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*This dating in Norfolk post is a collaboration

Okay so a pandemic kinda stood in the way of most of us enjoying any romance in 2020. For those who are single (and might have been ready to mingle) it has sucked to not be able to get out and meet that someone special. But, as with anything, it's taken a little creativity to find ways to keep life going while we wait out the craziness. Being stuck at home or unable to go out doesn't mean you can't meet anyone or explore your options. It just might mean focusing on what's more important for a while. If you're only able to text or message at the moment, or are relying in dating apps – it could be a great test of character. Finally you can easily wheedle out the f***boys and see who can really hold a conversation. So, if you're looking for some quirky date ideas – both online and offline – here's some ways to drum up a little romance.

Social distancing walk/drink/picnic

One of my favourite things about Norfolk is the endless options for getting outside. If they have a dog – even better! Why not go for a socially-distanced walk to spend some time together. It's also a lovely way to combine getting outside in the fresh air with actually seeing someone face-to-face. If you struggle to message all the time, this can really help you to see if the chemistry is real. Bonus points if you take along a picnic, or you could even sneak along a thermos with some mulled wine to get you in the festive spirit.

Dine in together while dating in Norfolk

If you miss dressing up for a date and going out for dinner – this one is perfect for you. Why not take it in turns to choose a virtual dinner date? You can get dressed up as though you're going out, and take it in turns to order food for each other (pick the restaurant – why not support an independent restaurant?). You could even watch a movie together from your own homes and chat all the way through it! Norfolk dating doesn't have to mean going out if tier restrictions stand in your way!

Plan an activity

These will be limited at the moment, but that just means you need a bit more creativity! What about an afternoon at crazy golf followed by a "substantial meal" at the pub? Support small local businesses and book something fun that will take your minds off the stresses of 2020. You could even go alpaca trekking, zip-lining or on a seals boat trip if you fancy getting adventurous! Or try an escape room, gin-tasting or visit a brewery!

Check out my blog posts on the best things to do in Norfolk for some ideas:

Cosy up in an independent cinema

Normally visiting the cinema wouldn't be very quirky – but Norfolk has some lovely and very bouji cinemas. With several that are independent, it's an important time to support them. But also a great way to spend a cosy, indoor date when the weather outside is frightful. Check out the Majestic and Luxe for festive films, beautiful old buildings and cosy sofas!

Go big or go home

If you're looking for a big gesture to impress your date, you could go all out and arrange a hot air balloon ride, a trip on the Norfolk Broads, or try dinner at a luxury country hotel. Everyone deserves a little extra romance after 2020 – so why not go all out? Dating in Norfolk has so many options – whether you're a city slicker or prefer the country air. So most importantly, choose a date that really shows your character.

What are your favourite quirky date ideas? What's the best date you've ever been on?

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If you've ever dreamed of going shopping in Milan, this is the post for you! Milan is a beautiful city full of charm, quaint streets, incredible food, and it is known for fashion, craftsmanship and culinary art. This makes it one of the best shopping destinations in Europe (and somewhere that I really enjoyed visiting for my birthday last year.) With so much to see and do in Milan, those who want to do some shopping definitely want to come prepared. There are certain categories of items that people often focus on for purchases in Milan, and it is worth considering putting in some time to find pieces to go home with that you will love for years to come or perhaps over a lovely meal.

Shopping in Milan – the ultimate guide

Where to find the best fashion and jewellery:

It is no secret that Milan fashion is well-known around the world, and just walking around the streets of Milan, you quickly understand that Milanese women and men just get fashion. So have some fun shopping while in this fashion capital, find some pieces to wear during your time in the city, and bring home some new favorites!

Among the stores to visit, here are a few to make sure to check out:

Absolutely Lucy, Milan, Italy

Locate gorgeous craftsmanship

When it comes to craftsmanship, you will find the attention to detail and quality of products incredibly high coming from Milan. Items that are popular to buy in Milan include delicate china and umbrellas. Yes, umbrellas. The umbrellas made by Francesco Maglia are well-known in Milan. They put incredible detail into rain umbrellas, silk umbrellas, and creative umbrellas that are masterpieces. You’ll find Maglia’s umbrella shop at Scarazzini’s [Corso Genova, 28].

Taste the finest foods:

Food is often the first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks of Italy. So bringing home food that will bring you back to the memories of your trip or items for loved ones to experience the delicious Italian food makes for a great purchase in Milan. If you visit during Christmas, you can purchase panettone (a traditional bread loaf/cake) to bring home. Head to Grand Café & Tre Marie for the most traditional panettone available in Milan.

For coffee lovers, bring home a special blend that you loved on your trip. Or for a set gift, head to Moka Hodeidah to pick up a gift box with coffee, biscuits and more. For a little taste of specialty foods, a popular item to bring home is the Peck Gift Box, which includes ham, pasta, olives, cheeses, white truffles and more. Head to Peck, a food hall for incredible food baskets. Just be sure to first check on the restrictions for bringing food and items back to your home country!

With shops all around town, you will surely be able to find some favourites places and pieces. But the shopping arcades such as Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and the department stores such as La Rinascente can always be your go-to places to find a bit of everything.

Have you visited Milan? Would you like to go shopping there?

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*This sustainable jewellery post is a collaboration

This year more than ever has really shone a light on the fast fashion industry. So many of us are waking up to what is really going on to make those jeans, boots and bodysuits we so crave. More importantly, we're starting to realise the impact this has on marginalised people and communities around the world. When we buy a top, it's never "just" a top. With some brands selling clothes for as cheap as 4p over Black Friday weekend. It seems more important than ever that we are asking where exactly our clothes are coming from. But the buck doesn't stop at clothes. Fast fashion is an industry that also encompasses jewellery.

So many of us forget about our jewellery and where it is sourced. Plumping for 3-for-2 deals instead of raising an eyebrow. We need to ask ourselves how we can be getting items for such a cheap price and still pay a fair wage to the person making it. What about the effects the brand has on the environment? Now I hold my hands up and say I'm as guilty as the next person of mindlessly choosing the cheaper option. Over the last few years I've been shopping vintage far more, and I always wear items for years. But one of my New Year's resolutions for 2021 is to really start cracking down on myself and reduce shopping with fast fashion brands. So I thought, why not introduce you to one of the jewellery brands I really admire.

sustainable and ethical jewellery – absolutely lucy wears white shirt and models Wolf & Gypsy Gold Evil Eye Pendant

Why choose sustainable jewellery with Wolf & Gypsy

Wolf & Gypsy are a company that aim to empower and heal through jewellery that is created fairly and in a way that protects both the planet, and those involved in the process. I love their quirky and unique style. I've been admiring their products for years so getting the opportunity to work with the brand is amazing. Tori, the brand's founder, handpicks the gemstones used to ensure they perfectly fit each piece and that they are ethically-sourced and conflict free.

I could never find jewellery that I wanted to wear myself which was also high quality and long lasting. So I decided to create my own ‘forever’ jewellery and that’s where my brand, Wolf & Gypsy, was born; ethical and sustainable jewellery made with love. – Tori Shay, Founder

The brand create jewellery with a conscience. They use recycled sterling silver, gold vermeil, 14ct gold to create beautiful pieces that you will treasure for years. If, like me, you love to find more unique pieces of jewellery that tell a story. Wolf & Gypsy is perfect for you. They combine elements and nods to spirituality, culture, travelling and symbolism into each piece. The very name of the brand – Wolf & Gypsy – is derived from Tori's own love of travel and adventure. Which as you guys well know, aligns so perfectly with my own values.

sustainable and ethical jewellery – absolutely lucy wears white shirt and models Wolf & Gypsy Gold Evil Eye Pendant

Ethical jewellery with Wolf and Gypsy

As a member of 1% For The Planet – Wolf & Gypsy put a big focus on being environmentally responsible. The brand cares deeply about the environment which is clear from their use of recycled sterling silver and gold and eco-friendly packaging. They donate a minimum of 1% of annual sales to support environmental non-profit organisations such as WWF-UK, Tree-Nation and Plastic-Free Me. When you purchase a beautiful piece of Wolf & Gypsy jewellery, you know that 1% of the price goes to preserve the environment. So not only are you shopping ethically, but you are actively supporting organisations that are protecting the planet when you buy their jewels.

Equality and diversity with Wolf & Gypsy

Priding themselves on being an ethics first brand. Wolf and Gypsy are focused on making positive changes – not just within the brand but within the industry. Their core goal is to create jewellery that has the lowest impact on our planet. While providing fair income for all those involved in their production. With a workforce spread across the UK and India, they enforce quality checks to ensure the products they receive are made from low-impact raw materials. They have a zero-tolerance approach to child labour, forced labour and modern slavery. Instead supporting their workers with more than a living wage. Wolf & Gypsy also provide private health insurance to all permanent staff. They also sponsor their children in education by paying for tuition fees, school uniforms and books. The brand is a gender-equal, non-discriminatory employer and most importantly, they remain entirely transparent about the working conditions and sourcing of products.

If you're shopping for Christmas gifts, why not skip the fast fashion brands this festive season and invest in a timeless piece that supports great causes.

What are your favourite sustainable fashion brands? Which ethical jewellery companies do you recommend?

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