Lifestyle: Merry Christmas & Happy New Year



Admiring one of the National Trust's Christmas trees


Seasons Greetings!

 

If I could write every reader a Christmas card, I would, but I wouldn't know where to send them, so I thought a blog post would have to do.

From my family to yours, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Take time out, chill, watch Christmas movies and eat all the good stuff.


Lifestyle: Top 10 Things About Living In A Hotel






Earlier this year in October, I went to New Zealand for a month with work (H&M) to open the first H&M in New Zealand in Sylvia Park Shopping Centre for a month I lived in a Hotel. The Hotel was on the Auckland Harbour and was my home from home with a double bed, living space, kitchen and bathroom. The Sebel Viaduct was great.  Living in a hotel was amazing, a travel bloggers dream, but I did basically live of Avocado on toast and got far too into smoothies and juices, here are my top ten things about living in a hotel...



Lifestyle: Autumn Walks




A sunny autumn day

*This post has admittedly, been in the draft box a while, I now need another jumper and mittens on! 

I'll be honest, when I got back from New Zealand, it was weird. I wrote about what it was like when i'd just returned home here, and after that post, I took a few days to unpack, go through all the post the month had accumulated and had some down time at home, on my own before picking back up at University and going back to work in the UK. 

Brain Dump: 10



Weekly Round-Up

This week has been a busy one! I've really got into the festive spirit after all the Ice skating, festive food and if you follow me on Twitter you'll know all about the cocktails! It's been a week of work and play, mixing university and work, the deadline pressure and family time up north in Newcastle.


Teamwork is the dreamwork


Lifestyle: University Reflection



Hello Internet friends!

For all those of you who are at university and college - I hope you're doing alright and are coping with the strain that study brings. I'm in my final year and I honestly can't wait for it to be over. I found myself thinking about my time at university, whilst on campus late the other night. I've learnt a lot from my time there, but I also didn't get to experience it to the fullest due to factors way out of my control (1. That 9k rent) (2. That 9k rent) I'm also a bit of an introvert at university and don't really have a 'group' that I've settled with friends-wise whilst I've been there.

Working in Starbucks on one of my projects.


Food: City Spice Curry House, Brick Lane, London



Last week I was down Brick Lane to pick up my glasses (read my weekly round up lifestyle blogpost here) after picking them up and still having plenty of time on my hands, I opted for a curry rather than a coffee shop sandwich, which on Brick Lane is basically the same price. Inflation ey?

All the curry goodness for £11

If you haven't been to Brick Lane in Shoreditch before, it's the Capitol of curry, it's full of curry houses and stores selling things to make curry. And it's also rife with curry touts, stood outside their restaurants, drumming up business for their restaurants, trying to get people to come inside and eat. It's an old tradition that stands strong in this mostly independent restaurant area.


Brain Dump: 09




With the girls at Resorts world! 

This week has been a lifestyle bloggers dream, on paper. In reality I've struggled to get focused on my university work, at a time that's really key for me. It's a struggle every student can appreciate, so if you've got some motivational tips, I'm all ears!

Fashion: H&M New Zealand



H&M Ladieswear

Here are some photos from the brand spanking new H&M in the Sylvia Park shopping centre, Auckland, New Zealand. It's the first H&M in New Zealand and I'm very grateful that i was part of the team to open this store. It's a beautiful store with clothing, shoes and accessories for men, women and children. 

Hotel Review: Grandior Hotel Prague



It's another Travel blog post!

For a 21st Birthday treat, Adam planned a mini break to Prague in the Czech Republic. He'd kept it a secret for months, then told me so I had time to research the city, plan, make reservations and pack!

Now, I'm the sort of person who will quite willingly slum it in a backpackers hostel. Needs must and all that. Adam is the opposite and so for this trip booked the Grandior Hotel Prague as the place to rest our heads.

The 5 star hotel boasts a fantastic inner city location and breakfast included all for an amount that I'm not allowed to know, because it's my birthday. (You can find out here if you want, but I'm not looking!)

Grandior Hotel Prague

Lifestyle: Back From New Zealand

Hello It's me, Clo!

I'm back from New Zealand, I've landed and it's... weird.
I also can't believe it's October, when did that happen!?

At Palm Beach (I think!) on Waiheke Island, New Zealand.


I've been away for a month, I've lived in a Hotel for that time, without family, without 100% wifi and in a country I've never been to before. In the past month things have changed. Things feel different now. I feel different. Being away from everything and everybody I know, has given me a break from real life and given me real life perspective, given me time to review my priorities and figure out what it is that i want from life and this vast world we have the pleasure to live in. It's been emosh.

This trip has allowed me to find, discover and improve  my strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. It's taught me that I make friends easily now I'm an adult, that I can handle more alcohol than I thought I could, and that traveling 12,000 miles in a plane is easier than taking a two hour car journey.


Travel: Goodbye New Zealand



It's been a whirlwind journey in New Zealand. The whole trip was major busy, with a jam packed schedule and a yearning to explore this big beautiful country that I've never been to before.

On one of my days off exploring Waiheke Island.

Whilst here I've eaten more carbs than I care to remember, discovered my love for Tim Tam biscuits and learnt that you'll never regret flying your sistema lunchbox to the other side of the world, after all, nothing beats a home made packed lunch. 

The team I came over here with are a fantastic bunch and really made my time in New Zealand special. The day trips, dinners, hikes and adventures helped me get as much of the work / life balance I could get whilst on a work trip abroad. It's be a laugh and it's more than fair to say that the UK team are each totally amazing and I couldn’t have done it without them.

Food: Energetic Vegan Flapjacks

Spontaneous baking is the best. I always keep a fully stocked pantry of baking ingredients for when the moment strikes. I love a home made cake, bake or pie. What can I say? sweetness is my vice.

Whilst 90% of the time Adam looks after the main meals in our house, I am the sweet queen: Brownies, traybake and cupcakes are my domain. With Ad making a delicious risotto, I fancied whipping up a flapjack and having a play, switching up the ingredients in my usual recipe. The triple threat vegan flapjack was born.

I've had rye flakes and wheat flakes in the cupboard for ages (Random, I know, I can't even remember the original intention for such a purchase.) and decided to add them into the recipe to switch it up, I've also decreased the amount of sugar added (Watching that waistline!) and swapped golden syrup for natural date syrup. Just a few steps in a more healthy direction. Baby steps, baby steps.


Brain Dump: 08

I've just a few days to go before I jet off, to quite literally, the other side of the world. With library books overdue, referencing to be done, birthdays, backpacking and university all to be attended to, this week is a busy one!

Birthday!

Don't you find that whenever your to do list is a long one, you just want to curl up and snuggle in bed with a film? I've currently got that big time. It's very distracting.

I'm back on the uni commute (I haven't missed that bad boy over the summer!) and have already encountered a broken down train and a 30min plus delay, and that was only the first day! But I had some reflection time, which you can read about here, so it ain't all bad!


Travel: New Zealand With H&M



I'm really proud & excited to announce I will be part of the U.K. H&M Team going over to support the opening of the Auckland, New Zealand H&M store. It's the first H&M in New Zealand so I'm delighted to be going to a new market. It's a very exciting project, that I'm thrilled to be part of. New Zealand, we're coming! See more info on the H&M website here.

At one of the H&M's in Prague last week.


I'm flying the 12,000 miles over 3 flight tomorrow and will be out there for 4 weeks. So I'm currently figuring out what to wear (it's spring over there) and what type of leggings to wear on that mammoth flight (s). That flight calls for serious Netflix and chill!

If anyone has any recommendations (doesn't have to be legging related) I'd love to hear them as I'll be checking out what New Zealand has to offer on my days off!

As usual I'll be keeping everyone upto date with my antics on my Facebook, Twitter and the blog and will probably film bits and bobs along the way too.

Here's to the next adventure!

Clo :)


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Lifestyle: Sorting Stuff Out



A gift from Adam, He'll be in one time zone, me another.

I'm about to go to New Zealand so i'm sorting stuff out before I go both at home, uni and work. It's a busy time!

Back At University: Musings

So I've just finished my first day back at university, it's my final year and we're already talking about graduation. Argh. What to wear.

On the train in this morning and whilst it was broken down and awaiting recovery (not a great first day start!) I was wondering how on earth life had gone so quickly. An incredible amount of my life has changed since starting university and a lot of shit has gone down whilst I've been there. Friends, boyfriends, breakups, opportunities and unexpected surprises. The past two years really have had their ups and downs. But everything is on a high. Apart from the broken down train.


Overall I'm looking forward to the future now, both third year and career wise. It's solid, unlike when I started university. Life's looking good from all angles and I've worked hard for it. Grinded beyond the 9-5 and have made massive sacrifices along the way. But I'm a better person for it. I've learnt a lot and am still learning, but I can now say with some certainty that it's all got me going in the right direction.

For those of you starting university this month, enjoy the experiences, both good and bad. Write everything down, drink coffee. Don't worry about the serious stuff, take your time to figure out what you like, who you are and have fun in the process. Don't drink to much, don't do drugs, drink plenty of water and find solace away from the crowds. Enjoy each moment, and learn from them too. Be smart, be open and remember, life is what you make of it.

Good luck!

Clo :)



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Brain Dump: 07

Where has the summer gone!?

I've got my grandma cardigan back on and it's not even the end of August. 
It's getting darker earlier and earlier at night and even though I know how it works, I'd love to have long summer nights just that little bit longer.

I've had a very busy summer with work and I'm sad to report that I've only done a handful of the things I'd planned to do this summer and the ones I've documented on here, my blog makes them feel more tangible, like I actually did something with my uni 'break'. 

Hello I'm Clo has brought me some cool opportunities this summer, taking me to events and trying out new things, which I think has brought a new dynamic to this culture and lifestyle blog, I hope you feel the same. It's given me a new lease of blogging life in the haze of life, university dissertation and a full time job. 

Whilst on my way to and from work and whilst travelling I've written an absolute tonne of utter shit on my iPhone notes app; part written blog posts, brain dumps that evidentially, only engaged part of my brain and absolutely loads of post ideas that never transpire. 

So I've rolled them all up and tried to make a summer brain dump of all the tid- bit thoughts in my head that made it to my iPhone. 

Brain Dump: 06




This week was all about frustration and realisation for me. After a truly amaze week of exploring, fun and adventure, going back to work wasn't top of my list, but those bills gotta get paid.



I can't believe we're already in August. Where has the time gone!? I've lived with Ad for two months and done loads of summery things but the time is ticking away and my days off are now numbered before my return to university in September. Shudder. Don't even get me started on how I'm going back a third year. Eek!

Rome: The Colosseum




I have 6 unpublished Rome posts from April this year. With the photos ready to go, these posts needed words. So I've roped Ad in to reminisce on our Roman adventures on the 6 final Rome posts. How romantic. 

First up... The Colosseum.



C: The weather was pretty bad the day we visited.

A: The day before was so hot, so thankfully as blondes we didn't burn alive in the queue.

C: The queue was soooo long. I'm glad we got the Archaeological pass, which saved us the hassle of the queue and the entrance fee. But the tourist touts outside were pretty annoying.

A: If anything annoyed me more from our trip it was someone offering us the chance to 'skip the line'...either that or a £%^&*R%()£ selfie stick!

C: Safe to say people were selling stuff that just wasn't needed. The Colosseum speaks for itself.

Food: Mildred's Vegetarian, Kings Cross, London





This year we celebrated Adam's birthday in London with friends. Marking his 24th in the best way: food + friends + wine.

With an intimate dinner with friends and drinks on a rooftop bar, it was a chilled celebration, because of this I didn't take too many photos as I haven't yet got too comfortable invading people's dinner to be like 'HEY THIS LOOKS GOOD, LET ME SNAP YOUR FOOD FOR THE INTERNET TO SEE!' Anyhow, I thought Mildred's in Kings Cross was worth a write up and to show you guys a little taster of what they have to offer.

Travel: Travelodge Waterloo, London



For Ad's 24th Birthday we decided we'd spend some time with friends in central London to catch-up and celebrate. Now that neither of us live in the big LDN it means staying over night in a hotel.

We'd decided around March that I'd plan everything after all, it is his birthday. Then I got a little sidetracked with going to Florida and then the post holiday come down and honestly, forgot all about the hotel. Bad girlfriend. I'd managed to plan all the other bits and bobs we were going to see and do, hell, I'd even managed to buy return train tickets. Result. It wasn't until I had the realisation that we had no-where to stay that I tried to blag my way out of it by telling Ad that I was doing a late rooms / last minute thing. Then I looked at the prices and OMG they are astronomical as it's peak tourist time in London atm. This girl on a budget.


National Trust: Biddulph Grange Garden




Biddulph Grange
Biddulph Grange Garden is a quirky, playful paradise in the heart of Staffordshire that I visited about a month ago with my family. (I admit, this post has sat in the draft box for a while.) With a spare Sunday and looking to go somewhere to chill and relax in the sunshine, we got the National Trust book out and chose somewhere a few hours from home for our day trip.

Food: Atrium Brunch, Camden, London



You’d expect an early morning, cancelled train to cause havoc and wreck plans, this wasn’t the case for myself and Adam on a round trip to London last week. We were upgraded to a faster train and arrived a whole hour earlier than expected. 

I, rather rarely, had nothing planned for my day in the city. Ad had a meeting mid afternoon and I joined for the journey and to keep him company either side of the afternoon. 



With plenty of time, we headed North after arriving at Euston station towards Mornington Crescent and Camden, passing people on their way to work and uni, running about in suits and trainers and gym buddies sweating post work out. 

Feeling a little peckish after waking at 5:45am and having had no breakfast, we were ready for something to fuel the rest of our undefined day. 


Food: Europa Independent Italian, Bristol



After wandering all over Bristol and with a three hour performance of King Lear at the Old Vic Theatre ahead of us, Ad and I decided to have a hearty lunch to see us through the play and to dinner. 

Knowing we fancied our favourite (Italian) we walked past Europa on St Stephen's Street. A quaint restaurant with seating outside and an open front door with cheery staff working away, we headed in for their advertised lunch menu of starter and main for an impressive £6.50


Daycation: A Trip To Bristol



This years Bristol Old Vic Theatre School graduate show is William Shakespeare's King Lear. The Old Vic has a fantastic reputation for training the next big thing in acting for theatre, TV and film so it's a great way of seeing up and coming talent before they hit the big time and seats to see them come with a hefty price tag. This year, Ad's friend Daniel was in the performance, so we headed down to Bristol for what I'm dubbing a 'Daycation'

We've had this day trip planned for quite a while, neither of us have been to Bristol before and apart from the matinee performance we didn't have any other specific plans of what we wanted to see or do with our day; winging it is quite fun, as is doing it without the aid of google maps, sometimes. Haha.









Catching an early morning train from Birmingham's New Street and arriving at Bristol Temple Meads shortly after 10 we had some time to wander before the show. 
After gathering our bearings on leaving the station we headed towards the main hub of the city. Students were everywhere we looked, as were morning meeting go-ers with their breakfast in a bag and coffee in hand. People watching can tell you so much about a place, we could tell we were in for good coffee and great hangout spaces.


Brain Dump: 05


Hello, Welcome, Hola! 

WARNING: PHOTO HEAVY POST!



This week I haven't really sat still and if you follow me on Twitter you'll know my cosy netflix and chill on Friday was needed, big time.

Tuesday was spent gallivanting in the rain. Going from place to place to shield from the rain, eventually acquiring a nice and dry table in Albion, with access to strong wifi and a pot of strong coffee. I sat there for a couple of hours blogging, getting on top of life admin and doing a spot of planning for the summer.

Culture: Visiting the Serpentine Pavilion

Outside the Serpentine Pavilion on one of the construction blocks.


Last week (Apologies, this post has been sat in my draft box for a while...my bad.) Adam and I went to London for a day in the city. After spending a few hours wandering around the central streets we headed over to Hyde Park, Knightsbridge (Yes, it was a longggg walk as Ad kept reminding me.) After a stroll in the blazing London sunshine we retired to a small spot by the pond in the shade for a picnic, it was all rather British, especially as we discovered we were by this point, both sunburnt.  

After a lovely lunch, we crossed over to the Serpentine Pavilion. Each year the Serpentine Gallery host a vast 'Pavilion' 

Food: La Ballerina Italian, Covent Garden



La ballerina in Covent Garden is a nice little independent Italian restaurant right next to the Royal Opera House with a lovely pre-theatre and three course lunch menu for both meat eaters and vegetarians too.

Ad and I have been there a few times for their in-expensive, generously portioned slice of Italy. Their menu is small but has plenty of options ( I always think smaller menus are winners) and has great  starters, main and cheeky puddings for both lunch and dinner. An elderly couple sat next to us in the restaurant were having an amazing looking pudding (Next time we go in we're definitely having pudding!) following a starter, drinks and main; you could tell they were regulars, coming in for their weekly outing of dinner and a show. I hope that's me and Ad one day. Too cute.


Starter: Tomato and mozzarella.
Opting for the starter, main and coffee deal at £15 each: we chose the tomato, basil and mozzarella  for our starters, followed by vegetable lasagne for me and mushroom pizza for Ad, then two straight up strong black coffees for me and my mega coffee addiction.

Starter

Tomato and mozzarella: A clean and simple starter packed with natural flavours with the addition of vinaigrette, which was a great way to cleanse the palate for the Italian feast to come!  I adore buffalo mozzarella, paired with beef tomatoes and basil; it's heaven in a starter. Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

Brain Dump: 04

I've decided I really like summer. This summer so far has been great (disregarding the horrid and unpredictable British weather) I've been to new places, seen things I've never seen before, explored my own city and spent quality time with loved ones despite the 6am alarm and 40 hour work week.


It's such a great feeling to enjoy your job on the daily, yet be able to step away on days off to take time out and hit that pause, then refresh button. I've got quite a jam packed month ahead; going here there and everywhere, in search of new adventures and the pursuit of chilled happiness. 

Birmingham: Museum & Art Gallery



Last Saturday, Ad and I spent an afternoon wandering around Birmingham's Museum and Art Gallery. I've lived in Birmingham, UK for 21 years and have never been to this incredible treasure trove of art, ceramics and artefacts. It really shows that we don't appreciate what's on our doorsteps enough. With a central location and free entry I don't have any excuse, so with an afternoon off, we braved the central Birmingham Bullring crowds to get ourselves a culture fix.


London: Notes Coffee House


Notes Coffee House on St Martin's Lane, a hop skip and a jump away from Trafalgar Square holds a special place in my heart. It's not for its terrific home roasted, ethically sourced coffee or its chilled  out inner-city vibe, It's because it was the setting of my first date with Ad. Suffice to say the date went well, haha, we have been together over a year.

Birmingham: The Cosy Club Dinner



With seats at the Birmingham Hippodrome to see the Birmingham Royal Ballet's production of Shakespeare Triple Bill, Ad and I spent the afternoon moseying around Birmingham's Grand Central Station, High Street and Bullring shopping centre before retiring for an early dinner at The Cosy Club.

Birmingham Royal Ballet : Shakespeare Triple Bill



A week ago Ad and I attended the opening night of the Birmingham Royal Ballet's Shakespeare Triple Bill at the Birmingham Hippodrome. 

Pre ballet 

We made quite the afternoon of it, browsing the shops, then having an early dinner at a quaint restaurant where they served up a flavoursome quinoa treat, but I'll talk more about that tomorrow (click here) once out tummies were full we headed over to the Hippodrome, being early we perused their up and coming shows, operas and touring productions before taking our seats for the 7:30 start. 

A photo posted by Clo Tomalin (@helloimclouk) on

About Me: Take One

About Me


Hello I'm Chloe Tomalin, but everyone calls me Clo. I'm a 2nd year Fashion Management and Marketing student from Birmingham (No, I don't have the accent.) in London (No, I don't have that one either.) with a thirst for visuals, sustainable fashion and strong black coffee.

A fully trained and qualified make up artist (MUA), the original plan was to go into beauty marketing, that was before I discovered my passion for fashion retail, styling and visuals. I detoured and I'm now on track to become a visual merchandiser after graduation, with my dream job being in International store expansion. That's the goal.

I currently work for H&M in their underwear and accessories department. I love H&M and I love my job. (Inserts generic 'I do not represent the company sentence' here. Blah, blah, blah)

When I'm not at uni or work I'm forever seeking out something new to try, visit and do. I never sit still, but when I do, I've got my head in a big book. When at home I can be found watching GIRLS, PLL or Big Bang Theory but there's nothing I relish more than cooking up a vegetarian storm in the kitchen or hosting the ultimate bake-off with my boyfriend, Adam.



The Blog

Nature: Into The Woods




A Post Holiday Detox

A Post Holiday Detox is basically a holiday from the holiday, that's much needed after a week or more away, to ease into 'real life' back to the daily grind of 9-5.

When I got back from my last trip I was exhausted. I never realised having fun took up so much energy. Ad and I toured Rome and Dublin on foot for two weeks without any breaks, so when we'd got home, washed off that train plane smell and put all of our clothes in the wash (that dreaded post holiday wash) we focused on getting re-balanced and re-acquainted with our schedules.

First and foremost, once we'd been dropped off my our Gordie driver who talked curry for the whole duration of our drive home, I refused to take the suitcase upstairs and instead bundled the whole lot into the washer. Unpacking is legit the worst part of a holiday come down, so I always get it out the way as soon as I walk through the door. Me being a smarty pants threw my monochrome outfits into one black load in and one white, talk about pre planning the post holiday wash before I even left for the holiday in the first place!


Travel: Disney's Magic Kingdom Electric Parade

Tonight we headed down to Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Florida for the evening electric parade. It was, as expected, totally magical with so much to take in and enjoy. It's fun for all ages and it's safe to say both my dad and I turned into big kids at the sight of fireworks and Mickey Mouse!

We'd had a lazy rest day and headed to the park at around 7, after dinner. We weren't the only ones with this idea. Many other people had arrived at the park for the evenings parade and fireworks. After parking the car and a short ride on the monorail, we entered the magical disney kingdom.

Inside the park it was super busy with people already lining the streets, grabbing their spot for the parade. We found a lovely little spot on Main Street USA by the ice cream parlour with a nice clear view for the parade and stood there from about 8:30 to save our space. The closer it got to 9pm the more crowded the park became, it paid off to be prepared, we had a great view to see the electric disney parade. The lights dimmed across the park to let the electrics shine, the dancers light up the streets with their costumes and the floats to radiate there magic.

The parade was about half an hour long and featured: Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Pan and Captain Hook, Snow White, Alice in Wonderland and Cinderella just to name a few (See pictures below) It was super interactive with lots of waving, high fives and characters saying hello to all the children and adults that lined the streets.

Gigantic floats were lit up in bright colours and floated through the crowds. Some changed colour, had wings or flashed. The dragon even had breath coming from its mouth! Everywhere you looked it was full of Disney magic.

Here are some of my snaps of the Parade. I hope there's not too many spoilers for those of you who haven't yet been!


It was such a lovely evening and I'd highly recommend going in the evening rather than trying to add it onto a day in the park, it's very tiring and overwhelming and I don't think tinkerbell's fairy dust could power me through a full day and evening!

Have you been to Magic Kingdom's Electric Parade? What did you think? Let me know in the comment box below.





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Travel: Long Haul Flight to Florida

Hello! Hot sunny greetings from Florida, USA.

I write at 7am in a dark motel trying not to wake my dad in the bed next to me (he's trying to get on the right time zone) whilst I get ice and Minute Maid and write to myself about my trip because it's so amaze balls that I may get over excited, overwhelmed and forget to write about all the good bits and the funny stuff that happens.

FLORIDA IS AMAZING.

Our journey started at 4 am leaving home to head for Manchester airport (where direct flights to Florida fly from) after struggling to get into the machine manned car park we had arrived, with plenty of time to get to departures at terminal 2, check in with Virgin, get through security, have a cheeky cafe Nero and waffles before our 9 hour flight at 10:30am. We could see your double decker plane being prepped from the gates window. The first thing about the plane is that, it is HUGE. 500 passengers huge. Three rows of 3 people across and so so so many rows before you hit the back of the plane. We traveled on a Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet and wow was that a smooth ride. You'd expect something so big to struggle to get in the air and bang it's way back to the ground but honestly, I've had more bumpy bus rides. We did experience a little turbulence somewhere over Canada but what's a long haul without turbulence, really?


Travel: What's in my Long Haul Hand Luggage?

Next week I head off to Florida with my dad for a Disney goes wild extravaganza. Two weeks of chilling in the sun, being big kids and taking a well deserved break from that UK life.

I've got a history of expensive excess luggage fines ( I was nearly double over the weight when I came back from New York.) but after those two weeks in Rome and Dublin with just a carry on, I feel like the times are a-changing and I'm hell bent on continuing this, I'm traveling light. I'm traveling right.

I'm taking my ski suitcase for the hold , taking my trip cabin suitcase and a backpack as hand luggage. The plan being; pack as light as possible, as let's face it, the dollar to pound conversion is just so appealing on every piece of clothing/ shoes / make up I'm currently coveting. There's every chance I'll have a fashion/ beauty / mikey mouse theme splurge whilst out in the U S of A. Oh that consumerism.


Travel: Altare Della Patria Rome

Altare Della Patria was our first stop in Rome, just a short walk from our hotel, this magnificent building was our first introduction to the history, architecture and scale of Rome. A tourists photo paradise, with stunning views of all over the city, it's a great starting point to get your bearings and a sense of Rome. 



Brain Dump 03

Work work work, blah blah blah. Too much to do, not enough time. The usual story. But despite not having a gym membership, work has definitely put me through my paces exercise wise. It was a full on week that also had a trip to London and a uni hand in.



Once my uni hand in was submitted and deadline over I was able to relax. Netflix and chill style. Reading Vogue before bed has helped me switch off, unwind and relaxing my brain and my body, prepping me for a good nights sleep. God I love sleeping.

Travel: A Week In Rome



Art; culture, architecture and history filled our week long holiday in Rome, from independent artists to the beauty of the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum to the fallen ruins of the ancient city, here, is our week in Rome.


Day 1 Travelling

The first day was a full day of travelling. We started in Birmingham, UK travelling to Central Rome, Italy. Trains, planes and plenty of walking later we arrived at our well located home, Hotel Hiberia.

Day 2 Altare Della Patria / Pantheon / Trevi Fountain


Brain Dump 02

Bound for a haircut and countless errands to run, I headed into my local town centre to tick a few things off my bullet journal list. Walking in the sunshine was a refreshing change. The light breeze, happy glow on everything and the fact I didn't need to wear a ski jacket, hat, scarf and gloves was a pleasant change. Spending so much time on busses and trains often leaves me oblivious to how nice just simply walking is. It's nice to not be in a rush and be able to breathe normally rather than 'OMG OMG my connecting train is in 1 minutes time MUST GET TO PLATFORM RUUUUUUN.'

Shopping, browsing and picking up MORE homeware from you guessed it, tiger and this time M&S added to our ever expanding 'home stuff' and made me give myself a massive pat on the back because yeah, I have latte spoons to accompany my very grown up latte glasses. #Goals. I even got those little cocktail sticks that you can pop a chunk of cheese on. Those li'l life essentials.


Travel: Ara Pacis Museum, Rome


The Ara Pacis is one of the greatest examples of classic art. The Alter to peace is a very historic piece within Roman history and has been moved to its current location for preservation. Its home is within  the new eclectic art space by architect Richard Meier.

Brain Dump 01

My thoughts on life and a little bit of what I've been up-to recently...


When I find myself in a creative rut, I like to change things up a little, to have a fresh and new perspective in a fresh and new space. I've always loved changing my room around, moving the furniture or creating a display of all my current favourite frames, collages and plants and caught feeling a little bland and boring, a Spring clean was in order for my little home studio. Hoover and polish at the ready I spent my Sunday off sorting and cleaning my little pad. It doesn't matter how many times I buy cute Muji storage, sort my Ikea Alex or de-clutter my wardrobe, I always question why and how I accumulate so much 'stuff'! So after another huge sort out I've decided I'm really going to be jumping on the 'Tidy life, tidy mind' train to go full speed ahead into my third year of university (Ahhh!)



Travel: Sculpture At The Vatican, Rome



The Sculpture in the Vatican Museum, Rome, Italy are as extensive as it's rich and fruitful art collection. Corridors, galleries and gardens are highly decorated with sculptures, mainly from the Roman empire period depicting famous faces of the time:  rulers, fighters, Gods and Goddesses.



Rome: Art At The Vatican



Following on from Monday's post about the Vatican Museum, here are a selection of photographs of the Art they have on display within the art galleries of the Vatican Museum, Vatican City, Rome.

The Vatican Museum has one of the richest collections of religious art in the form of murals and paintings. As it's a religious institute, there is an extensive collection of Catholic Art depicting Bible scenes, Bible interpretations as well as religious influences throughout the ages.



Tall rooms, filled with art: colour, texture and calmness allow you to appreciate and take in the messages within the art. The gallery rooms are quieter than other areas of the Vatican Museum due to less tour groups going through the smaller spaces.

Rome: The Vatican Museum



The Vatican was one of the best bits of our trip to Rome. The Vatican is a must visit destination in Rome. The art, architecture, sculpture and space is so interesting and captivating. It's also worth mentioning that you don't need to be religious to visit the Vatican city. Whilst there are many pilgrims, religious trips and many worshipers within the space, it's not an exclusive attraction.


As it is such a popular destination I'd advise you pre book online before your trip because the queues for tickets and to get into the Vatican museum are huge! You can pre-book tickets to the vatican here.
With your ticket you get access to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel (No pictures are allowed within the Chapel, but totally worth a visit.) You can get a special discount on your ticket if you're a student (so long as you have ID) or under the age of 18. 



Blogging: Getting Back On My Blogspot

Hello! It's Clo! 

There are some exciting changes coming to Hello I'm Clo over the next few weeks. As you may have already seen, the blog has a nice and clean new layout thanks to Kathe Creative over on Etsy (See her stuff here) and everything is having a spring clean.

The content on this blog will also be changing; nothing too drastic but with so many blogs and bloggers in the blogger-sphere I'd quite like to create content thats specific and unique to me, my interests and the lifestyle I lead. Culture and lifestyle will be lead topics with: travel, food and fashion also featuring.

Beautiful spring flowers in the grounds of The National Trust's Gibside, Newcastle.

Travel: 48 Hours in Dublin



Flight



After our week away in Rome, Italy Adam and I flew back to London for a stop over, then flew out to Dublin, Ireland in a borderline comatose state. The flight back to London was delayed by 4 hours, we paid £10 for a 30 second taxi journey (we could actually see our final destination ) and i obviously through an angry hissy fit at 3 in the morning hissy fit. So despite our best efforts (a mega McDonald's breakfast at Gatwick) and after my cabin bag got pulled because I, like a muppet did not put my creams in my liquids bag. NOT COOL PEOPLE, HELD UP THE QUEUE AND EVERYONE JUDGED ME, the two of us slothed it onto the plane for the 45 min flight with Ryan air, that was also delayed. FML. It was a nightmare.


Blogging: Brand Spam & Loss Of Creativity

Emails drop into my inbox on a daily basis selling and saying the same things. Both my personal and professional inboxes are flooded with bulk sent, impersonal content that's just straight up boring.

We visit the same websites, watch the same people and always tend to see the same content, no matter the platform from both brands and bloggers. Blogger collaborations, own blogger brands and endorsements are everywhere and I've got to the point where I'm sick of seeing it.

The internet seems to be loosing it's creative, independent, personal edge and It's driving me crazy.

Sponsored content is now the main driver of blogging and YouTubing income and although I totally appreciate that you need to be paid to live, I can't help but feel that more and more internet people are partnering with brands just for the sake of the money.

In the three years I've been blogging I've never accepted a paid advertorial that didn't fit my space on the internet. I've been offered really weird deals, like the time someone wanted me to do a sponsored post about a bed shop in America and how amazing their mattresses are. Like, really!? and the time someone wanted me to go take photos at a train station for money. People can be really weird. Brands can be really weird.

So with this in mind. I'd like to remind both my readers and brands looking to work with me that I will only ever partner with those I truly believe will benefit my readers, my internet friends and actually those I think my audience will actually like the product.

Please do not send bulk mail shots, un-addressed emails or affiliate proposals that do not fit me or the Hello I'm Clo blog. I'm a lovely person and try to always reply to emails, even if I'm not interested but It's becoming tiring replying to straight up ridiculous requests and I'll tell you now, I'm done replying to spam.





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Dublin Vintage Factory



One of my favourite perks of travelling to new places are the gems that can be found. In unlikely places, pop ups and on little side streets. It's great to explore new places and have time to rummage and wonder into stores that you don't have at home.