Friday, 18 December 2015

Favourite Winter Sun Destination

Firstly, sorry I have been a little inconsistent with my blog posts of late, I've recently had a death in the family so my mind has been elsewhere. With that on top of trying to get ready for Christmas, I've been a little pre-occupied! I'm still behind with my present buying, but I'm slowly getting there!

Today I have another travel post for you, this time discussing my favourite winter sun destination! For a girl that's fairly well-travelled, I've yet to add a little variation to the months that I choose to go on holiday. I've flown abroad in between the months of April and October, but nothing outside of this timeframe. When booking a holiday abroad, we automatically think to book in the summer months, because 'that's when it'll be nice weather'. It appears that a lot of us forget about those countries which tend to keep their heat all year round. Places such as The Canary Islands (i.e. Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria etc) can maintain temperatures up to 25degrees in winter months! I experienced my first autumn break last year, flying out to Tenerife in October. It felt a little strange going out of season, I will admit! But it was lovely to escape the chills of England, and indulge in a toastier climate for a week, without having to wear jumpers and coats! Its also a great time to go to avoid children (if you avoid half term breaks that is!). It felt like I'd been blessed with an extended summer, and it was a great way to postpone that chilly weather for another week before winter well and truly set in. I remember that I had to keep reminding myself that it was late October, and not July! I've been to Tenerife before in the height of summer, and it's somewhere I probably wouldn't revisit in these months, however its somewhere that I'd be happy to revisit for a winter getaway, whether it be before or after Christmas. I know a few people who have spent their Christmas here, and I've heard Tenerife know how to put on a good street party, so I definitely wouldn't hesitate in spending a Christmas there one year!

Sunset in Tenerife, October 2014.

Another winter destination that we are contemplating visiting next year is Florida! As you know, I visited Florida in September this year, and also back in June 2013 (read all about my travels here). Of course they were still in the summer months, but I'd absolutely love to go back nearer Christmas to experience Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. The lights at night, the music, the festive cheer... I can only begin to imagine. Temperatures in Florida in the winter months can reach up to 29 degrees, which is crazy, but so very tempting, especially with all the festivities. I think Magic Kingdom would be the place to visit if you're lacking that Christmas spirit, and I definitely am this year! (Another bonus of a winter holiday!)

source: google images

Another place that I've never visited, but I'm noticing is becoming a more and more popular winter holiday is Mexico! Cancun offers temperatures up to 27degress in the winter months, and although the flight time is fairly long from the UK, the photos definitely tempt me... do all your Christmas shopping in England then jet off here and within 24hrs knowing you could be de-stressing on this beach with a good book and cocktail would be absolute bliss!
 

source: google images

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A lot of people suffer with SAD in the winter months. For those that have never heard of this condition, SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, and is related to daylights saving and the fact that we have less sunlight. People suffer with low moods, sleepiness, lack of motivation, a loss of interest in normal activities etc. For people who have this condition, taking a holiday in the winter as opposed to the summer is a great way to fight those winter blues! There are lots of winter destinations to choose from that would still provide you with ample amount of sunshine. Is winter the new summer in regards to holidays? Who knows.. who knows!
 
This is my entry to alpharooms winter sun escape competition where you can win a fab 5 night winter holiday to the Costa del Sol.
Check out their infographic - stats that may help you choose your next winter getaway!
 
Have you ever took a winter holiday? If not, where would you like to go?

 

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Friday, 11 December 2015

Cheerz - Big Fat Box!

A few weeks ago, the guys at Cheerz kindly got in contact with me to review some of their products.

For those that may not have heard of Cheerz before, they are a company that enables you to print your Instagram photos (as well as any other photos) and turn them into unique little things, such as fridge magnets, posters, or even wedding invites/thank you cards etc.

 
 

I chose the 'Big Fat Box' which enabled me to select 100 photos which were individually printed (similar to polaroid pictures). They were of high quality and had a great high gloss shine to them. I was given the option of including a border on them, which I did (I had intentions of adding hand-written captions to each of them but later decided against this idea). The 'Big Fat Box' came in a cute blue box which I thought was really unique as opposed to a standard photo album. I thought this would be good placed on a coffee table so when guests come, they can happily browse away. I however, chose this box because I knew I wanted to create some wall art that I had pinned on my Pinterest (go follow me!) a long time ago, and knew someday I wanted to recreate it, and that's exactly what I did!


I redecorated our bedroom back in the spring, but since then, there were a few walls that were still blank canvases, but I just never knew what to fill them with, so when this opportunity arose, I knew straight away what I was going to do with the space, and I'm quite happy with the result if I do say so myself!

 
 
Obviously I still had photos left in my 'Big Fat Box' so they will lay around the house for people's perusal. 

Having only 2 small framed photos in my living room, I felt like that was yet another room that would benefit from a few more photographs to showcase our memories. Due to lack of surface space, I didn't want lots of individual free-standing ones, not only because of the space issue, but I think it can look cluttered. Because of this, I opted for the poster, which consists of 35 photos, made into a mosaic poster. Cheerz gives you the option of adding a frame to this, which I did (for an extra cost). The only colour option for the frame was black, which was too harsh for my light shabby chic styled living room. Because of this, I purchased some pastel blue washi tape to go over the frame in order to match my decor. Because of the transparency of the tape, I'm not overly happy with the result of this, and I may paint the frame a pastel blue in the near future instead. 

 
 
The ordering process of the products was fairly easy, the only disadvantage when selecting your photos is you do not get the option to select the positioning of the photos on the poster, for example. There were a few scenic shots that were collated together that I would have preferred to have been spread out a little, so the photo subjects appeared more varied. But nonetheless, I was extremely happy with the products, the quality, delivery and service of the company, and I fully recommend them to anyone that has some good instagram snaps they want printing! They'd make a great Christmas gift too for those sentimental people in our lives!

Cheerz is such a fab little company, and one that I would definitely revisit when I want more photos printing!

Go check them out!

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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Top 5 Tips on How to get the most out of your day

In todays world, everything is so fast paced. We rush from one place to the next, running errands, going to work, travelling, sorting out children, having a social life, doing housework, catching up on social media, as well as all the other bits in between such as exercising, eating, sleeping...the list goes on, and before we know it, another day has gone in the blink of an eye and it starts all over again.

We all know that we should take time out for ourselves, for our health and wellbeing if nothing else, however sometimes, for whatever reason, its just not viable..
I once read a quote that said 'Beyoncé has just as many hours in her day as we do'. Insert any famous successful person in there but the outcome will be the same. Every human being on this planet has 24 hours in their day.

Although I don't have children, I still feel like I have a lot to 'keep up with' once my working day is over. Social media is the bane of my life! And I'm not talking sitting at the end of a computer talking for hours to a friend. I'm talking sitting there for hours searching for ways to improve my life, ways to improve my blog, to promote it, doing my hobbies, and so on...

As time has progressed, I've learnt little techniques to ensure I pack as much as I can into my day, so I'm ending it feeling pretty satisfied. Some of these tips will be so obvious but sometimes we just need a little reminder.

source: google images
1. Multi Task. Us women are meant to be pros in this, so make use of it! Gone were the days when I used to sit at my dressing table blow-drying my hair. Now I'm stood up, hair dryer in one hand, and tidying my dressing room up with the other. I use my washing the pots time as a time to catch up on my favourite vloggers on Youtube. Whilst I'm waiting in a queue, I will promote my blog via twitter, or enter a few competitions. Multi tasking gives me a strange buzz - almost like I'm sticking 2 fingers up at 'time' (if it was ever a person!) and showing him that I'm taking advantage.
2. Become an early riser. I don't have any problem in getting up at 8am on a Saturday, in fact I love it because I feel like I'm squeezing an extra hour out of a Saturday morning that wouldn't usually be there (I do sometimes like to get out of bed at 9am). Obviously try not to neglect your sleep though, on average our bodies need 7-8hrs sleep a day. If you are one of those that likes a lay-in till lunchtime on a weekend, but moan that there isn't enough hours in the day, maybe try thinking about reducing your lay-in by an hour or so...
3. Catch up through lunch hour at work. I only have a 30 minute lunch break, but I use this time wisely. I like to take time out from the office where there are no distractions, and just catch up on emails, social media etc, whilst I'm eating.
4. Reduce time doing other tasks. This is all about prioritising. If there's a film on the TV, but you've already seen it and have it on DVD, don't waste your time watching it. Do something productive! (like housework!)
5. Split tasks between your other half. If you live with a partner and you both work full time, make sure the tasks are split fairly equally instead of you doing 90% of the house chores. Its only fair, and that way you'll have more 'me' time.

Have you got any tips on squeezing as much out of life as possible? Let me hear them!
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Friday, 20 November 2015

Review: October's Degustabox

Its that time again to review my monthly food subscription box!

This month was varied in products, and although it was lacking something sweet, it was perfect for those savoury kinda people!



Geeta's Korma Curry paste and Chutney - £3.10
Firstly, can we appreciate how pretty the chutney's packaging is? I loved the colours and the almost holographic design it had going on. Anyway... onto the food!
I will admit - I haven't tried this one out yet, but I don't have any hesitations whatsoever - I've tried Geeta's before and they've been just fine. We love a good curry in this house, but I've been trying to healthy eat a little the last few weeks, so haven't had chance to sample this yet, but I definitely will very soon!

Lorina - £1.49
I was a little sceptical about this flavour.. coconut and lime anyone? But the flavours just seemed to compliment each other perfectly. You could taste equal amounts of each flavour so nothing was too overpowering. I wouldn't hesitate in buying this again. So refreshing.

The Snack Organisation - Rice Crackers - £1
I absolutely loved these - I (embarrassingly) wolfed the first 2 layers within 1 sitting. They remind me a little of something from Bombay mix if anyone has ever tried that? They're so moreish-ly addictive!



Cirio Passata/chopped tomatoes - £2.25
A frequent product that tends to appear in DB but in different forms, so this was a love hate thing. We use tomatoes (of all kinds) in our house on a frequent basis for all kinds of dishes, however I was very pleased with this passata in a bottle. Squeeze the bottle and bingo. It seemed to easy and convenient, and the style of packaging (as opposed to passata in the cardboard 'tubs') is definitely something I'd opt for from now on.

The Snack Organisation - Dried Fruit - £1
I will admit, this is still sat in my cupboard. Why? 1 because I've learnt that I'm not a lover of freeze dried fruit, and 2 because they were apricots, which is something I dislike. Either way, for any dry-fruit lovers, I can imagine these to be a perfect healthy and convenient snack to pop in your handbag!

Liberation Foods (Oven baked salted cashews & peanuts) - £2
Who doesn't love a good bag of nuts? Even better if they have cashews in them! I was going to save these for Christmas, but couldn't resist trying them! I shared them with my partner and they went down well. Very flavoursome with the perfect crunch. Yum!

9Bar Carob Hit - £2.49
This pack of original super seeds bars are nice. With 5 in a pack, they claim to give you energy because of all the seeds and fibre etc that is in them. I find these really filling but a little difficult on the jaw at times. I'm not really into seeded energy bars so I don't think its something I'd go out and buy again.



Kabuto noodles - £1.99
My partner had these because I've tasted them before and thought they were pretty bland. It just so happens that my partner thought this too. I'm not a fan of thin noodles, and I found that flavour to be lacking. They remind me of diet noodles because of how flavour-less they are. Sorry Kabuto!

Chip Strips (x 2 ) - £2
These are different to say the least. They are huge long wafer strips that have a crisp/poppadum type texture, and I couldn't quite work out if I liked them or not! They were definitely packed with flavour, but the size of them I think would be more suitable for dipping?

Nudie coconut chips (x 2) - £1.29
When I saw these I thought they'd be another take on the dried food products, however I tried the sweet Thai chilli ones first and oh my god.. I was hooked. So nice, with a hot kick at the end, but not too hot so I could finish the packet in one. I was sad when these were finished. I moved onto the original ones, they were still extra tasty but I preferred the flavoured ones. I am definitely buying more of these!

President Unsalted Butter - £2
I don't physically have this product to show you because it was in the form of a voucher, so next time we're food shopping, I need to pick this up because we're almost out of butter! I'm hoping for good things though as I'm pretty fussy on my butter (bit of a Lurpak lover!).

If you like the sound of the Degustabox, why not try it yourself? I have a whopping £6 discount code for you to use at checkout, which will mean your box could cost a mere £6.99! Use the code BLDEG15 at checkout and watch the magic happen!

If you want to find more information out about Degustabox, please visit them on the links below:

Degustabox Homepage
Degustabox Facebook
Degustabox Twitter

Let me know if you decide to give it a go!
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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Review: Slim Fast 7 Day Starter Kit

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure in sampling Slim Fast's 7 day starter kit*. This is a box full with meal replacement shakes and bars, as well as sweet and savoury snacks to keep you going throughout the day. All you need to do is plan 7 600kcal meals and you've got it sorted for the week!





A bit of background history into my diet...

Ever since leaving university at 23, my weight has slowly crept up, and very rarely gone down. I've been on so many diets over the years, weightwatchers, slimming world (both of these I've tried twice!), the Atkins diet, fat counting diets, forever living... the list goes on. All of these have never lasted longer than a few months and before long, I slip back into my old eating habits. I'm the woman that has zero willpower when it comes to food, especially sweet and sugary foods! Every year I set the same NY resolution 'Lose 2 stone' 'Lose 3 stone', but do I ever meet that target? Hell no. I love my food and that's all there is to it. Every time I had a 'big' occasion to attend, that would be my drive; 'I'm going to lose 2 stone by the time I go to Florida' 'I want to have lost 1 stone by the time I'm bridesmaid'. Do I ever get there? No. Since returning from Florida 2 months ago, my weight yet again, has slowly started creeping up, so I of course jumped at the chance of trialling some Slim Fast products out, to hopefully get me back on track once and for all.

The package arrived and was sat in my kitchen for almost a week. I knew I had a Halloween night out coming up, and didn't want to spoil the plan so waited till that was over by the time I started. I didn't really give much thought to it up until the night before I was about to start this 7 day plan. Then something magical happened and I had this huge wave of determination about losing weight. The thing is, this wave stuck, and didn't pass like the rest do, and that's exactly what I've been waiting for. Generally, I'm a pretty determined person in most areas of life, but when it comes to food, it's very low, however this time I knew I felt different. I had a long talk to myself and weighed up all the advantages in my head of losing weight, and really imagined what I'd feel like if I lost weight. Usually, if I lose 10lbs, its a huge confidence boost for me, I hold my head just that little bit higher, and speak to people with ease. I then trebled that in my head and told myself 'Imagine losing 1.. 2.. 3 stone'. I tried hard to focus on the impact that would have on my confidence in all areas of my life, and lets just say, it was a pretty good outcome. And that outcome has given me the determination to flick that switch in my brain and try, like, really try. I don't want to feel unattractive anymore, I don't want to avoid the pretty clothes in the shops, simply because it wont suit my body shape, and I don't want to walk past people in the street and think they're 'looking at me because I'm fat' (paranoia right there!).

So I started the Slim Fast 7 day plan on 2nd November. Never tried any Slim Fast product before so I had no idea what to expect. To make life easier, I followed their 7 day meal plan (which came with the kit). However I created my own low calorie meals (I actually cheated and purchased a mixture of Weight Watchers and Slimming World meals, simply because they're all under 600kcal). I then bulked them out with vegetables.

How does it work?

You choose 3 snacks per day (usually fruit/veg, SF savoury snack and SF chocolate bar)
You choose 2 meal replacements (SF shake and SF bar)
You choose 1 low calorie meal (600kcals)

A typical day could consist of:

Breakfast - SF Strawberry shake
Mid Morning - Banana
Lunch - SF Chocolate meal bar
Mid Afternoon - SF savoury snack
Tea - 600 kcal meal
Evening - SF chocolate bar

Top L - SF Choc Bar. Top R - SF Shake. Bottom L - Chocolate Meal Bar. Bottom R - Summer Berry Meal Bar



 
Opinions

I'll admit, the first day, I was definitely ready for my tea by the time I arrived home from work. I also remember feeling hungry before I went to bed, but I slept this off. However after this, it was all uphill. I even had to force the mid afternoon and late night snack down at times, because I simply wasn't hungry. In terms of filling you up, I found the meal replacement bars impressive. Imagine a cereal bar, but a little bigger and thicker. When I had my first one, I remember thinking 'this isn't going to be enough for my lunch' but it really was! It took me almost 5 minutes to eat a full bar because they are so substantial and filling! The shakes weren't that far behind in terms of curbing your appetite either. Taste wise, I preferred the chocolate meal bars as opposed to the summer berry ones. The summer berry had a more noticeable aftertaste to them, but it was manageable. The shakes were really tasty, and not like typical bland diet shakes. They were flavoursome, creamy and helped with that sugar craving. The chocolate bars were really good too! I preferred the caramel one, a really chewy chocolatey treat that reminded me a little of a Curly Wurly in consistency! The savoury snacks were a little blander, I preferred the sour cream pretzels over the cheese bites, but they still acted as a good little filler in between meals. Another great thing was that it satisfied my sweet tooth, which for me is a must in any diet. There was at least 1 chocolate related product that I ate every day which I think helped me not crave for other chocolate.

What I also loved about this 7 day kit was how convenient it was. For the most part, I work 9-5, so having a diet that includes hours of prepping for every meal of the day can be a real turn-off for me. However with the Slim Fast products, I loved how I could just grab a shake out of the fridge, pop a meal bar in my bag along with some fruit, and away I go. Its perfect for travel as well, its not messy and no knives and forks are needed. This diet gave me structure, which I loved. I didn't have to go through the hassle of meal planning (apart from choosing which SW meal I was eating that night!) Such convenience... what a winner!

After all that, I know what you're waiting for - to see how much I lost! I managed to lose 3 lbs which I'm very happy with (have you seen what 3 lbs looks like in fat?! Google it!). I believe I could have lost more if I exercised however that's another area of motivation I'm currently working on!

By the end of the 7 days I was sad that it was over, and in a vow to continue this positive mind-set I went and purchased 10 more shakes from the shop! Unfortunately I couldn't find the meal replacement bars but I'm still on the hunt! Another week has passed and I've still been healthy eating - I now have no chocolate/cake/crisps in the house, I barely get any cravings or any thoughts that I want to eat naughty foods, and if I do, I've almost learnt to override them. When I feel hungry I just make myself a drink (a cup of tea tends to fill me up!) - this keeps me going till the next meal. I've made low calorie meals from scratch this week and I've been enjoying experiencing new foods again. I've introduced a 'treat day' into my week, which is on a weekend. This could be either a meal out (where I don't watch the calories) or one of my favourite chocolate bars. That way I look forward to it a lot more.

Selection of shakes that I purchased..
I'm so happy that I trialled this 7 day starter kit. Slim Fast is a brand I've been aware of for many years but I've always ignored it till now. This is proof that you should always give things a chance!

Here's to a slimmer and healthier future!
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Friday, 13 November 2015

Afternoon Tea at 'When The Clock Strikes 3' - Matlock

A few weeks back we spent a few days in Derbyshire. Whilst we were here we visited Matlock. As per tradition, we had to indulge in some afternoon tea... (new place 'n all that...). After doing my research, this certain little place was hitting the top of everyone's list in terms of reviews, so I immediately knew it was the place to visit.

After parking in Matlock's train station car park, 'When The Clock Strikes 3' is literally across the road to the left as you walk out. So easy to find.



We walked in and it was just approaching lunch time so it was still fairly quiet. We seated ourselves amongst cute shabby chic pastel interior and huge sparkling chandeliers. A lady came out and took our orders and explained that we could choose from one of many homemade cakes that were on display. We went for a pretty original (but definitely yummy!) bakewell cake. We were also given the option of sandwich fillings. We were allowed to choose one each - I opted for egg mayonnaise and Mike went for ham.




The sandwiches were SO fresh and the fillings were amazing - everything tasted really good quality. We then moved onto the scones, which were lovely and warm - they just melted in the mouth. Yum! Obviously these were accompanied by the traditional jam and clotted cream.





Everything was homemade and done to perfection, including the service - nothing was too over the top (i.e. checking on you all the time, which I hate!).

Sometimes, in regards to afternoon tea, these little business' come tops over a lot of 5* hotel locations where I've had afternoon tea before, and this was definitely one of those.

Try this quaint little teashop out if you ever visit Matlock, you won't be disappointed!
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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

New Blogging Schedule & Social Media

For those people who read my blog regularly, I'm hoping you would have begun to see some sort of frequency to my posts over the past couple of weeks. I've made extra effort to post on a regular basis and have finally (after 4 yrs of blogging!) decided to stick to a set schedule. That way, you'll know when to expect a post so you'll know when to tune in.

New blog posts will go live every Tuesday and Friday at 9am.

Why not try subscribing to my blog via email? That way you'll get my posts delivered straight to your inbox! Just pop your email in the box on the right hand side of the page and away you go!

source: pinterest - dizzybrunette
 
Where else to find me?

I'm aware that not everyone who reads this follows me on all my other sites, but I'd love it if you came and joined me!

Personal Instagram - @kateld85
Blog Instagram - @aworldfullofprettiness

Why have 2 instagrams? I wish I never! But I'm currently in a place (in my mind) where I don't want my friends/family knowing my blog/youtube, so I like to keep the two separate. I was finding it frustrating that I couldn't promote my blog through my instagram so I felt like I had no other choice than to set a second account up. It's bloody hard work though!

Twitter - @katelou11
Youtube - @floridadream11
Pinterest - @kate1605

I've got lots of exciting blog posts planned so stay tuned!

Please share your social media below. I'm always on the look out for new Instagrammers to follow!
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Friday, 6 November 2015

Weekend Break in Derbyshire

A few weekends ago we took time out and drove to Derbyshire for 2 days.
We stayed in a place called Belper, in a hotel with gorgeous countryside surroundings. We didn't arrive till late afternoon so we just had a slow chilled evening, taking in the hotel surroundings.There was a cute little old-fashioned village pub nearby that had real roaring fires and little nooks that you could sit in.. it reminded me so much of the Lake District. The people were so friendly too, nothing like our area! In the evening we had THE most gorgeous meal in the hotels' conservatory - it really was 5* food and I couldn't fault it.


On our first full day we went to Alton Towers - We had cheap tickets so thought we may as well make use of them. The park was SO quiet, queue times were pretty much non-existent so we rode every ride possible. Must remember to go on a weekday in school term in future!



After a busy day and a sat nav dilemma, we resorted back to the hotel and ordered room service (for the very first time ever may I add!).

The next day we headed to Matlock - I'd visited here when I was a lot younger, but couldn't remember much about it.
Our first stop was afternoon tea in a very cute vintage teashop. Everything was homemade and tasted absolutely gorgeous (better than some 5* hotels I've been to before!), but more on that later...

We then headed to the Heights of Abraham. The cable cars offered some impressive views but is not for the faint-hearted who fears heights! It took us into the hills almost, we grabbed a hot drink and the restaurant and sat outside on the balcony, enjoying some stunning scenery. We wondered round a pretty fossil shop and marvelled at the huge pretty colours. As part of our ticket, a tour of the caves were included, however due to leaving this till last, and a parking ticket that was quickly running out, we unfortunately didn't have time for this.. next time.. next time!






It was a nice refreshing break, and made a change to the city breaks we usually opt for. There's something about getting a bit closer to nature and browsing old villages that I quite like. I love the quirky character and the unique finds.

Have you been anywhere recently?
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Tuesday, 3 November 2015

October's Best Bits

Looking over October on my Instagram, I felt like I had quite a busy social life (for once!) - the majority of it revolved around food, of course. So I thought I'd share with you some October delights...


From left, clockwise - I met with an old friend and had a catch up over tapas. I had a 'luxury hot chocolate' in a little teashop that I used to regularly visit whilst at work last winter (it became lethal both on the bank balance and waist line!). I indulged in a pistachio and pear cheesecake in a hotel in Derbyshire. I had the best afternoon tea in Matlock (more on that to come). I experienced a new tapas restaurant that has recently opened up with a friend, then I indulged in some lemon meringue with another friend! Not all on the same night, of course! Phew! What a lot of food! Dining out is definitely up there with one of my favourite pastimes!

Now minus the food!
Left to Right
Row 1 - I enjoyed a rare work night out with friends on Halloween - A little trip to Lush got me experimenting with new products which I can't wait to try! - My Freaky Doll's face close up!
Row 2 - It's become a ritual to treat myself to a Lush bath each Sunday. Now the nights are getting colder, I'm wanting more and more baths, and I love relaxing in them with a few candles lit and a book - 1 of 2 Thank You cards that 'my' students kindly got me as a thank you for being their supervisor during their placement. Its nice to know you're appreciated sometimes - Trying out the cable cars in Matlock! Don't.Look.Down!
Row 3 - Enjoying a hot chocolate with some pretty impressive views in Matlock - Scarefest at Alton Towers! - Our hotel's cute restaurant conservatory. They cooked the most spectacular food in here. I swear Gordon Ramsey was behind those closed doors!

Did you have a busy October?
  
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Friday, 30 October 2015

Photo Diary | Florida 2015 | Day 12 - 14

My last Disney run down! For those that have missed my previous ones, day 1 - 3, day 4 - 7, and day 8 - 11.

Day 12 was a day I had been looking forward to for sometime. We took the 1.5hr drive to St Petesburg, a place that is close to my heart and has a lot of nostalgic memories from when I was a child (this is where we used to stay whenever we visited Florida). I just love the place and I can't begin to tell you the atmosphere that this place has, but its one that makes you feel at ease. No one seems to care what you look like, no one is into fashion, this place definitely lacks that cosmopolitan feel to it, but its great. So much so, that I went in the sea. My body hasn't touched water in public for almost 7 years (no swimming pools, no spa's, no oceans, nothing), simply because I'm conscious of my weight. However I went in, and it felt SO liberating. The beaches are so vast they are derelict, because everyone is not crowded into one little spot. We were in the sea almost 1hr, and only 2 people walked passed us the whole time we were in there (I was sat mostly in the bay so I knew!). We had lunch in a restaurant that we visited 2 years ago - it sits right on the beach so it has ocean views and as you walk off the decking your feet hit the sand. Ahh... I think I've just taken myself back!
 


 
Day 13 we had yet another laid back chill out day. We ventured in and out of souvenir shops down International Drive, trying to grab some last minute presents. I found a $20 note on the floor which was a nice little addition to my spending! We caught a boat from The Boardwalk and ventured into Hollywood Studios to finally watch Fantasmic. This show ended with all the Disney characters on a boat, waving as they disappeared into the night air. Quite symbolic considering it was our last night, and such a great way to end our stay.  
 




Day 14 we spent the morning packing the last remnants of our case. We popped to see my mum (they weren't leaving till the following day). We had lunch with them then off to the airport it was!


 

I hope you've enjoyed my holiday diary! I'm hoping to get some holiday footage up soon so stay tuned for that! 

I've also just been on a mini weekend break, so I'll have some more travel diaries coming soon!
 
Are you going anywhere soon? Let me know in the comments! I love a bit of travel talk!
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Saturday, 24 October 2015

Photo Diary | Florida 2015 | Day 8 - 11

I hope you're all enjoying the run-down of my Disney holiday so far! For those that have missed it, here are days 1-3, and day 4 - 7.
 
Day 8 saw us venturing around some of the Disney hotels. Last time I went to Florida we just didn't have time to do this, however after much research, I realised how much these needed to be seen, so I penciled some time in our itinerary to ensure this was done! We had a walk round Disney's Grand Floridian (one of the deluxe resorts). This was absolutely stunning with huge chandeliers draping down in the reception/lounge of the hotel. Everywhere just oozed luxury! We mooched around some of their Disney art gallery shops within the hotel - they had some gorgeous pieces but way out of our price range! We then headed to Downtown Disney and sampled a meal in The Boathouse, which is a new restaurant. I had THE best burger whilst I was here. Totally recommend! The restaurant also had a great concept - An Amphicar - a car that turns into a boat that you can take a ride in in Lake Buena Vista. Mighty pricey though, may I add, but still, such a unique experience nonetheless! After this we visited Disney's golf course and had a go at mini golf on an interactive golf course. I really wanted to do this last time but time was against us, so I was glad to play it this time - It was "free" with our park tickets that we had purchased, so it was a great little time killer. We then visited Disney's Boardwalk for the first time ever, and both me and Mike fell in love. The atmosphere here was just perfect. So relaxing with a little bit of quirkiness added in. So glad that we went (and proceeded to visit a further 3 times in the evenings!). 
 
Part of Disney's Grand Floridian Hotel

The Grand Floridian

Burger in The Boathouse, Downtown Disney

The Amphicar at DTD

Crazy Golf!

Disney's Boardwalk

The Boardwalk
 
Day 9 we ventured to IHOP for breakfast pancakes then headed to Islands of Adventure. We re-rode some of the rides that we did on the first day, and had a meal in a swanky hotel on The Boardwalk in the evening. 
 
Blueberry Lemonade to start the day.. Yum!

Islands of Adventure. Sadly the Marvel section is being replaced :-(

THE best water ride!

Salad for starters...
 
Day 10 saw us heading to Hollywood Studios. I had my first proper Disney dining table service experience in The Sci-Fi restaurant - imagine an old skool American drive-in cinema where you all sit in your cars and watch a film - yep, that was us but eating. Such a bizarre yet unique experience. We saw a stunt show and rode yet more rides. 
 
Hollywood Studios

Sci-Fi Diner in HS

Motor, Camera, Action! Stunt show
 
Day 11 we visited a mall (yes, another mall!). Here I finally managed to pick up a few souveniers for my niece. I sampled my first ever Five Guys (nice, but not as good as Shake Shack!) and had a late visit to Universal Studios were we saw their evening entertainment. Lots of lasers, coloured water displays and fireworks! We then rounded the day off with a late night trip to the cinema (I'm talking an 11.30pm entrance!). I buried my head in popcorn that was bigger than my head and drank coke till it was coming out my ears. True American style. As for the cinema experience and the crowd. Wow. Just wow. 
 
Laser/Water show on the river (Universals Cinematic Experience)
 
Stay tuned for days 12 - 14!
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