Iceland – The Beginning (Part One)

 

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.” Hans Christian Anderson

Iceland is one of those places that called to me. After watching movies like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,  hearing about it from friends and looking at pictures on many travel instagrammers accounts I just could not get enough. I knew I had to go.

 After much research we finally made the jump and decided to book the Intrepid 8 day Northern Lights Tour. This turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life and hopefully the beginning of many more adventures.

We booked the trip nearly a year in advance, which gave us plenty of time to organise what we would take and stock up on warm weather gear! When February finally came you can imagine how excited I was!

We both finished work a day before our flight so we packed all our gear together, dropped the puppy off at her holiday home for the week and headed to the hotel we booked in Heathrow for that evening just so we could relax before flying out the next day. I was so glad we chose to do this as it made the trip so much more relaxing and less stressful!

It only takes 3 hours to get to Iceland from the UK and the time zone is the same (flying anything over an hour makes me feel like I should change time) so we arrived by late afternoon. In the airport we met our coach driver and some of our group. From here he took us from Keflavik to Reykjavik. I could not believe (and still can’t) how beautiful this country was. Snow covered mountains in the distance called to me and I just could not get enough of looking at them. It was really happening, I was really there!

We were staying the first two nights of our trip in Hotel Fron right in the middle of the main centre of the city. The hotel rooms were lovely and we were more than comfortable. I would definitely go here again if I went back. After checking in, dropping everything off and getting changed we were to meet our group for dinner at 7. At the recommendation of our guide we grabbed our swimsuits in haste (along with 2 other women in our group) as the local baths were open till midnight for that evening only for the Icelandic Winter Lights Festival.

Our first meal in this wonderful country was at Geyser Bistro and was a great way to start. We met some more of our lovely group and ate some wonderful fish (when in iceland).

{Salted Cod and Local Fresh Caught Ling}

After the meal we took a snowy, fresh walk to the local baths to enjoy a relaxing evening in   hot geothermal water with two of our new travel companions. The baths were amazing and even though you have to follow some local customs (no shoes, naked showering and ensuring you are dry before re-entering the changing rooms) it was actually really liberating to just not care (don’t get me wrong it took a lot to build up to it). Plus the baths and changing rooms were spotless, which compared to many of the swimming places in Britain this was amazing.

After some relaxing we ambled slowly back to the hotel with some night views on the way.

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The next day we got up early for breakfast, a nice continental, and met the group ready for a city tour.

We learnt about the cities history, passed sites such as the Harpa Concert Hall, the frozen lake and the harbour.

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Our first proper stop on the tour was at the Perlan, which had a 360 view of the area. Truly beautiful. Also if you go up there in winter time make sure to be careful of the ice, I can attest that it truly hurts if you misjudge it (I had the bruise to prove it).

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Our next stop was to view a snowy village outside of the city.

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We stopped by the national museum but only for a brief time as we wanted to reach the final stop of Hallgrímskirkja. This well photographed and popular church was still amazing to see in real life.

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A group of us broke off from some of the others to head down the harbour and scout out lunch. We were in the mood for some lobster and the restaurant we choose provided exactly this (If you can’t tell from the title).

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We ate good food, chatted, drank cider and just enjoyed the wonderful atmosphere of being in this fantastic place.

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Once our stomachs were satisfied we made our way round the city by foot.After some souvenir shopping the boy and I broke off from the group to take a wander along the seafront.

We walked up to the sun voyager , a sculpture of a dream boat (often mistaken as a viking boat) in ode to the sun. It inspires thoughts of travel, hope, progress and freedom. All ideals that perfectly encompass the adventure we were on.

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After taking in this wonderful view we took a slow walk down to the Harpa Concert Hall where we watched the sun set over Reykjavik.

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It was a truly wonderful day and only the beginning of what would prove to be an awe inspiring trip. Already I was in love with Iceland.

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Millie

Hi! I do exist! Apologies for lack of content for say 7 months! Life has been busy and this took a backseat so I could focus on work and some changes in our lives.

The biggest change was we got a dog! We took the jump to get a dog last August and this was the best thing we ever did (strong words I know)! We had been searching for a few months but things fell through or the rescue dog we wanted got snapped up before we got to view them! Unfortunately those dogs may not have been for us but it led us to get the lovely pupstar we have now.

So without further ado let me introduce the new member to our family! Meet Millie the Siberian Retriever (Husky/Labrador cross)!

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She is the most wonderful dog ever. So sweet and fun.

We put her into training as soon as we could  (with some certificates won along the way – overachiever)  and she has passed her first course (puppy training) and she is now onto her Bronze Training! She is learning so quickly and I am so happy to have her in my life!

As you can probably tell we didn’t get her from a young puppy. We got her from a couple who couldn’t keep her anymore (we are 1 of 3/4 owners) so she was 8 months old when we took her into our family. I am a big believer of giving a dog a home that needs one be that a rescue home or taking them from homes that can not look after them. More and more dogs  are ending up without homes because people take on dogs they can not look after. One of the worst things I have seen of late is more and more Huskies in rescue homes because people think they are getting a Dire Wolf (Game of Thrones). This breed needs a lot of exercise which means many people take on too much! I think if you are going to get a dog, or any animal for that matter, you need to do a lot of research and make sure the animal would get the life and love it needs! They are living creatures and deserve happiness too so please think twice before you take on a pet.

I am sure there will be more puppy posts to come as she grows (and gets more silly..see below HA)

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

{Photo Credit}

I wanted to do a brief review on this film because it is one of my all time favourite movies. Even though it has been around for a while now I still recommend it to anyone who has not yet seen it.

It is heart warming, adventurous and cinematically beautiful. It teaches a lesson about living life and just taking the jump. It tells you not to live life dreaming but to go for those dreams. It shows you how beautiful the world can be and it inspires in many different ways.

It is the story of Walter, a constant daydreamer of amazing adventures so unlike his day to day life. As a long time employee of Life magazine, redundancy threatens due to modernisation of the magazine. Without spoiling too much lets just say that his daydreams become a reality he did not expect and lead you on a incredible journey.

Not only are the landscapes beautiful but the soundtrack is a perfect fit. I often listen to it on repeat because the choice of music is simply beautiful and I love the reminder it gives me when I do listen to it.

As with everything not everyone will love this story as much as I do but then if we all liked the same things the world would not be the amazing and unique place that it is.

“To see the world, things dangerous to come, to see behind walls, draw closer to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of Life”

Happiness is…

This week has been a very busy one…no infact an extremely busy one. But no matter how busy it gets I always try to ensure I try to maintain a certain amount of gratitude for the little things. So here are those little things!

– My Rose at the front of my house finally flowering..so pretty.

-Getting back to pilates after a couple of weeks off and making improvements.

-Having a beautiful bunch of sunflowers in my front room.

-When the rain pours down and I am cosy inside with a blanket and cup of tea.

-Having our first BBQ of the year in our new house on our new BBQ.

-Taking some time to just relax and read a magazine.

-Spending time with loved ones..always.

-Making plans for the future as well as for our week off that is coming up!

What made you happy this week?

This June and July…

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I have combined the past two months favourites together into one post as I was a bit delayed on Junes favourites. It has been a great couple of months. There has barely been a weekend where I have not been doing something and I think the rest of the year will be the same what with weddings and birthdays. All very exciting!

Anyway I shall stop chatting on and get on with the main event:

Beauty

There are a few beauty items to share with you this month. I shall start with the make up items as there are a few more of those than skincare!

It took me ages to find a concealer that worked for me and finally I have in the Maybelline The Eraser Eye. All other ones I have tried just dried my skin out. I have seen this recommended by so many bloggers and have tried to buy it so many times but it appears it is extremely popular and I could never get it in my shade (light). Finally I have it in my clutches and it is as good as I hoped. It has a creamy texture which blends in perfectly under my foundation.

One of my main issues in summer, especially with sun cream being used in excess, is shiny skin. I have dry skin by nature but in summer it gets that little bit more oily especially through out the day. Soap and Glorys One Heck of a Blot is perfect for getting rid of that shine and it is perfect for popping in your bag with the addition of a mirror too!

Two items that I go back to every day when doing my make up is the Maxfactor Creme Puff Blush in Seductive Pink and the Benefit Roller Lash Mascara. The Blush is a perfect colour and so easy to apply. It really gives your cheeks a lovely flushed colour and I hear it is a great dupe for the famous Hourglass blushes. The Roller Lash seems to have mixed reviews but I personally love it. I think it is great for those with long lashes as it really exentuates them.

As for skincare items I have narrowed down to two that I love.

The Yes to.. range has really become popular and I personally opt for the Yes to Carrots for my dry skin. I love the day moisturiser. It feels so silky on the skin and leaves my skin perfectly hydrated.

My final beauty product is the Korres Wild Rose Exfoliating Cleanser. This is great for giving your skin a weekly cleanse. It can be used more regularly but I like to use it once a week to get rid of any impurities. It really works and smells great too.

Fashion

Two items have been at the top of my list these past two months. Both are from H&M and are perfect for summer. One is a soft black playsuit that is flattering and extremely comfortable which can be worn day or night!

My second item is a soft and loose mint green top (my favourite colour at the moment) which can be paired with skinny jeans and is perfect for a casual day look. Again it is so comfortable!

H&M is a really affordable brand and I love the quality.

Jewellery 

I have been on the search for more jewellery lately and seem to have found a few good pieces. Unfortunately one item (A selection of rose gold necklaces) cannot be shown as I have misplaced them (typical me).

The other items however are a necklace and bracelet. Both from Accessorize and both equally pretty. I have been pairing them with my new fashion pieces and they go perfectly.

Food and Drink

I am only going to talk about one item in this category as if I talked about all the food I have eaten and liked I would be here all day. I am a massive lover of tea tho and one I always go for is Pukka teas. Their Supreme Matcha Green is a lovely Green tea and tastes amazing as well as being very healthy for you!

Read

I have not finished this book yet but as soon as I picked it up I could not stop reading. I am nearly finished it and have found it inspiring and brilliant. Wild should be a must read for all. Cheryl Strayed really takes you on her journey along the PCT as well as her personal journey. It has made me want to go on a hike and see the world more. As well as that it reminds you to be grateful for what you have and appreciate all around.

Well thats it for these past two months! There are plenty of things I love but this is a snippet of those.

What have you been loving?

Happiness is..

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The past week (and month) has been great but there have been some difficult decisions made, ones that hopefully will prove to be the right ones. But even though there have been some hard moments here are some happy snippets of my past week that will remind me of everything I am grateful for as I start a new week!

Long walks in the sunshine.

Spending time with friends and laughing till you cry.

Cooking and eating great food.

Salted Caramel Montezuma chocolate.

Fresh bed sheets.

Cleaning the house at the beginning of the weekend and enjoying it the rest of the time.

Catching up with family.

Yoga- Outside and with friends as well as achieving some yoga goals.

Grass finally growing in the garden and looking amazing!

Beautiful peonies.

Tea (always).

Finally having an Apple computer making syncing with all my apple products so much easier!!

What has made your week much better?

This May…

Wow that flew by!! I can’t believe it is June already. Before we know it I will be Christmas (sorry not sorry).

It is tradition in the blogging world to give a round up of what you have loved most from that month so I thought I would start my own version!

Events

Two things I especially loved this month and feel need special mention are two events. The first at the beginning of the month was BE:Fit Festival in London. A festival based around health and fitness for women. I won tickets to this event via Dance, Flow Lift and I absolutely loved it. I took part in 3 workout classes, stocked up on supplies and tried lots of yummy food and drink. There were also some talks from inspirational people in the health and fitness industry but unfortunately I did not have time to see one. Amazing event which I highly recommend.

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The second event was Beauty Con which I attended with Sarah. It was a lovely day spent meeting inspirational women in the blogging world and included a cheeky first Tarte purchase! 

Beauty Con London

 Beauty

 The main make up item I have loved has been Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel. I have this in Vanilla 02 and it is my go to face product at the moment. It gives light coverage but adds a healthy glow to the skin whilst giving an antioxidant boost and protecting with SPF 30. Perfect for the upcoming summer season.

My favourite and most loved cleanser this month, and most months, is Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish. This is a staple in most bathrooms and is definitely one I will be using for a long time. it leaves my skin so soft and takes off pretty much any make up.

Fashion

I have not purchased any major fashion items in the past month but the one thing I find myself always wearing is the Topshop Leigh Jeans. I have 3 different colours and when it comes to choosing my outfit for the day this is usually the first thing I pick! My black pair feel as soft as leggings and are as comfortable too!! They are just my perfect jeans.

Read

I would love to say I have finished a book this month but I have been finding it hard to finish any(pretty good at starting loads of them though). However, I have been loving reading my many lists of blogs and one that I want to mention is A Minute Away From Snowing. I love the style of Michelle’s blog especially the photography and simplicity of it. She recently did a post on the Norwegian Fjords and if I didn’t already want to go here this would have definitely made me want to add it to my bucket list.

Lifestyle

For the boys Birthday he was given a Chiminea for our garden and we both love it. We recently had a BBQ and finished off the evening with toasted marshmallows via the Chiminea. Perfect for summer evenings.

Fitness

I spend nearly every week at my local Pilates studio either doing an Advanced Pilates Matwork class or Booty Barre so this has to be my May fitness favourite. After my knee operation Pilates really helped me gain my strength and fitness back and I have been hooked ever since. I highly recommend it and think it is extremely beneficial for you. At Everybody Pilates, the studio I attend, you feel really welcome from the beginning and the staff are fantastic. Great teachers and extremely friendly and fun! Exactly what you want! If you are ever in the area you should definitely check them out!

What have your favourite things in May been?

My Happy Place

I grew up on the South West Coast of Scotland and no matter where I was there was always a forest near by. Usually within a 10 minute walk. Since living in the South of England I have to drive out of the city before I can reach a forest. Even though it is further away I like to make the effort whenever I can to head out for a walk in the woods. It is one of my favourite places to go and I feel at home when I am in my Wellies and wandering amongst the trees.

We recently took the camera on a walk up one of the local forests so I thought I would share a few pictures of our day. It happened to be a sunny and warm day. Absolutely perfect in fact.

As soon as I started walking I felt happier. I love the fresh air as well as spending time with my wonderful fiancé.

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It was a wonderful day wandering amongst nature. So many butterflies were out and we even managed to capture a bird of prey on the hunt.

I highly recommend getting out in the countryside every now and again. Its a great opportunity to refresh!

A Sunny Weekend

What a fantastic weekend! This April is a particularly sunny one and I am loving every minute of it! I am trying my hardest to ensure I embrace every minute of it I can as I spend 37 or more hours a week in a laboratory with no window to the outside. This weekend just gone was spent soaking up every spare ounce of Vitamin D available.

We began with a house warming party on the Friday. It was a lovely evening and our friends new home is absolutely stunning!! So happy for them in their new home!

On Saturday I went and viewed a Wedding Venue. My Maid of Honour came with me (The boy may have been a little worse for wear from the previous evening). It was a fantastic day for viewing it as the sun was shining. Needless to say I fell in love and so far this is the top of the list. A wedding was happening that day and what a perfect day for whoever the lovely couple were. Definitely on the plan to go back and view it again so we can both see it together.

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All in all a fantastic weekend! How was your weekend?

Overcoming Fear

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Fear is something that effects us all. It is something that we face on a daily basis be it something small or big, but it is something that I believe we can overcome and achieve amazing things.

This past year I keep surprising myself. I have come across a few situations which normally fill me with dread and if it were even a year ago I would have avoided it at all costs or I would have half attempted it with no confidence meaning the situation would end exactly how I expected it too. Which goes to show how negative thinking can really affect you. However in the past few months instead of running from the situation I stood up tall, took a deep breathe in and went in to the situation with all I had. I tried my damn hardest and you know what? I have never felt so good. the confidence It gave me and the feeling of achievement was amazing. There have been people who have doubted me and have tried to bring me down with their negativity. Instead of letting this stop me, I let it fuel me.

I have come to realise the power of positive thinking. I know this is a cliché that everyone says. It really works though. Every time I have failed it is because I envisioned all the bad things that could happen. Every time I was given an opportunity that scared me I would panic and think “what if this went wrong?” and would allow the judgements of others to influence me instead of thinking about all the ways it could go well and the positive outcomes.

The moral of this post is to say that no matter what the situation, face those fears. Take them on with confidence and don’t accept the voices of the naysayers. You ARE amazing! You ARE strong. No matter what others think, you CAN do it!!