21 August 2014

Shire Hotel and Spa Review

Hello lovelies!

How are you? 

Today I'm going to tell you guys more about the spa break I mentioned on Sunday. Before I start gushing about how gosh darn relaxing it was, I want to say this isn't a paid/requested review- I just had an awesome time and wanted to share it with y'all! 

Last weekend my two oldest girlfriends and I went on a road-trip to the Solent Hotel and Spa in Hampshire, for a well-deserved hen do/mini break with their Girls' Night Out package. Before we arrived, my inner cynic was expecting the offer to turn out to be a scam. It seemed far too good to be true, so I prepared myself for being told something like "Yes, the offer included use of the facilities, but only between 2 and 4am". How wrong I was!

The break surpassed our wildest dreams, and we spent the whole time feeling like PRINCESSES. In my case, a very, very drunk Princess. Unfortunately, due to leaving my phone in our room all weekend to escape technology, I didn't take any photos; so I've pinched the ones below from the bride-to-be (thanks, Lu!) 

We were treated to free drinks while our suite (fancy, eh?) was set up, and settled ourselves very happily in the plush lounge area which vaguely resembled an Italian castle, with an added all-glass wine storage room lit with pink neon, like the world's booziest disco. In our suite we found goodies bags filled with treats including face masks, nail polish, and bags of Malteasers, along with pairs of slippers and freshly-laundered dressing gowns that were so fluffy they felt like being hugged by a bunny. 

We spent the afternoon turning ourselves into smiley, clean-pored prunes thanks to the pool, jacuzzi, sauna, and steam room, before settling down on the seriously comfortable loungers in the Treatment Centre with big mugs of delicious (and complimentary!) fruit tea. 

When booking the hotel, we'd opted to pay another £30 between us for one hour's use of a private outdoor hot tub, which we all agreed afterwards was an excellent decision. The hot tub overlooks a miniature meadow of wild flowers, and we made the most of the privacy by giggling to our hearts' content; fuelled by free flutes of orange juice, which transformed into several cheeky glasses of Bucks Fizz after we discovered my co-bridesmaid had sneakily ordered a bottle of Prosecco!

After getting dressed up for dinner, we headed down to the reception desk to choose which DVDs to borrow for later that night (also included in the deal). The incredibly sweet receptionist helped us to narrow down our choices, and even told us the top-secret information that they'd recently procured a copy of Frozen, which was yet to be added to the list. She also gave us the cocktail list so we could choose our pre-dinner cocktails. Naturally, we'd assumed that the inclusive pre-dinner cocktail would be one glass each. Fair to say our jaws dropped when we saw the waiter approaching our table with these:

If you look very closely at my eyes, you can see the fear

Given that I was already rather merry totally smashed from the prosecco in the hot tub, being presented with a whole jug of spiced apple cocktail to myself was terrifying! I only managed one glass but it was utterly incredible, due to the awesome combination of apple juice, elderflower cordial, and spiced rum. And then, when I was already expecting my liver to pack its bags and run at any moment, we were approached by the sommelier to take our orders for the half bottle of wine we were owed. EACH. 

Thankfully, we also had £35 each to spend on anything we wanted from the menu. With mains coming in at around £15, and starters/desserts at £5-8, we had more than enough credit for sufficient carbs to counteract all the booze. And my fellow hens had main courses of HALF-LOBSTERS(!), so it's not exactly MacDonald's. I opted for some handmade veggie tortellini, followed by a mushroom and goats' cheese burger which turned out to be the size of my face:

Once we'd eaten so much we thought we might burst, the restaurant staff took our dessert order to be brought up to our room later on. This meant that, by 9.30pm, we were in our pyjamas and working our way through 1/3 of each of these while watching 27 Dresses:

Sticky Toffee Pudding, Raspberry and White Chocolate Crème brûlée, and Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart with Chocolate Sorbet. It was all as disgusting as it sounds...
After an amazing night's sleep, possibly thanks to all the wine, we spent a lazy morning sprawled on our beds and chatting before heading down for a huge, hangover-fighting, two-course breakfast, and setting off home. 

Sorry for waffling on so much, but I honestly can't recommend this deal enough. At £117 each it's not exactly cheap, but for the amount of goodies and food/drink you get, it's an absolute BARGAIN. Oh, and you also get a £20 voucher to spend on ESPA products online, with no "minimal spend" nonsense :)

Have you ever been on a spa break? Would you recommend it? 

Katie xxx

17 August 2014

Hi-tops and a new whip

S'up homies!

How are you?

The last few weeks have been rather full on for me, and I've been getting up to all sorts of wonderful things, including: 

Spending cheddar
On a new ride for Tom, because I need a car for my new job. This was justified by Tom citing something about better mileage, but I know he's never liked our snot-green one. Tom's new car is red and sporty (i.e. it has a spoiler) and I've inherited the green one, which I've decided to starting calling The Bogey Van. While not technically accurate, it's the best snot-related pun I could think of. If you've got a better one, please add it in the comments below. 

Lusting after
Kickstarter Kicks - in the form of these incredible Tricera Hi-Tops. If I was ever going to spend more than £20 on a pair of shoes, I reckon these would be the way to go.

Image from Kickstarter

At my friends' wedding - the band was on fire and I was determined to keep throwing shapes for as long as I could. Thanks to the open bar, I have an ominous suspicion that I need to send individual apologies/ funding for therapy to all of the other guests for any underwear-flashing scenarios resulting from my overly-enthusiastic twirling.

Presents for my friend's birthday, and a present for the bride and groom of the aforementioned wedding (which I gave them in advance, but I'm now hoping also works as a post-twirling-event apology). 

The birthday presents' wrapping hinted at the contents, with the comic book cover hiding a comic, and the dinosaur paper containing a necklace from DesignosaurYEAH

A million and one DIY projects which I'm hoping to tackle this week, because Tom and I have taken the whole week off work. Hurrah!

A new jar to keep my coffee in. Crafting is probably stretching it really, as I just wrote on an empty jar with a glass pen.

The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes, and a bit of Enid Blyton - to snigger at the rude bits. 

The Marian Keyes novel was a good mystery, but much darker than I'd anticipated because the protagonist has severe depression. I've been trying to get back into the habit of using my local library, despite the weight difference between a book and my Kindle. I reckon lugging around the extra weight totally balances out the cheesecake.

At a seriously incredible hotel and spa, which I'm going to tell you all about later this week.

Finally, I would just like to thank Urban Dictionary for helping me to compose the most gangsta post I've ever written*, which I'm linking up to Hannah's lovely blog round-up, The Week That Was Captured(#TWTWC).

Katie xxx

* I might have Googled "Hip Hop term for car". Sometimes I'm so trendy it hurts.

11 August 2014

A Blog Hop

Hello lovelies!

How are you?

This post is something a wee bit different, because I've been invited to take part in a blog hop by the fabulous Zoe from Floral and Feather (alongside Louisa from Duck in a Dress; one of the kindest ladies on t'interwebs). The idea of the hop is very simple - first answer the four questions, and then pick two lovely bloggers to carry on the hop. You can find out who I've picked at the end of this post, and I would highly recommend giving them a visit if you're not already regular readers- along with Zoe and Louisa too, of course!

Why do I write?

I had a spell cast on me by an evil fairy during the Kingdom-wide celebration of my birth, who cursed me to either publish weekly ramblings on the internet, or fall asleep for a million years in a castle surrounded by thorns.

OK, OK - I might have stolen that from Sleeping Beauty. But I do love an early night, and our garden is a bit of a jungle; so it's really not that different. 

Also, I find writing helps me to organise my thoughts; which would otherwise continue to tumble over one another in my head like a litter of boisterous, rainbow-coloured puppies. Whether it's a personal diary to unscramble my musings on life, creating multiple To Do lists at work (with the added satisfaction of crossing things off!), or sharing tales of my mishaps and craft projects online, putting pen to paper/ fingers to keys frees up my brain for other, more important tasks; like deciding what to eat for elevenses. 

It's a good excuse to buy notebooks too!

What am I working on?

My never-ending list of DIY projects, crafty ideas and home improvements. When I think about how much we still have to finish in our house it seems positively ludicrous. We've already painted every room - how on earth can there be so many things left to do?! I've spent the last few days painting the stairs - first just the "even" stairs, then the "odd" ones - making sure we could still get upstairs by taking them two at a time. It's forcing us to do some pretty impressive gymnastics/lunges at the bend- I'm expecting to have thighs like Linford Christie by the time the paint has dried. 

My patented "only walk on the steps with washi tape" technique to keep
Tom off the wet steps. His white toes will attest to its moderate success. 

I don't have any particular plans for my blog; although I would like to improve the overall quality of my photos. It seems a bit daft that I spend so long getting the perfect shot whenever we go on adventures, while my craft project photos are badly-lit, poorly-staged quick snaps on our dining table. 

How does it differ from others of its genre?

Well, for a start my blog contains more photos of Joe Manganiello than the rest of the internet, combined. I've probably got more photos of Joe than his own grandmother.

Like all lifestyle blogs, I suppose the thing that makes this one different is me. I try to make sure my blog is a fairly cheery space, filled with the things I love, and something people can read when they fancy a giggle. It's certainly not lacking in colour, either. 

How does my writing process work?

It's probably fairly obvious that I find it very difficult to write to a schedule, given that my new posts tend to arrive rather sporadically. Much as I would love to have a blog planner crammed with carefully colour-coded ideas for future posts, I normally just have to wait for inspiration to strike. I suppose one of the main problems with writing about my lifestyle is that, for the majority of my week, every day is pretty much the same - and there are only so many photos of cups of coffee I can bore you with!

I'm passing on the blog hop baton to:

The lovely Lauren from Belle Du Brighton, who writes about everything from baking to bath products, and whose blog is brimming with photos and updates about her cute-as-a-button baby getting up to all kinds of mischief; and

The uber-talented Claire from Claireabelle Makes, who has turned her craft and lifestyle blog into a tour de force of Cambridge-loving, bicycle-riding, cat-cuddling deliciousness. Claire also runs a rather sweet Etsy shop of her handmade goodies. 

Lauren and Claire's blog hop posts will be up next Monday, and if that won't beat the Monday Blues I don't know what will!

Katie xxx