Friday, July 19, 2019

HOLY MOLY!

The Little Magpie H&M summer collection campaign The Little Magpie H&M summer collection campaign The Little Magpie H&M summer collection campaign The Little Magpie H&M summer collection campaign The Little Magpie H&M summer collection campaign The Little Magpie H&M summer collection campaign The Little Magpie H&M summer collection campaign
HOLY MOJITO do I have some wild news to share... a few weeks ago I spent the day at a beautiful house just outside of Hastings shooting with H&M and I'm finally allowed to share why... I'm buying the company and changing the name to M&H! Oh no, sorry, it's because I have an on store and online campaign bebe!!!! Eeeeeeee!

My nerves have been shot to bits all morning - I genuinely can't believe I'm typing this - a) because H&M's a brand I've shopped in and loved from way, way back when I first started buying my own clothes (and before that when me Mam was still buying my clothes; the glory days) and b) because I'm only five foot small and, well, me so I never thought in a million years I'd get an opportunity to do something like this. It's also really lovely to be able to work on a physical campaign, if you like, that my Gran and Papa can go in and see as they don't really understand what I do - I've heard my Gran refer to me as everything from a travel agent to a model to 'our Amy? She's...eh, well... she's...oh, is that.. the telephone?' - so something like this that they can go in and see means a lot. Plus my Mum was in need of a new wallpaper so those swing tags'll come in really handy there too. It honestly was the dream day, a total career highlight and, to top it all off, the best, best team of ladies to work with on it.

The Little Magpie H&M summer collection campaign The Little Magpie H&M summer collection campaign The Little Magpie H&M summer collection campaign The Little Magpie H&M summer collection campaign The Little Magpie H&M summer collection campaign
All images shot by the amazing Michaela who, as always, was an absolute wee dream (and is fantastic at making me look 10x better than I actually do).

You can shop the full collection here!

The collection itself is beautiful; from boho dresses and blouses to a cracking wee paisley two piece (which looks lovely worn together or separately - it just keeps on giving). The white dress is, sadly, selling super fast online but there should still be good stock in store if you didn't manage to grab one online! There's also a matching blouse which is maybe my favourite, favourite piece of the entire collection and that's still got good stock online at the moment, hurrah! It's in all UK stores as of now so if anyone sees it please do to let me know! Take a photos with it, draw a moustache on it... do what you need to do. 

(Please don't draw a moustache on it or I'll be in big shit)

Right I'm off to have some gin and a celebratory dad dance to shake this nervy tummy off!

Amy 

Shop the collection:


The Little Magpie H&M summer collection campaign

Monday, July 15, 2019

Discovering The Cayman Islands

The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide
Well hello from the Cayman Islands! I was lucky enough to spend a wee five days there last month so today I thought I'd share a round-up of our trip! It's around a 12 hour flight from London - stock up on those snacks - or about an hour and a half's flight from Miami, an hour's flight from Cuba or a 45 minute flight from Jamaica if you'd like to tie it in with another trip! We visited in June, which is technically wet season, but the weather was lush - I think we only had one wee rainy spell the first day we arrived and from then on it was in the low 30s the whole way through. 

So, a quick bit of history about the island before we get into the nitty gritty (if nothing else it might serve you well in a pub quiz one day) - Christopher Columbus was the first explorer to record seeing the Cayman Islands all the way back in 1503, naming them 'Las Tortugas' after all the turtles he spotted on and around the island. Fast forward a couple of hundred years and Cayman Brac had become a popular haunt for pirates looking to stash treasure in the late 1600s to early 1700s and was also used as a base from which to attack ships headed for Europe; legend has it that there's still buried treasure just off of the island so, if you have extra space in your case, get that metal detector in there stat. It wasn't until around 1730 that settlers came to the islands and now the population is made up of a whopping 120 different nationalities. There are three islands - Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, so I've split today's post in two around that! 

GRAND CAYMAN
The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide Grand Cayman
The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide Stingray City The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide Stingray City The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide
Grand Cayman is where we spent the majority of our time on the islands, so here are a few of the things we got up to!

Seven Mile Beach: This is where you'll find a lot of the island's hotels (including ours) and for good reason! It's a seven mile - well, actually just over five miles, but it's too late to change the name now - stretch of powdery white sand and turquoise blue water. The entire beach is public so it's possible to walk right the way along if you feel like working off your breakfast pancakes. It's also a beautiful place to sit and watch the sunset in the evening! 
Stingray City: One of, if not the most, popular tourist attraction so you very well may have heard of this one! It came about back in the 1980s when fisherman used to stop on the sandbank to clean their catch and, from then on, those clever stringrays have associated the sound of boats with food and so come and go of their own free will all year round. You can get in the sea with the stingray and feed them or choose to watch the little fellas from the boat. We spent a lovely afternoon with Cayman Luxury Charters, stopping off at both Starfish Point and Stingray City with some snorkelling and jet-skiing thrown in along the way. One thing I will say is that these spots get exceptionally busy so prepare for crowds!
Snorkelling: Cayman Islands are famous for their diving! We did a little bit of snorkeling on our boat tour and the water is beautifully crystal clear; we spotted lots of colourful of fish (that's as specific as I can be, David Attenborough I am not) as well as a few stingray swimming below. More experienced divers can get their scuba awn at several different sites across the island! 
 Camana Bay: A pedestrianised area that's filled with restaurants, a cinema, shops and a free observation tower. We did a food tour here, complete with paired cocktails, which is a great way to sample a few of the different cuisines on offer in the area (honestly we had some of the best food I've ever eaten in the Caribbean during our time on the Cayman Islands) and we also had a little daytime stop at Jessie's, which I can highly recommend for vegan and gluten free treats. They even had kombucha, so my day peaked right there.

The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide
The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide
Rum Point: Home of the famous Mudslide cocktail! Apparently a customer asked for a White Russian back in the 70s but, not having cream, the bar tender used Irish cream instead and thus... The Mudslide was born. We had a really lovely lunch here - the (gluten free, hurrah!) fish and chips you see above - surrounded by people sunbathing, swimming and playing volleyball. After some gentle kayaking we headed over for a beach barbecue at Kaibo, which is not far at all from Rum Point, that evening which, again, had such a good atmosphere - there's people playing Cornhole (I only just learned what this was called thanks to Carrie), live music and people paddling in the sea as the sun set.
Met the Blue Iguanas: They're totally endemic to Grand Cayman - you won't find them even on Little Cayman or Cayman Brac - and are the largest native land animal, growing to over five feet long (impressive, I know). Once on the critically endangered list, they now have a population of over 1000 thanks to the amazing recovery programme. Following this, we headed over to Mission House to learn a little more about the island's history along with a traditional peppermint candy making demonstration.
Spa treatments at The Marriott: This is hands down the nicest Marriott, and one of the nicest spas, that I've ever been in (see the photos of the spa and the little wooden stools/leafy area at the top of this section). The massage was incredible - I came out of the room looking dazed and like I'd been asleep for 106 years which is always a good sign - so, if you have time to squeeze in a spa treatment on your visit, you know where to go.
The Brasserie: One of my favourite meals we had on the island! It's farm to table style so they grow a lot in their own garden (which you can have a stroll through if you like, I'd recommend it at dusk when the fairy lights are coming on) and have their own fishing boats too. The menu changes daily and I can guarantee you'll be overwhelmed with choice!


LITTLE CAYMAN / CAYMAN BRAC
The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide
The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide The Little Magpie Cayman Islands Guide

Sadly we only had time for a very quick tour of Cayman Brac - which looked beautifully rugged with an incredibly impressive landscape - so because of that most of this section is about Little Cayman. My GOD did I love it. We spent less than 24 hours there in total but I could easily have stayed a week! It's a very small island, about 11 square miles, with only 170 residents and an airport that's joined to the fire station (complete with resident iguana, Stumpy) and at times you feel like you have the entire island to yourself. If you close your eyes and think of a few things that you'd associate with the Caribbean I can guarantee Little Cayman has them covered; turquoise water, white sand, colourful beach huts, palm trees, quiet sandy roads... it's idyllic.

We spent the evening on a totally secluded bit of beach having a wee drink and watching the sunset before heading back to our hotel, Southern Cross, for a pasta buffet. Not just any pasta buffet, a pasta buffet under the stars. Carbs and constellations, you can't beat it. We woke up bright and early the next morning with the aim of watching the sunrise and going for cycle whilst it was still cool but the sun stayed behind the clouds and temperature reached 32 degrees by 9am leaving us on the sweatiest bike journey I've ever known but, even still, it was one of my favourite mornings of the trip. If there's one thing you do on the island then make sure it's a cycle! Just bring water and don't wear a midi skirt, that's my advice. We spent the rest of the morning playing ring toss and enjoying a coconut on the beach and finished up our time there with a pizza buffet. Honestly, just when you think you'd peaked at pasta buffet. Also I'd like to add for gluten free friends that, even on this tiny island, they were able to accommodate for me at both meals which I totally wasn't expecting and was truly wonderful.

Now, sadly we didn't have long on the island so I can't tell you more from a first hand point of view but I've heard the diving in Little Cayman is amazing - Bloody Bay Wall in particular - as well as the fishing, and you can also kayak over to the uninhabited Owen Island to enjoy your very own Robinson Crusoe experience. It really is the perfect place to go and switch off totally; definitely don't miss out on Little Cayman if you're over in the Cayman Islands... or else.

Just kidding.

And that brings to a finish our time in the Cayman Islands! A huge thank you to the tourist board for such an incredible week and I hope this post helps those of you who are thinking of visiting, who already have a visit planned or even those of you who've never even thought about going. Ok I'll wrap it up now.

Amy 

Post in collaboration with Visit Cayman Islands