Friday, 21 October 2016

Cool Things To See And Do In New York City

Often referred to as the world’s cultural capital, there’s no end of things to do and see on a trip to New York City. We all have our preconceived notions of the Big Apple due to its ubiquitous place in popular culture. And while we may have seen the city countless times on TV or at the movies, in reality, New York needs to be seen in person to be understood.

With such a wealth of cultural hotspots and landmarks, it can be hard to know where to start. But as a city on the cusp of the zeitgeist New York is constantly changing, so what are the best things to do and see know? Well, read on… 

High Line NYC Image Nan Palmero, Flickr Creative Commons license 

The High Line

New York’s newest public park is also it's most unique. Taking the shape of an old disused railway, the High Line was inspired by a similar project Promenade Plantée in Paris. The 1.5 miles of landscaped gardens offer an excellent way to cross the lower West Side and grant you a different perspective on the city below. There are multiple trendy stalls lining sections of the park that offer everything from gourmet macarons to artwork – you can easily lose an afternoon walking along it.

Image by Franck_Michel, Flickr Creative Commons license 


As the apotheosis of a melting pot, New York has rich influences from every corner of the globe, but there are few places where these international influences are so vividly apparent. Walking through Chinatown in southern Manhattan, you as easily be walking through a market in Shanghai. Discover ingredients you’ve never heard of and cuts of meat you didn’t know existed, all while you enjoy the unique smells and sounds of this atmospheric district.

Brooklyn Flea 

We all know that New York is one of the finest shopping destinations in the world. Fifth Avenue is lined with high-quality shops including some of the world’s premier luxury brands. But away from the high-end boutiques New York also host numerous quality markets selling all sorts of produce. One of the best is Brooklyn Flea. Found in the DUMBO district of the Borough, Brooklyn Flea sells arts & crafts, clothes, antiques, vintage furniture and various other curiosities.

Image by Randy Lemoine, Flickr Creative Commons License

Top of The Rock Observation Deck

While the Empire State Building and the One World Trade Center may be the tallest and most famous buildings in the city, the best views are found elsewhere. The Top of the Rock Observation Deck, is as its name suggests, is found atop the Rockefeller Center and has the best panoramic views in the city by far. 

Elma Humpries is a content writer, photographer, and blogger. She loves exploring the world and discovering new cultures and food.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Win A Chocolate Hamper Ends 16/11

Today I am running a lovely competition with my readers in collaboration with nine lovely blogging friends. We have joined forces to offer a delicious Thorntons hamper, full of goodies to one lucky winner. Due to availability the image used for the prize may not be the exact item but we can promise that the prize will have an RRP of around £45. So just who are the bloggers offering up this prize? 

Futures | Petit Moi Big World | The Diary of a Jewellery Lover | My Life as Mummy | Being Tilly's Mummy | EmmaDrew.Info | Testing Time Blog | Life in a Break Down | UK Bloggers 

So how do you enter? Well all you need to do is answer the question: "What is your favourite chocolate?"  in the Rafflecopter form below. We would also love it if you could follow us on social media channels, but that is entirely optional, (although you will get extra entries). Good luck!

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Monday, 17 October 2016

Get The Party Started With An Old Fashioned Cocktail And

I have to admit I like a nice cocktail, though over the years my tastes have changed. When I was young a Pinacolada was my go-to cocktail, all sweet and coconutty and made with rum . Now I'm older I am more of a whiskey or tequila based cocktail girl. A Margarita is one of my favourites, made with tequila, the sharpness of the lime and the crusty glass rim dipped in salt makes it a satisfying drink, especially when that strong tequila base hits the spot.

I'm also a fan of bourbon and specifically Jack Daniel's whiskey. Last March on a tour of the American 'Deep South' we ventured to the Jack Daniel's distillery in Lynchburg, Tennesse. It was interesting to learn the history of the drink and to see how the whiskey was made. The Jack Daniel's distillery has made a range of whiskey from Tennessee spring water for the last 150 years. The classic Jack Daniel's No 7 has an earthy wood flavour, purified by going through a charcoal distillation process and has an edgy warmth as it goes down. It's a great base for whiskey cocktails or is delicious on it's on in a chilled glass with ice.

The Party Starter set £55 from 31 Dover

So when I was thinking of what spirits to buy for Christmas my thought went immediately to whiskey, tequila, and a spirit like a vodka that will take on the flavour of most mixers. A 'Party Starter' pack from has exactly that in the package and is great for recreating delicious cocktails. is an award-winning online drinks merchant selling a wide range of alcohol including champagne, wine, spirits, craft beers, cider, and liqueurs. Based at 31 Dover Street in London in 2015 it was named the Best Online Drinks Retailer by the industry's Drinks Business Awards.

The Party Starter pack features Russian standard vodka, Jose Cuervo tequila and Jack Daniel’s whiskey to kick start your house party celebrations. All you need is some orange juice, cola, any other mixers you may like and lashings of ice, and of course, you can always drink neat!

Now a drink I tried recently is a bourbon based cocktail called an Old Fashioned. The name was first coined at the Pendennis Club, a gentlemen's club founded in 1881 in Louisville, Kentucky. It's a simple straight forward cocktail, made with bourbon, sugar, bitters, lots of ice and a twist of orange rind. In my recipe below I am adding a little variation to this with Angostura orange bitters, not normal bitters. These orange bitters available from adds a lovely flavour to the cocktail.

An Old Fashioned with a Twist


1 sugar cube or 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
2-3 dashes of Angostura orange bitters
2 measures of whiskey or bourbon
plenty of ice
1 orange
cocktail cherry (optional)


1. Put the sugar in a tumbler with a teaspoon of hot water.
2. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then add the bitters.
3. Add the whiskey.
4. Stir well.
5. Add ice, and give it another stir
6. Get an orange and take a strip of orange peel off carefully with a sharp knife
7. It's important not to have any of the white pith on the orange as this can be bitter.
8. Rub the edge of the glass with the peel then twist the peel and pop it into the glass.
9. Add a cocktail cherry on a stick if you have one.
10. Sit back and enjoy like Jon Hamm in Mad Men.

31 Dover is brilliant for getting hard to find items like Angostura orange bitters

I li
ve in a small seaside town and I can't get many of the most unusual items to make cocktails, such as Angostura orange bitters, so a site like is really useful to me. I couldn't find this anywhere so I actually bought them from, yes bloggers do buy things too! Flavoured from the fresh, sun-ripened peels of Trinidad's oranges, these orange bitters really add an orange zesty taste to any drink.

A site like has great availability and can save you having to carry the heavy spirits or wine bottles home from a supermarket as well. It's a competitively priced site and perfect for all your alcoholic beverage needs.

With next day delivery as standard and a one-hour delivery option if you live in London, you can get the party started sooner than you think with 31 Dover.

What's your go-to cocktail? Would you use an online site to buy spirits, wine, beer and lager?

* PR sample

Friday, 14 October 2016

Fashion For Autumn/Winter 2016 From Simply Be

When it comes to buying clothes, I must admit there are certain times of the year when I get a bit naughty and splash the cash. Each new season, I browse the magazines for the 'What's Hot' section, devour the best fashion blogs, search online for the newest styles, and drive to Cardiff to go a bit mad with the debit card. I never spend what I can't afford but there is something intrinsically exciting about buying new clothes when the weather and seasons change. 

Recently I have been looking for new brands to follow and one of these is Simply Be. Simply Be clothes are made for ladies size 12 and above that love their curves and the woman they are  Clothes are always flattering, but also designed for the  latest trends. What I love about Simply Be is that the clothes appeal to ladies in the 20's as well as ladies into their 40's and 50's and even older. Delivery is free and next day if you order by 10pm so that is excellent to know. Brand lovers will also be happy as Simply B stock a variety from Ax Paris to Michael Kors, Skechers to Joe Browns.

These are some of my favourite fashion looks from Simply Be this Autumn/Winter 2016.

The Glam Party Dress £60

This little cocktail dress by Little Mistress has a fabulous floral print and is belted to nip in your waist. The skirt is netted for extra fullness and the dress is fully lined. Just add you favourite accessories and you are ready to party. Check out the party dresses here.

The Sparkly Party Shoe £35

When you want something that screams party but also want comfort these beautiful sparkling peep-toe heels come in a wide fit and have a slight platform for that little lift. The bow on the front adds another girly touch. Check out the party shoes here.

The On Trend Jacket £29

Bomber jackets are everywhere this season and this pretty floral print jacket are fab for layering. I'd pair this with skinny jeans and a simple t-shirt to go shopping in town or out for a drink with friends. Check out the coats and jackets here.

The Smart Tunic Dress £39

The pattern on this tunic from Joe Browns is certainly eye catching. Made of brushed jersey it will also keep you warm when it's cold outside and the decorative buttons add a lovely detail. Just add some cosy tights, wedge boots and a warm coat and you are good to go. Check out the cosy dresses and jumpers here.

The Cosy PJS £26

Winter isn't Winter without cosy pyjamas to snuggle up in. The cute Polar bear design will please everyone from your teenage daughter to your lovely mum and the tapered cuffs ensure your legs are warm. They also make a great Christmas gift, who doesn't love new Pyjamas at Christmas? Check out the pyjamas here.

These are my fashion picks from Simply Be this Autumn/Winter. What do you think of the items I have chosen?

*PR collaboration

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Ways To Make Money Whilst Travelling The World

Make money whilst travelling the world. Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn't it but people do this every day, combining their love of travel, whilst funding it through working abroad.

Before you go off to wander the world, there are three important things you should do - Plan, Prepare, and Save.

If you have a lust for travel you can make money doing what you love

Plan - where you are going to go, how long for, any injections and visas required and how much money you will need. 
Maybe you want to sell some of your possessions to raise money for the trip, if you don't you may need to put them in storage.

Prepare - think of your skill set and how that will help you find a job. Are you good with computers (programming, website tester) communication (guide, TEFL, PR), people skills (hospitality work), languages (interpreter, guide), childcare (au pair, nanny)? 
You may want to have a job lined up for your first destination so do some searching online and apply.

Save - it's important to have that financial safety net behind you, so start saving now. Depending on how long you are travelling, it's essential to have a few months savings in the bank until you become established in an area and this will help if you have difficulty finding work.

Not sure where to start? Here are my top ways of making money whilst travelling the world below.


You can make money from blogging. I know as I do. 
Typically bloggers make money from sponsored posts, affiliate advertising, and social media promotion. 

It helps if you are an established blogger but why not set up a blog about your travels around the world? You do need to put the time and effort in though, writing on a regular basis, promoting your blog and building your following. It's not as easy as some people think but it can be done. You also have the added bonus of documenting your travels along the way.

If you travel blog, you may be invited on press trips. This has the bonus of free travel and accommodation and you may even get paid for it. You will be expected to write about it, sharing your trip on social media too so it's not an easy job.


If you have skills behind a video camera then set up a YouTube channel and post your Vlogs online. It's important to think about your style, your unique voice and who your audience will be, then build up your following.

You can monetize your Vlogs through YouTube advertising, and sponsored content. The more views you get with YouTube advertising the more you will make and generally, brands will look at the numbers following you, the quality of your Vlogs and if you are a suitable ambassador for the brand.

Teaching English As A Foreign Language

You can make new friends teaching English abroad

Teaching English abroad is a viable career choice if you have a good command of the English language. It also helps to integrate yourself into an exciting new country and interesting new culture.

It is, however, advisable to get a qualification to teach English abroad such as the T.E.F.L. (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification. This will help you get a well-paid job in a country of choice and many of the best schools do not consider teachers that aren't T.E.F.L. qualified.

To study for the T.E.F.L. qualification does not require any formal qualifications and age is not a barrier either as students are from the age of 18 to retirement age.

Virtual Assistant

A Virtual Assistant  or V.A. provides professional administrative, technical, or creative skills to clients remotely at the end of a computer. In this day and age, it's possible, with good wi-fi, to do this almost anywhere in the world.

You could be updating websites, answering emails, posting on social media or any number of tasks required by your clients.

If you want to find work like this, check out sites such as Elance, Upwork, and People Per Hour.

Work In The Travel Industry

Working on a cruise ship will give you the opportunity to travel as well as earn money

Whether this is with an airline, cruise ship or tour company, working within the travel industry can have the added benefit of free transportation and accommodation too. 

It will depend on what role you are applying for, to what skills you need. Jobs on cruise ships including chefs, shop staff, fitness instructors, entertainment coordinators, security officers, plumbers and engineers. Cabin crew aboard an airline will need a good standard of education and have excellent customer service and organisation skills and have undergone training on safety, and security.

Creating A Passive Income

Many long-term travellers are entrepreneurs and have more than one income stream.  Creating a passive income, e.g. income that comes in with little effort on your part, can be a very useful addition to your bank balance. 

If you have a blog, advertising can be a great passive income, and many companies are happy to pay for sidebar ads on a quality blog. If you own a property that you are leaving to travel, renting it out can cover your bills. You may not be a millionaire overnight but writing an ebook or online course can create an income stream that will trickle in nicely.

There are many other ways to make money whilst travelling the world, and this post doesn't even cover traditional methods such as bar work or waitressing. As you can see making money whilst travelling can be done, and if you are off on your travels I wish you all the best on your adventure.

*PR collaboration

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Win A Gift Voucher With Nucasa Ends 25/10

Nucasa is one of those fabulous online home websites that is a secret gem. 

From industrial style lighting to retro Kilner storage jars, hand painted dinner sets to quirky felt wall clocks, Nucasa has it all and brings it all to you in the comfort of your home via a computer screen. It really is that place to get your funky homeware fix. 

I've been browsing the site recently to get some inspiration for the new kitchen I am having and have bookmarked my favourite pieces, especially from the baking section. I can't wait to make some delicious cakes in my new oven, it's so exciting. 

Typhoon Vintage Kitchen Scales from Nucasa £19.99 

Do you watch the Great British Bake Off, or as fans call it GBBO, like me? 

The appeal of the GBBO, I think is the combination of great baking, talented home bakers, Mary Berry the Goddess of baking, Paul Hollywood's sex appeal (well to some!) and of course Mel and Sue's banter. They always make me laugh. If you watch the show, you will be aware of the news that it is moving from BBC to Channel 4. A total shock for many fans, especially now that Mel, Sue and Mary Berry will not be moving. Bake Off won't be the same but it will survive though and I will still be tuning in. If you love GBBO, check out the bakeware section on Nucasa featuring Mason Cash mixing bowls and jugs and Typhoon vintage kitchen scales, as shown above.

Nucasa also has some great Kilner accessories. Now if you are wondering what a Kilner jar is, it is a rubber sealed screw top jar, originally used for bottling jams and chutneys, and named after the Kilner family who invented it. They are a fabulous brand well know for the usefulness of their products and the retro design. Kilner have been manufacturing their range of glassware since the 1840s so when you see the embossed Kilner logo you know this is an item of premium quality.

Nucasa has kindly sent me a Kilner glass drinks dispenser and a set of drinking jars to keep for hosting the competition below (yes my lucky readers you will have a chance to win something nice soon... just read on).

Kilner Vintage glass drinks dispenser 8L £24.99 

This Kilner glass dispenser is that perfect must have for parties. In the Summer fill it with delicious homemade lemonade or ginger beer and in the Winter fill it with your favourite cocktails which people can dispense themselves from the easy to use tap. The air tight seal keeps drinks fresh and the stylish retro design looks good on your kitchen table. When you want to dispense a drink, unseal the top to let the air in and turn the tap to pour out your scrumptious concoction. A useful addition to your kitchen for entertaining.  

Kilner handles drinking jar glasses - set of 6 £21.99

The Kilner handled drinking jars go perfectly with the drinks dispenser, and can be bought individually or in a set of six. Perfect for summer entertaining, barbeques, Christmas parties and the like, your soft drinks, beer and cocktails can look even more stylish in these funky drinking jars. You can also buy the lids with straws too from Nucasa so that is useful to know.

Today Nucasa are giving my readers a chance to win a £25 voucher to spend on their website. £25 will buy you any of the items featured above and there is lots more choice on their website as well. If you like this competition, enter now on the Rafflecopter widget below and whilst you are here check out my other competitions too. 

Let me know what you would spend the voucher on below. 

You can find Nucasa on social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions
You must be 18 + to enter .
Open to entrants in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle Of Man and Republic of Ireland.
The winner will be contacted within 7 days of the competition ending.
All prizes are non-transferable and there are no cash alternatives.
If I do not hear from the winner within 28 days I reserve the right to redraw.
Please allow 28 days for delivery. 

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Monday, 10 October 2016

Why Luxury Ski Chalets Are The Best For Young Children On A Family Ski Holiday

The following is a guest post from Ski Famille, experts in providing luxury ski chalets at top resorts across the Alps.

When you book a skiing holiday, there are lots to consider. The location, the resort, and of course the accommodation. You’ll be spending a lot of time in your chalet during your trip and, particularly if you have young children, you’ll want to make sure it is as comfortable and relaxing as possible. That’s why when travelling with young children, luxury ski chalets are an ideal choice.

When on a family ski holiday there is usually a range of options when it comes to choosing your accommodation. Here we will explore why luxury chalets are the best choice when travelling as a family.

It’s a Home Away From Home

The great thing about luxury ski chalets is that they offer a warm and cosy space. Not to mention the fact that they have all the facilities and amenities you need to feel as relaxed as you would in the comfort of your own home. This means they become a fantastic base that children and parents can use as a home away from home.

It’s important for children to feel comfortable, and having free rein in a chalet without the worry of disturbing other guests is ideal for parents. You can get this if you’ve booked under a sole-occupancy basis, alternatively share with other families. In any case, with fewer people around the likelihood of causing any disturbance is diminished. You get more of a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere in a chalet that would not happen in a hotel for example.


The chalets we provide give families the use of a playroom, which is a huge bonus for children. This can be used at any point during the trip, with full access to the room (and all the toys and games inside it) provided for the duration of the stay.

With a playroom, children can keep occupied once they’ve finished their skiing activities. You can unwind after a day on the slopes with a relaxing family board game. Another bonus is that there are DVD players and loads of DVD’s so you can unwind together in the evening.

In Chalet Childcare

One of the best features of our luxury ski chalets is our provision of in chalet childcare. We offer a fantastic range of childcare packages which mean grownups are free to enjoy the most challenging slopes, or perhaps head out for a romantic meal one evening! 

One of the best parts of the chalet experience is that you have expertly trained, and hugely dedicated staff, to cater to you and your family’s needs. The childcare comes to you, so children will be looked after in a setting they are familiar with, and there’s no need for an impersonal centralised crèche.

The Best Ski Chalets Have the Best Amenities

When you have the amenities associated with a home, it makes caring for young children a lot simpler. Having a microwave and fridge, for example, can be perfect for evenings or early mornings. Easy access to said amenities is always advantageous and with a chalet they are right there at your disposal.

Having a set of staff at set times during the day that will happily help parents with warming milk or keep a child occupied is a great perk too. 

Ski Chalet Staff

Staff are there to help with everything they can, not just childcare. Everything is fully catered so your whole group can enjoy fantastic food. This is just another bonus of the luxury chalet experience. You get a three-course meal with wine - and while you might not be waited on hand and foot as you might in a restaurant, the food is top notch.

Due to the more personal nature of a chalet staff become a lot more a part of the holiday experience during the times of the day that they are there. They become more like friends than staff - which makes your holiday all the more memorable and works well for children.


The ability to tailor your holiday as you like in a chalet is another advantage and fantastic for young children. Want to eat out one night of your trip? No problem, we cater six nights a week so you can do that. You can get a tailored package with a chalet, and not something that is parcelled out to everyone alike as you might in a hotel.

If members of your party have a particular dietary need or are just fussy eaters, this can be taken into account in a chalet situation too.

Luxury Ski Chalets for Family Ski Holidays!

The most important thing when planning a ski holiday is making the right choices for your family. It’s clear that the above benefits make ski chalets the best for young children on a family ski holiday.

Whether you're planning a holiday with your immediate family, or hitting the slopes with a larger group - chalets offer luxurious, flexible accommodation that is sure to enhance your experience and make your holiday fun, relaxing and stress-free.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Win Lingerie From Lazeme Ends 04/11

Today my lovely readers I am bringing you a gorgeous lingerie website you may not have heard of - Lazeme.

Lazeme is an online boutique offering the best in luxurious lingerie, stylish sleepwear, and beautiful beachwear. The sizes on offer are great too, bras range from petite back size 26 inches to an ample 48 inches, awesome A cup to a knockout K cup, pants from a size 6 to a size 26, so as you can see most shapes and sizes are catered for.

Freya Fancies bralette available from Lazeme in sizes XS to XL

One of the current trends they are finding from their website is the fact that women love their bralettes. What is a bralette you may ask? A bralette is a soft easy to wear bra without wires or moulded cups. Think sports bra without the no jiggle movement. 

The Freya Fancies bralette can be mixed or matched with a range of pants, thongs or shorts 

Now I don't know about you ladies, but it's hard getting an underwired bra that shapes your bust without digging in. A bralette does just that. Yes, your boobs may not be pushed skywards but the fit is comfortable, soft, and still supportive and some of the newer styles even support large busted ladies like me.

A range that features on the Lazeme website and has proved very popular is the Freya Francies range. The Freya Fancies range is designed to be mixed and matched with any of the other season's collection. Mix and match the bralette from this range with hipster shorts, Brazilian pants, or suspenders, for example. You can pick the same colour bottoms or totally mix it up, it is up to you. The best thing about this range is that bralette is designed all of us, from XS to XL and will fit from 28B to 38HH cup. 

Part of the fun of the Freya Fancies collection is mixing and matching tops and bottoms

The Freya Fancies bralette has lovely soft cups which are gathered under the bust. This gives gentle shaping whilst still offers some support with the double layered design. I love the gorgeous lace detailing on the bust too, which makes it feminine and pretty. You could even wear the bralette on show, as a pretty top, with a loose shirt over the top.

There are seven colours available in the Freya Fancies bralette, so you can choose from neutral tones to bright fashionable colours. The bra is so soft and comfy you may not even know you are wearing it at all!

Lazeme is approved and recommended by the Good Web Guide, and standard delivery to the UK is free, which is always good to know, and they even ship Internationally.  

Today on my blog I am giving the chance to three lucky ladies to win a bralette from the Freya Fancies range.  If you like this competition, you can enter daily via Twitter so bookmark this page and whilst you are here check out my other competitions too. Good luck!

Win a Freya Fancies bralette

Terms and Conditions
You must be 18 + to enter .
Open to entrants in the UK only.
The winner will be contacted within 7 days of the competition ending.
If I do not hear from the winner within 28 days I reserve the right to redraw.
Please allow 28 days for delivery. 
No cash, vouchers or other alternatives will be offered in exchange or replacement for this prize.
Closing date is 2016-11-04 11:59:59 PM


Friday, 7 October 2016

Michael Kors Rose Gold Watch Review From Plus Watches

My love for everything Michael Kors is well documented throughout my blog, I have a gorgeous black bag from the brand and stunning sparkly earrings too, so when I was given a chance to review a Michael Kors rose gold watch, from Plus Watches, well, I jumped at the chance.

Plus Watches was set up with the ethos of making quality watches available to the public at competitive prices. One of the founding members has family that originate from Switzerland and has decades of experience in the watch and jewellery industry. They keep up-to-date with all the fashion trends and watches are sourced worldwide, ensuring they get the best price and pass the savings onto you, the consumer.

The happiness of the customer is important to Plus Watches - they want you to be completely happy with the service offered. For a discount seller, I think this is refreshing!

Fashionistas will love the watches on offer, and all are well-known brands such as Hugo Boss, Marc Jacobs and Emporio Armani.

So onto the watch I picked. The Michael Kors ladies rose gold tone, Parker watch MK5616, has a rose coloured metal strap, mother of pearl face and crystal bezels on the face. Very glamorous!

I really like the style of bracelet, the metal strap felt comfortable on and is also adjustable. If you want to make it much smaller, you do have to remove the links though, which most jewellers would be able to do for you for a small charge.

What you may not be able to see in my photos is the shimmering gorgeous face made of mother-of-pearl. Mother-of-pearl is a natural substance found in sea shells and on the outside of pearls. It is known for its iridescence and natural beauty and catches the light beautifully.

The bezel, the round frame of the watch face, has tiny little crystals that sparkle and these crystals also adorn the face.

An additional bonus is that the watch is water resistant to 100 metres, although personally, I would always ensure a watch like this was never in contact with water. If doesn't take long to take off a watch and this will ensure the watch stays pristine.

As you can see this watch is very sparkly and ideally suited to evening wear but if you want to wear it every day, then I personally feel why not?

This Michael Kors rose Parker watch retails from Plus Watches for less than half price, at £134.99. This watch originally sold for £289, so you can see what a fabulous bargain it is. If you want a genuine designer watch but you don't want to pay sky high prices, check out this website, and with free delivery too and a 14 day money back guarantee you have nothing to lose.

What do you think of the watch?


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Castlexperience Montserrat Tapas and Wine Tour Review

On our recent trip to Barcelona, we took a half day tour to Montserrat to visit the national park, monastery, and Oller Del Mas winery. The tour was with the company Castlexperience who run daily wine tours from the Barcelona area. They pride themselves on passionate staff who are really enthusiastic about the Spanish and Catalan culture and who know their food and of course their wine.

The day started at Plaza Cataluña, the main square in the centre of Barcelona. Here you are greeted by staff with a pink umbrella, easy to spot for sure! From here they whisk you off on coaches to Montserrat. Our tour guide was Simon and he was a very likeable and personable character. As we drove out of Barcelona in our comfortable air-conditioned coach (so important in the Spanish heat) Simon told us some history of the city.

As we weaved our way into the hills the scenery was impressive, Montserrat literally means saw, which describes the jagged edges of the rock formations in the mountain, and you are surrounded by amazing mountains and awe-inspiring views.

In little over an hour, we arrived at Montserrat and the Benedictine monastery which it is famous for and home of the Black Virgin, one of Spain's more revered icons.  The scenery as we stopped was breathtaking.

When we stopped as well as the beautiful scenery I was amazed how, rather than being a simple affair, the monastery was much grander than I thought. 

The community is made up of 80 or so monks that all follow the 'Rule of Saint Benedict', devoting their lives to prayer, welcoming pilgrims and working.

I am not a religious person but the monastery was interesting to see. While we were there we also saw a procession to celebrate a birthday of one of the saints. 

As I said many people go to visit the black Madonna, which is of religious significance and you can find more about this here. People queue to see the statue and the tradition is for you to kiss or touch the Virgin's hand whilst opening your other hand out to Jesus.

After a short visit to Montserrat, it was time to get on our coach again and head to the Oller Del Mas winery. 

The Oller Del Mas winery is based in a medieval castle that dates back to the 10th century and was completely restored from 1981 to 2008. The winery uses organic methods to produce their wine with much of it picked by hand. This way the fruit is cared for and not squashed or damaged by the harvesting process. By picking the fruit this way, they can carefully select the best grapes for the wine.  With the Montserrat mountains sheltering the vines from the extremes of cold and heat, the area has a microclimate perfect for growing the best grapes.

We were shown the grapes on the vines which were small and sweet. The sweeter the grapes the more alcoholic the wine apparently. All the wine that is made here is made from grapes grown by organic methods and none of the grapes were bought in. We were then shown the machinery where they sort the grapes (although some are sorted by hand), and then to the cellar where the wine is stored in vats. 

It was interesting to hear about why the wine is aged in vats. As well as the benefits of flavour from the vat, Simon said that one year in a vat is equivalent to 18 years in a bottle, so it helps with the ageing process.

Then it was the fun part, tasting the wine. For the wine tasting, we were given a selection of three different wines and a tasty plate of tapas too. They did ask prior if anyone had any dietary needs and vegetarians were easily catered for. 

The three wines chosen were all red, were all sold at the vineyard and were of different price points. All very tasty wine, that is for sure. At this point, I admit I forgot to make a note of the wines as I was enjoying the company and food too much! We learnt about wine as well. Did you know that you can make white wine out of red grapes but you can't make red wine out of white grapes? This is because the colour of the wine is due to the skin being left in contact with the grape juice. I must admit I knew this due to my Marks and Spencer's wine book I had on my shelf at home!

Before long it was back to the coach and the short trip back to Barcelona. 

Mr W and I both really enjoyed the Castlexperience tapas and wine tour. It was informative, it was fun, we got to see the beautiful Montserrat mountains, the monastery and a lovely vineyard. The best part for me was tasting the wine and enjoying the tapas. Often the success of a tour relies on the tour guide and Simon was very good, and always happy to answer any questions during the tour. He really knew his wine and obviously enjoyed talking about the vineyard to us. There was also no hard sell to buy the wine at the end of the tour.

Here is a video we made of the tour for our travel blog Fly Drive Explore.

So if you want something different to do, outside of the hustle and bustle of Barcelona, try the Castlexperience wine tours. They do a small range of tours and pride themselves on knowledgeable interesting guides. Tours range from 50 Euros to just under 100 Euros for an all day tour inclusive of food and wine tasting. The half day Montserrat tapas and wine tour was 64.99 Euros which we both thought was decent value for what you get. Recommended.
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