Saturday, 21 November 2015

Lovaine X Adidas #Workit video series

If you follow me on Instagram @_Lovaine_ you guys may remember seeing me filming something exciting with Adidas last month in London. Today I woke up to find my face bannered across all their social media channels, you'd think having a month since our shoot it would have sunk in...that this is real life and that this is really happening?! but honestly it's still as unbelievable and exciting since I first met with Adidas and they pitched this idea to me while I was finishing my Personal Training course with The Training Room back in September.

Today over on the Adidas Women Faceboook I am so excited to share with you, that my exclusive Lovaine X Adidas, 5 week #workit video series has officially landed! I know what your thinking... why me? and I wish I knew, all I know is that being able to put together my own workout programme, with a brand I have looked up to for such a long time, being able to share my love for health and fitness, and inspire the Adidas community to get active, I just couldn't be more grateful and overwhelmed. A comment from a stranger on our campaign read... "How refreshing to see a fit, strong woman promoting a sports brand! Thanks for showing someone real!" I have never felt so incredibly proud! 

Join me over the next 5 weeks my brand new winter #BODYBLITZ workout, with a new 30 minute circuit,  landing every Saturday on sure to head over and check it out, and bring your workout partners with you, its going to be a fun and very sweaty 5 weeks haha! and stay tuned for an EXCLUSIVE Lovaine blog X Adidas bundle giveaway landing very soon, where you guys will be in with the chance to be kitted out head to toe in your own Adidas fit kit! Let me know how you girls get on with week 1, and leave a little comment below if your joining me over the next 5 weeks with my #WORKIT challenge!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

My office

A behind the scenes look into my little space, with my Lovaine Office. It's been a dream of mine to have my own room to use as my creative outlet, and be a space to inspire me. Filled with my version of treasure, with my favourite items I have collected throughout various adventures and kept sakes full of memories, like my bottle of Giorgio I keep on my desk, the scent my beautiful nan Elaine used to wear, which I spray to remind me she is still here. My white acoustic guitar I taught myself to play when I was 14, the frames filled with feathers I hand painted gold at 3am when I just wanted to create. My letter stamp trays filled with jewellery I designed and brought to life with my Lovaine Store. My office, my own version of Aladdin's Cave. Watch my first VLOG above with a full tour of my office and some of my favourite pieces.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Hyatt Place Taghazout Bay

On Saturday I flew out to Morocco on a Bloggers trip after being invited by Hyatt Place, to celebrate the launch of their new luxury hotel in Taghazout Bay.  Last year Jon and I visited Taghazout during a 2 week surf trip, we stayed at the waters edge of the Village at Hash Point Surf Camp. During our stay we passed a building site just on the outskirts, overlooking the beautiful little fishing village, with the most incredible panoramic ocean view, but this building site just so happened to be the foundations of Hyatt Place! I would have never of dreamt that exactly one year later (to the day) I would be reigniting my love affair with Morocco, and staying in that very hotel we had passed in the early stages of it being brought to life! 

When the invite for the trip landed in my inbox the first thing I thought was... they must have the wrong person!?! how could this be real life?! Myself and 4 other bloggers from Europe had been chosen to attend the trip, and we were also able to bring some of our Instagram followers along with us! We joined forces with Hyatt Place and encouraged our followers to upload an image using the tag #theresaplaceforyou explaining how winning a spot on our bloggers getaway to Morocco would inspire them! It was so exciting seeing everyones entries, and even more exciting waiting to find out who would be joining us. 

I arrived nervously at the airport (bad flyer) with fitness blogger Rich from myrichtones, where we were joined by Instagram competition winners -  Annie, Evie and Flo, along with  fellow vlogger ZoeLondon.  Even though we were all meeting for the first time (face to face that is) thanks to the online Instagram and blogging community, we all felt like we had known each other for years, and my pre-flight nerves quickly vanished as the excitement washed over all of us as boarded the plane, all pinching ourselves at how lucky we were to have been chosen for such an incredible trip.

After a short 3 hour flight, we walked down off the runway to be greeted with a soft warmth on our faces and a beautiful blush pink airport in the heart of Agadir City. A man from the hotel holding a sign with our names on (just like you see in the movies) was awaiting our arrival. Dusk had set in, so we quickly buckled in (no road laws apply in Morocco so make sure you always wear a seatbelt) and we set off to find our hotel.

Street lights were sparse during our drive, an hour had passed and a sudden glow appeared in front of us, we drove up to the top of a hill, overlooking the beautiful panoramic sea view I remembered from last year, to find ourselves at only something I can best describe as a tropical oasis. Pools of light fell all around, catching the endless perfectly placed palm trees and strong crisp white architecture of the hotel, we had arrived, all quite overwhelmed at where we would be staying.. I mean of course we had all googled pictures in advance, but no photograph any of us had seen really touched the surface of just how beautiful The Hyatt Place Taghazout Bay really was. We arrived at the hotel to be greeted by the excited Hyatt staff and the other Bloggers and Competition winners from France, who had also been flown out to join us. The evening finished with a beautiful welcome dinner hosted by the hotel and PR Team, and as we found our way up to our rooms, we were handed our itinerary for the next few days, getting us excited for what we would be waking up to in the morning.

I have never stayed somewhere so luxurious before, and The Hyatt couldn't be more of a contrast to where I stayed last year on my stay in Taghazout. Normally when I book a holiday, budget surfcamps are my go to's (I mean I could never imagine being able to afford to stay in a place like this) but I was more than happy (and excited) to take on the challenge and experience the more luxurious version of a 'Holiday' for the next few days. 

For those of you that like to book a holiday to stay purely in the hotel and enjoy all it's facilities and beautiful scenery - the Hyatt would be perfect for you, and especially if you like a little bit of Luxury! I must admit I did feel a little out of place at times in my snap back, unbrushed salty hair and running shoes haha. 

I would class the Hyatt as more of its own mini tropical resort rather than a hotel, as it literally has everything...large spacious rooms and bathrooms, amazing restaurant, food and drink facilities. Hotel snacks, sweets and drink shop, a luxury spa, sauna and treatment area, a golf course and gym, swimming pools (too many to count) it's own beach with surf school and equipment hire, you can also book in other activities at the hotel like quad biking or day trips.

Then for those of you that like the best of both worlds, and like to venture outside of your hotel, Taghazout village is just a 3 minute taxi drive down the hill from the hotel. The quite little fishing village is rich in surf culture, with friendly locals excited to share their food, waves and love for their country with you. You will feel welcomed and at ease as soon as you step foot into Taghazout. 

We started our mornings at the hotel, enjoying the amazing buffet of fresh fruits, pancakes, freshly cooked mushrooms, tomatoes, eggs, salads...I could literally talk about the breakfast all day haha it was amazing! Then we'd slowly venture poolside and watch the sunrise up over the palm trees before deciding what to do for the day ahead. Behind the hotel is some beautiful cactus covered mountains, which we spent exploring after breakfast, before heading into Taghazout. Annie and Evie hired longboards at a little surf shop in the village (there is around 10 surf shops so your defiantly not short for board choice) and we settled down at the little surf restaurant L'Auberge for lunch, which soon became our favourite place to eat during our trip, and it was also the perfect spot to watch the locals catch some waves. Some of the other guests had surf lessons at the beach outside of the hotel, but as I had visited Taghazout before, I was desperate to take the girls into the beautiful village. Annie and Evie surfed just out front of L'Auberge at Taghazout beach and Hash point, before Flo, Rich and I ventured over to Panoramas for a sunset session.  Our trip was short but incredible sweet, and I defiantly fell in love with Morocco all over again. With flights only costing as little as £40 each way with Easy Jet and only a 3 hour plane ride, it makes me wonder why more people aren't taking advantage of the beautiful culture, coast line and waves just a short plane ride away. 

Hyatt Place in Taghazout Bay is the first of its kind, but it will defiantly not be the last, for me this part of Morocco is still beautifully raw and untouched but this won't be the case for much longer, after the Hyatt arrived, this year the cost line is scattered with more construction and building work, and it makes me wonder how different the untouched landscape will look in a few years time.

For anyone who has ever dreamt of going to Morocco now is your chance, you can experience the best of both worlds with the more luxurious resort Hyatt Place have created, and you also have the beautiful untouched Taghazout Village at your doorstep, and trust me... once you visit Morocco, the beauty of it will change you. A special thanks to Hyatt Place for inviting me.

FAQ: What camera and equipment do you use?  For the trip I shot all my images with a Canon 550D and a 50mm 1.8 lens. I also used my Meikon underwater surf housing.

Top Tips for Taghazout:
Make sure to try L'Auberge - they have the most amazing selection of healthy lunch and dinner options, some of our favourites were the cashew and avocado salad and thai green vegetable curry, not forgetting their amazing selection of fresh smoothies and juices! (the cucumber, apple and ginger was still my favourite from last year)
If you love mint tea as much as I do, you will be glad to hear that in Morocco they drink it by the bucket load! It's a lot sweeter than what we have over here, so always make sure to ask for your sugar on the side.
If you like cats and dogs you will be in heaven! Taghazout is full of friendly little kittens and pups around ever corner. 
When getting a taxi be prepared to hustle! If they hear you are staying at the Hyatt like we were...the locals will assume you are extremely wealthy and the taxi fair will defiantly reflect that (sadly for us we had to pay for some pretty overpriced rides back to our hotel) 
If you are surfing make sure to try out Panorama Beach - it's a super long and mellow wave, not intimidating for beginners, and so much fun for the more advanced. If you are looking for some more heaving stuff, you can try Taghazout beach in the centre of the village, leading onto HashPoint, anchors and killer point! The hotel also has a great spot directly in front of it too.
Visit Paridise Valley - if you have enough time make sure you take a day trip out to paradise valley, it's an hour each way (around 200dirham) and takes you into the heart of Morocco to the most beautiful, natural water pools and lagoons.
Bring Probiotics  - I think everyone expects at some point of their holiday that they may get ill,  so just remember to pack probiotics, and some immodium would be a good idea to! Try and avoid drinking any tap and sea water if you can help it! (brush your teeth with bottled water) and avoid eating salads that may have been washed in water too.

Tips for the Hotel: 
No Cash Point - there is no cash point in Taghazout, so make sure you exchange enough cash at the airport, as not many places will take card. The nearest cash point is in Banana Village.
Language: In Morocco French is a second language,  all of the hotel staff also all spoke English too.
Food: The breakfast and lunch options are all buffets, with the most amazing selection of foods to choose from, what ever your dietary requirement there is something for everyone. Dinner is the only meal not served in a buffet style.
Plug Sockets: the rooms take a French - 2 pin plug, so make sure to bring adapters. All the rooms do also have Iphone 5 charger docks in them too.
Shuttle bus - the hotel offers a shuttle bus into nearby towns and beaches every hour, one thing to note - it offers a shuttle to 'Taghazout Beach' this is not the actual Taghazout beach, but a beach near the hotel that they have re-named themselves (which we found out after being dropped off and not knowing where we were haha) So if you are looking for a shuttle into Taghazout village like we were, you will need to book a taxi (Again remember when getting a taxi be prepared to hustle!)

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