Saturday, 31 May 2014

Home Decor Faves No.1

I thought I would share some of my favourite home decor items with you all.

First up is my dark grey slate 'Love Birds' sign. My parents bought it for me and my partner for Easter this year. It goes perfectly in our grey and pink themed butterfly bedroom.

Next up my beloved 'Sugared Vanilla' Yankee Candle.  It is such a lovely sweet smell.  I picked it up at a Charity Christmas Fair last December. I light it about one evening a week.

This canvas can be found in the 3rd bedroom/study.  My partner and I painted it together in 2006 after seeing something similar during a weekend away in Newquay.  We had it up in the lounge of our first home together and it has huge sentimental value.

This is 1 of 2 glass butterfly wall hangings that I have in my home.  They are a bit different than your standard canvas and I love the bright colours.  I purchased them in the Next sale last year.

Do any of these items appeal to you?  Would you like more posts like this?

Monday, 26 May 2014

Vegetarian Ignorance

I feel the need to get this off my chest.  I have been a vegetarian for the past 15 years and frustratingly, I still come across people do not know what a vegetarian does and does not eat!  Often when I tell someone I am vegetarian I get asked the same old questions like 'But do you eat fish?' or 'You must eat chicken/bacon sometimes?' or 'Do you eat eggs?'.

So to answer the above questions in turn...

There is no such thing as 'a vegetarian that eats fish', if you eat fish but not meat then I think you will find you are a pescetarian.

A flexitarian (aka semi vegetarian) is the label for someone who follows a mostly vegetarian diet but occasionally includes meat in their diet.

Lastly, a vegan is someone who refrains from consuming animal products, eggs, dairy products and other animal derived substances.

Even restaurants can be guilty of not understanding the term vegetarian.  I remember an office Christmas meal a couple of years back where the vegetarian option was Lobster!

To clarify, a vegetarian does NOT eat any meat or fish.  They do eat dairy products.  A strict vegetarian does also not eat products with any animal or animal fats in, for example a LOT of yogurts contain pork or beef gelatine. 
Vegetarian burger, chips and salad
A favourite on many a pub menu!

If you ever find yourself cooking for a vegetarian and using cheese, always check that the cheese is suitable for vegetarians as some types (like parmesan) can contain pork rennet.  Also, some beer contains isinglass (from the swim bladders of fish) and some cider and wine contain gelatine.

Was any of this news to you?  Do you personally follow one of the above mentioned diets?

Friday, 23 May 2014

8th May 14: Aqua Sana Spa, Longleat Forest

During our stay at Center Parcs we visited the Aqua Sana spa for a Twilight spa package from 4pm-9pm.  This includes a locker, towel and robe hire and a glass of champagne (or orange juice).  There are no treatments included with this particular package. However there is plenty to keep you occupied for hours visiting the various saunas and steam rooms, chilling in the outdoor hot tub, having a foot spa, cooling off in an experience shower, walking in the zen garden or relaxing on the water beds with a magazine.

For us, there was nothing better than sitting in the hot tub looking up at the tree tops with the cool rain falling on your face!

There spa offers various treatments at extra cost and some are included within certain spa packages.

You will also find (spread throughout the day) some talks on skin care from a beauty therapist and the opportunity to sample some Elemis products. 

We fancied a snack with our drinks but a blueberry muffin from the Vitale Cafe Bar set us back £2.95!  I could not believe it and it wasn't even that nice, quite dry and tasteless if I am honest. Other than that shocker it was a lovely relaxing experience.

Great for couples needing some alone time, for mother and daughter bonding or chill out time with friends.

Highly recommended!

This is my own personal opinion and not a sponsored post.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

9th May 14: Longleat Safari Park, Warminster, Wiltshire

My Partner and I visited Longleat Safari Park for our 10th Anniversary.  

We used Tesco Clubcard vouchers to pay for it so we did not have to pay the entry fee.

We decided to take the double decker safari bus around. It costs an extra £4 per person but if you want to go through the monkey enclosure it is necessary to avoid a damaged car and hefty repair bill! We were at the front of the queue so we got to the front of the top deck & had a great view. We were able to take lots of up close photos, including a lion led in the road in front the bus.  The tour guides name was Scott, he talks you through what is in each enclosure and provides the names and interesting facts about each animal. Scott made it even more entertaining by cracking lots of jokes on the way round!
Longleat Safari Bus

The bus drives you around to the start of the safari and then stops for 10mins so you can see (or even feed if you time it right) the giraffes, walk with lemurs and see the pygmy goats.  There are also toilets and a cafe to grab a drink from.  Obviously you can not do all that in 10mins though so we looked at the goats and watched the giraffes get fed and took some pictures of them.

The tour itself is around 1 hour 30mins, although it all depends on the traffic and what the animals are up to.  I noticed some of the young children (3 & under) were starting to get bored of sitting still towards the end.

There were some crazy people driving around the money enclosure with brand new expensive the time 1 car came out it had no number plate and the rear parking sensors were ripped out! The monkeys favourite thing to do its break wipers to rip out the washer fluid pipe and drink it, the alcohol in it makes them drunk!
Monkey Attack
Like butter wouldn't melt!

The Jungle Express train is free and ideally suited to children, although personally I enjoyed it too!  It does a little loop though the park and passes Pelican Cove, Gorilla Island and the Monkey Temple.  If you want to see Gorilla Island and Gorilla Colony then you need to pay to go on the Jungle Cruise as the boat is the only thing which takes you near enough to see anything.

The walk with penguins at the new Penguin Island is good fun.
Up close & personal with a penguin!

We also had a look around the beautiful Secret Gardens and included in the ticket price was access to Longleat House.

There is something for everyone and I would thoroughly recommend it as a great day out for all!

Amazing photo my partner took in the Butterfly House
This is my personal opinion and not a sponsored post.

5th May 14: Center Parcs, Longleat Forest

I have always wanted to go to Center Parcs.  I have visited for a few Spa days in the past but have never experienced a holiday there.

So this year we decided to bite the bullet and book ourselves a holiday there for our 10th Anniversary. My nearest Center Parcs is Longleat Forest which is about 40 minutes away from where I live. We stayed Monday to Friday and the following is a brief run down of what we got up to each day.

Monday - We arrived at 10:45 and there were only a few cars in front of us waiting to check in.  It saves a LOT of time if you check in online before arrival as they require a lot of details (car reg, full names, contact numbers etc.).  We parked up and wandered around getting our bearings and found our accommodation. At 3pm the gates open and you are allowed to bring your car on site to drop off your luggage, you then need to return it to the car park afterwards.

We stayed in a Woodland Lodge and were very impressed with the accommodation, it was clean, spacious and modern.
Woodland Lodge Lounge Area
Master Bedroom

Once we were settled into our accommodation we got changed ready to go bowling and drove the car back to the car park which is right next to the Plaza.  Bowling is cheaper on a Monday so we had it pre-booked for 7:35pm that night. My partner won twice & then I won the final game.

Tuesday - I slept like a log (pun intended!) Monday night and did not wake up until 8:45am!  I am usually a 7am kind of girl on weekends/days off as I have to be up at 5:15am for work on weekdays.  I expected it to be a little noisy with the sounds of the forest outside but apart from a cat screeching just before bed I heard very little and slept so well.
We decided to have an Omelette in the Pancake House for lunch, which, while nice, was nothing spectacular and for the price it should have at least come with a side.  Later that evening we had a BBQ.  There is a brick built BBQ which you need to add a disposable BBQ to.  We had almost finished cooking when it started to rain. So we retreated inside to eat and had a night in, in front the log fire.

Wednesday - Today we visited the Subtropical Swimming Paradise.  The pool was even better than i expected it to be, indoors there was a small (but very fast) rapid, wave machine, 4 slides and a children's pool.  Outside there was a large hot tub and heated rapids. It was great sitting in the hot tub with the cold rain falling on your face.
We got rather hungry so had lunch in the Cabana Cafe & Bar.  I can heartily recommend the milkshakes!
When we came out it was still raining so we went back to the Lodge on the free land train. In the afternoon we went for a walk through the woods & around some small lakes in the Fir area.

Lake with lodges behind the trees

Thursday - Weather was heavy showers so we headed to the Jardin des Sports and had a game of pool before heading to the amusements.  We then sat in Starbucks with a hot chocolate and a muffin while watching people play tennis and badminton.  We walked back through The Cascades which is a winding path up through the woods.  We cooked pasta & dough balls for lunch, then we headed to the Aqua Sana for our Twilight spa package from 4pm-9pm.  A great way to spend the last night of our holiday.

Friday - We had to be out of the lodge by 10am. A top tip is to go and collect your car early as the spaces outside the lodge soon fill up.  We left Center Parcs at 10am and headed across the road to Longleat Safari.

Carrot Cake from Parc Market Bakery
During our stay we saw rabbits, coots, a cat, ducks, lots of squirrels, robins & various other birds!  The Parc Market is well stocked and reasonably priced.  I thoroughly recommend the carrot cake from the bakery!
Squirrel at the patio doors of the lodge

The holiday was great, neither of us wanted to come home.  There were lots of families there but also couples, young and old.

We can't wait to go there again some time for some more Forest R&R!

If you have any questions feel free to ask below!

This is my personal opinion and not a sponsored post.