Sunday, 29 April 2018

A Short Stay In Port Lympne

During the Easter holidays a couple of weeks ago, my Aunt and Uncle very kindly took both my sister and I away for the night to Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve, situated in the Kentish countryside.
If you have been a reader of my blog for a while, you will know that I've already been to 2 different towns in Kent, which are Dover (read that post here) and Edenbridge (read that post here) and I loved them both equally, but for different reasons. Some family friends had been to Port Lympne themselves and were convinced that we would love it just as much as they did, so of course we had to plan our visit.

There are a variety of different accommodation options available at the reserve, ranging from glamping to hotels to a treehouse, which is the option that we went for - and wow, am I glad we did.
What I loved the most about the choice we made is that it's completely out of the ordinary compared to anything that you would experience in your day to day life. You only live once and so it would be foolish to let any unique opportunity pass you by, right?

My Aunt and Uncle stayed in the main bedroom (of course) whilst my sister and I shared the second one. It was really nice to actually spend some quality time in a relaxing environment with some of my favourite people, because it's not something that we get to do that often, as we all have busy schedules, but we definitely created memories that I'm sure will last a lifetime.

When we first arrived and parked the cars, we dropped off our bags near the reception and went to go and explore a large part of the park by foot. We saw gorillas, other varieties of monkeys, pigs, rhinos and so much more! It was an incredible experience and one that you can't quite believe you have had, because it just seems so surreal and extraordinary! Gorillas in particular are so intelligent and similar to humans in their mannerisms and their behaviour that it was actually quite scary as well as fascinating to see. For both the animals and the visitors safety, they obviously have to all be caged up to some extent, but it wasn't in a cruel way at all and you can still get close enough to be snap happy.

 After our little adventure, we were taken by the golf buggy type ride to this gorgeous little lobby area just opposite where all the treehouses were located. As you can see, there was a massive fire in the middle alongside luxurious sofas and so we sipped our champagne (very fancy) whilst eating our toasted marshmallows - it was lush and such a nice way to kick start our stay.
We then walked up what felt like a million steep steps to get to our treehouse, where we relaxed for a while until it was time to change for dinner. We had booked in at the infamous Babydolls Restaurant, which is actually named after the 55 year old gorilla with that exact name. She is the last of the Howletts gorilla and she was raised from an infant in the cottage at Howletts too.

We all enjoyed our pizza's and it was absolute bliss to be able to soak up the bustling but quaint atmosphere. We had a reservation made for 8pm and we had breadsticks and a drink (or two) back in the treehouse, so once we were done, we simply took a ride down on the golf buggy (a rather bumpy one, might I add!). It was past closing time for day visitors and quite dark at this point, so it really did feel like we were on a wildlife holiday and it was such a laugh getting there and riding back!

The next morning came around and we had a leisurely breakfast of pain au chocolat, fruit and orange juice, courtesy of my wonderful Aunt. It was delicious and exactly what we need to keep us going for the rest of the morning.
We had to take our luggage down and check out of the room by 11, but then we had a couple of hours spare before heading back home to go on the safari, which was what I was most looking forward to!
You have to wait in a queue for about 15 minutes or so, but then you have these big safari trucks, as if you're actually in South Africa or something incredible like that and you drive around seeing baby bears, camels, giraffes, red deer and so many other rare but equally as beautiful wild animals.
Although it was freezing cold up top, it was a pretty memorable experience to say the least!

We may have only been on our little countryside break for 1 night and 2 days, but I absolutely loved it and I know I can vouch for the others when I say that too! We had so many laughs and so much fun seeing things we had never seen before and it's certainly a trip that I won't ever be forgetting.

If you haven't yet visited Port Lympne, I highly, highly recommend it, as you'll have as much of a blast as we did - I guarantee it!

Lots of love always,

P.S. all photography is my Uncle's! He did give me his permission beforehand ;) 


Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Why I'm Proud To Be A Woman (+ A Giveaway!)*

I was initially supposed to schedule this post for the infamous International Women's Day, which was back on the 8th March, but as I've been inundated with other commitments (which unfortunately doesn't include blogging), I'm only just getting the chance to put my words together now!

Being a woman is a part of my identity which is very valuable to me and something that I will always be proud of. I'm not sexist in any way, shape or form and I respect (most) men as much as I respect (most) women, but having grown up without a significant, influential father figure, it would be fair to say that I am slightly bias in a sense. I have seen my Mum struggle to provide for me and although she has been with her partner for almost 11 years now, he will never be my Dad and he will never provide for me in the way that she does. I'm grateful to have my Grandad and my Uncle present, but yet again, they won't ever be able to fully fill that father shaped hole within my heart.

At the young age of 17, I have dealt with my fair share of shitty boys and shitty men. Some of them are quite literally just dicks, who only think with exactly that. We can all name at least 5 notorious fuckboys that we have come into contact with throughout our lives, especially if you're growing up within my generation!

Nobody in particular has ever encouraged me in life to such a great extent, aside from myself. Of course, my family wants me to do well and go on to be successful and independent, but they have never really put pressure on me or placed a great emphasis on the grades that I get. If I want to revise, I organise it myself. If I want to research Universities, I'll find out myself and then tell my family after to get their opinion. I try to do things off my own back, as much as I love them, because in regard to my future, it kind of is just me against the big wide world, as people always say.

This is no disrespect whatsoever, but I don't want to rely on a man - ever. My worst fear is depending on my future husband for a solid income, expecting him to sort out all of our finances, fluttering my eyelashes, so he gives me his credit card and allows me to splash the cash on Balenciaga, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. It's completely fair enough if that's what some girls like though!

Personally, I want to be able to build my own future for myself. I want to be my own person and I want to be motivated and determined on my own without such an influence from outsiders, whether that be positive or negative.
Women have come a long way as a gender over the past 100 years alone and now we are rapidly challenging the stereotypes and any stigma that still remains within today's society.

It's okay for women to want to be their own boss. It's okay for women to work within a sector that's considered to be 'male dominated'. It's okay for women to wear what they want, regardless of how men *may* perceive them. It's okay for women to live their life however they choose to!

SHOES - NEW LOOK (baso fake converse, shh)

As a little self-love gift to all of you, myself and the Good Girl Gang want to give you the opportunity to win your own tee and tote by entering our joint giveaway! It's going to run from Saturday 28th April to Saturday 12th May, so you have a whole 2 weeks to be in with the chance to win.

If you do wish to enter, all you have to do is leave a comment after Saturday 28th April or anytime within those 2 weeks on this blog post or on the specific post on one of our Instagram accounts (available after this coming Saturday) telling us what it is that you love most about yourselves (think personality AND looks!) and why. It's that simple! The winner will be generated at random and announced as soon as possible after the giveaway has closed.

The only rules are:

  • You may only enter once
  • You must be following both @simplyjadeyx and @goodgirl_gang on Instagram

I  can't wait to read your replies! Good luck to you all <3

Lots of love always,


Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Old English Company: A Brand Overview*

At the end of March, I was fortunate enough to be contacted by Old English Company, who very kindly wanted to gift me a selection of products that I had chosen, which I could review here on my blog.  We had been following each other on social media for quite some time and when I knew that I'd get the chance to work with them, I was so excited!

Described on their website as a 'stationery and homeware brand', they create all of their products by hand in their Stamford studios. They didn't want to incorporate any particular calligraphy rules to their designs and they wanted to use their own personal lettering to come up with stylish, innovative ideas that contained relatable messages for the public to connect with.

I wanted to have a look at a variety of the items on their website, as that would allow me to give a much more thorough overview of the whole brand and what they have to offer to potential shoppers. In total, I was sent: 3 greetings cards, a coaster, a mug, a notebook, a pocket mirror, a cosmetic bag and a pin!

Ideally, I don't like to get people those bog standard birthday cards from Clintons or Card Factory. I like to be a bit more adventurous, a bit more unique and get them something special that (hopefully) stands out from the rest! Equally, if I know a family member or a friend is feeling down, I'd like to be able to get them a card, just to say that I'm thinking of them and to try and lift their spirits. I think all 3 of these cards are absolutely perfect for that. They aren't too flashy or colourful, but they have classic, simplistic designs that still mean a lot to the person on the receiving end! If someone you know or even someone you have occasionally chatted to on Twitter is having a particularly bad time with their mental health as of late, you could send them one of these cards with an encouraging message inside and a little handmade self-care box or something of the sort! If one of your friends has got a promotion at work or has set up their own business or something, you could send them one of the 'SHINE BRIGHT' cards, as that's guaranteed to show them that you're super proud! 

To those who know me personally, it won't come as much of a surprise to you that I ask for a coaster and a mug when the opportunity arises as I'm obsessed with drinking tea. It's more likely that I would give someone a mug with a quote on like this rather than keep it for myself, but I thought it was too cute not to get! Every time I have a cup of tea, I always allow myself the treat (okay, the habit/requirement) of having at least a couple of biscuits to dunk, because how could I possibly have a satisfactory cup of tea without them?! If you're wondering, my personal favourites are digestives, ginger nuts or the classic hobnobs (which I haven't had in what feels like a few years). Anyway, I digress. This mug is super cute and also a good size for drinking out of! I then chose the coaster to go with it (even though they have completely different quotes), because I've never owned my own coaster before and as it has one of my favourite quotes ever, I thought it was only right that I get a coaster which I can put my brand new mug on! I think it's lovely, affordable and it even has a pretty design on it, so what more could you want?!

Although I'm pretty much obsessed with all stationary in general, I genuinely do have a real addiction to notebooks. I'm not sure what it is, because half the time they just collect dust and sit in my house somewhere (oops!), but I can't help myself from wanting more. At the moment, I've been going through quite the "motivational" phase. I'm super focused on my education, my future, my own personal growth and progression and I'm not going to let anything, not even myself, stand in my way. I always look to inspiring, empowering quotes, as I think they are so important in guiding you and making you want to be the best version of you that you can be. "JUST OWN IT" is a simple enough quote, but it holds a lot of meaning. You should be who you are and have faith in yourself and in everything that you set out to do. Be proud and feel sassy, always. This notebook can be used to jot down any "change the world" kind of ideas that you have, any career plans that you want to put together or anything else that will help you to get on the right track. You will be much more productive and successful in reaching your goals if everything is in the same place!

Whenever any of us girls are out and about, we should always want to carry a pocket mirror! Although in this day and age, we will have our phone on us most of the time, what would we do if it ran out of battery or it was switched off at the time we needed to see how the enormous spot on our chin looked? My point is, a pocket mirror is always handy to have, as it can just be thrown in our handbag or our coat pocket and then we can easily see how to touch up our lipstick, pluck that stray eyebrow hair or get food out of our front teeth. Who doesn't love something that's compact and a pretty pink anyway?! I'm sure there will be many times that you're grateful you took this product out with you and the words on it will boost your self esteem and pop a smile on your face too! 

Now, don't get me wrong. I love absolutely everything that Old English Company gifted to me, but one of my personal favourites (if I had to choose!) would definitely be this makeup pouch. Although some people might think  that black isn't their cup of tea, as it can be seen to be quite a dull and dreary colour, I actually really like it, because it won't stain as much as a brighter bag would and the white contrasts really nicely too. The material feels like it's super high quality, which will last you a long time, so that you can get endless usage out of it! I also think that it's the perfect size for travelling or using on a day-to-day basis, because it isn't too bulky due to its shape, but its just enough to fit in your essentials (and a bit more on top of that!). The quote is uplifting in regard to your self esteem, as is the pocket mirror and it fits in well with the idea of it being a make up pouch. 

As someone who has never owned a pin before, but who has always wanted to build up a collection, I was super excited to see that there was one on the website with my go-to girl power quote on it! I think that through this post, we can all see the sort of style that I like to go for (bad-ass, sassy, inspiring - you get the gist!) and it's obvious that this quote in particular resonates a lot with me, especially considering I want it as a coaster AND as a pin! Ever since I saw other people buying pins, I've always wanted to have a few which I can wear on my basic tees, my dungarees or my denim jacket or even to stick on the memory board next to my bed if I need a motivational morning pick me up. As I mentioned with the coaster, I love the little detailing around the edges and I really do think that I will get a lot of use out of this beaut!

So, that's it for today's post! Do let me know what you think about this brilliant brand and if you have heard of them or ever purchased anything from them before. If not, would you be willing to now?

Lots of love always,

*This post contains gifts from Old English Company. All photographs, words and opinions are my own.*


Wednesday, 11 April 2018

New Skincare Staples

Over the past few months, I've been hearing more and more people talking about charcoal and the benefits that it can have in regard to health and beauty. Charcoal teeth whitening products, charcoal hair care and charcoal face masks are amongst some of the most popular that seem to be trending as of late. I'm always intrigued by the latest trends, even if I don't actually give them a go myself, but this time, I knew that I didn't want to miss out!

When I was scrolling through either someone's blog or their YouTube channel, I noticed that they were raving about the Garnier Pure Active Face Wash and how it's their go to because of the way it cleanses their oily, spot prone skin. I'd never seen this wash or the range advertised before, but seeing as I trusted this particular influencer and their opinions, I decided that I might as well give it a try.

For the past year or so, I've been fortunate enough to only get the odd breakout here and there, but recently my skin has been playing up and I've been in desperate need of some new additions to my routine which I can trial! This particular product is an anti-blackhead charcoal cleansing gel, which quite literally sounds like a miracle in a bottle for someone whose skin produces a fair bit of oil. This wash has a really nice consistency, as it's not really runny, but it isn't super thick and uncomfortable either. You only need a minimal amount, because a little can go a long way and the charcoal can be quite strong otherwise. Whenever I apply it to my face, I'm always left feeling really refreshed and zingy (if that's even the word!), especially when I have been working in McDonalds some evenings. It smells like it would revitalise your skin and it most definitely does that for me. For only £4.99 if you get it from Boots, I don't think you can go wrong at all!

If you want to be as sassy as I am, you can pick up the matching 3 in 1 Charcoal Anti-Blackhead Wash, Mask and Scrub which has multi-purpose uses to suit your needs and your preferences. Unlike the face wash, this has a much thicker texture and it has more substance to it. Having said that, it looks more like a charcoal mask when on the skin and it has stained my shower every time I use it, much to my mum's despair! If you want something that you can leave on for a couple of minutes whilst you condition your hair or shave your legs, then this would be a good purchase for you. The charcoal, blueberry extracts and salicylic acid really do make you feel like you're getting value for your money and properly treating your skin, even though Garnier is an affordable brand.

These are the only 2 products in the range at the moment, but I'll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled to see if any new additions make an appearance in the future.

What do you guys think of charcoal skincare? Will you be making a purchase any time soon?

Lots of love always,


Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Why My Grandparents Are My Everything

Words will never be enough to express the love and gratitude that I have for my grandparents. My childhood was quite a troubled and traumatic one at times and there were many moments where things had become so turbulent that I didn't even know what would happen the following day.
However, one thing that I always knew for certain was that my grandparents were going to be permanent parental figures throughout the years - and that still stands true 17 years down the line.

Now, my Father was in my life until I was 6, but since then, we haven't spoken or seen each other very much at all and that's just the way life has worked and I'm gradually beginning to accept that as time goes on, because it's been my kind of normal for the past 11 years. Even though I haven't grown up around him, I'm not going to sit here and throw shade, because that's just unfair and uncalled for and it wouldn't be very mature on my behalf.

All throughout primary school, I used to stay at my grandparents 3 days a week and stay with my mum and her partner for the other 4. The arrangement really worked for me, because I have always valued my grandparents and they have always been very 'hands on' and involved so to essentially live with them half of the time brought me so much happiness. We'd all watch Coronation Street and Deal or No Deal together in the evenings, I'd play with my Barbie dolls whilst my Grandad watched films and my Grandma read the paper and then as I stopped playing with my dolls, I'd resort to reading on the sofa or watching YouTube on my iPad instead. We would always have dinner altogether at the table as well as pudding (of course) and later on in the evening, we would all have cups of tea too, because we are traditionally British like that. Myself and my Grandma would then go upstairs and watch something like One Born Every Minute or Supersize Vs Supersize and then we would always have the ITV News on downstairs, unless I was at the age where bedtime had to be around 9pm. I don't remember the last time I went to bed at 9pm nowadays, let alone asleep by 9:30! How times have changed.

These memories are incredibly precious to me. I am so blessed at the fact that I got to spend most of my childhood with 2 of the most important people in my life, because I know not every child in the UK, let alone the world understands what a special relationship it is.

Both my Grandma and my Grandad have taught me endless lessons that I will forever hold close to my heart. Above anything else, they have taught me how men should treat women, to always be kind and have respect for others, to be patient and empathetic, to always try my best in school and to never let a boy or a man take advantage of my innocence or my body. I'm only human and so obviously I don't always listen to people's words of wisdom, despite knowing their right 99% of the time, but then my grandparents have always dealt with the tears and tantrums to help me move on from whatever the negative situation was.

Evidently, I never grew up in a typical family home. I didn't have 2 parents that were happily married and hopelessly in love. I don't recall my parents ever showing love or appreciation for each other. I've never had a dad who can protect me and talk down to any boys who disrespect me. I still feel quite bitter about that and that's understandable, because I am still a teenager, but this is the way that my life is and it's something that I'm used to now. Some days are just harder than other at accepting it. In a lot of ways, my Grandad is the man I look up to in order to see how women should be respected and treated. He has been married to my Grandma for over 60 years and that is the kind of love that I could only ever dream of. They have set such a wonderful example to both me and my older sister through the way they are as individuals and as a couple and I am blessed that I get to be related to them.

I think the picture that I've included at the beginning of this post is enough for anybody to see just how genuinely smitten they are with each other. I will always treasure it and I'm sure I'll look back on it in years to come when I have my own family to show and tell them just how much of an influence my Grandparents had on my life and my upbringing.

Although I don't see them as much at the moment since starting secondary school, I do still text my Grandma everyday and I call and visit them whenever the opportunity comes up.

I love you forever and always Granny and Grampy. Forever my favourites. 

Lots of love always,

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