When you're in the Big Apple, you want to get those Instagram perfect shots of the city that never sleeps, right? I thought I'd compile a little list of some of my favourite places in New York to capture the city and it's sights.

Best Instagram Spots in New York

Best Instagram Spots in New York

We decided to head to Oxford for the day last weekend to shop for wedding outfits and do a little sight seeing and when we were there, we discovered that at the top of the Westgate Oxford Shopping Centre is their Roof Top Garden Terrace.  Here we found plenty of choices for a cocktail, light bite or three course meal. After much deliberation, we decided comfort food was best and headed to The Breakfast Club.  And in typical blogger and foodie fashion, I thought I'd get a blog post out of it!

The Breakfast Club Oxford

Decor

No matter where you go to eat, the first thing you will notice is the decor and the ambience. We arrived mid-afternoon on a Saturday, and despite the hustle and bustle of full tables and a loud 80s playlist, my first impressions were that The Breakfast Club was laidback and unassuming. The American-inspired, mismatched retro interior somehow worked without trying too hard. And I loved how the wood panelling over the kitchen was lined with photos of Oxford in days gone by, adding a more personal touch. I love a restaurant where there is no pressure and you can just chill and enjoy some good food, and with it's relaxed atmosphere, The Breakfast Club seemed like the perfect place for this.


The Breakfast Club Oxford

Space NK UK

The Breakfast Club Oxford

Service

As the restaurant buzzed with lively conversation, we were unsure how quickly we would be able to get a table, but the guy on front of house was quick to work out a little rearrangement and we were seated comfortably within minutes.  Being one of the first sunny days of Spring, the restaurant was understandably quite busy, but the staff were calm, bubbly and attentive.  Our drinks were delivered to our table quickly, closely followed by our food.  Our waiter was enthusiastic and friendly, without the awkward try-hard banter or constant "Is everything alright over here?" check-ups. He knew exactly when to pop over and see if we needed anything, without being too intrusive to our conversation.  I prefer a less is more approach when it comes to service in restaurants, and because of this I was happy to pay the 12.5% gratuity that had been added to our bill.  


The Breakfast Club Oxford

Food & Drink

Now let's get on to the real deal, the food and drink! Being the gin lovers we are, Mum and I opted for a Peach Collins; Tanqueray gin mixed with lemon, sugar, peach and soda.  Delightfully refreshing and easy to drink, I'll be attempting to recreate this cocktail in my garden this summer! The cocktails were £7.00 each which seemed a little steep, but to be fair the glass was a pretty decent size and lasted me the whole meal.

The Breakfast Club Oxford

Whilst I struggled to choose between all the mouthwatering options, my Mum suggested we order 2 dishes and split them.  We had seen plates being served and the portions looked pretty big; you ever have that thing where you are full of one food, but you have room for something else? I'm that person. I love sharing food, which I know some people are so against, but you get to try more flavours without spending more money, it's a dream! We chose to have the Mr Big Chicken wrap (also available as a sandwich) and the Reuben Grilled Cheese.  Dad went for the Philly Cheese Burger with added bacon, which he said was delicious.  Our dishes arrived piping hot, and presented in a simple yet appealing fashion. Each one came with a side of fries, which were perfectly crispy and coated in a light seasoning.

Missoma

The Breakfast Club Oxford

Let me get on to our Reuben Grilled Cheese first; a few years back, if you'd suggested sauerkraut, salt beef and pickles to me, I would have been horrified. But as I've got older and my taste buds have changed, I've learnt to love some of the foods I previously hated.  Whilst the combination of flavours (cheese and Reuben sauce along with the aforementioned) in the sandwich was quite strong and a little tangy, it was not overpowering and tasted just as good as your typical New York deli sandwich!

I LOVE buttermilk fried chicken, whether it's on a waffle, in a burger or just on it's own, so I guess it's no surprise that we ended up going for The Breakfast Club's Mr Big Chicken wrap. Loaded with guacamole, cheese, lettuce, sweet potato fries, and a beautiful mix of piri piri and mustard, the wrap was divine! I thought the idea of sweet potato fries inside the wrap was going to be an odd addition, especially as the wrap is served with regular fries on the side, but it was a welcome extra to a really delicious meal. This sort of food is my ideal comfort food, and I couldn't recommend it more if you want a meal that is great value with amazing flavour.

The Breakfast Club Oxford

Topped with spring onion and with a perfect pasta to cheese ratio, a £3.00 side of Mac and Cheese made the perfect accompaniment to our meal!

Bobbi Brown UK

Our food at The Breakfast Club was just the fuel we needed after a busy morning of sightseeing and shopping. With gratuity, our bill came to £20.00 per person, which we thought was very reasonable for the generous portion sizes, delicious food and great service.

Let me know if you visit The Breakfast Club! I hope to pop back soon for a stack of pancakes and some Disco Fries, maybe even a little visit through the Smeg fridge to the secret bar for a cocktail or three...


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Disclaimer: this post is in collaboration with Hunkemoller but all writing and views are my own. 

I used to think confidence meant being confident in your physical appearance, but as I’ve journeyed through my early 20s, I’ve come to realise that it is so much deeper than just the way you see yourself physically. Confidence can be defined in different ways for different people, but I wanted to share how I am learning to find my self confidence and hopefully help others do the same!
Finding my self confidence

Learning to Love My Body 

My relationship with body image and the impact that my perception of my body has had on my confidence has been a roller coaster ride. When I was in my late teens and early 20s, I was very confident with my body.  I was bigger than my friends, but I loved having big lips, big boobs and a big bum. I loved my legs and I'd accentuate my waist whenever I could.  But it was as I reached my mid 20s that I realised I was basing my opinion of myself and my body too much on the opinion of the opposite sex.  Do I love my boobs because guys love my boobs? Am I accentuating my waist because guys love an hourglass figure? Do I love my body? I started to realise that my confidence came from the attention my body received, and whilst that was a perfectly valid reason to feel confident, it stopped working for me and my self confidence plummeted.  If anyone needed to love my body, it was myself.  

And this is where I struggled for a year or so, because I thought I had to look a certain way.  I thought the only way I would love and feel confident in my body is if my body was my idea of "perfect" (cue looking at unrealistic expectations on our good old friend Instagram) and because my body wasn't "perfect" of course my confidence was nearly non-existent. But perfection does not exist and I'm slowly learning to love my body in all of it's forms; I am exercising to be healthier and not to lose weight, I am eating my greens and drinking plenty of water so I feel good on the inside as well as the outside. I still want to change my body, but I am going to love it in the process. I can be confident with my body even if there's things I want to change. 

When it comes to body confidence, I’ve learnt that it is not an overnight success but that  the littlest of things can do wonders for my confidence; from having a nice set of matching underwear, jeans that fit perfectly on my bum, finding the right shade of foundation, getting my eyebrows threaded. This gorgeous bra is from Hunkemoller, who have a beautiful range of bra’s for boobs of all sizes. Wearing matching lingerie under your outfit can be a great confidence boost, even when it might only be yourself that sees it, it just makes you feel good! I often have the “my underwear matches today, so this means I have my life together” joke with my friends but it is fascinating how something that simple can actually make you feel more certain of yourself. Whilst I was expecting my confidence to miraculously appear one morning, I am enjoying this process of the little things slowly making me feel good about myself. 

Another thing that has inhibited my self confidence in the past, is my apprehension to say that I love my body. I think we are often afraid to admit that we think we look good, for fear of being labelled vain or narcissistic.  When I took the photos for this blog post, I considered not posting any of me as I thought it may come across as arrogant, but it shouldn’t. It’s my body and as much as I complain about it, I love it and I am empowered by it, and if I want to post it on my little internet space, I can. 
Finding my self confidence

Learning to Love My Mind 

Whilst learning to love your body is a significant part of finding your self confidence, learning to love your mind is just as important.

I think hiding our emotions sometimes comes from lack of confidence. I know it has affected me in the past. I’ve not told people how I’ve felt about them or about a situation, purely because I did not feel confident enough. And this is not just confidence in myself physically, but confidence in my abilities to handle criticism or rejection, or even a different opinion. Over the last few months, my confidence on being able to express my thoughts and feelings without the doubt of “Can I handle the fall out from this?” has provided me with better conversations, clearer relationships and probably most important of all, more happiness and contentment. A lot of my anxiety in the past has stemmed from not having the confidence to say no to or disagree with someone, as I didn’t want to upset or offend, but when you stop faking a smile and let people know you are feeling differently toward a situation, you feel 10x more confident in yourself and your emotions.

My confidence has often hit a wall when I’ve been dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. I’ve found this year that living in and embracing the present has been so beneficial.  I think it is important to have goals to work towards, both in career and life, but it’s also important to live your life for today, not just tomorrow. Quit worrying about what has happened in the past; not sure if you’ve heard but time travel isn’t a thing yet so if you can’t change it, move on.

One of the greatest ways that I have found to boost my self confidence over the last few months, is exploring and expressing my interests and my aspirations. As a blogger, I often wouldn’t tell people when I first met them that I only work part-time in an office and the rest of my time is spent creating content as, with any profession, people had their preconceived ideas of what your work entails. But lately, I’ve been loud and proud about the fact I love being a blogger, I love writing and I love the opportunities this industry has opened up for me.  I lacked confidence when I first started blogging, because I was scared to tell anyone what I wanted to achieve. I knew (and I still know) that the places I want to reach were more than realistic to get to, but my lack of confidence came from the fear of someone else telling me that my aspirations were impractical or unattainable. I’m slowly learning that I don’t need to seek approval from others for my dreams and goals in life; yes, in some aspects it is hugely beneficial to get a second opinion, but I have learnt to trust myself and my ideas and I’m finding the confidence to go for what I want. 
Finding my self confidence

Recognising My Strengths & Acknowledging My Weaknesses 

Quite similarly to how we don’t always like to admit when we think we look good, I feel as though as lot of us struggle with being able to say what we are good at, but having the ability to recognise your strengths and then use these attributes could boost your confidence massively.  I became much more self-assured when I started to acknowledge my skills, and didn’t just rely on someone else telling me what they thought I could do well. I always hated that task in job applications of "how would your friends describe you"; I think it's more important to think about how you would describe yourself and knowing what makes you the incredible person you are. When you're feeling a little uncertain of yourself, take a moment to write down some positive words about who you are and what you are good at.

As important as it is to recognise your strengths, it is just as important to acknowledge your weaknesses. I have become the first to admit when I’m not sure if I can handle a situation, that I may not be physically fit enough or that I don’t have the skills to do the task at hand. But admitting your weaknesses and where you need help and improvement, is hugely rewarding and such a confidence boost. Even if you fail, trying in the first place and proving to yourself that you are willing to work at something new will send your confidence levels soaring. Being confident means you are not afraid of failure, but instead see it as a learning curve and a necessary step toward finding success.

Once you accept yourself for everything you are, and everything you are not, you will start to find your confidence and success will eventually follow. Because if anyone needs to believe in you, it is yourself.

And I know what you're thinking "easier said than done, Nai" which is true, it is so much easier but that doesn't mean confidence in ourselves is something that we can't all achieve. What we all have to remember is that it likely won't happen overnight, it's a process, it's part of growing. And it is more than okay to grow slowly. Fall in love with the process of becoming the best, most confident version of YOU.

Tips for Confidence

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A weekend in New York City

I had zero intentions of visiting New York City this year, but after a spontaneous "let's live our best lives!" moment with my friends, we booked some flights and started planning a weekend in NY! This was my 5th time in the city that never sleeps and having not been for 3 years, I was so excited to rediscover a few old favourites and explore some new spots! Keep reading to find out what we got up to...

How We Got There

I think I've talked about the British Airways Avios eStore on here before, but if you haven't heard of it, it is an online shopping destination for members of BA's Executive Club (which is free to join!).  On the eStore, you can shop over 100 retailers online and earn Avios points with each transaction.  You can then use these points against future flights to save a little money or upgrade your cabin.

I tend to do most of my shopping online and as much as I can, I will shop through the Executive Club eStore.  As I'd accrued quite a lot of Avios points over the last year, we were able to use these toward our New York flights and booked 2 returns with checked luggage for £275.00 each, saving about £150.00 total.

a weekend in new york city

Liz Earle Beauty Co Ltd

We flew out of Heathrow Terminal 5 and in to JFK.  It's pretty easy to then hop in a yellow taxi and make the 45 minute or so journey to Manhattan...

Where We Stayed

I won't lie, I'd never had a successful hotel stay in New York before.  From cockroaches to mouldy walls to bad service, they've never been that great.  But this time I am pleased to say, our hotel was fab! We stayed at the The Warwick on 54th and 6th in a family room (2 double beds) for just £260 each for 4 nights, which I think is a pretty swell deal for New York City.

a weekend in new york city

The hotel is an old 1920's high rise, located close to the subway and just a short walk to the hustle and bustle of Times Square.  The lobby was SO beaut and our room was comfortable, clean, with a gorgeous marble bathroom!  I would wholeheartedly recommend staying here if you are ever in New York.

Booking.com

What We Did

I feel like you have to try and catch a show on Broadway when you are in New York, so our first night we headed out for pizza and to see a musical! We decided to see The Prom, which promised to be hilarious (courtesy of the Wall Street Journal review outside the theatre doors), and after being a little apprehensive due to the fact I don't anyone who had seen it, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  Being completely honest, I often don't "get" some American humour, so I wasn't sure if I would enjoy a comedy musical, but at times I was crying with laughter.  It was so funny, the music was good, the story was emotional, uplifting, relevant. I'm not sure how long it will be running in New York, but if you are visiting in 2019, definitely check it out!

a weekend in new york city

My travel buddies hadn't been to New York before, so we of course had to do all your typical tourist spots; Times Square, Empire State Building, Central Park, Grand Central Terminal, Rockefeller Center, Statue of Liberty, etc...

a weekend in new york city
a weekend in new york city
a weekend in new york city
a weekend in new york city
a weekend in new york city
a weekend in new york city

New York is home to some really cool museums, and in our jam-packed weekend, we managed to fit in a couple of hours at the Metropolitan Museum, home of the Met Gala and an amazing collection of art.

a weekend in new york city
a weekend in new york city

Figleaves UK

Something we did that I had also not done before this trip, was check out Chelsea Market and walk the High Line.  Even though it was Winter and the trees were a little bare, flowers yet to bloom, it was still really cool to walk along, and the perfect excuse for fresh air and a good catch-up!

a weekend in new york city
a weekend in new york city
a weekend in new york city

We of course had to take a stroll across Brooklyn Bridge, and may or may not have timed it so we were walking across at sunset (gotta do it for the 'gram y'know?)

a weekend in new york city

I loved having a little explore of Greenwich Village; we had really good Mexican food here on Bleecker Street, and it is also home to Washington Square Park and the Friends apartment!

a weekend in new york city
a weekend in new york city
a weekend in new york city

Another spot I'd not been to before was the New York Public Library.  It is a ridiculously gorgeous piece of architecture, and definitely worth seeing if you are ever in the city!

a weekend in new york city

What We Ate

There's a few foods you have to try when you visit New York, but the two main things for me are pizza and cheesecake!

I LOVE New York pizza; nothing too fancy, just some hot roasted peppers and a load of mozzarella and garlic, and I will be the happiest tourist ever.  If you're in Manhattan and need to grab a bite before seeing a show, I couldn't recommend Don Antonio's more.  We picked this pizzeria at random just because it was nearby the theatre for The Prom, and it ended up being the best first meal we could have had for our New York weekend.

Molton Brown

I also love New York cheesecake, and I've lost count of the amount of times I've been to Juniors Bakery at the end of a long day of exploring.  They do loads of flavours, and my all time favourite is their red velvet.

I will have another post going up all about my favourite New York restaurants, as well as a post on the best Instagram spots in NYC and a full New York City travel guide, so keep an eye out for those if you are planning to visit New York soon! 


a weekend in new york city

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Bali Body Face Tan Water Review

Disclaimer: Product featured was gifted by the brand, all views are my own x

I was thrilled when the team over at Bali Body offered to let me review their brand new Face Tan Water! If you know me, you'll know I am a huge skincare fan and as soon as I read the little ingredients list, I was intrigued to test it out and see if it worked for me and my skin! Keep reading to find out my thoughts...

Packaging...

I love the aesthetics of Bali Body's Self Tan range. Their Face Tan Water has the same nude pink cap as their Self Tanning Mousse, and I love that the bottle is clear as it allows you to see how much product you have left!

Bali Body Face Tan Water Review

The Details...

I am in LOVE with the fact the Bali Body Face Tan Water is 100ml, as it is the perfect size to pack in my hand luggage (if you haven't read my post on my travel skincare yet, take a look here!) and get that enviable post-holiday sunkissed glow without having to worry about tan lines from my sunglasses!  This self tanner costs £25.95, which may seem a tad steep for some, but I've used this about 5 times in the last 6 weeks and it barely looks like I've used any out of the bottle.  I really think this product is going to last me quite some time, so at £25.95, I think you are getting a pretty nice deal! This product is also 100% cruelty free and vegan.

Skincare Benefits...

As you may or may not know, I love skincare.  I'm all about my moisturisers, toners, my serums and oils, I just love finding a product that works wonders for me and shouting about it from the rooftops.

Bali Body Face Tan Water Review

As much a treat for your skin as it is a gradual self tanner, the Bali Body Face Tan Water is enriched with some amazing skincare ingredients to help you on your way to a more nourished, radiant complexion.  The 3 key ingredients in this little bottle are sodium hyaluronate, jojoba oil and rosewater!
  • Sodium hyaluronate is derived from hyaluronic acid, and revives and plumps your skin, helping you look not only golden but supple and youthful too.  This is a dream for anyone who is conscious of fine lines and wrinkles!
  • Jojoba oil provides long lasting moisture when using the Face Tan Water, helping to minimise any tightness in the skin.  It is gentle on the skin and has proven to be beneficial for both psoriasis and acne. 
  • Rosewater gives the Face Tan Water it's light fragrance, whilst soothing the skin and reducing any redness.

Application...

You are advised to use either your hands or a cotton wool pad to apply the product. I've found I prefer to use a cotton pad for this as it feels like a quicker and easier way to ensure the product is all over my face, neck and decolletage.

Bali Body Face Tan Water Review

I exfoliate first with my usual Tea Tree cleanser, pat my skin dry and then use the Face Tan Water like a toner - popping a few drops on a cotton wool pad and running this all over my face.  It is important to make sure that you have a nice layer all over your skin (I learnt this the hard way on my first try, when I ended up not going close enough to my hairline and having a gorgeous white line around the top of my forehead!) and that this has dried before applying any moisturisers or makeup.

The Face Tan Water is lightly fragranced with a delicate rose scent, and is not overpowering in any way.  The product feels so gentle and lightweight on the skin, and so much more hydrating on the face than the self tanning mousse from the same range.

Developing Time...

The self tan takes about 6 hours to develop, so it is perfect for applying before bed, and then you wake up looking glowing and flawless! It also works so well under makeup, but if I'm at home for the day working, I'll apply the Face Tan Water and then won't apply any heavy moisturisers or any makeup whilst it develops.  For me, I've found this is how I best achieve the bronzed look I desire from the self tanner.

A little make-up free before and after...
Bali Body Face Tan Water Review

Finish... 

I honestly love the finish of this product.  It brightens my skin, gives it a golden streak-free glow and helps to even out my complexion, giving me the confidence to skip my foundation routine and apply just a little dab of concealer to my under eyes.

Unlike with other self tanning products, such as lotions and mousses, you don't have to worry about clogged pores or any breakouts with the Face Tan Water.  As mentioned before, the water is as much a skincare product as it is a self tanner.

Bali Body Face Tan Water Review
10/10 favourite tanning product! Can you tell?!
If you are after a flawless, radiant complexion, I could not recommend this enough.  Use once for a sun-kissed glow that will last you a good 2 - 3 days, or use every couple of days to build and maintain a natural-looking tan!

You can purchase Bali Body's Face Tan Water here and check out their Self Tan range here!

Check out my Bali Body wishlist below! Have you tried any of these? Let me know your thoughts!


Bali Body Moisturising LotionBali Body BB CreamBali Body Shimmering Body Oil
Bali Body Coconut Lip BalmBali Body Watermelon Tanning OilBali Body Mist

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