Monday, 8 February 2016

Three Simple Ways To Boost Your Self-confidence

Often as a woman, we are our own biggest critic, and if you’re not feeling good about yourself, your self-assurance can start to fall. To boost your confidence and lift yourself up here are three simple ways to boost your self-esteem.

Copyright: alexskopje Shutterstock

1. Revamp Your Underwear Collection

If you’re wearing something you feel great in, it’s likely you’re going to exude confidence. However, while our clothes can help boost our self-esteem, what’s underneath is just as important when it comes to feeling content in our own skin. 

Revamping your underwear collection could help you regain your self-esteem, so why not treat yourself? If your current underwear is a bit grey and uninspiring treat yourself to some new lingerie or hosiery to put that spring in your step. Wearing new underwear can give you a big boost even if you are the only one that will see it and shapewear can give you curves in the right places and support where you need it.

If your hosiery collection is currently looking a little drab, you could invest in some fun new fashion tights or sexy hold ups or stockings. Whether you decide to go for a sheer, opaque, spotty or diamond design, you should be able to find a pair that makes you look and feel great. If you’re stuck for inspiration, you could visit your local high street store or browse what’s available online from hosiery experts such as Tights And More.

2. Treat Yourself To A New Hair Style

Changing your hairstyle could give your self-esteem a kick in the right direction. If you’re usually unadventurous when it comes to your hair, now might be the ideal time to treat yourself to a hair makeover. Adding in a fringe, taking some length off to the end to make a sharp bob, dyeing it a different colour or adding in some long and luscious extensions can revamp your look. 

If you’re stuck for ideas, speak to your hairdresser. As a professional, they should be able to give you their expert opinion and advice. Book yourself an appointment and you could leave the salon feeling like a new woman.

3. Try Out A New Makeup Look

Simply switching your makeup look could give you the confidence boost you’ve been looking for. If you’re fed up of your current collection of cosmetics, you could splurge on a few new items to add to your makeup bag and try out some different techniques. Whether you decide to perfect a sleek cat eye with liquid liner or want to ditch your usual gloss in favour of a slick of red lipstick, there are endless makeup looks you could try before finding one that makes you feel amazing. 

If you are not sure where to start, have a look at the many Vloggers on YouTube for makeup inspiration. A favourite of mine is Lisa Eldridge.

Knowing how to improve your self-confidence can be tricky. However, by making some simple changes such as these, you could soon become a much happier version of yourself.

* PR collaboration

Friday, 5 February 2016

Hotel Chocolate Valentine's Day

I'm a bit of a chocolate connoisseur and one of my favourite brands is Hotel Chocolat. This award winning British company, produce ethical luxury chocolates with gorgeous decadent flavours. At the heart of their chocolate is their ethical stance, as they help support cocoa farmers and their communities in Saint Lucia and Ghana. 

Angus Thirwell the co-founder and CEO eats chocolate every day in his research and desire to make sure the company produces the best. Every single recipe is tested personally as he is such a perfectionist.

I adore the attention to detail in every Hotel Chocolat delivery.  Every package is perfectly packed, even the tissue paper is branded with the Hotel Chocolate logo and sealed with the emblem, as well as a branded bag and gift card.

This Valentine's Day they have some beautiful and delicious chocolate boxes for their fans to devour. I was sent a box of to review - the 'Hearts And Truffle Gift Box'.

The Hearts And Truffle Gift Box

When I opened the box I was delighted as they were beautifully presented, it really had the wow factor. The box was an assortment of filled  hearts and truffles. A combination of chocolates with and without alcohol, this box was a real treat. 

In a box you get a variety of chocolates including carrot cake  raspberry smoothie, passion fruit margarita, classic champagne, mousse au chocolate, pink champagne, praline hearts, salted caramel and berry delightful.  My favourites were the passion fruit margarita, the classic champagne and the carrot cake chocolate. The carrot cake chocolate had a smooth inner full of lovely dreamy chocolate. It also did actually taste of the frosting that you get on carrot cake too! The classic champagne had a decadent hit of alcohol and a fabulous flavour inside the milk chocolate outer shell. Truly divine! The passion fruit margarita was tingy, zingy and delicious with the taste of lime coming through the sweet smooth centre.

This 'Hearts and Truffles' gift box makes a super gift for a loved one on Valentine's Day or a surreptitious treat for the chocolate lovers amongst you.

Hotel Chocolat asked me if I would like to send a box to one of my friends as a Valentine's date treat and I choose my friend Linda Hobbis. I've know Linda for about 4 years, and we met online through our love of entering competitions. We met up when I ran a Welsh competition group and we still see each other now and again to catch up. What I love about Linda is her dry sense of humour. She always makes me laugh and is like a wise old owl, or should I say wise young owl! Linda runs the lifestyle blog Mother Distracted which I recommend for a great read, it really shows her great writing style and her personality shines through.

If you are looking for a box of chocolates for Valentine's or Mothers Day, in fact any occasion, I would highly recommend Hotel Chocolat. What woman, or man for that matter could resist these super chocolates and there is plenty of choice on their website too with Valentines gifts from £2.50? Luxury chocolates of outstanding quality make a very happy recipient.

Tell me have you tried Hotel Chocolat?

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Top Tips For Driving In The US

Driving abroad can be stressful. After all you don't want to get on the wrong side of the law or the wrong side of the road!

Myself and my husband have driven abroad on many occasions, and particularly love visiting the United States of America. The last time we visited we went on a fantastic California road trip.

      San Francisco

Los Angeles

San Diego

We drove across California from San Francisco to Napa, then LA, down to San Diego and over to Las Vegas. It was an amazing experience driving along the twisting and turning Pacific Coast Highway with it's beautiful coastline, the redwood groves of the Big Sur, the upmarket little village of Carmel where Clint Eastwood was once mayor, stopping for whale watching at Monterey Bay. It's a trip that we will never forget.

We have also driven from Orlando down to the Art Deco and happening city of Miami and then to the stunning scenic Florida Keys, finally stopping at laid back and happening Key West.

Key West

You see some sights along the way, like this giant lobster below at the side of the road.

Giant Lobster

Our next trip will take in the 'Deep South' of America from Atlanta to New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville. This area is called the Mojo Triangle - the birthplace of jazz, blues, rock n roll and country. To say I am excited is an understatement.

During our time driving in the USA we have learnt some useful information, hints and tips that we think are invaluable to those that are driving in the US for the first time. Below are some of these tips that we have learnt from driving in the US over the last 10 years. 

Top Tips For Driving In The US

1. Each state has different driving laws. Most of them though are very similar but you always should check the actual state/s driving laws before you land and with the car hire company when you pick up the car.

2. You need a full valid driving licence to drive in the US and some states will require an International Driving Permit (IDP) in addition to a valid licence. Many car hire companies will refuse to hire to those under the age of 25 although some will if you pay a surcharge. If you live in the UK you will need to register with the DVLA for a 'licence check code' to share your details with the car hire company. This is valid for 21 days and allows them to check if you have any endorsements now that the paper part of the licence no longer exists.

3. A great tip is to ask what the total car hire charge is including all fees. You will be charged more for car seat and sat nav hire and taxes are always on top. You may also be charged more to hire/drop off a car at the airport, and if you are driving over state lines.

4. Children are kept in the back seat of a car in the appropriate car seat/restraint up to the age of 12. Check the laws on the type of car seat required for children before you go as it varies from state to state.

5. A tip we have learnt for driving anywhere is to carefully inspect the car before you hire it and when you return it. It is useful to take photos or a video on your camera/smart phone for evidence.

6. Hiring a SatNav from your car hire company can be expensive. Consider renting a SatNav from Ebay with preloaded US maps or buying one from Walmart when you are there, that you can sell on or keep if you plan to visit the USA again. Alternatively download the free Navmii smart navigation a
nd travel app to your phone.

7. Most gasoline (petrol) stations require you to pay before you fill up and this often means a trip to the attendant in the kiosk as many UK credit or debit cards don't work at the pump. When you hire the car there are two options to return the car empty and to return the car full, so don't forget to fill up if you have picked the second option.

In the USA they drive on the right and you generally keep right. Roads are wide, often with a number of lanes. Speed limits vary according to state with urban or rural roads being different and the maximum speed limit on a freeway (motorway) is anything from 65 to 80 MPH . Near schools the speed limit is usually 20 MPH and if you see a school bus with flashing lights you should stop in both directions. Some states require headlights when it is raining. 

9. In urban areas you will see HOV on the road - these are for High Occupancy Vehicles or car pool lanes. If you have multiple passengers in the car you can take these quicker lanes to help bypass traffic.

10. Making right turns on red signals after stopping and ensuring the path is clear, is allowed in most states, unless there is a specific restriction posted at the intersection, or the traffic lights show a red arrow in place of the standard red light. In New York they will not allow you to go right on red.

So here are my tops tips for driving in the US. I have done my utmost to make sure this information is correct but I would always advise you to check for up-to-date information on driving abroad before you go as advice can change.

For more information about driving abroad and driving etiquette including the do's and don't and the little eccentricities peculiar to that country check out this useful interactive graphic here.

Tell me, have you ever driven in the USA? Would you give it a go?

* PR collaboration 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

All Boxed Up - Beauty Box Review

Beauty offer company All Boxed Up offers beauty boxes at great prices. I was offered the chance to review the latest box which is full of full priced items.

This beauty box has over £113 worth of products for only £19.99 including postage and package. You choose the box on their website so you see exactly what products you will receive and pay for before you get it. Perfect for me as I am not a fan of surprises.

When the products arrived, in the New Year New You package, immediately I was struck with the big beauty names, especially Cowshed and Sanctuary Spa. I am a big fan of Cowshed products, and I remember the time I stayed at the Dean Street Townhouse where they used Cowshed products in their bathroom. I was very impressed with this, especially when I smelt how wonderful they are!

So let me tell you about this beauty box. Firstly when the products arrive they come in a no nonsense cardboard box. This is to keep the cost down and pass on all the savings to you, the buyer.  Most if not all of the products on the website are full sized products. This is certainly different to other beauty boxes I have seen in the past, and a welcome perk.

This box contained the following items below.
Percy and Reed Lovingly Light Foaming Treatment Mask 150ml £20 RRP and 
Cowshed Wild Cow Invigorating Body Lotion 300ml £20 RRP

Now let's start with the Percy and Reed Lovingly Foaming Treatment Mask. This is a foaming mask that you apply like a mousse to freshly washed hair. You comb it in and leave it for between 2 to 5 minutes, then rinse. It is formulated for fine flat and dry hair. My hair is fine and flat and dry on the ends so I was excited to try it. I have to admit I was disappointed. I applied it to my hair but not my roots, but it just made my hair look greasy. One good thing is that it didn't weigh the hair down, however I didn't feel it conditioned it either.  Now every person's hair is different so it could work for your hair but this product wasn't for me.

The Cowshed Wild Invigorating Body Lotion is packed with essential oils to wake you up, invigorate and moisturise. With essential oils of lemongrass, ginger and rosemary it had a warm smell, that was long lasting. In one way it reminded me of the smell of a really lovely spicy Thai dish. It is certainly a smell that will wake you up in the morning and the added benefit of Cowshed products is that they contain no parabens, petrochemicals, sulphates or artificial colours and are suitable for vegetarians too.

 Sanctuary Spa Luxury Bath Float 300ml £10 RRP and Timebomb Derm Warfare Night Serum 30ml £38 RRP

Sanctuary Spa are a well known brand that offers a range of skin and body products based on what they use in their Covent Garden spa. The products are mid range luxury products but I feel at an affordable price. This gentle smelling Sanctuary Spa Luxury Bath Float left a lingering smell on the skin. Especially formulated to make you sleep the fragrance is made of Ylang Ylang, Frankincense, and Patchouli. I was pleasantly pleased that this didn't smell overpowering. Add to running water, and the bubbles will help you relax and reduce tension and stress. A very nice bath product that I can see would certainly help you to relax. Almost all relaxing products these days seem to have lavender in and I can categorically say there is no lavender here!

The Timebomb Derm Warfare night serum is a brand I hadn't heard of before but when I realised that the company's brand ambassador is Lulu then I was eager to try it, after all she has the most amazing skin, don't you think? This product is priced at £33 normally so a definite luxury product. You apply this product at night to clean skin avoiding the eye area and it helps to make your skin radiate by removing dead skin cells. The product has a very slight tingle when applied and I was concerned it may irritate my sensitive skin but it didn't at all. I am looking forward to seeing the effects of this product over the next month. The only thing I could say which is slightly negative is that I feel they could work on the fragrance or even make it fragrance free.

Pecksniffs Dry Body Oil 100ml £25 RRP

The Pecksniffs dry body oil is a product enriched with argan oil and smells of sandalwood and vanilla. I think it is a unisex fragrance that both men and women could use. Although it is a dry body oil, it certainly doesn't feel greasy on the skin and it absorbs well. I didn't feel it was a 'heavy duty' moisturising product, so it was perfect for my combination skin.

As you can see this beauty box is excellent value for the price and perfect for adventurous beauty lovers everywhere. Even if you don't like all the products you will still save a huge amount of money on the recommended retail price of these items and you get to try new items and new brands too. If you don't like anything, you can always gift the item to a friend or relative. All offers are 'one offs' and once they are gone they are gone.

I'm going to be checking this website every month for their new beauty boxes. In my opinion, this beauty box by All Boxed Up is highly recommended.
Family Fever

Sunday, 31 January 2016

What Can We Do To Stop Our Homes Flooding

The weather in the UK in the last few months has been wet, windy and depressing. It feels like we have have had constant rain since November and I can barely remember the last sunny day. As Storm Gertrude batters Wales, with roads closed and winds of up to 80 miles per hour many householders are again worried about weather and flood damage. It only seems like yesterday that Storm Abigail caused chaos to those in the North of England and just before Christmas too.

Seeing the devastation the floods have caused, has made many people try to apportion blame and question things. Could the government do more to help? Is climate change to blame? How can home owners take action to prevent their homes become flooded in the future?

Copyright: gemphoto Shutterstock

Government Help

David Cameron has called for more to happen to prevent future flooding and some people may say this is too little too late, but I feel as least something is finally happening. I wonder though where the councils will find money for improved flood defences, as it has to come from somewhere. Will it come from education, or the NHS, is a question that has to be asked, and if so will party of these services become neglected? 

As well as investing in engineered flood defences I hope the  government will be forward thinking and invest in natural flood defences too.  Investing in wilder landscapes and natural flood defences in urban and country areas can go a long way to prevent flooding.  Habitats such as upland bogs and moors, woodlands, wetlands and species-rich grasslands act as giant sponges, absorbing and holding water and slowing down water runs into rivers. Planting trees can also help defend against flooding. I hope this natural way of help preventing floods will be the way forward in the future.

Climate Change

According to the World Wildlife Fund, major floods that used to happen only once in 100 years now take place every 10 or 20 years. Weather patterns that people were used to for hundreds and thousands of years are changing gradually – and it is unlikely they will return to normal.  Whilst scientists research whether or not we can really reverse climate change, homeowners need to come to terms with the fact that this may not happen in their lifetime. It's not something that the average person can have any control over and that can give you a feeling of helplessness.

Home Owner Action

Flooding can cause real devastation

Copyright: SpeedKingz Shutterstock

Well all is said and done there are some things that home owners can do to help themselves in this situation and take some control. Firstly when buying or renting a home, do some research to see if the prospective house is in a flood plain area. The environment agency provides an online postcode search for England and Wales, enabling people to find out if the area they live in is at risk of flooding. If you do move into a home in this type of area be sure to take out insurance and check what it covers if you are flooded. 

Recently a survey by Simpson and Millar  asked 500 people what they thought of the recent flooding and examined the human impact. Whilst 62% of people thought that the damage seen could not have been avoided, 74% thought that the government could have done more to help.

Lisa Gibbs, partner and head of Conveyancing offers some good advice.

"  When you purchase a new house, searches are undertaken which include an environmental search report which will report on historical flooding in the area. It's important that all buyers ensure that they instruct their solicitors to carry out these searches; the cost is relatively low in comparison with the potential risk".

Buying property is an expensive business, and is makes sense that before buying a property the prospective homeowner assesses the potential flood risk. This may have implications on insurance and may even be a contributing factor in not buying the property at all.

If you do unfortunately own or rent property that is at risk of flooding, you can take precautions to minimise the risk. The Home Owners Alliance suggest measures such as moving electrical sockets higher so they are less likely to be damaged by low level flooding, replacing wooden floors and carpets with concrete with a damp proof membrane and laying ceramic tiles, and raising household appliances and entertainment systems well above flood level. 

In conclusion, I hope these pointers have helped you consider the risk of buying or renting a home in a potential flood plain and I sincerely hope that it doesn't happen to you or people you know.

* PR collaboration

Friday, 29 January 2016

How To Find A Good Quality Tradesperson

When hiring a tradesperson to perform remodelling services, who exactly should you hire is one question that will be at the front of your mind. It is imperative that any tradesperson you hire is experienced, is fully licensed, and can present you with all required certifications to perform the services in your home. But, this is only the beginning. If you are looking to hire the top people and avoid remodelling disasters, these are some of the best places and ways to go about hiring these top local experts.

Copyright: Monkey Business Images Shutterstock

Use Online Sites 

There are several online sites which will help you find a local tradesperson. and are two of the many sites you can visit to compare local experts. In addition to only showing you locals who are licensed to perform services they will also help you find specialised experts as well. So, whether remodelling the bathroom, the kitchen, or other rooms of the home, or whether you are looking for a plumber, plasterer, roofer or builder you can narrow down the search to find qualified experts in that particular line or trade.

Rely On Locals  

You can never go wrong with word of mouth referrals. More often than not this is a trusted way, and has been for years, to finding the best local tradespeople. If you know a friend or family member who recently remodelled their home, enquire about their experience and ask who was hired. If you know anyone who had a poor experience with services, find out who they hired too and avoid! The more you compare, ask around, and learn about local experts the easier it will be to find the tradesperson you need.

Use Online Services 

Online referral sites, review sites, and forum based sites will also steer you in the right direction. Since you can read unbiased reviews posted by people who have recently hired a tradesperson and find out about their experience, this can help you narrow down the top local candidates, based on services you would like performed in your home.

There are hundreds of local tradespeople you can hire when time comes to performing remodelling work in the home. In order to know you are hiring the best person for the job, and that they are fully certified, these are some ways to go about comparing the top local experts. Furthermore, you can rely on these unbiased opinions and reviews which will give you better depth and insight about what you can expect when hiring a particular local expert.

* PR collaboration

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Brewers Fayre Review - Bristol

Recently I stayed in Bristol for a few days and was given the chance to review the Brewers Fayre, Llandoger Trow, in the centre of Bristol by the area called Welsh Back.

Brewers Fayre, Llandoger Trow

Brewers Fayre, is a the family friendly pub chain that focuses on looking after little ones with child menus, and in selected restaurants soft play zones and supervised play areas with a Dennis the Menace and Beano theme.

This restaurant is in an old historic building dating from 1664. Tradition has it that Daniel Defoe met Alexander Selkirk, his inspiration for Robinson Crusoe, here, and it was Robert Louis Stevenson’s inspiration for the Admiral Benbow in Treasure Island. Very interesting!

When we arrived at the restaurant on a Sunday evening, we were greeted with friendly smiles from the staff and in particular Erica - who was really helpful. She explained that they had limited availability with grills and the roast dinners but everything else was on the menu. 

The restaurant was in a traditional style with dark wood and stone flooring. We then sat down at a window table to study the menu. The menu had a wide choice of dishes with starters from under £3 to £5 main courses from £7 to £12 and desserts from £3 to £6.

In the day you can also get smaller meals such as jacket potatoes, wraps and burritos. The daytime value menu offer runs from 12 - 6pm Monday to Friday and means guests can enjoy two starters for £2.50, two mains for just £10.99 and two desserts for £2.50, so great value food, I think you will agree. The kids menu looked kid friendly with choices from burgers to spaghetti bolognaise, and main courses were priced at £3.99.

After browsing the menu we decided on ordering loaded nachos to start, and Thai chicken curry for myself and chicken biriyani for my husband. We also ordered a bottle of Sauvingon Blanc which for £10.99 I thought was excellent value. For a pub chain there is also a decent selection of wine of over 18 different varieties. My son wasn't with us as he has now started university and lives in Cardiff. I think he would love the grills and steaks here. He is a big meat eater!

Loaded nachos

The food then arrived after a short wait. The loaded nachos for one was a large portion, big enough for sharing. They also do a larger portion again but myself and my husband thought the one person's portion was just the right size. The nachos were warm and tasty. Topped with a salsa, guacamole and sour cream, and also melted cheese they were devoured in no time. I did think though that perhaps the cheese could be a stronger type to hold up to the spicy flavour of the salsa but that is a minor point.

Thai chicken curry

The Thai chicken curry arrived next. The curry sauce I was impressed with - you could really taste the coconut, and Thai spices, and it was creamy and delicious. The rice was also light and fluffy. What made the dish in my opinion was the sprinkling of chili's and coriander on the top which really gave it an authentic taste. My only criticism would be that I thought the dish could do with some seasoning. Accompanying the curry was a basket of Thai spiced crackers and sweet chili dip. The crackers were crisp and the chili dip complimented it well.

The chicken biriyani was a lightly spiced rice dish with chicken, peppers, tomatoes and onions. My husband felt that the dish had good flavours with medium spice and heat but could benefit from a vegetable curry sauce being serve with it. The dish is served with a poppadom, mango chutney and mint and yogurt dip. The poppadom was crisp and not oily and the dips were like shop bought dips - good but not outstanding.

Cadbury's chocolate chip cookie sundae

So onto dessert, and after a break we ordered something very decadent - a Cadbury's chocolate chip cookie sundae. This sweet treat has vanilla flavour ice cream, chocolate chip cookie pieces, Cadbury's Diary milk pieces, topped with squirty cream, chocolate sauce and a biscuit curl. This sundae was moreish, with a nice crunch from the cookie, complimenting the smooth coolness of the ice cream -  perfect for those with a sweet tooth.

In conclusion, we thought the food was better than we expected overall. I did think that for pub food perhaps the evening mains could be a little cheaper, although it was a nice touch that the poppadom and crackers were included with the different dishes that we had. The day menu though is certainly a bargain for the price.

The main benefit of the Brewers Fayre for families in particular is the facilities for children. Unfortunately the Llandoger Trow do not have any such facilities - maybe this is because it is an historic building. They were certainly family friendly though as they told me if it is quiet they do let children run around in one of the lounge areas, to blow off steam.
 Many Brewers Fayres have play areas for children

During this February Half Term, Brewers Fayre will be offering extra entertainment in selected pubs. There will be fun discos for kids on both Friday 19th and Saturday 20th February at selected Brewers Fayres. The Toddlers disco will run from 9.30am – 3pm while the Kids will run from 3.30- 7.30pm at a cost of £3 per child. These discos sound so much fun for little ones and a much welcome break for mums and dads.

Also every night of the week from 5- 8pm at the Chef's Counter there is a nightly special. Kids and adults alike would love the Pizza Parlour on a Monday or Burgers & Hotdogs on a Wednesday. For something with a bit more spice, there is a Mexican night on Tuesday and a Curry Night on a Thursday.

Tell me dear readers, have you been to a Brewers Fayre? Would you try out the food? What do you think about the facilities for children?

* I was gifted a meal in exchange for an honest review

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

What To Do In Mallorca

Palma marina

Mallorca, or as the British sometimes call it Majorca, is a beautiful island in the Spanish Balearics. The island is well known for its package holidays and partying lifestyle but there is another side to this Spanish beauty that not everyone knows. Mallorca is a naturally beautiful island with vast unspoilt beaches, a rich cultural heritage and remarkable sights to explore, as we found out when we visited last year.

A Naturally Beautiful Island

Serra de Tramuntana

A drive through the stunning mountain ranges of Serra de Tramuntana is highly recommended. A World Heritage Site the views are nothing short of spectacular. Stop off at Valldemossa, a quaint little village known for its historical importance and Estellencs - a gorgeous little village in the mountains. The area is known for hiking as well as cycling and is popular for those that like the outdoor life.

There are many beautiful beaches with white sand and azure blue seas in Mallorca. Playa de Muro, close to Alcudia is a long stretch of fine golden sand on a blue flag beach with lot of facilities and watersports available, whilst S'illot beach is a tiny unspoilt cove with clear blue water.

A Rich Cultural Heritage

Le Seu cathedral Palma

The capital city, Palma is renowned for it's excellent architecture, cool tapas restaurants and atmospheric bars.  A must see is Le Seu, a magnificent Gothic cathedral where you will get the chance to witness works by Gaudi and Barcelo. 

Bellver Castle

Other places to see include Bellver Castle, a gothic style castle 3km to the west of Palma, and the Basillica De Sant Francesc, one of Palma's oldest churches, built from 1251 yet only completed in 1700.

Remarkable Sights To Explore

Palma Aquarium

If you enjoy the Spanish culture and architecture, Poble Espanyol is a Spanish 'show' village, just outside Palma where reproductions of famous buildings from Cordoba, Toledo and Madrid are gathered together with typical houses from these regions.

For those that love art, Es Revellar Art Resort Galleries, Campos, has extensive galleries set within stunning gardens in a hotel's grounds. Walking around this tranquil oasis of calm, the estate is full of sculptures, antiques, palm trees, marble columns and spectacular gardens. 

The deepest shark tank in Europe

With a variety of fish and sea creatures including the deepest shark tank in Europe, the Palma Aquarium is a great afternoon out, with or without the kids. If you want to you can even dive with sharks, and the aquarium also works hard on ecological campaigns such as one to save the blue fin tuna.

For some water park fun you are spoilt for choice, with Aqualand, Hydropark Waterpark and Western Waterpark, whilst Marineland in Portal Nous in Mallorca's answer to Seaworld.

As you can see Mallorca is an island rich in culture and full of family friendly activities. With a year round sunny climate, it's certainly a lovely place to visit, within a short flight time from the UK.  

If you like my post, don't forget to check out my other travel posts here.

* In Collaboration with Book Mallorca

Monday, 25 January 2016

Top Restaurants In South Wales

Here is a list of my top favourite restaurants in South Wales

Restaurant James Sommerin, Penarth

This fine dining restaurant, number 24 in the Good Food Guide 2016 is perfectly situated on Penarth sea front. Head chef James Sommerin, held a one Michelin star when he was a chef at The Crown in Whitebrook and I am sure it won't be long before Restaurant James Sommerin will be getting a Michelin star of it's own.

The food is confident, experimental - choose from a tasting menu full of surprises or the A La Carte menu, which is only available midweek. This is one restaurant where you really feel like you are in for a treat, with a blend of textures, flavours and aromas all on a plate. Bravo!

Go, and go now...

Le Bistrot Pierre, Cardiff

This French bistrot chain, never fails to deliver in my experience. The two course lunch for £10.95 is a real bargain for the authentic quality of the food and with a Trip Advisor certificate of excellence you know all the other reviewers can't be wrong too!

My favourite dishes here include a Beef Bourginon and a Poulet Printanier - pan-fried chicken breast in a tarragon sauce, whilst my son enjoys the steak and fries. Their loyalty scheme is a great idea too, when you dine you collect a stamp toward a free lunch or dinner. 

The best chain restaurant I have ever eaten in, hands down.

The Pickled Radish, Laleston 

This hidden gem in Laleston, just outside Bridgend, is a little off the beaten track but well worth tracking down. Headed by a team of chefs that have worked in Michelin star restaurants this is one restaurant just made for 'foodies'.

The elegant tasty food, was slightly let down by the inexperienced staff when we visited, however don't let that put you off. The food however is a joy and a real surprise - deconstructed chicken korma was tasty, beautifully presented and totally delicious and the peanut butter and chocolate pie was amazingly decadent. 

We are going back very soon! 

The Potted Pig,  Cardiff

We recently visited The Potted Pig to celebrate my son's 19th birthday. Hidden away on Mary Street in the centre of Cardiff this restaurant in an old bank vault is cool, atmospheric and a little bit quirky. 

Carnivores are looked after well with a great selection of steaks, and dishes such as potted pig with pickles and home cured free range pork belly with fried bacon cake, roasted beetroot and kale are great crowd pleasers. With some super reviews from restaurant critics such as Jay Rayner of The Observer, I suggest you get down to Cardiff to see what all the fuss is about.

Also known for their wide selection of gin cocktails this is one trendy restaurant that doesn't take itself too seriously. 

Let me know, have you tried any of these restaurants? Which restaurants do you rate in South Wales?

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Shopping In Style With A Luxury Jet

If you love shopping and travel as much as me, or you are looking for that perfect gift for the lady that has everything - consider a weekend jetting off to some great shopping destinations.  

With a private jet charter you could start your weekend in London, have lunch in Paris and arrive in Singapore the next day, refreshed and raring to go. Or what about a trip to the shopping mecca that is Dubai, followed by a stop off in Tokyo or even New York for the January sales?

Air Charter Service can arrange private jets from all around the main airfields in London (and all around the world really), as is suited to your needs, should you require a quick and easy way to reach or depart from London via private jet.  


In London you have some great luxury shopping, from the world famous department store Harrods to another luxury icon Liberty. No trip to London for any self-respecting jewellery lover, would be without stopping off at Hatton Garden too, for some of the best jewellery shopping in the world, and De Beers, Graff, and jewellery designer to the stars Stephen Webster all have shops in the UK capital. 

Inside a very comfortable private jet

For a spot of lunch you are spoiled for choice, from casual eateries to Michelin starred restaurants like the three Michelin star, restaurant Gordon Ramsey in Chelsea and the two Michelin star restaurant Le Gavroche, owned by the Roux brothers in Mayfair. Be sure to book the best restaurants in advance for that special meal, as that gastronomic delight may have a waiting list.

Now board your deluxe jet to Paris, while you will be whisked away within a matter of minutes on a 50 minute journey to Le Bourget Airport.

Airport:  London City


Paris is a beautiful city known for its chic style. As well as boutique stores selling luxury clothing and accessories Paris is known for it's iconic department stores such as Galeries Lafayette with it's avant garde designers and huge shoe department and Le Bon Marche, the city's oldest store, with an amazing food hall and the best macrons money can buy. 

Paris is also known for it's perfume and while you are here why not get a fragrance made for you from an illustrious perfume house. At Maison Guerlain your hour long scent experience is divided into two parts - firstly you will see 'mood boards' to help distinguish what fragrances will appeal, then you will smell a variety of notes to see which you like. At the end of this process you will be presented with your ideal scent.

For a stunning piece of jewellery, take a trip to Jaubalet Paris, a jewellers full of beautiful gems, and wealthy clients. Get a bespoke piece made to your unique specification from black diamonds, pink sapphires, rubies and emeralds.

Le Bourget 


Although a long journey from Paris, your private jet’s many on-board luxuries will keep you occupied during the flight. As you land in Singapore the signature electric buggy escort will take you through the boarding gate to your limousine, provided by the elite Jetside service.

For jewellery shopping in Singapore look no further than Lee Hwa Jewellery. Housing exclusive brands and Asian designs this boutique jewellers is certainly one to visit. One origami inspired piece of jewellery from Lee Hwa Jewellery is the 'Happy Dove' necklace, crafted to inspire hope, peace and joy.

When your feet are tired and you want an outstanding meal head over to Restaurant Andre, shortlisted as number 5 on Asia’s Best 50 Restaurants list. Their stunning fusion cuisine is a taste sensation.

Back at the terminal, freshen up at the Haven lounge. Whatever you need - be it a quick nap, shower, light lunch, glass of bubbly or even a cup of coffee - the Haven Lounge is the perfect place to prepare yourself for the next lego of your journey. Hong Kong anyone?

Airport: Changi 

There are so many places to visit in the world and so little time, but if you want some luxury shopping via private jet from the UK's capital then this is the only way to go.

* In collaboration with ACS