Showing posts with label Life. Show all posts

A day in Covent Garden

Sitting in a flower display in Covent Garden

When I say I live in London, I don't live in PROPER London. I live in quite East Finchley, tucked away in Zone Three. It's far from the bustling crowds and fast paced life you generally see in the movies. It's got tree lined streets, the smell of open fires in autumn and winter and frequent community festivals. It's peaceful. It's quiet. Tourists don't know it.

When ever I do head into central London, it feels like an adventure. Visiting Covent Garden is something I generally reserve for when friends and family visit because, even though I know my way around after living in London for 11 years, it's nice to feel like a tourist sometimes. For our anniversary at the weekend, Gary and I were up at, what felt like, the crack of dawn to go and explore Covent Garden and celebrate each other. But on the cheap... it was the weekend before payday after all!


Where to Explore / Instagram

We got to Covent Garden for before 9am because if I know anything as a Londoner and an Instagram fiend, it's best to get to your destination before the shops open. This way, you'll have more space to capture those gorgeous pictures you're after, and also you can spot new things that you may not have noticed before. I for one, didn't know that Covent Garden was now surrounded my flower displays everywhere you look. It does make sense though, what with how it used to be a flower market.

It felt more private, like we had stumbled across something secret, being there so early. There was no one around and it felt more like the *that* scene from My Fair Lady. I'm not ashamed to admit that I ended up singing 'Wouldn't it be lovely' to Gary at one point. Ideally I wanted to take a photo sitting on the church steps a la Audrey Hepburn, but it was the set up point for all the street performers! Oh well.



Neals Yard is a destination for any Instagrammer but my scaffolding curse struck once again. I obviously wanted to to replicate THE photo of the gorgeous buildings that every other Londoner has on their feeds, but alas. I am cursed...


Also, bonus nerd spot. Did you know Monty Python used to live here? I didn't until I decided to #LookUp!



Where to Eat

For breakfast, we chose to leave the main Covent Garden centre and headed to Dishoom on Upper St Martin's Lane. Having been to Dishoom before, I was so excited because I know how good their food is. However, I have never had their breakfast before and their infamous Naan bread is something I've wanted to try for so long. As we were nice and early (are you spotting a theme here?), we didn't have to queue at all when normally you would have to as they don't take reservations. All I can say, it's definitely worth the early wake up call.



Where to shop

It wouldn't be me if there wasn't something nerdy in here, would it? My ONE destination while we were in central London was to visit the Noble Collection UK on Neal Street. The Noble Collection is the home for nerdy and movie replicas and collectibles. From the Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter, 300 to Suicide Squad. Whether you're after a fluffy Niffler, or a board game, new wand (me) or a fantastic headdress so you can be Galadriel for the day, this is the place for you.


It honestly felt just like being in Olivander's and I did get a chuckle from Gary who was timing how long it took me to choose between two wands. Personally, I don't think 25 minutes is long enough. Quite fast if you ask me.



Where to drink

Now, to be fair we went for the easy choice here. The heavens opened on us and we were not dressed for the ocassion, what with being idiots and not checking the weather that morning... We opted for the Nags Head on St James Street, and this is mostly becuase I'm a sucker for a blue plaque. And I didn't want to get wet anymore...

What's nice about this pub is how it feels homey even though it's always busy. I go to this pub whenever I'm in Covent Garden because it does still feel like a local even though it's full of strangers. They do a banging Guinness too which was the best way to finish up our anniversary celebrations.

Obviously, there is so much more to do in Covent Garden than what we got up to. I'm still slightly kicking myself that we didn't go to the Transport Museum but I wasn't up for the queue in that rain... If you have been, do let me know what I missed out on! 

How would you spend a morning in Covent Garden? 





*Disclaimer: £75 of spending money was kindly gifted by Hotels.com but all views are my own. 

Being a Harry Potter Fan as an adult

St Dunstan in the East London

I know, I know. Being a grown up Potterhead isn't exactly big news or something new. But hear me out a bit.

There have been a couple of times this month alone where I feel people have mocked my life choices. They have blatantly taken the piss out of  my sheer passion for this fictional world that sometimes feels more like home than anything else.

I've had someone flat out laugh at me when I told them I was a big fan, someone say 'the funniest part of that was you looking so serious' when I told them I wore Gryffindor robes in Christ Church College and someone say it's time to stop acting like a kid.

I'm sorry, but screw you.

St Dunstan in the East London

I feel like I have had constant debates with people over whether or not Harry Potter is for kids. As much as I believe it's not, that's down to the individual person at the end of the day. But whether or not you think it is for children, it doesn't make it OK for you to make me feel small.

I have a passion for something and I don't think that's something to be ashamed of. I'm sure if I also spoke to people about my love for Shakespeare, travelling or even computers games, I wouldn't be met with nearly as much mockery as I do when they find out about the Harry Potter world I am enveloped in.

Sure, I don't try to hide it from people, but why the hell should I? People wear football shirts and talk about the latest controversy on XFactor without feeling like they should hide what they're interested in so why should Harry Potter be any different?


The Harry Potter world is something that's grown far beyond that last page and the grounds of Hogwarts. And it's growing every day. We have a whole swathe of people from my generation who have named their children Harry and Hermione. We also have a bunch of much stronger young people as a result of being inspired by the heroes and heroines within those pages.

Even the March For Our Lives protests in America this year could be partly attributed to the strength gained from Harry Potter. The young people mobilised and marched onwards with placards quoting 'Expelliarmus!' and 'Dumbledore's Army Still Recruiting'. There are real life 'Death Eaters' in this world, and there's a whole generation of people ready to fight back. 


Yes, pretty much 30 and I like Harry Potter. I like to dress up, buy wands and cuddly toys. I read the books every year and have been to the Studio Tour more times than anyone I know. But it's all OK. I'm perfectly happy with the way I am. Just because you don't understand something doesn't mean it's wrong or silly. I've had so many opportunities and life experiences gained from this world of magic and I will continue to show my love for it.

Maybe soon I'll stop feeling hurt when people laugh at me but until then, I'll just seek solace in the Prisoner of Azkaban, remember 'Expecto Patronum' and carry on.

Above the City on the London Eye

London Eye VIP

NGL, the London Eye has never interested me, even at the height of its novelty in the early 2000s. It didn't interest me either when I worked for their sponsor in 2016! I've always thought of it as a giant, overrated Ferris Wheel. At one point, I was flat out refusing to go on it.

But I went on it. I caved and went on it. Mostly because Milly offered me a spot in her private booth.

I suck.

Millennium Bridge London

Despite being strongly against a trip up the London Eye for so long, I have made it a mission to step out of my comfort zone in quiet little East Finchley, to see more and spend more time in the city I have called home for over a decade. Even if that means falling into over priced Tourist Traps.

I wouldn't say the London Eye experience surprised me, it pretty much does exactly what it says on the tin, but the views are most definitely worth it. It was nice to see London from another perspective.

There was definitely a couple of things I enjoyed that truly made the trip.

Coca-Cola London Eye

We had our own private booth which meant we were able to run around and see every angle as well as giggle with ourselves. I'm not entirely sure how many people the capsule can hold, but I do think it would have been a less enjoyable experience if we had been crammed in with other people.

It reminded me of why I loved London. I mean, our city is stunning from every angle but seeing it from above made you really take in the splendour of the whole thing.

The people I went with. I really do have some of the best friends to enjoy everything and this time we even took the boys. It is funny to have the boys with us, it gives them a moment to not only appreciate how much effort goes into creating content constantly, it also gives Gary and I a chance to do more together. Full time jobs and busy schedules (mostly mine) restricts us a tad.

We also got to being you this 'Behind the Insta' shot. Good ol' Instagram Husbands.

London Eye

London Eye

In short, I still think it's overrated but I wouldn't be entirely against going back on it. I do think the cost is a little ridiculous for what you get and how it really is just a giant Ferris Wheel but going with great people makes it an experience to remember.

Have you ever been on the London Eye? 

3 ways to make a rented flat feel more like a home


Like most people of my age, especially in London, I have moved around A LOT since I left home for university. At one point, there were 5 moves in 5 years. 5 different times my dad had to hire a van and help me lug all my stuff up different ends of the Northern Line, 5 flats where I felt like I hadn't really settled and never felt at home, regardless of where I was or who I lived with. Everything was just temporary.

Fast forward to 2012, I found a gorgeous flat with my best friend and I haven't left yet. Although my friend has since moved out, the boyfriend has moved in and we even got a cat (like a little family!), it still felt like just a rented flat and nothing like our own.

Obviously when you rent, there is very little you can do to make your mark. I'm pretty sure I have had the same white walls and cheap beige carpet in every place I have lived to date. Gary and I decided that we're going to finally try little things to make our little place more homey. So far, I am much happier

Star Wars Canvas

Obviously, as much as I wish we could, we're not allowed to actually paint. It's sad and makes things feel a bit soul-less. We've recently got our hands on the biggest Star Wars canvas you have ever seen from Photowall (seriously, it's bigger than me) and it's already made the room feel brighter and more like ours. That with the bunting and family pictures (yes, we're those people) scattered all over the joint have added our own little touch that I'm in love. Who wouldn't want a 5ft Star Wars canvas on their wall? I know I'm not the only one who has gone down this route either; Little Miss Katy has recently moved into a new place and is planning a canvas wall.


can we please appreciate Dobby 'helping' Gary hang the canvas?

Like PROPER adults, Gary and I got a bunch of vouchers over Christmas. Normally, I'd spend these on shoes or clothes but the time has come for me to stop spending my money on general crap. Instead we invested in a shaggy pile rug for the living room. I mean, can you get more grown up?

It's absolutely massive and not only has it made a more cosy vibe but it makes the room warmer as we're covering a big match of dull and not exactly heat retaining laminate flooring. The cat bloody loves it though. Since we got the rug,. he's barely left it and has a tendency to go on one of his 'mentals' all over it, it's adorable.

Aloe house plant


As you may have seen on Instagram, I bought my own little Aloe recently and am trying to bring more nature into the home as well. I have been such a sucker for all the people on Instagram sharing pictures of daffodils in beautiful vases that I've had to go and get some myself. It was like plant and spring FOMO. Just having them there is making me smile though, even if they're not a premenant feature to my mantle.

So far, I have managed to keep my aloe alive and my flowers aren't wilting JUST yet so maybe I'll be able to make my own little jungle soon!

Sure, these aren't exactly ground-breaking interior design tips, but when you're so restricted every little step can help. I already feel so much happier and comfortable in my own little space. Who knows, I may be in that flat for another 5 years, or it could all be temporary. Either way, I've been saying 'home' more rather than 'the flat' and that's what we're aiming for.

If you're looking to add some character to your place, I have a special 20% discount on canvases from Photowall. Just use SmashleighjayneCampaign2018.




*Disclaimer: This post was in partnership with photowall in exchange for the most awesome canvas ever but all words are my own

Intentions for 2018

Highgate Pergola

It's my first week back at work and I am so very tired. Also sick. Already the conversations around New Years Resolutions have began. Mostly with people saying they want to lose weight or are going to do Dry January.

I don't believe in New Years Resolutions because I'm an actual pessimist. That and I rarely stick to anything, especially if I vocalise it. But, obviously, just like everyone else there are a couple of things I'd like to change, but not just because it's the New Year. I already started before Christmas. Little bit by little bit. I guess this is what happens when you start becoming more of an adult.

In my mind, if I consider these as intentions, rather than resolutions, I might actually stand a chance as I have made no promises to myself or anyone else!

Reduce my use of Single Use Plastics

I recycle a lot, especially at work where we have separate bins for everything, including one JUST for coffee grounds. However, Blue Planet this year did traumatise me. It made me realise that I really wasn't doing enough.

In the past few weeks I have been upping my game. More things at home are being recycled. I have a Pokémon water bottle for #Hydration throughout the day rather than getting new bottles all the time, I have stopped with the paper cups for coffee and take my ceramic one with me now.



Make my flat more like a home

The problem with living in a rented place, you can't really make a mark on the place you live. It annoys me but I know I will never be able to afford a house. Any time soon, anyway. Gary and I have wanted to create more of a home for a while so decided to just do it rather than make excuses. 

Before Christmas, Gary re-arranged the living room giving us more space, we've just bought ourselves a big fluffy rug (which the cat LOVES), I have been completely brutal and thrown so much stuff out, and I just bought myself a cute little house plant that I'm determined to keep alive. Currently in my Amazon basket I have a bunch of new Scatter Cushions and throws to match the colour scheme I have in my head and will be finding a way of putting more pictures of friends and family up without using nails and potentially losing my deposit!

Aloe Houseplant


Be nicer to myself

Not only am I going to stop putting myself down all the bloody time (well, try to anyway), I'm going to treat myself better. If I'm sick, I'll stay home and not wear myself down by insisting on working. I'm going to carry on going to the gym, I was really good at it last year and it honestly makes me feel so much better. I'll drink more water because I have ALWAYS been shit at that and hydration is awesome. I'm also going back to actually cooking instead of just relying on Iceland and take-away. Gary and I fell into such an awful habit of it last year and I already feel so much better after making proper meals again. 

These are all very simple changes just to make me a happier person. Knowing my luck though, now that I have written them down, I'll probably forget all about them by March and will fall into old habits. Let's not though, OK AJ? Think of the planet and your bloody happiness.

Do you have any intentions for 2018?


Why I actually love Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland 2017

I'm one of those people who loves to hate Winter Wonderland. It's busy and full of tourists, you'll be queueing for days and every time I go, it always bloody rains. But I love it. Despite always having a bit of a moan...

It's not very often you can get a lot of mates together (for me, it's next to impossible... I'm looking at you, Bangarang) but every year, all of Gary's uni mates + me gather together for yearly shenanigans at Winter Wonderland. Every year we've been, we've been a bit rubbish about it and mostly hung out in the Bavarian Village getting pissed (which is still awesome) but this year, friends who live further away stayed at our house so we had a full day of it.

Winter Wonderland London 2017


Things I like about Winter Wonderland in General

Everyone seems to be cheerful

I don't know what it is, it could be the copious amount of booze, the fact that the arrival of Winter Wonderland shows that Christmas is SO CLOSE, or they're just genuinely happy people.

I'm always miserable but find the happiness of our friends and the people at Winter Wonderland infectious. Meaning I tend to smile all day.

All the Mulled drinks

Mulled Wine and Mulled Cider are one of the greatest inventions on this Earth. This year I discovered Hot Toffee Apple Cider and was in my own little Heaven. That was before we discovered the Apple Pie Southern Comfort though... which actually tastes like Apple Pie in a cup.

It's not as expensive as you think

one of the main things people complain about is how expensive Winter Wonderland is, but in reality it isn't. For example, I bought a pint of Cider and Blackcurrant (classic me) at it was £5. Considering the exact same thing in my local pub is £4.90... I really don't think that's too bad.

Things I liked about Winter Wonderland this year

Oh, the things you can do when you plan on spending more than just an evening there...

We barely had to queue

Could be because we got there around 2:30 rather than 6... but we barely had to queue at all. Maybe we just got lucky!

The night before, we booked tickets to the Magical Ice Kingdom which meant we got to go into a separate queue and jump the horde at the gates. When we got to the roller-coasters, we seemed to just walk straight through and get on them, and we barely had to queue at the bar until around 8pm. Pretty good running I'd say.

Winter Wonderland London 2017


The Roller-coasters are actually amazing

I LOVE roller-coasters. When I was growing up, my mum and brother were very much the 'bag holders' and I found out recently that my dad really doesn't like them either. BUT he came on every single one with me so I didn't have to go on alone. Legend.

I've normally avoided put up and take down roller-coasters at fair grounds because I didn't imagine they'd me all that safe. However, with an event as big as Winter Wonderland, you'd think they'd go under many, many safety checks!

You know, what? They were amazing. We didn't go on every single one but the ones we tried were fantastic. First round we went on Ice Mountain, which was very similar to Space Mountain at Disney Land. Gary became Designated Bag Holder for the BIG ONE though that had around 8 loops. I have discovered that after 4 years in a relationship with that boy, spending a whole day at Alton Towers may be off the cards...

I screamed a lot and got off each ride with a massive grin on my face. I'm still gutted that we didn't go into the Haunted House (because OF COURSE they'd have one...) but there's always next year.

Winter Wonderland London 2017


There's music everywhere

I can't explain how much I love music and how it has shaped me over years so if there's a bugger tonne of music, I'll be happy. We made the foolish attempt of a day of Whamageddon until we realised every bloody stall was playing the same music... after we had run away from one bar in different directions and I spilt Mulled Cider all down my coat (twat). In each main bar you have different stages with DJs and performers too. Towards the end of the night, we settled into one of the smaller bars in the Bavarian village and were delighted by the performance of a 60 year old man performing 'sexy and I know it' and 'Gangnam Style' before a traditional German brass band (which I loved). I haven't giggled that much in a while.

It's worth paying for more than just food and drink

As I've mentioned, we got tickets to see the Magical Ice Kingdom, an immersive experience of ice sculptures themed around under the sea. Cue me creating an Instagram story of everything using the lyrics for Under the Sea from the Little Mermaid. I'm cool, I swear.

Not only did we have the joys of skipping the queue at the beginning, but we also had the best time in sub zero temperatures.

The Sculptures were absolutely incredible and we discovered my coat is not suitable for an ice slide. All in all, it was so worth the £10 and if you get a chance to see it, you should.

Winter Wonderland London 2017


I probably had the best time at Winter Wonderland this year than I have at any other time. I'll definitely be checking out what new things will be there next year and will maybe go even earlier to make sure I actually have a full day of giggling like a maniac.

Winter Wonderland London 2017




Things to do in London at Christmas

Christmas in London 2017

I have been saying it for years and I won't stop... London is one of the best places in the world at Christmas. I have so many friends and family who have moved here that I always bring up 'I can't wait until you see London at Christmas. There's something magical in the air which means I'm always in a jolly mood... even if Marketing at Christmas is one of the most stressful jobs ever.

It's just over a week before I leave London to be with my family for a week and It's occurred to me that there's so much of my usual Christmas activities that I haven't had time to do so I'm going to be ramming in as much as I can this weekend. In between last minute Christmas shopping, of course...

There are so many things to do in London that sometimes it's difficult to know where to start, but there are a couple of things I look forward to every year and some I'm looking forward to doing.

See as many Christmas Decorations and Trees as you can

London Really is a festive wonderland right now with lights on pretty much every street. I love seeing all the different trees in their different styles. The giant one in the red plant pot in Covent Garden has always been a favourite but this year it has been trumped by the beautiful one in St Pancras, decorated with over 1000 flowers.

St Pancras Christmas Tree

Get on the Rooftops

The roof top pop up has been growing for years. Wig Wam Bam on the roof of the Queen of Hoxton was always a place to be for me but I have been travelling further afield to see what else is out there. 

South Pole Saloon Brixton

For our Annual  'let's try and get Bangarang in one room for a Christmas Party', we headed down to Brixton for the South Pole Saloon. There were only 5 / 11 Bangarang Girls but that's pretty impressive for us.

The South Pole Saloon is the winter replacement for Brixton Beach, all decked out like a little winter wonderland with wooden huts and fairy lights everywhere. 

South Pole Saloon Brixton


Although the loud music (like srsly... too loud) left much to be desired, the overall atmosphere was lovely. There was so much different food to choose from, especially a stand that specialised in Mac and Cheese (they know the way to my heart) and a bunch of Christmassy Cocktails and mulled wine to really get you into the Christmas Spirit. Definitely worth a visit if you're heading south!

Food South Pole Saloon Brixton

Winter Wonderland et al

Now, I really don't like Winter Wonderland as a whole. I love it in theory but it's shockingly busy and expensive... yet I am still going at the weekend. 

There are lots of alternatives though! Winterville is the newest on the scene down in Clapham, everyone I know who has been has said it's glorious so I think I'll give that one a go next year.

Hunt down mulled wine/cider

It's the ultimate warming thing. I look forward to that first glass / mug every year. Guaranteed most pubs will be serving it about now but it's at the Christmas markets where you'll find the best. 

Mulled Cider London

Last year a colleague of mine went to Leicester Square JUST for Mulled Wine, last weekend the European Market in East Finchley swung by to spread Festive Cheer and if you head down to the South Bank, you''ll find your fair share of warming alcohol. Perfect for dark and cold December evenings

Find yourself a Christmas Carol performance

They. Are. Everywhere. St Martin's in the Field do Carols by Candle Light, there are buskers on pretty much every street corner and local musicians performing in shopping hot spots. My Orchestra will be playing in Spitalfield Market this weekend and I'm already dreading the cold but will love every second when I'll be playing. 


At the moment I'm listening to Christmas Jazz surrounded by endless paper chains and fairy lights. After writing this I'm feeling proper Christmassy and am now going to hunt down Pigs in Blankets for lunch

What are your favourite things to do in London at Christmas?


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.

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

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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.

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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.


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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.