Friday, May 26

101 Dalmatians Collection | DisneyXCathKidston


It's no secret that I am a huge Cath Kidston and Disney fan. Recently, the brands have collaborated to create DisneyXCathKidston, an absolutely beautiful collection of homeware, lifestyle and technology pieces. So far, we've seen Mickey & Minnie and Winnie The Pooh collections, with the latest release launching today for 101 Dalmations.

So far, this has been one of my favourites. To me, it screams girly and I adore the rose print and puppies. I was very kindly sent these products from Cath Kidston, but I just wanted to share them as I was beyond excited! (Not going to lie, possibly one of the best PR packages...ever.)

I am a huge sucker for stationery, so was very happy to received the Notebook, Pen and Pencil Case. These are perfect for taking to meetings and when I'm travelling on the go. The little Zip Purse is perfect for my girly 'time on the month' essentials I have to carry around with me too.

To celebrate my first year in my first flat, I was very grateful for a new Oven Mit and an Apron! How PERFECT. I live alone so my flat is super girly and pretty, these make a great addition.


You'll notice theres three prominent designs - roses & puppies, spots and Townhouse. This little Makeup Bag is from the Spots range, and is made of PVC, so it's super easy to wipe down clean. It's not very big, so I'm going to use it for my lippie, perfume and tissues for my handbag.

HOW CUTE IS THIS PHONE CASE?! Made from rubber, it fits my iPhone 7 super easily, and is actually really nice to hold. It's really fun and eye-catching, I know I'm going to get loads of compliments on it already.


Saving the best until last, I am completely smitten with this Townhouse Dogs Foldaway Overnight Bag. The inside pocket has poppers, so you can detach it, fold the main bag up and pack it flat.  It's the most gorgeous design, subtle and classy with a lovely touch of Disney. I love the fact it comes with short and a longer handle, which fits on my shoulder and will make the ideal travel bag for my holiday next week. The inside is PVC too, so I'm tempted to use it around the pool. If it spill any suncream inside, it'll easily wipe clean!

Huge thank you to Cath Kidston for the incredibly kind package, the new collection is adorable and I'm sat adding a few other bits to my basket...I'm tempted by the rucksack!

*PR Samples.
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Wednesday, May 24

The Alternative Guide To Benidorm | #VisitBenidorm, Spain

Benidorm. What springs to mind when you think of the destination? Is it beautiful white sandy beaches, quaint Spanish towns, a Mountainous National Park, clear seas for snorkelling and an incredible selection of high class restaurants? No? Me neither....until now!

Last week, I flew to Alicante with icelolly.com and four fellow bloggers, to experience 'The Alternative Side Of Benidorm' with the official Visit Benidorm Tourist Board. Often (in my opinion) poorly portrayed by the popular TV show, Benidorm is much more than the stereotypes you imagine.

From watersports to boat trips, promenade walks to wanders through the historic old town, you'll be surprised at the alternative side from the main tourist town in Benidorm. It is no secret that the climate and nightlife have played a big part in making Benidorm a resort full of fun, but it's also a destination that offers peace and tranquillity. I can honestly say that it's a place for everyone.

I went with low expectations, but came away ready to prove to all my friends, family and readers, that Benidorm has some hidden gems that you really must know about. Without further ado, let me show you just some of the activities we did and places we visited. I've got so many photos, I'm going to share a separate blog post on the food and the Sandos Monaco hotel we stayed in, so keep an eye out for those soon!

PONIENTE BEACH


One of my biggest pet peeves travelling to any beach resort (or even here at home in Bournemouth!) is the battle for a sunlounger or spot of sand to peacefully do my sunbathing. Skip Levante Beach and take a short trip west past old town, where you'll find Poniente beach, a much quieter stretch with plenty of space and completely white sand. There's little beach huts, palm trees, no litter and umbrellas to hire. If you like a beach walk, this one is also for you. There's plenty of shops and restaurants along the front, one I'd highly recommend is a restaurant called Ulia, which I'll save to share in my food post. If you like Paella and Sangria, add this to your list.

ELECTRIC BIKE HIRE


If you've ever tried quad biking, imagine that but SO much better. I find quad bikes are actually a little slow and bulky, and certainly didn't appreciate how much better an electric bike is! We hired one each from an awesome place called Tao Bike, who pride themselves on their commitment to the environment. Half a day hire only costs €18, and is a perfect way to explore Benidorm. As soon as you pedal, the motor kicks in a you're off! For someone like me who's pretty lazy when it comes to cycling, it gave me the perfect balance of pedaling, and using the elctric to get up steep hills. We went along the coast paths through town, and up to Sierra Helada Natural Park. I can't quite explain how exhilarating riding so close to the edge and looking across at the views was. We even stopped in a little cove called Playa Cala Tio Ximo. Whether you hike, cycle, drive or walk around Sierra Helada, I couldn't skip mentioning what a beautiful view point it is for see over Benidorm too. You've got to try it, trust me!

OLD TOWN


Known as 'The Balcony of the Mediterranean', this is possibly one of the prettiest and most romantic spots I've seen. On top of a rock separating Playa de Levante and Poniente Beaches, it was a fortress built to defend the people from the algerian pirates raids during the XIV, XV and XVI centuries. Now you can only see some remains of the walls that lie on the rocks of the viewpoint, a perfect picture-taking and sunset spotting location. This part of Old Town was lovely, and I'd encourage anyone to take a stroll and stop for dinner.

JET SKIING


I am a true water baby; I've grown up by the coast, drove boats before I could drive a car, and swam in the sea daily through my summer holidays. We had a jet ski as a family once upon a time, but it's been a few years since I've driven one myself. My brother is actually an instructor, so it was no surprise when I was the most excited about this activity. Benidorm has heaps of great watersports on offer, including sailing, kayaking, kite surfing and wakeboarding to name a few. I jumped on a Seadoo with Charlotte and had an absolute blast as I navigated us 50mph over the waves towards Benidorm Island. Be sure to watch my vlog (linked at the end) to hear us cackling away with laughter. Highly, highly recommend.

SNORKELLING


Being on the sea didn't stop at jet skiing, we took another short boat trip to Benidorm Island for snorkelling in completely crystal clear seas! I'm not a huge fan of snorkeling, I struggle to control my breathing and much prefer opening my eyes and seeing the fish for myself. However, I could have stayed swimming and jumping off the boat all day long. There was only one other boat next to us, it was so exhilarating having no phone and techology, just a GoPro and great group of gals. If you're up for it, there's opportunities for scuba diving too.

JEEP TOUR


When I was a little girl, my Barbie had a jeep JUST like this. I always wanted to go in one to feel the wind in my hair and sun on my skin...ahhhh. I have to admit, standing up in one was much harder than I thought (watch the vlog to see us giggle away), but the experience was fantastic. We went with Marco Polo, fitting 4 in the back and 3 in the middle. We had some incredible views through the valleys, and even stopped at a tiny Spanish village called Guadalest. An ideal way to really see the alternative side of Benidorm and all it's beauty.


I hope I've done some justice in sharing a few sides to Benidorm that you might not know about - it really is an incredible place and I totally see the appeal now. If you're looking for some fun in the sun, with a bit of something for everyone, then add it your bucket list!

If you've enjoy the photos, why not check out my vlog from the trip below?!


*This trip was courtesy of icelolly.com.



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Thursday, May 11

Disney's Aladdin The Musical | Prince Edward Theatre, London


You know when you love something so much it brings you to happy tears? Something that fills you with so much joy you just feel an overwhelming sense of contentment? That's how I feel about Disney. The films, the characters, the parks and now; the Theatre shows. I'd previously seen The Lion King several years ago, and didn't think anything would be on par with it, until I saw Aladdin last week. I was completely blown away, and have spent the past five days playing the music, re-reading the show guide and watching back my vlog from the day.
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Tuesday, May 9

MAC Cosmetics & Disney Theatrical Makeup Masterclass | #DisneyXMAC


If you're an avid reader of my blog or regularly watch my YouTube channel, you'll know MAC Cosmetics and Disney are two of my favourites brands. Ever. I've been a loyal customer of MAC since I started out with makeup (many moons ago!), and am the first to admit I'm still very much learning how to contour, blend my eyeshadow, shape my eyebrows and apply my lip liner. Any opportunity I'm presented to learn about makeup...I'm there! So when Disney Theatrical Productions invited myself and a bunch of fellow bloggers down to the Prince Edward Theatre last Saturday, I jumped at the opportunity. In collaboration with MAC Cosmetics, the Official Makeup Partner at The Lion King and Aladdin, we were able to explore and celebrate the variety of makeup styles and techniques used both on and off stage. Honestly, it was an experience I won't forget, and it completely exceeded my expectations.

The makeup master class was held on the main stage at the Prince Edward Theatre, led by four of MAC’s Senior Artists, alongside makeup artists from both The Lion King and Aladdin. Together they showed how some of the iconic character looks from Disney’s stage productions are created, and how these can be adapted to everyday, wearable looks.

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Thursday, April 27

YO! Sushi New Menu | Bournemouth

On Tuesday, I was kindly invited down to YO! Sushi in Bournemouth for a tasting event of the brand new menu, Flavours Of Japan. The delicious new dishes range from the succulent Chicken Katsu Sando to Tokyo Banana Cake. They've gone back to Japan for this new menu to curate a line-up of authentic street food, crafted from the freshest ingredients on the high street – and I couldn't wait to try it out for myself.
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Wednesday, April 19

Wonderland | Mayflower Theatre, Southampton


I've been super lucky to see a few shows recently, and I have really fallen in love with the Mayflower, it's the biggest theatre on the south coast with over 2,300 seats in the auditorium. The staff are always so warm and friendly, and I know I'm guaranteed to have a great evening. When I was kindly invited to see Wonderland yesterday, I honestly had no idea what to expect. There have been so many adaptations of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, that I was intrigued to see how it would be portrayed on stage.
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Monday, April 10

Beauty & The Beast Afternoon Tea | Town House at Kensington Hotel, London


Located in the heart of one of London's most most desirable neighbourhoods, Town House at The Kensington Hotel is located on the corner of two of London’s iconic thoroughfares, Queen’s Gate and the Old Brompton Road, and is spread across three classically designed drawing rooms, serving locally-sourced, seasonal modern British cuisine.

With open fires found in nearly all the hotel’s ground floor reception rooms, entering The Kensington feels rather like walking through the doors of a lovingly restored London mansion. The beautiful high ceilings and heritage décor make it feel extremely welcome.

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Thursday, April 6

Miller & Carter Review | BH2 Leisure Complex, Bournemouth


Last Friday night, my boyfriend Benji & I were invited to dine at Miller & Carter in the new BH2 Leisure Complex area of Bournemouth. Conviently located in the centre of town, the complex has an Odeon Cinema, a new car park and is next to Bournemouth Gardens and close to the beach, ideal for an after dinner walk. I've only heard good things about Miller & Carter, and had walked past the outside a few times since recently opening, so I was very excited. I am huge meat lover, and steak is one of my favourite dinners, so I knew it would be good, but I didn't appreciate just HOW good. So much so, I've invited one of my best friends Gary to go back with me tomorrow.


We booked for 7.30pm and arrived a little early, kindly greeted by the staff at the front desk, and instantly shown to our table by the window. We had a view across the street for a bit of people watching, one of my secret guilty pleasures! We were slightly below road level though, so had some privacy at the same time. Miller & Carter really have a great location in the new BH2 Leisure area.

When we sat down, I instantly noticed the seats were super comfortable. I have a really bad back, so it's one of my pet peeves when a restaurant has poor furniture and I feel rushed to want to leave because I'm uncomfortable! The ambiance and atmosphere was really lovely, it wasn't not too quiet or too noisy, and although a busy Friday night, it didn't feel crowded. We could easily have a conversation and not hear the people behind or next to us either.

I loved the ability to see the chef's cooking away too, I got an instant friendly vibe of their chemistry working together, and when I started taking a few photos, they joked to me about getting their best angle. A lovely way to stay the evening!

Our waitress Rhianna introduced herself, and didn't rush us making our wine and food choices. She was absolutely fantastic, and a real asset to Miller & Carter.


Drinks
Benji & I love our wine, so we went for a bottle of The Bulletin Zinfandel Rosé which was very reasonably priced. It was selected as 'highly recommended' on the menu and rightly so, it was gorgeous! Sweet, light and easy to drink. I'd definitely order it again. Their wine list had plenty of great choice, and our waitress was very knowledgable on what she recommended ordering too.


Starter
For starters, I had to try the king prawns (£6.95). Being in Bournemouth and living by the sea makes me a huge seafood lover, and these did not disappoint. Cooked in garlic butter and served with toasted ciabatta, this was a perfect starter. Benji went for the baked cheddar mushrooms (£5.75), also in a creamy garlic and cheddar sauce with a piece of garlic ciabatta. I could have eaten a whole bowl of these! Delicious.


Main
The fillet steak was a no brainer for me (£23.50). It's generally my favourite meal to order and it did not disappoint. I asked for it to be medium cooked, and I can confidently admit it was pretty perfect to how I like it. The portion size was generous too. I opted for the peppercorn sauce, whilst the meat was served with parsley butter, seasoned fries, a slice of onion loaf (just like a onion ring, so delicious!) and a balsamic glazed tomato. Miller & Carter also serve it with a lettuce wedge and your choice of seasoning, so I went for garlic mayonnaise and parmesan.

As you can tell, you can really tailor your steak experience, there's even extra options for extra sides however, this was absolutely plenty of food. Benji went for the 50 day aged grain fed ribeye (£19.95), with the beef dripping sauce as recommended by our waitress Rhianna. We later found out this is hugely popular, and I can totally understand why. A perfect combination!


Dessert & After Dinner Cocktails
I have a huge sweet tooth and anyone who knows me understands I love my dessert. I normally give up starter for dessert, but this was a special friday night treat! Generally when I read a menu, there's always one thing which jumps straight out to me, but the Miller & Carter Dessert menu is to die for. There is so much fantastic choice! Therefore, it was inevitable I opted for the tasting plate (£8.95) including a selection of the Chocolate Brownie, Raspberry Crème brûlée, Glazed Passion Fruit Tart and fresh berries. I am not joking when I say I was in pure heaven. Benji went for the Raspberry CCrème brûlée too (£5.25), and it was definitely the best choice. Madagascan vanilla glazed brulee, with fresh raspberries and a raspberry sugar crunch, served with a home baked vanilla biscuit. I am definitely ordering it again next time, it was beautiful. The brownie was a little dry and definitely needed the ice cream, but the Passion Fruit Tart was a perfect palate cleanser. A close second favourite!

As we were keen to try a bit of everything, we also ordered a cocktail each. I had the After Eight-Thirty, a silky, smooth and refreshing Baileys, Crème de Menthe and Crème de Cacao, shaken with cream. Once again, I'd order this again. Baileys is one of my favourites. Benji went for a Vanilla White Russian, an updated classic, Smirnoff Vanilla vodka shaken with Tia Maria, milk and cream. I have to admit, he was very torn for choice between the Chocolate Martini and Espresso Martini too, we'll give our verdict on those next time!


I enjoyed our dinner so much, that I'm already going back less than a week later. For the quality, service and general ambiance, I feel our meal was good value for money. It would make a perfect date night or birthday/anniversary meal. I have absolutely nothing bad to say, it was genuinely a gorgeous dinner and we both thoroughly enjoyed our evening. If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning a £100 gift card to eat at a Miller & Carter near you, head on over to my Instagram, it's only open until next Tuesday! Be sure to follow their Instagram & Facebook too.

Huge thank you to Miller & Carter, big welcome to Bournemouth and I look forward to coming again soon!


*This post is kindly sponsored by Miller & Carter.

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