Thursday, 8 September 2016

Tamar Trails Centre

For as long as I can remember, my friends and I have spent our summers complaining about how little there is to do in and around Plymouth, but it hasn't been until this year that we have really begun to appreciate that there is in fact so many wonderful places to explore. Last month a group of bloggers and our friends/ family were invited out for an activity packed day and to learn more about one of these exciting places - the Tamar Trails Centre, situated just outside of Tavistock.

Tamar Trails Centre is home to a heritage centre, cafe and a variety of outdoor activities including bike trails, archery and tree surfing facilities, and to top it off it is located in the scenic Tamar Valley - it really is a hidden gem. When we first arrived at Tamar Trails we were introduced to the staff - and the resident dogs - given a tour around the site and learnt more about the centre and its activities. After signing a waiver we were let loose to have a walk around the trails and explore the site for ourselves. The trails that lead through a gorgeous woodland are clearly signposted making it a perfect location for a family walk, I can only imagine how beautiful it must become in the heart of Autumn!

By far my favourite part of the day was archery, we were whisked away to the middle of the woods where two targets, two bows and an array of arrows greeted us. I've only tried archery a handful of times, however I have always really enjoyed it and so I was certainly excited to try it again. After a wobbly start I finally managed to channel my inner Merida and hit bullseye. Once everyone had got the hang of the bow and arrow we launched into a very heated competition which involved several balloons and a lot of shouting. I was completely gutted when our hour was up and would have happily stayed shooting all day.
We were then swiftly transported back to the main centre and harnessed up for the part of the day I was most anxious about - tree surfing. Although I have been before, my mild fear of heights and falling definitely was not working in my favour. The obstacle course formed of rickety bridges, leaps of faith and tightropes is made 10x more daunting and thrilling by its treetop location. Although it certainly took a lot of courage and persuasion from my friends, channeling my inner Tarzan in the beautiful woodlands was such a unique experience and I'm so proud of myself for facing my fears. Tamar Trails have 3 different courses of different difficulties, and a smaller junior course for younger children to try out.
After all the excitement from the day, we were treated to lunch at the cafe. As soon as we stepped foot inside the cafe the smell of freshly made pasties took over and I for one couldn't resist. Paired with a gorgeous elderflower bubbly and a chocolate brownie it was a true country lunch. There's something so comforting about eating a homemade pasty!
I had a wonderful day exploring Tamar Trails and I will certainly be heading back again soon, I can just imagine how gorgeous it becomes through the different seasons. Its the perfect location for fun family day with such a wide variety of activities you are truly spoiled for choice, it is certainly a hidden gem which deserves a lot more recognition. For more information about Tamar Trails and their wonderful activities make sure to check out their website here!
Becca x
// I was kindly invited out to Tamar Trails to try out activities for consideration of review however as always, all opinions are 100% honest and my own //

 

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Dear Isabella and Imogen - An Introduction

Becoming an aunt at age 5 is something many people find weird, but for me I've known no different. I can't remember a time when Lewis wasn't around, and as much as I loved having a nephew to play with, I remember so desperately wanting a baby girl in the family - someone who would play Barbies with me, who I could share clothes with and give makeovers to. Which is why at age 8, when I found out that I was going to have not one but two nieces in the space of a year, I was completely ecstatic.

With only a 7 and 8 year age difference between us, we've grown up with a strange bond that merges the authority and compassion of an aunt figure with the benefits of a sibling and best friend. When you were babies, I was still a little kid myself and used to treat you like real life dolls. One of my earliest memories was dressing Isabella up in my build-a-bear outfits just days after you came home from the hospital. At the time I was so excited to have little girls to play with, but as we've all grown up I have realised that you have given me so much more in life. Now that you're 9 and 10 our relationship has become much more sisterly, we can now have real conversations about your life as opposed to Peppa Pig, you want me to show you how I do my hair and makeup, and we're even able to share clothes - I stole one of Imogen's kimonos the other day!

Even though we've always been super close, I never got to experience the typical sister relationships with my sisters as my friends did with theirs, but now as we get older I get to live that through you two. As we continue to grow and the age gap seemingly lessens, I know our relationship will evolve into even more, I can't wait to take you to concerts, on shopping trips and when you're old enough we will undoubtedly end up going out together. I love watching you grow and the joy of seeing elements of myself reflected through you is incredibly fulfilling, but even more so watching you grow into yourselves and achieving your goals makes me so so proud.

After you told me that you found my blog, I decided I wanted it to be a place where I can not only share my thoughts but somewhere you can come for more advice and guidance, but most of all I wanted it to be something that makes you proud of me. More recently I have been wanting to change the style of some of my blog posts to something more personal and narrative, however I struggled with getting the words down. That's where you come into play, directing my words at you somehow makes it easier for me to write them, as if I'm just talking to you. So, I've decided to create a new series on my blog just for you two, think of it as an open letter where I can share with you my ramblings, trials and tribulations, and hopefully give you a little bit of advice along the way. I know you're both sad that I'm going to be heading off to university, and the thought of not being there all the time to watch and help you grow pains me, so I want you to think of this series as a way of keeping in touch and maintaining my role of aunt from afar. These posts are written with you in mind, and knowing that will encourage me to keep writing them, as well as hopefully giving you that extra connection to me whilst I'm away.

- Becca x

 

 

Friday, 10 June 2016

Wildwood Kitchen & Deli Launch Party


On Wednesday I was invited along to one of my favourite restaurants, Wildwood, for an evening of drinks, nibbles and fun to celebrate their Kitchen & Deli at the historic Royal William Yard in Plymouth.




Wildwood is a small restaurant chain with restaurants across the UK offering 'great food in a relaxed, homely environment'. Following the success of their Plymouth City Centre restaurant, Wildwood have recently branched out into the Royal William Yard, a beautiful and historic waterfront location and one of the most stylish dining areas in the city. Unlike the city centre restaurant, this particular Wildwood has a rustic yet sophisticated feel to it; a really fresh and exciting blend of styles and I can't wait to come back and experience the full dining experience.




The exciting part about this particular Wildwood restaurant is the integrated Wildwood Deli found at the front of the house. The deli offers unique and interesting artisan products ranging from truffles to chutney, along with a large selection of freshly prepared baked goods, salads and sandwiches. I really love the idea of the 'Salad Lunch Box' which allows you to create your own take away salad from a range of exciting dishes and garnishes for just £4.50.




We were welcomed to the party with complimentary prosseco - or orange juice for the designated drivers like myself - which was constantly being topped up throughout the night. After an initial look around the location and some mingling with fellow bloggers and PR teams, we were treated to an assortment of delicious tasters from Wildwood's exquisite menu. The food seemed to be never ending as we were constantly presented with new platters of dishes including a delicious crunchy salad, the most mouthwatering risotto, freshly baked pizzas and a juicy slider - which I managed to spill all down my white dress! Following our 'mains', the desert tray started making it's way around the restaurant - a plate full of hot, gooey triple chocolate brownies partnered with freshly cut strawberries, hot chocolate sauce and a bowl of whipped cream.



Credit: Ellie - LittleEllieMae

The combination of delectable food, gorgeous location and wonderful company made the evening so enjoyable however, the best part about was the opportunity to bring my mum along with me and give her a glimpse into what I am lucky enough to do as a blogger. Not only was I fortunate enough to spend time with my mum, but also my best friend Ellie and her family - who are basically family to me anyway. The evening as a whole was utterly wonderful and I'm so grateful to be invited to events like this - we even walked away with a little goody bag filled with sweet treats from the deli.
Becca x

// I was kindly invited to this event by Onshore on behalf of Wildwood however, as always, all opinions are 100% honest and my own //

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Drake Fashion Live Preview Night

On Thursday evening I - along with two of my favourite fellow bloggers Ellie and Rhian - was kindly invited by the people at Drake Circus Plymouth to attend a preview night for their upcoming fashion show, which is taking place this weekend! Hosted in the Regus Business Lounge - it's definitely as fancy as it sounds - we were greeted by an array of food, drink, fashion and beauty products provided by stores throughout Drake Circus, all of which we got to learn more about and try out.

Yo! Sushi presented the most 'instagrammable' sushi platter I'd ever seen, with a variety of their most loved dishes for us to try. After devouring the sushi we moved on to the gorgeous Champagne Cocktail chocolates from Hotel Chocolat which were almost too pretty to eat!
As the evening kicked off, a selection of brands from within Drake Circus talked to us about their new launches and we were given the opportunity to learn more about the amazing brands that we have down here in Plymouth. I absolutely loved hearing about Cath Kidston's new launches and the beautiful story that inspired the designs.
Definitely one of the most exciting parts of the night was when we were given the opportunity to try the new Nutella Krispy Kreme doughnuts - before anyone else in the UK! These are without a doubt going to become a regular purchase of mine following their launch yesterday!
But of course, the main purpose of the night was to learn more about the Drake Fashion Live event which is taking place today, so make sure you head over to Drake Circus to experience this unique fashion show and the chance to win an outift!
We were whisked away to the main shopping centre where we were able to watch the first dress rehearsal of the show. This is a really unique show as the models parade through the entire shopping centre, stopping at set locations - including outside the shop they are wearing - for shoppers to learn more about each item of clothing and the brand.
Along with the fashion show, Mosaic Model Management are going to be scouting for new talent within the mall this Monday (30th May), there are some awesome prizes up for grabs including the chance to be signed with Mosaic, so make sure you head down to Drake Circus if that's something that interests you!
Drake Fashion Live is definitely the most innovative show I've seen in Plymout for a while, and it's really great to see how many amazing brands and events we have down here, you really don't want to miss out on this one!
A huge thankyou to the lovely people at Drake Circus for organising this event, and inviting me along for the preview. Also, to all the wonderful brands within the mall for providing us with the most insane goody bag I've ever seen. I'm so grateful to be able to attend events like these!
Becca x

 

Thursday, 31 March 2016

AlohaLolaCards - The World's Loveliest Illustrator

My 4th 'blogiversary' is quickly approaching and so I've been spending the past few days reminiscing on all the amazing opportunities I've had since I first started blogging. For me, the most rewarding part of starting my blog has been the wonderful array of people I've had the opportunity to work with, talk to and in some cases meet.

Most recently, I've got to know the lovely Claire of Aloha Lola Cards; Claire is quite possibly the loveliest human being in the world and also the most insanely talented and unique illustrator I've come across. Claire has her own Etsy shop where you can buy personalised caricature cards, key rings and digital portraits all at incredible prices - the individually hand created and personalised nature of Claire's designs make them the perfect gift!

I was originally introduced to Claire when she so kindly created these personalised Christmas Cards for the most recent Plymouth Blog Meet, I immediately fell in love with her incredible talent to capture everyone's look and personality so accurately in her work (baring in mind she had only seen pictures!).
I knew that I wanted to purchase from Claire again and so I followed her on Twitter where we often chat. In fact more recently, Claire has hosted an Twitter survival game - this was a really innovative and fun game that she created where by you progress through a scenario by answering a series of questions. If you missed out in the last one, she will be hosting another next week so make sure to follow her Twitter @AlohaLolaCards for a chance to win!
Being the lovely person she is, Claire created this incredible digital portrait* for me. What makes Claire so unique is that she ensures she knows exactly what the customer wants, she asked me if there was anything in particular I wanted her to include - the Disney ears were a must - and any photos she could work from. I love that not only did she capture me perfectly, but the attention to detail is incredible as she managed toget the texture and colour of my jumper spot on, and also included my necklace and bag strap - details which were nearly impossible to spot on the photo I sent her. It's these little details which reflect her genuine passion for art and her work, and what makes her stand out from any other illustrators I've seen before.
I reached out to Claire last month to purchase a personalised caricature card for Mother's Day (£3.10). We discussed what I wanted the card to look like and I sent her across 3 photos for inspiration. However, being the awkward mare I am, I asked if she could combine the hair from one photo, outfit from another and pose from the last to make the perfect picture, and Claire did so in a heartbeat. She sent photos of the design as she created it to ensure that I liked it and to ask if there was anything I wanted to change - talk about great customer service! She then packaged it up with a cute letter and it was with me in no time, I can honestly say I had absolutely no problems with her service. My mum and I both love this card so much and it's actually taken residence on the front cover of the scrapbook I made so we can always look at it.
I would recommend Claire for any illustration needs, her talent is incredible but it's her customer service and genuine passion that makes her so unique. And even if you don't want any illustrations just yet, make sure you are following her on Twitter @AlohaLolaCards and send her a message because she is the loveliest lady in the world!
Becca x
 
// *Claire was kind enough to create the digital portrait in exchange for a blog post, however all opinions are my own and 100% honest //

 

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Easter Rocky Road Krispie Cake


Happy Easter!

Easter has always been one of my favourite holidays as it serves as a sign that Spring has arrived presenting the opportunity for fresh starts and new beginnings, something that I have always found to be hopeful and uplifting. I also absolutely adore all the pastel designs, colourful flowers and of course the chocolate eggs that line the shelves. Some of my earliest memories revolve around Easter related activities, with the likes of Easter egg hunts around the house, church services with school and baking with my mum being my fondest.

I always get excited when Creme Eggs and Mini Eggs begin to make their way into the shops and it's a household tradition to use these quintessentially British goodies to make Easter treats. This week, it was also my turn to bring in cake for my media clas and so I decided to play around with a few recipes we've attempted in the past and come up with something of my own to present to them, after debating whether to make a classic Rice Krispie near or a festive Rocky Road I eventually decided on a compromise - enter the Easter Rocky Road Krispie Cake.

This recipe made 12 large pieces - you can easily half the recipe for a smaller batch! Also, I used rough estimates on all ingredients except the butter and syrup - you can add in more or less of any ingredients as desired.

Ingredients:

800g Milk / Dark Chocolate

125g Unsalted Butter

125g Golden Syrup

100g Rice Krispies

100g Mini Marshmallows

2 x Bags of Mini Eggs - Crushed

1 x Bag of Mini Creme Eggs

100g White Chocolate

Anything else you want to add!

Method:

  1. Line a tin with greasproof paper - I used a 9" rectangular tin
  2. In a large bowl, melt the Milk Chocolate, Butter and Syrup together until smooth - this is best done in a bowl over a pan of water on low heat - make sure you stir regularly, ensure the heat is not too high as this will result in burnt chocolate and don't get any water in the bowl as it will ruin the chocolate. You could also use a microwave, in short 20 second intervals until mixture is smooth.
  3. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in Rice Krispies, Marshmallows, 1 & 1/2 bags of Mini Eggs ( I crushed them with a rolling pin) and 1/4 of the White Chocolate (I used chocolate chunks).
  4. Pour into tin and spread out with a spatula ensuring you have an even spread and flat surface - place in the fridge.
  5. After about 1-2 hours, melt remaining White Chocolate using preferred technique. Remove the Rocky Road from the fridge and drizzle melted White Chocolate on top - additionally you could spread it to give an even coverage. Top with the remaining crushed Mini Eggs, halved Creme Eggs and Mini Marshmallows. Place back into the fridge.
  6. Refrigerate until set and cut into equal pieces of desired size!

I absolutely love this recipe, it's so simple but looks and tastes amazing! But be warned, it's incredibly sweet - my class labelled me as trying to give them diabetes, obesity, a heart attack and just straight up murdering them - however it was certainly rave reviews all round. This is definitely one I'm going to start making every year!

Do you have any Easter Traditions, or favourite Easter recipes? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!

Becca x

 

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Is This The Perfect Kulie Jenner Lip Kit Dupe?

Kylie Jenner's Lip Kits seem to be the most sought-after beauty product in what appears to be the history of the world, and with both releases selling out in minutes, makeup lovers around the world - including myself - have been searching for the ultimate dupe.

Kylie's notorious matte lip look has become somewhat iconic in the beauty industry, sparking trends left right and centre, however amongst the mass of matte lip products available on the market, its Kylie's unique liquid lipstick formula that has everyone raving, however the combination of its extreme rarity and ever growing price tag has encouraged me to find a cheaper, high street alternative.

After scouring theweb for what felt like years, I have finally found the ultimate Kylie Jenner Lip Kit Dupe - enter Ciaté London Liquid Velvet lipsticks.
At a much more reasonable £17, these Ciaté Liquid Velvet liquid lipsticks are available in 13 different colours, ranging from nude, to pink, to red - and even blue for those more daring. The creamy, liquid formula easily glides on the lips and - despite the matte nature - is actually highly moisturising. With the staying power of a lip stain, I found this product has incredible longevity lasting me through an entire day of talking, eating and drinking without the need to re-apply.
I picked up the shade Smitten which is a gorgeous rose pink, although not entirely necessary, I like to line my lips first with my favourite Rimmel London Exaggerate Lip Liner in Eastend Snob. Although the price tag is still a little higher than what I would normally pay - I actually bought this with my Birchbox points so it was free - I think this product is absolutely worth it, and would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat. After only arriving a week ago, this is already my favourite lip product ever and is definitely going to be an essential in my makeup routine for the next few months.
Becca x