Travelodge Wembley High Road Review

Last week, me and my mum packed an overnight bag and caught the tube to travel to Wembley for a 1 night stay at Travelodge. I live in London but on the other side of Wembley so it was nice to get away for the night in an area of London we wasn't familiar with!

Conveniently, Travelodge is literally a ten second walk away when you exit Wembley Central overground station. I felt so silly when I had maps open on my phone ready to navigate us to the destination! I was a little confused how to get in because the rooms are all above a Costa, Argos and Milkshake Bar but I worked out you walk around the corner to the back of the hotel and the entrance is there.

We got the lift up to reception and was greeted by a friendly member of staff. We checked in and was given two swipe cards; one for our hotel door and one for the entrance door for security reasons.  We was booked in for room 230 and headed upstairs to find it!

Upon entry, I saw that the room was really clean and fresh smelling. In terms of cleanliness there is nothing either of us could fault. The room had a king size double bed and a single bed in the corner.  

There was a table with a chair and mirror and a kettle with coffee and tea choices in the corner. It was comfortable and perfect for an overnight stay.

The bathroom was well lit and had a huge mirror with a shelf which was perfect for makeup application. There was a shower above the bath which was nice having both options. It took a few minutes to work out how to flip from the shower to the bath but I managed to work it out in the end!

We both had a trip to the English National Opera that evening so quickly got ready and headed out. We got back and my mum made herself some coffee and we soon climbed into bed. I am happy to say it was one of the best night's sleeps EVER! I woke up in the position that I fell asleep so I don't think I even  moved during the night!

The next morning, we headed down to breakfast which was kindly provided; running from 7-10AM and 11AM on weekends. The lady in the cafeteria greeted us and ticked us off the breakfast guest list and told us to help ourselves. 

We was really surprised to see so many breakfast options. There was an English Fry Up with scrambled eggs, beans, grilled tomatoes, sausages and bacon. There was cereals, yoghurts, fruit, croissants and muffins. Finally, there was a coffee and tea machine for hot drink lovers and a fresh fruit juice machine which I fully took advantage of as I don't drink tea or coffee!

We had to check out by midday so headed back to our room after breakfast and chilled for a few hours. This was a perfect opportunity for me to catch up with emails and tweets!

When we returned the key, the lady at reception was very friendly and asked us how our stay for the night was and that she hoped we enjoyed our stay. Overall, I was very impressed with the service I received from Travelodge and left feeling very satisfied with our stay. Thank you Travelodge for having us!
Disclaimer * Travelodge provided us a room to stay in for me to review. However, all opinions are my own.

Full Time Blogging; The Raw Truth

My name is Ashleigh Dougherty. I am 22 with a degree in Photography, an alright blog which pays the bills and gets updated daily (usually); but I am unemployed and I don't know why.

I have never really known what I want to do with my life. I always felt the pressure growing up from older people around me constantly asking me what I will study at university and what job I hope to do afterwards. To be entirely honest, I wish I was still seven years old with the dream of being a vet or a supermarket checkout lady. Been there, done that. Ha! 

Photography was my main creative flair even before I launched my blog back in 2011. It was always something I felt I was good at and I seemed to get a lot of positive attention from people about the work I created. However, it was when I finished college and still didn't know what I wanted to do with my life that I realised I really didn't want "to be a photographer". The thought of working in a studio all day photographing people was not something that really appealed to me. Shocking, right? 

After finishing university last summer, all I had to concentrate on was my blog, photography and a little part time supermarket job. Yep, the inner seven year old in me would be proud! So, what did I do next? I started applying for fashion internships. I was lucky and landed myself a dream internship pretty quickly AND without an interview. This was the point that I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Without going into detail, it was an opportunity that threw me into the raw and bitchy pond of fashion. The snobbery, the constant judgement and the upkeep of having to impress about everyone I ever met! However, I was literally living any fashion intern's dream! I attended every LFW show, I was backstage meeting the teams and designers and I attended all of the A-lister after parties. However, only my travel was paid with the ever so slight promise of a paid job at the end. From this, I quit my retail job and even put my blog on the back burner. I had a new project to focus on! Sadly, it didn't work out and that's how I became unemployed.

So now, what did I have? I had my blog but I had neglected it ever so slightly. It was time to grasp what was right in front of me. I re-thought the content I was producing, got a brand new blog design (which I am bored of again), and began working harder to push my blog and brand as much as possible. Money wise; I had a bit of my university grant left over and some money saved so it was this that I was living on.

Fast forward 10 months, I am still out of a job and am just focusing on my blog. I would love to say that I am earning thousands, have a pretty and happy life that would make any Instagram feed look beautiful and a ton of blogging friends. Reality?? Well, I don't. It's a lonely life and I spend about 80% of my time on my own. 

Being a full time blogger means I am freelance and that means no guarantee of any kind of stable monthly income. Weekly Wagamamas, Topshop splurges and Starbucks caramel frapps are no more. The money I earn is enough to get by but not enough for any kind of luxury. There are so many things I want to do with my life and I can't. I want to go travelling, I want to pass my driving test and buy a car, I want to start saving for my own place. But, I can't. Not right now anyway.

I decided a few months ago to really think about where my life was going and take that scary leap onto the career ladder. The natural progression for the majority of bloggers is to move into digital marketing, public relations or social media. I have interned in all of these jobs before aswell as running a blog for 4 years so I thought it would be pretty easy to land myself a job in a swanky London office. I was wrong. 

I have had a handful of job interviews in agencies for digital marketing and social media roles but I haven't had any luck yet. However, I know competition is sky high and that you need to apply for a lot of companies before one sees any kind of potential in you and sends you that 'Congratulations! We want to employ you!' email. Maybe mine got lost in the junk folder? One could only hope.

Right now, I am trying not to worry too much about the whole job thing. Every day I look for new roles that have popped up over night and I try to apply for at least two jobs a day. However, right now I just want to be happy. This is probably the first summer EVER that I have felt completely content with my blog and where it is going. It is incredible to know that companies give a damn about what I have to say and my opinion and it is the best feeling in the world to know that there are people out there (YOU GUYS) who are currently reading this. (Two million brownie points if you made it this far).

I guess what I am trying to say is; I am fresh and bouncing with new ideas (also less naive), but I literally have no clue what I am doing. Every single day I wake up, get ready, answer emails, photograph products, write blog posts and completely wing my life. I am in control. I have no one to tell me what path to take or what to do next. I don't know where my life is heading at the moment and it often gets me down but then I remember a few positive things. I am healthy, I am happy and I have the support of my family and an amazing boyfriend. Anything else would just be a bonus right now.

Let's Make This Night Last Forever

Kimono: New Look* | Top: Primark | Jeans: Topshop | Shoes & Clutch: Primark 

I couldn't help but smile when opening these pictures on my computer this morning ready to blog this look. This is actually the outfit I wore for my first date with Josh! HENCE the Blink-182 reference in the title. Get it?

Anyway, enough about my (amazing) love life. 

I have been working closely with New Look this month to style a kimono in a few different ways. I thought I would kick start with a date night outfit. 

As soon as I saw this dusty pink kimono*, I knew I HAD to have it. Just look at the beautiful embellishments on it! Layers upon layers of beads and sequins, it definitely does the talking for any outfit and is most definitely a head turner. 

It's a little bit harder to style than I first thought it would be but I have some ideas in my head which are yet to come to life. I am thinking of styling it up with some swimwear as I have some amazing holiday bits on their way to me. 

You can never go wrong with a pair of white jeans for a date night or evening out. They are a little bit different compared to the standard blue or black skinny jean and are great for summer evenings. Mine are the Topshop Joni jeans which I don't rate at all (remember the drama of them when they first hit Topshop stores??) BUT these have lasted quite a while so I can't slate them that much. 

I have a couple of these Primark chiffon cami's now. They are great when you just want to throw on a pair of jeans or culottes/palazzo pants and need a simple top to wear. They're also really light weight which means I will definitely be taking them on holiday with me. 

I also have these shoes in practically every colour that Primark have brought out. They're super comfy... so much so that I often wear them during the day too. Not being very tall, they make my legs look a lot more flattering than they actually are!

I'm still in awe of the kimono's beauty. JUST LOOK AT IT! I will most definitely be re-featuring it at some point; so definitely look out for that one. 

How would you style this? Let me know below!

Brainwavz S0 Earphones

I don't know about you but depending on what music I listen to has serious results on how much work I get done. I have certain types of music for different thing. If I am photo editing, I prefer listening to something with a bit more of a beat so I'll stick on some house/dance music on my wifi speakers or even a cheesy 90's playlist.  If I'm writing I prefer songs that are slower with a calmer acoustic vibe so I can concentrate on the content I am trying to produce. 

Brainwavz S0 Earphones*

Technology never really bothers me until I get something new and realise I've been missing out on being a cool kid for a very long time. For the last couple of weeks I have been trialling some new ear phones from Brainwavz. I've been using earphones for years but I find they aren't very good in terms of blocking out background noise; especially on the underground! Londoner problems!

Brainwavz have a whole range of different ear and head phones. When I was offered to review a pair, I just couldn't say no. Before this, I had been using a really cheap pair that didn't justify any kind of music I listened to. Therefore, I would often go without listening to music on the go and suffer on long bus trips!

The Brainwavz S0 earphones* are a classic design with sleek metal ear pieces especially designed to benefit any genre of music that you listen to. I was rather intrigued to say the least and so was my boyfriend who whipped them out of their box and gave them a go first!

Firstly, they are packed neatly into their box with a little carry case which I am SO thankful for. There is nothing more annoying than pulling your earphones out of your bag to find them all tangled! The actual cord is flat too which prevents tangling. There are many different ear tips that you can add. The silicon ones are great because they have different sizes. Josh found them quite easy to fit into his ears but I found they kept falling out of mine because my ears are smaller! This was when we discovered the foam tips which add more of a texture to the tips so they stay in your ears. They are also especially designed to enhance the bass in music. 

So, how do they perform sound-wise? 

I tried them out with different genres of music. I started with acoustic and found they performed well and balanced out the audio between both left and right. I tried them with and without the foam tips and much prefer them with them but it's great you can switch them up depending on your musical requirements.  I then tried out louder options such as house and rock and again; I found they performed well. They don't however, block out ALL background noise such as music in the car but they perform well overall for an ear phone product and I'm not disappointed in them. 

The Brainwavz S0 earphones retail for £39.50 on Amazon which is a great price for a good quality earphone. 

Retro Sweets Hamper Giveaway! (CLOSED)

Happy Tuesday, you beautiful people!

Okay so, simple instruction. Hands up if you love sweets! Your hands are up, right? I know mine are (and both of them!). If you want to get your little paws on a retro sweets hamper like below then carry on reading and be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post! But make sure you enter the giveaway correctly!

Retro-Sweets are a family business and online retailer. Their products are all about quality and personalisation. The fact the company have been going for ten years and are truly dedicated to supplying amazing personalised gifts for people to buy is quite special.

I was kindly allowed to review a retro sweets hamper of my choice and review not only the products but the overall service too.

Firstly, there are SO many hampers to choose from so it did take me a while to make a final choice! I ended up choosing the 'Classic Retro Sweet Hamper' which has everybody's classic favourites; jelly babies, cola bottles, shrimps and lots more yummy options!

The hamper is packed into a cute little vintage-style wicker basket with leather style straps. Everything was packed neatly with pink tissue paper and a personalisation card with my name on it. This would make an amazing gift for someone!

1) Be a follower of Being Ashleigh on Bloglovin - click here to follow me.

2) Write a comment on this post below with the following:
  • Your Bloglovin link (so I can check you are following me!)
  • ANSWER THIS QUESTION: What is your favourite retro sweet?
  • Follow Retro Sweets on Twitter (@RetroSweetUK)
  • Leave a contact email OR twitter handle (@) so I can let you know if you win!
T & C's:
  • UK entries only, sorry!
  • Prize is a hamper like above.
  • The prize will be sent directly from Retro Sweets. 
  • No cash or prize alternative
  • Giveaway is open for two weeks only; running from 23rd June - 7th July at 3PM.
Good luck!

Royal Ascot 2015

On Friday, I was invited along by Appletiser to the Royal Ascot; a prestigious yearly horse racing event which is attended by the Queen and other members of the Royal Family.

Neither of us had been before so we were all really excited but at the same time didn't really know what to expect. The drive was about two hours long but we was driving from Essex.

When we arrived, we were given a car parking allocation which made things a lot easier as there was people EVERYWHERE. Neither of us expected the queues to be as busy as they were when we arrived! Luckily however, we were given Grandstand admission tickets, so the queues weren't that bad and most people had already been admitted ready for the first race by the time we arrived.

Grandstand admission tickets involve walking in through the bar areas and then out into the arena. To get to the areas where the horses run, you have to walk down the steps.

There was six races throughout the day which the boys (Josh and his brother) put some bets on and they actually won a few of them which they were very pleased about!

So, what did we all wear??

Outfit preparations took a couple of weeks and it was definitely a lot harder to plan them than it should have been. Firstly, the original dress I had was strapless and then I found out you're not allowed strapless dresses at Ascot.  So, I then chose another dress from Chi Chi London which didn't fit properly so another size was ordered and it arrived 15 MINUTES before we left for Ascot. How lucky was that?!

The dress I wore is called the Rosa Dress*; a light pink bardot style dress with a gorgeous blue floral print, an A-line pleated skirt fit and a concealed side zip. It really brings you in at the waist giving you that perfect 1950's shape which I love! Amazingly, it's only £61.99 to buy which I think is a wonderful price as the quality of the dress is outstanding and will definitely be an option for weddings and other big occasions.

Dress: Chi Chi Clothing* | Bag: Topshop | Sunglasses & Heels: Primark

Josh went for a lovely blue suit, waistcoat, tan brogues and belt to match alongside a lovely royal blue knitted tie from Will McNally to match my dress.

Shoe details. Josh's brother went for some super cool printed shoes which got a lot of attention!

Josh's brother's wife (also called Ashleigh!) wore a very similar fit skirt with a yellow and ivory floral print, a high neck top tucked in and nude heels. So pretty!

During the last few races whilst the boys were placing bets, me and Ashleigh chilled on the grass with some wine as the weather was stunning so it was nice to soak up the sun and the atmosphere.

People watching is one of my favourite things to do - especially when everyone is so unaware!

Ascot finished up about 5.30pm. Ashleigh packed a picnic for us which we had when we headed back to the car... except we had forgotten a blanket so ended up sitting on car floor mats ha!

We then started the long journey back home and went for an Indian which was super yummy! A really good day and something I am very grateful to have experienced. Thank you so much to Appletiser for the tickets and Chi Chi clothing for the dress :) Royal box next year?