Spellbound exhibition witch, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford - The LDN Gal

Spellbound exhibition, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

The Spellbound exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, features a quirky and eccentric collection of oddities, thwrawt in superstition. The exhibition illustrates over eight centuries of magic, ritual and witchcraft.

As a country, we have always been wary of magic and Spellbound illustrates this fear, showcasing many a mystical and fascinting object and artwork to entice discussion and reflection.

It looks at our ongoing and emotional relationship with magic, superstition and ritual – ever avoided stepping under a ladder or putting new shoes on the table? 

Within Spellbound, discover a collection of “spellbinding stories, fascinating objects… from crystal balls and magic mirrors to witch bottles and curse poppets.”

Spellbound: Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft exhibition

Exhibition highlights include a witch in a bottle, a heart in lead and silver casing and a copy of The Discovery of Witches by Matthew Hopkins, 1647.

You will explore the history of magic, ritual and witchcraft over 800 years. The objects and artwork on display highlight people’s superstition, witches practice and the tools used to eventually condemn them.

Magic and the unknown has always historically caused people to be fearful, and when married with religious views, it was linked closely to devil worship and ultimate despair.

Once inside, you will discover Medieval texts, binding jewellery and crystal balls, as well as magical objects aplenty alongside contemporary art instillations. If you are a fan of magic, the supernatatural, the cosmos and the occult, this enchanting exhibition is for you.

To book tickets for the magical Spellbound exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum, please take a look here. The exhibition runs until the January 6, 2019.

Are you fascinated by magic? Which exhibition highlight would you be most intrigued by?

Stephanie xox

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LOTD fashion trends 2018 | The LDN Gal

Five lotd.com fashion trends 2018

LOTD.com is relatively new on the scene but their vibrant, affordable and trend-savvy collections are starting to have some serious impact.

This online store features everything a girls wardrobe needs, following the trends closely to suit any personal taste or style.

LOTD is also purse-friendly, allowing fashionistas to get their hands on the latest clothes without fear of dipping into that dreaded overdraft.

It’s this fast fashion and conscious price point that really seals the deal for me, it makes fashion accessible for all – and we need this in the marketplace.

The online fashion brand regularly has sales, runs a host of competitions and really embraces their customers through their bright, friendly and inclusive social media channels.

Trends lotd.com are killing right now

Each week, LOTD has a host of new items in. Here are five reasons why LOTD.com are killing fast fashion:

LOTD floral trend 2018 | The LDN Gal

The floral trend

Flirty floral prints never fail to make a statement. Go all out with a floral jumpsuit or add a touch of summertime to your outfit, teaming your floral clothing with a simple tee or jeans. Dress the trend up or down, be it at work or for cockatils with the girls one evening.

LOTD cycling shorts trend 2018 | The LDN Gal

The cycling shorts trend

So, is it me or does every girl seem to be rocking cycling shorts right now? These comfy, cute and oh so practical bottoms can be worn wherever you fancy. Plus, they make your legs look incredible. It’s a win win.

LOTD prints trend 2018 | The LDN Gal

The prints trend

Prints are everywhere at the moment. Every girl needs a vibrant dash of prints in her wardrobe to brighten her day. So, think floral, checks, paisley and baroque and add some bright and bold patterns to your outfit of the day.  One particular print that is hot on everyone’s lips bodies at the moment is stripes.

LOTD bodysuit trend 2018 | The LDN Gal

The bodysuit trend 

Bodysuits have had a makeover and are the starting point for many a gorgeous outfit choice. Go sultry with floral lace, get quirky with asymmetric necklines or go all out with padded details. Opt for a high neckline in the daytime and get daring with a plunge at night.

LOTD denim trend 2018 | The LDN Gal

The denim trend 

Let’s be honest, who could live without denim? The denim trend is on fire at the moment, with the traditional skinny, bootcut and mom jeans getting a makeover. Think embellishment with distressed elements, patches, sequins and cut-outs galore gracing our go-to wardrobe staple.

Use the code TREAT50 before the end of Sunday 9 September, 2018 at LOTD.com for 50% off site wide*.

*excluding sale, naturally

Have you shopped at LOTD.com yet? What is your favourite trend at the moment? 

Stephanie xox

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ZOE QYKSonic facial cleansing device review

Zoe QYKSonic facial cleansing device review

I have to admit, this is the first time I have tried a facial cleansing device. So, I wasn’t overly sure what to expect with the Zoe QYK Sonic facial cleansing device.

The Zoe is as vibrant in colour as it is beautiful – but does it actually work?

Its unique petal-shaped design may be pretty, but we’re here to find out if it packs a punch. Available in five gorgeous colours, the Zoe’s silicone bristles work at over 6000 pulsations per minute, to target every nook and cranny.

The gentle massaging bristles ensure no irritation to your skin and work in motion to clean and minimise pores, eliminate blemishes and target wrinkles. This super swift circulation movement works to gently cleanse your face, exfoliating any make up, dirt, or oil that may clog up your pores and cause imperfections.

The Zoe offers 300 uses in a single charge, alongside 15 alternating massage settings when in use. It is perfect for all skin-types due to its medical grade and hygienic antimicrobial silicone exterior.

So, what did I think of the Zoe QYKSonic facial cleansing device

Using a sonic facial cleansing device ensures that no nasties are touching your face. It can be used easily alongside your favourite skin care cleansers, serums, masks and moisturisers. Using it with my favourite cleanser, it certainly made a difference – shifting away my daily make up and grime.

Not only is Zoe effective, but she is packaged beautifully. Sealed within a magnetic box, the facial cleansing device is presented alongside a matching drawstring bag and USB charger.

Its compact size also means it’s great for on the go – so you never have to miss out on your nightly skin care routine! 

So, if you are looking for a product that offers deep and effective cleaning, look no further than the Zoe QYKSonic facial cleansing device.

Have you used a cleansing device before? What is your skin care regime like?  

Stephanie xox

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This post is in collaboration with QYKSonic

The Diamond Store 9 Carot Gold Emerald Earrings UK | The LDN Gal

Why every girl needs emerald earrings

What girl doesn’t love gemstones and a bit of sparkle?

Let’s face it, anything that glimmers is a girl’s best friend and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a pair of emerald earrings from The Diamond Store.

Of late, colourful gemstones have been increasing in popularity, gracing red carpets, parties and publications globally. So, here is every reason why every girl needs a pair of emerald earrings.

The Diamond Store 9 Carot Gold Emerald Earrings | The LDN Gal

The history of emeralds

Emeralds are celebrated for their vivid colour and contextual meanings, having been worn since ancient times, emeralds were introduced to Europe in the 1500s.

As expected, green connotes nature and the emerald is believed to encourage a myriad of enhancing properties including balance, fertility, growth, healing and peace. The precious gemstone therefore looks after your mental, physical and spiritual well being.

Not only is their meaning so special – and the emerald so unique – but these bold and bright gemstones add a touch of class and sophistication to any outfit, alongside a splash of calming colour.

The Diamond Store 9 Carot Gold Emerald Earrings Close Up | The LDN Gal

When worn, emerald earrings are simply enchanting. These traditional gold earrings featured offer set emeralds that are subtle in their size but nevertheless stunning.

Whatever you may be looking for, The Diamond Store have you covered for all your glitz and glamour needs, whether you are seeking out colourful gemstones, the perfect diamond or ornate costume pieces.

Let’s face it, diamonds may be a girl’s best friend but emeralds are her partner-in-crime.

You can get your hands on these affordable emerald earrings here.

What is your favourite piece of jewellery? Do you prefer emeralds to diamonds or vice-versa?

Stephanie xox

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This post is in collaboration with The Diamond Store

Boobie Bears for Breast Cancer | The LDN Gal

Scarlet’s ‘Little Orphans’ raise breast cancer awareness

Boobie Bears are from the creative genius of Scarlet of Scarlet’s ‘Little Orphans’. What started out as a fun pasttime to connect with friends exchanging ‘Boy Bears’, has turned into a micro movement.

The concept is simple. Scarlet sends out her travelling Boobie Bears from her home in Winterton, North Lincolnshire in the UK, with a very special mission.

After developing cancer herself in 2018, Scarlet decided her bears could help to raise awareness of breast cancer. Boobie Bears are sent out to travel the world, bringing a smile to all who come across them and their heartfelt message.

In February 2018, Scarlet was told she had Paget’s disease, a form of breast cancer that affected her nipple. When asked about her diagnosis, Scarlet said:

“I had a tiny flake of skin on my nipple that wouldn’t heal. Paget’s disease doesn’t show on a mammogram or ultra sound.”

After an operation in March 2018, Scarlet lost a nipple, lots of breast tissue and had to undergo a reconstruction. After three weeks of radiotherapy every day, the cancer was gone!

“I wanted to turn a negative into a positive and send the girl bears out for breast cancer awareness.”

Boobie bears are not looking to raise money, they are simply on their adventure to raise awareness.  Scarlet said: “We are asked all the time to donate money to what seems a million charities and I just wanted to raise awareness.”

So, where do the Boobie Bears come from?  

Scarlet sources her bears from her own pocket, picking them up from charity shops and car boot sales. She also asks her Facebook followers for teddy bear donations where possible.

“People in my village have been amazing and I often get up in the morning to teddy bears being posted through my letterbox.”

As the bears leave Scarlet and travel on, their adopted finders post on Scarlet’s dedicated Facebook page, Scarlet’s ‘Little Orphans’.

These prompted social media posts on Facebook spread their message, as well as creating an oh so cute travel diary. When it’s time for a Boobie Bear to move on, it is carefully left in its next destination to be adopted once more and continue its journey.

“I’m very proud of my Boobie Bears and their feedback. A few ladies have had their boobs checked after seeing one of my bears, which I think is amazing.”

Over 300 bears have been sent out so far. Unfortunately, they do not always turn up online but Scarlet keeps a track of the ones that do, adding people’s photos to dedicated albums illustrating their journeys.

“The bears are everywhere from Skegness to Australia, to the Caribbean and Europe – and lots of places in between.”

Scarlet says she will contine to send out the Boobie Bears for as long as she can – and even hopes her grandchildren will carry on the Boobie Bear mission when she is gone.

“It really is amazing to see where they go and what they get up to.”

She gives bears out to friends, family and colleagues to take on adventures, as well as leaving them wherever she goes. She has been posting them out to people all over the UK too, so that they can join in on the fun!

You can keep an eye on Scarlet’s ‘Little Orphans’ page for all of the Boobie Bears adventures. You never know, you may even find one of your own some day!

What do you think of the Boobie Bear concept? Where would you take your Boobie Bear?

Stephanie xox

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York Minister, York - The LDN Gal

York Pass: best things to do in York 

A city famed for its culinary delights such as chocolate, Yorkshire puddings and even their tea, some may say that York has it all.

Step into the beautiful city of York and be prepared to stand in awe. This Medieval walled city is brimming with attractions and bursting with a quaint charm that is hard to find elsewhere in the UK.

Surprisingly, York is rather small city considering its fascinating and lengthy history. Bordered by just two miles of Roman walls, the city centre is easy to navigate on foot and it lends itself to being a perfect destination for a long city break.

So, when exploring York, what must you do and see? Here are my recommendations on the top 10 things to do in York on a budget, including the best sights to see and the best local hotel to unwind in. The best thing? Pretty much all of these attractions are free to visit with the York Passthere’s over 30 included!

Here’s how to visit York on a budget 

York Minister Stained Glass Window Interior, York - The LDN Gal

York Minister:

The York Minister is a grand Gothic cathedral, highlighting pretty much all of the Gothic architectural styles over its development. It is famed for its ornate Medieval stained glass and is one of the largest churches of its kind in Northern Europe. Within, discover its artefacts, wander through the undercroft museum and take a trip up the tower. Did you know, that no building in York can be higher that the York Minister?

York Minister is free with a York Pass – the tower is charged additionally

York Dungeon, York - The LDN Gal

York Dungeon:

You really cannot prepare yourself for what you will discover in York Dungeon. Pre-warned by the staff of its gruesome interior on entrance, its safe to say you are put on high alert. A few posed pictures are thrown into the mix before you and the group await your guided tour to start. As you wait in this darkened room – be sure to not mistake people for statues – a door creeks and you are beckoned in. The 75 minute tour takes you through York’s dark and dreary 2,000 year history via 10 live shows from Vikings to the plague and Guy Fawkes to Dick Turpin. You will learn about bandits, witches and heretics and leave with an elevated heart rate.

York Dungeon is free with a York Pass

River Ouse cruise, York City Cruises, York - The LDN Gal

City Cruises York:

On a summers day, what better way to explore a city than on its waterways? An hour long cruise on the River Ouse is a charming affair with City Cruises York. Your captain will navigate you, enhancing your local knowledge with a myriad of interesting facts. Expect folk, wartime and downright peculiar tales, as you watch life in York slowly go on by.

A daytime City Cruises York cruise is free with a York Pass

JORVIK Viking Centre, York - The LDN Gal

JORVIK Viking Centre:

Entering the JORVIK Viking Centre, I was not quite sure what to expect. As you make your way downstairs, you discover an excavation site beneath a glass floor, making for interesting viewing as you are informed of its origin and purpose. As you follow round the room, you are greeted with a hanging ride cart, select your language, secure your seat and you’re off! As you gently weave through Viking Jorvik (York) you are greeted with a host of realistic animatronics, their at times woeful tales narrated within your cart. On exiting, discover Viking artefacts found within this archaeological site –  and a few skeletons to boot!

JORVIK Viking Centre is free with a York Pass

York's Chocolate Story, York - The LDN Gal

York’s Chocolate Story:

Ever wondered how chocolate was made? Now is your time to find out in the UK’s most famed chocolate city. York founded many an esteemed chocolate making company including the famed Terry’s and Rowntree, responsible for the chocolate orange and Kit Kat respectively. Who’d have thought that all these family favourites could be found in the same place! On this guided tour, you will delve into chocolate’s dark history, the making process via interactive workshops and will even devour a few sweet treats along the way – as well as get to have a go at creating your own!

York’s Chocolate Story is free with a York Pass

York City Walls, York - The LDN Gal

York City Walls:

Across York you will quickly discover the city walls, it is a sight to marvel in a UK city. These Medieval walls encircle the city in parts with around two miles to peacefully stroll along. They offer some incredible views from their ramparts and make for some cute photo opportunities!

The York city walls are free for all

York Castle Museum, York - The LDN Gal

York Castle Museum:

York Castle Museum offers a multitude of fascinating and varied exhibitions detailing over 400 years of York history. These include a walk through Victorian York down a recreated street, a history of toys, the best of the 60s, a focus on the body and health, powerful women, fashion history and even a throwback to WW1. You will also get to explore York Castle Prison beneath which allows for reflection on York’s sinister justice system over 1,000 years – the infamous highwayman, Dick Turpin, even had a spell in these harrowing cells. You will leave with many an interesting fact and lets face it, a superb local knowledge of York’s history.

York Castle Museum is free with a York Pass

Clifford's Tower, York - The LDN Gal

Clifford’s Tower:

Clifford’s Tower is the only real structure that remains of the former York Castle, originally built by William the Conqueror. In its long history, the castle has served as a tax office, treasury, an administrative headquarters, a court, military base, royal mint and the city’s former prison! Once you ascend its gruelling steps, the rather dilapidated Clifford’s Tower offers a wonderful panoramic cityscape view.

Clifford’s Tower is free with a York Pass

The Shambles, York - The LDN Gal

The Shambles:

The Shambles is a quaint cobbled street in York, close to The Shambles market and many of York’s attractions. Here you will find cafe’s, restaurants, bakery’s and a host of themed shops. It is said that The Shambles inspired J.K. Rowling’s Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. For any self-confessed ‘Potterheads’, you will find three stores dedicated to the franchise within The Shambles, so it is certainly a must see for fans.

The Shambles is a public street and free for all

Yorkshire Museum, York - The LDN Gal

Yorkshire Museum:

The Yorkshire Museum offers history buffs a treasure trove of delights. Inside, take a stroll on a genuine Roman mosaic floor, see the Middleham Jewel and gaze at a four and a half billion year old meteorite. The best part? The new Yorkshire’s Jurassic World exhibition where you will have the chance to learn more about and actually feed an actual dinosaur – it’s a lot of fun! The Yorkshire Museum is simply brimming with archaeological, historical and geological finds.

Yorkshire Museum is free with a York Pass

Where to stay in York

Middletons Hotel York Double Bedroom, York - The LDN Gal

We stayed at the Middletons Hotel in York, around a five minute walk into the town centre. The hotel is situated amongst beautiful landscaped lawns and gardens. There is plenty of places to sit out in the sunshine, with picnic tables and decked area, there is even a pond. Flowers embellish every corner of the Middletons Hotel and the buildings are a mixture of complimentary architectural styles. The rooms are clean, spacious and bright and there is a bar, restaurant and gym available to use on site. What more could you want?

So, how much can you save with a York Pass?

So, how much did we save with the York Pass? With all these attractions in mind, they totalled £83.10. We took our time and did these over two days but all of these attractions could be easily be in a full day. A one day York pass is £42 and a two-day is only £60! If you get it done in a day, that is a saving of £41.40 each!

For more inspiration on where to go in York with your York Pass, take a look at the Visit York website.

Have you ever been to York? Which of these attractions would you like to visit? 

Stephanie xox

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This post is in collaboration with York Pass and the Middletons Hotel