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Dining at STK London… is it worth the hype and money???

Hey guys!

Today I am going to be doing another review!!! Not too long ago, myself and my boyfriend went for a meal at a restaurant called STK located in London. Now you may have heard about this restaurant because quite a few celebrities go there or have events there etc. Anyway, I have been wanting to try this restaurant out for the longest time, and we finally decided to give it a go whilst we were in London on our weekend away celebrating our anniversary. So, if you’re interested in finding out whether the restaurant is worth the money and finding out my experience of visiting here then keep on reading.

Now I’m not going to lie to you, the restaurant is fairly ‘boujee’… aka expensive. The restaurant is located in Strand in London and is generally rated 3.9 stars out of 5 on google reviews. Most of the reviews give really good feedback but a few gave negative comments about the treatment they received because they chose the set menu option for their dinner reservation. Now if you’re having a steak off the main menu, they were priced around the £40-£60 mark, so definitely not inexpensive, however, when we were visiting, they had a set menu option which was three course and a glass of champagne for £30. We a little a reluctant to hop onto this deal because of the negative feedback around it so we were going to just make a normal reservation and test the main menu. But then I thought about and I was really interested in the set menu because of the price and how it was a lot cheaper than the main menu and I just didn’t understand how that was possible so I wanted to see if you got your money’s worth on the set menu and if you got treated differently.

Here’s my experience…

When we arrived at the restaurant, despite booking there was quite a wait for our table. Therefore, we decided to go and wait by the bar and order a drink. I didn’t know what wine to order or which one I would like since I only really like sweet Rosé, but the person behind the bar was lovely and let me sample a few different wines before I picked which one I wanted. This was really helpful and great service (also the samples sizes were not small – they were like full double shot sizes). The wait was around 20 minutes so a relatively long time to say we had booked. Nevertheless, we got seated in a lovely spot. The restaurant was really nicely decorated and looked really modern and fancy. There was a great atmosphere and there was music was playing (it was quite loud, but in my opinion,  it was fine, and you could still talk and have a conversation fine) so I really liked the loud music and I think it added to the atmosphere of the place. 

Throughout the whole evening, we had a really good service. The waiters/waitresses could not do enough to help us and were lovely. They weren’t rude at all; service was efficient and so this was really reassuring as quite a lot of reviews said they had been treated differently by the waiters/waitresses when having the sent menu. On the actual menu there were about 3 or 4 options for each course which is quite standard in any restaurant when opting for a set menu. The options I thought were quite varied and there were options to purchase extra sides should you want to. Additionally, we got served table water and some lovely bread as a pre-starter. The bread was so lovely – like a brioche style served with some olive oil. I would definitely recommend this when visiting, it wasn’t an extra – so there was no extra charge for the bread, and it was really delicious. 

Starter: Lil’ BRGS

These burgers were UNREAL! Omg… they were so good! Also, I was not expecting there to be 2 of them. Usually I do not order burgers when out in a restaurant because I am that really annoying person who doesn’t like sauces and likes their burgers super plain so doesn’t order them because it is too much hassle to ask them to remove everything off the burger. However, these were incredible. The meat was nice, the sauce on them was good (I know, my boyfriend was shocked when I said I liked the sauce since I just don’t like condiments) and honestly, I just had no complaints about the food. Also, the portion size was really good. Definitely a lot bigger than I expected. 

Main: South American Grain Fed Beef Sirloin with STK sauce and French Fries.

For main, as you can tell I ordered a steak. How can you go to steakhouse and not order steak? This steak was so nice. It was cooked perfectly. I asked for it to be medium rare and that’s exactly how it was cooked. Again, not really a fan of sauces, but I did try the STK steak sauce and it was quite nice – I didn’t actually eat much of it but that’s just because I don’t like sauces that much. The chips were really nice and again the portion of chips was massive. I was so full by the end of my main, I genuinely did not know how I was going to be able to eat a dessert. I wasn’t mad about it though, because this steak and chips and was SOOOOOO good. For sure, it was one of the best steaks that I have had. 

Dessert: New York Cheesecake

Not going to lie, by the time it got to dessert I was not hungry at all. The first two courses and the bread at the beginning had really filled me up. Ya girl was full. I thought that it would be alright, and the dessert would be quite small so I might just be able to manage it… oh my god… how wrong was I?!?! The size of the cheesecake was so big. I actually couldn’t believe it. As with the other courses, the cheesecake was really nice. The decoration on top of the cheesecake was also made of chocolate so could also be eaten. The sorbet wasn’t really my thing because I don’t like strawberry flavoured things (love strawberries, don’t like strawberry flavoured things – I know…. weird right). There was also a baklava inspired mini desert on the plate, but this just wasn’t good. I wouldn’t recommend trying that. It was a like cardboard. Other than that, the dessert was really nice, I just couldn’t eat much of it because I was so full, and the portion was SO big.

Was it worth £30???

100%!!!! The meal was definitely worth the money I paid. The portion sizes were so good and not something you would expect from this style of restaurant. I was surprised by the portion sizes because usually at these places they can be on the smaller size. If anything, there was slightly too much food especially with the bread as the pre-starter. The steak which came on the menu is also on the main menu (I believe as the cheapest item) but was about £26 on its own which means I paid £4 for the starter, dessert and glass of champagne. The burgers were definitely one of my favourite things I tried. They were just so nice. The dessert was lovely but like I said earlier I was just too full to eat it. Additionally, we did get our glass of champagne with the meal as it stated in the offer. The champagne was lovely and a nice way to sit and relax after the meal and let your body attempt to digest all of the food. Overall, I was really, really impressed with the restaurant and I will for sure be going back one day. Other than the wait at the beginning of the evening I had no complaints for the entire evening. Service was great, food was great, and atmosphere was great. It was everything you could want from a dinner date and I would 100% recommend trying the three-course set menu. It was such good value. 

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my experience of dining at STK in London. Hopefully you found the review useful and helpful. I know I find reading people’s reviews of places helpful in deciding on whether or not to visit a place – especially when they are expensive places. Leave me a comment letting me know if you have ever been to the restaurant and if so, what are your thoughts and opinions. If you haven’t where is your favourite place to dine? Over the past 2 years I have gotten really adventurous with my food and I LOVE trying new places. Until recently, I used to dine at the same few restaurants over and over again. Thank you for reading and I will speak to you in the next one!

All my love,

Ell x

Where to find me:

Instagram: the_ell_journal

Twitter: @EllJournal

Advice · Beauty · Fashion · Fitness · Food · Health · Lifestyle · Makeup · Photography · Travel · Uncategorized

Brunch at The Ivy in Brighton

Hey everyone, 

Welcome back. How are you all doing? I hope that you’re doing well. Today I am going to talk to you about experience of having brunch at The Ivy in Brighton. I had wanted to go to the Ivy for the longest time but have never had chance since I don’t live close to one. On my trip to Brighton, I thought that this would be the perfect chance to try out the Ivy and to see whether it lived up to all the hype it receives. I know so many people who talk about the Ivy and they are always saying just how much they love it there. 

I decided to book a table for brunch because breakfast dates are some of my most favourite ones to go on. I love going out for breakfast, but it isn’t something I get opportunity to do all that often, so this was a lovely change. I hadn’t really read any specific reviews of The Ivy in Brighton because I wanted to go really open minded and be able to make my own opinions and judgment on the place. 

Upon arrival, I was really pleasantly shocked at how nice it was inside. I LOVED the decoration and theming and thought it look really beautiful and classy. We were quickly shown to our seats and given any information regarding dietary requirements and allergies. The menu looked incredible and was all very reasonably priced. I believe the most expensive item on the menu was the Big Ivy Breakfast which was around the £13/14 price point. I decided to order Eggs Royale and my partner ordered Eggs Benedict. For drinks I decided to order the Peach and Elderflower Iced Tea whilst my partner ordered a Virgin Mary.

The staff in the restaurant were all super lovely and welcoming. They took our orders efficiently and service was very quick. The food looked sooooooooo good when it arrived. It didn’t disappoint either. The food was so yummy and also it was a really good portion size. I was really full after eating it. I don’t know what type of eggs they used but honestly, they were insane – I could probably go to say the best eggs that I have ever tried. The salmon was really good quality, and the hollandaise sauce was really tasty. Overall, I was so impressed with my breakfast and I would definitely order it again. My boyfriend also said the Eggs Benedict was very nice and that he thoroughly enjoyed his meal.

The drinks… the Peach and Elderflower Iced Tea was nice; would I order it again? Probably not. Like I said it was nice but there was something missing and it wasn’t as nice as I was expecting it to sound when I ordered it. The Virgin Mary, however, was probably the tastiest drink I have ever tried. I could not believe the amount of flavour and taste that was in the drink. I think the drink is a very acquired and unique taste, but it was good, and I know my partner said it was one of the nicest drinks he had tried. 

The price of the meal was really reasonably priced. In the bill, there was a standard service charge, which was to be expected, and to be honest they were welcoming, friendly, and efficient. The waitresses/waiters definitely could not do enough to help you and so we ended up paying £15 each for our meal. So, for £30 we were really impressed with our experience of brunch at The Ivy. 

Overall opinions – is the Ivy worth the money?

Overall, I was really impressed with The Ivy. I had high expectation because of how well known the restaurant was but sometimes when you want to do something or go somewhere you finally get to go but then end up really disappointed. Luckily for me, I thought the service at The Ivy was great and I would 100% go back. The whole theming of the restaurant, down to the large menu selection, which was reasonably priced, all the way to the lovely, efficient service from the waiters/waitresses made my experience very enjoyable. I would love to go back and see what dinner is like. For me, there wasn’t really much missing from my visit to The Ivy and I can’t really find a way to fault it. On a side note and slightly random but the toilets were really nice and clean, and I really appreciate nice public bathrooms. 

I hope that you have enjoyed reading about my experience of having brunch at The Ivy. I would love to know a) if you have ever been and if so, what your experience was like, and b) where is your go to place for brunch? Throughout 2020, I would love to try and go on some more brunch dates so if you have any good suggestions of restaurants and places then I would love to know. Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in the next one. 

All my love,

Ell X

Read about my Trip to Brighton here.

Where to find me:

Instagram: the_ell_journal

Twitter: @EllJournal

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Trying heavily sponsored products: Does the Mario Badescu drying lotion actually work?

Hey everyone!

Today I am going to be talking to about a very heavily sponsored product – the Mario Badescu drying lotion. I am sure you have seen this all-over social media. I know I have personally seen so many influences and YouTubers rave and talk about this product. I have been interested in buying it for a long time, but I have never really had a reason to. I am so lucky with the fact that I have been blessed with clear skin and I don’t really suffer from spots (apart from the occasional hormonal outbreak). However, over the past few months, for whatever reason (literally I am so confused by this because nothing has changed – same pill, diet, workout plan, water intake etc.) my skin has been breaking out so badly. I have had the worst skin over the past few months and so I finally purchased the product. If you want to know what I think to product and whether I think it is worth the money, then keep on reading to find out!

First thing is that the drying lotion costs £16 for 29ml of product so it isn’t particularly cheap. In the description of the product it claims:

“To be an effective acne treatment. Made with a blend of Calamine and Salicylic Acid, Mario Badescu Drying Lotion helps to soothe and clear up pimples, blemishes and whiteheads overnight without irritating the surrounding skin. Suitable for even the most sensitive skin types, this skincare must-have I super gentle and effortless to apply”.

Okay so that’s what the product claims to do – What do I think?

I would agree with the fact that it is first of all suitable for sensitive skin. I do have sensitive skin and I have been using this product for about 2 months now on my skin and I haven’t had any issues with it all. It hasn’t irritated my skin in the slightest or caused any redness, itchiness or swelling. It has been completely fine. It does have a burning sensation when I first apply it but I am not sure whether that is just the nature of the product due to what is inside the product because of what is trying to do or whether that is just my skin stinging slightly from the strong chemicals inside it. Let me know – have you experienced this when using this product as well or is it just me? 

In most videos where I have seen the product spoken about, they have all made it seem as though the product clears skin overnight and I even get that impression from the description too. This has not been the case for me. Don’t get me wrong, I think applying the drying lotion to my spots at night has helped with reducing the swelling around the spots and the redness, but it hasn’t got rid of them “overnight”.  The drying lotion has helped, and I always notice improvement in my skin when I wake up in terms of my spots, but they are always there after one use. It normally take 3 nights, sometimes 2 depending on the spot for the drying lotion to really reduce it to something that I wouldn’t even notice or consider to be a spot. 

Something I have noticed which I would say it has been really good for and that is for those super annoying spots which are under the skin. We all know that these are the worst types of spots because you can see them, you can feel them but there is nothing you can do about them. Also, from my experience I have found these types of spots to be the most painful ones. However, applying the drying lotion to these spots has really helped. In these cases, I have noticed a significant improvement in the condition of my spots overnight – the drying lotion really does reduce the soreness and pain around the under-skin spots. The drying lotion also helps to combat the redness of these spots and from my experience has worked really well in significantly reducing the size. In this sense, I have been really impressed with the product. 

Just one final quick point to make before I make my overall judgment and that is that firstly the smell is super strong but secondly, I don’t like the smell. In my opinion, it smells a lot like chemicals and almost like some nail varnishes and I do find this slightly off putting when using the product. I am aware it will smell like this due to the nature of the product, but I didn’t expect it to be that strong and intense. I also thought it was going to smell a bit better than it does, but you know you can’t have everything.  I’m only mentioning this because, if you are like me, and you don’t like strong smells especially ones which smell quite chemically then this might not be for you. The smell of the product does occasionally put me off wanting to use it. 

Overall – is it worth money?????

I mean I would probably say yes but I think after this has ran out, I would like to explore other alternatives on the market to see how this does compare. Once I have done that, I think I will be able to better assess whether this is worth the money. I know the Body Shop do a tea tree version with is supposed to be really good because it is a clear formula so you can wear it throughout the day under your makeup as well which means you can treat your spot all day. This one is pink so I don’t think it would look too great underneath your makeup. Also, I really want to see how long this bottle is going to last me because like I said at the beginning it is quite a lot of money for the amount of product you get. Having said that, if it lasts me a year then it is good value for money – I guess only time will tell. Generally though, I would recommend this product. I think it does a good job at helping your skin when its feeling a bit problematic. If you do buy it, I just wouldn’t expect it to get rid of your spot overnight because from my experience that just simply hasn’t been the case. 

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you found this review slightly helpful and insightful. Have you tried the drying lotion before? Leave me a comment letting me know whether you have used it and if so what you thought, and if you haven’t used it would you consider buying or have you got any alternatives that work better? Until the next one,

All my Love,

Ell X 

Products mentioned in this post:

Where to find me:

Instagram: the_ell_journal

Twitter: @EllJournal

Advice · Beauty · Fashion · Lifestyle · Makeup · Photography · Uncategorized

Filter by Molly-Mae… worth the money???

Hey everyone!

Welcome back to my blog. Today I am going to be talking about Filter by Molly-Mae. I am aware that this idea has been floating around for a while now, but I thought you know what I still really want to write a review on this product because I am not a beauty guru, I don’t really know what I am doing and I just thought it might be useful. If you don’t know who Molly-Mae is, then firstly I don’t know how you haven’t heard of the girl’s name. Molly-Mae went on the 2019 series of Love Island and since coming out of the villa, she has absolutely smashed it. Molly has launched her own clothing lines with Pretty Little Thing and has even come out with her own fake tan brand – Filter. I, for one, was a huge fan of Molly on Love Island, I thought she was incredible and so when this came out, I was super excited to try it out. 

So, I actually received the Filter by Molly-Mae tan as a present from my boyfriend for Christmas (and let me tell you this was such a sweet and thoughtful gift which I didn’t expect, and I absolutely love it). I honestly was so surprised and excited when opened this present. My boyfriend got me the shade dark to try and just in case you didn’t know in the range there are two tans: dark and extra-dark; a mitt, and then a baby mitt for application to face and hands. The fake tan is in the form of a mousse which I personally really like. Just so you know the tan retails for £19.99.

I would just firstly like to say that I am obsessed with packaging. I think it’s so classy and simple which I absolutely love. I also love the fact that it comes in a cylinder because I think it makes the product seem more premium and it’s also very practical because it is a nice container which isn’t bulky to store the tan in but is great in case the bottle leaks (I am sure we have all been there where we haven’t put the lid on properly and got tan everywhere… I know I have haha!!!)

For application of the tan I did my regular fake tan routine – let me know if you would like me to do a post on this and I definitely can do. My tan routine isn’t anything special, it’s pretty basic, I’m not going to lie. Before applying the tan, I go in the shower and exfoliate and shave my skin, I then moisturise my entire body putting extra moisturiser on my elbows, ankles. To actually apply the mitt, I used my St. Tropez velvet tanning mitt. To make sure this was a fair test on the tan, this was a brand-new mitt but one which I know works and applies all my other tans streak free. 

Before and after one layer of the tan -the after is when it has been washed off too!!!

SO…. Was I impressed with the application of Filter by Molly-Mae?

Firstly, you cannot write a review on this product without mentioning the smell of the tan. OMG… the tan smells absolutely incredible!! It reminds me of being on holiday so much and it just doesn’t smell like your typical tan. Honestly sooooooooooo obsessed with the scent of the tan. Anyway…. The application of the product was great. I didn’t have any problems with applying the tan. It went on really easily, blended nicely and didn’t appear streaky. In terms of drying time, I would say it is about the same as any other tan I have used. We all know the pain of standing there like a scarecrow for like 10 minutes after tanning waiting for it to dry haha!!! After drying it didn’t feel sticky and felt it quite comfortable on the skin. I then just put on my regular pjs that I wear when I am tanning and went to sleep. 

I would say in total I probably had the tan on for almost 12 hours or so before I showered it off. Not going to lie, when I woke up in the morning, I looked pretty dark. After showering, I found that quite a bit of product did come off, however, that for me wasn’t really an issue and I think it left me with a nice, ‘natural’ looking tan. Before showering I was perhaps just a tad too dark. Overall, I was really impressed with how it looked on my body after showering. My only criticism and it is slight, and to be honest it may have been my own fault but for some reason the tan stuck to my hands so bad. Honestly for about the first three days of me wearing the tan my hands were about 5 times darker than the rest of me but it wasn’t too much of an issue because I just kept washing my hands and eventually they matched in. In all honesty, I don’t know whether the tan sticking to my hands was my fault for not applying enough moisturiser… next time I use the tan I will apply more moisturiser and see what happens.

SO…. How did the tan wear???

As I am writing this post, I have had the tan on for 7 days and honestly, I am super impressed. I still look really tanned and it has faded really nicely and naturally on my body. I don’t, as of yet, look like tiger bread. My main issue with how it has worn is on my hands and feet. For some reason it has gone a tad patchy on my feet, but I have no idea why and also it hasn’t lasted that well on my hands. My hands have also gone a bit patchy and my knuckles have remained really dark. On my face it only lasted around three days which was to be expected since I wash my face twice daily, so I wasn’t mad about that at all. Overall, I am super impressed with how the tan performed and I will be using it again FOR SURE!!!

OVERALL OPINION… Is Filter By Molly-Mae Worth The Cash???

To put it simply, I would say YES!!! I was very impressed with the tan and I do think it’s worth the money. Generally, when tanning I flit between St. Moritz, St. Tropez and Bondi Sands. In the winter, since less of my body is on show, I opt for the cheaper option of St. Moritz which works really well and is super affordable and then in the summer months I tend to wear either Bondi Sands 1 hour express or St. Tropez self-tan bronzing mousse. All of the three tans brands I have just mentioned are three very different price points – St. Moritz approximately £6, Bondi Sands approx. £19 and St. Tropez approx. £30. Therefore, I think £19.99 is a really reasonable price to pay. I know it is more expensive than some brand and if you aren’t into expensive tanning then I would suggest buying this as a treat and using it for special occasions but honestly, I am in love with it. It might be my new fave tan!!! I will have to wear it a few more time to see how long the bottle lasts me etc., but first impressions are very positive. 

Additionally, I am a huge fan of the fact that the product is manufactured and made in the UK. I think that it is really good that Molly-Mae has chosen to produce it in the UK instead of using the factories abroad. By law it has to be cruelty-free but it also vegan friendly, if you are Vegan but still love your fake tan then this is a really great option for you. Overall, I think Molly has done a fantastic job and I cannot wait to see what else she brings out in 2020. 

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you have found this somewhat useful/helpful/interesting. Let me know if you have tried the tan and what your opinions on the tan are. Also, leave me a comment letting me know what your favourite tans are – I always love trying out a new tan. I hope you have a wonderful day and I shall see you in the next one. Until then,

All my love,

Ell X 

Products mentioned:

Where to find me:

Instagram: the_ell_journal

Twitter: @EllJournal

Advice · Beauty · Fashion · Lifestyle · Makeup · Photography · Uncategorized

Feb 2020 Makeup and Fashion Wishlist

Hey lovely people!

How are you all doing? Today, I am going to share with you my makeup and fashion wish list for the month. Of course, I am not going to buy all of the items on the list, in fact, some of the items have been on the list for many months. I just thought this post was a bit of fun idea which would give you and insight into what products I am wanting to try at the minute, and it might give you some inspiration of products you want to try as well. I am very aware that I tend to use the same makeup products on the daily basis and also wear the same few outfits despite having other options. I don’t know why I do it – I guess I do it because once I have found products that I like and know will work then it is easier and again with clothes, once I have found clothes that I feel comfortable and confident in then why wouldn’t I pick them to wear? However, that been said I do want to make sure that I am still trying new products because I don’t want things to get boring as they sometimes can when you do the same things all the time. 

Makeup Wishlist:

Fashion Wishlist:

There are my two wish lists for this month and probably for the next few months. Quite a lot of these items, I have had my eye for a while, but I am that type of person who has to have a reason to buy themselves new makeup and clothes, I don’t tend to treat myself very often. I have a little question for you all because a few of my friends think it is strange that I have wish lists and for example, if you went on my Asos account there would be about 400 items on there of things I like, so is this a strange thing to do? I thought it was so normal! 

Thank you so much for reading and I hoped you enjoyed being a little nosey and having a look at what products I am currently wanting to buy and try out. In the comments I would love to know what items you are currently saving for and what’s on your wish list. I would also love to know, which item from my wish list would you be most excited to try. Finally, if you have got any of the products I have mentioned (especially makeup) then please let me know if it is worth me buying. I really would appreciate some honest advice and reviews because we are all about positivity and helping each other out. Until next time,

All my love,

Ell x

Where to find me:

Instagram: the_ell_journal

Twitter: @EllJournal

Advice · Beauty · Fashion · Fitness · Health · Lifestyle · Makeup · Photography · Travel · Uncategorized · University

Weekend away in Brighton

Hey everyone!

Welcome back to another blog post. I hope you are having a lovely week. Today I wanted to share with you my first experience of Brighton. For my first trip of 2020, I booked a little 2 night get away to Brighton. I have wanted to go to Brighton for the longest time. It always looks so nice and idyllic, but I have never been because it is so far away from where I live. However, I found a really good price for the hotel, so I thought you know what I’m going to book it and I’m going to go and find out what Brighton is like.

I visited Brighton at the beginning of January (2nd January) which is off peak. It was still surprisingly busy though. I also booked a Premier Inn in a little town called New Haven near Brighton. This hotel was super affordable (£60 for 2 nights) and is in great location of Brighton. You could drive from New Haven to Brighton – it’s not that far at all but so I didn’t have to mess around with finding and paying for parking I actually caught the train. The train journey was super quick (approximately 25 mins) and a return adult was £5.20 The Premier Inn in New Haven is only about a 10 minutes’ walk away and is located next to a restaurant, Sainsbury’s and some other local conveniences. I would definitely recommend staying at this Premier Inn if you are looking into doing a cheap little getaway and are on a budget. Parking is free at the hotel; staff were friendly and welcoming. From my experience, I don’t have anything negative to say about my stay at the hotel.

Brighton itinerary:

  • Thursday –
    • Travel day
    • Walk down the promenade in the evening
    • Brighton Pier
    • Fish and Chips
    • Drinks
  • Friday –
    • Breakfast at the Ivy
    • Mini Golf
    • Walk along the beach
    • Shopping around the lanes
    • Dinner at Donatello’s
    • Brighton Pier
  • Saturday
    • Travel day

So, from the itinerary you can see we were in Brighton for one full day and then we also had the afternoon/evening on the Thursday. I’m always honest and so this post isn’t going to be any different. Brighton did surprise me, and it wasn’t what I expected. From all the photos you see this really idyllic little city  on the coast with a lovely beach and pier and for the most part that was true but I honestly didn’t expect to see all the graffiti and waste that I did when I visited. I know that it is city and it is busy and there’s a lot going on, but it was just one thing which surprised me when I visited. The seafront is just as lovely as in pictures and the Lanes are beautiful. Overall, I had a really nice trip and had a lot of fun. It was nice to spend some time with my boyfriend and just relax. Normally our trips are full-on and action filled, so this trip was a nice alternative and walking along the beach and resting was just what I needed. 

I had so much fun in the Arcades on the pier. We honestly spent so long in there without even realising (we almost missed out train on the Friday haha). I would obviously recommend taking cash in with you ready because the cash machines charge you and the card machine only lets you get £20 out so if you can go with some money ready then that would be better. Of course, you have the standard machines and can change you coins into 2ps, 10ps, etc.  Overall, the arcades are really good and there is quite a lot of variety and choice.  

On the Thursday we actually went on the hunt for some fish and chips. Not many places were open and if they were, they shut quite early (this is something just to bear in mind if you go off season like we did).  We ended up going to Little Jack Fullers as they were one of the only few places open. Nevertheless, they were rated highly on google and I have to say I was impressed with the service and the food was really nice. It is also worth noting that this fish and chip shop does take card on orders over £3 which is really handy if you are like me and never carry any cash. I think it was really reasonably priced –  a medium chips and medium haddock was £7.80 and a medium chips, sausage with curry sauce was £5.20. I didn’t think it was too expensive at all and the food was nice. If you are Brighton and fancy some fish and chips, I would definitely recommend Little Jack Fullers!

One of my most favourite experiences of the whole trip was going for breakfast at the Ivy in the Lanes. It was so good and actually really quite affordable. We booked a table in advance which was really useful because it was pretty busy in there. The service was second to none, and all the waiters/waitresses were super polite and welcoming. They have a really good range of options for both drink and food and the menu and most items were around £8/9 – again affordable especially for the quality of the food, service and restaurant. In the end I ordered a peach and elderflower iced tea which was really nice and for breakfast I had Eggs Royale – honestly so goooooood! The eggs were so nice, and the salmon was really tasty. Also, it was a good size portion so definitely worth the money. My partner ordered a Virgin Mary and Eggs Benedict. Again, he thought the food was nice and service was pleasant. I would 100% recommend visiting the Ivy if you get chance. I had a lovely experience and cannot wait to go back.  *Full blog post of my experience of the Ivy coming soon*

Another one of my favourite things was the mini golf on the beach. We chose to go to the Jungle Rumble Adventure Golf. Since myself and my boyfriend are both students if cost us £7 each for 18 holes. So again, super affordable. However, because it was off peak season, they had a winter deal which was buy one get one free. Therefore, we actually got to both courses (36 holes) for the £7 which was super good value. The courses were fun and some of them were quite challenging. It’s definitely not crazy difficult but I had so much fun and even got a few holes in ones (pro golfer!!). One thing I would say is that it was busy even though it was off season and we had to wait on occasions for people in front of us, which of course is completely fine, but it is something to bear in mind because it will be super busy during the summer. I would definitely recommend this and again it was a tonne of fun and really relaxing.

Finally, shopping and wandering around The Lanes. The Lanes in my opinion are lovely little streets with the quaintest little stores. If you’re a jewellery lover or watch fanatic, then The Lanes will be right up your street as there are so many jewellery and watch shops to nosey in. There are some lovely gift shops, novelty stores and some unique clothing stores too. The Lanes to me were every bit as lovely as everyone says they are, and we had so much fun just strolling around the shops. It was actually whilst we were around The Lanes that we found a place to go for dinner Friday evening. We hadn’t planned anywhere especially for dinner on Friday night but as we were looking around there, we noticed a little Italian called Donatello’s which looked super nice and was so reasonably priced. Donatello’s was busy and I can honestly tell why. They had a set menu – 2 courses £10.95, 3 course £12.95 everyday all day except for Saturday which was great. Even if you didn’t want to do the set menu then the main menu was still so reasonably priced. We actually did the set menu and had a starter and main. For the starter there were about 4 different options and I chose the grilled mushrooms which were really nice. My partner had the Prawn Cocktail for starter which he also said was really nice. For main you had the option of choosing anything off the pasta or pizza main menu – this was literally about 40 different options. I had a lovely spicy tomato, chicken pasta dish and my boyfriend had something very similar. My main course was super delicious and tasty, and I would definitely order again. My boyfriends, although it was nice, it wasn’t anything special and we probably wouldn’t order that dish again. Nevertheless, the portions were good size, the service was good, and the restaurant had a nice feel to it. 2 courses for £10.95 – you can’t complain. I would definitely go back if I was in Brighton again. 

Overall, what are my opinions on Brighton? I liked Brighton and I had a nice time. Visiting there hasn’t made me want to move there but I would go back. I definitely would recommend the Ivy, Donatello’s and the adventure mini golf. The seafront was beautiful, and I loved walking along the beach and playing in the arcades on the pier. Overall, I had a lot of fun on the trip and made some wonderful memories. It has honestly been almost 4 years since I last went to the seaside in the UK – I know soooooooooo long ago!

I would love to hear if you guys have been to Brighton before and if so, what you thought of it, what you did, what your recommendations are if I go back again in the future. I know this is a super long post, so thank you for reading. I hope you have found this somewhat useful and interesting. Also, leave me a comment letting me know where you are going on holiday next. I haven’t booked anything as of yet, but I am so excited to book something soon. Until next time.

All my love,

Ell X

Where to find me:

Instagram: the_ell_journal

Twitter: @EllJournal

Advice · Beauty · Fashion · Fitness · Health · Lifestyle · Makeup · Photography · Travel · University

New in Beauty: January 2020

Hey everyone,

Welcome back to my blog. How are you all doing? So, today I did the typical thing where I popped to the shop for a certain item and then ended up buying quite a few items. Most of these are new items which I have never tried before and some of them are items which I have re-purchased because I use them every single day and I love them. Since I am a huge beauty and makeup lover, pretty much every item I am going to mention today falls into that category. Some of the items I have wanted to try for so looooooooong because I hear so many people raving about them, but are items which I have never gotten around to purchasing. I hope you enjoy reading about what I have picked up on my little shopping trip and if you have tried any of the products then let me know what you think of them or if you recommend anything else – I always love to try new products! 

  • No hair cut cream by L’Oréal – I have been using the L’Oréal Dream Lengths shampoo and conditioner as well as their purple shampoo and conditioner for the longest time, however, I was watching Emily Canham and in one video she mentioned how she uses the same shampoo and conditioner and also recommended the no hair cut cream for split ends. Since my hair gets really dry on the ends and splits, I thought I would give this a go to see if does help hide the appearance of split ends. 
  • Garnier oil infused Micellar water – I use this every single day and ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! I was almost out of my other one, so I just needed to repurchase one. If you haven’t tried this – you definitely should. I haven’t tried anything which takes my makeup off as well. 
  • St. Tropez fake tan mitt – This was something new I purchased, and I am excited to try out. If you know me, you know I love a good tan and I love fake tanning. I previously had the Bondi Sands velvet tan mitt but I was just getting ready for a new one and so I came across this one and thought I would just give it a go and see how I get one with it. 
  • Garnier hair food (Banana) – Okay, so I have been wanting to try this for the longest time. It was actually in one of Emily Canham’s video actually which I found out about this product and again Emily raved about this as being a really good hair mask and since I get my hair dyed now I want to try and look after it as best as I can so I thought I would give this a try and see if doing a regular hair mask actually helps my hair. 
  • Colab dry shampoo – For dry shampoo I switch between the Colab and the Batiste depending on what is on offer. I love both brands and I think they do a fantastic job. This time I went for the Colab ones because they were on offer – 2 for £4 so a bit of bargain! 
  • Body shop body yogurt (ginger) – I honestly get the driest skin during the winter months and I was watching SOPHDOESLIFE and she recommended this moisturiser. I Love body shop products; I think they are so good and so I thought I would buy one of these and see if they would help keep my skin moisturised and nourished during the winter months. Plus, all the Body Shop products smell absolutely incredible – sooooooooo good!
  • Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray – Again this a holy grail product of mine. I swear by this stuff and I was closing to running out with my last bottle, so I just had to repurchase a new one!
  • Benefit Precisely my Brow – Since discovering this brow pencil about 6 months ago, I haven’t used anything else. I absolutely love this pencil and again I was running low, so I picked up a new one whilst I was out shopping. 

That’s everything I got from my mini shopping trip. I hoped you enjoyed finding out what I picked up. As always, if you have tried any of these products then let me know your opinions or if you have any products that you think I should try then please let me know. I LOVE trying new products and discovering new things. I am actually at the moment looking for a hair oil so if you know any good ones then let me know! Thanks so much for reading and I wills see you in my next one. 

All my love,

ELL X 

Where to find me:

Instagram: the_ell_journal

Twitter: @EllJournal

Products mentioned:

Advice · Beauty · Fashion · Fitness · Health · Lifestyle · Makeup · Photography · Travel · University

A New Decade and A New Year… Making 2020 my Year!

Hello everyone,

Welcome back to another post. I hope you are doing well and are having a great start to the New Year. Today I wanted to share with you some of my resolutions for the New Year. Now I know people typically set this on January 1st, but I wanted to take some time and to sit and think mine through so that I could set achievable targets.

I know not everyone likes to set resolutions for the New Year and that’s okay, but I personally like to set some targets and track them because I find it super helpful and motivating. I actually did set some goals in 2019 which were:

  • Go to the gym regularly
  • Run 10K
  • Cut sugar out of my tea and coffee
  • Graduate
  • Get a full-time job 
  • Visit a new place or country 
  • Finish decorating my room 
  • Visit London, Manchester, Liverpool
  • Become more happier with my appearance 

They were my goals for 2019. I know some of them seem a little odd and weird but for me, they were really realistic and achievable goals or things that I thought would make me healthier and happier. I didn’t achieve all of my goals in 2019 but I definitely did do really well, and I had such a fantastic year. 

I did attend the gym more regularly although I still do not attend as frequently as I would like (if you have any suggestions of apps to help with this then let me know please) – towards the end of 2019 I actually joined a new gym which I have been loving so much more and I feel so much more confident and comfortable there. I didn’t actually end up running a 10K last year although I did manage a 5K run and for me, that was absolutely HUGE! I am just not a runner; I don’t really enjoy it, but I would love to be able to do the London Marathon one day, so I keep trying to improve my running. 

If you know me, you know I am a huge coffee and tea lover and I drink so many cups a day. At the start of 2019, I was drinking all this tea and coffee and I was having sugar in it as well which just wasn’t healthy at all. So, at the start of the year I said I wanted to cut sugar out and gradually over the year I did manage to remove sugar from my hot drinks and I just think this was a small step but one which will help improve my health. 

In 2019, I did graduate from uni which was so exciting for me and I was so proud of myself. I graduated from the University of Leicester which a degree in History. I had wanted to go to university and graduate for as long as I could remember so this was a really special day for me, and I got to share with my parents, boyfriend, and best friends. It was such a fantastic day. 

I didn’t end up getting a full-time job after I graduated which was the plan initially. However, in the end I decided to go back to uni and complete my PGCE year in secondary History teaching. I am almost half way through the course at the moment so if you would like some more information or a blog post on this then let me know and I would love to share my experience with you. I feel like there is so much they don’t tell you before you begin or that should know/want to know, so let me know if a post on this would be useful and if you have any questions then feel free to leave me some to answer.

I was lucky enough in 2019 to continue to travel and I experienced some great places. I actually visited Liverpool, Manchester, Cambridge, Oxford, Lake District,  New York, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. I love travelling and being able to experience different places and cultures and so I really want to continue with this in 2020. Also, if you know me you know I absolutely love visiting London – it’s literally one of my favourite days out. Since I first went in 2016, I have been back at least once a year and I love it. There’s always so much to do and see and I just love it so every year I make sure I put it one my list so that I remember to take some time out for myself and book myself a trip away. In 2019, I actually got to twice which was lovely, and I honestly had the best time. 

I set a goal to finish decorating my room because I started doing it in 2018. I had moved out to uni for my second/third year and so it was a great opportunity to start doing my room. I made progress with my room in 2019, however, I still haven’t finished it yet. It will get done in 2020 I promise. I feel like I need some room inspiration haha. 

Finally, my last goal for 2019 was to be feel happier with my appearance and although I didn’t achieve this, I definitely have come a long way with accepting my body and how I look. I hope this continues in 2020. 

So that was a quick summary and round of my goals from 2019 and on the whole,  I think I did so well. I was proud with everything that I achieved but I am determined to make 2020 even bigger and better. What are my goals for 2020 then? For 2020, I have again decided to keep my goals practical and achievable and I cannot wait to work towards achieving them.

2020 goals:

  • Run 5K
  • Run 10K
  • Lose  some weight 
  • Attend the gym regularly 
  • Continue to save 
  • Travel somewhere new 
  • Visit London 
  • Become happier with my appearance 
  • Get a job after finishing my PGCE
  • Be more consistent with my blog 
  • Read more books 
  • Buy a designer handbag

There you have it. They are my goals for the next year – I know some of them aren’t important like buying a handbag, but I am so interested in fashion and love handbags so it’s the one product that I enjoy collecting and working towards saving. I am really excited to get more into fitness this year and to be more consistent with my workouts. I also want to try and travel as much as possible and visit as many places as I possibly can. 

I hope you all had a wonderful year. I hope it filled with love, health, happiness and laughter. Be sure to leave me a comment letting me know what your top New Year resolution is, and I will see you in the next one. 

All my love,

ELL X

Where to find me:

Instagram: the_ell_journal

Twitter: @EllJournal