Fly Away: The Canary Islands (Gran Canaria Travel Guide)

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TheCanaryIslandsWhilst it seems a distant memory, here are some snapshots from my September trip to The Canary Islands, along with a few brief tips on making the most of this island getaway. Since most of my holiday was based in and around my hotel – such was the lazy two weeks I had hoped for – there is little by way of activity and nightlife recommendations here. The Canary Islands was a perfect lazy getaway for me and Captain America to briefly escape our busy lives, so if you’re looking for a lot of sun, relaxation, and plenty of choices for eating, drinking (as well as activities), it’s a fabulous location a short hop from the UK, with a wonderful climate.

Gran Canaria Top Tips:

Lounging: Maspalomas Beach: a beautiful stretch of sand on the south tip of Gran Canaria, you can spend the day here lounging near the sea, with plenty of drinks stalls along the beach to quench your thirst in the heat.  The beach is framed by rolling sand dunes, giving it a desert feel.  Word of warning – watch out for the strategically placed nudist sections alternating alongside where the ‘regular’ people sit.  Be sure to take in the weather forecast, the tip of the island can get windy, and no-one likes sand in their margaritas.

Get nautical: plenty of organizations offer boating trips and tours, including dolphin spotting.  Braver souls may wish to embark upon the MTV Boat Party (you did not hear this from me I never went honest guv’nor).

Fill up: If you are a sushi fan head to Sakura III situated in Playa des Ingles. Beautifully presented sushi and so much choice on the menu I didn’t know where to begin.  Their sake had a wonderfully crisp taste.  For paella, try El Senador, situated on Maspalomas beach.  Fish lovers might also like to try their house special: sea bass cooked in salt.

Wake up: Along the south of the island, sunrise was around 7-8am and the light was beautiful for photos on the beach.  I miss that kind of light here in England!  Get up early and make the most of it, no matter how lazy your vacation may be.

When is summer again, exactly?

Wearing: (Main images) Dress, ASOS.

Hair Tutorial: The Perfect Straight Hair with GHD

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Earlier this year I was in need of a hairstyle change.  As much as I love my curls, I decided to commit to straight hair – I had a long fringe cut in, and the fight began to tame the frizz in favour of straight, thick and flowing hair.

I learned very early on that the dream of this kind of straight hair is never as easy as it looks – well, at least it hasn’t been for me! Through trial and error, learning from the stylists in my local salon and reading about the best way to achieve a frizz-free look, I think I finally arrived at the right combination of tools and styling products for ‘the perfect straight’.

My straightening tools:

  • Hairdryer (at least 2,000 watts, so professional strength)
  • Heat protection (I use Sassoon Heat Shape and Diamond Polish)
  • Ceramic hair brush (to give me some volume, also ceramic brushes retain the heat, which gives you a faster blow dry)
  • Straightening iron
  • Comb

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One of the most essential tools for straightening is a good flatiron with ceramic plates. You need the plates to be ceramic as those with steel plates can pull and tear your hair.  For this I recommend ghd, whose styling tools are a staple part of my hair routine.  My straightener is the ghd V lagoon professional styler, a limited edition tool from the birds of paradise collection.  If you purchase the coral styler from this range, ghd will donate 10 GBP to Breakthrough Breast Cancer, and this money will be used to aid research into the prevention, detection and treatment of the disease, a very worthwhile cause.

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S0, the steps to straightness:

  • Wash and condition your hair. The conditioning part is very important, because you want your hair to be in the very best condition before you start styling with heat, to prevent damage.
  • I towel dry my hair first, I never begin with wet hair.  Hair should be damp, not dripping with water.
  • Use a small amount of ‘heat shape’ in preparation for blow-drying.
  • Using a ceramic brush, blow dry your hair, pulling it taut in the process to help with the smoothing.  This is by far the most time consuming part for me, as I have so much thick hair in layers, but the more time you can spend getting this bit right, the better your final look will be.
  • When I have finished blow-drying my hair, I add a small amount of ‘diamond polish’ before I begin straightening. To start straightening, section your hair into segments (perhaps stick half your hair in a bun on the top of your head, and separate the bottom part into sections about one or two inches wide.) Using a comb, pull out a section of hair as taut as possible, while smoothing a flatiron along that section with the other. Start at the roots of the hair near your head (mind your scalp, no-one likes to get burnt!) and move to the end in one fluid motion, then repeat a couple of times to make sure that section of hair is straight.
  • Repeat the last step for all other sections, and begin working on the top of your head (I usually add a teeny bit more ‘diamond polish’ at this stage to help calm flyways) After one section is done and you are happy with it, repeat the process on the other sections.

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A few words of caution, my straight and sleek loving friends. Never, ever, ever use flatirons on wet hair. This will cause so match damage, it’s akin to boiling your hair.  Do take your time, more so with the blow dry part than the straightening part.  Your effort will pay off!  Finally, resist the temptation to run the straighteners over and over the same sections too many times.  You want to do all you can to minimize heat damage and have your hair in the very best condition.

So there you have it! Tips for ‘the perfect straight’. Good luck!

 

Reiss Eveningwear: My Style – After Dark

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Reiss_Partywear_AW14_AfterDark_Bloggers1When it comes to dressing for the evening, guaranteed I like to shake the day off with an entire outfit change and a new energy to take to drinks or dinner.  Whilst a pair of killer heels (previously hidden away in my desk drawer, waiting for the right moment to spring free) and a spritz of my favourite perfume are my day-to-night essentials, after dark you can likely find me changing into a dress or skirt for the evening, and this Rhomona ruby red lace style from the Reiss partywear collection ticks all the right boxes for adding the necessary high-octane glamour to move me through the twilight hours.

Earlier this month Reiss invited me and fellow fashion & beauty bloggers Lucy (Fashion Me Now), Anneli (What I Bought Today), Jesse (We The People Style) Patricia (Patricia Bright) and Sarah (Framboise Fashion) to London’s Hoxton Hotel to showcase our style: after dark with our favourites from their AW14 collection.  Regular readers of the blog will be only too familiar with Reiss since it forms a considerable part of my wardrobe – for someone my age and in my profession the brand produces modern, classic, well-made and often a little edgy styles with wonderful mix and match versatility.

Only such a well-loved brand could persuade me to ditch my usual monochrome after dark, but the Rhomona dress had me at hello.  Floral lace, fit and flare, scarlet red hue – if I am going out, I am reaalllly going out.  I paired the dress with the Flutter soft biker jacket (did I tell you I like a side of masculine with my feminine?), the Jessie cut out box clutch and the Isla shoes.

If we can just spend some time thinking about accessories, as if you are particularly pushed for time when transitioning from day-to-night, these can form the lynchpin of your look.  Both my clutch and heels here were intricate and directional in terms of design – interesting to look at, dramatic and sleek.  The clutch in particular, with its gold hardware, is for me the ultimate after hours accessory.

You can read the full feature and see all the different blogger-styled outfits HERE. Click HERE to shop my #OOTN (outfit of the night – you can search for this hashtag on Twitter also to see what other bloggers are wearing).

Photos taken on location at The Hoxton Hotel.  Hair styling: with thanks to Sassoon Salons.