Thursday, July 31, 2014

Things That Rustle My Jimmies

Ahhh Thursday, how I look forward to you every week. How I've been trying very, very hard not to let the rustled jimmies seep into my everyday twitter feed but it's not easy!

Only gifs can save me now: 

1. People That Haven't Spoken To You In Months Getting In Touch To Ask For Freebies

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2. Starting An 'Open Discussion' But
Threatening To Cry When Someone Disagrees...

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3. Filling Plates & Plates With Food For Hotel Breakfast and Not Even Eating Half...

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4. Buying Theatre Tickets Based On Amazing Reviews & Having to Leave Halfway Through 

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5. When Every Media Outlet Shares The AMAZING/Totally ADORBZ Video of an 
Outrageously Precocious Child

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And that's it!

I'm going to try very hard to keep my cynicism under wraps for the next seven days, Lord knows the last week was sent to test me.  

Tell me, what's been rustling your jimmies this week? 

Sharing is proven to drastically reduce your feelings of stabbiness - true story!

The Thursday Chattery - Coconut Water: Sweet Nectar or Sweaty Socks?

Happy Thursday, All. We're just 1 day away from a long weekend - 
can I get an A-fuppin'-men?!

This morning I wanted to chat about something the Sis & I got into over the past couple of days. The boke value of coconut water. 

You see, I can be swayed by general consensus on social media and if general consensus tells me that coconut water tastes like wrung out socks, then I'm gonna steer clear and that's what I did for the past 2 years. Until I didn't. I was given a chilled bottle at an event about 6 months ago and it. was. DELICIOUS!

I've been picking it up regularly since then, despite the health myths being debunked and, alongside water flavoured with citrus fruits, it's now my favourite way to re-hydrate. 

My Sis on the other hand, abhors the stuff, even when overheating on a stuffy London tube she refused to take a sip - 'It's sweat, why would I drink sweat?'. 
And so the side-eyes continued. 

Tell me this, when it comes to coconut water are you fan or foe? 

Let's Chat!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Wednesday Chattery - DM For You HUN xxxxx - What's Your Twitter Bugbear?

Mornin', All!

If we chat on Twitter you might have seen my tweet yesterday about a particular Twitter bugbear of mine - if you didn't  - 
I try very hard not to be a social media self appointed sheriff - lord knows the place is full of them but what purpose does a tweet to say you've sent a DM serve?! 

Other than smug, passive aggressive, jazz handed buffoonery?!  

So tell us, what's your twitter bugbear? - What drives you mental in 140 characters? 

Let's Chat!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Route 66 - Travelling The Mother Road with Babies and On a Budget - Las Vegas – Los Angele

Hey, welcome back for the final leg of our Route 66 adventures - in which we head for the hills... of Hollywood!

We hit the road from Vegas to Barstow (miles & miles of road)

After making the most of our last day in Vegas we left just after a gorgeous buffet lunch in the MGM Grand to get to San Bernardino, California. It was over a 3 hour drive bringing us through Barstow which had a few lovely museums but unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop. 

We also passed by the famous Joshua Tree National Park. I really wanted to get to another of my favourite motels in Rialto, A Wigwam motel where all of the rooms are concrete wigwams!

Wigwam Motel, Rialto California

We paid $65/ approx €50 for a large Wigwam that had two queen size beds. They also have their own little bathroom complete with a shower. There is an outdoor swimming pool & a BBQ pit you can use. They even have free wifi - WIGWAM WIFI FTW!

Our Tee Pee!

We had dinner just across the road in a Chinese buffet where we paid $6.50/ approx €5 for a huge dinner each, afterwards we rolled home! As we drove further towards L.A. the following morning we saw lots of signs for an air show in Miramar, the Air Force Base made famous by the movie Topgun. So we headed for San Diego for our breaths to be taken away...

Miramar, San Diego, California - It's a Boy!

My hubby was delighted with himself to be able to get up close to all of the Navy, Air Force & Marines' flying machines. Me on the other hand had a little drool at all of the awesome men in uniform! Entrance is free but if you want a seat it can cost anything up to $250pp into the VIP areas. 

We were so lucky a high ranking officer (hubba hubba) saw us with twin babies & ushered us through the barriers out of the sun & into the Officers' Marquee, he even got us a drink! Now that’s service.

California Dreamin’ - (Not a brown leaf in sight!)

We drove the coast road back towards Los Angeles & stopped at one of the many glorious beaches to dip our toes. We made straight for Santa Monica Pier which is the last stop on Route 66. 

We stayed at Hotel California just a 10 minute walk from the pier and the beds even had polished surf beds as headboards. We paid $85/€63 B&B, The rooms were nice but very much on the small side it’s more of a motel than a hotel.

Mirrors on the ceiling, pink champagne on ice at The Hotel California!

We went to find a gas station to refill the car and found on right at the end of Rodeo drive. It was so seedy and just not a nice place to be after dark. I made sure to lock the car doors especially when we stopped. We had booked onto a tour bus (expensive at $50/€37 each) for the following morning & our last full day in California as we wanted to take in all the sights.

Now at this stage I’ll point out that we had already been in L.A. on two different occasions and didn't like it that much so we were giving it another shot.

We had a fabulous dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co on Santa Monica Pier.

We checked out & actually got to leave Hotel California! We drove to our next hotel. Sheraton Gateway Hotel near LAX. ($150/€111 B&B) The hotel was ok, nothing great you’d probably get a much better room in a different hotel for that price. 

We unpacked the car & I had hubby drive it back to the airport drop off point so we could get the airport shuttle bus the next day. Our Sightseeing tour bus collected us from our hotel even though the depot was only around the corner.

Hollywood sign in them there hills!

We were advised never to walk anywhere in L.A. Advice we gladly stuck to as on previous visits we saw a few people carrying guns in their belts. You usually hear people advising tourists to beware after dark in such & such a city & I have to say we had no problems in many other US cities like Boston, New York, Chicago & Washington D.C. L.A. on the other hand is a different kettle of fish altogether. 

It was a city that wasn't for us, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when we saw a girl dressed as Tinkerbell openly buy & take drugs (quite possibly angel dust) on the walk of fame. Childhood. Ruined. 

Mann’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd.

Our tour bus stopped off at the Hollywood walk of fame & saw the famous Hollywood sign up in the hills. There are tons of people dressed as different characters all hoping you’ll want your picture taken with them for a few dollars. The tour also took us to Venice beach and then onto an indoor craft & artisan food market before dropping us back to our hotel.

Hollywood Blvd

I thought Los Angeles/ Hollywood  was just overrated. If you are going I’d recommend seeing Santa Monica Blvd & pier then heading to Universal Studios for the day. You can get a day pass for roughly the same price as the sightseeing tour bus of Hollywood.

One of the many brilliant displays in Universal Studios.

We checked in for our flight the following day & brought home 9 bags! We shopped our asses off at the outlet malls. We also got to bring home the travel cot & cheap strollers that we were planning on leaving behind as the lady on check in just gave us extra tags for them.

There you have it, a quick overview of both of our trips along Route 66. It is seriously a fantastic holiday unrivalled by any other we have taken. I’d still be here next year telling you about everything if I could detail every stop we made & show you all of the pictures. All I can say is, we will definitely be going again!

Tell us, have you hit the road to drive Route 66 - think you might? 

Pop a comment below or come chat on the Twitter machine - @StoneTravel4

The Tuesday Chattery - What's Your Dream Holiday Destination?

Morning All!

Today's Tuesday's Travels marks the final leg of Corrina's Route 66 series - we'll be moving closer to home as of next week. 

So for chattage today we're wondering - what's your dream holiday destination? 

Maybe you've already been, maybe you're still wistfully planning but do share...

Let's Chat!

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Monday Chattery - Things To Do in London Town??

Oh Hey, Monday, you were fast coming back around, weren't you? 

As you may or may not know, I'm over living it up in London Town with our travel contributor and full time sister of 3 @stonetravel4 for her birthday trip. 

Monday's Moments, as a result, will be real life Moments as we take some time out together.

For today, my question is thus - is there anything we absolutely HAVE to do while here?

We're meeting a couple of beauty peeps, catching a show and doing a weenchy bit of shopping so what else is a must do in this town? 

Let's Chat!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cherry Pick of the Week: John Legend - All of Me

I've a serious grá for song smith John Legend and his new single, All of Me 
won't be changing that. 

At the risk of sounding like my Pappito - this is how love songs should sound. 

Ah, John, ye soulful Legend. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - Movie Review

  Who's in it?


What's it about?

When the humans begin to run out of diesel for power generation, Malcolm (Jason Clarke) makes a truce with Caeser (Andy Serkis)and the evolved apes to be able to activate the dam, power the human city and get out of the ape's forest. As you can imagine, it doesn't go well. 

Any Good?        

I never watched the first of this prequel-reboot-sequel for a self evident reason when you read those three words, but I was surprised with the alright-ness of this.

If you even pay the closest shred of attention to the characters you know EXACTLY what would happen - I don't know if that's due to laziness or trying to take a 'critical' look back on the human race. The whole 'apes are the same as humans' is in your face in every decision of the apes which flies in the face of the entire premise of the film series; but I digress. 

Some of the acting is just bad, Malcolm just stands there catching flies when he has something incredibly important to tell the group, like that guy that gets bitten by zombies in every piece of zombie media ever. Malcolm's wife Ellie's (Kerri Russel) entire script seems to have comprised of one phrase - MAAAALCOOOOLM - and JESUS does it grate on the ears after the first time. I'm not sure if bad script or acting, or both, but you'll surely see what I  mean.

While the CGI is pretty fantastic - if unnecessary -  it doesn't save it from bad human characters with no substance in their scripts and a stupidly long run time. There is some heart-wrenching moments (even if the context is whispered in your ear) that can be worth it, including the AWESOME Maurice the orangutan that make it worth a watch if you're into the series.


The Friday Chattery - Fifty Shades of Grey - Do You Give a Rat's Ass?

I don't care if Monday's blue
Tuesday's grey and Wednesday too
Thursday i don't care about you
It's Friday I'm in love!

Well, mostly in love, with the idea of Friday - with the unmerciful HOO HAH caused online yesterday with the release of the Fifty Shades of Gick trailer - not so much. 

There was mixed reaction, with a lot of frantic tweeting, sharing and side eyeing. Some marking Valentine's 2015 in their diaries and some die hard fans pretty pissed that the trailer seemed a let down. You can see my reaction here

So my question for el chattage today is threefold-

Fifty Shades of Grey - 

-did you read it?
-do you plan on seeing it? 
- do you care?

Let's Chat!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Things That Rustle My Jimmies

I'm trying super hard to be upbeat this week. The sun is splitting the stones, the lads are working and I'm off on my hollibops to London at the weekend - what's not to be thrilled about? 

Oh yeah - THESE: 

1. Sneaky App Pop Up Ads That Appear 
in Place of the Select Button

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3. Heave Inducing Sweaty Mo' Fo's on the Bus

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4. Impenetrable HORDES of Spanish Students

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5. The Majority of the Media Coverage on the 
Gaza Bombings

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And that's all I needed to be zen once more. 

Tell me, what's been rustling your jimmies this week?

The Thursday Chattery - Would You Pay £175 For an IV Hangover Cure?

It would seem we have a new celebrity led craze sweeping the UK, if tabloids are to be believed (and they rarely are). That craze is the IV Doctor, I'm pretty sure the term 'doctor' is a loose one here but cynicism aside, the IV Doctor's specialty is curing hangovers 
through £175 IVs... 

My question is this, would you pay €220 to be hooked up to a bag of water if it meant your hangover was gone in 30 minutes? That question would probably get a different reaction if you were actually hungover, wouldn't it? 

Personally a Big Mac, a can of ice cold coke and a Twister ice pop fixes me right up for less than a tenner so I'm not going to be applying for a membership - to call - to be swindled any time soon - how about you? 

And while we're chatting, what IS your go to hangover cure? For science...

Let's Chat!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New Lancome Grandiose Mascara - Review

I've been at this beauty blogging malarkey for coming up on 3 years now and still not many launches excite me as much as a new high end mascara. Yes, for the most part, what brands are telling me isn't really true and if it is, it really isn't applicable in every day life but sell me slippers and call me Dorothy if I don't fall for it every time. Lancôme's Grandiôse and its swan necked applicator are case in point here but still, I'm sold. 

Shehla Shaikh, Head of Lancôme's Elite Team
shows us the perfect application technique at the product launch. 
The problem identified by Lancôme is that many women struggle to apply mascara evenly to both eyes, without reaching across the bridge of the nose and smudging product in the process. Their solution? The patented swan neck applicator. (That twisted doohickey above). 

In their studies of make up application, eye experts at the brand have broken the eye down into six zones to ensure expert application every time. There are nine steps for both eyes combined with a further four should you be feeling dedicated. I won't copy & paste or relay them verbatim but you can see them here

What I will say is that taking my time, concentrating on my lashes as outer, middle and inner and applying Grandiôse with care has given me the most amazing false lash effect that I've ever achieved from a mascara. Like ever. 

The Grandiôse tube itself is beautiful with the signature Lancôme rose outstretched from the black bell shaped end and suspended in clear resin. While I'm still hesitant to twist and pump the wand from the tube - it goes against all my mascara bacteria fighting inclinations - there is no doubting the finished result is a sight to behold. 

My lashes are separated, elongated and volumised without feeling heavy or overly made up. I'm not one to smudge my mascara on application normally but there are definite benefits to the swan necked wand. The bend reaches over the bridge of my nose easily and I just seem to get a better job done faster. That's a win, right? 

Whether it's the formulation, the wand, the technique or a combination of all three, Lancôme's Grandiôse is definitely worth your attention. You'll find it on counters exclusively in Brown Thomas until August 1st for €30 and nationwide thereafter. I'm definitely a fan. 

If the eye experts are watching though, could we have some research into why I can't keep my mouth closed when applying mascara? The struggle is real!

The Wednesday Chattery - Should You Ditch Certain Beauty Products in Your 30s?!

Happy Hump Day, All, how are we holding up? 

We haven't lost anyone in that creepy ass mist have we? 

This morning I wanted to touch on a subject, raised in a post that Lauren Conrad shared yesterday titled: 

'10 Beauty Products You Should Definitely Ditch By Age 30'

In this tosh filled feature, Byrdie wax lyrical about what we should leave in 'the learning period of your 20s'. Things such as:

Fruity Body Sprays - Eh, HELLO Fleur de Figuier is one of my favourite scents of ALL time!

Coloured Mascara - You best believe I couldn't afford my favourite Guerlain coloured mascara in my 20s.

And Shimmery Bronzer because, apparently:

'A little shimmer may have made you look sun-kissed back in your 20’s, but it’ll just draw unwanted attention to areas you’d rather not highlight now.'

Areas I'd rather not highlight now?! What are we - destined for the glue factory and barely in our third decade?! Christ, give me patience for this ageist internet white noise bullshit. 

Look, I know it can be tough to come up with original content day in and day out but there's a healthy dose of COP ON needed over in camp Byrdie. STAT. 

For the record my comment (because I had to comment) read: 'Sorry, Byrdie but this is complete tosh. I'm 36 & the urge to wear every one of these things simultaneously just because I 'shouldn't' is quite overwhelming. That's the thing about being in your 30s as opposed to your 20s - you do what makes you feel good and not what's expected of you. Vive la resistance!

Tell me though, do you agree, even in part, with Byrdie's advice? Are there things we should be leaving in our 20s? 

If you're in your 20s, what do you think? 

Let's Chat!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New Cocoa Brown Ultimate Travel Set - Only €10!

Earlier this year, tanning brand du jour, Cocoa Brown, released a very handy travel size version of their, now cult product, 1 Hour Tan. Coming with an even handier mitt and being only 100ml in size, travelling tan fans the world over rejoiced. Well Marissa Carter (the brains & beauty behind the brand) et al have gone one step further and shrunk their top selling products to accompany the 1 Hour Tan and produced the Ultimate Travel Set. 

Packaged in the nifty resealable plastic pouch you'll find: 

  • 100ml Cocoa Brown 1 HOUR TAN
  • 75ml Cocoa Brown Chocolate Whip Oil-Free Body Moisturiser
  • 75ml Cocoa Brown TOUGH STUFF Body Scrub
Everything you need to not only top up your tan while away but to maintain it for the duration too. 

I'm a particular fan of this new set as I'm forever, FOREVER, leaving packing to the last second. I've been known to defuzz and tan hours before an early morning flight & spend the first day of holidays bleary-eyed as a result. Not no more. Chuck this in your carry on and do it when you get there. Genius. 

You'll find The Ultimate Travel Set in Penney's stores nationwide for a staggeringly affordable €10, chuck in a mitt for €2 and you're set. 

Fear not though, should you have forgotten all about it, Cocoa Brown's 1 Hour Tan travel size WITH mitt is available on all Aer Lingus flights for just €6.99 or, as I like to call it 'the change of €20 for a snipe of Prosecco'. You're a clever one Mrs C, no doubt about it!

Are you a Cocoa Brown fan? Care to sicken us with your holiday plans? 

Route 66 - Travelling The Mother Road with Babies and On a Budget - Viva Las Vegas!

Hey, welcome back to our Route 66 road trip. On this edition of Tuesday's Travels we're stopping off in Sin City itself - VEGAS!

Las Vegas is fantastic but just not ideal for children. They have strictly no under 21’s on any Casino floor, but we had a fantastic time walking the strip and watching the Bellagio Fountains and the outdoor show at Treasure Island hotel.

Excalibur Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada
We also brought them to the sharks at the Mandalay Bay. We stayed in the Stratosphere at the end of the strip it’s cheap as chips at only $40/€29 per night room only. It’s very hard to beat a burger & angel hair onion rings at Roxy’s Diner in the Stratosphere, It’s simply mouth watering. 

Another good hotel you can get at this rate is Hotel Tropicana at the other end of the strip. The airport is right behind the Tropicana and slightly further off the strip from Tropicana as a fantastic outlet mall.

Stratosphere Hotel, Las Vegas NV

Brunch on the 107th floor!

While in the Stratosphere we had the most delicious brunch in their revolving restaurant Top of the World on the 107th floor over 800 feet above ground. Steak & cocktails for us & meals for the children worked out at less than €100 - well worth a little splurge!

Dessert selection at Top of the World Restaurant, Stratosphere Hotel

There are a host of thrill rides along the strip so if you are a dare devil give some a whirl! The best ones are the roller coaster at New York New York (I was a big chicken) and another is Insanity 906 feet above the strip on the top of the Stratosphere.

This one I just decided to get mad & go on it. I screamed my head off as the safety barrier was lowered at the side of the building and the seats swung out over the edge. They then twirled faster & faster so the momentum swung the seat so you were facing the ground.

(Sue here - I'd just like to point out that Corrina had to remove her glasses for the ride so whether or not they just brought her out back and blew a wind machine at her full pelt - we'll never really know)(Also, Blind Coasters For Those with Glasses™ will be coming to a town near you soon. I just have to save enough for a wind machine) (As you were, Sis)

Looking up out the window at Insanity!

We brought the children to Fremont Street as they have free over head light shows every hour on the hour. They were amazed by it as the lights dance in time to piped music. The girls even managed to collect party beads from the hostesses as we were passing casinos along Fremont Street!

Fremont Street Cowboy & Cowgirl, iconic Vegas neon.

Fremont Street, Las Vegas, Nevada

The next morning we parted ways for an hour as hubby needed to visit a firing range so he could shoot things! As we had been in Vegas a few times before and visited a few firing ranges he felt he just had to do it again.  

Colin headed to the Gun Store on Tropicana where for less than $70/€51 he got to fire 4 different guns & even got a souvenir t-shirt. They take care of everything for you hearing/eye protection, safety lessons, and they’ll even take your photo for you.

The Gun Store, Tropicana Ave, Las Vegas

Meanwhile I brought the children to see the Car museum & fish tanks at Caesar’s Palace.

Mad Maggies tempting a fish with their toes!

While in Las Vegas you can visit the Grand Canyon, we didn’t on this occasion as we had done it on our last visit. There are oodles of packages to choose from & we decided to take a plane ride out to see it from the air before landing for lunch on the ledge of the Canyon. It cost us about $250/€183 each for the day trip of a lifetime.

One of many photos from the air!

When you land you are brought to the visitor centre where your tour guide picks you up & brings you on a very informative walk around the top of the Grand Canyon. You also get to meet a genuine Hualapai Native American who will show you his tribes way of living in & around the Grand Canyon.

That’s where we had lunch right on the ledge!

When we went, the glass walk way wasn't opened but it is now so we might just have to go back to get a better view!

Join us next week for the home stretch from Nevada into California.