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Travel Diaries | Bruges, Belgium

It must not be a big surprise, but I went on another city break! Hurrah!

This time, I visited the beautiful fairytale town of Bruges, Belgium.

Now I’ve visited Brussels before on a Law trip from when I was 17 from college, and it was mainly visiting the European Courts of Justice so it was basically a barrel of laughs.

Visiting Bruges however, was just a whole ‘nother story. I know that people say Bruges is boring, but it is just so very pretty. You could just walk here for hours and hours.

We travelled on the Eurostar from Kings Cross St Pancras to Brussels, where we took a train to Bruges. We had booked our hotel weeks ago and I tried not to look at too many reviews about it because I just end up worrying that it’s gonna be a shithole even though it very rarely is. The hotel ended up being amazing, it was very charming with high wooden ceilings and had a very Victorian feel about it. The management weren’t around as much as I would have liked though, as I have mentioned in all of my travel blog posts that I love to ask the hotel staff for their recommendations for places to eat and drink and visit, so it would have been nice to be able to do that.

Our hotel wasn’t too far from the main town square, so that was the first place we headed. The town square was buzzing with people and it was a such a good atmosphere. One of the main tourist attractions which is located in the town square is the Bellfry Tower, which you can climb up (366 steps!) and you’re greeted with a beautiful city view. The walk was certainly worth the view!

After that, we walked around the city for hours (I did 20,000 steps – go me!), and we soon realised that it doesn’t take too long to walk around the city and you sort of get to know the streets quite easily (something I really love doing – not only does it help you stop getting lost, it also makes you want to re-visit because you feel like you know the city).

We ended up going for dinner in the a beautiful little restaurant called Reliva, which turned out to be the most amazing little place. Even though we didn’t have a reservation, luckily there were tables available, but I would recommend calling ahead if you were to go during a busy season or a weekend. The food was amazing, it was well-presented and very fresh tasting. I think the menus change quite frequently which I think is really cool but if they have guinea fowl on the menu, I’d highly recommend it! From what I remember they also had a great choice for vegetarians/vegans too!

The next day, we decided to visit the beer factory. I’m not a huge beer lover (but when in Bruges and all that!), it did also actually turn out to be very interesting. I have also visited the Heineken Factory in Amsterdam, so I thought it might have been similar but every factory has a unique story so it was very cool. We also got a free beer at the end of the tour and even though I don’t really like beer, it was actually quite nice!

After the beer factory, we decided to do a lil’ canal tour just because it looked so cute (and we were bloody knackered, I barely do 10,000 steps in London!). We’d seen most of Bruges on foot, so it was actually quite nice to see the city from a different view!

We found the coziest restaurant way off the beaten track, not even sure how we ended up there but that’s why I love getting lost in strange cities! It was literally like being in my grandma’s kitchen, the restaurant is called Ganzespel, and the food was very homey and very cheap! I had the salmon pasta which was lovely and they also served soup as an entree which was included. It’s definitely somewhere unique to visit in Bruges.

Obvs picked up gifts for friends and family in the form of chocolates (can you imagine coming back from Belgium empty-handed?!), we decided to visit the Chocolate Factory, because why not? Similar to the beer factory, it was actually super interesting and included a bar of chocolate and free samples of chocolate buttons on every floor!

The Belgians are famous for so many things so I just had to try everything! Next on the list was the infamous Belgian waffle. There are hundreds of waffle places in Bruges as you’d imagine, but I did some research and I’d seen a few people speak about Oyya, which turned out to be a little waffle take-away place and it was just magic. I got the caramel waffle with vanilla ice-cream, and it was insane!

The last thing on my list was to visit the Lake of Love and Lovers Bridge (because I mean how could I not?). They say that if you walk over the bridge with your lover, and kiss your amour that you’re destined to live a long and happy life together, awwww! It was such a picturesque area, and a bit of a walk away from the main town square so it was nice seeing a different part of Bruges.

The last and final thing that I wanted to try was the famous Belgian fries! We went to a place called the Potato Bar, and it was bloody lovely! I ordered the bacon, cheese fries and they were beautiful.

So that was my trip to Bruges! If you are thinking of visiting, I would highly recommend it, and please let me know if you end up going to any of the same places I went to and how you found them 🙂

Kinky Boots: A Review

 

I don’t think I’m alone when I say I love the theatre. I just have so much there, it’s classy and it’s an escape. When you’ve had a long day at work, it’s truly one of my favourite after-work pastimes. So when London Box Office got in touch and asked if I wanted to review a show I’d been wanting to watch forever, I couldn’t say no!

The show that I was lucky enough to review (as you can probably guess from the title – duh), was Kinky Boots.

I’d heard mixed reviews about the show so I wasn’t really too sure what to expect. I had a quick read of the synopsis as I like knowing what the story is going to be about, but apart from that I was ready to be surprised.

I can hand-on-heart say that it was one of the most amazing shows I’ve ever seen in London.

It was bright, it was in your face and it left me feeling uplifted.

I won’t give away the entire story but it truly is a feel-good watch, it made me feel so happy and I laughed a lot, the one-liners are truly hilarious. The characters are complex and the songs are super catchy. It’s very rare for me to leave the theatre humming and ready to break out in dance, but if any show is going to do it, it’s going to be this one for sure.

It’s currently playing in Adelphi Theatre and will be running until 12th January 2019, so go and book your tickets ASAP!

Summer Cocktail Ideas

I’ll be the first to admit it, I bloody love a cocktail. If you read my Christmas Cocktails post, then you’ll know that I also love making them. It’s a chance to get a little bit creative and I just have so much fun inventing new cocktails to try. As per my Christmas cocktail blog post, I realise that not everybody drinks alcohol, so in each recipe I will highlight any substitutes you can make in order to make mocktails.

 Blueberry Sex on the Beach

I love this original cocktail a lot. It’s so easy to make and it always tastes amazing! It always reminds me of summer, and even though sometimes it can be quite sweet, I feel like it’s one of those cocktails that you could make a jug of, for a BBQ or any kind of summer gathering! Also I friggin’ love this cute lightbulb-shaped mason jar, how cute is it?!

Ingredients

  • Fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 ounces of simple syrup (1:1 ratio water and sugar)
  • 120 ml cranberry juice
  • 120 ml orange juice
  • 50 ml blueberry schnapps // replace with blueberry puree for mocktails //

Method

  1. Crush blueberries in the bottom of the glass using a muddler or a wooden spoon and add the simple syrup.
  2. Mix the cranberry juice and orange juice in a jug and stir with a spoon.
  3. Add the blueberry schnapps.
  4. Mix thoroughly and pour into tumblers (or cool mason jars).

Cranberry Apple Fizz

I was very lucky to receive some bottles of Toffee Apple ciders from Brother’s (which is very delish btw), and I wanted to include it in this blog post, because I don’t drink cider a lot during the year but during summer it’s just a go-to drink!

Ingredients

  • 2 bottles of Toffee Apple Cider // replace with lemonade for mocktails //
  • 1 carton cranberry juice
  • Apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon.

Method

  1. Add 2/3 apple slices to a flute.
  2. Add cranberry juice.
  3. Top with toffee apple cider.

Apple and Blueberry Gin & Tonic

A cool, elegant, refreshing serve. You can add more ‘bite’ with a dash of lemon juice, if you like. I just love gin and tonics, especially in the summer when they are so much more refreshing. I feel like the apple and blueberry gives a fruity twist.

Ingredients

  • 50ml elderflower flavoured gin // leave out for mocktails //
  • Two sprigs of fresh mint
  • Handful of blueberries
  • 100ml chilled tonic
  • Rimming sugar

Method

1. Place the gin, mint and bluberries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker or glass jug, and stir for a minute, squashing down the mint and cucumber with the back of a spoon.

2. Strain into a tall thin tumbler containing a couple of ice cubes, and top up with tonic.

3. Garnish with mint.

Cranberry Refresher

Possibly the easiest cocktail to make in the world, but you know what, it tastes damn good and that’s all that matters! I love easy but tasty cocktails because I’m lazy and this is just perfect.

Ingredients

  • 100ml cranberry juice
  • 100ml lemonade
  • 50ml vodka // leave out for mocktails //
  • Few sprigs of mint
  • Lemon slices to garnish

Method

1. Mix cranberry juice and lemonade with the vodka in a tumbler.

2. Serve over ice and garnish with lemon slices.

Toffee Apple & Cinnamon Rum Punch

As I mentioned earlier, the guys over at Brother’s Ciders sent me over some of their toffee apple cider, which tasted incredible. I loved the idea of making a rum punch because to me, it just screams summer! It would also be perfect for a BBQ and to pretend you’re in the Caribbean… Maybe that’s just me ha!

Ingredients

  • 3 bottles of toffee apple cider // use lemonade for mocktails //
  • 100 ml of rum // leave out for mocktails //
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

Method

1. Mix the cider, rum, lemon juice and cinnamon powder in a cocktail dispenser and use a large stirrer or wooden spoon to mix well.

2. Drink up and enjoy the sun!

So that was it for my summer cocktail ideas! I hope this has inspired you to make some summery drinks for when you have BBQs, or even if you just want a chilled day at home with some friends and family. I’d love to see you re-create any of these drinks, so if you do make any of these, please post them on Instagram and tag me @thedizzyingheights – and do give me a follow whilst you’re there too (cheeky little plug!)

*THIS POST CONTAINS PR SAMPLES, BUT AS ALWAYS ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN – PLEASE SEE MY DISCLAIMER FOR MORE INFO

£50 Weekly Food Shop Challenge | AD

I won’t lie, I’m not organised. I’m not one of those people who stick to lists and make plans and do things on time (very rarely am I on time for anything!).

But I’m a trier ~God loves a trier am-I-rite~

So when Satsuma Loans asked if I could spend £50 to do my shopping for the week, in the words of Barney Stinson: challenge accepted!

In all honesty, this was probably the most fun task I’ve ever done for my blog, because I do the weekly shop for myself anyways and I love looking for tips and tricks. I shop around and I use MySupermarket so that I can find the cheapest products for the best value. Satsuma Loans have a very helpful page on their website for their handy tips and tricks! I also buy products at a certain time when they are about to be put on reduced hehe – it’s the same product for less money! Especially when you are going to eat the product that day or the next day, it makes total sense!

 Shopping List

Total: £49.91

Day One

Breakfast:

Porridge with sliced bananas

Uses: Porridge, Milk, Banana

Lunch:

Quorn Chicken Salad

Uses: Quorn Chicken, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cucumber 

Dinner:

Baked Salmon with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli

Uses salmon, spices, potatoes, broccoli

Day Two

Breakfast:

Bagel with smoked salmon Philadelphia and sliced cucumber

Bagel, Philadelphia, cucumber

Lunch:

Mixed vegetable pasta

Pasta, peppers, onions, mushrooms, sweetcorn garlic, tomatoes, pasta sauce

Dinner:

Stuffed peppers with wedges

Peppers, Quorn mince, sweetcorn, brown rice, garlic, potatoes

Day Three

Breakfast:

Mashed avocados on wholemeal toast

Avocados, wholemeal bread

Lunch:

Homemade pizzas

Pittas, pesto, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, sweetcorn

Dinner:

Glazed Salmon with brown rice and garlic spinach

Salmon, soy sauce, chilli sauce, garlic, brown rice, spinach

Day Four

Breakfast:

Weetabix with strawberries

Weetabix, milk, strawberries

Lunch:

Creamy spinach gnocchi

Gnocchi, spinach, garlic + herb Philadelphia, garlic, onions

Dinner:

Quesadillas with salad

Quesadilla kit, avocados, Quorn chicken, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes 

Day Five

Breakfast:

Porridge with blueberries

Porridge, milk, blueberries

Lunch:

Halloumi and pepper skewers with brown rice

Halloumi, peppers, brown rice

Dinner:

Pasta bake

Pasta, peppers, tomatoes, sweetcorn, pasta bake sauce

Day Six

Breakfast:

Omelette with spinach and tomatoes

Eggs, spinach, tomatoes

Lunch:

Vegetable soup with bread

Broccoli, potatoes, spinach, onion, garlic

Dinner:

Spaghetti bolognese

Spaghetti, pesto, mushrooms, Quorn mince

Day Seven

Breakfast:

Scrambled eggs and mushrooms on wholemeal toast

Eggs, wholemeal bread, mushrooms, garlic

Lunch:

Halloumi salad

Halloumi, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, dressing

Dinner:

Quorn Chicken stir-fry

Quorn chicken, stir-fry pack, mushrooms, peppers

So that’s what I eat and shop for in a week! What would you buy if you had £50?

 *This post was kindly sponsored by Satsuma Loans but as always, all opinions are my own! Read my disclaimer to see how I work with brands.

Pampering Yourself: 10 Top Tips for a Spa Day at Home

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Man this post has been a ~long~ time coming!

If you’re a longtime reader of The Dizzying Heights, you will know that I’m a huge lover of self-care. It’s so important to take time out for yourself and reconnect with the things you love doing that you may not have time for in your busy schedules.

I try and do a self-care routine every week (may be excessive for some people, but I look forward to my Self-Care Sundays!). I chose Sundays because I generally don’t have plans to go out on Sundays so it’s the easiest day of the week for me to have a lie in and take care of myself. So I thought I would share my top tips for the ultimate pamper day and with the bank holiday weekend on our doorstop, you have no excuse not to indulge!

So here are my 10 top tips for having a lil’ pamper day of your own (obvs you can pick and choose / amend these to things that make you feel good etccc)!

1. Face Mask

I mean, this wouldn’t be a pamper day without a face mask would it?! They are one of my all-time favourite things to do on a chill day. I have ~quite~ a few face masks now, most of them are from The Body Shop – they really do have some of the best face masks on the high street – but if you have any faves that you think I should try, please do leave me a lil’ comment below! I quite fancy making my own face mask out of things that I have in my kitchen so when I get a chance, I shall definitely pop a recipe up on my blog! For this pamper day, I used an old favourite from Bloomtown – their products are some of my favourites and you can get 20% off with my code: DIVYA20 

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2. Eye Mask

I was sent this really cool eye mask* from Feel Good Contacts, and as soon as I opened it, I couldn’t wait to try it! I knew it would make the best addition to my chill pamper days! I also love the colour, it’s a gorgeous aqua blue and to me it’s the colour of calm – perfect for a day of relaxing. It helps with puffy eyes and headaches, and you can also use it hot (by warming it up in the microwave for up to 20 seconds) or cold (by freezing it for up to 2 hours). I tried it cold, and it had such a nice cooling effect. For anyone who regularly gets headaches or migraines, definitely give it a try!

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3. Hair Mask

In keeping with the theme of masks so far in this blog post (!!!), a hair mask is a must for me on a pamper day. I love having a clean face, and a clear head, so why should my hair be any different? I will be writing an updated version of my haircare routine, as I have acquired a lot of new haircare products, but leaving a hair mask in my hair 20 mins before washing and conditioning it just makes it so softer and feeling more healthy. One of my most simple and favourite hair masks ever is full fat mayonnaise – incredible! But this other home-made hair mask that I use is made using:

– 1/2 cup honey

– 2 Tbsp olive oil

– 1 egg yolk

– 1 whole avocado

You could eat it if you wanted to, not sure if you’d want to but you have the option!

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4. Manicure

I’m often a rubbish excuse for a girl, and most days I wear no nail polish because my nails smudge or chip almost straightaway so I just think there’s no point sometimes! But when I’m having a pamper day, I like going the full hog and pushing the boat out so I do like giving myself a manicure. I also love watching nail art videos on Instagram, especially the bit where they paint the clear top coat, so satisfying to watch!

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5. Foot Soak

If I’m going to treat my hands, I might as well treat my feet right? Our feet walk us around all day, and I don’t know about you but I rarely treat my feet to any kind of relaxation. I do have a foot massager, but I use this great 15 min foot soak that you can basically make with things you have lying in your kitchen. It makes my feet feel super soft and relieves muscle pain.

– 1/2 cup mouthwash

– 1/2 cup vingar

– 1 cup water

Feel free to paint your toenails after thoroughly drying your now fabulous feet!

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6. Having a Bath

This list of things certainly isn’t a timeline of events! I actually am not the biggest fan of baths, I prefer a quick 15 min shower to do everything I need to. But when it comes to relaxing, I do think that having a bath is one of the best ways to do it. I personally can’t have the water too hot, otherwise I start sweating and let’s face it, that’s not fun for anyone! Throw some Radox in there and you have yourself a par-tay (not really, you have yourselves a bath, but you get the point).

7. Water + Lemon + Mint

When you have a hot bath (like I can’t stand), I have to have some cold water besides me so that I don’t overheat! I always pop some lemon and mint in there, basically because that’s what they serve at the spa ha. But it genuinely makes water tastes super fresh and I love sippin’ on this! I usually leave the mint and lemon to infuse in the fridge overnight, but it doesn’t matter if you add it last minute either!

8. Candles

You’ll know I’m a huge candle fan based on the insane amount of candle blog posts I’ve done on this blog (read them here and here) so I won’t be banging on about why candles are so amazing – you already know that! So if you need to relax, you can’t go wrong with lighting a couple of lovely scented candles and enjoying the ambience.

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9. Netflix & Chill

Giving this phrase a whole new meaning! If you haven’t noticed me banging on about how much I love sticking Netflix on, then where have you been?! Depending on what you’re watching (see my recommendations here and here), it can make you feel super chilled, and there’s nothing better to unwind from a long week!

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10. Sleepy Tea

I’ve spoken about this amazing tea before (read that post here), but to finish off the best pamper days mean getting the best night’s sleep. Everytime I drink this tea before bed, I have the most peaceful sleep, and wake up refreshed and energised for the day ahead. When you do this routine on a Sunday, it’s perfect because it preps for you the week ahead!

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So that is my pamper day! What does your pamper day look like?

*THIS POST CONTAINS PR SAMPLES, BUT AS ALWAYS ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN – PLEASE SEE MY DISCLAIMER FOR MORE INFO