Tuesday 30 January 2018

Family Travel: Gran Canaria, Gloria Palace Royal

We’re at that point in the year where we all want and need a bit of sunshine. Fed up of the cold and wintery days, dreams of a summer holiday are probably the only thing getting us all through at the moment, I know it is for me and we’re not even going away this year! So I thought I’d share our last trip abroad with you as we loved it so much and know that when we do come to go away, we’ll be heading back here without a doubt! 

We had been to Gran Canaria before back in 2012 and loved it so much, we wanted to return with Millie. Knowing how clean the resort of Amadores was, how beautiful the beach was and how friendly the locals were, it was the perfect location for us. We decided to stay at the Hotel Gloria Palace Royal (Amadores), a huge 4 building hotel built into the rocks of Amadores, across the bay from Puerto Rico. It’s a 4* hotel and perfect for Families and Couples. 

The Rooms

We stayed in a family room which could sleep up to 4 people with room for a cot too. The room had a double bed (2 singles pushed together which made the bed huge!) and then a pull out bed which was separated with a divider in the room which was handy. It had the usual tea and coffee making facilities but no fridge in the room. The balcony was also a really good size and had the most gorgeous view of the beach - it was beautiful to wake up to each morning! 

The bathroom had a hairdryer, bath and walk in-shower and the usual appliances with enough room for us all to get ready. There were also enough towels for us all too which is something that we have often noticed can be a problem. 

The room was huge and was really ideal for us as a family, we didn’t feel cramped or on top of each other at all! We had also requested that we were in a quiet section of the hotel and we were. There are 4 parts of the hotel and the main section is next to the pool and also the evening entertainment, ours was 2 blocks away from this and so it was lovely and quiet of an evening - I’d definitely request this if you’re thinking of staying. 

There are lifts pretty much to all floors but steep steps if you decide not to take them - we found it easy getting around with a pushchair but just remember the location of the hotel is quite high so you’re going to have to walk down some steps at some point! 

The Hotel Facilities 

So, to start off, what does the Hotel have to offer? Well, if you’re like me and only care about the pool, you have the most gorgeous Infinity pool that looks over on to the beach of Amadores here at Gloria Palace, its a large pool with a seated area in it too which has water jets - the perfect place to bathe and catch some rays too! There is also another Roof-top pool which is raised so better for those who want to do some lengths or don’t really mind about getting in. It’s a lot quieter up by that pool too. There are tonnes of sun-loungers by both pools which is always a good thing, we never struggled to get a lounger and they have a ‘no towel’ policy so it means you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to reserve a bed as your towels will be moved by the lifeguards. And if you fancy a bit of nude-bathing, there is an area for this as well!! 

There is a Children's pool with a little summer house and some toys, it’s fenced off from the main pool too so you can go there with the little ones and they don’t have direct access to the main pool, Millie loved hopping in and out of this as she didn't have to worry about going under and she spent hours playing in the wendy house! There is a Kids Club just by the side of the pool which has a soft play, ball pit and area that you can sit out of the sun for a bit and do some colouring or play games and watch TV. The children's club is open to all children but those under 4 must be supervised by an adult. 

The hotel offers Bed and Breakfast - All inclusive boards and so there is a pool bar you can head to during the day for snacks and bar meals such as burgers, pizzas and chips but if you want a little something extra, the main restaurant offers a great selection of food too! We stayed Half Board but you could choose if you had Breakfast and Lunch or Breakfast and Dinner which we thought was a really great way to make use of your plan. It meant that if we still wanted to eat out one night, we hadn’t waisted any money and still got the 2 meals we had already paid for! We never had any problems with any of the food and the bar menu was great! There is also an A la Carte restaurant you can book into for 1 night of your stay however we didn’t do this as Millie wouldn’t sit still for long enough, but great if you’re going with older children or as a couple and wanted a change from the usual menus. 

Gloria Palace Royal also has an in-house spa - it’s separate to the main hotel and is just below everything, you have access to the whirl pools and sauna and then you can book for any additional treatments too. It was a nice break for half an hour to get out of the sun and just relax every day! 

The Location 

The hotel is built into the rocks of Amadores bay which is about 50minutes from the Airport. It’s a very hilly location so I would recommend taking a taxi if you plan on going far as it can wear you out if you’re walking up and down a lot. The beach in Amadores is one of the cleanest and most gorgeous beaches I have ever seen and Millie loved it too! The beach has pedalows that you can rent for an hour and has a great selection of beachside cafes, restaurants and shops to grab some snacks from. 

The hotel itself is easy to get to and is a 5-7 minute walk to the beach however, it is up a hill and so you may want to get a taxi from the hotel which is about €3 but remember to book it from the reception or else you’ll still need to treck down the steep hill to meet the taxi driver. 

If you like to have a wander (we only ever went out at night because it was too hot in the day!) you can walk along the cliffs using the footpath to Puerto Rico harbour where there are more shops, cafes and restaurants and it takes you up into the main shopping area of Puerto rico too where you can find tonnes of bars, shops and restaurants plus, there is a childrens playground and it’s where you can find Angry Birds land too! 

The hotel staff were also really friendly, from the waiters that made Millie laugh at dinner and the receptionist greeting us, we had no faults of this hotel at all. The cleaning staff checked your room daily and changed the sheets once during our stay - they made the bed daily and also just did a little tidy around too. 

The drinks were reasonably priced and the ice-creams were too (we bought enough of them!) with the evening entertainment being great for kids and then something on afterwards for the adults. There were themed nights in the restaurants and quizzes/bingo of an evening if you wanted to join in! But there was also a lot to explore around the hotel with some great restaurants next to the beach and some cheap bars in the centre! 

I cannot recommend this hotel enough and I really can’t wait to go back next year taking Mylo along with us! 

Friday 26 January 2018

Low Calorie and Slimming World Friendly Snacks

If you’ve been following my Twitter and Instagram, you’ll know that I’m back in full Slimming World mode and hitting it full force to shift this ‘baby weight’ (am I allowed to call it that 9 months after having a baby?!) and to keep it off. I’ve followed Slimming World before and know that it works so I thought it was the best thing for me. I know dieting has its downfalls and the best way to loose weight is to exercise and eat ‘healthily’, but Slimming World does just that, it just has stricter guidelines that I know I can stick to and I won’t go overboard on binging on so called ‘treat days’.

But that’s the great thing about Slimming world - you can still have treats as long as they’re in you syn allowance and of course, try and keep them relatively healthy still too. If you don’t know how Slimming World works, you can read more about it here

low calorie snacks

The aim of Slimming World is to cut down on fat and eat more Speed foods (fruit and veg) and Protein. Cutting down these fats will essentially, help you to loose weight but it doesn’t mean you can’t have the odd bar of chocolate or bag of crisps. Weight-loss should be done by eating a balanced diet not one that is just full of vegetables. Your body needs fat for energy so whether this is from sugars or carbohydrates, it’s important to fuel it with all of the nutrients - even the ones you think might be bad. 

I’m a huge lover of chocolate and so the fact I can still have a little treat each day makes Slimming world the right choice for me but, you might not be into chocolate, savoury snacks might be your thing and so it’s good to know whats available and within the SW guidelines - or, if you’re just on a calorie controlled diet and want a quick nibble, these will also be great for you as most of them are under 100calories! 

Aldi HIKE bars (approx. 180calories per bar) are a great source of protein and will keep you fuller for longer. If it’s a boost of energy you need or a pre/post gym snack, these are great for that and are super cheap too at just 49p per bar! 

Special K ‘Moments’ (96calories for 2 bars) are great if you’re craving a biscuit with your tea! With 2 bars in each pack, you can half them throughout the day or even have one bar over 2 days. In regards to Slimming World, they work out at 2.5 syns per bar or 5 syns for both of them. 

Fibre One bars (90calories per bar) if you’re a member of a Slimming World group, you’ll know about these bad boys. Fibre One bars are healthy, low calorie alternatives to brownies! With 3 flavours and another being released soon, they’re incredible if you’re craving cake at just 4 syns each! At the moment, I love having one warmed slightly with some of the Halo Top (also low calorie) ice cream!

Alpen Light bars (70-80calories per bar) whether you’re eating them as part of the Healthy Extra allowances or want them for a snack, they’re great at just 3 syns and can cure the urge to binge on biscuits throughout the day. I always carry one with me if I’m out and about to stop me from buying cakes! 

indie bay snacks

Now, if you have more of a savory tooth than a sweet tooth (I’m all about sweet things) Indie Bay Pretzel Snacks are the thing for you. These super yummy and crunchy snacks are the perfect thing if you’re a crisp addict or need something to munch on at work. Under 100 calories (Spelt and Quinoa flavours) these bags of Pretzel bites pack a punch and do the thing of curing those snacking urges and they’re full of good stuff too! 

Indie Bay snacks took the good stuff from pretzels and made them into snack sized balls that you can grab and gobble if you’re out and about without worrying about what calories you’re binging on. They’re also a great source of protein so perfect for another pre/post gym snack too! If you’re still seeing January through as Veganuary, they’re also completely Vegan! With a better cause behind each bag thats sold, Indie Bay like to know that children are educated about healthy food too so they donate everytime a bag is sold! 

You can shop online here and use code FREESHIPUK for free UK shipping or you can find them in lots of stores such as Ocado, Wholefoods and Planet Organic. If you want to find out more you can also head over to their Instagram and give them a follow! It’s one of the most colourful feeds I’ve seen - and better still, it’s all about food, YUM! 

(This post is written in collaboration with Indie Bay Snacks and I was provided with samples for the post)

Tuesday 23 January 2018

StylPro Makeup Brush Cleaner and Dryer Review

It must have been one of the most popular christmas gifts this year - the StylPro Brush cleaner is the answer to every makeup lovers dreams but is it worth it? It’s hard to understand something when they’re so much hype around it and you don’t really get to see what or how it’s so special so, let me talk you through...

I asked for one for my birthday as I’d always eyed them up and just thought that if I were ever going to get one, it would be as a gift rather than purposely going out and buying it myself. At £39.99 they’re not *cheap* but they’re certainly not the most expensive thing I’ll ever buy - god, there are eyeshadow palettes that are more expensive than this! But is it worth the money?! 

stylpro makeup brush cleaner and dryer

The StylPro Brush cleaner is a 2in1 Cleaner that cleans and then dries your makeup brushes in seconds - literally. It comes with 8 different attachments that you simply slide you makeup brush into and then a small bowl that you pop water and solution into to clean your brushes. You also get 2 10ml sachets of the StylPro Makeup brush cleaner which is advised to be used for non-soluble based makeup like Foundations, concealers and cream products, this solution to buy alone is £24.99 for a 500ml bottle. 

The brush cleaning arm is battery powered so depending on how often you use it, it should last you a few washes before you will need to replace the batteries and you can also get a Rose Gold version of the set too (which I didn’t know until I got this!) 

The size of it was one of those things that I wasn’t sure on - I don’t know how big I expected it to be exactly but I think that it is the perfect size as potentially, you could leave it out and it wouldn’t take up that much room, or, you could perhaps leave it on a shelf or windowsill and it still wouldn’t take up much room. I keep mine in the original box so I know where everything is when I come to use it! 

stylpro makeup brush cleaner and dryer

stylpro makeup brush cleaner and dryer

So, as for the actual cleaning, does it do what it promises!? In short terms, yes. It’s so great for cleaning eyeshadow brushes and smaller brushes that don’t get clogged with product. You simply choose one of the sleeves, pop in your selected brush and attach it to the cleaning arm. You then fill the bowl with about an inch of water, add the solution or your chosen brush shampoo, and dip it in and spin it for 10 seconds, you then pull it out of the water and let it spin for another 10 seconds and voila. Your brush is clean and dry. 

I find with darker shadows or more dense brushes you’ll need to do this twice to ensure a proper clean. I also don’t use the solution, I just use my normal brush shampoo and add it to the water but be careful if it’s a foaming cleaner as you’ll need to change the water more often as the bubbles will get too much! 

It’s not so great at foundation or concealer brushes. Even using the solution as a trial, the foundation brush still came out with product inside. I think because it’s such a thick brush, it’s really hard to get in the bristles and give it a thorough clean so I’d recommend that you wash these by hand first and then maybe give them a deeper clean in the StylPro - the same goes for concealer brushes. I don’t often use foundation brushes now so this doesn’t really bother me but if you’re one to use them daily, just bare this in mind. 

As for the attachments, I’ve seen a lot of people say that they don’t fit their brushes. There are 8 different attachments meaning there is plenty to vary and choose from depending on what sort and brand of brush you’re using. I have a variety of brushes that are all shapes and sizes and the majority of mine fit perfectly. The Spectrum Brushes are the best fit and they’re smooth and round so easy to put in and pull out however, Real Techniques brushes are a little more tricky as the shape of their brushes is fat to thin. 

Other brushes from Crownbrush, Nanshy and Charlotte Tilbury all fit fine and most fit into the 2nd or 3rd smallest attachments. I do think they need to bring a few more sizes out just to cover all bases but for now, it does the job and I don’t mind having to hand clean a few of the ones that don’t fit - it’s better than doing all 60+ brushes by hand! 

Overall, if you have a heap of brushes that you’re fed up of spending hours cleaning, I can definitely recommend the StylPro - just ensure you use your own cleaner (to save you some money) and be prepared to still have to wash some of your brushes if they don’t fit or are covered in foundation. 

Saturday 20 January 2018

Travel: Cornwall 2017

You may have seen a few of these posts already on here but each year, we head down to Cornwall for a short break and I love sharing our trip with you! This time, of course, we had a new addition and it meant what used to be a trip for 3 of us became a trip for 4! 

We stayed at the same cottage as we did back in 2013 and 2014 and will be retuning again for our 4th year in 2018! It’s a gorgeous little cottage that is set on a plot of land owned by Helen and Rob Watson - there are 3 cottages in total with a bigger house to rent if needed (which can sleep up to 9 people!), set in the middle of Cornwall it’s around 20 minutes from some beautiful locations such as Looe, Fowey, Par and Newquay. But you don’t even have to venture off as the cottages have some lovely things to do on site:

- Hot tub
- Fishing lake with access to some nets
- Golf putting course 
- Another entire field to play on, relax on or take your own paddling pool like we did! 

We spent pretty much every day somewhere new and headed to some of our favourite places! We made our first stop in Fowey to get some Pasties, of course, and then made plans for the rest of the week! It was all weather dependant in regards to what we were going to do but we had such amazing weather until it come to Thursday when it all went a bit grey and rained a little but it didn’t stop us from heading to Newquay to browse the shops and have a stroll along the beach! 

Fowey is a lovely, quaint town full of cobbled streets and little shops and like I said, pasties. It has a gorgeous harbour too and you can take the Ferry over to the other side which then leads you over to Looe without having to drive all the way round and across. We wanted to try out some new places too so we went to Port Isaac one of the days when the weather was just glorious. We again wandered the little streets and cute shops and did some crabbing in the bay whilst the tide was out! Millie absolutely loved it and she was asking for a wetsuit the entire time so she could go into the sea! 

We also have family that live in Par so we made sure that we kept one of the afternoons free to visit them and to head to Par Sands - we managed to visit family but a trip to the beach was put on hold as we were all super tired and super hungry so we grabbed chips on the way home and relaxed for the evening back at the cottage. I would definitely recommend chips from Val’s Place - they’re so good! 

We really couldn’t of had a better week in terms of weather - it was absolutely beautiful and it even reached 30degrees one of the days! It was like we were in another country - being able to sit on the beach in your bikini is unheard of in this country but it was so nice! Not so great when you have a baby to keep cool though, I must admit. 

We went to our favourite beach on 2 of the days we were there, Polperro. It’s a gorgeous, small cove type beach probably around 800m wide with a cafe and a pub on site - there’s ample parking just up the hill and it’s great for surfing! We went for dinner one evening and then Adam went back with Millie another day whilst I stayed at the cottage with Mylo. We also tried a new beach that we’d heard such good things about, Readymoney Cove (beach). It was absolutely beautiful and I really can’t wait to head back there next time we go. It’s probably best known as where Dawn French lives as her house sits on the rocks above the cove and looks out on to the sea - jealous. 

We plan on heading to more places we haven’t been before the next time we go but I know we have some favourites that we must take a trip to as well! 

 Getting around was so easy, I was a little worried as there is so much walking and driving involved when you visit Cornwall but Millie absolutely loved it and Mylo was such a good baby. We took our Buggyboard for Millie just incase she got tired whenever we walked somewhere, when we went to Port Isaac, it was quite a walk from the carpark to the town so she loved having it just to save her little legs! But we also didn’t use the pushchair all the time as I had my Baby Bjorn carrier for Mylo. 

If it was a hill or off-roading, especially when we walked down to the lake back at the cottage, I put him in the carrier, facing me, but for about 5 minutes whilst we were down there, I turned him round so he could see and he loved it. He still loves it now and I tend to use it on the school run as it’s quicker than faffing around with the pushchair some mornings! It is suitable from birth which is great but forward facing is only recommended for babies over 6months old. 

It’ll be a completely different experience when we go in August 2018 as we’ll be taking Harry too and Mylo will (hopefully) be walking so he’ll need a new buggy but I really can’t wait to play on the beach and paddle in the sea with the family.