30 June 2012

To Blonde or not to Blonde....

...that is the question my fellow bloggers.

In just a few hours I am off to the hairdressers and 90% sure I shall be returning to my former blonde self.  What do you think?

My current hair:

As you can see the sun has lightened it up quite a bit since the first picture was taken.

And here is my hair when I was blonde:

I really miss being blonde so I think I'm going to head away from the dark side.  Thoughts?!

26 June 2012

Cardiff, Wales

The boy and I had so much fun in Cardiff this weekend.  We were visiting my little sister at university so I'm afraid I don't have many cultural photos of the city or anything like that, all the photos are just of us going out.

I really miss university sometimes, I had such an amazing group of friends there and now we're all split apart and hardly see each other (one lives in Ireland, one in Scotland, one in Spain and me in England and soon Australia).  I get so nostalgic when I think about it.  Uni really is one of the best times of your life - if you're there right now definitely make the most of it.  People used to say that to me all the time when I was there and I don't think I really listened, but definitely regret that now!

Anyway, here we are re-discovering our early twenties!

 My sister and the boy out for drinks

I am wearing
Top: Aztec Latino Suntop £26 @ Topshop
(I think this is sold out but there are similar styles here, here, and here. Or just browse their Aztec stock here.
Skirt: £4 @ Primark
Shoes: Unknown store in Aus

We were actually out with more people than just the three of us as opposed to what these pictures suggest!

 Thoroughly hungover the next day.

We had a bit of a nightmare getting home as our bus was delayed by two hours, but we made it.  Back to work yesterday - I am literally counting down the days until I leave (12 working days, just so you know!)

Hope you all had fantastic weekends too.  What did you get up to?


Charlotte xxx

17 June 2012

It's a Family Affair

Being Father's Day I popped home to Surrey for the weekend to spend some time with my lovely dad.

My dad is sincerely one of the most intelligent, well-read men I know.  He really is someone I admire and I always think any man I am ever with will have a lot to live up to in terms of my expectations of personality and intelligence.

The day was very relaxed and my grandfather also joined us.  We went out for lunch and drank far too much   Champagne and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and I was even able to stick to my new healthy eating plan (within reason... I did sneak a few crisps if I'm 100% honest).

Slight contrast between mine and my sister's cards (mine is the little owl one!)

I'm wearing: 
sheer shirt from Primark
 black top from Debenhams
denim skirt from Topshop
leggings from Cotton On
earrings and shoes from Accessorize 
and my necklace was a graduation gift given to me by my beautiful sister which she bought in Thailand.

Oh, hello freckles from Greece.

I love it when my freckles come out in the summer - does anybody else get them?  Love them or hate them?

My great auntie recently died and my mother and father have spent the past few days driving up and down from Newcastle after sorting out all the belongings in her and my great uncle's house (he died a couple of months before her).  After lunch we spent some time pouring over old family albums and studying some paintings from the house.  One of the framed pictures was actually a coat of arms given to one of my uncle's relatives by King Henry VIII.  Pretty interesting stuff actually! 

My granny and grandpa's wedding photo (they had a joint reception with my granny's twin and her husband hence the double wedding thing going on!)

I also have been left a fur jacket by my great auntie... I'm still not quite sure if I should take it or not.  What are your thoughts on fur?  I would never buy it but seeing as this jacket is ridiculously old and has already been made I probably would wear it without a guilty conscience. 

Look surly

  What do you guys think?

I hope you all had lovely weekends and enjoyed father's day :)

16 June 2012

Healthy Eating

As you can imagine, the boy and I thoroughly over indulged whilst in Greece so now it's time to get our bodies back on track before we head to the Caribbean (in just 27 days!!).

I have never been the kind of person to count calories or insist on eating low-fat products.  I don't think fat is particularly the problem when it comes to people putting on weight.  I think it is WHERE your fat comes from.  Does your fat come from a Big Mac, fries and milkshake?  Or does it come from freshly prepared and cooked meat?  I don't really think about saturated and non-saturated fat... instead I think of natural fats (ie. those from animals and oils and foods such as avocados) and processed fats (ie those that come from foods that have been artificially produced) - I know these aren't technical terms, obviously!

So the boy and I have embarked on a new lifestyle (note: not "diet").  We have cut out grains, dairy and sugar (except those found in fruit) for the next 30 days.  I suppose you could call this a low-carb diet but it really isn't as I eat a lot of fruit and still allow myself potatoes and other vegetables I just no longer eat processed carbohydrates.  Dairy has been the hardest thing for me to leave behind as I am a cheese fiend!  But, once I cut my body fat percentage down I will allow myself to have dairy in moderation!

Our first grain free, dairy free dinner!

To start:
 I made a small salad of honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon with some parma ham (prosciutto) and then we had some asparagus spears with a fried egg on top.

Followed by:
A roasted rack of lamb, which I rubbed with garlic and rosemary, a roasted aubergine (or eggplant if you are American/Australian!) stuffed with garlic, chilli, red pepper (capsicum), salami, olives and tomatoes and a small salsa salad to go with the lamb of raw tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, avocado (of course) and basil which I dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

All in all it was a pretty good feast, satisfied our cravings and did not contain any wheat or dairy - score!

Next week I am going to start the exercise and cut back on diet sodas and dark chocolate (which is the one processed, sweet thing I have allowed myself to eat this week [only 75% cocoa and above!]).

Wish me luck :)

Have any of you made decisions to cut things out of your diet?  How's it going?  Do you miss the food you used to eat or do you have new found energy from the lack of rubbish you are now eating?  Tell me all your "diet" stories!

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13 June 2012

Corfu, Greece

I have returned from my trip!!  I am so wonderfully excited to have so many new followers... hello all and thank you for taking an interest :) I will definitely check out all your blogs too!

Greece was...interesting!  The main reason for our little get away was to see some sun for a week and drink ourselves silly (but not necessarily in bars and clubs).  So we booked an all-inclusive package through 118travel.  In hindsight this was not the best move for two reasons; first, our hotel food and drinks were not particularly amazing and second, once we arrived in Greece we discovered that it was ridiculously cheap (ie. two course dinners for 7 euros, two for one cocktails everywhere, etc.) but at the time we were taking a gamble as considering Greece's current economic situation we thought prices could have gone either way.

We stayed at the Aquis Capo di Corfu.  The hotel is nice, but not a luxury resort, as it is described on their website.  One thing we couldn't understand were the rave reviews this place received on TripAdvisor.  It  is definitely a nice hotel but I have stayed in far nicer places for far less money!  It is rated very highly with everybody commenting on the quality of food and drinks etc. and I don't know if it's because I've been lucky enough to have travelled a lot, or if I just have high expectations but in all honesty the food was OK, at best good and the drinks were, sadly, awful (no... gin and lemonade does not qualify as a proper cocktail thank you very much).

Anyway, all that aside we had a fantastic trip and the scenery, fantastic weather and staff made up for everything else our hotel seemed to be lacking.

The beach at our hotel

Our view whilst eating dinner every night (above and right).

Not posers at all

Yes, I do wear SPF 50 on every holiday (except when I'm in Aus. as they only sell up to 30).  I take sun protection really seriously and wear a minimum of SPF 15 on my face, chest and hands every day (SPF 30 when I'm back in Australia EVEN during winter).  If I'm honest this is probably for 40% health reasons 60% vanity - I am petrified of getting old and wrinkly but also equally aware that these days skin cancer is rife and that a tan is not worth the severe consequences skin cancer can bring.  Don't get me wrong though... I happily sit in the sun for hours I just always do my best to keep myself lathered in suncream.

The boy being a creep

Purple:  H&M - Top @ £9.99 and Bottoms @ £7.99
Tan/Gold: Topshop - Top @ £12.00 and Bottoms @ £8.00

On one of the last days of our holiday we decide to venture out of the hotel... not just to the nearest town or bar but in true Charlotte style we took a quick trip to Albania.  The port of Saranda is only one and a half hours by boat from Corfu - who knew (I certainly didn't!)?!  This place was absolutely stunning... it reminded me a little bit of Nice - a very old town that had parts that had recently been refurbished in order to  keep up with the tourist trade and become a bit of a hotspot.  TRUST me when I say Albania is the new up-and-coming tourist destination in Europe (if it isn't already that is).  It has beautiful scenery, wonderful weather, wonderful food and is very VERY cheap.

On our way

 A view of Saranda from the boat

Arriving at the port

Being cheesy tourists 

Our wonderful lunch (you know what a foodie I am):
Caprese salad, shrimp with saganaki, tzatziki, aubergine/eggplant and pepper/capsicum with garlic and cheese, calamari
All for 20 euros including two (alcoholic) drinks each - how is that possible?!

  The unbelievable view we had during lunch

Albania is 100% top of my list for next most wanted holiday.

Anyway, that's all for now.  I hope you're all well and somewhere sunny!