Thursday, 24 July 2014

Rhodes Holiday

Rhodes Old Town Square

The day after my Harry Potter party I was a very lucky girl and jetted off on holiday to Rhodes with Rich. It was the first holiday abroad either of us had had in about 7 years, so it was much anticipated! We stayed at Vivian Studios in Ilyasos and flew with Jet2, in case you were wondering, but absolutely none of this is sponsored. How I wish it was!

Ilaysos Town Square, Rhodes

It was glorious weather in Rhodes, about 30 degrees every day and bright sunshine. Our hotel was in a very non-touristy area of Ilyasos, which meant that we were surrounded by peoples homes and local shops, but we were only about a 15 minute walk from the beach and all of the restaurants and touristy bits.

Ilyasos Beach, Rhodes

A word of warning if you ever visit Rhodes, the beaches are a bit rocky, so I recommend beach shoes, or some substantial flip flops at least. The beach at Ilaysos was gorgeous, but to get in and out of the sea there was a very steep gradient change on rocks before it evened out nicely in lovely soft sand. Getting in was okay as you could just throw yourself into the water, but getting out was interesting. As it hurt your feet to start walking on the pebbles, and the water was ebbing backwards to pull you back in, it took me several attempts each time to get out of the sea! I was definately living up to my name of the Inelegant Wench. In the end Rich would just get out and laugh at me because I was such a sight!

Rhodes Old Town

Rhodes Old Town

Rhodes Old Town

As well as relaxing on the beach for a couple of days we went on several trips out around the island. Luckily there were bus stops very near our hotel which would take us to the various places we wanted to visit. We caught the bus into Rhodes town one of the days and wandered around the old town for hours, and eating the best Gyros in the world as well as some amazing frozen yoghurt. It was such a picturesque place, if a little busy.

Kalithea Springs

Flowers at Kalithea Springs

Kalithea Springs

We hired a car one day to explore the eastern side of the island, and the first place we visited was Kalithea Springs. This is the most favourite place for couples to get married in Rhodes, and I can understand why! I felt like I was on a movie set the whole time we were there, and it even has it's own private section of beach. Highly recommended as a place to visit.

Lindos Street, Rhodes

Donkeys in Lindos, Rhodes

Lindos, Rhodes

After Kalithea, and a quick stop in Falaraki (to see what it was like - not as I expected!) we headed to Lindos, as we had heard it was another picturesque place, and it really did live up to the hype! Lots of winding streets between white buildings, and lots of little shops and restaurants to pop into to cool down, it was gorgeous. The only downside of it was the heat, it is consistently about 5 degrees hotter in Lindos than the rest of Rhodes, so I was melting a bit by the end of the day.
Butterfly Valley, Rhodes

Butterfly Valley, Rhodes

Butterfly Valley, Rhodes

Butterfly Valley, Rhodes

After hearing about the valley of the butterflies I immediatley wanted to visit, and the prostpect of being in the shade all day made it fantastic. We got the bus there and spent a happy few hours walking up the valley, attempting to take a picture of butterflies in flight, but they move so damn fast! The picture of the tree trunk shows the butterflies when they were folded up resting, you can see there the sheer amount of them. At one point thousands of them flew up in the air and it was awe inspiring! At the top of the valley was a monastry which did the best greek yoghurt and honey either of us has ever tasted in our lives. It has officially got us obsessed with it now, but we can't quite get it as good as this place did. If you ever visit you have to go get greek yoghurt and honey, even if you don't think you like it, because you will.

Filerimos Cross

Peacock at Filerimos, Rhodes

Filerimos, Rhodes

Filerimos, Rhodes

On our next to last day of the holiday we went to Filerimos which involved going up a mountain along some very steep hairpin bends, on a bus where the driver was rolling a cigarette. It was very scary, but as you can tell, I survived! It was another amazing place, and the views from the top across Rhodes were incredible. It was an active monastry so as there were monks about the place it felt very authentic.

Sorry for yet another photo heavy post! And for the holiday envy if you aren't lucky enough to be going on holiday this year. If you are ever going to visit Rhodes, I highly recommend the island, and if you'd like any tips or ideas of what to do, don't hesitate to ask. The only problem with writing this blog post is that it has made me excited to go on holiday again, but we probably won't do now until our honeymoon - boo!

Rachel xx

Monday, 21 July 2014

Adult Harry Potter Birthday Party

Adult Harry Potter Fancy Dress Hermione Tonks Bellatrix Ginny Weasley

Months ago I was chatting to my cousin who was just about to go to a 16th birthday party which was Harry Potter themed. I got really excited (obviously) and started giving her ideas of different things and asked lots of questions.

I really really wanted a Harry Potter birthday party for myself,  I *love* Harry Potter and have done ever since I was given the first book as a Christmas present when I was about 8. I would read them over and over, and queued up for several of the midnight book launches, devouring them as fast as I could. So it is safe to say that I am quite a huge fan.  After lamenting the fact that I wanted one but didn't think I could I thought "Rachel, you are 24 years old. If you want a Harry Potter birthday party, have a Harry Potter birthday party" and that was it, the idea was born.

I cautiously broached the idea with my closest friends over the next few weeks, and after seeing how excited they all got at the idea, it was decided. For my 25th birthday I would be decorating my house as Hogwarts and my friends would come over for a party in fancy dress!

To decorate the house I first designated each room to be a room of Hogwarts, so my living room was Gryffindor Tower, the downstairs loo was Moaning Myrtles bathroom, the drinks area was Potions Class, the bathroom was the Prefects bathroom and the shed in the garden was Hagrid's Hut. There were far more rooms but I don't want to give you all of them, I'm sure you can imagine the rest!

Gryffindor Common Room Noticeboard

I set about making signs for the doors, unfortunately I don't have a picture of the finished ones, they were just printed out using the parchment background in Word and stuck on some cardboard. As the living room was Gryffindor Tower, I thought it was only right that I made a notice board (I may have been listening to Order of The Phoenix at the time which talks about the notice board a lot). It is simply a standard cork notice board on which I printed out a lot of the signs that are mentioned in the books - word for word - and some others, using genuine Gryffindor students names and book titles.

Sirius Black in Fireplace

To get Sirius' head in the fire I printed out the biggest picture of him I could find and cut off the white border. To make it not curl at the edges my Mother-in-law to be suggested taping a skewer to the behind of the picture at the bottom, which worked perfectly as you can see. Just had to remember not to turn the fire on whilst it was there!

Homemade Owlery Hedwig

When I ordered a wand from eBay for Rich to use, it came with the letter Harry got and it gave me the idea of creating an Owlery in the hall where I normally put my post. The cookie jar owl and stuffed one I already owned, and one of my lovely colleagues lent me her Hedwig rucksack which she stuffed full so it would stay upright, and kindly made me a letter. It is fantastic, it uses many in jokes from work, which is why I am not showing you the inside as I would have to do a lot of explaining so it would make sense. That letter is something I am keeping forever though!

Adult Harry Potter Fancy Dress Outfit

Costume time! For Rich I bought his tie (and mine) from eBay, along with his wand. We had a last minute dash to Primark to get his cardigan and trousers and he already had his white shirt and specs. I bought a cheap lip liner to use for his scar (which you can just about see in the picture) which lead to me standing in Boots drawing all over his arm in the testers to see which colour would show up the best! I hope you can tell that he was Harry, it seemed the obvious choice due to his specs and dark hair, even though he is quite a bit taller than Daniel Radcliffe!

Adult Harry Potter Fancy Dress Outfit Hermione and Harry

For myself I already had the white shirt, black skirt, tights and wand required to be Hermione, along with the brown bushy hair! My tie was bought with Rich's and I bought a robe from Amazon, but it was a very hot evening so it didn't stay on for long.

Adult Harry Potter Fancy Dress Outfit Hermione Tonks Bellatrix

My friends Jen and Cat came as Tonks and Bellatrix, including some colourful hair (also known as feathers) for Tonks and the dark mark tattoo for Bellatrix.

Adult Harry Potter Fancy Dress Outfit Lupin Harry Potter Dementor

Dean came as Lupin, and Ollie came as a dementor, which was a fantastic idea!

Adult Harry Potter Fancy Dress Outfit Ginny Weasley

Emma came as Ginny Weasley, even going to the trouble of tinting her hair red for the occasion, and bringing Tom Riddle's diary to write in with her quill!

I love that all of my friends went to such a great effort for my party, we had such a brilliant time, and I am now looking for another excuse to dress up as Hermione, anywhere!

Sorry this post has been a bit picture heavy, and the quality of them isn't that great, tipsy phone photo taking isn't my forte!

Rachel x

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

#BlogYorkshire Meetup Leeds

I know I promised posts about my Harry Potter party and my holiday and Rich coming home from Afghanistan, however on Saturday I went to the #BlogYorkshire meetup kindly and wonderfully organised by Carrieanne and Faith and held at Revolution in Leeds so I thought I'd better write about that first!

It was festival themed, and a very hot day, which caused me a bit of a dilemma. My usual go to festival outfit (as discussed in my Festival Tips post) is hoody, tshirt, denim shorts, black tights and wellies. I have never been to a festival when it was as warm as it was at the weekend! After much umming and aahing, and lots of variations, I finally decided to brave shorts without tights in the UK for the first time in my life and put together this outfit.

Please excuse the paleness of my legs, I was on holiday recently, with very little suncream on them - they just don't ever change colour! My Hogwarts t-shirt is from New Look tall section, denim shorts are very old Topshop ones, and my Converse are my custom ones designed by Rich for my birthday last year.

It was brilliant to see the Leeds bloggers I'm getting to know again, and to meet new faces. The addition of the lanyards with people's Twitter pictures on was genius, as I know I tend to recognise people from Twitter mostly! 

Now onto the brands, who all had made such an effort and helped to make the event truly fun!

First up was Quiz who had brought a lovely array of dresses, shoes and handbags with them for us to be dazzled by, and who held a style competition for us to have a chance to win a Quiz voucher. I took part, naturally, and lost, inevitably as I am about as far from a style blogger as you can get! I love Quiz dresses, and got to live my short girl dream putting the outfit together, as I struggle to find things in there which aren't indecently short on me.

Next up were Country Attire who gave us the most amazing goody bags, and had Hunter Wellies everywhere which I was lusting after, adding to the general festival theme of the day. They arranged a game of Hunter Croquet for us to compete to win a pair of Hunters, which was great fun, even if I was rubbish at it! 

ESPA were doing skin consultations and giving out their amazing goody bags again, trying to make everyone smell better after their festival experience perhaps?

Very generously, Pastille were offering free dash manis to bloggers, but unfortunately the queue was never ending so I didn't get to have one, even though I went to the event naked nailed just in case! The quality of the manicures was incredible from what I saw on other people, and I think I might have to visit soon to treat myself.

Allertons were there, along with Rock Pamper Scissors doing festival hair on lots of bloggers. I have been hearing a lot about them on twitter, as they seem to be taking Leeds by storm, making lots of ladies very happy! 

The stunningly gorgeous Georgina from She May Be Loved was trying out her MUA skills on us, and I very eagerly volunteered, as I am clueless at makeup as I wrote about in that post. I was after something natural that made me still feel like myself, just a bit better, and oh boy did she deliver! Georgina was delicate handed, and gave me an amazing makeover which I was still comfortable wearing, and looking good in hours later. I highly recommend her to everyone, she will make a brilliant MUA.

Even with all of the other activities going on there was a huge raffle in aid of the British Heart Foundation, with the most amazing prizes, including Hunter Wellies, Illamasqua makeup and Zatchels bags! Even though I bought lots of tickets, I was very unlucky and didn't win a thing, but it was brilliant seeing the delight on the other girls faces when they were winning their prizes. 

All in all it was a fantastic event, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The Leeds bloggers are such a lovely bunch, and I count myself very lucky to be a part of the "scene". I'm already counting down to the next meetup, whenever it may be! I will be doing a blog post on the goody bags soon, I promise!

Rachel xx

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

So June went a bit crazy...

So, June was a very very busy month for me (and yes I know it's now a week into July, but this is what I'm on about!). I last posted about the Leeds May Meet which seems forever ago as so much has happened since then. I'm going to attempt to update you all with pictures, but they are mostly ones from my phone so you'll have to forgive quality!

I went to a hen do dressed as a pirate. It was the hen do of one of my best friends who is an English teacher, so naturally we all dressed up as literary characters. I wound up being maybe Captain Hook (without a hook) or Long John Silver? I figured there were enough pirates in books for me to fit in somewhere with this amazing outfit I borrowed from a girl at work. Yes - I did sit at work dressed as a pirate for a day when I was lent the costume, it was brilliant.

When my wonderful friend Emma asked if I would like to go to life drawing with her, I immediately said yes. Not because I'm amazing at art (as the picture above clearly demonstrates) but because I am always up for new experiences and trying new things. It was surprisingly really good fun, and I was far less rubbish than I thought I would be. If you ever get the chance to go to a class, go!

Rich came home quite soon into June, and I was so so glad. I will do a proper post about this in the next week or so, but he was safe and sound, and he doesn't go away again for a very long time, so we are getting used to having each other around again permanently - it's brilliant! Rich coming home is the main reason my blog got a bit neglected last month, I know, I know, blogs before hogs, but I'm making up for it now I hope.

It is mine and my Dad's birthday very close together in June, and Father's Day happens at around the same time as well so we went out for a lovely family meal with just the 4 of us which was nice, that there is my main course in the picture, cod and black pudding. It was an unusual combination, but was really tasty - my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

I had a HARRY POTTER BIRTHDAY PARTY this year. Yes I did. I will do a dedicated post to this soon, I promise. I decorated the house as Hogwarts, had vaguely themed food and everyone got really into dressing up for it. It was amazing.

To round off an amazing month nicely, myself and Rich jetted off to Rhodes for a week, as our first ever holiday abroad together, and the first time I'd been abroad in 7 years. It was a brilliant week of exploring, relaxing, sweating (it was about 30 degrees every day out there) and eating a lot of good food. Again, a proper post will follow about the holiday!

So that was my month in a nutshell, I hope you can understand why I disappeared a bit, as I had all of that going on, as well as still working a lot! I am back with a vengeance now, and going to an amazing blogger meet on Saturday, so there will be an awful lot of new posts for me to write up, and lots of new things for you lovely followers to read. Thank you for sticking around for so long, I love each and every last one of you!

Rachel xx
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