MY HERO PIECE FOR TRANS-SEASONAL WEATHER

Trans-seasonal dressing. Usually that phrase would fill me with complete and utter dread because omg summer's over but actually, ever since the Sun was clearly banished by Dynamo/Derren Brown/some kinda magician, I've been so ready for the cooler months. I mean, preferably don't rain on me when I've just done my hair, weather, but you know, you can get a little bit cooler if you want.

To me, the transition between summer and autumn screams layers and man I love layers, because it allows you to either go hard or go home with lots of statement pieces, or to focus on one individual item with lots of comfortable but cool basics alongside it, and that's exactly what I've done with today's outfit. 

The Matalan Red Puffa Jacket, it was love at first stalk online and the love affair only continued even stronger when I got my hands on it in real life. The colour is not only the sassiest bright red, but it's honestly the most ridiculously comfortable coat I've ever worn.

There is much more coat fangirling to come but why don't you have a little fangirl of your own first because isn't she a beaut?!
So yeah, let's just sit down for a minute and take a moment...

to discuss...

how frickin amazing this jacket is?! [insert can't cope/heart eye'd emoji's here].

Seriously though, I fell in love with this jacket on the model but wasn't quite sure I was going to be able to pull it off (I mean, I might not pull it off), it's very bright, it's bold, it's quite an athletic/tomboy style but omg I'm obsessed. For starters - get ready for Grandma comment of the century - it is genuinely the warmest coat I own (yes I know I'm so old stop judging me) but it is. The cosy puffa style means it's so ridiculously comfy and as I said, keeps you warm when it's cold but isn't too hot when it's warmer too (which is why it's perfect for the trans-seasonal weather).

I imagine my love for this jacket is similar to how Kanye feels about Kanye but in all honesty, since I got it I've worn it every single day as it's surprisingly versatile. The perfect jacket to pop over a casual jeans and tee combo but looks equally cute with a nice tea dress and boots. For me, this is my absolute hero piece as we transition into the cooler months so I really hope you like it too because you're about to see it popping up everywhere ;)
Because in London you never quite know how to dress for the weather - yay for being caught out on a daily basis - I always find lots of layers best so you can just whip them on and off depending on how you're feeling. This "The Future is Female" tee is without doubt one of my favourite things in my wardrobe right now. Because yes it's comfortable and has a great fit but mostly because LOOK AT HOW SASSY IT IS!!!! There's definitely an inner feminist in me so it just gives me all the positive, "we got this", girl power vibes and I am all about that life.

I also opted for some Vans-esque trainers which I bloody love for running around in town all day because they are so comfy but also look cool (and I am not cool so every little helps guys!). They go with everything meaning you can wear them all year round and I'm prettttty sure they cost around £10 which is an absolute bargain. Thank me later gal pals, thank me later.

Finally I finished off with my new favourite jeans/jeggings. They're high waisted which is an absolute essential for me because I eat all the food at all the times and high waisted jeans are oh so good for any fellow beasts foodies. They're super tight but also super stretchy (in case you couldn't tell, comfort is very key in my life) and really nip you in at all the right places. Something I can always get on board with!
So now you've all seen the jacket of dreams and the t-shirt that every female in the world needs, it's time to tell you about a pretty snazzy little deal Matalan have got going on. From August 25th - 29th, there will be some pretty incredible offers in the Limited Now or Never Deals. With huge discounts across fashion and home, the deals are only available on those selected dates in store and online, and the best news of all is that my babe of a puffa is only £20 in the deal so make sure you don't miss out on it. You can find out more details at www.matalan.co.uk but basically, keep your eyes peeled for some major bargains!

And that wraps up my trans-seasonal dressing, puffa jacket fangirling post. I would absolutely love to know what you think of it, is it something you'd ever go for? What's your go to this Summer/Autumn period? I always love reading your comments (mostly with a cuppa and a biggest and a massive smile on my face).

As always, thanks so much for reading!

xx

This post was sponsored by Matalan but all thoughts, photos and extreme love of comfy, sassy jackets, my own.


TRUSTING THAT EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON

Today is my wedding day.

Well, today was my wedding.

I mean, I didn't actually get married, but I was meant to.

LOL FFS I WIN THE AWARDS FOR BEING TERRIBLE AT EXPLAINING THINGS.

This is not a post I ever thought I would write for two reasons. The first being that I never thought I would be engaged and then not get married. But mostly because despite having written the odd couple of personal posts (only originally written for people to stop asking when I was getting married because lol, not getting married anymore, and the other 1 as a bit of a follow up because jesus christ I did not expect so many people to read the first and want to know how I was getting on), I am actually really not a personal blogger. Getting personal for everybody and anybody to see scares the shit out of me but this post I just felt a little bit compelled to write.

Because actually, this is not at all the sad post that you might originally think it is, it's actually the happiest, most positive and hopefully inspiring post I've ever written, because I, am the happiest, most positive that I've ever been.

I went from rock bottom, and the most hideous place in which I never thought I'd recover from, to 100% knowing that everything happens for a reason and that going through what I did was actually kinda the best thing to ever happen to me.
I always feel like, and say, that I've lived a pretty charmed life and I think that that mostly stems from the fact that I have the most incredible family in the world and because to me, family is everything, I can't help but feel like I've hit the jackpot. But life isn't that easy, it's not all pretty pink houses on Instagram (although lol if you follow mine you'll know that it is very much pretty pink houses on the surface!), it's not all lunches and brunches and the good parts that you see on a daily basis. I've lived what I call a charmed life but I've realistically, probably been through more than most.

At 15 I fell really ill. 

BRB while I search for the tiniest violin.

I missed pretty much the whole of Year 10 & 11 at school, bar a few weeks here and there, I spent most of the time in hospital, sleeping or screaming in pain (so, you know, that was fun) but what I remember the most from that time wasn't the sheer amount of pain, it was that I felt like that would be my life forever. I felt that instead of Oxford or Cambridge - lol that you're all like "bitch please" but actually this ditzy blonde possessed many brain cells back in the day - and being a lawyer or a doctor, my future path would only ever consist of hospital beds and ambulances. My life changed beyond measure when I fell ill at 15 but to this day I am beyond grateful that it happened. I mean, being ill af wasn't wonderful, but it changed my path and actually, it changed me.

When I was finally better, because I had no A-Levels/qualifications, I had to take a more creative than intellectual route and that's how I ended up in TV. I missed uni and I missed that degree next to my name but what I did have was determination and this sheer resolve to make something of my life because I felt like I'd been given a second chance. I wasn't lying in a hospital bed, I wasn't staring at a white wall wondering if this was it for me, I wasn't well, but I was well enough to make a go of something and jesus fucking christ I worked my significantly bigger now than it was then arse off to make it work out. I worked for free to begin with, and then I worked 18hr days, 6 days a week on some of the biggest shows being screamed at all day long (on minimum wage)... I worked hard and I did well and I also put any spare moment - which was minimal - into this blog and after years of plugging away I finally was able to go full time with it.

It wasn't the path that I was meant to go down. But my god I am so incredibly grateful and happy that it was the path that I did go down because this is my absolute dream job. It causes me more stress and tears and breakdowns than anyone would ever imagine but I am living a dream and I'm eternally grateful. I've met my best friends, I've travelled the world, I've had my face on a bloody billboard (LOL no YOU still can't believe it), I never thought I'd be grateful for years of agony but I am, because if that never happened, I would, 100%, not be living the life I'm living now. I would not have the drive and work ethic and passion for life and being the best that I could be like I do now... I probably wouldn't even be writing this blog. 
When my relationship broke down last year, I honestly felt like my life was over. I was the girl that always said that I'd "always be ok" after a breakup but lol nope, I was a mess. I mean, a mess that knew it was 100% the right thing, but still a mess. I never went into details back then and I still won't now, but I honestly just felt like I needed to write this post for all of the incredible girls that reached out to me 8 months ago (and ever since actually) to let you know that you were right. You all said I would be OK, and I am. Looking back approaching a year on, on what would've been my wedding day, is so f**king strange because not only am I a different person (in what I hope is the best possible way), but my outlook on life is completely different. I'm grateful for the 4 years with someone who was my best friend, I'm grateful that I've experienced love and actually, I'm grateful that I had my heart broken... because I know what I want and need in life now, and while I can't say I'll never let my heart break again (because life is too short to build barriers and protect myself, I would rather risk hurt and be myself and give my all without fear of rejection), I do know now that whatever happens, I can handle it. Actually much better and much quicker than I ever expected.

I did go through hell and back, but I am a stronger, happier, positive, (potentially sassier? *insert upside down emoji here*), more independent woman (no your now singing Beyonce) off of the back of it. I have the best friends that I speak to all day long now and those friendships blossomed off the back of that break up last year, I can travel and live and take every opportunity unapologetically without fear or jealousy.

Without sounding like an arrogant arsehole, I would like to think that I am more than just OK. The truth is, ever since my life changed last year, I have... thrived? It's something that everybody in my working life said to me but it's only something that I recently noticed. Maybe it's because nothing or nobody is holding me back. Maybe it's because I've been at rock bottom a few times in my life and I can appreciate the good. But I think mostly it's because I know that life is short, and every moment matters... so spend it with people that deserve your love and deserve your time. Travel, make friends, push yourself, work your arse off... live unapologetically knowing that no matter how bad things might be in that moment, everything always happens for a reason.

Photography by the amazing Ella / @ellahphotography

So yeah, this post was not really meant to be about a break up and it was most definitely not meant to be about my total sick note past, it is for everyone of you going through pain and feeling like there's no way out and you'll never be OK and life will never work itself out. Because it will.

Today was meant to be my wedding day. And I'm spending it with one of my best friends, eating, drinking and laughing until I cry. I couldn't think of a better way to spend it!

xx


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.


© the Elle next door

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