birmingham travel blog
I haven’t done a lot of solo female travel in a while. Fortunate as I might be to travel for a living, the majority of my trips are experienced alongside similarly-careered journos or provide a wonderful opportunity to travel with my nearest and dearest.

When I realised my trip to Lanzarote left from Birmingham Airport and I had no business commitments past the morning beforehand, I hopped on a train and indulged in some pure and simple ‘me time.

In no time at all, I arrived at the Travelodge Central Newhall Street to uncharacteristically blue British skies and a dead phone battery.

Though I’m sure I simply overworked my phone as an on-the-go office during the journey up, I took it as a sign and set off to explore an unfamiliar side.of the city with nothing more than my camera and a bank card.

With no idea where I was going and no GPS to rely on, I stopped off at the front desk to rifle through a few local brochures and maps.

“Where are you off to?”
“…I actually have no idea.”(laughs)
“Well, there are a lot of award-winning curry houses nearby?
“I’m not that hungry. Where would be good to just…walk?”
“Ah!” *the friendly gentleman turns his hands into something of a temporary set of legs* “Go to the end of fhe road, cross the bridge and walk down to the canal. It’s beautiful on days like this! Lovely pubs and all.”

And it was. It was so beautiful I let my camera be my tour guide. I walked the sun-drenched waterside pathways for hours, led by nothing more than visual and mental aides. It reminded me how important it was to switch off. Switch off and talk to strangers. When I happened upon a red carpet premiere, I started chatting to the security guards rather than Googling what it might be (it was the Peaky Blinders premiere, or as the security guard said – “Perky Blinkers”).

Though solo female trekking with a smile invited an inevitable share of twattery (“Hey, baby! Come and sit with us!”), it was worth it. I discovered the most beautifully barren shopping development – The Mailbox – in a city of busy consumerism, treated myself to a glass of champagne, spent a bit too much money in their Harvey Nichols

After an unknown amount of time, I chased the sun back to the hotel, pausing for a quick stop at Rub Smokehouse to pick up a pulled BBQ chicken cobb salad. Because it doesn’t get much better than a night of working and eating in an enormous bed.

The next morning, I filled up on Travelodge’s lovely little breakfast selection and set off for the airport feeling completely calm and happy. I couldn’t think of a better way to travel to an out-of-city airport.

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rodial makeup
Whether you’ve seen me on Snapchat (lelalondoB), Instagram (lelalondon), or – however unlikely – in real life over the last month, you’ll have seen me in Rodial makeup.

After a brief beauty counter introduction to the brand’s extension from their incredible line of skincare, I knew I had to get my hands on some pieces so hauled a few expectant everyday items and recorded my first impressions

You can see that video, below.

In the month sense, I have accentuated my features with Rodial and nothing more. Their makeup is a faultless blend of skincare and cosmetic genius, ensuring natural-looking but nourishing product benefits. It also lasts. Really lasts. From London’s downpours to Mexico’s sweltering humidity, I have not stopped to touch up my Rodial morning face once and have felt just as perfected in the wee hours of the morning as I did the second I tapped the HD powder into my skin.

With Mario Dedivanovic using the Rodial contouring powder and Glamolash mascara on Kim Kardashian in her app’s ‘five minute min glam’ tutorial, I can only hope this product line earns enough love to expand for years to come.

Shop The Products:
Instaglam Airbrush Primer
Skin Tint + SPF 20 – Capri
Airbrush Concealer – Aspen
Sculpting Starter Set
Instaglam Compact Deluxe Translucent HD Powder
Glamobrow – Ash Brown
Smokey Eye Pen Black
Glamolash Mascara XXL – Black
XXL Lip Liner – Pink Espresso
Glamstick – Lust

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travel style 1
As a travel blogger, I have wrecked my fair share of luggage. Both carry-ons and full-sized suitcases have never been able stand a chance against my ‘if I can carry it, it’s fine’ approach to jet-setting.

Antler changed the game. Finding myself scheduled on a set of trips that gave me multiple turnovers under 24 hours, I chose to pack the Juno with everything I needed for every trip: Italy, Florida, Mexico, Belfast, and Lanzarote. I have hoisted it up the steps of the Underground, through unfamiliar city centres, and in and out of an immeasurable number of taxis without a single issue. The ridged shell is incredibly tough but lightweight (only 4.2kg) and, thanks to 360 degree spinner wheels, super easy to manoeuvre.

In addition to that, my two personalised Tillyanna cases – for beauty products and passports, respectively – have helped me build a utilitarian sense of home away from home.

Irreplaceable style statements, to say the least!

Shop The Post:
The Large Juno Suitcase from Antler
Personalised beauty case and passport holder from Tillyanna Designs

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hadskis belfast
As my previous travel blog on Belfast would suggest, Hadskis is a definitive diamond in the rough.

Though the restaurant is hidden between Hill Street & Donegall Street (in fairy light-covered Commercial Court) and only a few years old, Hadskis has developed something of an unblemished reputation. If I had time for one fine dining experience during my time in Northern Ireland, this was destined to be it.

As the space is modest and uncramped, reservations are recommended; we only managed to book in for a 9pm slot but were thrilled to receive impeccable service from the get-go. Service typical of waiters and chefs that haven’t already been on their feet for hours.

This isn’t, however, a love letter to the service alone: the food is locally-sourced and Michelin quality.

We started with perfectly cooked N’duja-dusted Kilkeel scallops on a bed of cannellini beans and a small serving of jerusalem artichoke risotto with crispy garlic & creme fraiche (also available as a main).

You know that feeling you get when you kiss someone for the first time and you find yourself unexpectedly euphoric? That is the Hadskis feeling.

Continuing their courtship, we moved on to a “Hannan’s Spiced Meatballs” (with orecchiette, harissa & oarmesan – a small serving, per our filling starters’ dictation) and Chicken Cotoletta with grilled gem, topped with Cafe de Paris Butter.

I could pretend the truffle chips with parmesan and honey-roasted root vegetables simply came with the dishes, but no. We ordered those. And they were worth every extra undone button.

By this point we had hit the finish line and decided to run back a proverbial mile to explore the culinary talents of the sweets section. A meringue-scattered Bannoffee Mess for the gentleman and a Creme Brulee-inspired cocktail for myself.

A benefical illustration of gluttony and perfection, indeed.

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belfast travel blog 6
Until Belfast, I had never been to Northern Ireland.

Thanks in part to it being the epicentre of mass political conflict (which I’ll touch on shortly), the one hour flight never seemed to be convenient enough. That is, until last weekend.

I spent two emotional days in Belfast. Days that included one heart-wrenching mural tour of Fall’s Road, one incredible hidden restaurant experience, a long-awaited visit to the Titanic Museum, and much more.

I never would have expected it, but I think Belfast might just have changed my life.

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