Summer Of Fun – Part 1

I’ve not long returned from a work trip and as usual, going on an aeroplane fills my head with memories of trips gone by and those to come too so I wanted to bring you some of my top tips for some of my favourite places. Following on from the Essex Girls Half Marathon effort last year in June, we jetted off for our much anticipated trip to The White Isle for part 1 of what I’ve named the ‘Summer Of Fun’.

If you are planning a visit, these are my must-sees….

Pacha 

The ‘original’ super club. On my first visit last year, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’ve seen films and heard stories that made me think I was going to be heading into something similar to an illegal rave and being that drugs are totally not my bag, I was nervous. Yes, that exists but Pacha itself is super G-L-A-M and in 2015 the decor was themed around the Moulin Rouge which was convenient as our last trip together was to the original in Paris. There’s so many different areas to discover but my favourite bits are the roof terrace – with girls dancing in giant martini glasses and chilled beats on balmy summer nights – and the discovery this time round of the R’n’B room. If you are not into EDM and prefer something a little more commercial then this is the room is definitely the one for you!

 

Ocean Beach 

Words can’t describe how excited I was to be heading to Ocean Beach Ibiza. All my favourites in one day! My girls, champagne, vodka, old skool garage music courtesy of Kisstory all whilst enjoying the blazing sunshine!! Perfection. I’d highly recommend booking yourselves a VIP bed if there are a few of you as you will easily meet the minimum spend throughout the day. The day is spent flitting between the pool – adorned with giant glitterballs and amazing aerialists – back to the ‘Veuve Cliquot’ accessorised bed to dry off and top up the tan. My advice to you is remember to drink water and try and wear a hat to keep the sun off your head…. You don’t want to end up with sunstroke and ruin the evening plans! 

  

Blue Marlin 

Set in its own secluded spot in Cala Jondal away from the hustle and bustle of San An and Playa D’en Bossa, Blue Marlin gives you the perfect day to night venue. It’s a beach club by day, with exclusive cabana beds and a private beach before welcoming house DJs and dancing girls by night. This is flanked by an amazing al fresco dining area where you can watch the sunset before the trees are lit up with pink fairy lights. It’s not the cheapest of places but it feel exclusive, glam and is well worth every penny! You wouldn’t be surprised if a yacht pulled up and an A Lister stepped off to sit on the table next to you. I can highly recommend the Burrata with tomato, zucchini flower, Wagyu ham and fresh basil, Beef Tournedos with homemade cranberry mustard, green beans and potato purée! I was also a massive fan of the illuminated bottle of ‘Ibiza’ Belvedere vodka! Absolutely perfect venue for a more chilled night, with good music, good food, good wine, best friends and lots of laughs. 

  

 Cafe Mambo

An essential! One of the most iconic bars in Ibiza. The most important tip I can give you is to book a seafront table (as far in advance as possible) to ensure you get the best view of the amazing sunset that falls over the bay. Don’t worry about the (low) minimum spend as the food is great and the cocktails go down a treat so between a group you it’s easily achievable. As it’s such a renowned venue on the White Isle, you are likely to have some of the worlds best DJs providing the soundtrack to the view of a lifetime. And you might even spot the famous Mambo Brothers on the next table if you are very lucky.

  

The other places I would try and pay a visit to whilst on the island would be Ushuaia – for one of their club nights, nothing better than starting your night here, before a quick freshen up in the hotel and off to finish off your night at one of the super clubs, and The Ninth – the rooftop bar at the Hard Rock Hotel – clean white leather sofas, cocktails and amazing views across Playa D’en Bossa bay. I’ve also heard good things about Ibiza Rocks House, where they filmed Wham’s Club Tropicana video. I’ve not been but it sounds like my kind of place! 
  

I’ve visited Ibiza twice and I have to say that I really love it there. Besides the sunshine, Spanish food and beautiful beaches, I found an affection for this little place with a big personality because you don’t have to conform, you can be yourself and nobody passes judgement. 

Katie xx

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The sun has set beautifully on 2015

So I’ve been AWOL for quite some time. 

Basically 2015 was a whirlwind, amazing year. Well a few initial hiccups then amazing for the majority before turning a bit shitty in December but I’ll get to that. 

First I want to tell you why I’ve been quiet for so long. I’ve covered off the first half of the year during previous posts on my #100daysofhappiness so I’ll just give a whistle stop tour of the second half. 

In June, myself and 4 of the best ones completed our new year challenge. We ran a half marathon. When I say ran, I actually ran. The entire way. I never ever thought I would be able to do it and with actual blood, sweat and tears through training we managed to achieve it, together. The dream team! 

To reward ourselves, we headed off to Ibiza shortly after. God I love that island. The weekend was full of laughs and memories that will last a lifetime. I want to share the places we visited but I’ll save that for another post! Sunning myself with my best girls, partying to Kisstory at Ocean Beach and experiencing how the other half live at Blue Marlin were definitely highlights for me! 

  

In August my parents celebrated 40 years of marriage. What an achievement! They are a shining example of true love, married at 18 and still having fun together 40 years later. My aim is to share the same kind of true love with someone myself one day. If I can have even 10 years experiencing the same depth of love they have for each other then I’ll be happy. I don’t want to settle for anything less. 

A reoccurring event in my annual calendar is V Festival. Those who have read my blog know about my love of music and I am so lucky to welcome some of the worlds best bands and artists to a festival on my doorstep every August. 

The following week I headed off to one of the most anticipated events of the year… My friend’s wedding in Rome. There were many things going through my mind prior to the trip as it was my first time in Italy, I’d never experienced a wedding abroad before and the thing that was making me most apprehensive was that these friends (and all the other people going) were people I had met through Mr Long Term, so he himself was going to be there too. I was nervous but I needn’t have been.  

Rome turned out to be everything I wanted and more. The city and food were amazing, the wedding itself was INCREDIBLE and I laughed until my face hurt every moment of every day there. Most coined phrase ‘when in Rome’ made almost any behaviour acceptable. I also met someone, who I’ve named Mr Nice Guy, you’ll hear more later. I’m so honoured to have been given the opportunity to celebrate with the happy couple and experience the love surrounding them, something that I will never forget. 

  

After four days at home, I jetted off to my happy place in Majorca where I spent two blissful weeks with my family. Sunbathing, eating, drinking, repeating. 
  

On my return to the UK I wasn’t met with the usual horrendous blues I have when I leave there. Many reasons for this included dates with Mr Nice Guy, one of my girls getting engaged, another two giving birth to their beautiful babies and one of my closest friends asking me to be her Maid of Honour next year. 

The final few months of the year sped by with lots of nights out, weekends with Mr Nice Guy and work being so busy heading into the festive season. 

So, Mr Nice Guy. Who is he? He is exactly that. He’s fun, good-looking, so kind, adores his family and is loyal beyond words. I made some great memories with him which made it all the more difficult when things didn’t work out for us just a few days before my birthday and Christmas. It was a bit of a shock as things seemed to be great during my visit to see him the weekend before.

I’m not really sure what happened. I questioned myself (and still do occasionally) wondering if it was something I did wrong. Did I say or do something wrong? What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t he want it to work? Why is this happening to me again? Feeling so sad at a time when you are meant to be full of Christmas spirit is really hard. So I got drunk a lot with my friends. 

But now, I’ve focused on the fact that everyone crosses your path for a reason. His reason? To show me the sort of person I’d like to be with and that there are actually some decent single guys left out there. I’m really happy we met and that I had the opportunity to get to know him. 

What now for 2016? 

Well even though we are only 10 days in, it’s shaping up to be quite some year already. 5 weddings plus 3 hen weekends, a new baby in the summer (not mine, obvs), 2 wedding cakes to make and 10 days in Majorca in the Autumn. But I have also felt the need to make some big changes to my own life so have been focusing on self development. 

I’m going back to uni to complete my marketing diploma, I’ve never been more focused on saving money to achieve my goal of buying my own home, I’m going to learn Spanish and I am determined to shift the last 10lbs that has been lingering during 2015. Basically, I’ve chosen some things to achieve that I am solely responsible for so basically my happiness has no reliance on other people. If I don’t achieve these things, I can only blame myself. On the flip side, when I do achieve them, I’ll be able to feel immensely proud. 

I hope 2016 is the happiest yet for you all and that your hopes and dreams come true x

Happiness is…. Part 1

If you’ve been reading my blog, I think it’s pretty clear what brings me happiness! I’ve decided to write a series of blog posts around a few of those things and I am starting with one of my favourite things to do…. Going out!

I am blessed to have the fantastic city of London virtually on my doorstep and whilst my friends and I have our favourite places that we visit time and again, I’ve actually tried a few new places recently and now have a list as long as my arm of places that I NEED to try!! A few of my favourites haunts are:

Mabel’s – Covent Garden
Previously known as Jewel Bar, Mabel’s was recently the venue for a friend’s boyfriend’s 30th birthday. It was a Friday night so Maiden Lane itself was buzzing, the bouncer opened the door to let us in and we were greeted by people laughing and singing along with the band that were making their way round the tables singing modern classics like ‘Sex Is On Fire’ and ‘Mr Brightside’. I loved it immediately.

We made our way downstairs to the reserved area which was more of a club feel, with a dance floor, a bar, booth areas and later, a DJ. The staff were all fabulous and I was suitably impressed when after just a couple of orders, I went to get another and the barman remembered my order.

I recently suggested Mabel’s as the location for a little Thursday night soiree with one of my oldest friends. We popped along for a spot of food (which is DELICIOUS) and cocktails. It was a Thursday evening mid-month so slightly more chilled than my previous visit. We sat in leather armchairs and sipped our drinks, putting the world to rights. It was like sitting in someone’s lounge… just with a few more people!

I can highly recommend a visit to Mabel’s and my cocktail of choice was the ‘Ginchello’ – Gin, limoncello, homemade redcurrant syrup, lychee juice and prosecco. Divine!

Oyster Shed – City of London
I love a bar with a view, usually from a rooftop terrace, but there’s no need for a rooftop at The Oyster Shed as it overlooks the Thames with views of The Shard, Tower Bridge and some of the other fab buildings along the river. The Oyster Shed is a fave of mine and the girls during the summer months with long evenings spent there, soaking up the evening sun.

The Oyster Shed is a firm favourite of mine because it’s decked out (excuse the pun) in a beach theme, even the toilet cubicles downstairs are beach huts!! Combined with the fact it overlooks the water, I automatically feel as though I am on holiday without a care in the world, forgetting that I am in the City!!

The menu has a good selection of seafood, but if you are not a fan of seafood, there are plenty of other options so don’t let that put you off!

This is one of my favourite places to visit throughout the summer months when the sunshine is putting a smile on everyone’s face.

On the Roof – Selfridges
I love Selfridges, and I love rooftop bars. When I heard Selfridges had a rooftop bar, well that was it, I HAD to visit. I first visited for lunch last summer when the rooftop was branded as ‘On the Roof with Q’, a grill restaurant that had recently opened in Camden. I have to say that I was slightly disappointed with the view as mostly you just see rooftops, however, it doesn’t take away from the experience at all. The astroturf and cute furniture made me feel as though I was at a BBQ in someone’s garden which I liked a lot.

I visited again just before Christmas. I was worn out and chilled to the bone from a day of Christmas Shopping and a visit to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park so decided to rest my feet . To my delight, On The Roof had been re-themed to ‘Le Chalet’ with patio heaters, warming cocktails and wool blankets on each chair. I’ve never been skiing as I love the beach but Le Chalet was exactly how I imagine après ski to be!

I can’t wait to see what the theming will be this year, it’s somewhere I would definitely add to a list of date nights, particularly in the winter months.

21 – Covent Garden
On to my favourite bar. The bar overlooks the piazza in Covent Garden, and when most people head to the Punch and Judy for an al fresco drink with a view, I will head to 21, where I can sit on their balcony and watch all of those people crammed in to Punch and Judy.

I don’t know if I can put my finger on why 21 is my favourite. It’s quite small but it’s also unpretentious, laid back and relaxed (so maybe because I feel it matches my personality)? I took one of best friends there last week and she also loved it. She said it reminded her of being on holiday and I wondered if that might be another reason why I like it so much.

I went again last week with some other friends and for the first time I sat downstairs in the restaurant area which was just as fab. It’s Italian, reasonably priced and it also had happy hour on cocktails, always a winner. I had the Alla Roma pizza and although I have not visited Italy, I can imagine that all the pizza’s taste that good!!!

I can’t wait to visit Rome in the summer, if the bars and restaurants are anything like 21 then I am not sure I’ll be on the flight home!!!

Adventure Bar – Covent Garden
Adventure Bar has a reputation of being my go to place now. When I turned up last week the bouncer said ‘You again?!’…. think I maybe need to find a new place to go! In truth, I have only been 5 times over the last year, I am clearly just very memorable!!!

It’s a party bar with an extensive cocktail list, random flavoured shots and probably the best catalogue of music available. The staff are all really fun, clearly enjoying their jobs and their happiness is infectious. They also serve the drinks REALLY fast which is a bonus.

I can recommend booking an area if you are planning a visit as it can get really busy and then if your names not down, you’re not coming in.

The Alchemist – Bevis Marks
I first visited The Alchemist at Trinity Leeds shopping centre whilst on a work trip and once I’d been, I was desperate for them to open one at the shopping centre I work at, or if not, then at least in London. Then, 2 years later, they finally opened one in the heart of the city. YES! I’ve not visited properly yet. I did go for one quick double vodka and DC en route to Liverpool Street late last week but I was quite well-oiled. I remember loving the high ceilings at the fairy lights but that’s about it.

I can’t wait to go and sample the cocktails with the girls. I’m not sure whether to try the French Martini, White Chocolate Raspberry Martini or the White Cosmo first!!!

Let me know if you’ve visited any of my favourites or whether you have any recommendations for me to try. As much as I love the classics, I like to try somewhere new once in a while.

Hugs, Katie xx

 

A Recipe For Happiness!

It’s been a while since I updated you all on my #100daysofhappiness (the point of this blog!) so here we go….

Day 14 – Saw some old faces at work today from my secretarial days at Head Office.  Reminded me that when I want something enough, I can achieve it!!  Never give up!!

Day 15 – 3 bottles of prosecco with the lovely Anna!

Day 16 – So….. this happened.  Eeeeek!

GBBO

Day 17 – Sunday’s are for pampering!  Had a lovely lie in, did a hair mask, face mask and soaked myself in body cream!  Bliss!

Day 18 – A few things today.  Ibiza flights are BOOKED!!!  Someone said I looked like a Barbie (LOVE him!) AND I did a one handed spin at pole!

Day 19 – Good discovery today!  Tapas Tuesdays at All Bar One!  4 Tapas dishes and a bottle of wine for £20 xx

Day 20 – Got my annual charity quiz night invitation today! Love a quiz night! xx

Day 21 – Ran 5k at the gym tonight!  Love our little motivational Whatsapp group ‘Team Beefa!’ xx

Day 22 – Lovely, lovely evening with beaut friends xxx

Day 23 – Had such a fun night with fab friends xxx

Something potentially massive happened on Day 16.  I sent off my application for a place in the BBC’s Great British Bake Off this year.  Eeek!

I am under NO illusions that out of the thousands and thousands of applicants, I will get picked.  I know it’s highly unlikely and I have no expectations whatsoever.  I am not nearly good enough, and I don’t think that I have the experience they will be looking for.  But do you know what, I decided that I have absolutely nothing to lose so I just went for it!  Every year, people always tell me that I should go on it and I always say ‘oooh I don’t think I’m good enough’ or ‘I don’t think I could take the stress’.  All the excuses.  Well not anymore, at least I can now say I applied, regardless of what happens.

Ever since I can remember, I have loved baking. The stand out toy from my childhood was my A La Carte Kitchen, I baked cakes for family members birthdays, at the age of 12 I cooked a 3 course dinner for my parents anniversary – there are many memories.  My ‘speciality’ is baking and decorating cakes.  I’m not claiming to be amazing (I’m definitely not amazing), but I feel proud of the creations I’ve made to date.  I’ve had one 2 and a half hour cupcake decorating lesson and a 3 hour Macaron making lesson, the rest is completely self taught and just came from practice, practice and more practice!

I find baking very therapeutic – iTunes on shuffle, zoning out into my own little world and you can’t beat the smell of cakes or bread baking in the oven, it’s so homely.  Then finally, I love seeing people tucking into the tasty treats that I’ve created!  It’s a real sense of achievement and also a great honour when someone asks to you make them a cake for an occasion that is very special to them.

Here are a few examples of some of my bakes…

Baking

Everywhere I look lately, there is something or someone talking about happiness.  I’m not sure if it’s always been that way or whether I am just noticing it more now because of the blog and my #100daysofhappiness.  One of the things I saw was a little plaque entitled ‘Recipe for Happiness’ – I have most of the ingredients in my store cupboard, just one I need to nurture and perhaps once I have all the ingredients, every day will become 100% happy again!

Recipe For Happiness

Ingredients

1 Bag of Smiles
2 Cups of Sharing
2lbs of Positivity
1/2 Cup of Good Humour
1 Cup of Self Esteem
2 Spoonfuls of Simplicity
1 Dash of Goodwill
4 Drops of Easy Going
and
1 Packet of Life Loving!

So there you have it, a recipe for happiness, which hopefully will be the best thing I ever create!

Love Katie xx

PS – Coincidence that my mum and dad have just returned from a weekend in my other ‘happy place’ – Swanage, Dorset – with this little gift…

BakePlaque

 

 

Felicidad (That’s Spanish for happiness!)

When I started my blog, I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t being all self righteous and let’s face it, annoying. No-one wants to hear me harping on about the meaning of life and so on. With that in mind, I decided that I would use some posts as a way to share the love about things that make me happy! A bit of an education, but also therapeutic for me to write about something I feel passionately about.

We all have that place; the one place that you know you will always be a happy place. The sort of place where you have already made so many memories but you know there will be so many more, the place that you know no day will ever be the same, your second home in the world, where you feel comfortable and where literally anything goes.

My number one happy place in all the world is Puerto Pollensa. A small fishing village in the north of the beautiful island of Majorca. It’s hard to explain to people why it is amazing, and how once you visit you will also hold it dear in your heart so I won’t try, you will just have to take my word for it and see for yourself!

Puerto-Pollensa-Beach

The beaches have white sand, the sea is turquoise blue and warm like a bath, there is a stunning backdrop of the Tramuntana mountains, the mood is laid back, friendly and you are always made to feel so welcome by the locals. Public transport is fantastic and because the island is relatively small, it gives you the opportunity to explore some of the other amazing places dotted around and if you hire a car, well, you can go anywhere!

Here are just a few of the things I would suggest doing if you are ever planning a visit to my happy place….

1 – Get the bus to Palma for a day trip

The capital has so much to offer, really something for everyone. Great architecture and art plus fabulous shopping, bars and restaurants. Don’t miss seeing the Gothic cathedral (La Seu) and the Almudaina Palace too. The bus ride will take around an hour and half so don’t forget to take a book.

Palma

2 – Soller

I can highly recommend this trip, it’s something else. Hire yourself a car and drive to Soller. There’s a lovely square where you can have a bit of Tapas and browse the quaint shops. Once you are ready, hop on the tram which takes you down to the port. It’s a beautiful ride and although technically you aren’t supposed to, at times you can reach out and grab lemons or oranges off of the trees as you pass. Once you get to the port, you can relax on the beach or perhaps enjoy a drink while taking in the views and if you prefer, you could eat in one of the restaurants here rather than in the town.

Tram

3 – Lluc

Again, you will need a car for this but it’s something very special. In the mountains sits the ancient monastery of Lluc. The monastery is a very peaceful place and is still run by monks of the Sacred Heart. In the 16th Century the boys school on the site formed a choir, The Blauvets, to sing at Mass. This choir still exists today and if you visit on a weekday, you may be lucky enough to hear them.

Lluc

4 – Formentor

A beautiful secluded beach which can be reached by car, bus or boat (I suggest the boat trip). If you do decide to drive be warned – it’s VERY mountainous but you will be rewarded with the absolute best views of the island. Formentor is an exclusive area, one very expensive hotel (frequented by the rich and famous), a sandy beach and not much else so I recommend taking a picnic. If you are taking a trip by boat, you may spot Michael Douglas’ house in the mountains!

Formentor

5 – People Watching

One of my favourite activities. And Puerto Pollensa is the perfect venue. I would say take a seat at the Daina Bar on the front, or at Bony’s in the square and just sit back taking it all in. You won’t believe some of the things you see!!!

Daina

If you have ever been to Puerto Pollensa you will understand its attraction and will indeed hold some of your very own memories. It’s truly a special place but you will have to see it for yourself to believe it!  I can’t wait to go back in September.

Let me know if you have visited and your favourite memories, it will feel good to reminisce!

Katie x