Saturday, 29 April 2017

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About The Blue Lagoon Iceland

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is a geothermal spa not far from the main airport 
Keflavík. The poster boy for Iceland being featured heavily in many tourist guides, it's one of those places you wonder if you should visit on your Iceland trip. In this guide, I will look at the facts about the Blue Lagoon, the costs, the amenities, and whether it is worth visiting.  
Location 


Situated a short 20 to 25-minute drive from the airport and 50 minutes from Reykjavik, a visit to the Blue Lagoon makes an easy stop off just after you land or prior to your departure point. 


At the airport, there is a bus that takes you to the Blue Lagoon and there are regular transfers from Reykjavik to this geothermal spa. You may need to book these in advance, I recommend checking this out before you go in case you do. We hired a car and drove from Reykjavik. When you arrive there is a small building for luggage storage which is perfect if you coming from or going to the airport.


Outside the Blue Lagoon

There is a photo opportunity before you enter the Blue Lagoon on the left. Look at the gorgeous water above. Top Tip!

We visited on a cold March day when there was still snow on the ground from the previous week's heavy snowfall, so I wondered how warm we would be in the geothermal waters. Read on to find out.



Main entrance to the Blue Lagoon

Cost 

We bought tickets previously online. It is extremely unlikely that you would get an entry ticket to the Blue Lagoon if you just turned up as often tickets are sold out days and even weeks beforehand, so book before you go. Top Tip!

There are different types of tickets which you can book online. Price is determined by the time of day and how far in advance the ticket is booked.


  • Standard from 5400 ISK includes entrance and silica mud mask
  • Comfort from 7400 ISK includes entrance, silica mud mask, use of towel, 1st drink and algae mask
  • Premium from 9500 includes all you get in comfort as well as use of bathrobe, reservation at Lava restaurant and sparkling wine at Lava restaurant
  • Luxury from 26500 includes all in premium plus private changing room and entrance to the Exclusive Lagoon 
    *check out the website for up-to-date prices and up-to-date information on what that include
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You need to take a print out of your tickets with you to the desks. There will be a couple of different lines. One for Standard and one for Comfort and above and/or coach parties.

Children

Well behaved children at the Blue Lagoon are welcome from the age of 2. If you child is under 13 it is free for them to use the facilities.

Armbands are mandatory from the age of 2 to 8 and they are provided free of charge. If you are bringing children check with the Blue Lagoon website to see how many you can supervise at any one time.


Entry time


The main pool

The Blue Lagoon is open from 8 am every day. Closing time varies between 8 pm and midnight. There are longer hours in the Summer as Iceland gets more daylight, and it can still be light at midnight.

The best time to visit is early in the morning or later in the day. Busiest times are usually just before and after lunch when coach parties arrive. Your ticket gives you a one-hour window option for entry. There is no exit time and you can stay as long as you want. 

If you want to hire a towel, robes and flip-flops and haven't already paid for the hire in your ticket price, they can be hired at reception. Take a towel with you to save money, as towel hire is 700 ISK or about £5.20.  I took a loose beach cover all, instead of a robe and you may want to consider this. Top Tip!

Flip flops are not really needed in my opinion, as the changing rooms are right next to the water and once you are in you don't really want to get out to walk around. 

You are given a wristband on entry to the Blue Lagoon and this also acts as your charging band to pay for treatments and refreshments. You pay at the exit when you leave. The wristband also lets you use the lockers, you swipe a band and it lets you close a locker. Be sure that the locker is locked before you go away as they were a little glitchy. 

Showers


A cave in the Blue Lagoon

As is customary in many Scandinavian countries before you use the water you will need to shower without clothes. There are signs asking you to do this and it is clearly mentioned on the website.  I was unsure about showering in a communal area but there was a number of private cubicles, 6 in the section I was in and so I used a private cubicle. You may have a short wait for these if it is very busy. There is shower gel, shampoo and conditioner provided. You then put your swimming costume on to enter the Blue Lagoon.


In the changing rooms, there are a limited number of hairdryers to use to dry your hair after you come out of the pool later and a number of mirrors.

Hair

The minerals in the water can play havoc with your hair so it is recommended to use the conditioner provided in the shower area before you enter the water. I combed it through my hair and left it in. If you have long hair I would recommend tieing it up out of the way to protect it as much as you can. Top Tip!

Sun



The weather in Iceland is notorious for being very changeable so be aware of the weather forecast and use waterproof suncream on all areas above the water.  The light reflects from the water and this can make you more likely to burn. Pay special attention to this if you have very fair skin or burn easily.

Glasses 


They do recommend glasses and contact lenses are removed before entering the water. Prescription glasses can be damaged by the water.  


Sunglasses are recommended to protect your eyes from the sun, however, leave you best Gucci sunglasses at home just in case they could get damaged.

Water



Mr W enjoying the water

The Blue Lagoon holds 9 million litres of geothermal seawater which is renewed every 40 hours. The blue colour comes from the way silica reflects light and the green in the water is from the algae which multiply when exposed to direct sunlight. Apparently, if you pour it into a clear cup it will look white as the sun makes it look blue. Often I felt the water was more green than blue.

The water is lovely and warm. Set at between 37 and 40 degrees centigrade, 
you will not feel cold whilst in the water even if it has been snowing.  What is not widely known is that there are slightly hotter and slighter cooler sections of water which make it more fun. Have a wander around and see what I mean. Top Tip!

The depth of the water varies. I am 5ft 2in and I could just about touch the floor everywhere. you will feel squidgy sections under foot which is the mud. 

Swim Up Bars


The swim up bar


You will see two bars on the water. One is a bar where you get your free face pack and buy more expensive face masks too.

The other bar in a different area on the far right of the main pool where you can buy drinks, such as beer and wine, Skyr smoothies (an Icelandic dessert like yoghurt), soft drinks, water-resistant phone protectors and sunglasses amongst other things. You swipe your wristband to pay for the items. If you have just arrived in the country it may surprise you how expensive everything is! Expect to pay £7 plus for a smoothie.

Cafe And Restaurant


relaxation area

The Blue Cafe serves snacks, salads, sushi, sandwiches and hot and cold drinks with a view of the Blue Lagoon. if you are coming with someone but do not want to go to the Blue Lagoon, you can sit here with refreshments and watch the people in the pool. Prices are expensive but in line with the average prices in Iceland.  If you are coming from the airport it may be a shock! We found the average price for a cappuccino in Iceland to be around £3.80 for example and a toasted sandwich £9. There is also a small outdoor area which is great for photo opportunities. Top Tip!

There is an upmarket restaurant attached to the Blue Lagoon called the Lava restaurant and reservations in advance are recommended for lunch and dinner. To give you an idea of prices, the main courses at the Lava restaurant for lunch are from 4500 ISK or £33, for dinner main courses are from 5900 ISK or £43. 

The Experience



Me and Mr W with our Skyr smoothies

After you shower and change into your swimming costume you walk down stairs to the main doors. These are where the floating devices are for little ones.

You go outside and hang your towel up and any robe if you have one, the coat hooks have numbers on so be sure to remember where you have put your belongings as if you hire your towel and robe they all look the same. You then walk into the steaming water which has a milky blue/green colour.  The water is lovely and warm and with the steam coming off it, it is like a scene from Dr Who, minus the monsters of course


Mr W with his free face mask

After a wander around we got a free facemask from the treatment bar. Mr W slapped it on his face and I did my neck and shoulders. We were told not to let it in your eyes so we didn’t. You leave the face mask on for five minutes before washing off. Mr W felt his face was as soft as a baby's bottom.

There are pockets of water of different temperature but mostly it is a warm 37 to 40 degrees C. This is the perfect temperature to relax and enjoy the warm water easing away any aches or pains. They say it is important to drink plenty of water when you are in the water and we tried to do this. Although bringing food and drink from outside is discouraged, I could see no problem bringing a bottle of water with you to drink. Top Tip!

We took our Go Pro to get these photos. If you are taking any form of camera equipment make sure it is waterproof, we saw people taking photos in the water with their phone but we thought they were mad, don't risk it, if you want to do this, buy a reputable waterproof cover. They do sell these at the swim up bar but I don't know how good they are. Top Tip!



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Other things you need to know


  • Jewellery can be affected by the water so remove jewellery before entering. 
  • In-water massages can be booked in advance and start at 10,200 ISK.
  • Cameras are allowed but not in the changing rooms.
  • There is a steam area, and a steam cave to visit as well as a man-made waterfall.
  • Parking is free.
  • You may smell a sulphur smell as you drive up to the Blue Lagoon. Once you are in the water you won't smell it.
  • There are bags to store your wet swimsuits and it is recommended you rinse with clean water in the changing area before bagging
  • There is a shop where you can buy Blue Lagoon branded products.
  • If you want to stay close by there is a luxury hotel called The Silica Hotel a ten-minute walk away. Guests have a range of benefits including their own private lagoon and complimentary premium admission.
  • Leave your goggles at home, the water is milky and you will not see anything.
  • There is an indoor area with sun loungers for relaxation.
  • If you forget your swimwear you can rent some at the reception from 700 ISK.
  • The Exclusive Lounge is a small area for up to 12 people with private. changing rooms and an array of complimentary items for a luxury experience. This needs to be booked in advance.

Here is a video Mr W made of our time in the Blue Lagoon for our travel blog Fly Drive Explore. Check out our 7 day Iceland road trip too.



I personally felt that the Blue Lagoon was a great experience. Yes it's expensive, yes it's touristy but the water is gorgeous and warm, it feels like it is actually doing you good and it is a lovely relaxing experience.


My only negative point would be that both myself and Mr W heard staff in the shower areas be quite abrupt to customers, so maybe customer service could be looked at more closely. There is no excuse for rudeness, especially when you are paying a lot of money for entry.


Tell me would you visit the Blue Lagoon? Have you ever been to Iceland?

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Friday, 28 April 2017

10 Top Tips To Stay Safe On Holiday

As someone who travels a lot, I know how important preparation is and planning is to ensure your safety on holiday. You have to make sure that you have travel insurance, that you research your destination, make a list and check it twice, just like Santa does!



Leading Injury Lawyers, Michael Jefferies Solicitors have conducted a survey to find out just how safety aware us Brits are when we leave the country and the results are in!

Survey Stats:
  • 38% of people are more care-free about their safety when on holiday
  • Over 40% of people have travelled abroad without holiday insurance in the past
  • 20% of people have suffered an incident (accident, sickness or illness) whilst on holiday
  • Over 50% of people wouldn’t know how to make a claim following an incident on holiday that wasn’t their fault
  • 80% of people surveyed haven’t bothered to make a claim following an incident on holiday


Scary isn't it?

With this is mind here are my ten top tips to stay safe on holiday.

Pre-holiday


1. Make a travel checklist. This is essential if you don't want to forget anything. Ensure it covers any visas/injections or essential medication you need for foreign countries. Research your destination, including crime levels and areas to avoid.

2. Buy travel insurance with the correct cover. This is so important in this day and age. If you are travelling to the USA, the medical cover will need to be higher than in Europe, so make sure your cover matches your location and your activities. If you are skiing, doing water sports or extreme sports check you are covered.

3. Pack a first aid kit. You can buy one with everything you need in it from most pharmacies but if you want to make one yourself check out this post by the NHS on what to have in a simple first aid kit.

4. Make your house looked lived in. Put your lights on a timer, or get a neighbour to check on the property. Get your post redirected or ensure someone picks it up if you can. A lived in home is less likely to be burgled. 

5. Don't state exact date of your departure on social media!

On holiday



6. Don't advertise your whereabouts on social media! I know a lot of us do it, but it's worth uploading to Instagram, Facebook and other social sites AFTER the holiday not during.

7. Keep your money and valuables in a hotel safe and only keep what you need on you for that day when you are out and about. In fact, don't take your valuables on holiday if you can help it. Your insurance may only cover individual items up to a certain amount so check the details and keep the expensive jewellery at home.

8. Be wary of unsafe locations and pickpockets, ask the concierge or hotel staff if you are not sure, or Google it.

9. If unsure about the water use bottled water and only eat food that is freshly cooked. Salads should be avoided in these circumstances as salad leaves could be washed in tap water.

10. Make sure you have your travel insurance details at hand if you have to claim. It's important to know if something happens, what circumstances you can claim for, and the process of actually making a claim. If you are robbed you usually have to report this to the police as soon as possible. 


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Have you had a robbery or a hazard on holiday that wasn’t your fault? Or maybe you’ve got your travel preparation down to a fine art? Follow the campaign on social with Jefferies Solicitors and the hashtag #HolidayHazards.  

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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Oral-B Pro 2500 Review

Are you a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush person? Many dentists recommend electric toothbrushes over manual toothbrushes, as the constant rotating heads are thought to remove more plaque than a manual toothbrush. This makes an electric toothbrush ideal for teeth cleaning, gum and mouth health too.  But as there are so many different brands out there and different heads it can be confusing as to which one to choose. 

I've used both Oral B and Phillips toothbrushes in the past and must say both these brands offer excellent electric toothbrushes. I must admit, I am an electric toothbrush convert, I feel they do make my teeth cleaner, my mouth fresher and my teeth even that little bit whiter.
The other day I was sent an Oral B 2500 toothbrush to review from Pure Smiles. Pure Smiles is a dental practice in Fulham, West London that specialises in teeth whitening and Invisalign treatments. The dentists and dental practitioners there really know the benefits of an effective electric toothbrush in preventing dental decay. As this model of toothbrush is recommended by them I was interested to see how good it was. 

What's in the box?



First impressions of the Oral-B Pro 2500 was that it looked great being produced in a black colour way. If you want something more girly then the toothbrush also comes in pink for another option. My husband immediately wanted it for himself so this review is in conjunction with him!


In the box, there is the toothbrush, a two pin charger, a cross-action toothbrush head and instructions. The cross-action brush head has angled bristles for a precise clean.  A useful feature for travellers like me is that it has a travel case included. 

The Oral-B Pro 2500 toothbrush is compatible with Oral-B brush heads including:-

  • Floss action
  • 3D white
  • Sensitive clean
  • Trizone

Special features

Now one of the best features of this toothbrush is the pressure sensor. This lights up if you are brushing too hard. Brushing too hard can cause abrasion of the enamel and gum tissue and ultimately tooth sensitivity so having a pressure sensor is a great feature.

The other feature which is incredibly useful is the timer. Dentists recommend you brush your teeth for two minutes, but how many of us do this? With the timer, every 30 seconds it pulses. This is a reminder for you to brush all four quadrants of your mouth. At the end of 2 minutes, the toothbrush has a longer pulsing action to remind you that you can stop brushing now.



My thoughts

The Oral-B Pro 2500 toothbrush is a great toothbrush. The black design of the toothbrush is stylish, the waterproof soft coated handle is comfortable to use and it looks great in my bathroom. The timer is an excellent idea, and the fact that it pulses every 30 seconds ensures you focus on each quarter of your mouth at any time. I never really thought about the fact that you can brush your teeth too hard before, but the built-in pressure sensor is a super idea. 



Charging is easy, however, you need a two-way adapter plug which is the same as a shaver plug to charge and this is not included. Many worldwide hotels have this type of socket in hotel bathrooms, so you can just plug it in there to charge, if you are on holiday. The charger light glows green when charging. Once the toothbrush is charged it lasts up to 7 days. 

The Oral-B Pro 2500 has a two-year warranty and the Oral-B 30 day challenge satisfaction guaranteed or your money back. Full details of this are at Oral-B. With prices online around £34.95, both myself and my husband think this toothbrush is great value and we would both definitely recommend it. 

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Monday, 24 April 2017

Supporting British Jewellery Designers With The Fine Jewellery Company

For years Britain has been at the forefront of fashion design worldwide. From Mary Quant to Paul Smith, Stella McCartney to Alexander McQueen our fashion designers are well known for their stunning, unique and creative jewellery. Many designers mix vintage designs with modern styles and we are particularly good at incorporating innovation with traditional techniques. 

Our jewellery designers include well-known names such as Vivienne Westwood and Stephen Webster to lesser known names starting out in the business. When I had my own jewellery shop I used to love to support British jewellery designers, as the jewellery was always unique and different. This is why I applaud the Fine Jewellery Company.

The Fine Jewellery company is based in Birmingham and has a range of experienced and skilled gemologists with experience in retail, design, manufacture, diamond testing and grading. They sell a range of stunning gemstones from exquisite diamond rings, stunning sapphire earrings, pretty pearl bracelets and much more. But what I love about the company is their passion and support of British jewellery designers. Here are my top picks from the independent British jewellery designers available on the Fine Jewellery Company website.

Charlotte Lowe



Charlotte Lowe's current collection focuses on those special moments in life. Her jewellery is wearable, personal and current, and it perfect for that keepsake to remember a time, a person, a holiday or even a pet.


This lovely sterling silver and gold vermeil necklace is called 'Walk With Me'. Handmade this necklace celebrates those precious moments shared by mum and dad with their children, from walks in the park to strolls in the British countryside it is a reminder of the time we spend with our loved ones, in our down time.

Clare Hawley


Clare Hawley takes her inspiration from where she is based, the beautiful stunning Sherwood Forest.  Her first collection entitled "Leaves of Sherwood" was made by hand in silver and gold using traditional sheet fabricating techniques. 

She takes leaves from the forest floor and recreates each one in stunning rose and yellow gold vermeil. The result is a beautiful, commercial and ultimately wearable piece of art. This necklace above is made of rose gold vermeil and is the leaf of an oak tree. Her jewellery is exceptionally tactile, her inspiration being her mother who is registered blind. 

Fei Liu 



Born in China but now based in Birmingham, Fei Liu is an internationally recognised jewellery designer. After studying at the Birmingham School of Jewellery he has since gained worldwide acclaim for his glamorous work - a fusion of his eastern heritage and western influences. 
This exquisite sterling silver and black rhodium ring called 'Cascade', is set with blue cubic zirconia. A striking design with smooth curves and sharp lines, this ring is an item of jewellery that will certainly get you noticed. Fei Liu has won several awards including Harper’s Bazaar China Jewellery Designer of the Year and was a finalist in the UK Jewellery Awards. His jewellery can also be seen on the red carpet worn by many of his celebrity fans.

I Love A Lassie


Love A Lassie is a Scottish designer jewellery brand, offering solid silver contemporary designs inspired by life’s little treasures. Arlene Katorza the jewellery designer for I Love A Lassie, has been selling her jewellery for over 20 years in Edinburgh and since the launch of I Love A Lassie in 2013 the range has regularly featured in Elle, Vogue, and Grazia magazine.

Designs are based on precious mementoes, such as a piece of bark discovered on a woodland walk, a fragment of antique lace, or an antique Bawbee coin.

As you can see, we have amazing talent on the UK jewellery scene and if you buy from a British designer you will get craftsmanship, stunning designs and unique jewellery. You can find these items of jewellery featured on the British Designers section of the Fine Jewellery Company website, as well as other jewellery from other emerging and established British jewellers.

Tell me, do you try to buy British products if you can? What do you think of the British jewellery designers featured?


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Friday, 21 April 2017

Top 5 things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

Iceland is a beautiful country, full of outstanding natural beauty, volcanoes, waterfalls, and black sand beaches. It really captured my heart on my recent trip. With all the beautiful landscape in this stunning country, the capital Reykjavik can often go overlooked, but don't! It has some amazing architecture, vibrant street art, gastronomic delights and interesting museums. 

This is my post on top things to do in Reykjavik. 

1. Visit Hallgrímskirkj 
Hallgrímskirkj

Hallgrímskirkj, the largest church in Iceland is the main landmark being in an elevated position it can be seen from most places in the city. Designed by Guðjón Samuel in 1937, it's a cool building, the architect was inspired by the shapes of lava when it cools in basalt rock. For a fantastic view over the city, take a life to the top of the church. 

2. Snap a photo of the Sun Voyager


Solfar the Sun Voyager

On Reykjavik's waterfront, is the statue of the Sun Voyager - called Solfar. This striking landmark is a huge steel sculpture by Jon Gunnar Arnason. Thought to resemble a Viking ship, the sculpture is, in fact, a 'dream boat' and ode to the sun. The artist's intention was to give the city something to inspire dreams and hopes.

3. Go to a concert or grab a cocktail at Harpa


Harpa the concert hall
Harpa, the concert hall designed by Olafur Eliasson is a stunning building on Reykjavik's waterfront. Opened in 2011, it's the place to go for concerts as well as cocktails with a view. There are two places to eat in Harpa, a cafe and restaurant on the ground floor called Smurstöðin and Kolabrautin, a modern restaurant focusing on Icelandic food fused with Meditteranean cuisine. The coloured glass windows are inspired by the basalt landscape of Iceland.

4. Admire the amazing street art


Iceland is known for its amazing street art, and there is so much of it to see in the city that you could spend half a day just strolling around the centre and taking it all in. Some pieces of artwork are created with permission from private building owners, some are commissioned and some are less formal, but the variety of the artwork is astounding. 

5. Visit one of the many museums

The Settlement exhibition 

From the Punk Museum to the Whales Of Iceland exhibition and the Saga Museum, Reykjavik has a museum for everyone. We visited the Settlement exhibition which explored the life and work of the first settlers and was interesting for an hour. We were given a Reykjavik city card which covered a number of museums and attractions and gave us entry into the Settlement exhibition. Well worth doing if you are staying in the capital for a few days. 

Where we stayed

Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel
We stayed in the city centre at the Skuggi hotel before our drive around the country. We thought this 3-star hotel was good value as it had daily buffet breakfast and was only 5 mins walk from the main shopping street Laugavegur. The rooms were modern, stylish and exceptionally clean.  

When we returned to Reykjavik for one night before our flight home we stayed at the Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel, a stunning and very beautiful boutique hotel, not far from Laugavegur. 

Where we ate
Kopar

We had a tasty meal at Hraðlestin an Indian restaurant not far from Harpa, and Kopar, where we had an outstanding meal for my birthday. The location of Kopar was perfect too, right in the marina, with a great view. We also took a tour with the Reykjavik Food Walk which I would highly recommend for a taste of Icelandic cuisine as well as a humorous tour of the city. 

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Tell me would you visit Iceland? What do you think of my suggestions in Reykjavik?

* Settlement Exhibition Flickr CC 
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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

What To Wear In Dubai

Dubai is one of those places that is a rich mix of modern and traditional culture. A playground for the rich and famous, it's streets are defined by extravagance. From supercars to skyscrapers, it's definitely a place to visit if you like the finer things in life.

There are certain fashion rules that you may need to watch out for when visiting Dubai so here designer footwear retailer, Daniel Footwear, and The Diary Of A Jewellery Lover has produced a guide to show you what to wear in Dubai.

A fashion divide



Dubai has a distinct fashion divide. On one hand, Emirati women can be seen wearing traditional dress, including an abaya (long black robe), sheyla (scarf) and sometimes the niqab (face covering). However, expats and tourists tend to adopt more Westernised styles. Although it is not expected to adopt traditional dress it expected that you will remain respectful of the traditional dress code

Dress codes can vary depending on where you’re visiting. The following is intended as a guide only and you should always double-check the specifics of the dress code beforehand.

At the pool or beach


With temperatures in the 90s in Summer, you will undoubtedly want to take a dip in your hotel pool or the beautiful Persian Gulf during your time in Dubai.

At hotel pools, there are generally few rules regarding swimwear, although you shouldn’t go topless. Likewise, you may be asked to cover up if you wear thong or revealing bikinis. To complement Dubai’s thriving, colourful culture, choose a bikini or swimsuit in a bold print or colour — rich jewel tones are a great choice.

To the mall


Dubai is the destination for all you lovers of luxury shopping out there. As well as the Mall of The Emirates, with Prada, Rolex and Bvlgari, you also have The Dubai Mall, home to the likes of Christian Louboutin, Chanel and Tiffany & Co. Both malls have plenty of things to do besides shopping, including ice skating, cinemas and aquariums, and you can even go skiing indoors!

So how do you dress for Dubai’s elegant shopping malls? Most will have clear signs to inform you of their dress codes near their entrances, although there are some general rules to follow.

Although some of the malls may be located near the beach it’s not acceptable to stroll off the sand and into the mall while still wearing your swimwear or short-shorts. Avoid wearing bikini tops, sleeveless tops, short skirts and sheer or revealing clothing to the mall.

Dress codes will vary from mall-to-mall, but covering your knees and shoulders is generally a sign that you’re dressed appropriately. Chic maxi dresses are a great option — wear yours with a thin cardigan cover-up. In the shopping malls, air conditioning is often fierce so you will be thankful of that cardi. In terms of footwear, flats are a great choice. The malls are huge, so leave the heels behind and wear some comfy but elegant sandals instead.

Partying til dawn


You've caught the sun rays and shopped ‘til you dropped, now it's time to prepare for a big night out. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to city centre hotspots in Dubai, with a huge range of fine dining establishments, cocktail bars and popular nightclubs to choose from. As these are normally located in hotels, the dress code offers a little more freedom.

In hotel bars, restaurants and nightclubs, you can flash a little more flesh — with short skirts, sheer detailing or sleeveless dresses all acceptable. Pack your cocktail dress and go all out with glitzy accessories and party-ready heels. If you’re venturing outside of your hotel, you should always check what the dress code is.

If you’re jetting off to Dubai this year, make sure you pack the following in your suitcase:

Cocktail dress
Cover-up cardigan
Party-ready heels
Colourful swimwear
Maxi dress

Dubai is a great city full of fabulous things to see and do, great dining destinations, chic cocktail bars and gorgeous beaches. If you want to read more abut what to do in 24 hours in Dubai, check out my blog post. Have fun!

*PR collaboration
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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

8 Easy Ways To Save Money On Your Gas And Electricity Bills

Ok, I like my luxuries but I am not one to waste money on essentials. I'd rather take that money and spend it on a holiday or nice meal out. That's why when I was asked if I wanted to work with Contact Numbers UK to promote their #ChallengeMyBills campaign I said yes. 

The Challenge My Bills campaign looks at ways to save money on your utility bills. We all want to save money don't we, but sometimes it seems like a hassle to do it. Here are my top tips on easy ways to save money on your gas and electricity bills.

1. Wrap up



An old tip but a good tip is to wrap up when it's cold. Instead of putting the heating on, use your thermals,  add an extra layer, put a cardigan on, pop your socks on and slippers. Why not get a blanket out if its exceptionally cold? You will be surprised at the difference this will make to your cosiness and your heating bills too.

2. Turn off

This means turning off the lights when you are out of a room, and turning off and unplugging electricals when not in use. When your phone is charged unplug it, you don't have to fully charge it at every moment. The Energy Saving Trust estimates you can save at least £30 a year but turning off appliances on standby.

3. Conserve water



A shower uses a third of the water of a bath, and this, in turn, can save you £18 a year on heating the water. Another way to conserve water is to use make sure any dripping tap is fixed as soon as possible. If it's dripping hot water think of it as pennies going down the drain, and those pennies can turn into pounds. If you are on a water meter this can cost you more too.

4. Draft proof

A simple but effective way to draft proof your home is to use old fashioned draft excluders on doors to stop the drafts and draft proof strips around your windows. In your loft, having effective and thick insulation can really help to stop heat escaping and save you money too. A quarter of your heat is lost through the roof in an un-insulated home. You may even be eligible for a grant for insulation so be sure to Google it!

5. Lower the temperature

Wash at a lower temperature, lower the thermostat on your home heating and rather than use a tumble dryer to dry do it the old fashioned way by using your line or a clothes airer. All this will save energy and in turn save you money.

6. Light the way

Energy saving lightbulbs although more expensive initially can save you money in the long term, as they last much longer and are more efficient. According to Which, replacing just one 60w bulb with a CFL bulb can save you £7 a year. If you think how many light bulbs you have in your home you can see how savings can be had.

7. Use your cooker effectively




Match the pan to the correct size hob, use all the layers in your steamer so your dinner will all cook at once, and batch cook your food so you use up all the oven shelves. I'm a big fan of my slow cooker which uses the energy of a lightbulb and makes tough cheap cuts of meat tender and delicious.

8. Question your tariff

Ring up your service provider and ask if you are on the best tariff. The Contact Numbers UK website has phone numbers for all the main service providers including British Gas, Southern Electric, NPower and more. They can tell you if you are on the right tariff for your usage, give advice on saving energy and help you set up a monthly direct debit which is the cheapest way to pay. If you have gas and electricity with the same provider that can save you money too so ask if they have any special deals.

Check out more energy saving ideas for your home on my blog post here. Do you have any tips on how to save money on your gas and electricity bills?

* in collaboration with Contact Numbers UK
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Sunday, 16 April 2017

Win Airport Lounge Tickets With Plaza Premium Lounges Heathrow Ends 14/05

It’s time for an extra dose of luxury with … Plaza Premium Lounges!

Whilst we all know about them, very few of us have actually experienced an airport lounge. Whether it’s a case of the unknown, the cost, or the hassle, we’re here to say it’s a lot easier than you think. 




Creating culinary delights, expert chefs draw from around the world, to offer both a hot and cold buffet to all guests. To accompany any tempting treat, there is also a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages on offer, all included in the price!

To help you relax ahead of your flight, the lounges include plenty of plush seating, free WIFI and lots of charging stations for last minute charging of your essential holiday items.

And don’t worry if you’ve not managed to fit in those last minute holiday treatments. With some lounges offering Wellness, the ideal destination for all beauty treatments, you will truly begin your holiday as a pampered passenger.

Heading away on a long-haul flight? No need to worry about checking into a hotel. Some of the lounges even offer luxurious shower facilities and beds, the ideal alternative if you have a longer layover or have travelled from afar to get to the airport. 


Plaza Premium Lounges in the UK



With four lounges in London Heathrow Airport at the moment and a promise of more to come, experiencing an airport lounge has never been easier.

You’ll find Plaza Premium Lounges in Terminals 2 and 4 Departures, and Terminal 2 and 4 Arrivals at London Heathrow.

For the affordable price of just £35 for two hours or £68 for ten hours, Plaza Premium Lounge offers a first class experience, without the hefty price tag. Simply book online or pay on the door ready for a seamless and effortless airport experience.

Whether you’re heading away on a weekend break, a family holiday or an adventure of a lifetime, there is no better way to begin a holiday than with Plaza Premium Lounges, adding an extra dose of luxury to any holiday.

WIN! If all this has put you in the holiday mood and got you reaching for the travel brochure we have TWO tickets to a Plaza Premium Lounge in London Heathrow! Entry is via the Gleam app below.



Win 2 tickets to Plaza Premium Lounge Heathrow

As listed on The Prizefinder, LoquaxSuper LuckyCompetition Database
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