Holiday Hazards (and how to avoid them)*

Over the years I’ve managed to get myself a bit of a reputation for being accident prone, even from a young age I was always the one to come home from a school trip battered and bruised (or once, covered in cow pat) and I’m yet to be forgiven for breaking my foot on my long weekend to visit family in Holland. I’m the kind of person who managed to slip two discs in my back just getting out of a chair and the look on people’s faces when I mentioned wanting to go trampolining was priceless. It kind of made sense to team up with Jefferies Solicitors to write a post about common holiday hazards and how to avoid them if for no other reason than to prove to my nearest and dearest that I don’t actively seek out these situations- and to be honest I’d do anything to avoid another trip to an A&E department abroad!

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Obviously nobody sets out on holiday aiming to become ill or injured but please don’t get complacent about arranging travel insurance. I stupidly didn’t have any when I had my accident in Holland and was lucky that I only got billed for my X-Ray. A more serious injury or an illness that required medical attention could see you with hefty bills to pay and no provision to get you home safe and sound.

Another hazard that you might not think about is the risk of sunburn. We’re all guilty of not slapping on the suncream as often as we should and I doubt there is anyone who hasn’t felt that all too familiar sting but it really does pay to keep on top of your SPF protection- sunburn can be so much worse than pink shoulders and a peeling nose. When severe it can cause blisters that run the risk of infection, sun stroke or even just discomfort that no amount of aftersun is going to soothe. I’m well aware of how pale my skin is and how quickly I burn so I never leave the country without factor 50 (and never go below factor 30 in the UK) and try to make a point of regular application- I’ve found setting reminders on my phone can be a real saviour!

Before you travel it’s wise to check up on the laws in the country you’re visiting. Landing a stint behind bars is more common than you’d think and often it’s down to simple ignorance and poor judgement. A few minutes research can save you a LOT of bother (thankfully arrest is one thing I have managed to avoid!)

If you’re tempted by water sports or other extreme activity do spend some time reading reviews of the companies you’re booking with and make sure they are a) qualified and reputable and b) insured. Paragliding was one of the greatest things I’ve done on holiday BUT I wouldn’t have felt at ease getting on to a boat, let alone up in the air with a company I hadn’t researched first.

If you’ve gone away with a group of friends, especially on a alcohol driven break PLEASE be sensible and don’t let anyone in your party wander off alone and be sensible when finding your way back to base. It’s all too easy to get carried away under the influence but it also makes you a very easy and vulnerable target.

One last common cause of illness and upset is food poisoning- the effects of which can last long after your plane has touched down on home turf. It’s so easy to get carried away, especially when food is cheap and the booze is flowing. Some simple things to keep in mind is to avoid buffets as a rule of thumb (especially in hot countries), stick to bottled water and order freshly prepared foods from menus where possible.

This post really is only the tip of the holiday hazard iceberg and I probably have missed many more obvious ones out as I’m mostly going from personal experience…feel free to add to the list in the comments, or regale me with tales of your holiday mishaps…

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Compact System Camera Wish List (and advice wanted!)*

With a big birthday approaching I’ve been given the task of coming up with what I would like as my “big” gift. I suppose it’s more traditional to ask for a keepsake gift such as a piece of jewellery or designer accessory but I’m not in need of either of these things, nor is there anything realistic that I have my eye on. So I’ve gone down the practical route and I’m putting serious consideration in to asking for a Compact System Camera as an upgrade and accompaniment to my current Canon DSLR- and this, dear readers is where you come in. I don’t have a particularly extensive camera knowledge so I’ve drawn up a short list and I’m hoping that from this I can get some advice on which one to pick…

(all images from John Lewis)

I’ve done a bit of reading around but to some extent the information goes over my head. What I really need is to know what cameras you guys are loving! Based on a bit of blog and social media stalking I know that the Olympus PEN is popular (and it certainly looks the prettiest) but am I better off sticking to Canon which is a brand I know and get on with? Or branch out in to new territory completely and try a brand I’ve never had a camera from such as the Lumix DMC-GX80 Best Compact Camera Panasonic? I’ve also thrown models from Fujifilm and Sony in to the mix which are both brands I have little experience with…I’m not especially loyal to any one brand (unless Apple bought out compact system cameras in which case I might be) but price is a consideration although if one of the pricier models gets the best votes I would be more than happy to add some of my own savings towards it.

Essentially this post is a plea for help! You have until April to help me make up my mind- and I will of course report back on the end result!

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Under £100 LFW Wish List with Mallzee

Ok, so in true Laura style I am (fashionably) late to the whole London Fashion Week thing, it has indeed been and gone by now and I’m only just hitting publish on this post. I have no excuse other than this season the whole thing seemed to pass me by. There was nowhere near as much buzz about the shows across my most used social media channels and I couldn’t tell you the first thing about upcoming fashion and beauty trends right now despite usually having earmarked a few.

Anyway, I digress- that’s not at all what this post is about. This post is about me finally pulling together a wish list of items that I would have worn to LFW had I been attending that all together costs under £100. This is in association with Mallzee.

Mallzee is THE must have app for anyone who likes to shop. Available free from both the Apple and Android App stores Mallzee is a platform that brings you hundreds of brands from Boohoo and Zara to Allsaints and Missguided all in one place enabling you to create wish lists galore and then shop directly from the app! You can also sign up for handy alerts that will let you know when the price of an item you love drops in price or goes on sale and there is only one checkout process involved no matter how many brands you shop with.

The App is really well set out and easy to use, it’s basically Tinder for fashion! You can search by item, save your size details and get inspiration from specially curated feeds. It’s highly addictive and I spent rather a long time popping together my under £100 wish list- not because it’s complicated but because I just lost track of time browsing…oops!
Outfit wise I went for something somewhat trend led but still practical. I’d wear the H&M leather look dungarees as a base layer with perhaps a short sleeve tee underneath. Over those I’d wear this mesh embroidered detail dress also from H&M and toughen things up a bit more with these AX Paris chunky ankle boots and keep my hands free with the backpack from Zara. The whole outfit comes in at £95.96 leaving enough change to grab a coffee on the go…winner!
If you’re yet to discover Mallzee then I strongly suggest checking it out- as a bonus if you sign up with my referral code we each get £5 free to be used on a purchase of £5 or more, it really is a win-win situation!

My code is “LAURABU” so get signing up and get shopping!

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New Additions to my Essence Collection

I wasn’t expecting anything to drop through my door this Valentines Day so when a red shiny package turned up I was a little bit excited. Excited with good reason as the envelope was home to some new goodies from Essence- and we all know by now just how much love I have for the bargain beauty brand.
A couple of the products were brand new to me so I thought I’d pop up some mini reviews of them. Whilst you’ll find Essence products everywhere in countries such as Spain and Holland they are much harder to come across in the UK but you’ll find them stocked in your local Wilko store or on the Wilko website so if you haven’t already then I strongly suggest you get acquainted with the brand.
I’ve tried many of Essence’s range of mascaras now and they have never failed to impress me. The Forbidden Volume mascara* is no exception- it promises dramatic volume with no clumping and it certainly delivers. One coat of this is enough for a wide eyed day-time look, a second coat is perfect for a more glammed up vibe without a clump in sight. All for £3- I don’t know how Essence do it but if you’re looking for a budget mascara to try then I strongly recommend their range.
Lip products are another area in which I think Essence excel and I really rate their long lasting lipsticks*. You really do get a good few hours wear out of these, far more than you’d expect from a lipstick costing £2.30. This time I tried shade 21 (très chic) which is a beautiful berry red.
Wearing one coat of forbidden volume mascara and long lasting lipstick in shade 21.
I love the Essence gel nail polish range- at just £1.60 per product they are the most purse friendly way to keep your nails on trend. This one is shade 14 “do you speak love?”* and is a berry toned red which I found really flattering against my ghostly pale hands (and yet forgot to photograph before I chipped my nails a few days later).
The 2in1 eyeliner pen* (£2.50) is a great idea. One end has a super fine tip and the other has one designed for a much more dramatic look. I was slightly disappointed by this as after the first couple of uses the fine liner end lost it’s colour intensity and came out more grey than black. The thick end is still going strong though and you really can’t complain at what you’re getting for the price- and actually I’m quite liking the less intense colour for more subtle day time approach when I want to wear liner but not necessarily something bold and in your face.
Have you tried any of these products or found any new favourites from the Essence brand? They have new products coming out on a regular basis and on the strength of these and the ones I have previously featured I am excited to see what’s next.

(Oh, and my unicorn tea light holder was a recent Primark find incase anyone was wondering!)

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The Embroidered Jeans Re-Visited

If there is one trend I’m glad to see sticking around for another season it’s the one for all things embroidered. I first fell for it early in the Summer when I caved in and bought my first pair of mom jeans (see blog post here). At the time I thought they were strictly a warm weather thing, not quite sure how to style them for colder times but with a little bit of trial and a lot of error I finally settled on a look I liked. Since then I’ve become a bit of a magpie for embroidered items and I predict a few more pieces finding their way in to my possession over the coming months.

Top: Topshop (similar) | Jeans: Glamorous (darker version only £15!) | Boots: River Island (available still on Zalando)

Although this is quite a simple outfit it takes me so far out of my comfort zone it may as well reside on another planet. Wearing fitted tops with jeans is a style barrier of mine but I felt surprisingly at ease in this combination once I got used to it. The attention deflecting boots probably played some part in that- there is something so spirit lifting about popping on a pair of jazzy ankle boots!

I hope everyone had a great weekend and is ready for another week. I had such a brilliant week last week that I’m not sure this one can compare but far be it from me to write it off before it begins, I’m open to whatever it wants to throw my way.

What trends are you glad to see sticking around? How would you style these jeans?

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