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Easy Cocktails

From snow to sunshine. That's just how we roll here in the UK. Not long ago we were out sledging and building snowmen. Now we're out buying shorts and sun screen ready for the summer. Grab it with both hands though as tomorrow it could be chucking it down!

Nothing screams Spring and Summer more than a cocktail. Well, cocktails are acceptable during any season but there's just something about summer that makes these drinks extra delicious. Maybe because they're a reminder of having the sand between your toes and sun on my face?

Anyway, whether you're planning a party, a BBQ or even just a night in, cocktails are always a wise choice. Not only do they look good but they taste even better and there's so many different ones to choose from.

This is one of my absolute favourites. It's fresh, fruity and just tastes of summer.

Watermelon Glory - This is one of Jamie Oliver's concoctions. It's the sweetest and freshest cocktail and goes down like juice. I haven't decided if that's a good thing or not but it's a taste sensation and easy to make which is always a winner in my eyes


 

You need:

2 shots of golden rum
400g watermelon
1-2 tbsp. vanilla syrup
1 handful of ice cubes

Simply blitz the rum, watermelon and 1 tablespoon of syrup with some ice cubes in a blender. Have a sip and add the remainder of the vanilla syrup if required, depending how sweet you want it. Pour it into a glass and serve with extra slices of watermelon on the side, if you like.

Taadaaa, you have a gorgeous cocktail ready to drink! Alternatively, if you want to experiment more, I highly recommend the cocktail starter set from The Cocktail Store. It comes with everything you need to start making delicious drinks and even has a book with lots of recipes for you to try.

I'd love to know your favourite summer drink?

Favourite Wax Melts

If you're a regular reader then you'll know about my love for wax melts, candles and all things relating to home fragrance.

A few of my friends recommended Little Ideas With Love to me but my collection was always so big, I kind of never bothered but my social media newsfeed was always so full of amazing reviews and pictures about this wax. I decided to just go for it, I mean you can never have too much, can you?

I placed my order on the website and within a week I had placed another 3! That's how impressed I was with the products. I'm totally in love and have quite the collection building up.


The scents I have so far:


Little Ideas With Love creates their own unique blends of fragrance. Some of them smell very similar to some leading brands but there's always a twist with it to make it unique and special to Little Ideas With Love. They create wax pods, discs, scoopables and my favourite.. Brittle.

I love the brittle, you get a bag full and can just snap off however much or little you'd like. It comes in a resealable bag too with a clear label of the scent on the front. It's beautifully coloured and decorated and each bit is different. I love how pretty it looks especially when it's melting.




There are so many scents to choose from on the website and it's always changing and new scents being introduced but my personal favourites so far are AvoLimeBath, Lemon Curd, Blackcurrant & Liquorice and Pink Lemonade.

           
         
The wax is handmade in Yorkshire by the owner, Rachel, who is so lovely. Quality and customer service is everything to her and she offers an outstanding service, hence why I've ordered so much in such a short space of time.

The scent throw on her wax is amazing and lasts much longer than the leading brands I've tried. You don't need to top it up, I use mainly electric warmers and have them on for about 6 hours a day, I can easily get 3 days out of a few small bits of brittle before needing a top or a change. I'd say one bag of brittle would last me 10 changes.


There's also bath and body products available. I've got my eye on a face mask, it's had some great reviews.

If you like candles and home fragrance, I highly recommend Little Ideas With Love. If you decide to purchase, please use my code - IGCHELSEA10 for a 10% discount on your order and tag me on Instagram to show me what you got. I love to see what scents other people choose.

Also check out the Facebook page where you can catch Rachel, the owner, live making some products in her workshop.

On 1st every month, a surprise box goes live on the website - there's usually 7-8 products in the box and they're a complete surprise until you receive them, there's usually about 30 boxes available and it's first come first served, they go live at different times each month to make it fair on everyone. One lucky box will have something different from everyone else, this box receives more goodies from Little Ideas With Love.

*This is NOT a sponsored post and I paid for this wax using my own money. This is NOT a collaboration, I do not receive any commissions or monetary rewards from purchases, I genuinely just love the products and think my readers would too*

Shop - HERE  with code IGCHELSEA10 for 10% discount

4 Stresses Of Wedding Planning That Everybody Forgets

Everybody knows that planning a wedding is incredibly stressful, if you didn’t you’re in for a big shock. If you want to make the whole thing a lot easier on yourself, you need to work out what the most stressful bits about it are going to be and make sure you get a bit of a head start on them. Often, it’s the things that you thought would be easy that cause you the most hassle and the things that you thought would take you ages are a breeze. These are some of the areas that are likely to cause you the most stress when you’re planning a wedding.


Choosing A Wedding Planner
Getting a wedding planner is supposed to make things easier, not harder, and it does. However, choosing the wedding planner in the first place can be incredibly taxing. What you’ve got to remember is that you’re putting the biggest day of your life in somebody else hands and it’s vital that they get everything right. When you’re trying to choose a wedding planner, always meet with them and share your ideas and see what their input is, if you’re not on the same page from the start, steer well clear. It’s also better to go for luxury wedding planning services rather than trying to do it on the cheap. They’ll have a lot more experience and they can help you plan the day that you want, without having to make any compromises.

The Seating Plan
Weddings are great because they bring so many people together to celebrate your special day, but that can cause problems as well. A lot of those people that you’re bringing together might not like each other very much. You’ve got to consider family feuds, exes and loud drunks when you’re sorting out your seating plan. If you seat the wrong people next to each other, it could spell disaster. The best thing to do is start with any guests that could potentially cause trouble and make sure they’re separated, then you can start filling the gaps with everybody else.

The Rehearsal Dinner
When you’re caught up with planning the actual wedding itself, the rehearsal dinner becomes a bit of an afterthought. That means you’ll be rushing to sort it out last minute which is a nightmare. You’ll have to make a lot of the same decisions like guest lists and seating plans for the rehearsal dinner as well and if you’re not careful, you might end up going over budget. Make sure that you’re thinking about the rehearsal dinner from the beginning and you leave plenty of time to plan it before the big day.

Accommodation
When you’ve got that many people coming to one place, they all need somewhere to stay. If you leave it to the last minute, you might not be able to find enough rooms for everybody which is obviously a bit of a disaster. You can try to reduce the stress by getting people to sort out their own accommodation where possible, then you’ve got nowhere near as many people to make arrangements for.

If you thought that choosing a dress was going to be the most stressful part of planning a wedding, you’re in for a big surprise.


The Ultimate Wedding Guest Guide


Weddings aren’t just exciting for the bride and groom and their families. Guests can have a great time too, and there’s little more exciting for a wedding-obsessed woman than receiving an invite to such a special event. We get excited, we spend time planning, and we let ourselves get carried away with the romance of the occasion. This can make wedding season the best time of the year.


Wedding season isn’t as packed as it once was. Nowadays people marry at any time in the year. Getting married in the winter time can be magical and save the happy couple and their families vast amounts of money. But, there is still a wedding season. From your mid 20’s until middle age, you may find that you have a few weddings to attend every summer, from May until September. Now that these wonderful occasions are upon us, whether you are a seasoned pro and have attended countless weddings, or you’re just starting to see your friends move on to the next phase in their relationships, there’s a lot to plan before you attend a wedding, even as a guest. Here’s a guide to help you get it right.


Your Outfit
Getting your wedding guest outfit just right can be tricky. You want to look wonderful without outshining the bride or members of the wedding party. You also need to consider the time of year, plan for unexpected weather changes, and make sure you’ve got a bag that will hold anything you might need for the day. Wedding days can also be long and include lots of hanging around so comfortable shoes are a must.
Try to find out what colours the wedding party will be wearing to ensure you won’t clash, then shop around for the perfect dress. But, don’t feel pressured to wear something different every time if money is tight. You’re probably the only person that will notice.

The Gift
Many couples now register for gifts, which can be a massive help. But, it’s not always. Often gifts on the list are very expensive, and if you’re not that close, you might not want to spend that much. Other couples don’t register at all. These wedding gift ideas for 2018 are fantastic and offer something for every budget. Just try not to get sucked into any wedding gift politics. Don’t worry about what might be expected of you. Get them something that you think they’ll like.

The Day
The last thing that you want is to be late. So, make sure you know where you are going, if you are driving, use a sat nav and if you are getting a taxi, give yourself plenty of time. Pack things like spare tights, deodorant, lipstick, painkillers and mints and don’t forget your tissues!

Put Your Phone Down
It can be tempting to take photos, tweet and connect throughout the day. Don’t. If the couple wants snaps appearing on Instagram, they’ll have set up a hashtag. Let them share their day when they are ready and don’t ruin it with constant phone clicking

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Don't forget to check out my Wedding Planning Tips

Easter Events - North East England

The Easter festivities are fast approaching and I just how hard it is trying to keep the family entertained during school holidays.




I've compiled a list of some events happening in the north east area this Easter.
Life Science Centre:
Enjoy chocolate workshops, crafts, theatre show and the Dino Jaws exhibition between 30th March - 15th April - 10am - 6pm. Everything inside the centre is included in the admission price. A family of 4, 2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children is £34. Under 4's go free.

Caledonian Hotel Jesmond:
Friday 30th March - 13:30-16:00. Afternoon tea. 2 adults (prosecco included) and 2 children - £55. Price includes children's entertainer, disco, magic show and candyfloss. Sunday 1st April 12:30 - Sunday carvery followed by Easter crafts, activities and an egg hunt. All children receive a chocolate egg. £12.95 per adults and £9.95 per child with under 2's going free.

Spanish City Fun Fair:
30th March - 5th April - 11am - 6pm. Enjoy classics rides such as dodgems, waltzers, roller coasters, hook a duck, trampolines, bungee jumps and much more. Visit on Sunday 1st April and all children will receive a free Easter egg, face painting and various entertainment throughout.

Manor Walks Cramlington:
Visit Peter Rabit on 4th April between 11am and 4pm. Children can enjoy story time and photo opportunities outside Boots in the centre mall.

Easter Bunny at Woodhorn Museum:
30th March - 2nd April between 1am and 3pm. Come and visit the Easter bunny and receive a small sweet treat. Also check out pirate school and the sea critters craft sessions.

Easter Eggspress - Stephenson Railway Museum:
Sunday 1st April between 11am and 3pm. Children can enjoy a ride on the heritage steam train, explore the collection of engines at the museum and take part in the Easter egg trail. Solve the clues and win a mini chocolate egg price, Don't forget to try the Easter themed treats in the Waggonway tea room. Free entry to the museum however a small charge is required for the train ride.

Beamish Museum:
Egg trail, Easter themed baking including hot cross buns and carrot lollies, card, bonnet, finger puppet workshop and paper flower making, egg decorating and rolling and much more for the full family to enjoy. Beamish is an amazing place to visit throughout the year, they always cater for school holidays and their events are always so unique and fun filled.

Alnwick Castle:
Various events including music, crafts and street theatre shows. Something for all ages and regular events throughout the year.

Karting Newcastle Upon Tyne:
One of the North Easts few indoor karting tracks for the full family to enjoy. Various packages available depending on the group size.


Whitehouse Farm Easter Eggstravaganza:
Between 30th March and 15th April - Enjoy bunny cuddles, real life Easter chicks and even bottle feed some cute little lambs. Visitors can enjoy a day of choc-a-bloc fun, magic, games and crafts alongside seeing all of the animals at the farm.


Eggtastical Easter Event - Gateshead Leisure Centre:
Sunday
8th April - 10:30-11:30. Sensory play, egg decorating competition, card making, music, dancing and more.


Disclosure: I have received free entry to some of these events for the purpose of this guide.

Cheltenham Festival 2018 - Ladies Day

 
 

 
Both me and my partner are huge horse racing fans. It's the only sport I'm interested in and it's kind of our thing, the thing we do together and about the only tv programme we can ever agree on. We're both pretty lucky and have frequent wins but even without the gambling side of it, we still both really enjoy it.

We visit various courses throughout the year but our favourite has to be Cheltenham race course for the festival. Particularly Ladies Day. I love seeing the outfits and how much effort people go to, I just walk around amazed at the creativity but sadly didn't get any pictures. I was too busy enjoying myself and admiring the oversized hats. People often assume Ladies Day events are full of ''posh'' and ''stuck up'' people but I can honestly say they're wrong. We're all there for the same reason and everyone just has fun.

We decided not to stay over this year as we left it a little too late and the hotel prices were ridiculous so we travelled there and back on the same day from Newcastle Upon Tyne - an 11 hour journey there and back. Was it worth it? Definitely!

We travelled complimentary first class with Cross Country Trains - we always choose Cross Country as they reliable and competitive. The service they offer is outstanding and the staff are always so helpful and friendly. The journey there was straight down with no changes which always makes life easier.

We arrived at Cheltenham Spa for 11am and a shuttle bus was provided to take us to the race course, we arrived at 11:20 and went for a few drinks before heading to the course. The atmosphere in Cheltenham is buzzing during the festival, I absolutely love experiencing this each year.

We headed to the course for about 13:00 and grabbed a drink ready for the first race. We had tickets for The Club Enclosure which are the best tickets at the course, I'd highly recommend these as they give you the best view. There's also lots of bars and food stalls nearby with so much choice from pizza, burgers, hog roasts and traditional fish and chips. You're truly spoilt for choice. There's also lots of toilets nearby and they're easily accessible. The staff at the course are very friendly and there's always people about to help if you need them.


The entrance to Cheltenham race course




We decided to stay around the parade ring so we could see the horses before and after the race. It also means we get to see more of the trainers, owners and the jockeys.


Trainer - W Mullins


ITV press team

The atmosphere when a winning horse parades around the ring is just electrifying. Even if it wasn't a winner for you, I can't explain it. The roars of cheers and claps is like nothing I have ever experienced before.


The parade ring





We had such a good day at the track but knew we had a long journey back home so we left pretty much straight after the last race and headed for the shuttle bus back to Cheltenham Spa. We then jumped on our first train which took us to Birmingham, we had a 35 minute wait and then our train arrived to take us back to Newcastle. We got to Newcastle Central Station for about 23:00 and jumped on the Metro train home, get got home around midnight after leaving the house at 6am. It was a long day and I'd definitely recommend staying over if you're travelling far but definitely book in advance to get the best hotel prices

The highlight of our day was seeing Altior win The Queen Mother Champion Chase. He's trained by Nicky Henderson and we absolutely love him as a trainer so this was great to see.


Altior leaving the parade ring after winning The Queen Mother Champion Chase 2018


Altior entering the parade ring after winning The Queen Mother Champion Chase 2018


I'd love to know what sporting events you like to attend in the comments.


This is a sponsored post however all words, opinions and pictures are my own.

Wedding Planning & Blogging Tips

 

Weddings weddings weddings, that's all I seem to talk and think about at the minute. Our big day is still a while away but there's so much still to do. It's never ending and my to do list seems to be growing rather than decreasing! I'm really enjoying the planning but I won't lie, I will be relieved when it's all over and we've got the end result... man and wife. After all, that's why we're doing all of this and enduring the months of planning and perfecting.

I get asked so many wedding related questions and thought it would be easier to give you my top 10 tips.

1. Be realistic. We're all guilty of swooning over Pinterest and wanting the most perfect day with every detail catered for but be realistic. Do you really have the time to make all of the DIY projects you've pinned and can your budget really stretch to an ice sculpture? If so then great! But if not then that's okay too, you can still create a beautiful day regardless of your budget. Your guests are there for celebrate with you, you don't need big grand gestures and without them is an
easy ways to cut your wedding budget and expenses.



2. If you're a wedding blogger, the biggest
blogging tips I can give you are to be honest and be genuine. You don't have to pretend to be something you're not. People often see weddings as a competition and a way to out do each other, remember the reason why you're getting married and embrace it. Don't fake your plans, your readers sense this and it'll make you feel disappointed when you crash back into reality. Embrace the uniqueness of your plans and your content. There are lots of amazing wedding blogs, each one completely different and special in their own way. Be your own inspiration and have your own twist on things. If you're ever looking for inspiration then visit Content Mother - it's coming very soon and will be a place to help create the perfect mix marketing, PR and social media in order to create the ultimate community to help each other grow and succeed. Never be afraid to speak to bloggers and influences in and our of your niche, we're all here to support each other.



3. Set a realistic budget and plan
how to save for your wedding. Even if you have a couple of years before the big day, it comes round so quickly and it's best to start saving as soon as possible.



4. Shop around. There are more than 50 ways to save money on your wedding. Vendors know us brides like to get value for money, I'm not saying go with the cheapest of everything but shopping around is definitely worth it, you'll be amazed at the differences in prices.

5. Enjoy it - there will be times you get fed up of questions and people sticking their noses in. Don't be afraid to tell people to butt out (in the politest way possible of course). It's a wedding, not a people pleasing party and it's one of the very few times where you can have full control to create a day exactly how you want it. Make the most of it.



6. Don't leave everything until the last minute. Some of my supplies are booked up 3 years in advance, if you've confirmed a date and venue then there's no reason why you shouldn't secure your chosen vendors and supplies with a deposit to ensure you get to use their services. It's never too early and you won't be the only organised bride.



7. You don't have to invite someone just because you know them or because you think they'll be huffed otherwise. You invite and cater for those you want to share your day with. It's no one else's day and the decisions are yours and your husband/wife to be. Don't let others take over your day. It's okay to say no.



8. Tradition isn't always a must. If you don't want a big church wedding, that's totally fine. If you don't want to wear white, that's totally fine too and even if you don't want a cake, guess what? That's fine! Just because it's traditional to do something a certain way, doesn't mean there's an unwritten rule saying you can't go against it. I've known brides have cakes made of cheese! And their guests loved it because it was unique and different. Just to what you want for one day.



9. Don't expect too much. Everyone will want to stick their nose in apart from the one persons opinion you actually want. The groom! (sorry if you're the groom and reading this, I appreciate some grooms are into planning and that's fine but grooms not cooperating is so popular). They rarely care about colour schemes and which flowers, it's something they wouldn't even think about unless you brought it to their attention so don't be disappointed when your groom isn't as excited about chair covers and center pieces as you are.



10. Get a wedding planning book. Mine is my bible and I couldn't be without it. It's hard to keep track of everything like quotes, contact details, addresses, check lists, to do lists, suppliers and guest lists. Wedding planning books keep everything in place. I've got a great one which was actually designed by a wedding planner so it covers every single detail.



I hope you've found these tips helpful and they can help ease the planning strains. Just remember why you're planning this day and try not to let it take over.

Wishing you all the very best on your wedding planning journey and years and years of a happy and true marriage.


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Check out The Ultimate Wedding Guest Guide