Morocco

. February 12, 2018 .

Sick of the sight of the British winter, I kicked off 2018 with an impulsive pursuit over to Morocco and it was one of the most beautiful, culturally eye-opening trips I've had to date. Rich in colour, culture, incredible architecture and people from all walks of life, Marrakech is unlike anywhere I've visited before, and with fellow travel babe Charlotte at my side, I had a magical few days discovering the city. Whilst I'll be sharing a full city guide and more travel looks, I wanted to share a few first impressions in a blog post – something I'll be doing with all new places moving forward!

Beautiful as it is, Marrakech is not a relaxing holiday. There's a relentless energy constantly pulsing through the Medina – be it from the eager sellers in the souks, the ferocious street performers in the square or the hypnotic call to prayer come sundown. The bustling atmosphere is heady and you certainly have to have your wits about you, but I absolutely adored being in the thick of it. Sure, you can spend hours relaxing in a resort outside the city (though I don't see much point in that – you could be anywhere) but if you come to Marrakech, you'll expect a busy atmosphere and personally, being in the throng of the local culture is my favourite way to experience somewhere new.

Though it's a popular touristic destination, you do see more locals than tourists in the city – something you don't always find in popular travel spots. You'll be in a plush riad hotel one minute yet two doors down there'll be a local butcher or a tiny room packed with locals all surrounding one small TV set. From grand mosques to fruit-selling shacks it's a real fusion of insular cultures and life.

Before visiting Morocco, people will be quick to tell you to watch out for the men, the aggressive sellers or the young kids that trick you into charging for directions. And whilst yes, this is true (though you'll have learned all your lessons before the end of the first day) it's not something to put you off visiting. What people rarely remember to tell you is that many locals are a pleasure to meet, so proud of their country, their handmade products or knowledge of their hundreds of spices. Charlotte and I are fortunate enough to be quite well traveled, so little of the heckling really bothered us as two girls traveling alone there. But, the few lessons I did learn I'll be sharing in the form of some do's and don'ts in my full city-guide post.

And of course, it's not 24/7 hustle and bustle. Come the end of the day, escaping into our riads was like slipping into a slice of paradise hidden away in the medina. One absolutely gorgeous place we stayed was Riad Johara, home to the most intricately beautiful architecture (as you can see) and owned by the most wonderful German lady called Astrid whom you may be lucky enough to meet should you stay here. And of course Aladdin and Armani – the most adorable resident cats.

During every trip I take, there's always small moments of magic, surreal seconds that remind me why I have such an insatiable hunger for travel and wonder at this gorgeous world we live in. Sat up on the rooftop at Riad Johara, drinking mint tea and basking in the dusty pink sun as it set behind the atlas mountains whilst the call to prayer echoed around us was one of those moments. And, when one as special as that comes around I let it soak into every pore like sunlight, as it get's etched into the stock of travel memories that I'll never forget.

Thanks, as always, for reading and before I sign off, I should probably welcome you to my newly designed site (and name!). Now that I'm finally happy with my new space (still a few tweaks needed here and there) I'll be sharing a lot more words and content on here, my mojo is well and truly back and creative veins are bursting – stay tuned.

Shop the post: Privacy Please blue stripe dress and 
LPA Gia bag via RevolveMissoma Roman pendant 
and initial pendantNew Look matching tie toptassel shorts 
and embroidered mesh maxi.

Images shot at Riad Johard Marrakech

Bristol

. February 11, 2018 .

Never did I think I'd be sharing a series of bare-faced images here on the blog, but I'm finally at a point where I feel comfortable and confident enough in my skin to do so. Call these my 'after' images (read my first post here to see the before), 6 months on in my skincare journey with Proactiv+.

The main improvements for me have been the complete reduction in blemishes. Over the summer last year I suffered from terrible breakouts – across my forehead in particular. In an area hard to conceal they left me feeling self-conscious and depressed about the skin on my face. After a couple of months of using the Proactiv+ 3-step system daily, they eventually cleared up and I'm delighted to say they've stayed that way since. Sure I'll still get the occasional hormonal break out here and there, but those stubborn forehead blemishes are now a thing of the past.

I've also seen a huge difference in the blocked pores around my t-zone (bye bye blackheads), reduction in redness and the overall hydration, suppleness, and softness of my skin has never felt so good. Here's a round-up of my must-have products from the range should you want to join the journey to better skin yourself:

These are the core essentials. The 3 step system is comprised of aSkin Smoothing Exfoliator (excellent for those stubborn blocked pores) with salicylic acid, step two is Pore Targeting Treatment and finally aComplexion Perfecting Hydrator. These 3 are my secret weapons, super straightforward to use and, thanks to the handy size of the 30-day kits, they come with me absolutely everywhere.

I adore this product so much I did a whole review post on it here. I use it as a bi-weekly treat for the skin, it's my go-to when my face needs a little extra TLC.

These are the bomb.com. We all lead busy lives, and after a long day or, ahem, night out let's say we can't always be bothered to stand at the sink and perform our full skincare routine like we know we should (these were my saviours at festivals last year). These cleanser infused wipes are a quick and easy way to remove makeup whilst doing your skin some good too.

The Mark Fading Pads are a great renewing and resurfacing treatment for the skin. Combating pigmentation, fine lines and dark marks on the skin, they make me feel like a new woman (every 2-3 nights that I use them ;)).

This one is a newbie for me, we were kindly given a few new products to try out at the final Proactiv+ event in December and this is my fave of the bunch. My skin can become easily irritated in the winter months, plus its a few shades paler so any redness becomes pretty obvious. I keep this serum in the fridge, it's great for calming down my complexion and the cooling roller application is great for de-puffing too.  

As always, thanks for reading and thanks for following this skincare journey of mine – I hope if you're struggling with skin issues I've inspired you to give this system ago and use my discount code 'STYLE118' until the 28th of Feb. You won't regret it, promise.

This is a sponsored post created as part of an ongoing collaboration with Proactiv+ but all thoughts, words and images are my own.
The Real Greek Bristol

. February 07, 2018 .
Greece is one of my favorite places on earth to visit during summer time. The sun is always shining, the people are always so warm and welcoming and the food is always phenomenal. I'm a real grazer when it comes to eating, especially socially, so meze-type dishes have always been a firm favourite of mine and I'm a bit of a hummous addict.

Whilst I was living in Shepherds Bush during my university year in London I frequented The Real Greek's Westfield restaurant on the regular. My friends and I would love hiding out there after lectures and devouring some shared Greek dishes from the tasty menu – it became a real treasured spot for me. 

So, I'm sure you can imagine my delight when The Real Greek announced it would be opening a new location in my hometown of Bristol! I was fortunate enough to be invited along to the media launch night so I thought I'd share with you a few favourite moments from the night and what you can expect should my Bristol folks/visitors want to visit themselves, and I really recommend you do!

Designed to recreate the relaxed Mediterranean experience of eating in Greece, the cafefully curated menu includes of a selection of hot and cold mezes, grilled skewers, marinated meats and souvlaki wraps – of course, accompanied by a selection of hand-sourced wines and beers from Greece (the Cavino Inos White was my fave). There's also loads of veggie and even vegan options if you're a plant-based person like me, and I have it on good word from the chef they're in the midst of creating a full vegan menu too!

On the night I also got to meet The Real Greek's lovely (and frankly flipping gorgeous) ambassador Tonia Buxton whom I helped host a personalised hummous making station with – which was a tad messy but loads of fun and it was great to create a bespoke dip with all your favourite flavours (heavy on the cumin and lemon for me!). 

The Bristol restaurant itself has a wonderful Mediterranean vibe to it and you feel instantly welcome the second you set foot in the door and its location is in the heart of Cabot Circus right next to the Cinema de Lux so a great spot to hit after shopping or pre/post movie. Plus, Every Thursday & Friday night form 7:30pm, Andreas from Thessaloniki and Micheal from Cyprus play traditional Greek bouzouki and guitar at the Bristol spot – just the ticket to make you fele like you're Greek summer holiday is just around the corner! Visit The Real Greek's website here for more info and t book your table.

This post was kindly sponsored by The Real Greek

. January 26, 2018 .
After 6 months, my ongoing collaboration with Proactiv came to a close back in December and was rounded off with a beautiful dinner at Spring London in Somerset House with all of the Proactiv girls.  We dined on gorgeous food whilst talking all things good skin and our improvements over the last 6 months. It was great to see how far the other girls had come with their journey to better skin and share the great progress we've made with using Proactiv+. Though we've all had different experiences using the products and have different favorite parts of the skincare regimen, there was a lovely sense of overall satisfaction with the improvements in our skin.

And as much as I've tried to be vigilant with the 3-step system twice daily, it was great to hear I wasn't the only one who occasionally missed a few steps now and then – and how much we all relied on the Proactiv+ Makeup Cleansing Wipes after a night out! It's only human to slip up on a beauty routine now and then, but so long as we use the products as regularly as possible and remember to treat ourselves to that occasional pamper and facemask (read my review here) now and then – there are still great improvements to be seen.

The lovely dermatologist Laura reassured us of this at the dinner, and I was fortunate enough to steal her for a final one on one at the table where she reminded me of all the fundamentals I needed to carry forward to maintain my improved skin. I.e; drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated to keep those forehead blemishes at bay and being selective of what hormonal contraception I use (I've now come off the pill completely and that's greatly helped). And, of course, sticking to my Proactiv+ 3 step system as often as possible (using the wipes when I don't) and remembering to do that bi-weekly face mask.

All in all, it was a fabulous evening and the perfect way to round off a wonderful collaboration. Stay tuned for my final post for a full look at my 'after' skin and results following the 6-month trial! And in the meantime, enjoy this special code Proactiv+ have given me to give you 20% off all kits and prodcuts; STYLE18.

This is a sponsored post created as part of my ongoing collaboration with Proactiv+


The Gherkin

. December 11, 2017 .
This passed weekend we made the annual family trip to the Christmas tree farm, chose our festive fir and spent Sunday evening sipping mulled wine and unboxing baubles and beads for decorations. And I think for the first time ever it was actually snowing for this tradition! 

I've also been lucky enough to experience some wonderful Christmas dinners in London over the passed couple of weeks, one of which was hosted by the lovely folks at House of Fraser, way up in the Perrier Jouet room at the top of the Gherkin! There were cocktails, festive table decorations, gift wrapping and gift-giving – such a wonderful evening with some other fellow influencers. So with all this in mind, it's safe to say I'm really starting to feel festive.

I received some really gorgeous gifts during the evening so thought I'd share them with you here in a mini-guide as I know they'd make wonderful presents for your nearest and dearest this Christmas. Or if you just fancy treating yourself – that's totally allowed too and something I keep finding myself doing on every attempt at Christmas shopping lately, oops.

I've never not been thrilled to unwrap a beautiful candle on Christmas day. I'm a bit of a hoarder of them myself, but I honestly think they make such a wonderful treat for anyone and House of Fraser have such a great collection for all brands and budgets. I chose one of my favourite scents by Jo Malone, the Lime Basil & Mandarin scented candle. It's a divine scent all year round and the beautifully classic packaging is something I totally adore and makes it perfect for gift giving. Shop all Jo Malone at House of Fraser here.

I was introduced to Bobbi Brown earlier on this year and have been loyally indulging in their make-up ever since, so was totally over the moon to find some key pieces in my goody bag on the night of the dinner. You can guarantee a berry-toned Luxe Lip Colour or Smokey Eye Mascara by Bobbi Brown will go down a treat with your beauty-loving bestie, but why not take a peek at their skincare range too. I've been trying it out a lot lately and some of their make-up base moisturisers are really lovely and would make a thoughtful gift that your beauty-fan might not have even tried yet!

House of Fraser also have a fab section in their Christmas shop for your cocktail lovers and alcohol connoisseurs. From glam martini glasses to recipe books and bar tools, there's plenty of great gifts to choose from. I won this beautiful silver cocktail gift set by Linea during the dinner for coming first place in the gift wrapping contest! It would be a perfect present for any 'spresso martini fans (ahem) or even for a couple that you know who've recently moved into a new home.

I was also lucky enough to receive this gorgeous little clutch by Issa in my goody bag, and I don't know any girl that wouldn't be as excited as I was to receive a luxury handbag this Christmas. There's lots of brands to choose from at House of Fraser – from Micheal Kors and Mulberry to their Label Lab and Therapy, you'll find one to suit every budget. 

Hope you enjoyed this post and can take some giftspiration and ideas from these wonderful pieces I've either been enjoying myself or will be gifting to others. Thanks for reading and happy Christmas shopping!

This is a sponsored post created in collaboration with House of Fraser but all thoughts, words and imagery are my own.

Tonight Josephine

. December 05, 2017 .
In collaboration with one of my favourite British brands, Radley, I'm so thrilled to share with you one of my favourite campaigns to date. Cocktails, killer accessories and some of my absolute favey blogging gals in the most Instagrammable bar in London – a recipe for a perfect afternoon and the best kick start into party season! I mean, what better way to test out your new festive essentials?

On a frosty November afternoon Gemma, Sophie and I found ourselves sipping (and shaking our own) cocktails in our best party gear at London's girliest new cocktail hotspot, Tonight Josephine. Armed with the most gorgeous new bags and purses from Radley's latest collection, there were metallics, sequins and glitter a plenty and it was festive party mode ON.

As a long-time lover of Radley bags, I'm always impressed with the timeless design and high quality of my bags, so was really excited to try out a metallic texture for the festive season as apposed to my usual 'all black everything' accessories rule. This slick Blackheath Flapover Clutch in Gold is the perfect touch of glamour to compliment my party look, it's super chic and probably the nicest 'going out' bag I own! I loved the fabric texture so much I went for the matching Arlington Street Purse which is gorgeous alone or teamed with the clutch. 

And, as lovely as it is to treat myself to these pieces, I know they'll also make the perfect Christmas gifts too. I've mentioned the wonderful quality before, but theres something so special about opening a Radley package, and I know the special ladies in my life would absolutely love to find one under their tree this Christmas.

Hope you enjoy this post as much as I loved creating it and that I've got you in the mood for a cocktail or two this party season!

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Radley London but all thoughts and words are my own. Photography by Kylie Eyra

lucia grace