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25.8.16

Lifestyle: 5 Quick Tips For Keeping Your Home Tidy

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Does you feel like your home always seems to be disorganised? Mine too! 

I don’t know about you but since becoming a home-owner its definitely taken me some time to adjust (a whole year and a half) to having my own home, especially when learning how to keep my home organised and as clutter-free as possible. 

A lot of the time cleaning and tidying the house can seem difficult and time consuming, but it actually can be pretty simple when you stop perceiving “cleaning” as a task that always requires a hell of a lot of your precious time and effort to be put aside. 

It’s completely normally to finish work, head home, still have a to-do-list as big as your arm, but wait a second, you also need to factor in cooking dinner, oh and ideally go to the gym, sound familiar? 

That’s pretty much me everyday, so of course its completely natural that cleaning and tidying is going to be the last thing you want to think about doing. 

I’m no saint by all means but I’ve put together a couple of handy tips below which I’ve started practicing at home, which are actually helping to make cleaning / tidying / organising a much more simple and effortless activity!  

1) Don't wait, tidy as you go
The longer you let clutter sit before cleaning it up, the harder cleaning it up tends to become. Instead of saying “I’ll clean it up later”, make yourself clean things up right away to save time. 

For example, every morning I have a habit of getting out of bed too late, I then proceed to throw all of my clothes out of my wardrobe and onto my bed as I’m frantically searching for something to wear to work… 

It makes much more practical sense for me to put these clothes away as soon as I’ve picked an outfit rather than leaving in a heap on the floor and arriving home to later that evening in a tired state! 

While this might seem difficult at first, it will eventually become a habit that makes it easy to keep your home free of clutter, so keep at it - you’ll thank me later :) 

2) Listen to music while you hoover!
Do you dread hoovering? Music sure does make this onerous task a lot more fun! 

Along with my trusty Spotify summer playsuit in hand, something that has recently made my hoovering routine a lot more productive is my Dirt Devil hoover (*). I’ve been lucky enough to receive my own to keep so have been testing the product for the last couple of weeks. 

When we first bought the house, we purchased a Dyson hoover in the sale,I must admit, it was a little pricer than the hoover purchases in comparison to my university days, however we wanted something reliable that would give an overall professional and consistent clean for our first home, week after week.  

I do love my Dyson hoover and it really is great for pulling up all the dirt, although, it can get pretty heafy to lug around sometimes, especially up and down the stairs. That’s where my Dirt Devil comes in handy - for getting into those hard to reach places where my Dyson cant, so hoovering the car, hoovering the stairs, the furniture etc.  

Dirt Devil is aimed mainly at the more budget end of the market; people who need something that does the job but doesn’t cost the earth so is ideal for students and first time home owners - so if your looking to speed up your hoovering routine, the portable and lightweight Dirt Devil could be a good option for you!

3) Don't use it anymore? Recycle or give to charity!
One of the easiest ways to organise your home is by having an “honest clear out” as I like to call it and get rid of any of the bits you really don’t use or have a place for. 

With some bits, you’ll likely have to be a brutally honest, like that jumper you bought last year and will always try to convince yourself you still wear, yet it hasn't graced your silhouette once? 

With clothes, I either end up donating to charity, usually through the supplied bags which come through the front door most weeks. 

To my sheer delight, we now have a H&M in town offering a scheme to recycle your old clothes in exchange for store vouchers! Isn’t that great? Well its perfect for a H&M lover like me. You’ll get a £5 voucher (to use off a minimum £25 spend) for every bag of clothes you trade in - so at the moment I’ve been utilising this service!  

4) Put the dishes away while you make your morning cuppa 
Believe it or not, emptying the dishwasher or clearing the draining board of cutlery and dishes every morning can be strangely therapeutic - dont’cha think? 

I’ve started to get into the habit of emptying the dishwasher or wiping down the sides while I’m waiting for my morning cup of tea to brew, or while I’m topping up the food for a hungry kitten - by doing so your killing two birds with one stone - sorted! 

Plus, you’ll thank yourself later when you return home to a gleaming kitchen!  

5) Clean / tidy one room at a time
Does your simple ‘two up two down house’ sometimes feel like its a never-ending maze of mess when it comes to cleaning? 

Make cleaning simple by splitting it into a room-by-room task that you can spend a few minutes on each day, by doing so you’ll find it will take up very little time each day!  
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23.8.16

Travel: A Night In The Giraffes Nest - South Africa Sleep-Out Experience

treehouse in the south african bush motswari private game reserve
motswari sleep out experience south africa
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watering hole view from the giraffes nest
inside the giraffes nest motswari
overnight giraffes nest meal
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overnight stay in a treehouse in south africa
sunrise at the giraffes nest
motswari private game reserve sleep out experience
the giraffes nest overnight treehouse
hyena at watering hole
hyenas feeding at watering hole motswari
sleepout experiences at motswari
Imagine waking up high in the elevation of a tree, in the middle of the African bush, watching the sun rise over the horizon and seeing the wildlife coming to life right before your eyes, only meters away? 

That would be pretty spectacular huh? 

Well thats exactly what I was lucky enough to experience with our once-in-a-lifetime treehouse experience at the "Giraffes Nest". Its the Motswari Private Game Reserve's very own sleep out experience where you spend a night under the star, nestled amongst the wildlife. 

A few weeks ago, I embarked on the trip of a lifetime to South Africa with Alex and his parents. Predominately for his cousins wedding at the start of the trip in Johannesburg, of course we decided to extend into a two week trip with some safari experiences through in, so we travelled into the Mpumalanga area, which embraces the southern half of Kruger National Park. 

As I'm sure some of you will know, Kruger National Park is a huge nature reserve with abundant wildlife including big game, in particular the "Big Five" - Elephants, Buffalo, Leopards, Rhino and Lions. 

After Johannesburg, our second stop was just outside the Kruger National Park at the Paul Kruger Gate staying only moments away at the brilliant Hotel Protea Kruger Gate - there is more about my stay at this hotel to come! 

For our third stop, we delved even deeper into the South African bush to the Timbavati Private Game Reserve, which is located on the north of the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve at the western edge of the Kruger National Park. 

This is where we were booked in to stay for 3 nights at the luxurious four-star Motswari Private Game Reserve and for our middle night, experience the Giraffes Nest, basically a open-air treehouse in the middle of the African bush! 

Something I must share with you first, to set the scene... 

A few months before making our trip over to South Africa ironically I was in email conversations with a Marketing & PR company called Ethos Marketing about travel, something completely unrelated to South Africa, when we stumbled onto the topic of location.. turns out their office is based just down the road from me (small world huh!). 

To make things even more relatable, they happened to manage the Marketing and PR for the Motswari private game lodge, which is when they introduced me to the idea of the Giraffes Nest "sleep out experience". 

Low and behold you can imagine we jumped at the chance and were extremely excited, intrigued and scared all at the same time, eager to know what would be in store! 

So whats the Giraffe Nest like?

The Nest itself overlooks the Xanatsi Dam and is about a 5-10 minute drive from the main Motswari camp. (even more scary that its just you and the animals on your own for the night). 

On our second night as our afternoon / evening game drive was drawing to a close around 7pm and we were making our way back to camp, we were to be dropped off at the Giraffes Nest for the night. 

Upon arrival we were greeted by a guide detailing the evening ahead, who showed us how to work the handheld radio (incase we needed to make contact with someone at Mostwari camp during the night) before leaving us alone to enjoy the tranquility and privacy of the night ahead. 

The treehouse itself is perched three meters above ground, with two locked doors leading up the stairs to the main area. Although I did not think so at first (convinced a leopard would climb and pounce on my face in the night), we were very protected in our canopy among the trees whilst enjoying mother nature's greatest show below. 

We had a cooler box stocked full with our selection of drinks to see us through the evening and for our evening meal a picnic dinner was provided to enjoy. Alex pretty much drank himself to sleep that night on red wine, while I lay awake, half petrified, half exhilarated, listening to the hyenas cackling and chatting amongst themselves into the depths of the night. The night was filled with all sorts of animals groans, grunts and chattering.. and we did hear some noises below, using the spotlight to reveal a couple of hyenas down at the dam! 

What I liked most is that the Mostwari Giraffe's Nest oozes rustic charm with an authentic interior, while still offering all the comforts and indulgence of the main camp - with two wrought iron three quarter beds, crisp linen and mohair blankets, all surrounded by a large mosquito net on an elevated platform, meaning you can keep an eye on what happens at the dam from the comfort of your own bed. 

Plus to really top off our experience, and make for a romantic night, the "nest" comes complete with a retractable roof which you can leave open when you go to sleep for a night under the stars, or close over in the unfortunate event you experience rain. During our stay we were so lucky to experience a completely clear sky littered with stars and even planets - it was a truly unrivalled experience and a night I'll never forget!

For all of those wondering where do you go to the toilet - don't fret, (I did at first) there is even an eco-bathroom upstairs, with a working shower (only freezing cold water I'm afraid but it sure did help wake us up in the morning), so theres no need to even leave your platform above the landscape or miss a single moment. 

After a night with not much sleep, but armed with lots of exciting stories to share with our guide, tracker and Alex's family, we were collected for our morning game drive at around 6.45am where we embarked on our 3.5 hour morning game drive, then returned to the Mostwari main camp in time for a scrumptious breakfast - just what I needed! 

xo. 
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19.8.16

Travel: Eckington Manor - Country House Hotel near Pershore, Cotswolds

eckington manor luxury hotel grounds
eckington manor in the sunshine
deluxe room with roll top bath at eckington manor
deluxe room at eckington manor pershore
eckington manor room with roll top bath
fired earth ensuite bathroom
modern copper lamp interior hotel room
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relaxing in the roll top bath
bathroom at eckington manor
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amuse bouche eckington manor
quail starter eckington manor
beef fillet and braised shin main
eckington manor fine dining masterchef professionals
white chocolate mousse with grapefruit curd dessert

















Exciting Opportunities
For a good six months or so now alongside running this travel and lifestyle blog, plus working full-time as an Inbound Marketing Strategist for a digital B2B agency I have been occasionally freelancing as a travel and food writer for an luxury online magazine called Luxury Lifestyle Magazine

I am very fortunate to have stumbled upon the opportunity at a time when they were looking for a local writer who was interested in food, exploring new places and ideally located in the Surrey area. As and when an opportunity arises I am tasked to regularly review up-and-coming hotels and restaurants who are seeking exposure for their brand and looking for a placement in a luxury online magazine.

Writing for Luxury Lifestyle Magazine means I have the opportunity to explore, travel, visit and stay at some fabulously luxurious places around Surrey and in this case, further afield in the Cotswolds. Of course more importantly this opportunity enables me to showcase my writing skills to a much larger audience and will gradually help me towards building up a portfolio of travel articles for high-profile clients.

These opportunites are separate to my blog, however, whenever I go I tend to take photos of pretty much everything and anything that is photogenic. I do not provide imagery for the articles and on this particular occasion I took so many photos so I thought my blog would be the ideal place to showcase them and direct you over to the full article on the site - if its something of interest of course :)

Review: Eckington Manor
In this particular instance I was chosen to review the beautiful Eckington Manor, an elegant country house and hotel nestled in the Avon valleys, tucked away on the border of the picturesque Cotswolds. Set back from the hustle and bustle, Eckington Manor is stowed away in a secret corner, just outside Pershore village, across from the river Avon.

Eckington Manor boasts a luxury five star rating, with all individual rooms offering voluptuous super king size beds with Egyptian cotton linen, flat screen TV’s and complimentary wifi throughout.

To my delight on this press stay we were staying in one of the deluxe rooms, with the luxurious addition of a roll top bath which proudly stood against an impressive internal wood panelled wall adorned with framed pictures of freshly grown herbs and seasonal produce.

You can see from the pictures above just how luxurious the room and the manor grounds were!

Lets skip to the food!
Well, thats another story! Chef Sue Stinchcombe and her husband Mark are the couple behind the Farm to Fork food philosophy at the heart of Eckington Manor. Mark Stinchcombe also proudly holds the title of winner of the 2015 “Masterchef the Professionals” BBC series.

Our evening started with an amuse-bouche; a delightful introduction to the variety of flavours on offer, with a curried cauliflower and coriander foundation and crispy bits - it was the epitome of “truly scrumptious”.

The main; Eckington Manor rib eye of beef and braised shin with caramelised onion, wild mushroom and a red wine jus graced our plates. The beef rich and cooked to perfection and oozing with fierce flavour. The addition of the braised shin added great texture to the dish and a melt-in-the-mouth experience...

Without giving too much away, I'd love for you to head over to Luxury Lifestyle Magazine and read the full review of my stay at Eckington Manor.

Or why not check out my other food and travel articles on the site? http://www.luxurylifestylemag.co.uk/author/rightupmystreetblog/

I'd really appreciate you taking a look and letting me know what you think?

I work so hard and put so much of my personal time and effort into producing enticing, helpful and honest reviews for my readers so I hope you enjoy what I've put together!

xo.

*Please note my occasional writing position at Luxury Lifestyle Magazine is an unpaid position, I am merely a contributor to the site and receive complimentary food, drink and overnight accommodation in return for an honest review and feature on the Luxury Lifestyle Magazine website.* 
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17.8.16

Fashion: Boohoo - Whats Your Style Squad?

Rightupmystreet Boohoo Boho Style Squad
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Bohemian style squad
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mule demi wedges with tassels boohoo
rightupmystreet collaboration with Boohoo
festival fashion look

Outfit details:
Alice Bomber Jacket - Boohoo (*)
Off The Shoulder Tassel Playsuit - Boohoo (*)
Double Circled Layered Necklace - Boohoo (*)
Tasselled Saddle Cross Body Bag - Boohoo (*)
Fringe Mule Demi Wedge - Boohoo (*)

I was recently contacted by the lovely content team at Boohoo asking if I'd like to collaborate on their new Style Squad campaign.

I was challenged to take their "Whats your style squad?" quiz and then Boohoo would kindly kit me out in some fresh new threads for my wardrobe, I just had to make sure to incorporate at least one item from my assigned style squad into my chosen outfit.

The quiz is aimed to determine which style squad you fit into: GLAM, URBAN, BOHO, SOPHISTICATED or GIRLY.

After taking the quiz I can hardly say I was surprised that after answering the questions I was assigned to the - Boho Squad.

Style Squad: Boho
To be honest, I kind of have my toes dipped into just about every single one of the style categories above. However, its true, there's nothing quite as summery as a romantic white lace dress and the boho squad sure knows it. According to Boohoo - Boho style squad members are all about freedom in fashion; floaty fabrics and flared detailing.

I'm definitely still a late adopter of the "flared detailing" trend, purely because I don't think flared trousers suit my body shape, however floaty and oversized fabrics; jumpsuits, playsuits (only gathered at the waist), beach dresses and maxi dresses - anything with an air of graceful yet natural elegance is definitely my style.

This wasn't a tricky challenge at all because I absolutely love bohemian clothing and the laid-back, floaty vibe each boho piece can convey.

This outfit from head to toe is Boohoo and staying true to my style and squad I centered most of my outfit towards a "Boho" theme, in particular I picked up this khaki brown off-the-shoulder playsuit with tasseled sleeves.

Heading towards the festival style route I opted for these gorgeous fringed mule wedges and the almost matching tasselled saddle cross body bag, both quite similar with their tassel detail - the perfect pairing! I decided to give this rather relaxed outfit a sharp edge with a crisp white bomber jacket - a bit more urban / glam in style.

The great thing about Boohoo is that its accessible, on trend fashion for all, with such low prices, this entire outfit totalled just under £70 (see all items linked above) - not bad going huh?

Interested in finding out which Style Squad you'd represent?

Take the quiz below to find out!

I'd love to find out what style squad you fit into, so leave your outcome in the comments below :)

xo.


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15.8.16

Travel: The Cotswolds Romantic Road Driving Route

Broadway Cotswolds yellow stone houses
The cotswolds romantic road
Bourton-on-the-water the little venice of the cotswolds
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Bourton-on-the-water riverside
Smiths of bourton tea room and restaurant
Smiths of bourton tea room cotswolds
Cream tea at Bourton-on-the-water in the Cotswolds
Cotswolds little sweet shop
Bourton-on-the-water village
Bourton-on-the-water best looking houses
quaint honey coloured stone houses in the cotswolds
Prosecco stop in the Cotswolds

If your looking to find a typical Cotswolds scenic driving route scattered with honey coloured stone villages and beautiful rolling countryside then you should definitely take the Cotswolds Romantic Road from Broadway on your next trip to the idyllic Cotswolds countryside.

I've been lucky enough to have visited the Cotswolds a couple of times this summer and when I was browsing the internet for things to do and places to see while on our weekend break a friend suggested we drive "Cotswolds Romantic Road" route - a relatively quick way to see all the little villages and hidden nooks and crannies of the Cotswolds in one all-round trip.

The best thing is, you can do it as quickly, or as slowly as you like - its your choice whether you park the car and walk around at every stop or just take the whole route driving non-stop, maybe as a detour via your journey back home?

Here's a link to the full route map for the Cotswolds Romantic Road.

Me and Alex luckily had a couple of nights in the Cotswolds where we were based in Winchcombe, an ancient Anglo-Saxon town ideally situated mid-way between Broadway and Cheltenham.

In Winchcombe we stayed at the charming and quaint The Lion Inn, a boutique pub with rooms which I reviewed here. The route itself suggests you start from Broadway so we were ideally placed to follow from the beginning, step by step.

Bearing in mind you can start the route from pretty much any stop on the map - its pretty simple, you can either follow the map directions, or just look out for the next village stop on the road sign posts.

What's even more exciting is this route's "sense of adventure" as most of drive route uses small 'B' roads and ungraded local single track roads with passing places, so if your like me and end up being the passenger, you'll probably spend most of the time in-between villages closing your eyes, squealing and putting trust in your partner while they navigate the windy, narrow country lanes!

The circular route from Broadway passes through several typical Cotswolds hill villages, a quaint riverside village, the Little Venice of the Cotswolds (Bourton-on-the-water) and an ancient market town - only to name a few of the route's iconic landmarks!

Like I said, if your in a rush, or have some time constraints you could easily drive the route non-stop and it would only take you a couple of hours because the total mileage is only 45 miles. However, in order to properly take in the beauty of the rolling hills and countryside you'll want to spend a good full day exploring, walking, and have the odd re-fuel stop along the way.

In my opinion, the villages well worth a stop and wander are Broadway, Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter, Bourton-on-the-water and Stow-on-the-wold.

Bourton-on-the-water is very touristy and known to many as the "Little Venice of the Cotswolds" and is well worth a stop - there are plenty of quaint tea-rooms scattered throughout the village and plenty of bustling pubs boasting a enviable riverside location where you could stop and grab a cider with a memorable view!

On our Cotswolds travels we checked out the Smiths of Bourton tea-room for a delicious cream tea! If you decide to stop off in Stow-on-the-wold make sure you visit The Sheep on Sheep Street for a tasty bite to eat or a refreshing mojito pit-stop.

If your looking for a base to stay in the Cotswolds, see my reviews for The Lion Inn in Winchcombe and The Ragged Cot near Cirencester (south Cotswolds).
xo.
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