Brunching to the Beet ‘n’ Roots

 

notgivinin.com

What a difference some spring sunshine makes.  I was driving home from work on the hottest day of the year this week and all I could see were crowds of people outside pubs and even more walking to the nearest park with a rug and pack of Corona under their arms.  It’s the good life and long may it last.

 

Eating al fresco is one of the greatest pleasures when it’s beautiful outside and I started this week off right with brunch at Beets ‘n’ Roots Cafe on Cotham Hill, where a brand spanking new menu full of organic fresh food has just been launched.

 

The sunken, sundeck at the front of the cafe is a dream location for brunch, so basking in some glorious morning sunshine I quickly nabbed a freshly pressed raw juice and dived into the menu.

notgivinin.com

 

It was hard to suppress the desire to try everything on it, and to be fair, I gave it a good go (!), but I was lucky enough to meet Lisa aka The Fuss Free Foodie, who like me, wanted a little of everything, so we buddied up for some brunching.

 

Everyone loves avocado toast and I often make my own at home.  What’s great about trying it when eating out is that sometimes you can pick up a fresh idea, which I did here.  The cafe spreads tahini  on to the sourdough toast before topping it with avocado, china rose sprouts and paprika.  I absolutely loved the taste of the tahini, which is made from roasted sesame seeds and tastes a bit like almond nut butter. I absolutely loved the additional nutty taste and it’s a trick I’m going to try at home.

 

notgivinin.com

 

While I’m talking about nut butters can I give a quick shout out to Nutcessity.  I’ve not heard of this brand before, but Beets ‘n’ Roots were offering samples on the bar and I devoured this. A long time nut butter lover, this was one I haven’t tried and just loved.

 

Next, and literally we couldn’t help ourselves, we ordered buckwheat pancakes complete with banana, chocolate and maple syrup, sprinkled with coconut shaving and pumpkin seeds.  What’s not to love.  It was utterly divine.

 

notgivinin.com

Yes, this was as delious as it looks and I can’t wait to take SP here.  He will love it.

 

Lastly, and we did this the wrong way round, we tried our hand at making our own smoothie bowls. We used the chocosmooth, with all its fabulous ingredients (raw cacao date, banana, avocado, nut butter and coconut milk), as our base and covered the top with raspberries, seeds, bee pollen, kiwi fruit, etc, etc!

notgivinin.com

As wholesome, nourishing food goes, this was up there and who doesn’t like eating a rainbow of colour.  I really like the raw living approach the cafe offers and I won’t lie I felt pretty virtuous when I left.

 

Set up for the rest of the day, I headed home, feeling full and happy.  If you get chance, head to Beets ‘n’ Roots, it has a really great, chilled out vibe and I’m going back with SP to try a buddha bowl salad or chilli wrap.  It’s in a lovely part of Bristol that’s great for a little mooch around afterwards.  Perfect for warm weather weekends!

 

Have a great one.

 

Gail xx

Skirting The Spring Issue

Do you remember my obsession with dresses last year?  This year I’m preoccupied with skirts.  Midis and maxis to be precise.

 

The weather, for sure, has a big part to play in this current fixation, but who isn’t fed up of wearing jeans and trousers?  And there is no way my lily white legs are ready to be seen.

 

So covering my legs, while releasing them from the strain of heavy denim is, until further notice from the weatherman, the order of the day.

 

Loose, flowing, stylish midis and maxis offer a middle ground and one that I’m happy to explore.  The new season midi skirts that I’ve found really add to my wardrobe and because skirts are an easy wear separate all I’ve got to do is rummage through the wardrobe and add what I’ve already got to pull together a completely new outfit for the spring.

 

It started with a pink midi that I spotted in Red Magazine.  From Asos.com it wasn’t available when the mag came out, but it stayed on my mind and every now and then I would look to see if it had gone on sale.

 

Meanwhile, I spotted a polka dot black and white skirt on Instagram from Zara and fell in love.

 

notgivinin.com

Fastened at the side, with pleats and button detail, this skirt slightly opens at the bottom and I instantly felt that slingbacks and a simple top would work.  If you’re interested, here’s a link and it’s £25.99.

 

Or, for a bit more punch, you could add colour and a slogan jumper or t.shirt.

notgivinin.com

 

Either way, the skirt hangs nicely and I think you would feel just as nice wearing this to the office as you would for brunch with a friend.

 

Meanwhile, the pink skirt came online as did another skirt that caught my eye…

 

notgivinin.com

It’s almost identical to the one from Zara, except on me this midi is almost a maxi (short arse), but again I love the pleated skirt with yoke design, which doesn’t make my waist look bigger than it needs to be.  I have a thick waist so pleated skirts can ‘help me’ lose shape all-together, as the gathers shoot out from the waistline.  A yoke smooths down the wrinkles!!

 

notgivinin.com

This last option is from Stradivarius via Asos.com and is my husband’s favourite, which is kind of strange, because as soon as I got it out of the packaging I didn’t think it was a colour that would suit me, and I still don’t think it does.  Who’s right, who’s wrong, we won’t argue over it!

 

I’ve added links to both these skirts in the reel below and I also wanted to share other midis and maxis that I’ve found, just in case you fancy breaking free.

 

 

 

Blue skies are coming (hopefully).

 

Have a great weekend.

 

Gail xx

Denim Jackets for Spring Styling

 

This week’s post is a short one as I’m hoping you’re out having fun, enjoying the four-day break.  Me included.

 

I just wanted to mention denim jackets.  Have you noticed that they are cropping up in the stores this season?

 

 

I have and it got me thinking: when was the last time I wore one.

 

It was in 2005, on a fabulous trip to Rome with my friend Louise.  Granted it was a while ago, but I can’t find that jacket anywhere now.  Doh – they’re backkkkkkk!

 

So here’s a reel of options.  You’ll notice that many are oversized in design, but you can still find the classic western style that finishes on the hip.  Some designs also have embroidery for a less masculine effect.  However, I like the classic design and cut, especially as I’ve just proved, it will come around again after this season, so it’s an investment purchase.

 

Meanwhile, I tried on this version in F&F Clothing in Tesco.  Obviously oversized, I’m wearing a size 12 here and it came quite low over my hips, too low for me, but I’m short.  I stupidly didn’t write down the price, but they have a number of options in store and online including this one here.
notgivinin.com
Go for double denim if that’s your thing, but I would avoid mom and straight jeans, unless you really want to go back in time, which to me always feels a bit icky.  Rather keep your style moving forward and pair with flowing skirts and cute trainers for a fabulous casual look or you can’t beat chinos cropped at the ankle for that girl-about-town style.
Have a great weekend!
Gail xx

Button Up It’s Spring

 

My father-in-law broke my heart last night.  He let slip that we may have a white Easter!!  He was joking, right?  No.  Apparently, the Best from the East part 3 could be heading our way next week.  Bunnies stay in your holes.

 

I’ll give you a minute to get over that awful thought and then we’ll move on, because whether it’s bitter cold or not, one thing is pretty concrete, the temp isn’t going from minus one to the higher double digits any time soon.  I’m desperate to dump the ‘big coat’, albeit surgically remove it, but then I’ll need a little something to keep my arms warm.  Cue the latest jackets or blazers.

 

The checked blazer is still a strong choice, but with Ultra Violet being the pantone of the season and blush shades coming through, a good blazer or jacket in any of these choices will smarten up your outfit, give you a waist or add an androgynous silhouette, if that’s your style.

 

I don’t have the colouring for neon or blush unless I have a solid four weeks in the Maldives.  I’m too pale to carry it off, so I’m sticking this jacket that I bought in New Look a while ago.

 

notgivinin.com

 

I plan to wear it with everything and I think if you add dressed down separates like distressed jeans then you don’t feel overdressed for mooching around the shops or going out for drinks.  Also, I do feel the style is little eighties so for me it’s quite comforting.  (I know that sounds strange.)

 

Think you might join in? Let’s face it, the sun may have shone once or twice in the past few weeks, but we’re a long way off from T.shirt weather….

 

Here’s a few ideas from the high street and if you don’t know the mid-season sales are on, so perhaps dare to head out to the shops.

 

Have a great weekend!

 

Gail xx

 

What’s your transitional cover up of choice?  Do you like the 2018 pantone?  Would love to hear from you below…

A Long Weekend in Iceland

notgivinin.com

 

Last weekend, to avoid the severe weather, Steve and I went to Iceland.  Oh, how we didn’t laugh as we butted against minus double-digit temperatures after leaving a snowy, but warmer Bristol behind.

 

In truth, visiting Iceland had been a long-held dream of Steve’s (I really must stop that Lonely Planet subscription before we’re bankrupt) and I was taking him to see the Northern Lights for his 50th birthday.

 

Getting there…

 

Flights to Reykjavik are pretty reasonable.  I paid around £200 for two return Easy Jet tickets from Bristol and you can fly from most airports in the UK.  Our flight was early in the morning, which suited us as a band of bad weather that forecasters had predicted was due to blow in within hours after us.  As it was, our flight was delayed, and I did feel a bit nervous as I watched men de-ice the wings.  However, as soon as we got above the clouds the flight was smooth and in under three hours we had landed at Keflavik airport.

notgivinin.com

 

Where to stay…

 

My husband loves being near water, so I secretly booked the Icelandair Reykjavik Marina Hotel at the old harbour, which is the far side of town when you drive into Reykjavik and had received good reviews on Trip Advisor.  It was middle of the road cost-wise, around £860 for three nights bed and breakfast.  A trip to Iceland isn’t cheap.  You’re not in Kansas anymore Toto!

 

notgivinin.com

 

We loved this hotel. It doesn’t look much from the outside, but inside it was stylish, warm, friendly and clean.  The reception, concierge and dining facilities were on a par with a UK boutique hotel and Slippbarin, the restaurant and bar was good.  It wasn’t an extensive menu and certainly not cheap, but the food we had was delicious – pizza-style flatbreads, one-pot fish of the day dishes and a cheeseboard we can thoroughly recommend.  The gin was good too 😉 and Steve enjoyed his beer.

 

Our room was contemporary in design and big enough for us.  If you don’t like frosted glass en-suites then this might be a problem for you, but we didn’t mind and the bed was super soft and freshly-cleaned.  We were snug-as-a-bug.

 

The breakfast buffet had everything you can think of from continental choices to crispy fried bacon and bright yellow wedges of omelette and herbs.  Icelandic options (fish and salads) were available to tuck into and we finished our breakfast each day with a wedge of seeded bread, toasted and topped with honey.  We were set for the day.

 

Where to visit…

 

Blue Lagoon

 

The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is halfway between the airport and the capital and a friend advised us to visit as soon as we landed to make the best use of time.  There is a locker building at the entrance to the spa where you can drop off large hand luggage and then mosey on down to the spa itself.

notgivinin.com

Apply a mud mask

 

Buy tickets ahead of your visit to Iceland and you can include travel to the spa and then on to your hotel, to make your journey seamless.  Our tickets included a small locker in the spa itself (you pay extra for the locker room I mentioned above), towel and a mud mask to enjoy while in the water.  It also includes a drink at the swim up bar, which was a lovely way to toast our arrival and the beginning of our weekend.

 

notgivinin.com

 

Whale Watching

 

SP loves sea life so going on this trip for us was a given.  I also spotted that blogger Best Before End Date had been and read up about this trip on her blog.  We ended up going with the same company, Elding Whale Watching, https://www.elding.is/ which was based just along from our hotel.

 

We had to arrive for a 9.00 am start, were offered a sea-sickness tablet and asked to get on a bus when we arrived as a shawl of fish that whales like to lunch on had been spotted in another area off the mainland.

 

There are no photos of the two hump-backed whales that we saw as I was one of many who didn’t fare well on the waves.  Do not decline the tablet when offered is all I can say.  You are out searching and following whales for three hours and once you feel poorly it doesn’t stop until you get off.  Many were absolutely fine, and I think I would have been worse if I hadn’t taken it.

 

The boat was big, with lots of space inside and outside and we were given bright red waterproof fishing overalls to protect our own clothes.  Like everything else you do in Iceland in winter, wear lots of layers, the wind is even more biting on the sea.

 

As for the whales there were lots of ooh and aahs as we watched them come up for air and a flash of tail was even seen.  If you enjoy a boat ride, don’t miss this.

 

The Northern Lights

 

Be prepared for a late, but fun night chasing the Northern Lights.  Our guide with Sterna Travel was very informative and talked about the history of the Aurora Borealis, the region we travelled through and shared some Icelandic ghost stories as we drank hot chocolate late into the night.

 

We really shouldn’t have seen the lights as there was a 0% chance the night we went out, but we were very lucky, and a smattering of the mystical green lights came out for us.

notgivinin.com

 

It wasn’t much I grant you and if you don’t see the lights you will be offered a return visit out to chase them the next evening.  Some companies keep the offer open for several years, free of charge, until you do.

 

For reference, we were picked up at 8.30 and dropped home at 11 to midnight, so make sure you don’t have another trip booked for early the next day.

 

The Golden Circle

This half-day trip leaves around midday and includes stop offs at three key locations in Þingvellir National Park in the south west of Iceland.  You will see the gorge at Almannagjá, which marks the eastern boundary of the North American tectonic plate, a Geysir Geothermal Area and the beautiful Gullfoss waterfall.

 

Again, another really lovely trip, that you must do.  Let me simply share with you the breath-taking views we enjoyed.

notgivinin.com

notgivinin.com

notgivinin.com

notgivinin.com

notgivinin.com

 

Where to eat and enjoy a beer

 

Icelandic Street Food

 

When you’re cold and hungry the Icelandic Street Food restaurant is the perfect place to take refuge.  Offering re-fillable bowls of Lamb’s Soup, Shellfish Soup and Fisherman’s Fave – a warming dish of fish and mashed potato, the young owner here has hospitality down to a T.  With his grandmother’s wishes close to his heart, no-one is allowed to leave this casual dining restaurant with an empty tummy.  Therefore, you can sit, take a break from the cold, and eat to your heart’s content. Service even includes free sweet treats.  When we visited there were mini macaroons, brownie squares and slices of carrot cake to tempt and make sure you had some sugary energy to carry on with your day.  Worth a visit.

notgivinin.com

Micro Bar

A small bar and you need to get on google maps to find it, but worth it.  I had researched best venues for beers ahead of our trip and this one was 10 minutes’ walk from our hotel, so we had to pay a visit.  We visited on a Thursday night and it was busy, but with plenty of places to sit.  In a cellar with lots of candle lighting the room, they offer a ton of different beers and you can grab yourself a sample tray and work your way through a number of good craft options.

 

What to pack…

 

Don’t skip over this bit, it’s important.  I cannot stress enough how frigging cold -15 can be.  Single layers will NOT be enough.  Therefore, keep an eye on the forecast and be prepared to pack this little lot:

 

  • Thermal vests
  • Base layers
  • Thin jumpers, hoodies, cardigans (that you can layer)
  • A padded/quilted coat (long if you have one)
  • Opaque tights or leggings you can wear underneath trousers
  • Trousers (jeans should be fine, but consider what you’re visiting, they’ll be horrid and cold if wet)
  • Waterproof boots and/or hiking boots
  • Hats (bobble, trapper, bean with earflaps just cover your head and keep your ears warm
  • Scarf
  • Gloves (take extra pair as back up)
  • Flip flops are handy for the outdoor spas
  • Lip balm
  • Hand cream

 

 

What to expect…

 

I’m not going to sugar coat this bit.  SP loved this trip, me not so much.  It’s rare that I want to come home from a holiday, but after three days of cold, wintry weather, the kind where you get on a warm coach and promptly fall asleep like nana, you might do too.

 

I am so glad that we went.  I loved the spa day, whale watching (I’ve forgotten the puking already), the Northern Lights and seeing the beautiful Gullfoss waterfall.  Our hotel is even up there with some of the nicest we have ever stayed in, but at times I was too cold to really enjoy it and it felt like a school trip.

 

I think trying to fit in all the ‘must-sees’ into three days was probably a bit too much.  We had high expectations and there wasn’t much down-time, which when you sandwich a weekend away in between two busy weeks, you probably should allow for.

 

I would say go but be prepared.  I will leave you with the birthday boy’s take on the holiday, who said “It is a once in a lifetime trip that I’ll never forget”.

 

I’m happy he’s happy, now where’s the brochure for Mexico….

 

Have a great week folks!

 

Gail xx

 

Have you visited Iceland?  What was your experience?  Please do share your thoughts and comments below…