Tuesday, 12 December 2017

My Beachwear Wishlist 2018

It's at this time of year, when I'm shivering in the cold, I start to think about where to jet off to next year. I love city breaks, exploring the culture of a place, eating local cuisine and seeing interesting architecture but I also love going somewhere warm, sitting at a beachside cafe and sipping a cocktail or two after a dip in the beachside pool or sea. 

Next year we will head back to Florida and we are thinking of exploring the Palm Beach area or Daytona Beach. After visiting the Florida Keys, Naples and Clearwater Beach in the past we know how lovely the Florida beaches can be, and how soft the golden sand is.

So with holiday plans comes shopping of course! Here is my beachwear wishlist for our 2018 Florida holiday.

Look 1

Costa Rica underwired top £28 and control brief £22 Pour Moi Simply Beach

I am a big print fan and this gorgeous Costa Rica print bikini from Pour Moi has a very tropical print. Suitable for us curvy ladies, the bra top goes up to a size 38 G and the control briefs up to a size 18.
Roxy Sun Crush Bag £22.50 House Of Fraser

This bag from Roxy is spacious, summery and easy to clean, made with a rubber and polyester mix. I love the size, as it looks so roomy and you can easily get a beach towel inside as well as everything else you need for a day on the beach. The print is pretty cool too.















Crocs - Blue 'Isabella Huarache' shoes £36 Debenhams

I was surprised when I realised these jelly style shoes were from Crocs, as they are not usually known for making the most stylish shoes but I think these are really cute. A combination of colour and comfort, these shoes have a soft flexible footbed and a vibrant blue colour scheme.


Look 2 


Seaspray Just Colour draped swimsuit in Grape Simply Beach £53.20 



If you prefer to cover up your tummy this draped swimsuit in the vibrant colour grape, by Seaspray is a good choice. The twist detail accentuated the bust and the ruching along the front of the costume has a slimming effect. It also goes up to size 24 which is great for larger ladies.





Seafolly Modern Love Kaftan £84 Simply Beach

The Seafolly Modern Love Kaftan has a gorgeous floral print design. The perfect cover all when you've had too much sun, it's light, floaty and feminine and oh so pretty too. In fact, it's so beautiful, all you need is a little clutch bag and some flip flops and it can take you from the beach to bar in no time.




Preea Patterned flat top sunglasses £12 Accessorize

These sunglasses from Accessorize have a subtle abstract design and a flattering shape. The colours are versatile and the lenses have UV protection. Coming with a protective pouch, at £12 these sunglasses are a mega bargain.

So here is my beachwear wishlist for 2018. What do you think of my choices? Are you off anywhere on holiday next year? What is your dream beach vacation?

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Monday, 11 December 2017

Pampering Ideas For The Festive Season

When it comes to the festive season, you need to be photo ready for pretty much every opportunity. There are so many Christmas meals and parties that occasionally even the prospect of dressing up again and putting on our makeup makes us feel tired. Sometimes we just need a little pamper session to make us feel better and what better time to pamper yourself than during the fun festive season.

Why not invite your friends or family members round and make a night of it? Instead of going out for a meal together, have a home cooked meal or a takeaway and spend some time together, pampering each other. Or you could have a night in alone and indulge in a scented bubble bath with a book - what could be better?

Whether you have a routine or not, there are plenty of things you can do to pamper yourself.

Set the scene 




Perhaps you’ll play some music, pour yourself a glass of wine or a cup of tea. Whilst chilling out with your hair mask on and your skin perfectly cared for, perhaps you will put a movie on for you all.

It's all about the scent



Pick out some scented candles and light them or perhaps open up a new reed diffuser so a nice relaxing scent fills the air. Pick a relaxing fragrance like lavender, or a Christmassy scented candle to get you into the festive spirit.


Get the foot spa out


Feet are often the forgotten body part - even during a pamper session. Giving them a treatment, exfoliating them and soaking them is bound to be relaxing and you will be grateful that you have taken the time to do it.

Treat your hair, face and nails


We all have a skincare routine but sometimes we miss certain aspects of it out when we are in a rush - skipping the toner or bypassing the serum. By giving yourself some time for a pamper session, you can take the time to really do the whole routine. It is amazing how relaxing it can actually be. Pop on a face mask, treat your hair to a special hair mask and do your nails whilst you have the time and opportunity to do so. Then pick out some skincare, perhaps one of the gift sets from Neal's Yard Remedies, and give it a try.

Buy some foodie treats




Whilst you may be treating yourself to some new skincare or haircare, don’t forget your tummy. Get your favourite treats in so that you can munch on them during the evening. Chocolate, popcorn, crisps - whatever is your vice, indulge in it. If you want to treat yourself to a glass of prosecco or champers, then why not?

Have a marathon





You may decide to put a film on but why not settle down on the sofa for the entire evening with a blanket and make it a marathon? Whether you decide to binge watch some chick flicks or a box set, nothing beats actually getting the time to sit down and watch more than one thing in a row.

Start that new book




If you’re like me then you probably have a pile of books to read - why not take the time to start that one you really want to read? Nothing beats the feeling of finishing that book you have been wanting to read for such a long time. 

Plan your next holiday


One of my indulgences is planning holidays and dreaming of my next vacation. Even if I don't have the pennies, there is something of pure escapism planning where I will go next.

How are you going to pamper yourself this Christmas? Do you have a pampering routine? If so, what do you do?


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Friday, 8 December 2017

A Christmas Dinner Cheat Sheet And Win a Hello Fresh Food Box Ends 24/12

I love receiving food boxes and Hello Fresh is one of the best. Hello Fresh is a recipe box that is delivered to your door on a weekly basis. Firstly you choose the recipes, secondly, the box is packed for you, the freshest ingredients with everything measured out, thirdly the box is delivered to your door on a day chosen by you. 



Each box comes with a recipe card and the recipes are easy to follow. The recipes are a mix of classics and slight twists on dishes. Recent favourites of mine have been Portuguese style chicken and Sicilian caponata for that authentic taste of Portuguese and Sicilian cuisine and also sausage pie when you just want comfort food on a cold day.  From classic dishes to veggie selections to family meals, Hello Fresh caters for a variety of people with different menu choices and needs.


Now Hello Fresh are experts at making everything easy to cook, with simple step-by-step instructions and great easy to follow photos, so this year they have produced something brilliant - the ultimate Christmas dinner cheat sheet

The Christmas dinner cheat sheet contains secret recipes, like how to make the best gravy and the perfect roast potato recipe, as well as what to do the night before and a breakdown of the timings for cooking Christmas dinner on Christmas day. So as you can see, it is a really useful guide for novice cooks and more experienced alike.

Now I don't know about you but I find planning, preparing and cooking Christmas dinner stressful. There are so many parts of the meal that have to be perfect, and you know that soggy potatoes, lumpy gravy and overcooked veg will just not make the grade, and will cause grumbles from the not so tactful guests, so anything that makes Christmas dinner easy to make is fine by me!


As an extra special treat to my readers, Hello Fresh are giving you the chance to win a Hello Fresh classic box up to £60 in value, when you download the Christmas Dinner cheat sheet.

Entry is easy via the Rafflecopter application below. If you are not sure how to enter check out this Rafflecopter guide here.



You can follow Hello Fresh on
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HelloFreshUK
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hellofreshuk/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hellofreshuk/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/HelloFreshUK

I hope you have a tasty and stress-free Christmas dinner and if you do enter this competition I wish you good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms and conditions
The competition is open to residents of the United Kingdom aged 18 years or over. 
There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition. 
By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions. 
Only one entry will be accepted per person. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified
Closing date for entry will be 23rd Dec 2017. After this date, then no further entries to the competition will be permitted. 
No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason. The prize is as stated and no cash or other alternatives will be offered. The prizes are not transferable.
The winner will be notified by email within 2 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 5 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner. 
The promoter will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected/is delivered. 
The prize is a HelloFresh standard box - classic for 2, 3 or 4 people up to £60 in value.

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Gift Ideas For Kids

With the festive season rapidly approaching, you’ve probably already started your Christmas shopping - but have you got everything? Have you thought about everyone you need to buy for? Perhaps you’ve got some kids gifts you need to buy. Here are some gift ideas for the children in your life.

For the little one



If you’ve got to buy for a baby or a toddler, it is known that they can be incredibly hard to buy for - after all, they usually have all they need. This Fisher-Price Bright Beats Dance and Move BeatBo is a light up, musical piece of fun that will make any baby happy at Christmas time.

For the one who loves fun with the whole family

It was a popular gift a few Christmases ago and there is a reason it is still in the top toys lists even now. Pie Face is a fun game that all the family can play at Christmas time and enjoy themselves. If the child you’re buying for loves playing games with their family and friends, then this will be great.

For the outdoor lover



If the child you are buying for loves to be outside, why not consider getting them a scooter from Skate Hut? They can scoot around outside to their heart's content and you can even pick the best scooter for their age on the site - get a toddler scooter for a little one, a micro scooter for someone a little older or a stunt scooter for the older child. There certainly is something for everyone. Also don't forget the helmet and knee pads too, which are essential. 

For the wannabe driver

I reviewed the Extreme Beast RC Car from Hawkins Bazaar here and it surely is the perfect remote control gift for the boy and girl in your life. Do they talk about the cars they want when they’re older? Do they like speed and fun? Then this is definitely the gadget for them.

For the one who has everything


Some children seem to have everything - and want everything too. This Hatchimals Surprise playset has been very popular this year and it isn’t hard to see why. It is probably already on their Christmas list, after all!

For the one who cares



If the child you are buying for loves to care for things, whether it be people or animals, perhaps this Fur Real Friends Makers Proto Max Electronic Toy would be the perfect gift. Provide them with a cute pup to care for without having to worry about everything that comes with a real-life dog.

These are just a few gift ideas for the children you might have to buy for this year. Perhaps you’ve found something above that will make the perfect gift for someone you know and love. Perhaps you’ve already bought one of the above?

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Thursday, 7 December 2017

Jewellery And Watch Wishlist Christmas 2017

So it's two weeks to Christmas and it's time to panic buy! I'm only joking, but if you need some jewellery or watch inspiration why not check out my jewellery and watch wishlist for Christmas 2017.

With a range of watches and jewellery for ladies everywhere, I have covered something for most ages and styles. 

For the fashion conscious watch lover

Skagen Anita Rose Gold Plated Mesh Bracelet Watch £165 F Hinds

I love the brand Skagen, and yet I am still to own a watch by them.  This needs to be resolved straight away, so I am going to leave my Mac open on this page for Mr W to see. The Danish-designed watch and jewellery brand are super cool at the moment and I love this Skagen Anita rose gold plated mesh bracelet watch. The watch band is slim and sleek, the rose colour catches the light and the design is simple yet chic. Available online and on the high street from F Hinds jewellery and watches. 

For the stacking ring lover

Sterling silver Serenity stacking ring set £423 Dower and Hall

This sterling silver Twinkle ring set by British company Dower and Hall features a 3mm round aquamarine on a wavey band, a marquise blue topaz on a plain dotty band, an oval white topaz on a granular dotty twinkle ring, a plain dotty ring and a 3mm white sapphire on a wavey peapod band.  What I love about these rings is that they are so versatile. Wear on their own, or stack them how you wish for a fashion statement.


For the one you love

Paloma Picasso Loving Heart necklace 18 ct £795 Tiffany and Co.

I adore this Paloma Picasso Loving Heart necklace from Tiffany and Co. In 18 ct rose gold, this dainty design of four hearts with a diamond at the centre is adorable and would make a great gift for someone you love. Packaged in the trademark Tiffany and Co box, she will be delighted with this necklace on Christmas morning.

For the Disney collector

Pandora Disney Cinderella bracelet £635 John Greed Jewellery

Pandora is a name many of you will know and this bracelet will be loved by many out there. Incredibly girly with lots of sparkles, this Pandora Disney Cinderella bracelet is perfect for Disney fans everywhere. I particularly think the heart charm with the quote "a dream is a wish your heart makes" is super cute. Priced at £635 from John Greed Jewellery it's not cheap for sure but it is beautiful.

For a twist on a Christmas engagement

Morganite and Diamond Halo engagement ring £2195 Browns Family Jewellers 

Christmas and New Year is a time of year that people propose.  If you want something slightly more unusual than a classic diamond engagement ring then I think this Morganite and Diamond halo engagement ring fits the bill perfectly from Browns Family Jewellers. The pinky-orange hue morganite is offset by the array of brilliant cut diamonds. A real showstopper this ring is simply stunning.

For the health and fitness fan

Hybrid Smartwatch Q Gazer £179 Fossil

Combining style with functionality, this Hybrid smartwatch Q Gazer from Fossil. has a built-in activity tracker that can track steps, distance and calories burned. Compatible with Android OS 5 and above and iPhone 5 and OS 9 and above, its a cool watch that does so much more than tell the time and I like the mix of navy and rose gold.

For the drop earring connoisseur 
Light of Luna earrings £179 Thomas Sabo

I really like these silver drop earrings by Thomas Sabo. The white zirconia crystals add a touch of sparkle and the blue synthetic corundum has a faceted look. A lovely pair of earrings to wear out for a meal, to a Christmas party or for Christmas dinner.

So this is my jewellery and watches wishlist for Christmas 2017. Do you have any jewellery or watches on your Christmas wishlist? What do you think of the items I have chosen?

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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

5 Time Saving Tips To Take Care Of Your Garden


Taking care of your garden can be a long and arduous task. If you don’t keep on top of it, then the jobs you need to do can become so big that you are reluctant to get started on it. Work, family, life, in general, can often get in the way and certain jobs around the house and garden fall by the wayside. Perhaps you need some tips to help you take care of your garden whilst also saving you some time. Here are five top time-saving tips to help you to take care of your garden.

1. Ditch the lawn



Well, maybe not entirely. So many people are now opting for the best grass solutions for their needs and this often includes getting rid of their real grass and opting for an artificial alternative. It is becoming ever more popular as artificial grass requires such little care, attention and time spent on it compared to real grass - no mowing needed, no hydration or food for the grass. Many artificial kinds of grass these days look more realistic than ever. All you need to do is choose the best solution for you and your household.

2. Make it smaller



Whilst a large space may be just what you wanted when you moved in, sometimes our needs and requirements change. If you are finding it hard to keep on top of your garden, perhaps consider adding a patio or a bricked area to break it up a little. Or create a seating area for you and your family to enjoy, knowing that you haven’t got so much garden to look after.

3. Choose plants that need limited TLC


Be picky about the plants and flowers that you choose. Choose flowers that don’t require dead-heading or pick those that have long bloom seasons to minimise the amount of upkeep you need to do, aside from the general watering. Consider planting disease resistant plants. If you are not sure which ones are, nursery employees and fellow gardeners can help you identify the best or most resistant varieties of many plants. Succulent plants are long-lasting and can be the perfect plant for the non-gardener.

A simple way to save time is to water less often but for longer - a deep soak once a week is better than frequent more shallow waterings but this can depend on the soil. You can even grow perennials that return year upon year, saving you time replanting.

4. Make sure your tools are easy to access


When it comes to gardening, the worst thing is when you’ve made a start on it and have to keep stopping to go and get something else. Ensure your garden tools are organised and easy to access when actually in the garden and make sure they are stored together. You don’t want to be running all around the house or searching the shed constantly for those different tools you require.

5. Make it simpler for yourself by taking advice



See what your neighbours do in their gardens - do they only plant certain flowers? Do they have decking and a limited amount of garden space? Have they switched to an artificial lawn? Taking advice from family, friends and neighbours who love gardening will surely help you come up with some ideas to keep your garden to a standard that you enjoy but that doesn’t take you too long to maintain. Neighbours with gardens will know what the soil is like and the best plants to nurture and grow, so ask their advice.

Knowing what works and doesn’t work in a garden for someone who doesn’t want to take too much time out of their day is important. Make it simpler on yourself by asking those in the know.

Tell me, do you have a garden? Do you have any top tips on taking care of your garden?

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Monday, 4 December 2017

Food Tour Review Of Nolita New York with Foods Of NY

One of my favourite ways to see a city is on a food tour. Combing local history with delicious food, I think there is no better way to get at the heart of what the city is about and taste its local cuisine. On a recent trip to New York to celebrate Mr W's birthday we were given tickets for the Nolita and Little Italy's Secrets food and culture walking tour by Foods of NY.

Foods Of NY have a variety of food tours including Chinatown, Chelsea and the Highline and the best of Brooklyn but the Nolita and Little Italy's Secrets food tour sounded perfect for us, due to the combination of food offered and the history we wanted to hear about.

New York's Nolita area is also known as North Of Little Italy. It's a neighbourhood in the borough of Manhattan, with an upscale vibe. Looking forward to some great food and history of the area, it was with some excitement that we met at the meeting point - the Little Cupcake Bakeshop. Our guide Jordan was early and with big smiles all around, he introduced himself to the group. Our group was made up of between 10-15 people from all as far away as New Zealand, and South Korea to even some local New Yorkers.




We were given a bottle of water for our tour, which was very welcome as it was a warm day, and before long we were onto our first tasting - a Brooklyn blackout cupcake from the Little Cupcake Bakeshop.

This moist little cupcake with a chocolate sponge was filled with a delicious chocolate ganache and topped with a smooth and dreamy chocolate buttercream. This chocolately delight was every sweet tooth cake lovers dream and I can see why it was hailed one of the best chocolate cakes in the US by Food and Wine magazine. 


They also looked pretty too and were devoured in seconds!


After a brief interlude, we were onto our next stop Emporio Ristorante. This Italian restaurant was the sort that seemed unassuming from the outside, but what a gem it was. We were led into the back and told stories of how stars such as Leonardo di Caprio have been spotted here. This restaurant is known for its Roman-style pizzas and we were delighted to be shown how a good pizza from Rome is made.   




A simple medium thick base, topped with cheese (no red sauce) and the freshest ingredients, it was popped into the hottest pizza oven for less than a couple of minutes and voila! Topped with rocket, Parma ham, more cheese and cherry tomatoes it was a great pizza.






If you are ever in the area, I recommend you stop by to Emporio Ristorante as well as good food you could spot a film star!

Before our next stop, Jordan our guide talked about the area. When he moved here 15 years ago he was almost scared to go out, now the area is gentrified and is a lovely place to live, consequently, the cost of houses has gone up immensely. I guess that's the challenge of living in a big city and having safe areas to live but also affordable housing, which should be available to everyone.  



Our next stop was Tartinery. This super cool spot was amazing inside and so was the food. Their signature offering, tartine - which is an artisan bread topped with scrumptious ingredients is the base for every meal. Rocket or arugula as they call it in the US, amazing deli style slivers of beef with parmesan shavings and all topped with a smothering of truffle oil made the simplest ingredients a mouthwatering sensation. 



A glass of red wine accompanied our tasting and was the perfect foil to the dish.




While we were here, Jordan pointed out the artwork on the wall worth thousands of dollars, by street artist Invader. covered over to protect it.




A shabby chic cocktail bar was next, we stopped at Oficina Latina for cocktails (at our own expense) and braised short rib arepa.



Arepa is a type of food made of ground maize dough or cooked flour prominent in the cuisines of Colombia and Venezuela. The short rib was delicious and it was in a bun made of the maize similar to polenta. Now I am personally not a massive fan of polenta and did find this bun a little heavy but ate all the short rib none the less. Mr W enjoyed his classic margarita cocktail for sure.

Then we walked to our next spot, Tacombi, passing by where Martin Scorsese, the film director used to live. Jordan told us the story of the local butcher now well into his 90's that still works opposite Martin Scorsese's old house. Martin was sent to the butchers by his mum every week and the butcher became almost part of the family. Although now moved out of this area, on a recent birthday Martin Scorsese closed the street and held a party in honour of this butcher and family friend. How lovely, and what a great community spirit! 





Tacombi with 4 locations in New York shares authentic Mexican taco culture from taquerias in Mexico. Our tasting here was Mexican roasted corn topped with a spicy mayonnaise. This was incredibly tasty but a little too hot for me, although Mr W lapped it up. If you needed more spice, hot sauce was available on the table, and watermelon juice if you needed your mouth to cool down. This was gorgeous and a great little taster to accompany the corn.



I really loved this place though! Such a cool vibe, with a street food van in the centre of the restaurant it was super casual but great fun! I would definitely return here.


Our last stop was a tiny little shop called Stick With Me. This boutique chocolate shop has been getting a fabulous reputation for the most exquisite chocolates and we were lucky enough to finish our tour with a taste.





These amazing bonbons were some of the best chocolate I have ever had, so soft and truffle-like in the middle with a crispy shell, they were just divine.

And so with a heavy heart but a full stomach, we finished our food tour of the Nolita area with Foods of NY. This three tour was full of delicious treats, history, laughs and even some wine. For $54 it was a steal (gratuity not included) and I felt we got to see an area of NY, a first time or even returning visitor would not have seen in such detail.  Vegetarian diets and food allergies catered for too and as it's the No 1 Food Tour on Tripadvisor to New York, you see it comes highly recommended. If you have a chance to do a food tour of New York I can definitely recommend the Nolita and Little Italy's Secrets Food tour. 

Check out the video below from the Fly Drive Explore blog and YouTube channel I create with Mr W.



Nolita and Little Italy's Secret Food Tour
Foods Of NY
PHONE: +1 (855) 223-8684
HOURS: 6am – 11pm EST, 7 Days
https://www.foodsofny.com/foods-ny-tours/nolita-noho/
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