Friday 31 July 2015

My Month in Instagram Photos

Wow, another month has flown by!

As you can probably tell from my Instagram photos, I've actually had quite a boring month. My work life has been pretty chaotic, but my personal life has been fairly quiet. I've been out for a few meals but (for a change!) I didn't snap any food..
Clockwise - A few weeks ago both me and Mike took a nice evening stroll to my mums house for the first time. It took us about 45 minutes, and apart from the blisters on my feet towards the end, I actually quite enjoyed it. We passed this pretty little stream which was near to my mums.
For 9 days in July I took part in the C9 diet by Forever Living. In 4 days I lost 4lb, then it went a bit downhill and at the end of the 9 days I only ended up losing 3lbs and losing 4 inches altogether. It's not all about the weight loss, but instead helping to get rid of the toxins inside my body.
This hanging basket hangs down my driveway.. I made it from scratch and this is the first ever that I haven't killed! I'm really happy with how its growing.
This statement clutch bag wont be to everyone's taste but I really like it. I love the combination of textures, the beads against the suede tassels. Its quite unique and would really dress up a plain outfit. Even better, I managed to find it in the sale for £8!
Last weekend I had a bit of a baking marathon and baked 2 old school favourites, cornflake tart and chocolate concrete. Safe to say they didn't last long at all!
August will be about holiday planning and birthdays! Always a busy month for me...
Come follow me on Instagram - @kateld85

Sunday 26 July 2015

My Top 5 To Do List: Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida.

In less than 5 weeks I am jetting off to Florida. Excited I am! As per, I've done loads of research to ensure we get the most out of our time. I've already got a rough itinerary ready so I thought I'd share with you my top 10 aims of each park that we will be visiting. Bare in mind I only visited 2 years ago so this may be different to if I was visiting for the first time!

1. Ride 'Rip, Ride, RockIt'. This is the only ride I refused to go on throughout all of the parks. The initial vertical track that you slowly go up just gave me the shivers so I had to pass and let my boyfriend and sister-in-law ride it together instead. I was told you get to pick your own music track whilst you ride which sounds pretty good!

2. Watch Universal's Superstar Parade - we didn't do this last time, and although it's full of Nickelodeon characters (I.e. spongebob squarepants, the minions etc) it would be nice to say Ive seen it.

3. Ride Transformers. We were there last time when this ride opened for the very first time, but as you can imagine queues were ridiculous, so this is definitely a must this time!

4. Have a dining experience at Mythos restaurant. Universal aren't as clued up on the old themed restaurants as Disney are. They have themed cafes but a proper unique table service is quite hard to find in both universal parks. This one caught my eye though, its got great reviews so I cant wait to give it a go!

5. Go and watch 'Fear Factor Live'. We never got chance to do this last time. It states 'put yourself to the test at the most extreme audience participation ever'. I usually have knowing that there's a chance I could be picked, but I've seen footage of this and it looks good... I'll just make sure I sit at the back!

Obviously there is so much more to do but this is my top 5 'to do' list for this year!

Have you been to Universal Studios before? Do you have any recommendations?

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Top 10 Essentials For Summer Roadtrips

It's that time of the year where the sun rears its pretty head and makes us all want to be outdoors. A lot of you will have upcoming summer holidays, either home or abroad, whilst others will prefer to do lots of little weekend breaks, day trips or road trips. I think a lot depends on personal circumstances (i.e. if you have children, money factors etc). Being someone that loves to travel, I like to explore as much as I can, especially in the warmer months!

Although we travel a lot in our car to cities in the UK, I can honestly say I've never done a proper road trip. A road trip where we're travelling for several days at a time in the car, taking in different cities and sites. I remember a few months after me and my boyfriend first me, we were deciding whether to save up for a mortgage or a road trip in America. We chose the mortgage, however I do have regrets about not taking that travel opportunity because now I have too many commitments to be able to go road tripping for 3 months in foreign lands! What will be will be...!

I thought I'd do an essentials list for anyone that may be going on a road trip this summer, short or long. Road trips are a completely different experience to a basic hotel holiday and there's a few more safety aspects to consider than meets the eye!

1. Make sure your car is in tip-top condition. Apart from the obvious legal requirements  (i.e. insurance, tax etc), ensure your oil, water, fluid etc is topped up. Its handy to have a spare bottle of water, and oil in your boot with you at all times. There's nothing worse than running out of oil then forgetting which type of oil your car requires. In the hotter months we all use our A/C a lot more, which means the car is using more water, so ensure you have a back-up just in case. Hydration for both the car and ourselves is vital. Another massive aspect of car safety is ensuring your tyres are pumped up with the correct tread requirement. Not having either of these can result in numerous things and can put you in dangerous situations. I've had my fair share of car breakdowns, one including a tyre fault - I was so close to having a bad accident on a motorway so never put things off for tomorrow what you can do today! If you don't have a male on hand, there are so many places that offer free tyre checks/fitting. Point S* allows you to find the correct tyre for your car (just by simply inputting your car reg) and offers to fit it for you too at the nearest centre.. so no worrying about having to get that car jack out! I'm useless when it comes to my car, and my boyfriend isn't much better either so I prefer to leave these kinda things to the pro's! (Point S are currently running a competition to win seat Ibiza so go check this out! (I do love a good competition as many of you may probably know!).

2. Chargers. Most cars can charge phone devices these days, and there is lots of cheap contraptions on Amazon that enable you to do this. There's nothing worse than being lost with a dead battery.

3. Loose change. You just never know when you're going to need a bit of spare change, especially when travelling abroad and constantly hitting tolls. I'm going to Florida next month and I must remember to have lose cents with me or we ain't going no where!

4. Map/Sat Nav of some sort. Theres some great sat navs to choose from here. I have a bit of a phobia about getting lost, even more so if I'm driving alone. I had a bad experience several years ago at night and it put me off for life. I had a similar experience only a few days ago -  I listened to someone's instructions and I think they'd directed me wrong because I ended up half an hour away from where I need to be. Luckily my phone sat nav came to the rescue, however if it wasn't for that, I would have probably ran out of petrol.. which brings me onto my next point...

5. Ensure you have a full tank of petrol/gas. If you are road-tripping for several days, maybe locate petrol stations before you set off on your trip. In the middle of no where with no phone reception and no petrol is not somewhere I'd want to be.

6. Ensure you have a small stock of liquids, snacks and blankets in your boot. These aren't to be eaten for the sake of it, but in case of emergencies, so its best to buy food that keeps (i.e. not chocolate that would melt!). I tend to keep a blanket in my boot all year round. They're great in the colder months when temperatures drop and cars are more liable to break down. Keeping warm is essential. In the summer, this blanket can double up as a picnic blanket. You can discover so many gorgeous spots on road trips where you may just want to set up camp for a few hours!

7. Have a notebook and pen - if you get lost, the sat nav fails and your map skills aren't great, you may be stopping a stranger in the street. Being able to write instructions down may help.

8. A camera. Being on road trips means you can come across some beautiful scenery. You can pull over (providing its safe) and snap to your hearts content. Make sure you capture this moment in time.

9. A competent driver + a competent navigator. These 2 things always mix well. We don't want any arguments on a long road trip. Recipe for disaster!

10. Last but not least - have your wits about you. If theres a bunch of girls going on a road trip in America and you encounter a hitch hiker, put safety first over guilt. In my opinion, its too bigger risk.
Are you going on any road trips this summer? Let me know in the comments!


Monday 6 July 2015

Afternoon Tea at The Hilton, Westminster, London.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting London for a weekend break. I don't visit London as much as I'd like to, simply because its a 3hr trek so it can never just be a quick day trip like most bloggers do.

A few months ago I was lucky enough to win a voucher that entitled me to afternoon tea for 2 at The Hilton, Westminster. As always, I did a quick search of reviews, photos etc and all looked good.

We arrived at The Hilton, which was in the Pimlico area of London and was directed upstairs by reception. We arrived at the restaurant and I immediately recognized that the room we were dining in did not match the photos of the afternoon tea lounge that was on the internet. Instant disappointment there.

We were then led to the back of the restaurant in the corner where there laid 3 small tables. We were seated at the middle table, with 2 couples either side of us, in very close proximity. I immediately felt like this was too close for comfort and deflation hit even more. We could hear conversations from either side and felt so exposed and uncomfortable. The windows were floor to ceiling, and I was facing the window whereas Mike was facing the restaurant. I had a lovely view - of building work which was right outside the window on the building across the road. I'm sure I read somewhere that the actual lounge we were meant to be in offered panoramic views? I know construction work on another building is out of The Hilton's hands, but it really did effect the whole experience. I thought the whole idea of afternoon tea was to have an intimate and unique experience. This was far from it.

A waiter arrived and asked what tea we wanted without even being provided with a menu, neither did he explain what tea's they had to offer - it took us to ask what they had available. The afternoon tea arrived shortly afterwards and honestly, the quality of the food wasn't anything special. I found the fillings in the sandwiches to be fairly sparse, and the desserts were mediocre. We were given profiteroles, scones, a small carrot/ginger(?) cake and a banoffee pie. Half way through our tea, both the couples had (thankfully) left, so we were by ourselves. I happened to glance over to each table and notice that both had left the remains of the same dessert - the banoffee pie. I tried mine and I too had to leave it, it wasn't for my taste palette at all. I am hoping The Hilton notice a pattern with the leftovers and consider adapting their menu a little!

I've had a lot of afternoon teas in my time so I have a lot of experience to be able to compare, and overall this was not a great experience, sorry Hilton! Maybe if we were situated somewhere else in the restaurant my views would have been slightly most positive but unfortunately being crammed into a corner with others being at arms length was not my idea of luxury. Its frustrating because I know London is Queen Bee when it comes to afternoon tea, and yet the 2 times I've managed to experience it there, they've both been poor locations, and yet I know there are so many more much better locations. Next time... next time!
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