It’s that time of month again…..Time for the August POPSUGAR Must Have Box.
POPSUGAR sent me this Must Have Box to try and I wanted to share with you all what came in it. If you remember I also received the July POPSUGAR box and to see what came in that click here.
I opened up these fun House of Pom cocktail napkins first. Each one has a different emoji on it and they will be great for serving up cocktails on in the hot summer months!
Speaking of summer…i’m sure you have all seen the fun floats making their rounds on instagram. Lately, I’ve seen the large doughnut with a bite taken out, the pizza and the flamingo to name a few. Well now there is one for your drinks! How fun is this Sunnylife inflatable drink holder in the shape of a swam! Obviously, I can’t wait to use this at the pool while sunbathing and sipping on some drinks.
Another item good for summer (beach/pool) is this Sachajuan ‘Hair in the sun‘ because it protects your hair from harmful summer rays and it will not wash off while in the water because it only comes off with shampoo. This sounds like it would be great for someone who colours their hair and/or is in the sun a lot.
Moving on to the last few pieces: The first is this black and white skinny scarf; and I hear skinny scarfs have now taken the place of statement necklaces. Second, a cute pineapple pin (others here, here and here) to hold it in place and finially “Oh my Brow” a subtle brow highlight that I cannot wait to try.
Oh and how can I forget the retro Joe Crisps (chips to those reading from America) I snacked on while writing this blog and the $20 gift card to Troveup.com.
I ‘m always impressed with the POPSUGAR #MustHaveBox as it comes with fun and interesting pieces! You can order yours here and they are also offering a $5 off coupon code (SHOP5) for your first order.
I had never heard of The Narrows hike until a few days before we left for Vegas. When my mother-in-law mentioned possible doing the hike I looked it up right away. After reading about it I knew that it was something I would LOVE to do. It is rated one of the best hikes to do in National Parks all over the USA!
We left the hotel around 6am only stopping once to get breakfast (at dunkin donuts, perfect for a hike, right?).). It was about a 3 hour drive to where we were going to rent all the equipment we needed. The Narrows is basically a hike up the Virgin River. You are deep down in the canyon following the river that takes up most of the canyon floor which means you are wading through the river. There are parts where you can walk on the river bank but for most of it you are in the river where it can be anywhere from ankle deep to shoulder deep!
When we arrived at the rental place we had to watch a quick safety video (so we knew to watch out for flash flooding!) and then we picked up our rental gear. This included a large stick, special hiking boots, wet suit socks as well as food and a backpack.
We set off to the entrance of Mt Zion National park and from there we had to take a 45 minute bus ride to the start of The Narrows. The first mile or so is a hike along a paved path. At the end of that you meet the river and have to head on in!
The water was not as cold as I thought it would be and some of the areas are harder to walk on than others because you are walking across large slippery stones/rocks in the water. The walking stick definitely came in handy and helped me balance.
About another mile of so in you reach what is called Wall Street. This is where the canyon walls narrow even more and you have to be careful of flash flooding because there is very little to no banks! The crowds start to thin out the further up you get which is nice.
We reached the Orderville junction and took a short break. At this point you can decide which way you want to go. You can continue up the Narrows or turn and hike up Orderville Canyon. We kept going up the Narrows. We reached the floating rock and then went about another 20 minutes before turning back. I would guess we had a little less than a mile until we reached Big Springs. Big Springs is where hikers must turn. I would like to go back one day and hike the top down which requires a permit as well as camping. It would also be fun to be able to explore Orderville Canyon. I have read that Orderville canyon requires a little more climbing, scrambling and wading! Sounds like fun to me!
The hike back was quicker than it was up. We were all glad to finally reach the bus and head back to the car where we had the 3 hour car journey to look forward to.
That night we had dinner at another favourite spot: Battista’s Hole in the wall. After dinner we were all so tired that we went straight back to our rooms and fell asleep making sure to NOT set an alarm clock!
My husband and I booked a last minute trip to Las Vegas with his parents for the 4th of July.
Our flight left at 6am on the 4th and we arrived early enough to have a full first day. We were staying at the Cosmopolitan and after dropping off our bags and changing into our swimsuits we all made our way to the pool where we sunbathed and had lunch (hard life I know!). Later on that evening we had tickets for the Garth Brooks show, as well as a meet and greet!
We got to the new Verizon Wireless Amphitheater right when doors opened and made our way to the front of the stage. There we met Garth Brooks’ tour manager who took us back to a green room. We were all a little surprised because we thought it would be more like a line where we say hello and that’s it. We were all chatting and in walks a guy with a backwards hat on. It took us all a minute to realize it was Garth Brooks!!! We all sat down and hung out for about 15 minutes before he had to go get ready for the show.
I think we were all a bit speechless that he took the time to sit down and hang out, he was really friendly! After that we made our way to our seats and waited for the show to start. It was a great show and he sang all of our favourites!
After the show we headed to one of our favourite dinner spots in Vegas; Mon Ami Gabi. We always sit outside so that we can watch the Bellagio water fountains. They bring this shredded carrot in a dressing to the table with bread to start that is really good. We ordered a few starters (chilled seafood platter, oysters and the onion soup au gratin) followed by steaks all around. For the first time ever I think we were all too tired for dessert (shocking I know).
We turned in bright and early that night. Early the next morning we were heading to Zion National Park in Utah to go on an exciting hike! Check back to find out which one!
I first heard about the restaurant ‘The Ivy’ 12 or 13 years ago and since it has been on my radar as a place I would like to try. After we got back from Amsterdam my sister and I were set to take a Gin making class in London (‘Buffington’s was to be my creation!). However, I had multiple problems when trying to book the class. First, the payment system, then whether I would even get the ticket on time (I couldn’t just pick it up) and then whether or not we would even be able to catch the last train home! It was obviously not in the stars! My mum then suggested we all go up to town for dinner instead.
The first restaurant that popped into my head was naturally the Ivy! I managed to get a last booking and put it on the calendar! Since I was free that day I decided that I would go up a little early and have a wonder around the shops. We would then we would all meet later at the restaurant. I made my way up and my first stop was Harrods, obviously. I love to look around Harrods, not just for their beautiful pieces but simply to people watch. The species of human that walk around are astonishing. After hitting a few more of the shops I finally made my way to The Ivy.
The Ivy has been around since 1917 and is in the West End, by many of the theaters. It recently went through a renovation but still has the art deco feel! I love the coloured glass and that it just has an old timer’s classic feel to it (they take your coat and pull out your chair for you!). We were sat right away and made our way thoroughly through the menu. After a round of drinks (good ol’ Gin n’ Tonics) we put in our order.
We started with the Giant Tiger Prawns for an appetizer. From there it was onto Crab Macaroni, courgette, ricotta & pea Risotto, double pork sausages (bangers and mash) for everyone and a cheeky second drink (dirty vodka martini).
Now, no matter how much you eat, there is always room for dessert! My sister always says regular food goes to your stomach but dessert goes to the heart, not what our dietician mother wants to hear!
For dessert we got an array of things: Chocolate pudding soufflé (my favourite!), sticky toffee pudding and Bramley apple crumble pie.
With full bellies we strolled slowly back to Waterloo to catch the next train home.
Recently I decided I wanted to create a bucket list. I have always sort of had one in the back of my mind but I wanted to put it to paper. I feel like I am one step closer to accomplishing everything on it (and who doesn’t love ticking things off a list?!). Anyway, one of the items I was planning on ticking off whilst in Amsterdam. Sadly, it did not happen completely. Let me explain a bit more:
The said ‘item’ on my list was to ride a tandem bike. I did ride a tandem bike…sort of. The plan for the morning before we were set to leave Amsterdam was to all rent bikes and ride around the city. My sister and I were going to rent a tandem, that was until we actually tried it. The gentleman in the bike rental shop recommended we try the tandem bike before actually committing to it. So we took it outside, which happened to be a cobbled side alley way with tons of bikes stacked everywhere. Plus it had a major slope to it. Needless to say we could not get our balance and decided to just stick to normal bikes.
We set off on our bikes planning to go a little further out and then circle back around the city. The city is very flat and so it is easy to get around by bike. I love that many of the traffic lights actually have a set that is eye level for the cyclists. We rode out to the park where we messed around with the GoPro (we got some funny looks!) before heading off to look at the windmill nearby. From there we made our way back to the bike rental shop so that we could then get back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and head off to the airport.
I think if I was to go back to Amsterdam I would plan on renting a bike the entire time and give the tram pass a miss. It is so easy to get around by bike and foot that unless it is raining you really don’t need to take the bus or tram. If you do rent bikes make sure you remember what it looks like! There are SOOO many bikes all around the city that I don’t know how people recognize their own!
Our flight back was delayed by an hour and so we sat and read until it was time to board. That is unless you are mum and Catherine who sneak off to get a massage in one of those big chairs without telling dad and myself!
Our last full day in Amsterdam we spent hanging out with some of the most famous artists related to the Netherlands…Van Gogh and Rembrandt. Amsterdam is full of museums and we didn’t have nearly enough time to see them all.
We got up early again so that we could make the most of our last day. The first stop on the agenda was the Van Gogh museum. When we got there there was already a long queue to get in and it was very confusing on where to line up. The British love their orderly queues and this was not one! We waited about 30-45 minutes in one of the lines which luckily let us in. I think one was for people with online tickets and the other for people with no tickets.
The museum was VERY busy. You feel like you are wading through people to see anything. However, I have always liked Van Gogh’s art work and so it was interesting to see. I like that it gave you background information about him and also showed you his early work because it is different from his more well know pieces. Also, you are not allowed to take any pictures!
The next stop was Rembrandt’s house. As I mentioned in a previous post I love the tall houses that look out onto the canals and I’ll take any chance to go in one. They had Rembrandt’s house decorated like it would have been when he lived there. It was interesting to see the box beds, they were very short!
For our last stop of the day we made our way over to the Portuguese Synagogue where we had a look around.
Dinner the last night was at a small restaurant off of Dam Square called Van Kerkwijk. This is a restaurant that has no menu! The waiters simply stop by the table and tell you what your options are.
We started off with drinks (trusty G&T, Prosecco and Beer) and a sample platter consisting of different meats and cheeses. For the mains we had Beef stew, Filet and a chicken thai curry. All the mains came with a family portion of fries and a salad to share.
After dinner we made one last stop by Sweatella and then it was off to pack!