This week I dragged my boyfriend to Waddesdon Manor, a beautiful 1870s country house near to Aylesbury. To be honest, I say I dragged my boyfriend, but he was actually very happy to go! 

The reason I wanted to go is because the manor (and it’s grounds) has so much on at Christmas and I visited years and years ago with my nan and parents, having an amazing time. I’d always wanted to go back – and we always tried to – but it just didn’t happen. So as part as my birthday present, my boyfriend agreed to take me on a day that the Christmas fair was on.
We also booked tickets to go inside the house and see the decorations as on my last visit, my family and I only visited the grounds.
After just an hours drive, we arrived near to the house where we were welcomed with two tall beautiful Christmas trees. We were actually nowhere near the house but already I felt festive! We drove down through the gates and to the car park, where we hopped onto a shuttle bus that took us down to the house.

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A seasonal visit to Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market

Though the walk itself is only twenty minutes or so long, it was very chilly so we decided to take the lazy option! As soon as we stepped off the bus I was blown away to see the magnificent house in front of us. Pretty Christmas lights twinkled in the trees surrounding the house and down each side of the long lawn, pop up cabins/chalets hosted the Christmas market.
We got stuck in, admiring the decorations from each cabin and the delicate string lights criss-crossing from cabin to lampost, emitting a romantic glow as we walked beneath. The first cabin we visited was a foodie one and even had a vegan burger on offer – perfect! Vincent scoffed his in no time (it was too spicy for me!) and we began a slow walk to check out what was on offer. Though we saw lots of great things, we actually forgot to buy any gifts and just bought some chilli sauces for ourselves!

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A seasonal visit to Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A seasonal visit to Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market

After a mooch around the market, we explored the grounds. The stables looked particularly festive – and the walk from the house to the stables was nice. It was a winding path through trees but lit up with small lantern lights. We spent half an hour in the playground too – there were some fun things to do as adults! – and generally just spent the rest of the time gazing at the festive decorations.
When it was almost time for our timed entry into the house, we walked up and realized there was an outdoor light show. With floodlights changing the colours of the trees and sound effects, we were treated to a short but sweet show held against the backdrop of the house. We saw colourful butterflies fly over the walls outside and even snow! It was really beautiful.

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A day at Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market

Inside the house was even more festive. Even though we only saw a handful of rooms, each had a different theme and the trees were out of this world. I got so many ideas for our tree (when we eventually get one!) and loved walking through the old walls and delving into the houses past.

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A seasonal visit to Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market
Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A seasonal visit to Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A seasonal visit to Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market
My only qualm is that we didn’t get to see much of the house at all. Obviously not every room is decorated for Christmas, but as we spent £30 for the both of us to visit the house, I was quite surprised to find we were in and out within only twenty minutes. Still, I was glad we got to see inside and the trees really were beautiful!
We also had issues finding somewhere to eat, though this is through no fault of Waddesdon. There was lots of food on offer, but this was mostly pop-ups or cafes which of course served nothing vegan. We should have booked in advance to eat in the restaurant really but didn’t think that far ahead.
Saying that, I was pleasantly surprised to find even a vegan burger on offer at the market, it’s just a shame that it was too spicy for me! We found solace in the raclette cabin which offered cheesy chips and gravy – we ordered it without the cheese to make a delicious but light vegan snack.
All in all it was a really lovely and festive day. Waddesdon Manor is still one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited and there really is nothing like it come Christmas. From the Christmas market to Waddesdon Imaginarium (the light show projected onto the house), there really is so much to see and do this winter, proving that it’s worth risking the cold to make a visit.
Have you ever been to Waddesdon Manor? Let me know!
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Firstly, massive apologies that this post didn’t go live yesterday. First of all, my blog was down for some unknown reason (I left it to GoDaddy to fix it entirely and it was fine again this morning; yay!). Second of all, I totally didn’t even realize it was the 1st. I mean can you even accept the fact that it is now the FIRST OF DECEMBER. IT IS THE MONTH OF CHRISTMAS. WE ARE LIKE ONE MONTH AWAY FROM 2018/NEXT YEAR.
I can’t believe it. But I do know I’m in full on Christmas mode and have been gearing up for this for a while now. It’s finally acceptable to be excited for Christmas now though.
Here’s what I’m looking forward to this month.
Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | Hello December | Waddesdon Manor | Dark | Year One | Star Wars: The Last Jedi
THE BOOK
I love dystopia/survival books, so Year One (Chronicles of The One #1) sounds right up my street. The premise is based around a sickness wiping out the world and a small group of people trying to survive after the end. But where science and technology failed, magic has risen instead; both good and bad. Lana and Max begin an adventure to survive and the book tells the story of the other survivors they meet along the way.
Year One will be released on the 5th December.
THE MOVIE
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is finally coming to our screens. We’ve all purposely avoided all trailers as we’re all going to go see it at the IMAX in the new year, but everyone knows it follows on from the last movie when Rey finds Luke. It was the last movie that really made me a fan of Star Wars, so I’ve no doubt this one is going to blow me away also.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released on the 15th December.
THE EVENT
Seasonal days a plenty! On Wednesday, I’m dragging my boyfriend along to Waddesdon Manor to see their Christmas fair again and to finally see inside the house. Saturday is my work’s Christmas do and the following week I’m starting early birthday celebrations. My boyfriend has a super fun surprise planned for me which I’m so excited about but it’s been so tough avoiding reading all about what’s going on in London this month in fear of ruining the surprise. Next Saturday my sister and I are heading into London for my annual birthday celebrations and we’re going to The Vaults for their Dance Before Christmas. Not quite sure what it entails but it’s clearly gonna be really fun and unique based on the venue; so I better get a new dress! All these events will be covered on the blog, so keep an eye out.
THE TV SERIES
New Netflix drama, Dark, is here to satisfy your Stranger Things shaped hole. In my eyes, it’s Stranger Things meets The Returned, only much darker than the latter. It’s a supernatural thriller based around a two missing children in a small German town. It won’t be an easy one to watch – and has subtitles – but it’s also going to be very addictive. 
Dark is available from the 1st December.
ANYTHING ELSE?
In all honesty, the closer we get to Christmas, the quieter it’s going to get around here. Not only am I working in retail again this Christmas (long hours), but I’m also planning a move from Blogger to WordPress for the new year, as well as some other blog changes. It’ll involve a lot of research and planning ahead so although I’ll be trying my best to blog as normal, plz don’t hate me if I go completely stone cold quiet for weeks on end 😉

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I’ve always wanted to travel and earlier this year, during my first time travelling in Mexico, I knew that that trip wouldn’t be the last one. I fell in love with discovering new cultures, exploring thousands of years of history and travelling different landscapes, from sandy white beaches to plush green jungles. 

During my trip, I travelled with a backpack I’d hastily ordered from Amazon just a week before. I wasn’t sure what type of luggage to go with and although I loved my backpack, I do wish I’d picked something more ideal for travel. It was a good size for my day-to-day activities – as I also brought a suitcase – but wouldn’t have cut it for long term travel. One of the straps also broke within the last few days of my trip too.
So I was delighted when CabinZero got in touch recently and asked me if I’d like to try out one of their specialized travel bags (how ideal would this opportunity have been back in April!). I had a look at the brand before choosing my bag and was overwhelmed with how ideal this company is when it comes to what they’re selling.

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | CabinZero's Classic Travel Bag Review | CabinZero | Travel

CabinZero are actually avid fans of travelling – just one look at their blog will tell you that. Posts range from their favourite travel instagrammers to guest blogs about America’s best cities for fall travel. Basically, they know exactly what they’re talking about and what exactly a travel bag or backpack needs.
I picked the Classic CabinZero which is ideal for zero-hassle travel – perfect for a new traveller like me! I ordered it in Lipe Blue and the website states that backpack’s colour is inspired by the sea’s reflection of the last rays of a stunning Thai sunset – how inspiring is that?
My first impression of the bag is that the colour is beautiful. It’s bright and eye catching, meaning there’s little chance of it getting lost, but the colour is also slightly subtle too. It’s not too bright or in your face and I think it’ll go with anything.

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | CabinZero's Classic Travel Bag Review | CabinZero | Travel
Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | CabinZero's Classic Travel Bag Review | CabinZero | Travel

The bag is super spacious inside with smaller zipped compartments for things like toiletries and important documents, and another large elasticated section which fits my laptop nicely. On the front of the bag there’s also a zipped area which works for bits that need to be accessed quickly.

It’s also very sturdy and a good size. It’s more square than anything, which works really well, and as well as a zip to get inside, there’s also four clips you can use to be extra safe if you so choose. My favourite part, however, is that there’s also a handle down the left side of the bag. This means you can wear it as a backpack as normal, or you can carry it as you would a briefcase.

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | CabinZero's Classic Travel Bag Review | CabinZero | Travel

This is such a genius idea and one I haven’t seen before. I’m used to backpacks with one small handle at the top and I always worry the handle will break with how much I’ve overpacked. So with a larger and more sturdy handle on the side, it also means when you pick it up you’re lifting where most of the weight is, rather than the empty area/gap at the top of your luggage/items if you haven’t packed to the brim.
I have yet to ‘travel’ with this bag (but keep an eye out as we’re heading back to Romania after Christmas!), but so far, I use it when travelling between my boyfriend’s flat and home. Normally I shove all my stuff into my day to day bag (which I take to work with me), which means it’s heavy and weighs me down, or just in a plastic bag with my laptop in its separate bag.

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | CabinZero's Classic Travel Bag Review

Lately, I’ve been able to keep everything in CabinZero’s classic travel bag and it’s perfect for that use. Of course it will obviously be perfect for travel – weekend, week or longer – but for the meantime, I’ve been getting plenty of use out of it.
Additionally, the bag is water resistant, designed to be the perfect cabin size, has a ten year warranty and has a lost and found tag built in – how nifty is that?!
Overall, I don’t think I would pick anything else for a travel bag now. It’s light but durable, it has all the compartments you need, it’s got extra safety additions and it’s really bloody stylish too.

What do you think? Would you benefit from a CabinZero Classic Travel Bag on your adventures? Let me know!

P.S Interested in purchasing your own CabinZero bag? You can use promo code CZLOUISEJOY for 10% off your entire order until 7th Jan!

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As you know, I always like to have my fingers in a lot of different pies (as dodge as that sounds!).

That’s probably why I’m always so tired! As well as working full time and blogging, I also like to take on extra stuff whether it’s for fun, for exposure or just to try something interesting.

Therefore I thought it would be nice to give you all and update on what other projects I’ve been up to lately.
Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | Recent Projects | The Growing Up Guide, Betamax Video Club, M.O.S.H
WORK
So in the summer I began working full time again, at H&M (again), but this time in St Albans. In my short time there I’ve been told I’ve made a good impression so far and although it’s not ‘official’ so to speak, I am responsible for the accessories in the store. It started out with all ladies accessories – scarfs, shoes, hair bands – most cute stuff really. After Christmas, I’ll hopefully be responsible for all accessories in store. At the moment, I mostly do delivery shifts (which means early mornings but early finishes too) where I help process delivery, however my main priority is processing the accessories. This sees me unpacking them, often checking if they are on offer or on delivery and taking them down to the shop floor and finding a place for them. It might sound easy but it’s not really when you take into account how many accessories go on the shop floor with so little space. Often I have to move things around, put up and take down shelves, fill up the A area etc. It may not seem like a lot but it’s really nice being responsible for my own (often stressful!) area in the store. I’m hoping to eventually become an official extra responsible (which means I’ll officially be in charge of accessories but will also be a senior member of staff to some others), and then, in the long run, either department manager, a visual merchandiser or something press related. 
THE GROWING UP GUIDE
I’ve recently began to contribute to the sleek but really modern website/publication, The Growing Up Guide. The website focuses on some great stuff – namely serious issues and things people want to really read about and acts like some sort of online guide to young women. But of course it’s helpful for people like me and you too, as who can honestly say they have their shit together?! You can read some of my contributed posts here if you want to and I’ll also be doing an Instagram takeover on their account on the 16th December. I’ll be attending a quirky party in London that evening (part of my birthday plans) so make sure you check it out!
BETAMAX VIDEO CLUB
I’m a huge fan of 80s movies and I’ve recently really been getting into podcasts, so I found it really fun appearing on Rich’s podcast recently – a homage to all the best movies from the 1980s (ish). We chatted about the epic Tim Burton classic that is Beetlejuice, and in the upcoming weeks I’ll be appearing again to chat about another amazing 80s movie, Lost Boys. Give it a listen if you’re so inclined, but I apologize for the way my voice sounds. I sound like a boy. I know.
M.O.S.H
I’ve also begun contributing to M.O.S.H, which is part of the Hit The Floor network! It’s very early days yet but I have a couple of reviews submitted and I also like the range of feature ideas on here too. I think the key with music journalism is to just write as often as you can for as many eyes as you can. I still struggle a bit with writing reviews and using the proper technical terms for things, but I’m getting better.
A NEW BUSINESS IDEA..?
Okay, lets face it, I’m no business woman. But I have had a somewhat unique fun idea which I’ll be exploring more in the run up to Christmas and hopefully sharing in the new year. So keep your eyes peeled – especially if you like music and, er, cross stitch…
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Yes, I am well aware of the fact that we’re still only in November but if you’re anything like me, you’ll already be looking ahead to the new year and what 2018 will bring.

It’s scary to think that 2018 isn’t far off but if you are planning to start some big new projects once 1st January hits, chances are there’s going to be one or two you’ll want to start prepping for now.

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | 2018 projects to start now | Bullet Journal | Vegan | Fitness | Planning | Budgeting | New Year

BULLET JOURNALING
I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a bullet journal for a while now and it’s taken me a good few months to even get my head around the idea of it all and the system it uses. I’ve also spent around six months pinning beautiful images for inspiration. The thing is, a bullet journal is no longer just a system people use to sort their sh*t out. A lot of people get hella creative with it. I get really anxious staring at a blank page I need to fill in creatively and I know that pressure is going to be massive on 1st January. So if you’re planning to start a bullet journal in the new year, you should choose a notebook now and do a few practice pages. Practice your system until you get used to it and until you get used to how much upkeep it needs. Have a go at layouts and designs so that come 1st January, you don’t mess up your first proper layout.
GOING VEGAN
It’s not to everyone but if you’re thinking of going vegan or even just tempted to try going vegan once or twice a week, you’ll want to start your research now. Get book smart now about where you’ll be getting your vitamins (and weekly shop from!), bookmark some recipes and get your online order in stat. Don’t do what I did and wake up really hungover and unprepared on 1st January and end up eating ice and rice for your first day of being a full vegan. Not good. Also consider checking out my vegan starter kit.
TRYING A NEW FITNESS REGIME
I actually wrote a post about this for The Growing Up Guide, but if you’re set on overhauling your fitness goals in the new year, start as you mean to go on: now. Make a timetable of all your favourite local fitness classes or any you’d like to try (so if you ever get the urge to go after work one day you already know when and where you can get your sweat on: there’s nothing worse than really feeling a workout class and then realizing there’s none to attend that evening), buy some cute workout gear and maybe even purchase a health planner.
SCRAPBOOKING
Scrapbooking can be started whenever but even if you just want to scrapbook your year, it’s best to get your supplies in early: a decent scrapbook, cute stickers, washi tape and the like.
TRAVELLING
Whether you’re looking to go travelling or just want a nice holiday, it’s best to do your research now. Start looking at places you want to go and when obviously, but once you’re set on these things, you’ll hopefully be ready to get your flights whenever they come up cheap – perhaps even in the January sales. You can also start budgeting now or putting money aside bit by bit so by the time the holiday comes around, you’re not going to be out of pocket!
BUDGETING
By the time January hits, this should be easy, but if you want to save money in 2018, I’d suggest starting to track your finances now. By the time Christmas rolls around, hopefully you’ll have a better idea on your spending which you can use to then create a budget.
CREATING A STAPLE WARDROBE
My goal next year is to create a staple wardrobe. For anyone else wanting to do this, it’s going to take time. It takes a while to find that perfect fitting pair of jeans, to create your ideal style and, well, to buy everything. But there are ways you can prep now; sort out what you don’t wear and get rid of it (Ebay it, head to a car boot sale or drop a bag full of clothes to H&M to get a £5 off voucher), start compiling a list and add things to a wish list in case they pop up in the January sales. Also think about sorting out your wardrobe and putting summer stuff away for winter. This will also free up space for new stuff.
So if you’re planning to really get your sh*t together in the new year, start prepping now. I mean, totally spend some time binge watching Christmas movies and being lazy too, but don’t wait until 1st January to start these projects and then fail immediately because, y’know, you don’t have the supplies for a bullet journal or no vegan food at home.
What other projects can be prepped now? Let me know!
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