Florida | Tuesday to Friday

Now I'm home and back to work again (albeit in a new job!) my holiday feels like a distant memory so it's nice to be doing this post about the last few days of the holiday as it's made it feel a bit fresher in my mind.  It's such a strange part of being away isn't it? I'm beginning to be convinced that plane journeys eat away at not only your tan (how does that happen?) but a bit of your brain too! Feels like about a month ago I was there rather than last week.

On the Tuesday of last week we went to Cocoa Beach on the Central East Coast of Florida, about an hour's drive from the hotel.  Tom (boyfriend) and Tom (brother) wanted to go surfing and I wanted to lay like broccoli and read my Kindle.  You are probably beginning to get an idea from the photos below how well that plan went! Whilst they got their surfboards I spread out my towel, smothered myself in Hawaiian Tropic, lay back to enjoy the sunshine and the heavens opened.  I got absolutely soaked, not to mention covered in sand and with all my clothes wet and the Tom's returned to find me taking refuge under a tiny beach umbrella.  It brightened up for a little while before the clouds below swept in and the real storm began.  It was actually really eerie - you can see from the photos that the beach cleared, the lifeguards packed up, even the birds left! And there were all these beach umbrellas blowing around (made my way swiftly away from them, don't fancy being speared by a storm-force beach umbrella!) That's my brother in the fourth picture making his way out of the sea with his beginners' surfboard (it was his first time).  As the winds picked up and it started torrentially raining it was actually quite frightening and the boys had to really fight to get their surfboards back to the car as they were being buffeted by the winds.  I was definitely glad to be home and dry that day!

cocoa beach in a storm

cocoa beach in a storm

foam board

We had actually decided against going to Magic Kingdom as none of the men were particularly fussed, but on the Tuesday evening they were having a 'Not so scary Halloween party' where the entry was about £40 for the evening and there were parades, fireworks and trick or treating, and we decided that would be a fun thing to do.  I have to say that it was actually brilliant - compared to Universal Studios their attention to detail is amazing and it was so beautiful seeing the place all lit up at night, as well as the extra things they'd done for Halloween like glowing pumpkins and scarecrows etc.  There was a parade of all the Disney villains (as well as all of the classic characters) which was absolutely brilliant.  The fireworks display was later on in the evening and the show was incredible, there were literally hundreds of fireworks.  Around the park there were also designated 'trick or treat' spots where you could get a handful of 'candy', needless to say I queued for quite a few of those! That's my trick or treat bag in the instagram photo.... it was mostly children queuing but I never miss out on an opportunity for free sweets! 

not so scary halloween party

disney halloween

On the last day evening we went to the restaurant that was on-site at the resort, which was what they call a Hibachi-style restaurant (apparently really called teppenyaki, so says Wikipedia), where the table surrounds an iron plate and the chef cooks your food in front of you.  Has anyone else ever been to a restaurant like this?  I thought it was amazing and really theatrical.  Tom and I shared a steak/chicken combo which was about £18 each and there was so much food - we started with an onion soup, then a salad, then the chef cooked the rice, then shrimps, and then lots of vegetables, steak and chicken.  It was absolute delicious and such a great experience.

The first picture is me before the dinner; it was getting dark so it looks like the flash came on, I don't really have a shiny face (it's really not the most flattering photo of me generally but oh well!)

dress: Missguided | boots: boohoo.com

hibachi style cooking

And then of course on Friday we flew home - it was a night flight and I only managed to sleep for about an hour and to be honest I've been absolutely shattered ever since!  I can't remember having jet lag from coming back from America before but it has killed me this time, I am exhausted!  I started in a new job on Monday so I'm now settling into that and really enjoying being home.  I am still catching up on lots of blog reading so sorry if I've been absent from commenting/reading recently, I'll be back! :)


Anti-wrinkles, and long lost sunglasses

A couple of years ago, right about now, I'd be shoving a load of cheap plastic sunglasses into a drawer somewhere; maybe three or four pairs with a cumulative cost of about 8 or 9 quid.  About the same time my summer wardrobe got bundled into a bag somewhere, so too would any pairs of sunglasses that had survived the summer without being sat on, lost in the pocket of a coat I'd never wear again or left in the back of a taxi.  This cycle continued until two things happened.  Firstly, I discovered two little lines ingrained into my forehead, just between my eyebrows.  "That's weird", I thought, furrowing my brow.  "I never frown."  Then one day I was driving and I realised that I frown all the time.  Frowning is basically my actual face.  Because I wear cheap sunglasses, or not at all, and ergo, I do the classic 'squint frown'.  The second thing that happened is that Tom suggested I buy a more expensive pair of sunglasses, perhaps one where I don't squint when the sun's out, even when I'm wearing them.  I kind of didn't realise that such wondrous things existed until I tried his polarised sunglasses and it was a bit of a revealation.  These days I 'spend out' on sunglasses, and I never pack them away - I always have a pair in the car for driving in, even in the winter (on brighter days, not like, in the dark or anything, I'm not one of them!).

I recently got to emailing with the lovely Jess at Sunglasses Shop and happened to mention that despite my new found love for 'proper' sunglasses, there were one cheap pair I had been extremely fond of.

This is me a couple of years ago in the much-loved Primark beauties! To cut a lot story short, not long after this photo Tom went in for an overenthusiastic hug and, his shoulder being vaguely sunglasses height, cracked the arm off.  I mourned them for quite some time.  I told Jess this and she came right back with the link to these sunglasses;  they literally couldn't be more similar could they? They arrived within a couple of days and I wore them all holiday - it was so nice not to have to squint whilst reading by the pool!  They even got caught in a storm on Cocoa Beach (apologies for no makeup in these pics!)

Posing on the beach pre-storm
Wet hair post-storm
*D&G 3041 - Sunglasses Shop
The sunglasses I was sent are now out of stock but there are so many other amazing brands and sunglasses on the site, it's well worth a look. Sponsored post aside, I really do believe cheap sunglasses are a false economy and would hugely recommend spending a bit more on them to avoid the dreaded mid-eyebrow wrinkle (not to mention how bad they are for your eyes).  Are you a cheap specs buyer like I was or do you invest in good eyewear?

*This is a sponsored post and I received a pair of sunglasses in return for this, and other work I am doing with the brand.

How do I know what makes me happy?

I know that rightly now I should be feeling in full throes of post-holiday blues; hiding under the quilt refusing to go out into the shivering temperatures, cursing at the impending Monday morning in my diary and browsing Expedia for my next holiday.  But honestly, I love coming back from holidays.  Not only because I love being at home and all the comforts it brings (my own bed, my little bum divot on the sofa...) but because I always feel really recharged with creativity and inspiration after a bout of being away.  There's something about being at home that clears my head of all the usual routine and minutia and allows ideas and excitement to ruminate.  Two things that also helped this process were things I read; The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, and Simple Things magazine, which I picked up in the airport and devoured in the first few days of being away.  I'm actually going to write about both of these in separate posts but just to give you a quick bit of background, the first is a book about a woman's year long 'happiness project', to explore, and improve her own happiness, and the second is a wonderful magazine about the simple things in life - it describes itself as 'about slowing down, enjoying what you have, making the most of enjoying the company of friends and family and making simple food for simple gatherings' - perfect, huh?

As part of Gretchen's 'Happiness Project', she comes up with resolutions to tackle each month, and one of these was 'Find more fun'.  In doing this she discovers that it can sometimes be really difficult to examine and acknowledge the things you find fun.  I know that personally I find it difficult to shake off influences from others in terms of things that are fun, or even things that I really, really want to find fun, but in truth, don't.  Gretchen comes up with several Secrets of Adulthood, and one of these is; “What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you — and vice versa.  I wrote about this in a post back in April called 'Do stuff you like doing' where I finally admitted that I don't really enjoy going out drinking or to big social events that revolve around drinking, like house parties.  I wrote a little list there of things that I enjoy, or find fun, but having read The Happiness Project I wanted to revisit it and make sure I make time for these things.  The magazine I read made me feel even more inspired as it contains so many of the things I love doing, and it warmed my heart remembering them, and realising that Autumn is perfect for a lot of them.  Talking of Autumn, I re-read last year's post about the things I love about Autumn and that too made me feel excited to be home and ready to enjoy my favourite season.

This afternoon I've been writing another list of things I enjoy - it sounds so simple but I wanted to really get to the heart of the things I do that I just get lost in or feel really rejuvenated and excited by doing.  I've made sure to challenge myself and drop off anything that's aspirational (things I'd like to love but really don't!).

My list is going to be really important for my own Happiness Project and it feels like such a good thing to do to be honest with yourself about the things you enjoy.  Have you made a similar list?  Do you find it challenging to acknowledge what it is you really enjoy doing?


Blogger takeover | Five things that make Katy smile

Considering how much I banged on about going before I left, plus if you caught Emma's guest post on Saturday, you will probably have cottoned on that I am currently on my holidays sunning myself in Flo-rida and this little corner of the interweb is being looked after via some awesome guest posts by some of my favourite blog ladies. Today it is the turn of the beautiful Katy from Caught Up In Cake to grace these pages and I'm so chuffed she's agreed to come on over and say hello.  I literally adore Katy, she is cute as a button and makes me do a smile a lot!


Hello there lovely readers of Rosie Outlook, it’s a different person today. Not the ever so adorable Rosie, but in fact the weird one from Caught up in Cake. Because I like cake. But I don’t eat it much anymore, because I ate too much. Rosie asked me to guest post for her, and I was truly flattered... I mean talking about rubbish on my blog is enough, never mind spreading it too another blog.. But alas, I’m here. And I hope you stick around too!

Today I decided to blog about five things that make me smile. When I was writing this up, Littlebum (he’s my small friend. Boyfriend) was sad I didn’t include him.. I mean if I had him, then my family would need to go in, and then my friends. And then I’d have been left with two pictures. It’s a tricky one..

[1] Being a bit of a child still, I love sweets. I’m like an old lady, in the way that I always have some form of sweets or mints in my bag. Or the car. And they never fail to please everyone when offered.

[2] Due to my overflowing wardrobe full of dresses, I tend to wear a lot of belts. I own a lot of belts too, but I always stick to the same one, till it goes a bit naff, then I replace it. Lately, this has been the belt of my dreams. Bows on a belt.

[3] Quite possibly my favourite room in the house (maybe down to the floral overload too!). A warm cosy bed is the best remedy after a hard day at work. And with my lovely floral bedding, I just never want to leave it! You can look for similar bedding sets for your room – there’s some great cheap duvet sets from LookAgain.

[4] Cups of tea sure manage to make everything in life better. If you’re sad, sleepy or wanting to relax.. A cup of tea is the cure (please note: this is only a temporary cure!) Add in some friends, and a few movies and cakes. Perfection right there.

[5] This little furry friend, is quite possibly my biggest companion. Although we don’t go for walks along the beach together, he sure entertains me and makes me chuckle. Plus he likes food, I like food.. We’re basically soulmates.


Blogger takeover | Chloe talks about Autumn

Today, joining the other lovely ladies who've been keeping my blog ticking over whilst I'm away in sunny Florida is the wonderful Chloe from Chloe Likes To Talk.  Chloe is an amazing little lady who sends me gorgeous prezzies on my birthday, gives great advice and leaves me the best essay-style comments on my blog so I knew I had to ask her to share some of her words of wisdom here whilst I was away.  Even though I'm scheduling this post before I head off to warmer climes, Autumn is nearly upon us and so I've asked Chloe to share with you her favourite things about Autumn.  Here's what she had to say...

Hi, my name is Chloe and I blog over at Chloe Likes To Talk. I like to talk too much, have questionable taste in TV, I consume more caffeine than any one person should and my sweet tooth will probably take over the world, one jelly bean at a time. Yes, that’s my mug shot below.

Things I love about Autumn….. woah woah woah backtrack…. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.
In the autumn I tend to whinge. A lot. About the cold, the inevitable wet, the ever more present darkness, and for the last 5 years, the general requirement to upheave myself and my life to go back to studies somewhere or other. And still, of late, I find myself relishing the return of autumn, well- it’s not like we’ve had much of a summer now, is it?!

So what do I love about autumn? Well I live in the midst of tourist hell- bank holidays generally involve RUNNING home from work, locking the door and HIDING from the masses. Come the autumn, the people who drop their litter, their obnoxious children, their bad parking and their 4 abreast wandering across pavements, yeah- they all do one and go home, meaning the rest of us can get on with dental appointments, buying a loaf of bread and drinking cocktails in peace. But that’s just the start.

I also like to shop. Maybe you knew that already, but shopping winter clothes is just joyous. It’s sensual, it’s full of possibility, and an extra cardigan or jacket can ALWAYS be justified when it’s pouring rain and/or freezing cold. I also wear a dress soooo much better with nice cosy tights and boots than I do with strappy sandals.

Told you so…

But most of all, autumn brings me contentment, tinged with hope. A feeling that verges on indescribable, but that hits every year as the nights close in and the dreaded C word edges into view. A sense of comfort in new routines and a sense of building a future. I always thought this might pass as I moved out of full time education, but this year seems no different. We’re full force headed into September, and whilst I find myself floating- not in the ethereal sense either, between things, the feeling of a warm embrace is starting to edge over my shoulders. No, that’s not just my cardigan, before you say it. The familiarity of moving towards something- even if I don’t quite know what that something is going to be and the feeling that I know my place in the world, in my home, in my own life.  And please, let us not forget the chai lattes and epic slippers... 


Florida | Tuesday to Sunday

I'm currently sat in bed nursing a poorly boyfriend whose tummy didn't like the combination of a fish platter and a restaurant with lots of different beers to try last night, so I thought I'd do a little update of the last few days.  Sorry this is going to be a mega photo-heavy post!

On Wednesday we went to Sea World as we had free tickets in with our Discovery Cove tickets.  We weren't sure about going but I'm really glad we did as it I hadn't been since I was much younger and there were so many new things to experience and appreciate.  We started by looking at the underwater viewing areas of the dolphins, manatees and turtles and then went off to the Shamu/Orca show.  I'd seen it before when I was about 13 but I hadn't remembered quite how amazing it was, the degree to which they're trained and the flawlessness of the show is unbelievable.  We then went on to a show called Blue Horizons, which has dolphins, birds, trapeze artists and people diving from platforms and it was just mindblowing.  Some of the things the trainers do with the dolphins (the trainers are no longer allowed in the water with the killer whales in the previous show) were incredible.  That was definitely the best part of the day, although we also had lunch in a restaurant surrounded by huge tanks with sharks in which was quite surreal.

The next day we went to Discovery Cove, another Sea World park but one that allows you to interact with the animals a bit more.  We weren't sure whether to book the swim with the dolphin that's an optional part of the day package as it was fairly expensive but we decided that it was a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity and one definitely worth paying for (which turned out to be true).  The resort itself has lots of places to snorkel - along a lazy river, a warm pool or in a coral reef with tropical fish and stingrays - along with other pools and an aviary with tropical birds.  Your food and drink for the day is all included and we took a moment near the end of the day to sit in one of the pools with a frozen cocktail!  I might have mentioned on here before that I bought a Kodak Underwater Camera (Playsport) specifically for this trip, and for this day but unfortunately it had a few hiccups in the days before and when the day came for Discovery Cove it wouldn't even turn on.  I was so devastated as it would have been an amazing place to capture underwater but it just proves you can't rely on technology.  When I worked in a camera shop the Kodak digital cameras were always terrible so I guess I should have trusted my experiences rather than a few Amazon reviews.

Anyway, so for the 'dolphin experience' we had half an hour with a female dolphin called Kayley, along with five other people.  We went into a freshwater cove and were allowed to stroke and pet the dolphin (she felt like a wetsuit!) along with her swimming around us and doing tricks and sounds.  We even got to swim out into the cove and have the dolphin tow us back in like the trainers do in the shows.  We had a discussion at dinner that night as to whether it's cruel to train dolphins and have them constantly interacting with humans and it's difficult to really know the answer to that.  They seem so happy (they just seem like they're smiling all the time!) and I know that Sea World do a lot of work for endangered or orphaned animals and often nurse injured animals back to health and rehabilitate them into the wild.  They also have a conservation project where they donate money to other projects that help endangered marine species around the world.  Our dolphin was actually born at Discovery Cove (she was 8 years old) so she's never known another life apart from playing with her family and the trainers at the Cove.  Arguments aside, we thoroughly enjoyed it and it was touching to see how passionate and knowledgeable the trainers were about the dolphins.  The coral reef was also amazing and we saw so many beautiful fish (and HUGE rays!)

On Friday we went to Universal Studios (just the normal park, not Islands of Adventure).  I must confess to being slightly disappointed with it as there wasn't as much to see and do as I thought there would be.  Also it rained for most of the day and we got absolutely soaked! I'm hoping that Islands of Adventure is better and I'm definitely looking forward to the Harry Potter part of the park.

Yesterday, after all that excitement, we had to have a chill day by the pool and I got stuck into The Happiness Project on my Kindle, which I'm really enjoying so far and I'm sure I will be blogging about in the near future. I am having the most amazing time away and in many ways I wish we could stay longer, but I'm also looking forward to coming back and getting back into a routine (with the festival and this holiday we haven't been at home in September so far!).  I love it when you go away and you start feeling really inspired and motivated again and you can't wait to get stuck into lots of new projects and ideas when you get home.  Plus I am missing Bodhi like absolute crazy, can't wait to pick him up on Saturday and give him a big squeeze!

Tomorrow we're off to a waterpark which should be fun; I need to try and swim off some of these pounds I've put on with all the pizza, burgers, steak, Cheetos and cookies I've been eating!  Going to come back supersized if I don't watch out! Was planning on bringing back a few sneaky packs of Jolly Ranchers and Junior Mints but I need to get straight on the diet when I'm back and the temptation would be too much!


Blogger takeover | Sarah's favourite shoes

I'm holding what I'm calling a 'blogger takeover' here on the ol' blog until the 24th when I fly back from sunny (please let it be sunny) Florida, and here to drop in and keep it ticking over whilst I'm gone today is the wonderful Sarah from A Million Dresses.  Sarah is an absolute diamond and I like to try and distract her from her working day by sending her long rambly emails or messages on Twitter.  When I asked a few ladies to guest post I had some suggestions for posts and I knew Sarah would choose to write about her favourite shoes; she has an enviable collection!  Over to you Sarah...


Hello, Sarah from a million dresses here, filling in a bit of time til the lovely Rosie gets back from her holidays... not at all jealous. Much!  
Rosie asked me to share my favourite shoes with you all, those who already know me know I have a slight dress addiction but you might not know that is closely followed by a shoe addiction.  Maybe I should just call it a shopping addiction and be done with it?!
It turns out my favourite pairs of shoes are red.  I don't really wear much red but there is something about a cute pair of red shoes that makes me go a bit weak at the knees.  Maybe it was instilled in me from an early age watching after watching the wizard of oz.  I mean who didn't want a pair of Dorothy shoes?!  Talking of Dorothy shoes brings me nicely onto my first favourite pair.  I have two favourites you see, an old favourite and my current favourite.  These sparkly beauties are from Topshop circa 2008 and have seen many a dance floor and will no doubt see many more.  They always make me feel really special and get a lot of admiring glances as they sparkle under the glitterball.  Aren't they just darling?! 

My current favourite shoes are these adorable stripy red bow court shoes from Spartoo.   They are by a brand called Lola Ramona who make tonnes of cute, playful shoes.  I may or may not have bought several new outfits just to go with these shoes, I just want to wear them ALL the time.  These little cuties have had people come running up to me in the street gushing over them and wanting to know where they can get a pair.  They are now sold out but that makes them extra special, right?! 

Do you like me plan outfits around your favourite shoes? Share your favourite shoes with Rosie & I.

Florida | Friday to Tuesday

I've been in Florida since Friday now, and since I brought my little Netbook with me and there's wireless in the apartment I thought I'd share a few photos and words of what I've been up to.  As you've probably already seen, I've had some other awesome bloggers send over posts which have been scheduled in for whilst I'm away but as it's clouded over here and my brother, Dad and boyfriend are out at Kennedy Space Center I thought I'd take the opportunity to sit down and write one of my own.

Funnily enough we had a conversation when we were in the taxi on the way to the airport where we talked about 'things you want to tell people about but that they're actually not interested in'.  The list we came up with was, your dreams, your holidays, your children and your car journeys (e.g other people's bad driving).  I'm kind of relying on the fact that there might be some exceptions to the rule out there who might want to hear about my little trip!

We arrived on Friday night to thunder, lightning and lots of rain so we took the opportunity to unpack and pick up pizza from the onsite Dominos (yum!)  The next morning me, my brother and Tom were in charge of the supermarket and we were literally like kids in a candy shop.  We filled the trolley with Jolly Ranchers, S'mores Pop Tarts, Snickerdoodles, Cinnamon Rolls, Reese's Peanut Butter Cup ice cream, Butterfingers and Cheetos.  I seriously would be as big as a house if I lived here, they have so much amazing food! Not sure it was quite the food shop my parents were expecting when we returned home with it all!

The first few days we did some outlet shopping at Florida Mall and Orlando Premium Outlets.  Amongst some t-shirts and shoes (I bought some black Toms and some navy Converse) I picked up a few beauty bits I've been after for a little while.  I'm actually not sure some of them were any cheaper but I got the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Compact (£18), Mac Face and Body Foundation (£20), Smashbox Artificial Light (£11) and Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask (£11).  Are there any other products/brands you'd recommend picking up whilst I'm out here?

Here are some iPhone snaps of [1] my tourist-y shark t-shirt, [2] M&Ms world [3] my brothers' Vans I dyed with Kool Aid [4] the slightly worrying weather forecast [5] dinner at Planet Hollywood [6] a Harry Potter t-shirt I bought for Tom and then the larger ones are three sunsets and a sunrise.

Yesterday we went to Boggy Creek Airboat Rides for a 45 minute tour of Boggy Creek, which was absolutely unbelievable.  The five of us and Eddy, a tour guide, went around the wetlands and swamps seeing amazing birds along with baby alligators and the Mummy alligator!

It was so peaceful and still
Mummy alligator didn't like us interrupting!
One year old alligators
Snail Kite
Roseate Spoonbill
Me driving the airboat! Then my Dad, my Mum hiding behind him, my brother and boyfriend.

It was just amazing and one of the best things I've ever done.  Yesterday afternoon we lazed by the pool and then in the evening we went to a Caribbean restaurant called Bahama Breeze on International Drive.  The food was amazing; I had a burger with caramelized onions, goat's cheese and avocado, with a strawberry mojito! Still feeling really tired from the flight though and have been in bed by 10pm every night! There are barbecue grills on site on the resort so the plan tonight is to have a 'cookout' (we have the most amazing looking steaks!) whilst watching the sun set and drinking cider.  As you can probably tell I am having a great time! It's so nice to be able to relax away from home and not be worrying about the stresses of work and looking after the house.  I'm super missing Bodhi puppy though!

We still have a good while left so any suggestions for things to do/eat/buy would be gratefully received.  We have on the list Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, Sea World, Discovery Cove and Typhoon Lagoon - I think we might leave Disney as we've all done it before and can't come to a consensus about which one to do!