Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Take Me to Switzerland: Part 2

The next day we woke up in Switzerland the sun was shining and it was the perfect day to explore!

In Switzerland at this time of year everything starts to come alive. The Winter freeze is disappearing quickly and Spring is beginning to wake everything up. When it's as gorgeous as this one of the loveliest things to do is get out for a walk and enjoy the beautiful valley.

You wander down the Valley, through the trees...

... and over the streams.

All in the imposing shadow of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau, with their snow-capped peaks glinting in the clouds.

It's definitely a magical place.

We walked round down the valley to the next little village, following the stream as we went. It's one of those places that you truly can enjoy all year round it's so beautiful. There's so many lovely walks to do that are the perfect way to enjoy the impressive scenery. It's a little story-book escape from the hectic everyday world.

We even came across (what may or may not have been) edelweiss.

Sing along all you Sound of Music lovers!

I've never actually seen wild edelweiss before, but I like to believe this was it! We spotted it growing alongside the path and were absolutely delighted by the sweet, miniature flowers. I may have mistaken the mountain flower, I'm not sure, but it definitely made us giggle as we carried on the walk singing a Sound of Music medley!

Soon we arrived at the train station and the cog railway carried us back up the valley.

Back to Lauterbrunnen and its thundering waterfalls.

It wasn't long until the trip came full circle and we were back out on the balcony enjoying a glass of something chilled, just where we had started.

Until next time Switzerland.

x x x

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Take Me to Switzerland: Part 1

We all know that there's nothing I love more than escaping to Switzerland for a weekend away.

One of my favourite things is to pack up my suitcase and hop on a plane over to Switzerland to visit my parents. Switzerland is just one of those magical places that is an absolute dream to escape to and I couldn't wait to get back there. After a day of plane, trains and automobiles I was soon in my all-time favourite spot - on the balcony enjoying something chilled and admiring the spectacular view.

The next day however we weren't so lucky with the weather - you've honestly never seen rain like it. It poured and poured. So what can a group of three ladies do when the weathers not on there side? Find the most luxurious hotel possible, drink cocktails and hide out until the storm passes.

So that's exactly what we did!

We took the train down the mountain to the beautiful Interlaken and dashed from the station, shrieking through the puddles, to our hideaway for the day.

Interlaken is a fairytale place that's filled with old Victorian-style buildings as it was once where the well-to-do would head to 'take the air' or visit on their tours of Europe. All these beautiful old buildings give the place a really lovely old-world charm and (when the weathers not so horrendous) it's an enchanting place to wander around.

And the grandest building of them all - The Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel.

We made ourselves comfortable in the stunning lounge and ordered cocktails from the most extensive menu!

Soon we were saying cheers and enjoying the amazing surroundings.

This place really is sublime. I would have loved to have been able to see it in its heyday. The historic Hotel has been around for over 150 years and it's said that during the Belle Epoque (the beautiful era) artists, writers and all kinds of interest people enjoyed the setting.

It's definitely not lost it's charm from the Golden Age.

Everywhere you turn you can't help but gasp at the luxurious and elegant rooms. There's a really special air about it and at every corner you find something to delight you - be that big blooms of flowers, cosy corners or even trickling fountains. It's definitely an oasis in a hectic world. The whole place simply glitters and is true decadence. It's just like stepping into a dream.

After we had lunch and the afternoon lazily swept by we pottered back to the bar to enjoy one more cocktail. By this time a gentleman was twinkling away on the grand piano as we relaxed, hatching plans for the future and putting the world to rights.

This was one of those days that you wished never ended.

x x x

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Go Ape - Happy 15th Birthday

People have been swinging through the trees of Go Ape for 15 years now - and we went along to celebrate!

You might remember when I gave Go Ape Aberfoyle a go and discovered how much fun I had exploring the tree-tops of the forest. This Spring it was definitely time to pay the tree-tops another visit and this time we headed to the borders to give Go Ape Peebles a go.

And it was for a very special reason - it was Go Ape's 15th Birthday!

The concept was born in 2001 when the founders were on holiday in France and saw people taking part in a tree-top course. A year later the first course was open and since then it's grown more and more popular.

In the years since Go Ape began they've grown to 31 UK locations with almost seven million people taking on the challenge. It's been 15 years of adventures and if you count everyone who has taken part they could've zipped to the moon and back.... seven times! (love this little fact, thanks Go Ape!)

Go Ape gives you the opportunity to explore the forest from a new perspective and I love how you get to enjoy being around nature right up close. It's not often you get to see the world from a tree-top canopy! In Scotland there's courses in Aberfoyle, Crathes Aberdeenshore and Peebles and they're all tree-top adventure course where you take on zip-wires, tarzan swings, rope crossings and all kinds of obstacles!

But lets get back to Peebles...

The Peebles course is built on the hillside of the beautiful Glentress Forest and it truly is a stunning place to take on the challenge.

It's a really bustling place, filled with walkers, mountain bikers and of course little monkeys swinging from tree to tree. It's a place that has got a bit of a buzz to it and everyone is excited about taking on the adventures that await them.

Before the course starts though there's a safety briefing. Once you get up into the trees you're on your own and in charge of your own safety - so pay attention! It's not difficult though and I felt completely at ease up in the trees and didn't struggle with the equipment at all.

Then you're off!

At Peebles there's five different courses, or sites, to take on each with varying levels of difficulty. I had an idea of what to expect, but there was definitely some new challenges thrown in! The twisting rope path was definitely tough and the big tarzan swing, for me, was the scariest!

But I'm happy to say I made it along all of the crossings - woo!

To finish off you do the most amazing zip-wire!

It's the highest zip-wire in the country that zooms above a reservoir, offering you the most breath-taking views. I loved whizzing through the air and taking in the amazing scenery around me. It was without a doubt the best way to finish the course and I actually found myself relaxing and enjoying the spectacular view.

As the Spring weather starts to get better we all find ourselves wanting to get outside and enjoy it and Go Ape is the perfect way to do this! It's also so much fun to do something that takes you out of your comfort zone. I went along with my BF, who is a little (a lot) shaky with heights. At one point we both thought he was going to have to stop, but he powered through and conquered a fear that day. By the end you're left with a real sense of achievement (definitely for him!)

I had a really fabulous day swinging about the tree-tops - thanks so much to Go Ape for having me!

x x x

*** This is a collaborative post where I visited Go Ape for free  - but all views are my own, obvs. 

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Chatsworth Chatter

Chatsworth is a little bit of a dream and I love it.

Not too long ago my sister and I went on a little train ride down to visit my Gran in a pretty little village called Hathersage in Derbyshire. Set in the rolling hills of the English countryside it's simple the sweetest place that's perfectly quaint and one of the best things around - the magnificent Chatsworth estate! 

For years, every time we visited we took a little trip through the estate just admiring it! It's so beautiful and perfectly peaceful, you really feel like you've escaped into a storybook world. 

We were lucky enough to have a fabulously sunny Saturday so off we popped!

Our first stop was the Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop.

For anyone who loves a good farm shop this place is heaven. I mean I really do love a farm shop and this one is everything you want and more. Wooden crates are overflowing with multi-coloured veg, blooming flowers are sitting pretty in buckets and there's walls stacked with home-baking. As you wander around the mouth-watering smell of homemade pork pies wafts over you and there's some lovely ladies handing out the most delicious cheese. It's all very charming and I just love it!

I've been a few times before and every time I'm absolutely delighted to browse the packed shelves.

The shop is filled with local produce from the estate that just makes it even more special. More than half of all the farm shop products are either produced or prepared on the estate. It was established by the Duchess of Devonshire in 1977 when it sold meats from the farms to locals and from then on its always been a place that acts as a celebration of the local food of Chatsworth.

It definitely beats the local supermarket... 

And you can't beat the view!

Once we'd filled up on more food than we could possibly eat it was time to check out the main event... Chatsworth House!

I've always loved driving through the park and marvelling at the grand House. It really is something special. It's just truly magnificent and oozes luxury, shining in the early Spring sunshine. You may have spotted it in 'Pride and Prejudice' and of course 'The Duchess' the imposing House set in the beautiful park will always make the perfect back-drop!

We stopped in the old stables for a quick cup of coffee and then we were off to explore!

Trying to see if we could have a nosey into the beautiful House...

Wondering what was past the golden gates...

We wandered down to the bridge that overlooks the house, getting caught in the blustery day!

The beautiful green park that surrounds house is the most idyllic setting and although is was busy the whole place fills really peaceful and tranquil. If it wasn't so windy I'm sure we could have spent hours wandering round and just enjoying the escape. 

From further away you truly get an idea about the grandeur of the House. It's luxurious and opulent and you can't help but admire the golden glints of the window frame. It definitely takes your breath away as it appears around the corner. 

In the mid-16th century the Cavendish family made Chatsworth their home, and from then its rich history began. Now the House is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and is filled with intriguing and dazzling bits of history.

As you stand admiring the Chatsworth House you can't help but be struck by a feeling of awe as you take in all the details, admiring the grand architecture of a bygone era. 

If you fancy checking out Chatsworth House you definitely shouldn't miss out on their current exhibition 'House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth'. Curated by American Vogue's Editor-at-Large Hamish Bowles and in partnership with Gucci the show explores the history of the fashion of the Chatsworth residents. I for one can't wait to go back to check to out! 

Thanks so much to my fabulous Gran for having us and Chatsworth, I can't wait to come back to explore some more! 

x x x

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Cyclebox - Get Your Ass to Class

In need of some fitness inspiration - then look no further, Cyclebox is more than you could ever ask for!

Hidden away on Ruthven Lane in the Westend is a studio that's bursting with energy. It promises to get you sweaty, or sparkling if you prefer, and smiling. Cyclebox is a little gem that once discovered there's no going back.

I recently went along to a Blogger's taster session at the studio and after hearing lots of good things about it I was excited to try it out and take the chance to see what it was all about. Cyclebox is essentially a 45 minute workout with a mixture of spin bikes and boxing, working every muscle and giving you a full body work out. It's all about using this time to escape and push your body to its limits, with the endorphin rush acting as the very best stress-reliever.

We started of the class with Mandy aka The Body Sculptor.

And eeeeek it was time to jump on the bikes!

I've never been to a spin quite like it! The whole way through Mandy was like a little ball of energy, dancing about and encouraging us to push it just that little bit further.

Then we were onto the bags with The Wolf, a Muay Thai boxer - sounds tough right, it was!

I've never really tried boxing before, but I'm surprised to say I actually really enjoyed it (despite having to take it a bit easier with a broken finger, doh). The Wolf really worked you out and although it was tough he helped us all the whole way and by the end of each session you definitely feel like you've achieved something.

The best thing about Cyclebox though is without a doubt the amazing atmosphere in the studio.

It really feels like you're working out as part of a team, or as Cyclebox like to call it their 'squad'. You're all in it together and I think this really helps you to push through and completely smash it. I think that the fairly smaller class helps with this as everyone there truly feels part of it and wants to get the most out of it. It's quite simply a fun environment, that you can really struggle to get at a gym. The atmosphere is so great and although the workout is without a doubt tough, you sneakily find yourself enjoying it!

The enthusiasm is infectious and although you've been pushed to your limit at the end you definitely feel a little glow of pride and can finish the class off with a massive grin on your face. It's hardcore, but as Mandy likes to say "but did you die". In a nutshell it's a really positive place to be and although the workout is handwork I have a feeling that you'll kinda love it.

The chic look of the studio also helps it to feel less 'gym-like'.

It's all white floors and walls, with floor-to-ceiling mirrors. The black and white vibe, along with light-up Cyclebox signs, makes it feel really sleek and it's basically how a blogger would design their ideal workout zone!

And after a work out make sure to re-fuel!

We were treated to some tasty juices from Juice Garden. You can just feel the goodness in these green drinks and they're 100% freshly extracted fruit and vegetable, so you know you're giving yourself something good.

The lovely and fabulous Chefarella was also there with some delicious Power Balls. You've got no idea how good these were. So. Damn. Tasty. Definitely check out her insta if you're in need of sme healthy food inspiration.

Cyclebox was just fabulous and was an amazing alternative to your run-of-the-mill gym workout. Definitely try it out if you're a fitness fanatic, or if you're just looking to get yourself kick-started - it's time to 'Get Your Ass to Class!"

Thanks so much for having me!

x x x