Ice Iceland baby

On the 30th December 2017, my boyfriend Sam and I went to the land of lava, fermented shark and the blue lagoon… otherwise known as Iceland. We had the most wonderful time, in the most beautifully unspoilt country. I wanted to share how we spent our days, our recommendations and some of our amazing pictures.

We stayed for 4 nights in Reykjavik, in a lovely apartment hotel called ’41 A Townhouse’, which was slap bang in the middle of the main shopping, eating, pretty much everything street called Laugavegur. We couldn’t have wished for a better location after booking pretty last minute and as we all know, if you want to stay somewhere over New Year…. book early. We didn’t, and many of the hotels were full, but luckily this looked gorgeous, and it really was. Complete with the most delightful receptionist who constantly gave us friendly recommendations, it was the ideal place for us. I didn’t know much about Reykjavik before we went as it wasn’t massively on my travel radar, but I can honestly say it is my new favourite city. Completely charming, quirky, trendy (such a Mum word) and unique, it was full of individual shops, restaurants and cafes that we totally soaked up. We didn’t have one bad meal, with some of the most delicious burgers (obvs), soups and breakfasts we’ve had.

So I’ve digressed slightly into a complete love fest for Iceland, but I’ll take you back to the beginning, when we first arrived.

Day 1- 30th Dec
We landed into a dark Reykjavik at about 3pm local time and went to pick up our rental car. The first thing I noticed was that it was FREEZING. Now I wasn’t expecting tropical temperatures, but it really was nippy. After stuffing all of (my) over-packing into the car, we set off for the apartment. Luckily with cars, Sam is like a fish to water, so we were absolutely fine finding our way, and to be honest; the roads weren’t massively complicated anyway. It took us about 40/45 minutes, and when we arrived, we parked on the road outside our apartment. One thing we found in Iceland was that parking is SUPER easy, we were panicking that we wouldn’t get a space but everywhere we went there was plenty of room, which made renting a car that much more of a benefit. We dumped our stuff in the room, and set off to explore Laugavegur and the centre of Reyjavik, making our way towards the famous church, probably the focal point of the city, Hallgrímskirkja (don’t ask me to say it). It was spectacular, and seemed to just appear out of nowhere. Absolutely huge, super high and incredibly beautiful, we walked around there for while and at this point I realised that Reyjavik was somewhere special.

I know I have been pretty detailed up to here, but I just had a moment of ‘Romy people don’t care about your holiday as much as you do…..’ so I’ll be much more brief from now on… thanks for hanging in there.

Day 2- New Years Eve.

After a tasty breakfast at a quaint little café called The Grey Cat, (apparently Bjorn’s favourite breaky- not sure but we’ll go with it), we explored the city fully, shopping, eating and doing everything we do best. One thing I was absolutely amazed by was the vast expanse of sea just on the edge of the city, just the most incredible landscape. From the graffiti covered buildings, to the multi-coloured houses, I was loving Iceland more and more by the minute. One thing we discovered on the first day was how little daylight hours they have in winter. It didn’t get fully light until at least 11 in the morning and started going dark before 3, which restricts you slightly, and you end up feeling sleepy at about 5, but we managed. We went back up to the church, where a quirky waffle van parks every day, and sat watching the sun setting while we stuffed our faces with Belgian waffles smothered in Nutella…. Romantic? Not so much, when you have to eat so fast to avoid your fingers dropping off from being out of your gloves. Cue Nutella chops and HUGE mouthfuls. After freshening up, we set out in search of dinner, and struck gold with a restaurant that had a no-show reservation which meant we had their table- AMAZING! And the food was too. After this, we went back up to the church (sensing a pattern here…) and watched the never-ending firework display done by the whole city, it was PACKED. The streets were completely rammed, and luckily we got there a bit early so we had a really good spot. They were beautiful and it was the perfect way to enter 2018, in the freezing cold with the person who always lets me use his phone to video the fireworks for Snapchat when my phone runs out of battery. No I’m kidding, I promise I didn’t watch the fireworks through my screen, pinky swear.

Day 3- New Year’s Day

Waking up in 2018 with a (reasonably) clear head felt pretty good, and we set off driving around The Golden Circle, a route taking us to several natural phenomena. I won’t describe every single place in detail, as you can literally type ‘The Golden Circle’ into Google and entire websites dedicated to it come up, but I will say, each one was uniquely wonderful in its own way. From the vastness of Pingvellir, to the spectacle of Geysir, we loved road tripping in a different way than ever before, not knowing what each destination would bring. We ended our day at The Blue Lagoon, potentially my favourite moment of the whole trip. We arrived at 4, and discovered that once you check into the Lagoon, you can stay as long as you want, which meant we had a relaxed 3 and a half hours in there! We were given two different masks at the Mud bar, a complimentary drink at the Lagoon bar, and spent the next few hours chatting, swimming and soaking up the peaceful atmosphere of a place that we will never forget. We ate at the Lava Restaurant in the Blue Lagoon, and once again, the food was amazing. Sam and I got very excited for the rest of the meal after the most insane selection of bread came out just after we sat down…. (the best part am I right?). It really was magical, and although we arrived in the dark, we got a different sort of experience of the Blue Lagoon and floating around in the water watching the stars was a truly memorable moment. To top it off, we saw the Northern Lights driving back to the apartment, which was just the best start to 2018 we could have wanted, I mean what more could Iceland give us???!!

Day 4- 2nd January

On our last full day in Iceland, we spent the morning walking around the city, and spent the afternoon Lava Caving. I know, I hadn’t heard of it either, but apparently it’s a MUST DO for Iceland. Before I tell you about it, just another reminder of the BLOODY FREEZING WEATHER. Now I’m ready…. So our lovely tour guide picked us up, and he took into the middle of nowhere (there’s probably a more geographically specific location, but bear with me), and he firstly showed us several different hidden gems, such as the black beaches and a geothermal area that smelt like rotten egg. And we loved every minute! He then took us down into the lava caves, which are lava tubes from volcanoes that have turned into caves which you can explore without getting burnt to a crisp. We didn’t plan on doing any expeditions before we came to Iceland, so unfortunately I was wearing Mom jeans, however I still managed to clamber through some pretty narrow spaces, avoiding the sparkling icicles hanging down from the ceiling. It was an activity completely out of my comfort zone, but I’m so pleased we did it, and we took some pretty amazing pictures, before finishing off with a hot chocolate in the car! We spent our last evening after dinner in our favourite bar near the apartment, drinking mojitos and laughing at each other’s hat hair.

It was the most amazing holiday, I never expected to love Iceland so much and I most definitely would go back, as I realised how much there was left to see. If you’re still here after all of my ramblings, I didn’t quite succeed on making it shorter but thanks so much for reading and I hope it has inspired you to put Iceland on your travel list. Just before you go, here’s my top tips for Iceland.

TOP TIPS-

  1. If you’re going in the winter, bring a WARM coat, and I mean WARM. I know this seems obvious, but I genuinely thought my coat was snug enough, and it bloody wasn’t.
  2. If you can, rent a car- we found the freedom and adventure so exciting and it meant we could travel about on our own terms and at our own pace… also driving in Iceland is BEAUTIFUL, the landscape is just breathtaking, so you don’t quite get the same feel on a coach trip. Plus, you can sing as much Pitch Perfect at the top of your lungs as you want.
  3. Book the Blue Lagoon before you go, and spend as much time there as you can. You won’t want to leave.
  4. Take a thick moisturiser…. the cold holds no prisoners.
  5. Order the house white- EVERYTHING is expensive, so if you fancy a tipple, order the cheapest thing- except if you want a mojito…. Then always go for the mojito.
  6. Be up and out by 9 even though the sun isn’t up, and there’s virtually nowhere open for breakfast. The sunrise is worth it.

 

Food you HAVE to eat-

  1. The Grey Cat- the croquet madame was delish.
  2. Sand- the breakfast there was amazing. We both had Eggs Royale and it came with kale… I know I know, but it was actually delicious, I even surprised myself.
  3. Sandholt bakery- the sandwiches, just the sandwiches. And the cakes, and pasteries…. You get my drift.
  4. Snaps Bistro- delicious fried ravioli & mouth-wateringly rich beuf bourguignon.
  5. Lebowski Bar- we didn’t try the food but fab mojitos and a really lively atmosphere, plus they have this sign on the door…. ‘If you are racist, sexist, homophobic or an asshole… don’t come in!’ I think that sums it up.

Thanks for reading, here are some of our pictures!

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He made us stare at the wall!!!!

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Podcasts…and why I love them

In 2016 I was recommended the podcast ‘My Dad Wrote a Porno’ with Alice Levine, Jamie Morton and James Cooper. Before this, I never really knew what a podcast was, I didn’t even know that the app is installed already into iPhones and I had it all along. Little did I know how much I was missing…. the world of podcasts have transformed my car journeys, my morning routine and have just generally improved my life. ‘My Dad Wrote a Porno’ is basically three friends reading out and commenting on a terrible (and I mean terrible) erotic fiction book that Jamie’s Dad wrote… Yes that’s right, his Dad. They read a chapter per episode and it is hilarious, leg crossingly cringe worthy and just bloody brilliant. The book is called ‘Belinda Blinked’ and Jamie’s Dad’s pen name is ‘Rocky Flintstone’…. I think that tells you all you need to know. Luckily (or unluckily depending on how you want to look at it), there have been three series so far, as Rocky has written several books and I am eagerly awaiting the fourth, which I believe will be out next year. My obsession has got to the point where my friend and I have booked to see the live tour… I’m not sure if that is something to be shouting from the roof tops, but there you go.

I would so recommend this if you want some light hearted, witty listening or just a good laugh, as I have almost had to pull over the car once as I was laughing so hard.

So that was my first experience with podcasts, and from then on I have trawled the Podcast charts for my next obsession and have listened to quite a few others that I think are worth a mention.

  1. The High Low

I got into this podcast during the back end of last year, and have been putting it on at any possible moment and loving every episode. Journalists Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes are the faces behind this brilliantly engaging, interesting and funny podcast in which they discuss what they have been reading, watching and listening to each week along with discussing news stories from around the world at the time of recording. It is a news and pop culture podcast, arguing that you can be interested in the trivial and the political. They always recommend the best reads, whether they are books or articles and discuss everything from ‘The Fall of Hollywood’s Ultimate Sex Predator, Harvey Weinstein’ to the BBC pay gap, to Blac Chyna suing the entire Kardashian family…. and I love it.

2.  Serial

This was recommended to me by one of my cousins last year, as I love any crime/thriller novels and documentaries and she told me I would find this completely gripping… and I did. If you have listened to the ‘This American Life’ podcast, then you might recognise the producer, Sarah Koenig from there. It has a couple of series so far and follows real life cases which I find so interesting, as Sarah digs deep, speaking to family members and the accused from jail, attempting to make sense of the case. They are typically murder cases, which include quite a lot of detail, so if you don’t like that sort of thing, I would suggest giving it a miss. The first series follows the story of Adnan Syed who was charged with the murder of his ex girlfriend in 2000 but maintains his innocence to this day. The podcast delves into potential motives, other suspects and hears directly from Adnan, whose case was appealed after Season 1 of Serial. If you watched Making a Murderer on Netflix or read any sort of crime novels then you will enjoy (is that the right word?) listening to this podcast.

There are several others that I have really enjoyed or that I’m working my way through, but I’ll leave it at that for now. For anyone who has never listened to a podcast before, I would thoroughly recommend plunging into the world of pornos, pop culture and innocence pleas.

Why Acupuncture is AMAZING

I uploaded my first post nearly two months ago, I can’t actually believe it has taken me this long to write another one. I haven’t even shared my blog yet so it currently has virtually 0 views. Yippee. Life has just been super busy, so much has happened. I started my final year at university; massively regretting taking for granted all of that blissfully free time over the summer, where I actually had time to iron my jeans. I am now fully into my first term, counting down the days until the Christmas break, where I will be panicking about keeping up with my work in between wrapping presents and packing for our New Year trip to Iceland… bring on the Blue Lagoon.

I can’t wait for a bit of time off, even though I won’t be able to forget about uni work I am so excited to enjoy the festive season, read for pleasure and reignite my love affair with the gym. I started my new job at a fashion and gift retailer, which I’m really enjoying, even the early 7am delivery shifts on a Friday morning. It is tiring but I have realised how much I enjoy wrapping Christmas decorations in tissue paper, which I may never have known about myself had I not started working there. I have met some lovely people and it really is a fab place to work.

What being this busy has taught me is that I really need to find time for myself. I’m not someone who can just keep ploughing on and on and on without coming up for air. I do need a bubble bath every now and then, and I do need to delve into a gripping book, and I also need to watch a bit of trash telly (Britain’s Next Top Model is my programme of choice for these moments). I love being busy, and feeling like I’m working towards something and being productive, but moments of rest and recharging are important too. Something that has helped me to realise this more than ever is acupuncture.

I started having acupuncture roughly once a month about a year and a half ago, maybe a bit less, and I absolutely adore it. It gives me a space to talk, to refresh and relax. Now I am not a needle person, I cannot stand blood tests, flu jabs… all that jazz, but when I say these don’t bother me, I really mean it. They are pretty much like bendy tooth picks and 95% of the time they don’t hurt. That 5% of the time, as soon as it hurts, she takes the needle out and puts it somewhere else. You can have them put in anywhere really, and each place means something different, from happiness, to stress and boosting your immune system.

I feel so relaxed when I’m there, it just feels like a safe bubble that I can enter into for an hour and then get on with my day. You lie on a bed under blankets in your bra and knickers; it pretty much feels like a spa treatment crossed with therapy. Carolyn (my acupuncturist) asks me about what has been happening my life in between the sessions, how I’m feeling mentally, physically, every kind of way, and then feels my pulses ( we have more than one and I never knew). She feels my heart pulse, lung pulse, liver, kidneys, all through my wrists. She then puts the needles wherever she feels that it would most benefit me on that particular day.

I go to acupuncture for all sorts of reasons, but mainly for my overall well being and health, but you can go for anything, from an injury, aches and pains, problematic skin, mental health… the list goes on. The main motive for me is to just have some time to myself, where I can say anything without being judged, to someone who doesn’t know everyone in my life, while giving me brilliant advice in a peaceful environment and using the needles to improve my sleep, stress, and how my body functions and heals.

I always look forward to my appointments and I can’t imagine not going now, as I really feel revived mentally after I leave. I never knew anything about it before I started going, and I might have thought it was all a bit hippy but I have felt the benefits and I could not recommend it more. In the busy world we live in, she always reminds me that taking time for myself is not selfish but necessary and the people who may appear to have their shit together running on 4 hours sleep actually might be crying out for some time to iron their jeans and devour the latest crime thriller.

My Very First Post

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September 17th 2017

I have wanted to start a blog for about 2 years now and I never really knew where to start, what would be the ‘appropriate’ starting topic or time… whatever that even means. I wanted to document my travels, my love of food and my passion for make up and lifestyle, along with more personal posts. But where to start?

I always wanted to begin but never really knew how and whether anyone would even read it. After putting it off and worrying that I’m not witty enough, or succinct enough as a writer to start a blog, I have decided to just do it. What is the worst that can actually happen? No one reads it. And does that even really matter? I am doing it for me, mainly because I like writing my thoughts down and if people actually read it then that’s great, but if they don’t… I’m sure my Mum still will.

Although this may seem like a strange way to begin, I’m using it as a sort of introduction. I used to think ‘it’ll be fine once I get into it’… But that’s the problem.. getting into it. But here we are, I’ve started, I’m diving in head first and I plan to write regularly and about anything I fancy. I’m 21, about to start my final year at Loughborough University and I am interested in everything from how to make the perfect mac & cheese (I think I’m pretty close), to travelling across the USA seeking the best views, to finding the best full coverage concealer (which by the way I personally think is the new Bobbi Brown Instant Full Cover Concealer), to coping with loss and grief. I guess part of the reason I took so long to start this blog is that it feels like a very personal snapshot of my life which feels a bit scary, but it doesn’t always have to be.

So there you go… I’ve done it! Was it really that hard? Why did I wait this long? I have actually managed to start my blog by rambling about starting my blog… and I think that’s okay.