up to the LDN meet up database to receive the invites so make sure your blogger friends are signed up too. 

More and more content, sponsors and exhibitors will be announced on our website all the time to check back there to keep up to date. You can also check out our website for all of the other events we have organised for the year - and there's a lot!

I literally can't wait to see you all there! 

For now, #BigBloggerExpo on Twitter, I know the brands are checking it so don't be shy!

Love Lauren xx
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Thursday, 5 May 2016

Everything You Need To Know About Working in Events

One of the main things I get asked about is my job in the events industry. It's commonly known as an 'easy job' and one that means a glamourous, jet setting career. A lot of my fellow graduates in Events Management no longer work in the industry because they quickly realsied it wasn't as fun and glamourous as they thought.



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Thursday, 28 April 2016

Westin Palace Madrid Review

I’m very lucky that in my job, I get to travel a lot, and visit some beautiful places and hotels, as well as it being a great experience, they’re good to blog about too, and today’s post is no different!

On the whole, when it comes to luxury hotels, I’m usually more a fan of modern luxury, and not so much the classic look and feel, but the infamous Westin Palace in Madrid, won my heart. Having always been a fan of the Starwood property portfolio, I knew this hotel wasn’t going to disappoint but it certainly exceeded expectations.

Westin Palace Madrid Exterior
Hotel Exterior
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Thursday, 21 April 2016

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Review

Usually, when there’s massive hype about a product in the world of beaut bloggers, I rarely, rarely buy it as the majority of the time they’re over hyped and under performing. I didn’t but the Kylie lip kits (and have no interest in them), I don’t like Benefit roller lash (or any of their mascaras) and I don’t own a Naked palette – although I am quite tempted by Naked Smokey… Anyway, when it comes to beauty products, I usually find, the more over hyped it is, the most disappointing I find it, so I rarely buy into the ‘trends’.

There’s no denying, that in the world of beauty, Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish is the go to cleanser for so many bloggers. Barely a day goes by without seeing someone talking about it on social media, which is something pretty unique for a product in the ever changing, ever evolving market of beauty.  I did mention in my 'What's in my makeup bag' vlog that I wasn't overly impressed with my current cleanser and looking to try something new then after reading a couple of reviews by bloggers who I truly trusted – not just to tag on to hypes, but to tell the truth about products, I decided it was time to try it for myself. 

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser
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Monday, 18 April 2016

Cook With Me Vlog; Homemade Chicken Nuggets and Sausage Rolls

When I first started YouTube, I was pretty clear in my mind that I didn't just a beauty channel. Whilst I find beauty vlogs the easiest to film, I'm not very good at make up and don't experiment too much so I don't think I'm in any position to be offering make up tutorials - I wouldn't even take my advice... 

I want my YouTube channel to be an extension of my blog, which means the categories you see right now at the top of your screen are ALL, the topics I want to carry forward to YouTube in one way or another. Everything I write about is a massive hobby of mine so bringing words to life with film in all of those areas is really important to me, and my new channel. 

This vlog/recipe is part of my 'Food and Drink Simplified' series. All of the recipes will be easy to follow, using utensils and ingredients you can buy in your local supermarket and prepare with little or no skill involved - because great food doesn't need to be complicated!!

So, that being said, here is my first Cook With Me vlog! One of many more to come I hope as I love cooking and baking. This time, I was preparing homemade sausage rolls and chicken nuggets for an Easter Sunday family house warming.

homemade sausage rolls and chicken nuggets
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