July is here and half the year has gone already .. just under a year to plan my US and Canada road trip which I am really excited about. It's something I have wanted to do for ages and since I started talking about it seems a lot of people have the same idea!! I guess it's a bit of a romantic notion .. inspired by Jack Kerouac's 'On the Road' and films like 'Thelma and Louise'. I have had a taste of it before .. a few years ago departed from New York's Penn Station on the AmTrak to Washington and Philadelphia before meeting up with some friends and heading down the freeway to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was August, very hot but of course we had air con in the car. We sang along to songs we knew on the radio ... I remember cruising along past small farms selling fruit and veg on the roadside .. and staying in a motel for the night. Four of us in one large room but it was clean and it was a place to rest up. A couple of years prior to that I traveled with 5 friends in a VW camper van around Europe and Morocco for 3 months .. but that's a story for another time!
Road to Las Vegas
Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions of great places to go I would appreciate the input .. nothing is set in stone yet. Searching for something a bit different. (I have done LA to Vegas and then down through Joshua Tree and Palm Springs.) I'm really looking forward to recreating the Thelma and Louise style story, minus the guns, robbery and the cowboy, well ... maybe the cowboy can come along!! But only if he looks like Brad Pitt!! Oh, and of course won't be hurtling over any canyons!!!!
Not exactly travel related but it's the end of the week again and time for a little Friday fizzy water (courtesy of our lovely hair designer Charley Mcewan) when the show is done! Working in a windowless make up room is not always conducive to the feel good factor but we had an extra little surprise today that went down a treat with us. We had a visit from Mariama who brought with her a box of the most delicious cupcakes for us to devour!! She runs a company called 'Cute as a Cupcake' which specialises in creating original designs on a super light sponge with a wonderfully smooth 'melt in your mouth' frosting. Who says they look too good to eat? We had no trouble!!!
Over the weekend I was in Amsterdam for a friend's Hen party and I wanted to share something a little different with you rather than the usual sight seeing in Amsterdam eg canal boat, Van Gogh museum, red light district etc. On the Friday night we went to the Supperclub, 8 mins walk from Dam Square for dinner .. not having heard of this before I was expecting a standard restaurant. I was pleasantly surprised as this was not the case. Our group of 11 was greeted at reception by a man wearing full "Woodstock Festival 1969" clothing (he did actually attend Woodstock at the ripe old age of 14). I just loved his kaftan and the foliage around his neck (it grew throughout the night!). We were informed that there was no smoking inside however, there was a separate room downstairs where you can smoke what you like. (Of course, this is Amsterdam!)
Instead of tables there are 2 large banks of lounging beds to sit on .. both have you facing into the centre of the room. The waitress asked if anyone had any allergies, took note then proceeded to bring out the food, 5 courses in all. When I ask what's on the menu I was told to just wait and see it's a surprise. The food definitely aroused your senses and being with a bunch of Italians it was important for us to understand what was in these creations - food is always a point of discussion! And yes, I can confirm that even though the food is not traditional and a little off beat it got the seal of approval from our group. Throughout the evening house music was played (no MTV music on Friday and Saturday nights). After the main meal there was a short show put on by two women, again something outside of the box.
Later in the evening we were asked to pay and leave the room while they prepared it for part 2. A bar opened downstairs and at a later stage we could go back up to the room with the beds for more house music. A little tip: when planning your outfit for the evening bear in mind that you have to take your shoes off when you sit on the bed. So if you plan on spending time downstairs in the smoking room you have to put your shoes back on only to remove them again when you come back! (Perhaps this is where Tinks' flip flops would come into their own!!)
There is a flat charge of €70 per head for dinner (drinks excluded) Thursday to Sunday night, €65 on Monday to Wednesday night. No particular dress code as anything goes. (www.supperclub.com)
On Saturday morning we all trotted off to the Museum of Bags & Purses. It's housed in a distinctive canal house (former residence of the Mayor of Amsterdam) with fabulous big windows bringing in an incredible amount of light to these narrow, but long terraced houses. The exhibition itself is a history of lady's bags from the middle ages to the present day. It leaves you wanting to make a special trip to Paris to scour the streets in search of antique shops in the hope of finding your own unique bag! There is also a cafe and two period rooms with painted ceilings and gorgeous wallpaper - a must see before you leave the building. Back at the entrance/exit there is a small shop selling lots of things that you would probably like to bring home to your girl friends.
Unfortunately we didn't have time but you can contact the museum (English spoken) and arrange to attend a make and design your own bag workshop or arrange a day just for your friends. There are four types of bags you can make and the cost starts from €30 - €46.50 ... it takes from 1 - 2 1/2 hrs and it's all under the supervision of their creative instructors.
The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm (wheelchair accessible) and the entrance fee for adults is €7.50. It is only approx 15 minutes walk from Dam Square. (www.museumofbagsandpurses.com)
Tram # 9 from Amsterdam Central Station can also be taken to the stop Rembrandtplein. Tram tickets are €2.60 (valid for 1 hr) and can be purchased on board, remember to validate the ticket as you leave the tram (found on the doors). I was surprised to see that there were plenty of middle aged men at the museum too so it is not just for the girls!
Almost the longest day of the year - midsummer or summer solstice - (well, we haven't had much of a summer yet!) but having the opportunity to go to Stonehenge at this time of the year seemed like too good a chance to pass up.My friend's 14 year old twin boys were visiting from Los Angeles and they expressed a wish to go so we took a day trip with our driver/guide and headed out of London .. first stop Bath for a quick look around the centre and a tour around the ancient Roman Baths and museum. This really is worthwhile - the history is fascinating - get there early to avoid the tourist coaches! Check out their website for information www.romanbaths.co.uk Next time I venture out in that direction I am definitely going to make time and experience the new Thermae Bath Spa for a special treat! http://www.thermaebathspa.com/
After a late lunch we were back on the road in the pouring rain en route for Salisbury Plain where the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge is situated. Luckily on our arrival the rain had eased off and the clouds developed a more dramatic backdrop for this amazing sight. The only way I can describe being there is 'awesome' and I would highly recommend a visit .. it's only a couple of hours drive outside of London. You would probably want to spend at least an hour there .. there's nothing else in the immediate vicinity .. and not much in the way of refreshments although there is a small cafe, but you could always include it in a day trip to Salisbury or Avebury ... or do what I did .. head out to Bath or even Glastonbury and call in on your way back to London.
A good friend of mine lives in Lugano, in the Italian part of Switzerland. It is situated on the edge of Lake Lugano and is home to a number of historic buildings and museums. It has acquired the nickname of 'The Monte Carlo of Switzerland" as a number of celebrities and successful athletes spend time there. I have visited on a number of occasions .. it's a lovely relatively quiet city but there is plenty to see and do in the surrounding areas. One of my favourite day trips is to catch the train to Como in Italy (also a great place to explore) and board the ferry to Bellagio. It is a beautiful town, with cobbled streets and villas and an abundance of shops and places to eat. The ferry ride itself is very relaxing and the views are spectacular .. stunning alpine scenery and gorgeous Italian villas on the lake's shore and beyond - if you get a feeling of deja vu it's probably because you've seen it all before in a James Bond movie! And if you are feeling adventurous and decide you want to go a bit further afield, you could always hop back on the train and spend some time in Milan - do some shopping or go to dinner and stay overnight .. it's less than an hour away. For info on Lake Como and ferries http://www.lakecomopages.com
I'll be going back late August so will share some more of the area with you then!
I attended a party yesterday and there was a tarot reader there so I decided to give it a go and see what came up. It was all pretty amazing and positive but the best part was a card I selected after a question I had asked regarding my travel plans .. which I did not reveal until after the reader gave me the answer. A lot of travel is definitely in my future which I already know but it's nice to hear from an outside source with no knowledge of me and my life. So on that note I will carry on planning my road trip for next year .. it's going to be awesome and I can't wait to share it with you. And in the meantime I will just keep posting the trips and make up tips ...
If you are interested Wajiha does phone readings as well .. she's based in Northampton but you can email her on email@example.com ... she really is very good!
If you're looking for something different to do when you are visiting New York City and have some time, why not venture out of the big smoke and head upstate about an hour to visit the Storm King Art Center. Situated on 500 acres of land, it houses large scale abstract sculptures by renowned contemporary artists. There is also a smaller scale exhibition in the Museum Building and a gift shop. As it is mostly outdoors it's a good idea to go when the weather is dry. I visited in the autumn on a cold windy day but the works looked pretty dramatic against a changing sky and the park itself was beautiful with all the fall colours of the trees. It's a nice idea to take a picnic as well as there is an area set in the grounds for this purpose, otherwise there is a cafe offering sandwiches and snacks. The Center is open from Wednesday to Sunday and entrance is $12 for an adult.
Getting there ... You could either hire a car or get a day package with Coach USA which departs from the Port Authority bus terminal.
I'm sitting here on what should be a beautiful sunny June day and instead it's feeling cold and looking decidedly dodgy outside. My tan is covered almost entirely in clothing, apart from my face which isn't really tanned at all due to the minimum factor 30 I put on it every day I was in the sun. Bronzer will do the trick, whether it be just for the day or a longer wearing preparation!! For my face I love to use Givenchy le prism powder compact in Amber Organza .. it gives a lovely warm glow to the skin .. I brush it on with a Bobbi Brown body brush, picking out the warmer colours of the prism for the cheekbones. I always have at least a factor 15 moisturizer underneath and if I'm going out a foundation with an SPF too. My arms and legs tan quite well so I just tend to use a body bronzer on my neck and decolletage area .. my fave is Kiko (make up Milano) essential bronzer in terracotta silky touch.It's the perfect colour, brushes on beautifully and looks natural.
Of course, it won't be long before my natural tan fades at this rate so I will be slathering on a long wearing fake tan to extend the colour a little longer. If you prefer a wash off type, try Vita Liberata 24ct silken shimmer. It washes off (but not in the rain) and is stain resistant. And don't forget to exfoliate first for best results!!
It's just started raining so this is the perfect window of opportunity to do it. I will be using Xen-tan Deep Bronze Luxe weekly self tan in Dark. (Love tanned legs!)
For info and stockists go to www.xen-tan.co.uk or follow on facebook or twitter for discounts and updates.