USA Road Trip – Day 10 – Lazy Days & Crazy Nights

As we had visited a lot of beaches and had seen the sights of Hollywood, originally our plan for Sunday was to spend the day at Universal Studios. However after having a bit of a crazy one the night before and all feeling slightly hungover and tired, we decided on a lazy pool day instead.

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Even though we had enjoyed the odd beach afternoon or a couple hours downtime, the majority of the trip so far had been go, go, go. Not that we were complaining as we were having the best time, but there is no better feeling knowing that you have no plans and can just take the day as you please.

I was quite jealous when I found out Megs and Fraser had enjoyed breakfast in bed, but Matt and I had already found a good spot around the very chilled out pool area and I was enjoying a snooze in the sunshine. (oh how I wish England would have reliable weather, sunbathing in March – the dream!)

We had lunch at the pool bar, which was so yummy and needed and then spent the afternoon either chilling in the hot tub, reading a book on a lounger or playing bat and ball in the pool.

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By early evening we were feeling revived and decided we should do something fun for our last evening in LA. So after a quick change we decided to get the free shuttle bus from the hotel to Universal Studios which was only 10 minutes up the road from us.

We had left it too late to actually visit the theme park, however they still have the CityWalk, which is an all day, all night entertainment area, which includes restaurants, bars, shops, nightclub and cinema.

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We had a little walk around and went into a few shops and then decided to pop into Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville for a drink and a game of cards (as was tradition on this trip) the cocktails were delicious and we ended up staying a little longer than we first expected as it was just so nice and chilled.

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It was starting to get dark when our thoughts turned to dinner. We could have stayed put but we wanted to have a little explore and see what else was on offer.

There were so many food outlets to chose from however nothing was taking our fancy, also a lot of the options were fast food places and we wanted something a little nicer than that. We made our way over to Tony Roma’s as we had heard it was meant to be quite nice place for ribs and steaks etc however while waiting in the queue for a table, we didn’t really like the atmosphere of the place it felt hectic and the food just looked like fast food. So we left still umming and ahhing about where to go. We ended up walking right to the front of CityWalk and found Saddle Ranch Chop House. It looked fun with its cowboy theme and mechanical bulls and there wasn’t much of a wait so we thought we would give it a go.

Unfortunately though we were sat right at the back of the restaurant (this is a huge place) and there wasn’t really anyone else around us. It really lacked any atmosphere (it all seemed to be out the front) and we were surrounded by creepy looking cowboy themed waxworks. There was a moment where we decided to leave this place too however we just couldn’t decide where we wanted to go and didn’t want to aimlessly walk around again, so decided to stick it out. Hoping for some good BBQ food.

In fairness my ribs and sweet potato fries were delicious however the rest of the group didn’t have dinners to rave about but they were nice. In hindsight we wished we had just gone to Hard Rock Cafe!

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We declined desserts and decided to go for another look around the shops we had missed the first time around, before heading back to the hotel, to enjoy wine under the stars and play perudo. THE game of the holiday.

Love, Chloe xx

USA Road Trip – Day 4 – Final Day in Las Vegas!

After an amazing sleep in the comfiest bed (I swear Vegas hotels all have the best beds and bedding!) We woke up ready to explore more of Vegas, plus the sun was back shining once again, hooray!

We decided to walk to The Bellagio Hotel to check out their buffet breakfast, with a little jay walking along the way oops!

The Bellagio is a stunning hotel, with gorgeous floral displays and grandeur so we were expecting good things from the buffet. Unfortunately this wasn’t quite the case. It is a little old fashioned and even though the food options were good, the quality wasn’t as good as the buffets at The Wynn or Aria. Also the service was pretty slow.

After breakfast Megs and Fraser decided to explore more of the strip, however Matt and I decided to get a cab to downtown Las Vegas as we had never visited before and I really wanted to see the original old school Vegas.

Freemont Street was eerily quiet when we arrived. It was great to see all the original casinos and hotels such as The Golden Nugget and 4 Queens, however it really lacked any atmosphere. I guess it is a place best enjoyed in the evening when it is all lit up and really comes alive.

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We walked around and had a bit of a gamble but it didn’t take too long to explore it all. We wanted to try out the Slotzilla – A zip wire which goes over the casinos but unfortunately it wasn’t open.

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I really do think that we went too early in the day. So we decided to jump in a cab and head to the outlets which we had noticed on our way to downtown. Outlets in America are too good to resist!

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After a little bit of shopping we found Megs and Fraser, as we had booked to do an Escape Room with Countdown Live Escape Games.

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We had the choice of 3 different rooms; one horror, one sci fi and one Sherlock Holmes themed, we decided on the latter. You basically get locked in a themed room and you have 1 hour to look through everything, solve the clues and escape the room. Overall it was a lot of fun, but at times I did get a bit fed up as I found it tricky and not as easy as I thought it would be! However we did end up making it out with 5 minutes to spare!

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I have no idea why I look like I’ve just gotten out of bed!!

Afterwards we decided to head back to the strip to watch the Bellagio Fountains hourly show. It’s so clever and mesmerising and I love how they have different displays depending on the song. In 2012 Matt and I stayed at the Bellagio hotel and I loved being able to watch the fountains from our bedroom window.

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After a busy day we decided it was time for a cocktail and a bite to eat, so we popped into PBR Rock Bar and Grill, as we kept passing it and thought it looked like fun. It shows a lot of sport but also plays rock music and has a bucking bronco. We sat in the indoor garden area which has fake grass and picnic benches.

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Of course I ordered my usual frozen strawberry daiquiri. Then just look at these fries! Crispy fries topped with oosey cheese, crispy bacon bits and drizzled with buffalo sauce, yum!

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After the days adventures we decided to head back to our hotel to get ready for our last evening in Las Vegas.

Megs and Fraser decided to go for a Sushi dinner and they saw Zumanity which is an amazing Cirque Show.

Matt and I had late dinner reservations at TAO restaurant which is located inside The Venetian hotel. The hotel itself is very grand and luxurious and TAO brings Asia to Italy. The atmosphere is great, and with seats opposite the giant Buddha we were in good company. Our waiter was so enthusiastic and helpful and the food was amazing we shared dishes including satay chicken, tempura shrimp and miso glazed seabass.

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After dinner we decided to go for a look around the Venetian and ended up having a little gamble in their casino before calling it a night.

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Vegas once again you were amazing but it was time to begin the road trip…

Love, Chloe xx

USA Road Trip – Day 3 – It’s all about the food!

All completely wiped out from the day & night before, I think we finally surfaced around midday – hungry, hungover and in need of some fresh air.

We took a stroll along the strip from The Aria towards the New York New York Hotel. We were definitely hit with fresh air as it was a lot windier and a bit cooler than the day before.

We had barely got a start on our walk when we stumbled across Double Barrel Road House. Our bellies took over and insisted we check it out as the smell of BBQ sauce couldn’t be resisted.

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Feeling pretty ravenous, myself and Megs decided to go for American BBQ at its finest –  pulled pork, crispy fried chicken and lots of french fries. The boys on the other hand ordered salads…with a huge side of nachos! The food was delicious and just what we needed.

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Full of delicious food, we strolled along the front of NYNY and then decided to pop inside to take a look around. Since planning the trip, Megs had said that she really wanted to ride the NYNY roller coaster, so we went up to the arcade area to check it out. Me being the complete child I am (If you have read my honeymoon blogs you will know I’m not the biggest fan of big rides) decided that I would wait with all the bags, while the other 3 rode.

I went for a little stroll and then watched the roller coaster from the outside. It’s pretty cool how it goes through the hotel and then all around the outside of it.

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About half an hour went by and I was back in the arcade area where I said I would meet them but they weren’t there. I thought they would have been off it by that time as the queue wasn’t that big but it turns out the roller coaster had stopped running due to the high winds (it stops quite often because of the winds) so you could either wait for it to start again (no one knew how long this would be) or you could get a refund, which is what the guys did, as they didn’t want to waste all day in a queue for something they may or may not get to ride.

We decided to carry on our walk along the strip to Excalibur Hotel and then crossed over to the shops like M&M World and the Nike Store. The weather was getting colder and windier and there was even rain in the air. I didn’t know that Vegas experienced rain!

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We took cover inside Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile Shops and it would have been rude not to have a look around the shops.

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I also wanted to try the famous Fat Tuesdays frozen cocktails. Everywhere we went I saw people with them and they just looked so delicious and when on holiday you have to indulge with cocktails!

Fat Tuesdays is a simple hole in the wall drinks retailer but they have so many amazing flavours and you can mix and match and get anything from a shot all the way through to a huge super cup. After taking in all the flavours I finally decided on my firm favourite the frozen strawberry daiquiri, in a take away cup so I could enjoy it back in our hotel room, in a bubble bath. Yes seriously!

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We decided to head back to our hotel rooms to warm up and leisurely get ready for the evening ahead, as the weather wasn’t the best and we were pretty tired from the evening before.

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Later on we met Megs and Fraser on the casino floor for a little gamble before dinner. Megs and I were adamant we were going to win the big bucks on the Wheel of Fortune but we never did!

For dinner we had booked a table at Beauty & Essex which is located inside The Cosmopolitan Hotel which is just a quick walk next door from The Aria. Matt and I have visited B&E in New York but never the Vegas one so we were excited to check it out. The decor is amazing, hidden behind a fully functioning antique shop, you would never know that a bar and restaurant sit behind.

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The menu is comprised of lots of sharing dishes so we chose a mixture of things to all try including the grilled cheese dumplings (the most delicious thing ever!) Tomato Tartare, Lobster Tacos and of course we had to finish off with the famous Les NYC doughnuts (insert heart eye emoji here).

We celebrated Megs’ birthday (her actual birthday was a few days before we went away) and it was such a lovely evening. The food and drinks were incredible and I would definitely recommend visiting if you are in Las Vegas or New York. Now if they could just open one in London that would be amazing!

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We popped our heads into the Chandelier Bar, just look at how pretty this is! And then called it a night as we were pretty tired from the full on day before.

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Love, Chloe xx

Honeymoon Day 14 – Home Time!

Our final full day of honeymoon and we couldn’t believe how quickly it had all gone, yet it also felt like we had been away months?!

We ate breakfast at Jardin, buttermilk pancakes with mixed berries and maple syrup for myself, lobster eggs Benedict for Matt, the food at Jardin is delicious and then we spent the morning by the pool.

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We fancied doing something a little different with our afternoon. Back in 2012 we did the CSI Crime scene attraction which we found so much fun, so we wanted to try and find something like that again. After flicking through a load of brochures and with the help of Google, we found a few things we liked the look of, but we finally decided to jump in a taxi to The Luxor hotel, as something I have always wanted to do, but never got around to doing, was visit the Titanic Exhibition.

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Neither of us had  been inside the Luxor before and it was really unusual and different to the other hotels we had visited. It was nice as it wasn’t too busy and we made our way through the casino floor, up to the entrance of the attraction.

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On arrival you get given a boarding pass with a name of a real person who was on the Titanic. It made me a bit emotional as you realise just how many people were on there and at the end of the experience you find out whether you survived or not.

The exhibition was a really interesting experience and at times I did get a bit freaked out as it really did feel like we were on the ship. The way they have recreated the areas such as the bedrooms and deck felt so real.

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The stories are so sad to read and they have videos and real artefacts and items to look at too. They also have the largest recovered piece of the ship so far on display, which is just incredible to see.

Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take any photos inside the exhibition but definitely something a bit interesting and different to do if you fancy getting away from all the casinos, shopping and parties.

After a quick change back at our hotel, we then headed to The Linq which is a new area neither of us had visited before and where we decided to ride the High Roller.

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Very similar to the London Eye, it takes 30 minutes to ride and the highest point is 550ft. We opted for the happy hour ticket, which meant our pod had a bar in the middle of it, so we got free drinks while riding around and our bar lady told us fun facts about Vegas and the High Roller itself.

As we visited at night we got amazing views of the strip and surrounding areas all lit up, which was a lovely experience for our last night of honeymoon.

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As it was our last night, we thought we would go fancy and managed to get a reservation at Nobu for dinner. As always the food was incredible, the black cod especially is our favourite and I had some super tasty passion fruit cocktails too!

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A lovely day and night to end an amazing 2 weeks away with my favourite person ❤

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Love, Chloe xx

Honeymoon Day 8 – Should have been The Bahamas…

We had been keeping track of hurricane Matthew while we were in Orlando. It was hard not to, everyone was talking about it or weather warnings were always being shown on TV. Of course we were concerned but we just wanted to enjoy our week and not talk too much about it all.

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We got home from The Magic Kingdom gone midnight and feeling exhausted from the long, busy day, we fell asleep still thinking we would be flying to the Bahamas the next day for the second part of our honeymoon…

We were woken by the room phone ringing at 7am. It was Virgin Holidays in the UK saying that we wouldn’t be flying to The Bahamas, due to Hurricane Matthew. We were gutted, but of course we just wanted to stay safe, especially after then seeing the devastation in Haiti which was just awful and so sad.

So Virgin gave us 3 options; fly home, stay in Orlando for another week or they could try and find us somewhere else to fly to for our second week.

Well we definitely didn’t want to go home. We were unsure on staying in Orlando for another week seeing as the weather was only getting worse. So we asked Virgin to try and find us somewhere else to fly to. Our only requirement being sunshine and if possible a beach. As much as we had enjoyed our week in Orlando and all the theme parks, we were so ready for a romantic week, relaxing!

As we were now wide awake and in limbo, waiting for Virgin to phone us back, we decided to shower, pack and then head to breakfast inside the hotel, just in case we had to leave at a moments notice, we wanted to be ready.

Unfortunately though that wasn’t the case. We appreciated that they must have had a lot of customers in the same position as us, so must have taken a lot of time to contact everyone and deal with everyone’s requests. But as we hadn’t heard back from Virgin for a few hours (when they said they would phone us back within the hour) Matt phoned them just to see what the situation was, as we didn’t want to waste the day sitting around the hotel waiting for a call.

This time we were put through to Virgin America, who said they were working on our request and that we should just go out and enjoy our day, as they didn’t know how long they would take or what our final option would be. As if they couldn’t find somewhere new for us to fly to, we would just stay in Orlando for the second week.

We had pretty much crammed in everything that we had wanted to do in Orlando into our first week. The only thing we missed out on were the Water Parks, but the weather had been quite hit and miss and we hadn’t had the time to fit them in. So we were a bit unsure with what to do for the remainder of the day and unfortunately our Disney and Universal Tickets had expired so we couldn’t go back to the parks, unless we wanted to pay quite a lot just for a day pass. So we decided to jump in the car and see where the day/roads took us.

Weirdly the weather was lovely and sunny (no signs of a hurricane just yet) so with the roof down, we drove along International Drive and ended up in Hooters for lunch. I really love Hooters and wish they would open more in the UK! We decided to share a mixture of foods including buffalo chicken wings (of course!), sliders, mozzarella sticks and curly fries. I was also happy as it was the first place we had found which served Mountain Dew which is my favourite soft drink!

 

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Buffalo Chicken Wings my favourite!

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A mixture of beef and chicken sliders with curly fries

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Mozzarella Sticks

 

During lunch we used the free Wi-Fi (thanks Hooters!) to have a look into things we could do for the rest of the afternoon. We debated heading back to Universal’s CityWalk, looked at a few crazy golf options, I also saw that they had the Orlando Eye (like the London Eye) and also a Madame Tussauds, but knew that Matt wouldn’t want to go there. But then we noticed that it had started chucking it down with rain, now it really did feel like the storm was coming!

We kept looking up ideas for indoor attractions and then Matt mentioned Kennedy Space Centre. It was around an hours drive from Orlando, on the coast and I was a bit concerned about the weather, but as we hadn’t found anything else we were interested in doing and the actual bad storms weren’t meant to hit for another couple of days we thought why not, let’s just drive and see what happens.

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Luckily the rain eased and the sun started to appear again the closer we got to Cape Canaveral (Orlando weather is very odd!) The drive was pretty easy as it’s mostly just one long straight road and at times we were the only car on the road. However by the time we had made it to the Space Centre it was around 3pm and when we checked out the prices, $50 each for entry, we didn’t think it would be worth the money seeing as we would only have a couple of hours to explore and the staff said ideally you need at least a full day if not 2 days to see & do everything! So we took a few photos and then drove on to Cocoa Beach instead, passing the rocket launch site along the way which was pretty cool. It must be amazing being there for a real rocket launch!

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This is the rocket launch bay!

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This hotel was called Faulty Towers!

 

By the time we decided to head back to the hotel it was dark. We were glad we went out and tried to make the most of the day and got to see somewhere different. But heading back just made us realise that we hadn’t heard from Virgin since the morning and had no idea what our plans were for the next 6 days.

When we arrived back at the hotel we were told that Virgin had been in contact with them and that we would be staying at the hotel for a further 2 nights. We were very grateful for the information and the staff were so helpful and friendly and made sure we were happy at all times. Virgin had also left us a message on our room phone, explaining what the hotel had already told us and how they were still looking into options for us. Even though we didn’t know what the rest of our honeymoon would entail at least we knew what we were doing for the next couple of days!

That night we decided to have a chilled evening at the hotel bar/lounge area, we drank cocktails and played cards whilst the thunder rolled in, wondering where we might end up next…

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Grasshoppers and Vodka!

 

Love, Chloe xx

Lauren’s Parisian Hen Weekend – Part 2

We began the day with a delicious breakfast at the hotel, where the croissants were fresh from the patisserie next door! Yum!

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Then made our way to the banks of the River Seine, as we had booked an hour-long sightseeing cruise. It may have been freezing, but we kept ourselves warm with hot drinks and it was a great way of seeing all the sights when short on time.

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After the tour we made our way to The Eiffel Tower ready for our trip to the top. We had pre-booked our tickets with an allocated time slot, which I would highly recommend doing, otherwise you are stuck waiting in a very long queue!

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We went up by lift but you can walk it if you are feeling fit and brave! As you can see it was a bit breezy, but such a good way of taking in the whole city and the views were amazing. At the top they also have a few souvenir shops and a macaron shop, my favourite!

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We grabbed a late snack/lunch on our walk back to the hotel. Where we then had some time to leisurely get ready for the evening.

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We started the night with drinks at the hotel and then jumped into taxis to Le Sanglier Bleu restaurant where we had dinner reservations.

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We gave Lauren some presents and a memory book with photos and notes from all the hen’s and played a few games whilst enjoying a delicious dinner of sea bass and traditional tart tatin and Crème brûlée’s. Yum!

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Finally finishing off with some traditional drinks!

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We then had a short walk to the infamous Moulin Rouge, where we had tickets for the evening show, which we were all so excited for. The queue to get in was a bit crazy even though we had tickets but once inside it was pretty iconic and magical.

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We had a private table and were given so many bottles of champagne. Apparently it came included with the tickets!

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The show was a mixture of burlesque, circus acts, singing and dancing. Some acts were really good but unfortunately some were quite dated and not as slick as we all imagined it would be. I’m glad I can say I visited though as it had been on the bucket list for a long time but I wouldn’t rush to go back. Fun night out with the girls though!

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The next morning we couldn’t believe how quickly the trip had flown by and that it was our last day in the beautiful city. So we had yet another leisurely breakfast at the hotel, had a little look around the local shops and eventually got the train back to the airport.

Such a lovely girls weekend away and hopefully a trip Lauren will never forget!

Love, Chloe xx

Honeymoon Day 2 – Universal Studios!

Even though I had an amazing sleep my body still decided to wake me up at 6am! So I decided to go for a little explore. I wanted to check out the breakfast options, always my main priority when staying at a hotel and I also wanted to book us onto the free shuttle bus which dropped hotel guests off at some of the parks. Although we had the car, some days we decided it would be easier to use the free transportation on offer, especially if we wanted to stay at the parks all day and would be tired or wanted to have a couple of drinks.

The staff were more than happy to help me, even at that time of day! I found a couple of options for breakfast and was told we were welcome to visit the neighbouring Marriott Hotel to use their facilities and restaurants too, which was good to know.

We decided to try out Highball & Harvest for breakfast, which was a restaurant and bar area in our hotel. It offered an à la carte menu as well as the all you could eat breakfast buffet. It was pretty pricey but I guess that’s to be expected in the type of hotel we were staying at, but the food was super fresh and delicious so made up for it. Matt even finished off his breakfast with an American frosted doughnut! When in Rome….

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Even at 9am the mixture of heat and humidity was fierce! Waiting outside for the shuttle bus to collect us, I was already melting and the day hadn’t even begun.

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Such a tourist with my backpack!

We arrived at Universal Studios ready and raring to go, map in hand, our plan was to visit both parks (Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure) in one day. Some people might think we were crazy but we just didn’t have enough time to do it any other way. Due to this we upgraded our tickets to the Express tickets, which meant we could skip the queue once at each ride or show. This was actually really useful and worth the money as it meant we could do all the rides we wanted to without getting stressed or rushing around. The only attractions these tickets didn’t work for though were the Harry Potter rides.

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Phew I’m tall enough!

Now, I could easily talk about all the attractions in great detail and go through step by step every single thing we did, which is what I originally started doing when first writing this post, but it was going on forever and I just thought you would get a bit bored! So I’m going to try to condense it all as best I can and just show you a lot of photos instead!

We started the day at Universal Studios which consists of 7 themed areas. Production Central, New York, San Francisco, Hollywood, World Expo, Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone and finally The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. We made our way around all these areas apart from the kidzone and went on the rides, looked in the shops and just enjoyed the atmosphere and excitement of being there. I must admit though I hate big rollercoasters which is annoying for Matt who loves all rides, so he did have to go on a few alone 😦 Sorry Matt!

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One of Matt’s favourite films – Back To The Future

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This ride was so good!

One of my favourite rides in this Park was probably Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, it’s really well done and quite funny, plus Matt and I are such big kids who love anything Minions! I also loved the Simpsons ride and the whole Simpsons area. It was pretty cool to be able to go into Moe’s for a drink, Krusty Burger for food or to the Kwik-E-Mart for gifts!

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A couple of the areas didn’t have much going on, as they were either working on new rides or had just demolished old ones. I get that they constantly need to be working on new ideas and attractions but I’m not sure how I feel about the new, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon ride which opens in 2017. I appreciate he’s a big deal in America but just sounds weird to me and I don’t see how it relates to Universal, also I think it’s going to be yet another 3D or 4D Ride! Personally I really miss the old school rides like Twister, Earthquake and Jaws. I really wish they would bring some of those kind of attractions back!

Now this may offend some people haha, but I am not a Harry Potter fan. I have never read the books and have only seen tiny snippets of the films if my sister, dad or Matt have had them on, I just don’t get the hype. So before we visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I must admit I wasn’t really bothered or excited about it. In all honestly I was actually annoyed when they started building the areas as I just couldn’t understand why they had to take over the Universal Parks. Why couldn’t they just build a whole new Harry Potter theme park of its own?

Vent over I promise.

As when I actually stepped foot inside HP World it really did look pretty impressive, even though I had no idea of what shops, streets, people I was looking at, I could still enjoy it and embrace the wizarding experience. Plus the rides are really good too!

 

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Trying Butter Beer – Matt was very disappointed when he realised it wasn’t real beer!

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As we had been on everything we wanted to go on and seen everything we wanted to see, we decided to take the Hogwarts Express at Kings Cross Station over to Hogsmeade Station, located in Islands of Adventure.

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Universal’s Islands of Adventure is also split into 7 sections. Port of Entry, Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Lost Continent, Seuss Landing and finally The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade.

We were flagging a bit by the time we made it over to this park, so we decided that our first stop would be lunch at Mythos Restaurant. We needed time out of the heat and we just needed a sit down after all the walking! We opted for a light lunch which arrived quickly and was tasty.

Fuelled and raring to go again, we went out to explore what this park had to offer. Starting with HP Hogsmeade. Again this area was visually stunning and the main ride was full on. Not at all what I was expecting!

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Sorry Matt for making you ride alone!

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The newest attraction at I.O.A which is pretty impressive

Our favourite rides more often than not are the water rides. So by the time it got to late afternoon and we were absolutely sweltering from the heat, we decided it was time to cool off and Toon Lagoon seemed the place to go. Starting with Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls which I was quite scared to go on, the reason I don’t like roller coasters is due to the drops, so when I saw the height of this log flume I panicked but Matt basically forced me to go on and I’m glad he did as I loved it, even though my face tells a different story…

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This photo will forever make me laugh!

Then we found  Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges which is a rapids ride. I don’t think I have ever laughed so much on a ride before. We got absolutely drenched through, but this was by far my favourite ride of the whole day. We even went on for a second time which we filmed on the GoPro.

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Drenched from the water rides!

We made The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man our last ride of the day as it was about 6pm and we were uncomfortable in our wet clothes. We ended up getting changed in the toilets ha, but I was just happy I was dry! I’m so glad we brought a change of clothes and shoes which we kept in our backpacks inside lockers when we were on the rides, as this meant we could then carry on the evening without having to head back to the hotel.

We then spent the evening at Universal CityWalk which is located just outside the entrances of both parks. We mooched around the shops, brought some amazing macaroons at The chocolate Emporium and then finally treated ourselves to cocktails and burgers at Hard Rock Cafe.

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The Texan: Hickory-smoked pulled pork, chipotle barbecue sauce, cheddar & Monterey Jack cheese, crispy fried jalapenos & onions all on a toasted brioche bun. Yummmm!

An amazingly fun but long day!

Love, Chloe xx

 

A Surprise Birthday Trip to Iceland – Part 1!

It’s my birthday this week, and as I have been thinking about previous celebrations, I thought I would share with you one of the best, if not THE BEST birthday’s I’ve had.. so far 😉

I had wanted to visit Iceland for as long as I can remember. Not my normal choice of holiday as I’m usually all about the sun, sea, sand, cocktails, you get the picture. But Iceland just looked so beautiful and interesting. I’m also obsessed with spa’s so was dying to float around in the Blue Lagoon and imagined being pulled along by huskies while searching for a hint of the Northern Lights. It all just seemed so magical.

I must of made a million hints to Matt and would always say Iceland as the next place I wanted to visit whenever holidays were discussed with friends. Everyone probably got fed up of me talking about it!

But 2 years ago Matt surprised me and I mean really surprised me. It was a few days before my birthday and we were sat eating dinner like any normal night, when he gave me a postcard where he had written, pack your bags we are off to Iceland in the morning! Excited was an understatement and less than 24 hours later we had landed.

The airport was eerily quiet, the runway had been cleared of snow and when we finally ventured outside we were hit with the ice cold air. On our drive to Reykjavík I thought we had landed on another planet! We were the only car on the roads for miles and the landscape was cratered looking with areas of ice and black volcanic soil dotted around with the view of glaciers or volcanoes in the distance. It really felt like we had landed on Mars or the Moon, but it was stunning and unlike anything I had seen before.

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We were told that 99% of the population live in Urban areas of which 60% live in the capital of Reykjavík which is why so much of Iceland is left in it’s natural beauty.

But this was a birthday trip not a Geography trip so onto the fun stuff!

We checked into Hotel Alda late afternoon, and decided to explore the main streets of Reykjavík, especially as we needed to buy a few more layers or even snow suits as it really was freezing cold!! We walked a long the waterfront and found a lovely and cosy, traditional Icelandic restaurant for dinner.

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You can’t take me anywhere! A slide inside a shop!

 

We had to get up super early the next morning, as we had a full day of exploring to do. Check out the size of the car!

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Check out that view!

We had booked onto a day tour and after a 45 min drive, our first stop was the Þingvellir or Thingvellir National Park. It lies in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the boundary between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, you can see lots of the large cracks that have been caused by Earthquakes! To its south lies the largest natural lake in Iceland. It was a beautiful, but yet again frosty, way to start the morning and watch the sunrise.

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From here we jumped back into the car to warm up and made our way down the deserted roads to Gullfoss.

Gullfoss which means Golden Falls is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland and we could see why, it is absolutely stunning!

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We would have loved to have watched the waterfall for longer but the spray was like ice and along with the bitterly cold winds we couldn’t stay outside for any longer. So as we had some free time in Gullfoss we decided to check out the large shop/cafe/restaurant/visitor centre. It was actually really interesting and nice to grab a bowl of soup and cup of tea to warm up!

I’m sorry to keep going on about the cold weather but seriously if you are planning on visiting Iceland take plenty of layers, sensible shoes (lots of snow, ice, uneven surfaces), hats, gloves, scarfs and if you have them ski jackets or the biggest coats you own. You will need them!

Now as mentioned above one of the things I really wanted to do in Iceland was go dog/husky sledding, but unfortunately we were a little too early in the season and there wasn’t enough snow on the lower ground to do this. However we weren’t sad for long as we were told we could go snowmobiling in the higher glaciers instead.

Feeling both nervous and excited we started the 2 hour drive to Langjökull, Iceland’s second largest glacier. The drive was an experience in itself as we started the journey in our tour jeep which slowly made it’s way up the mountains, the roads getting icier, the drops getting higher until we weren’t allowed to drive any more and so we all had to get into a new vehicle. Imagine a cross between a snowplough and a hummer. It was huge and could basically drive through any amount of snow or ice, the journey was a super bumpy one and we had some dicey moments but we finally made it to the glacier and witnessed some incredible views.

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We were given snowsuits and helmets to wear and then we were off on our one hour snowmobile adventure over the glaciers.

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The snow was pretty deep and I may of fallen flat on my face in front of the whole group, oops!

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Beautiful sunset in the snow

The hour flew by but it was so much fun and as the sun was starting to set we got back into our jeep ready for the final stop of the tour, the geothermal area in Haukadalur, which contains the geysers Geysir and Strokkur. Geysir has been mostly inactive for many years, Strokkur however continues to erupt every 5–10 minutes. It was fun to watch and wait, trying to guess when it would erupt and then making me jump every time it did!

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Rudolph noses! 

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Matt getting up close 

I couldn’t get over how beautiful the sky was! Just stunning.

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After a nice hot shower back at the hotel to warm up, we had another evening in Reykjavík and found a more modern restaurant for dinner, which did the best cocktails!

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Finishing the night with a walk to Hallgrímskirkja (church of Hallgrímur). It is the largest church in Iceland and among the tallest structures in Iceland and is beautifully Gothic looking.

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A beautiful end to our time in Reykjavík.

Love Chloe xx

Shoes, Champagne & Cheese

Last September – I cannot believe it was a whole year ago!! Megs and I visited the Victoria & Albert Museum to view their, Shoes:Pleasure and Pain exhibition.

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Unfortunately you weren’t allowed to take photos inside the exhibition and even though lots of people were, we respected their wishes. So the photos you’ll see of shoes are all taken from Google!

The exhibition was great but pretty busy. Even though tickets were booked in advance and we had an allocated time slot, the first area with the glass displays of shoes were pretty crowded.

The displays were visually enticing but also informative and as a massive shoe lover I found it all very interesting and wanted to take a lot of the shoes home with me!

The shoes displayed ranged from the first pair of Greek Sandals, to 16th Century Venice, to 1940’s London Ladies shoes, to 1960’s Mary Quant boots all the way through to modern day Jimmy Choo’s.

They also had a display dedicated to famous shoes in history, such as David Beckham’s football boots, the infamous white Salvatore Ferragamo pumps, well worn by Marilyn Monroe and even Cinderella’s glass slipper, which I really wanted to sneak home, but don’t think it would have fitted some how and obviously Cinderella still has the other one!

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Now you’ve seen all the shoes, which for me are a pleasure. I guess you’re wondering where the pain was? Well along with the Chinese bound slippers which looked like absolute torture! There was a whole area dedicated to Christian Louboutin and his Fetish shoes. I guess you could say this was a pleasure/pain area. I love the look of these shoes though and would love to try a pair.

The ballerina/pointe shoes are designed to be worn while crawling to your partner, so no fears of falling over in them!

 

After looking around all the shoe displays we watched a video of iconic shoe moments in film, advert and TV history, including Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City’s Blue Manolo Blahnik’s, John Travolta’s walk in Saturday Night Fever, Marilyn Monroe’s strut and Michael J Fox’s white Nikes in Back to the Future 2. We then made our way upstairs to a much airier, brighter and more modern environment to watch videos and displays on how shoes are intricately made.

It was a really fun morning and even though this exhibition has now finished, I would definitely recommend visiting the V&A for their exhibitions as well as their usual collections. Below are their current offerings:

  • Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear – On until 12th March 2017
  • Engineering the World – Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design – On until 6th November 2016
  • You Say You Want a Revolution? Record and Rebels 1966-1970 – On until 26th February 2017

From the V&A we made our way over to Covent Garden for a spot of lunch at Champagne and Fromage.

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Champagne and Fromage is a tiny shop and bistro selling an array of champagnes, French cheeses and charcuterie – all the best C’s!

Megs and I found our spot and settled in for the afternoon, sharing a bottle of deliciously cold champagne along with a selection of foods including baked Camembert with nuts, dried apricots and figs along with a selection of breads and salads.

We thought we were too full for dessert until we saw what was on offer! Macarons, Champagne or Mojito sorbets, Apple tart with champagne cream or how does a champagne and raspberry tiramisu sound? Delicious!

C&F is great for a cosy afternoon full of treats and indulgence and I would definitely recommend booking a table, especially if you fancy visiting at peak times.

On our stroll back to the station we noticed that Be At One had a 2 for 1 offer on cocktails so we popped in for 1 which turned into 2, which turned into… you get the picture!

A very indulgent and fun girls day out 🙂

Love, Chloe xxx

 

 

 

Kathryn and Anthony’s Wedding!

Matt and I woke up early, so we had enough time to get ready, before beginning our drive to Froyle Park in Hampshire for Kat and Ant’s wedding day!

It was another bright day, filled with sunshine, the perfect day for a wedding.

We stopped at a pub along the way, to meet up with some of the other guests for a drink and a bite to eat, before carrying on our journey to the venue.

Driving along the long, gravel path, we saw Froyle Park for the first time and it looked beautiful.

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We gathered in the front room, which was light and airy with huge windows, overlooking the grounds and chatted with other friends and guests, before making our way into the ceremony room.

The ceremony room was at the back of the house and had been decorated with white roses and candles, it was very romantic. We watched an excited/nervous/emotional/happy Anthony, wait for his bride to walk down the stairs and down the aisle to meet him.

Kat looked stunning in her dress.

While waiting for the ceremony to begin, us girls had tried to guess what type of dress she would be wearing, as she had kept it a secret, and this was more beautiful then any of us could ever have imagined. (Please tell me we are not the only ones who try to guess the dress?!)

Both of them were filled with love and happy tears as they exchanged vows.

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Just look at that dress!!

After the ceremony we made our way outside into the lush gardens, for drinks and canapés, while the new Mr & Mrs had their photos taken.

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The stunning bride, Kat

 

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The Wedding Party

Our glasses were constantly being topped up with champagne and the canapés were delicious. Some people decided to join in with the lawn games, while others chatted in the sunshine.

We were then informed that a cocktail bar had been opened. Free flowing Mojito’s and Porn Star Martini’s on a sunny day…amazing!

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Annie, Me, Gemma and Emma enjoying a few of the cocktails!

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One of my favourite photos – Emma, Annie, Gemma, Jess and Me

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Matt, Conor and Rich

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Group Shot! Gemma, Conor, Emma, Will, Me, Matt, Annie, Rich, Jess & James

After quite a few cocktails, fun on the swings and posing for photos, we were called in for dinner.

A delicious 3 course meal, with even more alcohol, this time white wine. Finished with the speeches and a champagne toast, I must admit I was feeling a little bit tipsy by this point!

A quick turn around of the room, meant the evening celebrations were about to begin.

First up cutting of the cake…

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Taking the floor for their first dance as Husband and Wife…

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And then we were let loose! With a free bar, a dress up box, glow sticks and a live band. We danced, sang and toasted the night away.

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Jess, Kat and Gemma

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Me & Matt ❤ (I have no idea what’s going on in the background? haha)

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Gem and Matt

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Annie and I

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Emma, Annie, Conor and Me

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Me & Gem

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Me, Matt and Jess

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Will, Matt, Annie and Emma

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Jess and I

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Me & matt

An amazing day, spent with wonderful friends, filled with love, laughter and smiles  ❤