Viva Las Vegas!

My husband and I got married at the end of July this year and two days later headed off on our honeymoon to the West Coast of the big old USA. Neither of us had visited the West Coast before, although we have travelled to the East Coast a few times, so it was all very new and exciting. I spent a couple of months meticulously planning our honeymoon adventure. We had decided on the destinations that we wanted to visit – Hawaii, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas. I had quite a few ideas regarding how we would get from one place to the other and spent a considerable amount of my existence in 2015 researching each place in grave detail in order to maximise our stay. The first thing that I needed to do was book our flights from London. As we were travelling in the height of summer and in the school holidays, we were looking at around £2500 for a return flight in economy. I looked in to each destination that we would like to visit and found that Vegas was coming in cheapest, so we decided to start and end our wonderful honeymoon there. The fact that my friend’s Mum worked for BA and managed to get us a couple hundred of squid off sealed the deal and before we knew it we were booked onto our flight before you could say ‘Viva Las Vegas’. We were both a bit apprehensive about travelling to Vegas. We both wanted to go, but as we weren’t really going to party or gamble, would it really be exciting enough for our post wedding adventure?! Yes, there’s the glitz and the glamour, but would spending our first few weeks as newlyweds in the middle of a desert with a few hotels cut it?! With this in mind, I began researching activities to do in Vegas. I decided that we needed to experience it all, so I planned where we needed to go and on which days, beginning to discover more to Vegas than heat and concrete until I was super excited about heading to Nevada. 

Our flight from London resembled nothing less than the constitutions of the depths of hell. Okay, I might be exaggerating slightly, but it was remarkably unpleasant. With British Airways you can check in online twenty four hours before your flight. Unfortunately I was at the hospital with my Uncle at this time with NO INTERNET SIGNAL (also resembling the depths of hell), so by the time we left (we were there for hours), all of the window seats were taken and there were only two seats left, two rows from the back of the plane (tailies). I resided myself to the fact that this was probably going to be okay because I’ve flown with BA a few times and always had a delightful experience. Flash forward twenty four hours and I’m on (probably) the worlds’ oldest plane with a screen the size of my phone, crammed in like cattle with no leg room and sat next to a guy who I felt I vaguely recognised who was knocking back gin like we were flying into oblivion. He also had a freakish inhuman ability to remain in the exact same position for the entire flight. Not even a pee break. Oh and the darkest moment of that flight? When they ran out of food. And drink. Yep, five hours into our eleven hour flight all of the alcohol and most of the soft drinks had been consumed. I hate to sound melodramatic, but I honestly despised my time on that flight more than I could ever have imagined. Anyway, once we landed, equilibrium was restored and we could continue our jolly honeymoon. We picked up our hire car from Dollar rental (longest queues EVER) and off we went to find our hotel. 

Phil really enjoyed this car and after selling my convertible two years ago in favour of a more practical car (sob), it felt great to be cruising along with the wind in my hair. Aah, how I love a spin with the roof down.

We were staying in The Stratosphere for the first part of our trip, it was quite handy as it was in the middle of both the old and new strip. I hadn’t realised that this meant it was mostly in the middle of nothing, but we have legs and a car, so it was all good.



I quite enjoyed our time at The Stratosphere. A perk of staying there is free entry to the top, where you can enjoy amazing views of Vegas. It’s also always alive, which is incredibly convenient when you have jet lag. They have a gorgeous, authentic Italian restaurant too, which I would highly recommend. I also very much enjoyed getting a Pain au Chocolat (or chocolate croissant if you’re American!) from Starbucks and rolling around the bed whilst stuffing my face. This lead to us being in an awkward situation when I left chocolate crumbs… Oops!

On our first day in the party town we woke up ridiculously early (I think it was 4am!), watched a movie and went out for breakfast.

I’m always a fan of pancakes and there is an IHOP conveniently located next to The Stratosphere, so it was the perfect place to start our day.

We then decided to hit up the strip and for some completely insane reason we thought it would be a great idea to walk from The Stratosphere to Mandalay Bay in forty three degree heat. This resulted in us walking over twenty miles on our first day because we also walked around all of the hotels and around the shopping mall. We then walked back to The Stratosphere after we were satisfied that we had seen the whole strip and collapsed on our king sized bed in a heap. We were out for the whole day and it was great. I simply adored cooling off and noseying around each unique hotel. I recognised a few from the movies (particularly The Hangover series!).  

Each hotel is completely unique and it’s brilliant how they have embraced having a theme. 

As we walked around the heat was incredible, really thick warm air kissing my skin. It felt like I was constantly under a fan heater. Although it may sound odd, I loved it. I can take heat quite well and it was nice to prance around in a sun dress and flip flops.

The people of Vegas are zesty and remarkably friendly, everybody is simply there to have a good time and forget about the mundane routine of ordinary life.

We were very lucky to be gifted an incredible helicopter experience as a wedding gift. So on our second day in Vegas we were greeted by a limo that took us to the airport for our incredible tour of the Grand Canyon.

I really love flying around by helicopter, so was really excited for our trip. They choose where to sit you based on weight distribution and luckily for us we were placed next to the pilot. It was forty seven degrees that day which felt crazy hot to us English folk. There wasn’t any air con in the helicopter, so it was super mega hot. I think I was the hottest I’ve ever been on that flight. It really was incredible though, flying across Nevada into Arizona. We flew past the Hoover Dam before being consumed by the desert and almighty Grand Canyon. We were lucky enough to land inside the Grand Canyon for a champagne lunch. It was blissful and blisteringly hot! My foot touched a rock and scalded me. We saw tiny birds and chipmunks scampering around searching for food and relief from the scorching sun and I couldn’t help but feel compassion towards them – desert life is visibly tough on the little creatures.

The pilot offered to take photographs of us and right in the middle of my camera roll, I found this beauty!


Soon enough it was time to leave the glorious Grand Canyon behind us and head back to the glittering Las Vegas strip. By limousine of course!

Whilst researching things to do in Sin City, I stumbled across the idea of firing a gun at a shooting range. I have never even held a real gun and thought that this would be a unique experience, so I booked us in to Machine Guns Vegas before you could say ‘aim and fire’. This I thought was a great idea until we were actually at the range. After signing the disclaimer, my heart was pounding and I could hear the fiercest of guns being fired. Soon we were escorted in and my gosh I was terrified. I quickly decided that it wasn’t for me and readily shoved poor Phil towards the raging war weapons whilst backing out of the room. After a couple of minutes I mustered up the courage to watch Phil fire a hand gun. He’s got quite a good shot!


We also visited Ethel M’s chocolate factory and cactus garden, which was a welcome change to the lights of the strip and hit up an outlet mall. There’s actually so much to do in Vegas, we wet never bored.

No trip to Vegas is complete without a photograph with the iconic sign. It’s such a popular spot with constant queues, but so worth it.


Channelling his inner Iron Man!


We also took a trip to the old strip which was retro tastic! It was so cute and felt like we had stepped into the 1950’s! You can zip line along Freemont Street. I think I might try it next time!

We adored our first stay in Vegas, falling head over heels in love with this dessert city. Everything about it was wonderful and I would jump back in a heartbeat. If you haven’t already been, you simply have to go. Embrace it, feel it and fall in love.

L x

Taking time out…

Modern day life is littered with responsibility. We juggle work, family life, maintaining a perfect home, keeping up with endless errands (I still need to take my car to be cleaned!!) all whilst trying to salvage some sort of social life. We have so much going on with many of us working long hours. If you have children, then any sort of spare time that you have is eaten up with homework, bath time and organising their little lives. Even if you don’t have children, family is still important and making time to fit in visits and general helping out are all in all quite time consuming. Don’t even get me started on keeping up with things at home. After all of the cleaning (which appears to dominate my daily existence!), there’s gardening and keeping up with paperwork all whilst simultaneously trying to keep everything organised and clutter free so that you don’t become a reality star on Hoarders next door. The second that you leave the warm and comforting nest of your family home, you are thrusted with bills, cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing. My husband and I are three years in and are completely used to juggling such tasks (who am I kidding with ‘we’ – I think I’ve seen him iron twice!), but some of our friends are new to the game and it’s reminded me of how much of a culture shock being a real life independent adult is. Your underwear really isn’t going to wash itself. Nor will a plate of food just appear in front of you at supper time. Oh no. These are all things that need to be done by yours truly. When I lived at home, my evenings really felt like mine. I used to swan off out for dinner with friends or wallow on the couch watching movies. No housework/general chores. It was all about me. Flash forward a couple of years and my evenings are mostly keeping the home tidy, cooking dinner (which can take quite a while depending on the dish!), cleaning up from dinner, preparing for the next day and trying to salvage some me time (this normally happens around 21:30 and results in me falling asleep on the couch whilst trying to catch up on Game of Thrones). Yes, being an independent adult sure does keep me busy! 

I think that we also put a lot of pressure on ourselves, which is ridiculous as the pressure is piled on enough already from other aspects of life. As young women (and probably men too), we have aspirations and targets to meet deadlines that we have set ourselves. To be married and own a home by the age of thirty, to have a small figure and be fashion savvy, to have a kickass career… The list is endless. These days we are so heavily influenced by various forms of media that it’s so easy to get swept up in what we should be doing and what stage we should be at in our lives. It’s great in some ways as it helps us set our dreams and provides a focus, but it also is a lot of pressure. Many women haven’t met Mr Right by the age of thirty. Even if you have met ‘The One’, marriage might not be something that you really want. We need to think more about ourselves and what is right for us. If you want to reach the peak of your career, by all means go for it, but make sure you don’t kill your soul with it. Take time out to just enjoy being you. You might own your own home by the age of thirty-two, but if you don’t, that’s okay too. You can still have your dreams and ambitions, but just go easy on yourself. Life is mad enough as it is!

I try to take time out regularly to just be me. Think about what I like to do (writing, reading, singing, slobbing out on the couch whilst stuffing copious amounts of junk food) and just embrace it. Try not to worry about all of the crazy goings on and expectations that are both placed on us by others and ourselves. I try to sit down and be ‘me’ once a day. Even if I just manage to read a few pages of the book I’m reading, I find it makes me a better person. When I’m encapsulated with the storyline I’m not worrying about anything else, I’m just having pure, organic, selfish me time and it feels great. 

Last Sunday my hubby was off to an event at Wembley (having some ‘me time’ of his own!) with his friend who happens to be my friends boyfriend. My wonderful friend suggested that we had a spa day whilst the boys were busying themselves with computer game goodness. Naturally I jumped at the chance as I am a huge fan of spa days. Lounging around, hopping between the sauna, jacuzzi and steam room before being pampered for an hour or two. Pure bliss. We had a great time catching up properly and stuffing our faces. We had a full body massage and a facial. It was most divine and the perfect way to spend a Sunday. Whilst I was wrapped up in spa heaven having all sorts of lotions and potions applied to my face, nothing else mattered. It’s these pockets of self indulgence that help keep me sane. I came home stress free and ready life. Of course it doesn’t have to be an elaborate spa day that can allow you to refocus and chill out. Go for a walk, watch a movie, read a book. Have a think about what you enjoy and embrace it. You are a person too and you deserve it! Leave the wash load until the morning, contrary to popular belief it won’t grow legs and take over your home. Put yourself first and take some time out. You never know, not worrying about things and just enjoying the here and now might be the dream you’ve been searching for.

L x

Saving a life…

This weekend was such a busy one. One of the highlights was completing a twelve hour first aid course. Now, I’ve got to admit, a first aid course doesn’t exactly sound like it would be the epitome of one’s social events on a weekend and I wasn’t looking forward to the long day. Especially as the cooler weather and longer nights draw me in to hibernation. I was also thinking that I’ve completed the course before and wasn’t entirely sure that I needed to do it again. I am so glad that I did though, as I had shamefully forgotten so much. They also have changed some of the rules/regulations/recommendations, so it’s good to stay up to date. For my job, it’s really important that I am a competent first aider, but I believe that everybody should know first aid. A lot of the time it’s not going to even be in work when you will need to whip out those first aid skills. How many times have you scorched yourself on the oven? Accidents can happen at any time, anywhere, so it’s good to be clued up. They say that the most common time to go into cardiac arrest is during the hours of four AM and six AM. Where are you normally during these hours? At home! It’s really great to have an idea (even if it’s just a rough one!) of what to do should you find yourself in such a situation. We practiced CPR before lunchtime on two dummies. One child/adult sized and one a small baby. I’m not going to lie, I was a little worried about giving the rescue breaths to a dummy that probably a gazillion other people had slobbered over, but after a thorough wipe with anti bac, I decided it was safe! It was definitely worth practicing as actually you have to push quite hard and in the right place, so I’m glad we had a practice.

We covered so much during the course from high temperatures, grazes, embedded objects, right through to the recovery position. I found it so interesting and a complete eye opener. I think it’s really important to know what to do if you see a baby choking or a child unconscious, because these situations need to be treated differently to adults. You can actually make things a whole lot worse if you try abdominal thrusts on a baby. There is a great website for the Child Accident Prevention Trust that can keep you up to date on things that you may not have realised are potentially dangerous. Their aim is to lower the amount of serious accidents and deaths in children by educating of the risks. I think it’s a great idea and well worth a nosey.

Another pearl of wisdom that I picked up from the course is registering your phone to text 999. It’s such a great idea because as much as I hope it would never happen, you could find yourself in a situation where you need to be incognito or have low phone signal. It’s easier for a text to go through if signal is low and you can send a clearer message.

We also talked about having a fire escape plan in place for the home, as well as the workplace. Having an escape route at home isn’t something that I had really thought about before, but I think it’s worth thinking about and having a chat with your family because you never know if you will ever need one!

I had a great day polishing up my first aid skills and luckily one of my friends was doing it too, so we snuck in a tasty lunch and huge dinner afterwards. It was great to have a catch up and stuff my face, which lets be honest is one of my most favourite things to do!

If you haven’t guessed already, I would highly recommend completing a first aid course because I really feel that it’s something that could come in handy one day and are far more detailed than watching Vinnie Jones do thirty compressions to Staying Alive!
L x

A step back in time…

A few years ago I was watching a documentary that was filmed at Blist Hill Victorian Village in Shropshire. I have always been fascinated by the Victorian times as I feel that it was during this era that us Brits really showed how hard working we are. Industrial work took over with many working in mines and various factories across the country. Of course working conditions displayed constitutions of hell back then to the modern day man, but at the time it really changed people’s lives. We couldn’t imagine a child scurrying through clay mines these days, but it was due to the hard work and determination of the Victorian era that has enabled us to provide for our children now. Our country is strong and well respected. We are able to provide all children with education and a childhood. It was during this era that so many of the things we take for granted such as electricity and running water in our homes really took off. 

We needed to check out of our room in Blackpool by ten AM on the Sunday of our weekend away, so we thought that we could drive the two hours straight from Blackpool to Shropshire and stop off at Blist Hill on our way home. It’s only two hours from Blist Hill to London, so it seemed to work out well.

I was quite excited to see what it was really like in Victorian Times. What the streets were like, how people lived. They say that you can even smell what it was like in Blist Hill Village. Which is, mostly, smokey! 
When we arrived the sun was shining and it was beautifully warm. Especially for Autumn. We had enjoyed gorgeous views of rolling countryside being kissed by the sunlight on our way there and couldn’t have chosen a better day to go.

It’s around £16 per adult for entry and the site is around fifty-two acres. It’s the kind of place that you could spend as little or as long as you like. We stayed for around three hours, but you could easily stay for longer. Make sure you take change for the car park (£2), because there aren’t any cash machines on site. You can pay by card in the pavilion cafe and gift shop, but all of the shops in the village only accept cash (chip and pin devices unavailable in 1900!).

The site itself has been reconstructed brick by brick from a nearby village that was being demolished for building new homes. There are a couple of original buildings, mostly to do with the mines.

There is a gorgeous little canal with ginormous fish living in the clear water. The canal is also a nice spot to sit with your authentic chips from the fish and chip shop and take five minutes to chill. You can also go for a nice walk along the canal to the other end of the village. It was very cute with all of the colours of Autumn littering the floor.

We loved wandering around, peeking in and out of the little shops. The staff are all dressed in period costume and living as though they would have over one hundred years ago. You will find people talking to guests about how most people couldn’t afford shoes and kept the front room only for best. You will also see staff working their jobs as they would have back then, carpenters, coal mine train drivers, plasterers.  

We visited the Toll House and church. The Toll House was a bit larger than the other houses we had been in. The residents said they would be able to keep the house as long as they worked hard collecting the tolls. They had tiny rooms with a roaring fire and a vegetable patch in the garden. They also had chickens and there was a real sense of living off of the land.

The little church was wonderful. Religion was extremely popular during the Victorian era and we were asked upon arrival what our favourite hymn is. I couldn’t think of one at the time, but have since remembered that I quite enjoy ‘Seek Ye First’! Another visitor chose ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’ and before we knew it lyrics had been shoved into our hands and we were belting it out whilst a Victorian played the piano. It was very fun spirited!

We had a nice lunch in the Pavilion Cafe and continued our snoop around the village, visiting everywhere from the Doctors surgery to Carpenters. The Doctors’ house was a little more upmarket with running water in the scullery and electric lights. Apparently the Doctor would have actually had a larger house in a wealthier part of town, a short commute to his posh patients!

We had such a lovely day mooching around and enjoying the beautiful autumnal day. I would definitely recommend a visit to Blist Hill Village if you are in the area. Phil and I have already said that we would like to return one day soon!

L x

Northern getaway…

A few weeks ago my husband and I had just returned from our honeymoon and were having serious post wedding blues. For almost two years we had lived in a bubble of excitement, planning our special day and amazing honeymoon. After returning from our honeymoon, “normal” life resumed. We were no longer worrying about where to seat guests, nor were we researching the best hotels in San Francisco. Everything felt a bit flat. It was during this dull normality that a conversation took place in which we decided to take a trip to Blackpool. I used to go every October half term as a child and absolutely adored our seaside autumnal getaway. It was always so lovely to spend the week with my little family, braving the northern coastal winds to witness the annual Blackpool illuminations. Phil announced that he had never been before, to which I decided he had to go. I mean who can live a life without seeing an illuminated Noddy in a British seaside town?! It was decided that we would go on our only free weekend in October. The illuminations are only on for a few weeks, and if you are going to drive for four hours to Blackpool, it might as well be when the illuminations are on, so you can get the full experience.

We set off straight after work on a Friday evening. We were so lucky to have an amazing drive there, Phil driving whilst I sang along to Taylor Swift in the passenger seat, no traffic in sight. 

I had chosen a little B&B near the tower as we were only going for the weekend and I wanted us to be near everything. The B&B was so cute and delightfully British. We awoke to a mammoth fry up on both days. I normally shovel a pain au chocolat into my mouth whilst simultaneously sipping on a smoothie, so a large breakfast was a welcome change. 

Saturday was our main day in Blackpool and I wanted to both reminisce and show Phil what Blackpool is about, so straight after Breakfast we hit up the Tower.

I had pre booked our tickets online as it’s actually quite expensive to just rock up.

Visiting the Tower as an adult was very different to my trips as a child. For a start, I wasn’t desperate to dive into Jungle Jims upon arrival, not to mention the makeover the Tower has had since being taken over by the Merlin Group. We were going to go straight to the top, but after a couple of flights of stairs on a full stomach, we decided that the ballroom was the perfect place to start our Tower adventure.

The Ballroom is by far my favourite thing about Blackpool Tower. With such intricate detailing and a chilled out atmosphere, it’s the perfect place for a piece of cake and a break. I loved watching people dancing, embracing the moment and letting the music carry their bodies. Maybe it’s the history or maybe it’s the fact they sell cake, but one thing is for sure, there’s a little bit of magic that can be found in the Ballroom of Blackpool Tower.

Our next stop was the “Blackpool Eye”. This was a new experience for me as often when I visited, the top was closed due to bad weather. I did make it up a couple of times though. It has been completely renovated since I last stepped up to the top of the Tower.  

They now have a really cool glass floor. My poor husband is absolutely terrified of heights and couldn’t even look at me on the glass whilst I happily danced about above the promenade. 

There are some lovely views across Blackpool and the Pennines, so I would recommend clambering to the top if you get a chance.

We also visited the circus, which has been going for over thirty years. The circus is really fun and one of the best that I have seen (although I am hardly a circus connoisseur). My favourite part of this circus is the water pool at the end. Because it is a static circus, it is able to have a remarkable pool which is filled as the floor lowers for the finale. I watched this as a child and it fascinated me just as much then as it does now. I would highly recommend incorporating a trip to the circus if you are planning on visiting Blackpool.

We also had a look around the Town Centre, and walked along the sea front. I would be lying if I said that Blackpool holds the key to enchantment and glamour like London does. The reality is that it is a seaside town that has been really affected by the rise in affordability of holidays abroad. What Blackpool is and will always remain is a little a piece of British seaside history. It’s a classic northern trip to the seaside with arcades and souvenir shops lining the promenade. The town centre boasts high street shops such as Topshop, Waterstones and Primark (which came in especially handy for an emergency pair of earmuffs to protect my little ears from the chills of the coastal wind). 

After stopping at Harry Ramsdens for a late lunch, we went for a lovely stroll along the seafront. I’ve always adored a beach and Blackpool actually has a really lovely British beach, complete with families playing and the noise from the sea gulls. There’s just something about the sea meeting the land that warms my heart. I think it’s the natural purity of the environment. Aside from the piers, it’s relatively natural. I love how powerful the sea is. Full of life and uncontrollable. When we no longer crave the delights of London, I know that we will reside in a seaside town.

When darkness falls, the lights are illuminated in Blackpool. They are usually switched on just after 6pm and stay alight until midnight. So after a trip to Pizza Express, we embarked on our illuminated journey.

As a child we used to stay in the North Shore, usually renting a place for the week away from the rowdiness of the town. This would mean that we would end up near Bispham where the large light displays are in full bloom. On this occasion, we stayed near the Tower, and decided to walk along the coastline, pointing out the changes in the lights. They start off as string lights, not too dissimilar to what you would see in most major towns around Christmas. The large displays in Bispham are remarkable and unlike anything you would see anywhere else. As a child, these light displays were amazing. They may as well have been all of my hopes and dreams displayed in lights along the promenade. I remember there used to be a large Postman Pat display which I adored. One year, we were lucky enough to stay opposite the three little pigs display and I remember watching it from the living room window. It was all very exciting. This year there are a range of displays including Doctor Who and Basil Brush. There are also a couple of displays from my childhood. The teddy bears picnic display has been there every year. As a complete newcomer to the Blackpool illuminations scene, Phil found the experience enlightening. He couldn’t work out the reasons behind it and why it’s not on over Christmas. I think it’s just become a tradition and the lights aren’t themed for Christmas. They have their own unique entity. 

Another one of Blackpool’s charms is the trams. They run along the sea front and even have a special train tram and boat tram all lit up for the illuminations tour. We decided not to use the tram and just enjoy the walk. Which actually turned into a thirteen mile stroll resulting in us getting back really late and through the centre of the town near midnight *insert monkey covering eyes emoji here*. I think that walking through the town centre sober and late on a Saturday night is not for the faint hearted. You will witness an array of uncouth behaviour and general rowdiness. Still, at least they were having a good time.

So, which display was my favourite I hear you cry? I loved the hula girls because of its Hawaiin vibe, the haunted house because it played MJ’s Thriller and the Alice in Wonderland display for its magical garden and attention to detail.

It was soon time to say goodbye to the seaside and endure the drive home (another couple of hours of me singing along to Tay Tay). Would I visit Blackpool again? Absolutely. It’s a real gem of a place if you look underneath it’s scruffy exterior. Plus it holds so many memories for me. Do I think you should go if you haven’t before? Absolutely. Go during the illuminations, stay in a B&B and take ear muffs. There’s lots to do there and as long as you let your inhibitions go, you’ll have a great time.

L x

A candlelit love affair

It’s no secret that I am not a fan of the ‘darker months’. The late autumn, entirety of winter and even early spring are all on my hitlist. Although with my only options being to get on with it or immigrate, I pretty much have to embrace them. 

The way I have learnt to cope with the impending feeling of doom that comes with the cooler months is to seek out their individual charms. In October you can hear the crunching of leaves during your early morning walk. Watch the squirrels hunting for supplies to carry them through the challenging times ahead and even carve a pumpkin if you fancy. In November you are shaken alive by the roar from the fireworks, forcing even the biggest of pessimists to look into the sky in awe of the fire glitter. Then there’s December. What a beauty of a month. Almost everybody is riddled with festive cheer. The days are short (the shortest in fact), nights are long and filled with festive tunes. Holiday mode is in full swing and you can’t do anything without being reminded of the jubilant day. Seriously, even turning on the telly will result in the great man in red invading your home and spreading the love. Without a doubt,  the best part of December is the food. Oh, the abundance, the acceptance of over indulging. The fact that every friend/relative you visit has copious amounts of chocolate. It’s just marvellous. Coupled with two bank holidays, December really helps dull the wintry pain. My birthday is in January and usually by this time I have found the cold, miserable winter far too much and we jet off somewhere to numb the pain. The air is cool and crisp. Your commute is that bit longer with precious minutes in the warmth of your bed snatched away by icy footpaths and car windscreens. The fashion is great though, you can pile on the layers without anyone noticing the few pounds you have put on through festive indulgence. February is the month of love and also feels as though you are coming to the end of winter pain. Spring is within arms reach with longer days and warmer temperatures, providing a wealth of optimism.

As soon as the cooler evenings sweep in, I am whipping out my favourite scented candles. I love having candles dotted around our home for many reasons. Firstly it makes me feel all warm inside. It may sound a bit nuts, but psychologically I find watching the tiny flame lower itself further down the wick and surrounding itself in scented gooey-ness makes me instantly feel warmer after coming in from the cool evenings. We are lucky to have a real fireplace and this obviously has the same effect only on a much larger scale as the heat emitted is actually beneficial as opposed to relatively artificial. I love snuggling on the couch in candlelight. It just feels right. The other thing that I adore is of course the delicious aroma that fills the room from a beautiful scented candle. I hate to be a snob, but I really do feel like you get what you pay for when it comes to candles. There are so many on the market, all different shapes, scents and sizes. For me, the shape or size doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I’m all about the smell. I like the air to become completely smothered in the wonderful perfume scent that comes from a good candle. I feel it completes our home and makes being at home just feel extra nice. There’s nothing more relaxing than being all snuggled in a dressing gown watching telly by candlelight. It’s my favourite thing about the cooler months. 

Jo Malone create the most beautiful scented candles. They ooze luxury and sophistication. Being in the presence of a Jo Malone candle is how I imagine heaven would smell. The quality is divine and there is such an extensive variety of scents to choose from that even the most fussy can find a happy medium. The candles are always perfectly presented and are simply classic, designed to fit in with even the sharpest of interior design. The only downside is the price. This paradigm of a luxury candle certainly comes with a price tag that doesn’t fit with everybody’s budget, with prices for a luxury candle coming in at two hundred and eighty pounds. Never fear, you can get your hands on a home candle for a mere forty two pounds. They do last well and the amazing scents that Jo Malone are reknowned for completely fill any space that they are placed in to, not to mention how gorgeous they look generally, so it’s up to you if you have the cash to invest.

Relatively new to the market, Heir and Grace certainly provide competition for the luxury candle makers. With their classic design and sumptuous scents, they really are the Kate Middleton of the candle world. Hand made and poured in Windsor, they always arrive beautifully packaged with a palatial charm. What I adore the most about Heir and Grace candles is that they feel so organic. You can instantly tell that they haven’t been mass manufactured using ghastly chemicals. They have been crafted with love and passion. They have grown their collection of scents and whichever scent you choose will certainly fill your home with air that isn’t remotely artificial. It’s pure, elegant. Perfect for cosy nights in or even dinner parties. How much would such an opulent candle set you back? Well, a home candle costs thirty six pounds. Whilst there are a lot of other, less expensive brands on the market, Heir and Grace candles come with a story. You aren’t simply paying for a little scented flame in your home. You are paying for a loving creation with a rich, well thought out scent. 

I first laid eyes on a Bath and Bodyworks candle whilst shopping in New York. They are an American brand that I am desperate to move to the United Kingdom. Even if they only open one shop that happens to be eight hours away from home, I’ll be happy to travel. I just adore their products so much. They stock the most unique scents from candles to hand sanitizers and are wonderful. Unfortunately, they don’t ship to the UK, so getting your hands on one of their delightful candles can prove quite tricky. They stock a variety of sizes, from mini travel candles that are a few dollars, right up to my favourite three wick candles, which come in at twenty two dollars. They offer excellent value for money and the three wick candles last for quite a while. Whilst their design isn’t as classic as the luxury candles, they are still lovely and aren’t unsightly if left out. Their scents are far more fun than any other company I am aware of and you can certainly find a candle for everyone from Gran to your best friend. Plus, if you find a scent you love, you can indulge in bath products to car air fresheners. 

Ah, Yankee Candle. Where do I start? They have become so iconic over the last few years and have really made an impact this side of the pond. The design of their jars is often mimicked, although the product usually in these imitations pales in comparison to Yankee. With an extensive selection of scents to choose from, as well as many other products such as wax melts and tea lights, they really appeal to the mass market. Yankee are really great at embracing the holidays. There is pretty much a scent for every occasion. We were even given a ‘wedding day’ jar as a gift on our wedding day. That’s the other thing about Yankee, they make wonderful gifts. They aren’t too cheap and they aren’t too expensive like their luxury competitors. They do a lovely job of filling the home with a nice scent. They aren’t as classically designed as the far pricier luxury brands, and come in a vast array of colours, some of which aren’t to everybody’s interior taste. Coming in at a couple of pounds for a small candle up to twenty two pounds for a large jar, they are great value. If the jars aren’t up to your taste, they also make pillar candles and have some other, classic designs.

So that’s how I intend to spend the cool evenings, snuggled up and surrounded by my favourite scents. Who needs to leave the house anyway?!

L x