Featured Slider

A History of Magic at the British Library with Lumos

Lumos charity

Harry Potter is 20 years old. Can you believe it? Sometimes I can't.

To celebrate, there's an exhibition at the British Library: The History of Magic. The exhibition is all about Harry Potter, the inspiration and the actual history of magic. I was lucky enough to attend a closed event with Lumos after failing to buy tickets with the rest of my friends.

You've probably heard me mention Lumos by now, if not you should take a scroll through and all the other amazing things I have been able to experience as part of my ambassadorship with them! Lumos was founded by J.K. Rowling herself to help children across the world out of institutions and into loving homes.

We say 'institutions' and not 'orphanages' because, sadly, many of them are out for profit alone, treat the children badly and lead to many children out of the streets with very little life experience, education and support. There are millions of children world wide stuck in institutions and it's Lumos' mission to get them out. Every child deserves a home and every child deserves love.

At the History of Magic event, we were privileged enough to hear speeches from Jason Isaacs, the Curator of the Exhibition (oh yes, I do think I would have been VERY good at that job if you didn't need so much experience) and Neil Blair. We learned more about their plans for the future, how much Lumos has achieved so far and the amazing work they have been doing in the past year alone.

This also happened:





Please try your very best not to hate me...

With the exhibition itself, sadly there are no pictures allowed. As much as I desperately wanted to take pictures of everything, I managed to restrain myself somehow.

Without spoiling it too much for you, I can tell you that it consists of everything from Herbology to Defence Against the Dark Arts. Turns out Mandrakes are a real thing, dontcha know AND Nicholas Flamel was a real person.

I'm not sure how long you're supposed to be in there but Leanne and I were in there until 10pm. We kept running around and back to rooms we had been before just in case we had missed something. It's a hands on experience as well as a 'look at these amazing things' exhibition, with technology and games for we muggles to enjoy (Please don't tell Gary I admitted to being a muggle)...


Being one of the last to leave (other than Ezra Miller who was clearly living his best life despite a 5am call time the next morning), you definitely need more than an hour to experience the sheer splendour of the exhibition. Walking into it is just as magical as entering Hogwarts itself, there are scripts and deleted scenes from the book sand movies, J.K. Rowling's own illustrations and many 'real' magical items. As a massive Harry Potter fan, I'm sure you can imagine my joy seeing notes written in J.K. Rowling's own hand.

You should definitely attend the exhibition while it's still around. Tickets are £16 for adults and £8 for children (you can get them here). While you're at it, why note donate to Lumos. Every little helps and 100% of all proceeds go to the programmes themselves and NOT someone else's pocket.

If you fancy a quick chuckle, here's the moment J.K. Rowling retweeted me. Thank you Leanne for capturing such a moment. Yes, I am crying. I have no shame.






*Disclaimer: I was invited to the event for free as an Ambassador for Lumos. However, I constantly work to support Lumos and this has in no way encouraged this blog post. I was not asked to do it, I just did. So there.

Bangarang X Zeal & Heart - Jewellery Collaboration



I bet that there's at least one of you sittig at your desk right now dreaming of your next holiday. Maybe on Pinterest rearranging some of your travel inspo or maybe you were even lucky to get some bargain flights in the Black Friday sale. Either way, we're all always looking for our next break, whether it's staycation or jetting off to somewhere entirely new.

I never thought I'd be a travel person. Sure, I haven't packed my bags and buggered off to some far corner of the world, but I am definitely seeing more of it.

I always thought I'd never be able to afford the travel life, or that I would never have enough holiday at work. It's very recently that I have decided 'fuck it'. I'm going anyway. I'm nearly thirty now and life is far too short.

This is a kind of bravery in my own way. I decided to JUST GO.



JUST GO is a quote from the Bangarang Girls that pretty sums up what we're all about. No matter how down we feel, how stressed, no matter what restrictions or reasons not to... we JUST GO.

Zeal & Heart is an adorable Etsy store where you can get a variety of quote pendants, with their help Bangarang have been able to carry around our own bravery every day to remember that no matter what, we should JUST GO.

The pendant itself is a lot smaller than it looks in this picture, it's so small and delicate I have pretty much lived in mine since it arrived. As I wear it, it makes me think of my favourite people in the world, the obstacles we have crossed and all the adventures in the future to be had.


Our little pendant is also helping to raise money with each purchase for Headway, Headway are a charity for brain trauma and helped Bangarang by Proxy Amy when she sadly passed away after an accident last year. Amy really was the epitome of JUST GO and she lives on in a way through the adventures Captain Charley goes on with us.

If you'd like one of these of your own, just visit the Zeal & Heart Etsy store, the pendant on it's own is £25 and £35 with a chain. They'll make an amazing Christmas present for the adventurer in your life and will help to support the patients and families dealing with brain trauma every day. You'll have to be quick though, only 100 were made so once they're gone, they're gone. I'm number 8!!

Just remember this, if you're ever doubting yourself, thinking you can't do something or go somewhere. Just bloody do it. Live your best life and JUST GO.

What I'm wearing

Coat: Ebay Bargain 
Velvet body: Primark
Brogues: Clarkes ( a year ago..)
Necklace: Obviously Zeal & Heart



*Disclaimer: Bangarang are not profiting from the sales of this necklace in anyway. We're all about small business and raising money for charity

Feeling Sassy with Ellie Salon

Ellie's Salon Putney


I have been trying to write this post for WEEKS. So long, in fact that I'm ready for another hair cut. bloody typical.

People who have known me the longest will know that since I started uni I have had short hair. Pixie Cuts mostly. Like, proper short. One day, I woke up and decided to grow my hair because as much as I don't like change, it is just necessary. This was also news that made Gary VERY happy.

Two years and no haircut later, it was time to sort the barnet out. I have had a fair few bad haircuts, haircuts that have made me cry, so I normally refuse to go anywhere that isn't my usual place. Sadly, I can't afford the £80 it tends to be... fortunately I know a lot of people and they all have recommendations. After previous experience, I wouldn't normally go to an independent hairdresser again but seeing how people like Pink Julep goes to Ellie's Salon at least once a week for the most gorgeous blow dry I have ever seen, it was totally worth a go.

Ellie's Salon is all the way in Putney, and considering I live in East Finchley, it was one hell of a journey, I dragged Gary with me as well. Mostly so I didn't feel a whim of change and get the hair all cut off again!! Despite how raggedy I felt, he likes the long hair.

Everyone at Ellie's was warm and welcoming, so unlike many of the chains where you're just another customer who will be in and out. There was an in depth discussion about how I had used henna on my hair the night before (turned the water green during that AMAZING head message we all love) and how it's made my, what I thought was ratty, hair in really good condition. The benefits of using more natural products than just endless chemicals. All the recommendations on how to make my thin hair look fuller without the product, turns out a diagonal parting is the way forward, has changed my life and just shows that they know what they're doing. There was never a time I felt uncomfortable, I have never been one for the hairdresser small talk, and I found myself nattering away endlessly. Seriously, hats off to them!



After what I can only describe as the best haircut and blow dry I have had in a VERY long time, I left feeling sassy and confident, my previous views on independent salons has definitely changed and it was more than worth the hour and a half journey to get there.



If you're in the South London area, I would 100% recommend Ellie's. I'll be booking my next appointment soon because I want to finally carry on having fabulous hair.







*Disclaimer: I was given the haircut and style for free in exchange for a review BUT if I wasn't happy, I wouldn't be writing about it. Why would I, that's just rude.

Why going on holiday with your friends is the best thing you'll ever do


2017 has clearly been the year of adventures and exploring. Sure, I haven't been away as much as some people I know but it has definitely been a lot. For me anyway.

I still have my trip to Scotland with Gary to look forward to which is nice and we're going to *hopefully* spend a couple of days away over my birthday. This year has mostly been about me and the girls.

With three little trips away with my friends under my belt, from weekends in Bucharest and Cornwall to a day trip to Whitstable, just me and Leanne. I have decided that hollibobs with your friends is just amazing.

Beaches in Cornwall

I love going away with Gary but there is something different about going away with your friends, even more so when you're all bloggers!

When you travel with your friends, it's an entirely different vibe. There are a bunch of you who want to do different things meaning more adventures to be had and itineraries to be planned. Or you can just wander around being perfectly happy in each others company. Whatever suits you!

I've mentioned before that my girls are like a little family to me and it brings me so much joy that even though we're all so very different, we're also like minded, this is what makes travelling with them makes them even more awesome.

visit bucharest


Through travelling with friends, you'll get to so more of one place, whether it's because someone wants to eat at a particular place or someone else wants to see a particular old thing. You make sure there's enough time to do at least one thing everyone wants to do.

There are also the giggles. The 'in' jokes that will just appear. Like, did you know R Kelly was the greatest artist if the 90s?

You'll also find out more about each other, how someone may not be a morning person (me) or how someone has never tried Cornish Ice cream (Jasmin)

weekend in cornwall


As a little blogger-only one, you'll also be sure to get the very best content. Because we all love photography so much, what should be a 20 minute walk can easily turn into an hour. You want to spot the tiniest details of everything, find the perfect door to have an outfit taken and have at least one person spot the opportunity for the perfect candid. Just another way we support each other completely.

A lot of people worry about going on holiday with friends. I mean, you'll be spending more time in close proximity with each other. What if someone falls out? What if that giggle you thought was cute actually becomes irritating AF? Well, none of these things have applied to me. I was so happy to explore with my best girls and most definitely will again.

You take a whole new experience away with you and new memories that you'll look back on forever.

Off we pop to Bedfordshire: Getting a good night's sleep

sleeping tips


I am notorious for being crap in the morning. I'm difficult to wake up for a start (Charlie has been known to clap in my face), if you want to have a coherent conversation with me in the mornings then you'll need to wait until I'm at least two coffees in, I have also been known to sleep until 2pm on a weekend.

I have no shame in this.

I am also a nightmare to sleep with. I fidget, a hog the covers and I talk in my sleep. Seriously, I feel so bad for Gary. Poor sod.

Considering all of the above, it's very rare that I will have a bad night sleep these days. And I mean very rare. Sure, I'll struggle to wake up in the morning regardless of what I do because I just love sleep so much. This is mostly because that over the years I have finally nailed down my way of settling in perfectly. Everyone has their own methods and there are several tips out there for getting the best night sleep ever, here are just a few that work for me.

Hold back on the caffeine

Now, if you know me personally, you'll know that I am pretty much Lorelei Gilmore. Milly has even said before that every time she sees me, I have a coffee in my hand. It's true.

via GIPHY

I can't get through my day without coffee but I make a point of not having any after 6pm. Tea, I can get away with but really you shouldn't be doing that either... you know it, I know it. Put the cuppa down.

Magnesium is your friend

I have been taking Magnesium for years to help with period pains (yup, it works. Trust) and after all the research in the world, it turns out it's also great to help you sleep! Who'da thunk it.

Devices down, yo

These days, people spend more time on their phones than they do asleep (averages, obvs) and I am definitely one of those people. I guess you could just blame this on my job but in reality, I'm just addicted to Social Media. Instagram = Life.

Before Gary moved in, I used to perch my laptop on the edge of my bed and watch Netflix. I'm scared of the dark (yup, judge me if you like) and it helped me feel safe and monster free at night. After a couple of scenarios when Gary noticed I actually spoke to the TV in my sleep, we realised that this was part of the reason why I slept poorly. Since then, no more David Attenborough to fall asleep to, maybe one YouTube video for the giggles but that's it. Phones down and lights off.

Breathing patterns work a dream

I don't always need to do this one as I can fall asleep quite quickly but if there's a little niggle at the back of my head (we've all been there) or I have broken my no caffeine rule, breathing certainly helps. I do gown the route of in for seven and out for seven. It helps relax my body and gives me something to think about that isn't 'Oh god, did I send that email'.

An Electric Blanket is the best purchase you will ever make

Yeah, I know that sounds proper old lady but seriously. You will thank me.

Gary isn't the biggest fan of the electric blanket because he's always too hot (hence why it's OK for me to be a duvet hog), but if I'm on my own, I love popping the blanket on for 15 minutes before I get into bed. It makes the bed a nice roasty toasty cocoon and I feel proper cosy when I'm all snuggled up in the streets.

If all else, fails... Harry Potter it is. The ultimate comfort for any problem I'm having.

Right now, I can't stop thinking about my bed and am really looking forward to going home tonight.

What are your best tips for getting a good night's sleep?

Wizarding Wardrobes at Warner Brothers Studio Tour London

Smashleighjayne


Yup. That's right. I went back to the Studio tour. Jealous much? JUST LOOK AT HOW HAPPY WE ALL ARE.

Smashleighjayne


If you follow the Warner Brothers Studio Tour on Instagram, you'll have already had a glimpse at what Wizarding Wardrobes is. It's a chance to go behind the scenes of the wardrobe department. Initial sketches and final designs of some of the best costumes are on display and you are able to learn more about each piece and the inspiration behind them.


Smashleighjayne

back in July (yup, I'm rubbish again), I went to the event launch because clearly I am now best buds with the Studio Tour. Some of the designers themselves were there, including the legend that is Philip Treacy (*fangirls*) who completely sassed Erica (you really need to check out her A Muggle Reacts post, it's amazing) and rather begrudgingly but did it anyway, let me put on a Beauxbatons hat!

Smashleighjayne


Yup. Admit it. You hate me a little bit right now.

Rita Skeeter is one of my favourite characters, I love to hate her SO MUCH. Plus, her outfits through out the movies are just spectacular. From the Acid Green power suit that matches her acid tongue and the Quick Quotes Quill to the dragon inspired costume from teh first task in the Triwizard Tornament. For Rita, a lot of the inspiration came from the style of Vivienne Westwood and you can really see it.

Smashleighjayne

Wizarding Wardrobes is more than just the clothes themselves. We also got to meet the Makeup department, saw someone transformed into Bellatrix Lestrange and even got our own Dark Marks, we really are the coolest.

Smashleighjayne


Yeah, I'm evil now.

Words can't really describe the sheer hilarity of us becoming Horace Slughorn's armchair or running around with a tennis ball.. Dobby... or making Dobby do the time warp in the special effects department. You really couldn't wipe the smiles off our faces for the whole evening.

Smashleighjayne
LEANNE IS A CHAIR
If you also want to experience Wizarding Wardrobes at the Studio Tour, you have until 27th September, so you better get your butts in gear!

Being taken behind the scenes of the look and style of our favourite films truly was magical, but what made it even more so was, as always, being with my favourite nerds. We gave Erica a glimpse into our world and Emma got to visit the tour for the first time. Our whole evening was full of giggles, prosecco and wonder. And I couldn't be happier.


Smashleighjayne


If you'd like to see more Wizarding Wardrobes glee, make sure you check out Emma Inks and here's  Little Miss Katy's vlog for you too. Cue giggles.




*Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the launch of Wizarding Wardrobes by the Studio Tour but I don't really need to tell you that the words are mine, right? I'm such a nerd, it's just a given now.