This blog post is part apology, part catch-up and part a kick up the backside to begin blogging again. Since returning from my holiday to Greece – you know, that one that I couldn’t stop blogging about – things have been a little crazy. Not only did I start a new job, I also made a promise to a friend to do something fun every weekend to help us to get over our post-holiday blues, which has meant that blogging has taken a back seat… my bad! Now, I’m well and truly back in business, so to get things started, I thought I’d share what’s been keeping me busy this summer.
1. House of Zen Dinner
After my holiday, Louise (The Real Elle Woods) and I visited our favourite Chinese restaurant, House of Zen, for a much-needed catch up! Not only did we have a really great chat and gossip, they took such amazing care of us, and even sent us this delicious bowl of fruit and some chocolate dipping sauce to finish our meal!
2. Yogland Launch
Next up was the launch of Yogland NI, a frozen yoghurt shop that has just opened on the Lisburn Road. The entire shop is self-service, and you can help yourself to around a dozen different flavours, (many of which are dairy free and gluten free) and toppings before weighing and paying for your frozen yoghurt at the till. It was so tasty, and a great chance for me to catch up with some fellow bloggers.
When my best friend and I told people that we were making the five hour trip to Galway for a one-night stay in the city, they looked at us like we had lost the plot. But that’s exactly what we did. Setting off bright and early on a Saturday morning, I made the drive to Galway for the sake of an impromptu Irish road trip that we had been talking about for years. We spent Saturday getting the bearings of the city, and accidentally stumbled onto an outdoor gig which was put on for Galway’s Pride Festival – if you’re in Galway and searching for a live act, Oddity are a great shout. Later that evening, we went to a few of the local bars and enjoyed some live acoustic music.
We wanted to make the most of our weekend, so the next morning, we were up nice and early to rent two of the Coca Cola Bikes that are scattered around the city. They were so handy, and really easy to hire, but there is a 150euro holding charge against your card when you hire them, which takes around a week to clear. We cycled to Salthill Promenade, ate lunch in the sunshine and visited the aquarium – which is a strange choice of activity when you have a crippling irrational fear of fish! It was such a relaxing, perfect day, and the five-hour drive didn’t even seem so bad thanks to our epic playlist which kept us singing and laughing for most of the journey.
4. Salsa Summer Ball
When it comes to random events, I have things covered, and this one could be the most random of the lot. Every year, my salsa instructor hosts an annual themed Summer Ball, and this one had a Saturday Night Fever 70s theme. You would have thought that 70s outfits would have been easy to locate, but unless you enjoy dressing in plastic and looking like ABBA, it’s harder than you think. Thankfully, my gem of a mum managed to create this fab outfit from a pair of old 70s trousers, and the night was one of the most random, crazy and hilarious events of the summer.
5. Feile Festival Parade
If it wasn’t clear from the last post, I’m pretty much obsessed with my salsa dancing these days, and at the beginning of August I got the opportunity to do something that I never thought I’d be doing back when I started lessons in January – I took part in a local parade, dancing with a group of other dancers from my class. It wasn’t like our usual salsa classes, we mostly just repeated the same simple routine throughout the parade and danced through the crowd getting everyone going, but it was such an amazing buzz.
6. The Merchant Experience
For most people, new job inductions comprise of health and safety talks, manual handling lectures, fire escapes and a quick tour of the building. I definitely got all of those as well, but at my new job, we get the added bonus of a stay in Belfast’s gorgeous, five-star Merchant Hotel. ‘The Merchant Experience’, as we like to call it, is the company’s way of giving us first-hand experience of the building, the rooms and the services that we offer to our customers, which for a Social Media Coordinator is pretty important.
We spent the first half of our day getting massages in The Merchant’s Spa (this part was paid for, but I felt like we should experience the full package), complete with some down-time and Prosecco in the relaxation room. Afterwards, we checked into the hotel and were taken to our absolutely stunning Victorian-style room. I might work for the company, but the size of it and the gorgeous furnishings just blew me away. After a quick shower and a chance to put on our five-star-worthy outfits, it was downstairs to The Great Room, for one of the most exquisite meals I’ve eaten in a long time. It was like something from Masterchef, and I think I could eat my Milk Chocolate Parfait for the rest of my life… if only it was calorie free!
Sadly, it was off to work for me the following morning, but it was definitely the most relaxing way to spend a Sunday.
7. Joico Texturising Spray
Obviously, this one hasn’t been taking up every waking hour, but it is so good that I felt like it deserved a mention even though it’ll be getting its very own dedicated post very soon! I received a bottle of Joico Hair Shake Texturising Spray in the post last week from Love PR, and it has been in my hair practically every day since.
With me doing a lot of dancing in hot and sticky rooms these days, keeping my hair looking sleek and straight has become practically impossible so this has been a very timely solution. Now, I can let my hair dry naturally, spritz some of this into it, scrunch, and go! But more on this next week, when I’ve had time to take some before and after shots!
8. Tall Ships in Belfast
Like half of Northern Ireland, I visited the Tall Ships when they made their visit to Belfast. We walked around the ships, admired the sailors and enjoyed some food from the continental market before watching the closing firework display. We had planned to go out for drinks afterwards, so I didn’t bring my SLR camera out and had to settle for my iPhone, but I think this turned out to be a pretty nifty shot, don’t you think?
9. Booking New York City
Again, this one didn’t take a lot of time, but I have spent A LOT of time getting excited about it, so it definitely counts! Mum and I booked a trip to New York City baby! We have been talking about this one for years, but never saved enough money for it so this is a huge deal for us. Anyone who has any tips for things we have to see, do etc, please send them my way!
10. Belfast Fashion Week Launch
Again, this one will get its own post sometime this week, but I was lucky enough to attend the Belfast Fashion Week launch on Thursday 20th August. Celebrating the 20th season of the event, founder of the event Cathy Martin had handpicked twenty models to showcase some of the best trends for AW15, my favourite being winter brights. And if the launch is any indication, I can’t wait to see what the shows have in store. Watch this space for my next longer post, when I tell you about the line-up for October 2015.