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17 May 2018

My struggle with calling myself a blogger

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Oui London dress, Hermes bag, H&M shoes in King's Cross LondonEuriental | luxury travel & style | Oui London dress, Hermes bag, H&M shoes in King's Cross London

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Oui London dress, Hermes bag, H&M shoes in King's Cross London
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Oui London dress, Hermes bag, H&M shoes in King's Cross London

There I was, the other week, at a friend's birthday when the subject of blogging came up. "Oh that's right, you actually blog professionally, don't you?" her mother asked me in genuine interest. "Well," I started blabbering. "I mean, yeah, I do blog, I'm not huge or anything, I guess I do it 'professionally'..."

I air quoted myself. I undermined my own work. Why did I feel the need to do this? Jarv tells me off for doing it all the time. I used to act the same way back when I was hair modelling. I half expected people to cock an eyebrow when I said I modelled. I'm not tall enough, I'm not beautiful enough, I'm not slim enough. But companies still paid me money to do it.

I struggle with telling people I blog. Not just telling them I blog for fun or as a pastime, but that I monetise my blog and Instagram, and even sell Instagram-related products. It's weird, because I obviously take it seriously when it comes to negotiating with brands, getting work done on time and generally being professional, yet the minute someone outside of this industry asks me about it, I retreat, or babble, or dismiss.

First, there's the assumption that they might instantly greet me with a barely suppressed eye roll. Oh. Another one of those. I felt so uncomfortable at times that I would even start to add my own jab at bloggers before the person innocently asking what I did could get one in (not that they were ever going to) - "Yeah, I know, everyone's a blogger!"

Then there's the fear of inadequacy. 

What if they check out my Instagram account and are surprised/disappointed/sceptical when they see I'm not at 100k followers?

Just because I know my content has value and takes time to create doesn't mean they'll see that.

It's not like I'm working a typical 9 - 5 in an office, they probably think I just occasionally take a pic, upload it and call that 'work' for the day. 

I take every job I get seriously, whether it's small or large, one Instagram photo or an entire dedicated write up. Yet when it comes to talking about it, my tendency is to brush it all aside.

Imposter syndrome is alive and kicking, guys. We (almost) all suffer it. I know bloggers that, at 200k IG followers, still feel embarrassed to answer 'blogging' when asked what they do. Most of us feel this way at some point or another, regardless of how successful we're perceived to be. It doesn't help that bloggers are often looked upon as a joke, as a nuisance, as wannabes. 

Yes, there will be people who will judge you. People who will scoff, whether behind your back or to your face. It's not your job to please them. It's not even your job to care what they think. We work hard at what we do, that alone is worth being proud of.

I just need to take my own advice. 😄

Whatever your profession - do you ever struggle with these feelings too?

23 Apr 2018

Marrakech: A Photo Diary

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco


Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco, Jardin Majorelle

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco, Musee Yves Saint Laurent
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco, Palais de la Bahia
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco, Palais de la Bahia
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco, soukEuriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco, souk

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco, desert camel ride

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco, camel riding in desert

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco, La Pause

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco, La Pause

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco, La Pause

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco, Terrasse des EpicesEuriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco, Jardin Majorelle
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco, Royal MansourEuriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco 

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Photo diary of Marrakech, Morocco, Royal Mansour
These photos were actually taken over two separate trips, 6 months apart. Because both trips were with friends and more 'offline life' kind of travel, I won't be sharing too much about what we got up to...but by now, seeing that Marrakech is such a hot spot and everyone is talking about it, I'm sure you know about many of the usual suspects:

  • Go to Nomad cafe for delicious fresh salads and rooftop views.
  • Go to Terrasse des Epices, another rooftop restaurant/cafe, for a friendly, relaxed atmosphere and delicious food (the Terrasse barbeque meat platter is amazing).
  • The souk is usually busy, loud and full of exotic smells, sights and sounds - and that's part of its charm. Always bargain the price down to at least half of what they offer (unless you find yourself in one of the fancier boutiques - you'll know if you're there) but no need to be aggressive about it, just walk away with a polite "no thank you" if you aren't satisfied with the price. Cover up your knees, chest, stomach and shoulders (if you won't do it out of respect, then at least do it to save yourself from stares and crude shouting) and wear comfortable shoes.
  • The Musee Yves Saint Laurent is beautiful, inside and out, and the Jardin Majorelle are lovely, despite being slightly overrun with people (tip: buy your ticket for both at the museum to skip the massive queue to get into the garden). 
  • Palais de la Bahia for aesthetically pleasing pastel and Majorelle blue coloured architecture.
  • La Pause, in the desert, is the ideal location for an afternoon of beautiful traditional Moroccan food and admiring the landscape astride a camel. It's about an hour's drive from the center of Marrakech. You can even stay out there; we didn't, but from the photos I've seen, the rooms are lovely.
  • The Royal Mansour is a must do for dinner. Owned by the King, it's famed for its gorgeous Moroccan cuisine, and the hotel itself has beautiful rooms and grounds, so be sure to dress up if you plan on visiting.

8 Apr 2018

Victory House: an MGallery Hotel

Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review
Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review 

Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel reviewEuriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review


Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review
Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review 
Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review
Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review
Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review
Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review

Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review

Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review
Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review


Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review

Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review

On a cold and drizzly afternoon, I checked into the MGallery Victory House hotel, a new London opening by Sofitel. 

Let me preface by stating that the location might not be my first choice when picking a place to stay in London. Leicester Square is a mass of befuddled and bored looking tourists, establishments along the likes of M&M's World, touters trying to entice unsuspecting pedestrians into bars/clubs with coupons for free drinks and obnoxious street performers (the better ones tend to hang around Oxford Circus).

However. Avoid the square itself where possible and make a right turn out of the hotel (Leicester Square is on the left) and you'll find yourself in Chinatown. You can't go wrong there!

I digress. After checking in, I was shown up to my room and left to my own devices. First impressions: it's all in the details. I loved the green velvet chairs; the little touch of nature with the potted plant and orchid; the coffee table books; brass lamps and hardware. However it was also immediately obvious that there wasn't a huge amount of natural light in the room, even less so with the dark clouds outside that day.

The next thing I realised while checking out the bedroom was that there was no wardrobe, just a single rail that hangs over the chest of drawers by the bathroom where the coffee machine sits. Bizarre! How would one hang long items such as coats and dresses? 🤔

Jarv arrived not long after me, and not long after him, a welcome bottle of champagne was brought up, opened and poured for us to enjoy before we headed out for the evening.

*

Breakfast the next morning was had downstairs in the bistro, which features more of the chic brass hardware and art deco style artwork on the walls (I'm crazy about those poster style print outs...anyone know where I can get some myself?). The buffet spread was fine but where the food particularly stands out is when ordering off the menu (namely the eggs Benedict and French toast). My fav spot was the little nook in the corner by the bar - it feels a little more private and very cosy.

Although Victory House doesn't have an on-site gym, as a guest you are entitled to use the Gymbox round the corner in Covent Garden. I love Gymbox! From DJs to a boxing ring to three full floors bursting with equipment, it's pretty difficult not to enjoy a workout here. So workout we did, then back to Chinatown we went for lunch, then to the room to relax for a few hours before dinner.


We'd reserved a specific table for dinner, however upon arriving downstairs discovered that this table had been given away to a large group. We decided to start the evening instead in our new favourite little nook with some gin martinis and wine before moving over to the table an hour later for dinner. No biggie.

My honest verdict? MGallery Victory House is perfectly suitable if you're looking for a short stay in a central London location. It's a little rough around the edges when it comes to certain aspects of service: there was the dinner reservation mix up, a slightly unhelpful phone conversation (when Jarv called asking to borrow a phone charger he was told that someone had one in the staff room but he couldn't bring it to our room...why even tell him there is one that he can't use?) and one evening when I requested a makeup removal wipe, it took over half an hour for someone to bring it to our room. Our room could also have been improved with more natural light, a proper wardrobe to store clothes away and a bin in the living room/bedroom.

However, these service issues may well be due to the fact that the hotel is still a reasonably new opening and perhaps some staff just need a little longer on the job. On a more positive note, the decor is very tasteful, for the most part the staff are professional, food is decent, access to the Gymbox is a bonus and as mentioned, the location is certainly convenient for getting around central London (even on foot, should weather permit).

Have you stayed at an MGallery hotel before? What was your experience?

Thank you to MGallery Victory House for putting us up for 2 nights. Monetary compensation was not provided for this article, and all words are my own.