Monday, 30 May 2016

Travel | Morrocan Days & Arabian Nights



My darling friend Sammi gets married in just a few short days and I wasn't going to post about the hen party we went on to Marrakesh, Morocco but I found the place so captivating and inspiring that I just had to tell you a little bit about our Arabian adventure!



I must admit that when Morocco was first thrown into the mix I was a little apprehensive and unsure about the location, especially for 11 ladies looking for a bit of a party!  I was however completely surprised about how safe I felt and how much I loved their country.  Morocco has some truly beautiful sights to see and was actually one of the more cleaner places I have visited in the world.

When we arrived in Marrakesh our taxi pretty much dropped us off in the middle of a busy street, full of inquisitive locals wondering who on earth these women were and why one of them was dressed in a tutu and veil!!  
We were lead down a mysterious winding alleyway to a random tiny doorway just a short walk from the main street.  What we found inside was a world away from what we had expected and from the dusty streets outside.  Our riad could only be described as lavish, we had exclusive hire of the whole place which was absolutely perfect for us 11.  Riad Goloboy boasts 3 floors of 12 individually decorated rooms.  I actually spent a portion of the first day exploring every corner of the place wondering how many more rooms it could possibly hold!  They were all so beautifully furnished and each one had its own different personality.  I was very lucky to be sharing with the bride so we had a ground floor room which looked a bit like a honeymoon suite with its white interior.  In the middle of the rooms was a gorgeous courtyard with a fountain where we found the best lighting for our group shots!  We also had a sun terrace complete with comfy sunbeds and a hot tub - which we actually used more as a plunge pool in the 33 degree heat!
We had 24 hour service from the French speaking staff working at Riad Goloboy and they honestly couldn't have been more accommodating.  They walked us too and from the main street every evening and arranged taxis, prepared us food as well as keeping the place tidy.









We booked a tour guide to take us around some of the different quarters of Marrakesh and he spontaneously took us to visit part of one of their lavish palaces.  It was so beautiful and I was completely obsessed with the floors (I have a bit of a thing for good lookin' flooring!) but I must admit the tour did drag a little and we kind of wanted to get onto the souks before lunchtime!  Our guide also seemed to have a little "deal" going with a carpet shop so he ended up ushering us into one for what felt like forever to be shown like 400 rugs that we quite clearly weren't interested in buying, so do watch out for that if you book a tour guide in Marrakesh.
I didn't make it to the souks unfortunately due to the pretty long walk around beforehand and still having to be careful after my surgery.  But most of the girls had a walk around and said it was pretty cool, and some came away with some leather goods and Moroccan oils (the locals don't like you taking photos in the souks so sadly I don't have any to show you either - very mysterious!!)  When wandering around Morocco I think its good to bear in mind that yes this is a Muslim country and it is polite to keep a little more covered up than you usually might in other hot countries.  We found that taking light scarves out with us to throw over shoulders and cleavages was our best bet.




Our first night in Morocco was spent in true hen party style with a slumber party/dinner in our Riad.  The staff thought we were mental, wearing our PJ's to have our 5 course (delicious) meal and drinking shots every time someone said the word "wedding"!!  The drinks flowed and the games escalated so obviously all of those photos can stay hidden on our iPhones :)  If anyone needs some hen party game ideas comment below, as one of the bridesmaids came up with some of the best i've played!!!!

Going out out in Marrakesh was brilliant.  One of our evenings started with another five course meal, this time at a quaint little place called Tobsil.  It was another one of those places you literally wouldn't know existed until someone guided you there and behind the door was a stunning restaurant filled with the smell of Moroccan tagines and sound of traditional music.  We were served various delicious dishes, courgettes, hummus, tagines and honey and almond chicken.  The food was so lovely and the staff spoke impeccable English, I would highly recommend visiting Tobsil if you're in Marrakesh and want to experience a taste of their food and culture.  The lighting was SO dark in Tobsil however so any photos we did get weren't the best quality

We quickly found ourselves in the upmarket and modern part of Marrakesh where the buildings became newer and a lot taller.  We headed into a club called So Lounge which was immediately right up our street!  They had a band on stage with some great singers playing all the classics and latest songs for us to get our groove on to!  Unfortunately for us though we had underestimated how much alcohol was going to cost in these bars and it was most definitely London prices..plus!  Despite the fact we ran out of cash pretty quickly we still had such a great time and pretty much crawled into bed with giddy heads and sore cheeks from the laughs.






As beautiful as our Riad was we spent one of the 33 degree days at Beldi Country Club which was simply STUNNING!  I mean like breathtakingly beautiful, you really have to see it to believe it.  After lounging off our hangovers on their cosy sunbeams, we enjoyed cocktails and lunch in their little restaurant whilst we presented our Hen with a book of special messages from everyone involved in this special trip!  Its safe to say we all shed a little tear and some laughs at the photos and lovely things everybody had to say to our gorgeous Bride

I cannot praise Marrakesh enough and Riad Goloboy for making our stay one to remember. Now onto the main event and where the fun begins.. The Wedding!!!!!


Tips if you're travelling to Morocco:
  • Change up your money when you get to the airport in Morocco as the rate is so much better
  • Take light scarfs as you will need to cover your shoulders in the old town/souks
  • Get an exchange rate app or calculator, I was the only one who had it and we would have been stuffed without it as its not the easiest currency to convert
  • Bear in mind that drinking alcohol in Morocco can be expensive
  • Take tablets for upset stomachs with you as we did find that we all had a dodgy belly at different points of the holiday
  • Take TONS of anti-bac!

What countries are you visiting this year?? Have you been to Morocco?

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Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Favourites #2



Beauty:
Zoeva Rose Gold Vol.2 Brushes - I think if you’re going to spend a large slice of your monthly salary on make up like i do then you need to have some decent tools to apply with.  Step in Zoeva brushes!  I was treated to the beautiful rose gold collection, which included this stunning rose gold pleather bag, for Christmas and they have changed my whole makeup game.  I still use and love the Real Techniques brushes occasionally but for me the Zoeva brushes really do apply makeup like a dream.  The buffing brush and my CT Magic Foundation are a match made in foundation heaven and the brow brush seems to work wonders with every single brow product I team it with.  They are pricey but with some basic TLC these brushes will last you forever, and my god they are worth it

Wunderbrow (I use the shade Brunette)- This was a product I never in a million years thought I would try let alone fall in love with.  I saw endless budget adverts on TV for the stuff as well as the usual Facebook plugging but when I saw Lauren use this (she does awesome little videos for The Sun Beauty) I suddenly looked at Wunderbrow a little differently and thought perhaps it was the product for me.  I wasn’t wrong and I fell head over heels the minute I stroked it onto my brows.  I don’t use the applicator directly onto my face as I feel you have no control over how much product you are applying.  I find it easier to use my own brow brush dipped in a little bit of the gel and using soft strokes is the best way for me personally.  It stays on so so well and is removed with an oil based cleanser.  If you want these bad boys to last you more than a day you will need to steer clear from using an oil based products on your face

Una Brennan Oil - This brings me swiftly onto my fave oil of the moment and that is the Una Brennan Cleansing Oil.  I love love love using oils on my face I find them so hydrating, they remove dirt and makeup better than anything else I’ve tried and most of all my skin seems to adore them too.  I use a small pump of the oil directly onto dry skin, which instantly lifts any makeup from my face.  I will then use a hot flannel to remove it as well as a good few splashes of warm water to make sure no residue is left.  The only problem I have with the Una Brennan Cleansing Oil is that I do find it gets into my eyes a little bit and I find they do seem slightly irritated by it so i have been avoiding using this in my eye area (even though the bottle states this should be fine) 


Wear
Forever 21 Necklace - I bought this necklace last year as just a little add on buy to a big Forever 21 shop and I've just dug it out!  Its a choker style necklace that can be worn slightly longer if you get that claustrophobic feeling that sometimes comes with this style of necklace!!  I've been wearing it with everything and so many people keep asking where its from.  Unfortunately I don't think this one is available anymore but I just wanted to mention it as Forever 21 does so many nice necklaces

Topshop Cactus Shirt - I feel in love with this succulent shirt from Topshop the second I saw it!  The material feels a little dressy and luxe but would look great with a casual outfit or tucked into a leather skirt with heels for a dinner out.  I think I will be wearing the sh*t out of this little number this Spring/Summer!

Primark Heeled Sandals - I wasn't actually sure if I liked these tan sandals when I bought them but once I had got them home and teamed them with all of my holiday outfits I fell in love.  They are literally the perfect sandal, you can wear them super casual with jeans or shorts for a stroll in the sun or you can dress them up with a skirt or dress for an evening out.  The heel is the perfect size for me as I don't really "do" platforms (granny) and the best thing about them is that they were SO cheap and no one can believe I bought them in Primark! As you can see i've been wearing them to death!


Read
The Girl with no Past - You will probably find that books are a staple in my favourites posts as I tend to go through them rather quickly and reading is something I really enjoy!  The Girl with no Past was a bit of a random pick for me and came up on my “recommended” page on my Kindle.   To sum up what it is about, Leah is a 20 something year old girl living a very boring, simple life with a massive secret and a dodgy past, when someone begins to torment her and shake up life as she knows it.
I found myself completely sucked in from the get go with this one, although you don’t find out the whole story until right near the end, so much happens so you don’t feel like its a slow burner at all. 


Watch
Broadchurch - I know right how behind???!  I am one of those annoying people who shun these cult series until I hear so much about them I end up binge watching and regretting not watching them in the first place! Broadchurch was certainly one of those and what put me off was the fact that Dr Who chap is in it.  However i actually fell in love with his character and thought he acted the part really really well.  Again I don't want to give too much away because its all about the shock factor with Broadchurch but series 1 kicks off with the murder of a school boy and its filmed over Jurassic Bay, Dorset which is possibly one of the most picturesque places in Britain!


Eat
Pancakes - I'm eating tons of pancakes lately, which I used to be so awful at making!  However I found a foolproof delicious recipe via Pinterest and I now stick with it and make like 20 pancakes at a time to reheat in the toaster as and when I want them.



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Friday, 6 May 2016

The Sunny Days

Sunny days call for bright colours, new funky shoes and all the parks.

Since having my surgery a month ago I haven't been able to do much at all with my little bud. Not being able to lift him means no trips out together alone and not being able to drive means not venturing further than Waitrose cafe or a crappy local park.
Luckily friends and family have been awesome with lifts and we were also blessed with some glorious sunshine over this last week so we have spent some lush bright days in basking in the heat.



We discovered a little farm shop just 5 minutes drive away from where we live in Basingstoke called Wellington Farm Shop. Toddler mums you are going to love it. There is a kid friendly huge cafe offering reared and butchered on site meats, home made breads and cakes and the best breakfast I've had in AGES. Also the coffee is to die for!!  But outside is where this place really outshines most farm shops and cafe's as it boasts a gorgeous little wooden play area and tiny farm complete with horses, sheep, pigs and chickens.  I find it quite hard to take Harry to cafe's when there's no entertainment for him, I often end up taking an iPad with me which ideally I'd like to avoid where I can! He is however getting better at sitting up as the tablet when he's bribed with sausages and promises of cake


Top - Mothercare  |  Shorts - Gap  |  Trainers - Puma

For the first time this year I managed to get a pair of shorts on Harry's ever growing legs, teamed with this gorgeous little tee from the Little Bird by Jools range at Mothercare. I am so obsessed with it and would put him in it everyday had he not spilt jam all over it! The whole range is so unique and really recognisable with its slight 70's retro style and brightly coloured vibe.  I couldn't resist letting Harry wear his Cookie Monster Puma trainers with this outfit, they matched his top perfectly!  They are a little too big but he adored them so much he almost ended up wearing them to bed that night!! 


Backpack - Cath Kidston


Socks - Primark
This weekend we are hoping for more sun, a walk and perhaps a little dip in a pool as Harry has some new swim shorts to try out (Little Bird by Jools ones of course)

 Have you found any toddler friendly local spots lately??

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