Friday, January 19, 2018

January is Shit

The Little Magpie Gap stonewash jeans holburn London The Little Magpie Reformation Leather Studded Biker Jacket The Little Magpie Gap stonewash jeans holburn London The Little Magpie Gap stonewash jeans holburn London The Little Magpie Mulberry Amberley Satchel The Little Magpie Gap stonewash jeans holburn London The Little Magpie Gap stonewash jeans holburn London The Little Magpie Gap stonewash jeans holburn London
REFORMATION black studded leather jacket | GAP stonewash jeans | MIISTA @ VERY EXCLUSIVE velvet boots (now half price in the sale!) | HEIDI KULM FOR ESMARA camisole over GAP t-shirt | MULBERRY Amberley satchel


Hello friends! January is shit. That's my thought of the day. Or make that recurring thought of the month.

Kidding, I know you can't just write off an entire month but my god am I hating this one. It's dark all the time, it's cold (we've had snow this week which is lovely pre-Christmas but NOT NOW Mother Nature), tax bills are due, I've had to wean myself off of eating an average of 30 chocolate coins a day... I could go on. I just feel in a bit of a funk really and I'm struggling to get out of it. Alas, I've read many tweets and posts along those lines in the past week or so so it's nice to know I'm not the only one. I'm off to New Yawwwk at the beginning of February which I am so, so incredibly excited about so the focus is on that! And mainly all the delicious food I'm going to eat when I'm out there, I won't lie. I've been twice before but I'm always, always on the hunt for new recommendations so if anyone has any (food, boutique shops, streets, bars, anything) please do let me know.

These are some photos that we shot in Holburn last year which I shared on Instagram and totally forgot to share on here! So I do apologise on behalf of my sieve brain for that. The jeans I get asked about often - unfortunately I got them in Gap a couple of years ago now but they do often bring out similar styles so it's worth keeping an eye out. I think the boots are the only thing here that you might not have seen before, I picked them up a few months ago and they've been a wee dream to wear. They're incredibly comfy and jazzy enough that they can perk up an otherwise simple outfit if you're low on inspiration! 

I'm off to finish writing up a big (big) blog post about Gleneagles so that'll be live on Sunday if you fancy a read. 

Amy

Monday, January 15, 2018

Reformation in Paris

The Little Magpie Paris Reformation The Little Magpie Paris Reformation The Little Magpie Paris Reformation The Little Magpie Paris Reformation The Little Magpie Paris Reformation The Little Magpie Paris Reformation The Little Magpie Paris Reformation The Little Magpie Paris Reformation
REFORMATION jumpsuit and studded leather jacket | ASPINAL OF LONDON bag | & OTHER STORIES stripe top | OFFICE red ankle boots (now in the sale!) | URBAN OUTFITTERS camel beret (similar here)


Well, bonjour! I don't know why it's taken me so long to share these photos as they're some of my favourites we've ever done! These were taken on our last day in Paris when we were blessed with some b-e-a-utiful sun. I wore my Reformation jumpsuit and leather jacket for the first time which I was mega excited about - Reformation's one of my all time favourite brands (if you haven't checked them out yet then get awn it) and these two pieces didn't disappoint. The jacket I've worn a million times since, it's really nice buttery leather and a little cropped too which me and my short body thank them for. The jumpsuit, again, is a winner; I had it layered up over a striped top but I can't wait for summer when I can wear it on its own with a little straw hat and some sandals. Ohh to be warm again, I've almost forgotten what it feels like. I also wore my camel beret - when in Paris and all that - which I believe I have since lost. I've turned my flat upside down and have come to the conclusion that it has decided to stay in Paris to live the French life. I don't blame it to be honest.

Amy 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Exploring the South of Iceland

The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga Review The Little Magpie Iceland Hotel Range Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland and Hotel Ranga ReviewWhy hello there, and welcome to Iceland post numero dos. If you missed the first post and would like to have a wee read then you can find it here! So, you know what we got up to on the first half of our trip... but what about the second? Well, after I left you in the last post, we made our way down South to Hotel Ranga (in fact we had a very interesting stop along the way at a centre where you can step inside a box and experience what a real life earthquake would feel like. But the less said about that the better because I almost pood myself). As we pulled up to Hotel Ranga I knew instantly I was going to like it there; it's completely isolated and has a real air of adventure to it. 

We checked in and met lovely Frederic, the manager, who instantly made us feel at home. In all honestly I'd go back to Ranga just for him, he makes the time for every single guest at the hotel and is just a truly lovely, interesting man. He did, however, make us taste fermented shark which is something I will forever hold against him. I thought, 'sure, this'll be a fun bucketlist type thing' before the smell hit me and I almost passed out. Still, if you get the chance to do it then do it, life is short and you might as well try as many, um, interesting foods as you can while you're here. He also made us do a shot of Black Death (Iceland's signature spirit) which is not quite as awful as it sounds, in fact it was almost welcome after the shark. Anyway, I digress, back to the hotel. The rooms range from small, quite basic ones that feel much like your own little log cabin and range to large suites that are designed to look like each of the seven continents; so you could go from Antarctica to the African plains in just a few steps. However, I imagine you'll spend the majority of the time in the rest of the hotel as there's just so much to do. There's a couple of large hot tubs outside where you can sit and watch the stars or, all going well, the Northern Lights (pretty magical, huh?), there's an astronomy room with nightly stargazing, there's a games room, there's a bar and there's the big dining room serving up lots of delicious food. Now, if you go you NEED to try the mushroom soup. You might be sitting thinking, 'it's mushroom soup, how good can it be?' or, 'no, Amy, I don't like mushroom soup' but, trust me, you have to try it. 

However, possibly the most important feature of the hotel is this: because it's down south and so isolated you're in with a very, very good chance of seeing the Northern Lights. When I went to Iceland a couple of years ago I tried every night and the most I saw was a few wee white squiggles in the sky so I was skeptical. However, on our very first night there the northern light alarm was called during dinner and the entire dining hall stopped, mid fork-to-mouth, and ran outside. Low and behold, there they were. It's such an incredible experience seeing them in real life, it's one of those moments that makes you realise we are but tiny little beings in a huge bug universe. Just beautiful. I tried to get a good photo but a) wanted to experience as much as I could with my peepers and b) am not that technologically gifted and was also caught off guard without my tripod, but I did get one photo of the lights and one of the stars which you can see SO clearly there, they're just as beautiful as the lights themselves. The hotel is very well equipped for the Northern Lights and has a drill in place where they'll come and tell you when they're out if you're in the communal areas - as well as this you can also have an alert set for your room if you'd like to be woken up if any appear during the night. And don't you worry about the cold because they have huge big snowsuits by the door that you can slip into! Just... make sure you have that tripod at the ready at all times if you want to get a good snap, ok? Tuck it in your pyjama bottoms when you sleep if you must.

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On our first full day we decided to set out and explore the South with two activities that I was absolutely terrified about... glacier hiking and snowmobiling. I'm a very accident prone person and could practically see headlines as we were on the drive over, but I am very glad to report that all went well and that I couldn't recommend both more. Glacier hiking was amazing and I really wish we'd had longer to do it and get stuck right into it! There I am above looking exactly like the opposite of someone you'd trust to hold an ice pick. Also, the photo of me with a helmet on looking up? That's me standing inside a real life glacier! I've taken to using it as my opening line at parties (I'm one step away from printing the photo off and carrying it in my wallet should the topic come up). And snowmobiling was... wow. So many emotions. I was terrified, exhilarated and hysterical all one in and I can say hands down it's one of the best things I've ever done. I let Abi drive to start because I was absolutely terrified I was going to crash and kill us and then halfway through I had a wee go and did what? Oh only almost crashed and killed us. No I'm kidding, it wasn't quite as dramatic as that but good lord as those things hard to control. However once you get into it it's the best feeling in the world... until you get up to the top of the glacier and see the views and are like, 'oh so THIS is the best feeling in the world'. It's breathtaking up there, especially when the sun is shining and it's as clear as it was that day. It's a similar feeling to the Northern Lights when you just have to stop for a wee moment to take it all in. So, absolutely another thing to add to your list if you go to Iceland! On our drive back we stopped in at Hagafloss waterfall, visited a black sand beach and met some Icelandic ponies which was amazing. Less so when they tried to bite my nipple but we've decided to put that incident behind us. And all of that is just on Hotel Ranga's back doorstep! You see what I mean about the promise of adventure? It was a totally different experience to the first half of the trip but I couldn't pick a favourite. If you get the chance to go to Iceland, do it all!

The next morning we stopped in via the Blue Lagoon, which was just as incredible as the first time I visited. After floundering about in the lovely warm water for a couple of hours - top tip, whatever you do, don't let your hair get in the water - we had some lunch at the Lava restaurant before heading on our not-so-merry way to the airport, tears streaming silently down our faces (I might have exaggerated slightly there). We flew direct with Norwegian which was great, they do direct flights three times a week in Winter for as little as £29.99 from London and the flight is a very sweet, short three hour number. They also have Wifi on board which blew my little mind. I'd also like to say the biggest thank you to Small Luxury Hotels of the World for such a wonderful trip! They've collected over 500 hotels in 80 different countries on the website and you can guarantee you'll find somewhere unique, a little special and with excellent service. I know I've spoken a bit about them before but I browse them before every trip and have never been disappointed. I honestly couldn't recommend them more!

Amy

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Exploring Iceland

The Little Magpie Iceland
Ohhh Iceland. Where do I even start. If you've been around these parts for long enough you might remember that I visited once before a few years ago (read the posts here, here and, uh, here) and it quickly because one of my favourite countries I'd ever been to. The landscape's like nothing else I've ever seen before, the people are wonderful - and so, so proud of their country - the food is delicious... I could very easily go on for hours on why I love Iceland. So when the chance came up to go back with Small Luxury Hotels of the World - who you all know already I absolutely love - I jumped at it. SLH have recently added three Icelandic hotels to their collection - all unique and all amazing in their own way - so the idea was that we'd go out to experience each of them with a few exciting activities thrown in along the way. What more could you want? So, here's what myself, Liv, Emily and Abi got up to.

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We had an early start on our first day - we had to get up at 3am for our flight and when the alarm went off I though, 'oh right, ok, this is how I'm going to die' - but after a lovely, and very short, flight over with Norwegian Air we arrived at the Tower Suites Hotel which well and truly woke us up from our slumber. It's INCREDIBLE. I'm using capitals here to show how incredible it really is. The hotel is made up of only 8 suites - each as good as the next - as well as a big communal area near reception where you can hang out and have drinks, popcorn, biscuits and just generally chill. We actually spent a couple of hours there working one afternoon and worked our way through, roughly, 18 biscuits and two jars of popcorn. But who's counting. But apart from the complimentary popcorn, what's so good about this hotel, huh? The view of course! The hotel is only located right at the very top of the tallest building in Iceland. You either have a mountain view or a city view - both amazing - and in my suite there was both a free-standing bath (is there anything better than a free-standing bath?) as well as the bed which face the floor to ceiling windows so that you can relax and soak up the view. If you're looking for a hotel to add to your bucketlist then make it this one! Also if anyone out there is thinking, 'I'd love to take Amy away somewhere amazing and surprise her', then please make it here. Anyone? No? Ok. Think about it.

After a half an hour of gasping and taking photos we left the hotel and had a little wander into the centre of Reykjavik for some lunch and a walking tour with I Heart Reykjavik, which was a lovely way to get to know the city, it's history and the best places to go as well, as to get our bearings. I'd forgotten quite how much I loved it there till we were walking around and my little heart felt like it could burst with happiness. Iceland ilu. Later that night we had dinner at Kopar, which serves up some very tasty traditional-meets-contemporary seafood and meat dishes, and then headed back to the Tower Suites for an early night before we collapsed. And what did I do? I stayed up watching the view. It was so beautiful that night though, look at the moon! I was also kind of hoping the Northern Lights would make an appearance that night but, alas, they were feeling shy. 

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The next day we got up bright and early. Oh no wait, it wasn't bright because the sun doesn't rise until 10am at that time of year. Crazy, huh? Anyway, we got up and got ready and headed out to meet with the lovely Soley Organics, a company who specialise in beautiful all-natural skincare filled to the brim with Icelandic herbs. We headed up to Fontana Spa (where you can see me in a swimsuit, above, trying to pose before quickly being defeated by the cold. That second photo, I can only assume, is my body trying to pull me back into the foetal position) and had an amazing couple of hours in the thermal baths. Myself and Abi even ran into the lake - which you can see in the photo below the one of me freezing my ass of in the swimsuit. It even looks cold in the photo, doesn't it? Well believe me, it's even colder than that. You're supposed to go in as deep as you can before going back into the warm baths but I think we made it to about knee-deep before we abandoned all hope and ran back in a desperate bid to save our lives. One of us did a really loud, long, high-pitched scream but my memory is a little fuzzy on who that was.

Oh yes it was me.

After that we did our own little version of the Golden Circle tour, seeing the Geysirs, Gullfoss waterfall and Thingveller National Park... all the goodies. Ooh, now, the question I was asked most was what to wear. The most important thing you'll need at this time of year is waterproof boots with a good grip on them. I moaned about how ugly my boots were on the flight over (to be fair they aren't the kind of thing you want to make eye contact with for too long) but they were an absolute life saver out there. I didn't have a waterproof coat with me - it was bitterly cold most of the time but we only got caught in one snowstorm - but I would say you're best to pack one. And layers. Lots and lots of layers. Fill that suitcase with knitwear!

The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland Tower Suites Hotel Reyjkavik Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland Photo 08-11-2017, 05 40 40 The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland vsfknThe Little Magpie Guide to Iceland Tower Suites Hotel Reyjkavik Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland Tower Suites Hotel Reyjkavik Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland Tower Suites Hotel Reyjkavik Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland Tower Suites Hotel Reyjkavik Review The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland Tower Suites Hotel Reyjkavik Review
We came back that evening and checked into Sandhotel, which is an extremely cool hotel right in the centre of Reykjavik that's actually been transformed from a collection of art deco townhouses to make one of the few art deco hotels in Iceland. I honestly wish we'd had longer here; its so well located, the rooms all have a very cool vibe to them (they all have Marshall speakers in them too, which I love, as well as a verrry good hairdryer and shower) and the Lauf restaurant downstairs serves up the most delicious food. Even if you don't manage to book a stay here then make sure to visit either the restaurant for dinner (top tip: make sure and leave enough room for dessert) or the Sandholt bakery for some chocolate and a cinnamon bun. In fact, do both! Another couple of things that I loved about the hotel were that no plastic water bottles are provided in the room, as the tap water is perfectly fine to drink, and that the female staff aren't forced to wear high heels. In fact, the entire uniform is actually unisex so that there are no gender differences at all. Again, another hotel with a truly lovely team behind it that I honestly couldn't recommend more! 

And with that I shall wrap things up for now because this post is turning into a novel. I'll fill you in on what we got up to with the rest of our time in my next post! For now I'll leave you with a beautiful photo of three out of four of our little gang.

Amy

The Little Magpie Guide to Iceland SandHotel Reyjkavik Review