Wednesday, 2 September 2015

LIFESTYLE | FIVE SPA GETAWAYS THIS SEPTEMBER

It's getting to that time of year where time is sort of dragging and everyone just needs a timeout. On the horizon, we've all got a busy few months with Halloween, Fireworks Night and Christmas - meaning lots of parties and events - and seeing the weather go from a (slightly) hot summer to a dreary winter can really take it out on someone. 

Therefore, September is without a doubt one of the best times to treat yourself and book a little spa getaway. Me and my sister are looking at getting away for just a couple of nights and enjoying having no plans except to relax! Here are some of the best spa deals I've found for this upcoming month, based on what the Spa has to offer and it's location, rather then just the deal itself.

For real luxury, Penny Hill Park is the perfect option, The spa offers a ballroom pool (with underwater music and fibre optic lighting), experience showers, an ice cave, a herbal sauna, Canadian hot tubs and much, much more! On top of tons of fab treatments, the hotel itself is beyond plush with luxurious rooms for sleepy heads and beautiful grounds. Penny Hill Park is definitely best experienced over a weekend, but this spa break will require you to switch off from the outside world and submerge yourself completely.
www.pennyhillpark.co.uk

For something a little further afield and for more of a weekend away, Thermae Bath Spa, in Bath, is a great option. Featuring natural thermal waters which is the spa's rooftop pool, you can relax whilst overlooking the beautiful sights of Bath. The spa offers lots of steam rooms and treatments too, and lots of cheap and cheerful mini weekend breaks. The location is particularly great because you can also take time to stroll around Bath, reveling in its history or doing a spot of shopping. The only thing is, it's just a spa and not a hotel, meaning you'll have to look elsewhere for accommodation for the night. However, Bath offers lots of lovely places to stay!
www.thermaebathspa.com

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The Reception area at Y Spa
Y Spa Wyboston Lakes currently have a Groupon deal offering a spa day with lunch and an optional treatment for one or two for just £45! I visited this spa a couple of years ago with my mum, sister and aunt as a late mothers day present and thought it was lovely. It wasn't huge, but it was endearing and inviting with enough places to relax throughout the day without getting bored. My favourite part of this spa was either the nap rooms (so necessary) or the outdoor area. It offers a huge heated outdoor pool and a sauna in a cabin outside, meaning it's also ideal for winter. I think it would look lovely during the upcoming cold evenings.
You can find the deal here, starting from £45 per person | www.yspa.co.uk

Sopwell House is a little closer to home, nestled perfectly between St Albans and London within the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside. The beautiful spa offers a 14.5 metre swimming pool, a jacuzzi, a glass fronted sauna, a starlit steam room and more! With the most beautiful views from the relaxing pool, complimentary use of refreshments and even a range of men's treatments, Sopwell House is perfect for a mini one or two night break this September.
www.sopwellhouse.co.uk

Whittlebury Hall is also nearby, I've been told on good authority that it's one of the best spa's out there. My mum and my sister have gone plenty of times in the past and have quoted their visits as some of the most relaxing weekends ever. A whole weekend isn't necessary, but definitely worth it and, unlike most spas, the food is one of the best parts. The spa has the usual - a hydrotherapy pool, experience showers, an ice cave etc - but overall, a spa package/stay has a lot to offer.
www.whittleburyhall.co.uk

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Monday, 31 August 2015

BOOK REVIEW | HOW TO KILL A ROCK STAR BY TIFFANIE DEBARTOLO

I ordered this book from Amazon ages and ages ago when I had some vouchers to spend, simply because the title had the words 'rock star' in it. I wasn't really sure what to expect - until it arrived on my doorstep and I read the blurb I certainly didn't expect it to be a romance novel but boy was I happily surprised when I found out it was.

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To begin with, the front cover is super cool - it features a concert ticket stub and when you open the book up, the stub is against a backdrop of someone (a band/singer) on stage. Capturing the essence of this story - music and passion - in one simple photograph, on the very first page, immediately told me that this book was a winner.

How To Kill A Rock Star tells the story of Eliza, a rock star enthusiast who's petrified of flying, who moves to New York and falls in love with Paul, an rock star who's on the verge of making it big. This might sound like your typical girl meets boy in the band story (her whole life turns upside down as he's shoved into the limelight) but it's not - at all. The story is told from different points of view, filled with twists and passion. And, despite Paul being a typical egotistical rock star, I doubt you'll guess correctly what type of problems face this couple. Hint - it's not distance and it's not groupies.

I really loved this story that, although might sound cliche on paper, was anything but. I loved the passion and the love for music in this book and found myself agreeing with almost every point made in regards to music and what it does to you. Eliza was a loveable character - although not too smart at some points, meaning I didn't agree with some of her decisions. 

Paul however was the ideal male lead in this story. He was eccentric, passionate and slightly bonkers but in an intriguing and fun way. His character was quite different to any other I've read in books and was extremely likeable. He reminded me a little of Johnny from Johnny Be Good by Paige Toon, only a lot more crazy.

"Proof?" He huffed. "You want proof? Give me your goddamn hand."
Skeptically, I did as he asked, and he proceeded to sing the chorus to one of 66's meaningless songs, mimicking Amanda Strunk's whiskey-flavoured voice, pointing to my arm. Nothing had changed. Then he sang the last verse of "The Day I Became a Ghost" and every one of my hairs stood on end.
"See that?" Paul said. "Ten goddamn seconds."
"I don't get it."
"You didn't even have to hear the whole song, just a few lines, and you still got chills and that swirly, happy-sad feeling in your gut, didn't you?"
"So?"
"So?" he huffed. "That's the difference between the real stuff and the crap. I know which one you are and you know which one I am." He flipped over and buried his head in his pillow. "That's all the proof you need. Wake me up in an hour." 

The story itself was gripping and being that I didn't know what the book was about at all, I didn't get bored once. It really drew me in and had lots of twists, none of which I was expecting. The book is fairly long too, meaning it was spread out more and had more to read! 

It's hard to put this story into a genre because it's definitely not chick lit but I wouldn't put it directly under the romance genre either as a lot of the story line was about music and what it's like behind the scenes in a band. I think though, even if you're not a big music fan (although to be honest - who isn't?!), you'll find this book gripping and interesting. I think as well even guys would like this book because a majority of parts are from Paul's point of view and how he feels about being almost forced to go mainstream in a band. It's very interesting.

This story is passionate, heartbreaking, romantic, sad and inspiring all in one. I've read it an additional two times since I first bought it and read it within weeks, and I discover more and more about it every time I re-read it, finding more angles and picking up on more of the story.

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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

TRAVEL | WHY MEXICO & WHAT I'LL DO WHEN THERE...

As you all know, I recently booked myself in for the Mexican BLT Tour with Trek America, as blogged about here. This post is just a more in depth explanation of what the tour is going to entail and what I'll be getting up to whilst I'm there.

One of the reasons I want to go to Mexico is because it's so completely different to what I'm used to and what I know in England. It's different from a road trip across America, for example, which would feature a similar terrain and landscape to what we know. Mexico is filled with lush green jungles, refreshing underground waterfalls and the most stunning beaches in the world. Compared to the few places I have travelled to before, Mexico is entirely different in every way possible.

The Mexican BLT Tour will last from the 8th to the 19th of November and I'll be staying on an extra couple of days, flying back on the Saturday evening. The tour is basically a tour around Mexico, beginning in Cancun and stopping in places such as Chichen Itza, Chiapas, Bacalar before ending the tour in Cancun. With my extra day or so there, I'm hoping to visit Xcaret Park, an eco-archaeological park - which is kind of like a giant nature/water park! - and perhaps even the Cancun Underwater Museum. 

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The actual Mexican BLT Tour however, offers a wide range of experiences with each tour always featuring something different. We'll visit some must-see history, such as the pyramids at Chichen Itza, swim at Bacalar in one of the worlds most unique freshwater lakes, visit San Cristobal to mingle with the locals to get a real experience of life in Mexico and even trek some mountain highlands at Chiapas! From mountains and lakes to jungles and beaches - it's clear that this is going to be an adventure of a lifetime and I really can't wait.

There's so much to do to prepare as well, although I've already started buying some of my small wardrobe for then with some cute basic vest tops and a pair of comfy denim shorts. One thing that's going to be tough is finding the right pair of shoes (or boots?) for trekking, as I'll be doing a lot of walking in very hot weather. And of course packing only a few staple pieces will be tough too.

I'll also have to make sure my body is bikini ready for all that swimming too!

There's only around three months to go now so I'm going to have to start really buckling down with saving and going to the gym. It'll all be worth it in the end...!


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Monday, 17 August 2015

MUSIC | THE AUGUST PLAYLIST

You all know the drill by now.

Here's what music I've been digging lately.

Please don't judge me for the entry by Nick Jonas. I'd long fallen in love with this song - with it's funky beat that makes me dance at work EVERY SINGLE TIME I hear it - before I even knew it was by him. I'm sorry.

I also have a couple of oldies in there too. Who misses Good Charlotte as much as me? Man they were awesome back in the day & were practically an anthem for my angsty teenage years...And I'd without a doubt recommend checking out I Divide further, a fairly localish but super talented band!

The majority of songs from this list came from Spotify's Discover Weekly playlist - a feature that I'm really loving right now. Anyway, enjoy and let me know what you think and all that jazz...


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Monday, 10 August 2015

DATING | ROCK THE BOAT SPEED DATING WITH ORIGINAL DATING


Last Saturday, me and my bestie headed down to London for a Summer Boat Party - Rock The Boat - with Original Dating! Original Dating are London's number one speed dating company, offering a variety of events to get London's singletons mingling - from stereo speed dating, quiz dating and more. There's something for everyone and so when they offered me and my friend a place at one of their events, we couldn't help picking their boat party.

It had been my friends birthday in the week so although I picked her up a few goodies, her main present from me was a day out in London - the boat party followed by some yummy food at Bubbledogs. So on Saturday we dressed appropriately for the weather and impressively for the boys and boarded The Golden Sunrise for an afternoon of mingling.

With the age range being rather varied and having never been to this type of event before, I really didn't know what to expect. I wasn't going along in the hopes of finding the love of my life but as someone who really enjoys dating, I was looking forward to trying something new. Speed dating is something I think everyone should try at least once in their life, if even just for a laugh or to say that they've done it.

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Upon boarding we each received a lock (which would help as an ice breaker/excuse to approach someone), ordered a few drinks for dutch courage and then headed downstairs (albeit very dangerously - carrying two drinks down some stairs with a boat that's swaying isn't easy and it only got harder throughout the afternoon with the more tipsy we got) for the speed dating session we booked ourselves in for.

What an experience! You all know the deal - we had about three minutes with each guy before they moved on - and it was definitely exciting/tough trying to make a good impression in such little time. For someone who's actually quite shy I really enjoyed it and enjoyed trying to come out of my shell a bit. Although I didn't meet anyone I particularly clicked with, by the end all of us 'youngsters' had already agreed to find each other later on.

The rest of the afternoon was spent mingling on the upper deck of the boat in front of some beautiful landmarks of London. It was rather fun going up to random guys to ask if their keys fit in our locks but it definitely broke the ice. I ended up with two matches with this approach although I didn't click with them! However we did leave the event having made some friends and matches with guys we'd spoken to throughout the time on the boat.

As a whole, I thought the event was a great idea! By holding it on a boat it gave the whole idea of speed dating a real classy twist and there was a great mix of people there. The ice breakers were a great idea and I think as long as you take it all with a pinch of salt, it'll be impossible not to enjoy yourself at this type of event. It's a fab way to meet new people & potential dates, as well as a sure fire way to give yourself a confidence boost.

Overall, did it work? Yes! I have been talking to a couple of people since - one that has already asked me out on a date - and we also made a few friends on the day too. We arranged an after party but had to skip out on that personally as Bubbledogs was calling...

You can find more about these type of events and what else Original Dating have to offer around London on their website here.


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