5 REASONS WE ALL NEED TO BE SMILING MORE


If there's one thing people will generally know/recognise me for - bar being a complete and utter Harry Potter nerd and having shares in carbs - it's the fact that I'm always smiling and laughing my head off. Partly because I surround myself with good people who make me laugh until I borderline grow abs, and partly because life is too short to be miserable isn't it?

Now, I'm not being one of those "smile, be happy, go hug a tree and let go of your problems" people because life isn't that simple and sometimes it's bloody tough. However... the benefits from a simple smile - physically and mentally - are without a doubt, mind blowing. So I thought I'd do a little post about reasons we should all be smiling more... so get your gnashers ready and your best smiles on kids!
You are instantly more attractive 
For me personally, one of the first things I notice in someone is their smile. Nothing makes you look more beautiful than a bright, glowing, friendly smile and it's genuinely the thing that makes me instantly warm to someone more than any feature. So for me, having a smile that makes you almost need sunglasses on just to look at me - lol jk, not quite that bright but that'd be nice wouldn't it? - is always a total essential. If you've been subscribed to my channel or follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I've been using Listerine® Advanced White for a couple of months now and I honestly can't recommend it enough. It lifts stains from teeth and prevents new ones forming, helping to give a whiter smile. I genuinely feel so much more confident in my smile and when talking to people and I wholeheartedly put it down to this.


Brightens your day and your mood
I have a little challenge for ya huns... next time if you're feeling sad or down, just smile. A big, fat, teethy smile. And I promise you you will instantly feel a little bit better (it's scientifically proven guys but obvs I've forgotten the actual scientific part so you'll just have to take my word for it). If you're slightly more of a pessimistic person - I'm with you sister - then little things like thinking about funny stories or small things that make you smile is the best way to start your day right.


It brightens other people's day and mood
I'm a born and bred Londoner so it's safe to say that I'm not very used to people randomly smiling at me on the street and if you decide to smile at someone out of the blue, 90% of people will give you an evil/suspiciously look at you as if you're up to something. But honestly, without getting all tree hugger hippie on you, giving somebody on the street a random smile and seeing their response (when it's good and not a total evil glare) is one of the most heart warming things you can do, and will subsequently make your day too!

Happier people are more successful
I was reading a random article recently - probs during one of those black holes where you go to read something for a second and 4 hours later you've covered every topic imaginable - that mentioned happier people being more successful. A mixture of the fact that happier people generally make more effort and are more personable meant that they ended up being more successful in their career and their personal life. Now if that isn't a reason to get your gnashers out and start smiling then I don't know what is.

It makes you do crazy things etc.
Most of you will know - or will have seen according to the DM's with screenshots *insert monkey covering eyes emoji here* - that my girl Ally and I took part in an amazing campaign with Listerine® based around the power of a smile. It saw friends/couples/family etc. tell their story of how a simple smile made them do something crazy and spontaneous (my personal favourite being a guy who got off of a bus to tell a girl she had an amazing smile and he'd love to take her out. They're now together. NO IT'S SO CUTE I CAN'T COPE EITHER!). Mine and Ally's was based around the time when we spontaneously booked flights to New York even though we were both so busy, hadn't even looked at prices or dates and it probably really wasn't a sensible idea. I smiled one of my we 100% shouldn't be doing this but we're going to do it, aren't we? smiles and minutes later we'd booked to go. It really does blow my mind how much impact a simple smile can make.

And that brings me to the end of this little smiley cute af post... if I haven't convinced you to smile wider than my waist after my New York Pancakes breakfast by now then maybe just go and google some cute cat or dog memes, but get smiling people, surely life's too short not to?

I'd love to hear your smile stories, have you ever done anything based purely on a smile? I always love hearing your thoughts!

xx


This post is sponsored by Listerine®

TIME IS PRECIOUS




Photography by Ally Shipway

Time is a funny ole thing. It's something that dictates our life on a daily basis but not something we really think about. Something we take for granted but the only thing we can't get back once it's gone.

Well, apart from my sasspot ladies who won't ever take back that idiot who made the worst mistake of his life. Or the pizza I just demolished, or the bikini body I had when I was 20 and my metabolism was on fire....

OK, look, in theory it was a good sentence so let me just live my best philosophical "move over Gandhi" life for a little bit and just go with it.

Time is something I took for granted for the vast majority of last year. I fretted about things I couldn't change and I lost sight of all of the things most important to me. I put social media numbers before my health and let them dictate the kinda day I was going to lead.

This changed for me in 2018 but there was still tiny little remnants of this leftover. Even if it was putting up with people talking about it when they know you have harder things to deal with...

But something happened recently which put everything into perspective. It made me finally step off of the ridiculous work carousel/treadmill/[insert your own choice of object that consistently moves here].. because the only thing it left me thinking about was time. And just how precious it really is. I was never going to talk about it, but when I realised that Olivia Burton's - who I am beyond beyond beyond excited to be working with because I've been obsessed with their watches and jewellery for 3483984 years - latest campaign is all about how precious time is, it just felt like perfect timing.


I've never really been that good at getting personal so I tend to just blurt things out and hope for the best (classic Elle coping method). A few weeks back I noticed that I'd gained a lot of moles (tiny little freckle like things) all over my body, and some, which I'd never even noticed before had gone from being totally flat to almost hilariously raised. I didn't think much of it, I booked an appointment with a GP - who was absolutely useless FYI - and subsequently went private because whilst I am the most blase person on all the land, I just wanted to check it out once and for all. I went to my appointment, had even booked in dinner and drinks after, and the next thing I knew, I'm on the table being injected with anaesthetic and having two "worrying" and "suspicious" moles removed.

It's not a big deal (I mean it probably is but denial is better than acceptance right?)...  but in that moment, nothing... not work, not money, not girl dramas not boy dramas, literally nothing crossed my mind apart from time. Have I used my time wisely? Have I made the most of every second I've had? If time left was limited what would I do...

For anyone thinking, it was possibly just a cancerous mole at worse you tit, I am not by any means saying it's huge and serious as it mostly can be easily rectified but any little health scare is enough to put things into perspective isn't it? And this was just mine.


So yeah... time is pretty darn precious, and Olivia Burton know all about this. During the design process of their latest Semi Precious stone collection - which is just outrageously stunning fyi - Olivia Burton were reflecting on what precious time means to them. From small snatched moments to yourself in a busy day to celebrating the weekend with your favourite people in world. It's the small things that count, making every single minute worth your while.

I've been wearing the beautiful Semi Precious Rose gold mesh watch and I've been absolutely obsessed with it. Not only does it look gorgeous with the perfect rose gold tones and stunning dusky pink marble face, but the dial is also layered with Rose Quartz, aka the Heart stone (HOW CUTE!!!), famous for attracting and keeping love - i.e the perfect wing woman, I'll wear it every day ;) - and it's soft, peaceful energy. It's the perfect classic piece that looks timeless - please feel free to appreciate the unintentional pun - and goes with every outfit whilst still feeling modern and on trend.

Basically, I haven't taken it off since I first got it so I think that says it all really doesn't it?


And I think it's about time I wrap this up.

Honestly, feel free to punch me in the face for that pun because it really was atrocious.


I'd love to know what precious time means to you? What little things never fail to put a smile on your face? Cute af stories welcome please ;)

xx


This post was sponsored by Olivia Burton

3 OCCASION-WEAR OUTFIT IDEAS AND GETTING THE LOOK FOR LESS

It's that time of year again isn't it, ladies? Weddings, Christening's, Ascot, your best friend's brother's dog's puppies first birthday... you name it, there is always an occasion to get dressed up for at this time of year and I have to say, I have a love/hate relationship with it. Don't get me wrong, I love nothing more than getting dolled up - lol, no you talk like a Nan - putting on a pretty outfit and going out to have some fun in the sun with your favourite people. But it's the deciding what to wear that always gets me. What does smart casual even mean, am I too overdressed, is that even a thing? So I decided to put together a mix of looks that can work for any and every occasion.

I was going to say I'm being like a clothes fairy godmother helping all your sartorial needs but I think fairy godmothers are responsible adults that don't run away from their awful decisions aren't they? Which means I'm definitely counted out of that.

So yes, I've put together some looks - all from Very who you all know are one of my all time fave online stores - and I'm also here to tell you about how to get these looks for less (because if you don't love a bargain I'm not even sure we can be friends) with the help of Voucher Codes.

If you've never heard of Voucher Codes, they are a website with amazing deals across 100s of high street brands and restaurants. They work with brands to provide the best deals to make things as affordable as possible for us shoppers. They have an amazing app - which you can download here - which will show you deals in your local area too, pretty snazzy if you ask me. 

Voucher Codes currently have a sassy little code in case you want to shop anything from this post or from the Very website. Using the code ELLEND5, New Very.co.uk customers can get £5 when they spend £20+... I think this means it's time to get shopping doesn't it? Yep, I thought so too!

Photography by Ally who you can find here and here.
THE MINI
As much as I love a flowy little number, my heart will always be lost to the mini. Maybe it's because my long legs are just about the only redeeming feature - no, no, please put your tiny violins away for me - or maybe it's because it has that added boost of sexiness but a respectable mini is always a solid shout for me. I absolutely adore this cornflower blue option as the long sleeves and 'just above knee' height make it appropriate for any occasion. This has such a Self Portrait vibe about it (but for a third of the price) and just looks so classy whilst also being a bit different too. 

Paired with these gorgeous silver strappy heels - which I've also worn to death with cropped jeans lately - and this beautiful dusky pink velvet clutch... this is the perfect pretty but chic outfit.


THE FLORAL MAXI/MIDI
Can we all just take a moment to appreciate the beauty of this dress?

... perfect, thank you ;)

This dress really is one of the most beautiful, and versatile, pieces in my wardrobe. I've worn it to a beautiful dinner in paris, I've worn it with trainers for a casual day at the park (which may or may not have included a Nando's), I've worn it to a christening. It just works. The neckline and shoulder detail is just gorgeous and the open front and fluted hem really does make this little cracker just a bit special. I actually paired this with one of the most quirky pairs of shoes I own in the form of these ruffle rose gold pointed courts - what a mouthful - and this pom bag which is the definition of unsubtle but I'm kind of all about it.




THE JUMPSUIT
Finally, for my most unique - and also possibly most favourite, shh - the jumpsuit. But let's be honest guys, this isn't just any old jumpsuit is it? LET'S JUST TRY AND STAY CALM AND CHILL OVER THE RUFFLE BARDOT NECKLINE!!!

And breathe... but seriously, there's something about the cut and fit of this that instantly makes me feel put together, ready for anything and, as much as it makes me want to curl up in a ball of self indulgence... a little bit sexy. Maybe it's the sleeves or the perfect crop and fit of the trousers but my god is this piece a little stunner? The jumpsuit does all the talking so I paired this with nude strappy heels (without a doubt my most worn style of shoe) and this leopard print bag just to give the girly look a bit of an edge. 


And that's my third and final look. I'd love to know which one is your favourite? I'd also love to know if you've ever heard of/used Voucher Codes before as I'm a liiiiittle bit obsessed with it now.

Don't forget, you can check out all of the deals they have to offer here . Happy shopping guys!

xx



This post was sponsored by Voucher Codes and Very


7 REASONS WHY BREAKFAST IN BED IS THE BEST THING ON EARTH

I know you might be thinking, has she really written an entire post about breakfast in bed? Alternatively you might be thinking that my hair needs a little bit of a brush which I would also 100% agree with but let's just go with that you're thinking the former.

And the answer would be yes, yes I have written a post based around breakfast in bed. I mean yes and no. It's also about my recent stay in Farnham bush which was so ridiculously dreamy that I never really wanted to leave but mostly, mostly it's about breakfast in bed.

100% sorry not sorry.

So, a few weeks back I headed to Farnham Bush for a little break with Mum Next Door i.e my resident photographer i.e the most patient person on the planet. We explored the town, did a bit of unintentional shopping and stayed at the Mercure hotel because you guys know that those guys are my fave gal pal for quick, easy, comfy stays so I was blimmin chuffed they had one here.

But yeah, we had such a lovely little trip and topped it off with a chilled out morning and breakfast in bed. So, shall we have a quick natter about why BIB (is this gonna be the new fetch, trying to make BIB a thing but it's just not a thing?) is so amazing before I dive more into my little break then? Yeah? Ok fab...

1. When the options are endless and you almost feel like you've been given a billion quid to go and spend in Selfridges. Like...
"Do I want almond, soya, oat, rice, whole or semi skinned milk?"
"Hmm... fat fries, curly fries, cheese fries, crinkled fries... I'll take one of everything please lad!"
You get the gist... and I have to say, the room service breakfast at the Mercure was pretty bloody incredible. From smoked haddock - no you brought the sass - to full english, to continental, they got it down.

2. I'm eating in bed and it doesn't even matter that I'm dropping crumbs and egg yolk on the sheets because IT'S NOT MY BED AND IT'LL BE WASHED BY SOMEONE ELSE AND OHHHH WHAT A GREAT DAY TO BE ALIVE.

3. It feels like you're pampering yourself doesn't it? Take some time out to chill and relax and wake up slowly rather than setting a god awful alarm every 5 minutes to make sure you're actually awake.

4. Did I mention being in bed? I have? Well I'm mentioning it again because for the 32482984th time, the beds at the Mercure hotels are just the comfiest and I promise once you've slept in one you won't want to book anywhere else again.

(OK, that's a very big claim so don't hold me to that but you will love it).

5. The entertainment. Like, do you go for TV. And then do you go for trash TV (Kardashians I'm looking at you huns!) or a documentary or a bad boy Netflix series? Or, do you push the boat out and watch a film? THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS MY FRIENDS.

6. No need to get ready and look presentable, you can look like a total slob and it's absolutely fine. I repeat, you can look like a total slob and it's absolutely fine!

7. You can create your own little home from home (just without the cleaning up after yourself). I've always loved how comfy and chilled Mercure hotels are and Farnham Bush might have been my favourite yet. The staff were amazing, the food spot on *insert hands in the air emoji here*, the hotel and lobby/chill areas beautiful and the area itself... just stunning!
So after finally forcing ourselves out of bed/getting kicked out because we'd exceeded check out time by hours we took a stroll around the grounds (dreamer than Ryan Gosling), wandered into town (cuter than Ron Weasley when he thinks Hermione is a bit fit) and then finally left to go back to London.

Leaving these little getaways is always a bit hard for me. Anyone who has been around here for a while will know that London will always be my favourite place on earth but sometimes the city, and work, and life gets a bit much doesn't it? So thank you Farnham Bush (and Mercure) for providing me with a dreamy break and a little bit of my sanity back. I bloody loved it!

Have you ever stayed here before? Is there anything in the world better than Breakfast in bed? I always love hearing your thoughts!

xx



This post was sponsored by Mercure.

WHY YOU NEED TO BOOK A SURPRISE TRIP WITH SRPRS.ME

There are lots of things that I probably take for granted a little. Being a born and bred Londoner and living in one of the best cities on earth. Being reasonably healthy. My family, who are absolute heroes. The fact that gluten free pasta exists and it's actually good (my god isn't pasta good?!)...

The list is a bit too long for my liking, but one thing that I never take for granted is the fact that I get to travel so much. Whether it's for work - it's 99% of the time for work fyi and it's 99% of the time nowhere near as glam as it looks - or pleasure, I have been so incredibly lucky to travel the world more than I could ever have imagined in the last couple of years and as a result of this, when I book my own holidays I'm always at a bit of a loss where to go. You guys know that if I had full control I'd end up only ever going to NYC for the rest of my life which is why when I stumbled upon SRPRS I just knew I was going to end up booking and going.
SRPRS is a company that is based around booking a surprise trip, with very minimal filters so you end up wth absolutely no idea where you're going until you get to the airport. You can chose from a 3,4,5 or 7 day break in Europe, which London airport to fly from, whether you'd like a slightly more comfortable room and then of course, the dates you'd like to travel... and then the rest is left up to SRPRS.

1 month before the trip you'll find out what time you need to be at the airport (and which airport you're off to). 1 week before the trip you can log in online and check on the weather forecast so you know whether you need your cossie - cossie, lol, no you're secretly a 90 year old inside - or your 10 layers of fleece, coat. A few days before you receive your pack including a scratch card which you'll use at the airport to unlock a code that you then enter into your app. Included in the pack is also your boarding passes in a little black envelope so that once you find out where you're off to, you don't need to worry about checking in. 

And then you're ready to go *insert all of the party popper/sassy lady in red/airplane emojis here*

So after arriving at the airport with my partner in crime, Al, we scratched off our scratch card, entered the code and honestly jumped with pure shock and delight when we realised we were going to.......

GOD DAMN MOTHERF**KIN VIENNA!!!


So yeah, blimmin Vienna. It's funny because when we received the forecast (2 degrees fyi, no you are cold just thinking about it) we looked at all the places it might be, made completely uneducated guesses and not once did we even consider Vienna. It just never crossed our minds.

A plane and mildly terrifying taxi journey later and we arrived at the Ruby Sofie Hotel in Vienna and I have to say, it was pretty much love at first sight. The bar area and lounge spaces are laid back and cool - think The Hoxton meets Clerkenwell Grind (if you're not a Londoner/a blogger this might be ridiculously unhelpful for you) - and whilst I hate the word "trendy"... it was really bloody trendy. Our room however was an entirely different vibe... possibly the largest I've stayed in (that wasn't a suite), our room was white and airy and incredibly spacious. We had a bed that could fit 5 people - Oi, get your head out of the gutter, you - and a beautiful shower/lounge space. 

I think I forgot to mention that the breakfast buffet, i.e my life forte, was absolutely incredible, with endless tea options, almond/oat/rice/god knows what else milk and basically every option known to man... I challenge you to not demolish at least 4 plates.

And if you don't then we can't be friends.

I mean, we can, but you'll just have to up your total pig eating game ;)
Vienna as a place was the Meghan Markle of cities. Beautiful, elegant but also a lot of fun (I mean, I don't know Megs personally but I bet she's secretly a right ball). Think clean and light and very easy going. The food was bloody amazing and the general vibe of the city was somewhere I could see myself spending a lot more time.

Now, as we were only there for a few days and spent most of our time chilling and soaking up Vienna rather than seeing every tourist site there is to see, this won't be a "guide" as such... but here's a few highlights I'd recommend;

Schonbrunn Palace - A beautiful and historical monument for the city, Schonbrunn is absolutely worth a wander to as it really is stunning. 

Swing Kitchen - OH MY GOD SWING KITCHEN!!! Ally found this place as it has Vegan burgers and Nuggets and all sorts of wonderful, amazing things and a lot of the food here also happened to be gluten free. If it's wrong to love Nuggets and chips then lock me up and throw away the key pals because this place was incredible.

Stefel Rooftop - After a day of wandering Al and I took it upon ourselves to live our best Sex and the city lives and headed up to the rooftop bar at the top of Stefel department store. An aperol spritz and 30483084 belly laughs and cry tears later and I think I could safely say that it was a very good decision!

Hundertwasser House - Nestled quietly off of a side street in Vienna, you'll find Hundertwasser house. An apartment house built after the idea and concept of Austrian artist Friedensreich, it's an expressionist landmark which to be honest, is just pretty damn cool. There's nothing to do there but it makes for a fun photo and there's a red telephone box there so, you know, if you fancy a taste of London in Austria, this place is your guy!

St Stephen's Cathedral - We absolutely just stumbled upon St Stephen's cathedral and my god, am I glad that we did. It's pretty much an architectural dream (not that I have a single f**king clue about architecture). Stunning inside and out, whether you are religious or generally have no interest in cathedrals, get your butt down there and marvel at the beauty, I promise you won't regret it.
Photography by Ally 

And I think that's it for my little Vienna adventure. As I've already fangirled 304830943 times, SRPRS really is such an incredible idea and one that I can not only not recommend highly enough but will also be rebooking asap.

I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse of Vienna too, it's one of those places that's pretty much perfect for a weekend break. Enough to do and take in but also chilled enough to just enjoy it. 

Just the way I like it!

Lol, that 100% sounded like some kind of cheesy slogan at the end of an American toothpaste ad. Soz about that!

xx

A huge thank you to SRPRS for organising the most dreamy trip for me and Ally. We'll never forget it!
© the Elle next door

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