CREATING MOMENTS OF PARADISE

When I think about moments of paradise, many things come to mind. The pure white sandy beaches of the Maldives (I mean, I've never been but it looks like a dream on everybody else in the world's instagram - I'm not bitter, I'm not bitter, I'm not bitter.) Cosy evenings in with blankets and hot chocolate and anything that can be even vaguely described as hygge. Travelling the world. Chasing sunsets.... it's the little, and sometimes big, things that make you never want to move or be anywhere else.

But one of my all time favourite moments of paradise are those precious hours before meeting your best friends for a girly brunch or dinner and drinks. The ones when you're in no rush, you can whack on an episode of your favourite series - Suits or Grey's Anatomy, I can't choose between you both because that would be like choosing a favourite child - chill with your favourite tipple (I went for a rose prosecco because gal pal needed an added dose of sass), some snacks, and slowly do your makeup amongst 2493843 cushions and the cosiest blankets you can find.

The dream....
Makeup time. I have to say, I am one of those people that just loves spending a lot of time even doing the simplest of makeup looks. I love trying out new products and fangirling over old ones, but my newest discovery and love of my life - no seriously, I think I may actually be in love with it - is the Loreal Lash Paradise mascara. Now, I'd heard lots of good things about this including that the formulation was similar to Too Face's Better than sex mascara and omg it is all of the good things people have been saying and so much more.

Seriously, guys, this mascara has within the space of a week become my all time favourite mascara because it gives such intense volume and length but without even the tiniest amount of spider lashes. It just makes your lashes completely full and fluttery and personally just how I love my lashes to look.

The brush is an absolute dream, it's ultra soft and coats lashes with a silky smooth formula, enriched with lash-loving castor oil which is what makes the lashes feel so soft and fluttery and not at all flakey [insert hands in the air emoji here].

But it's not just me that is majorly fangirling over it, in a recent study, 90% saw intense and volumised lashes, more than 98% saw a lengthening effect and 91% agreed that it didn't flake. Pretty damn impressive Loreal!

In case you couldn't already tell, I absolutely adore it and for me is the final touch to finish off my makeup and pull the whole look together.
Because it doesn't matter if you're about to see your gal pals in a couple of hours, a good ole natter and catch up is always necessary right? Once I've done my makeup - or usually half way through making me late but whatevs - I nearly always end up on the phone to one of my favourite girls which usually ends up in tears of laughter. For me, nothing makes me happier than laughter and friendship and surrounding yourself with the people who matter most to you. And yes I am totally aware that it's cheesier than the Camembert I'm about to demolish as a breakfast snack but this really is my kinda paradise!
There's no such thing as a pamper party for one without some sexy, sugary treats the size of your head so get the cupcakes in, get your fizz at the ready and snack away til your heart's content because in paradise we don't limit ourselves (I mean, I don't limit myself ever which is kind of a problem) but in paradise we go all out because nothing matters!

As does wearing nail polish that makes me feel ever so slightly like a sassy astronaut but also a little bit like Beyonce (so you better believe that I will never be taking it off). I am one of those people that nearly always refuses to pay for a manicure because I actually find it strangely therapeutic doing it myself, so a little mani always finishes off my pre-"off to have the best time with the girls, bye world" moment of paradise, always!
So now I've finished talking about my favourite moment of paradise (can I please crawl back home into bed and arrange a girly brunch rather than being in meetings please and thank you?) it's time to wrap this up. Its funny really, that I'm writing this in amongst a pretty hectic and stressful day but just talking about my favourite things has brought a layer of lovely, calm, zen over and made me realise that maybe I need to prioritise the things I love a little more than just being a complete and utter workaholic. 

Anyway, workaholic or not, one thing that I never want to stop working for me is the Loreal Lash paradise mascara because right now it is genuinely my favourite thing in my makeup bag and one item that I am begging you to run out and try (because you will love it, thank me later). It just instantly coats the lashes and makes them thicker, longer and fuller in a matter of strokes... Lash paradise!


I would love to know if you've tried the Loreal Lash paradise mascara yet? What is your ultimate moment of paradise? I always love hearing your thoughts :)

As always, thanks so much for reading!


xx



This post was sponsored by Loreal but all thoughts, photos and extreme love of the most amazing mascara ever, my own.

AN ESCAPE TO PARADISE - THE ELOUNDA PENINSULA HOTEL

There's heaven on earth and then there's the Elounda Peninsula in Crete. And in all honesty, I'm not sure if there's any difference. I know, I know, bold claim... but when I visited the Elounda in May, I had absolutely no expectations. I hadn't looked at the hotel a huge amount online (because I am the least organised human that's walked the planet), I hadn't researched Crete (again, because I cannot adult), I just wanted to turn up and be surprised and have absolutely no preconceptions and omg I am so glad I did this because I had absolutely no idea how much of a treat I was in for.

You see, being an unorganised, busy adult can pay off sometimes.

But most of the time it doesn't so please, please do not take my advice for anything other than where to travel to and where to stay [insert cry laughter/"you think I'm joking but I'm not" emoji here".]
So, a little about the Elounda Peninsula all suite hotel. A family founded and run hotel, the Elounda family own 3 properties in Crete; the Elounda Mare, Porto Elounda and the All suite hotel. Each hotel is absolutely stunningly beautiful but the Elounda peninsula really is just breathtakingly special. Not only is it Europe's top seafront hotel, it's the only hotel in Europe that has only suites, each of those with their own private pools (I know!). Intimate, exclusive and truly unique from anywhere I've stayed before, the Elounda was genuinely the most luxurious place with by far, the most incredibly attentive and wonderfully friendly staff ever. In all honesty, the amazing suite, private pool, private beach and food to die for would have been enough for me but I pretty much fell in love with every staff member we met. So genuinely lovely and accommodating, it's the perfect place to just go and chill.

From Junior suites to presidential villas and Peninsula residences, there really is something for everyone. We stayed in a Peninsula Collection suite boasting 2 storeys, 2 bathrooms, a giant bedroom, thermal bath (which is pretty much a jacuzzi) and basically me and Mum Next Door just ran around it like LOL LOOK AT OUR LIFE RIGHT NOW THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER!!!!
So, let's talk food. Food is at the very, very top of my priority list and as a coeliac Sally, it can sometimes be a little difficult to be catered for abroad. Oh my good god Elounda did the best job ever. I had actually forgotten to alert the hotel which was terrible of me and more evidence of my lack of organisation, however from the very first meal, the amazing manager at Nafsika - a beautiful restaurant in Porto Elounda that served a buffet dinner - immediately brought me out gluten free pasta (for a blimmin starter), beautiful fish/meat and veg and an incredible dessert, and he did this every single night. My Mum also absolutely loved the food from the buffet and had something different every night too as there was so much option. Breakfast was honestly the dream. The restaurant looked over onto the sea and it was the most peaceful, stunning, beautiful setting. I think sitting there with a cuppa and 28873473 rounds of the buffet was the most chilled I've ever been. Pure luxury!
 My favourite thing about the Elounda Peninsula wasn't that the suites were incredible, it wasn't that the food was to die for or even that our hotel had it's own private beach which at that time of year I shared with max 3 other people.. it was simply how much it allowed me to switch off and relax. And a huge part of this was down to their award winning Six senses spa. With the stunning pool looking out onto the ocean, their incredible treatments (I had a deep tissue massage and the lovely therapist also did some cupping too and it was just so good!) and thalassotherapy, it's almost impossible not to switch off and forget about life for a couple of hours. The spa itself was the most stunning spa I've ever been inside. Huge in size and beyond luxurious in decor, the whole team just made us feel so at home from the get go. Whether you're going in for a treatment or just making the most of the incredible pools with a view, I promise you'll come out feeling calmer, less stressed and ready for the day ahead (or to sleep).
The thing is, there is so much technical info about everything included in the suits and the exact history of the Elounda but really all you need to know is that it is stunningly beautiful, incredibly relaxing, the staff are the best you will come across, the views are breathtaking and you can't help but feel like you've discovered heaven on earth while you're here. There's not really much to say other than that!

So in case you couldn't guess, I absolutely loved my stay in Crete and will 100% be returning. I'd love to know if you've been before and if you've stayed at any of the Elounda hotels? Where is your place that feels like paradise? I always love hearing your thoughts! :)

As always, thanks so much for reading!

xx

Check out the Elounda Peninsula hotel here.


WHEN ICE CREAM MEETS STYLE

So we all know that I love Magnum's more than Kanye loves Kanye. They are my summer thing... what I look forward to the most (a Magnum a day keeps the doctor away and all that), the thing that represents summer to me, my first choice always at the ice cream van.

Anyone else still got the same buzz of excitement at hearing an ice cream van as they did when they were 5?

But it's not just the ice cream that I love - although the new Double Coconut and Double raspberry are the most divine thing ever! - I also love that as a brand, Magnum are unique and push boundaries. From the beautiful Seven Dials store where you can personalise your own Magnum - Dear men of the world, this is my dream date, the end - to a brand new collaboration with Moschino (yes you read that right, Moschino)... they are a brand that I am obsessed with and am just so excited to be working with.
To celebrate the launch of the Magnum Double range, Magnum paired up with Moschino to produce a film featuring the absolute babe that is Cara Delevigne, and directed by Jeremy Scott Creative Director of Moschino who then went on to launch a new range of the most fun tote bags ever at the Cannes film festival. The capsule collection features the beasts from the film immortalised on the brightest, prettiest coloured bags and I am beyond excited to say that I'm giving away 2 of them to 2 lucky winners [insert hands in the air emoji here]. Each bag is worth £212 and obviously is so much fun so hold tight for a competition at the end where you could win your very own one.

And we can be bag twins and it'll be so damn cute.

As a blogger, the bulk of my job involves running around town with a laptop/diary/phone/portable charger (always) etc. so these bags are absolutely perfect for chucking everything in and still looking cool and chic too. I also loved how it looked with this dress - especially against my favourite cliche blogger spot, Peggy Porschen - oh and did I mention that it got 3 compliments in the space of an hour? Yep, yep it did.
So now I have fangirled over these little babes for the past hour, now is your chance to win one for yourself. All you have to do to win is follow me - @ellenextdoor - and Magnum - @Magnum - on Instagram and leave your email address so I can contact you and you could win a Magnum x Moschino bag worth £212!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
So that brings me to the end of my LOOK HOW COOL MY NEW BAG IS AND OMG I LOVE MAGNUM post, I would absolutely love to know your thoughts on the bag and the collaboration. Also, have you tried the new Magnum Double range yet? Because omg it is so good and if you love them too then please can we be friends?


As always, thanks so much for reading!

xx

This post was sponsored by Magnum but all thoughts, photos and extreme love of Magnum are my own.

5 NEW WAYS TO MAKE MORNINGS MORE POSITIVE

I've always referred to myself as a morning person but realistically, this is wildly, wildly untrue. Yes I wake up every day at a time that should be illegal (latest 6am), but that's simply because I have to. Because if I didn't, the umpteen emails and posts and photos and deadlines would never be completed in time and Oh bye lie ins, I hope you're doing really well, it was nice knowing ya when I was a teen!

But over the years of dragging myself out of bed - and hating on my alarm clock more than Taylor Swift hated Kanye in 2009 - I've learned a few little tips and tricks to make mornings easier and I just thought that a gal pal better share that knowledge for anyone else out there that's not much of a morning person. Because in all honesty, once I'm awake and raring to go, mornings are my absolute favourite time and there's nothing better than a positive morning to kick off the day.

For me it all stems from having things to look forward to, being productive, maybe even learning a new skill or two on the way, but always waking up to a new experience and a positive, fresh outlook, so here are a few new things I'm trying for a "Let's do this" kind of day!
Coffee. Oh Man there is no point in even trying to wake me up if there isn't a coffee in sight within 10 minutes of opening my eyes. You only have to follow me on instagram to know that coffee comes pretty high up on my "love you boo" list and my new favourite which I now refuse to deviate from (yes I have become a coffee snob #sorrynotsorry) is NESCAFÉ, specifically NESCAFÉ Azera Intenso which omg is the dreamiest coffee ever. It is so smooth and rich and creamy and incredibly full of flavour and I now can't imagine ever going back. And what's even better is that NESCAFÉ have released a beautiful NESCAFÉ Azera By Design 2017 limited edition range which is so pretty (and has definitely helped the coffee become my new favourite because who doesn't want to drink coffee from the most gorgeous printed tins?). They have 9 different tins, all of which are so much fun and definitely add a sassy little edition to your kitchen worktop. 

The NESCAFÉ Azera By Design designs are all crafted around positivity (which I adore) and the prints you'll see throughout this post (sassy oyster card holder, notebook, yoga mat etc.) were all designed by students at the University for Creative Arts and embody positivity. I love all of this because positivity is the key to a successful morning/day/task etc. but that aside, look at how cute the prints are!! [insert heart eye'd emojis here].
Another thing I've started doing is to have a little to do list/brainstorming session and I've realised now that I really am of those people that feels so much more prepared for my working day ahead once I've written out everything that I need to do, and yes it's old school to use a notepad and pen but I am a secret granny at heart. But it's not just the standard to do's that I've started to note down, I've now started to brainstorm what new experience I can do that morning or day and how to put it into fruition. Nothing beats that rush or feeling of content and satisfaction once you've tried something new so I would definitely recommend planning ahead as it's one of my favourite new ways to start the day with positivity. Plus, let's all appreciate just how satisfying it is when you get to tick off everything you've managed to do at the end of the day. If it's too early for you to be that productive, a good little doodle and colouring in session - don't knock it til you've tried it, there's a reason adult colouring books went crazy last year - is also another amazing new way to chill, zen out, and start the day with nothing to stress about other than what you fancy wearing. Plus I've started doing all of these things in my new snazzy yellow coffee bean notebook, NESCAFÉ Azera design fyi, because it's all colourful and fun and puts a big fat smile on my face.

Yes I am that easily pleased ;)
Now, not many exercise routines, classes, sports etc. can get me out of bed in the morning but in the theme of waking up to new experiences I decided to mix things up and try something new and sweet baby jesus, yoga with a view is going to start your morning off with a bang. I love sunrises - honestly I think sunrise and sunsets make me happier than Harry Potter - and I love that quiet, calm and still time of morning when nobody is around and the sun is starting to rise, so heading off to an amazing viewpoint in London - hey greenwich, you looking really pretty today - to get some downward dogs* in was one of my favourite new experiences and definitely convinced me to try something new as often as I can.

*I am the definition of all the gear and no idea but God loves a trier right?

My yoga mat is another NESCAFÉ Azera design and I think we can all agree that it's the prettiest yoga mat ever. I actually had 2 people approach me to ask me where it was from, who knew I was a secret yoga mat influencer ;)
The next new thing I decided to try is now a new personal fave, learning a language on your commute. Hands up who hates the tube/trains/general public transport more than anything? Yep, I see you all raising your hands... but recently I've been listening to Duolingo, an app to teach you a language and I've become obsessed with it. I've been dabbling in some Spanish and even though I can still just about say hello - because I have the memory of a fish - it just feels so good to do something productive but most importantly, I end up focusing so much on what sexy, sassy, spanish words are being said that I completely zone out and forget that I'm on a packed train, probably with an armpit in my face. Plus it means I get to parade around my phone case and oyster card which I think might be my favourite Azera design yet. Simple but bright and colourful and always puts me in a good mood (even with said armpit in face).
Last but not least, the final thing I decided to try is to make the most of my morning and indulge my inner tourist. My meetings are always based in central London or sometimes in trendy ole Shoreditch so I decided to jump off the tube a stop or two early and grab a cliche tourist snap (forcing an innocent passerby into taking a photo for me. Lol) and I absolutely loved it! Plus I managed to get an extra few steps in and for a gal that likes to sit on her butt drinking coffee all day with a cake - because the two are just the perfect pairing amiright? - this is never a bad thing!

So that brings me to the end of my little tips and tricks to help you have a more positive morning and get the best out of your day. The NESCAFÉ Azera By Design ethos of waking up to new experiences really challenged me to push myself out of my comfort zone so I really hope it inspired you to try something new. I know you won't always have time for some of these things but putting aside an extra hour to do something new will always, always be worth it. And most importantly, there's always time for a morning coffee, especially those that come in tin's prettier than Beyonce.

You can buy the amazing NESCAFÉ Azera By Design here.

I would love to know if you've got your hands on a NESCAFÉ, Azera by Design tin yet? What are your tips for making mornings easier? I always love hearing your thoughts :)

As always, thanks so much for reading!

xx


This post was sponsored by NESCAFÉ Azera. All thoughts, photos and extreme love of bloody good coffee, my own.


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