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Sunday, 29 January 2017

Things to do in Marrakech

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen some recent images from a trip away to Marrakech, Morocco. On the 4th of January, I turned 25 and to celebrate the quarter of a century milestone, my boyfriend was kind enough to surprise me with a 4 day long weekend city break away to the hustle and bustle that is Marrakech! It's safe to say I was absolutely over the moon to be able to go and experience a completely new culture that neither of us had ever known. Being that annoying type of person that seems to get nervous and anxious at anything and everything, I was throwing myself in the deep end with this trip and I'm so glad I had the chance to do it.



We were staying in what they call a Riad, I suppose something similar to a B&B that can be found right in the heart of the medina with the souk markets just on your doorstep. The 4 star Riad we staying in was called Riad le Clos des Arts, and is ranked at number 2 of 500+ Riads on Trip Advisor so we knew we'd be in great hands! We booked the hotel through Booking.com through which the 10 minute airport transfer was also arranged. From the moment we arrived, our trip was already full of surprises. Firstly the recently refurbished airport surprised me with it's modern, clean design and taste of luxury. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting but the poverty really clashes against the wealth in Marrakech with typically the wealthier living on the outskirts however more recently, the wealthier have started choosing original moroccan style builds in the city to refurbish and live in. This was the case for our Riad, the owners who happened to be on holiday upon our time their, they're a couple that have invested a lot of time and money to transform the building into a little taste of hidden luxury like a diamond in the rough. As soon as we were greeted at the car park by our Spanish hostess Sabella, and taken down a couple of the back streets to arrive at our Riad, we were completely shocked with the grandeur. The Riad has been finished with taste and a sense of tranquility that takes you to a completely different place to what's waiting just outside. You cannot hear any of the hustle and bustle that's literally on your doorstep which was a nice feeling after spending your day out in the souk markets, to come back to a freshly lit log-burning fire, chessboard, relaxation room, a fountain centrepiece and tea on tap!








Spending 4 days and 4 nights in the city I felt was the appropriate time for visiting the city for the first time. We were never short of things to do in Marrakech and like wise on the final day we felt ready for the return home back to reality and normality. Upon arrival, we were sat down with local, home-made tea and pastries and a pretty extensive map of the city. You can image my anxiousness when advised of three largely circled areas to avoid, rife with pickpockets and advised that I should not look men in the eye unless acknowledged and likewise Tom was to not look at a woman more than once in case her brother or father is in the area and spots you 'eyeing up' their woman. A feminist would struggle, let's just say that! That being said, we didn't experience any animosity and by the last night were sat down enjoying tea with one of the local stall-holders!

In terms of the places we went, I would recommend almost everything we visited! There was one or two places that I personally found a little underwhelming, however that being said I don't regret anything. It's a city you learn a lot from and you honestly come back a somewhat slightly different person (I write as I look down at the henna on the back of my hand with a reminiscent smile on my face). One of the biggest highlights for me was a private guided trek through the snowy mountains which we arranged via our hotel. They arrange for a driver to collect you from the Riad drive you around 1 hours drive towards the mountains with a couple of stops along the way to photograph the oldest village in Marrakech situated stunningly in the face of a mountain, another stop to photograph the highest peak in North Africa, as well as running streams through the valleys, I really is stunning and a stark contrast to where we'd driven from. We arrived at a town called Imlil, where all the locals had large smiles on their faces, young children running around in excitement. When we asked if the joy was in celebration of anything in particular, our guide who was a local himself advised it was in celebration of a mobile van that is arranged by a charity every winter for a dentist to visit! Something taken for granted here is so precious over there. So we were taken to a local shop to pay 40 dirham (equivalent of about £4) to hire some walking boots, which were much needed by the way! Along the snowy hike, we saw all sorts of animals, mules, horses, cows, goats, sheep of which we had to photograph on the sly as some of the locals didn't really appreciate the tourists with the large cameras. Nevertheless, we continued on our hour and a half hike to our final destination, a local Riad which had prepared for us a traditional Moroccan tagine and salad with some freshly baked just that morning bread, all of which was delicious! The journey back with the same driver and his father as a passenger was spent pretty much in silence, dozing off and simply just taking in the beautiful views. With a quick 3 minute stop for the driver and his father to get out, remove their shoes, face the sun and pray as we could hear the distance sounds of the call to prayer resonating from the city ahead. At a total cost of around £70 per person, for me it was a trip out well-worth doing.











Another thing to do and experience which we saved until the last day, was a traditional hammam massage. Again, organised through our hotel, at a more premium price of around £150 for 2 people, a local and trusted Riad ran by Thai ladies just a 2 minute walk from our Riad, was the most beautiful massage room you'll ever see I'm sure! I wish I'd had my camera on me to capture it however even a camera probably wouldn't portray the true awe and beauty. As we filled out our client consent form, our shoes were removed, feet rubbed with fresh tea to sip on. We then entered the stunning and very private room with high ceilings intricate detailing in the tiles, flowers surrounding the hot pool centrepiece and birds singing it truly was jaw-dropping! We were shown into an adjoining room to undress and put on a small disposable paper thong and nothing else. The look on Tom's face was priceless! If you've ever experienced a hammam massage before, then you already know! Yes you can't be body shy and if you are, I probably wouldn't recommend it for you. We were then taken into the hammam bath room where for around 20 minutes we were washed, exfoliated then splashed with cold water at the end. We then proceeded back into the main room where two beds were laid out either side of the hot pool centrepiece. We were left alone for a brief moment to remove the paper thong, have a sip of mineral water laid out for us and then get onto our own massage table face down to experience an hour long full body massage which has to be the best one I've ever had. You have the choice of intensity and massage type at the start when filling out the client consent form and we both went for Java which is a type of medium intensity deep tissue massage. Finally, we dressed ourselves, head out to the foyer to enjoy some ginger tea and kiwi to refresh and of course, pay. With an escort back to our Riad, you really couldn't beat class and service and I'd highly recommend going for an organised and trusted organisation instead of the ones you're hassled into on the streets.

Last but not least, If you visit Morocco without going to the heart of the Medina then you really haven't experienced the true culture. It's very easy to get lost in the extensive Souk markets, but I'd say go for it without thinking too much about where you are or where you're going, just keep walking and explore! The stall holders are very persistent in trying to get you into their stall, we were advised to simply hold your hand to your heart, say 'Inshallah' which literally means 'god willing', they accept your refusal fairly gracefully and let you walk on. Any slight interest shown in their products however, whether it be a sly photograph you try to take or even as little as a quick glance and they will latch on and not let you go until you buy anything. A little tip; their culture to barter is like no other, if you do see something you want, never accept the first price! Surrounding the Souk markets and squares with snake charmers, men with monkeys, chameleons and turtles, mostly locked up and their for photo opportunity at a price, can be a little shocking if you're not a fan of animal cruelty, but let's face it who is! It's something that I didn't see one tourist do as I think most people were of the same mindset as us in that paying them for a photo with a monkey is only feeding the industry and personally I don't want to encourage it. Nevertheless, we walked on and found several sights and eats worth going to. The restaurants we'd recommend are Nomad for a westernised roof top terrace eatery, Cafe Aqua for a great stone baked pizza, Pepenero for traditional Morrocan and Italian and Azar for Lebanese tapas style food with a little belly dancing and shisha evening entertainment. When the sun is shining and you're in the city but fancy a bit of breathing space, I'd recommend visiting the Palais de la Bahia. The two places I thought were a bit underwhelming, was the Jardin Majorelle and the Musee de la Photographie. Both of which I don't necessarily regret going to, however if you're short on time, I wouldn't say you're missing out by not visiting these 'highly recommended' places to visit in Marrakech.













So if you're planning a city break to Marrakech, expect lots of surprises, smells, tastes and experiences that you cannot imagine! 

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

My Favourite Ways to De-Stress and Relieve Anxiety

I have always struggled with feeling anxious over the smallest things and by working in these small and easy lifestyle choices, I can go from feeling super stressed to completely calm in just a few moments. Everyone at some stage will feel the overwhelming sensation that stress and anxiety can do to your body, however it effects some more than others and those of us just need that little extra TLC to keep calm and carry on. So here are a few of my top tips for relaxing and de-stressing:

1 / Exercise

Something I've started to do more of, is exercise! Even if it is light, such as a 20 minute walk, or yoga, you will instantly feel better after taking the time to fit in some exercise. I always think if you're the type of person who will struggle to motivate yourself to do any, then get up and force yourself to exercise first thing in the mornings. I always seem to have a more productive day after a morning of exercise and I'm going to make a conscious effort this year to try and do this not just when I'm stressed, but 5 times every week (every weekday morning!)

2 / Have a Bath

Treat yourself to new selection of Lush bath bombs, light your favourite candle, put on some relaxing music and have a hot bath. As an instant stress-reliever, your muscles relax, you breathe in the lovely fragrances from the bath bomb and candle, and the music takes your mind temporarily off any stressful thoughts you may have had that day. By having a bath in the evening before you go to bed also helps you have a better night's sleep and wake up feeling more refreshed and ultimately less stressed.

3 / Listen to relaxing music

If you can't do it whilst in the bath, listening to music is something you can easily do on the go. If you are an anxious traveller, plug in your headphones, close your eyes (unless you are the driver of course!) and imagine you are relaxing on a beach or back in the comfort of your own home. This is a great and easy way to de-stress and there are endless amounts of playlists on Spotify, Youtube and iTunes for you to choose from.

4 / Read a Book

Perhaps avoid thrillers in this circumstance and pick up a motivational, positive and uplifting read. If you are like me and can find it quite hard to pick up a book unless on holidays, perhaps pick a collection of short stories or even a more factual book on a subject matter that interests you. Failing that, even just a magazine to catch up with the latest celeb gossip will help to temporarily relieve the stress and worry you have.

5 / Find a Hobby 

Whatever your hobby, a sport, painting, baking, make the time to do something you enjoy. Since receiving an adult colouring book for Christmas, I have discovered a nice and relaxing hobby that is actually very therapeutic. By just spending 5 or 10 minutes doing some colouring, my mind is instantly taken off anything else and I find it quite hard to then put the pencils down! Nevertheless, it's safe to say, my go to evening relax time is usually spent with the TV on at least in the background.

6 / Breathe!

The most effective method for an instant de-stress and anxiety reliever for most people is to simply BREATHE! You can do this anywhere, whether it's at your desk at work, in the toilets in busy shopping centre or lying down on your bed at home. If you feel short of breath and a panic sensation, take the time to step away from what you're doing, even just for a few moments to regulate your breath and empty your mind so you can thing with a clear head and not panic.

All these tip and tricks I use on a regular basis, and for those who are fortunate enough to not have to deal with panic and anxiety attacks then it may be hard to relate to any of this but for those who do, simply speaking out about your feelings is a great start. Share your thoughts in the comments if you too ever experience these feeling. I'm very interested to hear I'm not the only one! 




P.S. This photo was taken from a trip to Marrakech, Morocco, which was one that really pushed me to overcome these anxious sensations that I'm so glad to have done. 

Freya Farrington - A fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog with a white feed theme and set in Manchester, join our mailing list (scroll to the bottom of the home page) and keep up to date with all things beauty, fashion and lifestyle related. If you like white grey and black, you have come to the right blog. Set in the heart of Manchester, by following Freya Farrington on TwitterInstagramPinterest and Facebook or email freyafarrington@hotmail.com.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Sunday details



Happy Sunday! Today I'm actually in Morocco having been surprised with a late birthday trip away and I have to say I'm absolutely in love with it. The inspiration I'm finding whilst exploring out and about is overwhelming! The moroccan style throughout our hotel as well as out and about is inspiring us to incorporate the Moroccan style into our own home when we return! So as a result of being away, I though I'd share aa flat lay photo of mine with you and share the details from it as well as my classic Sunday details! First of all, relax! Have a bath, read a magazine or book, paint your nails, do some yoga, whatever relaxes you, Sunday in my opinion is the best day to unwind and not feel guilty for taking a break from whatever it is. Also, spend time with a loved one, even if it's my favourite, putting on your shades and going out for a good strong coffee (especially if you've had a heavy Saturday night) and  enjoy a good wholesome Sunday brunch, or perhaps by putting a movie on and chilling with someone you love is my favourite time! Another great Sunday classic trait that I've definitely inherited from my mother, is a little retail therapy! I especially love to do this when I'm perhaps on my own for the day, wear some nice comfortable flat shoes, spritz on some perfume and go shopping! It's always a good pick me up, without the need to necessarily purchase anything. Walking around, getting some fresh air and light exercise whilst you shop the trends is a really enjoyable hobby of mine! 



Shop the post: The Fashion Book £6, Ray Ban Aviators £125, OPI in Dulce de Leche £12.50, Zara perfume £5.99, Office Shoes £69, Photo Frame £8, Fiorelli Handbag




Wednesday, 18 January 2017

How I Clean Out my Closet




So a new year for me started with a de-clutter, organisation and a deep house clean. For some people this sounds like a chore but for me I actually find it quite therapeutic, especially when I clean out my wardrobe. Not only is it a case of cleaning but a de-clutter is a great way to discover clothes you forgot you had and it's a great way to donate items that others would love! The most daunting and somewhat hardest part, is where to begin...

/ Step 1 - Start filtering through your clothing items

I find the best way to filter through your clothing is by setting up three areas, the first area is the sell pile. Have a tub or bin bag ready to add any clothing items that you feel someone else will have a better use for, for clothes that may never or hardly have been worn and store these item until you find time to sell them on Depop or eBay. In the second area, have a bin bag or two ready for clothes you're willing to donate to charity or family and friends. If you struggle with this part, the best way to be ruthless is simply ask yourself, other than sentimental or key pieces like evening gowns, ask yourself, have I worn this item of clothing in the last 12 month. If not, get rid! Lastly, the 3rd pile/area which for me is usually my bed, is of course the keep pile. Keep going until your entire wardrobe is empty, so start early, it will take longer than you think and allow time to try on old clothes that you're not sure if they fit anymore!



// Step 2 - Clean and wipe down your wardrobe

The first step, is to ensure your entire wardrobe/draws are all empty. Dust everywhere down, and wipe down with an antibacterial spray or wipes. I then just take a final clean duster cloth to wipe any excess product away. Having such a thorough clean and organise can make you feel like you have a brand new wardrobe! An additional little tip I swear by is to use all matching hangers and my favourite ones are the thin black velvet non-slip hangers which you can find in Primark, Costco, Ikea, T K Maxx, pretty much anywhere to be honest. They're the best for space-saving in a capsule or smaller wardrobe.



/// Step 3 - Re-organise and start putting back together your wardrobe

Finally, arrange some kind of order to your closet so you know exactly what area to look in when you're after something in particular. Personally, I have sections for each type of clothing, i.e. trousers, tops, jumpers, coats and jackets, dresses. As I have an open wardrobe which you can build to suit your needs (from Ikea), I have a large open section for all my tops that are mostly monochrome and I've arranged them going from whites and lights to greys to blacks. 


So there you have it, the 3 simple steps on how I clean out my closet! I typically do this twice a year around the time the weather starts to change from autumn winter colder temperatures to the warmer spring summer time. Do you find it a chore or like me, find a de-clutter and organisation therapeutic and refreshing?



*this image has been sourced to best display the IKEA wardrobe unit, head over to my Instagram to see pictures from my own wardrobe.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

NARS Laguna bronzer: Liquid vs Powder




With a trip to Morocco booked in next week (which I'm super excited about!) and a couple of summer holidays booked and confirmed already, it's safe to say I'll be making up the lack of travelling done in 2016 this year! The thing I'm most excited about...having a natural colour to my skin instead of being ghostly white! It may sound superficial I know but I just feel better in myself when I'm tanned, I feel I look healthier, slimmer, I prefer how my makeup looks and generally feel more comfortable in what I wear. I love the ease of picking an outfit I like as opposed to one that will either hide my white limbs away or be covered in fake tan at the end of the night. Needless to say, the title of this post leads me on nicely to a little review and a highly talked about bronzer. Having received the NARS Laguna liquid bronzer AND the oh-so-popular powdered version at Christmas, I thought I'd compare the two and review their comparisons, their differences so you know exactly which you'd prefer, or in my case, BOTH!

Firstly I wanted to point out that when browsing the NARS stand, I thought for the sake of this blogpost I'd ask the experts what they'd recommend, buying one or the other vs buying both... wearing them at the same time or apart... how to best apply the products etc. Simply put, I was advised one or the other, no need for both and not to wear them at the same time. My results from trying both of these products, were in fact the complete opposite. As a makeup lover, I totally see the benefits to having both products in your collection, I also preferred the overall results when both products were used together and needless to say, I feel I should be taking the place of that NARS sales assistant! Having said that, I'm sure everyone's opinions will differ slightly due to a number of factors, how much you love makeup and can find a use for both varieties as well as your skin type and how you prefer applying makeup. Both the powder Laguna and the liquid Laguna bronzer will last you a long time, even if used on a daily basis as a little goes a long way. Especially the liquid version, I'd recommend building it up instead of going in heavy handed. Both have a slight shimmer which doesn't pay off too much on the skin, it just leaves a nice golden undertone. The liquid version even more so, I feel it's even better suited perhaps when you're on holiday with a nice natural glow, and it's even nice to a drop with your regular foundation to deepen the colour slightly for an all over bronzed look. Both are to be used as bronzers and definitely differ from a cool-toned contour. I feel Casino would be a better match if you're looking for a deeper cool toned contour bronzer (p.s. I also love using the NARS ITA Kabuki brush with Casino bronzer!) Anyone that knows me knows how much I love NARS and overall I'm very impressed with both of them.




/ D E T A I L S /





8g / £28 / subtle shimmer adds glow / natural looking / suitable for all skin types



30ml / £26.50 / sheer / ultra-versatile / use alone or with other products







Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Tips on how to keep your life organised





Picture the scenario... I'm in a really important interview for a competitive job that I've been wanting for so long. I've done well so far (I think) and the interviewer's final question to me is "What's your biggest strength and what's your biggest weakness?". How can I give them a weakness without sounding like a terrible person or jeopardising my chance to get the job... My response: "I'm very organised however I can also be a bit of a perfectionist, I like things done to a high standard!" and this is the truth! I am very organised, and without it sounding like a negative, focus on the positive aspects of being a perfectionist and organise your life! If one of your New Year's Resolution's is to become more organised, here are a few tips on how I like to routine certain aspects of my life to keep in check!


1 / Have a regular schedule/alarm/daily routine

2 / Exercise - try a get up and go to the gym every weekday morning, not only is it great for fitness but it gives you more energy and you'll most probably have a far more productive day

3 / Prepare your outfit the night before an early start

4 / Write to do lists for the day and start with a top 3 most important objectives (NB Wunderlist is a great list-app or use a favourite notebook)

5 / Invest in a nice pen and notebook/diary - it encourages you to use it, stay neat and tidy and ultimately organises you better

6 / Check your calendar every morning first thing

7 / Don't think, just do! No procrastination!

8 / Focus on one thing at a time - ticking things off your to-do list is very satisfying and allows you to see progression

9 / Have a tidy and organised workshop/desk, ensure everything has a home

10 / Colour code; if you have a lot of administrative duties to undertake in you personal and/or work life, colour code items with highlighters, folders or post-it notes so you know exactly what you're looking at and you can find things easier

11 / Have less stuff, organise a clear out and be ruthless, if you don't use something, bin it or donate it. You'll feel far more organised just from doing this!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

White Interior Inspiration




Having recently had a bit of a clear out of our home, we're on the hunt for a few new items and what better way to hunt them down, than a couple of hours spent on Pinterest. I absolutely love Pinterest but I have to limit myself to not search too late at night as my mind goes into overdrive and I can't sleep as I'm too busy thinking about new outfits, food recipes, interior design and DIY! You can just about search for anything you want on there and think up new innovative ways of even using old things you own and never use to become a new thing you love! I also love it for inspiration before heading out shopping for something in particular, especially for home decor and interior design.

In line with my blog and other social media platforms, my boards have a continual monochrome, minimalist and focus on cool toned grey hues which is not only my favourite for my wardrobe clothing choices but also my home decor and interior design choices. So I thought I'd share a few recent things I've spotted and absolutely love and can't wait to incorporate one day into my own home! Let me know your favourite or any other finds that I might love too! I've categorised these images to help you browse and every image clicks through to where I found them so you can shop and gain inspiration from the same places as me!




K I T C H E N








L I V I N G  R O O M









B A T H R O O M







O F F I C E







B E D R O O M








F A S H I O N








*The images in this post are credited where applicable. All images were found on Pinterest, links have been provided.