How to make the most out of your holiday

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Holiday season is upon us!

All you have to do is take a glance at instagram and whoop there it is… photos galore of beyond-beautiful backdrops, perfect beach bods and ultimate baecation goals.

Whether you’ve sorted an extravagant caribbean getaway or a chic short city break in Europe, there’s a few things that I always consider before finalising my holiday plans that I think can help anyone when wanting to find the best destination as well as planning to make the most out of your holiday.

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1.Research any events happening.
I’m the type of person who is always on the hunt for something new to do in London. And to be honest, this is no different to when I’m going abroad. My top tip to making the most our your holiday is to find events happening in the place you plan to visit around the time you’re going. A music festival, a beach party, a food market – if there’s something you’re interested in, more times than not, places in your chosen destination will have events for you to attend. This is also a great opportunity to get out and explore too… who knows you may even make a few new friends on the way.

2.Discover cool places to eat.
Much like the way I research events, I am religiously on the hunt for new eateries. I pretty much plan my day around food, from what time I think I’ll be hungry to what I’m going to scoff down next, even as I’m finishing the meal in front of me.

I’m lucky enough not to be allergic to anything *touch wood* which gives me the freedom to enjoy exploring new flavours and foods, so, one of my favourite pastimes is to look up restaurants (non chains) to see where I can eat next. Pinterest and Instagram (trust me, utilise these platforms) are my favourite tools for this as you get to see great photos from real life people (Tripadvisor doesn’t hurt either!).

This goes hand-in-hand with my first point too. If you’ve found an event to attend, finding a nice spot to brunch it up, or have a romantic evening meal at, nicely finishes off a day out, so keep you eyes out for double-tap worthy food.

3.Don’t Rely on Reviews.
One valuable piece of advice I’d pass on is to not solely rely on reviews. Now, I’m not saying to dismiss reviews completely, but, weigh out your options. Consider price, star ratings and ‘traveller photos’ and carefully read what you’ll get for your money. Whether for a restaurant or hotel, always remember you may like things that some people may not, so relax and look forward to making up your own mind and making your own memories.

After all every experience is a lesson learned.

4.Make a Loose Itinerary.
I love to be organised and everything, but after one holiday to Barcelona, where I had a solid plan for every day of our trip, I think it’s worth remembering, a holiday, is for exploring a new culture and way of life, BUT, it’s also a gateway to utter relaxation (in my world anyway). So, with that being said, I would make a loose plan of pre-booked trips and activities and keep in mind excursions that you’d like to go on, so you have the option to book it while you’re there. The last thing you want to do waste money.

5.Enjoy every day as it comes.
Last but not least, enjoy your time away. Many a time, we put all our energy into planning, that when we get there we’ve already lived out our holiday online. Take the day as it comes and try to enjoy every minute of it.

Do you have any tips, to ensure you make the most out of your holiday, I’d love to know?

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Why Kingston, Jamaica Should Be Your Next Holiday Destination

Hey all,

I’ve been back in the UK for just over a week and I am wanderlusting HARD!

From the title of this blog, you’ve probably guessed where I’ve just come back from.

Yes… I’ve been living carefree, soaking up all the vitamin D the caribbean has to offer, sipping on Red Stripe Lemon, and exploring the bustling capital city of Jamaica, Kingston.

The Caribbean is somewhere that I’ve always gravitated towards when looking for my next holiday destination. It’s hot, it’s instagrammable, and there’s so much culture to explore.

Having travelled to Barbados on multiple occasions, I thought it was about time I explored my Jamaican heritage. And seeing as both mine and my boyfriends families are from Kingston, it was only right that this would be our home for 2 weeks.

My heart fell for Kingston instantly. The vibrancy of the city set against the mountain views were absolutely superb, so, if you’re planning a trip to the caribbean or more specifically Jamaica, it’s only right I put Kingston on your radar.

1. The Food

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Locals use wood oven like these to cook jerk chicken and pork
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Pictured: Lobster, Bammi, Plantain, Fried Dumplings

Jamaicans know how to throw down… anywhere! Whether you’re strolling through Kingston passing local food businesses with home made wood ovens, or sat down in a nice restaurant you’re always seconds aways from tasty, fresh food. There’s something for everyone. If you’re after something traditional like ackee & saltfish, lobster and bammi, callaloo and breadfruit or even something more western, like a burger, Kingston has got an array of eateries. Plus, Vegan options are standard!

2. The People

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Locals you’ll find in Kingston

No Problem is Jamaica’s national slogan, and it’s perfectly fitting. The people are loud, confident, outgoing, funny, charismatic and will help you out with no problem. Oh, and somehow, everyone seems to be able to sing.

3. The Culture

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Beautiful paintings inside the Bob Marley museum grounds

With Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley and Usain Bolt national heroes, there is plenty to be explored when it comes to the history and culture of Jamaica.

A Jamaican folktale I came across was that the first Jamaican Bobsledding team actually got the idea to compete as bobsledders in the Olympics after racing around on carts used to transport food in downtown Kingston fresh food market. True or not, it’s quite interesting.

4. The Music (…and the parties!)

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Amazing artist: IndieMeName

As I said before, everyone on the island seems to have a record label worthy voice. Is it any wonder, Jamaica was home to the musical legend that was Bob Marley. The island thrives off of good music and good vibes. From the parties, to concerts, it’s evident that Jamaicans have music flowing through their veins.

At one point during our stay we were at a street party that started at about 5pm and ended at 7am the next morning. Music blasted all night with No Problem. can you imagine the ruckus from neighbours if that happened in the UK?!

5. The Views

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Compared to Barbados, Jamaica is a very mountainous island, so much so, that anywhere  you find yourself in Kingston, there’ll be a beautiful backdrop of a mountains and palm trees to admire. I mean do you need anything else?

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I have so many unforgettable memories from Jamaica that there are so many more beautiful reasons on why you should visit Kingston. Keep your eyes peeled on my next post all about the places you should visit (beaches included)!

Have you/ would you ever visit Kingston?

Perusing Paris:

I cannot believe it’s been over a week since my impromptu weekend away in (insert French accent)… Paris!

A girly trip away is sometimes, in fact always needed, and who better else to spend it with than the blogging gal pals… if you don’t know who I’m talking about check this post. I mean who else truly understands the art, and struggle, of capturing the perfect Instagram post? Only the blogging queens, that’s who! 😂

Our trip was short and sweet, but definitely a barrel of laughs. We fit so much in (thanks Chrissy) that I feel like I actually saw Paris and experienced a little bit of culture – although now that I think of it I didn’t try a croissant – major faux pas! 😱

Whether you’ve been to Paris once ,like me or more there’s so much to do and see. So if you’re planning a romantic trip to France with bae or simply want a have a girly weekend away with your besties, here are some places you should definitely and visit…

Louvre
We visited the Louvre on our first night and it was everything! I’ve always seen so many pictures of people doing the whole pinching the tip thing (lol) but to actually be there and take in the view was something else. We didn’t actually go inside, but just seeing the beauty of the architecture and surrounding buildings was enough, plus, guess I can explore further next time 👍🏾

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Eiffel Tower
Who goes to Paris and doesn’t see the Eiffel Tour?! Like, seriously it is amazing and steeped in history. Did you know it’s re-painted every 7 years and it takes 60 tonnes of paint to cover it? Absolutely crazy! It is recommended that you see at least once in daylight and again at night because it’s truly spectacular, and you really get to see its personality and detail in different light.

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Notre Dame
I can’t believe I got to visit the backdrop to one of my favourite Disney films 🐵. To be honest I was left a little disappointed. I don’t know what it was but I thought there would be more. Nevertheless, the cathedral is beautiful and there are plenty of places to eat nearby.

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Sidenote: If you have the chance to visit don’t let any of the artists outside draw a caricature of you, absolute waste of time and money – if you saw my instastory you know what I’m on about 👀

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Champs de Elysee
There are no words to describe how charming and beautiful this avenue is. I felt so Parisian just walking up to the Arc de Triomphe. There’s only one way to see the Champs de Elysee and it’s at night – definitely the perfect destination for a romantic late night stroll.

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River Cruise and River Seine
If you love to immerse yourself in local history, I would really recommend taking a cruise down River Seine, which is practically next to Notre Dame, so not far to walk. The hour long trip was only €12 and it took us past really cool landmarks  It’s so picturesque and definitely worth the trip if you want to see a lot in one go. Before you take a boat trip, don’t forget to visit one of the many love lock bridges and attach a lock that’ll be there forever… or at least until they take it down – One bridge has collapsed 11 times due to the weight of locks.

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Places to Eat

When you go to France it’s only right that you eat right too so hit up these places.

Street Vendor Crepes 

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La Pere Claude 

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PaperBoy Paris 

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Paris was such a dream. So multicultural and historical. Exploring in -4 degree temperatures is not exactly my ideal holiday, but definitely a trip to remember. I can only imagine just how much the beauty of the city shines through in the summer months.

Paris seems like a distant memory but, 2017 is all about new adventures and travels so I can’t wait to share where I’m off to next…

Have you been to Paris, what was your favourite thing to do? Also, what’s your favourite French word?

Pretty in Paris: My In-Flight Essentials

Happy New year guys!

It’s been a minute since my last blog, and so much has happened – Christmas, NYE antics (not so much in my case), plus going back to work – it’s definitely been a whirlwind. But as it’s the New Year, I’ve promised myself to have a fresh, new outlook on life and set myself a few resolutions too!

One major  resolution of mine is to travel even more than I did last year… and im off to a nice start, even if I do say so myself, as I’ll be jetting off to Paris tomorrow (yay me!).

As a result I teamed up with Tripping.com – a comparison site that help you find the perfect home/villa rentals abroad – to tell you all about what my-flight essential are, so keep reading to find out…

Mints – Currently in my handbag there are three different types of mints to choose from lol. I love having them handy as they’re just nice sweets to suck on, but they especially come in handy for on the plan as  I hate my ears popping 😖

Snacks– food is always an essential! When flying short haul flights food isn’t always available, so having something to munch on is a must, no-one wants to start their trip off #hangry do they. Pass me a bag of salt and vinegar crisps and I’ll be fine 😭

Hand sanitinser – I’m a city gal and hand santinzer is a must. I’ve literally just recovered from the norovirus, so I am not messing around with any germs coming into the New Year. When travelling abroad and even on public transport around London you just never know what you’ll have to encounter, so hand sanitiser is definitely an essential. Better to be safe than germy! 😂

Hand Moisturiser – in- flight air con is a MF so, i’ve packed my Kiehl’s Richly Hydrating Hand Cream in grapefruit- smells so lush! And it keeps my hands beautifully moisturised it’s defo a contender to my beloved – Lush Helping Hand 

A Blanket Scarf – as its bitterly cold here in London and I’m sure it will be in Paris a blanket scarf just makes sense. I’ve had mine in tow since last October! I love a quick nap in-flight too (much to the annoyancenof my bf🙈) so a cosy scarf helps me wrap up and keep warm, plus you never know the air-con situ. Plus, if too hot in-flight it can double as a neck pillow!

Laura Mercier Setting Powder – Whenever I go on holiday I never usually wear much makeup in-flight, but as I’m off to Paris which is a very short haul flight I’ll be packing all my usual makeup essentials plus my new Laura Mercier translucent powder. This product is the bomb.com, it really helps my makeup stay in place and keeps the shine at bay after only one use. To be honest, I doubt I’ll actually use it as it’s THAT good but I like to keep it handy. 👸🏾💅🏾

Cards/ Netflix – I’ve got a thing with collecting playing cards from destinations I’ve visited. I love playing cards, as it was past time that still happens in my house. No matter who I’m travelling with, I make sure I have a pack handy. Plus it makes the flight go faster.  If I’m not playing cards I’m probably watching something I downloaded prior. Sidenote: Did you know you can now download shows on Netflix?! I’m loving Power at the moment!

Comfy Clothes – Going to the airport is an occasion in itself, but for me its all about being comfy, no matter how long the flight is. However, being the blogging queen I am, I love accessorising which can easily vamp up a really simple outfit.  I love to transform my jeans and jumper with a choker and covetable ring stack. Add some lippie and I’m good to go and looking like I was made for this jet-setting lifestyle 😜

Do you have any inflight essentials? Also if you plan on travelling throughout 2017 do check out Tripping.com for accommodation made a little easier x

How to Travel the World While Working Full Time

If you follow me on any other social media platforms you’ll know that I’ve been suffering with some serious wanderlust. Like why can’t my full time job not be blogging, travelling and blogging about my travels?

I just know that I’m not meant to work (don’t we all lol) which is why I thought it’s about time I do a post on how to travel when you work full time, because somehow, I manage to.

I consider myself pretty lucky to have been able to travel to two beautiful destinations (Thailand & Dubai)  already this year and hopefully (god-willing) I’ll have another trip sorted before Christmas, but, I have to say, I haven’t spent my work holiday allowance wisely this year, and I know I’m not alone.

What I do know is that wanting to travel while holding down a full time job is definitely possible, although very inconvenient.

So, although I haven’t followed these rules as strictly as I’d have liked to this year due to my personal life, here’s a few tips for those of you who want to make the most out of your holiday and travel the world, one destination at a time, while also keeping a full time job…

Use Bank Holidays & Weekends to your advantage. This has to be the golden rule. If you haven’t tried this trick, where have you been?! To get more days off for less, it’s smart to plan your travels around major UK holidays, Bank Holidays and weekends. For example a great month to try this is May as we get two bank holidays plus weekends!

Prioritise, Prioritise, Prioritise. Once you’ve booked your holiday, it’s easy to get carried with how many days you need after to ‘recover’ from jet lag. I am so guilty of this, but it’s really so unnecessary, especially if you’ve only taken a trip Barcelona where there’s only like 1 hour time difference. To save days it may be worth taking a half day. This really comes in handy when your days start to run low. Plus, it means of you have a weekend getaway planned with an evening flight, you can leave a little earlier on a Friday, just bring your suitcase to the office! If you’re lucky enough to have an amazing manager, they may even let you off officially taking a half day which means you can save it for another time!

Weekend Getaways. Never under estimate the power of the weekend getaway. For the longest time I’ve slept on trips around the UK, and I really don’t know why as there are plenty of beautiful places that you would never believe are a couple hours away from your doorstep. Brighton, Cornwall, Devon, Scotland… and of course the Lake District are now on my ‘to-do’ list. Meaning I can travel more without having to spend ‘holiday’ on well needed weekend breaks – a great way to becoming well-travelled.

Work overtime. If you’re unfortunate enough to work full time with very limited holiday, maybe having a word with your manager or HR officer will allow you to get a few extra days holiday, by working overtime. It’s a great way to accumulate extra days and you’ll be getting paid that little bit extra which can only mean one think = more holidays!

Be Kind to your colleagues. This doesn’t happen in every company, but it’s common that department members who are not allowed to go on holiday at the same time as each other.  If you’re lucky enough to have a cool relationship with your fellow colleague who wants to take the same time off as you do, it wouldn’t harm asking if they could maybe rearrange their time off, it’s all about negotiation. After all, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

So, these are a few tips that have helped me travel when I desire, do you have any tips/tricks?

 

 

Living the Dubai Life

I’ve been procrastinating on this post for the last two weeks, for two reasons.
1. I cannot believe I’m back to reality.
2. It was the most surreal holiday experiences I’ve ever had.

So let me start from the beginning.

As a birthday treat my parents paid for my holiday to Dubai – I know right, so lucky!

My family and I went for 5 days (which in my opinion, is a great amount of time to do everything) and stayed at the Movenpick JLT hotel – a beautiful hotel with an infinity pool and around 30 mins from Dubai Mall.

I really don’t know where to start, so I thought I’d dedicate this post to answering some the most common questions I’ve had from friends:

How hot was it?

Let me start by telling you it was HOT! I don’t know why I was so surprised as we did actually go in August – one of the hottest months in Dubai with temperatures reaching over 50 degrees – so yes, it was very hot.

However, it wasn’t unbearable. On the day we landed, I didn’t think I’d be able to survive. As soon as you go outside from the air conditioned airport the heat hits you right in the face. It’s a very dry, thick heat but you do acclimatise to it pretty quickly, plus everywhere has air con 😖

After 2 days feeling the heat was glorious, had me feeling like some melanin goddess all day every day… just call me the bronzed goddess!

What was it like?

Dubai is undeniably beautiful. Everything is so big and futuristic. The technology is so ahead of the ‘western world’ that its skyline looks like something out of a sci-fi movie… an urban metropolis.

The traditional food is tha bomb and the people are so friendly. I cannot wait to plan another trip to be honest!

Was it expensive?

Hell yes! I wouldn’t advise anyone going to Dubai, especially for 5 days without money, not that you would go away without any funds, but you get what I mean, it was expensive, and while we were over there, we learned that the Brexit results had made currency exchange worse.

In saying that, Dubai has such an allure and charm, that you don’t even mind spending and splurging that little bit extra, because everything is so magnificent. The Emerati people know how to do it BIG.

What’s there to do apart from shop?

First of all the malls are insane, and I wouldn’t blame anyone who just goes there to shop, because it’s LIT.

The malls over there are 1000x better than UK’s Westfields, during our time there, we visited twice and we didn’t even cover half of the mall.

Other than shopping though, there’s so much else to do, like visiting one the world’s biggest water theme parks, driving through the crazy sand dunes and exploring the views from the highest point in the world -The Burj Khalifa.

BUT, I’ll go into that on my next post, so stay tuned!

Is the culture strict?

I was so nervous to go to Dubai, because of what I had heard about it’s strict rules on how females should dress etc, but honestly I had nothing to worry about.

I would say as long as you are in the city and in areas where there are other tourists, you can dress very laid back, and could to the mall in shorts and a cami. But, I think it just comes down to showing respect and not showing too much skin.

If you decide to go out of the tourist areas, carrying a light scarf to throw around your shoulders is fine too. It’s all about being respectful.

Would I go back?

Errrrrm. YES! Visiting Dubai has been nothing but a dream.

I’m sure I’ve left loads out, so check out a few of my pics from this vacay and stay tuned for my next post all about the top 5 things you should do in Dubai!

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My Beauty Travel Essentials

Hey Lovelies,

With summer teasing us here in the UK, I’ve booked my next holiday to Dubai!

As a semi-seasoned jet setter (lol I wish!) I’ve teamed up with my blogger babe – Lani Rae all the way from New Zealand to bring you a fashion and beauty series to help you prepare for your summer travels – so make sure you head over to her blog for the fashion segment!

As I have just come back from Thailand, I thought I’d let you in on my top holiday beauty essentials, as I’m sure all you girlies can appreciate how hard it is to decide what beauty faves we should pop in our suitcase, while taking into account that we may get a tan – I mean, do we really need a brand new powder from duty free 3 shades darker? Yes, I hold my hands up, I am guilty of this – never again!

I love the countdown to a holiday for two reasons; it’s a chance for me to escape to an idyllic location, away from the hustle and bustle of London and the stresses of work so I can relax, but, also because I know it’s a great chance to treat my skin to plenty of Vitamin D as well as calm down on the makeup so my skin can breathe and repair itself.

It’s good to note that while on the plane, it’s wise to take off any makeup. Air con on the plane is a MF and completely dries out the skin. So pack makeup wipes and a great moisturiser – I quite like Nuit Polaire, although a night cream, it’s very moisturising without being heavy, and really sinks into the skin – great for a long haul flight.

For the most part of any holiday I go on, I rarely wear much makeup, however, I do have a few beauty essentials I need to let you all in on, so keep reading!

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Now I always over pack, no matter where I am going – is this just me?

An absolute essential for me is sun protection. Many people think that black people don’t need sun protection but everyone should protect themselves against UV rays, which is why I love Ultrasun.

Ultrasun have a massive range of sun protection – which I get for the face as well as the body. The formulas are not too heavy either, which is great as no one wants to feel like a grease ball in the sun.

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Next up is a CC Cream. Before I went to Thailand I was on a mission to achieve golden shimmery sun kissed skin. It didn’t really work out as planned but on my hunt, I did manage to bag The Body Shop’s new Instaglow CC cream.

I’m surprised at how much I actually loved using this as I’ve never believed in CC creams. However, I found it worked well to give me a more even skin tone, while looking quite natural, perfect for when you plan on lounging around the pool, but don’t want to go completely commando on the face.

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In the evening, I mixed the the CC cream with a dot of my usual foundation for fuller coverage, and set with my Bare Minerals powder.

When on holiday a highlight needed to accentuate your sun kissed glow! And it’s easily achieved with the perfect products and the right brush.

I hadn’t found the perfect highlight, before going to Thailand so I used a bunch of products to give me a nice shimmery glow anyway, which became my go to beauty finish.

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Fan brush and Makeup Bag gifted by Spectrum Brushes

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Just look at that highlight! I used a combination of Lush’s Feeling Younger Golden Highlight on my cheekbones, followed by Bobbi Browns golden shimmery eyeshadows.

My next beauty essential has to be a brow pencil. I was talking to one of my blogger compadres, Shannon Kara, and we both agreed that while foundation isn’t a must on holiday, having well-groomed fleeky eyebrows and a nice lip colour is an absolute must. While I was using my MAC eyebrow pencil, during my next getaway I will definitely be packing my magical Benefit brow productshave you read my review?

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I normally tidy up my eyebrows with my foundation, instead of concealer as it makes for less packing and I hate the halo effect round eyebrows.

As I previously said, I like to keep my makeup to minimum and being away in a hot country is the perfect opportunity to show you skin some TLC, so cleansing and moisturising products are much needed essentials. I always pack a charcoal face scrub by Garnier, as the fine exfoliants really get every inch of dirt off my face. I then moisturise my face with a light moisturiser – Drops of Youth from The Body Shop so my skin has a clean base for any products to go on if I choose to put on any makeup.

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When on holiday there’s no doubt you’ll probably go out on the town at least once, which is why a nice lippie and an eye shadow palette suitable for every occasion should be part of your beauty essentials. Keep things simple as no one has time to sweat off their whole face  – it’s really not a good look, but make it effective. I love packing my Ruby Woo as it screams sophistication and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a red lip?

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So there you have it – my holiday essentials. Simple yet effective. What are you beauty essentials? Leave a comment and let me know x

Don’t forget to check my girl – Lani Rae’s collab post all about fashion essentials too!