Travel Diaries: 48 Hours in Leeds

I’ve heard a lot about Leeds and it’s somewhere I’ve been wanting to go for quite some time now. Every now and then I love venturing out to the countryside and exploring places I’ve never been. 

The trip had been organised by The Blogger Programme for the TBP family and I couldn’t wait to see what they had in store for us. 

Especially after the amazing trip to Dorset that they arranged. 

Our train was booked from King’s Cross, London at 1pm so we had plenty of time in the morning to pack and sort ourselves out. 

When I arrived at King’s Cross, I met up with a few of the guys from TBP Talent and we then made our way to Leeds. 

It was nice to have a catch up on the train and I always love our TBP Talent trips. 

When we arrived in Leeds, we walked straight to the Trinity shopping centre where we were given £100 to spend on whatever we wanted! I already had in mind that I wanted to buy some new trainers that I could wear with casual outfits. I have plenty of gym trainers but they’re not the sort of shoes I would wear on a casual day out.

Me and Emma headed to Office where I bought some nike trainers and Emma bought 2 pairs of Vans. We then went onto the Alchemist where we met Daniel & Ed for a quick drink before jumping in an Uber to dinner.

Our dinner was booked for 6pm at The Foundry which has recently been taken over by Matt Healy, the 2016 Masterchef finalist. Matt came over and gave us a briefing on the vegan menu he had created to suit all of our dietary requirements. He also explained that they’re planning to relaunch the restaurant soon into Matt Healy X The Foundry and kindly invited us back once it’s been renovated. 

After dinner, we sat around having a few drinks before making our way to the Kate & Tom’s house where we were staying for the night. Me and Emma were the first to arrive so we ran upstairs and found our bedrooms.

The guys at The Blogger Programme laid the most amazing goodies all over our beds from Figleaves, Freeman Beauty, Annie Haak, Tangle Teezer, Blank Canvas, Avon & Pretty Little Thing. We spent quite a while going through our new items before realising the time and heading off to bed. 

We had our alarms set for 7am the next morning (this was a lay in for me as I’m usually up around 6:30am most mornings). We got ready and had a nose around the house and grounds. 

After lunch, it was time for us to leave and get ready for our escape room activity. I’ve heard quite a lot about escape rooms but I didn’t have a clue what to expect. When we got to Leeds city centre, we met with the guys from Tick Tock Unlock where they sat us down for a briefing. 

We were given the option to go into an asylum room or an Alice in Wonderland themed room. Me and Emma aren’t really good with scary things so it was just us who opted for the Alice in Wonderland whilst the rest of the TBP Talent team went onto the asylum room.

When me and Emma got in the room, we were looking around wondering where we actually start haha. We were expecting to have some sort of clue straight away but there wasn’t so it took us a few minutes to work out what we had to do.

By the time we finished, we managed to unlock all but 3 padlocks so I think we did pretty well. We didn’t escape but we gave it our best shot.

After the escape room, we quickly made our way to Leeds station where we jumped back on the train to London. As I previously said in my Dorset blog post; I still managed to overpack my suitcase. Will I ever learn?!

I actually managed to close my suitcase this time but had 3 additional carrier bags & handbags to carry.

We arrived back into Kings Cross and we all made our separate ways home. Once again thank you to The Blogger Programme for arranging the trip and thank you to all of the brands involved.

Lots of love

Robyn xxx
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Mother's Day Gift Guide

Mum's are more than 'Mother's'; they're our counsellors, cooks, teachers, helpers, taxis and of course our best friends. Some of them are also Father's whilst having a full time job which is amazing! I love that we set aside a day every year where we celebrate all they have done to make us into the people we are today. In my opinion, we should be celebrating this more than once a year because being a Mum is a tough job and most of them are doing pretty good. 

My mum has done an amazing job raising me and my Brother. Always teaching us right from wrong and helping us to create the best life we could wish for. I don't really wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to things like this with my family, but I want her to know that I appreciate all of her hard work immensely. 

Some of our mum's have been through a lot as women. From pregnancy to raising us throughout our childhoods. Some have fought through fertility treatments, miscarriages and even losses and that's why we should appreciate them and everything they've gone through.

I speak to my Mum about near enough everything. I open up about most topics to her and I always know she's already there waiting to listen. We always chat, gossip and give one another advice. I'm so close to my Mum and whenever I've had any issues, she's the first person I go to.

She was my agony aunt throughout school and I was always coming home asking her for advice on certain things that were going on in my life. I often heard the expression 'mum knows best'. At the time I remember thinking it was a load of rubbish, but as I've grown up, it's proven that 'mum does know best'.

My Mum has taught me and my Brother a lot over the past years and is the reason for who we are today. When I was Ted's age, my Mum would help me with all of my homework and making sure I absorbed as much knowledge as possible.

Back then, I couldn't care less about school and homework. However, now I appreciate all of those private teaching lessons and all of her efforts in making me walk away from school with the best grades possible.

Whenever I've been round friends houses or caught out somewhere, my Mum would always come to the rescue. One phone call and within minutes she would be there to bring me home. Little things like that are thrown away favours, but I'm so grateful for all those times my Mum came to pick me up from places. Before I started driving, she was always mine and my friends taxi driver. Well saying that, now I am driving she's still my taxi driver haha.

My mum knows be better than anyone and always knows what I'm thinking before I start speaking. I've spent so much time with her and appreciate everything she's done for me. When I look back over the years, I feel like saying thank you isn't enough and will never make up for everything she's done for me and my Brother. She's so supportive in everything we do and believes in us knowing that we can achieve our goals. 

When I started blogging, my Mum didn't have a clue and I was often sat down with her explaining what everything meant and what my aims were. Since then, she's stood out in the cold and snow helping me take photos and making sure I'm creating the content that I need. She reads through every blog post before it's published to make sure I've not messed up with anything and helps me with everything else in-between. 

I really can't explain how much my Mum means to me and I'm so proud and grateful to have her. I decided to get her a few little bits from Debenhams as a little appreciation of what she does. If you're looking to get your mum the perfect gift this Mother's day, I would recommend you checking out Debenham's as they have many items to suit every type of Mum out there.

Happy Mother's day everyone,

Love Robyn xxx

- Mother's Day Gift Guide -

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Celebrating International Women's Day with Pink Parcel

As today is International Women's Day, we celebrate and appreciate how far, we as woman, have come. It's important for us to reflect on the empowerment we have gained over the past years and how we are continuing to develop our gender equality worldwide. There's so many major events that have happened where women have fought for equal rights. For example, back in 1920 when women were granted the right to vote, and in 1913 when Emily Davison ran out in front of the King's horse during a race after fighting for the Women's Social and Political Union. There's so many reasons why we as women should feel proud of who we are and what we can achieve throughout our lives.

Probably now more than ever, feminism has become a huge thing in todays society where we fight for women's rights. I'm a huge believer of feminism and as a woman, I'm prepared to face most challenges that come my way. Feminism gives women the chance of being powerful in their own rights, not just thinking that men always taking the leading role and doing the stereotypical jobs that they once did. It's about women fighting for what they believe in and what they want to achieve in life. 

What have you as a women done to make you feel proud? Or what have you overcome in the face of adversity? I rarely speak about things like this but let's face it girls, we all have the menstural cycle. Every girl has had/or will have their period at some point. Certain times of the month can make us feel down about things and give us cravings to eat a big bar of chocolate.

I know when I hit that time of the month, I can be snappy or an emotional wreck. Occasionally I struggle with period pains, migraines or generally feeling run down. This is because you're body is loosing precious nutrients that keeps our bodies on an even keel.

History has shown throughout the years that many improvements have been made to make  this time of the month more comfortable for us women (no more washing of sanitary wear, thank goodness!).

I was just 10 years old when I started my menstural cycle (young I know!). I hated it and the day it started I burst into tears watching my mum telling me what I needed to do. It was awful and I look at 10 year olds now and can't believe girls that young are starting that huge chapter of their lives. I was the only one in my class which made everything worse. No-one was going through the same thing as me and I didn't dare tell a soul that I'd started.

To celebrate finishing primary school, we as a class were taken to an overnight adventure place. It gave us the chance for our class to all get together before setting off to our senior schools. The night we arrived and departed from our parents was the night I started my menstural cycle again. My mum had packed me a few sanitary towels in the front of my suitcase and gave the padlock key to my teacher incase I lost it. I was so scared to ask the teacher for this key as I was so embarrassed about the whole situation.

The next day, we were booked in for an abseiling lesson. I woke up with the worst cramps and disheartened with the whole trip thinking why me and why now. As the morning passed by, we prepared for the abseiling and I wasn't going to let this get in the way and miss out. I saw all of my friends having fun and I wanted to be apart of it. Before I knew it, I was abseiling down the side of a building and it was the best experience ever and I'm glad I didn't let my period get in the way of it.

Looking back on that now, I'm so proud as a young girl/woman that I didn't let anything like that stop me. It was such a brave thing to do at the age of 10 and I'll never forget it. I wish Pink Parcel was around when I was 10 years old, then I may have enjoyed having my periods haha. I'm sure that you as women have big things that have affected you at stages of your life that you have overcome. You should all be very proud of yourselves. 

This blog post is in collaboration with Pink Parcel, a luxury period subscription box. By signing up to their subscription, you will receive a box once a month full of necessities, snacks, beauty products and treats. Sign up now using the code 'PP20' and you'll receive 20% off your first order. 

Love Robyn xxx

Top 5 Nail Colours This Season

Seasonal nail trends are pretty predictable and rarely change unless somewhere releases a new technique that we all want to try out. In the spring, we tend to ask for more pastel and paler colours such as sky blues, mint greens and so on. In the summer we opt for bright colours such as pinks, corals and reds - they really help to show your summer glow off! Throughout the Fall and Winter we stick to autumnal colours such as reds, plums and greys. 

In August last year as you know, I had some issues with my nails and have 4 of my acrylics rip my nail away from my skin. Yes it was extremely painful! Anyway, only in the past month have my nails grown back to their normal length so I haven't been able to get my nails done since August. To be honest, I haven't wanted to get them done either as it's given me the chance to look after my own nails and treat them properly. Oh and I've been able to experiment with all my new nail colours! I wanted to share a few of my favourite nail vanishes with you and soon we'll be transitioning from Winter to Spring so here's a crossover from both seasons.

I'm all up for trying out new nail polishes at the moment and heard about Nailberry a few months back so I thought now is the perfect time to try them out. I currently have two of their polishes; Simplicity and No Regrets. Simplicity is a nude colour which always works well especially in this season and no regrets is a burgundy/plum colour which is my favourite once I've had a fake tanning session. The polishes at Nailberry are free from the 4 things the can weaken your nails; Formaldehyde, Tolueve, DBP and Camphor. I must add, I have never actually heard of those things before but I'm all for protecting nails ... especially after my saga!

I've been using makeup from the Lola collection for a while now so I had no hesitation when trying out their nail polish collection. I currently have 2 polishes from their collection including 025 Ballerina Pink and 029 Plum Pudding. Out of the 2, the Ballerina pink is my favourite! I'm a sucker for nude nail polishes and often stay clear of anything pink as I'm quite fussy with that colour. I always find that some pinks are either too bright or too much like a 'hot pink'. With the Ballerina Pink, it's a pastel shade and a lot more subtle.

Barry M
So these nail varnishes are probably my favourite of them all purely because you can wear them with every single nail colour! Barry M have lots of different glitter nail varnishes for you to chose from so you can always be sure to match up the right base colour with the glitter. Another reason why I love using these glitter varnishes is because they help to hide any little dents or chips that may form. In all honesty, I'm not the best at painting nails so I let these glitter top coats tell a different story!

I'd love to know your thoughts on your favourite nail polishes so please be sure to leave your comments below!


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Cold Weather Layering Guide

Now that Christmas is well over, we're all a bit tired and bored with outerwear and having to wrap up warm everywhere we go. January and February are the coldest months of the year and by now we're just wishing that the summer months could come sooner! I thought I'd put together a few winter outfit shops for you to take a look at to tie you over until the spring. After all, in the UK we're always waiting for a bit of warm weather and sun to arrive!

For Christmas, I asked my Mum for a Next coat that I fell in love with when we went shopping. Surprisingly, it's actually quite warm and I think it's the perfect wardrobe staple coat. I find it quite practical and suitable for many occasions. I paired the coat up with a snood that I got a few months back from Pretty Little thing, a black sweater dress and some burgundy boot heels. Throughout the day, I wore the coat and then mixed it up by just placing it on top of my shoulders.

I've put together a little layering guide below for you to browse and shop through. I've picked out all of my favourite wardrobe items and I hope you love them just as much as I do.



Love Robyn x

February's Beauty Bag

We're midway through February and some of us are feeling a bit fed up of the weather and wishing summer would come sooner. This is when I start looking at a few things I can change and introduce to my daily routine. Whether they're big or small changes I don't mind, I just know I need something fresh and new going on. Today I've decided to mix up my makeup bag and throw a few new items in there. Take a look below to discover what I'm using on my face this February.

Lola Picture Perfect Foundation
Okay so tell a lie. I actually started using this foundation last month and I've been addicted ever since. I actually had a few of you asking me questions about the foundation as it works pretty well for coverage. I think it's important to mix up your foundations every now and then because for me personally, my face gets use to products quite easily and after time I don't see much difference. Try out this foundation and let me know your thoughts.

Models Own Cover It Concealer
Every now and then, I come up in the worst breakouts and it always seems to happen overnight. Does anyone else struggle with this issue or is it just me? I've started wearing Models Own Cover It concealer as it's quite thick and really helps to hide away any blemishes or breakouts. I was using over previously to this which was quite thin and within hours it had already come off my face. The cover it concealer is a life saver!

Bondi Sands Everyday Face Tanning Milk
I don't think I've ever felt this pale in my life so Bondi Sands is doing wonders for me right now. 2/3 times a week I enjoy having a nice relaxing bath, exfoliating and reapplying my fake tan on before bed however, wearing makeup on my face everyday means that my tan never lasts very long by the time I've taken my face off for bed. To prevent this from happening, I love using my Everyday Face Tanning Milk from Bondi Sands. Once I've washed my face before bed, I apply a thin layer of the tanning milk to top myself up.

MUA Shimmer Highlight Powder Violet
Maybe it's time you treat yourself to a new highligher?! MUA are my favourite when it comes to highlights as I feel like they're so subtle yet effective. When it comes to highlighters, I actually prefer the ones that aren't to pigmented and would rather apply a few layers that I can blend out to my bronzer and blusher. Take a look at MUA's highlighters as they offer lots of different shades so you'll be sure to find out that suits you. 

Skin Sincere Aloe Vera Cleanser
In regards to the whole breakout situation, I had to try out a few new products which could hopefully prevent any further breakouts. I started using Skin Sincere's cleanser this week and so far so good! I'm making sure that I cleanse every morning and again every evening before bed.

What are your favourite beauty products at the moment? Don't forget to leave your comments below so I can try them out.

Love Robyn xxx

Travel Diaries: 48 Hours in Amsterdam

For years now I’ve really wanted to go to Amsterdam, Netherlands but it’s one of those things that never got round to being booked. I remember when me and the girls were sat having lunch one day at the FRA talking about booking it that weekend but that day never came. 

Anyway, 4 years later and I can say I’ve been to Amsterdam! A few weeks back me and the girls were talking about going for a little trip away and managed to get some dates in the diary. It worked out quite well as the dates we arranged were around the time of Elena’s birthday so it was the best excuse to take a trip to Amsterdam. Cut a long story short, between me, Ellie & Elena’s sister, we arranged to book the trip as a surprise and turned up to Elena’s the night before our flight to tell her we were coming along. 

The 4 of us were up and out by 4am and in Amsterdam by 9am. We jumped on the train and got a taxi straight to our apartment to offload our bags. That was when I realised that the £450 sunglasses Elena asked me to look after weren’t in my bag ... as you can imagine my heart literally sunk. With that, we spent an our on the phone to Easy Jet & the airport trying to find out if they’d been located. I literally felt so awful and after a while, they were finally found on the plane! We had to wait for the flight to return to Amsterdam around 2pm with the glasses so until then, we went for a stroll around Dam Square and along the canals.

By then, it was lunch time so we all sat down and grabbed some lunch before Elena & her sister went to the airport to pick up her glasses. Whilst they were gone, me and Ellie went for a walk around the city to get our bearings  and see what there was to do. That’s when we stumbled upon the Red Light District. First impressions: I thought it was a lot bigger than what it was. I thought it went on for a mile at least with every single window featuring a girl. Instead, the main part it was made up of 2 streets that occasionally featured girls throughout the day. 

When I first saw one of the girls, it actually surprised me. Of course I’ve heard about it and what happens, but seeing it in real life is another story. All of the girls we saw were dressed in their underwear and occasionally tapping their lighters on the windows as guys walked past. I then found a souvenir shop which I had to go in of course and buy a few things. I’m not a massive souvenir person and don’t normally buy gifts when I go away, but as I was in Amsterdam, I thought it would be quite funny to buy my Brother & Sam a few things. 

For my Brother Teddy I bought a boob stress ball and a boob postcard. He’s at the age now where he’s literally obsessed with boobs it’s actually quite funny. He’s not shy to tell anyone either! For Sam I bought a postcard, willy warmer and a grow your own willy (which he’s currently got in a glass of water in the corner of his room).

We then met back up with Elena & her sister in a Bulldog cafe which is one of Amsterdam’s most popular cafes. They’re dotted all over the city so you’re never too far away from one. We sat in there for a while before heading around the red light district again with Elena & her sister. We stumbled across a peep show and when you’re in Amsterdam ... Anyway, we walked in and went in 2s into these little cubicles. I went in with Ellie and of course it felt really weird lol! We put €2 in and stood there for 2 minutes watching a girl walking around this little room with her bra off. Not going to lie, when she gave me eye contact I felt slightly awkward and that’s something I never wish to do again haha. When we all got out we were a bit dazed and didn’t really know what to feel.

We then decided to sit down in a dessert restaurant and eat some cake. To be honest, all of our cakes were pretty awful as they leave them out for days before people come along and buy them. It was then dinner time and we found the most amazing Italian restaurant that overlooked the Canal. 

As we walked along the canal, we came across the Prostitution museum. Once we were inside, we were given headsets which told us a story about every room we went into. If you go to Amsterdam, I would recommend this over the sex museum any day! It was so interesting and we found out so much about the lives these women live and how awful some of them are treated.

We finally arrived back to our apartment which was only a short walk away from the centre. By this point, we were all shattered and ready for bed! We sat around for an hour or two thinking about getting ready to head out but not one of us wanted to make the first move. Eventually by 11pm, we started getting ready and by 1am we were in Supper Club. We tried to book a bed at the club but it was already fully booked - we couldn’t believe how busy the place was on a Monday night. The club was shutting at 2am so it was short and sweet and we were certainly ready to head back and catch up on some sleep. 

The next day, we woke up and headed off to the sex museum. This is just a standard exhibition that everyone visits when they go to Amsterdam. It was made up of 4 floors with VERY graphic images around the walls in each room. There were also a few mannequins dotted around which had us in fits! With the sex museum, it it was it is really. I didn't find it that interesting and certainly preferred the prostitute museum over that. 

We then went for lunch at the Grasshopper which was recommended to us by a friend. Whilst we were there, we were on the phone to EasyJet looking to extend our stay and rearrange our flights! We fell in love with the city so much that we just wanted another day there to walk around and take full advantage of what Amsterdam had to offer. 

Apart from the typical cafes and Red Light District, Amsterdam is such a beautiful city with so much to offer. It's well known for business and trainer shops which seek people travelling from all of the world to visit. So many of the locals had such an unreal street style and they all dressed so cool!

After lunch, it was time for us to start heading back towards the apartment for us to pick up our cases. Our flight was at 7pm that evening so we wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to catch the train and grab something to eat. Our flight was around 40 minutes long which was amazing! By the time we took off and got in the sky, we were getting ready to land.

Love Robyn x


© Robyn Bates

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