Sunday, February 7, 2016

Meet My New Friends, Ted & Muffy

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As you may have noticed, I'm very partial to a knee high boot. It's weird, I think they're a pretty statement item to some people - in fact in know they are; one French woman actually stopped dead in her tracks and ugh'd me when she saw this outfit. Thank you very much again - but I wear um all the time without really thinking twice about it. These ones from Ted and Muffy are, hands down, the best pair I've found. You can choose the calf size, half shoe sizes and then on top of all that, they've got little ties at the top so that you can tighten them as much as you want once they're on. Because no one like a saggy thigh. So, really, all in all, you've got yourself the perfect fitting boot. The FairyTale Fit one might say.. Ok I didn't coin that, they did. Another great thing about them is the heel height; when I'm out I'm generally out for the day (normally because I get distracted by multiple coffee stops, I won't lie) so they're the ideal height. High enough to lengthen those legs but sociable enough that you're not hobbling home at the end of the day with crippled feet. As always, I've paired mine with a jumper dress (getting seriously predictable here amn't I?) but, because they're so tight fitting, I've been wearing them loads with jeans and my leather trousers too, Catwoman style, so I'm sure you'll see them pop up again before long. They come in a range of colours - my Aunt's been drooling over the grey ones for months - as well as stocking a whole other selection of boots and shoes. One of my favourite brands I've discovered in a long time!

Well, I'm currently on a plane to Barbados (the wonders of technology), but will be posting whilst I'm away so don't get those tissues out just yet. I'll be updating regularly over on my Instagram and Twitter - mainly pictures of rum, I'd imagine - so you can keep up with what I'm up to over there if you so wish!

Amy

Friday, February 5, 2016

Hey MTV, Welcome To My Crib

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As you may very well know, I have to go to the land of London a lot - and I mean A. Lot. - with blogging, so I've had the pleasure of trying out a whole lot of hotels. A hotel whore, you may call me. Actually no, please don't call me that. On my most recent trip down I stayed at the Cheval Three Quays and I am 99999...999999% sure that it's my favourite place I've ever stayed in London. Up there with my favourite places I've stayed over all in fact, if we want to get specific. I arrived late at night because my train was delayed - thank you again Scottish weather - so was in a very weary and hangry state. I was met at reception by the loveliest of lovely staff and taken up to my apartment, and that's where my weariness lifted and the tears of joy started to flow. Internally, of course, I didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable. They are, in a word, incredible. I was taken a quick tour of the two double bedrooms (one bed for sleeping, one bed for eating in.. I think that's how it works) , en suite shower room, bathroom - completely with exciting little Hermes toiletries - open plan kitchen and living room and then onto the balconies (again, plural, yes) that look right out across Tower Bridge and the River Thames.

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It's already looking' good and then you turn of the lights and...

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BAM. The whole apartment's lit up with the lights of the Tower Bridge, The Shard, The Thames and more. I kept the lights out and went out onto the balcony to explore some more ok, and, yes, to take 5600 pictures of the view.

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After that I was left to my own devices and, where did I go? Straight to the big ole food hamper left as a welcome gift. Yes I'm an animal, but I did tell you I was hungry. It was brimming with beautiful goodies like shortbread, tea, fruit, you name it.. and as if that wasn't enough, the fridge was filled with fresh juice, olives, cheese and milk. I whipped myself up some cheese on toast - hello Nigella - and grabbed a bowl of popcorn and crisps (what? Ok, you got me, and some truffles) and cosied up on the couch to catch up on some Graham Norton. Seriously my dream night. 

Cough massive Grandma alert cough.

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Then it was off to bed with one last sneaky glimpse of the view from bed. God, I know, get a room. Well.. we did. 

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The next morning I was woken up with the sun coming through the curtains and nipped out on the balcony to find this waiting for me..


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Beautiful, innit? If you follow me over on Twitter then you'll have seen this view many times over, and all I can say say is prepare yourself to see it many times more. It honestly is breathtaking, proper pinch me stuff. Ow no, don't pinch me that hard. I poured a cup of tea and sat on the balcony and watched the world go by for a little - it's SO quiet at this time in the morning - and then nipped out to Tesco to get me some more food. The joys of it being self-catering (and believe me, the kitchen is as fully equipped as equipped can be) is that you can make what you want when you want, and not have to worry about sneaking in a bag of groceries under your jumper. It really is like a little home from home. Except.. it's much better than your home.

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The next morning there was an even more beautiful sunrise, so I got up to enjoy that - not much pulls me out of my bed at that time of morning so that's a testament on its own right there - before my little Amby came over to join me for breakfast with a view. 

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I can't honestly praise it enough (oh, you go that?);  if you're looking to head to London - especially for something special or with a group of friends - then I couldn't recommend these badboys more. Before I get too soppy, I'm going to round it off and let some of Amber's snaps do the talking now.

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Photos by myself and Amber Rose

Amy 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Jumper Dress

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H&M jumper dress | LIPSY suede look over the knee boots | HUSH grey scarf | ASPINAL OF LONDON Marylebone mini | RAY BAN rounds | MISSOMA gold necklaces and rings

Photos by Amber Rose

Oh hey there! Welcome to another outfit post shot by the one, the only, THE AMBER ROOOOSE. What a little cracker she is, huh? We shot these around London last time I was down, as soon as we spotted this little car we were like, 'Yes. Come to mamma'. I went for my usual jumper dress-knee high boot combo (sue me) and my favourite Hush scarf. As you know, I'm usually found in black knee high boots, so these ones from Lipsy called out to me as soon as I saw them in a 'go on, branch out from your usual colour palette you little bore' kind of way. I mean it's not exactly what we'd call a colour pop, but it's exotic for me. I've also got on some new jewelz from Missoma (which you might actually have spied over on my Instagram already), which is my favourite jewellery site of le moment. I'm not a big jewellery person anymore, I really only like small subtle pieces, so their delicate chains and rings called out to my heart as soon as I saw them. Cue the John Lewis 'Real Love' song please.

Oh, I'm currently in Tenerifia and don't have access to twitter (#phonedramz) so if you're wondering why it's gone a little quiet on there please don't panic, I'm not dead.

Amy

Sunday, January 17, 2016

10 Amazing Things To Do in Barbados

And we're back! If you've not caught up with my last post (love letter, whatever you want to call it) and photo diary then you can do so here and get yourself a good feel for Barbados before I lunge full force into this guide. If you have read it then, um, thank you and I hope you're ready to go again.

I'll start with another miniature love letter (you in the back, stop making sick noises please); I'm not someone that ever turns off. In the past 5 years I can't remember the last time I actually fully relaxed and forgot about e-mails, bills, schedules... all the fun stuff. In Barbados I actually completely forgot about everything. And I mean errrthang. It's like a wonderful little bubble that takes you in from the real world and protects you from life for a bit. In this special little bubble we squeezed quite a lot in, so for today's post I've rounded up the best of the bunch. Hopefully this will help any of you planning a visit, or perhaps even inspire a future trip... Again, please take me with you. Apart from 1 and 2, these aren't in any particular order because I'd feel too bad for the ones that ended up at the bottom - like that kid who gets picked last in gym class - and also because I truly did enjoy them all. So here we go, a round up of some of the many, many things you can get jiggy with in Barbados. 

JAMMIN'
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I think Jammin was actually everyone's favourite thang that we did, and if you check out it's glowing TripAdvisor reviews (cough teacher's pet cough) you'll see we're not alone. I hadn't realised it was a party boat and turned up a little, eh delicate (thanks to a trip to Hal's karaoke bar the night before, but more on that later) and as soon as the music started blaring as we left the harbour I was like, 'Of course, this is it. This is how I'm going die'. However, I had an actual ball despite my horrendously hungover state, thanks to the amazing crew, the music and the general atmosphere.. it's kind of impossible not to enjoy it. Once I had seasickness tablets and a gallon of ginger ale in me that is. It's not a party boat in the sense of those mental Ibiza ones where there's teenagers drinking upside down and vomiting everywhere, more just somewhere you can let off steam and go a little crazy.. there were chiddlers in our group as well as adults and they had a ball too. As well as rum punch on tap, you've also got a stop to scuba dive with the turtles (complete with shipwreck), breakfast and a big-ass buffet stop over-looking Sandy Lane hotel, complete with view of Rhianna's condo. So yeah, a definite must from me... and I can tell you with confidence that if even if you're not feeling well you'll love it, just enjoy the priviledge of getting to watch everyone unravel in front of you. Your Aunt Margaret will be swinging round the sails with her bikini top in the air long before the day's over.

Jammin Catamaran Cruise - http://www.jammincats.com/  costs $88 (£57) for adults and $40.00 (£26) for children


ISLAND SAFARI TOUR
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Shit. Yes. This was another of my favourites, maybe joint first with Jammin. Eight or so of you are bundled into the back of a 4x4 and are taken on a very magical, and very thorough, tour of the island. It starts with a shamazing viewpoint (Edge Cliff I think? But don't quote me on it) and - coincidentally - is also where the first rum punch of the day is poured, at a very sociable 10am. Yes, I was drunk by lunchtime.. no, that's not why I enjoyed it so much. Short of hiring a car and doing it on your own, it's the best way to explore the island whilst learning all about it along the way. And you know how I feel about having fun and learning at the same time. Good, is how. As well as stops at the most stunning viewpoints, there's a visit to The Lion at Gun Hill, a chance to pick fresh bay leaves, as well as off-roading in Joe's River Forrest; it really is a definite one to add to your list. I honestly don't think I stopped smiling the entire time, and that's a big claim coming from someone with chronic resting bitch face.

Island Safari - http://www.islandsafari.bb/ costs $92.50 (£60) for adults and $60.00 (£39) for children

SUNSETS & SUNRISES
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I'm a little sunset nerd, as you may already have noticed, so I was in my absolute element. Barbados is home to some of the most beautiful I've seen.. it's rare I'd recommend a 5am rise but in this case it's definitely worth it. The sea's already lovely and warm in the morning too so, if you're struggling to shake off the sleepy susan in you, you can take a little dip to wake you up while you watch the oranges and yellows do their business. 

GARRISON TOUR
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The Garrison Tour is an interesting one, and a great one for the history buffs among you in particular. Visit Barbados' Historic Garrison -  UNESCO World Heritage Site, I should add, exciting I know - and learn a little bit more about the history of the island. There's a visit to George Washington's home from the 1700s - Barbados is the only country he visited outwith the US (thinking the air would cure his brother's tuberculosis. No comment) - a trip to Charles Fort, a rum punch stop at St Ann's Fort (alcoholic or non-alcoholic, you choose), finished off with a visit to see the changing of the sentry. Outwith the tour, you can also attend a dinner with big George himself (who's actually Dr Karl Watson in disguise, one of the world's leading experts on George.. so if you have any burning questions then now would be a good time to ask them) at his house, compete with an authentic five course period dinner. That one in particular runs every Monday evening from the end of December until the end of March!

If you so please, you can also do a tour of the tunnels - either alongside the Garrison Tour or on its own - which is what you can see going awwwn in the last picture there. Explore sections of the ha-uge (up to 10,000ft long) underground tunnels and learn- learning again, you can't avoid it - a little more about their history as you go.

Garrison Historic Tour - http://www.barbadosgarrison.net/ costs US$48 (£31.50) for adults and US$38 (£25) for children

SUBMARINE
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Now. Technically I can't reeeally recommend this because I didn't go on it. Yes, you heard me right. I knew I was claustrophobic but I didn't realise quite how much until I stepped down the ladder into the submarine and was like, 'nope, sorry' and scrambled back up like a panicked monkey. The crew were all so lovely though, and didn't mock me once - in fact, I just sat on the boat with them and got drunk on rum punch until everyone else finished on the submarine so win win for me, really. So, I've popped it on here because I'm the only person in - and I quote, even though it hurts me to say it - 'a long time' who's backed out, and it's supposed to be pretty lovely down there, with lots of fish and a shipwreck thrown in for good measure. You can do the daytime one, like we did - again, I use we loosely - or an evening one, which I've heard is also pretty special.

MOUNT GAY RUM TOUR
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This I liked because it was short. And I don't mean that as offensively as it sounds. I'll normally always go on distillery tours when I'm away - free drinks throughout, sure - but sometimes they can drag a bit.. there's only so much information my brain can hold about hops and barley before it starts to go into emergency shut down. The tour only lasts around half an hour, but you get a good thorough insight into the history of Mount Gay rum, with lots of giggles and shots of rum thrown in along the way (don't say I didn't warn you, fellow lightweights). You can also start or finish your tour - or both, we're all friends here - at the bar where you'll find some deeeelicious mojitos.

Mount Gay Rum Tour - http://www.mountgayrum.com/ signature tour costs $10 (£6.50) and under 12’s go free

Restaurant at The Animal Flower Cave
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What a view, yees? The weather wasn't great this day but it actually worked out better for us because the waves were all angry and indie and moody and throwing themselves off the rocks. Measurements have never been my strong point, but I want to say they got up to 100ft or so (but if that sounds ridiculous then please ignore me and, um, use the pictures above to make your own judgements). Animal Flower Cave is located in St Lucy - right at the top of the island - and is known for its spectacular views. Howveer, we didn't actually get to go in because the weather was a little too angry that day, sadly. It's also been featured in a Billy Ocean music video so if that doesn't tempt you I don't know what will. Instead we stopped off at the clifftop restaurant and enjoyed the views from there, alongside some homemade lemonade - do not, whatever you do, miss out on this - as well as some fishcakes and mahi mahi.

CHAMPERS
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Oh Champers. Of all the places we ate, Champers was my absolute favourite. And that's not just because they had lots of GF items on the menu (yes, t'is true. What lark!). The view from the restaurant alone makes the visit worthwhile, day or night, even the rain pissing it down on the night we were there didn't taint it. It actually might just have made it all the more magical, but.. that could just me. The food's beautiful, the staff are all ridiculously lovely - but really, who isn't in Barbados - and you'll find yourself a delicious meal in a lovely setting without a hint of stuffiness. Bellllllissimo.

Champers Restaurant - http://champersrestaurant.com

CAFE LUNA
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Now, Café Luna had mixed reviews from our group, but personally I really liked my meal and the setting made me a bit giddy (not the rum punch talking, just to clarify), so I've decided to include it, but there's your sidenote. There's panoramic views of the sea and fairy lights a-plenty, and that's really all I need in life. Plus some very, very good cocktails.

Café Luna - http://www.cafelunabarbados.com/

Hal's Car Park Bar
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Hehhhhmygod I loved Hal's. I'd actually put that right up there with Jammin and The Safari Tour on my top things to do. It's a big open air karaoke bar that's crammed to the brim with locals and tourists alike and has the best atmosphere... in the world (too much?). We went there after Café Luna and ended up staying 
 very, very late (or very early, depending how you look at it), hence arriving for Jammin with two hours sleep and a belly full of tequila under my belt. Which is one thing I would not recommend, by the way. But seriously, whether you like doing karaoke or not, make sure and fit in a pitstop here if you can because I guarantee you'll have an amazing night and meet some weird and wonderful people along the way.

Oh god we've reached the end of my Barbados posts and now I have no excuse to keep talking about it. There's only one thing to do... Book another trip, bebé.

Amy

Glasgow to Barbados  from £298.98 return   |   Manchester to Barbados from £335 return *subject to availability
For more information on Barbados visit http://www.visitbarbados.org/