Thai Tales

Thai Tales

Happy New Year!!

I’m back from Thailand! I’ve been back a few weeks now but I got sidetracked with work,  writing about it (more of a novella then a novel), my business, AND planning my new holiday to France in March. SO! I haven’t had time to update you on the goings-on’s til now.

Thailand was wonderful. It was kind of what I expected but better in a lot of ways. I was pleasantly surprised with the variety and the standard of restaurants, hotels and spa’s. The food in Samui was amazing, and we went to some of the best restaurants we’ve ever been to for next to nothing. The weather was rainy for the first few days but other then a few sporadic showers it stayed sunny and dry for the rest of the holiday. The Thai people were the perfect hosts and were warm, aswell as friendly. There was lots to explore and lots of activities to do that it was almost impossible to be bored there.

On Josh’s Birthday I had booked a boat trip around the islands which was postponed until Christmas Day due to bad weather so we actually spent Christmas Day on a yacht sailing around Angthong Marine Park and it was completely glorious.

We visited Numuang Waterfalls, which we had to do a bit of hiking to get to, but it was well worth it to see how beautiful and powerful it was.

We saw 3 Muay Thai fights FOR FREE, visited the Big Buddah statue and even saw some elephants, though we didn’t ride them!

We visited Fisherman’s Village, for their infamous Friday night market, which was a pedestrianized market with stalls selling everything from arts and crafts, to clothes, toys and jewellery, a lot of which were handmade. Fisherman’s Village also had bars, restaurants and had access to the beach where they would have entertainers performing every evening.

As for restaurants, we found many of good ilk, including Barracuda, Jahn at the Conrad Hilton (where we spent NYE), The Dining Room at Rocky’s Boutique Resort (ignore the name, this restaurant was  utterly romantic and done some really good food), Dr Frog’s (and Italian restaurant with amazing panoramic views), Rock Pool at Kanda Residences in Bophut and Rock Salt in Lamai, not to mention the Sunday Brunch at Beach Republic which offered a huge variety of really tasty food including their exceptionally good crepes (I had their caramel, banana, and coconut flakes crepes and yes, they were as good as they sound!)

Jahn

Rock Pool

Beach Republic

Coconut, Caramel & Banana Crepes

Though 9 Gems was very stylish, it was a disappointment in terms of atmosphere and food. I wouldn’t return.

We also visited Tamarind Springs, a unique and very magical forest spa. A truly gorgeous place and VERY peaceful!

ALAS, they did seem to have a distinctive problem with STRAY DOGS in Thailand. Dogs seemed to be all over the place, itching their flea bitten bodies, rifling through bins searching for food, fighting, you name it. It wasn’t a very pleasant experience I can tell you.

See you next year!

See you next year!

 

This will be the last time you hear from me this year as in two days time I will be flying off to sunny Thailand for 2 weeks!

It’s been a great year for me, and even better for my brand The Secret Scent Societe’ which has grown from strength to strength. I’ve become a lot more relaxed in my approach to business which I feel has helped me become a better business women. I’ve also taken more risks this year with regards to sending off my products to bloggers to have them reviewed (which I wasn’t all that keen on doing previously) and finally getting a professional photographer to photograph my products.

I’ve also introduced some new products this year which have had a really good response from my customers: Wood Wick Candles, Bespoke Reed Diffusers, Hair Perfume and my very first Eau de Parfum “First Love”.

Next year I hope to create more Perfumes, perhaps a Massage Candle, Bath Bombs, and lots more! Tis all very exciting.

I wish you all the very best of festive holidays, with lots of good food, laughter and quality time spent with the ones you love. I will be thinking of you whilst I’m luxuriating myself on Lamai Beach with a glass of French 75.

So, until 2016:

Bon Voyage!

 

Going down to Smiley Town

Going down to Smiley Town

The nickname for Thailand is “The land of the smiley people” and in precisely 2 weeks time I will be smiling along with them as I’m off to Thailand! (yay me!)

Not only will it be my first time away from home at Christmas time, but it will also be my first time away with Ian at Christmas and both of our first times visiting Thailand.  So, plenty of firsts!

Apart from sampling all of the lovely food on offer (I LOVE Thai food), I also want to see some of the famous Buddhist temples, and I’d love to see some wildlife (though I’m not sure that I agree with elephant trekking or watching monkey entertainment shows) –  I’d much rather see animals in their natural habitat. And let us not forget the multitude of beautiful beaches of which Koh Samui, the part of Thailand that I’m visiting has an abundance of.

Anthong Marine Park, which has been featured in Hollywood films such as Leonardo De Caprio’s The Beach is spectacularly beautiful and offers a variety of activities on it’s surrounding islands such as kayaking, scuba diving and kayaking.  

As we’ll be celebrating Ian’s birthday whilst we’re in Thailand, I have booked an allday boat trip to Anthong Park which he doesn’t know about yet. I’m excited because I’ve a pretty good idea that a) he’s not expecting it and b) he’ll love it. So I’m content.

I have no idea how they commemorate Christmas in Thailand but I’m sure it’s not going to be anything like in England so I’m just going to go with it and see what happens.

Romantic restaurants in Koh Samui

Romantic restaurants in Koh Samui

As our holiday to Thailand approaches (can you believe it’s coming up to 2 months before Christmas?!), I have been looking for places to go whilst I’m there. I have particularly looked for restaurants, as as you know, I am a lover of good food and beautiful surroundings and I came across these:

Tree Tops Sky Dining at Anantara Lawana

Intimate and private restaurant located in the tree tops.

Dining on the Hill at Six Senses Hotel & Spa

Dining on the rocks.

Dining on the Rocks at Six Senses Hotel & Spa

9Gems Lounge & Restaurant

Dinner in the Sea at Chaweng Regent Beach Resort

A private dinner table suspended in the sea by ropes attached to the shore. Wonderfully romantic.

Barracuda Restaurant

All these restaurants are located in Koh Samui ,so I will definitely try to go to at least 2 or 3 of them. I also came across this intriguing looking place which is located in Puglia in Italy and should I ever go there will be making a beeline for:

Grotta Palazzese

Beautiful huh?

If you know of any other unique and romantic restaurants in Koh Samui that you think I should check out then let me know!

I’ve made a boo-boo!

I’ve made a boo-boo!

 

So, last week we booked our holiday to Sri Lanka. Originally we had planned to go to Thailand for Ian’s birthday in December, Christmas and New Years Eve but in light of the recent terror attacks in Bangkok we decided to put it on hold as neither of us wished to get blown up on holiday. It seems as though the situation in Thailand is quite unstable at the moment and nobody really seems to knows who the terrorists are actually targeting (or indeed who they even are).

We thought that Sri Lanka would be a good choice not only because of it’s relatively stable political situation but as it’s located in the Indian Ocean the beaches were beautiful and reasonably unspoilt. Also, Sri Lanka has a number of national parks, Buddhist temples, rainforests and an abundance of coral reefs, rare wildlife, safari’s and perfect conditions for water sports and whale and dolphin spotting. Not all destinations in the world offer this much beauty and diversity so it was with much excitement and anticipation that we began planning our holidays there.

Even though Sri Lanka is a small country it still manages to pack quite a lot into it so it was really hard to choose where on the island to go. We had decided that it was very important to us to be on one of the best beaches – one where the sea had perfect swimming and scuba diving conditions, where it wasn’t too rocky and where the sand was soft and bleached white. Eventually we found such a place on the north east side of the island in Nilaveli. The boutique hotel looked amazing and it was located on one of the best and most secluded parts of the beach though it was quite a way away from the only airport on the island Columbo (a 5 hour drive). Nontheless I was willing to make the trip in order to stay there, so we booked a 16 night break there and began researching what we’d do once we got there.

Unfortunately, it didn’t take too long for me to find out that there was a potential nightmare on the horizon..

The north east of Sri Lanka (in contrast to the south of the island) are in there monsoon season in December through to February and it was more then likely that it would be raining everyday there aswell as being very windy and downright miserable. There was no way that we could stomach the idea of escaping England which is mostly always raining and cold to go to a country with rain and flash floods. No Chance.

But our booking once we checked it said in no uncertain terms that they did not allow any cancellations, amendments or refunds.

We had been done up like a kipper. 

The level to my anger with myself mainly (for I did not check the monsoon schedule in Sri Lanka before I’d booked), and the frustration that there was absolutely nothing we could do about it now was intense. I felt as though I could scream. I really could not believe something as basic as weather (which was the main reason that we escape London so frequently) had not  been researched properly before we’d booked and I started having visions of us sitting in our fineries at an elaborate meal put on for us by the hotel in Sri Lanka on New Years Eve with dark skies, the wind howling and torrential rain pouring down our faces. I was so disturbed by these images that I had nightmares that night.

Alas, I refused to be beat.

Though it was made abundantly clear by Expedia (who we booked the holiday through), that there would be absolutely no cancellations or amendments to the booking I knew that I just had to try and persuade them to reconsider.  I considered all of the excuses that I might come up with to plead my case but I decided that my first port of call would be the hotel in Sri Lanka. I figured I’d call them directly and confirm the weather conditions for that part of the island, for if the many articles I’d read online was to be believed it would be raining for the majority of the time we were there. The receptionist confirmed my worst fears without hesitation. Apparently in India (there closest neighbours), and Sri Lanka too I am sure the monsoon season was a thing to be celebrated. Due to the stifling tropical heat of the rest of the year and the suffering of animals and crops because of the draught the monsoon was welcomed with open arms. This was not a concept I was familiar with as I was constantly trying to escape wind and rain in England. Constantly. I did not like wind and rain and I most certainly did not take kindly to cold wind and rain and what was the point of going on a beach holiday when it was raining?

Well when I explained our situation to the hotel they were surprisingly good about it. They understood why I didn’t want to go on holiday to a monsoon destination and they told me they were happy for us to cancel as we were giving them so much advance notice. They told me that if Expedia had any issues with cancelling it they could give them a call and they would confirm this. I was elated. When I called Expedia they spoke directly with the hotel and then cancelled our booking. We didn’t incur any charges. But we had made a package booking and our flights to Sri Lanka did have a penalty of £150 pp. This was insignificant in comparison to the amount of money we would have thrown down the drain had we have been forced to go through with the monsoon holiday from hell as undoubtedly we would have been unable to stay on that side of the island so we’d have to pay for another hotel and transportation to take us there. The cancellation was a flat fee so we could essentially cancel it at any time so we decided to look and see if we could find suitable accommodation on another part of the island using the money we had been refunded by Expedia or if not then paying the £300 cancellation fee and cancelling the whole thing. It soon became clear that the flights were the majority of the budget particularly since we’d upgraded to direct flights. We just couldn’t find any suitable accommodation at this price range.

So we gave up. And decided to go back to Thailand!

Watch this space. And if we do indeed get blown up, blame it on the Sri Lankan monsoon!

 

 

 

Pose-wear

Pose-wear

Alongside my love of frocks I also have a love of swimwear.

Following the popularity of brands such as Anne Summers and Victoria Secrets there hadn’t really been many swimwear designers that challenged their level of success and popularity and after a time I found their designs to be becoming more and more boring (Victoria Secrets) or tacky (Anne Summers). I was dying for an alternative.

Then came along Agent Provocateur. The name said it all: sex, romance, mystery and an abundance of glamour. It was all of the things I was looking for in lingerie and swimwear, but the only problem was: The Price.

These teeny tiny items of clothing were very expensive and seemed to  be eternally out of reach for someone who couldn’t (and didn’t want to), spend £80 on a bra and £300 on a bikini.

It was very frustrating as I loved all of their products and didn’t see why they had to be charging such extortionate prices for scanty wares. Recently Agent Provocateur had an online sale so I looked on their website in the hope that their prices become a little more reasonable. There was one swimsuit in particular I’d had my eye on:

 

Dakota

Now I realise that a lot of people (indeed the majority of people), wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable wearing this swimsuit but it’s exactly the kind of swimwear I like and I would feel absolutely fantastic wearing it, alas it was £225. £225 for something that I’m probably only going to wear for a few hours in a day on holiday?? – I realise that they are trying to make a statement about their outfits exclusive but c’mon. Is it really worth £225? – I doubt it.

Neeeext 

Then I saw this:

Lexxi Swimsuit

And I absolutely adored the striking cobalt blue colour of the swimsuit aswell as the unique bandage style design.  Yes please! Price? – Oh, not much, just a mere £245!

REALLY Agent Provocateur?!

So, I found myself back to square one again and back to my beloved Asos which at the very least would have more reasonable options, and of course more variety. Almost immediately upon clicking onto there swimwear section I saw this:

glamarama

Price? – £55. I purchased immediately. For me, in the age where you can get swimwear for £16, an £55 swimsuit is reasonably expensive so considering a swimsuit for more then 4 times the cost of what is already an expensive swimsuit is a ridiculous concept, particularly when as you can see this £55 version is also very striking to look at (and was designed in Australia, surprise surprise!)

So, what happened when I received said costume? – Well, I tried it on and was suitably impressed with the fit, the colour (a beautiful emerald green), and it’s design. Definitely a keeper. But what’s this on the tag I can see? – I looked closer and upon inspection I could see a warning telling me to (what is this?): Do not wear in water.

Erm, I felt the need to check the description of the item of clothing: Ahh yes, A SWIMSUIT. But hold on let me read that warning label again: DO NOT WEAR IN WATER.

What kind of foolishness of this? What do you mean I cannot wear a suit to swim in?

In my absolute horror at a level of stupidity that I had never accounted before in my quest for fashion relief, I logged online immediately to check the information that Asos had on their website for the usage of this pose-wear aka parade-wear aka sunbathing wear aka poncing about-wear masquerading as swimwear and all it said was:

  • Stretch bandage fabric (check)
  • plunge design (check)
  • cut-out detailing (check)
  • hook and hoop fastenings (check)
  • flattering brief cut (check)
  • hand wash (slightly odd but check)
  • 100% polyester (a little unusual but check)

There was absolutely NO MENTION whatsoever of something that is ultimately very crucial to someone who is looking for a suit to swim in the sea.  And guess what? – they even had the audacity to show the model with WET hair whilst wearing it. Why would her hair be wet? Or is that just sweat?..

It is only when you look further (in another tab entitled Info), when you see the same warning: To get the best from your bandage beachwear we advise you do not wear it in water.

Well, blow me down! This advice is closer to the true description: bandage beachwear. But to describe it as being swimwear and then tell me that I cannot swim in it is ridiculous beyond belief. I’ve never heard of such a thing!

Deceit: I do not take kindly to deceit particularly when it’s at my expense and when I’m time poor. I don’t have time to look for another swimming costume, and neither do I have the desire. However I am delaying sending it back because I do like it first I’d like someone to tell me the following:

Who on earth would parade around in a swimming costume that cannot be worn in the water? Who on earth would buy a swimming costume that cannot be worn in the water?

Who on earth came up with this ridiculous, vanity inducing design?

What on earth will happen if I wear this thing in the water? – will it disintegrate? fade? shrink?

A dress at least has a function, as does lingerie, jeans etc. but what exactly is the function of this outfit? I’ll tell you what it is – tis POSING. I don’t have time for that nonsense! And I most certainly do not want to spend MORE on something that has LESS value. The idea that I would be sunbathing in this pose-wear only to have to change into a bikini or swimming costume so that I can cool off or swim is ridiculous. Is this what the world has come to? Goodness Gracious.

I have complained to Asos about this and the customer service agent wasn’t very sympathetic to my plight at first but when he actually saw the thing he agreed that it was indeed one of the silliest things he’d heard. They are meant to be getting back to me today with an answer as to what exactly will happen to the garment if I wear it in water. The reason as to why such a product even exists is something that only the designer will ever know…

 

Pilfering in Barcelona

Pilfering in Barcelona

 

Is the title of my new short story. Since I was indeed Pilfered in Barcelona.

They took my brand new phone and my money and I was not best pleased I can assure you.

Should you have the desire to read my holiday tales I now have a selection of 11 would you believe?! My short (ish) stories are based on my experiences in the following places and they are as amusing as they are true:

1.  Trinidad & Tobago

2. Miami, USA

3. Lake Como, Italy

4. Cancun, Mexico

5. New York, USA

6. Las Vegas, USA

7. Santorini, Greece

8. Herefordshire, UK

9. Barcelona, Spain

10. Negril, Jamaica

11. Caribbean Cruise

What is my favourite story? – Well I guess it’s gotta be Trinidad and Tobago as it was the most surreal holiday of them all and will be familiar to a lot of women planning their big day (or someone else’s!).

I’m off to Croatia next week and I really am hoping (indeed praying!), that there will be no drama to be had and therefore I will have a pleasant time unworthy of note.

Good Times on the Norwegian Epic

Good Times on the Norwegian Epic

Ahoy There!

I know it’s been a few weeks since I returned from my cruise with my family around the med but since we’ve been back it’s been pretty nonstop with work, family, and friend commitments alas here I am come to update you on the goings on’s.

The holiday consisted of  my Mum, 3 brothers, sister, boyfriend and my brothers girlfriend and though we all get on really well I was a little concerned as to whether that would continue to be the case when we were stuck on a boat together for 7 days.

For the first 3 days we stayed in an apartment in Rome that I found on Airbnb (LOVE Airbnb). It was located in a quiet residential area in a private gated apartment block. I chose it for it’s relatively close proximity to the centre of Rome (just a short bus ride away), it’s size (was spacious and slept 8 people), and it’s elegant and stylish décor. All 8 bedrooms had a ensuites that matched the colour scheme of the rooms. The floors were all marble and the apartment had some very beautiful and original features and a spacious balcony where we could all relax after an evening out and about. Perfect.

Rome

After a long day walking around Rome looking at the neverending architectural gems that Rome has in abundance such as the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica, it was a much welcome respite from the noise and chaos. I was in awe of the stunning architecture in Rome but I must say (and I’m very disappointed to say), that I wasn’t in awe of the people. At all. We had some very unpleasant and frankly racist experiences from the Romans that left us all shocked and upset. Being a black family I figured that perhaps we might get the odd look (which you kind of get used to after a while) no matter where you go in Europe even in England where we were all born, but I didn’t expect to be made to feel so unwelcome by the Italians.

Despite the fact that we were clearly there as tourists visiting from England to spend money in their country and immerse ourselves in their culture and food they didn’t seem to care. In their eyes because we were black we didn’t deserve any hospitability, decency or friendliness and they were extremely rude and aggressive towards us. This went on for the entire time that we were in Rome and it was very uncomfortable. It was particularly upsetting as I was travelling with my 2 little brothers (who are in their early twenties), and I didn’t wish to expose them to this kind of hatred.

But on the other hand the experience we had with the owner of the apartment we stayed at was quite the opposite. She was a beautiful, warm, kind, wonderful woman and she made us feel very welcome indeed. She exuded warmth and goodness as such she made the experience very pleasant for us all. As I believe good experiences are worth sharing I would invite you to stay with Beatrice if you are looking for somewhere lovely to stay in Rome with a warm and hospitable host.

You can see the apartment here: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/2414713

After Rome we hired a mini van to take us (and our many items of luggage!), to the port of Cittavecchia where we were due to pick up the ship that would be carrying us onto Florence, Cannes, Majorca, Barcelona, Naples and back to Rome. Although I hadn’t personally sailed with the Norwegian Epic myself before I was very excited for my family as I knew that they were going to absolutely love it. Cruising holidays offer so much more in terms of variety and excitement and if you choose your ship wisely you can find cruises that cater to your specific holiday requirements no matter what your interests or age is. As our travelling party ranged in age from 23 to 59 I wanted to find a ship with lots of personality.

And personality we found.

Unbeknownst to me at the time of booking, The Norwegian Epic is infact the 5th largest cruise ship in the world (after the Royal Caribbean’s Allure, Oasis, Quantum and Anthem of the Seas), carrying over 4,000 passengers and almost 2,000 crew. It boasts the largest spa at sea and a one of a kind ice bar serving up vodka drinks inside a bar made completely from ice. It also has a water park, 2 theatres, 6 bowling alleys and is the only cruise line to have cabins for solo travellers (or people who want there own rooms like my mum, sister and 2 brothers) just to mention a few. When we caught sight of the ship in port it really was a sight to behold. When Ian and I went on the Celebrity Equinox last year which in it’s own right was a very big ship, we felt that it was huge, but this ship was much bigger then that! Golly Gosh.

Needless to say my family just could not believe all of the facilities on offer (and most of them were free!)

My little brother was so amazed with the fact that there was a pretty substantial video arcade onboard that he spent the first couple of days holed up in there dosing himself up with games. My older brother was very impressed with the gym which was vast and had every type of exercise equipment imaginable with 360 degree views of the ocean and beyond. It was surprisingly peaceful and dare I say relaxing? working out in that gym. I was starting to understand why my brother began waking up at 7:00 am in the morning to use it.

As for my sister, Mum and I, we were most intrigued with the spa, which was very stylish with some of the most breathtaking views on the ship. My brother, my boyfriend and my older brothers girlfriend was looking forward to sampling the fine culinary treats in the various restaurants on the ship and we were very pleased to find that the standard of the food in the complimentary restaurants was pretty good, in particular the breakfast where they served the most amazing waffles I’d ever had with caramel and banana sauce and whipped cream. Divine!

The ship had so much to offer in the way of entertainment that I was quite concerned about how I would manage to get off! – All I wanted to do was stay on and party!

And talking of parties, the NCL Epic even had a nightclub on board. And the nightclub on the Epic really was EPIC. I simply could not believe that such a sound system had been installed on board a ship. When we were in the nightclub it was almost impossible to tell that we were anywhere but the West End. Wonderful stuff.

Our first stop was Florence, well, they advertised it as Florence but the port was actually in Livorno  (we soon found out that Florence was infact an hour and a half away which I thought was very cheeky of them). In the end after all of the walking up and down the overcrowded and overheated streets of Rome I couldn’t bare the thought of getting yet more modes of transport to get to the centre of Florence and I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing the leaning tower of Pisa so Ian and I had a stroll around the town of Livorno on our own before making our way back to the ship to take advantage of the fact that almost everyone had gotten off. We sunbathed, had a well deserved afternoon nap, ate Mr Whippy’s and went on the 3 water slides (twice). Fun was had! When my family returned from there trip to Livorno they reported that they’d had a wonderful time and was really glad they went. I was really pleased we hadn’t gone, but I was happy that they’d enjoyed themselves so much.

Florence/Pisa

The next stop on our adventure was Cannes (and by this time I had decided that I was beginning to get into this cruising lark). Cannes was what I imagined it to be and more. Pretty. CLEAN (so very clean!), Glamorous. Abundant (shops, restaurants, galleries). And interesting.

Exploring Cannes like it needed to be explored just wasn’t possible in a mere few hours but we browsed the shops, looked on in awe at the mega yachts in the harbour (the Cannes film festival was on when we were there),  had lunch at a wonderful little bistro and picked up a few gifts for friends and family. I loved Cannes. I kind of knew that I would but being there just confirmed it for me. I would most definitely be returning for a long weekend away.

Since being back my boyfriend has found a beautiful apartment in Cannes (on Air bnb naturally), and he is taking me there to celebrate my birthday in August. YAY!

Cannes

We had less time in our next destination which was fine by me as it was the least interesting place on our itinerary to me: Palma Marjorca. I’m not a big fan of the Brit infested Spanish Islands (not including Ibiza which I love). My very first trip abroad was to Tenerife (not my choice), and it was exactly what I had imagined if not worse. You couldn’t move for Brits Abroad, and we all know what they are like: Classless. Loud. Drunk and Leary. Not the kind of environment that I wished to be around. Only badly executed food was on offer and everything looked cheap and nasty. Of course I knew Majorca wouldn’t be anywhere near as tacky but it still wasn’t somewhere I wished to spend much of my time however I did want to try out one of there beaches there as I’d heard that they were very nice.

As soon as we got off the boat at the port in Majorca we enquired about the bicycles that we’d heard you could hire to cycle around the town on. Unfortunately they had all been taken so we resigned ourselves to jumping in a taxi to the nearest beach instead. The beach was reasonably long and was packed full of locals and Europeans. And it looked very inviting. We changed into our swimwear, got some drinks and began the enjoyable process of soaking up the searing sun.

It soon got very hot indeed so Ian and decided that we were going to brave it and go for a swim (we hadn’t bought any towels with us). I prompted Ian to go in first to do a temperature test as I wasn’t sure that I would be able to bare going into sub zero temperatures. He went in and even he had to admit that it was colder then he had ever known. BUT he went on, once you get used to it it is very refreshing. It took him a long while to convince me that it was worth it, and when I dipped my toe in I felt cold such as I’d never known. EVER. It was magnificently, tremendously, stupendously, UNBELIEVABLY cold.  I really was not sure that I could go any further as my entire foot was now NUMB with the intense pain of the cold. So intense was it that it took me a good 10 minutes just to disperse the feeling of numb. And that was just my foot!

When I immersed my whole body I could have gone into shock such was the pain, but after the pain came exhilaration. The water was crystal clear, super clean and the waves were gentle. It was glorious. Not a stone, nor a slither of seaweed was in residence and I was enjoying myself so much I never wanted to get out but all good things come to an end and soon enough it was time to give up this good thing to experience another good thing: A delicious meal back on the ship.

Palma Majorca

Barcelona was another place on my list that I was excited about visiting as I had yet to go there and it had always sounded very intriguing. When we arrived I was immediately struck by how well the city centre had been layed out. It didn’t feel overcrowded at all though I could clearly see that there was a large number of tourists milling about there. The market stalls in the centre of la ramblas were selling lovely handmade crafts, plus there were street performers and lots of lovely looking restaurants and shops. Barcelona was in stark contrast to Rome, as we were treated very well by everyone we met, there was absolutely no hostility or hatred directed at us. It seemed like it was a very vibrant and multicultural, cosmopolitan city and it had a wonderful atmosphere that I took to immediately.

I found some beautiful handmade fans on one of the stalls and bought 3 – 2 for myself and one for my friend Diana with a matching notepad. I fell in love with the amazing architecture there, in particular the Gothic Quarter, where we visited the phenomenal Gothic Cathedral. When it was time to go home I was most upset – there was some much left to explore!

I enjoyed the short time we spent there so much that I told my family it was one of the nicest cities I’d ever visited and they were equally impressed with it.

Unfortunately we never had the chance to eat there but I will be going back to Barcelona in 2 weeks time with a friend (lucky me!) so I will definitely be taking full advantage of the nightclubs, beaches and restaurants and I can’t wait!

 Barcelona

The following day was our one and only “Day at Sea” which meant that it was a day of travelling. The ship wouldn’t be anchoring at all that day.

This was a welcome respite for me as I was very keen to wake up a little later, use the gym, sample the spa, sunbathe on desk and go on the water slides again. Because we were spending most of our time exploring the ports we weren’t able to take full advantage of the shops facilities and I was knackered with all of the walking. I really enjoyed our day at sea and got into my relaxation process with gusto.

The last stop on our adventure was Naples. I wasn’t very interested in Naples when I saw it on the itinerary but the nearby Amalfi Coast and Capri DID pique my interest however they were both quite a distance from Naples so in the end we just decided to leave our trip to the Amalfi coast and Capri to a later date.  We just wanted to have a walk around the town. My sister had disembarked at Naples as she was due to attend a wedding there the following day so it was just the 7 of us now.

Naples was similar to Rome I thought – the architecture was similar, the roads were just as busy with lots of crazy Italian drivers that didn’t seem to adhere to road rules, but Naples was much less glamorous then Rome, less impressive, and quite a bit rundown if I’m perfectly honest. It also had a pretty heavy police presence. Another thing that we were realising was that if you wanted to shop then you needed to do it early – like before 14:00 as most of the shops both in Italy and Spain closed for a siesta between 14:00 and 16:00. I was finding this siesta lark quite annoying as I was used to being able to shop whenever I so chose (within reason) and it seemed that everytime we would turn up somewhere to do some shopping all of the shops were starting to close. It happened to us in Rome, in Florence, Barcelona and now Naples. V annoying.

Aside from the fact that the city itself wasn’t very inspiring and the shops were beginning to close, I still managed to get myself a pair of sandals and 2 bikini’s so in the end it became a very successful shopping trip 🙂

Naples

On the day of our permanent disembarkation of the Norwegian Epic it was very sad indeed as none of us wanted to leave. If I had my way I would stay on the ship for at least another fortnight, alas it wasn’t to be, we had come to the end of our holiday. At breakfast we even spoke about the possibility of us hiding somewhere on the ship undetected. Desperate times.

My holiday cruising around the med with my family was a wonderful, precious experience I doubt ‘ll ever forget. So much love and laughter was had it reminded me in the most sweet way of just how much I LIKE my family not to mention love them. Wonderous times.

Holiday! Celebrate!

Holiday! Celebrate!

It’s absolutely freezing at the moment, and my body just cannot acclimatize to this horror. How the devil are you faring?!

They’ve been saying that it’s going to snow for the past week already but as yet nothing but frost and an intensely bitter cold has come fourth. Alas, I am going on holiday! Well, 3 holidays infact. YAAY!!

First, I’m off to Miami in March for a couple of days. I figured that I certainly could not be expected to wait all the way until the end of May to see the Sun so Ian and I are going to Miami for a few days to top up our tans pre family holiday in May.

Then we’re doing a family cruise which I’m particularly looking forward to. I haven’t gone away with my family for a couple of years so this is way overdue and I’m really looking forward to seeing all of the places that I’ve never visited before and enjoying all of the onboard entertainment and restaurants on our ship The NLC’s Epic! We’re also going to spend 3 days in Rome before we board the ship so we’ll get a chance to do the touristy thing to full effect and eat lots of Gelato. Oh yes.

Then in July I’m going back to the house festival in Croatia – Suncebeat! And the best thing of all is that they’ve recently released not just the names of the DJ’s who will be djing but Roy Ayers and The Brand New Heavies will be performing there live too. I cannot wait I tell ya!

So, bring on the celebrations! Whoop Whoop!

Miami Beach

SLS Miami

NCL Epic

Suncebeat, Croatia

Paaaartaay!

 

Forgive me if I bore you…

Forgive me if I bore you…

BUT I really must tell you again how amazed I am that I’d never heard of this vision board thing before! Ever since I found out (only yesterday!) how to create one I have been making them like crazy! I think I’m seriously addicted 🙂

I also signed up to Polyvore (which I’d initially assumed was just a shopping site), and I created a collection, including my Reed Diffuser which you can see here: http://www.polyvore.com/rosegold/collection?id=4017934

Alas I haven’t quite worked out how to create and share a vision board created on Polyvore. When I do you’ll be the first to know!

Look see, at my creativityy! 🙂

My Life…

 

My Life

 

Crème De La Creme’ Luxury Soy Candle (With Orange, Vanilla, Rose & Jasmine)

 

Creme De La Creme Collage

Indulgent Body Souffle’ (with Rose-Geranium & Jasmine)

 

Body Souffle Collage

Whaddya think?!