Win A Personalised Necklace From Belle Fever Ends 25/08/15

I think it's alway nice to give something personal to the ones you love. I know I love receiving personal items too. The fashion for personalised jewellery is something which I have followed since owning my own jewellers years ago. Charm bracelets and engraved jewellery were popular then, as it is now.

One company that approached me recently to review an item from their website was Belle Fever. Belle Fever specialise in personalised jewellery for that someone special.

Some of the personalised designs from Belle Fever

Belle Fever is run by the owner and founder of the company, Sarah. Recently I interviewed her to find out more about the company.

Hi Sarah. Belle Fever is a new company to me, can you tell me when did you start your business?- I started this business on Valentines Day 2012.

What is unique about your jewellery?  Each piece is handcrafted and inscribed with the choice of names, quotes or dates. Each piece is made especially for you. No two pieces will ever be the same. That is our unique selling point.

Do you have a favourite piece of jewellery you own? I always wear my gold name necklace which I never take off and my infinity anklet.

What are your plans for the future? We are expanding in the US and UK and hope to offer other women the chance to build their own Belle Fever business through a customised program that will show them our blueprint to success. We also plan to add more designs to our collection.

Sarah says on her website that her dream was simple:- 

  • To allow everyone to capture those Moments in Life;
  • To create unique designs that make us as unique as our personalities;
  • To be able to keep love ones close always;
  • To make it affordable for everyone;
  • To start a family heirloom that can be passed on to generations; and
  • Quite simply to solve all your gifting ideas with something different yet affordable for everyone.
I was lucky to be able to receive an item of jewellery from Belle Fever to review. I wanted a piece of jewellery that my mum would love. She loves the rich colour of rose gold so I picked this beautiful piece below.

My personalised necklace - shadow on the left is from the light

I honestly couldn't fault the quality of the My Family Tree pendant I ordered, it came within 2 weeks from Austrailia which I thought was very quick. It felt well made and looked very pretty in a rich rose gold tone. It isn't gold but for this price you don't expect it as it is currently selling for £39. The engraving was perfect and the little hearts betwen the names were very cute.  What is also great is that the snake chain comes in two lengths and both have an extender. The 45cm chain extends to 50cm and the 60cm chain extends to 65cm. This is very useful if you want to adjust a chain depending on th neckline of what you are wearing. 

The My Family Tree necklace also comes in monel silver which is non allergic and monel yellow gold. Monel is a type of plating that is non allergic and anti tarnish, so you don't have to worry that your silver will start going black with tarnish or your gold will get brown marks.

It makes a great gift for a grandma and mum especially. I gave this necklace to my mum and she started crying... with happiness :) If you are reading this, sorry to embarrass you mum!

Today on my blog I am giving you a chance to win a Tree Of Life necklace in you choice of silver, yellow gold or rose gold monel. You can enter daily so why don't you bookmark this page if you would really love to win. 

Whilst you are here I also have this competition running to win an oriental rug with Funky Rugs. 

Good luck all!

More competitions at ThePrizeFinder 

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Win A Tree Of Life Necklace From Belle Fever

Summer 2015 Fashion Wishlist

Here are some ideas for fashion looks for the summer, featuring some of my favourite pieces from my favourite brands.

Fashion Look 1

I love printed skirts and this pretty printed skirt from luxury brand Gilmar Lab, is very flattering on, skimming and non-clinging, so cool for summer. Wear with a simple top in any of the colours that match the skirt print.
The Michael Kors purse is in classic black but has a grain finish which I adore, and the Michael Kors iconic gold letting on the front
This tote bag from Gilmar Lab is spacious and roomy and would be great for shopping. The flower design just makes me feel happy looking at it!

Skirt Gilmar Lab
Bag Gilmar Lab
Purse Michael Kors from House Of Fraser 

Fashion Look 2

Fit and flare dresses are superbly flattering on. The Balinese print fit and flare dress by Uttam Boutique is in a mint summer garden print and has a cute geometric waistband too.
These gorgeous earrings by House of Fraser have a lovely warm rose gold colour and a touch of sparkle - simply stunning. House of Fraser have some great jewellery brands including Michael Kors, Pandora and Thomas Sabo.
This patent fold-over bag by Dune can be used day or night and adds some understated glamour to the dress.
The soft metallic flat sandals by Italian company Fabi Boutique are the perfect pretty practical footwear. The rose metal detailing adds extra glamour - tres chic!

Dress Uttam Boutique House Of Fraser
Earrings Michael Kors at House Of Fraser
Bag Dune at John Lewis
Sandals Fabi Boutique

Fashion Look 3

This gorgeous dress in a contrast flower print from Coast could be worn at any summer occasion such as a day at the races, graduation or wedding.
These stunning quartz earrings by Fabi Boutique are in a pretty lilac colour. Rhodium-plated to keep their shine, I like the way in which they would move when worn.
If I am going to wear heels I prefer wedges to a kitten heel. These wedge sandals, which are glamorous as well as practical, by Fabi Boutique have a patent t-bar with leaf detailing.

 Dress Caralynn Coast
 Earrings Fabi Boutique
 Sandals Donna Patent Fabi Boutique

Tell me which items are your favourite?

Top Things To Do In Dubai

Dubai is one of those countries that is a fascinating mix of the old and the very new. Being one of the seven Emirates that makes up the U.A.E. the city has really grown in the last 50 years. 

When you drive into the city all you see are skyscrapers and tall buildings littering the skyline. This city is home to the tallest building in the world, The Burj Khalifa and one of the most, if not THE most luxurious hotels in the word, The Burj Al Arab. 

It is a city of contrasts and a city you will never forget. I visited Dubai a few years ago and would love to go back one day. Here is my guide to the top things to do in Dubai.

Afternoon Tea In The Burj Al Arab

The Burj Al Arab

This beautiful hotel's claim to fame is that it is the only '7-star' hotel in the world. Standing on an artificial island, it is known for its shape, which is designed to mimic the sails of a ship. Inside the luxurious hotel has butler service, dancing fountains and 24-carat gold pillars, whilst every whim is catered for. There is even a helipad on the roof for the millionaires that stay here. 

Inside The Burj Al Arab

However, if you would like a little insight into how the rich live, an afternoon tea where you can sip champagne is highly recommended. The food is delicate but keeps coming so you will leave satisfied. 

One Of The Many Courses Of Afternoon Tea

Tiny sandwiches, little pastries, scrumptious cakes and warm delicious scones, with a glass of bubbly, is served up with smiles and a touch of class. 
Pouring Champagne 

The attention to detail is amazing, the champagne is even poured in a certain way so the bubbles come up the centre of the glass.

Go To The Top Of The Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa is World's tallest hotel at over 829m or 2722 ft.  No other building compares in size and it is three times as tall as The Eiffel Tower.  You may recognise it from the Mission Impossible films where Tom Cruise famously filmed his own stunts on the top of this skyscraper. Recommended is a trip to the top, to see the views from the safe enclosure. It has the longest single elevator in the world and you are whisked to the top at speeds of up to 600m a minute. 

Top Of The Burj Khalifa

To be at the top of the World's tallest building is an amazing but surreal experience, with other buildings almost minuscule in the distance. 

Shopping In A World Of Contrasts

The Gold Souk

Dubai is known for shopping, having both one of the largest shopping centres in the World, The Mall Of The Emirates and the old town souks where traders and shoppers haggle for the best price. 

The Mall Of The Emirates is a shopper's paradise with over 700 stores from luxury brands such as Burberry to high street stores such as Top Shop, it is all here.  As well as shops, it also caters for hungry shoppers with over 90 food outlets and cafes, as well as a multi-screen cinema and entertainment centre and an indoor ski centre. Yes, you heard me correctly, in this country where temperatures can reach 45 degrees C in the summer, you can go skiing indoors. A slightly surreal experience I can tell you!

If you want something more traditional head to the city's souks for a vibrant and interesting experience.  The sites that meet your eyes in the Gold Souk are jaw-dropping. Every store has shelves and shelves of beautiful gold chains, and every precious stone imaginable can be found here. Then further on, there are the colourful sites of The Textile Souk and the wonderful smells of the Perfume and Spice Souks. Haggling is acceptable in the souks although in the Gold Souk the cost is based on the market rate of gold so savings are small. 

Family Fun In The Water And In The Sand 

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

You may feel a little trepidation taking your kids to Dubai as the culture may be different to what you are used to but don't! Dubai is very family friendly. Here are some important facts, that may help you in visiting the UAE with kids.

For family fun head to Aquaventure water park at the Atlantis Palm hotel. This attraction has river rapids, waves, waterfalls, and slides. If you love animals it also has an aquarium, with dolphins and sea lions, and you can even learn to dive at the 5-star PADI dive centre.  If you want to relax and take it easy there is also a lovely beach area.  A great place to spend a day, Aquaventure has something for all the family.  

Jumeirah Beach has beautiful sand and warm water. Take a boat trip on the water or ride on an inflatable with beautiful views of the iconic Arabic hotels in the distance. 

While you are here why no go 'dune bashing'. Slap on the sunscreen and don't forget the water then strap yourself into a twin seater buggy. These vehicles have a full roll cage, and safety harnesses to take you at speeds up and down the dunes for an exhilarating activity. 

As you can see Dubai has something for all the family and as there are so many things to do in Dubai it is a holiday destination for everyone. A true shopping destination in the middle of the desert, with the highest building in the world, the most luxurious hotel in the world, and even a ski centre in the middle of the desert I think you can see Dubai is surreal, surreal but so much fun! 

Tell me, have you ever been to Dubai?

Swimwear Then And Now

As fashion has changed through the years, so has swimwear styles. From the high waisted bikinis of the '40s and 50's film stars to the high legged swimsuits worn in the '80s by Pamela Anderson on the Baywatch beach to the sports style bikinis of athletes today, made for performance as well as style. 

Swimsuits years ago were modestly cut and covered much of the female form. Then they got smaller and smaller to the barely-there bikini and cut out swimsuit. Today the 50's styles have come back around in fashion, popularised by stars such as Dita Von Teese. Retro is cool again. 

Yet fashion today is not defined by the era as it was years ago. There aren't rules any more, and I would say wear what suits your sense of style, and your body shape. To some, comfort is of the utmost importance and this is where sports style bikinis and classic swimsuits would suit, whilst to others wearing as little as possible to get that all-over tan is important, so the barely-there swimsuit or a fringed or teeny weeny bikini would be their choice. If you are worried about your tummy then a high waisted bikini or corset-style swimsuit will hold you in and be supportive.

So wear what swimwear you like, there is a lot of choice today, and have fun by the pool or on the beach!

What style of swimsuit do you wear?

* PR collaboration

A California And Vegas Road Trip

San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, And The Grand Canyon

I love California. The beautiful climate and diverse scenery is a real joy when travelling around. I have been lucky to visit Los Angeles before but this year myself and my husband decided to plan a Pacific Coast Highway road trip to California, rounding the trip off in Las Vegas. This was the plan we decided on below.

Our California And Vegas Road Trip Planner

California stretches from the Mexican border for nearly 900 miles and is home to more than 37 million people. It has dramatic scenery including desert, vineyards, mountains, forests and cliff-lined beaches and more coastline than almost any other American state other than Alaska.

We had 15 days to explore California and Vegas and we knew we wanted to take in some of the sights we hadn't visited before such as Napa Valley, the Pacific Coast Highway and San Diego. This is our trip as an overview, for more detailed trip reports check out my blog links at the bottom of this post.

San Francisco


This iconic city is on most people's bucket list. Take a trip on the ferry to Alcatraz and see where Robert Stroud the 'Birdman of Alcatraz' and Al Capone were incarcerated. The audio tour is free and well worth doing. 

Chinatown was an amazing assault on our senses, you walk under a tunnel and when you come out the other end it feels you are transported to China!  

You must take a photo of the Golden Gate bridge. If you are feeling fit you can take a ferry to Sausalito an then bike over it. Fishermans Wharf is home to Pier 39 with the famous sea lions that have taken up base here and lots of tourist shops and restaurants. 

Union Square is great for shopping, and while you are feeling peckish stop off at The Cheesecake Factory on the top floor of Macy's. For a great tour at your own pace consider the Hop On, Hop Off bus tour.

Where We Stayed 
Tuscan Inn Fisherman's Wharf has a complimentary wine hour and is within walking distance to the main attractions in this area.
Where to Eat
Fog Harbour Fisherman's Wharf is a lovely seafood restaurant. For a fun meal try a meal at Bubba Gump. This chain based on the film Forest Gump is really enjoyable. Be sure to watch the film before you go as they quiz you on the film.
What Not To Miss
Alcatraz, Chinatown and the sea lions at Pier 39. 
Top Tip
Book Alcatraz before you go as tickets sell out at least a month in advance in high season.

Napa Valley

Beautiful Scenery in Napa Valley

This beautiful area of California is known for it's many vineyards and wineries and excellent food. 

We took a guided tour of the Robert Mondavi Winery. Our guide was interesting and informative and we learnt about the process of growing grapes through to the picking, and bottling of the wine. The tour finished with a wine tasting. I highly recommend this tour, for little over £20 we had a brilliant time.

Visit Oxbow market for vibrant eateries, and a bustling Farmers market. For a gourmet meal in a beautiful historic train, try the Wine Train for gorgeous views over Napa and Sonoma.

Where We Stayed
Embassy Suites Napa Valley is in a pretty setting. Sit watching the swans and ducks in the ponds whilst drinking complimentary wine and eating snacks at the happy hour every night.
Where to Eat
Celadon, Napa Valley has fabulous California food. 
What Not To Miss
Take a tour of the Vineyards and learn about Napa wine, finish off with a wine tasting.
Top Tip
If you are visiting on the weekend Napa gets busy. Be sure to book any tours in advance.


Old Fisherman's Wharf Monterey

This small seaside town was more beautiful than I expected and also more touristy. We walked from Monterey to Cannery Row, made famous in the John Steinbeck books along the seafront. Along our walk we saw a seal in the harbour and it is possible to take a boat trips to watch whales from Monterey as well.

Where We Stayed
The Portola Hotel in Monterey's Old Fisherman's Wharf is a classy hotel right in the heart of the town.
Where to Eat
One of the many fish shacks or restaurants with a sea view on Old Fishermans Wharf.
What Not To Miss
The mile walk from Monterey to Cannery Row.
Top Tip
The Aquarium in Cannery Row is highly rated if you have time to visit.

The Pacific Coast Highway

Some Of The Scenery On The Pacific Coast Highway

This exhilarating 123-mile drive of the Pacific Coast Highway from Monterey to Morro Bay is known as one of the most beautiful and dramatic drives you can ever experience. The drive along the cliffs of California has stunning scenery from mountain, cliffs and the redwood forests of The Big Sur to clear blue crystal ocean. 

The Danish Town Of Solvang

We started at Monterey then stopped in Carmel for lunch on the first day, with an overnight stop in Pismo Beach, then Solvang on the second day, on our way to Los Angeles. Carmel is a pretty quaint little town, known for its ex-governor Clint Eastwood, whilst Solvang is an interesting and surreal Danish village. Don't forget to stop off at Piedras Blancas Beach, this is otherwise known as Elephant Seal Beach, just look below to see why!

Elephant Seal Beach

Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach

We decided to stop off at Pismo Beach on our way to LA to break up our journey. This classic beach town is approximately half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles. We took it easy on our overnight stop here and enjoyed simply strolling the boardwalk and visiting the little pier along the beach. 

Where We Stayed
Seaventure, Pismo Beach is right on the beach. Push the boat out with a sea view and a hot tub on the balcony.
Where to Eat
We ate in the hotel, the bar upstairs has sea views and a great atmosphere.
What Not To Miss
The white sand beach, perfect to sunbathe and relax whilst you have a chance.
Top Tip
The Seaventure has a great happy hour, try the cocktails and tapas-style snacks on the rooftop bar.

Los Angeles

The Hollywood Sign

Los Angeles is spread out. We stayed in Hollywood this time but Santa Monica is also a lovely base. 

Visit Hollywood and follow the stars on the floor of the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, walk in the shoes of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and shop in Rodeo Drive, and visit the Hollywood Museum for some old school glamour.

A film tour is highly recommended. Warner Brothers was amazing, you get to see a working studio and visit the museum which houses a collection of Harry Potter memorabilia as well as costumes from many of top Hollywood films. They also have a collection of cars such as those from Batman films, The Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo, and even the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard.

For theme parks, you can't beat Universal Studios, whilst Disneyland California is here too. See all human life at Venice Beach, a cool place to go people watching, and see the end of Route 66 at Santa Monica pier, before stopping to shop at the Third Street Promenade.

Where We Stayed
Loews Hollywood is an oasis of calm right in the heart of the action, next to Mann's Chinese theatre.
Where to Eat
Katsuya Hollywood is a trendy Japanese restaurant, with great food. Watch out for a Hollywood star - Mark Wahlberg has been spotted here amongst others.
What Not To Miss
A tour of a film studio such as Warner Bros or Paramount Studios. Go in the week to see the studio in a working environment.  
Top Top
Research star spotting before you go. Stars hang out at The Ivy, Spago Beverly Hills, Bar Marmont and The Grove.

San Diego

 USS Midway

San Diego is a city at the southernmost part of California, only a few miles from Mexico. It is a pretty and interesting city.

To be in the heart of the action, the Gaslamp area has lots of restaurants and nightlife whilst Balboa Park is home to a large number of museums and the World renowned San Diego Zoo.

Take a stroll along the beautiful Seaport area with lots to see and do such as the USS Midway, The Bob Hope monument and the statue of a marine and his girlfriend having their last kiss called 'Unconditional Surrender'. If you have more time a trip to La Jolla for its beaches and Coronado Island with its boutique shops is a must.

Where We Stayed
Marriott Courtyard San Diego Gaslamp Quarter is a historic hotel in an old bank. Go to the vault in the bottom of the hotel, we felt like spies in a James Bond film:) 
Where to Eat
Seasons 52 in Seaport is part of the healthy eating chain. Have one of the shot glass desserts for a naughty but calorie counted end to a meal.
What Not To Miss
Take a boat trip. We went on a Seal Tour and saw sea lions and dolphins in Shelter Island, which was amazing.

Las Vegas

New York New York Las Vegas From A Helicopter

Las Vegas is one of those places you will never forget. The hotels have to be seen to be believed and many are complete resorts in their own right. You don't have to gamble to have fun in Vegas but many of the hotels have casinos. 

The Venetian and Pallazzo hotel is the biggest hotel in the World and has over 7000 rooms and suites but you would never guess as the service was excellent throughout. Take a walk to a replica of St Marks Square, Venice, complete with pretend sky and clouds, a trip in a gondola complete with operatic singers and shop and eat in the many hotels and restaurants all under cover. 

Take a ride up The Eiffel Tower in the Paris hotel, or eat in Mon Ami Gabi, one of its restaurants for a view of The Bellagio fountain water show.

If you have time you must visit the Grand Canyon by car or helicopter. We took a helicopter tour with Sundance Helicopters and couldn't fault the trip, including a champagne picnic in the Grand Canyon.

Where We Stayed
The Venetian - the suites are huge, opulent and a bargain midweek. We paid £130 a night.
Where to Eat
For a special occasion, you can't beat the revolving restaurant at the top of The Stratosphere Hotel. Amazing food and a tremendous view, go at sunset for stunning vistas. After your meal, stand in awe of those mad people on one of the three rides at the top of the 350-metre high hotel.
What Not To Miss
Vegas is known for its shows. From the Cirque Du Soleil shows to big-name stars such as Elton John, to small intimate lounge bar shows, it's all here in Vegas. 
Top Tip
Hotels are cheap in Vegas, as hoteliers want to encourage you to gamble. Prices for hotels are also cheaper midweek than on the weekend.

You can do the trip DIY or check out one of the many multi-centre holidays to the USA. So this is a snippet of our Californian and Vegas road trip. As you can see we covered a lot in 15 days. It was one of those holidays I will never forget and if you do get the chance I urge you to go - you won't regret it. For more places to explore in California check out this post. 

The Grand Canyon And Hoover Dam

You can read more about my road trip here:

My friends at eShores have been a great help in putting this together, all words and opinions are my own 

San Diego In 48 Hours

San Diego is the southern most part of California and only 20 minutes from Mexico. It is a lovely city with great architecture, welcoming people and lots to see and do. We only had 48 hours to experience what San Diego has to offer so we only touched the surface but we would definitely return in the future. This is a taster of what we did.

Where To Go - Balboa Park

Balboa Park

The people of San Diego are justifiably proud of Balboa Park, which they call a 'landscape of arts and culture'. With 17 museums, 5 gardens and the San Diego Zoo all nestling in this park, you could spend a whole week here and still have more to see.

Japanese Garden

We visited the Japanese garden, an oasis of tranquillity. Due to a water shortage in California, the gardens were not as lush and green as I expected but still beautiful. We marvelled at the Bonsais and the colourful Koi carp and walked around soaking up the atmosphere. 

We didn't have much time to visit the museums but if we had a chance to visit again I would go to the Natural History Museum, The Air And Space Museum and the world-class San Diego Zoo which houses pandas as well as other animals.

What To Experience - The Seal Tour

A Sea Lion at Shelter Island

We took a trip on a Seal Tour of San Diego. We had already experienced a Duck Tour in Miami so knew what to expect.

This land to water vehicle took us on a tour of San Diego and then, when we visited Shelter Island it turned into a boat and we sailed on the bay.

A Dolphin At Shelter Island, San Diego

The trip on the water was a fabulous experience as we got to see sea lions basking in the sun and playing in the water, U.S. Navy hornet fighter planes launch from the U.S. Naval base and two dolphins swimming together close to shore. This was a definite highlight of our trip.

Sea Lions

Where To People Watch - Seaport

The Statue "Unconditional Surrender" - Seaport

This beautiful marina development was perfect for people watching. The yachts moored here are amazing and the restaurants and cafes positioned perfectly for bay views.

Exploring this area more we came across the USS Midway Museum. We didn't venture in but admired one of America's longest-serving aircraft carrier from the shore. It is certainly an interesting vessel, we could see the small planes on the hull.

The Bob Hope Memorial, USS Midway In The Background

The Bob Hope Memorial was interesting to see as I didn't even know it existed. The statue shows the actor entertaining the troops, with Bob Hope telling jokes as the soldiers are cheering him on. There is an audio part so you can hear him, which really adds to the experience. 

There is also a lovely statue of lovers called "Unconditional Surrender". A World War II sailor kisses a nurse before venturing off to war. A very poignant and beautiful thing to see.

Where To Stay - The Marriott Courtyard, Gaslamp Quarter


The Old Vault At The Marriott Courtyard, Gaslamp Quarter

This historic building was a former bank and the public areas are outstanding in its architecture. In the basement of the hotel is an old vault which you can see if you stay there. I felt like a spy from James Bond sitting in the vault!

The hotel has great service, welcoming staff and a tasty breakfast. It is also well situated in the Gaslamp Quarter, with numerous bars and restaurants close by. I would highly recommend the Marriott Courtyard San Diego for its location, service and historic setting. 

Where To Eat - The Gaslamp Quarter Or Seaport 

We ate at Seasons 52 one night at Seaport. We have been to a branch in Orlando before so knew what to expect. This upmarket chain focuses on healthy but still tasty eating and the shot glass desserts are amazing. I ate salmon for main and key lime pie for dessert. 

On the second night, we ate at Jsix. I couldn't fault the food here and I had homemade hummus and pitta with a burger for main which was well cooked and delicious.

So this is a taster of what we did in San Diego in 48 hours. If we had more time we would have visited Coronado and La Jolla. I would definitely recommend visiting San Diego and I leave you with this quote from the film Anchorman, 
"You stay classy San Diego!"

If you are thinking of doing a road trip on Highway 101 from Seattle to San Diego, this post by Mummy Alarm will help your planning and if you have kids read about the best things to do with kids in San Diego here

You can read more about my California and Vegas road trip below.

Top Things To Do In San Francisco
A Weekend In Napa Valley
The Best Of Las Vegas

Tell me, have you ever been to San Diego?