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Welcome to my little space on the internet. I blog about all things fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle. Posts are added monthly. Contact me on zeenaxenablog@gmail.com. Click below to learn more about my blog!

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My Autumn Favourites (Black Friday & Cyber Monday Edition) - Zeena Xena

Friday, 23 November 2018 London, UK

Sunglasses - BY ZEENA 

Hey my loves, hope you're all well?

I'm back again with another one of my favourites posts, this time for Black Friday because I know so many of you love some of the pieces I wear. It can be really hard to find nice clothes online because there's SO much on these websites, but I've taken that stress away from you guys by doing this blog post and handpicking a few of My Current Autumn Favourites. Featured you'll find; Winter warmers, Date night pieces, Cute accessories from brands such as; ASOSBoohoo, Farfetch & more! If you'd like to see more of these posts don't forget to drop a comment below or on my social medias, it really does encourage me to create more content like this. 

Before we get into the post, please remember to shop smart! Buy things that you need, things that you know you'll wear and perhaps things that you've not been able to take your mind off of for some time. I think it's important for you as the consumer to not let the online world influence unnecessary purchases especially if they are not within your means. If you're a shopaholic and want to shop smarter, I'd recommend shopping for the cold weather and perhaps ONE special occasion you have coming up. Don't over do it this Black Friday but also don't miss out... 😉

(Use the arrows to navigate through products)

Coats & Jackets 



Out Out 



Tops 



Dresses & Bottoms 



Shoes & Bags 



Luxury 




!! Sales You Need To Know About !! 

Fancy browsing some of the listed sites yourself? Go ahead! I've put together a list of current discounts which will be updated right through to Cyber Monday. Please note that if a purchase is made from any of the listed products, I will make a small commission. This doesn't affect the total price of your sale... It's really just a reward to bloggers for collating these types of posts and of course, a part of our jobs.

Here we go...

Topshop - Up to 50% off shop here
ASOS- 20% off everything using code "HELLO20" shop here
Boohoo - 30% off everything inc sale shop here
& Other Stories - 20% off everything shop here
New Look - Up to 50% off everything shop here
River Island - 20% off orders £75 or more shop here
Farfetch - 20% off using code "BF20N" shop here (sale has ended)
H&M - up to 50% off here
JD Sports - Up to 30% off everything shop here
Nasty Gal - 50% off everything shop here
Stradivarius - 20% off everything shop here (sale has ended)
Missguided - Up to 70% off everything shop here
MANGO - 30% off everything using code "BLACK18" shop here
NA-KD - 30% off everything using code "BLACKWEEK" shop here

                                               
 I hope you've managed to find a steal in my post and don't forget to keep checking back for more deals. If there's anything you'd like to see in particular, please let me know! 
  Until next time 💜
                                      

My Holiday Experience In Chania, Crete

Wednesday, 7 November 2018 Chania, Greece

Hi guys it's been a while I know, probably the longest time I haven't blogged in a while. I'm sorry, trying to find my love for blogging again. I feel like there has been a decline in readership, are you still reading blogs? I'd love to know in the comment section below... 
Now let's get into this!


If you've been watching my instagram lately, you would have seen that I recently visited Greece. I visited the beautiful island of Crete and stayed in a small historic town called Chania. Prior to visiting Chania, I'd never heard of the town before, however, done a little research (let's put emphasis on "a little research" as I'll be coming back to this point later on) and it seemed like a place that I would want to visit...

Hotel Samaria
On Wednesday 3rd October we arrived at Chania Airport and had our hotel transfer waiting for us. We had planned a stay at the 4* Samaria business hotel in the centre of Chania Town, located around 20 minutes away from the airport which was very convenient for us. Once we arrived at Samaria, we were greeted by the lovely hotel staff who quickly checked us in and had our room ready...



Our room was incredibly clean, nicely furnished and some lovely touches were added. Rooms are equipped with:

* Comfortable beds/pillows
* A sofa area
* A shower and a bath (I'm not sure if this in the case in every room)
* TV
* Blow-dryer
* Fridge topped up with up with water daily
* Complimentary fruit & wine on arrival
* Complimentary sweet treats



For the two nights we stayed here, we had such lovely breakfasts by the pool area where you're spoilt for choice. Breakfasts consist of cereals, fresh fruits, cakes/pastries, cheeses, hot breakfasts, hot drinks and juices/smoothies. Everything basically!


On one afternoon, we also decided to sunbathe around the pool area. It's small but peaceful and very relaxing. Towels are provided so you don't have to worry about packing one. 

The pool area on a cloudy morning

The pool area on a sunny afternoon
Day 1 & 2 exploring
Our first two nights in Chania were very laid back and quite. I was personally exhausted from being up and down back in London, so didn't mind so much at this point. Going back to my research point, I barely did any research on Chania before I arrived which is very unlike me. My friend mentioned "going with the flow" on this holiday prior to arriving and I thought, you know what, why not? I'm always SO organised when travelling so why not have a laid back one in Crete? Come to find out... Crete is one of those destinations where you plan whole itineraries for (haha we were soon to find out).

So we spent days 1 & 2 just exploring the main town (think Marrakesh streets without the hustle and bustle), the harbour where all the restaurants are and the local shopping facilities.

 


 
Photos taken on an iphone 8 not edited)


Day 3 
It was time to check out of the beautiful Samaria hotel and into our Airbnb. Overall we had a lovely stay at Samaria and wished we stayed here for the duration of our stay (you'll understand why reading on).

Our First AirBnB
We chose a lovely apartment 10 minutes away from our hotel & our host even came to pick us up which was a lovely gesture. The Airbnb was located in a nice quiet neighbourhood which seemed safe at first. Going back to our research point, we didn't realise that it would be best to drive in the area we stayed in for convenience and safety purposes. On this night we went to Amphora Restaurant The food here seemed to be a big hit with the Swedish tourists so we decided to try it out. The food wasn't AMAZING, but it was fresh and tasty (just wasn't seasoned to how I'm used to but that was to be expected).




Day 4 
We woke up pretty early this morning and decided we wanted to go to the beach. There are loads of small beaches dotted around Chania but honestly they seemed quite neglected, not all are clean or safe to be on. We wanted to go to Elafonissi Beach (the famous pink beach that you've probably seen all over Pinterest) but missed the coach at 9:30am. :( We decided to go to Falassarna Beach instead, a beach we hadn't researched much but was told it'd be nice. The trip cost us just under 20 euros for a return and the journey time was about 4 hours total there and back - yep a hefty 4 hours! I was so disappointed when I realised the main (nice) beaches were so far away... But was so grateful to have visited at least one of the well-known ones.



Because of the journey time, our day was just dedicated to travelling and spending around 2-3 hours at Falassarna. The beach was sooooo beautiful, the waters were clear, sands super soft and the weather was really good on this day. We paid around 7 euros for the sunbeds (I can't remember if this was together or separately) and before we knew it, it was time to go. Once we got back to our area, we decided to grab something to eat from a local restaurant and bakery, then called it a night.

Day 5
After a bit of a manic day, we decided to use day 5 for content. I'd taken some pictures here and there but didn't have a full on content day, which I needed because I had soooo many outfits with me and hadn't posted much. We decided to take some pictures near the airbnb as the area was pretty, and then had around 2 more outfits to shoot in the main town. This day I have to say was my favourite. I felt like the day had direction since we planned what we were going to do ahead of time. We had gotten to grips with the area, started to explore even more and decided to spend our whole day being out. We came across the beautiful Casa Delfino and dined near some of the boutique hotels in between alleys.

 

 

 

 
Photos taken on an iphone 8 not edited)

We ended our night with a walk to the Lighthouse of Chania where we watched the sunset which was breathtaking. Unfortunately on this night, we witnessed a videographer fall off the side of the walls (en route to the lighthouse) whilst shooting a music video (it looked like), and seemed to have injured his head pretty bad. From what I could see there was some blood on the floor, I honestly felt bad and shaken up for him.

It was about 8pm and we decided that we wanted to stay in the town a little longer so got some ice cream to stretch out our evening. On our way back to our Airbnb (using the local buses), laughing and joking walking up the road that led to our apartment, were two guys who tried to attack me and my friend...

The Incident
Can I just say, prior to visiting Crete I only had a great image of Greece. I visited Mykonos for about 5 days last year and fell in love. However, this time round felt so different. Long story short, as we were walking to our Airbnb two guys on a motorbike drove up behind us (greeting us) then proceeded with some sexual remarks. We greeted them back because we didn't want to be rude and thought they were perhaps a part of the community, but as soon as we heard the sexual remarks we just carried on walking. One of the guys then gets off his motorbike and starts to walk towards us unzipping his pants. We both start to panic and scream at the top of our lungs, trying to get help from the neighbours. Again long story short, we managed to get away and reported the incident to our neighbours, Airbnb owner and most importantly the police. I don't want to go into the story too much in my blog post (flashbacks and all), but that was the most scariest experience of my life. I honestly thought we were going to die that night. After the incident, we rushed back into our airbnb and both were just crying all night, we were so shaken up. We told the neighbours, spoke to our airbnb host who reported the incident to the police and came to look over the area. At this point, I wanted to go home.

Day 6
After a horrible end to our night, we spent hours in the morning searching for a new place to stay. Airbnb got in touch with us via a tweet I sent and offered to pay for the two nights we stayed at our new place. We moved into our new Airbnb which was even more central than the hotel but SO SMALL, not ideal for two people in my opinion, but we were just happy to be alive and safe.

We had to wait until our Airbnb was ready so checked into 13 Sweeties and Salties for some Brunch. I had a really nice bowl of pasta, a smoothie and Cretan pies (if you ever visit Crete you have to try these).



After checking in and getting ready, we decided to take some more photos to take our minds off the incident and then went for dinner at Il Padrino (an Italian restaurant, we needed comfort food) along the harbour which was lovely. We had a moment to reflect on the incident overlooking the harbour and honestly just felt so grateful to be okay.





Day 7
Our final day. Again after a horrible day 5 we decided to make the most out of our last day. Despite everything, I really felt sad to be leaving. We arranged to go on a boat ride but had just missed the boat (just our luck), so we waited for the next one and were told they cancelled the trip. At this point we just had to laugh it off, Honestly. We took a stroll along the sea pathway and headed to a local beach, we met some tourists from Amsterdam who took the cutest shots of us and just continued taking pictures/videos. Again, we watched the sunset and went for dinner back at Amphora.

 

---

This was a bit of a long post right? *Takes a breather*

You guys know I like to keep it 100% honest with you... Crete (especially Chania) is not a place I would recommend. This was definitely my least favourite holiday and I've travelled quite a bit. Crete is the largest of all the Greek Islands, and more historical compared to other Islands such as Mykonos and Santorini so don't expect all the pretty buildings. Overall, I felt underwhelmed whilst in Chania and came home feeling that way too. After this incident, I wouldn't want to visit Greece again. I know these things can happen anywhere and you can never be "too safe", but this is just how I feel at this present moment unfortunately.

Before I end this post, I want to share a few tips with you:

When going away, always....
* Do thorough research on the area you're staying in. Try to make sure your hotel/apartment is close to the main part of the town/city you're staying in
* Get the contact details of the Local British Embassy prior to visiting your destination (just in case you need it)
* When travelling to places at night just use Taxi's (make sure you're using official taxis and not random cabs plotted on the streets.. Oh and forget the bus especially at night!)
* When choosing places to stay, make sure it's on a main road and not on hidden streets for safety reasons obviously
* If you can, hire an official tour guide that can help with organising activities/accompanying you on them
* Most importantly be aware of your surroundings!

I hope this post helps somewhat for those of you planning trips to Greece in the future and doesn't put you off too much. Remember this is MY personal experience and my own personal views, there is good and bad everywhere we go. Until next time...

Lots of love x






You Are Your Niche - Zeena Xena

Thursday, 12 July 2018 London, UK


Dress - Glamorous (purchase here)
Hey guys! I can't believe I haven't posted on here since I launched my brand By Zeena, it's honestly been such a busy month... I hope you're all well?! 

So I've been meaning to write up this post for a while now and I'm so happy It's finally out. I wanted to talk to you about what I personally think about blogging niche's.
You've probably had several talks with people in regards to niche's and how good it is to "find your own niche" right? If yes, keep reading...

I remember when I first started blogging on Zeena Xena and got the opportunity to go to several events, I'd always end up in conversations with PR's/other bloggers who would continuously mention how important a Niche is when blogging.

From these conversations, I figured that it was best to focus on a specific area when it came to my blog, so tried to stay in the beauty sector as much as possible and focus on Natural Hair. At the time, there was a tight community with only a few in the UK blogging about Natural Hair so I thought I was personally onto something haha. It was always said that by having a niche, you set yourself apart from the rest and eliminate too much competition... Does that still stand today?

Fast forward to today as we know blogs, youtube, instagram just social media in general has become a very saturated place. Whether you use your influence as a means of business or just for fun, there are a lot of people out there doing the same thing.
So does it matter if you don't have a niche? Well no, not in my opinion anyway, as my blog post reads You Are Your Niche! 

I think the whole niche thing is played out, I mean look at how limited you'd be just blogging about one specific thing. A bit boring no? 
After initially starting as a natural hair blog, I decided to branch out into the world of beauty, fashion and travel, then some months/years later I incorporated restaurant reviews and events into the mix. A very broad blog I know, but what I felt set me apart from the rest was just being me and still does. From an audiences perspective, these people aka you guys, knew you could come on my blog to read many different things/experiences. I wasn't just focusing on the one thing, so if you got bored of one subject; you knew you could easily go onto another.



For me having your own blogging niche means being unapologetically yourself, writing about things YOU enjoy/believe in whether it be fashion one day and football the next, understanding that you are you and nobody can be or beat you at that. We're all so pressured to "be different" and "have a niche" when we don't need to be, we are these things without even trying.

Your audience view your content because they believe in you, brands get in touch with you because they recognise your work and what you do for the blogging community. You are great, you are amazing You Are Your Niche! 

I wanted to keep this post short and cute because I do tend to talk a lot in my posts haha. However, before I go I just wanted to give a massive shout out to these brands for allowing creatives to just be themselves online even more and never trying to change us:

* Tropic Skincare - I've worked with this brand for over a year now and I can say one of the best and nicest people to deal with. They recognise the importance of bloggers in marketing strategies and most importantly different kinds of bloggers.

* Boohoo & Nasty Gal - For always providing bomb ass fashions for all types of people + including black women in campaigns (Nasty Gal especially). It's a shame we actually have to thank brands for this (that's another blog post) but if you're a brand reading this and currently don't use black males/females in your campaigns, please do better.

* Glamorous Fashion - I've worked with this brand a few times and it's so humbling as I used to buy their clothes on ASOS religiously haha. Thank you Glamorous for just being different and as I mentioned before, allowing us bloggers to just be ourselves.

I hope you enjoyed the post today guys!

Lots of love x


Why I Started My Brand, A Raw & Honest Post - Zeena Xena

Sunday, 10 June 2018 London, UK


Ahhh the day is finally here... I can't actually believe I'm writing this post because I never thought everything would come together so quickly. It's been a crazy few months so I just wanted to share my journey with you guys... I'll try and keep this post as short as possible, I know some of you may have some shopping to do. ;)

The Good Stuff 
First of all. Let me start by saying that I've always known that I wanted to have some e commerce business of my own. Back when I first started my blog, I actually used to buy, customise and sell vintage denim/make kawaii jewellery so since then I've just always been fascinated by the online shopping world. Some 7 years later, here I am starting another accessories brand that offers on trend quality pieces at affordable prices. 

I was actually inspired to start this exact brand by you guys. As you may know, my instagram is FULL of images of me in sunglasses and gold hoops lol, it's my staple style. I'd often receive comments from friends and followers telling me I should start a sunglasses brand... This went on for about a year or so before I thought well maybe this could be a thing. 



The Bad 
Although I was so inspired by everyone's comments, I never jumped at the chance at starting an e commerce business. I had so much going on with freelancing, Blogging Gals and my personal blog stuff so thought I really couldn't take on another project. I was content with my work and really didn't want to add anything else into the mix despite foreseeing so much potential in whatever I wanted to start. Here's a bit I missed out. I was planning on starting a stationery line via Blogging Gals... I'd done days worth of research, found a great printer but she let me down. She stopped answering emails, was requesting silly things and was basically unprofessional overall. Of course I had a plan B/C but when I really looked at the situation, the quality of work wasn't the same and the return on investment was pointless. I carried on searching for suppliers but everything was so hefty on the pocket - something I really couldn't afford to do. I was sad, I gave up on that dream and just carried on with my day to day life. 


The Ugly 
Fast forward to March. A series of unforeseen circumstances took place that affected my mental health, physical health and bank account. I'm a person that hides their emotions really well, and have been doing so for years. I always put other people's emotions before mine and try not to overwhelm people with my problems. After years of doing so, I can finally say it has started to take a toll me. A mix of different things has had me down, from missing my nan and it just being her 1 year passing anniversary, to people hurting me and even me hurting others. I started to get really down about things and disconnected from people I really admire (if you're reading this I'm sorry). It affected my work, my brand launch and me as a person. Just last week I found it hard to leave the house. I was cancelling plans left right and centre, I mean I couldn't even comb my hair or wash the dishes... I was feeling really low. I even feel sad writing this, because I remember thinking why am I living? What's my purpose in life? Am I really making a difference? Despite all of this though, I was SO motivated to start something that would give me even more focus. I believe By Zeena has saved me from going into a deep dark depression. 


How I'm Feeling Now...
Well that was hard to get out *wipes tears*. I can honestly say I'm in a much better place now and by God's grace I came out of that dark hole. I know sometimes we have to fall really hard before we can get back up but seriously, that was a hard fall. I started taking baby steps by getting back into my routine. Waking up at 8am, making a to-do list and ticking things off throughout the day. I'm a kind of person where if I can't see or feel that I'm being productive, I'll feel really crap about myself. I like to keep busy and reward myself with days off to relax. My advice if you ever feel the same, get into a routine and make daily/weekly to-do lists, personally they lift my spirits up so much. 

So, I'm sat here writing this post now with a big smile on my face. I shot these campaign photos just two days ago on a whim - Got my friend (who has no idea how to use my camera properly) to shoot these photos and she done an AMAZING job (ILY Rickala). My mum will be helping me with orders and yeah this will be a part of my life from now on. By Zeena is OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED - 5 days before I hit the 26 mark! 


I hope you guys LOVE what I have to offer and I assure you, bigger and better is yet to come. I wanted to keep the collection small for now and also wanted to keep the products on my actual blog instead of a separate website. I know it may not be the easiest to navigate, so if you have any problems shopping please do not hesitate to get in touch. Thanks to those of you even reading this post I really appreciate it. 

If you've been feeling down lately please take a look at this link here provided by the NHS UK.

Before I go I just want to thank the following people: Mum, Rickala, Sharika, Amir, Anika, Monica, Hanna Zahra and Mel.

Lots of love x


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