The Magic of Christmas at London Zoo

Christmas at London Zoo

I’m excited to write this post, as it combines two of my favourite things: Christmas and London Zoo!

Prior to the latest lockdown, we got a chance to experience The Magic of Christmas at London Zoo, and it was nothing short of spectacular…

From the way the grounds were decorated, to the cuteness of the animals and hospitality of the zookeepers, it was perfect.

Since the Covid pandemic, London Zoo has tried its best to protect guests with its one-way routes around it, limiting number of visitors per day, and a limited amount of tickets sold online.

Upon arriving at the Zoo, we were greeted by huge giraffe shaped light fixtures. Walking along the path, we came across the life-sized nutcrackers, pictured below.

Christmas at London Zoo

Anyone for a quick Lion’s share?

Our first stop on the trail were the lions on the Hot Rocks… I have never, in my life been that close to a pride of lions! As expected, they were resting…

They spend up to 20 hours a day resting and sleeping.

Christmas at London Zoo

After our up-close and personal trip with the lions, we went in search of the reindeer. Unfortunately, they weren’t at their enclosure, but we did see Santa’s sleigh…

Christmas at London Zoo

Now for a ‘necks level’ visit to the giraffes…

I loved visiting the giraffe enclosure, because they’re my favourite animals. It was quite cold and rainy outside, so the giraffes stayed indoors – which didn’t bother us!

A giraffe’s spots are much like human fingerprints. No two individual giraffes have exactly the same pattern

Christmas at London Zoo

*insert Penguin wrapper joker here*

Another standout memory was the Penguin Beach. The penguins loved my umbrella – and were following it around, playing with it through the glass the whole time.

Many male penguins gift female penguins with rocks in order to woo them

Christmas at London Zoo

We continued our trail across the Zoo and saw all of the animals below. Sadly, we weren’t able to see the zebras, tigers or chimpanzees, but we did get a glimpse of most of the other animals.

I’ve put together a gallery of most below…

Have you been to London Zoo at Christmas? Are you planning to go there this year? Comment below for more information, or your thoughts.

Etsy – Local Businesses: FairyMoonCandlesUK

Following on from my newly written local businesses post, I’d like to re-post my favourite local business: FairyMoonCandlesUK.

(I have re-branded my blog, so I wanted to re-write my favourite posts to reflect that)

Pandora’s FairyMoonCandlesUK is a small Mancunian business which I discovered on Etsy.

Head Fairy, Pandora, makes beautiful handcrafted soy wax candles that are vegan and eco-friendly.

Before I delve deeper, I want to start by saying that FairyMoonCandlesUK combines everything I love in a candle: floral, healing crystals and fragrance.



The ‘Guardian Angel’ candle is a refreshing citrus-scented candle…

I love everything about it, from the fragrance, scattered rose petals and sequins to the citrine & clear Quartz centrepieces. Simply sublime!

If lemon isn’t your thing, there are other varieties that are just as stunning. All types can be found here.

In terms of packaging, the candle arrived very well wrapped in tissue paper, and tied together securely with a neat bow.

It’s fair to mention that I gifted this candle to my boyfriend’s mum last Christmas, he relayed her message: “she absolutely loves it! Super lemony, gorgeous too, thanks!

My mum also gifted a couple to her friends, this candle, to which their response was: “how unique! It’s very authentic.” / “it’s lovely, thank you! The stones in there are a great touch.” / “it goes perfectly with the decor [the recipient owns a beauty salon]”


Moving onto ‘Enchanted’ (pictured at the top), this is one of FairyMoonCandlesUK’s bestsellers!

This candle is lavender scented, and features a rose Quartz centrepiece. For those of you who don’t know, rose Quartz is the stone of unconditional (and universal) love.

The lavender is very fragrant but soothing all the same. Its relaxing properties make it easy to see why it’s such a bestseller.

The presentation and packaging of ‘Enchanted’ was identical to that of ‘Guardian Angel’. It arrived in a metal pot with a see-through plastic lid showcasing the stunning candle in all its glory.

Similarly to ‘Guardian Angel’, the silver sequins, mini raw clear quartz pieces and dried rose petals were a standard – this time, paired with a light dusting of lavender and a rose quartz statement piece.

Next on my list is FairyMoonCandleUK’s Moonlight candle (including Moonstone), followed by Sweet Dreams (featuring Amethyst).

It would be a dream to partner with FairyMoonCandles on scents & crystal combination ideas of my own.

Pandora, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart for bringing joy to so many. Your candles and concepts are amazing!

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Supporting Local Businesses

support small businesses lettering text on black background

It’s no secret that the economy has plummeted since the pandemic… So, my post offers tips on supporting local businesses.


Last year, I relied heavily on Etsy when planning gift ideas for loved ones. There are so many unique, handcrafted gift ideas to choose from on there! Using the location filter enables you to narrow down e-shops that are closer to you.


“What do you get someone who has everything!?!!” It’s simple: gift cards. Support local businesses by getting your mum a gift card this Mother’s Day.

Non-essential shops are currently relying heavily on gift cards as a means to remain open, particularly nail salons… Purchasing gift cards shows your loyalty.


Local restaurants and cafes will benefit from your orders. So, pop in or order online via Deliveroo, Uber Eats or Just Eat to “eat in, help out”.


Here’s another tip for you: get tipping. Where possible, go above and beyond your normal tip. That’s a great way to show that you value their service.


This particular tip raises awareness for the ‘support local businesses’ TV adverts by Google. Yes, the ones where celebrities (such as Anthony Joshua) showcase their local business, encouraging viewers to leave a good review on theirs.

Supporting Local Businesses


Where possible, continue to pay your memberships and subscriptions – even if they’ve been temporarily suspended.

If you’re blessed with a steady income, offer to pay your cleaners, hair stylists, nannies, etc. They need us and we need them.


Don’t always ask for a refund. There’s no better feeling than the one after we’ve given back. So, think of your kind gesture as a donation.


Yep, that’s right… Set up a local businesses group (via Facebook as an example) as hub for local businesses to place ads. Then promote it, getting the local residents involved. You might find that your neighbours didn’t realise such services were on offer.


If you love a business and know it’s worth saving (which all do), create a campaign on platforms like GoFundMe or start a fundraiser to raise money. Promote it to friends, and encourage them to share it with theirs and so on…

You can also get in touch with your local newspaper as they’re readily available to help out and love to support local businesses.


If you’re blessed with a talent of some kind, share it.

Offering your services to those in need is important when supporting local businesses. 9/10 times the businesses would be so taken aback by the gesture that they’ll spread the word of how amazing you are, which may result in extra business for you later down the line. But, don’t expect this!


If you stumble across a promotion or offer from a local business, share it on. It may well be something your social-media following or network would benefit from knowing about.


If you know of people / businesses in the area offering online engagements of some sort, share it on!

Therapists, tutoring, yoga, personal trainers, coaches, financial planners, lawyers, music classes for kids are all continuing and being accessed via Zoom or other video apps.

Whatever and wherever you can, do help out, make sure you’re supporting local businesses.

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Golden Tours: Christmas Lights London by Night Tour

London at Christmas

This is my well overdue review of Golden Tours.

I’ve deleted all my old content (my SEO’s going to suffer) because I want to go back to the original plan for this blog: travel and tourism. I am so excited about the content I have planned for you all… Roll on June 21!

I’m feeling pretty nostalgic about Christmas, and pre-lockdown particularly because that was the last time I went out to somewhere other than the supermarket…

Last December, we toured London on an open-top bus, to check out the Christmas lights.

We hopped on the Golden Tours bus, boarding from London Victoria Coach Station, for a 2-hour guided tour of London – stopping briefly at red lights to marvel at the lightworks.

Golden Tours’ ‘Christmas Lights London by Night Tour’ promised the best views of London’s Christmas lights, and let me tell you: it didn’t disappoint…

River Thames
Golden Tours Bus Route

It started at Victoria and drove past Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, the River Thames and following the trail all the way round to Central London, before returning to Victoria Coach Station for dropoff.

The guided tour was very educational. Now, I’m writing this post in March – so I’ve forgotten a lot of the stuff we learned… However, one thing I do remember very vividly was thinking “Harry Potter was filmed across the whole of London!”

Our tour-guide, Bruce, made reference to many buildings, including the real Diagon Alley and Gringottts Wizarding Bank, famous locations where Harry Potter scenes were filmed. Before you ask, nope – they didn’t look as magical IRL.

Although Golden Tours is most commonly a touristy thing to do, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Besides, it’s fun to be a tourist for the day…

We loved it so much that we’re planning to do it again this year, £24 per person well spent! Here’s a quick photo-dump highlighting some of the sights we saw…

Central London
Regent Street, London
ANNABEL’s Nutcracker Display
Bond Street, London

Viral Videos To Get You Through Lockdown

Viral Videos

Lockdown isn’t for the fainthearted at the best of times, but to have gone through it three times?! I don’t know about you, but I’m bouncing off the walls!

How have I stayed sane? By watching endless viral videos, because the best viral anything spreads on the Internet only!

I’ve made a list of my favourite viral videos – both recent and classics!

Recent Viral Videos

A stunning UK mum, Sophie McCartney, went viral for her awesome remix of MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This. ‘I Can’t Teach This’ gives me so much life… Her moves and rap lyrics are a whole mood – because homeschooling isn’t a walk in the park. #: GRAMMAR TIME!

Who can forget Joseph and Sylvia from Doncaster? I just can’t get enough of this couple, who brought a bit of wholesome lockdown cheer by showing off their dance skills in this popular TikTok video.

The video of four year-old Milan Marie from Philadelphia singing ‘Leave Me Alone’ gets me every time… I mean, that’s exactly how I feel about this whole pandemic!

Classic Viral Videos

In lockdown, the funnest part of weekends became a trip to the supermarket… How sad is that!??? As a country (and universe), we’ve missed out on so many things. This super cool DJ, Rachel Leary, went viral for using the BBC News theme tune as her beat – re-creating club vibes by spraying some Febreeze in the air. Standard!

Everybody’s favourite work-from-home video before the world even started working from home… Children interrupt BBC News interview has to be one the funniest viral videos, ever. Unarguably.

Guy Goma… The man, the myth, the legend. Imagine going to the BBC studios for a job interview, only to be mistaken as a technology specialist – appearing live on air. Iconic AF!

I truly believe that this viral video of a boy dancing behind a BBC News Weather presenter at South Shields’ beach is one of the most underrated videos I’ve ever watched. What a hero! Make sure you watch til’ the end because it gets even funnier!

This video will forever be my favourite. It will never, ever get old. I could be 90, in a nursing home and still watching this back for some light relief. Mateo arguing his case for cupcakes is literally ALL of us – every day. It’s just, we’re arguing with ourselves over our lack of self-control.

Christmas might be over for a while, but this viral video certainly isn’t isn’t! Jackson – the four-year-old (at the time) threatening to “uppercut” Santa and “punch his beard off” for putting him on the naughty list, is an absolute LOLFEST! This is probably the most British video you’ll ever watch, and I am here for it! Poor Santa!

Rumour has it, Jackson didn’t stay on the naughty list for long, which means Santa got to keep his chin and beard in tact.

The video which proved that racism isn’t something you’re born with… What a wholesome exchange of two toddlers rushing to greet each other with a hug? In lockdown, we sure do miss hugs! Maxwell and Finnegan are absolute cuties, and remain besties til’ this day! We LOVE to see it…

One of the more recent viral video classics… Mr Motivator got us all moving after breakfast, last year. There’s no denying that his appearances brightened our mornings.

‘David After Dentist’ – just, post-anesthetic… This viral video will forever be a classic! I’m just so glad his dad recorded this video of seven-year-old David (at the time), because it’s since brought joy to so many!

Small Business Spotlight: 7Marvels


I’m excited to launch and bring you my ‘Small Business Spotlight’ series… 🙌🏼

Each week, I’ll be introducing you to a new business! This is the first instalment, and what better way to start than with 7Marvels – an independent home/online bakery based in Richmond Upon Thames?!

I got the chance to ask the wonderful Cristina Popescu, founder, director and head baker of 7Marvels, some questions and you can read the full interview below…

Cristina Popescu, founder of 7Marvels

Tell us a little bit about yourself & your small business: ‘7Marvels’

CP: I’m a homebaker based in Richmond Upon Thames. I started 7Marvels two years ago.

A fun little fact about my business is that I made the decision to start it at our annual street party in 2018!

Here is a link to my website for more information about me and my passion for baking

Macaron Stack

Why did you decide to open your small business?

CP: Since a very young age I’ve always been passionate about cooking and baking in particular but I never really took my passion up until recently when I started my baking business.

It originally started as a macaron business but later went on to be a bakery with a myriad of different treats (birthday cakes, celebratory cakes and french pastries)!


What are your hopes for the future?

CP: I am so grateful for the fact that I am able to do what I love for a living; and so with that said I hope that my business carries on to thrive and flourish in the coming years.

As we all know, Covid has hit most small businesses hard… So, this next part of the interview with Cristina at 7Marvels delves into how Covid restrictions and these past lockdowns have affected her home business.


How has 7Marvels been affected by COVID?

CP: I am lucky enough to have been able to stay open amidst those uncertain and turbulent times.

Having an online-only shop has helped me in various ways to stay open and carry on making cakes; I was able to bring a smile to people’s faces with my cakes and pastries which matters a lot to me.


How has your business had to adapt since COVID?

CP: Having a business open during Covid has to a certain extent confirmed my initial decision of opening an online shop in spite of having a cake shop on the high street.

Have you noticed any changes in your business (sales etc.) since the COVID lockdowns?

CP: I have noticed changes in customer tendencies as they are more inclined to buy online.


What advice would you give other small business owners – or those looking to start one?

CP: Get all the resources and equipment needed to start an online business alongside with the rest. I believe that e-commerce is becoming progressively more powerful and prosperous than it was before.

The most important thing is to do what you love and be passionate about it, and you need to have the resilience and determination to carry on with it even if it gets difficult. Your love and devotion will be apparent in what you do and the customers will become recurring ones.

There you have it… Luckily for Cristina, Covid hasn’t affected her business, as it was very much online-based to begin with.

A massive thanks again to Cristina for giving up her time to do this interview, and for giving some awesome advice for self-starters too. What a sweetheart! 🥰

Paris Brest

7Marvels’ cakes/bakes look 😍😋 incrEDIBLE! (you’re welcome! 🎤⬇️)

Here’s an added bonus, Cristina’s business caters for most dietary requirements, offering treats that are vegan, low-sugar, eggless and gluten-free! What’s not to love about some delicious guilt-free goodies!?

I’m planning on ordering one for my birthday this year, and I cannot wait! Judging by how quickly last year went, I’ll be 30 at the blink of an eye!

Follow 7Marvels on Instagram

LIKE 7Marvels on Facebook

There’s lots to come in this series… So watch out for more interviews with small businesses in the coming weeks. I’ve got everything from crystals stockists, candle makers, hairdressers and beauty salons! ✨

Image Dysmorphia: A Real Issue That Affects Influencers

image dysmorphia

Image dysmorphia” is a form of a depression caused by low self-confidence. Its definition describes an imagined reality where our reflection in the mirror or a photograph doesn’t match what’s actually there.

For example, we could be bullied for years because of our image, work very hard on improving it (not that we need to at all!), only to imaginarily see the person we were still staring back at us.

Sometimes, it goes beyond who we were, it could even be a case of seeing a different image entirely… Our loved ones may tell us “you look great”, but we sadly just won’t believe them.

image dysmorphia

Image dysmorphia is a very real thing, particularly in the influencer world.

Although most cases are brought on by a low self-confidence (stemming from bullying), there’s evidence to suggest it can even develop from social media, plastic surgery and image-editing apps.

I’m sure that I went through image dysmorphia at some stage… How else would you explain me editing my headshot selfies to the point of unrecognisable and getting fillers in my lips!? In those days, FaceTune and YouCamMakeup were my best friends!

Honestly, I’m just glad that I didn’t (and still don’t) know my way around Photoshop. Had I learned, it would’ve opened a whole other Pandora’s box that would’ve been harder to close.

Recognising Image Dysmorphia

🌟 The taking of / posting an excessive amount of selfies on social-media frequently is a sign of image dysmorphia

If we’re not happy with ourselves, we’ll try to convince ourselves and others to be, by taking & sharing countless selfies as a way of gaining gratification. We may even go as far as editing them to fit the ‘influencer’ mould – which is counter-intuitive, leaving us open to more criticism.


It’s fair to mention that influencers aren’t entirely to blame… Before we point the finger, we need to remember that they’re under a lot of pressure as it is. The media has an image to portray, and the influencer has to adhere to it if they want to earn a living. So, you see, the fault predominantly lies with the media for creating and continuing this false narrative.

There’s so much pressure from the media, and social-media in particular, to act or be a certain way! The world has lost all authenticity.

image dysmorphia

🌟 Getting addicted to fillers or plastic surgery is another sign of image dysmorphia

As I explained above, I went through a phase where I was getting lip fillers quite regularly. It got so bad that I had to over-line my lips to disguise the botched job on them... After a few years, I decided to get them dissolved, vowing never to get them done again.

The problem with fillers or plastic surgery is: once we start, it’s hard to stop… It’s as if our mind gets programmed to see other flaws each time, the end result being: we lose sight of who we are!

TOWIE and country-music star Megan McKenna has also talked about the links between lip fillers and image dysmorphia… She too ended up removing her lip fillers, and now regrets ever getting them.

Curing image dysmorphia

Half the battle of curing image dysmorphia is realising that you have it in the first place. You can’t cure something until you notice the signs and admit there’s a problem.

Once you’ve identified it as an issue, try to train your mind to think positive affirmations… Speak them internally while you’re doing routine things like: brushing hair. It’s best to look in the mirror for this one.

Also, try talking to a therapist, ask for CBT [Cognitive Behavioural Training] is proven to treat image dysmorphia. I speak to a counsellor regularly, and it helps me a lot.

Counselling should be an affordable and standard human right in today’s society… It’s not enough to merely just tell people to “open up” without offering them an opportunity to do it! Point them in the right direction, give them the option at least.

Another way to cure image dysmorphia is by waiting to see if it’s a passing phase/fad… This isn’t ideal, and certainly not a recommendation for those who may need urgent care. However, in my case, I grew out of it. I learned to love myself!

The only other ways I can think of is praying if you’re faithful/spiritual and meditating on the word. I meditate a lot. “#AllMeditationEverything” is my mantra and chosen way of dealing with anything!

Want to share your thoughts on the topic? Hit me up in the comments!

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Motives Liquid Powder Mineral Foundation by Loren Ridinger

motives foundation

If you’re looking for a mineral foundation that’s liquid but dries matte, Motives Liquid Powder foundation by Loren Ridinger might just be the one for you!

I’m very picky with foundations, I buy a lot of them but hardly ever stick to any… 🙈

My favourite foundation for the longest time was Cargo Cosmetics’ HD Picture Perfect. However, now that I have Motives, I don’t look back…

motives foundation

Tell me more about the Motives Cosmetics brand

Motives Cosmetics was founded in 2008 by Loren Ridinger, a multi-faceted entrepreneur and influential figure for women empowerment.

Owned by parent company, Market America, Motives Cosmetics is a luxury cosmetics brand created with everyone, on any budget, in mind.

Loren’s purpose was to create high-quality, custom-formulated cosmetics that enhance true beauty while helping to nourish the skin.

If you want a comparison: Motives is sort of like Avon in a sense that you can become a brand representative. But, also Rodial (which has an affordable skincare and cosmetics sister company called ‘Nip + Fab’)

motives foundation

My favourite thing about the Motives foundation

There are a lot of things that I like about this foundation…

🌟 The fact that it’s made of minerals, is natural and doesn’t irritate my skin.

🌟 The way it sits (& feels) on my skin…

🌟 The look of it! It’s not cakey and doesn’t look like I’m wearing a mask.

🌟 I’m also obsessed with how although it dries matte, a natural glow still shines through.

🌟 The fact that it has SPF 15 in it… There’s literally no reason for to me to apply sunscreen separately!

motives foundation

The best way to wear the Motives foundation

I’d start by cleansing, moisturising and then rubbing a primer into your skin before applying this foundation.

When applying, I prefer using a brush, but you’re welcome to use a beauty-blender or hands. If you use a brush too, remember to clean it regularly!

In terms of primer, I’d recommend the Motives one. It’s nice and silicone-y, giving your foundation a smooth base – literally gliding on. Honestly, these two products go together like a match made in heaven!

My final step would be applying a setting spray, again I went with Motives’ one.

As an acne and blemishes sufferer, I prefer No More Shine. However, there’s also 10-Years Younger to choose from!

Setting spray is important at the best of times, but even more-so now, for avoiding the transfer of makeup to our masks… Although, having said that, makeup probably isn’t the best idea when we have to wear masks outside anyway!

Are you searching for tips on how to cure lockdown acne? I gotchu!

Have you tried this foundation – or are looking to? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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MLK Day: Children’s Books That Combat Racism

childrens books

Yesterday (18/01/2020) was Martin Luther King Day, marking 52 years since he was tragically assassinated.

The time is always right to do what is right.

Martin Luther King Jr.

The fact that racism is still prevalent in today’s society i.e. police brutality last year, and white supremacists storming Capitol building earlier this month, is horrifying.

They say that if we teach kids about racism from an early age, the injustices we face could one day be history! 🤞

So, I’ve put together a list of age-appropriate books which you can buy and read your kids at bedtime to help them become more aware.

childrens books

We March: I Have a Dream – Shane W. Evans

Seeing as this post is dedicated to Martin Luther King himself, I thought I’d start with a book which rewrites the empowering and unforgettable speech he gave in a way that kids of all ages can understand.

We Marchwas one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Children’s Books of 2012, and is an important story about the African American civil rights movement.

childrens books

Sulwe – Lupita Nyong’o

Fun fact: Lupita is more than just an actress and model!

In this stunning picture book, Lupita creates a whimsical and heartwarming story which inspires children to see their own unique beauty.

Sulawe is a girl who was born with a unique midnight skin-tone, darker than those around her. Although she initially wants to be as bright or beautiful as her mum and sister, she later realises she’s even more-so after taking a magical trip into the night sky.

childrens books

Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea – Meena Harris

With President-elect Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris’ inauguration just a day away, this book, written by Kamala’s niece Meena couldn’t be more apt!

Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea’ is beautiful and empowering… It tells the tale of two sisters who work with their community to effect change.

Its message is simple: choose courage over fear!

Fun Fact: Maya is Meena’s mum and Kamala Harris’ sister

Another fun fact: this picture book was inspired by a true-story from Kamala and Maya (a lawyer and policy expert) childhood.

childrens books

I Am One: A Book of Action – Susan Verde

Also a New York Times Bestseller, ‘I Am One’ is a timely, compelling picture book that gently encourages children to take action – both big or small – in a bid to inspire change.

childrens books

Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness – Anastasia Higginbotham

Not My Idea’ is an age-appropriate book that openly discusses white-privilege.

It not only raises awareness of racism, but empowers the younger generation to work toward justice and to cultivate activism.

childrens books

Intersection Allies: We Make Room For All – Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council and Carolyn Chai

Intersection Allies: We Make Room For All’ is a celebration of solidarity and community between nine girls from diverse backgrounds.

This book helps by showing the importance of a supportive community.

childrens books

Last Stop on Market Street – Matt De La Peña

If you’re looking for a picture book that focusses on responsibility, staying true to culture and finding fulfilment within our communities, ‘Last Stop on Market Street’ is the book for you!

It takes us on an energetic journey through a bustling city, highlighting the love and understanding between CJ and his grandmother.

childrens books

Black is a Rainbow Colour – Angela Joy

Black is a Rainbow Colour’ is a very moving book which reflects on the meaning of being a black person in an unbalanced community.

Its message is powerful, one of hope for the black community, a look at the culture, history, and legacy which lives on.

This book is an insightful and important read for children of all ages.

Other books include: All Are Welcome and All the Ways to be Smart.

Have you read these stories [or similar] to your kids? Let me know in the comments below…

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