Monday, 15 September 2014

Our Honeymoon - Sri Lanka - Part 1

The first stop on our honeymoon was beautiful Sri Lanka! I had spent months planning our whirlwind trip to make sure we could see as many sights and sample as much culture as could comfortably fit in one week.
However, flying on the Sunday following our wedding we were both utterly exhausted so spent the first two nights in Negombo. We stayed at the Jetwing Beach which was absolutely perfect for relaxation. Great service, a chilled atmosphere, an olympic sized pool, spa, gym, beach and very affordable room service. In fact we were so lazy that other than buffet breakfast we only ate out once! If you are prone to jet lag or are going straight from work I would really recommend staying in Negombo for at least a night as it is a little paradise just 30 minutes up the coast from Colombo airport. A perfect way to start your trip!
After attempting to book all our hotels and logistics myself I soon realised that it was very difficult given the long distances we had to travel. There is very little public transport and many places are not set up on the internet. I therefore put my pride aside and after speaking to about 15 different tour operators managed to negotiate the itinerary I had already planned with Kuoni. I honestly hate using tour operators as I often feel that I could do better (lol) and don't want to pay commission, but Kuoni were absolutely fantastic! Our tour included a private driver who acted as our tour guide for 4 days. In retrospect I would say a local presence is definitely a huge advantage as many places do not let you in without a local guide anyway!

Our first transfer was a 5 hour drive to Dambulla in the centre of the country. We had a quick stop midway and met some local wildlife... if you are scared of snakes look away now!
In Dambulla we visited the beautiful Cave/ Golden temple filled with ancient sculptures and paintings dedicated to Buddha, dating back to the 1st century BC.
The caves were spectacular, but after the long climb the views over the surrounding landscape were also stunning!
 
We also met the oldest, wisest soul reincarnated as a monkey who lived in the temple. You can see a whole other life in his eyes. I love animals so to spend a little time with him in such close proximity was amazing!
We then took a little detour and visited an elephant sanctuary where we got to ride an elephant around a small lake and even have a little elephant shower. When I was first researching places to see elephants I came across Pinnawala, which I believe is the largest, but after speaking to a few agents I was told that the elephants didn't have the best treatment there, so we decided to go with a much smaller, family run sanctuary. Our elephant Raannie was an absolute sweetie, though so hungry for bananas we ran out of them in minutes, despite purchasing two huge bunches for the short trip! 
The last stop was an amazing Jeep safari through Minneriya National Park. This was a once in a lifetime experience as we came across 2 families of elephants and were able to spend as much time with them as we wished!
The views in the wildlife park were just stunning! 
After a long day we made our way to the most special and unique boutique hotel I have ever seen! I was beyond excited to stay in one of their amazing paddy field dwellings, even if it was only for one night. Vil Uyana has been named as the best eco luxury hotel in Sri Lanka and it is not difficult to see why. Jetwing Hotels created a private nature reserve consisting of a wetland system with lakes and reed beds. Jetwing Vil Uyana was built within these environs with rooms which have been placed within the paddy fields itself. Our hut was incredible! We had our own little plunge pool, two terraces and some very romantic decoration, as well as a bowl of fruit and chocolate cake! They made such an effort to make us feel special on our honeymoon!
Vil Uyana is one of the most magical and tranquil places I have ever visited. I really wish we had been able to spend more time there!
As well as our amazing 'dwelling' the main areas of this hotel were also stunning. As we arrived quite late when it was already dark we went straight to dinner. The food was delicious and we had the most romantic evening.
The next morning we got up extra early to explore the hotel as we had to leave at 8am to climb Sigiriya. We found a little open air library/ chill space next to the restaurant which was perfectly serene and took a few minutes to take in our beautiful surroundings.
I hope you enjoyed coming along on our honeymoon in Sri Lanka! Please stay tuned for the next instalment! xxx

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Wedding Series: Update!

I am so happy to say that, just like me in the photo below, our official wedding photos are finally ready and are on their way! 
Though I was a little bit disappointed to have to delay the wedding series posts I promised you, due to our photographers having a backlog of photos to edit after the busy Summer season, I hope they were worth the wait! Here is a sneak peak of two of my favourites...

Please let me know if you have any particular requests. I can't wait to get started on the posts and I hope you enjoy them! xxx

Monday, 1 September 2014

Italy

A few weeks ago we escaped to beautiful Italy for a long weekend to celebrate my mama's bday. Being back at work after the excitement of our wedding and honeymoon was very depressing so it was great to have a little break to look forward to!
I have such a special place in my heart for Italy and particularly our tiny village in Umbria. It's so secluded from the world and the perfect antidote to our crazy London lives - fresh air, sunshine and even our own little organic garden and mini orchard.
There is nothing I love more than popping down to the garden in the morning to pick fresh berries and fruit!
The blackberries had just ripened in time for our visit and were so delicious!
 Perfect juicy pears and apples for fresh juices! Definitely beats my usual juice cleanses and detoxes!
Who knew pomegranates started their lives as such stunning flowers? I can't wait till these ripen!
 
We also made an amazing soup using beautiful butternut squash.
I'm always trying to get the cleanest food at home and try to buy organic whenever I can so it was such a treat to use wonderfully fresh ingredients.
 Obviously my husband's photo skills still need a little bit of work!
 And here's one we picked earlier ;p.

We had such a lovely relaxing time eating good food, going for hikes (although mama and I got lost in the forest hills for 2 hours, which wasn't so much fun) and generally enjoying the simpler side of life! I am the first to admit that I get too wrapped up in the every day and let things get on top of me, but I am making a real effort to make sure I slow down and take time to appreciate life and all the things I am thankful for. :)

Saturday, 30 August 2014

OOTD: Cobalt and Pearls

Today's post is a little OOTD that I wore to a 30th birthday party a few weeks ago.  
Crop top and skirt: Nicole for Misguided (now on sale!), Pearl 'halo': Zara
I used the Babyliss conical wand to create lots of curls and added a little pearl headpiece that I absolutely adore. It's a little Grecian, a little bling and really unusual.
I know that the crop top trend has been done to infinity, but as long as the sun is shining I will be wearing it to show off the last remnants of my honeymoon tan, which is fading fast.

 I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend! xxx

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Elizabeth Arden - Flawless Future

 
 
 
 
As a woman in her mid (approaching late… sob) twenties I have always felt that choosing the correct skincare was a little bit of a minefield. I still have many of the skin issues I had in my teens with the odd break out and large pores, but I have also started to see the first signs of ageing creeping in. Even though we are bombarded with the message that you should begin using anti-ageing products in your 20s and 30s many creams are targeted towards the older generations so it is difficult to know which products to select as those aimed at the 40s market may be too rich for younger skin.

This is why I was particularly excited to try the new Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide! It is aimed at those in the tricky age bracket showing the first signs of ageing and aims to combat a whole host of skin concerns. Much of the research has been concentrated on stress, and with many of us living highly paced, busy lives in urban environments that create multiple stresses this is definitely something I am very interested in.

The range has been developed from research that proves that stress decreases the skin's barrier function, antioxidant levels and cell turnover which can lead to blotchy tone, redness, dullness and fine lines. The formula's blend of ingredients replenishes the skin with ceramides that are lost through ageing and stress: telosense, a protective protein complex technology that minimises the appearance of lines and wrinkles; and licorice extract to soothe irritated skin.

The line features Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide Caplet Serum (£48), Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide Moisture Cream SPF 30 (£40), and Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide Eye Gel (£25).

I have been testing all three products for a few weeks and though it is still a little too early to tell if my fine lines have been banished I have really enjoyed using them. They have definitely left my tired skin looking a little more plump and reenergised. The Ceramide Eye Gel is super light and absorbs into the skin in seconds. It is perfect for use both morning and night as it doesn’t create any creasing in the under eye area. 
The Ceramide Caplet Serum makes a beautiful addition to my bathroom cabinet. The beads burst when the pump is pressed to release fresh serum with each application. The texture is delicate and smooth leaving the skin primed and ready for the next step in your routine. I usually use one or two pumps and this is plenty as using more makes the shimmer in the serum more visible. I know that some people really hate shimmer so this is definitely something to keep in mind with this product!
The Ceramide Moisture cream has SPF 30, so I tend to use it during the day. It has a lovely, light texture providing hydration and making my skin feel soft, while being weightless enough to sink in quickly and working as a good base for makeup. My sensitive, combination skin is both oily and dehydrated and this cream seems to be working well to balance and soothe while treating the copious effects that stress has on my skin every day.
Have you sampled Elizabeth's Arden Flawless Future Skincare? What are your thoughts on the products?
 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Our Wedding Video

Our wedding on the 5th of July now seems a million light-years away, but watching this little trailer brings back so many happy memories! I just wanted to share it with you all and I do hope you enjoy it!



We are still waiting for our official photographs (I'm counting down the seconds) so my series of detailed wedding posts about suppliers, venues etc. is a little delayed. I am sure they will be worth the wait though! In the meantime if any of you have any questions please do get in touch! xxx

Friday, 22 August 2014

OOTD: Rehearsal Dinner

Today's post is a little outfit of the day from my rehearsal dinner. I had about 15 mins to get ready after our church rehearsal so I quickly tonged my hair with the Babyliss conical wand and refreshed my makeup using the Urban Decay Naked palette and a slick of The Body Shop gloss over MAC's Costa Chic lipstick.
 
I picked up this bright mint gradient/ dip dye maxi dress in the Ted Baker sale and think it works perfectly with my tan by James Harknett.
 The secret is out... I have a twin!
Apologies for the deer in headlights expression... but I was unashamedly nervous/ exhausted/ excited/ apprehensive/ happy!