Saturday, 10 February 2018

Outfit Planning: Summer Weddings

Simply Be Skirt Wedding Guest Outfit

Simply Be Skirt Review

Cami // Skirt // Bag*

It might seem like a distant thought, but summer is on the way and this year, we've got quite a few weddings to attend throughout the summer months. After our wedding last year, I'm so excited for some more of my closest friends to get married too! Usually, I'd opt for a dress, heels and clutch bag as my classic wedding guest outfit, but with so many weddings coming up, I feel like I need to mix it up and try something a bit different. Cue, flat lay style outfit planning for the up coming season...

I found this gorgeous Joanna Hope pleated maxi skirt and started wondering whether this style could become my new go-to wedding guest staple. I paired the beautiful metallic rose gold maxi with a simple white cami top and a chunky necklace. It feels just dressy enough for the day time, especially with the fluid metallic fabric, but light and floaty enough for a warm day too. If it's a bit chilly though, I'm thinking of pairing this look with a leather biker jacket for a bit more edge. I can see this becoming a favourite outfit throughout the summer - I don't think it's just for weddings either, I can see this coming out for slightly more dressy parties or events throughout the summer months too.

I love this camera bag, it's the perfect size for fitting everything you need for a full day at a wedding, with a cute tassel detail adding for good measure too. Your makeup top ups, purse and phone fit perfectly inside this cross body bag - a style of bag I haven't purchased in a while, but perfect for a wedding dance floor. You need to keep those arms free!

What's your go-to wedding guest style?

*in collaboration with Simply Be.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

The Ivy Montpellier Brasserie Cheltenham - Review

The Ivy Montpellier Brasserie blog review
cheltenham blogger
The Ivy Cheltenham review
The ivy brasserie blog post
The Ivy Montpellier Brasserie Brunch Menu
When The Ivy Montpellier Brasserie opened it's doors last month, it seemed like the whole of Cheltenham was talking about it. And I'm not surprised, based on the reputation of the Ivy's other venues, something exciting was coming to Cheltenham. I was invited to the preview night in December, but it was just two days after we landed home from our honeymoon, so I was sensible and decided to sadly miss out. My good friend and foodie, Sheila, also wasn't able to make the launch, so she arranged for us to go back this weekend and give the brunch menu a try. 

As soon as we walked in the door, the team were welcoming and attentive but not at all overbearing. The restaurant is located in a beautiful grade 1 listed building in the heart of Cheltenham, with a huge domed roof and a circular bar in the centre making up the main section of the restaurant. The decor is quirky and bright, but still feels luxurious with plush velvet chairs, soft cushions, and walls covered with murals and botanical prints. It's definitely a sight to see and somewhere a little different for our town. 

The brunch menu starts from 11am on a Saturday, with a breakfast menu running previously but still containing many brunch favourites. The brunch menu was more extensive, with a wider range of savoury lunch and dinner dishes - perfect if you're with a mixed group and some want a hearty lunch but some prefer a lighter breakfast dish. We started with some of the nibbles from the menu; truffle arancini, zucchini fritti and spiced olives, accompanied by salted caramel espresso martinis - the perfect start to a Saturday! The nibbles were all so tasty - but a special commendation is required for the zucchini fritti. We weren't really sure what to expect, but a dish of delicious crispy, salty coated strands of courgette appeared with a lemon, chilli, mint yoghurt dip. 

Moving on to round two. It's impossible for me to see pancakes on a brunch menu and not order them... does anyone else have this problem? So that was me sorted. Because of this, I have to admit that I have tried a lot of pancakes in my time... and these didn't disappoint. It was the fluffiest stack of pancakes, sandwiched with creamy greek yoghurt and topped with fresh berries, lemon balm and warm strawberry sauce. Yum. Josh had the 'HLT' - grilled halloumi with avocado sauce, tomatoes, olives, red peppers and lettuce on sourdough. A nice change from the standard veggie brunch option. 

Overall, I was really impressed with The Ivy and I'll definitely be back. It's the perfect place to go for a special occasion, or when you just fancy brunching in style. It's definitely up there in my top 3 brunches in Cheltenham - I can see it becoming a regular visit. 10/10. 

*Brunch provided by The Ivy / Silverball PR

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Autumn's Here


Jumper, t-shirt and bag from Jacamo*

Just before the weather properly starts to turn, we're making the most of the still slightly light evenings and mild weekends. I love exploring in the autumn colours and even though we live in a town, we have plenty of parks and tree-filled spaces to enjoy.  

A couple of weekends ago, we had a bit of a boozy Saturday night, so on the Sunday we decided to head out and get some fresh air to clear our hangovers and to save us from yet another day of wedding planning. I took the opportunity to get some snaps of Josh and give him his first fashion feature on the blog, with some items kindly sent from Jacamo. They have such a great range of branded items on the website, from Nike to Snowdonia and Adidas to Vans - Josh had trouble choosing his favourites.  

We wandered around our local country park, which is a lovely space with a lake (and swans!) framed by trees in the middle - it's the perfect autumnal setting. And much to Josh's dismay, I made him take photos right in the middle... but not until there weren't too many people around haha. 

There's only about five weeks to go until the big day and I have a feeling the next few weekends are going to be full steam ahead on the wedding front, so it was perfect to get out and enjoy our local park for a while. 

What's your favourite way to spend an autumn weekend?

*in collaboration with Jacamo. 

Saturday, 22 July 2017

We Got Engaged

Uplands Treehouse Canopy and Stars Holiday
Uplands treehouse interior
vintage engagement ring
uplands treehouse review holiday
UK lifestyle travel blog

Only a slightly delayed post, but back in April 2016, something really exciting happened and I felt like it should be properly documented on here despite my slight hiatus.

Josh picked me up from work on a Friday afternoon to drive us to Bristol to go to, what I thought was, a gig at a pub with some friends. He told me we were staying at a friend's for the weekend so I had packed a bag ready for the occasion. On the way, we took a bit of a weird route but I didn't really think much of it, until we pulled up at a farm, long before we got to Bristol.

We pulled into the farm and drove around the back. I was very bemused at this point. Tucked away in the woods behind the farm was the beautiful Uplands Treehouse. I thought Josh was surprising me with a weekend away but it was so much more. I'd always wanted to stay in a treehouse and have spent ages browsing through Canopy and Stars - there's something so magical and fun about them. I genuinely thought we would still be meeting friends and for some reason thought they were going to be staying at the treehouse too... until I got up the stairs and to the treehouse door. Josh had already been to the treehouse in the daytime and decorated the already beautiful interior with fairy lights and 100 polaroid pictures of the fun times and adventures we'd been on so far, pegged up on string across the treehouse. I turned around in awe and he got down on one knee and proposed with the most perfect, vintage inspired ring that he'd secretly bought.

With the treehouse fridge full of prosecco, cheese and all our favourite picnic foods, we spent the rest of the weekend at the treehouse, giggling at the alpacas in the next field and exploring the local villages. Josh managed to plan the perfect engagement, without me suspecting a thing. We're now planning our wedding for November 2017 - that's less than 4 months away! Plans are well underway and I can't wait.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Photo Diary: Exploring the Forest of Dean

It may have been a little quiet around here, but I'm back. Feeling happy and motivated and wanting to share stuff on here again, so here goes! My interests and life have changed slightly, now owning a house and getting married in four months, so posts are going to be slightly different to before, but there will still be fashion, maybe some beauty, but definitely lots of travel, home updates and life. I hope you're still here for the journey - it's going to be an exciting year :)

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Last weekend, Josh and I headed out to the Forest of Dean to explore. Josh had been working away for three weeks, so we wanted to do something fun but not too taxing on his first weekend back. Despite having lived in Cheltenham for 8 years, I've never visited the Forest of Dean (about 45 minutes drive away) so it was about time we explored!

We visited the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, near Coleford, which is home to around 17 pieces of art tucked in amongst the beautiful forest. There are a few different trail options and we decided to attempt the longest route - taking us about 3 hours in the end. It was a beautiful day out, hiding away from the hot sun under the trees. I'd definitely recommend it if you're looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of every day life, it's the perfect, tranquil Sunday activity.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

A Weekend in London: Covent Garden


After a busy first few weeks of the year, Josh and I spent a fun-filled Valentine's weekend in Covent Garden. From the perfect central location, we spent the weekend wandering round the city, eating loads of tasty food, seeing a show and experiencing the buzz of the Chinese New Year celebrations. 

We stayed in the Covent Garden Travelodge, which has recently been refurbished as have many of their hotels across the country - it was simple, but quiet and comfy. You can definitely tell the brand has had a bit of a revamp with red metro tiles lining the walls of the bathroom, lighting behind the beds and brand new Samsung tv, sound and air-con in the rooms.

It was a very rainy day, so after brunch at Bills and a bit of a browse around the shops in Covent Garden we headed over to the theatre ticket sellers in Leicester Square. I'd looked up tickets for some shows a couple of weeks before our trip, but we thought the prices were too much on top of the cost of a weekend away anyway. However, the costs of these bargain ticket booths were so much lower and for better seats too! So we decided to hide from the rain inside and see a matinee of the wonderful Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Royal Drury Lane Theatre. It was an awesome show with a beautiful set and it was the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon. After the show we popped back to our hotel for a quick cuppa and change before dinner at Wahaca for amazing Mexican street food and cocktails. If anyone hasn't been or has and wants a recommendation... have the sweet potato and feta taquitos - yum!

After a great night's sleep we wrapped up against the cold and went back into the city to explore. We didn't know until a few days before our trip but Chinese New Year celebrations were in full swing during our weekend away! It was so fun to see the celebrations, lanterns, dancing dragons and souvenir sellers lining the streets of China Town. It was incredibly busy but it was great to soak up the atmosphere and performances for the day.

It was such a fun weekend away and we headed back to Cheltenham with achy legs and sleepy eyes! Covent Garden is just the perfect location to explore the city - definitely recommended!

*Collaboration with Travelodge

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Jamie's Italian Cheltenham: Review


A wonderful evening out at Jamie's Italian Cheltenham*

Last week, Josh and I were invited to visit Jamie's Italian restaurant, in the heart of Cheltenham, to test the menu. Housed in the town's former court rooms, the building is beautifully old, grand and spacious with some of the original features, such as the judge's table and jury box, still remaining. Perhaps not a normal point to bring up in a restaurant review, but the bathrooms are amazing in this venue. They're deep in the dungeon-like cellar, through winding brick tunnels lined with barred cells. It really does make you feel like you've been transported back to the days when the building was still a working criminal court.

I'm sure you're here to read all about the mouthwatering dishes in the photos above, rather than the toilets, so I will move swiftly on. After choosing our own table and being seated by the very attentive waiting team, we browsed the drinks menu. Josh opted for a glass of merlot, whereas I went for a non-alcoholic Ginger and Mango Mojito. It tasted every bit as good as it looked - fruity, fresh, minty and topped off with a slight spicy kick from the ginger beer.

To start, we ordered the Artisan Breads and the World's Best Olives on Ice - with a name like that, we had to give them a try! The artisan bread board consisted of a selection of crisp crackerbread, soft foccaccia, herbed ciabatta and more. Along with the bread came olive oil, balsamic vinegar and an olive tapenade - delicious! The olives on ice were equally as tasty, being chilled makes them extra fresh.

Following our starters, I chose Turkey Milanese for mains - a flattened turkey breast stuffed with proscuitto, cheese and topped with a fried egg and shavings of summer truffle. A super rich and indulgent dish, with plenty of flavour and texture. We had a portion of Funky Chips, coated with garlic and herbs, which were perfect to dip in the runny egg. Josh chose one of the specials for the day, a vegetarian pasta dish with loads of fresh, seasonal vegetables in a light sauce. Being completely honest, we thought the dish was a little expensive at around £14 despite being tasty. Apart from a couple of pastas and salads, there aren't that many veggie dishes on the menu so make sure you check the specials board too, for more options.

Finally, we indulged in pudding - my favourite part of the meal! Josh went for the Epic Brownie - a warm, gooey, chocolatey brownie topped with ice cream, chocolate fudge sauce and popcorn. I made him share a little spoonful with me because it looked so incredible and I'm glad I did! I chose a slightly lighter pudding, the Raspberry and Honeycomb Pavlova. It was delicious, with fresh mint complimenting the raspberry perfectly and the honeycomb adding crunch to the soft cream and gooey marshmallow centre of the meringue. 

We thoroughly enjoyed our evening at Jamie's Italian - the food and drinks were delicious, especially the puddings. All the staff in the Cheltenham restaurant were wonderfully attentive and knowledgeable too, they made sure everything was spot on throughout our meal. I'd recommend making a trip to the Cheltenham restaurant, try the olives to start, pavlova to finish... oh, and make sure you visit the toilets too! 

*Jamie's Italian kindly invited us for a complimentary meal in order to accurately write this review