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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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The Most Relaxing Trip To Marrakesh - Zeena Xena

Thursday, 28 March 2019 Marrakesh, Morocco


Hello, it's me again... Trying to stick to my promise of being more consistent with the blog posts. If you haven't read my previous blog post on my Social Media Life Update, please have a read before proceeding with this one here

You have may recently seen that I visited Marrakesh not too long ago (I've just finished uploading all my content from the trip) and as always wanted to share my experience with you. Out of all my trips to Marrakesh, this by far was the most relaxing because I really didn't do a lot. Although my trip didn't end so well in Barcelona (one for the books), I'm so grateful to have had the time to just relax.

In this post all I'll be discussing is the places I stayed in on this trip, I received so many questions so thought it'd be best to give you the low down here on the blog. If you like what you see, make sure you bookmark this post for future reference.

Riad Zwin Zwin Marrakesh ~ A friendly riad in the heart of Marrakesh

As I was planning my trip to Marrakesh I reached out to Riad Zwin Zwin to collaborate on a night's stay basis. I liked the fact that this riad wasn't one of the over popular ones that you see plastered all over social media. Don't get me wrong that's nice sometimes, but there's a part of me that likes exclusivity and the opportunity to find a hidden gem... This riad was it.

After boarding a short 3 hour ish flight, we landed at Menara airport and had our transfer waiting for us outside. The transfer from the airport to Riad Zwin Zwin cost us roughly 15 EURO and will vary depending on where your chosen place of stay is.

Hannan the lovely lady who helped us throughout our nights stay, quickly came to meet us where our transfer dropped us off and walked us to our riad. Note: When you stay in a riad they're usually tucked away in streets where locals live and no cars can go down. The walks are usually 3-5 minutes to get to the riad, obviously again depending on where you're staying. When we arrived, I honestly felt so at home...


We were greeted by the other staff and were given some mint tea, biscuits and the wifi connection of course. Before proceeding to our room, Hannan talked us through the map, closest things to do, spa services etc. Note: English is spoken very well by the staff here, so there's no need to worry about communication issues! Once we were in the room, we decided to chat, unpack and showerrrr...




After we were settled, we went out into the medina (which was approximately a 15 minute walk) and had something to eat. The next morning we had breakfast on the terrace, Erman one of the riad's staff was a delight and helped us with our order. I did a few pictures/videos here and before I knew it, it was time to go...



Content taken at Zwin Zwin:

1) https://www.instagram.com/p/Bu6cCHbgnch/
2) https://www.instagram.com/p/BvY-3A8AIpG/

Overall the service here was seamless, staff were polite/helpful and the food was good.

Book your stay at Riad Zwin Zwin here

The Place Villa Marrakesh ~ A hidden gem perfect for those who want to be away from the hustle & bustle of Marrakesh

Erman walked us to our other transfer where Abdelkrim was waiting to take us to The Place Marrakesh. A nice little villa that I found (of course) via Air Bnb.

The transfer to The Place cost us 300 MAD around £23 which I did find to be quite pricey for a transfer from one hotel to another, however, the prices are given by the drivers and not the hotels themselves. Also, the villa is not in the main medina, you'll find it's about a 15-20 minute drive and when you arrive you'll honestly be stunned by this place's beauty. No pictures can do it any amount of justice. If you book this villa, I would suggest using their own taxi service as I've seen in reviews that other driver found it difficult to find The Place.

So before I start on the review, I'll let you know why I chose The Place. As you know, I visit Morocco at least once or twice a year and every time I've visited I always stay in the heart of Marrakesh. Although you don't really know what's going on outside when you're in a riad (they're so peaceful) the moment you step outside you're met with motorbikes, noise, pollution, cat calling and much more lol. I love Morocco, but recently I've been working so hard... I just really wanted a nice place to relax in. I also wanted somewhere that had a pool and the ability to sunbathe properly, so this spot was perfect for me.

I booked The Place at £50 a night (a true steal) for my room "Suite Guila"



My room was clean, styled so well and even had views out to the mountains. I've stayed in a few places in Marrakesh and based on quality/style wise this has to be one of the best. The style of the Villa is designed exactly like a riad, just more spacious.




The only thing I can critique here is the need for more staff. It was hard to get the attention of the staff here when wanting to make orders for food or anything else, so it would be great if there was a small front of house team on call for guests. Also I think The Place needs to work on their food menu (make it more extensive) and the actual food itself. To me, the food wasn't the best and didn't taste like the traditional Moroccan cuisine I'm personally used to. Apart from this, The Place would be the perfect stay for anyone wanting to relax whilst visiting Morocco.

Transportation in and out of the medina was fairly easy, where you could let Leo (the owner) know what time you wanted a cab and where you'd like it to take you to. To the medina this would be about 200 MAD for a return journey, again these prices will depend on the driver/season etc.


Overall this villa was sooo beautiful I'm even thinking of going back in the next few months. Leo and Jacob the two best friends that run The Place are real goals.

Content taken at The Place:

1) https://www.instagram.com/p/BvAMF_cAraQ/
2) https://www.instagram.com/p/BvHXsduA4eV/
3) https://www.instagram.com/p/BvMk0bQg-xP/
4) https://www.instagram.com/p/BveeogSgEkg/

You can book the place here and if it's your first time using Airbnb, you can get £25 off your first booking by clicking on my link here: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/c/zeenax?currency=GBP All you have to do is click and sign up!

Have I sold you on these places yet? Leave a comment below to let me know if you plan on visiting Marrakesh. Until next time xoxo.


My Online Life Update - Zeena Xena

Friday, 8 March 2019 London, UK


Hey Guys, Ahh I hate starting my posts like this but it's been a while right? Haha. I feel like I always start my blog posts with "it's been a while". Sadly it has, and I've fallen into the habit of keeping up with social media and not updating my first love, the blog. If you're a loyal reader I'm sorry for that, I'll try my best to do so much better in the next coming months.

Really I wanted to share this post before I drop some other gems for you guys because I feel like it's important to let you know about my journey as far as Social media goes/what I plan to work more on and what I'll be providing to you the reader. Some of you may or may not know that I started this blog sometime in 2012. Initially, I wanted to log a natural hair journey, however this blog quickly turned into an everything blog where I would incorporate my style, beauty favourites, travels and even recipes (haha). Over the years, my passion for fashion and marketing took over and this was a place where you could (still can) come to for style inspo and tips on growing your personal brand.

Recently I have neglected the blog due to the way social media is moving. We all know that audiences prefer quick sharp content that's to the point, and I guess with blog posts, that can't always be the case. I felt like I was writing these posts with not much return in comparison to the attention an Instagram post gains for example. Overall, I was feeling like I was doing too much for too little, again comparing the blog to what instagram offers but now I'm taking a moment to say to myself "who cares?". The views that I get on here whether it be 10 overall views per post or 10,000 still count, and what makes it even more special is you guys take the time to read these posts word for word. I really appreciate that.

So anyway, let's get on to today's ramblings...

Instagram 
Let's talk instagram. As you can probably tell I've been focusing a lot more on being consistent and growing my page in terms of my content and following. I've done this by (as always) dedicating shoot days and sharing out the finished content on my highest engaged days, or well at least I try. I'm more in touch with my audience/their needs and myself really. I've noticed that as I grow older my style is changing and so it brings me great joy to be able to share the things I wear on my social media's. From what I can see a lot of you are inspired by my posts and that makes me even happier :)

I've been focusing on Instagram because 1) I actually enjoy sharing and speaking to you guys 2) there's a lot of monetary opportunity in it (if we're being real) and 3) the ability to create great working relationships with big brands. It's been a tough journey in terms of growth and earning if I'm being completely honest with you but I feel like I'm finally on the right track, and while I'm here I'm just going to keep working hard.

What's New
As well as my instagram content, my new-ish brand "By Zeena" has been keeping me very busy and I've been loving every minute of it. I'm learning so much this being a new job, from dealing with suppliers to learning about global postage rates, dealing with customer queries/resolving issues and bringing aspects of my previous jobs in social media management/blogger outreach to the brand too. It's all exciting but can be very challenging at times - I could write a WHOLE post on this, but for now all I can say is I'm blessed and eternally grateful for this opportunity in life. If you've shopped with me thank you, if you haven't, you can browse my products here: http://www.zeenaxena.com/p/shop.html

The Zeena Xena Plan
Okay so you've heard about about my instagram and the accessories brand but what else is new for me?

More blog posts
Cliche I know because I am a "blogger", but this is something I've been meaning to work on for some time now ~ providing you guys with more quality content on the blog. I always get messages about how helpful some of my posts have been to those of you wanting to start out/grow as a blogger, those of you wanting to travel or go to some of the places I've visited and for those of you who are inspired by my style. Instagram posts are great but I can't really teach you what I know in a simple caption, so I definitely want to make the blog more of my focus in 2019. If you have suggestions for what you'd like to see on my blog, feel free to comment below.

Video content 
Whewwww chile (literally). This is one thing that has been on my mind for years and I don't feel like I've acted on it enough. You guys see my little instagram story catwalks and I even had a go at doing one for the feed here but I definitely want to do a lot more. I'm no youtuber (I just don't think youtube is my thing) but I may try and film some IGTV videos just like sit down chit chats, skincare routines and of course I'll be doing more Catwalks on the feed. Let's just hope that this becomes an actual thing haha!

A Monthly Newsletter
Okay so lastly, what's new for the Zeena Xena Plan is.... I'm starting a newsletter guys, how exciting? I'll be sending my first one out in April and then every 1st Sunday of the month on-wards...

It'll include things like: 

A low down on blog posts (just in-case you've missed any with direct links)
* The option to shop my most recent outfits (again with direct links)
* First look at what's coming to By Zeena (before it's shared anywhere else) + member discounts! Yep, I'll be providing special discounts for you guys)
* Requests - If I need help with something suggestions/feedback it'll be in the newsletter first
* Giveaways lots and lots of freebies because I'm a generous person 😉
* And anything else I don't share on my social media pages. My Newsletter will be that little something for those of you who go the extra mile to keep up with me in a nutshell.

As I continue to grow and work on these Newsletters I'll also try to involve my favourite brands getting them on board to offer special discounts for you guys! So have I sold you yet? haha - you can sign up here

Before I go - I know (some of) you guys love my sense of style, so here are some recent bits I've purchased/been gifted and loving lately, I can't wait to style them. You can shop by clicking directly on the images: 


That's all for now guys! Again, I just want to thank you so much for your continued support... I'll be back with another post soon.


                                                  Until next time 💜
                                      

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






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