Tuesday 24 September 2013

Dress Me for the Sun

One of the best things about going on holiday has to be planning what clothes to pack, when it comes to outfit planning nothing beats raiding your wardrobe to put together an ensemble for holiday - whether it be something practical for an excursion, something pretty for cocktails or something you probably wouldn't usually dare wear at home.  I love all of it!

Living in a country like the UK with its unpredictable weather can make it hard to put together an outfit for the, you can never be quite sure if you'll be warm enough, cool enough or dry enough!   Holidaying in Greece meant that I got to pick clothes knowing that I was guaranteed a beautiful dry, hot and sunny day.

This year I took away a mixture of clothes from last Summer that I never got to wear and a few new things that I bought over the last few months.  I thought I'd share with you a few of my favourites:

Day Outfits

These lovely coral coloured shorts made a couple of outings, I bought them from Tescos at the beginning of the Summer for around £8.00.  I find it very hard to find shorts that are a good length, I can't get on with ones that are too short as they are so unflattering on me and most of the High Street shops only seem to stock tiny shorts.  These shorts had a stitched turn up which I unpicked to make them the perfect length.  I wore these on our first excursion with a sleeveless shirt from New Look and a bright orange statement necklace.

As you may remember I got myself a spray tan before going on my holiday and as it's the first time in my life I've ever had a tan I wanted to make sure that I had some white to wear whilst I was away.   I picked up this simple sun dress from H&M and as we were on and off breezy boats quite a lot on this day I teamed it with a white cropped cardigan.  I had great fun playing with different hairstyles on holiday and this is the day I decided to wear a head scarf, something that I've never dared to try at home before.  I got this beautiful butterfly scarf from Accessorize a few years ago and it's been hiding in a box ever since.  It was really fun to wear something different.


Our first evening out I knew I wanted to wear white whilst my tan was still looking good.  This dress was yet another Tesco purchase (they really did have some great Summer clothes this year).  I think it was around £10.00 and I loved it as soon as I tried it on.  Its a lovely length and a lovely loose fit.  I wore it with some wedges that I bought from New Look.

I've always been very jealous of friends being able to wear playsuits, I was never able to wear one myself whilst I was carrying extra weight, I could never find one that didn't just make me look like a sack of spuds.  This was one of my first purchases when I reached my goal weight last year and this holiday it finally got to make its first outing.  I bought it in a size 12 to make it a more flattering fit and I really love the colours.  It was a perfect choice for the evening.

One of my favourite nights was the night of the crazy trousers.  I bought these literally just for holiday, I love them but I'm not sure if I'll ever be brave enough to wear them at home, they're fairly busy!  These were a great outfit on the evening where the wind picked up a bit and we made the slightly silly decision to eat on a roof top taverna complete with flying napkins.

The final outfit I'm going to share is my gorgeous silky Primark shorts.  Such a bargain at £8.00 and really perfect for holiday.  I really loved wearing them, they were a lovely look with a white shirt for the evening but I think they would have been equally as good during the day.


Friday 20 September 2013

Sunny Rhodes

"Welcome Back to Newcastle Ladies and Gentlemen where the time is 11:45 pm and the temperature is currently 8 degrees"


There was a definite sound of horror from my fellow passengers when we got told this by our pilot on the arrival back into Newcastle on Wednesday night, it got up to 37 degrees whilst we were away so talk about a shock to the system.

So, anyway - hello I'm back .. and suffering from the worst post-holiday blues I have ever had, which I guess makes sense as I had one of the loveliest holidays I have ever been on.  A week wasn't enough, although after my 6lb gain my body is definitely telling me yes it was.

Simon and I spent a very beautiful week in Pefkos on the island of Rhodes and found each other to be the perfect holiday buddies which is always reassuring when you're on your first holiday with your other half.

I'm sure you'll all be very pleased to hear that my spray tan at the Malmaison the night before I flew was a great success.  Le Petite Spa is gorgeous, the girls there really put me at ease and I had a very enjoyable evening having my St Tropez, Manicure and Pedicure.  I'd definitely recommend the spa if anyone is wanting some treatments. 

Spending the first few days of my holiday with a healthy looking tan was a bit of a novelty, having very pale skin and red hair it's not something I've ever been able to experience before.  I made sure I wore as much white as possible on my first few days. 

We stayed at the Pefkos Beach Hotel which was such a great find, not overly expensive yet very clean, in an amazing location and with wonderful staff. 

Simon made friends with the Bar man when they discovered their mutual love of computer games and it was quite nice having the best cocktail maker on the resort as a friend.  I sunk an impressive amount of cocktails which tasted all the better for being fully decorated with umbrellas, parrots and sparklers.  We also stuffed our way through some gorgeous food and I got used to having a yummy cooked breakfast followed by ice-cream for lunch.

One of the nicest things about our week was that we decided to go "off grid" the whole time we were away.  I'm definitely someone who is very guilty of spending far too much time on social media and with my nose buried in my phone.  I truly appreciated spending some proper quality time with my man and it was so lovely to have each others full attention.

Despite only being away for a week we managed to pack in a fair amount of day trips.  The first organised trip was to the Butterfly Valley where we had a lovely time climbing down the shady valley surrounded by beautiful red and black coloured butterflies.  They were whizzing about all around us and it was gorgeous.  After we caught a boat to Chalki a really picturesque harbour town where we had the most delicious home made ice-cream.

Our second organised trip was to the island of Symi, a 2 hour boat trip away from the harbour in Rhodes.  Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love to climb up as high as possible to get lovely views, especially when I'm on holiday.  Symi was an absolute dream with loads of hidden steps up the bank leading to amazing views.  The place is like a fairy tale, full of pretty little houses built in different colours.  I could have quite happily spent hours and hours there.

We also went on a couple of our own adventures which involved tackling the local bus which was so fun.  We made a few trips to the neighbouring resort of Lindos.  Unfortunately it's very popular with tourists and coach parties so when we first arrived it was a little too busy so we hid ourselves away on a roof top taverna. 

Once we'd battled through the crowds we discovered that Lindos is a lovely little maze of white washed houses sitting below an acropolis.  We found our way to St Paul's Bay which was so peaceful and had a nice cooling drink at the beach bar which was sheltered entirely by trees.   So pretty!  We quickly fell in love with St Paul's Chapel which is one of the most popular places in Europe to get married (watch this space eh?!)  

We returned to Lindos a few nights later as I was really wanting to climb the acropolis in the evening whilst the weather was cooler, the views were outstanding and we ended our evening with dinner on a roof top taverna, unfortunately it was a very windy night and we spent quite a lot of our meal catching napkins.

The day before we left we made the 90 minute bus trip to Rhodes to have a little potter around the Old Town.  We were very glad we made the effort to do the journey as it was a lovely place, full of cobbled streets and ruins to explore as well as a lovely clock tower to climb.

Pefkos itself was a great resort, I've never stayed somewhere with so many tavernas and cocktail bars, we were spoilt for choice and ate somewhere different every night.  Our favourite was definitely Philosphia which was hidden away at one end of the resort and could be accessed via some stone steps up from the beach.  We had a very romantic candlelit dinner there one evening and then returned on our last day so we could appreciate the views in the daylight.  It really was a little piece of heaven.

 ... and so the post holiday blues continue!  I think we will just have to start planning our next holiday!

Monday 9 September 2013

Monday Smiles

This will be my last blog post for a little while as I AM GOING TO RHODES ON WEDNESDAY .... WAHOOOOOOOOOOOO!  As you can tell I am a little excited.  I haven't been on a sunshine holiday  since 2011, and my last one was 3 months into my weight loss mission.  I went to Majorca with a friend and spent the first half of the week worrying about over eating and gaining weight.  That said, I remember feeling absolutely fantastic, I'd slimmed down from a size 20 to a size 16-18 and my weight loss was really beginning to show on photos.   To be going on holiday two years later as a size 10 is out of this world.

I've tried to prepare myself for my week in the sunshine by going on a bit of a health kick.  I've done pretty well (with the exception of the fry up we had on Sunday morning) and feel slim enough to be able to have a week or pure indulgence

The holiday will see me enjoying a couple of firsts.  Tomorrow I am off to the Malmaison for a bit of pre-holiday pampering.  I have booked myself in for a manicure, pedicure and my first ever spray tan.  I am so nervous, anyone else who knows what it's like to lose a substantial amount of weight, taking your clothes off in front of a complete stranger to reveal a body that's been through the wars of weight loss is a little daunting.  I like to give myself challenges though and I do feel that things like this are important, they help me to accept myself the way that I am.  The old Chloe never would have had the confidence to have a spray tan so despite the nerves I'm proud of myself and very excited to see the result.

It will also be the first time that I have ever been on holiday with a man.  Yes it's mine and Simon's very first holiday together.  We are so excited and it really does feel like another step in our relationship.  Let's just hope we return next week still smiling eh?  :)

It may be hard to believe, but I've had a little bit of room in life this week to get excited about other things.   Costa have FINALLY added new things to their menu and it's all looking a bit Autumnal which is exciting.  Sometimes it's the simplest things in life that make you happy!  On Sunday we sampled two of the new additions, a chocolate orange window cake washed down with a chocolate orange mocha. Delicious.  Our new Sunday treat is to head to Costa and chill out on a comfy coach with some magazines and enjoy the peace and quiet.  I can see us doing it more and more as we head into the Winter.

We also had a lovely afternoon in the cinema catching the new Rachel McAdams film, About Time.   My list of girl crushes is ever growing and I've loved Rachel ever since I saw the Notebook all those years ago.  She's so beautiful and I don't think she's done a single film that I haven't loved.  Word of warning though it's a weepy.

As I'm sure you can tell from my last post I am stupidly giddy about AW13 after having a little stroll round a few shops in Newcastle on Saturday morning. I am loving all the purples, oranges and greens, and don't even get me started on the boots  With the holiday looming I am being sensible for the moment but if I come back with some money I will be making a very hasty visit to the Metro Centre on our return and  I'm already on the look out for a dress to wear in October to my Grandma's 90th birthday.  I think I need to make a promise to Simon first though that I will clear out my wardrobe before embarking on this epic shopping trip.  I've already taken up all the room that we have! 

And with that I'm off to enjoy a week of sunshine, relaxing and cocktails ..... byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee :)

Sunday 8 September 2013

My Autumnal New Look Wish List

This post really wasn't planned at all, and is actually the first "wish list" type post that I've done.  I'm just so excited about all of the beautiful A/W13 clothes that have appeared in the shops I couldn't resist having a quick browse round the New Look website to have a look at a few things I've spotted.  In all honesty I haven't even had a proper look round all the shops yet, just the briefest of strolls into New Look.  So the fact I've knocked up this post so quickly after a very brief glance goes to show how amazing my Autumn wardrobe could be. 

Loving this chunky boyfriend cardigan and it comes in four colours!  I love the cream but already have my faithful from Fat Face which is very similar so I'm leaning towards the chestnut or dark green.

 This skirt is one of the few things I tried on, and I love it.  Am considering it a potential purchase for my Grandma's 90th birthday lunch next month.  I love the colours in it, I tried it on with this dark green sheer shirt and it looked so lovely.   This outfit may be making a sneaky little appearance in Monday Smiles tomorrow.

This jacket caught my eye on the way out of the store, it's not the kind of pattern that I'd usually be brave enough to wear but it called out to me.   I haven't tried it on yet but am thinking it might be worth a go.  

I have a majorly ridiculous boot obsession at the moment.  I need to have a proper look round all of the shops before I decide what I'm purchasing but these are definitely a contender.  They will look so lovely with a jacket I've spied in Primark.
Also feeling myself wanting a new bag, I already have a fair few, yet I don't have one in a beautiful Autumnal colour and I'm loving this one!
 Now to find myself some spare pennies!


Saturday 7 September 2013

Cakes Taste Better on a Perfect Purple Sofa

There's nothing I enjoy more than sitting about in swish hotels, surrounded by beautiful d├ęcor, comfy seats and soaking up the perfect tranquillity.  Before moving to Newcastle I did a little research to find the best hotels in the city and I plan to visit all of them whether it's for dinner, cocktails, (if I'm very lucky) an overnight stay or my personal favourite afternoon tea.

I've made it to 4 afternoon teas in Newcastle so far, and each of them have been absolutely delicious.  I love afternoon teas and living in London for five years I was very spoilt for choice when it came to where to go.   So I'm really happy that Newcastle has so many beautiful teas to pick from (and quite often at half the price)

Last weekend I decided to book an afternoon tea with my friend Kate who was visiting from Leeds.  There's nothing better than sharing afternoon tea with a friend who loves cake just as much as you.  I was struggling to pick between three locations that have been on my list for a while but settled on the Hotel Indigo.  The hotel is a fairly new addition to Newcastle and I had been wanting to try it for a while having seen the photographs of a very comfortable looking lounge and a lovely sounding afternoon tea priced at only £15.95 per person.

I was really happy that having requested our tea in the lounge when I booked the hotel had reserved us a beautiful area with really large comfortable purple sofas.  There was so much room for the two of us we half thought about maybe switching seats every now and again and creating our very own Mad Hatters tea party.

We started our afternoon by browsing the cocktail menu.  I've often fancied the idea of having a cocktail with my afternoon tea and being in such lovely surroundings with a very good friend it seemed the ideal time to indulge.   I picked the orange sherbet and it was one of the tastiest cocktails I've ever had, I really appreciated the good sprinkling of white sherbet on the top.

We ordered ourselves the afternoon tea and it was brought out at lightening speed.  It was beautifully presented with a bottom layer of a plain and fruit scone each with jam and cream, then a tier of sandwiches and quiche which was such a novelty as I've never seen quiche on an afternoon tea before.  The pastry was heavenly, and I was very lucky and got to have two as Kate isn't a fan of quiche.  Obviously the favourite tier always has to be the top tier and we had three delicious mini cakes - a fruit and cream tart, a chocolate mousse tart and victoria sponge with strawberry jam.   This was all washed down with bottomless cups of tea. 

Our only very small criticism was that perhaps the cakes were a little strawberry and cream heavy considering we also had strawberry jam and cream with our scones.  It would have been nice to see a different flavour on the top tier like coffee, lemon, ginger or maybe even some more chocolate.

It was a perfect afternoon, the staff were so attentive and friendly and never rushed us to finish our food, we sat on our gorgeous sofa for a very indulgent 2 and a bit hours and it was the perfect way to spend a Sunday.

As a bit of an afternoon tea professional I would highly recommend the Hotel Indigo for an indulgent treat with a very reasonable price tag.


Thursday 5 September 2013

A Seaside Adventure

Anyone have any idea where my favourite place in the North East is so far?  Yep, Tynemouth!  Having only lived here 3 months I have already blogged about it three times.  I just love it.

When Kate came to visit last weekend  I knew that it was the perfect place to take her and it also gave me the opportunity to do a few bits that I hadn't had a chance to do yet. 

We began our adventure at the Tynemouth Market which is held in the Metro station every weekend.  It is huge, it takes up the whole station and is a wonderful mixture of beautiful food and products made in the North East along with exciting brick a brack.   There are some real treasures to find and lots of wonderful people to talk to.   We met a lovely lady selling "melts", fudge tasting chocolate that melt in your mouth and are made in gorgeous flavours and a guy selling his handmade candles which I will definitely be buying at Christmas.   Mooching round the market made me think that this year I may well buy everyone gifts made in the North East.

After so much bargain hunting we were more than ready for lunch so headed to Front Street to try and pick between all of the amazing restaurants and cafes.   There are so many I want to try so it's a good job Tynemouth's a place that I will be visiting time and time again.  After walking the length of the street we decided on Roy's Bakery as they had outside seating in the sunshine and a lovely range of sandwiches at very reasonable prices.  I had a corned beef and onion toastie and it was delicious. 

Something that I've been wanting to do in Tynemouth for a while now is a visit to Tynemouth Priory, an English Heritage site which sits on top of a hill overlooking the sea.  It's definitely a place best viewed in the sunshine as the site is more or less all outside and the £4.95 admission fee gets you the best views in Tynemouth.  We spent a very enjoyable hour strolling about looking at the beautiful old Priory and climbing up to the highest points possible to see Tynemouth Lighthouse and look out to sea.   Whilst the site is absolutely stunning to look at I wouldn't really recommend it as somewhere for a long day trip, there are very limited amenities (a little gift shop, toilets and a very small activity room) and really it's just a pretty place for a very short stroll.

To get a bit of exercise we decided to walk on to Cullercoats via the beach and so worked our leg muscles ploughing through the sand.  It was a really beautiful day, and the perfect end to Summer.  There were plenty of families out on the sand and we amused ourselves for a while watching a pack of baby seagulls raiding a family's beach spot whilst they were in the sea.  I've never seen a seagull pick up a beach towel and drag it off before.

On reaching Cullercoats there was only one place on my mind.  Beaches and Cream!  I believe this is the third mention of my favourite ice-cream parlour since my blog started, that's how good it is!   This time we opted to sit outside in the sun and I enjoyed a sundae with toffee, mars bars and dime whilst Kate had an Oreo cookie sundae.   It's taken me three visits to realise that the ice-cream at Beaches and Cream is provided by local family company Beckleberry's.   Their ice-cream tastes so good and I've only had a very small amount so I'm looking forward to trying more when I next stumble across them.

I am now really looking forward to returning to Tynemouth and Cullercoats in the Autumn months when the seafront will be a tiny bit quieter and we can warm up with hot coffees and yummy cakes after a brisk walk on the beach bundled up in our warmer coats.

I opted for a simple outfit, something that kept me warm on the breezy beach but still made me feel Summery.  I finally wore the new top I bought in  Primark a few weeks ago, I love how it's nice and floaty but still flattering and the detail around the sleeves is just adorable.  


Tuesday 3 September 2013

Monday Smiles

Welcome to my favourite month!  I love September.  Whilst it's the end of the Summer quite often we get a wonderful warm end to it (and it looks like this week will be no different), my favourite season is on the horizon and it's usually my holiday month. 

In 1 week and 2 days we are off to Rhodes and I'm so excited!  I've spent the last week or so drafting my packing list and on Wednesday evening  I plan to start trying on different outfits to see what clothes to take. 

My holiday prep has well and truly started and to get myself ready for my first ever fake tan I've been on the hunt for a good body scrub.  Everyone's addiction to Soap and Glory has somewhat confused me, when it first launched I had a good whiff of a couple of bottles of product in Boots and almost gagged on the sickly sweet smell, I didn't like it at all, thought that every bottle probably smelt the same and so Soap and Glory wasn't for me.  Having read a good review of the Breakfast Scrub recently I decided to return for a second go and am now here to declare that I was very wrong.  Whilst some of the scents are not to my taste there are plenty that are and I now have the very delicious smelling scrub along with a couple others to try.  I am officially in the club.

This weekend my friend Kate came up from Leeds to stay for the weekend.  She is the last of our Summer time visitors so I needed to make sure that Summer went out with a big smile.  We had a very enjoyable day in Tynemouth on Saturday followed by some fun (mostly involving eating) in Newcastle on Sunday.  I'm afraid the pre-holiday diet somewhat went out of the window this weekend.

Kate has recently returned from Japan so had a little bag full of goodies for me.  The things you can get out there are amazing.   I got some exciting flavour kitkats (including blueberry cheesecake and strawberry .. which are actually pink), some quirky colourful jewellery, cute sox and the most amazing tights featuring a glittery black cat!  I'll be wearing those on a day that I'm feeling brave and just hope that they fit my 5ft 7 in body.

I had a very quick look round the shops yesterday, I'm trying not to fully indulge in looking at any of the lovely new A/W goodies before holiday but I did purchase a new shirt and gorgeous £4 necklace from Primark and the boots that I've had my eye on.  I also made two exciting discoveries, my favourite fellow ginger Ariel is available to buy on Blu Ray TODAY and the Festive jumpers are back in Primark, yes folks that means that Christmas is going to start creeping up on us.

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