The Life Bath

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If it was feasibly possible we would all just eat out every night, wouldn't we? or that just me?! I love every aspect of going out for food, from the social interactions to the delicious food itself, or maybe I just have a thing for being waited on. The most sociable meal I believe you can go out for is Tapas. Spanish food is positively delicious and the fact it's not frowned upon to order multiple dishes is a winner in my eyes. The hubby and I have loved Tapas for years, ever since we started dating it has been one of our go-to choices for a meal out and we are very rarely disappointed. Weirdly Tapas is the one meal that we always seem to have our deepest life/relationship conversations, is it the romantic setting and sharing of food? or just lots of red wine, who knows. 

We were recently invited along to Tapas Revolution in Newcastle and, seeing as we have tried every Tapas restaurant in the city centre at least 20 times I was excited to try this new addition to the Spanish eatery scene. I want all of you to fall in love with Tapas as much as I have so what better way than breaking it down to simply 5 reasons why you should.

1.Variety

If you are not familiar with the concept of Spanish tapas, it is very different to your standard restaurant, instead of having one starter and one main course, you chose from a variety of smaller dishes and usually pick around 3 or 4 each, which means you can end up trying a lot more dishes then you usually would. Most Tapas restaurants can be really overwhelming if you have not been before. They can have long lists of food and you just don't know where to start, what I really liked about Tapas Revolution is the menu it simply laid out, it is clearly categorised into Nibbles, Meat, Seafood and Vegetables so you know what you are getting. 

Each dish has its Spanish name and then an English description of what you are getting. We decided to go for 7 dishes and tried and pick a few from each section of the menu to get the most variety. The food was delicious and felt very authentic, my favourite dish was the Paella and the chorizo cheese bread. I wasn't so keen on the mushroom dish as the egg was a little overcooked for my liking. What you want from Spanish Tapas is bags of flavour and Tapas Revolution didn't disappoint on this front. 

Due to Tapa's nature of being lots of small dishes, it is absolutely perfect to share especially with a loved one, which takes me onto the second reason you should fall in love with Tapas.


Paella de pollo
Croquetas de jamón
Suquet de pescado
Huevos con champiñones y trufa
Pinchos morunos con mojo picón

2. Sociable

In any other restaurant environment I am very much on the wavelength of Joe from Friends "Kelly doesn't share food" however this all changes when tapas is involved. To me there is something romantic about Spanish food, choosing the dishes together and sharing food. You talk about the food and what is nice while you eat, lots of "oh you need to try that" or "have you tried some of this one yet?". Tapas is as ideal for 2 people as much as it is ideal for 10 people and Tapas Revolution has set menus which takes out some of the decision making, resulting in more time to eat the food drink the sangria and chat all night long. What I love about Tapas is you can add dishes anytime, so if you are eating and fancy more or have a little room left for something else, it is totally acceptable to just order as you go, they never rush you. 


3. Feels like you're on holiday

Spanish restaurants have more of a holiday vibe than Italian restaurants in my opinion. Most of the Spanish tapas places I have been to try and be authenticly Spanish, from the music to the decor and quirky finishing touches. A true testament to a good restaurant is escapism, meaning while you are sat in that restaurant, do you forget the outside world? forget where you are or what problems are happening in life and just relax and...escape. Tapas restaurants do this for me. That's why when I saw Tapas Revolution was opening inside Eldon Square shopping centre I was a little dubious whether I would get that same feeling. What I will say is that I was aware we were sat in the shopping centre but it really didn't ruin anything, the atmosphere was still authentic and we were able to easily relax.


4. Chorizo, Chorizo and more Chorizo

Well, the title of this reason explains itself really. Spanish food uses Chorizo a lot and it is just so tasty. For anyone that doesn't know Chorizo is spiced, cured and smoked pork sausage and has to be one of the greatest food creations of all time...ok I might be getting ahead of myself but it is delicious. Two dishes we ordered at Tapas Revolution had chorizo in them and if I had the way I probably would have ordered everything that had chorizo in it. Chorizo just brings an extra depth to a dish so even if it is just an ingredient in a larger dish or the main ingredient itself, you will never be disappointed in the amazing spicy sausage.


Pan mallorquín
Huevos rotos

Sangria and red wine need I say more

So you have fully submerged yourself in the world of Tapas, how do you round off the experience to make it 100% authentic... Sangria of course. Sangria is a fruity drink made up of wine and...well...fruit. It is so refreshing and perfect accompaniment to Tapas. My top tip is to start with a jug of Sangria and then move onto a bottle of red wine. I am getting excited just thinking about doing this again, lots of tapas all over the table a beautiful Spanish red in hand. I need to book up asap.

We ended our meal sharing a liqueur coffee. I am not a big coffee drinker so didn't want a full one to myself. As this is a Spanish restaurant rightly they only serve Spanish coffees, and on the recommendation of the extremely lovely and helpful waiting staff we ordered the Carajillo which is an espresso with a shot of brandy (25ml) and flambéed lemon zest




That's all my reasons why you should fall in love with Tapas and also why you should get down to Tapas Revolution. Do you love Tapas? let me know in the comments below.




It doesn't matter if you are 15 or 50, whether you have been together 2 months or 20 years, breakups are hard and they are personal to everyone. The old cliché of "time is a great healer" is fantastic, however, what the hell are you meant to do while that time is passing?§

So after a few conversations with my girlfriends, we have put together a few survival tips that we wish people had said to us when we have gone through breakups over the years. Remember though that breakups are not an exact science.

Give in to the grief 

And that is exactly what it is, grief. You have lost someone that was a major part of your life. Watch sad movies and cry, throw things at the TV and shout "bullshit" when the leading man runs after the leading lady and fights for her. Then pick yourself up and face the world again. It's fine to go up and down with feeling better, be prepared for that; maybe one day you will feel on top of the world thinking to yourself "Fuck, yeah I dealt with that break up like a boss" only to see them and hear their laugh and all of a sudden you feel like crawling back into bed and screaming obscenities at The Notebook. That's fine it doesn't make you a failure at moving on, it just means you need that little bit more time.


Give Each other Space

Whether you initiated the breakup or were on the receiving end, what you need to to do is say what you have to say and then give each other space. Let them miss you, and if they don't miss you then they weren't meant for you. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking 'I'll just send one message to see how they are' or 'They will think this is funny' but really it's just an excuse to get some attention from them and if you don't get the response you want it can just make you feel worse. Also if you push it too much you can start to muddy the memories of what you had together. You want to be 'the one that got away' not the crazy ex, don't you?


Closure is bullshit

I hate how these days so much emphasis is put on getting closure at the end of a relationship. Don't get me wrong, I have been a sucker for this as well. We all watch a few romantic movies or re-runs of Friends and think all relationships will have this cookie cutter ending wrapped in a lovely bow where you will get all the answers you need and can release them back into the universe to grow and be happy. Well, I am sorry to say but breakups are messy and sometimes we never get the answers we need, thinking the other person will say some magical words and it will all be better just sets us up for a massive fall. Create your own 'closure' by accepting what has been said and walking away with your head held high.


Do Not Obsess & Stop Stalking... Like, right now!

If the breakup wasn't your choice it is so easy to start obsessing about every tiny little detail, re-reading every old message, replaying every conversation in your head, thinking you could have done or said something different that would have changed the outcome. STOP IT, do not fall into that trap. Don't get me wrong, if overthinking burnt calories I would be a size zero, but it's just not worth it; it creates scenarios and situations in your head that never actually happened, causing you more pain than the reality would have.

Do not for the love of god look at things on social media that will piss you off, we all fall victim to this as it’s so easy to keep looking at what they are up to, but it's inevitable you will see something that makes you want to throw your phone out of the nearest window. Remove them from your social media channels if possible, they should understand and you can always add them again when you are in a better head space. 

Invest In You

The biggest trap a lot of us fall into is thinking the way to get over a breakup is to get straight back into dating. Growing up we are constantly told "there is plenty more fish in the sea" but hold on a minute, maybe we should leave those fish to go about their business and not let another "fish" hold our happiness in their hands (far too many fish analogies, but you get what I mean).
Give yourself some time to enjoy your own company, treat yourself, work out what makes you happy as a single entity and not part of a twosome. Write a list of all the things you put off because your other half didn't like/want to do them (keep it clean); eat at that restaurant you love but they hated, go on that road trip, jump out of a goddamn aeroplane if it makes you feel alive! Detox your life and body with the focus always being on you, and if along the way you happen to bump into your ex, feeling and looking amazing then walk by with your head held high and realise they were not right for you, and take a little pleasure in knowing you look H.O.T and are so over them.


I am sure we have all been there in our lives so I hope you enjoyed this lighthearted survival guide. Do you have any tips for surviving a break-up? Let me know in the comments below.

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With its vast rainforest and stunning mountains, St Lucia competes very highly as one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean. Along with its lush forests and mountains, St Lucia boasts volcanic beaches, luxury hotel resorts and fantastic reef diving opportunities. If you have never been to the Caribbean before St Lucia is the perfect island to start with, and this travel diary of our trip might spark the adventurer in you and give you a helping hand when deciding on your next holiday.


With this travel diary, I might have to pull the memories from the depth of my psyche as we went on this trip in November 2013, despite that I really wanted to write about it as the start of my travel series. 
I find picking a holiday destination so overwhelming, I never know where to start and like most people I have to work to a budget. This holiday was the first time Thom and I were going abroad together and also it was to celebrate his 30th Birthday so I knew I wanted it to be special. Three weeks before we went to St Lucia Thom proposed to me, which gave us another reason to make it the holiday of a lifetime. I am essentially the travel agent in the relationship, and so I do all the scouring of websites, reading of travel guides and spending hours of my life on Trip Advisor. Thom trusts me to pick the best places and I haven’t failed him yet.

Weather

We wanted to go at the end of November so that we were away for Thom’s big 30th celebrations, because of the time of year I knew we would have to travel a little further afield to get some sunshine. The Caribbean has some of the most desirable weather in the world, with temperatures ranging from 24-30ºC which means it is never cold and never too hot. Ideal months to go to the Caribbean are December - April when it is a lot less humid, dry and cooler. May - November can be wetter with hurricanes likely between July and October. 

St Lucia has a tropical climate so it can be higher humidity and wetter than other Caribbean countries. We went right at the end of November beginning of December and only had one day where it rained heavily for a long period of time. There were small showers from time to time, but so insignificant that I would just put my towel over my head and it would be sunny and dry again in minutes. Other than that is was glorious. 

Hotel - St James Club Morgan Bay

Once I pinned down a country it was time to choose a hotel. This is the part that stresses me out the most. I am so happy that when I was of age to book my own holidays the internet and hotel reviews were a thing. How on earth did my parents know where was good to go, by trusting the word of a travel agent and a brochure? No thanks! It wouldn't feel right if I didn't scrutinise every single hotel review on Trip Advisor and then be put off by that one terrible review in a sea of excellent ones, what if I also get infuriated by the fact that there was only margarine and not real butter and it ruins my entire holiday? This was a genuine complaint, I truly worry about the human race...

Even though I love reading everything I possibly can about potential hotels I do try to take guest reviews with a pinch of salt. The problem with reviews is that everyone is different and has different tastes, I am sure I wouldn’t even notice some of the things people complain about on Trip Adviser.

That being said the hotel that finally got my vote when booking St Lucia was St James Club Morgan Bay. On paper, this hotel had everything we wanted, All inclusive, swim-up bar, adults only pool, fantastic reviews and was in the budget.

St James club is roughly a 2-hour drive from Hewanorra International Airport, we decided to get a shared transfer which had a few other people in a minibus that we dropped off at different hotels. You can get a helicopter which would have been incredible but was a little out of our price range.

When we arrived we were greeted with some rum punch and it was at that moment I truly felt like I was in the Caribbean, it was very exciting. The staff were incredibly welcoming and friendly, which followed through our entire stay. This hotel is All Inclusive for everyone that stays here, so no weird wrists bands or worrying about how much you are spending, you can just drink and eat to your heart's content.

Our room was in one of the blocks on the hill overlooking the whole resort, we got there at night so didn't realise how stunning our view was until the morning. We were over the moon with the room it was huge and had a very generous balcony, the location also helped us work off the buffet by walking up and down that hill a few times a day. It is a large complex but they have lots of golf buggies to give you lifts to your room if needed. 











There are 4 pools all together at St James club, but we mainly stayed around the one with the swim-up bar, not sure why... There is another pool right next to the swim-up bar, which had all the aqua aerobics and pool games. The 3rd pool is the kid's pool which was on the other side of the resort which we never went to. I really liked that this was a family-friendly resort but if you want to avoid kids then it's easy to do, especially at the 4th pool which is set just up the hill overlooking the beach. This pool has it's own bar so you can spend all day here if you want. We loved heading up there after lunch to chill out with a cocktail in the pool looking out to sea, it was so peaceful and an incredible experience.







St James Club has 6 restaurants so all-inclusive never gets boring. What I loved was that they were totally different types of restaurants so you never felt like you were just in a resort eating the same food every night. My favourite restaurant was Morgan's pier, with its a la carte menu of seafood and just grilled deliciousness you can enjoy your food surrounded by the ocean. There is one restaurant you have to pay a supplement for if you go but Le Jardin is definitely worth the $35 each. We went for Thom's birthday night and they decorated the table and got him a birthday cake which I thought was a lovely touch. If buffet food is what you like then The Palms restaurant is for you, there is an amazing selection of food and they do theme nights as well. The Bamboo restaurant is where we would go for lunch and on an evening it is another delicious a la carte menu like Morgan's pier and La Jardin. There is a grill at the kid's pool which families with kids would probably find invaluable, as you don't have to uproot everything to go for lunch. Since we went in 2013 they have opened a Pizza and Pasta restaurant which I am gutted we never got to try as it looks very tasty. 

You have a lot of options when it comes to alcohol as well, they definitely don't give scrimp just because it is all-inclusive. Spirits are local but I certainly couldn't tell the difference, cocktails were plentiful and local beers and wines delicious. Thom became obsessed with the local beer Piton which you can only get in St Lucia, so another trip might be on the cards in the future. You could even get prosecco by the glass which I think goes above and beyond what an all-inclusive resort needs to offer.



Exploring the Island

I love getting out and exploring a country when I'm there and I wasn't going to miss the opportunity to see this beautiful island, however, we had also said we were going to use this holiday to completely relax and just eat and drink lots. The compromise to this was to book a full day excursion that packed in as much of the island as possible.

We started early in the day when the open-top jeep arrived to pick us up, I was really excited about this as it made the entire day exciting, unlike spending all day on a stuffy coach like a bunch of tourists. The views were spectacular especially when we went high up towards the mountains. We visited the Volcano, which is definitely worth a visit even if it is a sulphur hot spring and absolutely stinks! But it is a beautiful sight, it even has pools that you can swim in as well. Two beautiful waterfalls were also part of the trip, one of which is the waterfall featured in the movie Superman 2, there's a little bit of trivia for you. We explored little towns and fishing villages and everyone we met was incredibly friendly, our guide gave us so many facts and stories about the island, like how there are no monkeys in St Lucia which is why they can produce so many bananas to export! 


















The day trip ended with the most beautiful catamaran journey back to our side of the island, as you can see from the pictures it is a breathtaking place. We stopped at a little inlet for a swim on the way and the water was crystal clear. Thom "nearly died" in the sea, something he still struggles to talk about to this day (a wave went over his head...). Aside from that drama, it was one of the best experiences of my life and I would go back to St Lucia in a heartbeat.

If you want a giggle here is a little home video of Thom opening his birthday cards on our balcony. Thom seems to have an issue with the birds...


Booking information

We booked through British Airways for the flight and the hotel, which was easy and painless. The flight was great it is only 8 hours from London. All the transfers were sorted when booking (we paid extra for this) and all round we were happy with the whole experience.

In my opinion, St Lucia is the type of place you go and stay in an All-Inclusive type hotel, the resorts are built in the most beautiful places and you can relax and soak up the sun and stunning views. As we went all inclusive we didn't take much spending money at all. When we went out on our day trip drinks and food weren't expensive at all.

You can also book directly with St James Club via their website



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