Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Iceland: Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon Iceland


I am an awful blogger, I really am. But here I am, talking about Iceland a month and a half after we got back and just before we go on another trip (that says less about my tardiness and more about our compulsive jet-setting, though!) 

I think I first fell in love with Iceland because I saw a blog post about the Blue Lagoon on Pinterest (of course) and that was it, my heart was set.

Over two years later and we finally made it there! After reading all sorts of recommendations we went straight from the airport to the Blue Lagoon (There's a Grey Line stop right outside the terminal exit - remember that name, I wil mention them a lot). 

We arrived just after sunset so it was really very dark which added an eerie sort of element. We had already paid for the Comfort package which included a towel, super handy.

When you check in you're given a wrist band which is used for your locker and for payment which is great because there's no risk of losing anything. The changing room I was shown to was really tiny and cramped. I later found out, to my detriment that this wasn't the only changing area! You must shower beforehand, again, there weren't many showers available, especially as a group of girls seemed to be involved in a sponsored washathon!! But finally, I made it outside. 

Blue Lagoon Iceland


It is cold outside, especially in swimmers but it wasn't unbearable and once you're in the calm, hot water you don't care anyway. It was so warm, which sound ridiculous because it's a thermal pool but I couldn't believe that it felt much much warmer than a bath. Because it was dark, I couldn't see much further than my face so we gingerly made our way around the pool, stopping for a silica mud mask and a drink.

It was such an amazing, unforgettable experience, 5 'o clock at night, pitch black, drinking a cherry whilst sat in a naturally heated pool. We spent about an hour and a half relaxing at The Blue Lagoon.  

The only time I got even a little bit cold was when we got out and I couldn't find my flip flops, pacing up and down the outside decking was a little chilly but again not as bad as I expected and I soon warmed up when I got back inside. 

This is the point I fell into some difficulty with the multiple changing rooms. I said goodbye to Andy arranging to meet him at the exit, went into the changing room, took a shower, started to strip off (TMI?) only to realise that I didn't recognise any of the lockers and my number wasn't there. I hunted up and down the rows and couldn't find them anywhere. So back on went the wet swimming costume (never fun) and it was only then that I realised the changing room I wanted was upstairs. Oops!

The buses leave fro Reykjavik every hour and there was one waiting when we finished so we hopped on that and were soon headed to our hotel. 

Top Tops for The Blue Lagoon

1. Go straight from the airport. This can be booked before hand or at The Greyline counter upon arrival. Tours leave from the airport every hour or so. 
2. Pack what you need in your hand luggag -: swimming costume, towel etc. 
3. Bring flip flops - I know, you're visiting Iceland, hardly flip-flop weather! But you'll want these when you step outside onto the decking. Although I recommend bringing some distinctive looking ones. My black Havana style flip flops got lost among the Blue Lagoon branded flip flops! 
4. Lather up the conditioner - I was so worried about my hair being nasty afterwards because it's bleached but I didn't notice any changes despite warnings that the water can wreck havoc but my hair was saturated in the conditioner, it's free. Make the most of it!!
5. Get a drink - I would strongly advocate paying that bit extra for the Comfort Package, it's 2000 ISK (approx £14) more than the standard package but includes a towel and a free drink. Totally worth it in my opinion. But it was magical to find a shallow bit to sit down in and enjoy a drink while enjoying the water. 


PIN THIS FOR LATER: 

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Monday, 6 February 2017

Hitting my Workout Goals with AdoreMe


Hello Ladies!

It's Feburary, how are you getting on with those New Year's Resolutions? I'm doing well on the weight loss: eating well. drinking lots of water and so far I've lost 6lbs in 3 weeks.

BUT now it's time to get back into the gym (and stop wasting my money and not going) and get back to the barre to get all toned up and fit! 

What better way to inspire me than new workout gear? So I've been keeping my eye on the AdoreMe Instagram for gym wear inspiration and today I'm sharing a pick of my favourites. 

Namia Active Jogger Set

AdoreMe Workout Gear

How cosy does this look? The keyhole back and loose, 3/4 length joggers would be perfect for stretching and barre while still keeping cool and looking great. 

Alia Cropped Pant Set

AdoreMe Workout Gear
This pattern is beautiful and such lovely colours. I'm not confident enough to wear just a crop top but this would be great underneath a slouchy top and the higher waistband means no embarrassing builder's bums when I bend down to pick up the weights. 

Darshi Active Pant Set

AdoreMe Workout Gear
My favourite colour is purple, so how could I resist this super cute set? The mesh detail and lightweight fabric will keep me cool even when I'm pushing myself with a HIIT session (I've managed one in January, so more than one is a bonus, right?) 

The best bit? With their brilliant 3 sets for $79.95 I can have all three without breaking a sweat (sorry!) 

AdoreMe Activewear is available in an excellent range of sizes, so there's something for every size and shape. They've got perfectly fitting activewear lets you focus on (and dominate at) any task at hand. So what are you waiting for? Get shopping

AdoreMe also stock lingerie, bras, sleepwear and more. For more style inspiration, check out their Instagram

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Kuckoo, Chester: Grand Reopening


What's your favourite cocktail? Whether it's a pina colada (served in a coconut shell) or a Mad Men era old fashioned, Rock and Roll cocktail bar, Kuckoo Chester will have every cocktail need covered. 

Kuckoo Chester has a special place in my heart, Andy, infamously, spent £400 there one night not longer after we first met (long story) and we visited there on our first date. So I was really excited to be invited* to their grand reopening. 

After 3 successful years as one of the hottest bars in Chester, Kuckoo Chester closed it's doors for a few weeks to undergo a £50,000 refurbishment. 


Photo Credit: Andrew Paterson

When we visited the plans were just finishing up, a little later than first expected, but anyone who's watched any channel 4 restoration programme know that these sort of things happen!

The centrepiece of the renovation will be an eye opening ‘Onyx’ style bar – a stunning, modern bar top and fascia, backlit in red to create a warm glow. The newly refurbished Kucko Chester also includes luxurious leather and velvet seating areas, modernised washrooms and a striking black, granite floor with a sparkle effect.


Photo Credit: Andrew Paterson

Staying true to its creative drinks offering, Kuckoo have also revamped their cocktail menu which plays host to 65 inspiring, classic and cool cocktails to keep guests entertained all evening.

Whilst there we sampled a good portion of the amazing cocktail menu:


Kuckoo Chester

Kuckoo Chester


Space Cadet Caiproska - zinging with lime 

Bootleg Moonshine - A must if you're a bourbon fan



Kuckoo Chester


Superfly Thai Sling - Yummy, but I could have had more chilli in mine 

Spiced Rum Mai Thai - Very nice, again not very spicy (which was great because this was Andy's!) He also tells me you'd like it even if you're not a rum fan.


Kuckoo Chester


Suicide Blonde - Why don't I drink more wine cocktails? This was amazing!

Bramble - Andy's favourite cocktail and an off-menu request. His verdict: very nice, very sweet. His favourite of the night. 


Kuckoo Chester

Kuckoo Chester


But, thankfully, the look of the bar might be new but the music hasn't changed, as indie rock and roll favourites from various eras are still on the playlist - with popular tracks from Elvis and The Beatles to Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Stone Roses and The Strokes – providing a feel-good vibe and fun atmosphere where revellers will never want to leave!

Basically, the bar looks beautiful! The stunning red bar and new picture frames have made such a difference in lightening up the area while still ensuring that it feels cosy.


Kuckoo Chester


We spent some time with Kuckoo founder, Richard Powell who gave us an insight into all things cocktail and bartending but also the way the staffing and training works at Kuckoo (it's a managerless system!) and also the future of the Kuckoo brand. They're due to open Kuckoo Sheffield and Knutsford very soon, so watch this space. 


Photo Credit: Andrew Paterson

We were given a full tour of the refurbishment and got to see the downstairs table-service area, which I'm eyeing up for my birthday in February. 


Photo Credit: Andrew Paterson

Photo Credit: Andrew Paterson

Overall, a wonderful evening full of yummy cocktails and reasons to celebrate. I can't wait to visit again very soon. Who's joining me?


Kuckoo Chester can be found at: 58 WATERGATE STREET, CHESTER, CH1 2LA and is open 7 days a week - 5pm until Late.

You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. #KuckooRocks. 

*Thank you to Kuckoo Chester and Helen Wardley Communications for our invite, Drinks and tour were provided on a complimentary basis in exchange for an honest review. All views are honest. 


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Wedding Wednesday: Shoe Trends for Spring 2017 Brides

Hellooo! The gorgeous Roxana is joining us again today to share some of the hottest shoe trends for all you lovely Spring brides. Which are your favourites?

Shoe Trends.png
Hello my lovely future bride. Your big day, just like spring, is right around the corner. Let’s check the list real quick. Let’s see: something old? Check. Something new? Check. Something borrowed? Yup. Something blue? Sure. But wait, something is missing... Wait, is it getting a little chilly down there? Oh, right, the shoes are missing! Don’t worry, you are at the right place – a shoe fashion report is here.

Something blue

Make your walk down the aisle a little bit more fun by adding controversial blue shoes to your wedding outfit. Not only this colour will be a huge hit, but also, it is a very practical thing to do since you will solve the “something blue” issue.
blue shoes.jpg

Lacy shoes

Always trendy and always beautiful. If you want to add that boho – vintage touch to your ceremony, lace shoes are perfect for you, especially if you have some lace details on your wedding gown. However, if it is entirely made of lace, you should skip these.

Where are they?

Since nude shades have already become quite common on the fashion scene, it is nothing strange that this trend has spread on the bridal fashion as well. Depending on your dress, you can opt for either beige or ivory wedding shoes. One thing is certain, these will match every outfit for sure.
ivory.jpg

Like a bird

Yes, I’m talking about shoes with feathers. As you know, Jimmy Choo decided to embrace the feather comeback movement in this year’s Bridal Collection for 2017. They are luxurious, extravagant and really have that Carrie Bradshaw vibe if you ask me. If I get married this year (fingers crossed) these are definitely going to be on my feet. Fashionista bride at its finest.

Victorians

These evergreen shoes will never go out of style. They just keep getting better and better every season. We love them because of their comfort and minimalistic look that suits almost every wedding dress. Now, they have been given a new life and some time to shine.

Pinned ones

pinterestshoes.jpg
I’m sure that you’ve heard about the site called Pinterest. Of course you did. Well, if you ever surfed through this site, you have probably seen “shoes with million pins”. It looks like they came straight out of a fairytale with their zircons, stones and luxury heel details. They are probably the most favorite shoes among brides, and now they have officially become the trend. From floral ornaments, over angel wings to just plain beautiful embellishments, they are perfect for brides who want that unique style and amazed expressions on their guests’ faces.

Floral

Flowers are a huge deal in 2017, not just in shoe fashion, but in clothing fashion as well. Wedding shoes are now enriched with floral printed fabric, floral appliques or like I already said in the previous paragraph – floral embellished heels. Regardless to your style, you can never go wrong by adding some more flowers to your bridal look.

Bows

Who said that just a hubby can wear a bow? They are so cute and so fun, in other words – perfect bridal shoe accessories. Which husband wouldn’t want his wifey wrapped up like a super stylish present?
bow.jpg

Go bold

If you are not into traditionalism, I have great news for you. Brides can now choose coloured shoes which will match their overall wedding colour scheme. You can opt for pink, blue, purple, red, green etc. – any colour you want actually! One thing is certain – your outfit will turn heads (wink).

Laser cut

They entered the world of fashion quietly, and conquered our hearts completely. The entire shoe is made of a laser cut material which gave it the perfect and unique design – one of a kind. If you usually focus on details, this is a perfect pair of wedding shoes for you.
ca441ba0881e961081707f96dbf89b0f.jpg

Sparkly

Winter of 2016/2017 filled with sequins and tinsels really left a mark on our dear designers, because they aren’t letting this go in spring 2017 either. No one – and I really mean no one, can resist their Cinderella moment urge once they try these on, or see them sparkle from a shoe store window. It is like they say: with us you will fly on the cloud of happiness straight into a world of fairytales.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Little Red at the Action Transport Theatre


What was your favourite fairytale as a child? I remember being captivated by the story of Little Red Riding Hood. "My, what big teeth you have" "All the better to eat you with". Ohh spine-chilling! 

So I was really excited to receive an invite* to see Action Transport Theatre's Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf. Having received rave reviews for its performance at Liverpool's Unity Theatre: 

"An atmospheric show which children cannot help but be drawn into"
Liverpool Arts Scene ★★★★★ (More here)

Little Red and the Bad Wolf was set to run for 5 shows at Action Transport Theatre. So I made a visit on Saturday, accompanied by two other adults and their two children. 

Action Transport Theatre, described by The Stage as "small but perfectly formed" is found in Whitby Park in Ellesmere Port, a park which I'm sure is beautiful when it's not pouring with rain like Saturday. I was greeted warmly at the door, had my name ticked off the list and then set about the nerve-wracking task of saving enough seats (it wasn't that bad I just felt incredibly British about it!) Children were able to sit on benches at the front of the stage, which was great because I remember years of craning my neck at shows to get the best possible view. 

Seats filled and lights down the incredibly energetic and flawless four-part cast took to the stage for an hour and twenty minutes of catchy, sitting around the campfire like songs, witty prose and engaging scenes. Throughout it all, the children around me were captivated, engaged and entertained - proved by one particular child who laughed very loudly, very frequently.  

Action Transport Theatre

Action Transport Theatre

The two children with me were even distracted by the popcorn I'd bought for them and those behind me stopped complaining that they were starving as soon as the enigmatic, big, bad wolf took to the stage.

Action Transport Theatre

Action Transport Theatre

I was quickly reminded this is not a 'pantomime' but a 'Christmas show' and while there was no boo hissing and 'oh yes it is' and 'he's behind you' there was plenty of audience participation and interaction. The size of Action Transport Theatre was perfect for ensuring any child who wanted to be involved in the wolf howling competition could be and the biscuits handed out at the end soon made their way into every sticky paw. 

Action Transport Theatre

Action Transport Theatre


Overall, Little Red and The Big Bad Wolf was the perfect antidote to a wet, windy Saturday evening. Light, warm and engaging throughout. Thank you to the amazing, energetic cast and to Action Transport Theatre. 

The fun doesn't stop there at Action Transport Theatre, although Little Red has now run its course, there are several shows lined up for 2017:

Weds 25th January - Beasty Baby
Sat 4th Feb - The Boy who Cried Wolf 
Sat 18th Feb - Monthly Family Film Club
Thu 30th March - The Writers Ball 

All I'm left wondering is, do I need a child to come along and isn't 2017 the year I finally get back to acting?

You can find out more about Action Transport Theatre on their website or their Facebook page

*I was given a complimentary ticket in exchange for an honest review  
**Photo credit: Brian Roberts

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Wedding Wednesday: Vintage Inspired Colour Combinations

Hello and Happy Wedding Wednesday! Today guest post is from the lovely, Wendy who's sharing ideas of the very best vintage inspired colour combinations. Which is your favourite?


Most weddings naturally include celebrations of heritage and tradition. As we join two lives together and create one family, it’s totally logical that we would look to the past for inspiration. Perhaps that connection with eras gone by is what makes vintage themed weddings so popular. Or maybe they appeal to us because the colour combinations are just so stunning!

Vintage and retro are two terms that are interchanged without much thought, but they actually have their own meanings. Antique experts define vintage as originating at least 20 – 50 years ago (in fact the term “new vintage” is used to refer to the time period that occurred roughly 20 years ago). Antique generally refers to art, crafted materials and other items popular at least 100 years ago.


Retro, on the other hand, is anything that looks out of style for the current time period.
Vintage weddings can be influenced by the Medieval period, Victorian Era, the Roaring 20s, the sugar sweet 50s, the peace and love 60s, the Disco Fever of the 1970s or even the wild punk 80s era. Any particularly remarkable and colourful era is fair game as a wedding theme. That’s a lot of opportunities to combine and include your favourite colours! Here are three of the most popular vintage themes and the colour palettes most commonly associated with them:

Victorian Times Romance was practically invented in the Victorian Era. A young queen chose the man she loved despite status or the tradition of the contract marriage. Their annual tokens of love became our anniversary gifts. Our white bridal gowns are descendants of hers. Perhaps no vintage theme is more appropriate to weddings than Victorian. Characteristic of an English garden, a Victorian colour palette often includes blush shades along with white and ivory. Sweetheart roses, hydrangea, ivy and freesia are perfect matches for the theme.
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1920s The Roaring 20s were colourful in more ways than one. Fashion got more revealing and culture took on a far more defiant tone. Weddings influenced by this era often include jewel tones like emerald, sapphire and ruby, as well as the highly popular turquoise and plum palette of the peacock theme. Although bright and bold is the name of this game, some of the background designs found in room décor and home fashion in the 20s inspires more subtle combinations like grey bridesmaid dresses with pale yellow accents and touches of very simple ivory.


Poodle Skirts and Good Will – the 1950s
The early days of Rock n’ Roll inspired truly nostalgic and wedding-appropriate color combinations. It was a sweeter era in many ways, with an air of innocence still intact. Pastel palettes work well with 50’s themes – think pale pink poodle skirts and baby blue sweaters tied around shoulders (both of which are also excellent candidates to pair with grey bridesmaid dresses). The 50s had a wild side too; so vivid neon pink or turquoise with contrasting black is just as appropriate as pale pastels.

The Psychedelic 1960s
In contrast, the free-love 60s turned colour palettes in a totally different direction. Floral patterns were highly popular and the British Invasion brought us a very “Mod” collection of high contrast, yet slightly earthy tones. Olive greens, brick reds, gold and turquoise worked together to bring the decade to its Technicolor life.


There is a vintage theme to inspire almost any couple, and a colour palette within a theme to capture the spirit of most romances. As you plan your wedding, look to the past for elements to include in your design.


vintage-inspired-color-combinations-.jpg





Wendy Dessler
Super-Connector at OutreachMamaWendy is a super-connector with OutreachMama and Youth Noise NJ who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customised blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition. You can contact her on Twitter.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Dubai Day 3: Desert Safari

Helloo we're off to Iceland today so why not talk about our hot summer holiday?

When we booked Dubai, I stated that I did want to spend some time just chilling by the pool and not spend all our time out and about exploring. We made that mistake in Sorrento last year and although it was amazing we came back more tired than before we left. So the plan was one day by the pool, the next out and about and so on.


However, an evening desert safari felt like a good compromise. It meant we could spend most of the day by the pool until we got picked up around 3ish and then we could do some exploring. 

I found the trip, by chance, through Trip Advisor (I'm always a bit in awe of their marketing and personalisation, but that's another story!) and booked it straight away. 


Dubai desert safari


It was really easy to book and their communication throughout was really great. We were picked up and then it was quite a long drive out, with two other couples, to the desert. At the rest stop, we went to the toilet (not the nicest experience, I'll be honest) and were coerced into buying a traditional scarf for Andy!


Dubai desert safari

Dubai desert safari

Dubai desert safari


Then the tires were deflated a bit and we were off, hand break turning and hitting top speeds across the sand dunes as the sunset. Incredible. We stopped halfway and got to take photos. At this point, I wished I had some better shoes than my flip flops as they kept getting caught under the sand and falling off. But the view was absolutely spectacular. 


Dubai desert safari

Dubai desert safari

Dubai desert safari


We then got back on the jeep, and were a bit unclear as to what we were doing next! I'd read that our trip included a camel ride and dinner but I expected that to happen in the desert! Instead, we were taken to a traditional desert camp where we ate curry sat on cushions on the ground, watched a belly dancer and Tanoura Arabic dance (quite bizarre!) and I got to ride a camel for all of 1 minute! 


Dubai desert safari

Dubai desert safari


I think because I had no idea how the whole experience would go I didn't build it all up too much in my head and as a result, it was the most amazing experience that I will genuinely never forget. 
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