Afternoon Tea on a London Bus!


Hey Guys,

This month, I have been celebrating the lead-up to Afternoon Tea Week here in the UK. From climbing the highest mountain in England and tucking into High Tea at the peak, to a sweet afternoon tea on-board a traditional London Routemaster bus!


I remember hearing about B Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus a little over a year ago, when a friend had visited and said it was great! I teamed up with Red Letter Days, who kindly gifted this experience to me. Here's what they say: 

"Experience one of the most unique afternoon teas on offer in the capital with a fantastic afternoon tea bus tour around central London. Board the B Bakery vintage 1960's Routemaster bus, sip on a freshly brewed cup of tea and sample exquisite treats as the driver takes you around the heart of the city, taking in historical sites including Big Ben and Nelson's column and experiencing the city's culture at Notting Hill, South Kensington and Trafalgar Square! The friendly staff will be on hand too, to answer any questions you might have, whilst they present you with an array of tasty sandwiches and savoury bites, decadent high tea pastries, crafted with French flavours like the trop chou and summer verrine, and of course, perhaps the staple of afternoon tea - scones topped with lashings of clotted cream and strawberry preserves. A bus tour is the perfect way to capture the heart of the city while you treat yourself!"

Sounds dreamy right?



The experience was as dreamy as it sounds. We were whisked around the capital, sipping tea and doing our best royal waves to everyone we passed! I fell in love with the small, pink cupcakes and we were even allowed to take any leftovers home. We also got to keep the hot drinks cup as an additional souvenir. 
Make sure when booking, to specify if you would like to be upstairs or downstairs. Unfortunately, I didn't do this and we were left downstairs, which I imagine was not as nice a view. However, the plus side, was that it was very quiet, with just myself and my partner and two other girls. Whilst upstairs was a lot louder and busier, with young children. Something to bare in mind. 
Overall, it was a fantastic couple of hours doing something I love, in a very unusual setting. Thank you so much to Red Letter Days for working with me on this post! You can book your own Afternoon Tea Bus experience here.

 Eb x

images by Eboni and Sean Joseph Young

My Top 5 Photography Tips for Bloggers


Hey Guys,

Last week, I was invited by HP, to attend a photography workshop led by the brilliant Adam Karnacz of First Man Photography. Adam is an extremely talented landscape photographer with his own YouTube channel. He spoke to us about the difference between “snapshots” and “photographs” and even lent his expertise to us with his own top tips for great photography. I used what I had learnt from the workshop and created my own tips, specific to bloggers. So I hope you find this useful!
HP were very generous and I was able to walk away with a HP Pavillion 15 to use for the week! I was excited to head to Kew Gardens, to create some amazing content that I could then edit on the Pavillion. I edited all the images for this blog post using Lightroom on the Pavillion 15. It was perfect for keeping up with the demanding tasks without slowing down and the picture quality was extremely high! This is down to it's graphic options (up to NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050Ti graphics.) HP says: "These high-end graphics give your biggest, graphically demanding projects and multimedia experiences a boost in detail with 1080p and game without experiencing any slowdowns, hiccups, or stuttering."

*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with HP. All images were edited using Lightroom Classic on the HP Pavilion 15 – a laptop boasting state-of-the-art NVIDIA technology that allows creators to perform at their best.*


My Top 5 Photography Tips for Bloggers

1. Composing 
One of the most interesting lessons we learned from Adam was the “rule of thirds”. This is a common photography rule that uses science to create the perfect composition. You can read more about the rule of thirds here, but it is basically a method you can apply to photos to make them more pleasing to the eye. This can be done by the photographer, or your final image can be cropped in editing to abide by the rule. 

Composing blog photos can be tricky and entirely dependant on your personal style and what you are trying to feature. For example, a fashion blogger may want to feature an object like a bag. If it is a bag you are featuring, you may want to draw attention away from your face and onto the bag. You can do this with angles and a good blurry background, or also by placing the bag onto one of the “rule of thirds” lines. This could also apply to product photography too. For example, beauty bloggers who would like to feature a few products. I find that in my personal experience, odd numbers of products always work better in images.  
2. Background 
The background of your images is really important. It can make or break a good photo, so it is definitely worth paying attention to. Clean, plain coloured backgrounds are simple and easy. Phone pictures are usually great on plain wall backdrops. In this case, camera angles are fun to play around with if you want to add an interesting element to your photo. I would suggest the photographer getting nice and low to create angles. 

I personally prefer a busier backdrop. For example, a lovely building or floral archway. When using a lens such as the 50mm or 35mm, you can really play with depth of field and creating great “bokeh”. I love a good blurry background! In contrast, should you wish to take in an entire building alongside your model/blogger, fixed, or “prime” lenses aren’t usually too great and you’d be better off with your kit lens, a wide lens or a phone. This type of image can be seen a lot in travel blogger’s content, where they have managed to fit themselves in alongside a wonderful, wide view of a lake or sea or historical building or landmark!

3. Lighting 
My favourite styles of photography use natural lighting. This can be outdoors or indoors; you can’t beat the sun’s natural rays to light a photo! With changing lighting comes changes in camera settings and it may take a little time getting used to when finding the correct settings for your lighting. You can read more about how to set up your camera for different settings here.
Ideally, you would have a mildly sunny day with plenty of clouds. Some people may assume that bright, direct sun would be perfect for taking photos, but actually what you end up with are harsh shadows. My top tip for shooting on a sunny day would be to find buildings that create shadows to hide behind. 
Depending on where in the world you are, you might also find that the weather can be unpredictable and if it is likely to rain, having a backup plan is perfect. In London, the weather can be very unpredictable, so I tend to shoot in locations that have nearby photogenic indoor locations. For example, where this blog post’s images were taken in Kew Gardens, there are some beautiful outdoor grounds, along with a few large, indoor greenhouses and a couple of cafés. I know this isn’t always possible (eg. Visiting a lavender field or beach) so in those cases, it is worth checking the weather ahead and allowing for a change of date where necessary! 


4. Editing
Editing isn't always necessary, however, If you are wanting to make the most of your images, I would suggest investing some time into tweaking and pulling a little here and there. How to edit is a whole other blog post of its own, but it can be pretty easy (and cheap) with the right apps and programmes. Lightroom Classic is what I used to edit the images in this post. It is not to be confused with Photoshop. Lightroom is just for tweaking minor details and changing colours and brightness etc. There is Lightroom for your computer, which I purchase for £9.98 per month, or you can download it for free onto your phone and use that version. 

Editing allows you to not only transform your photography into the best it can be, but it also allows you to develop a personal style that people will be able to associate with you and your blog. 


5. Getting Attention
Once you have had your blog shoot and edited your images, it is time to post! Adam, of First Man Photography, suggests paying attention to your audience and thinking about the value of your content. I, admittedly, find that I tend to think more about what I like to post, rather than what my audience would like to see. A successful blogger probably thinks about both! Who is your audience and what value are you bringing to them? Time is the most precious thing people have, what about your content is going to make someone want to stop scrolling and read? 

My Instagram tips would be to think about your grid as a whole. You can plan it ahead using apps such as UNUM. Is it clear what your blog is about? Is it aesthetically pleasing or interesting? Do you have a distinct style that sets you apart? It is also important to engage. I reply to 99% of the comments left on my blog, YouTube channel and Instagram. Engaging with your audience is a great way to build a genuine, virtual relationship. Lastly, use relevant hashtags! Some of my most successful posts have been due to my use of hashtags. Keep them relevant and specific. Steer clear of generic ones such as “food” and “London”. They will have millions of posts and yours will get lost! Find hashtags relevant to you or even create your own. I use #eboniivorytravels whenever I post travel content.


I hope you found at least one, if not all, tips useful. Please let me know if you think there are any other useful photography tips that I didn't mention? And a huge thank you, again to HP for sponsoring this blog post and for use of the fantastic HP Pavillion 15. 

Eb x

All images by Sean Joseph Young

5 Ways to Enjoy Summer in London



Hey Guys, 

So just 24 hours ago, I was laying on top of the pink lilo that floated in the newly built 10-foot swimming pool that now resides in my garden. I bought this make-shift pool for £30 last year, as a result of the scorching temperatures we were experiencing in London. However… I am now watching said-pool in my garden, being smothered by rain drops from the storm that followed the 39º, perfect weather we had yesterday! 
I think that pretty much sums up London in summer; always keeping you on your toes. Hopefully these top tips of mine will help you survive your London summer!

*This post features a non-sponsored collaboration with Daisy London. They Kindly gifted me a couple of their lovely necklaces to feature in this blog post * 


5 Ways to Enjoy Summer in London 

1. Take a look on voucher and event websites. 
This tip is great for you bargain hunters and budget-conscious. Websites such as Groupon, have amazing deals on really fun activities and days out. I recently took my partner for a lovely afternoon tea in the most beautiful hotel, over-looking London, for just £20! We also had a made to order buffet meal in a fun asian restaurant that featured interactive tables with games. I also know that National Rail offers a lot of 2 for 1 deals on some London attractions when travelling by train. The perfect way to find something to do this summer whilst still being wallet-conscious! 


2. Plan journeys to avoid rush hour and hot transport. 
Heat, crowds and delays. I can sum up a summer on London public transport up in 3 words - hot, delayed and hot! Unfortunately, many of the tube lines start to resemble more of a slow cooker during the warmer temperatures, so I would really recommend researching off-peak travel times (for less crowds and sweaty armpits) or finding an alternative route. Busses are generally ok because they usually either have air conditioning or several open windows allowing reasonable air flow. The Overground trains all have air conditioning, along with Thameslink trains which have AMAZING air conditioning! The DLR is also a great option for getting to places like Greenwich, and there is even a river boat which you can take with your oyster card! 

3. Make the most of the beautiful parks. 
London has some beautiful parks to visit and they are all free to enter.  I could take a picnic and spend an entire day in a lovely park! Here are some of my favourite London parks:
Greenwich Park - Boating lake, fantastic London views, photo ops, free nautical museum and squirrels!
Crystal Palace park - Maze, historical, free farm, life size dinosaur walk.
Hampstead Heath - Great walks, ponds to swim in, beautiful views, the pergola (where the images from this blog post were taken!) 


4. Check weather and have a plan B. 
This tip applies for the days you have decided on an outdoor activity. Always have a plan b or an alternative day! As I type this, I am currently in the middle of re-planning a trip to Kew Gardens as the weather is unfortunately not on my side. It can be very disappointing, but the UK weather never seems to make up its mind. And hopefully, if your heart isn’t too set on particular plans, you can always change to visiting a museum or heading to the cinema. 

5. Leave London… 
This top tip probably applies directly to you wonderful Londoners. As you probably know by now, there is nothing better than the feeling of leaving the city for a short break. Whether that be for the day, by plane or by train. Time out can really help with stress, anxiety and any other city-inducing problems! Places like Brighton and Margate are just short trips on the train and, as I recently discovered, can be extremely affordable with a 16-25 or 26-30 railcard! 

I hope you enjoyed those tips and if you can think of any more, please leave them below in a comment! 

Eb x 

All images by Sean Joseph Young

5 Reasons Why I Love Brighton


Hey Guys,

Last weekend I decided to take some much needed time away from London with one of my best friends. We both agreed Brighton would be the perfect day away, to relax and unwind a bit. The weather was on our side, with 30º heat all day and bright skies. So with our train tickets in hand (less than £9.00 with our 26-30 railcards) we were off to the sea!

Celebrating Wedding Season with Pandora


Hey Guys,

Last week, I was invited along to a special event with Pandora. Myself and and a few other lovely bloggers gathered at the gorgeous Ivy Tower Bridge restaurant to celebrate the wedding gifts and bridesmaid's collections. We also had the lovely Katie, from London Calligraphy, with us to teach (or attempt to, in my case) writing in calligraphy - *spoiler alert* I was terrible!

Cocktails and Canapés with VIVI, London


Hey Guys,

Last week, my partner and I were invited for drinks and bar bites with VIVI. VIVI is a restaurant and bar based in Centre Point, just by Tottenham Court road station - the perfect location for post-shopping catch ups and cocktails! This large bar and restaurant combo features four distinct, and beautiful, sections which they call "VIVI Zones":

VIVI Zones
"VIVI has been cleverly zoned into four key spaces; The Dining Room, The Bar, The Gallery and Liquid Lounge each bringing a different character to suit your dining requirements."

This post is centred around the bar menu and all images were taken within the Liquid Lounge area. We booked a table for 3pm (I was trying to be clever and pick a less-busy time,  just after lunch and just before dinner). My plan worked! It was very quiet at this time, which I really liked! We had the entire Liquid Lounge to ourselves for about an hour, which was perfect for taking lots of pictures but also felt very intimate and peaceful.

Why Podcasts Are My New 'Thing'


Hey Guys,

I’ve really been loving podcasts recently. They make me laugh, the make me think, they keep me company on long journeys home, they drown out the sound of my thighs chafing - they’re great! I started off my podcasting journey just looking for audio books to play on my commute or to fall asleep to. I didn’t really find anything I liked. I was about to give up when I stumbled across these gems...
I thought I would share three of my favourites with you. And who knows, maybe one will tickle your fancy! 

Egyptian Street Food in London


Hey Guys,

I was recently invited by the team at Koshari Street, to come and try something from their menu. I love trying new food, especially dishes that derive from other counties and cultures, so was happy to pop along on a Friday lunchtime! 
I took my friend Shermin, who is vegan, as they have many vegan and vegetarian options - so I thought it would be great for her. We arrived around midday and couldn't wait to discover what "Koshari" really was...

Self-Drive Boating with Go Boat London


Hey Guys,

I was recently able to add a new key skill to my CV - “sailor”. Okay maybe thats a bit of an exaggeration, but the sentiment remains the same. Coincidentally, my email from Go Boat arrived just a day after I had watched the film Adrift (and cried) luckily for me, my experience was nothing like the movie Adrift...

I was kindly invited, along with 7 of my friends, to test drive a Go Boat, at their newest branch opening - Kingston upon Thames! I am not one to turn down an adventure, so I of course arranged a trip right away.


An Instagram Guide to: Portsmouth


Hey Guys,

This year has been whisking me away to the British south coast time and time again! From a recent press trip to Southampton, to my family holiday in Littlehampton and now, a trip to Portsmouth! I was kindly offered the chance to discover Portsmouth as part of a press trip to the Mary Rose Museum. I of course took the opportunity to also create lots of lovely Instagram content and put together this blog post for all you snappy, insta-lovers, who would also like to find some seriously cool backgrounds! Make sure to give me a follow on Instagram (www.instagram.com/eboniivoryblog) and let me know if you find any of these locations yourself by tagging me! Enjoy!