Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Hidden Holiday Gems


As you might have noticed I'm well into holiday mode. When we get into Spring and the sun is shining a lot more I'm counting down the days to the time where I get to take that trip to Gatwick, get a new perfume from duty free and hop on a flight to somewhere new and exciting.


 It's lovely having the sun in London but given the option to swap the feel of the grass between your toes on Clapham Common for the sand beneath my feet on a beach in the Balearics I will jump at the chance.


I mean, are there many things that aren't improved by a little break away? If I have a bad day I'm looking at prices of flights or researching new places to add to our travel wish list. It's that feeling of escape and immersing yourself in something new.

I don't really like to visit the same place more than once. There's a big wide world out there and I want to experience as much of it as I can. Even when you talk to someone who's been to the same place as you you find out there's so much to see that you both had very different holidays by discovering different places to visit. Every holiday is unique.

The great thing is you don't have to go far to get a real change of culture. Short haul trips are so appealing as there is less time on the plane and more time for adventure! That adventure could range from discovering a new cocktail that tastes excellent but doesn't give you a painful hangover (we can dream) to visiting stunning cathedrals full of history- that's the beauty of doing things your way when on holiday. 



Even if you're on a package holiday you don't have to be restricted to your resort. 
I wanted to share a couple of places that surprised me while away on my travels over the years.

Stalis, Crete
Even if I opt for a more relaxed all Inclusive break I still like to explore my surroundings and get out to see what's nearby. We went for a break to Crete in October and spent most evenings or lunchtimes walking along the beach to try out the local bars and meet the locals. It was glorious, I'm an absolute beach-bum and the beach is my happy place.
 One restaurant that really stood out was the Ocean Bar in Stalis. The pale blue and white theme was completely my aesthetic. The seating area was made of old sailing boats and looked fantastic. Something so simple really gave it a magic touch.  I admit it was the fact it was so Instagrammable that drew me inside in the first place! There was a great selection of food and cocktails and it was right on the beach so had perfect views and excellent photo opportunities. It ticked all the boxes for me.

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Everyone is so friendly in Greece. I'm slightly upset that we're not heading to any Greek islands this year actually, I love the atmosphere and it's all just so beautiful. Somewhere like Rhodes or Zante will be on the shortlist for next year for sure. 

Magaluf, Majorca
Given it's party reputation I was really surprised by Magaluf beach. I think I expected something  a little more tacky but it was so clean and modern. If you take a little stroll you find nice calm quiet spots which were perfect for the relaxing days to balance out the livelier nights that I was used to back in my youth! It's definitely not a place to go for the culture but if sun and sangria are what you're after this is the perfect location.  
Also.. FUNFACT The Inbetweeners movie was filmed there (not Malia which is where the film is set) so there's a little nugget of knowledge for you. Who said this blog wasn't educational? 



Sal, Cape Verde
We're off to Cape Verde this summer; It's somewhere I've wanted to visit for a few years now and I always hear really great things. The beaches look beautiful and it's such an up and coming destination. It's slightly further away but the flight time isn't as ridiculous as going to the Caribbean but we'll get to experience a complete different culture to anywhere in Europe.  Their motto is 'No stress' which is absolutely perfect for us. 
It was the chance of seeing some great wildlife out here that sold it to me; There's a charity that protects the turtles and you can see them hatch and head off down the sand to the sea which sounds incredible. The Turtle nesting season is from late June so fingers crossed we time it perfectly. There's some great chances to go whale watching too. 
Another place I'm hoping to visit while out there is ‘Olho Azul’, which in Portuguese means ‘Blue Eye’. It's basically a saltwater pool inside a lava-encrusted rock and when the suns rays hit the water just right, the cave lights up and looks like a gigantic blue eye. To me this sounds like the ultimate hidden gem! I don't like to wish my life away but I really want July to hurry up!


For a bit of holiday inspiration click here. I can't wait to visit some new places and discover a load more hidden gems this Summer!









*this post is sponsored but all thoughts and photos are my own




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Tuesday, 15 May 2018

The Holiday Essentials -Swimwear

It's around this time of year I start getting excited for our Summer holiday. 

After the initial booking of the holiday there's usually a little wait before getting in the real holiday spirit. But then the sun comes out, we start applying suncream, we spend more  of our lunchbreaks outdoors then we realise that the months have whizzed by and it's time to start the holiday countdown! The holiday playlist goes on and I'm mentally planning my outfits.

Once the countdown starts so does the holiday shopping. I always pull out the summer wardrobe of the year before and while I re-wear (and re-wear and re-wear... seriously, some things are older than my son!) some items I always buy a new bikini for the occasion. I guess I could go through and name each bikini. My Strapless green one is my Mexico bikini, my stripy blue and white one is my  Cuba one, My bight coral one is my Crete one...even the years we didn't go away when M was tiny I still bought new swimwear 'cos it was just tradition. Luckily that year was pretty hot and I spent Masons nap times in the garden imagining we were somewhere tropical.

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I always like to take something with me to cover up later in the day while on holiday, even in the Caribbean I get cold in the evenings -I'd say maybe I'm getting old but I've always been like that! Cover ups are great for nipping to the pool bar or the bathroom too.

Hunkemoller have a great swimwear collection from bikinis, swimsuits to cover-ups. You can even grab some sunglasses, beach bags and sandals while you're there - I really love a place where I can get lots of things ticked of the checklist easily. 


They kindly sent me this halter neck bikini by Doutzen. The pale pink colour is so perfect - I am already imagining how lovely it will look with a tan. 


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I'm a big fan of halterneck bikinis, I like the freedom to easily untie the neck strap while sunbathing to avoid strap marks. It's such a flattering style, the underwiring keeps you held in (what is it with all the swimwear on the high street having no support recently?!) and I really love the textured detail that gives some subtle mermaid vibes. Combined with the matching bikini bottoms it's a beautiful set. I mix and match a lot of my bikinis so this is a good style to go with my plain black and navy bikinis too. It's available in an A-E cup and the bottoms go from XS to XL.


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The larger band around the hips is the style I like to go for but there is a string bikini bottom option too if you like something a little more skimpy! 

Look out for this bikini in action on my holiday to Cape Verde in a couple of months. I guarantee there will be pictures all over Instagram! I can't wait to wear it by the pool sipping cocktails! 







*I was kindly gifted this bikini but all thoughts are my own




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Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Back to Blondie Locks

Let me tell you a story about how I ruined my hair. 

It all started way back when I was about 16 I dyed my naturally brunette hair blonde - well, my best friend at the time dyed my hair blonde. 
out of a box. 
that was about £4. 
yep.

Needless to say I didn't get the beachy, sunkissed look I was after and I resembled a traffic cone.

 "Don't worry, it's only another £5 to buy another box of dye, 
it's lighter now so it will work next time." 
-oh, young naive Jenna. 

blondie-locks-review-noughty-haircareThis kind of attitude stayed with me for years, and when nothing was on at the cinema and there were no house parties to go to my friend and I would pop on a Blue album and dye my hair. Sometimes it was red, sometimes it was darker again, only to go back blonde a few weeks later with the help of a plastic cap and that horrible little stick you use to pull strands of hair though. Stripy highlights and broken ends was my new look. 

When I got a job and had more money I learnt that it was way more beneficial to pay to have my hair done by a professional. My hair grew, I still stayed blonde but it was healthier. I learnt to use hair masks, to add some heat protection during my polka-straight-Avril-Lavigne-hair phase (I even wore a tie with a vest top - what was I doing?!) and basically stop ruining my hair. All was going well.


'til last year I kind of ... relapsed. 

In November my blonde hair had very bad root regrowth and had faded an awful lot. It was looking darker and I suddenly had the urge to go dark.


 'Ok, head to the salon Jenn, off you pop!'
-no, far too sensible.

 Before I could say "because I'm worth it" I was at the checkout in Superdrug with a box of hair dye ready to go 'Chestnut Brown' in 25 to 30 minutes. 

My new hair was nice for a week. Shiny like a new penny. I was a new woman. My darker hair complimented my new red baker boy and I was loving it. 
However, my joy was short lived. After a couple of washes it wasn't dark enough anymore. I found myself in Superdrug again with another box of dye like an addict ready for my next fix. 

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I applied it that night, made a general mess of my bathroom and towels. Long story short I hated it. I wanted my blonde back. I waited a month or so and headed to the salon and after one hell of a trim I had some highlights on the agreement that I would go lighter in stages to keep my hair in good condition. I fully deserved a smack on the wrist.

There's still a dark dye stain on my bathroom wall that reminds me of my error. 
I'm tempted to go into Superdrug and as them to put posters up refusing to serve me hair dye if I ever get tempted again.

I've now had my second lot of highlights applied and my hair is back to blonde. I'm making sure I take care of it. This is where Blondie Locks comes in. This is the new range from Noughty haircare and they've developed a natural way to take care of blonde hair. There's no parabens, sulphates, silicones and their products are vegan friendly. I've been sticking to natural hair products lately but it's great to find something that is specifically for blonde hair.

Both the shampoo and conditioner smell gorgeous. Using them in the morning really gives my bathroom an uplifting Spring feel which is lovely in the sunshine. But air freshening aside, they really brighten my hair and leave it soft.  My hair is fine so I need something that doesn't feel heavy but still gives it the moisture it needs and they do just that. 

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Blondie Locks contains rhubarb to help lighten and bring shine to hair and cassia which helps to promote shine and enhance golden tones. We all know that lemon helps to brighten blondes -who else tried the lemon juice trick when they were younger?! There's also the traditional highlighter camomile which definitely adds to the gorgeous scent. 

Using these with a weekly hair mask and a hair oil after washing has really helped keep my hair strong and looking like it's just been done (in the salon - not in Superdrug). I find my hair so much easier to style as it's less frizzy. 


These retail at £6.99 for 250ml at Ocado and Superdrug who have their Noughty products at 1/2 price at the moment - just stay away from the hair dye isle and you'll be fine! They will also be available at Feel Unique from 15th May. 





*these were kindly gifted to me but all views are 100% my own





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