Monday, 29 December 2014

A Little Trip to Bruges: Where we stayed

The Pand Hotel

I don't think I've stayed in a nicer hotel. Now I can't say I've stayed in many, but this place is gorgeous. I'd recommend it if you're looking for a romantic break or even with friends if you want somewhere that looks pretty.

The staff were so friendly and helpful. They'll go our of their way to help you, which I think is the key to hospitality, although not everywhere has cracked this.

The breakfast was delicious. With complimentary champagne, a choice of fresh orange, apple or grapefruit juice to start the morning. You can have cooked breakfast or just stick with the continental style. The perfect start to the  morning. All the bread, fruit and pain de chocolat you could eat.

The hotels decor was really nice too. It has a elegant, cottage feel to it. With a few Christmasy touches to put you in the festive mood.
The hotel even had a few different games dotted out to keep you occupied. A cute little touch I really liked.

If you're thinking about heading to Bruges, I'd recommend checking this hotel out. It has a lovely atmosphere, a great location and a good price. The only thing I can say is that the shower head wasn't attached to the wall, it was only you had to hold yourself, which made washing your hair a little more challenging, but it wasn't too bad, so don't let that put you off.

G x

Thursday, 11 December 2014

A Little Trip to Bruges: What we did

I'm getting the Christmas feeling. December is here and Christmas is nearly upon us. Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? I'm just getting started, I really should get a move on. 

Recently I took a trip to Bruges in Belgium. It is such a breathtakingly beautiful place, especially around Christmas, there's a Christmas Market in the town centre and so many little Christmas shops. All filled with precious decorations, a lot of them homemade. They're perfect if you're looking for that extra special something for to treat yourself or someone else this Christmas. 

Despite Bruges being a little town, the area was buzzing and there were plenty of things to see and do. We managed to fit quite a lot into the 2 days we were there and even had a little wonder around Brussels while we were waiting for our train back to London.

Brewery Tour

Belgium is mainly known for 2 things, I'm sure you can guess what they are .. Beer and Chocolate! After dumping our bags and grabbing a quick lunch we headed straight to a tour around Bruges' main beer brewery.

Although I'm not really into beer it was quite an interesting tour. Understanding how much effort goes in to making it and how much the industry has come along. Did you know when beer was first made it could only be produced in the winter and you need a cold environment for fermentation and they were carried around by horse and carts.

We also got a free beer at the end. Nothing like a nice drink after a long day of travelling.

Chocolate Museum

As you can tell this trip revolved a lot around eating and drinking. I lost count of how many pieces of chocolate, waffles and pints of flavoured beer I had. We went on a tour around the chocolate museum and found out the origins behind chocolate. For a long time Chocolate wasn't actually eaten in the solid form we love today, it was just drank, it wasn't until 18th century that this all changed - another amazing fact for you.

Horse and Carriage Ride

This was lovely, I've always wanted to do something like this. It was a 30 minutes tour around Bruges, through all the bumpy side streets. I haven't been on one before, but the tour guide was really nice. Although I did think we might run over a some of the tourist a few times during the journey as the turnings were very narrow. But don't worry everyone got out of the way in time!

We had a little pit stop, by the 'lake of love' while the horse refuelled. Apparently thousands of couple travel there especially to take their wedding photo. It was a beautiful spot, full of swans and other pretty birds.

Canal Ride 

The town of Bruges is circled by a beautiful canal. We couldn't just leave without taking a river tour now could we. It was nice to see all the site from a slightly different view.

It's also a skill trying to take pictures, whilst travelling at speed and not dropping my phone into the water.

La Trappiste

This bar was a little gem, hidden towards the back of town. Amazing decor, it was as though you'd stepped in to a medieval tunnel. There's a fanatic atmosphere, the bar staff were very friendly and willing to help you choose from the many beers they have to offer. We even made a few friends.

We decided to go for a little taster of a few different beers and chose 5 different beers to taste. I'm normally a fan of beer but I did really like the flavoured ones they had to offer. I went for the raspberry and cherry beer, for those like me who aren't too keen on beer, I'd recommend trying the flavoured beers.. they're really nice.

Well this is my trip summed up, I feel like we managed to fit quite a lot into two days. Let me know if you're heading away for a city break and where you're going. I do love visiting new places! 

G x

Monday, 1 December 2014

The Book Thief

I find nothing more relaxing than finding a good book, making a nice hot cuppa and getting comfy on the sofa to have a read. I really enjoyed reading The Book Thief. It's one of those books which is really easy to get into, although there were times when I didn't want to put it down, if I did and didn't read it for a little while when I did give it another read I still knew exactly what was going on.

Markus Zusak is a very talented writer, The Book Thief is a heart touching book which I think will become a new classic and it will still be read for years to come.

The narrator of the story is Death, and although this probably isn't a new concept, I've never read a book where death is the narrator. It was a little confusing for me at first, but once I got my head around it I really enjoyed this new aspect of story telling. I though it added a special, creative touch to the story.

The basic gist of the story is; Liesel, a young girl is practically left an orphan and is taken in by Hans and Rosa Herbermann. Liesel's life is change when she picks up a book, this is her first act of thievery. The tale follows the lives of this little family and you see Nazi Germany through the eye of a child, which I think is a great touch to the book. 

I really enjoyed learning about the Nazi and the Second World War at school and Uni, so I knew this book would be something I'd enjoy, I just didn't know how much. I would definitely recommend giving it a read if you haven't already and if you have read it let me know what you though of it in the comments.

G x

Monday, 17 November 2014

Afternoon Tea at The Grove

My nans birthday and we thought she definitely deserved to celebrate in style. We arrange a lovely surprise afternoon tea at The Grove. 

 For those who don't know the grove is a gorgeous country estate, a beautiful and elegant build packed with so many things to do. These a spa, golf course, hotels, restaurants, bars .. Everything you need really. 

It was a lovely day out with just the girls and I think my nan really enjoyed her birthday treat. With all the sandwiched you could eat, a range of cakes and sones and a whole menu just for tea we didn't leave hungry. 

For anyone looking for an extra special treat for a birthday or Christmas or even just because you fancy it, I'd definitely recommend having afternoon tea at the grove. The staff are very helpful and attentive and we didn't feel like we were rushed at all which is what I love. There's nothing worse than feeling like you'll being pushed out the door. 

Happy Birthday Nan, you lovely lady!

G x

Friday, 31 October 2014

Halloween Snaps

Happy Halloween you lovely people. I do love dressing up, there's nothing quite like coming up with lots of different ideas, seeing the image in your head and watching as it comes to life. Especially when it goes to plan and everyone makes an effort too. 

Today was halloween fancy dress at work. I think we look pretty good with our best attempts at 'Day of the Dead' sugar skulls. What do you reckon?

I hope you all have a fab time celebrating halloween this weekend, let me know what you've dressed up as and maybe I'll get some ideas for next year.

G x

Monday, 20 October 2014

Winter Warmer: Red Pepper & Tomato Soup

With the nights getting darker and the air getting colder its about time we wrapped up in our woolly jumpers, scarfs and boots and had a nice steaming hot soup to keep us warm. I do love soup, their so easy to make and there's so many different types out there, in a range or gorgeous colours and flavour.  Tomato soup, is an old classic and one of my favourites.

Here a recipe for a delicious roasted red pepper and tomato soup, with an added kick if you want. If you don't like spice just forget about the chillies, it will still taste just as good.


1 chopped onion
2 red peppers
1 tin of tomatoes, I used plum as they were the ones we already had in the cupboard
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1 oxo cube
olive oil
chillies - to taste, I used two and it was pretty damn spicy.. mmm

First things first add some oil to a pan, wait for it to heat up and chuck in your peppers, onion and garlic. This is also where you add your chopped and deseeded chillies (optional). 

Allow them to soften. Once they're soft, next up is your tomatoes. Open up your can and add the whole lot to your pan along with your OXO cube. You can add a splash of water if you prefer to make it more runny.

Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes then pop it all into a blender. Give it a whizz until the mixture is as smooth as possible. You can also put the mixture through a sieve if you want it completely smooth. Me, I like mine with a bit of texture.

And there you have it, it's time to plate up. When I last made this recipe it made about 3-4 servings. I hope you enjoy this little winter warmer. It definitely warms me up when it's chilly outside.

Let me know if you try this recipe out, I'd love to know your thoughts.

G x

Friday, 10 October 2014

A Few Words of Wisdom.. Uni Edition

I've always wanted to try my hand at sharing some words of advise, my experience and so called wisdom. So this post is my attempt at some kind of 'Agony Aunt' type post. I've studied at University and graduated just over a year ago. This was my first taste of 'freedom' and living away from home for a long period of time. I learnt a lot, not just educational, over the three year, I though I'd share some of my tips and lessons with you.

It's that time of year again. The leaves are falling and a lot of you have probably already started a new year at uni. Exciting but also scary times if this is your first year, starting a next chapter in your life and meeting a lot of new people. Here's some of my advise:

1. Just Go For It. I wish I joint some societies and met a wider range of people whilst trying new things. Stick to you favourites though when you at freshers fair. Don't get carried away and sign up to societies for the sake of it, you'll regret it when they're e-mailing you non stop with club updates.

2. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. Uni is all about trying new things and as cheesy as it sounds .. 'finding yourself'. Try something new or that you think you might like but never had the guts to do before. If you want to join the radio but not sure people will listen to you, give it a go.. you'll be surprised at what you can do if you put your mind to it.

3. Drag Yourself To Lectures. I know how hard it can be, especially getting to those 9am lectures after a heavy student night, but believe me it will be worth it once you leave uni with the grades you wanted. You're not paying 9 grand a year for nothing. Although some lectures post their lectures online, personally I still found it a more useful turning up to lectures as well as they still give you extra information to help you understand the slides.

4. Don't Be Scared To Ask For Help. I wish I had done this a lot more. Your lecturers are there to help you. If you need any help or even just some advise, go to them, they know their stuff and will do their best to help. To get the most out of your degree make the most of their help.

5. Take Photos. Now I don't just mean take a phone of the mate stumbling down the road with a cone on their head. Obviously do take a photo of that.. they need to be reminded in the morning, but also make sure you take photo of your student house when you move in and out, and also make sure this is date stamped. Believe me this will come in handy when trying to get your deposit back, you'll be able to prove if you were/weren't responsible for any damages for charges. Student letting agencies can be cheeky buggers and try and get more money than they're entitled to, so know you're rights. I had a lot of trouble trying to get mine back when we left uni, it went on for months and it something I wouldn't want anyone else to go through if they can help it.

6. Stash Some Money. Keep a fiver wedged in the back of your phone case. You'll thank yourself when you get you need a taxi and you've sent the last few pounds from your purse on that chicken burger and chips.

7. You Make Friends You Loose Friends.  As sad as it sounds this can and does happen. Especially when moving into halls you're forced to life with people you probably never would have mix with. Sometime this is amazing and you click and become BFFs forever. Other times things don't work out so well and either you crash and just never really become friends and just tolerate living with them.. thankfully this didn't happen for me and I think it's generally pretty rare. Or people change and you just drift apart.

8. Links You'll Love. a website made especially for students, including jobs, discounts and funny articles, can you really go wrong? Google Books and Google Scholar are a god send, they saved me a lot of money through my time at uni. There's no need to buy every book on your book list at the beginning of term, you'll soon realise the essential one and the rest your can normally find on one of these websites.

I hope those of you at uni are having an amazing time and these handy hints and tips help you through your uni years.

Gema  x

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

1st day of Autumn

Yesterday was officially the first day of Autumn. This year is zooming by, Christmas will be here before we know it and then 2015 is only around the corner! It's crazy.

Now I have to admit I do love autumn time.. the sound of crunching leaves under your feet, cuddling up on the sofa with a big cosy blanket and a nice big mug filled with steaming hot chocolate (with marshmallows of course) watching winter films. Oh and the gorgeous autumn colours, dark purples, burnt oranges and mustard yellows.

What's a better way to celebrate than with a gorgeous pair of boots to add to your A/W14 wardrobe?

I'm a little late on the bandwagon with these cut out ankle boots, but they're definitely still on trend this year. They're so comfy, I literately haven't taken them off, they're now my go to shoes, they go with so many different outfits. They're the perfect autumn boots and tick all the right boxes for me.

Gema x

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Happy Days: the beginning

At the beginning of this year I started seeing the #100HappyDays posts on my instagram and twitter new feeds. Only a few people were doing the tag but I was very intrigued as to what the hell this was. I decided to do a little digging and came across 

This was all back in March, my not long passed away so I went through a pretty down period. It's never easy losing someone or something you love. When I came across this idea I thought right it's time to cheer up and try this project out.

You've probably guessed the concept.. everyday for 100 days you take a picture of something that's made you happy during that day. You then post this on a social media platform such as instgram or twitter, using the hashtag #100HappyDays. Pretty simple right?

The tag line is that no one has the time to be happy and that a whopping 71% of people who start this challenge fail. When starting it I thought that can't be right and was certain this would be easy peasy.

The few couple of weeks were fine. It was really fun trying to come up with different things that made me happy. I'd just started an internship in London so was having fun learning new things and travelling into London everyday. I found that finding things that made me smile was pretty easy, the only thing was remembering to upload them onto the internet. 

There were a few obstacles I found with this challenge. As my days got more hectic, I found I was forgetting to take pictures of happy things. There were also things that made me feel happy, that I didn't know how to take a picture of them, I was just the feeling I had. I also found that as the days went on the same sorts of things were making me happy, but I felt like I couldn't just keep taking pictures of the same things, I needed to come up with new ideas. In the end it felt like more of a chore than me enjoying it which was why I started in the beginning, so slowly I started missing days and ended up stopping it all together as too many days had passed without take or posting a #100HappyDays picture. So I did become part of the 71% however I disagree that we don't have the time to be happy.

By doing this challenge, even if it wasn't for the 100 days I did feel a change in my attitude. I felt happier and more positive. I really enjoyed things of what things or people made me happy each days, which really did give me a more positive outlook on life. Although everyone has their down days and though times, we really do have a lot to be grateful for. 

Although I started taking pictures for the 100 Happy Days challenge back in March, I still do thinks about these happy things everyday, so I'm glad I tried it. Here are a few of the first pictures I took..

The first signs of spring. These flowers are just gorgeous

First week at my internship. Not only at these flowers pretty but made the whole office smell amazing!

Love looking through old pictures, makes my heart all warm and fussy. Love you Granddad

Lunch break: coffee and a good book.. bliss

Love this song, blasting it out on the underground. Even with all the hype Frozen was still an amazing film.

Work event at Logo land, great but exhausting. Kids are hard work

Nights out with the girls

Mum loves her Mothers Day present, warms my heart

Love you mum

summer is coming. It's still light at 9pm

I'm sure you can tell these pictures were taken a long time ago, but I wanted to share them anyway. It's nice to look back at happier times, that's what pictures are for.

The rest of the pictures will come soon, but that's enough for now :)

Gema  x