Working with brands as a micro influencer

Working with brands as a micro influencer

Imagery by Hana Dallimore Photography

Blogging. Whatever you feel about that word, there is no denying that blogging is something that goes and comes around continuously. Brands quickly picked up on the success of bloggers and have chosen to invest a huge part, or for some their entire marketing budget on blog campaigns and social media posts to advertise their business. Why? Bloggers have the power to interact with their audience, organically sharing the things they love and inspiring others with their choices of products, services and even experiences. I myself have chosen a particular destination twice now based on where some of my favourite bloggers have visited. How crazy is that?! There is no denying that bloggers and Instagram stars are the way forward, which means us as micro influencers are actually incredibly powerful. We have very engaged audiences and are often chosen by brands as we have the power to influence whilst also being much more affordable.

I worked with my first brand five months into blogging and have probably worked with over 50 now. During this time, I have learnt so much about the relationship you need to have in order to benefit both parties. Hence, why I wanted to share my best tips with you today.

The relationship micro influencers and brands have is often a great one, although a major fall back for us micro influencers is two things. Firstly, this is usually a hobby and secondly, we don’t have fancy management pulling or the strings and making it all happen. We are a one-man band, and it can often be difficult to establish what sort of relationship we need to have with brands if we are very new to the blogging circle. So, if you are a micro influencer and feel like you’re struggling to get the most out of your relationships with brands, carry on reading!

Nail your media kit

First things first, this is a business. When you have a business, you have to market yourself, simple as that. A media kit is the absolute starting point. This media kit should say who you are in a few bold sentences, record your stats, an image of the brands you have currently worked with and of course a selection of your content so a brand gets a general gist of what you are about. If charge a fee, you can also add your fee sheet to this media kit, so a brand has all the information in one go. Want to know more about media kits? Send me a message below and I will happily send you a copy of mine so you can see what they are meant to look like! We are all in this together peeps!

Treat it like a business

Ultimately, as the old saying goes, ‘treat it like a hobby, get paid like a hobby’. In business there is a general etiquette as to how you contact, communicate and work with other brands. For example, a professional first email is always a must, laying out exactly what you can offer simply as well as what you are looking for in return and delivering more on what you have promised. Business 101, promise less, give more. An example of this in blogging for me, is after I have done a collaboration and fulfilled on my side of the campaign, a few weeks later I will revisit the content and often discuss more. This shows my audience that I am authentic and definitely gets notices by brands.

Never be afraid to say no

A big blogging tip here. Never be afraid to say no. Ultimately you are going to be contacting my brands who are taking the piss with what they want from you, and you are also going to be contacting by brands that don’t fit in with your brand or personal beliefs. My advice is to always say no. Never accept a collaboration if it is something you wouldn’t pay for yourself and never give a brand more than what they are giving you back. My biggest hatred is when brands offer a discount on products in exchange for content. THEY ARE ASKING YOU TO PAY IN ORDER TO ADVERTISE THEM!!! That is not okay. I did this once in the early days and it is one of my biggest regrets, however I have learnt my lesson!

Gifting and Getting Paid

Now, here’s the thing, in your job you wouldn’t turn up for an hour if you weren’t getting paid for an hour. Well at least I hope you wouldn’t. It is the same in blogging, whether you are doing this as a hobby or a paying job. Never under sell yourself and know you value. In my opinion every single blogger should be paid for every single piece of work, however I do personally make exceptions. If it is a campaign where I would purchase the product or service myself and it feels like a good deal in my heart, then I will do it. If I have even an inkling of a doubt, my media kit and fee sheet will be sent via email. Ultimately, we all live busy lives and doing something for nothing really isn’t an option. Let me just quickly define two things for you.

Paid for campaigns: full brief before agreeing; a time scale of the content provided by the brand; everything laid out in advance to payment; you as the blogger will invoice the company.

Gifting: No time scales; no full brief should be given; there is to be no formal agreement of what can be expected from you.

The final product

In my opinion when working with a brand, and when everything has been done properly, your content should be of your highest level. Not only does this look good to the brand and usually lead to future work but it acts as a constant portfolio for future campaigns and of course the growth of your blog and brand. Basically, make sure you are proud of the content that you have created and share the crap out it!!

 

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All products can be shopped via this link.

 

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I have not been paid to publish this blog post, however the products featured were part of a campaign in August 2019 and were gifted to me. As always, all views and opinions are entirely my own.

 

9 + 5 =

Surviving dull winter days

Surviving dull winter days

Imagery by Hana Dallimore Photography

The Winter is really starting to set in and there seems to be a general lug in the air since the clocks changed again. I hate to write it down as I feel like I am being extremely negative, but let’s be honest, the dark and grey days are depressing. It can have such an impact on us mentally and unfortunately, there really isn’t much we can do about it. The British weather isn’t going to change any time soon, so the only way to take control and work towards a happier ‘YOU’ is by working on you. There are many things we can do to help ourselves, and these things are all going to be different depending on our own personalities. I wanted to write today about these Winter days and share the small things I do to help myself overcome them.

I mean, let’s get one thing straight first, if you are going through a difficult or a stressful time at the moment, this is all going to be about 100 times harder. However, rest assured, doing a few small things every day and consistently can make such a huge difference.

Start your day by moving. This one sounds a bit odd and the first assumption would usually be to that I am talking about going to the gym. I’m not. I mean, going to the gym is one version of it but definitely not the only one. Every single day for the last few months I have made an effort to ensure that the first thing I do is move my body and stretch it out before starting to get ready. This can be going to the gym and working out, swimming, a little yoga, or simply just walking around the flat for a little while whilst sipping my coffee. This doesn’t just get your body ready for the day, but it totally readies your mind.

Let’s be honest, what we put into our bodies has such a major effect on what happens with the outside, and of course our minds. At this time of year, the importance of a healthy balanced diet is crucial, however often something that is the last thing we want to do. Yes, being on the sofa every evening with a glass of wine or two and a whole bar of chocolate is definitely wanted, it really does have such a negative impact on us mentally. We can all have our treats, but to help us mentally we all need to be getting our daily nutrients and feeding our bodies with the ingredients that lead to happier and healthier minds.

Saying YES! At this time of year, it is so easy to put life on hold and switch off from the real world for the sake of feeling comfortable. Don’t do it! Within reason, say yes to as much as humanly possible. Get out the house, network with new people, enjoy socialising and most importantly make some memories from new experiences. Life can become very dull when nothing much changes and you never push yourself, so always remember to say yes before saying no!

Don’t just wear black – I love this one as I know how true it is. At this time of year, we are all amazing at falling into our Winter habits and one of these has to be a constant black wardrobe for the duration of the season. Believe me, if this is your go-to every single day, it is going to start to take effect on your mood. Start experimenting with your wardrobe and be confident in some bolder colour choices and styles that are guaranteed to lift your mood time after time.

Flowers, candles and fairy lights – my three must haves in my home at this time of year to counteract the grey and dark days to evenings that we simple must endure. I have all three in abundance throughout my home.

Fresh air – often we all shy away from being out at this time of year as it is cold, often raining and let’s be real, just not exactly appealing. But I can assure you, even by having ten minutes out in the fresh air, it can do the world of good for your mind. I see it very much as pressing the reset button, using it as a little time to switch off from devices and the real world.

Phone free hours – moving swiftly on and complimenting my last point well, some phone free time is ALWAYS a huge factor is surviving these days. Social media sees a huge increase at this time of year, with many of us opting for our beds and sofas as opposed to beer gardens, which ultimately means we are all sat on our phones aimlessly scrolling through Instagram, possibly opening the app more than 30 times a day. When you are struggling a little, choose to put your phone away and engage with everything else going on around you.

Organisation – I have personally found that the best way to keep on top of these days and be as productive as possible is by always being organised. I give myself quite a strict routine and do find that when I stick to it both these things become so much easier. Focus on being organised at this time of year and I can guarantee that you will find the days so much easier.

What are the best tips you have for overcoming a dull day?

 

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Nightie – M&S

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I have not been paid to feature any brands and all views and opinions are my own.

 

Getting Focused for 2020

Getting Focused for 2020

Imagery by Hana Dallimore Photography

Now is the time of the year that many of us decide to throw in the towel with the statement ‘oh well I’ll start in the new year now.’ I am here to tell you; this is absolutely not the right thing to be saying! The final weeks of 2019 need to be seized, so we can all go into the next DECADE knowing we did everything we can to help ourselves in that time. The main thing I love to do at this time of year, as well as carrying on working on everything in life, is beginning to think about my big goals that I am going to set for the next year. I always dream big when it comes to new year’s resolutions as quite frankly if you don’t dream big, you will never get big.

Being focused is extremely difficult when the rest of the world is starting to become a big festive bubble that everyone just becomes so engrossed in! However, it is no excuse, it is all about working hard in order to play even harder!

Goals

So, this point comes in two stages. Firstly, working to ensure your 2019 goals happen and secondly looking forward to the new year and setting some brand-new ones. I have always been such a huge goal setter and simply am just someone who needs goals in place in order to be productive each and every day. Put simply, how can you expect to move forward if you don’t know where you’re actually going, which is where your goals need to come from. Dream big, work hard and stay on track. Getting to the end of the year isn’t an excuse to give up. Instead of thinking ‘oh it’s only two months, I’ll start next year’, think ‘WOW I HAVE TWO WHOLE MONTHS LEFT TO GET IT DONE!’

 

 

To-Do Lists

 

So, once you have your constant goals set and, in your mind, the only way to then be productive is by having a clear lay out of what you should be doing every single day. Last year I was constantly flustered by my endless list of things to do in my mind so made the decision that every week and then every day I would write a list with absolutely everything, no matter how big or small. I have set notebooks for the weekly and daily to-do lists which then means it is all organised and easy to access as and when I need it. Yes, this can be done on your phone, but I have just got a thing about pen and paper. It apparently takes 21 days to break a habit, so if you started this now, by the new year you will be raring to go!

Routine

 

Let’s be honest, the best way to stay on track, especially with something to get done in a short space of time is by sticking to a routine. I always used to think I was a very spontaneous person who could just roll through life aimlessly, but the truth is, I can’t cope without my routine. When I miss something, or I get distracted my mind goes into overdrive and all my plans get thrown out the window. The only way to stay on track is to decide on the best routine and stick to it.

Exercise & Diet

This is the time of year when a lot of us have completely given up on our diets or healthy living routines, but I can assure you that if you want to be productive for the next two months, or at least until Christmas, you have to keep fit and healthy! It can be even more tempting in December, so my rule generally is that in November I will be as good as humanly possible in order to enjoy myself over the festive season and enjoy all my treats completely guilt free.

Planning

 

One of my best ways to stay motivated and on track is by planning and planning. This always motivates me so much as it gives me a purpose to stay on track and excites me for what is to come. Never think too small as anything can be achieved if you put your mind to it and basically work your absolute a** off!! So, to hold yourself accountable, email me with three things you are going to get done by the end of 2019!! >> ladyhunter@abigailhuntermarketing.co.uk

 

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Pink Loungewear – ASOS

 

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I have not been paid to feature any brands and all views and opinions are my own.

 

 

Gym stereotypes we need to get over

Gym stereotypes we need to get over

Imagery by Hana Dallimore Photography

Today I wanted to share a short and snappy blog post all about working out and attempting to get into a healthy gym routine. I am by no means in a position to educate nor specifically advice on the subject, as I myself need a lot of motivation to get my bum to the gym, and I have no qualifications whatsoever when it comes to what to do. Since my surgery at the end of 2017, it has been a long battle for me to get into a healthy gym routine, seeing it more as a lifestyle rather than a diet. I have worked hard with a PT to widen the variety of exercise I choose to do day to day, as well as focusing a lot more on what I eat and choose to put into my body. Obviously, anything I recommend or have an opinion on here is solely based on what is currently working for me, bearing in mind the level I am at which is still very low.

Instead of simply listing the things that I am currently doing, which I have done before so I will link it here, I thought I would simply discuss some of the obstacles I have to overcome to encourage myself to stick to such a routine and keep me motivated. I honestly am queen of excuses and will come up with absolutely anything to get me out of a workout, or an excuse to eat something naughty. Thankfully, this is something that I am getting much better at, however by no means have I yet overcome this. The first stereotype that I still find really hard is other people in the gym. The environment on the whole is incredibly intimidating, which I think is something a lot of us find whatever our level. The atmosphere tends to be (at least in my gym), very male heavy. As much as it pains me to admit it, I do get embarrassed if I look a state, so the gym is the last place that I want to be with loads of men around. I mean, I have a boyfriend, but you all will get what I’m saying. Lucy, my PT, has been really helping me attempt to overcome this intimidation, getting straight to the point. In reality, is anyone actually looking at you? During one of our workouts, I mentioned this to Lucy, who has heard it many times before, and she simply put, ‘but no one is actually looking’, which is more than correct. If you actually stop what you’re doing and observe the space around you, you quickly realise how everyone is so focused on what they are doing that they couldn’t care less about you. It is something in our minds that tells us it is happening when it really isn’t. Put your headphones in, increase the volume and use it as an opportunity to zone out.

Secondly, the stereotype that I find I have had to really overcome is ‘doing weights will make me look like a man’. Before my surgery, and ever training with a PT, I only ever did boring cardio-based workouts which I just repeated over and over again. In theory I was quite small, however I had absolutely no strength to me at all and I was by no means toned. I had this stubborn illusion in my head that told me that by completing weight workouts it would dramatically increase my muscles and I would look masculine. Obviously, after one session with Lucy, this idea was officially crushed forever. Unless taking some sort of drugs, women physically do not have enough testosterone to grow that much muscle, therefore weight training is only ever going to give you that toned finish that we all crave. I may want to get a lot smaller, back to how I was a few years ago, however I also want to be strong, healthy and smoother.

Another stereotype that I have come across, mainly because of my not so perfect heart, is that exercise can be deemed bad for you if you have a medical problem. Obviously, this is generally dependant on the condition, however most heart conditions can actually be made better with exercise. The heart is a muscle that wants to be used, and in my case, I can hand on heart (pun intended) say that when I exercise, I feel so much better. I feel fitter, more energised and generally a much happier and positive person. In my opinion, I think unless instructed not to exercise by a medical professional, we should all be finding ways to be a lot more active on an everyday basis.

Finally, the last stereotype I really can’t stand is ‘you have to be either all or nothing’. I have met so many people who are adamant they simply don’t have the time to exercise. I can definitely relate to this, when I have a very busy work week I struggle too to get to the gym, however this doesn’t mean that it is impossible. I have had to find ways to make it work around my life, holding myself and only myself accountable for me not getting it done. If I have a day working I will get up earlier and do a home workout, if I am struggling I will go for a half an hour walk on my lunch break to get moving, and if I am stressed I will get myself to the gym for a swim in the evening to relax and burn some calories. You don’t have to commit your whole life to a strict exercise programme, it is about committing the little time you have and making each workout work for you, around your other commitments, even if it is only 20 minutes.

What exercise and gym stereotypes make you laugh?

 

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Top & Leggings – Oysho

Sports Bra – Nike

Trainers – Nike

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I have not been paid to feature any brands, and all views and opinions are my own.

7 + 10 =

Changing your diet to a lifestyle

Changing your diet to a lifestyle

Imagery by Hana Dallimore Photography

As like many others at this time of year, I am starting to feel a little overwhelmed by the idea of Summer as I don’t yet feel confident in the way that I look. I am all for body confidence and being comfortable in our own skin, but I do also think that it is very important to remember that it is okay to want to change the way you look and have a goal in your mind for a certain occasion, even if that is just a day on the beach in a bikini. Since my op I have really struggled to get my body back, as I physically couldn’t exercise for months and since then it has taken me a long time to get my confidence back physically and mentally. I really am only just getting to the stage now where I can exercise fully again and am becoming a lot more aware of my food intake and day to day lifestyle.

For me, this process of getting back to me has been more about starting with my mental attitude. I needed to feel happy in my body the way it is, before trying to improve on it for the sake of my mental health. I also needed to see the change that I want to make as much more of a lifestyle choice than a diet. Diets have never worked for me, and I want to do this in a way that I am going to be the healthiest version of myself that I ever have been.

I personally think that this battle is something that so many of us have to cope with, and it is a constant circle of being unhappy with our bodies and then going on a diet to change it, with it failing and the whole process starting again. A complete circle effect, that can be very mentally damaging, particularly on young minds. For a couple of months now I have got into more of a structured routine, getting the balance of healthy and naughty together with a solid gym routine and better attitude to life. I thought I would write down everything I have chosen to do, as well as the parts of the lifestyle change that are really starting to help me feel better and gradually get my body back, but even better than before!

Your attitude to exercise

If I am being honest, the toughest thing I have had to overcome, and still very much am in the process of is my attitude to exercise. When I am in the mood, I really enjoy my workouts, but let’s be honest, life is busy, and I am very rarely in the mood. I find it tough to motivate myself to get myself to the gym, particularly when I have a lot going on in life. However, this is something I have to push myself to do, as it is the only way I will ever stay on track to getting back to the way I want to be. So, how do I push myself? Well firstly, I have to be a little easy on myself sometimes. If I have a busy work day and I don’t get there it isn’t the end of the world. My attitude is to go as much as I physically can, and when I can’t, not to give myself a hard time.

Secondly, the best way I motivate myself is by keeping my workout week totally varied. I have an amazing PT who I see once a week, who not only trains me, but keeps my mind on track. Here is an example of my workout week:

Monday – home strength workout

Tuesday – Cardio

Wednesday – Swim

Thursday – PT

Friday – Cardio & Body Balance (mixture of tai chi, pilates and yoga)

There is absolutely no way that you need a PT to train with or keep you on track, however this is just a choice I made as I needed to get back into exercise in the safest way I could. Even now I sometimes struggle with certain things as it can hurt my chest, so Lucy is amazing at adapting and helping me do things in a different way so that this doesn’t happen. My advice would be to do some research online, figure out a routine that is right for you and really dedicate yourself to it.

Consistency and routine

Ultimately, the best lesson I have learnt through starting this process is that the only way it is ever going to have long lasting effects is by me being consistent and following a strict routine. I read recently that it takes 21 days to break into a routine, so that for me has been my goal from the beginning. To get to that point having done it for 21 days. If I am being honest I have now completely lost track, but I am feeling a lot more structured day to day since starting all of this. Therefore, I think I have managed to get to the point that it has really become a part of me.

Guilt free choices

A big decision I have made is to never scold myself for enjoying naughty/ high calorie foods. I love food, cooking, shopping and eating, so never want to live a lifestyle that takes that away. I personally believe that life is all about balance. In theory, I am generally pretty healthy Monday to Friday, then don’t really think about my diet at the weekends.

Day to day diet plans

Whilst we are on the subject of food, I really don’t believe in day to day diet plans. I believe in healthy meals, homemade food, eating when hungry and just generally making healthier choices. I try to eat three proper meals a day, so that then I don’t need to snack. However, when I go the gym, I always need fuel before and after. So, I generally eat a banana or an apple before, then more fruit or a healthier cereal bar after. If I don’t do this I will snack and snoop around the kitchen until dinner because I am just hungry. Accepting that food is fuel and not just something we enjoy is key in this process.

Anything active

My last piece of advice for changing your lifestyle rather than dieting is to always be up for anything active. I am making so much more of a conscious to move my body. When I take work breaks in the day from my laptop I try to walk around the flat. At the weekends we are upping how much we do, hence going for lots of walks, and planning some bike rides. Then also when away, trying to swim a lot and walk around to see everything rather than getting in a car. It is all about wanting to keep active and move constantly, which is always going to help as we get older.

 

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Blazer – Asos

Bag – Gucci

Jeans – Mango

Boots – New Look

T-Shirt – Primark

 

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I have not been paid to feature any brands, and all views and opinions are my own.

5 + 11 =

Sunday Lunch at The Bristol Hotel ‘River Grille’ Restaurant

Sunday Lunch at The Bristol Hotel ‘River Grille’ Restaurant

AD – this blog post is in collaboration with The Bristol Hotel, and we were gifted the meal featured within.

Last weekend, Finn and I were lucky enough to be invited to The Bristol Hotel in the centre of the city to try their new Sunday lunch menu in the River Grille restaurant. I was thrilled about this opportunity when I had the email through as I am a sucker for a good Sunday lunch, and adore finding new places to eat around Bristol. I have always heard good things about the restaurant in the hotel, so we were both extremely excited to see what was in store. The new Sunday lunch menu consists of a two or three course offer, with a very varied selection of dishes, priced at £20 for two and £23.50 for three.

The setting of the restaurant is probably what surprised me the most, offering some beautiful 180 views of the Bristol harbourside, with ceiling to floor windows creating an atmosphere like no other. For us, this was made even better, as Sunday was very busy with everyone out enjoying the sunshine, so the atmosphere really was great. Even better for someone like me who is a massive people watcher! With the view sorted, we were able to choose from a very good range of dishes on the menu, that obviously very much caters to a large audience.

First things first, let’s talk wine. I knew instantly that I was probably going to enjoy the Roast Beef, so a red wine would have been better company, however because of the weather and the sun beaming in, I went more with what I fancied. This was a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, my absolute favourite white wine. My wine was delicious, crisp and light, whilst also being perfectly cold. Finn had the Rioja – he only really drinks red wine, so again went with what he knew he would enjoy. Finn said the Rioja was ‘simply delicious; it was smooth and rich in flavour’.

To start, I wanted something light, so chose the Caesar salad. I love this simple classic dish, and it met every expectation I had. The leaves we crisp and fresh, the croutons were golden and crispy, and the dressing was creamy with just the right balance of salt from the classic anchovy recipe. I really enjoyed this part of my meal, especially with my wine. Finn went for the mushroom and thyme tart, which was topped with a good handful of rocket leaves. The tart was perfectly cooked with delicious crumbly pastry, and the filling had the perfect balance of flavours with a good number of mushrooms.  Both dishes were presented beautifully and in our opinion were the ideal size for a starter.

As we went to review the new Sunday lunch menu, we couldn’t not go for the roast dinner. I chose Beef, whilst Finn devoured the Pork Belly. Both roasts came with leek gratin, cabbage, roasted carrots, parsnips and potatoes, cauliflower cheese, a Yorkshire pudding and gravy. There really was everything you could ever think of! I have to say, I was very impressed. Often, I find when I go somewhere for a roast that if there are a lot of components, they can be a little disappointing. Every single part of this meal was absolutely delicious, and all the flavours had been careful considered to complement each other. My meat was soft and tender, with lots of flavour, the roasties were crisp, the parsnips and carrots were sweet, and the Yorkshire was perfectly cooked with the right balance of being light but bulky. However, as a foodie I must admit that the gravy was the highlight of the show for me. I know how hard it can be to get a sauce right and wow they did. It was so rich and tasty in flavour, as well as for me being the perfect texture and consistency. I like a good gravy that packs a punch, and this one certainly did.

Writing this review, I am very much reminded of how delicious this food was and how at this point I was really trying to comprehend how I was possibly going to eat anything else! Although, I knew I had to try the lemon posset. I have always been such a lemon posset fan and used to make my own so often. We both wanted something a little lighter and fresh for dessert, so both went for this traditional pudding. It was amazing! A perfect amount of lemon, with a gorgeous creamy consistency, paired seamlessly with a little fruit. I really enjoyed this dessert, and think it was the perfect ending, particularly after a traditional roast dinner.

To conclude, I would also like to mention the exquisite service that Finn and I received. From start to finish we were made to feel welcome and comfortable, with all our needs met and a friendly manner from everyone who served us. The overall atmosphere of the restaurant, as I mentioned, really surprised me, as with the surrounding views and high ceilings I would personally say that it had a really positive and buzzing vibe for the duration of our meal. Without a doubt we will be going back to enjoy another meal!

I would like to say a big thank you to The Bristol Hotel for inviting us to review your new Sunday lunch menu!

Visit the website here.

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Skirt – Mango

Jacket – Miss Selfridge

Top – New Look

Shoes – H&M

Belt – Gucci

Bag – Mulberry

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This blog post is in collaboration with The Bristol Hotel, however all views and opinions are entirely my own.