Friday, 27 March 2015

Tresaith - West Wales

I've posted about my unusual accommodation on my recent trip to West Wales, I loved our train carriage holiday let and didn't want to leave but I did mange to head out and do some exploring in the local area whilst on my holiday. Our accommodation was right on the coast path in Aberporth and Tresaith was only a 3-4 mile round trip so Martyn and I decided to brave the strong winds and head out for a coastal stroll.

Tresaith is between Aberporth and Llangranog and is part of the Ceredigion Heritage Coastline which and offers some stunning views. There are lots of regular sightings of grey seals and dolphins in the area, especially when the waters get a little warmer in the summer.

I love the local legend that says a king of Ireland had seven troublesome daughters. Failing to exercise control over the princesses he finally lost his patience and told his servants to put his daughters on an open boat and cast them adrift. The Irish Sea currents took the craft towards the coast of Ceredigion where it beached. The seven princesses landed safely, fell in love with the sons of seven local Welsh families, married and settled down. This is why the settlement is called Tresaith which in Welsh translates as the Town of Seven.


Lots of people had mentioned the waterfall at Tresaith beach in the guestbook at our train carriage, if we hadn't found out about it in there we might have missed it entirely as it isn't visible from the main bay of the beach. You need to stumble over rocks if the water is in or walk around them if the tide it out to see the magnificent waterfall. The Saith river tumbles over the cliff to the beach below.


The waterfall was stunning and I've never seen one on the coast before. It was well worth the walk in the cold and wind. I needed a few more layers on but I've never been one for practical clothing. Wellies kept my feet warm but were a bit slippery on the rocks and the mud along the footpath and my little leather backpack was only big enough for a tiny flask of tea so I definitely need to invest in a bigger, more sturdy backpack (maybe one from Surfdome's collection) so I can take a picnic next time and a jumper. I did once walk through a national park in New Zealand with some Topshop pumps on and a summer dress so practicality isn't my strong point.



Me and Martyn goofing around.



After drinking some tea and admiring the views Martyn and I headed back to sit in front of our log fire in our cosy carriage.  Tresaith beach has been awarded the blue flag for many years and is a great place to surf particularly in the winter so there are plenty of reasons to visit if you are in West Wales, not just to see that waterfalls. 


Have you been to Tresaith before? What are your favourite coastal destinations?

Gemma
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Monday, 23 March 2015

Unwearable Fashion

There is no denying that catwalk fashion can be wild, and sometimes even absolutely bonkers. Some of what's on show can seem more like fine art than fashion making you ponder 'who the hell would wear that?’ Two Big Ladies asked me to talk about some of the most unwearable fashion from the A/W fashion week and boy did I find some awful clothes and weird and wonderful trends...


Like many designers this season,Christopher Bailey was  inspired by the '70s boho vibe. There was plenty of floral and paisley prints and fringed suede coats on the Burberry catwalk.I don't mind a nod to the 70s with a floppy hat or some wide legged trousers but the full on fringing and ponchos were hideous. Does everything need to be fringed?
At least the whole 90s thing is over, I lived through cropped tops and ugly shoes the first time around, I didn't want to see it again. Chokers and frosted lipstick can go and do one. 



Pat McGrath is easily the most accomplished makeup artist in the world right now. She’s worked with everyone from Alexander Wang to Gucci and in in demand all all the major fashion weeks. Her work is simply stunning but you can't really go walking down the high street trying to recreate this with a string of pears draped over your face can you?


Givenchy's Autumn 2015 collection was showcased with loads of oversized faux facial piercings and jewels glued on to models faces. I don't think this trend will really catch on and I'm really not a fan of cultural appropriation so the kiss curls which are associated with chola style/subcultures used on the catwalk were rather annoying. It's like the bindi debacle all over again.




While the catwalks of fashion week inspire a lot of trends, not everything that's shown on the runway will end up in store, thank God. I love fashion week for its extravagance, beauty and fun but I blame designers and high end fashion for the nonsense below.


A faux suede fringed dress, no thanks. Holographic glam rock boots, I'd rather not.

What are your thoughts on the A/W that were recently seen at LFW?



Post written in partnership with 88 ladies.

Gemma
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Friday, 20 March 2015

Curvissa Spring Denim Challenge

Denim is pretty big this season and I'm not just talking about jeans - think dresses, shirts, dungarees, jackets, tunics, shoes and skirts. Designers like Stella McCartney and Burberry featured it in their SS 2015 collections so prepare to see it everywhere.

You might be brave and happy to sport a bit of double denim or think I'll just throw on a pair of jeans but there are plenty of fun ways to get a bit of denim in your Spring wardrobe. You could try an A-line button-through which Alexa Chung has been sporting recently or try a pair of flares with a polo neck if you're going for a 70s vibe.

Curvissa challenged me and four other bloggers to take part in a denim styling challenge. I wanted to try something a little out of the ordinary so didn't opt for a pair of jeans. This devoted dress wearer couldn't say no to a denim dress.

Top: ASOS Curve - Dreess: Curvissa - Shoes: Topshop



I went to a Spring trend blogging event wearing my denim dress and there were loads of denim items on show there. Yellow also seems to be a big trend and there were some flares, denim shirt dresses and lots of 70s boho style items.


I'm going to be wearing my new denim pinafore dress a lot over the next few months. There's nothing else like it in my wardrobe and I feel like a big kid in it. I would give this a 4/5, only just missing out on 5 because I had to size up one size.

If you want to see how the other blogging lovelies styled their denim items all the links are below:

www.toodalookatie.com

How will you be wearing denim this season? 

Gemma
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Monday, 16 March 2015

Wendy the Aberporth Express



You might have seen me mention my love for trains on this blog in posts about steam railways and the Transport museum or over on twitter before. I love industrial history and the railway was an important factor in that and has shaped the UK we know today. I highly recommend watching Great British Railway Journeys if you haven't already. My holiday accommodation on my recent holiday in West Wales was ideal for someone like me who adores trains and it was pretty unusual so I thought I would share some images from my stay at Wendy the Aberporth Express.


Wendy is the sole surviving carrriage of her type. She was built in 1908 as a LSWR  (London & South Western Railway) Sleeping Car for the Plymouth-Waterloo 'boat train', with seven single and two double compartments, a lavatory and a compartment for the attendant. The train was timed to line up with passenger sailings from Plymouth. She was sold to GWR (Great Western Railway) in 1911 and converted to 8 single, and 1 double in 1919. In December 1931 she was retired from use, and in 1936 she was purchased from GWR delivered to Aberporth where she has rested ever since.

Her original neighbours at Aberporth were carriages from Queen Victoria's own train but one has since been removed to a museum, though other historic carriages can still be seen on the coastal footpath. She is painted in GWR colours and lots of original detail remains including the side corridor past the bedrooms.


Wendy has its own 'dining car'.




There were lots of cute little details like old advertising signs, railway posters and luggage racks in the bedrooms. I did enjoy asking Martyn if he had a valid ticket to be on board.




Even though it was a bit chilly and early March I took tea out on the veranda. Wendy is located on a foot path with panoramic views of the Ceredigion Heritage Coast so it's the perfect place to sit back and relax and take in the views. 




Wendy is located in the small village of Aberporth. It used to be a active port and one of the main centres of the herring fishing industry in Wales. It's now a very pretty coastal village with a Blue Flag status beach. Bottlenose dolphins are seen frequently close to shore and there were lots of sightings mentioned in the guestbook at Wendy even though we weren't lucky enough to spot any.




I wish I had booked a longer stay in Wendy, four nights just wasn't enough. I would love to return in the summer but high season prices can be a little steep but worth it for somewhere as unique as this.


If you want to book a stay at Wendy you can do it via Under The Thatch or Airbnb.

Gemma
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Thursday, 12 March 2015

My wardrobe essential - M&S tights

I wear different clothes for all my outfit posts, rarely highlighting the same thing twice however there's always one thing that I include in every outfit. Can you spot what it is? Can you guess the common link?

It's M&S tights!

I've literally got a whole cupboard full of the 40 Denier Body Sensor Opaque Tights. They come in a pack of three, cost £8 and an an absolute essential item for me. They last a lot longer than other brands, actually go all the way up my legs and don't sag in the middle.Plain black tights are a British girls wardrobe staple for any occasion aren't they?
In my student days of buying Primark tights because I was on a budget I used to dream of getting a pair of tights from my drawer without a hole or ladder in them. I've tried so many brands before settling on M&S. I love opaque tights, because if you haven't noticed I rarely wear trousers or leggings. They provide much needed warmth from the cold Welsh climate and I think they make an outfit look chic.

I thought I would branch out from my regular 40 denier black tights and gave some sheer tights and dogstooth pattered ones a trial.



The 7 denier ones have clever Hi Heel Hosiery technology which means burning soles can be a thing of the past for those who like to wear heels. Secret pads built into the bottom of the tights act as comfortable little cushions to relieve any pain on the ball of the foot.These tights are made using a fabric that prevents ladders turning into holes and these tights have a cooling finish which is effective for 3-4 washes. Sounds pretty good right? Here's what they look like on:


I loved wearing something a little more sheer and the cooling pads at the bottom definitely helped this non heel wearer to totter around for longer than normal. I end up taking heels off and swapping them for pumps after a couple of hours so these tights did a great job.

Are you a daily tights wearer like me? Are you loyal to one brand of tights?

Gemma
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Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Fat Frocks outdoor adventure with Fat Face

The days are starting to get longer and and there's the promise of warmer weather, I love Spring. It’s the perfect time to go on a blustery beach walk or a ramble in the green countryside. The long Easter weekend is just around the corner so what better time to go on an adventure. Fat Face understand that you need a good wardrobe with lots of durable pieces to survive a variety of climates because British Weather can be so changeable. They have lots of lovely items perfect for the Spring/Summer season and I took a couple of them on my recent holiday to West Wales.


The spring/summer ’15 catwalks were filled with blues. Some designers opted for full on top to toe blue outfits and others opted for some statement stripes adding a nautical-inspired twist. Preen and Topshop Unique had plenty of navy stripes and denim was the stand-out fabric of the show at Fendi. I felt very 'on trend' in my denim and navy blue outfit I wore on my seaside walk from Aberporth to Tresaith.


I was going for a Nautical vibe with my outfit, the striped top is a classic with a flattering neckline and the jumper is was super warm and reminds me of something a sailor would wear especially when I paired it with my beanie hat. All I'm missing is a yellow coat with buckles down the front, right?


Top: c/o Fat Face - Hunter Wellies: Original short gloss - Scarf: Second Hand - Hat: Primark - Jacket: Barbour


How stunning is the Welsh coastline? 
There is over 870 miles of coast path in Wales but I only managed a few miles of it that day. 



The striped top was perfect for wearing around my railway carriage holiday let and under my jacket whilst out walking. I popped the jumper on top to stay warm in the strong winds whilst drinking my tea out on the veranda and wore it in the evening whilst reading in front of the fire. The jumper is a real classic with a crew neckline and cable knit. It's going to be a staple in my wardrobe until the temperatures start getting into double figures. 



I'll have plenty more photos to share from my holiday later on in the week and I'll show you around the railway carriage I stayed in. I fell in love with my Aberporth Express and was rather sad when we had to leave.


How many of you have been wearing stripes and blue recently and not realising your ticking all the SS15 top trend boxes?

Gemma
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Sunday, 8 March 2015

Dressing Up with George - Outfit Post

This is a picture of a blue lace dress from George

This is a picture of a blue lace dress from George

Dress: c/o George - Bag: Zatchels - Jacket: Topshop - Shoes: c/o George - Brooch:  Accesorize

This is a picture of a blue lace dress from George with a gold brooch

This is a picture of a gold satchel


It's fun getting dressed up over the festive period and for New Years Eve parties, we all go the extra mile to look our best at that time of year. We make an effort for dates or occasions like Valentines Day but you don't always need a reason to get dressed up. Most days are pretty average and you might throw on some jeans or an old favourite but sometimes it's nice to put something fabulous on even if it's just for running errands or going shopping. 

I've had a week off with Martyn and gone away on holiday. It was cold and windy in West Wales so I spent most of my time wrapped up under lots of layers and feeling a bit frumpy but as soon as the sun came out I put my new electric blue George dress on and went out for a walk to make the most of the good weather. Yes, you could wear this dress for a night out or a trip to the theatre but why not feel special on any old ordinary day? I certainly had a spring in my step when I went out in this and making the effort to put a nice dress on and a flick of eyeliner made me feel much more confident.

You can see Maria looking wonderful in her cream/beige version of this dress over on her blog. I also fancy getting this in the green too. It has a heavy lining which means it sits nicely and it could easily cost anther £20 if another retailer made it. I paired mine with my biker jacket and my battered old satchel but it would make a great everyday dress with a cardi and pumps or you could dress it up even more for a wedding with heels and a clutch.

Do you like to save your fancy clothes for special occasions or do you think they should make more frequent appearances?

Gemma
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Sunday, 1 March 2015

Celtic Manor Afternoon Tea Masterclass

After having such a lovely time at the Celtic Manor sampling their Festive Afternoon Tea last year I was really looking forward to attending a live cookery demonstration with the pastry chef Karl. It was billed as 'An unmissable treat for any budding chef or food lover, join our talented Resort chefs for a series of gourmet cookery demonstrations with a difference'. We were greeted with and tea and coffee reception in The Olive Tree restaurant before heading in to see Karl and his team create some wonderful afternoon tea treats. 




Karl showed our intimate group how to make brandy snaps, carrot cake cupcakes and delicate lemon curd tartlets and we got to sample his creations. I took my recipe card home as I'm hoping to try some of these out in my own kitchen. The brandy snaps were so easy to make (or at least they made it look that way) but are really eye catching so they will be a welcome addition to my repertoire.


Karl and his team are so talented, look how neat all of those sweet treats are! I love the little detail of the carrot on top of the cake and all the delicate layers and different colours in the cake on the right. Once Karl had answered a few audience questions at the end of the demonstration we were served a refreshing rose infused gin before heading into the garden room for the main event, Winter Afternoon Tea.


I made sure I didn't eat a large breakfast before I went because we were served roasted carrot soup with paprika, rosemary and savoury oil a tasting spoon with beetroot, Pant-Ysgawn goat’s cheese and Goetre Farm pear chutney, a west coast crab brioche roll and kati roll with spiced chicken, lime, onion seeds and coriander yoghurt. 


We were then served a three tier stand with a finger sandwich selection, raisin and pecan caramel tartlet 
Cappuccino cream, Celtic shortbread and a white chocolate, orange and toasted oat blondie.


Doesn't everything look mouth-wateringly good?


The top tier of the stand was my favourite with the lemon and poppy seed cornets with crushed honeycomb looking and tasting great.The Caldey Island chocolate bar with salted dulce de leche was the highlight of the afternoon tea for me, superb.




When I thought we were all finished a basket of warm freshly baked scones were brought out. They had a hint of apricot and cinnamon and we served with clotted cream and strawberry preserve. We simply couldn't fit these in so we took these home in a box with some of the other leftovers to enjoy the next day.


With the Winter Afternoon Tea costing £24 per person (Monday – Friday) and £32 per person (Saturday & Sunday) I think the Masterclass was good value at £40 as you also got to enjoy a coffee and biscuit reception, the baking tips from the head pastry chef and a lovely rose infused gin for only a little more.

The Spring Afternoon Tea is launched in early March and I know I'll be booking a table to enjoy the delicious hand-made cakes, delicate pastries, freshly baked rosewater and vanilla scones that will be on
offer. 

Gemma
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