Iceland - Northern Lights, Ice and the rest of my life

I should probably start with the headliner - I'm engaged! James proposed under the Northern Light on the Tuesday night of our trip - it was utterly perfect, and the only night we actually saw them, but more on that, and probably more on the ring and wedding plans later.

This is the glacier lake along the south coast. This bit is in between the glacier and the sea - it was stunning (and also a pretty good location to take a ring photo!). The water perfectly reflected the mountains behind it and the shades of blue were absolutely breath-taking.

This is the beach! Black sand again of course, but this is where the glacier joined the sea - lots of chunks of ice have washed up and all are completely different! See my instagram for more!

Finally, the Northern lights. They appeared about 8.30pm quite faintly but by 9pm they were in full force - shades of green, purple and red dancing and spinning above us - the most amazing thing I'd ever seen - until I turned round and James was on one knee...
We didn't see them again in the week as the cloud cover was high and the aura activity was low, but this night was perfect.

Have you ever seen the Northern Lights? Tweet me your bucket list!

Iceland - Waterfalls, geysirs and black sand beaches

Queen of the rock pile! 

Another quite photo heavy post so I won't go on and on - I can't recommend Iceland enough!

We left Reykjavik to do the 'Golden Circle' and traveled down the South coast to Vik. We stopped at lots of waterfalls, Geysir (seriously has the best visitor centre ever) and some black sand beaches!

This is Oxarafoss in  Pingvellir National Park.The entire area is very tourist friendly - there are loads of decked walkways and hand rails, plus lots of signs to tell you where to go/how far.

This is one of the pools at the Geysir site - the water is 80 - 100 C so no sticking your hands in!

This is Strokkur - he erupts every 10 minutes or so - I have a video on my Instagram if you want to see!

Black sand beaches are potentially the most breathtaking things I have ever seen - especially because we went when the weather was stormy - lots of dramatic crashing waves. 

This is a couple of days later at Skaftafell National park - look how drastically the weather changes!

The day of rainbows - the waterfall below is Skogafoss. I'd read about rainbows forming there, so at the first hint of sun, I made James drive us there - it was worth it - by far the best photo I think I've taken!

What do you think? Where are you planning to travel to? Tweet me and let me know!

Iceland - Reykjavik and random thoughts

First things first, I apologise for the very photo heavy posts, but Iceland is so so beautiful - I have three posts on Iceland, and none of them will be easy on your internet connection, sorry!

I also have so much to say, so these posts may turn very ramble-y...

Here are some photos from our first and last two days in Iceland - over the eight days we were there, we flew into Keflavik (Reykjavik), traveled along the south coast, visiting Vik and Hofn, and then backed on ourselves back to Keflavik. These photos are from around the city - around three hundred thousand people live in Iceland - most in the capital city! I'm not going to give you a full commentary, as I think it is something you should experience yourself, but I will say it was the best week of my life.

Above is me on Skólavörðustígur in Reykjavik - a bit further up I found a craft shop which sells lava beads - I jumped at the chance to make my own since the ones in the shops can be thousands of Krona. I actually first read about it on the I Heart Reykjavik blog, and didn't think I'd find it, but turns out I was staying in the next street! Fate!

These are the beautiful Ambassade apartments that we stayed in - home goals! They honestly deserve all the five star reviews they have on TripAdvisor!

This is inside the Handknitting Association of Iceland store, so so cute! The only problem is these jumpers are around 30 000 ISK (about £150) so I didn't get one - I did however get a throw for the bedroom!

Apparently during the recession there was a resurgence of knitting in Iceland - you see these jumpers in pretty much all the shops!

Icelandic houses are very cute on the outside - all in bright colours and they all seem to be made out of corrugated iron. Icelandic design really is growing on me. I noticed three things that all of the places we stayed had in common:
- They were all extremely warm, with no obvious reason as to why.
- They all had wifi, even in the remotest place - Iceland is very connected!
- They all had extremely good blackout curtains - this is for the summer when Iceland only has one hour of night!
- They all had plug sockets and hairdryers in the bathroom - obviously unlike us Brits, Icelanders can be trusted not to electrocute themselves.

This is the Harpa concert hall. Can you imagine how beautiful it would be with light shining through it?

I had visions of a snuggling up against a fire in my woolies with a warming coffee. Alas my Nordic fantasy didn't come true - we discovered two chain coffee shops - Kaffitar and Te and Kaffi, neither of which made my feel like I was in a ski lodge, I was very impressed that matcha lattes were widely on offer though.

There's so much amazing street art in Reykjavik - this is just one of a few I loved - check out my Instagram for more.

Have you ever been to Iceland? Do you plan to? Tweet me and I'll talk to you for hours about it!

Northern Lights Cookies

Rather lovely snap of the Northern Lights that James got on holiday.

Okay, I'm admitting that I've given up on the bake off series until next year - the vol au vents proved too inconvenient to make, and I was weeks behind.

I got back from Iceland on Sunday (it was AMAZING, but more on that later) and decided to make some Northern Lights inspired cookies to take in to work. I wasn't sure how they'd work out, but they turned out pretty well!

I used a basic biscuit/shortbread recipe and a star cookie cutter, along with black fondant and the vast majority of the blue and green edible glitters available at Hobbycraft.

- side note - make sure you use lots of flour to roll your dough, and lots of icing sugar to roll your fondant, else you'll be left with a sticky sticky mess...

So, make your dough, bake your cookies and roll out your fondant. I found the best way to get the sugar and glitter to stick is to make a glue out of icing sugar and water and run it over the top of the cookie and icing with a pastry brush.

These are how mine turned out - what do you think? They went down pretty well at work! (The non iced one was for someone who doesn't like icing)


Weekend at the Eden Project, Cornwall

I first went to the Eden Project with school when I was about 11 years old and fell in love. With it being in Cornwall, and me being caught up with uni and various things, I hadn't been back in about a decade, until the boy booked a weekend away for my 22nd birthday in July. It's safe to say I fell in love with it all over again. (Also, he'd never been so I got all excited talking about it before we'd even got there.)

The project is in the bottom of an old quarry, so on approach you can't actually see anything - it's only after you step through the visitors centre at the top (which is home to a rather lovely coffee shop) that you are hit by the scale of it.

In essence, the Eden Project is two great big bubbles (biomes), each housing a different climate. I've made it sound rather simple but in reality it is so so much more. I couldn't do the idea or science behind it justice, so I'm not going to try. 

I first went soon after it opened, and I'm happy to say that so much has changed in a decade that the visit felt like a whole new adventure. The winding path on the way down to the biomes is now full of beautiful Cornish climate flowers, and they're introduced loads of street food stalls, as well as a stage for concerts.

We went into the rainforest biome on the left first, and it was perhaps even more hot and humid than I remember. There seems to have been a few additions to the biome itself, including various bamboo huts, an ice room to cool down and a view platform (no pictures of this as it was really high up and I spent most of my time clinging to James trying not to look down between the mesh...)

The other biome is a Mediterranean biome, which is slightly easier to breathe in - it's more of a dry heat and recreates the environment in Spain, Greece etc. The most notable addition to this was a restaurant in the middle of the biome which we chose for lunch (couldn't resist really!). It was like being on holiday in Spain - really really lovely.

We spent some more time exploring the outside sections of the project and then wandered up to the gift shop which sold basically everything I ever wanted so I left with lots of tea, candles and beauty products. We have annul passes so hopefully we'll go back soon!

We finished the day with a walk along the nearby Carlyon Bay which was beautiful - we were basically the only ones there!

Have you ever been to the Eden Project? Where do visit in Cornwall?