Friday, 30 May 2014

Ideal Hen Do

It may be a long while off me getting married but I've been thinking about what I'd do on my hen night. The big blow out before settling down to married life. Well mine wouldn't be that big, not stereotypical at all.

At present I am not a big drinker, hate going out to clubs and prefer a good night in to trawling round town on a cold evening. So this is reflected in what I would plan for my hen party. Although it is seen that the maid of honor will plan the hen party, I wanted to share some ideas I had.

Theme Park

Idea Hen Do - Port Aventura, Spain
Image Source

Matt hates theme parks, he would not willingly pay to go to one - whilst I love them! I've grown up in a family that goes on holiday to go to theme parks like Florida and Port Aventura, Spain. Considering I'd be marrying a guy who doesn't have any interest in visiting one, I'd have to go one on my hen do and get on all the rides possible. If I stayed in the UK this would be somewhere like Alton Towers or Thorpe Park, but if my bridal party were willing to take a trip abroad I'd want to re-live my childhood memories in Spain's Port Aventura Park or get to Disneyland Paris!

Rent a Cottage

Ideal Hen Do - Rent a cottage
Image Source

As I say I don't like to go out, preferring to stay in and stay warm. I'd love to go out to the countryside with some of my closest friends, bring lots of booze and hot chocolate as well as girly films and have a massive sleepover. Of course there would be the mandatory ordering of a huge takeaway that would have us all stuffed to the brim with bad foods and this would be topped off with tons of chocolate. We could play games, watch trashy telly and generally have a good laugh. This would be great if we were in the UK or abroad.

If Matt planned my hen do I am not sure where he'd send me. I am sure he'd know about my hatred of going out to bars and having to stand around with loads of drunk people so he wouldn't subject me to that. I think he'd probably send me off on a city break with some of my friends to enjoy the sites, culture and food before getting married.

survey was taken by Ladbrokes Bingo about what each partner thought their other half would like to do on their hen party. The results are pretty interesting for example -29% of men think their partners would like a stripper for comical value and 38% of women definitely not wanting a stripper. Well that is 62% of women who want a naked man on their hen do!

Have you had a think about what you'd do on your hen do?

*survey carried out by Ladbrokes Bingo.
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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Shoreditch and Box Park

Shoreditch. Before visiting I'd never really known it existed or what was there. I really did enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the place and the walls that were adorned with colourful fun graffiti.

Streets of Shoreditch - Graffiti Wall Art

Streets of Shoreditch - Graffiti Wall Art

Streets of Shoreditch - Graffiti Wall Art

In Shoreditch there is a extremely cool urban structure called Box Park which holds many pop up shops in reconditioned shipping containers. Its crazy because you can see that they were containers, but now they have been totally refurbished and fitted out to act like shop space. Many businesses have taken space in this 'shopping mall' with the likes of Nike, Puma, Gap and Hype claiming containers. Also there are small restaurants and food sellers, which leads me on nicely to my two reviews...

Box Park Shoreditch Pop Up Container Shop Review

First up is Milk Tea & Pearl. A Taiwanese bubble tea producer placed on the top level of the Box Park selling a plethora of tempting flavours including coconut, taro milk, passion fruit and jasmine to name a few. I went for Mango as this is my favourite with a mix of the typical tapioca 'bubbles' and passion fruit boba. This tea was so refreshing and the beads were lovely. Although the taipoca were chewy as per usual, the passion fruit ones popped in your mouth to release the juice which was usual but nice. I definitely need to branch out and try a few new flavours!

Milk Tea and Pearl - Bubble Tea -Box Park Shoreditch Review

Milk Tea and Pearl - Bubble Tea -Box Park Shoreditch Review

Milk Tea and Pearl - Bubble Tea -Box Park Shoreditch Review

The first time we walked past Dum Dum Donutterie at around 2pm they were closed as they had sold out but when looking in at their display we saw the wonders they can produce and came back earlier the next day. I picked out the Zebra which is layers of croissant dough and chocolate croissant dough filled with chocolate butter crème and decorated with dark chocolate. These doughnuts are baked not fried which makes them light, rather than full of fat and grease. I did notice this when eating it, although it doesn't really make it healthier as it is covered in sugar and chocolate then filled with chocolate crème. The filling is very scrumptious but I think what makes this different is that it is made with croissant dough which makes a lot more filling and stodgy. Although this was very yummy, I've now tried the 'cronut' fad and I think I prefer my normal doughnuts.

Dum Dum Donutterie - Donuts Doughnuts -Box Park Shoreditch Review

Dum Dum Donutterie - Donuts Doughnuts -Box Park Shoreditch Review

Dum Dum Donutterie - Donuts Doughnuts -Box Park Shoreditch Review

Dum Dum Donutterie - Donuts Doughnuts -Box Park Shoreditch Review

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Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The Hoxton Hotel - Review

Firstly let me apologise for my terrible picture quality! I didn't bring my DSLR to London this time to save on space so took my little camera and now I've got my new one I can totally tell the difference! So anyways...

On Friday myself and my boyfriend took the train to London to spend a night and see the Arctic Monkeys. We decided to stay in Shoreditch as the boyfriend had been before and really liked it. The hotel of choice was The Hoxton Hotel.

The Hoxton Hotel Shoreditch Review

The Hoxton Hotel Shoreditch Review

The Hoxton Hotel Shoreditch Review

The Hoxton Hotel Shoreditch Review

The Hoxton Hotel Shoreditch Review

The Hoxton Hotel Shoreditch Review

The Hoxton Hotel Shoreditch Review

The hotel was super trendy, having taken on a retro posh office feel. The lobby was super elegant and grungy all at the same time with large seating areas throughout and retro grunge furniture such as a wire cabinet filled with old books topped with a typewriter. Check in was easy and they got us in before 2pm which was fab!

We got into our room which was a good size, had a big comfy bed with some cute accent pillows. There was a nice desk area with a TV(unfortunately wasn't working) and a digital radio. A huge circle mirror covered the far wall which was great for getting ready. The bathroom was small but very classy with a huge rain shower plus a handheld powerful shower head.

We were placed to the back on the hotel and throughout the night with our window open could hear lots of bottles smashing. At 3am when it got to much I eventually found the air-con which meant I could shut the window and try to get some sleep! The bar downstairs was extremely busy when we went up to bed which must mean it is somewhere all the locals come to drink and must have added to the bottles being thrown out the back!

You were given a little brown paper bag in your room with some options to circle for your breakfast. It wasn't like you could pick what you wanted, it was basically do you want it or not. We went for it and received a bottle of orange juice, a banana and a pot of yoghurt with blueberry compote each. It was pretty decent but no way as filling as we needed.

Over all it was a decent hotel in a brilliant location, not far from Old Street tube station and close to the Box Park and Spitalfield Markets. I'd stay again but maybe this time shut the window from the outset and put the air-con straight on!
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Sunday, 25 May 2014

Working abroad

When I finished college, like six years ago WHAT?! That long go?!, I was given the amazing opportunity to work in Spain for 11 weeks, June to September. Me and two of my friends in travel and tourism wanted to be on this placement since the course started so we were so pleased when we made it on.

I wanted to tell you briefly about my experience so that it could encourage anyone wanting to do this in the future. As it was six years ago (AGAIN WHAT? Where have the years gone?!) it might not be the same as what happens now but it was such a good time of my life that I wanted to share it.

Working Abroad - Tossa De Mar - What to expect

The placement involved working and living in a hotel, being part of the staff on a breakfast and at tea time as well as helping out in the bar from time to time. This meant getting up early for breakfast shift but then having to work late on a night till finish of the dinner service. It basically involved making sure the food was topped up on the buffet and taking people's dirty plates away from their tables. Work was pretty easy but tiresome and the time in between shifts was totally yours and you could use it as you wished. A lot of the time we sunbathed either on the terrace at the hotel or on the beach, sometimes I just went back to bed but that is me being lazy. Some of the girls that came with me came back sooooo dark as they'd been out all the time caining the sun! I was probably the most tanned I'd been but that was still pretty pale.

Working Abroad - Tossa De Mar - What to expect

I went out with 15 other people and we all worked in different hotels in the chain. It was such a nice experience spending time with people I'd previous never talked to and to be honest probably wouldn't have if this opportunity hadn't came around. Everyday you had someone to go to the beach with or take a trip down the coast to Lloret or Blaines with. Although we don't speak much following the trip it was great to have such a close knit group out in Spain.

Working Abroad - Tossa De Mar - What to expect

I was initially worried that I would miss home a lot, and for the most of the time I was okay. I think the hardest part was that I was there for my 18th birthday, not having my mum, dad or sister there was weird and I did get upset a few times but it was a once in a lifetime chance and I wasn't going to go home. It was my goal to stay to the end which unfortunately a few of the girls didn't do as they left early due to homesickness.

Working Abroad - Tossa De Mar - What to expect

Being that young, 17/18, and being given that amount of freedom was so liberating;you could plan your day, go out at all hours of the day, spend money on what you wanted (within reason) and generally not have anyone on your back. It taught me a lot of life lessons such as making sure you and your friends are safe, having an awareness of your surroundings, understanding your finances - how much you could spend and what you needed - and finally just how to be independent from your parents. I had to get to work  by myself, plan trips on my own and buy all my own groceries as well as wash my clothes. It may sound bad and if your reliant on your parents it probably sounds like a nightmare but I thoroughly enjoyed it as it gave me a bit of space to find myself as well as have fun in the sun.

Working Abroad - Tossa De Mar - What to expect

Another good part of this experience was the crazy nights out we had. Now don't get me wrong it was NOTHING like you will see on Sun Sea and Suspicious parents, as I am not that hardcore! We were young, we had fun and drank too much (as you can imagine morning shifts were not enjoyable after these nights). Nights out in Spain were different as you were clubbing with the locals. I was always wary of people as you never knew what they were thinking or saying. Being in such a big group definitely helped me to relax a bit more as you feel safer with more people you know around you.

Working Abroad - Tossa De Mar - What to expect

Working Abroad - Tossa De Mar - What to expect

We were paid for our work in Spain but we also had all of our accommodation and food provided for so it was just trips and other stuff we wanted that we had to pay for. We actually only received half of our money each week as the other half was kept for the end for 11 weeks which we received in a lump sum. I think this was the best way to do it as we didn't actually need the money when we were there so we would have just wasted it. I actually managed to buy a laptop with my money when I came back which was useful for University.

If anything like this ever comes up for any of you I would recommend taking it. The short term worry of leaving your parents and normality soon wears off as you will be having such a good time! If any of you have been done something like this, let me know! I'd be interested to hear your experiences!
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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Out of this world - Cling Film Nail Art

I've been a little lax with my nails recently. I think it is a combination of having my polishes upstairs out of the way and getting a new carpet (meaning I am more careful to spill anything). Having said that my nails needed some proper painting so I decided to use the old cling film technique to get this gorgeous effect.

Cling Film Nail Art Tutorial - Blue Essie OPI

Cling Film Nail Art Tutorial - Blue Essie OPI

Cling Film Nail Art Tutorial - Blue Essie OPI

Cling Film Nail Art Tutorial - Blue Essie OPI

Cling Film Nail Art Tutorial - Blue Essie OPI

I had planned on this looking a bit more like the world with green patches of land and blue sea but when I put the colours on I thought they looked a bit more space like. I've previously only used one colour in a cling film manicure but I thought I'd try two for a change which I think worked really well.

If you want to know how I did this, listen up. Paint your nails a base colour, I used OPI Eurso Euro. Get two pieces of cling film, crumple them up separately. The pieces don't have to be too big just big enough that they cover your nail when pressed flat. Paint some polish onto your cling film (I used Essie - trophy wife & fair game), dab it on some paper to take the excess off then start pressing it on your nails. Then do this with the other piece until you like the look of it on your nails. This will get messy around your nails so maybe use tape around the edges or you will have some major clean up.

I hope you like this manicure and that you will give it a go! It is super easy and creates a great look. Let me know if you try it!
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Sunday, 18 May 2014

DYO fabulous jewellery pre-launch party!

DYO Fabulous Jewellery is a new business introducing a new concept to the fashion market. So many shops sells very similar jewellery providing not much choice for the consumer. What founder, Janet, decided was that there needed to be an online platform where people could make their own jewellery. This is where DYO Fabulous Jewellery was born. I was invited to an exclusive pre-launch party to understand the company and how it was to develop ready for its launch in July.

DYO Fabulous Jewellery Pre-launch party - Newcastle

DYO Fabulous Jewellery Pre-launch party - Newcastle

DYO Fabulous Jewellery Pre-launch party - Newcastle


DYO Fabulous Jewellery Pre-launch party - Newcastle

DYO Fabulous Jewellery Pre-launch party - Newcastle

DYO Fabulous Jewellery Pre-launch party - Newcastle

DYO Fabulous Jewellery Pre-launch party - Newcastle

DYO Fabulous Jewellery Pre-launch party - Newcastle

DYO Fabulous Jewellery Pre-launch party - Newcastle

DYO Fabulous Jewellery Pre-launch party - Newcastle

We were first treated to a presentation by Janet about where the idea came from, how her company was different and where she saw it going. It was great to see how the function would work to enable people to design their own jewellery. There were many pieces dotted around the room at Nancy Bordello's in Newcastle, showing what could be made from the platform online and how they would come out in real life.

After this there was a masterclass in jewellery making by one of their employees, Laura, in which we all had the chance to make a 'princess pendant' necklace. It was a full class which meant getting to the beads and pendants wasn't an easy task but we all picked our favourite bits to make our neckalces and got to work using the guide produced by Laura with lots of help! We were all pleased with our necklaces and I can't wait to wear mine.

I'm really pleased I was invited along (thanks Amy!) and I can't wait to see how the company progresses with its official launch in July as I will definitely be designing jewellery on this site!
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Friday, 16 May 2014

Betty's Tea Rooms in Northallerton - Afternoon Tea Review

Betty's Cafe is somewhere that I wasn't all that interested in when I walked past it in York. I always used to wonder what all those people were queuing for. I learnt more about Betty's as the company I work for handle all Taylors of Harrogate's tea that is imported. Through this I tried their amazing fondant fancy cakes. This had made me really want to visit. One day when there was going to be a planned electricity cut in my house from 8am-4pm I decided to make some plans. I asked Mum if she wanted to visit Betty's tea rooms in Northallerton and of course she did.

Betty's Cafe Tea Rooms Northallerton Review - North East - Afternoon Tea

Betty's Cafe Tea Rooms Northallerton Review - North East - Afternoon Tea

Betty's Cafe Tea Rooms Northallerton Review - North East - Afternoon Tea

Betty's Cafe Tea Rooms Northallerton Review - North East - Afternoon Tea

Betty's Cafe Tea Rooms Northallerton Review - North East - Afternoon Tea

Betty's Cafe Tea Rooms Northallerton Review - North East - Afternoon Tea

Betty's Cafe Tea Rooms Northallerton Review - North East - Afternoon Tea

Betty's Cafe Tea Rooms Northallerton Review - North East - Afternoon Tea

Betty's Cafe Tea Rooms Northallerton Review - North East - Afternoon Tea

Betty's Cafe Tea Rooms Northallerton Review - North East - Afternoon Tea

Betty's Cafe Tea Rooms Northallerton Review - North East - Afternoon Tea

Betty's Cafe Tea Rooms Northallerton Review - North East - Afternoon Tea

The tea rooms weren't hard to find when we were pointed in the right direction as the huge gold letters outside definitely indicate you are in the right place. I didn't pay too much attention to the front of house when I walked in as I was scouting for the tea rooms. We were seated right away as there was only two of us. When the lady told us about the menu we instantly knew what we wanted and we asked for two afternoon teas!

When the stands came with our food on they looked so amazing. Three tiers filled with sandwiches, cakes and a scone! The tea that accompanied it came in elegant metal tea pots with pretty little tea cups. The whole thing definitely makes you feel very sophisticated. We chose to have only egg and chicken sandwiches as we are fussy but they usually come with salmon and ham as well.

As we were tucking into our sandwiches and scones we noticed there was no fondant fancies included on our tier of cakes. They are my favourite! When the lady came past I asked if we could both get one each. I think she was a bit shocked by this request considering the amount of food we already had as she said "as well?". We bashfully said yes, and she brought them over.

Most of the cakes we had to get boxed up to take home as we were so full from the other food and numerous cups of tea. Whilst sitting in the tea rooms we saw a lot of other tables being brought food that looked amazing. Some people had english breakfast that looked so yummy with little towers of toast soldiers.

When we finished our afternoon tea we ventured into the shop at the front. This was full of so many goodies such as cakes, bread, chocolates and of course tea! We picked up a few treats for my sister and then we were on our way.

Although it was £18.50 for the afternoon tea and another £2.50 for my fondant fancy it was definitely worth it. I really enjoyed having a little time to drink tea and eat cake in a relaxed fancy atmosphere. I can't wait to visit more Betty's!
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