Thursday, November 29, 2018

What I Wore October 6th

I managed to get a dental abscess just after we got back off holiday so had to lay low for a couple of weeks feeling very sorry for myself. I got two courses of antibiotics, but it took a long time to heal completely. I hate the dentist and anything to do with teeth, so I'll have to get over that to get the tooth sorted.

Anyway, Lee looked after me while I was really ill, bless him. He's a good nursemaid. He even worked from home one afternoon so I didn't have to be by myself.

Once I finally felt a bit better, we decided to go out for lunch. We went to the Cask and Spindle in Shepley, which is a very traditional pub serving yummy homemade food. We hadn't been in ages. Lee really likes it there but I have to be in the mood. It was nice food as usual.

Afterwards we went into Huddersfield to look at new dining tables, such a rock and roll life. We bought one, and a new sofa too! We're just waiting on delivery dates although I'm assured it'll be before Christmas.

Anyway this is what I wore. You've seen this t-shirt a million times recently, but it's so comfortable! And I wore this skirt my mum made for me, isn't it lovely? You can't see the top but it's just a thick elastic waistband left bare which is nice if I want to tuck the t-shirt in. I love wearing handmade clothes because you know no one else will be wearing the same thing!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Top Ten Tips for Cruising

Our sink, minibar, TV, and water provided

So maybe you've read all my posts and thought you'd like to go on a cruise too, or maybe you've always fancied it but never thought you could do it? Well, I wasn't sure either, but having been on one cruise I'd definitely go on another. And I have some tips to make the best of your trip. I read quite a few blogs before hand which definitely helped, so here's my top ten (ish):

  1. Tips for staff. We paid for staff tips as part of our package, it went to restaurant staff, bar staff, and housekeeping, so we didn't have to worry about that every time we ate or drank. But we did leave a tip for our housekeeper Jaevan on the last night - I left a little note so he knew it was for him and he left one back! Bless him. He'd been really friendly every time we'd seen him, so we wanted to leave him a tip specifically. I'd say that's my main point: tip as you feel fit
  2. Be polite. Seriously, be polite. You're not better than anyone working on that ship. Staff are all working incredibly hard and incredibly long hours, and they're smiling and saying hello to basically everyone they meet... And then there's some rude entitled person snapping at them, or holiday makers just not saying thank you when a staff member does something for them. We're pretty polite people anyway, I'd say, but we were extremely careful to say thank you a lot. Everyone's human. 
  3. Beverage package. We paid for a generous beverage package. It allowed us all kinds of juice and hot drinks, and soft drinks like Pepsi and lemonade. It allowed any wine up to a certain value and cocktails up to the value of $15 (it was technically an American ship so everything was in American dollars). This was really generous - all the cocktails on the sun deck were under that amount and each restaurant had a "signature" cocktail that was, too. There was a choice of wine and prosecco was included which was lush! I'd say definitely do pay for a beverage package. It meant we didn't stop ourselves indulging and we had an alcoholic drink most afternoons by the pool. It's worth it. 
  4. Seasickness. As I said elsewhere, Lee gets incredibly motion sick and I wasn't sure if he would withstand a cruise. I fully thought we'd be in the medical centre by 9am on the first morning begging for them to help him get through the next six nights. Everyone kept telling us "It's different on a big ship!" and I was like yeah, but he gets REALLY seasick. He felt ill on the chain ferry across Lake Windermere, for goodness sake. But, well, it really IS different. It's so big that you don't really notice the movement, and Lee found that the higher up the ship he was the better he felt. And when you're in port all day it's very stable then anyway. We did find that when we stepped off the ship we still felt like we were on it, but nothing too bad. And we did see lots of people with dramamine patches behind their ears, so if you do feel ill get some of those immediately, but honestly, it isn't like a cross channel ferry or anything like that
  5. Food. The food package included a whole bunch of restaurants for free and the buffet on the sun deck, and the snack bar on the sun deck too. You could eat somewhere different nearly every night and not pay for it. There are places you have to pay, of course, but it's not necessary. We found that two of the restaurants had very similar menus so we went to the one which had a better ambience and a more relaxed dress code. The food was mostly really yummy and the buffet had a different theme every night which was fun. We didn't think the desserts were great, so we ate starters and main courses instead. Lee liked the ice cream machines so had those while the rest of us were drinking alcohol (he doesn't drink). It's like any other all-inclusive place, I think. There was someone cooking fresh omelettes every morning and I really enjoyed that!
  6. Balcony. We didn't have balconies in our rooms. That does lower the price a lot, and I'm not sure that we missed having one. Certainly Lee felt that having a balcony would have made him feel more sea sick. My mum said she wished she'd had one for about 5pm when she'd have a shower and a drink, but she wasn't that bothered. We didn't spend much time in our cabins anyway, because there's so much else to do and see. The rooms are small, so I'd recommend unpacking everything into its proper place to keep it tidy. We also found the low lighting a bit disconcerting, so a balcony would have added to the light, but we also found that we slept better because the cabin was so dark. I'd just say be sure that you really want a balcony before you insist on one.
  7. Trips. We only went on one of the organised trips, to Florence, and we weren't overly impressed with it. It wasn't really the fault of the cruise line, but if I went again I would do a different kind of trip. I'd still use their coach to get into the city, but then I'd do what I liked and use the local taxis instead of the city bus. The upside is that if there's any delay and you're on a cruise coach, the boat will wait for you. If you're not, and you're late back, they're within their rights to leave you. I suppose my advice is to do the trips you're especially interested in, but maybe to go your own way, and also to spend time on the ship too! 
  8. Getting off. Relatedly, getting off the boat was much easier than I thought it might be. Every port had shuttle buses if it was too far away from the town, and it was really well organised. In Naples we stepped off the boat to walk down the port side, which I thought might be a problem, but no one seemed to mind us. Definitely get off and have your own little wander around. That's what we did in Civitavecchia and it was lovely, we didn't see much but it was a lovely little Italian glimpse. We used the shuttle bus in Palma, which we'd had to pre book, so do check first.
  9. Asking questions. If you're at all confused about anything, definitely ask a member of staff. We had a whole customer service desk on deck 5 and went down a few times to ask something. We also got a daily newsletter each evening which gave lots of information about the next day, and I'd recommend reading those because they had a lot of useful information on them. But honestly just ask, I don't think there's such a thing as a stupid question on a cruise ship. 
  10. Exploring. I'm really glad we made time to explore the boat in full, especially when it was less full on the Tuesday in Naples. We made a note of places we wanted to go back to, which was helpful. The casino and shops aren't open in port, so we went to those in the evenings on the way to eat. We took our time doing it but it was definitely worth it. 
  11. Photos. There's tons of times that your photo gets taken - when you get on, every time you get off, in foyers and in restaurants and by the pool. You can then look at the photos and decide whether to buy them. I thought it was a swizz to begin with, but actually then chose a couple of photos of Lee and I because they're really nice souvenirs. They're quite expensive, but having just a couple was, for me, worth it. I'd say definitely look at your photos and decide then whether to buy one, don't just dismiss the idea out of hand.
  12. See a show. One of the blogs I read advised to see one of the shows while on board. They're free, and the blog I read said that they were usually of excellent quality. So I checked on my booking and it turned out that the show while we were on board was Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which was an excellent choice for me because I love the film. I booked for Lee and I to see it and even though Lee doesn't like musicals he really enjoyed himself and thought it was funny. It was excellent. Definitely see a show, it's worth it. 
Well, that's a lot of words, but do ask me any questions if you have them!

The wardrobe in our room, with the curtain behind which separated the bathroom from the rest of the cabin. The wardrobe was really well organised inside, and very spacious, with room for our empty cases once we'd unpacked.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

What I Wore September 22nd

As you can see in my previous post, this I what I wore on September 22nd. I often take this yellow skirt on holiday because it's just one layer so it's cool to wear when the weather's hot. I sometimes wear it with a plain white t-shirt, but I've been wearing this one a lot recently because I really like it.

The skirt is from Scarlett & Jo, I have the green one which I'm sure you've seen before. The t-shirt is from Simply Be, I've had it ages but only just remembered about its existence.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Mediterranean Cruise - Day 7

When we got up on the Saturday of our cruise we hadn't yet docked. It's a long way from Cannes to Mallorca, where we were docking in Palma, so we finally docked at around 1pm. We spent the morning looking at photos to see which we wanted to buy, and sitting in the atrium meeting some of the staff. We actually docked a bit early. We'd already booked ourselves on to a shuttle bus so we got on that and headed into Palma itself.

Coincidentally Lee's dad and stepmum were on holiday in Palma that week. They go a lot cos they really like it there, so we arranged to meet up. We were dropped off by the cathedral so we met Michael and Mary there. There was some kind of festival going on so it was really noisy to begin with, but it quietened down. We found a table in a restaurant right by the lake in front of the cathedral, and stayed there all afternoon. We had some lunch and a couple of drinks.

When we got back to the boat we went swimming for the last time. I wasn't sure Lee would want to as there wasn't loads of time left, but he thought I wouldn't want to and he definitely did! So we had a swim in extremely warm water, and one last soak in the hot tub. Gorgeous!

In the evening we watched the boat set sail one last time. Not fair! I was just getting into the swing of being on a cruise ship and then it ended! I would definitely go on a cruise again, I really enjoyed it. We ate from the buffet as we'd had a big lunch.

I'm writing this weeks after we got back as I've been ill, and it feels like a very long time ago but also a real life experience. I'm glad we went!

Meeting the cruise director Andre

Our ship from where the bus dropped us off

Palma Cathedral

Us and Lee's dad and stepmum, Lee must have taken this

Our boat again!

Palma is a really gorgeous town and I'd love to see more of it, I think Lee and I might go there at some point

As we sailed out of Palma we saw loads of Mallorca because you have to go right round the island. 

I love the sky in these photos

And finally here I am!

Monday, November 19, 2018

What I Wore September 21st

I did something on holiday I've not done in about 15 years - I wore shorts! Gosh. When Lee and I went into Barnsley for me to buy leggings in Yours, I spied these shorts on the sale rack for about £12. I loved the pattern, but I wasn't sure if they'd fit me. I took them into the changing rooms anyway, and was pleasantly surprised that they fitted and came a decent way up to my waist so that I didn't feel like they were going to fall or roll down.

I decided to buy them, and then I couldn't think of a top that I had that would match, so I bought this navy blue top too. I wore it a couple of times on holiday, twice with these shorts and once with a blue Scarlett & Jo skirt, so it's definitely versatile. It's basic, but wasn't expensive. I actually think Yours does really good basic tops well, they wash well and come in a range of colours, so for the money they're definitely worth it.

I felt a bit self conscious in the shorts to begin with, but it was warm so I decided to just wear them anyway. I'll wear them again on holiday for sure!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Mediterranean Cruise - Day 6

Friday morning saw us docked in Cannes. We had decided to stay on the ship after three days of getting off, so we took the whole day to relax. We weren't docked in the actual docks in Cannes, but we were anchored a way off shore with a tender to shore, so we enjoyed watching that go backwards and forwards a bit. It was another gorgeously sunny day so we sunbathed and swam.

I was reading the Power which I reviewed here, have you read it? I found it very strange but I was glad to read it on holiday when I could concentrate just on it and not get distracted by anything else. I didn't love it, and neither did all of my book club, but I am glad I read it and can have an informed opinion.

In the evening we had cocktails in O'Sheehan's bar which we had avoided thus far because it was like a Wetherspoons, but the drinks were nice. The sea was quite rough so Lee felt a bit ill, and it was worse the further down the boat we were, so he struggled a bit over dinner. (Even though we would call it tea, we felt like on a cruise ship you had to call it dinner). We played on the 2p machines in the casino afterwards, which had tokens in not 2ps, but it was really fun anyhow. I got a souvenir mug and my mum bought herself a Guess handbag - it's absolutely gorgeous!

The sea was quite rough overnight and I found it hard to sleep as my feet would end up above my head, but it was the worst rocking we had and it still wasn't that bad.

Cannes from the sun deck. Using binoculars we could see a lot

Same photo but from the camera not my phone

The sun deck at breakfast time

Sunbathing in the afternoon. I wasn't trying to take a photo of this woman I promise!

Afternoon prosecco and mango juice from a machine

A different crab for the evening!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

What I Wore September 20th

After we got back from Florence, we had a bit of a rest and then went back on deck to watch us sail out of Livorno and to watch the sunset. We had a gorgeous view of the sun sinking into the sea, which I've always wanted to watch and never quite got around to, and even though this wasn't perfect it was a pretty good approximation of what I wanted! I was happy it was so gorgeous.

Lee and I had booked a table in one of the restaurants that weren't free, one where we had to pay a cover charge. It was only $25 dollars each, so it was fine. We chose to go to the Brazilian barbecue restaurant so we headed down there about 8pm. We'd booked a table but we needn't have worried as it wasn't busy. I honestly don't know where most people ate on the boat, I guess Taste was usually busy but not packed. I'd love to see a graph of passenger activity on board a cruise ship, it would be fascinating!

I had a really delicious strawberry daiquiri and the food was gorgeous. There was a huge salad bar, I could have had a whole meal just from the salad bar to be honest! Then waiters kept bringing around skewers of meat. There was pork loin and filet mignon and other kinds of beef. Lee only eats chicken so as soon as he told a waiter that they brought out chicken cubes and drumsticks immediately for him, which was really good. I enjoyed the experience and the food!

Afterwards we went back up on the sun deck to meet my mum and stepdad; they'd eaten out there. It was a really tiring day but I'd enjoyed it. I wore this Asos lace dress which is really nice for a holiday, it's light and airy and looks really nice.

The pilot boat to help us get out of the dock, we liked to watch the member of staff jump on and off the ship every day

The docks

The pilot boat going out in front of us

A camera can never quite capture the colours of a sunset, can it?

Me and my mum 

Just dipped into the sea

A ship next to us in the harbour

This photo was off my phone, you can see the colours slightly differently here

Strawberry daiquiri and a real actual glass (all the glasses outside were plastic)

My dress

The pool area late on

A crab. I think?

In the restaurant a man came and took our photo and brought it back only a short amount of time later with the option to buy it. I was of the opinion that I wouldn't, that it's all just a way to make money, blah blah blah, but then the photo was so nice that we decided to buy it!