I hope you all had a lovely, weekend. This last week has whizzed by, which was nice because it was my first full week back in work since the middle of March!

And the weather has just put the biggest smile on my face. Everything looks so lovely when it’s sunny and it puts everyone in such a good mood. I hope it’s just a taster of what’s to come.

Here are all the things I was loving last week.

Nails

I had a voucher for a local beauty parlour so I decided to treat myself and get my nails done on Tuesday evening. I gave myself a break after having gels for most of last year back in January, and I thought that I didn’t miss it until I had them done. Now I think it’s going to have to be some sort of monthly treat for myself – treat yo-self right?

Awards

As you may know, I was nominated for a Lovin Manchester Social Media award for best lifestyle blogger and the awards ceremony was on Wednesday evening at the Hilton. I went with my friend Lily and also met Gabi before for a drink who was also up in the same category. Although I didn’t win, it was lovely to catch up with some friends and see the gorgeous sunset from 23 stories high.

Sunshine

I mean, it’s a given this week that the sunshine was been BLOODY BRILLIANT but really, hasn’t it just? It’s put me in the best mood and I feel much more productive when it’s out. I’ve even been sleeping better and waking up before my alarm.

Junkyard Golf

On Thursday I had a training day in Manchester and we played Junkyard Golf afterwards. I’d been to it once before but it’s since moved to another part of Manchester. It was really lovely to spend time with my wider team, and because the weather was so lovely, we had some drinks outside too.

Martin Miller’s Gin

After Junkyard Golf, I walked over to King Street Townhouse for the Martin Miller’s gin event. I was there slightly early so went up to the south terrace on the 6th floor which overlooks Manchester. It was absolutely stunning and I really want to go for a spa day there, which is on the floor above. The event was really fun and we got to try the different strengths of gin and make our own gin and tonics; they also treated us to a bottle in the goodie bag!

Come Dine With Me

It was our next ‘Alphabet Come Dine With Me’ on Friday evening, which is pretty good for us seen as the last one was also this month – we’re busy people, so we usually have at least a month or two before each letter. This time around it was T for Thailand and it was delicious. I’m a huge fan of Thai food too!

Date Day

As the weather was so lovely, Jordan and I went into Manchester for a bit of a date day. We started off with drinks at Patron in the sunshine before moving on to a few more bars and dinner at PLY. It was such perfect sunshine and it was really nice to spend some time together just the two of us.

Brunch

On Sunday morning, a few of the We Blog North girls and I had organised a surprise baby shower for our good friend Holly. We went to Tea Hive in Chorlton and it was a great morning. She had some lovely presents to open and the food was great. Next time we see her she’ll have a little baby and I can’t wait!

What have you been up to this week? 

xx

 

Travelling is a very fun experience. It can open your eyes to a world that you never knew was out there and it is a great way for you to develop yourself as a person and as a traveller. The problem is that you might not always have the money to go and travel and this can make it very difficult for you to get out there and really enjoy yourself.

One thing that a lot of people overlook however is local travel. Travelling locally is a great way for you to see the area you actually live in, and you’d be surprised at how much there is to do and see right outside your front door.

It Won’t Ever Break the Bank

When you travel locally, you won’t ever really break the bank. You won’t have to worry about crazy expensive flights and you also won’t have to worry about your train tickets either. You can actually go twice as much and spend the same amount of money!

Think about it, have you ever looked in your local area to see five-star hotels that you have never visited? Well now’s the time to go. You can even try your hand at camping as well. After all, there are so many people in your area who you haven’t met yet and you’d be surprised at how easy it is for you to get out there and really get to know your own local community. A guest house in Blackpool could be a great option if you are stuck for ideas.

Road Trip!

The journey is just as important as the end destination. After all, some of the sights that you will go past will be interesting and you will probably have some pretty epic pitstops along the way as well. In some instances, you don’t even need to really think about your location, because you can travel up and down the country and through the areas you have visited before and have just as much fun.

Remember that when you travel and focus on the areas closer to you, you can actually see way more because you’ll never be far from home – winner!

It Supports the Local Economy

Every time you make a stop-off at a store or every time you book a nice hotel that is within an hour’s drive away you support the economy. This is great if you focus on travelling in your local area, and it is a great way for you to get to know your local shopkeepers as well.

Why not set a goal, such as visiting over 15 aquariums in your area in 5 days, or even try and visit as many restaurants as you can in a week? These types of challenges can be fun and it is a great way for you to really relax and not have to worry about money or anything else of the sort.

So travelling in your local area can be fun, and you can have just as much fun as well. Why not give it a go for yourself?

xx

With the countdown to the wedding in full swing, I’ve been looking at different ways to make sure I’m feeling my most confident on the big day. I’ve never been 100% happy with my smile and rarely show my teeth on camera. It’s something that’s stemmed from being younger, but something that I’ve always wanted to do something about but never had the time or money.

Instead of going to the dentist (I’d rather use my well-earned cash elsewhere…) or purchasing a teeth whitening kit online that might leave me wishing I’d never bothered, I started to look into natural ways to whiten them, and today I thought I would share them in case anyone out there is the same as me.

Banana Peel

Before you run off to your nearest Cosmetic Dentists, there are ways to whiten your teeth in a more natural way. One of the most surprising but effective ways to whiten your teeth is to use a banana peel.

The inside of banana peels are full of vitamins and minerals which are great for our teeth and offer whitening properties to them. If you eat a banana, keep the skin and rub it over your teeth for 5 minutes. Leave it for a further 5 minutes and then wash it off. Do this a few times a week for a whiter smile.


Hydrogen peroxide

You might be a little scared at the thought of putting hydrogen peroxide in your mouth, but it is actually a great antibacterial which keeps the mouth free of germs.

You can make a mouthwash out of half water and half hydrogen peroxide, swill for 1 minute in your mouth and rinse.  It keeps your breath fresh, prevents tartar build up and lightly bleaches the teeth too – perfect! 

Coconut Oil 

Oil pulling is an ancient method of keeping our mouths clean and is a method which is incredibly effective for keeping bad bacteria out of the mouth, whitening teeth and keeping them strong.

Coconut oil isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it can be a great way to cleanse your mouth in the morning or evening. Simply place a tablespoon of oil into your mouth and swill it around for 20 minutes before rinsing. If you can do this every day you will see a big difference in your oral health.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Like any other vinegar, apple cider vinegar is acidic and ca, therefore,e be a great tool for getting rid of muck in your mouth. Apple cider vinegar is full of enzymes, probiotics and other ingredients which can kill of germs and keep our teeth super clean everyday.

It is especially useful in helping teeth which have been affected by coffee stains. By swilling this in your mouth for 5 minutes every morning you will help keep your teeth white and your mouth healthy.

Baking soda

As we already know, baking soda is a miracle substance which is often used in cleaning hacks because it is amazing and ridding surfaces orphans stains. Other teeth are no different here and a paste made from baking powder and water can be the perfect natural toothpaste to use every single day.

It will clean your teeth, keep them white and prevent plaque building up too.

I hope this post has been helpful if you are after a more natural way to whiten your teeth. If you have any more ways, the please let me know in the comments!

xx

Finding a venue is one of the biggest things when it comes to planning a wedding. We looked at loads, ranging from lodges to barns and stately homes before we settled on ours and it was definitely one of the most fun parts.

If you are planning a summer wedding and want to take advantage of a great location, as well as the flexibility of the venue and loads of space, the answer could be under your nose. From non-standard venues to historic places, there are plenty of options to choose from. 

Today I’ve listed a few places for a summer shindig that you might not have previously thought of.

Your Back Garden

This was something that Jordan and I toyed with for a while, but for the number of people we wanted there during the day, there just wasn’t enough room in our little house.

If you’re lucky enough to have a larger than average back garden, you might want to save money on hiring a venue and invite your guests to your home. The amount you will pay for a marquee hire will be much lower than hiring a hotel lobby, and you can also benefit from the laid-back atmosphere and the freedom to stay as long as you want.

There’s something really lovely about having one of the biggest days of your life in your home too, that a traditional wedding venue wouldn’t be able to give you.

Church Garden

One of the best places for small weddings is the garden of your wedding church. They can be extremely romantic and means that your guests don’t have to go far after your ceremony. The church might be able to supply you with the tables and chairs and allow you to create your own decorations too which helps you put your unique touch on the day.

Usually, the parish will be happy to keep your flowers as long as they last and give you a discount if you are a member of the community which could help you keep the costs down. 

Historic Castle

If you have a larger budget and would like to make your wedding memorable, you could also hire a historic castle. There are many scattered around the UK that gives you the most stunning backdrop for your big day. 

Some of the venues offer indoor seating in case it rains (this is England after all…) and catering on site as well. Imagine the romantic wedding photos your photographer can take among the old halls and walls, as well as the landscaped castle garden – beautiful!

A Family Friends’ Villa

If you are lucky enough to know someone with a villa abroad, why not ask if they would be willing to let you have your wedding there? Abroad weddings tend to be cheaper than the UK too, which is why many people opt for them, plus – SUNSHINE!

You will also be able to accommodate for some of your guests which means the party can go on that little bit longer and have the freedom to choose the catering company according to your budget and needs.

The Beach

You might be surprised to know that there are plenty of seaside wedding venues offered for every budget: From luxury hotels to old forts, lighthouses to a ceremony on the sand, there are definitely several options to choose from.

Why not jump in the car and explore what some of your favourite UK beach has to offer as you might be pleasantly surprised. It will make for such beautiful photos too.  

I hope this post has helped you to think outside the box on the decision and if you would like any more information or tips on how we found ours, then leave me a comment!

xx

 

I’ll be honest, Eindhoven wasn’t high up on my list to visit. If I’m even more honest, the only reason I’d ever heard of the place was because of their football team – so you can see where there was a lack of cultural knowledge.

I’m always up for visiting new places though, and even better when it costs me less than £30 (which is how I ended up visiting Oslo a couple of years ago). So when my two good friends (and fellow travel bloggers) Erin and Lily suggested we take a trip this year back in January, we started our search for where we could get to for a little weekend away.

We settled on Eindhoven 1. because the flights were £20, 2. because none of us had ever been there before and 3. we could go there and back within the weekend – what more could we want – so we booked it on January 1st, and last weekend, the time came for us to take our trip.

I’d been looking forward to this break all year as although we have been friends for a couple of years now, this would be our first time going away together, and I was excited to spend more time with them both.

It was only until a couple of days before the trip that I realised I knew nothing about the city. Apart from booking the hotel, I hadn’t even looked up Eindhoven online, which was very unlike me as I like to have a plan whenever I go abroad… but it turned out the other two were in the same boat as me so the whole weekend we just ‘winged it’.

There is something strangely exhilarating about going to a place you haven’t researched as it makes you step outside of your comfort zone. I was expecting Eindhoven to be similar to Amsterdam, but it was completely different: Although there was a good ‘party’ scene after hours, the buildings were much more modern and contemporary and as it is more inland, there were no canals like they have in the capital – there were insane numbers of cyclists though so watch your step!

DISCOVER

Strijp-S District

As there were no landmarks that stood out as ‘must-visits’ like you get in Barcelona or Rome, we thought that discovering an area would be a good way to spend an afternoon, and we were truly intrigued by this place.

This area is about a 20-minute walk outside of the centre of Eindhoven, but well worth a visit. It’s hard to explain what it was like in all its glory – it reminded me a lot of Berlin meets Brixton as it was very industrial, quirky and ‘techy’ as Philips had a large presence in the area until around the year 2000.

If you really wanted to feel like a local, you could rent a bike and cycle to this area too!

There are a lot of metal structures that house flats, warehouses and loft spaces, but also bars, homeware stores and ice cream parlours. In the midst of everything that is going on too, there is a huge skate park, amazing street art and a lot of open land. If you are there over a weekend, there is a free walking tour every other week around Strijp-S.

STAY

We stayed about a 5-minute walk out of the city centre at the ‘Sandton Eindhoven Centre‘ which was a lovely hotel in the perfect location. It was really easy to find from the bus station and the staff were very welcoming. The lobby also had a gorgeous bar with blush pink seats and a fireplace.

We had a quadruple room, with two lovely comfy double beds and all of the amenities we wanted; my only criticism would be that there was no full-length mirror – not great when you have three girls staying in there, but otherwise a really lovely hotel.

SHOP

One of the things that took me aback about Eindhoven was how good the shopping was. There were some names that we have here in the UK, but also some that are a little harder to find on the high-street, which are always good to have a little browse around. There were also a couple of Dutch homeware stores that had some incredible pieces – such a shame we only travelled with hand luggage as I could have brought so much back with me!

We spent our last couple of hours in the city having a browse through the shops and I even picked up a few summery bits to wear when the weather gets a bit warmer.

VISIT

Philips Museum

If Eindhoven is famous for one thing, it’s being the birthplace of Philips. There is a museum in the centre of the city that is dedicated to the history of the company which is €9 to get in. You’ll notice when you’re walking around the city that so many of the buildings are still Philips offices, which shows the staggering presence they still have.

UFO

The UFO building (really called Evoluon Eindhoven) is one of the attractions we didn’t get the chance to go around, but we did see it on our taxi ride back to the airport. It was built by Philips in the shape of a UFO to represent Philips ‘landing’ in the city and is now used as an events space.

Van Abbemuseum

The hotel we stayed in was only a stone’s throw away from the Van Abbe Museum, which had a lovely peaceful location on the waterfront. The museum houses different exhibitions throughout the year and is one of Eindhoven’s most popular tourist attractions.

Gin Experience

If gin is your kind of thing (and let’s face it, of course it is) then you have to visit the bottle distillery, where you learn about the history of gin, get to sample different flavours and make your own sample.

It’s around the corner from the Van Abbemuseum and has a bar that looks onto a canal with lots of outdoor seating so you really feel like you’re on holiday. The distillery is housed in an old textile factory where you’ll also find independent businesses selling arts and crafts.

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about a city that might not have been on your radar before and fancy a little trip away. The flight time is only 1 hour so it’s the perfect place to go for the weekend.

Have you been to Eindhoven before? What did you get up to? 

xx