Monday, 30 June 2014

Summer Holiday | Part Three

I had so much to tell you about my holiday to Gran Canaria that I knew I couldn't fit it all into one post as it would have been way too long. So if you need to catch up on part one and two they are just below.

Day 3 of our holiday was the first day we went on an excursion, and it was a day out at sea on a catamaran. It was beautiful and sunny and a perfect way to combine relaxation with a little sightseeing. The coach collected us from our hotel in Maspolomas and took us to Puerto Rico where we went aboard the Supercat, and got comfy on the chairs on the top deck to enable us to have a good view. All soft drinks, beer, wine and sangria were included in the price of the excursion and were served from the bar on the lower deck where there was also a hot tub!

It was really nice to just sit in the sunshine and chill out and see a little bit more of the island without having to haul yourself around, and then if you get too hot you just pop downstairs and sit in the shade and enjoy the view from the back of the boat without getting sunburnt. Lunch was included in the price of the trip and was a Canarian classic of roast chicken with papas con mojo which are new potatoes boiled in lots of salted water then served with mojo sauce which is incredibly garlicy, so when travelling in couples make sure both of you eat these or else give each other a wide berth.


Day 4 of the holiday was by far the best day we had on the island, this was the day we went out of the 4x4 adventure and it was hands down one of the best things I have ever done. There was a group of about 5 open top land rovers that all travelled in convoy and head from Maspolomas right up into the canarian mountains. If you are a nervous passenger, have back problems or are just a bit of a scaredy cat then this wouldn't have been for you.

We started out in the morning and were advised it would be best to buy a bandanna to cover our nose and mouth for the off road part of the tour as it would get pretty dusty. So the boyf and I embraced the fact that this was not a day for looking nice, myself especially as I put a kaftan type top over my sundress and donned a cheap hat bought from the local supermarket to try and prevent my head and nose ending up an unattractive shade of red. Only problem with this idea was that when we started moving the wind caught my hat and was blowing it off so I had to quickly scrap that idea and just hope for the best.

gran canaria

Yes I do know I look really stupid in this outfit, a terrible combination of kaftan, dodgy hat and bandanna, but I would rather look like an idiot than try to look chic on a trip like this. You want to cover as much skin as possible with light weight clothing because there was no shelter and it was scorching hot in the mountains and sunburn is not a good look!

Gran Canaria

We spent the day winding our way up the tiny little roads into the mountains where sometimes the adrenaline would kick in as we were very close to the cliff edge with no barriers so one wrong move and we would have been tumbling down the rocks to meet our maker! It was all part of the excitement of the trip though and our driver was a Spanish dude who was amused by the girls screams as he screeched around the corners really fast sending them into a frenzy of fear! Myself, I love that kind of stuff and for me it only made the trip way more memorable.

Gran Canaria

We stopped at various points along the way to have photo opportunities and toilet breaks and the chance to take in the amazing sights was incredible. My only problem was the hardship of trying to haul myself back into the land rover every time as I'm of average height and they were so bloody far off the ground I would be scrabbling around looking less than glamorous attempting to grab onto the roll bar to hoist myself back into my seat!

Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria

Stopping off for lunch at a camel park and enjoying the classic of chicken with papas con mojo and lots of sangria again was a welcome break, some of the group went off for a camel ride at this point by boyf was less than impressed with this idea so we took the opportunity to just sit in the cool for a while. Then we were off, this time on the unmade roads where things were going to get a little dusty and a lot more bumpy!

Gran Canaria

We all pulled our bandannas up over our noses and held on for dear life as we sped through the rocky roads right on the cliff's edge. It was so exciting as our tyres hit the rocks sending us skidding from left to right, and the tight hair pin turns where Spanish dude did almost handbrake turns around the corners leaving you thinking for a split second we were going to roll right off the edge of the road. And the dust was everywhere! It was flying over the top of us like a blanket, covering every inch of our sun scorched skin. Before we knew it, it was over and we had arrived back in Maspolomas feeling more grubby and dirty than I have ever felt in my life. So although I had had an amazing day all I could think about what getting back to the hotel and taking a shower, you can imagine the colour of that water!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Summer Holiday | Part Two

Second instalment of my holiday, if you haven't read the first one you can read it here.

Do you always wake up really early on holiday without your alarm even going off? I was so desperate to get up and rush outside on the first day and when I had looked at my phone for the time it said 7.30am so I was a little confused at how dark it was outside. It dawned on us that my phone was very confused as to what time zone we were in and it was actually 6.30am. Gran Canaria has the same time as the UK but my phone was picking up Spanish networks so had put my clock back an hour.

Never mind boyf wakey wakey rise and shine, I was excited and hungry and didn't want to waste any time laying in bed. I wanted to explore, eat and we had our welcome meeting at 10am with the Thomson rep so there was lots to do. I got showered and dressed and waited out on the balcony for BF to get ready, it was so peaceful that early in the morning.

gran canaria

So to fill time I naturally took lots of photo's, the colour on my toes in case your interested is Nails Inc Baker Street.

I was in breakfast heaven down in the restaurant, I could choose between muffins, doughnuts, marble cake, croissants, and rolls. Then cooked food was a selection of Spanish and English sausages, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, cooked tomatoes, hashbowns, cheese croquettes, bacon, and fried potatoes. There was a choice of continental breakfast with cold meats, cheeses and salad and there was even pancakes, as well as the usual cereals, fruit and yogurt. How was I supposed to choose!

I think it even took me a couple of days to spot the jugs of flavoured milk which in an adults only hotel was questionable but I am like a child so I dove in and had some.

We went along to our welcome meeting and booked all the excursions we wanted to go on and then plodded off to explore the area, including the local mini market, tell me why foreign cakes and crisps always look more exciting than our own?

We found our way to Maspalomas beach, and the view out over the sea from the top of the cliff was breath taking.

gran canaria

maspalomas, gran canaria

By this point I was getting a little hot and tired, I felt like I had walked 200 miles when in actual fact it was probably more like 1 mile but whose counting! So I thought it was time to stop and have a cheesy looking holiday cocktail.

Yes they are pina colada's!! I know you're jealous of how classy they look haha. We weren't really dressed for the beach and wanted to spend a day there later on in the week so for now our work was done and we decided to stroll back to the hotel so we could go and lay by the pool and do a bit of swimming.

But I got distracted on the way back by this little number.

Gran Canaria

Oh yeah! Two scoops, one pistachio and one dulce de leche. *drools* It was so frickin good and it was a lovely waffle cone as well, because I'm not all that keen on cheap wafer cones. I tried to scoff it down before it melted all down my fingers but I failed so had to stand there licking and sucking the sticky remanence off my hands, yes I know how wrong that sounds so just imagine how wrong it looked!

The pool area in our hotel was lovely, and after all that walking it was nice to lay down in the sunshine listen to my ipod and relax for a while, I may have even had a few moments where I dozed off, but taking a little dip in the pool certainly woke me up as I took forever to emerge myself into the water because it was so chilly. The boyf kept trying to coax me in saying just dunk right under then it will be alright! I don't think so, my heart might have gone into shock if I had done that, instead I took my sweet time and then tried to swim gracefully around the pool and not to make too much of a splashing scene as I tried to hurry away from boyf when I was concerned he was going to dunk me.

We were good little holiday makers this day and went to the gym for a while before going down for dinner, so I could feel slightly less guilty about all the yummy food piled up on my plate. 

This was the outfit I wore to dinner, don't mind how awkward I look in this photo, my boyfriend had just said "pose for the camera" and I always end up looking like a bunny caught in headlights when I'm caught off guard.

Holiday Gran Canaria
Dress: Star by Julian Macdonald

And there we have it, day two of our holiday. Check back for the next instalment of the series which will include details of the amazing excursions we went on.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Summer Holiday | Part One

I'm still suffering from the post holiday blues even though we touched down back in Blighty 5 days ago. My boyfriend and I went on holiday to Gran Canaria for a week and had the most amazing time, so of course I'm going to share my experiences with you guys and maybe give you a little inspiration if you are planning your own holiday and haven't decided where to go.

So first things first, we booked the holiday as a package through Thomson because it's a reliable name and there would be a rep in our hotel in case we needed anything. We booked a half board package with transfers included which takes the stress out of those first few moments of your holiday, it's nice to know a coach will be waiting for you and you don't have to worry about finding a cab and possibly being charged "tourist" rate!

Now onto the good stuff!

Our flight out was a nice sociable afternoon time which meant we didn't have to haul ourselves out of bed at silly 'o clock, we had a nice drive to the airport and parked the car in the mid stay and I may have been ever so slightly annoying as I was very excited to get out of the car. To me it felt like the holiday was so close I could almost taste the sangria! So naturally I kept telling the boyf to "hurry up" in a whiny voice whilst jigging about on the spot.

We got into the airport sorted out the necessaries and then headed to the fun bit, DUTY FREE! I got a couple of items from MAC and may have bought a few too many goodies for the flight, then we sat down to have some much needed breakfast as I sniffled at the thought of more than a few hours without twitter, facebook, youtube and instagram (you know I'm not the only one, you would feel sad too!) I will add that this delighted my boyfriend though, because he thinks social media is the third wheel in our relationship, so he was certainly smiling at this point.

I will also add that one pack of M&M goodies didn't even make the plane, but hey I'm on holiday and that starts from the moment my feet touch the airport tiles.

I don't mind flying, but I do mind how bored I get, the flight time was "only" 4 hours 20, but to me that's like FOUR HOURS TWENTY MINUTES! Eugh, what am I going to do for all that time with my arse pinned to an uncomfortable chair in the same spot with no YouTube or Twitter to occupy me!! So yes I did go a little stir crazy and the Boyf bagged the window seat because he's mean to me and still doesn't understand how much of a child I am and how he should pander to my every whim (haha if only). So I sat, and wriggled and huffed, sat wriggled, huffed, you see the pattern forming here!

FINALLY we hit the tarmac and then had to wait the obligatory AGE to get off the plane where the seconds don't seem to move because the universe is laughing at you making you wait in that awkward position half bent, doing your best attempt at standing, whilst clinging onto the seat in front praying for the people in the aisle to move a little before your legs give way, but you feel this is better than staying in your seat because you are poised ready for action. LET ME OFF THE FRICKIN PLANE!

There it was, the beautiful Gran Canaria. Whilst Boyf went to wait by the luggage carousel for our cases I popped to the less than beautiful canarian airport toilets and why do I always get the door that doesn't lock? But desperate to pee I had to balance myself with one leg holding the door shut (oh the glamour). And there it was the moment where we finally walked out into the evening sunshine, we had arrived!

We hopped onto our coach and got the first glimpses of the country as it drove from the airport to all of the hotel stops, where you do that judgy thing as people get off at their stop and you check out their hotel thinking I'm glad I didn't pick this one and secretly hope yours looks better. (You know you do that too, you always have to check out other peoples hotel)

Then there was the moment where the guide called out our Hotel name, Gran Canaria Princess. My eyes lit up as we pulled into this large driveway lined with palm trees and caught sight of the huge glass doors shielding a gorgeous reception area. I may have let out a little happy squeak.

It was beautiful, very sleek and modern with lovely purple sofa's and flowers and marble flooring. We got into the lift to travel up to the 6th floor and walked along the corridor which was also really nice. My excitement was building because everything looked so good I was just hoping our room wouldn't be a let down. Then there was the moment where we slipped the key card into the reader and the little green light showed and I flung the door open and let out a little shriek of delight. It was better than I had expected, so white and clean and spacious. I ran round with my camera videoing it all, the bathroom was stunning with a lovely big shower and then my boyfriend called "Michelle come here you have got to see this!" I rushed over to the balcony doors and saw his face beaming because we had completely lucked out, our room was a corner plot so we had a HUGE wrap around balcony with sun loungers! I stood racing on the spot giggling like a child, the view was awesome and I could already imagine sitting out here with a drink soaking in the atmosphere and being able to sunbathe in our own private area so I wouldn't need to keep worrying how my wobbly bits looked!

Gran Canaria Princess
Gran Canaria Princess

The view only got better at night time, it all looked even more beautiful with all the lights twinkling.

Gran Canaria Princess
Gran Canaria Princess

After we had stopped admiring the view we went down to the restaurant for dinner which is served buffet style and was really tasty. There was so much choice, about 4/5 different salad dishes, there was always two soups on offer, then a mix of different meat, fish and vegetable dishes and sides, plenty of bread and rolls and then there was the dessert counter, this was the place I would stand pondering how many different desserts I could put on my plate before people began staring and pointing at the greedy girl!

We ordered a jug of sangria to satisfy my urge, and to tick one of the boxes on my little list of things I wanted to do whilst we were there. The others included eating calamari, alioli and bread, and going on a banana boat.

So more or less that concludes our first day on the island. If you would like to read more about the amazing trips we did and see more photo's then don't forget to check back as this post is just the first in the series!

Until next time.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Hawaiian Tropic After Sun

Hawaiian Tropic are a rather big name in the world of tanning, I remember about 12 years ago when they were predominantly about tan accelerator lotions for use with sunbeds, but I guess since the truth of their dangers to your health became public knowledge they have somewhat sank in popularity so Hawaiian Tropic now seem to be a lot more main stream with their sun screen and after sun products.

I was attracted to the spray sun screen and after sun body butter mainly because I thought they were quality products with a lovely exotic fragrance and they were on special offer in Boots when I went in to buy the sun care for my holiday.
I got the after sun body butter because I wanted something really nourishing for my skin as I would be spending a lot of time in the sun, sea and pool so knew my skin would take a little bit of a beating. However now I wish I had invested my money in a different product. 

hawaiian tropic, body butter

The body butter smells gorgeous,  it was supposed to be coconut but I swear it has a slight banana scent. Either way it's lovely, but that feels like the only good thing it has going for it. The first time I applied the product, the morning I flew out on holiday it stung my skin and made it feel really hot. I persevered and used it on my skin after a day in the sun and more than soothe my sun kissed skin it made it feel like it was on fire. 

after sun, body butter

My boyfriend also commented on how it wasn't very cooling, which is really a quality you would expect from an after sun.
Sadly the body butter did little to help my skin feel hydrated so I stopped using it because I felt my skin was a little better off without this product.

hawaiian tropic body butter

Very disappointing when you consider the price of this product when it's not on special offer.

Anyone know of a really good after sun as I will be making a new investment in time for my next holiday.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Holiday Prep

summer holiday

It's finally summer time and I am off on my hols in 9 days!! I am one very excited girl right now, because I haven't been on holiday for a very long time. I could quite possibly self combust because I am looking forward to it that much.

However the one thing I do hate about holidays is the way the time leading up to them just seems to disappear before your eyes and you always run out of time to get everything done don't you? Today I started making lists of all the things I need to do before I go.

  • Get hi-lites done
  • Get nails done
  • Buy a big suitcase
  • Get some denim shorts
  • Buy a new deodorant
  • Get Euros
  • Hand wash bikini
  • Give myself a pedicure
In all honesty that list is probably missing a few points as well, and I am working all week including Saturday so I will only have Sunday to sort any last minute bits!!

I bought sun cream and after sun a couple of weeks ago when they were on offer in Boots, I got Hawaiian Tropic because I was seduced by the gorgeous fragrance of coconut, and I picked up some fake tan because I don't want to feel too milk bottle walking through the airport! I just hope I don't end up streaky instead.

Hawaiian Tropic
hawaiian tropic after sun

Doesn't the after sun look lucious, I can't wait to dig my fingers into that stuff, I just hope it is as good as it smells!

I have written down a list of clothing I want to take, I need 6 evening outfits and at the moment I have only arranged 5 of them. I am also struggling to decide on footwear, how do you pick one or two pairs of shoes that go with 6 different outfits!!

So in an effort to be as organised as I can be, I need to stay on top of things. My task for this evening is to give myself a pedicure and paint my toe nails so they should last until we leave with a possible need for a little top up of colour. I WILL be using foot cream every single night before bed so my feet are nice and soft and smooth and won't scare the locals on the beach!

Then I will aim to pack a little each night when I finally get my suitcase, so I don't have to do it in a mad rush the night before we leave.

I shall keep you updated on my progress, do you have any packing tips?

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