Recent Posts

Guess Who’s Back…in Hong Kong

Guess Who’s Back…in Hong Kong

So it’s been an exciting couple of months for me… After spending last summer in Hong Kong for a project at work, I got the opportunity to move back to this city for a longer stint and I jumped at the chance! I moved back […]

A Little Treat

A Little Treat

So we ate all of the food at Christmas, drank all of the champagne on New Year’s Eve and rang in the new year with excitement and fervour to be better people. Whether it’s dry January, vegan-uary or just a general healthy kick, it feels […]

5 Podcasts You Need To Listen To

5 Podcasts You Need To Listen To

Something I’ve really gotten into over the past year is podcasts. It’s either the in-thing now for everyone and their dog to have a podcast or it’s just me showing my age, because I’m obsessed! There are so many brilliant podcasts to choose from.

Here are my top 5 in no particular order. You can thank me later! 😀


1. Jesus and Jollof

Even just thinking about this podcast makes me grin to myself. Yvonne Orji and Luvvie Ajayi are two hilarious Nigerian-American women…or should I say “foolish goats”.
(You’ll get it when you listen to it 😉 )

They provide a fabulous introduction to Nigerian culture in the launch episode “The Five Nigerian Love Languages” and it’s all up from there.

Yvonne and Luvvie artfully navigate a range of topics that really resonate with me as a black woman and Nigerian living abroad. From bringing back fond (and often ridiculous) memories of my own experiences with my parents, to discussions about the hustle, growth and “making it”…and of course the occasional (hilarious) prayers, the pair are entertaining as hell!

I would definitely recommend if you’re looking for something to feed your soul and make you laugh out loud.

Jesus and Jollof on iTunes

2. The High Low

Another dynamic duo, Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes are two journalists who discuss news and pop-culture in a weekly roundup. From Kim and Kanye’s baby names and Cardi B, to Brexit and feminism, no topic is too high- or low-brow to be unpacked and debated. All this alongside good-natured banter, you feel like they’re your new best friends.

I only discovered this podcast last year and I ended up binge-listening about a year and a half’s worth of episodes in two weeks. I especially loved listening while I was in Hong Kong over the summer as it was a lovely reminder of home. Now I listen to it religiously every week.

Literally one of my top three podcasts, plus it’s a great way to keep somewhat abreast of current affairs and hot topics.

The High Low on iTunes

3. Passing Through

My most recent discovery, Passing Through is a series of short stories by NnekaJ (my longtime IG girl crush! Check out her Instagram, her pictures and captions are amazing).

Nneka beautifully shares stories and revelations from her own life and travels. Her voice is like silk and the pictures she paints with her words are vivid and out of this world. You feel like you could be in the room with her in San Juan or in the passenger seat of the car in Utah.

What tips it over the edge is that in addition to her beautiful storytelling, you also connect to life lessons in each piece. There is a depth to her that is just outstanding!

Best enjoyed with an open heart and a glass of wine – you won’t regret it!

Passing Through on iTunes

4. TED Radio Hour

If you love TED talks – What am I saying, everyone loves TED talks – the TED radio hour podcast is a great one!

Each episode covers a central theme and pulls together a few talks on relevant topics. Plus interviews with the speakers where they share more about their views.

What’s really great about it is that similar to the TED talks themselves, there is something for everyone. You might be a science buff wanting to “Peer Deeper into Space” or more of a generalist wanting to learn more about “What Makes Us…Us“. Either way, you’ll almost certainly learn something you didn’t know before.

TED Radio Hour on iTunes

5. Where Should We Begin?

Now this is a bit of a different one. In this podcast Belgian psychotherapist, author and TED speaker, Esther Perel,  invites you into her sessions where she works with couples facing various issues in their relationships.

In each episode you hear a different couple’s counselling session. Esther occasionally breaks out of the session to provide colour or explain things.

It’s fascinating, and not just because we’re a nosy bunch of amebos who like to listen to other people’s business. You get insight to the many different types of relationships and the nuances of interpersonal relations. You occasionally recognise yourself in one of the couples, or recognise patterns you may have come across in your past (or present) relationships.

Like I said, it’s definitely different but sooooo enlightening!

Where Should We Begin on iTunes

Honorary Mentions

Serial

This list wouldn’t be complete without Serial – an amazing podcast narrated by Sarah Koenig. Season 1 follows the investigation, trial and incarceration of Adnan, who is accused of murdering his 18 year old girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.

While I didn’t enjoy the second season as much, the first still stands out as one of the most interesting shows I’ve listened to. They released a third season with a different format, which explores in detail the American justice system.

Hangups and Hangovers

Set to be released at the end of January, HangUps and HangOvers is a new podcast hosted by my friend Bode.

Mr B, as he is popularly known, interviews black professionals who are killing it despite their hangups (insecurities) and hangovers (baggage)…And guess who features in one of the first episodes *flips hair with Beyoncé realness* 😀

I sat down with him to talk about my “real life”. How I balance blogging with a full time job, some of my plans for the year and why it’s important to “just f***ing start”. Look out for it on iTunes…

First 100 Years Podcast

And finally, one that’s very linked to my 9-5 is the First 100 Years podcast, hosted by Lucinda Acland.

2019 marks 100 years since women have been able to qualify as lawyers (as a result of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919). Can you believe that?!

This series of 10 podcasts will be released over the coming year. It follows the history of women in the legal profession decade by decade. There are interviews with some amazing legal pioneers, historians, academics and legal practitioners discussing topics like gender stereotypes, work/life balance and diversity. It’s set to be an amazing series!

Now tell me, what’s on your list of favourites that I’ve missed?

A Fresh Start

A Fresh Start

Happy New Year lovely people! Hope your 2019 is off to a great start. I myself have had an absolute blast so far – helped greatly by the fact that it’s my birthday!! As each birthday rolls around I find myself getting more and more […]

Meeting Geisha in Kyoto

Meeting Geisha in Kyoto

Kyoto was a pleasant surprise! Exploring Nishiki Market, eating delicious wagyu beef at Hiro and meeting geisha…what more could I have wished for?

A Weekend in Taipei

A Weekend in Taipei

Touchdown in Taipei

A weekend in Taipei was just what the doctor ordered. In the couple of months I spent in Hong Kong I wasn’t able to book in as many weekend getaways as I would have liked, so when my friend recommended Taiwan I bit the bullet and booked a last-minute weekend trip.
(Skyscanner was the usual lifesaver)

I raced to the airport first thing on Saturday morning after a frantic evening spent working and packing. You can only imagine how annoyed I was to get to the airport only to find that my flight was delayed by an hour. I mean, I’m pretty grumpy in the morning on the best of days so I was definitely not a happy bunny, but I was determined to push past it.

We landed around 10am, and it seemed luck was still not quite on my side. It was an adventure and a half getting to my hotel! let’s just say long immigration queues, public transport and rain are not my friends. After a lot of swearing and wet feet (ew!) I finally made it to Caesar Park Hotel, my home for the next two nights.

To say I was impressed would be an understatement, the hotel is amazing! Plush carpet, insanely comfortable bed, fully stocked mini bar, massive double bathroom – what more could a girl want?! It was exactly what I needed to get back on track. In fact, I got so comfortable in my room that I didn’t head out to see the city until about 4pm!

Exploring the City

So where to go first? I headed straight to Dihua Street, a commercial/trade centre and the oldest street in Taipei.

Almost immediately I was hit by the smell of street food. Cafes and vendors were serving everything from stir fried spicy noodles to grilled skewers of pork. Of course I couldn’t resist!

I love exploring new cities on foot (or by bike where I can) so I walked for a couple of hours, taking in the sights…

…all the way through the gorgeous 228 Peace Memorial Park…

My walk continued on towards Taipei 101, the tallest building in the city. It has an observation deck where you can look out across Taipei. Gorgeous views but the wind was no joke!

The final stop before heading home would be a night market – Taipei is famous for them. My aching feet were begging for a rest so I jumped in a taxi to make the 15 minute journey to Shilin night market. It’s one of the two or three most popular markets there.

But do you know what’s upsetting? Going to a night market full of all sorts of weird and wonderful street food and not being able to eat because you’ve stuffed your face at Din Tai Fung #firstworldproblems

I did manage to take down a hearty portion of grilled mushrooms though, so Mind – 1: Matter – 0.

Not bad for one day in Taipei. Day two was even more chock-full of adventures…post coming soon!

Lou xx

How to take amazing holiday photos – 7 easy tips!

How to take amazing holiday photos – 7 easy tips!

So you’ve booked your flights to whatever slice of paradise is on your bucket list, packed your bags and headed out for some well-deserved R&R. You might be one blurry, off-centre picture away from dumping your boo for his lack of photography skills. Or maybe […]

Things to do in Phuket, Thailand

Things to do in Phuket, Thailand

If you’re heading to Thailand, read more for some of the top things to do in Phuket…

5 Tips for Surviving Phuket as a Tourist

5 Tips for Surviving Phuket as a Tourist

Phuket is a beautiful island, with gorgeous beaches, a crazy nightlife and everything in between to make for an entertaining trip. For this reason millions of tourists flock there each year, and the locals take full advantage. So what can you do to navigate the madness and avoid getting ripped off? Here are a couple of tips:

1. Get a SIM card

You can get one easily at the airport for less than £10. It comes with minutes, a fair bit of data and a bunch of additional perks. This works out a lot cheaper (and more convenient) than roaming your international phone.

2. Rent a scooter

If you’re staying at a resort and plan on spending most of your trip there then this probably isn’t as relevant for you. But if you’re a solo traveller or a couple and plan to explore the island (flitting from the Old Town to Patong, to Karon and other beaches like I did) you’ll find the taxi costs add up. Taxis were my single biggest expense while I was there – probably because I wouldn’t sit my a** down in one place but that’s not the point. A scooter costs £6-8 to rent per day compared to a taxi, which is at least double that for a single trip from Patong to the Old Town.

3. Negotiate prices – especially for taxis

Linked to the point above, if you take taxis around you’ll definitely find that the price you’re charged greatly depends on how much the driver thinks they extract from you. As a rule I’d probably say never accept the first price. You can almost always know at least 20% off it to get to the more appropriate number. Happy bidding!

4. Prepare to cover up if you’re visiting the Big Buddha

The same applies to any other religious sites. As a sign of respect, dress conservatively if you plan on visiting these sites. You can cover bare shoulders with a scarf or wrap a sarong around your waist if your skirt or shorts are above the knee. At the Big Buddha, they have people going round with large wraps which you can use for free to cover up while you’re there.

5. Keep your wits about you on Bangla Road

There are all sorts of weird and wonderful things to see (and do) on Bangla Road (probably more weird than wonderful lol – I’ll get into it in my next post). This probably is more applicable to the guys, but you will find groups of stunning women around, and may be shocked to find out they are actually “ladyboys”. Hey, to each their own, but all I will say is maybe try to find out what the “situation” is sooner rather than later – unless you’d rather be surprised… 😂

Do you have any other tips for surviving Phuket? Share the wisdom in the comments below…

Chat soon,

Louisa xx

Hong Kong Living – One Month In

Hong Kong Living – One Month In

Musings and recommendations one month in to living in Hong Kong…

Repulse Bay

Repulse Bay

Another rainy weekend, but that didn’t stop me from exploring the restaurants and temples of Repulse Bay, Hong Kong…

Moving to Hong Kong!

Moving to Hong Kong!

Hi guys, I know it’s been a hot minute since my last post. Let’s just say life has been craaaazy: working stupid hours, moving to Hong Kong, a whole new city, and still trying to live my best life! I’m writing this from my cute little apartment in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island. I’ve been out here now for two weeks and I’m OBSESSED with this place. It’s so dynamic and vivid: the colours, the sounds…and in fact let’s not even start on the food!

Giving that since moving to Hong Kong I’ve been out here trying to do like, everything, I’m going to break this up into a series of smaller posts which I’ll put up over the course of the next week or so…

Part 1 – Leaving Home

Moving to Hong Kong – What to Pack??

I legit packed not one, not two, but three massive suitcases stuffed full of summer dresses, tea bags, giant tubs of conditioner and everything in between! You see, I had done bits and pieces of research but didn’t have any idea what exactly I’d be able to find here in HK…

  • The clothes: While I’m not (quite) an “orobo“, I’m definitely not a size zero and I’m quite tall so I didn’t want to have to buy stuff and end up looking like I wore my younger sister’s clothes! Plus I wasn’t sure about the prices. I might be living my best life but that doesn’t involve rocking Gucci t-shirts and the like. “Abeg, my money never reach” lol
    – In Reality: They have all the damn shops in HK, and regular clothes are really affordable. I’ve already done a fair bit of shopping *hides face*

  • The shoes: FYI, I have big-ass feet! It’s not even fair. My ladies with big feet will feel my pain. For that reason, I don’t just show up willy-nilly to a country without at least like five pairs of shoes. For this three month stint I brought 12 pairs. (Before you judge me think about it –  work shoes, sandals, casual shoes, trainers, heels, wedges. That’s legit.) People had told me to bring some that could withstand the rain as it’s currently typhoon season.
    – In Reality: As luck would have it, the rain has completely ruined one of my two pairs of work shoes and the other pair is on its way out. So I had the not-so-fun task of finding shoes for my flappers. After a bit of research I found Vickie Shoes quite near my office. I popped over during my lunch break and ordered a two pairs to be custom-made. I’ll let you guys know the outcome in a couple of weeks when they’re ready.
  • The food: Now I’m sure you know by now that I looooove my food! I really don’t play when it comes to my noms, and leaving home for so long it did cross my mind that I might miss a few of my go-to treats (mostly nutella and bacon). I was quite good though, and the only thing I specifically packed was my extra-large box of PG Tips. I’m that person that always packs tea bags when I travel!
    In Reality – Of course on my first day I had to find me some bacon! However, after paying like £7 for a single pack at City Super, I had to humble myself lol! As for the nutella – it’s okay, I’ll manage for now. Especially seeing as I’m trying to not to be an orobo. The price of groceries in this city is no joke, especially if you’re trying to find “western” stuff! Thankfully I managed to find a cheaper supermarket for the more generic things. Deliveroo and my list of amazing restaurant recommendations have been my best friends as cooking is not really an option here.

  • The hair products: I brought all my sh*t!
    In Reality – In fact, I’m not even trying to get into this with you guys. Let’s just say I made the right decision and I’m thankful I can do my own hair, but there’s legit the possibility that I might come back bald lmao. I think I might need to update this section later because it’s only been a week so I have not found the black salons and shops. I’m pretty certain there aren’t any/many, but let me do some research before I speak on it properly. I do wish I brought some damn relaxer though!

First Week

This is the first time I’ve properly worked in another country. I mean, I did a stint in Copenhagen and Stockholm in my last job but consulting was different because you were always going home at the end of the week. Being in a new city and working full time means there’s just not enough time to explore in the same way as a holiday. Regardless, I managed to squeeze in a couple of fun activities including a cooking class, a hike (up what felt like a vertical hill), and a barbecue at the beach!

I’ll tell you all about it in my next post but in the meanwhile, follow me on Instagram to see my Hong Kong adventures in real time. In case you missed it, week one highlights and week two highlights are on my Instagram Stories.

Please give me recommendations of things to do/see or places to eat! 😀

Chat soon!

xx

A Weekend in Mykonos – Boat Tour

A Weekend in Mykonos – Boat Tour

Mykonos Day 2: Boat Tour After two days spent on the beach and exploring Mykonos, we were keen to make the most of our last day on the island. What better to do than a boat tour? It would be a full day of touring, […]

A Weekend in Mykonos – Exploring the Island

A Weekend in Mykonos – Exploring the Island

Mykonos Day 2: Exploring the Island So you’ve read all about the first day of our Mykonos adventures (if not, read it here). After getting home at 6am – and wolfing down a gyros before going to bed, no less – we didn’t get up […]

A Weekend in Mykonos – Super Paradise

A Weekend in Mykonos – Super Paradise

Mykonos Day 1: Super Paradise

Mykonos, a charming Greek island sprawled across rocky hills, where better to catch some sun and sea?

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I landed at noon on Saturday, the two-hour time difference belying the fact that I had left home for the airport at the ungodly hour of 3.45am that morning. But as the plane touched down in the brilliant sunshine I went from sleepy to excited to spend the weekend with my friend Amaka, celebrating her 30th birthday!

Quite ignorantly, I expected to land and get an uber from the airport – not a chance! First of all, there are no Ubers on the island. Also, there aren’t many taxis so prices can run really high. I had been told to expect to pay at least €30 for the 10 min drive. The Nigerian in me managed to haggle a ride for €15 from one of the taxi/tour companies in the airport.

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Fast forward to the apartment – a warm welcome from Danae, our host at Casa Nostra, followed by a joyful reunion with Amaka and the crew. We then headed straight out to the beach for some lunch.

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We decided on Super Paradise as the girls had already been to some of of the other beaches. (Great name right? Note there’s also Paradise Beach! Super Paradise apparently is better for parties/clubbing).

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We grabbed a quick bite to eat and settled down in front of the waves.Reallifewithlou.com - Mykonos Day 1-24y

 

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We stayed out in the sun, and in no time had made friends with the guys running a watersports centre and took turns riding in the speedboat. (This seems to be a thing I do on Greek Islands – probably because I love going out on the boats! 🙈)

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There’s something so great about being out on the open water. It’s healing and humbling all in one and was exactly what I needed. Of course there’s all that Zen stuff, but Amaka and I also needed a childlike moment. We took a turn on the water sofa (what’s the official name for those things??) and were dragged behind the boat – bouncing around,  giggling manically and clinging on for dear life. It’s a must do if you get the chance – so much fun!

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Evening in Little Venice

Later that night we headed out to the old town. The maze of white washed streets, buzzing with activity is divine. It feels like you’re in a movie!

First, dinner at Aglio e Olio. This is a gorgeous Italian restaurant with chic rustic decor and soft acoustic music adding to the ambience. Definitely one to try if you’re out there, especially if it’s a “bae-cation”. It has all the vibes and the food is exquisite!

After dinner we strolled around to find the perfect place to close out Amaka’s birthday. We eventually ended up at Semeli, a small but packed bar with great music. It was a fantastic night – I’m talking dancing on the bar, turning up to everything from Rihanna to Afrobeats and an obscene number of tequila shots (hence why I have no pictures, at least none I’m willing to share haha. We didn’t get home till about 6am!

Of course most of Sunday was a write off, but we still went out to explore Mykonos island

Till next time,

Lou xx

Hiking Lion’s Head, Cape Town

Hiking Lion’s Head, Cape Town

If you’ve been to Cape Town you will have no doubt have appreciated the dramatic skyline of Table Mountain. With the option of taking a cable car to the summit, hiking up is not necessarily at the forefront of most people’s minds. For me though, […]

Exploring Bo Kaap, Cape Town

Exploring Bo Kaap, Cape Town

Bo Kaap is one of the most recognisable backdrops in Cape Town. The brilliant hues of the houses are an incredible sight and you can’t help but smile! I was out in Cape Town for a wedding – yes another one! This time, my friends […]

5 Must-See Spots in Rome

5 Must-See Spots in Rome

If you’re looking for a great city break, Rome is a great option. Beautiful architecture, rich culture and delicious food – what more could you want!

There was just too much to see (and eat) so I decided to do two separate posts. In this post I’ll be sharing some of the most beautiful spots in Rome (as recommended by a few of my Italian friends) and separately I’ll share some great restaurants in a foodie’s guide to Rome.

So let’s get into it, looking for some gorgeous places to visit in Rome?

  1. Gianicolo

    From this romantic spot you can get a fantastic view of Rome! It’s also not too far from Vatican city. I recommend seeing it during the daytime and walking further to see Fontana d’Acqua Paola.

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    Open it in Google Maps here.

  2. Vatican City

    Now how could I put a list together and not include the Vatican? It’s a full-on day out and to do it “properly”, ideally give yourself enough time to explore and perhaps book a tour to save you from the crazy queues. There’s just so much to see!

    If of course this sounds way too touristy for you, you can always pop into the main square, take a couple of pictures and keep it moving! #aintnoshameinyourgame

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    Open it in Google Maps here.

  3. Giardino Degli Aranci

    This orange garden is great for a late afternoon stroll and also has a great view of the city. You can catch an absolutely beautiful sunset so time it right and thank me later…

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    Open it in Google Maps here.

  4. Trastevere

    On the west bank of the river, the narrow streets of Trastevere have a magical atmosphere. Cool little cafes and bars line the streets and the area is especially great for nightlife. It’s not far from the Giardino Degli Aranci either.

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    Open it in Google Maps here.

  5. Colosseum

    There was no way I could put this list together without including the Colosseum. Probably the most famous monument in Rome, you absolutely need to brave the crowds and at least get a peek of the historic ruins.

    For a different take, why not head there in the early evening to see it beautifully lit against the night sky – plus it’s quieter and cooler at that time!

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    Open it in Google Maps here.

Have you been to any of these, what did you think? And if you haven’t been to Rome yet, are you planning a trip soon? Let me know in the comments below!

Canova Hall, Brixton

Canova Hall, Brixton

I haven’t spent  much time in Brixton but my friend Lauren is constantly raving about it, so when she suggested brunch at Canova Hall, I jumped at the opportunity. The first thing you notice when you walk into Canova Hall is how (surprisingly) big the […]

Birthday Behaviour at The Four Seasons, Marrakech

Birthday Behaviour at The Four Seasons, Marrakech

After what felt like the rainiest weekend in Marrakech, my friends and I had made the absolute best of the trip so far, but I for one was very pleased to see the sun come out on my birthday! We checked out of our Riad and headed […]

Weekend Vibes: The Seyi Bag by Joko Edu

Weekend Vibes: The Seyi Bag by Joko Edu

Hope you guys had a great weekend! Mine was busy with netball, aerial Silks, a bachelorette (that I’m still recovering from) and a trip to Wakanda! On that note, if you haven’t seen Black Panther yet, don’t even speak to me because “what is you doing, honey?” It’s EPIC!

Joko Edu
Bag: Joko Edu | Boots: Aldo | Dress French Connection

The Seyi Bag by Joko Edu

I had the pleasure of shooting with the amazing photographer Sewa Folie. Giving all sorts of vibes with The Seyi bag by Joko Edu taking centre stage.

If you don’t know Joko Edu, you need to know! A Nigerian designer based in Lagos , her fabulous bags come in many different colours and styles but the Seyi is my absolute favourite. They are available off the shelf or can be personalised to your taste.

If you’re not in Lagos don’t despair, she delivers internationally. I had mine made over Christmas and shipped to me all within a couple of weeks.

Jacket: Ted Baker | Sunglasses: Chanel | Earrings: Banana Republic

Interested in getting one? Drop her a line at info@jokoedu.com or let me know and I’ll put you in touch. At prices ranging from about £60 to £160, you can spoil yourself/mum/sister/friend/girlfriend without breaking the bank.

You can thank me later 😁

Top 5 Tips for a Rainy Marrakech

Top 5 Tips for a Rainy Marrakech

Marrakech has been on my bucket list for ages now, so for my birthday this year I was determined to make it out there. With three friends I booked flights for a long weekend away, but as luck would have it the weather was not on […]

One Year Old!

One Year Old!

Can you believe Real Life With Lou is a year old?! One whole year since I started this blog and it’s been a blast! It took me so long to get the balls to finally start it. For the longest time I umm-ed and ahh-ed […]

Feeling Blue

Feeling Blue

5beb0e1f-90ce-4e29-9650-db3b439eaa233c3073f2-cf1c-48a2-98b0-5630ba567046Hi Lovelies! I know it’s been a minute since I posted. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind with my birthday, trip to Morocco, work and the highlight – my close friend’s baby shower! Knowing that she’s having a baby boy we chose blue as the theme.

I paired this frill-layered top with a pair of high-waisted trousers for a sleek, sophisticated look and a touch of fun girlishness. Scroll down for details!

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Brunch at Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings

Brunch at Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings

By now you must know I love my girlie catch ups over brunch. I was super excited to catch up with my friend Bambo after so long and where better than Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings? We had heard great things about B&H Buildings: Instagram-worthy décor, […]

6 Last-Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

6 Last-Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Can you believe it’s nearly Christmas already?! If like me you’ve left your Christmas shopping to the very last minute then don’t worry, I’ve got you. Here are 12 last minute Christmas gift ideas to give you some inspiration. You can thank me later! Canvas […]

3 Great Destinations for Winter Sun

3 Great Destinations for Winter Sun

Hi Lovelies, hope you’ve all had a great week! I’m counting down to Christmas like no man’s business. It’s been ridiculously cold in London in the past couple of weeks so I’ve been dreaming of the perfect winter getaway. Here are a few of my top places for a bit of winter sun.

1. Los Gigantes, Tenerife

I visited Tenerife earlier this year and absolutely loved it! (In case you missed it, check out my post about 5 Amazing Things To Do In Tenerife). I drove to a few small towns but one I didn’t manage to get to was Los Gigantes, on the West coast of Tenerife. A picturesque little resort town, Los Gigantes is known for its scenic and dramatic cliffs. That coupled with December temperatures of up to 25°C and I’m completely sold!

If you’re after a quiet break and some sunshine, Los Gigantes is the place to be. Los Guios is the main beach, and with stunning black sands you won’t want to be anywhere else. Sites like Travel Gems have some great all-inclusive deals to Los Gigantes .

You’ll find me on the beach sipping a mai tai!

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  • London to Los Gigantes (Tenerife South) estimated flight time: 4h30
  • Average December temperature: 19.5°C

2. Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech, a city known for its souks, beautifully-tiled riads and delicious mint tea, can be an escape into a different world! While December temperatures may not be soaring, the weather is mild enough to warrant a cheeky trip. Around the Medina especially, the temperature remains fairly warm, and a light jacket should be enough for the cooler evening temperatures.

Marrakech has been on my list for a long time, and the selling point for me is the prospect of visiting during the off-season when there are fewer tourists and the temperatures aren’t too high. So if you are looking to be transported into another world, Marrakech is the place for you.

Winter Sun - Marrakech
Photo by @mybrainsociety

  • London to Marrakech estimated flight time: 3h35
  • Average December temperature: 14°C

3. Cape Town, South Africa

If you’re feeling particularly flush, why not go somewhere further afield like Cape Town? South African seasons are somewhat opposite to ours here in the UK so our winter is their summer – perfect! What better way to taunt your coworkers than to send epic beach pics and selfies from the top of table mountain while they shiver in their cubicles dreading the journey home in the cold and rain? Did someone say petty? 😀

Plus you get to swap Christmas dinner for a braai! Eish brah, sounds good to me!

Winter Sun - Cape Town

  • London to Cape Town estimated flight time: 11h35
  • Average December temperature: 23°C

So here’s where I need your help guys… I want to plan a trip away in the next few weeks, which one of these should I go to?? Let me know in the comments below!

A Sunday Dance Party

A Sunday Dance Party

Hi Lovelies! So remember in my post about Duck & Waffle Local I mentioned that I was headed to a dance class with my girls? Well “dance class” doesn’t even cover it, it was more like a dance PARTY! Scroll all the way down for […]

Duck & Waffle Local

Duck & Waffle Local

Hi Lovelies! I don’t know you’re as obsessed with Duck & Waffle as I am, but did you know there was a second branch?! Okay let’s start from scratch in case you’re wondering wtf I’m talking about. Duck & Waffle is the bombdiggity.com. Period. A restaurant on the 40th […]

A Little Mustard

A Little Mustard

Hi Lovelies! If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see that I have been obsessing over the autumn weather and recently shared this outfit on my feed. I wear a lot of black, especially in the winter, but occasionally I’m partial to a pop of colour. Yellow is not just for the summer, I love a bit of mustard all year round!

I paired this mustard cardigan with mom jeans, over-the-knee boots and a statement jacket. Perfect for a cheeky walk in the park.

(Of course that’s a blatant lie, who tf goes for a walk in those heels?! – More like a cheeky drive to the park, followed by 15-20 minutes of prancing about, then heading to brunch haha!)

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Cardigan (similar) | Jeans (Zara) | Boots (Aldo)

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Overnight bag (French Connection) | Jacket (Gianni Feraud)

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Remember I said there was prancing? Well this was me prancing!

Thanks for reading! What colours are you loving this autumn? Let me know in the comments below…

How Do You Afford To Travel So Much??

How Do You Afford To Travel So Much??

Today’s post is a bit of a different one to normal. Rather than my usual adventures, I wanted to address a question I get asked quite a lot: How Do You Afford To Travel So Much? By no means am I professing to be some […]

Autumn in The City

Autumn in The City

It feels good to be back home in London, after spending most of the summer away. In case you missed it, check out  my adventures in San Diego and Lisbon. Now it’s back to reality and as much as I never thought I’d say this […]

Delicious Pancakes At Delisserie

Delicious Pancakes At Delisserie

Happy hump day people! Hope you’re having a good week. For me, it’s my last week before I go back to work so I’m mentally preparing for having more structure to my days. But in the meanwhile I’m slowly getting back to my normal (read: fabulous) self! 😀

I met up with my old friend Majiri of kuicare.com for a catch up over brunch. And where best to meet than the amazing Delisserie in St. John’s Wood. They have a few branches in North West London.

Delisserie is pretty high on my list of brunch spots in London because their food is delicious, portions are big and prices are low. What more could you want?

We started with savoury dishes. Maj had eggs royale and I opted for fried eggs and smoked salmon on delicious “cholla” bread. I’d definitely recommend the bread!

 

Next we had the American Pancakes Deluxe to share and guys, let me just say you need to try them. Served with strawberries and bananas plus a side of maple syrup and whipped cream. Pure bliss! The pancakes are perfectly fluffy and the portion is perfect for two as “dessert” (don’t judge me!)

We left very well fed and in great spirits!

And of course a mini photo shoot ensued…

Have you been to Delisserie, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Chat soon,
Lou xx

 

 

 

 

3 Places to Try in Little Italy, San Diego

3 Places to Try in Little Italy, San Diego

If you’ve been following my blog or my Instagram stories, you’ll know I took some time off to travel and spent some time in the US. San Diego was my first stop, and I spent a gorgeous afternoon in Coronado (check out the post here, in […]

An Afternoon in Coronado

An Afternoon in Coronado

Over the summer I managed to wrangle quite a bit of time off work to do some exploring. My first stop was Portugal (in case you missed it, check out 5 Reason to love Lisbon and this amazing Portuguese steakhouse). After a quick stop in […]

Guest Post: Gantry Plaza State Park, NYC

Guest Post: Gantry Plaza State Park, NYC

Hi Lovelies!

Hope you’ve all had a great week. I’ve had a restful one recovering from my eye surgery and meeting my friend’s newborn baby boy. He’s adorable and I’m absolutely obsessed!

As you might know, I was out in New York a few weeks ago and will be doing a whole series on some great spots out there. This week’s post will be the first in the New York series and is a guest post by Summer Salut at DoYouSalut.com. Summer hails from New York and will be sharing one of the city’s hidden gems. Look out for more from her as we’ll be doing a London/New York collab soon! You can follow her (@doyousalut) on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

Gantry Plaza State Park: A Hidden Gem in NYC

New York City has a lot of great things to do and see. Most of the time when people come to NYC they visit Times Square, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, etc. These places are nice but sometimes can be overcrowded. We have plenty of hidden gems in NYC that are just as amazing as the other iconic spots. One of my favorite places is Gantry Plaza State Park.

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LIC Skyrise

Gantry Plaza is located in the Long Island City (LIC) neighborhood of Queens. This area is becoming the new Manhattan. It has sky-rise buildings and great places to eat and drink. Gantry Plaza State Park is a beautiful space along the East River which has a little something for everyone.

LIC Fishing
LIC Fishing

The park is broken up into different “sections”. At one end there is a playground, turf-field, beach volleyball court, and dog park. In that section you can find young families playing, happy laughing children, and fitness enthusiasts working out.  Next to the beach volleyball court is the NYC Ferry, which takes you to various locations throughout NYC.

Gantry Plaza Turf
Gantry Plaza Turf

LIC Beach Volleyball
LIC Beach Volleyball

NYC Ferry on water
NYC Ferry

If you are into old school reggae music, Caribbean vibes, and a nice cool beverage, then LIC Landing and COFFEED shop is the place to go! Located next to the ferry and beach volleyball court this café/coffee shop hybrid is a great place to chill, relax and enjoy the view.

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LIC Landing COFFEED

LIC Landing Court
LIC Landing Court

The other end of Gantry Plaza State Park is the “hangout” section. Here you’ll find lovers cuddling on the lounge benches or friends picnicking on the grass. This area has a very chill vibe as well.

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Lovers Lounge

Cityviews and Lounging
City Views and Lounging

All the things mentioned earlier are great but what makes Gantry Plaza amazing is the unique breathtaking views of the Manhattan Skyline. At one end of the park you can see the Freedom Tower playing peek-a-boo between the other buildings. The Empire State Building and Chrysler buildings can also be seen. They too can look like they are hiding depending where in the park you are located.

Freedom Tower Peak A Boo
Freedom Tower Peek-A-Boo

Chrysler and Empire Gantry at Day
Chrysler and Empire Gantry at Day

These views are nice during the day but the best time to go is during sunset and at night. Imagine seeing the Manhattan buildings from away light up the sky. The second best thing about the park is that all of this is FREE! Yup! There isn’t a fee to get into the park. All of the sections I mentioned aren’t official sections; they are just the flow that seems to happen. People usually mingle and do their own thing.

Manhattan skyline
Manhattan Skyline

Empire at Gantry
Empire State at Gantry

To get to Gantry Plaza State Park  (if you are coming from Manhattan) take the 7 train from Times Square and get off at Vernon Blvd Station, get out of the station at the Vernon Blvd & 50th Street exit. From there you walk a couple of blocks towards the water and viola! – you are ready for a getaway from the madness that is Manhattan!

I hope whenever you visit NYC (even if its winter) that you visit Gantry Plaza State Park and enjoy a little piece of the Queens paradise.

LIC at Gantry
LIC at Gantry

Lou: I hope you guys enjoyed this post. I visited my friends who live in this area and we walked through part of the park. Believe me, it’s absolutely gorgeous! Have any of you guys been to Gantry Park? Let me know in the comments below. And NYC folk, let me know what other must-see spots there are in your city 🙂

Chat soon,
Lou xx

5 Reasons to Love Lisbon!

5 Reasons to Love Lisbon!

Oh Lisbon! What a beautiful city. I booked a trip there on a spur of the moment. I had taken time off work and was determined to squeeze in a quick trip before travelling to Nigeria for my friend’s wedding. Monday morning I was up […]

Brunch at Pavilion, Victoria Park

Brunch at Pavilion, Victoria Park

Hi lovelies! Today I’m going to tell you all about this amazing little spot in Victoria Park, Stratford called Pavilion Cafe. Living in the east end of London myself, I’m always on the lookout for new brunch spots close to home. So when my friend Ahmad […]

3 Reasons You Should Travel Solo

3 Reasons You Should Travel Solo

The past couple of months have been crazy! I really needed some time to clear my head, so what did I do? – I booked a solo trip…or three 😀

A lot of my friends thought I was crazy but I promise you it was the best thing I could have done! Here are…

Three Reasons Why You Should Travel Solo

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1. You can do what you want, when you want 

We’ve all been there. Trudging along behind your friends/partner/family as you are dragged along to some boring activity you have absolutely no interest in doing. But you do it anyway because you’re a grown-up and compromise is part of that, (or you’d just rather not get into an argument right now).

Or maybe you’re the one doing the dragging – trying to enjoy your museum trip/hike up a mountain/gallery exhibition but having to deal with this uninterested party that insists on dragging their feet, rolling their eyes and sighing intermittently.

Now what if I told you that you never have to deal with that again?! (for as long as you like, that is)

Guess what the solution is: “riding solo, riding solo, riding solo-solooooo” *Jason Derulo voice* (am I the only person that sings his name? “Ja-son De-rulooo” – anyway, back to the point)

With solo travel, your itinerary is completely at your discretion; you can do what you like, whenever you feel like it!

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2. You learn more about yourself

Now this is an interesting one, and to me probably the most important. Travelling alone often gives you precious time for self-reflection. Usually, the mere presence of another person means quiet-time is rare. You are either doing something, planning something or talking about something. Especially when you share a room with someone, sometimes you could go several days with barely a few minutes to yourself.

A trip by yourself gives you more time for self-reflection but in addition, self-reliance. Just having to figure everything out for yourself activates that feeling of independence. I’m sure we’ve all been there, happily let someone else figure out the way to the airport, sign the car rental documents, speak to the travel insurance company, the list goes on! It’s not to say you’ll automatically have everything figured out but at least you’ll be taking action, asking for help when needed. For a lot of people, this will be completely different experience.

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3. You improve your social skills

Exploring a new country or city by yourself forces you to polish up on your conversational skills so you can make new friends on the road – especially important for an introvert like me! For me personally, it helps me control my RBF a bit better (RBF = resting bitch face – ha!) I have acute RBF (lol) especially being a Londoner, it protects me from awkward convos and creepy guys on trains trying to hit on me. However, being approachable is key to striking up conversations with locals or other tourists when you’re somewhere new. You can learn all sorts of fascinating things from people who know a location better than you. Plus you’ll need to ask nicely if you want someone to step in as a photographer for fabulous photoshoot for the ‘Gram 😀

At very worst you’ll learn to switch your RBF on and off as needed!

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In summary, travelling solo can be an amazing experience that pushes you outside your comfort zone. Is it something you have done before? If not, would you try it? Let me know in the comments below and in the meanwhile, check out my YouTube video on the same topic.

Chat soon,
Lou xx

All White in Croatia

All White in Croatia

Hi Lovely People! Hope you’re having a great week 🙂 I’m sure you saw my post about my trip to Dubrovnik in Croatia, if not check it out. I decided on an all white wardrobe (or mostly white, I should say) for this trip…because why […]

A Game of Thrones in Dubrovnik

A Game of Thrones in Dubrovnik

If you saw my previous post about my Day Trip to Montenegro you’ll remember I mentioned that my friend Nono came to visit, and we went on a girls’ trip to Dubrovnik in Croatia. We got there on a Wednesday morning, dropped our bags at […]

Brunch at Villandry

Brunch at Villandry

Hey Lovelies, hope you’ve had a great week. I myself have had a fantastic one! I’m currently sitting in an air-conditioned room in Nigeria – thoroughly pampered and completely relaxed. In case you were wondering, no, I have not become a fully-fledged lady of leisure (sadly). I did however take a few weeks off work to travel, recuperate and clear my head – and boy, is it working 🙂

So a few of my London loves have been quite upset with me after my last post about the Ahhh-mazing steak in Lisbon. It seems while you guys are happy to know about my delicious foodie adventures, I actually just make you hungry haha! So to make it up to those of you that have no plans to fly all the way to Lisbon for steak (even though I say yolo, just do it ha!) here’s an amazing place in London that you can try this weekend for brunch instead. See how I timed it so perfectly with the weekend? You’re welcome 😀

Right, brunch at Villandry – perfect summer vibes! They serve a 3-course brunch for £25 and if you feel like living the baby-girl (or indeed baby-boy) life, you can add “unlimited” Prosecco for an additional £15. I met up with my friend Gops – we always do brunch because we’re about that life haha! (Did you see the post about our brunch at Where the Pancakes Are?) We planned this one quite last minute but the staff at Villandry accommodated us easily.

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To start with, we ordered tea/coffee as part of the three-course menu. This was served with our choice of pastry – pain au chocolat all the way! We nibbled on these while we waited for the mains, although I was already sort of full 🙈

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The main event was the bacon and avocado sandwich for me. A soft burger bun, piled with bacon, a tonne of avocado and a duck egg. I was determined to smash it. Gops went for the eggs royale, classic choice.

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After all my declarations, victory was elusive and I found myself at the mercy of the delicious burger. There was no way in hell I could finish it haha! Plus there was still dessert – but we all know that goes into a different part of the stomach right?

Dessert was a selection of small dishes, my favourite, the mini-macaroon.

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Defeated, but well-fed and in great spirits, we wondered out into the sunshine. Of course, I couldn’t resist the chance for a photo-op.

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The Verdict

And there you have it, no-fuss deliciousness, brunch at Villandry is an obvious win. Check out their website here.

My rating: 8/10

 

Ahhh-mazing Steak in Lisbon Portugal

Ahhh-mazing Steak in Lisbon Portugal

Atalho Real in Lisbon, Portugal | A Meat-lover’s Paradise!

Day Trip to Montenegro

Day Trip to Montenegro

Have you ever been to Montenegro? I took a super-quick trip there, read more to see what I got up to…

Tenerife Style Diary

Tenerife Style Diary

Hi Lovelies! So last week I posted about some of my favourite things to do in Tenerife and spammed you guys with tonnes of pictures on my Instagram. I had so many lovely compliments on what I wore that I figured I’d do a quick round up of my outfits for the trip.

I was only out there for a few days, so I agonised over potential daytime outfits and cover ups for the cooler evenings. Travelling on a budget airline, it was key to be able to fit everything into a carry-on case, so where I could I opted for items that could be worn again and again in different combinations (peep the denim shorts) – sort of the Ikea of holiday outfits!

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Day 1

I started the day off in a simple black linen dress, perfect for the flight with a scarf, and the impending heat as we landed. I tend to wear dresses a lot as they’re easy to throw on and can be dressed up or down quite easily

We wasted no time heading to the beach so I changed into denim shorts and a white crop top over my  bikini. Had to stop for some ice cream first of course!

Linen dress (similar) | Off shoulder top (currently unavailable)

 

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Day 2

This was the day for exploring the town centre and Costa Martianez so again my trusty shorts were perfect to wear over my bikini bottoms. We would be walking along the breezy coastline so I wore a simple white tee…

Bikini top | Bikini bottoms

 

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The tee quickly came off as the weather warmed up…

 

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…then it was down to the bikini!

 

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Day 3

On my walk through the town centre on Day 2, I came across the prettiest dress in the Mango store! I wasted no time snapping it up and wearing it on Day 3.

Dress

 

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So that’s all folks! Do you have any go-to items you wear a lot on holiday? Let me know in the comments below and as always, if you enjoyed this post please like and/or share it!

Chat soon,
Lou

 

5 Amazing Things to do in Tenerife

5 Amazing Things to do in Tenerife

I put together a list of 5 amazing things to do in Tenerife that don’t (necessarily) involve drinking. I will start by saying that I am a granny, so when I first found out I’d be going to Tenerife my first reaction was to recoil […]

Recipe: Pork Belly Dumplings

Recipe: Pork Belly Dumplings

Pork Belly Dumplings are absolutely delicious and so easy to make at home, as I found out from my friend, Zue at Allergy Mummy. I saw her making them on Snapchat and was so in awe that she offered to show me how quick and […]

Summer Style – Bubbles and Orange

Summer Style – Bubbles and Orange

 

I’m absolutely loving this summer weather – barbecues, pool parties, rooftop bars – loving all of it! I play with an AWESOME team in a social league on Tuesdays (whoooooo Game Changers! :D). Our season recently ended and to celebrate our near-win (second in the league so not too shabby), we had a pool party/dinner party/garden party/all of the above. The question was what to wear to suit the mood?! I know we’ve all been there, trying to find an outfit that’s a little this, not too much that…it’s tough! Cue, this delicious orange number from Zara – Easy to slip on and off for pool time, detailing around the bust perfect for going “sans bra” after the pool, loose enough to hide that tummy after dinner and just the perfect colour to make a statement. Paired with these colourful wedges from Nine West and we’re good to go!

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Orange is a gorgeous colour, especially on warmer/darker skin – check out here for some more summer style inspiration. I’ll be rounding up some of my fave summer finds soon, but in the meanwhile what is your go to outfit for that “summer-time fly”? Let me know in the comments below – bottoms up!

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Chat soon,
Lou xx

Recipe: Plantain Kebabs

Recipe: Plantain Kebabs

Plantain and Goatmeat Kebab | Check out this recipe for delicious skewered plantain and goat meat. A creative dish perfect for dinner parties or “small chops”!

Recipe: Nutella Banana Bread

Recipe: Nutella Banana Bread

Ah Nutella Banana Bread *sigh* Guys, I kid you not, it took me three whole tries to get this one right *hides face*. Now I don’t bake much because I prefer to do my own thing and add a dash of this and a sprinkle […]

Style – A Little Shoulder

Style – A Little Shoulder

Hey guys, are you as stoked about the bank holiday as I am?! Nothing like some sunshine and a break from work 😀

This time a couple of weekends ago I was getting ready to head to the One Africa Music Fest, which was EPIC by the way! It was another sunny day (shock, horror – I know!) and I was determined to look stylish but stay cool – now who would have thought that would be possible wearing black? But hey, when you’re as dedicated to the cause as I am (and by “the cause” I mean wearing black haha), you find a way to make it work.

This off-shoulder midi dress was perfect for the occasion, dressy enough but also simple and elegant. I paired it with some coral heels – a nod to the (fleeting) spring/summer vibe – and a classic handbag.

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I’m a big fan of dresses, as you’ll soon learn, mainly because I don’t have much time to think about what pieces to put together. A dress can be slipped on and you’re out of the door in minutes (that is me on weekday mornings for work haha)…And a black dress, well even better because you have tons of flexibility around accesories.

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This dress was from asos – it often sems to be out in stock in black, but keep checking back, it is sooooo worth it. It took a couple of months to catch mine at one of the moments when it was in stock.

Shoes are from New Look – I have them in about four colours! *hides face* They are usually £20 but currently on sale at less than half price so better get em quick!

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Black is definitely the staple in my wardrobe, although I am slowly venturing out into spring hues. What colour do you tend to wear most? Let me know in the comments below. And as always, if you like this post please “like it” below or join the conversation 😀

Chat soon,
Lou xx

Dining Out: Comptoir Libanais

Dining Out: Comptoir Libanais

It was Friday night after a loooooooooong week at the office and frankly all I wanted to do was curl up in bed and sleep for the good part of a month! However “man must eat” so I set about finding a relaxed restaurant for […]

Sunday Style – Pleats and A Footbridge

Sunday Style – Pleats and A Footbridge

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen the sneak peek I posted of this look I put together for church and Sunday lunch. It was perfect for the weather too! I didn’t last long in the heels though, but of course I […]

A Date at the Gym!

A Date at the Gym!

A gym date – no I’m not joking. Last week I was invited out on a date. I was expecting dinner or a show, that sort of thing, but instead he said to me, “I’ll pick you up at 7pm and I’m bringing you workout gear”. Wtf?!

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“I squat and my house is clean…one of these is a lie”. I personally don’t squat, although I really should start #getitrightgetittight 😉😄

We headed to Frame, a fitness studio in Shoreditch, where he had booked us in for a Boxfit class with Lisanne Van Sonsbeek (check out her website here). The vibe of the studio was very “Shoreditch” – lots of character with exposed brick walls, a colourfully-painted ceiling and cool-looking merchandise displayed on the wall.

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I quickly got changed and we headed in to kick fat’s butt!

There were about eight other people in the class – who all looked considerably fitter than either of us and A LOT more comfortable (naturally I didn’t take any pics during the actual class)Frame Studio - reallifewithlou.com

What followed was 45 minutes of intense burn! Squats, punch combos (at the mirror rather than each other), ab work, lunges, BURPEES! …I legitimately thought I was going to die – my life was flashing before my eyes and all that. Don’t let me put you off though, I’m a bit of a weakling. I tend to avoid gyms like the plague, and much prefer more “fun-based” workouts like dance classes, team sports and the like.

Lisanne had me sweating “like a Christmas goat” – as my dad would say. But as soon as the class ended the endorphins hit me and I felt great! (Or maybe my body was just glad the ordeal was over 😂). I took a few cheeky pics as always, stayed for a chat with Lisanne and the rest of the staff – who were all absolutely lovely!

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…then headed out to find some food…

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Flat Iron was nearby and steak sounded like a great idea right about then! We started with a well-earned bottle of wine while we waited for our table, then proceeded to devour the most delicious steak dinner.

The first time I went to Flat Iron (click here to see that post) I was a little underwhelmed and rated it about 7/10. However, I am now a BELIEVER! I don’t know whether it was the workout that had our appetites raging, but it was one of the most delicious meals I have had in a while! So delicious that I have had to update my previous rating to 8.5/10 😀
(Only not a 9 because I found the portions a little too small, I could have eaten twice!)

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So my dear readers, if you are invited on a gym date do not despair (or punch the messenger 😉). It may be tough, but it will be worth it…especially if you get a damn good steak out of it!

Till next time,
Lou xx

P.S. In the meanwhile, what is your favourite post-workout meal? Let me know in the comments below…

Brunch Style – A Dash of Blue

Brunch Style – A Dash of Blue

I posted about the delicious brunch I had at Christopher’s on May Day so thought I’d do a separate post to give you the lowdown on this simple but classic outfit… This was a great outfit for this transition weather (a.k.a miserable London weather) as […]

Dining Out: May Day Brunch at Christopher’s 

Dining Out: May Day Brunch at Christopher’s 

The May Day bank holiday came and went way too quickly! I was drowned in a sea of netball and life admin but managed to make some time for a delicious brunch at Christopher’s in Covent Garden. After a quick trip to the dentist on […]

Recipe: Coconut Chicken Curry

Recipe: Coconut Chicken Curry

On Saturday morning I woke up at 7