Thursday, 31 August 2017

A Random One

Hello all and Happy Thursday!
I thought i'd just write up a little update here of my goings on recently...
Firs of all, I have an exciting photoshoot booked in for next week, so the last few weeks have been all about planning and preparing for it, on Wednesday I headed over to Regent's in Salisbury with the shoots organiser Laura for one of our models fittings. The clothing in here is just exquisite, and that's really not a word I throw around lightly, I even said if I was a man i'd want to shop in there for my whole wardrobe πŸ™ˆ

The shop reaches up 3 floors high, including womenswear and all the accessories you would ever need, they're even cool enough to be having their own bar installed! After having a good idea in our minds of what we wanted, plus trying on a couple of different bits and pieces, we found the perfect outfit and now I'm even more excited for next week to come around! As soon as I can, I will be sharing photos on here, but for now here are a few shots from the shop itself!

A few months ago I started the process of going blonde, something i've wanted to do for YEARS, I actually think I wrote it in my 15 facts about me post, so I guess I can cross that off now! I decided to go for a balayage after watching far too many youtube videos, reading so many blog posts and spending more than enough time looking through inspiration on Pinterest! I couldn't believe how light it became after just one session, I think it really helped based on my hair hasn't been dyed before. So earlier this month I went back for my second go, and my goodness did the bleach take to my hair well again! So below I leave you with a couple of photos before and after!

I then headed over to a friends house for the day, I swear she has the most Instagram worthy living I've ever seen, how awesome are her shelves? I love random little decor items like these!
We grabbed some lunch from the local health food store, a delicious vegan sandwich followed by a vegan rocky road slice *drools*

She also introduced me to the chocolate bar Vego, have you tried it? I'll be honest, the name put me off a little bit, why can't they name it something less obviously vegan? πŸ™ˆ Let me tell you, this bar is a LIFE CHANGER, I haven't eaten milk chocolate for a long time but if you're transitioning to Vegan or just want to try something new, imagine smashing together Nutella and Ferrero Rocher, and I bring you Vego, it is just dreamy, I came home and instantly ordered a bunch and even popped out earlier to grab some more πŸ™ˆ

On another day I headed over to Devon to see my Sister and her family, and met my gorgeous 3 week old nephew for the first time too! You kinda forget how tiny babies are until you meet a brand new one again don't you? I remember when I was younger and someone would ask if I wanted to hold their baby, I became one of those memes of someone instantly panicking..but I think after having your own you quickly learn, then you just never lose that touch! So I got lots of cuddles, and also got to catch up with everyone again! Oh and as a side note, M&S do Vegan sandwiches, which are AMAZING, I know thats a little boring but it's worth a mention! 😜

Another super exciting event happened, I now have 2 new lenses to add to the family! For so long i've been researching for some new ones to play around with, and really needed some with a good wide aperture for indoor shots, so went with the 20mm 1.8 and the 50mm 1.8, i've already taken far too many test shots but holy crap are they incredible, I could write paragraphs about them but maybe i'll just write up a review after my shoot! I'll leave you with those for now, and I will be back for another update very soon! Jess x

Monday, 14 August 2017

Vegan / Where to eat in and around Dublin

When it comes to planning trip away, I always do my research of places to eat out (I know, rock n roll right?) but I have to add in the factor of being Vegetarian and also where my friend could eat being Vegan, I think so many people think it's going to be difficult but we had no issues in finding places! I'll admit I can be a bit fussy with where I eat, so the places below are the best of the best that we tried, nothing less!

The first place we popped into was a new addition to Drogheda, The Bare Food Company offers a completely clean eating experience, catering for meat eaters as well as the two of us with really reasonable prices! I ordered the Superfood Salad - BABY SPINACH, AVOCADO, ROASTED BROCCOLI & ALMOND, ROAST BUTTERNUT SQUASH, GARLICKY KALE, QUINOA, GRATED GINGER, ORANGE SEGMENTS, TOASTED NUTS & SEEDS & DRESSED WITH SESAME & LEMON OIL. Which was bloody yummy, and super filling!

Clare ordered the Veggie Sandwich - BEETROOT HUMMUS, GARLICKY KALE, ROAST RED PEPPER, GRATED CARROT & SESAME SEEDS. My god did they fill the sandwich, pretty sure there nothing else could've squeezed in to it! Once again it was super filling, neither of us finished our meals but we had plenty of energy for the rest of the afternoon!

I'm a dessert girl, I like cake, and I like chocolate, so on the way out we stood and admired their array of treats, as soon as I spotted the cheesecake I needed it. There's just something about vegan food, the colours are so bright and you can actually taste every single ingredient you put in your mouth, this was honestly the most delicious slice of cheesecake i've ever had, and perfect for eating sat in the car at the beach, just fyi!

Just before our big walk around Dublin, we popped into the super busy Cornucopia Restaurant, the queue was literally out the door, which is always a good sign! The menu changes daily and there's just so much to choose from, never have I seen a menu quite so varied, we both ordered the SMOKED TOFU & CARROT WRAP, and I can't even explain to you just how delicious it was! We've both even said since then that it was one of the BEST vegan meals we've ever had! Its restaurants like this when you don't mind queuing and waiting for a table, the service was also fantastic and there were absolutely zero faults! 

"We pride ourselves on producing fresh, tasty, delicious and healthy meals. With an emphasis on locally grown & organic ingredients our delicious vegetarian menu caters for a variety of diets – vegan, gluten free, sugar free, coeliac & raw/living ; or anyone seeking quality home produced food. All of our soups, salads, mains, breads & desserts are made in-house from the freshest ingredients.

We are open at 8.30 in the morning until noon Monday – Saturday serving vegetarian breakfasts, ranging from fruit salad & granola to our renowned handmade sausages & hash browns.

From noon until closing Monday – Sunday we serve a selection of dishes to satisfy every palate. Daily we have two soups, ten salads, five mains, wraps, hummous & pΓ’tΓ© plates accompanied by a selection of breads, cakes & desserts, both scrumptious and wholesome."
Will definitely be popping in for a breakfast and lunch next time!

Photo Credit - Clare Knighton

The last place we chose was Happy Food, a cool little cafe tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city centre of Dublin, they offer all three meals of the day, as well as cakes, treats, smoothies, juices and teas and coffees! The menu is completely plant-based & gluten free, plus everything is homemade fresh daily! The menu was simple but it was still hard to pick what to have, in the end I went for the BLACK BEAN & SWEET POTATO BURGER, which came with caramelised onion jam, tomato, lettuce and happy mayo, all wrapped up in a yummy tortilla! It was just heavenly!

Clare picked the SLOPPY JOE BURGER, which consisted of Black Bean, Spinach & Organic Hemp Burger, Coconut Cheese, Tofu Bacon, Caramelised Onion Jam, Slaw Salad & Aioli in Rustic Sundried Tomato & JalapeΓ±o Bun! It was literally one of the biggest burgers I've ever seen! Oh and we ordered some chips also and obviously I got some millionaire shortbreads for dessert!
Everything was just πŸ‘Œ

Pop over to the websites for each place below for full menu's and details!
The Bare Food Company
Happy Food

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Travel / Ireland

For the longest time, i've wanted to visit Ireland, I don't know if it's because it's literally in my blood or the fact that I was hoping to bump into Gerard Butler filming P.S. I Love You all over again..whatever the reason, I felt like I needed to go and even added it to my travel bucket list last year! So I booked a little trip with the best friend and made a list of all the places I wanted to go during that week, although we managed quite a lot, there were a few bits and bobs we couldn't squeeze in, I guess i'll just have to go back again πŸ˜ƒ

But we did manage to visit Dublin, Wicklow Mountains National Park, Dublin Zoo, Bettystown Beach, Bennetts Lounge, Temple Bar & The Book of Kells! We spent most of the trip walking or cycling and being outdoors, it was just ideal. Next time i'm hoping to go back and explore more of Wicklow, visit the Botanical Gardens, pop into the Guinness Factory & spend the day at the Powers Court Gardens! 

We stayed in the award winning Crows Hermitage, the most idyllic and beautiful cottage i've ever seen in my life. Set in the little town of Ardcath, tucked away from the road next to 12th century ruins, the setting couldn't have been any more perfect. Walking in we were greeted with beautiful Irish music, a ready lit fire and a freshly baked cake, instantly relaxing after a day of travelling!

"This barn was converted by the owner in 2008 into a comfortable and inviting open plan living area & kitchen with a mezzanine double bedroom. Exposed stone walls and oak beams are complemented by luxurious furnishings and a cosy wood burning stove. 

The kitchen / dining area is fully equipped with gas hob, 3 in 1 Microwave / grill / convection oven, fridge with ice box and is sufficiently well-equipped to please any gourmet. There is a wet room-style shower room and wc. The living area is snug and cosy with a comfortable couch, wood burning stove and an array of interesting and unusual books on the history, flora and fauna of Ireland. A small stair case leads up to the mezzanine bedroom with comfy double bed, clothes storage and excellent views across the garden and countryside beyond."

Board games are provided, unfortunately the Trivial Pursuit edition was Genius so aside from getting a couple of questions correct, it was a long afternoon of questions and blank stares from the both of us πŸ˜‚

The first day we headed over to Drogheda for a bite to eat and a walk around the town centre, before heading over to the closest beach over at Bettystown, which is a proper little gem, super soft sand and beautiful views! We took along some delicious cheesecake to eat whilst we were there, and despite Clare's slight allergic reaction to the almonds, it was scrumptious! πŸ˜‚

If you're heading over to Ireland, if you can, you have to visit Wicklow, it very quickly became my favourite place and I actually think most of the photos I took were from this day alone. Driving through the National Park you are just surrounded by nature, and quite honestly it didn't even feel like we were in Ireland anymore, more like the wilderness in America, like a mini route 66. It was pretty much a Photographers idea of heaven, anytime i'm back over there i'll make sure to head back here every time!

We did the touristy thing of visiting the areas from P.S. I love you, and considering it was the hottest day of the year so far, we just sat and took in the views for a lot of it, before heading off for the longest walk of my life, thank god we took our walking boots! The area in the second photo is actually private property and someones GARDEN, pfft. Not jealous at all. Nope.

For the final couple of days we decided to spend it in Dublin, we found some incredible places to eat (will write up a separate post on this), the atmosphere in the city centre was just amazing, we popped into so many little independent shops, and everywhere you turned there was something new to take pictures of, we ended up squeezing a whole bunch of things into these 2 days, including Temple Bar, the Book of Kells & Dublin Zoo.

The streets of Dublin are cobbled and the buildings remind me of parts of London, some of the walls are professionally graffitied, it just feels like such a free city, everyone we met through the trip were just absolute sweethearts too!

I only took a few photos in the Zoo, to be honest this was the only part of the trip I was disappointed in, as big as the zoo is, I felt as though the money had been better spent on the visitors than the environment actually in the enclosures. I think we counted 4 kids play areas in total and yet the area made for the tigers were far from adequate, the money could've been put into the animals more if i'm honest. 

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