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A Little About Me

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Tilly-Jayne Kidman, Cambridge based style & travel blogger. By day I do all things digital marketing and by night I write this blog as well as contributing to other publications. You can also find a few tips and posts on veganism among my usual style & travel features!

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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Brunch At Redemption Shoreditch

If you've watched my latest vlog you may have seen Charlie and I recently visited Redemption, a vegan restaurant based in Shoreditch. I first heard about Redemption on the TV show Sunday Brunch, and had been wanting to visit ever since. Charlie surprised me with a reservation on my birthday weekend, and I wasn't disappointed!

Based just a 5 minute walk from the Ace Hotel, we dropped off our bags and then headed over to the restaurant for some much needed fuel. I loved the decor of the place, it had such a nice vibe and you've always got to appreciate a marble table...

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I can't speak for the evening menu, but the day time menu had lots of super healthy options, although trust me to bypass the healthy raw bowls for pancakes! I've got a sweet tooth and I couldn't wait to try them, surprisingly Charlie opted for a healthier option. We enjoyed a couple of smoothies, mine was a super delicious strawberry and almond milk concoction which looked almost too good to drink. 

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Both of our dishes were delicious, I mean just LOOK at those pancakes! The combination of coconut cream, caramelised pecans an maple syrup was just heavenly. Charlie's slightly less sweet and healthier option looked fab and he finished every last grain of quinoa so it must have been pretty good!

We'll definitely be returning to check out the evening menu! Have you ever been to Redemption? You can find them in both Shoreditch & Notting Hill.

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Thursday, 16 March 2017

Checking In At The Ace Hotel Shoreditch

For my birthday (promise I will stop banging on about it soon) Charlie arranged a lovely weekend away for us in London. I wanted to do something a little different to the norm, so instead of booking a hotel in the Covent Garden area we decided to stay in Shoreditch. I'm not too unfamiliar with East London, having worked on both Old Street & in Hackney whilst I was at uni but we generally tend to stick to the West End and to be honest I'm a bit bored of it.

I hadn't actually been into East London since going vegan but I knew there was a pretty banging plant based food scene going on so I was excited to try out a few restaurants - but more on that in my next post. We chose the Ace Hotel as our base as it ticked all of the boxes. Cool, contemporary and in the middle of all the action. 

Let's take a look...

Ace Hotel, Shoreditch

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The entrance just oozes cool. Played down, low key and everything that the Ace Hotel is about. The staff are super friendly despite a few reviews I had read and there was a a really fun vibe throughout the lobby with bits & bobs for sale including a cactus candle I *almost* bought. If you look to your left you'll find a long table crammed with creative types tapping away on their MacBooks. It's clearly the place to get shit done.

The location was perfect for us, walking distance to everything we had booked up in the Shoreditch area and also close to Spitalfields market and Brick Lane. We got off at Old Street tube station and it was only a 5-10 minute walk to the hotel, with a quick stop for some delicious food on the way!

There's a vegan doner kebab stall about 2 minutes up the road on the other side which is an absolute MUST VISIT.

Onto the room...

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I heard on the grapevine that the denim bedspread is by APC, which actually happens to have a boutique just around the corner from the hotel. Handy if you fancy treating yourself...

The Scandi, minimalist vibes are totally my thing so for me this hotel was an absolute dream! I loved all the quirky touches such as the record player and shelving which housed a survival guide, a few alcoholic treats and a copy of Jane Eyre if you fancied a read.

The various snacks on offer do come at an extra cost so be wary of this before you start tucking in!

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The bathroom was equally as cool with floor to ceiling subway style tiles, natural products, jersey bath robes and a concert sink area. Even the tissue holder was too cool. I actually had a bath for the first time ever in a hotel as I'm usually a total germ freak but I actually felt really relaxed and everywhere was so clean.
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The seating area in the room was the perfect area to chill out and take a peep at Shoreditch high street before we trecked it up to Dalston for dinner. If you're staying for business or have a little blogging to get done on your stay, it's a handy area to utilise if you can't get a seat in the hotels lobby.

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We stayed in a deluxe double bedroom, which was a tiny bit extra than a standard double but as it was my birthday, we had to upgrade!

I'd 100% recommend the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch and if I happen to be staying in the area again I'd definitely be checking back in. In fact, I may even book a couple of nights at the LA Ace Hotel this summer as I'm still yet to book a hotel for the Los Angeles leg of our American road trip. 

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Monday, 13 March 2017

Reflecting On A Quarter Of A Century

Last week I turned 25, and I really freaked out about it

But you know what, it's not so bad. I won't lie, the blow was softened by the bouncer who ID'd me on my birthday night because he thought I was 16 - yah had to sneak that in. So I'm 25 and I haven't yet taken up bingo and my hair is only voluntarily grey. I've been on this earth a grand old quarter of a century and as much as I still feel internally 19 I'm ready to embrace the next stage of my 20's.

I'd like to think I've learnt a few life lessons which have led me to this stage, some important some not-so (like learning that co-op vegan friendly donuts freeze really well) but nethertheless still handy. So I thought I'd share with ya'll what this 25 year old has learnt in her first quarter of life...


1. Experiences Are More Valuable Than Things

This one took me quite a while to appreciate, I was very much a designer bag addict in my late teens and I'm not saying that's a bad thing but I am saying that these don't make me happy anymore. I used to feel such a buzz from spending money and having a splurge in Selfridges but now I get more of a buzz from saving my $ and spending it on trips and experiences. 18 year old me would be, like, soo disgusted by that.

*but if anyone wants to treat me to a Stella McCartney Falabella box bag plz feel free. 

2. Saving Money Is Important

Being young, wild & reckless was fun BUT I do wish I had started saving more money at a much younger age than erm 24. In my defence I was a uni student but I really didn't need 37 variations of crop top from Topshop. I guess that one is just a part of growing up, but I could really do with that cash sitting in my bank rather than under my bed right now because house deposits do NOT come cheap.

3. Some Of Your Biggest Mistakes Shape Your Life

We don't grow if we don't mistakes. I've made mistakes, we all have and I am now thankful for those.  Dropping out of my first University wasn't my finest moment but it all worked out in the end and I still bagged my degree. Even though these resulted in major lows and frustration, my life would never have turned out how it is now if I hadn't of made those. So for that I am grateful. 


4. Failure Isn't Always Negative

Speaking of my University experience, this is a big one. I've never dealt well with failure and have always strived to do my very best in whatever I take on (ugh cringe) but sometimes a failure is needed to teach you, and mold you as a person. When I dropped out of my first uni I felt like I may as well as come home with failure written on my forehead but it was the best decision I ever made. I didn't enjoy living so far away from home and I was just not cut out for the student lifestyle. Plus if I hadn't of dropped out I would never have started this blog so there you go!

6. Not To Care What Others Think

I admit, I used to care what other people thought of me. What they thought of my clothes, and what they thought of me as a person. Now I literally couldn't care less, of course I don't want to be seen as a nasty person (trust me - I'm not, unless hungry) but I don't care if someone doesn't like my trousers or thinks I'm a massive narcissist. Yes, putting yourself out there as a blogger can result in a little negative attention and people assuming you must 100% love yourself but we all know that's not what blogging is about. When I first pressed publish on this blog I was petrified, and kept it secret for a long time in fear I would have the piss taken out of me. Now I proudly share my content and collabs - plus who doesn't have a blog these days?!

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7. Putting Yourself Out Of Your Comfort Zone Is Important

We've all seen the quote on Pinterest but life really does start at the end of your comfort zone. Putting yourself out there can be scary as hell but it generally pays off in the long run. Waking up for my first day as a fashion intern in London was hands down one of the scariest mornings of my life. I thought I was getting myself into the Devil Wears Prada, and whilst it was crazy it was also an invaluable experience and taught me a hell of a lot as naive first year uni student. 

8. Going Vegan Will Change Your Life

Soz but I had to mention it! Last year I went vegan and I can't tell you how much this has changed my whole outlook on life. I've always been veggie, but taking time to learn about the dairy industry and general everyday exploitation of animals made me stop and reevaluate all of my life choices. This has meant adapting my diet, cutting out leather and switching to ethical beauty products but it's actually way easier than I imagined and I feel like it's made me a better person. I've also never eaten so well and I actually enjoy cooking rather than dreading it! We don't need to use animal products in modern day cooking, there are so many healthier, more environmentally friendly options out there.


9. Spontaneity Keeps Life Interesting 

I've always been a fairly spontaneous person. I'll make snap decisions and usually they turn out pretty ok. At the end of last year Charlie and I were discussing how much we would love to go on a US road trip. The following weekend we were on our usual mooch about Cambridge and wandered past STA Travel. Half an hour later and we'd booked a campver-van and flights to San Fransisco. We leave in June and we're both SO excited. It's always important to have something to look forward to and this definitely kept me going through the winter months!

10. Your Mum Is Your BFF

I'm not a soppy kinda gal so I'll just end on that point - yes mum, you're welcome.

- photos by Suzi Ovens for Urban Outfitters
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Sunday, 5 March 2017

Do We All Need A Niche?

When I first started out blogging back at the end of 2011 (good god) I had a clear vision of wanting to become a fashion blogger. My blog was created on the premise I could share and document my daily outfits and that's exactly what I did. I was inspired by the likes of Style Scrapbook, The Blonde Salad and a few other style blogs that have sadly appeared to have come to an end. Tilly-Jayne was a fashion blog and I would class myself as a fashion blogger if ever asked, but now? Not so much.

I was 19 back then, I'm now fast approaching 25 and therefore as I've evolved, so have my interests. Rewind back to 2012 and I was 100% immersed in fashion. I was studying for a degree in fashion marketing, blogging whenever I could get a free moment to set up my tripod or haul my mum into taking a few snaps on my Sony cyber shot or I was interning my ass off in London for high street brands such as Dune. Fashion was my life and I loved it, don't get me wrong I still do but I also have other loves.

I love to travel, I love to explore and I love interior design. My world has become less fashion focussed and instead I find myself flicking through a copy of Vegan Living much more regularly than Elle magazine.

I still adore fashion, I still love to share my outfits on Insta but there has been a little love lost. My blog content has shuffled slowly in the direction of travel and lifestyle with a few drops of fashion thrown in. My most popular posts last year were my vegan related posts, and now I find myself struggling to relate to the latest Gucci bag or belt. I no longer wear leather, and apart from the likes of Stella McCartney, it has left me feeling alienated from something I used to live for

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with my choices and maybe my thirst for fashion will bounce back, but it has got me to thinking, what is my niche? Do I need a niche? There are SO many blogs out there I almost think it's impossible, but I suppose what's been in the back of my mind is what kind of blogger am I?

It's left me putting my blog to the side, whilst I figure it all out. But I'm not sure there is an answer. I've come to the conclusion that whilst I wouldn't class myself as purely a fashion blogger, I intend to continue to blog about my style, but also blog about my travels, new interior buys and even the latest vegan restaurant I went to.

Last month I published my first vlog, which I LOVED creating and sharing with you guys. It's definitely opened up a new avenue, and there will be another travel vlog coming up this month too. In June I'll be saying goodbye to the UK to travel around California, which will provide an amazing opportunity to really get into the vlogging side of things which I'm so excited for. 

So I guess that makes me a 'bit of everything blogger' which initially threw me, having been so used to one main blogging subject for all these years but for now I think I need to shake off this funk and just post about what I want when I want instead of worrying about what this blog is all about. 

Do you think a blog needs a niche? Has your content changed over time? I'd love to hear any thoughts, opinions and stories in the comments below. 
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