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Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Travel Diaries: The Cotswolds

I love visiting new places within the UK and exploring little jems that I didn’t know existed. As I’ve got older, I’ve been more interested in travelling to places within England and see what this amazing country has to offer. Where I live quite close to London, I’m use to a busy atmosphere and everything going on. It’s nice to take breaks to the countryside to unwind and enjoy the serenity of the natural environment.

Last week, myself and my blogging bestie Emma Corrie Hill checked into The Maytime Inn Hotel located in the heart of the Cotswolds. I’ve never been to the Cotswolds before so I didn’t really know what to expect of the area and the hotel, but it certainly didn’t disappoint when we got there!

I decided to drive to the Cotswolds as I enjoy being in my own car, chucking my suitcase in the backseat and not having to worry about lugging it on and off trains. From Essex to the Cotswolds, it took roughly 2/3 hours which wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t for the weather! Driving in torrential rain certainly wasn't the best conditions.

Anyway, we finally made it to The Maytime Inn and checked into our room which was so homely and cosey; I could have stayed for a lot longer than one night. We had 2 single beds with a cute country style knitted blanket on top which was more inviting than ever. As soon as we put our bags down, Emma made herself a tea and I sat there with the most amazing hot chocolate. We spent an hour or two relaxing and chilling out after the long drive before heading into the pub for dinner. I wish this pub was a lot closer to home as that would certainly be my local! It’s nice to go places for dinner that aren’t part of a chain as it’s a change of scenery and after all, what could be better than a countryside pub?

We then freshened ourselves up for dinner and went next door into the pub. Now when it comes to food, I’m not the best one to talk to. However, Emma on the other hand, had fish and chips followed by sorbet for desert which she said was amazing! The pub welcomes animals so to top off our evening, we were greeted by a gorgeous cockapoo which myself and Emma were obsessed with. Another thing I enjoyed in the pub was their choice of music. It was like an Ibiza chill out playlist that they had on which was so relaxing and peaceful.

After dinner, we headed back to our room. Emma had a bath and I laid in bed going through Instagram. The next day, we woke up quite early and went into the pub to have some breakfast. I had a croissant and fresh orange juice whilst Emma ordered an English breakfast and toast. I’m not really a breakfast person so having something quite small was enough for me.

After breakfast, we then walked around The Maytime Inn grabbing a few pics of the beautiful surroundings. By then, it was time to pack the car up and head home.

I loved the midweek break away from London and The Maytime Inn did just the job. If you’re looking for a getaway to the country side then I’d certainly recommend you checking this place out. The staff were so helpful and it was the perfect place to unwind.



Monday, 15 January 2018

Blue Monday + Giveaway!

Blue Monday is said to be the most depressing day of the year as people are just getting over Christmas, recieving credit card bills and wishing payday would come sooner. It's exactly 3 weeks after Christmas and most of us are in the process of getting ourselves back into a routine after the festive break and time off. I don't know about you, but I'm really not a fan of the winter weather. Snow, rain, wind isn't for me. If there's one reason why I don't mind winter it's because I know Christmas is only round the corner. Now it's over, many of you, like me, are fed up with the cold weather and are pleading for some summer sun. To fight off that Blue Monday feeling, I thought I'd give you a list of a few things you could do to get yourself back up and running again. 

Absorb All That Natural Lighting
During the UK's winter months, we don't often get much natural sunlight. Some of us wake up in the morning to go to work when it's dark, some of us return home from work when it's dark. Getting natural sunlight has been proven to boost hormones which we lack during the winter making us feel a bit unmotivated and sleepy. Make sure you get some natural sunlight whether that's going for a walk on your lunch break or however you chose to do it, it will really help to boost your mood.

Be Grateful
Christmas may have come and gone and yes we're all waiting for payday to come round. The best way to beat the Monday blues is to look back and be grateful for the festive break we had and the time we spent with our families. As we get older, some of us find it harder to meet up with family so having that time off allows everyone to come together and celebrate Christmas. Be grateful for having your loved ones around you at such a special time of year.

Go For a Walk
Sometimes going for a walk can relieve you from stress and all those negative feelings you may have. Take 5-10 minutes out of your day to go for a walk and fight off any problems you're worried about. Have a bit of thinking time. For every negative thought you may have, try and replace them with 3 positive ones. I know this can be hard, but every if it helps to solve one of your issues then it helps.

Practise Yoga
This may not be for everyone but I tell you why I've included it. A few weeks before Christmas I was really down and found it hard to get into anything - I really needed the festive break for some time out and a break away from everything. I started reading a few mindful books and magazines and the most common thing to combat depression was yoga. So just putting that one out there, you may want to give it a try.

Read a Book
Following on from my last paragraph. As I said, I started reading a few mindful books which really helped me calm down and feel at peace again. Instead of just reading each page as normal, I thought about each sentence or paragraph I'd just read and incorporated the positive message into my daily lifestyle. It's amazing how much this changed my thoughts and feelings! A book I found really useful was Find Calm by Anna Barnes. In fact, her whole collection is very mindful and you may want to take a look at the other books she's written.

So to cheer you up and forget the monday blues, I've decided to create a giveaway! I'm giving you and 4 of your friends the chance to win a package full of goodies! Take a look down below to see what you could win!

Fake Bake Daily Tan
Tints of Nature Dry Shampoo
Natralus Nourishing Lip Butter
Natralus Skin Therapy
Natralus Skin Relief
Barry M Mascara
Barry M Gel Nail Paint
Barry M Highlighter Drops
Barry M Candy Culture Nail Paint
Barry M Molten Metal Nail Paint
Barry M Strobe Cream
Barry M Lipstick
Twist & Spritz Refil Fragrance Atomiser
Dr PawPaw Butter Balm
Urban Veda Night Cream
Urban Veda Day Cream
Pretty Little Thing Mermaid Blanket

+ More to come!

1. Follow @batesrobyn on Instagram
2. Tag 4 of your friends in my giveaway photo on Instagram
3. Like my giveaway photo on Instagram
4. Spread the word to all your friends!

The winner will be announced on Wednesday 24th January via my Instagram, good luck!!!

Applicants must live in the UK
If winners post the items on social, please be sure to tag me so I can see it


Sunday, 14 January 2018

January Beauty Favourites from Barry M

Barry M has become my new go-to for makeup and I wanted to share a few of their new sets from their latest collection with you. I'm a sucker for gift sets and little collections because you have more products and makeup looks to play around with! 

The sets typically consist of 3-5 products inside as well as a clear plastic case for you to store all your makeup in. Sets like this also encourage you to try out new products that you may have not necessarily picked up if they were on their own in stores. That's why I've always preferred eyeshadow palettes over single pots as I love experimenting with new colours and if I don't like them, then there's plenty more. Here are a few of the sets I have;

Natural Beauty
This set is perfect for creating a natural look and applying key beauty products. The sculpting palette is perfect for applying your makeup on-the-go with 3 different powders to choose from. The Take a Brow gel is perfect for shaping and defining your eyebrows. I always use eyebrow gel to set my brows and to prevent them for having a mind of their own! The set also includes an eyebrow pencil as well as a matte liquid lip paint which completes the natural look!

Cosmic Nights
The essential beauty set for all you party go-ers! The 4 pack set consists of a highlighting palette with 6 different shades to chose from as well as a body glitter pot. You'll literally be glowing for dayysss! Inside you'll also find a black waterproof eyeliner which is key in every girls makeup bag and lastly the showgirl extra volume black mascara.

Golden Glow
Keep up with your summer tan this winter with their golden glow 4 pack set. Apply your in the glow body oil for a fresh bronzed look and relish in it's tropical fragrance of Tahitian Gardenia. You'll also find another illuminating strobe cream but instead, it's more of a bronze shade. A girls key beauty product is their bronzer so expect to find a huge 15g pot which is enough to last a lifetime! The molten metal nail paints caused a storm when they were released earlier on last year and if you haven't already tried them; then nows your chance as the 'Bronze Bae' shade is included in this set.

Sculpting Kit
This strobing technique is the word on everyones lips with it becoming one of the latest beauty trends. In the set you'll find a contour cream pack which consists of 1 contour shade and 1 highlighter shade. My favourite thing about the packaging with this one is that you'll find a diagram of how to apply both shades. Contouring and highlighting can get very confusing when it comes to knowing where you apply it on the face. No more struggles! Within the kit there's also an illuminating strobe cream and loose setting powder which is key!

My favourite of them all has to be the Natural Beauty kit as it consists of everyones beauty bag staples - you just know at some point you're going to need every single one of those items so I think it's a great combination. Have you tried out any of these Barry M sets? If so, let me know what you think down in the comments below,

Love Robyn xxx



Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Finding The Perfect Hairdryer with Mark Hill

A few weeks back I went to an event at Duck and Dry where they were celebrating the launch of Mark Hill's new blow-dry campaign with Olivia Buckland. Both myself and Emma booked ourselves in for a blow-dry whilst we had a look around at Mark Hill's latest products. 

The event came at a pretty good time for me as my previous hairdryer had stopped working so I was on the hunt to look for a new one. I've used Mark Hill's electricals and products for years now so I had no doubt in knowing their collection would be a success.

As I have hair extensions, it's essential that I have a hairdryer to be able to section my hair off and dry it thoroughly. I have the Mark Hill's Perfect Blow-dry Kit as it's extremely good value for money! In the 4 pack set, you'll receive a hairdryer, concentrator nozzle, brush and a heat protectant spray.

 In all honestly, I never really used heat protectant sprays and all those kind of products because I didn't know the true benefits of them. Now I'd say over the past 1/2 years, I haven't been able to live without them!

It's so important to take care of your hair when applying heat to it and even more so if you do it on a regular basis. When blowdrying my hair I always make sure I apply my heat protectant spray just to make sure I can keep my hair as healthy as possible. 

As always, my hair extensions are tapes from The Extensionist.



Monday, 8 January 2018

The Outdoor Adventure at Go Ape

For my birthday this year, Sam bought us a voucher for GoApe treetop adventure, Thetford. Me and Sam are literally big kids at heart so adventures like this really bring out our childish ways haha. A few weeks back, Sam had the weekend off (which is a complete rarity) for the FA Cup so we took full advantage and booked a weekend away in Thetford. On the Saturday morning, I got up, got ready and packed which being a girl - it took me a good few hours. Especially when it comes to packing. I'm so slow because I always try and pack my whole bedroom to take with me and you know what happens? None of it ever gets used haha. 

We both then drove to Sam's and I was just working on my laptop whilst waiting for him to get ready and pack. To be honest, I say it's a girls thing but sometimes Sam takes exactly the same amount of time to sort himself out too! We finally set off to Norwich and arrived by about 4pm. We had planned to get there a little bit earlier and get some of our christmas shopping done but we spent far too much time as home deciding on what we should pack for the weekend. 

When we got to Norwich, we literally did a lap around the shops and got McDonalds. Basically went all the way there for that haha. Saying that, Sam actually bought himself a top from JD Sports for himself to wear for our GoApe adventure. I suggested going to Norwich with Sam because it brings back quite a few childhood memories. Despite living on the border of Essex/London, my Dad supports Norwich so we use to go and watch a few of their home games. My Mum also has a lot of her childhood memories in Norfolk so as a family, we love to visit the city. 

So after our speedy little shopping trip we then drove a further 40 minutes down the road to Thetford where we booked to stay overnight. We turned up at our hotel, freshened up and went straight down for dinner. The hotel had a restaurant on the side so after the long drive, it made sense for us to stay in one place and eat there. The next day we got up, had our breakfast and set off to GoApe. We started off with the usual introduction and safety rules before we attempted the high ropes. Once me and Sam got going, there was literally no stopping us! It was pretty hard work and a few obstacles requires a lot of upper body strength - which I don't have much of. So as you can imagine, Sam just found the whole thing hilarious and was constantly laughing at my attempt to pull myself up on things. 

We completed a variety of challenges such as zip wires, tightroping and stretching to jump onto the next wooden block. As for the zip wires - these came very much to our surprise! So the first one we went on was pretty powerful - more than we thought. Sam went down first and I saw him getting dragged across the floor when he was landing. Obviously I was wetting myself back up the top, yet a little nervous for my turn. We had so much fun at GoApe and would certainly recommend it if you're up for an outdoor adventure! We then headed back towards Essex and stopped off for dinner at our favourite restaurant - Frankie & Bennies!

Thank you Sam for the amazing experience, I wouldn't have wanted to have done it with anyone else but you x



Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Making Positive Starts to 2018

Yet another year has flown by and what a year 2017 was! Firstly I just want to start by saying a huge thank you to everyone who supported me throughout the year and to every single one of you who reads my blog posts. It really means to much to me and I'm so grateful that you love to read things that I've created. Now we're onto 2018 and I'm sure lots of us want to make a few positive changes this year. I've learnt recently that putting titles and pressure on certain things can by the catalyst to disaster. That's why personally, I'm not calling this '2018 New Years Resolutions'.

In the past when I've wanted to change something about myself, I've made it out to be a big deal and a huge commitment. This time round, I know I want to make certain changes but I'm going to do them one by one and gradually instead of going in for the kill. For instance with the gym; I'm no longer looking at it as being a big thing and something I really need to stick to. Instead, I'm looking at it day by day and taking each of them as they come. I think it's better to look at things daily, don't worry about tomorrow, the weekend, next week. Just focus on today.

Towards the end of last year I created a habit tracker which I'm pretty obsessed with. I found that everyone was doing them on Pinterest and I wanted to try one out for myself. Another thing - I like to think that when you have that lightbulb moment, that's when you know you're ready to change certain things. That may not necessarily be 1st January, you just need to know when the time is right for you. Anyway going back to my habit tracker, I listed 25 different things about myself. Some positive, some negative. I listed all of the dates across the top along with the days of the week then down the side were a list of things I wanted to change about myself and what I do.

A few of the negative things on my list were; fizzy drinks, pizza and takeaways. I found that I was drinking a fizzy drink every single day without noticing it. Everyday with my lunch I would have a bottle of Dr Pepper and in the evenings I wouldn't be shying away from the litre bottle of coke. As you all know, my & pizza are a match made in heaven which is now why I'm limiting myself to 3 a week. You may be thinking wow, 3's still a lot! On a weekly basis I would have easily consumed 4/5 pizzas so cutting down to 3 is the first step. Now as for takeaways, near enough every weekend will consist of some sort of takeaway, whether that's McDonald's or Dominos. Creating my habit tracker allows me to pay more attention to what I do on a daily basis and how I can switch my lifestyle and become healthier - step by step.

A few of the things I wanted to try more with were; cardio, reading, spending -£20. When I go to the gym I don't normally do much cardio purely because I don't really enjoy it. However, since having my habit tracker, I just focus on today's list and that's it making my cardio sessions a bit less daunting. As long as I do 15 minutes of cardio each day, I can continue colouring in the boxes until it will just become easier. Reading. Now that I'm older, I really enjoy reading. I bought a book a few weeks back called 'Find Calm' on my iPad and I haven't been able to put it down. I came to realise that I wanted to start being more mindful and thinking a little bit closer into things. I don't often find much time to read because I'm always on my laptop or phone. However with my habit tracker, I must ensure I complete all of my daily tasks which makes finding time to read a bit less stressful. 

Now we're in January, we all probably agree that we need to be more wise with our money after christmas and the boxing day sales. Including some sort of money saving task is always a good idea as it makes you aware of what you're actually spending. Days would go past where I wouldn't know how much I've spent so this is where the habit tracker comes in handy.

If you're looking to change certain things about yourself this 2018 then make sure you start off with small steps if you want to achieve your goals. Decide on something that works for you. Whether that's a todo list, a note on the fridge, anything. That's why this habit tracker works for me. It's more about looking into your habits that are essentially your daily tasks and changing little things at a time.

For Habit Tracker inspiration click here. For Habit Tracker printables click here.



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