Friday, 30 November 2012

I'm off... not sure where to

Well, it's my last day of work today... and then I'm having a little break to catch up on all those things I haven't done in the last few months.
I'm quite excited but also a little bit sad to be leaving some lovely people behind. 
I will be off on my travels somewhere soon no doubt, just need to work out a plan, book a flight and then go :).  So, in the meantime keep checking back as I still have a couple of travel related products to review and will be sharing my in sights on the variety of accommodation available in Cambridge (UK) :).

Monday, 26 November 2012

Another answer to weight restrictions

With possible plans for some more extensive travels in the coming months I thought it was time to determine whether I should give solid shampoo bars another go or continue to decant my favourite products into those cute ickle bockles that I recently shared with you.

I've tried solid shampoo in the past, and have always been largely impressed by the lifespan of these little 'pucks'.  However I personally found it necessary to arm myself with a decent liquid conditioner as well in order to address the 'drying' effect that the solid shampoo bar seemed to have on my hair after a period of time.
Now, it seems Lush have a solid conditioner bar as well, so I had to give this a go.
My first impressions were that not only did the conditioner bar not fit in the 'purpose built' tin (it was about a cm too thick and impossible to get the lid on!) but the shampoo bar was also slightly too big and would cause issues when trying to get it out.  However I wasn't going to let that deter me from giving it a go.  After all these things will reduce in size in time and eventually fit into the tin, or I can find an alternative container, which incidentally might avoid the product fixing itself to the inside of tin (as I had previously experienced) when it is left wet.
There are definitely some pros and cons to these products, which leaves me debating whether the extra weight of liquid alternatives or a combination of the solid and liquid options might be my best approach:
- Lathers up very easily and you don't need much product.
- Lasts for ages, definitely outweighing the lifespan of a small bottle of liquid shampoo.
- Smells great, and the smell is retained in your hair for longer compared to most shampoos I have used.
- Is lightweight and ideal for travel.
- There are plenty of different choices for different hair types.
- Initially didn't fit in the 'purpose built' tin - disappointing but soon overcome once used a few times.
- Used alone, did leave my hair dry albeit 'squeaky' clean.
- Can disintegrate if left wet or not dried before storing.  Tends to stick to the container and would become messy if left in the shower and not dried out properly.

- Fabulous smell.
- Leaves hair reasonably well conditioned, although drier than other products, which may be due to my hair being very fine.
- Created a flyaway/static feel to my hair unless I used other products when styling afterwards.
- Is lightweight and ideal for travel.
- Issue fitting in tin and still doens't fit after over a week of use.
- It is necessary to use liquid conditioner intermittently - may be a consequence of my hair type.
- Like with the shampoo bar it needs to be dried fully before storage.
So in conclusion I would say that as long as you are not moving from location to location and have time to let these bars dry out properly they do provide a lightweight alternative to liquid shampoo/conditioner.  I personally find that a few days use whilst in one location can be alternated with liquid products when you don't have time for the bars to dry and this also allows the drying effects of the products on your hair, which became evident after 3/4 days of use, to be controlled.
The frustrations of these products not fitting in the tins can easily be overcome by finding an alternative container, which also means it doesn't end up stuck to the inside of the tin - I recommend something plastic instead.
So perhaps there is some value in taking these bars along on a extended trip, but you can't beat the liquid alternative.  I highly recommend the ickle bockles range of shampoo and conditioners which are available here as they really are luxury and left my hair feeling completely replenished.

I finish work at the end of this week and then will be looking to recuperate for a bit and get a few things done for myself that I have neglected these past months.  After that my plans are to get away and take a break - call it a career break of sorts.
Check back for more on this soon, or if you have any suggestions of where I should go for Christmas (bearing in mind I am not planning to celebrate this year) I would love to hear them.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Weekend in Cumbria

The main reason for my trip was to celebrate my aunt's 60th, and that we did in style.  However it was also a chance to reflect on life 2 years on.


Check out my review of Rheged, Cumbria and a few other thoughts...

2 years on - Penrith, United Kingdom Travel Blog

Friday, 16 November 2012

Lakes memories on a life changing day

I've lost count of how many times I've been to the Lake District and I have many fond memories there. 
After my other half passed away in 2010 we planted trees a the National Trust site in his memory.  I'm still a regular visitor, and this weekend I will be there once more.
Why not check out some of my favourite places and related blog entries to see what this beautiful area of the UK has to offer:
1) Scafell Pike - needs no explanation! Practising for the 3 Peaks via brown tongue (!) and a memorial walk that is only for Superman.  But incidentally I thought Scafell was better (Another Sca-fell)
Wastwater - view from Mickledore

2) Cockshott Point - Bowness on Windermere doesn't in my view feel like you are in the Lake District (see my initial quick lakes stop post), but despite that, this little area owned by the National Trust is lovely.  After agreeing designs for tree guards and planting trees here, I often return to this peaceful spot.
3) Wainwrights 214 mountains - I've only so far accomplished 10 (I think, as have misplaced my trusty list) so have a way to go and my last climb was over a year ago (see here) as I don't really think you can enjoy is at much alone and it's a struggle to find anyone to join me :(.  I am still of course going to attempt to bag them all some time :).
Today is 2 years to the day, with the anniversary on Monday.  For those of you that know me, I'm usually a very private person (despite my travel and crafting posts) but I can't let this day go unmentioned as the day that completely changed my life.  That is a fact that I am still learning to live with every single day despite accepting that life goes on!
To everyone who knew or loved Nick, my thoughts are with you today x

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Kendal Mountain Festival

I'm off to the Lake District tonight, albeit a late drive after work, so sadly will be missing the opening event at the Kendal Mountain Festival.  It's free so if you fancy stopping by check it out - details can be found here.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

My must have travel item

It's the standard question I often stumble across when flitting around on the web for travel related articles offering advice... and everyone has their own view, albeit usually very similar.
Books (more recently kindles/ipads/tablets), a phone, camera, and all the other obvious answers come up time and time again... but for me it's something a little different ;)!
Being a keen crafter (see my other blog here) I've quite recently properly got into combining this with my love of travelling... and can always be found with my scrap book (or Smash book) stashed in my bag.  All those little bits and pieces that I pick up along the way and usually find at the bottom of a bag or in pockets, when finally unpacking everything at the end of a trip... now have a home of their own.
Of course it doesn't change the fact that most of this 'rubbish' isn't of much interest to anyone, but it's always nice to flick through the pages sometime in the future and remind yourself of a trip.  I of course have my other blog (interjected with posts on this site) to keep me reminiscing, but I still won't stop taking this must have travel item away with me :).
Here's the results of my recent trip to Budapest... a little lacking in the normal craft accessories and embellishments that I usually try to get in on the action of course ...

Monday, 12 November 2012

London: just a taster

Update: August 2014: For a more recent post on London check out: On a Budget: Free and discounted things to do in London.


My trip into London for the day on Saturday had been planned for sometime, but I didn't plan until the last minute what I was actually going to do there. 

Thank you to all those who contributed to my requests for recommendations, all were gratefully received.

My Travelpod has now been updated here with what I managed to cover off, and I have to make it clear that I didn't actually spend any money (other than on transport and food/drink) and had one of the nicest days I have had there so far, because of that fact.  Thankfully the rain held off too.

In conclusion I can now almost say that those 'hate' feelings surrounding my experience of London in the past are starting to lift.  I found this interesting post that somehow puts into perspective the feelings I had and now how I feel more positive about them. 

Today was just a taster, as I still have a way to go to be convinced that London is a great a city as some people believe it to be, but I have plans to ensure I see some of the tourist spots as well as those off the beaten track locations sometime soon.  Fingers crossed.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Over the rainbow: to London

London usually features in top cities of the world lists, but it has always been firmly on my list of places I don't particularly like.  I think this goes back to the days of having to suffer the commute into the city in the early hours for endless days/weeks/months of torment on mindless tasks at work.  I haven't had to endure that for years, but the misery and pain experienced resurfaces every time I think of London.

With my new travel site and travelblog needing some readers, I can't possibly give up on the capital of my home country... and I need to improve my followers or I will never get that travel writing job I dream of!
So today, I'm off to try to change some of my views and start over with this place.  Although it's not like I haven't tried many times before...I love the theatre and meeting up with friends in the city and have often found this is the only way I can feel myself starting to appreciate what it has to offer. 
As an incentive I've got myself a Rainbow Day ticket for just £10 for the journey into London on the train... it's a small start to being more positive!
Still, the inevitable feeling of hating city life returns and the thought of how expensive, polluted and full of people who ignore you seriously turns my stomach.  Remembering my new positivity pact and taking a different perspective I thought I'd get involved in something historical, the Lord Mayors Show (or at least my best attempt at fighting the crowds for a peek at those floats - lol).  I can't imagine I will be able to deal with all that excitement for too long, so will be looking for other options.
Having already asked a few London 'fans' for recommendations I have a few more ideas - but need more.  So, if you have any last minute recommendations along the route this morning, or in the London Bridge area from lunchtime... you know where to find me to let me know?
Wish me luck!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Ickle Bockles

After my experience last month of travelling with a low cost airline (yes - maybe I have been living the life of luxury in terms of flights in the last couple of years!) I knew that I had to get myself organised for my trip to Budapest.
Whilst looking for an answer I came across something worth trying out...

And to my amazement, when my package arrived, these lovely little items were even better than expected.  The best thing is I can fill everything with my own favourite products and most of all I love the perfume atomiser as it means I won't have any issues taking my favourite fragrance with me abroad anymore. 
These ickle bockles have been around a while as I've read quite a few reviews in magazines, on amazon and across the web, but you really have to try them out to appreciate how stylish they are compared to some of the other competition on the market.  I haven't planned another trip yet, but will be taking them with me overnight on my remaining jaunts to Cambridge (for what is left of work :( ) and will probably find myself using them at home too; rather than hunting down the bottles that I have decanted my potions and lotions from lol.
Do have a look at their website as they have added some new products recently which I will be reviewing in another upcoming post and can also recommend.
Even better than that, check out this site for more info on how these products came about (cute story) and your chance to win some of the products - I would just love to get my hands on those delicious looking toiletries :).

Friday, 2 November 2012

Little break

I'm off to Budapest for a few days for a little break, after being very ill last weekend I will be taking it easy.

To take advantage of the earlier flights I'm departing from Luton, so had the joy of joining the Friday commuters into the city and back out again... Surprisingly it was extremely easy , i think everyone is off (half term?).

Arriving at Kings Cross I was instantly reminded of my last visit here, when I was off to Paris via Eurostar :(.

The station hasn't changed but they have added a handful of free standing pianos which are painted in a variety of artwork. The great thing is they are available to play and I did spot one very good pianist who was immersed in the moment ...

Check back in a few days for Budapest highlights, although I have been before so hopefully I'll be sharing something new, particularly as the weather is a lot colder than last time I was there.