As you all know, I’ve just come back from a holiday in the sun in Ibiza! The holiday had its ups and downs but I sure am glad I got away and had the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine and relax. Of course I’ll go into more detail about the holiday, but in the meantime, here’s a quick photo post showing a snapshot of what we got up to.

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | Ibiza in photos; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; Travel; Ibiza; Ibiza Rocks; Together Week; Together Week Ibiza

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | Ibiza in photos; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; Travel; Ibiza; Ibiza Rocks; Together Week; Together Week Ibiza
Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | Ibiza in photos; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; Travel; Ibiza; Ibiza Rocks; Together Week; Together Week Ibiza

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | Ibiza in photos; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; Travel; Ibiza; Ibiza Rocks; Together Week; Together Week Ibiza

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | Ibiza in photos; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; Travel; Ibiza; Ibiza Rocks; Together Week; Together Week Ibiza

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | Ibiza in photos; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; Travel; Ibiza; Ibiza Rocks; Together Week; Together Week Ibiza

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | Ibiza in photos; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; Travel; Ibiza; Ibiza Rocks; Together Week; Together Week Ibiza

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | Ibiza in photos; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; Travel; Ibiza; Ibiza Rocks; Together Week; Together Week Ibiza

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | Ibiza in photos; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; Travel; Ibiza; Ibiza Rocks; Together Week; Together Week Ibiza

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | Ibiza in photos; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; Travel; Ibiza; Ibiza Rocks; Together Week; Together Week Ibiza

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | Ibiza in photos; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; Travel; Ibiza; Ibiza Rocks; Together Week; Together Week Ibiza

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | Ibiza in photos; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; Travel; Ibiza; Ibiza Rocks; Together Week; Together Week Ibiza

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | Ibiza in photos; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; Travel; Ibiza; Ibiza Rocks; Together Week; Together Week Ibiza

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | Ibiza in photos; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; Travel; Ibiza; Ibiza Rocks; Together Week; Together Week Ibiza

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | Ibiza in photos; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; Travel; Ibiza; Ibiza Rocks; Together Week; Together Week Ibiza
Among the days spent lazing by the pool, the boozy nights with Together Week, and a beyond lovely intimate boat ride to end the holiday, I had a lovely time and can’t wait to tell you all about it in further detail.
Oh, and in case you can’t tell by my many photos, the sunsets were amazing. One even gave me goosebumps…
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I struggled to think what books to take away with me on holiday.

I wanted books that were chick lit, lighthearted and romantic, but I also kept an eye out for any zombie ones too. I also didn’t want to take too many or anything too heavy because there wouldn’t be space in the suitcase and, in the past, I’ve taken loads of books away with me but never had time to read them all.
So this time around I limited myself to just three.
Here’s what I chose.

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THE MINIATURIST | JESSIE BURTON
I’ve actually been trying to read this for a while now, but found I haven’t had the time to sit down and read it properly, and so far, it’s looking to be something that needs my full distraction and that can’t be dipped in and out of easily. It’s about an eighteen year old girl named Nella Oortman, who arrives at a grand house in Amsterdam to meet her husband Johannes Brandt. Her wedding gift is a cabinet-sized replica of their home, soon to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist. It’s supposed to be mysterious with lots of twists and it will be the perfect alternative to my chick-lit reads this week.
ALWAYS WITH LOVE | GIOVANNA FLETCHER
Admittedly, I don’t have high hopes for this story. I have read a couple of Giovanna’s books – most notably Billy and Me, which is the prequel to this novel, but didn’t find myself thoroughly impressed. She can write, that’s for sure, but her stories just didn’t seem like anything special or didn’t particularly move me, nor her style of writing. However, I personally think she’s such a lovely and inspiring person and have decided to give her writing another go. Always With Love looks at the distance between average Sophie and rockstar Billy, when he flies out to LA and extends his stay there, meaning Sophie has to come home alone. I’m intrigued, especially as I love any stories with a rockstar in them, so let’s see how I feel about it.
THE ONE WE FELL IN LOVE WITH | PAIGE TOON
I absolutely adore Paige Toon’s writing, although have found nothing quite lives up to my love of her Johnny Be Good series! I did consider buying the spin off books that relate to Johnny’s ‘long lost daughter’ (for lack of a better explanation) but I read a preview and it didn’t really grab me so I thought I’d try this, especially as many people have been praising it online. It tells the story of three very different girls who once fell in love with the same man (not at the same time, I don’t think) and I anticipate that this will be the perfect book to get stuck into whilst lounging about by the pool this week.
So that’s the three books I’m taking away with me on holiday, here’s hoping I get through them all! Although I am very disappointed that Lindsey Kelk has nothing new out right now, as she is the ultimate chick-lit-beach-read writer!
Are there any other books I should have taken with me?
Let me know! 

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This months playlist mixes some good old indie – half of which is lying about in my Shazam tags, the other half I’ve discovered at the gym of all places – somehow just one song by Jack Garratt, who I can’t stop listening to since Lost Village, and some mostly old but still awesome clubbing tunes to get me in the mood for Ibiza.
Which I won’t actually need by the time this post goes live as I’ll already be in Ibiza.
Haha.
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Twenty One Pilots are my ULTIMATE FAVOURITES right now, I have been listening to them non-stop (even more than Jack Garrett – sorry Jack) and I just can’t stop. Someone stop me. No, don’t.

Anyway, do enjoy. I’ve even thrown in a little bit of Calvin Harris, who is recently single..!

For some reason, at the time of writing this, it keeps saying playlist is empty! I’ve googled and apparently it’s a temporary glitch – but if not, I’m away so cannot do anything about it 🙁 In which case, if you cannot listen to the playlist via this post, click here to see the playlist in a new window.
Sorry it’s being such a div. But enjoy, ha!
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On Wednesday, I was lucky enough to head down to the recently refurbished Brache Beefeater in Luton, to get a feel of the restaurant following a huge makeover.

I was beyond excited, first of all because it’s so nice to have a blog opportunity close to home and to focus on somewhere so lovely and local – especially with all the bad rep Luton used to get.

Secondly, because everyone I’ve spoken to has always raved about the Brache and I’d been eager to visit for a while now, following their makeover and to see if the restaurant had improved since the last time I’d been there.

The last (and only, actually) time I’d visited the Brache in Luton had been for a work Christmas meal a few years back, and although it was enjoyable, I wasn’t overly impressed. The food was nice, but I remembered the look of the restaurant being quite dark and crowded. So although I did enjoy it, my experience there wasn’t really anything to write home about!

So obviously I was really glad to have the opportunity to visit the restaurant following its makeover.

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Straight away, I was impressed upon arrival with not only ample
parking but such a pretty car park! I know it’s not a necessity to have a
pretty car park but let’s face it, many places just have something
basic and not nice to look at. The Brache Beefeater had lots of trees and
bushes and it just generally made the building seem a bit approachable.
Inside,
I found myself continually impressed. The makeover had given the
building a world of good – it’s now spacious and bright with a modern
bar but very homely seating and deco. It was ever so welcoming and
although it was the perfect basis for a family meal, I think some parts
were a little romantic, too.
Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Foodie Review | The Brache Beefeater, Luton; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; The Brache; The Brache Luton; The Brache Beefeater; Beefeater; Luton

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Foodie Review | The Brache Beefeater, Luton; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; The Brache; The Brache Luton; The Brache Beefeater; Beefeater; Luton
My Nan immediately mentioned how nice it was that the waiter asked
her if she was okay with us sitting upstairs. Although this isn’t
something that applies to me personally, I do know the plight of there
being many stairs/not enough seats for the elderly when out and about.
She was over the moon that he bothered to check her ability, even though
she was absolutely fine with seating upstairs. It was the small gesture
that counted.
Upstairs was perhaps more spacious then downstairs and had beautiful large bay-like windows overlooking the many trees in the car park.
The
decor upstairs was lovely too – enough to peak your interest – for
example there was a lovely wall piece explaining the different types of
chopping knives – but not enough to be over the top.

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The food itself was absolutely delicious. I went for the grilled
chicken, bacon, cheese and avocado burger which came with fries and
coleslaw and, as I love my mushrooms, I ordered the crispy flat cap
mushrooms as a side for the table. It was all so, so good. I had no idea
bacon and avocado could work together so well!
I’m
also not generally a fan of grilled chicken but I was pleasantly
surprised. Even on its own, the chicken had tons of flavour and even a
bit of a kick to it.
My brother had the smothered chicken melt
and my Nan fish and chips – and both were thoroughly impressed. The
portions were very generous too and unfortunately I could not finish all
of mine.
I’d definitely say the food was a ten out of ten!

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Although we didn’t go for a steak personally, we found there was tons
of choice on the menu. The steak menu was varied which is good, but we
also found there wasn’t ‘just’ steak, obviously, and we had a lot to
choose from.
The service from the staff was also what
made our visit. From checking my Nan was okay to be seated upstairs to
serving us promptly, I couldn’t fault them. I also found that they
genuinely seemed happy to welcome us – as I know often when being served
in a restaurant it can feel like a member of staff is serving you but
just going through the motions – but not here. The staff were lovely.
I
also have to say there were lots of toilets too! Yes, the restaurant is
large but many times I’ve been to a large restaurant and found not
many facilities so this was a bonus. Plus they were kept clean and tidy.
Overall
I found my visit to The Brache Beefeater spot on. Often I go to a restaurant
and have a great time but tend to have just one or two niggles like
having to wait too long for food or the staff seeming a bit off, but I
honestly couldn’t fault The Beefeater in the slightest.
I’ll definitely be going back.

PLUS
For
those of you who might want to take my word for it and visit
yourselves, I have very kindly been offered an exclusive code for 25%
off! That’s as good a reason to visit!
If you’d like to take advantage of this generous offer, please note down the code 588114033 and present it upon arrival.
I’d
also like to thank the team at The Beefeater for letting me pop down
and visit – I’m already looking at the menu online and deciding what I
want for my next visit soon!

*Please note, although we were kindly invited along to The Brache and offered a voucher to cover our food bill in exchanged for an honest review, all views are entirely my own and have not been swayed.
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I quite enjoy doing diddy little posts like this.
Although I am conscious not to share my whole life on my blog, as I do feel there is a line, sometimes it’s really useful to do a little catch up post especially if I want to recommended a place or  share my thoughts on something and when a full post about each simply isn’t possible.
And, of course, we all love a good nosey at a lifestyle post 😉
Here’s what I’ve been up to sort of lately or at least what I’ve been sharing on Instagram and Snapchat.

Oh, and by the way, you can find me on Instagram at Louise_Joy_!

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Around a month or so ago, I spent the weekend catching up with the girls from H&M. It’s rare that we do get together as we’re all so busy now (and out of ‘the girls’ there’s only actually two out of around seven of us who are actually still working at H&M) but when we do it’s ever so lovely and I find we often have really nice chilled, chic evenings out. The first two pictures are of our food and drink after our evening out in St Albans. The first photo shows a portabello mushroom, halloumi, red pepper hummus burger with a side order of halloumi fries at The Beech House, and it was all ever so yummy (and healthy, too). The delicious looking cocktails in the second photo were taken at The Brickyard, which actually turns out to be that famous bar that went viral for having the ‘bad Tinder date’ sign in the bathroom.
I really, really loved this bar and found it was right up my street. Not only did it have an extensive list of yummy tasting and sophisticated cocktails, but the bar itself was just lovely with fairy lights, tall wobbly wooden stalls, little curtains you could pull across if you want to drink in peace and a really down to earth team of staff. 
Me and the girls can’t wait to go back.
The second two photos were taken on a day out in London with my brother and sister. The first was a cocktail and cake from The House of Time and Wonder, which saw this old townhouse in Spitalfields transformed in a topsy-turvy house to help promote the new Alice in Wonderland film. It was really quirky and fun!
And, the next photo is just of my delicious bacon, pancakes and syrup food at The Breakfast Club. SO GOOD.
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These photos speak for themselves, really. A visually pleasing (and visually tasty) lunch at work the other week, my gym kit, as blogged about, a pair of really cute unicorn shoes I just HAD to get from ASOS, and me posing like a loser after I got my hair cut/went a bit blonder. I needed it short for holiday as I can’t stand it being long.
Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | Life according to Instagram
Another selfie from me here, but a personal favourite of mine, looking festivally with my pink-tipped hair, glitter under my eyes (style tip – if you’re tired at a festival and have bags under your eyes, glitter covers them up excellently), and bubbles at Lost Village Festival.
Followed by a new bed set from Primark which is so cute, a quick lunch when shopping this weekend just gone and a new playsuit I tried on and promptly purchased from Topshop.
I spent way too much money holiday shopping.
Well, that’s it and that’s what I’ve been up to lately. I’m off on holiday this Sunday and I’m currently busy scheduling blogposts for while I’m away. In between temporarily moving into my nans, working full time and trying to get everything ready for holiday, this week has flown by so far and I’ve got my fingers crossed that I managed to get everything sorted blogwise..
Wish me luck and do let me know what you’ve been up to lately!
 
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