Posted on: Saturday, 31 December 2016

Best of 2016 | Beauty and Lifestyle Favourites of 2016

The time has come to shout about my all time favourite products and new discoveries of the year. So many great new things to share with you all.

I'm not planning on doing a video on my 'Best of...' this year. I don't think I created one last year either, but I definitely did do one the year before. Anyway, instead, I'm going to write about my favourite discoveries of this year. A mixture of beauty and lifestyle goodness.

I won't be going in to too much detail, apart from raving about my all time favourite product of this year. So without further a do... here is my bullet-pointed list of faves.

Best Foundation: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
Best Concealer: NARS Creamy Concealer (favourite since 2014)
Best Powder: Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder
Best Blusher: Hourglass Blusher in the shade Dim Infusion (review here)
Best Highlighter: The Balm, Mary Lou Luminizer Manizer (favourite since 2014)
Best Eyeshadow Palette: NARS Virtual Domination Palette (favourite since 2014)
Best Eyeliner: Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner
Best Mascara: Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara (review here)
Best Lip Liner: Charlotte Tilbry in the shade Pillow Talk
Best Nude Lipsticks: Charlotte Tilbury in the shades Bitch Perfect (review here) and Stoned Rose (review here)
Best Red Lipstick: Charlotte Tilbury in the shade Red Carpet Red (review here)
Best Lipgloss: Chanel Gloss Volume Plumping Lipgloss
Best Lip Balm: Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Lip Repair Lip Balm
Best Lip Scrub: Lush's Mint Julips
Best Setting Spray: Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray
Best Make-up Brushes: Real Techniques (an old favourite)
Best Cleanser: Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish (an old favourite and re-discovery)
Best Toner: Environ C-Quence Toner
Best Moisturiser: Environ AVST Moisturiser (currently on level 4)
Best Facemasks: Environ Revival Masque and Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Treatment Mask
Best Beauty Tools: Liz Earle Muslin Cloths and Environ Cosmetic Roll-CIT
Best Perfume: Jo Malone, Wood Sage and Sea Salt

Best Product of 2016: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Liquid Foundation

I actually discovered this one fairly recently, I'd say since October time. I was in search for a new light weight foundation for my wedding and a friend had recommended this one.
I haven't stopped wearing it since. It provides the most beautiful light coverage, however, is build-able. It makes your skin super glowy and radiant, and I just love it so much.

I'm planning on doing a full review of this little baby in the new year. But I just wanted to share how much I love and rave this foundation. It's one of the best, on par with my other favourite Estee Lauder Double Wear.

(above: Best Nude Lipstick of 2016: Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Fallen From the Lipstick Tree in the shade 'Stoned Rose')

Favourite country visited: Burano - Venice (read about it here)
Favourite local discovery: Hitchin' Lavender Farm (review here)
Favourite TV series: SUITS, Homeland, Originals, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (too many to mention...)
Favourite Documentaries: Making a Murderer, Minimalism: A documentary about the important things, Louis Theroux - Drinking to Oblivion, 'Happy'
Favourite Albums: Beyonce - LEMONADE, Drake -Views, Bring Me the Horizon - That's the Spirit
Favourite Books: Estee Lalonde's Bloom, Sarah Knight, The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck, and my Hygge books
Favourite Films released in 2016: Deadpool and Captain America: Civil War
Favourite Films discovered this year: The Big Short, Inside Out and Gone Girl
Favourite Restaurants in London: Bob Bob Ricard and Honest Burgers (review here)
Favourite Afternoon Tea in London: Sketch (review here)
Favourite place for Brunch: Thomas' (review here)
Favourite Cocktail Bar in London: The Bling Pig (an old favourite)
Favourite local coffee shops: Fred & Ginger and Harris and Hoole
Favourite London coffee shops: Soho Grind and Monmouth Coffee
Favourite life-changing product: Advanced Nutrition Programme's Skin Omegas+
Best Moment of 2016: Zoey and Joey wedding of course! (watch our wedding video here!)

So that's all my favourites of the year! What is your holy grail product of 2017? Or what has been your favourite thing in 2017, this could be a location, tv series, restaurant and so on? Let me know in the comments below as I'm always intrigued to see, do and try new things!

Anyway, hope everyone has an awesome New Years' Eve! 2017 is going to be a cracking year :)! Enjoy!

Want to see what I'm up to daily? Connect with me: Instagram: @zoeyoliviablog, Twitter: @zoeyoliviablog.

Posted on: Friday, 30 December 2016

2016... What a year!

2016... What a year! So many amazing highs and challenging devastating lows. But we made it through, despite facing hundreds of hurdles, and seeing and hearing about the terrifying things happening in the world. Too many to mention and wrap my head around, however, I'm going to sit quietly and not dwell on the awful things that have happened this year.

What I do know is that I consider myself very very lucky. And, I have remembered a few things a long the way. It's important to be there for those in need, support people where you can and most importantly be kind to everyone.

Any who, I have split this blog post up into sections of a reflection on life, travel, people and blogging and YouTube. I thought this would be a better way of summarising the year. And, it's always lovely to look back on the positive, and overcoming some difficult times of the year.
I also just want to say a HUGE thank you to other half Joe, my best girl and male friends (they know who they are), my family and those who support me and my blog or YouTube channel. You are the ones that keep me going, so I'm truly truly thankful for everything.

Life: Well let's start with the biggest, most life challenging moment... I got married this year! 6th November, twenty sixteen - this was honestly the best day of my life by far. I still can't quite get my head around being married to my best friend, soul mate (cheese) and partner in crime. And, we got to share the day with those closest to us, what a dream! I will cherish every moment forever and always.

If I scroll back through my Instagram page back to the start of this year, I cannot forget to mention seeing my work on the big screen at 'Proud Cabaret' for my work's belated Christmas do in January. This was a proud moment, tear.

Anyway, the earlier months of twenty sixteen were a bit of blur to be honest with you. There was so much intense wedding planning and I was dealing with so much personally.

Moving swiftly on to Summer, I passed my driving test back in June! I took an intensive short course with a lovely lady called Barbra and I passed first time. I can't quite believe I managed to pass and I don't know why it had taken me twenty six years of my life to defeat one of my fears, but I did, hooray :). When you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything!

I also remember the warmer months being seriously addicted to Pokemon Go and I would walk for miles and miles to hatch my eggs and catch rare Pokemon. I still play occasionally! I also remember becoming massively obsessed with anything Hygge. I wish I was Danish, they lead such cool and calm lives.

I had the most incredible Hen do in London with some of my best friends at the end of September! And, Joe and I also celebrated our sixth year anniversary at Thomas' (Burberry) restaurant at the end of September too, what a perfect day.

I also cannot forget my birthday weekend with Hanna and Fee (two of my closest and dearest friends) walking around Regents Park catching Pokemon, drinking cocktails and having the most incredible food at Dirty Bones.

On my actual birthday, halloween. Joe took me to one of my food wish-list dreamy places, Bob Bob Ricard. We spent a fortune and I'm still yet to review that place on my blog. But it was incredible!
He also took me to a cool cocktail bar, Cahoots, and we also saw Aladdin in theatre.

I cannot forget our dramatic honeymoon at the end of this year too, which I will touch on in my next paragraph!

Travel: I love travelling and next year I plan on doing more and more. Anyway, around the end of February, early March, we travelled to Venice and Burano for Joe's 29th birthday. A beautiful break wandering the streets of Venice, riding on the boats and eating amazing food. I wrote a blog post on our trip here. And created a short vlog here.

In November, after the wedding, we travelled to Bali, Lombok and the Gili islands for our honeymoon. Incredible and beautiful places but we had a challenging time from start to finish shall we say. I will write some future blog posts on our honeymoon experiences, but, I'm still slowly catching up on happenings in October... I promise I will though. I also have video footage that I need to edit and put up on YouTube, bare with, bare with (*hangs head in shame*).

Bali was my favourite of the lot. We stayed in a beautiful hotel in the jungle Ubud. And we didn't do anything but relax for three days straight, it was heaven.

Speaking of other travels, we also stayed at a beautiful apartment in Haslemere for Joe's Christmas work do this month. This was a lovely break visiting the Christmas market and relaxing and eating/drinking with Joe's work friends. Merry merry times. Sometimes I forget how beautiful other parts of the UK are, there's so much to experience and explore and it's something I want to do more of in 2017.

People: As mentioned a little earlier, I am super fortunate to have some incredibly lovely and caring human beings in my life. The ones that keep me sane.
But, I just wanted to touch upon something that I have realised this year. Not everyone who you think is your friend is actually a 'friend'. These people love to take advantage of your kindness and it's heartbreaking to realise it.
Just because you are kind and would do anything for anyone, does not mean that it will be reciprocated. You're kind of fooling yourself to think 'people will be as kind as you.'

My heart has been broken by a few people this year, I won't mention any names but I have lost quite a few people close to me, including a family member. I could probably count ten people in total that have severely upset me this year. As well as loosing two people in my life this year was enough to deal with...

Anyway, at the end of the day, life is too short to hold grudges and be bitter. Keep your head high, smile always, and be around those who love, make you laugh and support you. Because at the end of the day, that's all that matters.

Blogging and YouTube: This year I have slowed things down quite a bit. It's hard to manage a full time design job, freelance work and my blog at times. But I still love absolutely everything that I do.

I've realised that it's quality over quantity. And, I will always speak from the heart on here, write things that I'm truly passionate about and create fashion and travel video diaries that I love.

The love and support I have received this year has been overwhelming and quite frankly, amazing. So thank you to everyone who has paid an interest in my blog or channel. It's people like you that keep me going. So here's to another year of creating fun content!

If you've read this far, then wow! Thank you so much again and have a wonderful, happy, lovely, exciting 2017. Love, me x

Feel free to follow me on Instagram: @zoeyoliviablog, or tweet me: @zoeyoliviablog. I'm forever responding and interacting on those platforms :).

Posted on: Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Our 1920s Barn Wedding Video

Joe and I tied the knot on the 6th November 2016 at South Farm in Royston. And, we are so excited to finally share our wedding video with you all :). The lovely Tim Spatz filmed our special day and this is the final version that got sent to us. We really hope you enjoy watching it just as much as we did.

In other wedding related news, I'm currently doing a wedding planning series on my blog. You can read the first post here, this is all about our initial ideas. The second post is on bridal hair and make-up, which you can read here. And my latest one is on the stressful period with 8 weeks to go. I'm planning to do more wedding related blog posts in the new year.

Any who, hope everyone has had a lovely Christmas. Mine has been delightful! If you want to keep in touch and see what I'm up to daily, you can follow me on Instagram: @zoeyoliviablog or tweet me: @zoeyoliviablog. I'm forever responding and interacting on those platforms :). 

Posted on: Thursday, 22 December 2016

Wedding Planning #3 | The stressful period, 8 weeks to go!

If you follow me on social media, you may know that I'm already officially married, hooray! We tied the knot on the 6th November 2016. And, time has got away with us again... I can't quite believe it's almost Christmas. 

Today I thought I would re-visit my wedding planning series. In my previous posts I wrote about mine and Joe's initial ideas, my dress, the colour schemes, the cake, my hair and make-up and much much more. And, there's lots more that I want to share with you over the next coming months that you might find somewhat helpful if you're planning your wedding, planning your honeymoon, ideas for a hen do in London, or you're just interested in reading about my honest wedding experience.

In this blog post I want to discuss the planning stages with 8 weeks to go. So let's rewind a little bit. Let's go back to early September...

In this period, I had (in no particular order) my hen do, Joe's stag do, multiple dress fittings, deciding on my veil, my hair trial, a make-up trial with two of my bridesmaids, lots of bridesmaid enquires, ordered more bits and bobs for the wedding, final paperwork with our wedding venue and registar were due, a shiz load of payments were due, table plan was to be decided and planned, chasing up RVSP's, deciding on the music for the aisle, music after the ceremony, ideas for signage, booking and organising the honeymoon, ceremony and reception final touches, gyming twice a week and attempting a diet, family dramas, deciding on final final wedding make-up, deciding on wedding readings, ordered and had wedding rings made and going back and forth with chosen suppliers to discuss ideas. 

I'm sure there are a bunch of other things I've forgotten about, but you get the jist of things... it was pretty intense, especially if you work full-time and have a busy role.
When I look back, I barely had any time to think about my wedding whilst I was at work, likewise with Joe. So we conquered everything when we got home. Staying up till 1am or later almost every night was pretty awful, but all those late nights paid off.

Stay organised
You're ticking off about 1000 things (quite literally) off your to do list. I don't mean that in a scary frightening way. But, yes there is a lot to be done and everything needs to be perfect, and run smoothly... But just make sure you are keeping on top of things and ticking off bits and pieces every day, even if it's something small like ordering 'the bridal/bridesmaids hangers'. It's one thing completed out of many.

On the day, you do forget the stresses and enjoy the big day, well after the ceremony... That might just be my experience though. I'm sure there are brides out there who don't care too much about the little details and love the idea of the ceremony. But for me, it made me a nervous wreck. Walking down the aisle with everyone looking at me and having to read my vows for everyone to hear, it was lovely, but no thank-you. Not my cup of tea at all.

Anyway, sorry, I'm waffling... What I found really really helpful, was to print of a wedding checklist. I found this one really helpful to keep on top of things. But there are tons and tons of of checklists out there.
I also had a wedding planning diary that Joe's sister, Emily brought for me when we got engaged. It was this exact one from John Lewis which was really helpful too.

Joe's idea of keeping on top of things was creating lots of 'google sheets', the amount of spreadsheets he had was insane, but it did help us a lot. We had everything from a wedding budget sheet to a guest list sheet to a range of supplier options and things we liked or wanted, i.e: bubbles for the ceremony from Amazon or blocks of cheeses from Waitrose. There were many many tabs on that one!

So, the best bits of advice I can give on keeping on top of 'the wedding to-do list' is to be organised, plan in advance, delegate tasks (wish we had done more of this), do a task every day or every other day, even if it's small. And do print off that check list! 

What I also thought you might be interested in hearing about is my hen do, my dress fittings, my diet, my hair trial and last minute bow tie changes. So I'll go into more detail about them.
If you do what me to go into detail about anything else of the above mentioned, do let me know and I'll happily write about them in my next post, or I'll reply in the comments section below. 

My hen do.
My lovely bridesmaids surprised me with a weekend away in London. Only twenty minutes for us on the tube, but it was really nice to get away from my home town. 

We all met at Euston, dropped our bags off at a nearby hotel and went to this gorgeous pub called 'The Hourglass'. As we were running a bit later than expected, they had given our table away, however, the guy in charge arranged a table for us in no time. The food was stunning and I loved the quirky-ness of the pub.
It was a shame we were only there for a short amount of time and had to rush our food a little, but we enjoyed it none the less.
I actually want to go back and take Joe there!

After lunch, we headed to a 1920's inspired photoshoot, this was really cool and great fun for us girls. 
After that we headed to Piccadilly Circus for a private cocktail making class, this was so much fun! We got far too drunk in short period of time but was brilliant. 

Time got away with us a little bit, so we headed back to the hotel to get ready. We met up with a few of my other friends and headed out for dinner at 'Jamie's Italian'. After wards we went back to the club in Piccadilly and had a great time... although a few dramas occurred. But what's a hen do without drama, eh?!
We ended up wandering around London for about an hour, realising that no-one would let us in as it had gone past 3am, so we called it a night and headed back to the hotel.

The next day, was fairly chilled and much much needed. We sat down for a few hours at Euston and didn't leave our spot. We met up with Joe's mum, and headed to 'The Shakesphere Globe', a place I had never heard of before. It was this gorgeous exhibition, artsy building with a restaurant called 'The Swan' attached to it. Near London Bridge way. It was beautiful.  

We enjoyed a Midsummers Night afternoon tea with my family and friends. It was really really lovely. And I highly highly recommend it to anyone.

My dress fittings and 'The diet'
Leading up to the wedding, I knew that I wanted to loose weight, not much but I knew that I wanted to be a size 8 again. So, I ordered a size 8 dress (at the time I was a 10) from Eliza Jane Howell, from a bridal shop, Morgan Davies in Hitchin.

I previously tried my dress on three times before deciding it was the 'one'. And I still to this day, absolutely made the right choice. At the time, I tried on the design in a 14 and it was super baggy, but I actually really liked the fit of it. I didn't quite realise how snug it was until the day it arrived. But that was ok, it just meant that I needed to consider underwear carefully, tone up a little bit and loose a bit more weight.

If there's one bit of advice that I will give for 'finding your perfect dress' is that when you know, you know. It might take a while and you feel like nothing suits you, but then you find something that fits you like a glove, so do be patient and wait.

Anyway, when my dress arrived, it was quite loose around certain areas and needed to be altered slightly. It needed to be taken in at the bottom, lifted at the top (near my shoulders). But overall fitted really really well. And was so beautiful and delicate.
The shop didn't do alterations, so I had to find a local seamstress which was surprisingly quite easy.

I visited my seamstress on several occasions, 3 weeks before my wedding, 2 weeks before and 2 days before. The process was really easy but we did have an accident on the 2nd dress fitting which I can laugh about now.

When I was trying on my dress, I noticed a pool of blood on the floor. I immediately panicked as it got on my dress and shoes!! What had happened was that I caught my foot on some of the beads on my shoes, sliced my foot open without realising and bled everywhere! Oh the dramas, only me eh! Luckily, the blood came out of the dress and shoes really easily. Otherwise let me tell you... I would not be laughing.

Moving swiftly on, by the 3rd fitting. I had lost a little bit more weight and my dress fitted perfectly, however, was a little gapey near the belly, but I didn't mind so much. I then took it away and hung it in my wardrobe away from Joe. The temptation not to get it out every five minutes was incredibly hard.  

Also, I know some of you may be keen to know, so I thought I'd mentioned my 'diet' on here.
I didn't do a hardcore diet by any means, but I had a lot of soup for lunch or dinner during the week. Ate fairly healthy, ate fish a fair bit and had the occasional salad too. I tried to avoid sugar, but couldn't resist on occasions. And, I did treat myself quite a bit at the weekend. Sometimes you just need a burger in your life, it's called balance

On the final week of the wedding, I was really good and did a juice diet, as well as eating soup and lots of fish. I also had a lot of coconut water which helped my skin 'glow' and look super hydrated.

The hair trial
I almost immediately knew what I wanted. 1920's soft curls, yes please.

My hair stylist was incredible, I cannot recommend and thank her enough, Denise from D&D Make-up. She's done lots of bridal hair in the past, and some amazing editorial styled photo-shoots for big brands such as M&S. 

I went to her house and she trialled my hair. She got it spot on first time round. And, I really enjoyed listening to her experiences in the fashion and beauty industry. What a hell of a job she had! Sounded like a dream. 

She also did my bridesmaids', my mum and nan's hair on the big day. Everyone's hair looked incredible.

I highly recommend booking a hair trial, I know it seems a little bit expensive, but believe me it's worth it! You could pay for a hair stylist package up front and absolutely hate it when she does the trial, so, it's good to be selective. And then again, you could get lucky like I did and flnd the perfect one.

Bow tie changes
This was a bit of an odd one, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
We found finding the right bow ties for our groomsmen so difficult. We originally wanted grey to match the bridesmaids, but it didn't pop and the bow tie sizes were either 'too large' or 'too small'. We must of ordered around 15 different styles of bowties and none of them were right, it was really frustrating.

Until one evening I popped into Brent Cross shopping centre, paid a visit to Hawes and Curtis and found the most gorgeous burgundy silk bow ties. They were pricey for sure, but after weeks of not knowing what to do, I decided it was worth paying a little bit extra to get this detail just right.

I don't know why burgundy hadn't crossed my mind before. It was perfect, autumnal and they went really well with the flowers. They looked awesome in photo's. 

Ok, so there we have it, the stressful period of 8 weeks to go! I hope this was at least helpful to one person or you enjoyed reading about our wedding experiences.

When I look back, the one thing I would have done differently was I wish we had delegated more tasks to family and friends. Me and Joe put a lot of pressure on ourselves as we are both perfectionists and like being a part of every single detail. But we could have saved ourselves a lot of time and stress before the big day.

And, it's true what they say, you really do feel like eloping in the last 2 or so months... but it was all worth it in the end. Our wedding day was beyond perfect and more than what we could of ever of hoped for.

As always feel free to follow me on Instagram: @zoeyoliviablog or tweet me: @zoeyoliviablog. I'm forever responding and interacting on those platforms :).

Posted on: Sunday, 11 December 2016

PRIMARK December Haul

I know, I know, I've just recently filmed a PRIMARK haul... but, I just adore what PRIMARK bring into stores around Autumn and Winter time. I love all the cosy knits, fluffy socks and scarfs, and they are all really affordable too!

Since filming this, I have yet again popped into PRIMARK. *hangs head in shame*, so I can do another haul if you would like, or would that be a bit boring for you guys? Let me know either way :).

Any who, hope everyone is having a lovely Sunday. If you want to keep in touch and see what I'm up to daily, you can follow me on Instagram: @zoeyoliviablog or tweet me: @zoeyoliviablog. I'm forever responding and interacting on those platforms :).

Posted on: Saturday, 10 December 2016

Let it go... A reflection on this year!

For me, this year has been mentally challenging as well as being physically exhausting. I don't like to start my blog posts off in a negative light, but I have come to the realisation of a lot of things that have happened to me this year.
However, having said all that, I will continue to smile, be compassionate to the world, and most importantly work hard to achieve my goals in life, because let's face it, if there's one thing that I know about myself... it's that I'm one truly passionate individual who can put my mind to anything, even when I'm not feeling 100% myself.

Anyway, I had one of those 'let it go' moments fairly recently (literally, came home singing 'Let it go' at the top of my lungs) and it was deeply satisfying. And, quite frankly, I've never felt freer (is that even a word) or happier.

"It's time to see what I can do,
To test the limits and break through,
No right, no wrong, no rules for me I'm free!

Let it go, let it go, 
I am one with the wind and sky, 
Let it go, let it go, 
You'll never see me cry!"

Sometimes the simple, yet most beautiful things in life are right in front of you. The crisp golden leaves, the cold fresh air, cups of tea, strangers walking their pets, old couples holding hands, friends laughing so hard at the stupid silly stuff and the warmth of a fireplace. I could go on and on and on, but you'd probably tell me to shut up.

I'm not quite sure what direction I want to take this blog post. But, I guess I was just inspired to write. Writing makes me happy you see. Oh so very happy. I'm so excited to go home from work and explode my thoughts, my passions, my ideas and to share it all with you on my little blog bubble (That's not to say, I don't enjoy or love my job, because I fucking do, pardon my french).

So, if you ever feel like you're a bit stuck, feeling really challenged, or you feel like life really isn't your friend anymore. Let it go. Let it gooooo. Don't hold back anymore. Be yourself, be who you're meant to be. And most importantly breathe and enjoy your life. Live it to the full because you only have one!

Hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend! Psst... you can follow me on Instagram: @zoeyoliviablog or tweet me: @zoeyoliviablog. I'm forever responding and interacting on those platforms :).

Posted on: Thursday, 8 December 2016

Stoned Rose

Oops, I did it again... I picked up another one of Charlotte Tilbury's beautiful lipsticks. This time, I chose 'Stoned Rose'.
I was actually planning on wearing this shade for my wedding day, but changed my mind at the last minute, as you do...

Stoned Rose is a gorgeous browny-rose shade. And, is part of Charlotte's K.I.S.S.I.N.G Fallen from the Lipstick Tree range. These lippys are enriched with Tilbury's 'secret ingredient', an anti-oxidant that naturally protects the lips from UV damage and external pollution leaving them cashmere soft. As well as this, they use special waxes and clever light-diffusing pigments for full-bodied perfect lips.

The lipstick guilds on to the lips beautifully, as do all of Charlotte's lipsticks. The longevity is great too. Her lipsticks tend to last 5 hours on me, depending on what I've eaten and drank that day. And, as always I'm super impressed with the beautiful rose gold art deco inspired packaging.

This one ticks all the boxes from me, 5 stars! It's the perfect autumnal, winter nude shade. Great for every day use.

Also, if you're interested in my other Charlotte Tilbury reviews... Here is one gigantic haul. Here is another lipstick review on 'Kiss Chase' and 'Between the Sheets'. And last but not least, my all time favourite, 'Bitch Perfect' lipstick review.

Right, time to get offline. Hope everyone is having a lovely week! Not long till the weekend, woop woop. And, as always, you can follow me on Instagram: @zoeyoliviablog or tweet me: @zoeyoliviablog. I'm forever responding and interacting on those platforms :).

Posted on: Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Elizabeth Arden | the Red Door Experience

Last month I paid a little visit to Debenhams on Oxford Street, as I heard about the 'Red Door Experience' by one of the bloggers I follow. I have never actually tried any of Arden's products before, nor did I realise they do facials too! But of course, I had heard of some of her cult products. 

Any who, I had the Red Door Experience and thought I would share my thoughts with you.

So what is the 'Red Door Experience' you ask? Well, Elizabeth Arden took over Debenhams' flagship London store for a few weeks, with the idea that you can pop in for a 15 minute facial, receive a goody bag and get £20 off any purchase in store, all for £15. How brilliant is that? And with my wedding vast approaching I jumped at the chance! Such a bargain!

Before the facial, you have a skin consultation and you discuss your concerns, then they scan your skin with some type of machine. I was fortunate to be told, 'I had great skin, and that she could tell that I really looked after my skin'. And then it was time for the facial...

It was a really cool experience as the lady performed an 'oxygen blast facial' on me.
It's not a relaxing lay down facial by any means. You sit in a chair with your eyes closed, and this tool blows out all these fab ingredients on to your skin.

And, I did see the results straight away, my skin was glowing afterwards. And it did last a few days, even after my wedding which was great.

Afterwards, the lady gave me a goody bag with lots of exciting and versatile products for me to try, and told me I could get £20 off any purchase in store. So I treated myself to one of Arden's cult products, the eight hour intensive lip repair cream which came to £5, total bargain. And, I haven't stopped using it since I bought it, it's amazing!

(What I got in my goody bag: Always Red Femme Eau de Toilette Spray, Grand Entrance Mascara, Eight Hour Cream, Prevage Anti-Aging & Intense Repair Daily Serum, City Smart and Super Start.)

The Red Door Experience was a huge success, and I believe they extended the offer to run for a couple more weeks due to popular demand.

I thought it was such a cool idea, and I instagrammed about it at the time. So, apologies for typing this up a little later than expected. But hopefully you can forgive me as I've been ridiculously busy... 

I just love the idea that women on the go can pop in store on their lunch break and have an instant facial. It's such a clever idea, and for a really affordable price too. 

I would love to go back and try one of their other facials that last a bit longer, and see the full effect of it.

Overall this was a fab experience from start to finish. Perfect for the busy ladies out there, or for those attending an event or wedding and want their skin to be in fabulous condition. 

Of course, I popped into Cafe Nero on the way home. The Christmas cups are too adorable, I just had to share. Anyway, as always, you can follow me on Instagram: @zoeyoliviablog or tweet me: @zoeyoliviablog. I'm forever responding and interacting on those platforms :).

Posted on: Sunday, 4 December 2016

Top 5 MAC Red Lipsticks for Pale Skin

Hi everyone, sorry that I've been a bit absent on here recently... Some of you may know (if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter) that I got married early November, and that took up most of my time! But I'm back and I'm in full blogger mode. I'm actually really excited to get back into the swing of things, and I'm really looking forward to 2017. Lots of exciting, cool things ahead...

So, I finally got round to filming my Top 5 MAC Red Lipsticks a few months ago, but I only got round to uploading it recently 'cause as you know, life gets busy sometimes...
Anyway, I own quite a lot of MAC lipsticks, in fact far too many. Especially reds. But I've narrowed it down to five of my ultimate faves. The ones I get the most wear out of.

Here are a few snaps of me wearing one of my faves, Opera. Sadly this one is limited edition. But it's very similar to Russian Red as an alternative. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video as much as I enjoyed filming and editing it. These are my favourite kinds of videos to make at the moment... alongside my travel vlogs of course!

Anyway, time to get off the interwebs. Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend! 
And, as always, you can follow me on Instagram: @zoeyoliviablog or tweet me: @zoeyoliviablog. I'm forever responding and interacting on those platforms :).

Posted on: Monday, 31 October 2016

27 things I learnt for my 27th birthday

I thought I would do something a little different on my blog today. I'm celebrating 27 years of life and I thought I would share some life changing lessons I learnt along the way.

1) Your health is important. Take care of yourself.

2) Happiness is everything.

3) Work smart and enjoy yourself.

4) You are not responsible for everyone else.

5) Say 'no' more.

6) Don't be afraid to speak your mind. And stand up for what you believe in!

7) When you're planning a wedding, you realise who is truly important.

8) Money isn't everything but it does make the world go round sadly.

9) You've only got one life, live it.

10) Travel as much as you can. Experience different cultures.

11) Exercise is key for your inner strength and ideas. You'd be amazed how many ideas come to me when I'm running.

12) Do what you love.

13) You are the only person who can change and improve yourself.

14) Read more.

15) It's the little things in life. A cup of tea, a smile at a stranger if they look upset, being nice to everyone you meet, and fish and chips. The simple things that bring so much joy. 

16) See family and friends more.

17) It's ok to not be ok.

18) Be nice to everyone you meet, we've all got shit to deal with. And, a friendly smile is something they just might need.

19) Don't be too hard on yourself.

20) If you don't like it, change it.

21) It's ok to be alone and have alone days.

22) Hate and jealously are wasted emotions. Throw any negativity out of your life and focus on the good.

23) Stop comparing yourself to others.

24) "I can't tell you the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." 

25) Honesty is the key to healthy relationships. And I guess is one of my strengths as a person. What can I say... I'm a Scorpio.

26) Stop putting other people before you, especially if they don't care about you.

27) Try not to worry, it'll work out in the end. It always does.

Ok, so there we have it! 27 life lessons. I hope you found this somewhat useful or interesting to read. If you've got any life lessons you'd like to share, please leave them in the comments below as I love reading your comments :).

Also, Joe made me read this blog post the other day, which I found really interesting and found myself nodding along to every thing he said. It's an article by Mark Manson on '3 Important Life Skills Nobody Ever Taught You' which is what inspired me to write this post in the first place.

As always, you can follow me on Instagram: @zoeyoliviablog or tweet me: @zoeyoliviablog. I'm forever responding and interacting on those platforms :).

Posted on: Saturday, 29 October 2016

Lush Halloween & Christmas Haul

I love Lush, and, I know I've only just recently done a Halloween haul, but, I couldn't help getting a few more from this year's Halloween and Christmas collections.

I picked up Shooting Stars, Northern Lights, Monsters' Ball, Pumpkin and a lip scrub, Mint Julips. I've only tried Northern Lights before, so I'm really excited to indulge in some new treats.

Shooting Stars. This one is actually part of the Christmas collection!
Lush describe it as... "Honey-scented sparkles of Brazilian orange and bergamot waltz with swirling, golden stars, creating a world of cobalt colour. A calming blanket of shimmering, midnight blue unfolds."

I'm so excited to use this one! From the video demo on Lush's website, it looks incredible!
I love that it has bergamot oils as well as coconut cream and cocoa butter which are all great moisturisers. I can't say I've ever heard of 'Brazilian orange' though - sounds fancy. Overall it smells great and I'm super excited to try this.

Northern Lights. I think I picked this up last year or the year before, but I don't remember it being this weird long shape. But, from what I remember it created the most beautiful bath.
And, of course is inspired by the infamous Northern Lights (which I'm still yet to experience - it's on my list of things I want to do before I die).

Lush say, "Bring the ecstatic beauty of the night sky into the bath. Trails of blue and yellow jettison from a purple casing and dance across the water in otherworldly streams. As they do, cheery ylang ylang bobs and weaves with sensual jasmine in the air to light up your spirits."

Monsters ball'. This guy looks so cute! But is it just me, or have Lush massively increased the price of their bath bombs? This one was really expensive, it was £4.25, which is more than the other ones I picked up...

Anyway, "This monster mash-up of lime and neroli oils is a sure fire way to get the party started, and leave you feelin' Franken-fine all night long."
The main ingredients are of course lime and neroli oils, but it also has cocoa butter and oilbanum oil (which I can't say I've heard of), which are great uplifting scents.

Pumpkin. This one smells quite spicy and different which I quite like. It's supposed to be a bath bomb version of a 'pumpkin pie' but I think it's a lot more spicier.

"Sweet, comforting vanilla absolute and spicy cinnamon evoke the rich, biscuity fragrance of home-baking and stacked desserts, ensuring that you feel toasty from top to toe."

It's main ingredients are pimento berry oil which is an antioxidant and vanilla absolute for the fragrance. I'm quite excited to give this one a go, I can imagine it being warm and comforting on a cold night.

Mint Julips. I was in desperate need of a new lip scrub. My 'Popcorn' one has gone a bit hard, but I have had it for way too long. Anyway, I was up for trying a new flavour. I've had bubblegum, popcorn and now this one.

When I was in store, I tested this one and loved the minty-ness to it. It's really satisfying and I just want to eat the whole thing to be honest with you.

Anyway, time for me to get off the interwebs and get back on wedding planning. I hope everyone is doing well, and have a great weekend!

Love, Zoey

As always, you can follow me on Instagram: @zoeyoliviablog or tweet me: @zoeyoliviablog. I'm forever responding and interacting on those platforms :). Or, leave me a comment below.

Posted on: Friday, 28 October 2016

It's ok to not be ok...

It's really early in the morning and I can't sleep. I've got a lot on my mind that I'm just bursting to write about but I know I can't. What I will talk about is to remind everyone that it's ok to not be ok.

In this rollercoaster so-called life, we deal with many situations, some good, some bad. And sometimes health gets in the way and is a real pain in the ass. But what can we do? Ignore it. I try to... and have done for years. And, I tell you what, it's the biggest mistake I made.

Some of you may know I suffer with endometriosis, I think I've spoken about it once or twice on here. And some of you may also know I suffer with migraines and cluster headaches.

If you're unsure what any of those are, I'm not going to bore you with the details but feel free to google them.

Ok, so you may or may have not googled... As you can imagine, I deal with a lot of pain every single day of my life, and I put that aside because I don't like talking about it, it makes me severally upset. I mean, imagine wakeing up in pain every single day? To some extent where you can't move (endometriosis) or where you feel like banging your head against a wall until the migraine is physically removed from your head.

Well now I talk about something serious that happened to me... So, I was going through a very stressful period of my life, I had a wedding to plan (supposed to be the biggest life changing moment in your life), I had an extremely busy day job and I had my blog to run. And, I guess I was just under a huge amount of pressure, which I'm going to refrain from talking about for now.
And... well, I usually deal with work well. I'm a perfectionist and I work hard, I always have done. But it just all got too much.

I suppose you could say, I work hard so I don't have to think about my problems. Working hard and accomplishing things made me feel good about myself. But in reality it was taking a toll on my health. I was working 9 till 5:30 (sometimes later) with a thirty minute lunch break, I'd then quickly eat dinner then work till the late hours on my blog, freelance work or the wedding. And I'd work all day at the weekends. I didn't stop. I was like a machine. And look where that got me...

I booked an emergency doctors appointment and they took my blood pressure, I was 158! 158! At the time, I didn't think much of it. But my doctor looked at me in real concern. Boy was I in trouble... Anyway, there was no question about it, she signed me off straight away. But of course I refused at first... Not being able to work is my ideal of hell.

I then went home, googled 158 blood pressure... "140-160" Hypertension or something, on the verge of having a stroke or heart attack. I literally didn't know what to do. I stared at the screen thinking in my head, "are you actually serious lol." And then it hit me, if I carried on at the rate I was going, I could of died. I literally could of died. I know I'm being a bit dramatic here. But imagine how that feels like?

Since then, I have been resting, and I'm back on my old friend, Co-codomol... But there's only so much rest you can do when you're also planning a wedding.

I feel ok now but my heart rate still doesn't feel good.  And, I am dreading going back to the doctors incase she tells me off again for not looking after myself and taking it easy.

What I will say is, if you're going through something similar, stress headaches, migraines, cluster headaches or endometriosis, or maybe you're dealing with anxiety or depression. Please stay strong, you're not alone. There are people out there who will help you.
And, if you do experience your heart rate going a bit awol, please go and see a doctor. As they have your best interests at heart.

For me, the best way for me to deal with these happenings, is to write. Writing helps. It really does, it's therapeutic, and it gets off my chest. Also baths help, and exercise too.

So, I just want to say again, it's ok to not be ok. You are important and please look after yourselves. You're not alone. And please don't make the mistake that I did.

Love, Zoey

Posted on: Sunday, 16 October 2016

Anniversary Brunch at Thomas's

I can't quite get my head around the fact that Joe and I have been together for six years... It has flown by!

It hasn't always been rainbows and butterflies (as some of you may think), but we have a rare connection or so astrology (Scorpio and Pisces) tells me. He's my best friend and the only person that truly knows me... and he's soon to be my husband (very weird writing that).

For our sixth year anniversary, we kept it quite low-key as we have our wedding coming up pretty soon-ish. I treated Joe to brunch at Thomas Burberry's restaurant in London, Thomas's. It was incredible - the service, the food, the drinks... everything was perfect.

We had the whole floor to ourselves which was quite rare and lovely, it felt like we had our very own personal waiter. Every member of staff was super cheery and lovely. We even got treated to a glass of champagne on the house! 

The food was beautiful. I had a full english breakfast because why the hell not? You could really taste the quality of the food, and the toast was on another level - that was some seriously sexy bread I tell you. I also had a cup of tea, I can't remember the flavour, but it sounded fancy. 
Joe had some sort of fish pie with a side salad and pretty flowers that were edible. I had a cheeky bite and it was lovely too.
For dessert we shared the Millionaire's shortbread (my favourite) - wow this was heavenly. Every thing was perfection from the biscuit base to the dark chocolate coating. I need to go back and order about 10 of these!

After our lovely meal, we walked around Regent St. for a little bit and then headed home as we had work the next day, and didn't want to be out too late (oldies, I know). 

As always, feel free to follow me on Instagram: @zoeyoliviablog or tweet me: @zoeyoliviablog. I'm forever responding and interacting on those platforms :). Or, leave me a comment below if you've been to Thomas's or are thinking or going there soon.

Oh and
, i
f you're interested in seeing what we got up to for our anniversary in previous years, check out my blog post/vlog from last year at Sketch, and check out our fourth anniversary at the Mad Hatters Tea Party at the Sanderson Hotel. You can also watch the vlog here.

Posted on: Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Lush Halloween Haul

It's been a little while since I last paid a visit to Lush. I popped in to my local one at the weekend and they now have all their Halloween and Christmas collections in, which is rather exciting! I didn't purchase anything this time but I was gifted the lovely 'Relax' box, 'Guardian Of The Forest', 'Sex Bomb' and 'Blackberry' bath bombs by a lovely friend of mine.
I had already indulged and had two baths using 'Sex Bomb' and the 'Blackberry' one, hence they are not in the photo's. But I think I have spoken about those two before on my blog, or definitely posted a picture or two of them on my Instagram page

Anyway, starting to waffle... Let's start with Guardian Of The Forest - 'The Spirit of Nature'.
I think this is a fairly new one as I've never seen it before. On first impressions, it looks cool - almost has that dragon kind of look to it. And, it smells different to other Lush bath bombs, more of a fresh, garden-like scent.

Lush say, it's calming and toning with cypress oil,  an antiseptic with rosewood oil, uplifting and protecting with lime oil, and for the mossy fragrance, they've used 'Oakmoss absolute' which I can't say I've heard of before, but it smells lovely.

Relax - 'Find peace and quiet'. In this lovely little parcel were four items. You get 'A French Kiss' bubble bar (I've been wanting to try this forever!), Ceridwen's Cauldron bath melt (part of the Halloween range), Twilight shower gel and Butterball bath bomb (which I've had before and it's incredible). 

Sometimes, life does become incredibly busy and we can't stop. We have ginormous to-do lists every-day, busy day jobs, keeping up with social appearances, planning weddings (applicable to some), keeping up to date with blogs, writing content, the list is endless... We just need to slow down, take a step back and enjoy some quiet time. And this set does exactly that. The range has a mix of lavender, rosemary, cocoa butter and sandalwood oils, which are all super calming and moisturising. 

And last but not least, I have to say and huge thank you to Nicol who gifted me these gorgeous Lush goodies. I can't wait to use them all! And I shall report back on Instagram with the bombs and bubble bars in action.

As always, feel free to follow me on Instagram: @zoeyoliviablog or tweet me: @zoeyoliviablog. I'm forever responding and interacting on those platforms :).

Posted on: Monday, 10 October 2016

Birthday Wishlist

Every year, Joe, my family and friends struggle to get me presents for my birthday as apparently I'm really difficult to buy for... so I've put together a little wish list for them.

This year has been really hard choosing things I want or need because I usually buy everything myself anyway, and the things I want are really expensive... and I don't expect my family and friends to purchase any of the above, apart from maybe the John Lewis dressing gown, chloe perfume and aesop face mask.

To be honest I would just be happy with a nice meal, afternoon tea or an array of Lush halloween and Christmas bath bombs (I have been eyeing up Pumpkin and Shooting Stars in particular ;)) or I'd be really content with Estee LaLonde's Bloom book to read on my upcoming holiday. My mind is more focused on our wedding at the moment and my birthday has just crept up out of no-where if I'm being honest!

As always, feel free to follow me on Instagram: @zoeyoliviablog or tweet me: @zoeyoliviablog. I'm forever responding and interacting on those platforms :).

Posted on: Sunday, 9 October 2016

October Primark Haul

It's been a little while since I last filmed a Primark haul, but I recently popped in and got a few bits and bobs that I thought I would share with you.

Also, I apologise in advance that the lighting is a bit off. I'm looking rather blue which I can assure you I am not lol.

Any who, I tend to prefer Primark's clothing during Autumn and Winter, so expect more Primark haul's on my channel in the upcoming months.

As always, feel free to follow me on Instagram: @zoeyoliviablog or tweet me: @zoeyoliviablog. I'm forever responding and interacting on those platforms :).

Posted on: Friday, 30 September 2016

Where to eat in London #2: Dishoom and Workshop Coffee

I'm back with another 'Where to eat in London' post, this time round we have an Indian restaurant review and a coffee shop review. So, if you're wanting to try the best indian food in London and what to hear my thoughts... keep on reading.

Dishoom. Dishoom has been seriously hyped up as the 'Best Indian Resturant' in London and I agree, it's up there with the best.

Me and my other half were pottering around London on a Friday evening, and I suggested Dishoom as I've always wanted to go but there's always a ridiculously long queue. So off we went, and to our surprise, no queue but a 'thirty minute wait' told by the door-man.  We went inside to book and the lady said the magic words (for a hangry person) 'we have a table spare for you...'.
We sat upstairs over-looking the floors, it was impressive. And, I didn't actually realise how big it was - three or four floors! Insanely big and packed.

We were greeted by a lovely blonde haired lady and she explained all the dishes to us. We decided to share a garlic naan, rice, spicy lamb chops, chicken tikka and the house special curry. All arrived pretty quickly. And boy oh boy, was this tasty! The chicken tikka melted in my mouth, it was so tender and delicious, and the lamb chops had so much flavour and was also super tender.

I loved our time here, the food was amazing, the staff were super friendly and helpful and the interiors were beautiful. Also, I know this is really random... but the loo's are really cool too!

So, if you're in the central London area, pop down to Dishoom for the best indian food and experience! I will say though, do book ahead of time if you want to avoid the queues! Or go early! We did get pretty lucky with our table...

Workshop Coffee. Whilst we were in the Farringdon area, we popped to Workshop Coffee for a little coffee break. As we entered, we were delighted with the pretty interiors and friendly baristas. This place is super cool and I'd actually like to go back for brunch at some point.

Any who, I highly recommend the mint tea, it's so refreshing and a great pick me up when you're not feeling too sharp. Joe had one of the espresso's and he said how creamy and delicious it was.

So yes a worth-while stop by if you're in a hurry. Or a pleasant atmosphere if you want to take it easy, sip some coffee and work on your laptop.

You may also be interested in my other 'Where to eat in London' review. And, feel free to follow me on Instagram: @zoeyoliviablog or tweet me: @zoeyoliviablog. I'm forever responding and interacting on those platforms :).