Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Iceland Day 2: The Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Our second day in Iceland was spent in the Blue Lagoon. If you're not familiar with it, it is a man-made lagoon fed by the water from a nearby geothermal power plant, with an average water temperature of 37 degrees celcius. The water is rich with silica and sulphur (which causes its milky blue colour), and can reportedly help some people with skin problems such as psoriasis. It is located in a lava field in Grindavik, around 50 minutes away from Reykjavik.

Blue Lagoon Iceland Face Masks

We booked onto a bus tour through STA for our day in the Blue Lagoon, and that cost us each around £60, which seemed to be the cheapest that we could find it without our own transfer. This included return transfers and entrance fees. Once we arrived, we went into the changing rooms to change. We all took our own towels, but you can pay to rent a towel and a robe, which would have been quite nice because once the towel is wet you can exchange it for a new one. We also all smothered our hair in the conditioner provided in the showers before we entered the lagoon, as the water can apparently make your hair really dry and stiff if it is not conditioned properly.

When you arrive, you are given a wrist band. This band is used to lock your locker (these are complimentary), and if you buy any food or drink whilst you are at the lagoon, it is recorded on your band and you pay at the end. This saves you having to carry any money around (plus you can then visit the swim-up bar without getting your notes wet!).


Guess who forgot to change the date and time on their camera?!

When we stepped outside, it was absolutely freezing. But as soon as we were submerged in the water it was really warm. The lagoon is actually really big so, although it was quite busy, it never seemed cramped. We spent the day exploring the various areas of the lagoon - we particularly enjoyed the cave and waterfall. There are also steam room and saunas, plus an inside area of the lagoon. We also made the most of the free silica mud masks - they made our skin feel really soft afterwards.


We also made the most of the swim-up bar and cafe. I had an orange juice at the bar, which cost me about 400 krona (around £3), and a lovely smoked salmon sandwich in the cafe, at around 1,200 krona (around £9). It was quite expensive, but not extortionate considering it was in Iceland. The bar also sold wine, cider and beer, and there was a restaurant that sold hot food (although you have to get dressed to visit, and we couldn't be bothered with that!). There are also various water fountains dotted around - you need to stay hydrated as the water is so warm.


I really, really enjoyed the Blue Lagoon and would definitely recommend it to anyone that is visiting Iceland. We had a really relaxed day and just spent the time chatting and swimming. The atmosphere in the lagoon was quite magical, because of the steam rising off the water - it made it feel like there were less people there too. Definitely one to go on the bucket list if you've never been!

In the evening we decided to go out for dinner. We visited Tommi's, a burger bar situated at the back of a bar on the main street in Reykjavik. I ordered a veggie burger with chips (paying around 1,500 krona), and I have to say that it was one of the best burgers I've ever had! The burger sauce was what made it, as it was so tasty and made the burger really moist. There was also live music in the bar which was really fun - they sung everything from Journey to Britney Spears! We had a lot of fun singing and dancing along.

Part 3 coming tomorrow!
The most reliable way to predict the future is to create it.
#projectsmile



Monday, 27 March 2017

Iceland Day 1: Reykjavik

On Thursday, after a 4am start and a 5am drive to Manchester airport, we arrived in Reykjavik around midday. We caught the bus to the city from Keflavik airport, which cost us 4000 krona for a return ticket (around £30) - this seemed to be the easiest way to get to Reykjavik if you weren't driving.


We couldn't check into our apartment until 2pm, so we decided to find somewhere to eat for lunch. We found the main shopping and restaurant streets of Reykjavik but found that everywhere was really expensive - so we ended up at Dunkin' Donuts, of all places, most likely the least Icelandic place on the whole island. To be fair, the doughnuts were delicious, and I ended up visiting again later over the weekend for another one!


We then checked into our apartment and decided to have a wander around Reykjavik. One thing that really stood out for me was how colourful it was - loads of the buildings had some sort of mural painted onto the side of them, and they were all painted different colours of the rainbow. It seemed like a very cheerful city, and was definitely Instagrammable!


We also found the old harbour area, which had great views over some mountain ranges. There was a big glass building called Harpa, which was a concert hall with some gift shops inside, which we had a look around. The shops in Reykjavik sell some really lovely things, but it is all so expensive. I wanted to buy a pack of cards to play with in the apartment, but the cheapest I found was around 1,000 krona, which is about £7.50. Needless to say, I didn't bother buying any! Everything seemed around two to three times as expensive as the UK; for example, a glass of wine in a bar would set you back around 1,200 krona (around £9). Iceland is definitely not a place to visit if you are feeling really poor. 


We enjoyed looking around some of the quirkier shops, such as the Christmas shop, the viking shop, and the polar bear shop.


We also visited the Hallgrimskirkja church, Iceland's tallest church that can be seen from most areas of the city (which was useful, as we used it as a landmark to help us navigate Reykjavik). It has a really modern and interesting shape, and we were expecting the inside to be really impressive - but it was actually rather plain. One of the girls decided to go up the tower (paying 900 krona), and said that it had great views over Reykjavik and beyond.

Hallgrimskirkja church, Reykjavik, Iceland

As everywhere was so expensive to eat out, we decided to cook for ourselves on the first night. We found a Bonus supermarket, which seemed to be the cheapest in the city, and got some pasta and sauce. This was still more expensive than buying food in a supermarket in the UK, but worked out much cheaper than a meal out.

Stay tuned for day 2 of Iceland tomorrow - which was my favourite day as it was when we visited the Blue Lagoon!
We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are.
#projectsmile



Sunday, 26 March 2017

Iceland

This is going to be a very quick post, as I got back from Iceland today and I feel exhausted! I will be doing a full post tomorrow.


The past few days have been so fun, spent exploring Reykjavik and the surrounding areas, including the Blue Lagoon, and eating lots of nice food. We arrived in Iceland at around midday on Thursday, and spent the day getting our bearings and settling into our accommodation.


On Friday we visited the Blue Lagoon and spent around 5 hours there. I think this was definitely my favourite part of the trip, as it was so relaxing and such a surreal experience.


Yesterday was spent in Reykjavik, exploring the shops and the main church, as well as wandering around the harbour area. In the evening we went on a trip to see the northern lights, but unfortunately they didn't show themselves, which was a little disappointing.

I had such a nice few days with a lovely group of friends, and I would definitely go back to Iceland again as there is so much more that I would like to see in the form of waterfalls and glaciers. It is such a magical country with so much to offer for everyone.



Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Spoilt by Baylis & Harding



As a blogger, I don't really get that much stuff sent to me - mainly because that's not what I'm blogging for. So when I do get something it's always such a lovely surprise, and it feels like a bit of a reward for all of the posts that I write.

I have received products from Baylis & Harding quite a few times before, and they are always so generous. This time they emailed asking whether I would like to try any of their new stuff, and I liked the look of a set of 3 candles so I asked if I could receive them. So when a huge box turned up at my door with Baylis & Harding writing on the sides, I was shocked! When I got into it, I was amazed to find so much stuff in it, and I love it all. I think Baylis & Harding are a very elegant brand and their products really reflect the trends of the moment (i.e. pink and rose gold!).


The one and only set of beauty products that I received this time was their La Maison linen rose and cotton bath set*. This lovely little heart box contains a body cleanser and body lotion, and I think it would make a lovely gift. The La Maison range reminds me of a country cottage, and the smell reminds me of my grandparents' garden. I think I have enough body wash to last me for about 3 years right now...

The only qualm I have with Baylis & Harding packaging is that they put a silver seal over the openings of their products, so you have to peel that off before you can smell what's inside. It just annoys me as I can never get it off and I'm always so impatient to test the product inside - but if you can deal with that, you'll be fine!


Another item from the La Maison range was their linen rose and cotton reed diffuser*. I love a good reed diffuser because the scent lasts for ages and is constant, rather than having to light a candle (I guess it's also much safer!). I didn't open this and put it together today because I want to keep it for my flat that I'll get over the summer - I really want to have a bedroom with hints of pink, so this will fit in perfectly. If it smells anything like the bath products it will be gorgeous!



The next products are all candles, which I was so happy with because Baylis & Harding candles are so beautiful, and my favourite items that they produce. The first one was this gorgeous pink prosecco and cassis cloche candle*. I love that it comes in a glass jar - I don't have any other candles like it and I think it makes it look really elegant and more expensive than it actually is. I actually received some of the pink prosecco and cassis range back in February (review here) and I mentioned that it was my favourite scent of theirs so far - well, this candle is no exception. It has quite a sweet fragrance with a slight hint of berries, and I think it will smell amazing when it's burnt. I also love the packaging of this range, with the pink and rose gold speckles.



This was actually the set of candles that I originally asked for from Baylis & Harding. I love the pink, grey and white colours of the ceramic pots (again, I was thinking that these would work in my new bedroom!), and they all smell slightly very delicate and flowery. The only problem is that one of the candles arrived with a chip in it, but I think I will be able to cover it by putting it at the back.




Although this candle is also from the La Maison range, it is supposed to smell of sea salt and wild mint. It has a very subtle scent, so would be more for people that don't like to be overwhelmed by the scent of candles. But I absolutely love that it is 3 wicks - I think that just makes a candle look so much more expensive and posh than it actually is. Again, this would make a great gift for someone - and the container is white, so it would suit any decor.



I have saved the best until last - I think this is my favourite out of all of the items that I received. Again, a 3 wick candle, which I love. Again, the pink prosecco and cassis candle, which I also love. And it's pink with a silver mirrored inside, which is amazing! This will definitely be going in my bedroom, but I couldn't resist lighting it whilst I was having a bath - and I can confirm that it smells as gorgeous as it looks. Plus it's only £8! I now have three multi-wick candles, so they will be spread out all over my flat.

I've had quite a relaxing afternoon, having a bath and testing out these products, but the rest of the day will be spent packing and driving up north for our flight to Iceland, which is early tomorrow morning. I'm so excited to go! Stay tuned, as I will try to post as much as I can while I'm away - or keep up to date with my Instagram @hannahev19 :)
Sometimes it ends up different, and it is better that way.
#projectsmile



Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Silver boots and camo jacket


Camouflage Jacket - Vintage
T-Shirt - Primark
Skirt - Primark
Scarf - Primark
Silver Boots - Primark

I haven't really done much today except pack, as I'm off to Iceland in a couple of days! So I thought I would share with you the outfit that I wore on Sunday to go shopping.

I've only now realised how much of it is Primark, but to be honest, I don't really have a problem with that. I was wearing my bargain £3 shiny silver boots again, this time with a simple faux leather skirt and t-shirt, with my camouflage jacket thrown over the top. It's a fairly simple and laid-back outfit that you would typically find me wearing at the weekend.

I've also been looking at flats to live in today - I honestly can't tell you how excited I am about it!!!
To get lost is to learn the way.
#projectsmile



Monday, 20 March 2017

Look out Liverpool!


Today I found out that my job as a doctor for the next couple of years will be based in Liverpool, which I am so happy about as I got my first choice hospital!

I have come to love Liverpool so much, and I really didn't feel like I was finished with it, so I'm so glad that I will be there for at least two more years. There is always so much going on and so much to see, as well as some incredible independent places to eat. I never feel like I run out of places to go, and there's still so much more that I want to explore around the area. I also love the Scouse people - they are so friendly, and also so proud of their city.

So I'm very glad that I will be there for the next couple of years - bring on the flat hunting! (Ahhh I'm so excited to start decorating!!!)

To celebrate, I'm going to watch Beauty and the Beast with my mum at the cinema. I'm very excited to see it - popcorn's on me!
Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable.
#projectsmile



Sunday, 19 March 2017

Russell Howard's Round the World Tour


Brunch T-Shirt - Zara
Gingham Skirt - H&M
Denim Jacket - Vintage
Boots - Old

I wore this outfit last night when I went to Birmingham to watch Russell Howard's live show with my sister. I love this skirt (even though it's quite short!), and the gingham and the ruffles are both so on trend right now. It's surprisingly versatile due to its monochromatic colours, so it goes with so many different tops. This t-shirt is also really fun because the burger and cocktail are stuck down by velcro, so they are removable!


Russell Howard was so good last night! He left me with black eyeliner all down my face and an aching tummy (definitely a good sign), but he also put across some really important points. He talked about politics, mental health, the NHS and happiness, but in a really funny and relatable way. He is really using his platform and fame to discuss important topics, and I've never seen a comedian do that before. It left me feeling so inspired and happy to be in this world - he reminded us all of the most important things in life, and at the end of the day all you will be left with is your loved ones and the memories that you have with them. What's the point in spending the time moaning and worrying about the number of Instagram followers you have, or your weight and getting angry at Tesco's croissants being the wrong shape (this actually happened)?

To be honest, I'd rather spend my time just wrapped up in mine and my loved ones' lives, and stop worrying about what other people are doing. I'd rather be right there in the moment and stop worrying about the past, or what could happen next. I want to make memories that I can tell my grandchildren about in 50 years - memories that I'll still be giggling about when I'm 80 years old.

If you have the opportunity, go and watch Russell Howard live - or buy the DVD when it comes out. I think his show could really change the way that a lot of people think. I certainly found it very inspiring, and I've decided that I want to enjoy the short time that I have on this planet. What's life without a bit of laughter?!
Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like, and celebrating it for everything that it is.
#projectsmile