Thursday 31 August 2017

A Versatile Dress for a City Getaway

If there's one thing I lack in my wardrobe then it's smart, casual clothing. I seem to have plenty of casual items or dressy outfits but nothing in-between. I knew we had a trip to London coming up where I would need an outfit that I could wear all day but would also be suitable for afternoon tea and dinner in a nice hotel.

When it comes to getting clothes for myself, i've always preferred a visit to our town centre rather than shopping online. I hate the task of sending clothes back when they don't fit etc and then i'm left panicking when I haven't found anything. I much prefer wandering around the shops and trying things on there and then. I must have trawled every shop in Cardiff and I couldn't find anything suitable. I decided to pop into Marks and Spencer to grab some food but I found myself distracted by the clothes.

It's not a store that I shop in for myself. If i'm completely honest i've always thought it was a place my nan would buy her clothes. I buy clothes for my girls there as they have a fab children's range but I very rarely browse the women's section. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of things that caught my eye.

There was a section that really stood out for me. It reminded me of holiday's and I felt transported to France. It was full of nautical style with a palette of blue, white and red. A mix of casual and smart clothing but plenty of options for what I was looking for.

I can't even begin to tell you how many things I tried on and how many of those things I wanted to buy but this shirt style dress really stood out for me. I completely fell in love with it. Stripes are such a staple trend and never seem to go out of fashion. They are something that you can keep in your wardrobe and pull out year after year. 

The dress is a loose fit which is perfect for me as i'm not in the shape I would like to be at the minute. It has buttoned detailing at the front and a tie waist which you can wear loosely or tightly to alter the shape of the dress. The fabric is cool so it's ideal for a summer city break. For a more relaxed look you could pair it with trainers and then for an evening out evening you could simply add heels. 

It's a very recent purchase but unfortunately I can't seem to find it online so you'll have to pop in your local store to see if they stock it there.

I recently wore it to afternoon tea at Cardiff's newest luxury venue, The Exchange Hotel which is where all of the photographs in this post were taken
. The venue is stunning. The outside reminds me of being in a European city. It's beautiful. I am officially declaring it as the most instagrammable place in Cardiff at the moment so if you follow me over on instagram, i'm sure you'll be seeing more of the venue on my feed.

I'll definitely be packing the dress in my bag for our London trip. It's such a versatile piece that is perfect for a city getaway. It's something you can wear casually all day and also something to show off at dinner. 


Monday 28 August 2017

Where to eat in and around Icmeler, Turkey

I've been on holiday to Icmeler in Turkey many times over the past 20 years. Icmeler and the surrounding areas are a foodies dream suited for all kinds of tastes. Menus cater for all nationalities from British to even our favourite, Korean , there are a wide variety of restaurants and eateries to choose from. 

Here are a list my favourite places that we keep returning to:

Ros Beach, Marmaris
If you're looking for the best place to have an authentic Turkish breakfast then this isn't to be missed. It is hugely popular with the locals and that is always a good sign. 
Breakfast in Turkey is unique. It isn't treated as a necessity but more of a family gathering bringing together different tastes that will have you craving one every day.
We have tried the traditional Turkish breakfast in lots of different places but this one is by far our top choice. 
Ros Beach is surrounded by spectacular views. You can sit over the water and enjoy sweeping views of the sea, the Marmaris shoreline and the mountains. It's simply beautiful. After you've eaten you can relax on a sun bed or have a dip in the ocean. 

The food itself feels like an elaborate feast. The variety of plates keep coming. Expect to eat  cheeses, olives, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, jams, honey, fresh bread, Borek and more. This is all accompanied by a pot of black tea, brewed to perfection and served in Turkish glasses. 

You can find our more here, Ros Beach
Top tip: Avoid on a weekend when it is busy unless you can book a table in advance.

Three Bells, Icmeler:
The Three Bells is a lively restaurant, karaoke and sports bar. The staff are very friendly and the service is outstanding. Their food menu is extensive serving Turkish and international with the surprise of a Korean section which is mouth watering. It is completely unique to anything I have seen anywhere else in Icmeler. It ranges from classic Korean dishes to a selection that i've never heard of. The bulgogi is one of my favourites.

If you are after a roast dinner then this is the best place in Icmeler. The portion is very generous and you will be served the biggest yorkshire pudding you've ever seen.

You can find out more here, Three Bells.
Top tip:  If you go to the restaurant on a Sunday for roast dinner then be sure to go early as it gets very busy.

Hanedan, Icmeler:
The Hanedan restaurant is my favourite in Icmeler. It offers Turkish Tapas and main meals with a few British offerings. The atmosphere is great and the staff are welcoming.
There are some very unique offerings on the menu such as Honey Pepperoni but it is all incredibly tasty. I am salivating just remembering it. 

Top tip: Try a mixture of everything. You won't be disappointed.

Highside, Marmaris:
Highside is located in the lovely, old town area in Marmaris. To get to the restaurant you walk up cobbled stone steps which could be tiring for some but honestly the view when you get to the top is breathtaking and worth it. 

The view of Marmaris harbour is stunning, It's quiet and relaxing which is a complete contrast to the business of the ground below. 

The staff are fantastic. They are particularly good with children and they are on hand to help to keep them entertained if needs be. 
As with a lot of the restaurants in that area, they specialise in fresh seafood. However, I would recommend one of their steaks especially the Steak Maxium. The sauce was amazing.

You can find out more here, Highside.
Top tip: Go before sunset so you can see all the beautiful colour changes as night draws in.

Waterfall, Icmeler:
If you're looking for somewhere with a special setting then this is the place. The restaurant has a beautiful waterfall as a backdrop so it's perfect for a romantic meal but we've eaten there with kids and they have enjoyed watching the water and fishes.
The food is good and the portions are big. The service is excellent. 

Find out more here, Waterfall.
Top tip: Send them a message on Facebook to prebook a table next to the waterfall. Also take a look up the cobbled steps to the side of the waterfall and you will find a lovely hammock to relax in.

Fidan, Turunc:
The Fidan is a beachfront restaurant located in Turunc. They have a great range of fresh seafood. The grilled prawns and calamari were divine. The service wasn't the friendliest we've received whilst visiting Turkey (they weren't rude but just very quiet) but the food certainly made up for that. 

Top tip: Try their fresh orange juice. It's delicious.


Tuesday 22 August 2017

Go Below Ultimate Xtreme Underground Adventure with Red Letter Days

There was a time in my life when I was adventurous, daring and confident. I travelled around the world alone. I jumped from boats into the sea and I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro. You name it, I wanted to try it. This all changed when I became a parent. Part of that adventurous side of me disappeared and I began to overthink things. I developed a terrible fear of heights and falling. I suppose I always had that fear but it was never as bad as it has been in recent years. I wanted to get back my fearless attitude to life as I felt like i'd lost a part of me, so when Red Letter Days UK offered me the chance to do the Go Below Ultimate Xtreme Underground Adventure, I knew I couldn't say no. 

There are so many things on my bucket list that I have been unable to do due to my fear of heights and falling. I knew the best way to get over this was to face the fear head on. However, after watching youtube videos of the experience, my nerve was starting to fade. The worst part was watching people doing the 70 foot free-fall jump, the screams were haunting me.

The Ultimate Xtreme underground adventure takes place deep in the heart of the Welsh mountains and lasts all day. Steeped in history, you encounter the experience in an old slate mine. it includes negotiating subterranean tracks, traversing, climbing, abseiling, whizzing along the world's longest and deepest underground zipline and ending with an epic 70 foot free-fall jump into an abyss. 

The day arrived and as I sat eating my breakfast I felt sick. Sick through fear and nervousness excitement. I had my husband with me to try and keep me sane and ensure that I didn't back out. 

We arrived at the meeting point where we met the rest of our group and our very friendly guides from Go Below. We were kitted out in our safety gear and started the walk to the entrance of the old mine. 

When we got to the locked gate, my legs started to wobble. I'm not going to lie, it honestly reminded me of a scene from a horror movie. Leaving the normal world and entering a deep, dark tunnel all seemed a bit surreal. It didn't help that once we got inside, 2 ladies from a previous group were being guided out as they were too frightened to do the adventure. Call me stupid but I honestly hadn't anticipated how dark it would be. I knew we were going underground but I had expected it to be lit up slightly. However, we were informed that when Go Below took over the mine they wanted it to be as authentic as possible and for it not to be turned into a show mine. 

Our first challenge consisted of traversing across a wall and then onto our first zip-wire. My face was a picture (literally). Sheer terror struck. I was petrified and it was only the start of the day. I wanted to run away, give up, but something kept me going (I think it was our amazing guide).

Overcoming those first 2 challenges did me the world of good and started to give me a bit of a confidence boost. i can't describe the feeling but the realisation that the zip-wire swing was actually enjoyable once i'd gotten to the other side was a surprise. Things were looking up...was I actually enjoying myself? Surely not?

Next up was our first climb. I've been climbing before so this part didn't phase me too much. The only problem I faced was my height (or lack of). I am only 5 foot tall and I can assure you that certainly went against me during the whole challenge. I had to stretch further and jump further. Stupid short legs, holding me back.

Through the whole day you were in charge of your own safety. We were taught how to use the harness, carabiner and navigate the ropes. Something that isn't particularly easy when your hands are shaking through fear.

As the day went on the challenges became more extreme and more difficult. You'd have thought that I would have become more confident but there were a few experiences that really tested me and pushed me to my limits. Before i'd started the challenge, I had thought that the free-fall jump would have been the worst part of the day. It was what I feared the most. I couldn't have been more wrong...

After climbing and navigating our way around the above wall we came face to face with what can only be described as my worst nightmare. It was 2 beams from old tracks and bridges with a rope up high in-between the 2 beams. We had to walk across them. This was my goliath. There was no way I could do it. I'll admit, I had a tiny cry. I have never been so frightened. The fear of losing my balance and falling was getting the better of me. Our fantastic guide somehow managed to convince me to go for it and with that I set off. I looked straight ahead and made sure not to look down. Before I knew it, I was on the other side. I couldn't believe it. It was such an achievement for me.

Last up was the jump. All day we had been leading up to this moment. I knew i'd already exceeded my expectations through doing some of the other challenges but could I manage to attempt this final, epic task. We got to the ledge and I thought, i've come this far so i'm going to give it a go. I decided i'd have to go first. The memories of those youtube videos made me realise that if I didn't go first and I heard someone screaming them I never would do it. 

I wobbled my way to the edge. Everything was attached. I stared down into the abyss. Various thoughts and questions were playing on my mind. Could I overcome my fear? Can I even Jump? I'm gonna die. You name it, I thought it. I couldn't do it. Our guide who had been my rock during the whole day, gave me a motivational talk and decided to count me down. 3, 2, 1...and I leapt. I landed at the bottom with an almighty thump and a huge smile on my face. Wow, it was incredible. I was giddy with pride and excitement. 

I wish I could've bottled up that feeling. I felt like I was on cloud 9. Adrenaline still oozing through my veins and a kick ass attitude. I felt unstoppable. So proud of myself. Facing your fears head on is such an incredible feeling. The whole day was almost surreal but what an amazing achievement. I was on a high. I felt strong, powerful and confident. I felt like me again.

I cannot thank Red Letter Days UK and Go Below for this fantastic opportunity. The guides were outstanding. So supportive and encouraging. They made you believe anything was possible and it really was. It was such a special, unique experience that I will never forget.

You can watch my video of my day over on youtube:

I feel the adrenaline junkie in me has returned again and i've now got itchy feet for my next adventure. 

* Myself and my husband were provided the voucher for Go Below from Red Letter Days UK in exchange for our honest opinions and experiences in this review*


Sunday 20 August 2017

Where to eat at Walt Disney World - Guest post by Glossytots

Hi I am Faye from

Having been to Disney twice in the last 18 months several people ask me what restaurants I recommend in Disney. Simple answer is all of them.
The issue is you can’t go to all of them! even if your minted there isn’t physically time- obviously unless you you went for a year!!!

As a result I have put together a guide of my favourite restaurants to eat in Disney world. All of which are perfect for all budgets. My other bit of advice is to book as soon as the booking opens on your app (6 months prior) because they get booked up pretty sharpish!!

Magic Kingdom

Budget- Plaza Ice cream Parlour- Yes I know not technically a restaurant but its a holiday… you can eat ice cream for lunch its acceptable! If you go here get the ‘Kitchen Sink’ you can get an actual sink filled with ice cream and get to keep the sink afterwards! bonus! (note its not a real sink!!!)
Average- Be Our Guest- Want to meet Beast from Beauty and the Beast?! this is your only chance unless its Halloween! If you have dinner at be our guest you can have some pretty delicious food and meet Beast after your meal! Perfect!!! This needs to be pre booked well in advance.
High End- Cinderella’s Royal Table- This is every child’s dream- not only do you get to dine with a selection of princesses but you also get to eat in castle! what more could you want. Well it gets better… delicious food… wands for the kids… and a take home table mat that can be signed by the princesses as a keepsake! A night to remember but this needs to be pre booked well in advance and paid over the phone prior.

Hollywood Studios

Budget- There isn’t one that sticks out for Hollywood studios- most places are great to pick up a snack. Ensure you look on the ‘Disney Experience’ app to find the 1 $ restaurants.
Average-Mama Melrose Ristorante- I would suggest doing lunch on the ‘Dining experience’. This gives you a ticket so you are able to go to Fantasmic. (An amazing show on water that is a nightmare to see if you don’t get a dining package or queue for an hour!!)
High End- Hollywood and Vine-If your little ones are into Disney junior this is the place for you! in a 1950’s style diner you can have buffet food with all their favourite characters. Doc Mcstuffins, Handy Manny, Sofia the first and Minnie! what more could you want?! I hear you… dancing and a party with a chocolate fountain… its ok its got that too!!

Animal Kingdom

Budget- Kusafiri Coffee shop and bakery-Perfect for a quick snack and some fab little treats from the Bakery!
Average- Rainforest CafĂ©- If your little ones love animals and a jungle theme then this is the place to go. You can have thunderstorms during your dinner (no rain thankfully!) the noise of animals and fish tanks. Perfect to keep the little ones entertained.
High End- Tuskers House- This is one of my favourites!! Breakfast is the best as you can book before the park opens enabling you to be a the front of any queue you fancy straight after. Breakfast is buffet style in a traditional African setting. You are also joined by Disney favourites- Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald and Daisy all in their safari outfits!


Budget-Any of the stalls or shops in any country! France and the Delicatessen is a big thumbs up from me!
Average- Coral Reef Restaurant- Book an early lunch and get an aquarium view seat! spot the fish from your seat and handy fish spotting guide!
High End- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall- This is another chance to have a princess party and meet all of your favourite princesses whilst eating some delicious dinner and even some fancy cocktails! This is also your only chance to see Belle in her yellow ball gown! A Highlight for me!!


Other restaurants I would say are great places to go to for food include-

Disney Springs- House of Blues-If you want great steak, fab cocktails and some live music this is the place for you! perfect for any date night if your lucky enough to have babysitters on hand.

Grand Floridian Hotel – 1900 Park Fair- If you want dinner with Prince Charming and Cinderella this is the place to be! There is no where else you can meet Charming unless there is a event on! If you are lucky enough the ugly sisters will be there!

Disney Polynesian Resort- Ohana’s Best Friends Breakfast- Again if meeting characters is high on your list this is breakfast with Lilo and Stictch! Again you cant meet this dynamic duo anywhere else. It even includes a Hawaiian themed party!

Faye Jones


Saturday 19 August 2017

Afternoon Tea at The Exchange Hotel Cardiff

The Exchange Hotel is Cardiff's newest luxury hotel in the heart of Cardiff Bay. Steeped in history with incomparable unique architecture, the restoration of this iconic building can be described as simply breathtaking.

I've been following the updates of this hotel closely since the renovation started. I'd attended many Christmas parties when the building was known as The Coal Exchange and I was intrigued as to how it could even work as a hotel. Like many others I was sceptical that the hotel would do the building the justice it so rightly deserved. 

This week we returned from our 2 week holiday abroad with a serious case of holiday blues. We realised it was Afternoon Tea Week (14th-20th August) so we thought it was the perfect opportunity to cheer ourselves up and spontaneously booked to try out Cardiff's newest venue.

Afternoon Tea is located in the Grand Hall. As you walk in you are immediately in awe of the traditional yet opulent decor with the dragon clock being the room's centrepiece. You feel transported back in time with Cardiff's history surrounding you. 

We chose to have Prosecco Afternoon Tea which costs £19.95 per person. This includes the food, unlimited tea or coffee and a glass of prosecco. Our eldest daughter was with us who opted for some ham sandwiches and a small plate of treats. As far as i'm aware there isn't currently a specific child's afternoon tea available.

The savoury offerings included salmon finger sandwiches, cheese and pickle in a brioche bun, a chicken wrap and a ham croissant. My daughter declared that her ham sandwiches were the best one's ever. The scones were light and fluffy.

The treats were all dainty but in my opinion, perfectly sized. They were bite sized which actually meant we managed to finish all of them. Usually I find I am too full to eat all of the treats in an afternoon tea but these weren't too rich and the majority of them were very refreshing on the palette. 

Overall, we really enjoyed the afternoon tea at The Exchange Hotel. The food was good, service was great and the building itself is stunning. I am now trying to convince hubby to book us an overnight stay as i'm sure the rooms and the rest of the hotel would be amazing. You can find out more about their bar and restaurant here, Exchange Hotel

If you enjoyed reading this post, be sure to check out this old post of mine, The Best Places in South Wales to have Afternoon Tea.

Disclaimer - I was not asked to write this review. We paid for our afternoon teas and I just wanted to share our experience with you

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