A few weekends ago, myself and 13 other ladies headed out to Bude in Cornwall for a weekend of surfing and yurting.
It was my friend Sarah’s hen do, and we had all been looking forward to it for months! Now I’m not a huge fan of camping. I really like the outdoorsy-ness of it all – hanging out with your friends, drinking and eating under the stars. But I’m not a huge fan of the freezing cold nights, the wind flapping round your tent and the typical campsite shower and toilet block.
So I was thrilled to bits when we arrived at the East Thorne campsite in Bude and saw the yurts that we would be staying in. These are as close to luxury as you can get! Comfortable beds and futons, a log burner to keep you toasty and warm all night, a fully functioning cooking area with fridge and last, but by no means least, a hotel-quality toilet and shower block.
We stayed in the first night and were treated to a gorgeous BBQ in their brand new converted barn/eating area. Decked out with fairylights and candles, it was a bloggers dream!
After an excellent nights sleep we got up the next day and headed out to our surfing lesson with Robin and Mike.
I’ve done a tiny bit of surfing, but that was about ten years ago, so I didn’t anticipate much success!
We started off with a bit of bodyboarding so we could get used to the waves and how they interact with the surfboards. That alone was brilliant fun!
Then we headed back to the beach where Robin showed us how to get from lying on the board, to up and standing. In theory it all looks quite simple. I can however confirm that it is in fact far, far from easy!
As soon as you get to a half standing position, unless you’re standing on the exact right place on the board and have your balance perfectly, you’ll flip right off. This was the standard for most of us – kneeling on the board, then falling right off!
I did manage to stand up a couple of times though. And what a feeling it was! It was so addictive. Even though I was battered and bruised (some of the girls were even bleeding!), the desire to get back on and try and stand up on the board again was so strong.
After two hours we were all done. I have never been so exhausted in my life. I seriously don’t know how people do it for anymore than a couple of hours at a go.
We headed back to our Yurts (after a yummy lunch in the beach cafe) and had the world’s best shower followed by the world’s best nap. Seriously, I’ve never napped so well. It was utterly bliss!
Then we got dressed up as Mexican wrestlers and headed out to Bude for a night of debauchery. But I’m not going to share those photos as they’re just too indecent! You’ll just have to use your imagination!
If you’re ever looking for a glamping experience in Cornwall, I can definitely recommend these Yurts. In fact I’d really love to go back there sometime soon.
It was my sister’s 30th birthday recently, and as well as putting on this fantastic nautical themed party for her, we also spent the day in London drinking cocktails in fabulous bars, and eating ourselves silly!
Still in the middle of the heatwave (isn’t it just glorious?!), we decided to head for some rooftop bars to catch some rays as well as some views.
First up was Vista in The Trafalgar – this is a gorgeous hotel right on the edge of Trafalgar Square. As well as a very posh looking bar on the groundfloor, they also have a wonderful little rooftop bar right on the top of the hotel. We headed up and took our seats in the sun….
As soon as we sat down, Anna said “This is a total indurance test”, which was so true. The sun was so strong that day and it was the middle of the afternoon. Undeterred we settled down with our drinks and soaked in the view. And what a view – it’s amazing. You obviously have a great view of Trafalgar Square, but you can also see the Millenium Wheel, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
It’s a lovely bar – the staff were very friendly and attentive. It was also quite small, so didn’t feel hectic or too touristy. In fact we didn’t see any traditional looking ‘tourists’ in there, which was nice.
After a couple of drinks we left and made our way down to the South Bank – as usual it was chock full of weird and wonderful things. A photographers dream! But we didn’t have too look to stop and stare, we had drinking to do!
The next stop was the rooftop bar on the Queen Elizabeth Hall. We didn’t stay for too long here as we were meeting a friend in the Oxo Tower. So we quickly downed our prosecco in the sunshine and moved on once again to the OXO Tower.
We were really lucky and were able to grab a seat outside in the sun (after having first been told there was a three hour wait!!). The OXO Tower is lovely, but much busier than the Vista. It was lovely to catch up with Anna’s friend Ella and hear all about her recent London adventures. So lovely in fact that we suddenly looked at our watches and realised we were going to be totally late for dinner!
So we said our goodbyes and jumped into a taxi and prayed that we’d get to the Heron Tower in less than 15 minutes. 15 minutes later we had arrived (yay!) and headed up in the fantastic outdoor glass lift, to the 40th floor to the Duck & Waffle restaurant. If you’re ever in the area just get in the lift for the sheer joy of the speed and the views. It’s like a themepark ride (only without the fear and stomach-turning spins!).
This is such an amazing restaurant. I really can’t rave about it enough. The views are AMAZING! It’s the UK’s highest restaurant and rumour has it you can see as far as Windsor Castle on a good day. We had a great little window table which meant we were able to really take advantage of the view.
We started off with the world’s biggest olives. Seriously, they were huge. And so juicy and tasty!
Followed by the restaurant’s namesake dish – duck and waffle, with a fried egg and a delicious mustard and maple syrup sauce. It was amazing – we shared but I could have easily eaten a whole one myself.
After the duck we had the longhorn rib eye from Thirsk. Again, it was delightful. I was slightly worried that it wouldn’t be enough, but it really was. We managed to finish it, but only just. All of this was washed down with a very refreshing white zinfandel rose.
They were really lovely and brought over a little ‘Happy Birthday’ plate for Anna, which is always a nice touch and a perfect way to finish the dinner. The whole dinner was wonderful – the food was great, the service attentive, and it was really relaxed and unpretentious.
Stomachs full, we headed down two flights of stairs (with this amazing view of the Gurkin), to our fourth rooftop bar of the day – Sushisamba. We both opted for the lychee cocktail, which was nice but soooo sweet. After our rather induldgent dinner, it took me about an hour to drink it! Anna also managed to sweet talk them into giving her a free glass of champagne since it was her birthday!
We finished the day sipping our lychee cocktails and talking to randoms, before heading home back to Southampton.
It was such a fun day and one I would gladly repeat on a regular basis!
You may recall me mentioning my sister’s nautical themed surprise 30th BBQ which we held recently. We had so much fun, and she was soooo surprised!
I thought I’d just post a few images of the party so you can see all the nautical details that went into making this the best party ever!
I made these ‘mad-libs’ type things for Anna. I mocked them up on Illustrator and got them professionally printed. They went down a treat, and some of the things people wrote were hilarious! The crate behind was used for cards and pressies, and I added a bit of mini bunting onto it to keep it within the theme.
The table was decorated with blue anchor confetti, with the cake and cupcakes, as well as blue and red cups, napkins, paper straws, and white wooden window boxes lines with napkins and filled with crisps. Yum!
We made some cutlery and napkin rolls using some mint Polos and string for a nautical twist.
I made red and blue cupcakes, as well as the main birthday cake (read this post about how I made it!).
My sister had a BBQ in my parents garden for her 18th with a bouncy castle, so we thought we’d keep the tradition going and hire one for her 30th. Although this time there were quite a few little kiddie-winks to take advantage of it.
I bought this nautical mirror from The Range, which fitted with the theme perfectly.
We finished off the garden with big ’30’ silver helium balloons, and red, white and blue balloons tied in a bunch and secured into the ground using tent pegs.
I also made about 30 metres of nautical themed bunting and hung it all around the conservatory and pergola.
And last but not least I had her friends send me some hilarious photos of her throughout the years, and added a few cute baby ones to the mix and made this huge ’30’ collage.
For more inspiration, checkout my Nautical Themed Party Pinterest board.
I’ve only posted the ‘before’ pictures. As soon as the party kicked off it got rather messy! But it was such a brilliant day. Here are just two of my sister and I enjoying ourselves. You can probably guess how things ended…
Last weekend I headed off to the Sorting Office in Eastleigh for a day of bangle making with six other ladies. The workshop was hosted by Joanne Tinley – I’ve had a private lesson with her before, so knew I was in for a great day.
The workshop taught us how to make an anti-clastic bangle. The ‘anti-clastic’ bit is talking about the shape. In the same way that a Pringle crisp curves outwards, so do these bangles. This outward curve is called anti-clastic.
It was a really fun day. Joanne does more than just show you how to do it – she really takes the time to explain what to do and why, so you really get a good understanding of the process.
It ran from 10am-4pm, although we were all such excellent students we finished early!
It’s really got me wanting to get back into jewellery making. I do dabble a bit here and there, but I really want to make sure I put time aside on a regular basis to do it. I’ve got a lot of the kit now, so it seems a shame not to make the most of it.
So you may start to see more jewellery posts on here soon!
Victoria, x victoriachapman.co.uk
It was my sister’s 30th birthday a week or so ago, and we decided to throw her a surprise birthday BBQ. She had literally just stepped off her cruise round the Nordic Fjords on the day we held it, so we though it would be a nice idea to have a nautical theme.
Since it was her 30th, I decided to go all out and make her the most amazing birthday cake ever. I had quite a lot of ideas on my nautical themed party Pinterest board, and decided to go for a two-tiered, navy blue iced cake.
I’ve never iced a cake like this before. I watched a load of YouTube videos, and they made it look easy. But boy, it was not easy at all!!
I forgot to take pictures during the first few steps, but basically I just baked an 8″ and 6″ round cake (chocolate and vanilla sponge) and then used my cake slicer to chop off the top and make it flat, then chop them in half and fill with butter cream. Then I covered the outside in a thin layer of butter cream too.
Then I put the cakes in the fridge to let the butter cream harden a bit (it was a boiling hot day!), whilst I added the food colouring to my royal icing.
I used blue paste colouring as opposed to liquid, as it’s easier, quicker and more effective. It took a A LOT of kneading to get the colour I wanted and to get it all even throughout.
Once it was at the colour I wanted, I started to roll it out. It was impossible to keep it round, instead it took on some weird, blobby shape. It was also important to keep lifting it off the worktop to avoid it sticking, but each time I did that, I seemed to rip it or poke a hole in it. Eventually I figured out that if you gently roll in onto the rolling pin, pick it up, then place it back down, this seems to work. Don’t try and pick it up with your hands!
Also the quicker you do this the better, otherwise it dries out really quickly and may end up cracking.
Then you place it gently onto the cake and press it down with your hands. This was actually a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. It’s quite an intuitive process – pushing it down around the sides and making sure it’s even and smooth.
No pictures of me making it nice and smooth as it’s tricky to do that one handed! Once it’s done, carefully trim off the excess.
Then I did the same with the top layer. I think if you’re having more than two tiers, or if you want to do a professional job, you can add some skewers into the bottom cake to help support the weight of the top cake, but I didn’t bother with that. Instead I added another thin layer of butter cream to help it stick and then slapped it on top!
Once the bulk of the cake was done, I moved onto the decorations. I printed out a picture of a basic anchor, cut it out, then rolled it on top of some rolled out icing, so that it made a bit of an outline on the icing. I then carefully sliced it out, covered it in a thin layer of butter cream and very, very carefully placed it on the cake.
Then I took some leftover white icing and rolled out two long thin sausages. I twisted these together to make it look like a rope and carefully placed this round the base of the cake. Then I made a ’30’ out of some of the leftover icing and placed that on top.
I have to say, so I was so, so, so impressed with how it turned out. It really was a masterpiece and it tasted great!
What do you think?
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I am a big fan of my juicer. I love drinking fresh juice. There’s nothing better than starting the day off with a whole heap of fruit and veggies. Then anything bad that passes your lips later on in the day doesn’t quite feel so bad!
So I was really excited with Lactofree got in touch and asked if I’d like to have a go at making the perfect summer smoothie. Even though I’m obsessed with juicing, I’ve not actually really done much with smoothies. Which is a bit weird, as the two are so closely related.
With the amazing, glorious, please-stay-forever weather we’ve been having, I figured a refreshing, sweet smoothie was just what the doctor ordered. So I had a bit of a dabble and this is what I made!
1 handful of fresh spinach
A few mint leaves
Good helping of cold Lactofree
I love kiwi fruits. They have to be one of my favourite fruits out there (see my favourite kiwi juice recipe here). I thought I’d combine them with some mint to create a really refreshing, zingy smoothie. The banana helps to add some thickness and sweetness, and the spinach adds some extra flavour and a whole host of extra nutrients.
Using Lactofree instead of traditional milk is a great way of getting the flavour and calcium benefits of milk, without any bloating. I am a big bloater (please don’t shout that at me in public though!). I don’t get it all the time, but sometimes even the tiniest drop of normal milk can bloat me out. I don’t generally touch the stuff anymore as there are so many alternatives out there. Lactofree is a great choice because it still tastes just like normal milk.
Have you tried your hand at making any of your own smoothies? What’s your favourite recipe? Let me know below so I can try them out too!
I love this quote. There’s so much to smile about in life, even if you’re having a rubbish day or are in the midst of a massive crisis.
There’s always something you can find to smile about – the fact that it’s not raining, the sun on your face, looking forward to a holiday or day off, meeting up with friends or family, or even managing to get the last biscuit out of the biscuit tin before your partner/colleague/mum does!
Have a great week and keep smiling!
I’ve mentioned a few times that I am RUBBISH with eyeshadow. It’s just not something I’ve ever really taught myself how to do. The rest of make up is pretty easy – get some foundation and slap it on, get some mascara and slap it on… there’s not really any skill to it.
But I’ve wanted to be able to do eyeshadow properly for ages. It makes such a difference to the overall look if you’ve got really nice, well blended eyeshadow on.
So with this in mind, I decided I needed to buy myself some proper kit. So really the choice was obvious – the Urban Decay Naked3 eyeshadow palette. It’s all I ever read about on other beauty blogs, so I figured it would be a good place to start.
I’ve got a load of Pinterest tutorials pinned in my Beauty & Make-Up board, so am going to use those as a starting off point for my learning.
I’ll keep you updated on my progress!!
I did a post recently where I talked about my favourite hair care staples. But I thought I’d do an update as I’ve recently fallen in love with two new products.
First up is the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil. This stuff is amazing! I had a bit of an ombre do done recently, and the hairdresser told me not to bother buying the expensive hair oil their salon sold (nothing like a bit of employee loyalty huh!?!) and said I should hot-foot it to Asda opposite and pick myself up this L’Oreal one which was apparently exactly the same.
I don’t need telling twice when it comes to dupes. So I bought it straight away and have been using it ever since. This goes on freshly washed hair, just after my leave-in conditioner, and before my heat protector spray. I’m not sure if that’s the right order to do it, but it works for me. Three pumps does the trick for my medium-to-long hair.
It’s smells great, but more importantly it makes my hair so soft and silky. Any hint of dryness is eradicated, without adding any weight or greasiness. It really is a wonder product which I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone out there who wants to keep their hair looking nice and glossy whilst also protecting their colour.
Second up is a product I’ve been wanting to try for a long time – the Bumble and Bumble Pret a Powder. I’ve read about this loads of times on lots of other blogs, so I added it to my birthday present list and my lovely sister-in-law was very kind and bought it for me. She’s also a fan and uses it pretty much every day.
This is so much more than a dry shampoo. I love it most for its volumising ability. I have quite thin hair and it can look quite lank sometimes. But a few shakes of this on the roots and it’s instantly lifted.
It’s a really, really fine powder that you shake out onto the roots and up on to the length of your hair (if you wish, most times I just focus on the roots).
Its great for freshening up day-two hair as well, which is great, because who has time to wash their hair every day?! Not to mention that that is not great for your hair anyway. It doesn’t leave a powdery residue or build up on your scalp and it doesn’t really smell (well not that I’ve noticed anyway).
I’ve totally stopped using my Batiste dry shampoo since I got this. Batiste in comparison is now heavy, chalky and smelly. Whereas this is light, fresh, volumising and just wonderful. I’m even tempted to buy another bottle to put in my handbag so I’ve got it with me at all times!
It’s quite pricey at £21.50 for a bottle, but you only need a tiny bit. I’ve been using it for about a month now and I don’t think I’m anywhere near even a quarter of the way through. Whereas I used to get through a can of Batiste every 6 weeks or so I think. So long term they may actually work out to be a similar price.
The only bad thing I’d say is that sometimes it does take a bit of vigorous shaking to get it out. Which is a pain when you’re running late for work in the mornings. I am a bit tempted to stick something in the hole at the top to make it a bit bigger, but I’m a bit scared I’ll make it too big and ruin it all! So I think I’ll leave it as it is and just keep on giving my arms the extra exercise through all the shaking!
What new haircare products have you been loving recently? Let me know in the comments below!
This post is a bit overdue, but I had to wait until I had gone on my friend’s hen do before I posted it, as it features me making the capes for our fancy dress costumes.
But before I get to that, let’s just lay the scene. Craft & Cocktail Club started a couple of years ago as a way of my friends and I getting together, trying some crafty projects and drinking some cocktails. Initially it was just Craft Club, but we thought we’d add the Cocktails in to make it sound a bit less WI-ish. Not that there’s anything wrong with the WI – I hear it’s tres-trendy nowadays.
But we’ve not had a meeting (I say ‘meeting’ like it’s such a formal club thing. It’s really not – we see each other all the time, but just not for craftiness!), in months and months. In fact, I think it was actually 2013 when we last got together for a craft session. We were due to have one before Christmas, but the weather ruined our plans and I ended up crafting (and drinking) on my own!
But this time the weather did not let us down at all! The sun was doing it’s best to burn us, and we were up for the challenge!
So first up, we cracked open some sweets that the lovely people from Bah Humbugs had sent me. Sweets and snacks are a key ingredient in a successful craft session. These ones were very cool and retro, and suited our crafty theme to a tee.
So once we were fed and the Pimms was flowing, I started on the actual crafting. Now since the weather was being so good to us, all my fellow crafters decided to ditch the crafting and just focus on sunbathing and drinking.
I unfortunately had volunteered to make the capes for my friends upcoming hen do. The theme was Mexican Wrestlers and we were going as a tag team group called the Jagerbomber! We’re all partial to a sneaky J-Bomb every now and again, so we thought this would be a good way of incorporating it into the fancy dress theme.
So I was tasked with making five of these sodding capes.
I managed it, but it took me hoooooourrrrs!
Whilst I was slaving away on the sewing machine (thanks to a rather long extension chord I could at least do this outside), my girls chatted and gave themselves a shellac manicure. FYI shellac nail varnish does not cope well in the sun. Keep it room temperature or you’ll live to regret it!
After a long day of sewing, nail painting and drinking, the boys came over and we carried on chatting away into the evening. One of the boys brought the dice game that we played on New Years Eve, so that ensured a lot of laughs and even more drinking.
So all in all a fabulous day. And the capes even looked half decent in the end, so it was all worth it!
Oh my goodness. This quote summed up my weekend – well, two hours of my Saturday to be precise.
You may recall that I said I was going on a hen do to Bude in Cornwall this month – well it was this weekend and it was brilliant!
Since we were right on the beach, it would have been rude not to have a go at surfing. So we booked a two hour surf lesson with Robin and Mike from Freewave Surf Academy (definitely try them out if you’re in the area – great teachers and pretty easy on the eyes too!!).
It was so much fun, but so, so, so exhausting. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I was that tired. Every single muscle in my body now aches – from my toes to the top of my head. But mostly my arms. My arms are like two throbbing sticks of lead right now! But it was worth it.
We started off learning how to body board on the surf boards – just catching a wave and riding back to the beach. Then we learned how to stand up on the board. Much easier said than done. But with the help of Robin and Mike, I was able to actually stand up on the board and properly (well, as properly as a total learner can!), surf all the way to the shore! It was such an exhilarating feeling.
This is the look on my face after a (cheesy surfer lingo coming….) real gnarly wipeout!
So this is my motivation for you this week. Even if you’re tired, keep on at it until you’re done (or until your two hours are finished and you’re told to get out of the water!).
Have a great week people!
I was given this Lush Feeling Younger Skin Tint by my lovely sister in law for my birthday last month. I’ve never really tried any of the Lush make up offerings (other than the lip scrub, which is fabulous, but I’m not sure I’d put that in the make up section). So I was really excited to try it out.
Lush describes the Feeling Younger product as:
A light-reflecting skin tint made with oats, fragrant essential oils and cocoa butter for a gorgeous glow wherever you want it. Soothing oatmeal is combined with nourishing jojoba and almond oils as well as cocoa butter, and we blend in a pigment that reflects light. Use it on its own or under our Colour Supplements to give your face a dewy radiance.
There are loads of ways you can wear it, these are the ways I’ve tried so far:
I generally go for option number 2, 4 or 5. Some people have said its maybe too shimmery to use all over, but I’ve not found that. It’s more luminous than sparky or shimmery. Also, a little goes a really long way, so I think as long as you don’t overdo it, its fine to slap all over! It gives a lovely, dewy, fresh-faced look, without looking shiny or oily.
It’s really creamy and very easy to apply. Being from Lush it’s also made from natural ingredients and doesn’t have anything in there that’ll irritate your skin.
The only bad thing I can say about it, is the packaging. Being in a small pot is a bit annoying. You have to scrape a bit out with the back of your nail, otherwise you end up with it under your nails and god know where else. A squeezy tube would have been better, but it’s not the end of the world. Just remember to recycle the glass pot when you’re done with it.
It’s £12 a pot, which isn’t cheap, but I think it’ll last a long, long time. It’s also so versatile and lovely to use, so I think it’s worth it. It’s defintiely something I’ll be repurchasing.
Have you tried the Lush Feeling Younger? What do you think?