This week I had the opportunity to attend which was technically my first ever proper bloggers event. I’m not a ‘big’ blogger, and haven’t really attended any ‘official’ blogging events apart from blogger arranged meet ups and things like that so I was really surprised and excited to hear from the lovely Aqua PR inviting me to a beauty blogger tea party. Luckily for me, one of my best blogging buddies Lisa also bagged herself an invite, so we headed into London together and found ourselves at the stunning and beautiful St Paul’s Grange Hotel, eager to meet everyone.

Myself & Lisa and the view from the hotel from the top floor (when we tried to leave we accidentally ended up on the top floor with a bunch of smart old business men who stank of alcohol, they were dead friendly though to be fair)

After Lisa reminisced about the time she’d been there for a hen do, and amazed me by telling me that there was a night club in the basement, we headed up to the glass balcony to say hello to everyone. Once everyone arrived we were split into two smaller groups then given a tour of the Ajala Spa. As soon as I walked in, the tranquil atmosphere immediately hit me. The spa had an amazing relaxing atmosphere paired with mocha, brown and cream coloured deco with various plants dotted around, all adding up to a really soothing surrounding. I’ve never been to a spa before but I was surprised at how relaxed I felt just walking around without even receiving any treatments, which I suppose is the sign of a good spa!

The Ajala Spa boasts five treatment rooms,  sauna, steam and aromatherapy rooms, a sun therapy lounge (we commented that this was definitely needed with our lack of a summer this year!), an 18m long pool and even a gym. I was surprised at how big the spa was considering it was tucked away in the hotel, but at the same time I think it was the perfect size to feel very intimate and exclusive without being too overbearing.

After our tour we re-joined the others for a beyond delicious afternoon tea, complete with finger sandwiches and scones. It was all so yummy! It was great because the event was very exclusive so there were only a few of us which meant we had lots of opportunities to chat away and network. We chatted about how expensive it is setting up new beauty brands and how so many brands are choosing to collaborate with bloggers, how polite we are being English and how rarely we complain when something is wrong, and of course, a long chat about all the different treatments the spa offers and all the lovely Sranrom products. There were some Sranrom products laid out on the table for us to try (as well as some to take home in our goodie bag!) and the products were so lovely. I tried products from the Happy Moments range and each had a really relaxing scent and left my hands feeling so soft. I will of course review my goodie bag products in a proper blog post soon!

Once we thanked everyone for such a lovely day and left, we still had an hour or so to spare and the weather was nice so me and Lisa decided to explore a little around St Paul’s Cathedral, which I’d never actually seen before. It was beautiful! We then grabbed a Starbucks (a Very Berry Hisbiscus Starbuks Refreshers Beverage for me! Phew, what a mouthful, I’ll have you know that when I ordered I simply pointed at Lisa and said ‘Whatever she ordered. But the berry one.’) and sat on St Paul’s steps catching up before heading home. We also made time to take a couple of cheeky outfit photos, so keep an eye out for an outfit post, a review of my Sranrom products and also a post about the Hammam Ritual I’ve booked myself in for soon.

I had an amazing day so I’d like to give a massive thank you to Aqua PR and everybody on the day that made the event so much fun. It was lovely learning more about the treatments that the Ajala Spa offers, as well as chatting to some lovely ladies about the other side of beauty brands that, as bloggers, we don’t really hear about regularly. If anyone likes the look of the spa as well I would more than recommend it. We felt extremely welcomed whilst we were there and left feeling beyond relaxed even though we hadn’t even had a treatment.

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I haven’t really blogged a lot this week because in between working and spending time with friends and family, I’ve had an old friend come to visit! My friend Jo was one of my best friends at university (she still is a best friend really) and we have so many great memories together. Some that come to mind would be when we got on a bouncy castle drunk and ended up headbutting each other, the fact that for the first few weeks that I knew her I was convinced her name was Claire and our themed birthday nights out as her birthday is the day after mine!
I don’t get to see Jo and my other friend from university, Becky, too often due to distance. The last time I saw them both was last summer. Jo is a dancer and had an audition in my hometown this week and another in London so she came to stay for a couple of days. It was a lot of fun seeing her and catching up with everything.
Anyway, in a rare Sunday catch up post, here are some random photos showing what I’ve been up to recently, including the adventures I’ve been on with Jo.

Soooo let’s begin with last weekend. Last weekend was ‘Party in the Park’, an all day outdoor event that takes place in Dunstable. We first went last year and it was such a good day that we couldn’t wait to go again this year – there’s a pop up bar and BBQ and lots of bands on. It turns out on Saturday it wasn’t actually THE party in the park (that’s next month apparently) but something similar with 80s bands. Like last year, I headed down with my parents and Amy joined us. I planned not to drink at all really (the amount of regrets I have from last year’s event..) but somehow this didn’t quite happen. Within an hour, me and Amy were drunkenly stumbling around Asda, clutching a large bottle of Vodka, in the search for a straw to mix our drinks. After asking 5 different members of staff, we ended up having to buy a pack of £500 straws. Oh dear. The day provided lots of jokes though, we all had a laugh, and ended up out afterwards too. We met the mayor as well!

The following day was fathers day and my dads birthday so we all went to play golf. It was a lot more fun than I expected! I was better then I expected, but I also totally sucked and came last. Afterwards we went on a lovely long countryside walk before going for a lovely Sunday dinner in a pub. On the way back though, it began to rain and I was feeling both sick and hungover, hence me pulling a face in the bottom left photo on that long half hour walk.
Finally, here are some photos of what we got up to when Jo arrived. In a feeble attempt to show her a good time in merry old Luton, we went for a meal during the week then I introduced her to some of my friends and just chilled out. On Tuesday she had an audition at the pineapple dance studios in London (check her out!) so as the weather was nice, I popped down to London with her. Whilst she was in the audition, I explored the extremely odd/morbid Old Operating Theatre and then afterwards we took a stroll around Camden. It was a lovely day and it was nice having a mooch around all the funky stalls. Afterwards, we grabbed some chinese and sat by the river gossiping about boys and chilling out.
Also, it was nice walking past The Electric Ballroom in Camden and pointing out to Jo the very spot where I met and kissed John O’Callaghan, and the Electric Ballroom also being the first time I saw The Maine live. I’m a geek, I know.
Watching…The Returned
Reading…The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne
Listening to…The Maine’s Forever Halloween
Playing…The Simpsons Tapped Out
Smelling of…Harajuki Lovers Fragrance – Lil’ Angel
Perving on…John O’Callaghan (as always)
Loving…Camden! I can’t wait to go back…

This week, one song I cannot stop listening to is…

P.S Feel free to follow me on Instagram @Louise_Joy_ for more photos of what I get up to throughout the week!
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Imagine my surprise when I arrived home from work recently to find this book waiting for me at home! I love reviewing books and have been very thankful to be able to read and review this one – for a start, look how cute the cover is! Doesn’t it just make you want to get a giant ice cream and sit reading on the beach at Brighton or somewhere?
Vivien’s Heavenly Ice Cream Shop is the second novel by Abby Clements and you can read my review of her first book, Meet Me Under The Mistletoe, here. I loved her first novel and already thought Abby Clements was a talented writer so as soon as I realized this book was her second novel, I knew I’d enjoy it.
This story is all about two sisters trying to run their late grandma’s ice cream shop together, despite the fact that it’s looking a little run down and the sisters are the complete opposite of each other. Anna is settled in her life having just moved in with her long term boyfriend whereas Imogen is constantly jetting off around the world to travel. But when they unexpectedly inherit the ice cream parlour they struggle to keep their grandmothers legacy afloat, even though running an ice cream shop was the last thing either of them expected to be doing that summer.
The blurb reads –
When Imogen and Anna unexpectedly inherit their grandmother Vivien’s ice cream parlour, it turns their lives upside down. The Brighton shop is a seafront instuition, but though it’s big on retro charm it’s critically low on customers. If the sisters don’t turn things around quickly, their grandmother’s legacy will dissapear forever.

With summer fast approaching, Imogen and Anna devise a plan. Rather than sell up, they will train up, and make the parlour the newest destination on the South Coast foodie map.

While Imogen watches the shop and conjures new marketing ideas, her sister flies to Italy to attend a gourmet ice cream-making course. But can their best-laid plans survive their warring family, tempestuous love lives – and the great British weather? One thing is for certain – this summer will be like no other…

I loved this book because it was the perfect summer holiday read. It just reminded me of days spent on the beach when I was younger and used to go on caravan holidays down south with my parents, eating giant ice creams and lazing out under the sun. Do people still go on those types of holidays anymore? It’s all about going abroad these days, isn’t it..anyway, this book definitely reminded me of those times and put a big smile on my face and I’m sure it’ll have the same effect on you. The whole book is about re-creating the vintage charm memories have, bringing old memories up to date and helping keep them alive. 


My favourite part of this book was that it had two main characters – sisters Imogen and Anna. Both were lovely characters but complete opposites of each other so that if you couldn’t relate to one, you’d almost certainly relate to the other. I loved that their different personalities clashed in a number of different ways – at points they found it hard to run the shop together because of it, but at other times they balanced each other out which was great. I also liked how almost half way through the story they pretty much swapped lives – Anna jetted off to Italy for an adventure whilst Imogen was stuck at home running the shop.
It was also interesting to read as it dealt with some of the inevitable issues you have to deal with when you ‘grow up’. The sisters worried as their dad fell into depression once his mum had passed away, and then there were arguments within the family about who should get the shop. It’s a sad thing to know that these type of issues will one day crop up, but I thought it kept the book realistic and grounded.
Despite these side storylines, the story was very much lighthearted otherwise. It was funny, inspiring and even had a bit of romance in it. It was just the perfect book to read on a lazy day and it was easy to come back to time and time again. 
It taught me that sometimes life will throw you challenges which will literally turn your life upside down – but this isn’t always a bad thing. It changed the sisters’ lives in a good way and was a blessing in disguise – I think it was a challenge they definitely needed to overcome without even realizing it themselves.
I also loved the recipes at the back of the book! I’ve definitely been inspired to have a go at making my own ice cream now…
You can purchase Abby Clements Vivien’s Heavenly Ice Cream Shop on Amazon now.

P.S Check out the Book Reviews tag for more book reviews! Also, please do visit Hanging On Every Word – another blog I’m part of. It’s a collaborative book review blog between myself and some other bloggers and there are some great reviews on there! Please do check it out!


*Please note, this post contains a PR sample.

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Just a brief post this evening, continuing on from all the blogger panic revolving around the discovery that Google are basically ending GFC. It’s all a bit up in the air at the moment – none of us quite know where we’ll stand in terms of subscribing to our favourite blogs, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared, does it?

Just in case I wake up one day in the summer and find all of you lovely subscribers completely dissapeared with no clue whatsoever on how to keep up to date with Inspire Magazine, I’d just like to remind you that the blog is available on a number of different platforms. I’ll probably add some actual buttons in my sidebar too. So check out a few of the links bellow, some of them do link to my personal accounts, for example my Twitter and Instagram, but I do use these to talk about new posts going up so I suppose it’s relevant.

I think generally, bloglovin’ is the website that most bloggers seem to be heading towards. Although most of us are also on other social media websites, I think this is going to be the go-to website when it comes to checking blogs!

   

Although it’s disheartening to see, especially since I’ve found blogging to be such a supportive and friendly community, change isn’t always bad. Just because GFC is dissapearing and we cannot track our subscribers all in one place, it isn’t going to change our content or the way we communicate with each other.

I’ll most definitely still be blogging away and I hope you all do manage to catch up with all my most recent posts but if not I’d like to thank you all anyway for reading and supporting the blog over the past few years. I may not be a ‘big’ blog that gets invited to events all the time or sent free products, but I love my blog just the way it is. And I will be sad to see GFC go because since blogging I have managed to bag myself some great opportunities. I have been able to go to a few lovely events, review some awesome products and most importantly, I’ve made some really great friends through blogging who I now consider to be best friends in real life too.

Farewell GFC, it was fun while it lasted!

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I’m kind of funny when it comes to blushers. I absolutely adore blusher but it’s so easy to get it wrong. To me, blusher is very feminine and normally the final touch to any look but I still find it hard to believe how so many different ladies pile it on and on and just end up looking like a clown. I don’t know why, but I’ve never struggled with blusher (which is a first because I usually fail at anything else that comes with being a woman). And lately I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with different blushers ; light, soft and coral ones for summer days or days when I want to look quite natural and girly pink shades for days when I want to look my best or I’m heading out. It tends to vary but it means I normally swap between different blushers regularly.
My most recent favourite is Maybelline Dream Touch Blush in shade 02. I love this shade, it’s very natural and has the most gorgeous coral/cream tint to it meaning that when applied it gives you that perfect natural flushed look. It’s the type of product that looks so natural that no one would guess you’ve applied it specifically!
Normally I prefer powder blusher, but I’ve found this cream extremely easy to apply. It’s easy to build up although even after one swatch of it on my cheeks I find that’s enough. It lasts all day too and the cream makes it much easier to blend in.
The packagaing itself isn’t anything special – I think my all time favourite blusher packaging would be the special edition Bourjois blusher with the different Paris themed cases but still, you get a large amount of blusher/cream in the pot so I think it’ll last ages.
It’s a feminine, flirty colour, it blends in well and is easy to apply. There’s not really anything I can fault about this!

Maybelline Dream Touch Blush is available from Boots.

P.S Feel free to check out the beauty reviews tag for some more beauty related posts and beauty reviews!

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