Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Magnum Members Club

Magnum Members Club London

During the Olympics in 2012, Magnum had a pop-up store for the very first time in London. Located in Stratford Westfield Shopping centre, Londoners could design their own Magnum and indulge into freshly dipped, customised ice cream - it was heaven! It was an unusual and truly unique experience. Fast forward 2016 and the Magnum store has become an integral part of London summertime. 

Over the years, the brand always had a fun and exciting promotion going along to celebrate the return of the pop-up store in Central. Last year, Magnum had a promotion alongside their pleasure store in Covent Garden - a beautifully designed ice cream necklace by Holly Fulton which allowed the wearer to "unlock" the store and pretty much have a freshly dipped ice cream every day. 

Having been one of the few lucky ones to get their hands on a Holly Fulton for Magnum necklace, which I won during an Instagram competition, my hopes for an equally amazing promotion to accompany this year's pleasure store in South Molton Street were high. 

The Magnum Pop-Up Store In South Molton Street London

The brand did not disappoint and hosted three very exclusive Magnum Members Club events throughout late August and early September. Those events were by invite only which could only be won on Twitter. I once again was lucky to be part of a Magnum promotion and won two invites for me and my friend Karen. On Wednesday night, we made our way over to the store for a chilled out and classy evening at Magnum. 

We were greeted by the lovely staff of the Magnum Pleasure Store, which handed us a chart of available ice cream toppings and a cocktail menu by London cocktail bar Nightjar. We sat down at one of their ice cream stick-shaped tables and enjoyed the lovely atmosphere. By day, the store gets usually really busy (and messy) as hundreds of people come to the store to enjoy a customised Magnum. This evening though, the store was entirely reserved for the event and it felt very exclusive and special. 

Karen and I enjoyed prosecco/elderflower sparkling water and unlimited cocktails all night which were made by Nightjar, a trendy London bar. The barman kindly made me my favourite, "The Tiger" (last picture), as a non-alcoholic version which tasted deliciously fresh of fruit with a smooth finish of Magnum chocolate. So, so good!

Nightjahr cocktail menu Magnum Members Club
Magnum cocktails by Nightjar
The Panther cocktail Magnum
The Tiger cocktail Magnum

After a few drinks and a good catch up with Karen, the highlight of the evening was due. We were allowed to step behind the famous Magnum bar and dip our very own ice cream - a dream literally came true! 

Look at all these amazing toppings which ranged from golden flakes to chilli, sea salt, marbled chocolate curls, goji berries, almonds, chocolate balls, mint to pistachio, sweet honeycomb and coconut flakes. The combinations were endless! 

The Magnum toppings bar London Pleasure Store

Karen went first and decided on a white chocolate Magnum topped with pistachios, milk chocolate balls and coconut flakes, a white chocolate drizzle and button. It was so much fun and Karen did a really good job. She looks like an ice cream pro, don't you think?

Karen dipping her own Magnum ice cream

Towards the end of the evening, it was my turn and I couldn't have been more excited. Give me unlimited power over the Magnum toppings bar and I will smile like a star-struck teenager for the rest of my life. IT WAS INSANE. 

I opted for some marbled chocolate curls, golden flakes, dark chocolate scrap and vanilla coated almonds for my white chocolate Magnum. The dipping was a lot of fun and I think I did a good job - had a lot of visual practice I guess from all my previous trips to the store hahaha. 

selecting toppings for my own magnum ice cream
dipping my own magnum ice cream
Magnum customised ice cream
design your own magnum london

The evening was super chillaxed and perfect to unwind after a long day at work. The staff at Magnum were lovely and gifted us a little goody bag on the way back home. That was such a lovely gesture and again highlighted the evening as a special treat.

The last Magnum Members Club event will be held tonight and the store closes this Sunday for another season. 

Thanks so much for reading, 

Till next time, 

Thursday, 1 September 2016

My Holidays In Tenerife. Part 2

metal beach sculpture los cristianos tenerife salvador

Following up on my Tenerife Holiday Part 1, My second day trip during my Tenerife holiday, was a 5h boat trip to the Los Gigantos rocks at the very southwest end of the island and later, to swim out to the Atlantic Ocean to hopefully spot dolphins. I booked the trip with a company called "Royal Dolphin" through my hotel and it turned out to be a bit of a tourist trap. 

There was no time given when the boat would leave from Puerto Colon (which was literally a 10minute walk away from my hotel, but I didn't know at the time), so at first I was trapped on a 45minute bus trip to collect other tourists. By the time the bus arrived in Puerto Colon, three buses had already arrived and there were literally 100 people cramped on that catamaran boat, all sundeck seats were taken.

Dolphin & Whale Watching In The Canary Islands

Slightly annoyed, I took a seat under the deck and it turned out to be the better place than upstairs. The waves were insane! The boat was rocking a a toy, the waves would just play with it. You can imagine that many people got seasick and came to the lower deck throwing up or just lying in the corner struggling with themselves. Surprisingly, I was fine :) 

The first stop after 2h was the impressive Los Gigantos, a rock face in the southwest of the island with a beautiful, calm cove where our boat came to a halt and people who fancied a swim were allowed to do so. I went to the glass bottom and watched small fish in the crystal clear deep blue sea.

Los Gigantos Tenerife
Los Gigantos cove Tenerife
Tenerife rock face los gigantos
Los Gigantos and the atlantic ocean tenerife

After a 1h stop for swimming and lunch, the boat took us out to the Atlantic Ocean in the hope to see wild dolphins and whales. I know they live quite far outside in the sea so I was wondering how far they would actually take us. 

I secured a spot at the very bow of the catamaran and enjoyed the warm Canary Island sun burning from a cloudless sky. It was a fantastic day out on the sea. Blue waves, seagulls flew with the boat, the warm wind softly played with my hair and now and again seawater would spray over my warm skin which felt refreshing. I could have been on the boat forever.

After 1h or so, people became nervous and really rude. They would squeeze and push and not take care of others at all. Note to myself: stay away from tourist traps next time. 

A few times I got worried about my own safety a bit, as the waves would lift the boat high up and the downfall of the boat would smash the bow of the ship to the water surface with sometimes only half a meter away. There was simply nothing to be seen in the water. But then another tourist boat came nearer to us and close to their bow two common dolphins jumped out of the sea. It was a great moment!

At first, I thought this is probably all I'll ever going to see. Those two amazing tri-coloured, 2m big dolphins a good 60 meters away, but then a group of 12 common dolphins came out of nowhere, suddenly surrounding our boat. They swam alongside the boat for at least 20 minutes. 

They were so close and as I said, the waves were still high and with the boat coming to a downfall, I could have literally just put my hand out there and touched them. It was dangerous though! I had to hold on to the rail with one hand and with the other I tried to get balance and take some pictures. I also had to watch out for people who were more ruthless since the dolphins were so close. 

common dolphins in the atlantic ocean
common dolphins jumping in the atlantic ocean
pilot whale in the atlantic ocean tenerife

It was a magical moment! They would jump in front of the boat and you could hear them breathe when they came to the surface. They were super fast and changed directions within milliseconds. Just to see them in their natural habitat was a moment of a lifetime. 

Sorry for the corny expressions but I don't know how to better describe the experience. Soon after, a small family of pilot whales turned up in between the wide blue landscape of waves. They were a lot bigger than the agile common dolphins, moving very slowly and gracefully through the water. 

You could see their shadows in the water and tell when they would come back to the surface to breathe. They were so peaceful and beautiful to watch, I wish I had more time to observe them.

common dolphins tenerife
common dolphins tri colour tenerife
pilot whale tenerife

The boat stopped and floated in the water so that I could see the whales slowly swimming further away into the open ocean. On the way back to Puerto Colon I didn't see any more dolphins, but as I said, they live far outside and it would be a surprise if they would be close to the shores. After a long day out at the sea, I walked back to the hotel and prepared for dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe in Los Cristianos.

I've never been to a Hard Rock Cafe before, but this one was a centrepiece of the promenade. The building reminded me of the Dolby Theatre in L.A. Food was ok, mainly burger, pasta, and typical standard British cuisine. The atmosphere was interesting as the staff would dance on the tables and bar as soon as "We will rock you" came on.

Hard Rock Cafe Tenerife
metal beach artwork Tenerife los cristianos
metal beachartwork salvador los cristianos tenerife

Local Art by J.A. Salvador in Los Cristianos Tenerife

The meal was followed by a stroll along the beach promenade back to the hotel, passed these metal sculptures which decorate the beaches in Los Cristianos. They look bizarre and sadly, I couldn't find out much about them, bar that the artist is J.A. Salvador. This arty influence and a touch of surrealism are very typical for Spain and I love how the art is brought closer to you. Think Gaudi houses in Barcelona or the floating shapes of the eggs and clocks from Salvador Dali. Spain's art history is so rich and interesting and to be found in every corner, even at the beach.

So yeah, now you know what I've been up to on my holiday and what a great place Tenerife is. I would love to go there again, but then I would get bored pretty quickly. One week was a good amount of time to relax and refuel on energies and I'm interested in going back to Grand Canaria one day, to see the impressive dunes of Maspalomas again. 

Overall, the Canary Islands are great if you crave sun like me and want guaranteed heat and a refreshing ocean to swim in. The offer on water sports is amazing and it is very touristy in certain areas, hence why those areas are pricey. If you're after culture and much sightseeing, then I think the Canary Islands will be a bit disappointing, unless you can commit yourself to rent a car and drive around (which I said in my first post was not an option for me, you know holiday time is relaxing time). 

The islands are sometimes referred to as "miniature continents" as you have a huge variety of vegetation and changing flora and fauna in such a small, condensed space. Again, if you're interested in that and you can commit yourself to drive, you will have a great time exploring the islands. 

When you have a 10h commute weekly on the London tube, you're constantly surrounded by people, and you're depressed from the never-ending rain and dreary weather, then the Canary Islands will welcome you with sun, heat, sandy lava beaches, spotless and empty polished shopping malls, and incredible food to refuel on energies.

Tenerife jungle canary islands
sunset over the atlantic ocean tenerife
watching the waves atlantic ocean tenerife

Thanks for reading,

Till next time,
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