Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Summer Ready: UK Swimwear

I am more than definitely craving a summer getaway and UK Swimwear have got me right in the mood!

Dare I say it.... summer is coming! I may be writing this in fluffy slippers with rain pattering on the window, but I have been assured that sunnier weather is on the way. And you know even if it doesn't quite reach Glasgow in all its glory (lets be honest it won't) it's ok, because hands up who has got a little summer getaway planned? Me, me!

And what's the one essential you need for a glorious summer holiday? The perfect swimsuit!

I had literally just clicked book on a sunshine getaway to the beautiful Hvar when Uk Swimwear got in touch. I mean the timing couldn't have been more perfect. I was just dreaming about living on the beach for ten days so I definitely needed fabulous beachwear wardrobe.

UK Swimwear is a fantastic website that literally has everything you could ever need for a beach/pool holiday. They have a huge array of really good quality swimwear to choose from and they aim to give you as much choice as possible on your quest to find the perfect swimsuit. There is also all the accessories you could ever need - beach bags, kaftans, sun hats. The brands they stock area also pretty fabulous - Forever Unique, Freya, Speedo.... You're pretty much guaranteed to find the ideal summer piece.

It really is your one-stop-shop for a beach holiday and you could spend hours and hours browsing the amazing collection of all different styles and brands.

I went for the Gottex Pearl Goddess Deep Plunge Halterneck Swimsuit - how beautiful is it!

I'm not a bikini person and I've definitely found that I feel far more comfortable in a one-piece and as there's so many more exciting swimsuits out there just now I'm definitely not missing out. This one has a halter neck with a strap detail across the neckline. But it is also pretty snazzy and can be worn two ways, without the strap across the front. The low back and cut out panel on the front transforms it from your average suit and makes it a lil more exciting. It's quite a simple one, but is definitely beautiful. The also adds a touch of detail and frames your silhouette perfectly.

Now the colour, how much do you love it? I must confess that the colour perhaps even one that I'd normally go for, but I'm head over heels. It's a really stunning sapphire/blue shade. I think it will look just stunning set against golden sands and bright blue skies.

It's a really luxurious piece that definitely has an indulgent feel to it. It's really well made and I definitely feel comfortable and secure in it - which, lets be honest, is definitely important when it comes to swimwear! It's perfectly flattering and you can tell the quality of it as soon as you pull it on. I must admit it is perhaps more than I may have spent on a swimsuit. But I'm converted. It's so worth it. It's a piece that will last really well and you can wear summer after summer.

There's nothing better than finding swimwear you feel fabulous in, leaving you grinning from ear to ear as soon as you unwrap that summery parcel. UK Swimwear is a gem and you'll end up booking a summer holiday just so that you can wear the fabulous beach wardrobe that you've amassed from them!

Thanks so much UK Swimwear!

x x x

*** This product was sent to me for review purposes, but all views are my own 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Madrid - Park Life

When the sun comes out in Madrid there's only one place to go - The Buen Retiro Park!

The Buen Retiro Park literally translates as the 'Park of the Pleasant Retreat' and it certainly is, with the grand gates inviting you in...

Finally the sun came out on my little Madrid holiday and we swiftly made our way to this amazing oasis in the heart of the big city. It's the biggest park in Madrid and really is a beautiful space. It's filled with sculptured gardens, fountains, monuments and blossoming green spaces and some even call it the 'green heart of the city'.

Retiro originally belonged to the Spanish Monarchy before it was opened to the public, explaining the magnificent grandeur of the place.

One of the main attractions in the Park is the romantic boating lake.

It's a really peaceful spot and you can watch the rowing boats meandering along and take in the beautiful lake and monument. The lake was the heart of the garden when it belonged to the Palace and there's definitely still a regal feel to the space, with the grand monument that was dedicated to Alfonso XII.

As you venture deeper into the park you find a smaller lake and beside it is the enchanting Crystal Palace.

The huge glass building is a really dazzling sculpture. Built in 1887 it has long been a much-loved feature in the Park. The beautiful Palace is made almost entirely of glass with an iron framework, like a huge, magnificent, imposing green house!

The space is usually filled with exhibitions, but I think empty it's even more charming...

There's a real romance to Retiro and you could wander for hours around the gardens, being delighted as you turn every corner getting lost in the magical maze.

Retiro is filled with all walks of life - there's tourists clicking away, families picnic-ing with laughing children with buskers providing the soundtrack. It's just absolute bliss and the perfect place to explore in the sunshine.

I don't know how you visit Madrid and don't come here!

x x x

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Madrid - The Food Scene

Holidays are primarily about eating and drinking loads of fabulous things.

The food in Madrid was, of course, absolutely gorgeous. Every restaurant we went to served up delicious tapas and amazing local wines, but if you really want to enjoy all that the Madrid food scene has on offer in one go then make sure you head to the fabulous Mercado San Miguel. This indoor market really is the best way to try absolutely everything.

The historic wrought-iron and glass sculpture is just off the Plaza Mayor in the old quarter and it's a really lively foodie spot with an amazing atmosphere. Under one roof there's simply everything you could ever have dreamt of - and all delicious. The glass walls show-off the wonders inside, enticing you in with mouth-watering promises. It's a really beautiful and special spot.

Originally built in 1916 and renovated in 2003 the Mercado San Miguel is described as a 'gourmet tapas market'.

It's not really a typical market in the sense that you go to the market in the morning and pick up all you need for the week. It's kind of more of a giant picnic place with lots of little stalls that you can build up your meal with. All of the food and wine laden stalls surround a central area filled with long tables. You load up on tasty treats, find your spot and try not to get food envy as someone wanders by with an amazing dish that for some reason you didn't spot!

There's delicious cones filled with typical Spanish meats, amazing stalls overflowing with local wines, a mozzarella bar filled with cheese like you've never seen before and all washed down with some delicious, bubbling cava.

This was our first day in the city and it absolutely poured so naturally we filled our glasses with pink fizz and watched the world of the market go by - what else can you do when it's a rainy day on holiday!

The energy in the place is amazing as everyone is delighted by their fabulous, foodie finds. It's a really colourful spot that's busy, bustling and exciting. It really is the best that the culinary scene of Madrid has on offer. As soon as you walk through the door all of your senses come alive - you're assaulted by a cacophony of amazing smells and your eyes pop open as you take in the array that they stall-owners are calling shouting about.

I love a good market and this one is really something special. It's a gorgeous place that really gets you excited about the Spanish cuisine - after all holidays are all about indulging in a lil bit of food and a lil bit of wine.

x x x 

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Zara Did It Again: The Jumpsuit

So I did that 'I'm just going to have a quick wander around Zara' thing again...

We've all been there. Promising yourself you'll just nip in for a quick nosey around Zara to waste some time on your lunch break and you definitely won't buy anything. But you definitely do. 

This jumpsuit was one of those times. I was just going for a ten minute wander, but I stumbled across it and I couldn't resist! 

The ribbed style is really lightweight and easy to wear, it also makes it hang perfectly. The culotte style of the trousers is really comfy and also flattering. They are also the perfect cut for when the weather starts to warm up a little. My favourite thing about it though is the little frill detail. It just transforms it from a plain black, kinda boring jumpsuit into something a little more perfect! Plus if you hadn't noticed, frills are everywhere and I mean everywhere - but we all kinda love it! 

It's one of those piece that you pick up and imagine yourself in all kinds of scenarios wearing it. It is a little versatile gem. 

I first wore it here for a dinner in Edinburgh. It wasn't the fanciest of dinners so a black long-sleeved top worn underneath made it perfectly suitable. It also means you don't loose any of the lovely detail my having to throw a jumper or anything on over the top. 

Next up I think I'll wear it on a long weekend in Madrid. (Fingers-crossed) the weather will be absolutely lovely there so I can enjoy wearing it just as it is. Plus it will also be fabulous for very summery holidays and days on the beach. The light-weight, easy fabric means it will be ideal for throwing on over a bikini for mojitos on the beach when the sun starts to set (dreaming)! 

x x x

Jumpsuit - Zara 
Shoes - Topshop
Earrings - H&M 

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.