26/09/2016

French road trip (part one) || Camping in Guignicourt


Let me tell you about our little adventure. A mini road trip if you will. We crammed quite a lot in so I'm breaking it down into 2 or 3 posts.

Mr C and I had two weeks off work at the beginning of September and were hoping to go back to our beloved Spain. Sadly, because we'd left it so late to book all flights were stupidly expensive so that wasn't really an option, and besides we've already been twice this year, yep we're greedy!

We thought about what to do, I knew I didn't want to stay in the UK, if the weather's crap you often end up spending a fortune anyway, and we didn't want to waste our time off slobbing around the house. So France it was. But not flying. Driving. Not in a fancy hotel. Camping! Yes, in a tent.

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne

We booked our crossing with DFDS seaways (formally Norfolk Line) from Dover to Calais. I'm going to admit here that I was a little concerned about taking a ferry crossing with all the troubles at the ports, especially Calais, and two days before we were due to travel the French put a protest blockade in place stopping all traffic going in and out of Calais. Terrific. We rang DFDS and they happily changed our destination to Dunkirk instead of Calais. Mr C had booked the Premier lounge so we could travel in style. DFDS carry a lot of truckers so we were glad of the nice space to relax.

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

For the extra you pay you get comfy seating, pastries, unlimited tea/coffee, biscuits and a glass of fizz. Definitely worth doing in our opinion and we'd certainly book the Premier lounge again. 

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

It was a beautiful day to cross the channel so it was plain sailing all the way, we said goodbye to the White Cliffs of Dover and before we knew it, it was Bonjour Dunkirk. The whole journey from beginning to end was seamless, no hanging around, no queues, no delays. I guess because it was early September there wasn't too much holiday traffic although the car deck was more or less full. 

So before I show you any more, let me tell you about where we stayed any why. We've been to France a few times (think booze cruise), we've also been to Paris a couple of times but never thought of it as a real holiday destination, as I said Spain is our second home but after talking about visiting the champagne region (we both love champagne) and then seeing that Amelia from xameliax had recently been it made our mind up. Mr C had also been looking at the Brittany area, it had to be somewhere not too far, we certainly couldn't get to the South of France in the time we had (1week) so after looking at maps and campsites we decided we would head to the Champagne region first for a few days and then move on to Brittany. 

We found a campsite close enough to Reims, (there aren't that many in the region) and were told we didn't need to pre book. We stayed at Camping Au Bord de L'Aisne in a little village called Guignicourt and it was easy enough to find. It took us roughly 2 hours to get there and it's 3 minutes off of the A26 (toll road) which is the straightest and easiest road to drive. We were on the A26 for quite a while and thought it would cost us a lot in toll fees but we were surprised when we put the ticket in the machine and it asked us for only 17euros! 

In no time at all we'd set up our home and headed off to find the local supermarket. Camping au
de lFrance camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

Although when we got back, it wasn't a cuppa we wanted. It was so damn hot we made a beeline for the bar and bought our first bottle of champagne and sipped it in the sunshine. Bliss. When in Champagne. You'd do the same though right?

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

Our little tent was perfect. We went camping a lot when the kids were little and even when they were teenagers, it's an adventure thing isn't it and all kids love it. We didn't go for our main holiday but just a few days here and there, that's all I could stand and Weymouth was our usual destination. We had a huge tent and in fact still have it. It can sleep up to 12 people, you could have a party in it to be honest, but we don't need it any more so we decided it would be best to replace it with a small one and then Mr C and I can just decide at the drop of a hat to escape somewhere for a weekend if the weather's good and we don't have to lug masses around with us and spend hours putting up what felt like a bloody marquee!!!

This new one took around 20mins to put up and it has a really large bedroom and enough space in front for the kitchen unit and two chairs if we need to be indoors! It has a sewn in ground sheet, there ain't no bugs or spiders welcome in my tent and we even put down a carpet in our bedroom for extra comfort (it was actually a fold away picnic blanket). I was all up for getting a small weekend away tent but it was important we got one that we could actually stand up in, properly, no crouching or crawling around on your hands and knees. This tent fits the bill all round, we got it for £150 from Go Outdoors and it will last us years I'm sure. Windbreak (essential for privacy) we already had.

Carry on Camping 

I also refuse to sleep on an air bed. Had that experience of waking in the morning many a time to find it flat as a pancake and feeling like you've done ten rounds with Mike Tyson. No, proper camp beds for us with a self inflating mattress on top and a thick sleeping bag. Let me just say here that one of the nights I had the best sleep I've ever had in my life! Oh, and I won't go anywhere without electric hook up. Okay, so I'm not a proper camper, I'm a sort of glamper. Bovvered? What girl can go away without straighteners?! Do what makes you comfortable and happy is what I say, I mean you've got to enjoy the experience or you won't go again will you?

Do you like my dressing room? All mod cons!

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

Do you want to know a little about the site?

Well, it's rather lovely. It's not one of these huge sites with hundreds of pitches, I think this one has around 80-100 pitches and it's run by a lovely family. Caroline, wife of Didier greeted us so warmly when we first arrived and told us we could select whatever pitch we wanted. All pitches are clearly marked out, we chose one by the river, although they don't offer a lot of shade. It's okay if you're just passing through on a stopover, but if you're staying for longer like we did, and it's extremely hot like it was for us then you might need some shade.

Most people we spoke to (it's a very friendly community is caravanning & camping) were actually just passing through either on their way further into France, or stopping off one last time before they hit the ferry back to the UK. Even though it's not the cheapest of sites it's the handiest for everyone as it's so close to the motorway so they can kind of get away with charging higher rates.

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

Camping Au Bord de L'Aisne

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

The site has all the facilities that you need including a swimming pool, albeit a small one and for the size of the site I think it could do with being a bit bigger. We had it to ourselves but I can imagine in the summer months it would be a tight squeeze for everyone.

We had to use the pool on a few occasions just to cool down! It was so damn hot.

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

Husband and wife team covered everything really from reception right down to general maintenance. We would find Carol manning the reception and bar in the daytime and then Didier would man the bar and cook the food in the evening. There's not a huge choice of food on the menu, mainly pizza and the odd chicken dish but it's good to have it there if you can't be arsed to cook yourself!

There's boules to keep the adults entertained and plenty of play areas for the kids.

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

There were only a couple of issues I had and downsides to the site. There's no toilet roll in the loos!!! None. Nada. Why, I do not know and to be honest it's not great carrying your bog roll up there every time you need to spend a penny (or the other!) so all and sundry know what you're doing :( Not good. And, there are no plug sockets in the bathrooms. I know most UK sites offer this so you can at least go and dry your hair standing upright. Here, yes you have electric hookup in your tent but you end up drying you hair sitting on the floor balancing a mirror on any level surface you can lay your hands on. 

Guignicourt 

There's not much in the tiny village itself. There's good size Carrefour supermarket, one little bar, bakery, newsagent, pizza takeout, train station, petrol station and that's probably about it. All about a 10 minute walk away. You can order fresh baguettes and pastries at the site reception for the next morning but Mr C and I always chose to walk to the Boulanger to get ours, as it was such a lovely walk through the village.

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

Camping doesn't have to be BBQ after BBQ. Some may like that every single day but not us. I'm not the biggest meat eater so you have to be creative even if you only have one gas ring. And besides you can't keep meat cold without a fridge.

Food

You can get everything you need at the supermarket so Mr C knocked up a mint and pea risotto one night, curry another night and some lovely pasta dishes. I know it's perfectly acceptable to live on bread and cheese whilst en France but I guess you have to have a bit of variety. 

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

Camping table for two!

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

Just had to didn't we?!

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims macarons Priceless Life of Mine

To be honest we were so lucky with the weather so cooking outdoors was made real easy. We had near on 30 degrees most days with hardly a cloud in the sky, it also made my longer camping experience a good one. Remember I mentioned at the beginning we were going to do a few days here and then move on to Brittany. Well, we looked at the forecast and it was showing rain and cloudy days for Brittany so we decided to stay put for the whole week. I mean who would head to cloudy skies? Yes, this campsite is not a cheap one but we figured it was okay as we were saving on the fuel costs to Brittany and there was more than enough for us to do and see.

I'm going to leave you with the picture of macarons and me plotting and planning our french adventure.

France camping Guignicourt travel road trip Reims Champagne Priceless Life of Mine

Until next time mon amie......... :) There will be plenty of champagne! 



Oh, if you want more details on the campsite you can find them here because quite frankly if camping is your thing it's ideally located to explore villages and tour the champagne region. 



Are you a camper? 





22/09/2016

Best of BECCA blushed radiance kit review


BECCA review Flowergirl blusher highlighter QVC Backlight priming filter

I dipped my toe into the world of BECCA cosmetics late last year. They're known for their highlighters aren't they and every Tom, Dick and Harry was talking about champagne pop so I took the plunge, ordered it all the way from the states, and I was hooked! Then a few weeks back I bought the TILI beauty box which had the BECCA backlight priming filter in it and I fell in love with that too, so, when my friend Sarah told me about yet another offer on QVC I knew I had to have it. That's the reason I love QVC so much, you can try anything, all the make up and if you don't like it you can send it back within 30 days. You can't say fairer than that can you?

This little box of goodies is fabulous. They're all small trial sizes, a try-me kit, before you splash the cash on the regular sizes.

It includes

Pressed opal shimmering skin perfector
Flowerchild mineral blush
Moonstone shimmering skin perfector with spotlight wand
Backlight priming filter

BECCA review Flowergirl blusher highlighter QVC Backlight priming filter

So as you can see I got another backlight priming filter to add to the first. Please note I will be buying the full size of this when I run out of the two minis versions that I have. It's extremely lightweight, provides a nice smooth canvas and gives your skin a natural luminosity and radiance.

The moonstone skin perfector is a liquid highlighter with a wand applicator. I adore this one and use it on my brow bone and sometimes the inner corners of my eyes. So easy to use with the wand and makes targeting certain areas a lot easier. I prefer this one for the bridge of my nose too as the powder one sits in my pores a bit.

BECCA review Flowergirl blusher highlighter QVC Backlight priming filter

The opal shimmering perfector is the powder formulation, finely milled, quite creamy, and velvety on the skin. It's pearlised, but golden in colour and gives just the right amount of highlight for me. Some people think it's quite pigmented and to go steady but I don't find that at all, it builds really easily and I apply and buff into the skin to avoid it sitting in my *big open* pores too much.

BECCA review Flowergirl blusher highlighter QVC Backlight priming filter

Now lets talk about Flowerchild. I don't think I've ever loved a beauty product so much. I've been very tempted to pick up the Nars orgasm blush in the past but I'm so glad I didn't. When I tried it out in Sephora I found orgasm to be way too 'sparkly' for me, and although this still has some warm gold shimmer running through it, it's less out there, for me anyway.

Flowerchild is fairly natural shade but super pigmented and you really do need a light hand with this one, trust me you will end up looking like Coco the Clown if you don't take my advice! Again, it's finely milled and goes on so smoothly without much need for blending at all. It's a peachy-pink and I think most skin tones could wear this shade. Hey, it's also packed with micro-fine minerals and antioxidants so it's a winner all round.

BECCA review Flowergirl blusher highlighter QVC Backlight priming filter

These photos do not do these products any justice at all and for that I apologise. I had to get these photos done and on the day had camera and lighting problems so I've had to work with what I've got. Oh and yeah the markings on the blusher? Well, I couldn't wait to try this out the minute it arrived, not even for you guys, so sorry, those are my eager brush marks you see there!!!! 

You can still get the radiance set from QVC at the price of £28 if you fancy giving these a try. 



Have you already tried any of these BECCA products? 





16/09/2016

Time for tea || What's your bag?


tea matcha teapigs Priceless Life of Mine

I love my tea. We have some much of the stuff in our house. All different varieties and flavours. However, they're not mine. The belong to my son Tom. Me? I'm just a regular tea-bag kinda girl. Dunk it and go. If you know me you know I like it not too strong, no builders tea that you can stand your spoon up in, but not too milky, somewhere in the middle, just right! I could start a debate here about whether the milk goes in first or last, but we'll not bother because it's first!! :)

tea matcha teapigs Priceless Life of Mine

As I said all the fancy teas belong to Tom, he's a real tea belly too. We referred to him as 'Tea-bag Tom' as he was growing up. Poor lad. He's got a right selection going on, in fact I'm fast running out of places to store them all. He's got his little tea pot and tea strainer too. I can't get my head around these fruit teas and herbal teas, they're just flavoured water with no substance, all wishy washey, but I wish I could. I really wish I could. I know they can be good for you with teas to calm you, teas to help you sleep better and tea to give you energy. On a trip to York Tom came back with yet more tea but this time a Moroccan mint tea. The smell of this was out of this world and I had to try it. That's the thing with me, the all smell bloody lovely but then I taste it, and yuck, not for me.  Anyway, no bags with this one, proper leaves so it was a tea pot and strainer job.

tea matcha teapigs Priceless Life of Mine

I'm happy to report that my palette quite liked this one. I find it has more oomph than say a peppermint tea, as I think this is made with spearmint and packs more of a punch. Yay, go me. I'm a moroccan tea drinker. How very fancy. At least I know I'll be okay if I go to Morocco.

The other 'non-regular' tea I drink is matcha, but don't get to thinking I'm turning into a healthy tea drinker because I'm certainly not. I did try this 'neat' but oh my goodness, there is no way on this earth that I will ever try that again. It's wrong! How can anyone drink that?! I only drink it as an iced matcha latte and that is yummy. I know matcha is super good for you and you still get the benefits by taking it other ways so it's all good.

tea matcha teapigs Priceless Life of Mine

A little selection of some of the teas we've got going on right now.

tea matcha teapigs Priceless Life of Mine


tea matcha teapigs Priceless Life of Mine

I think Toms favourite overall is green tea, either as it comes or blended with something else. He loves it with lemon and he's liking the ginger bread ones at the mo too. Oh and one that's not in the picture are the Teapigs liquorice and peppermint ones as he's ran out, he loves that weird and wonderful combination. Strange boy. It's funny how the world of tea has grown, with so many varieties and brands to choose from, you go into any supermarket and the boxes and packets on the shelves is vast with some of the well known ones charging quite a lot.

tea matcha teapigs Priceless Life of Mine

Fo now though I'll be sticking to my regular cup of Rosie lea with the odd moroccan one thrown in *fist pumps the air*. I drink a LOT of tea and know I should really cut down. I want to try harder to train my brain to like the fruity ones and the herbal ones as I know they have so many health benefits.


Do you like tea? What sort is your favourite?