Staycation Booking Tips

Hi, loves!

Last weekend Matt and I enjoyed a little staycation in our very favourite local hotel; Hotel du Vin, Newcastle. We’ve stayed there many times before and it always feels like such a treat, so much so that we rarely book anywhere else if we’re looking for a luxurious and romantic staycation! We especially love a night or two away from home because it’s just like a mini holiday for us, and we always treat it like that. We pack minimally, play tourist in our own city and just enjoy spending time together. I feel like it’s such a blessing that we’re able to take trips like this and I never want to take it for granted! I totally get this is not everyone’s cup of tea which is fine, but if you’re a fan of nights/weekends away I really hope this is helpful to you.

So, there’s several things to consider when you’re booking a staycation. Are you going to spend a lot of time in the hotel? Does it make sense to splurge a little more on your accommodation as you’re travelling less distance? Does the hotel look comfortable and cosy? Do you know of any friends or family who have stayed there before? Is it a suitable distance to the nightlife of the city/town you’re visiting? Is there anywhere to explore or play tourist nearby? If you want to really relax is there a spa facility?

Our checklist for a romantic weekend trip is pretty standard whether we’re staying close to home or travelling a few hours away. The five top things on our list are:
– a little bit of luxury that feels extra special
– the hotel being based close (ish) to shops restaurants and bars. We love to play tourist even in our own city and we went to make sure we can explore easily
– a roll top bath, because why the heck not?
– beautiful views
– a good deal on the room price, bonus points if it includes breakfast

For us, the benefit of a staycation is we’re jumping in the car and driving less than thirty minutes to our destination, and we want to R E L A X. We spend a lot of time in the hotel room before we go out for dinner, and also like to make the most of our morning there too. A roll top bath is obviously not a necessity for a hotel room, but hey… when in Rome Newcastle… Truthfully we are bath lovers, and a bubble bath sounds like a pretty fun way to spend time during a romantic weekend to me. Little luxuries of boutique hotels like fancy toiletries and a mini bar are great, but we try to take any extras we need… including our own cans of Diet Coke. I wish I was joking, hahaha. We usually book breakfast as an extra little treat because most days we don’t get to eat breakfast together due to our work schedules. And you all know, we love a breakfast date!

Choosing the right hotel for you and your needs is important; I personally think it’s extra special to be in a boutique hotel because there’s so many extra little touches that you don’t get in a large franchised hotel. We’ve stayed at several HdV’s (seriously guys, feel free to work with me!) and all of them have the same feel of a grand building, muted colour tones, huge comfy beds – which makes no difference because we always wake up right on the edge of Matt’s side, oops! – and friendly staff who look after you. I personally think Hotel du Vin’s have a very ‘homey’ feeling, it’s just really relaxing and quiet which is perfect for us. Every time we stay we also go for a walk along the Quayside which feels like something extra special too, because it’s somewhere we both love to be.

BOOKING (& PACKING!) TIPS

– read lots of blog posts and Trip Advisor reviews if you’ve never stayed at the hotel before
– look through the Instagram geotag to see real photos from guests
– check there is parking available on site, but remember it’s often charged separately to your hotel room
– set a budget beforehand so you aren’t tempted to book something too expensive
– plan ahead; if you stay on a Sunday evening you’ll normally get the best rates
– compare prices on different sites before booking, although often the best deal is with the hotel’s own website
– bring your own champagne/wine if you fancy a tipple in the room and you’re going all out on the romantic feeling. Glasses are always provided for free!
– you probably don’t need pj’s because hotel robes are the BEST
– whether you’re eating at the hotel or at a restaurant in the town/city, book ahead of time to avoid disappointment
– don’t overpack on the toiletries, it’s all there for you anyway
– check the hotel’s amenities for things that are important to you. Is there a hairdryer / coffee machine / fridge etc? Chances are, yes!
– make a (rough) itinerary of things to do and places to see so you aren’t tempted to spend all of your time lounging in your beautiful hotel room!
– pack snacks, nobody wants to be getting hangry

I hope this post was helpful to you if you’re thinking of planning a staycation any time soon! I’m still dreaming of that bubble bath… Have you stayed in a Hotel du Vin before? What hotels are your favourite for a luxury staycation? Do you have any additional booking tips to share with me and my readers?!

-G x

2020: My Goals For The New Year

Happy new year, my loves! I hope you had a great evening ringing in 2020, however you spent it. Matt and I watched the fireworks over Newcastle’s Quayside with our friends, and I’m feeling happy and hopeful at the thought of a whole new year right at our feet. I can’t lie, I’m pretty happy to see the back of 2019. For me, it was a building year. I didn’t have a fantastic year, but I did have some fantastic times and I’m so truly grateful for those.

Instead of focusing on the things I didn’t love, I wanted to share a few things about 2019 that were just amazing. Matt and I travelled! We got to spend time in Croatia, we enjoyed several staycations and weekend trips in the UK. I completely fell in love with my blog and my mind is brimming with new content ideas for the new year. Matt and I have learned so much about cooking in 2019, and we love to experiment with new foods and flavours. I finally became a (mostly) confident driver, after years of driving anxiety this was huge for me. We spent so much time with our friends and family, and truly tried to enjoy each day as it came. From every date night to celebration to beach walk to binge-watching Netflix session to road trip, I’m so thankful for another year with my best friend! Matthew, I love you and I’m so happy to do life with you.

I’m going to level with you, I’m really not a huge fan of ‘New Year’ and all of the extremely high expectations it brings; we’re still the same people living the same lives with the same blessings and the same problems… right? The clock does not magically strike midnight and we find ourselves in a Cinderella-like moment, our whole world about to change forever. I do however like to set myself goals – not resolutions – which are like mini challenges and intentions for the year. Truth be told, if nothing much changed between today, January 1st 2020 and December 31st 2020, I’d still be very bloody lucky and happy. I am so grateful for my life as it is right now; my boyfriend, our families, jobs, my blog etc are huge blessings and I think it’s important to keep that at the front of our minds. I really want to express gratitude more this year, I recognise how lucky I am to have the life I do and I’m truly so thankful.

Since I can remember I’ve wanted to stop worrying and overthinking things I can’t change. I am a very anxious person by nature and I get myself so stressed out over so many things I have no control over. Talking things through helps me a lot, and I kind of want to start journaling this year because I know that can be so beneficial to how you view your problems (and things that aren’t really problems). If anyone journals daily to help with this please let me know your thoughts! Yoga is a love of mine that I’ve hugely neglected over the past few months, but I want to practice yoga at least four times per week; it makes me feel good, it helps me to feel strong and boy oh boy does it help with my anxiety.

I want to intentionally eat better food. For the most part, my breakfasts and dinners are healthy, but my lunches and any snacks I eat during the day are not. I love fruit and I love veggies, and I really want to incorporate even more into my diet! Matt and I – along with pretty much everyone else, I think – have eaten so much rubbish over the Christmas break that I am so ready to feed my body with all good things. We fell in love with cooking over the past few years and this year we really want to step up our game with new ingredients and flavours. It would also be great if I could lose a stone or three this year, let’s be real. Small things like taking lunch to work every day will make such a huge difference with this; it literally takes a few minutes the night before to prepare lunches so Matt and I will really be making the most of forward planning a little more with our food in 2020!

I put everyone else’s needs in front of my own, and contrary to what some may think, this is not a good trait. I want to *sometimes* put myself first, and be a little more selfish with my time. Of course Matt and our families are different – they’ll always come first! – but I am generally so concerned about other people’s opinions and thoughts that I often work around what works best for them. Maybe 2020 is the year I’ll stop being the World’s Biggest People Pleaser? I am so excited to travel more in 2020, Matt and I really want to do one or two fun city breaks and we’re headed to Florida with my family to celebrate my dad’s 60th later in the year! I also desperately want to pack up the car, head to the Scottish borders (literally an hour or so from where we live) and just find a random B&B. Maybe being spontaneous is a whole goal in itself this year?

Alongside putting other people’s needs and wants ahead of mine, I’m also very quick to dismiss my own abilities, and this year I want to push myself to achieve new things and allow myself to try. This links into one of my personal goals I’m not sharing on the blog (or with anyone else except Matt and our families, to be honest) but I know that I’m capable of so many more things than I actually believe I am. I am always scared to do ‘more’ with my blog, but this year is going to be about grabbing every opportunity that comes my way – if it’s right for my blog and my readers – and I cannot wait to see what will happen!

A goal for every day/week/month since Matt and I got together has been to spend more quality time with each other. We’re pretty good at getting date nights in the calendar and we love to treat each other to fun activities, but I want to enjoy the little things more too. The every day things; breakfast dates, beach walks, turning the TV off a little earlier each night, long car rides, shopping together etc mean SO much to me and Matthew, and I want to create all of the free time we possibly can to just enjoy being in each other’s company. In the next year or so we’re hoping to buy our first house, and that is going to be so amazing. We just have a little time right now to live our lives and check things off, and that is something I’m so very grateful for! Right now, our lives are busy and hectic, but our little piece of quality time with our favourite people is so important and it’s something I think we can all be a little more mindful of. This also goes for time with our friends/families, I just want to be more present and enjoy every minute we get to spend together.

I love reading, and I want to grab little snippets of time throughout the day to read more. As you all know, Matt bought me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas and it’s truly the best present EVER! Whether the extra time comes from Matt being due home lots later than me, or Matt leaving earlier than me for work, or when I’m in the bath, or before I get ready for work, or on my lunch break, I want to read more. Basically, I know I can squeeze in more reading time and I’m determined to do it. I also never take a lunch break away from my desk, and I must start doing that, too!

I really want to be more intentional with my spending in the new year, and only buy things that truly make my heart happy. I stopped buying fast fashion pieces that I didn’t need in 2019, and I want to make this even more clear and concise this year. As a beauty lover/beauty blogger I love to buy and try new products more than anything. I love it so much that I find myself opening things before I’ve finished what I was using and it’s not good for my bank balance or the environment! I also want to do more to help the environment, because surely drinking milk alternatives and taking a re-usable cup to Costa isn’t going to save the world?

Thank you so much for reading, my loves! Thank you also for all of the love and support over the past year, I appreciate all of you and my blog wouldn’t be what it is without you lovely people reading it. If you feel the same as I do about the hype of New Years and the high level of expectations, don’t worry! Today is, quite literally, a fresh start. A blank canvas and an opportunity to create yourself goals you want to achieve over the next twelve months. It doesn’t hold the same pressure it used to for me, and I’m on the right path to figuring out what I want my life to be! What are your goals for the new year?

-G x

Travel Diaries: Stamford

Hi, loves! Today’s post is a photo diary instead of a typical WIML post, as we spent so much time with Matt’s family and just totally relaxed all weekend! I am so excited to be sharing our photos from Stamford with you, because I literally took so. dang. many. We spent August bank holiday weekend there; visiting Matt’s family, exploring the area and just enjoying a break from our usual day-to-day life. We love going for weekends away, and we try to visit somewhere every few months for a mini break. Our weekend was filled with love and laughter; we had the best time exploring and I’m so grateful to my favourite person for always making our travels so fun. Matthew; I love you, and I love doing life with you! Did you see what I packed for this trip? I’m linking that post here in case you missed it!

We headed off super early on Saturday morning, and what should have been a maximum three and a half hour drive took us five and a half… which is literally just our luck! The A1 was closed due to a lorry fire (thankfully nobody was hurt) but we took a huge detour and got stuck in SO MUCH traffic. Luckily we had snacks, our favourite podcast and each other so we were still pretty happy 🙂

I love you so much Matthew 🙂

…yes I am tucked in with my car blanket for the journey. I am a child. When we finally made it to Stamford, we headed straight for Matt’s aunts house! His parents, nana and cousins little boy were already there so we were so happy to see everyone. The garden was a total sun trap and it was SO HOT. Especially for us Northerners, ha! We caught up, ate and played in the sun – it was so nice to be with the family (and out of the car)! Later we headed to find our cute little apartment in the centre of town and walk around Stamford for a little while; it is the most beautiful place! Everywhere is just so picturesque, the photos really don’t do it justice. We walked around for an hour or so before popping to The London Inn for a few drinks, then we headed back to freshen up for the evening. I can’t believe we didn’t take any nice photos but Matt and I went out for dinner with his parents; we ate at Cosy Club which was amazing, we all had great meals! Debbie and I tried a delicious new rhubarb gin and we had such a fun night all together. Afterwards we met up with Matt’s cousin and his lovely girlfriend for drinks before snuggling back up in our cosy apartment; we had the perfect first day!

This was our view from the apartment, it was so pretty in the late afternoon sun 🙂

The most English picture I think I’ve ever taken, lol!

So funny story… I jumped to the side of the road to take this picture of the tractor coming down the road and I think he thought I was a tourist (I mean, technically I was) because I must have looked so excited. He stopped to wave at me, hahahaha. Matt thought it was so funny!

Our Sunday was very chilled; we went for a breakfast date in the morning at the garden centre, it was so good! We love love love breakfast dates and we know good breakfast food, but this ticked every box. We’ve made a mental note to try breakfast at garden centres in our town to see if we love that too! After breakfast we visited with Matt’s nana; her village is so so tiny I can’t even explain it, they have like three shops! I I loved the area so much, it was super pretty and so remote. We spent the rest of our day visiting a little more with family and exploring the town; there was a classic car show in the centre which we looked around, but really I was only there for the ice cream van at the other side. #truth We got ready pretty early for the evening (it was BEYOND HOT – 34 degrees is just insane to us) and headed back to Matt’s aunt’s house to spend a little more time with the family before going out for the evening. We went to The Crown for dinner with Matt’s cousins and their partners, before spending the evening in the courtyard with them; it was so quirky and literally nothing like we have at home. The fairy lights made it beyond cute! We had such a fun night with everyone, and we’re already excited for our next trip down!

Eggs and avocado on toasted sourdough is HEAVEN to me!

Matt and I LOVE exploring garden centres. Like, seriously love them. I swear we’re 25 going on 75, hahaha.

I loved this little street! The light coming through the church on the next photo was surreal to us, so I had to snap a quick picture 🙂

It was HOT. Hahahaha.

Is this not the most quintessentially British pub you’ve ever seen?! Flowers are my favourite, and these were so pretty and vibrant!

On Monday morning we left pretty early and headed home via York; we went to the Designer Outlet and Matt did so well with his bargains, as always. I picked up a cute Levi’s tee that I’m sure you’ll see on the blog sooner rather than later! Thank you so much for reading, I hope you liked seeing a little snippet of Stamford! We really loved the quaint, cute town SO much because it’s just so different than where we live. It was REAL middle-of-nowhere countryside, I loved it! As you can probably tell from the photos in this post it was very pretty; literally every corner we turned there was something so sweet to look at. We’re hoping to go back in December and I really hope we can make that work; I’d love to see how the town looks decorated for Christmas! Have you ever been to Stamford? Where is your favourite places to travel in the UK?

-G x

Pack With Me: A Weekend Break

Happy Wednesday, loves! I’m so excited for this weekend for several reasons… especially because it’s bank holiday! Who doesn’t love three day weekends? I just wish they were every week. Secondly, Matt and I are going away for the weekend, which is our favourite thing to do. Thirdly, we’re visiting with Matt’s family! We’re so excited to spend time with them, admire the beautiful countryside and explore the cute little town we’re staying in. It’s so much hotter down South, and we are very excited to spend our last Summer weekend in the sun. I know Autumn technically doesn’t start until almost the end of September, but for me as soon as August is out, I’m all about Autumn. Who am I kidding, I’ve been ready for Autumn since JULY, lol! We’re also getting to squeeze in one more road trip, and boy do we love road trips! (Also, I’m so sorry about these photos. I know they’re not great I just didn’t have time to take better ones, please forgive me!!)

As any regular readers will know, I love packing whether it’s for a short trip or a holiday – just search ‘packing’ in the side bar and a ton of posts will come up – so I wanted to share with you all what I’m packing for our last weekend of Summer! In just a few weeks we’ll be living in coats, boots, scarves and hats (I’m SO excited, I can’t pretend I don’t love Autumn!) but it’s probably one of the last times we’ll be able to wear minimal clothing here in the UK. I’m extra excited to pack this time because, I finally get to make good use of our packing cubes that I purchased during Prime Day(s)!

When packing skincare products and toiletries for a short trip, I try to pack pretty minimal. I don’t need options and I don’t need products I’ve only just started trying out; if I’m going to get breakouts or irritated skin you can just guarantee it’s when we’re away from home! For that reason I like to take tried and tested products that my skin loves, and keep it super simple and easy with my skincare. As you’ll see in an upcoming post, I’m currently obsessed with Pixi’s new Vitamin C Tonic, it’s working miracles for my skin! I love to take sheet masks with me when we’re travelling as they make for great pick-me-up’s if you’re skin is feeling a little naff, and they’re super easy with no mess if you only have ten minutes whilst you’re getting ready for the day or evening.

For my toiletries, I like to take small travel-sized products because this isn’t where I want to take up a lot of space. I decant my favourite shampoo and conditioner as I really don’t like to mix up my hair products; when I find something that works I run with it. I can save space to be without my trusty banana hair mask from The Body Shop (just for a few days!) and I really try not to overpack. Matt shares whichever shampoo and shower gel I take, but he’s not at all fussed what I choose. We’re staying in an apartment that provides a hairdryer – something you should always check before you travel – and I’ll probably only wash my hair once anyway.

I find makeup is the hardest thing to be minimal with as I like to switch up my products, and I don’t know how my skin will react whilst we’re away. We all have good skin days and bad skin days, so I just have to hope for the best that my makeup will cover any imperfections (and last all day/night). Lip products are the hardest for me to cull (hence taking five) but I’d definitely rather have ‘too many’ options than not enough, and they’re so little they take up hardly any space anyway! I really really love my new Pillowtalk eyeshadow palette, it’s by far the prettiest palette I’ve ever owned and it creates the most beautiful looks.

Skincare:
The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter | Muslin Cloths | Bioderma Micellar Water | Re-Usable Cotton Pads | The Body Shop Seaweed Pore Cleansing Exfoliator *gifted | Facetheory Radiant Eye Cream | The Body Shop Seaweed Oil Control Gel Cream *gifted | Pixi Vitamin C Tonic | Pixi Glow Tonic | The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil | The Body Shop Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution *gifted | The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Sheet Mask | Carmex Watermelon Lip Balm

Toiletries:
The Body Shop Tahitian Tiare Shower Gel | Gillette Satin Care Shaving Gel | Gillette Venus Swirl Razor | Bedhead Recovery Shampoo & Conditioner (decanted) | Travel Bottles | Morrocanoil Treatment Light | Johnson’s Acuvue Oasys Contact Lenses | The Body Shop Hawaiian Kukui Body Lotion | MAC Turquatic Rollerball Perfume | Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede Perfume | IGK First Class Dry Shampoo | Straighteners (similar) | The Wet Brush Detangler

Makeup:
Bobbi Brown Primer Plus Mattifier | Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation in 1N1 | Revolution Conceal & Define Concealer in C6 | Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer in 1N | Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder | The Body Shop Honey Bronze in Shade 3 | Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blush in First Love | NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Brunette | NYX Control Freak Eyebrow Gel | Charlotte Tilbury Eyeshadow Palette in Pillowtalk | Buxom Mascara in Blackest Black | Colorpop Highlight in Flexitarian | Brushes mostly Zoeva | Bobbi Brown Lipstick in Cali Rose | Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillowtalk | Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillowtalk | Physician’s Formula Velvet Liquid Lipstick in All Natural Nude | Mac Fix + (Travel Size)

I always like to travel in something comfy, and normally I’d stay away from jeans at all costs. However, when I was clearing out my wardrobe – my post is finally coming on that next week – I re-discovered a pair of Tori mom jeans I forgot I owned. I’ve since bought another pair (which I can’t find online, sorry!) and I love them so much. They’re comfortable, forgiving and don’t make me feel like my waist is being cut off, and they’re super cute! I’m pairing with a cute slogan t-shirt – how perfect is this ‘long weekend’ tee from J Crew?! – a cosy cardigan and my comfiest Adidas Coast star trainers, as our travel day is also our first day in Stamford and we’re going to be doing a lot of visiting with family and exploring.

We’re not too sure on our our plans for Saturday night but we do know we’re going out for dinner, so I’ve packed a midi skirt with a black cami and option of a black t-shirt just depending of how I feel. Paired with my super comfortable black heeled sandals, this is such an easy outfit and one that I know I’ll feel good in! On Sunday we’re up early for a breakfast date and another day of exploring/visiting family, so I’m going with a slogan t-shirt and a midi skirt, again paired with my Adidas trainers. On Sunday night we’re going out for dinner with Matt’s cousins and their partners, and I’m not sure where we’re going so packed two options, just incase. The first being (you guessed it) my favourite Zara leopard print midi skirt with cami, and the second a blouse and jeans. Both of the outfits work with my black heeled sandals so I don’t need to take any other shoes! I find making sure your shoes, bag and jewellery work with any outfit option is key, and really helps you to not overpack.

On Monday we’re unfortunately heading back up North, so again I’m opting for those same jeans I wore on the way down (with the option of leggings, depending how much I eat over the weekend LOL) and a slouchy Levi’s tee. I find that I’m always wearing a t-shirt these days, they’re my favourite because they’re cute, comfy and go with anything. I’ve packed an extra comfy cardigan to keep me warm if I get a little chilly; I’m always cold and I know Matt will have the air con on during the drive down! The only other clothing items I’m taking are underwear and my cutest silky pajamas (they’re on sale right now and perfect for the upcoming Autumn months!) so I can get ready comfortably at the apartment – I never sleep in pj’s but I have an obsession with buying them!! I also always overpack my underwear; for a three day trip I literally will take ten pairs. I don’t know why but I’ve done this ever since I can remember, it’s such a bad habit!

The jewellery I’m taking is just my regular everyday stuff that I always wear; my Pandora rings, Pandora bracelet, Missoma initial necklace (I added the moon charm) and my Fitbit. I don’t like to have to continuously swap out jewellery so keep it pretty simple, although I do wish I was able to accessorize my outfits the way others do. I also am only taking one bag, my trusty little Whistles Verity backpack – I’ve owned this for at least three years and it still looks good as new – it’s super roomy which is perfect for during the day and it can work for the night times too. Also, does anyone else’s boyfriend/husband always give them tons of things to carry when you’re out?! I swear I have three things of my own in my bag then Matt’s sunglasses, wallet, car key etc take up so much space, hah!

My favourite category to pack is always the miscellaneous stuff because I feel like that’s one category you can’t really cut down and the over-packer in me relishes in it! Matt and I very rarely travel with our laptops because we just don’t really need them, but taking my iPad is SO easy and it means we can use it to watch a little Netflix or Amazon Prime, and I can read on it. I also like to record any blogging info on the go and sometimes I prefer to do this on my phone, sometimes on my iPad, it just depends on the day! I think pretty much all hotels/air bnb’s have wifi these days, and it’s never been an issue for us before. Of course we make sure to take our chargers, I always take the book I’m currently reading and Matt loves his Four Four Two magazines. I can’t go on a road trip without my car blanket, and we both love to take snacks, they’re the best part of a road trip! We’ve stocked up on Sweet & Smokin’ Hippeas, Tony’s Chocomolonely and all of the Haribos… *makes mental note to pack bananas and trail mix*

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed having a sneak peek into what I packed! I know people love posts like this – me too! – and I’m pretty sure it’s just because we’re all super nosy, LOL. Do you have any fun plans for the bank holiday weekend? Are you going away for the weekend too? I’m going to be recording a Weekend In My Life/Travel Diary post, so that will be up soon. I’m making it my goal to get a cute full length picture of Matt and I, we barely ever get good photos together and it’s something we always get mad about!

-G x

Travel Diaries: Croatia

Hi, loves! Matt and I just got back at the beginning of this month from the most perfect week in *in our opinion* the most beautiful hotel on the Adriatic Coast. We stayed at the TUI Sensimar Adriatic Beach and every second since we came home we’ve wished we were back there! We would 100000% recommend this hotel if you’re looking for a chilled holiday not too far from home. The staff were incredible, the food and drinks were amazing (strawberry daiquiris became our drink of the holiday), the rooms were gorgeous and the views were straight out of a TUI advert. We literally couldn’t have asked for more, it was beyond what we expected or even imagined! We were staying on the side of a freaking mountain, and the views from every direction were breathtaking. The Biokovo mountain towered over us and the incredible coastline beneath it, it was the most peaceful of places. The sea was so. dang. clear. and I swear the photos don’t even do it justice!

It was so hot during our holiday which was a little uncharacteristic for the time of year as Europe was experiencing some kind of freak heatwave throughout June. It was 36 degrees even at 6pm in the evening, which is crazy to us! We spent our days swimming, eating delicious food, drinking our way through the cocktail menu, laying on sun loungers and exploring along the local beach and nearby harbour. We spent one evening in Makarska, which is a larger town around 25 minutes away from the hotel and we were so in love with the whole place, it was so beautiful! There was a lot more going on here compared to the sleepy relaxation of our resort, and it was so fun to be able to see another little town of the Adriatic. We explored quaint streets, drank local beers and watched another gorgeous sunset at the harbour. It truly was such a perfect holiday!

Something you may know about me, is that watching sunsets with Matt is literally my favourite way to spend an evening, and these were the most beautiful sunsets we’ve ever seen! Our beaches right by our hometown do have beautiful sunsets, but seriously nothing will compare to the ones we saw in Croatia. Every evening we looked forward to watching them, it literally was surreal to watch! We even saw dolphins during sunset some evenings, they were so close to the hotel whilst we ate dinner and the moment could not have been more amazing! I posted a few videos on my Instagram and got so many messages of people asking where the heck we were and how the sunsets were so dang pretty… they’re saved in my Croatia highlight on my Instagram profile if you want to take a look, along with some other fun videos and photos that aren’t in this post.

Editing this blog post and putting all of our photos together has made me SO sad and nostalgic!! We seriously couldn’t have asked for more, it’s absolutely our favourite place we’ve ever been, and I can’t wait to go back one day. If you have any questions please feel free to ask below or message me on Instagram! Looking at these photos I SO BADLY want to just jump through my screen and go back. Why can’t we blue skidoo like in Blues Clues? Matt and I are already talking about our holiday for next Summer and we have SUCH a big list to make our way through. Even though there are so many countries and islands we want to explore, we know one year we’ll head back to Adriatic Beach. I fully realise that I’m so so lucky to be able to holiday with my love every year – twice next year, we’re so excited! – and I never ever take it for granted! I love every second we spend together but holidays are just a little bit extra special aren’t they?

Just a slight disclaimer: this post is not a day by day account of what we got up to! The photos are in chronological order but I didn’t take many photos on some days, and on some days I took SO. MANY. Apologies in advance that some of them probably look exactly the same, I promise they’re not haha! It was so hard not to keep snapping photos every time we walked around the resort because everything was so. dang. beautiful. 

We landed around 8.30pm, and were treated to a dusky pink sky. We had NO idea how beautiful the sunsets would be every night!

We didn’t get to our hotel until just before midnight, so we had no idea what the area around us looked like. We woke up at 6.30am on our first day (LOL we were so excited!) and stepped out onto our balcony to this. We never got over how beautiful this view was!

How badly do you want to be in that water!?

We were obsessed with this chocolate throughout our holiday! I was so sad when I couldn’t find it in Home Bargains with the other Milka chocolate bars 😦

We loved going for a walk down by the beach in the afternoons to work off our lunch. If you headed right out of the hotel you came to this gorgeous teeny little harbour town. There were maybe thirty houses, one bakery and one bar. It was SO quiet and beautiful!

Bae always trying to ruin my shots!

If you turned left out of the hotel and through this little arch, you came to a nudist beach! LOL we saw way more than we bargained for on this walk. (But the views out to sea were amazing!) The water was even clearer along this stretch.

Each evening we’d head down to the beach to watch the sunset in total peace and quiet. There was usually just a handful of people here, but some evenings there was just us two! All you could hear was the crashing of the waves on the shore, and the golden hours in Croatia were everything. Oh, how I want to be back!

The mountain was incredible. It’s visible from every part of the hotel, and were the prettiest backdrop you could ask for!

This was our view on the way down to the pool each morning (yep, we’re totally those people that put their towels on sun beds before we go for breakfast!) and we stopped and stared out every. single. morning.

This lemon tree was right outside of our apartment block! We got the short straw and were on the top floor of the furthest away building. However, the views were out of this world, and we toned our butts up going up and down thousands of steps every day! LOL!

That golden hour glow *ft squinting eyes because dang the sun is bright*

😍😍😍 the most handsome man I’ve ever seen. So lucky to be yours, Matthew!

Some of our favourite views were from up on the Mojito Terrace, it was so magical!

Hahahahaha. This photo makes us DIE laughing. My mum and dad were on holiday at the same time as us and sending us typical ‘mum and dad selfies’ so we sent them one back. Hahahaha.

🤩 I love this photo!

This was the very last set of steps (the FOURTH set!) between our apartment and the beach, coming down was easy but heading back up was a STRUGGLE in 36 degree heat! We loved walking down to the pool then up to breakfast every morning, it was so freaking peaceful.

He’s so shy…

I realise this is the worst picture ever, but I was trying to capture the butterflies! Seriously I’ve never seen so many butterflies in my life as we did on this holiday, and they were SO friendly. They’d land on you and just sit super still, so beautiful!

My dress wasn’t this tight, it was actually super flowy but I was holding it at the front because I wore a dress on the only windy night of our holiday 🙂 an *actual* candid photo!

The strawberry daiquiris were everything 🙂

Our favourite spot ❤️

This was along a main street at the top of our hotel – I would NOT have liked to drive on these roads haha! My poor little car would have fell down one of the pot holes for sure. The views walking along to our favourite little shop were so cute though!

Our first view when we stepped off the bus in Makarska! The harbour was insanely beautiful, and everywhere was so. dang. clean. There wasn’t a spot of litter anywhere!

I just love him so much!

I am so lucky to do life with you. I love you, Matt ❤️

This is one of my favourite photos of our whole holiday! Dreaming of being back in paradise.

We stopped in the most gorgeous little street to enjoy drinks and listen to live music. The video from this night is SO much better than the photos, but I couldn’t upload to my blog. It’s in my Instagram highlight! I cried when we were sitting here because I was just so happy. LOL. The most perfect Saturday date night with my love!

My favorite Summer lipstick! The Duchess by Charlotte Tilbury, which was a present from Matt, the little cutie

Matt is literally shaking his butt in the first picture because we had just eaten such an amazing dinner at the hotel’s a la carte restaurant and he was so happy hahaha. Life with this one is always so fun 😍 (also can we just take a moment to acknowledge the fact I have actual CANKLES!!! It was so hot my feet swelled up like crazy hahaha).

We both got the tomato and basil soup to start. It was so buttery and had rice in the bottom!

Matthew got beef with mushroom gravy and truffle mash potato…

…and I got sea bass on a bed of spinach risotto and roasted veggies. This was the best meal I’ve ever eaten, Matt had a taste and was so sad he didn’t opt for this too!

Our desserts were just as good as our app and main! Tiramisu for Matthew…

…and limoncello cheesecake for me. Every couple staying on an all inclusive package at the hotel was gifted one free evening meal at this restaurant, and if you’re planning to go we HIGHLY recommend eating here! If we’d visited earlier in our holiday we definitely would have went back again, as you could pay to eat there are very discounted prices too. It was truly the perfect way to spend our last night in Croatia!

Hvala, Hrvatska. The most perfect week, with my best friend in the whole world. I’m so grateful for you Matthew, and I can’t wait to explore the world with you for the rest of our lives! I love you so much baby.

Thank you so much for reading, and re-living our holiday with me! Don’t you just want to be there right now? Me too. We seriously can’t wait to plan our holiday for next Summer! We’re going to Florida next September with my mum, dad and brother for my dad’s 60th birthday celebration – I finally get to take Matt to Disney World!!! – and I can barely wait, I feel so lucky we’re going to have two holidays to look forward to in 2020. Do you have any trips planned for this year or next? Where would you love to go? I’m planning to write a travel bucket list over the next few weeks, because I’d love to share that with you! If you’ve written any posts about your recent holidays, please leave them below so I can go read them and live vicariously through you!

-G x

Travelling 101: Tips & Tricks To Get Your Holiday Off To The Best Start

Hi loves! Holiday season is fast approaching, and I know lots of people that are going on holiday soon! Matt and I leave TOMORROW, and we’ve been talking a lot over the past few weeks about the preparation and planning to make sure we’re feeling organised. This is definitely more my input than Matt’s – I hate not having a plan together, and I try to do anything that will make our lives easier. Planning trips is one of my most favourite things to do from the second we book our flights, and I feel like there’s a ton of things that you should do in the build up/during your travels to make things run a little more smoothly. This post is packed with handy tips and tricks that we’ve learned over the years, I hope you find them useful for your next holiday!

So, your travel insurance is all arranged, your countdown is fast approaching 0 and all you can talk about is your upcoming holiday. What should you be doing in the build up to, or during, travelling?!

Use a backpack for your carry on. Seriously, no matter how cute your new beach bag might look, you’re going to wish you took a backpack, especially if you’re an over packer like me. Matt and I both take backpacks, and they’re so easy. Backpacks can fit so many things (Mary Poppins who?!), there’s lots of compartments to organise your things, the weight is distributed evenly on your back so it’s easier to carry and you get to keep it under the seat in front of you, which is way easier than putting it in the overhead bins. Have I sold you on taking a backpack? Yes? Good. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Pack a crossbody bag inside your carry on with all of your essentials. It just makes sense; this is where you can keep all the things you’ll want to have to hand before, during or after your flight. I always keep Matt and I’s passports and my card holder in here! I use my crossbody bag throughout the holiday during the evenings, and it’s just big enough to fit what I actually need. I always need to make sure there’s a little room in there for my boyfriend’s sunglasses, wallet, and whatever else he decides to throw in, lol! There will be a post up all about my carry on essentials this coming Wednesday, but until then, you can check out what I took last year here.

Check in for your flight online. It saves waiting in so many lines at the airport, you can allocate your own seats and you feel a little bit smug just having to drop off your checked luggage! Matt and I checked in two weeks before the date of our flight and it made us even more excited, it actually made it feel real then. When it comes to booking our seats, we always try to allocate them on/around the wing because you don’t feel any turbulence as much here!

Always take cash in all of the currencies of the countries you’re travelling from/through/to, as well as your debit card. In the airport in England we’ll just use our debit cards, but we’ll make sure to have cash just in case too. If you’re planning on purchasing things on the plane you’ll need the currency of the country you’re going from/to, but sometimes you can be caught out on exchange rates making things a little more costly. Also be sure to keep your cash for your destination safely zipped away deep inside your carry on!

Print out all of your information so you have hard copies: boarding passes, hotel information, transfer details, travel insurance documents. I’m a planner, what can I say? Even though we have all of this information on our phones, I’m a little paranoid we might run out of battery (even though I’m obviously taking a battery pack) or our phones may not connect to the new service provider properly. Having hard copies is just good practice, I think!

Download the app for your airline, the airports you’re travelling from/through/to and your holiday provider. You can get flight information, including which terminal/gate you’re flying from sometimes before it’s announced in the airport. We use the countdown on our TUI app from the moment we book our holiday – we’ve been counting down for over 130 days and now we’re literally one day away today. What the heck! You can get all of your transfer and hotel information in your holiday providers app, as well as weather, transport and excursions details.

Take a fully charged external battery pack and the appropriate charging cables. Matt and I will each have our phones, Fitbit’s and toothbrushes to charge, and we’re also taking one of our Echo Dot’s so we can play music when we’re getting ready in the evenings. The likelihood of sitting in an airport next to an outlet is very low, and not all planes are equipped with USB ports, although come on people, it’s 2019! I always carry a battery pack, it charges our phones like five times! I know Matt will use this before me as I always have my low power mode on and the battery on my phone just seems to last longer!

Weigh your bag before you leave to avoid delays or extra charges when you arrive at the airport. During family holidays when I was younger, we’d fly to Florida with three suitcases, and return with eight. Seriously. The deals were just that good! Now, Matt and I take a suitcase each, but there’s wiggle room between the two of us if one of our bags were overweight. It’s pretty easy to stay underweight when you’re travelling to a tropical location as your clothes weigh less, but sometimes toiletries really increase the weight. You can buy luggage scales for super cheap on Amazon, and they’re reliable! Just make sure to pack them so you can check all your new souvenirs aren’t weighing you down before your return flight too.

Carry a re-usable water bottle – just don’t fill it up until you’re through security! My Chilly’s bottle is LIFE. I’ll be using this during our holiday too, and we’re for sure going to be grateful for it during our super long transfer from the airport to our hotel so we don’t need to buy bottles of water. Last year when we got to Kos, we made it to the bus in record time (our suitcases were literally the first two off the conveyor belt) and were so smug waiting for everyone to board. However, we didn’t think about the fact it was still 27 degrees at 11pm(!!) and we had to wait over an hour to get water! NOT smart(water). Get it? I’m here all night.

Wear (or pack in your carry on) a comfy sweater or jacket. And fluffy socks, if you’re like me and are always freezing. Seriously, planes are SO COLD and no matter what lovely warm climate you might be heading to, you’ll wish you had at least a jacket with you for your journey. In Europe, it often feels a little cooler in the evenings (even when it’s technically still 25+ degrees, lol) and there is also air con in most restaurants and bars, so it’ll come in super handy during your trip too!

Take lots of reading material in your carry on bag. Keeping yourself entertained on a flight is SO important. Matt and I talk so much, but we also like to unwind with our book or magazines and just switch off. We’re in vacay mode the second we set foot in the airport, and it’s the best feeling to get lost in a new book!

Allow enough time to browse duty free leisurely. If you take shopping as seriously as me (lol) you don’t want to be rushing when there could be amazing deals to be found! Ever since I was younger I’ve loved browsing duty free, and since I was around 11 my mum and dad made a big deal of me being allowed a fancy perfume each time we travelled. They’re so good to me! My love of buying perfume at the airport never stopped, and I still do almost every time. This year I’m hoping to pick up a bottle of Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet! Matt is also hoping to get a new aftershave, I love that we’re now making our own traditions together.

Pack your liquids in a see-through bag. You will seriously regret not following the rules if you have to step to the side and try to squeeze your liquids into a teeny little airport-provided bag. That you have to pay for. You’ll also be super embarrassed, or I would be anyway! You can pick up clear, travel approved bags almost anywhere nowadays for really inexpensive prices, although I have this one from Space NK that I love. I’ll also be sharing what I pack in here in Wednesday’s post!

Take the essentials to keep you feeling (and smelling) clean/fresh in case of a delay, or a super stuffy airport/airplane. Planes might always be cold, but they can be pretty stuffy too! Deodorant, bio-degradable wipes, lip balm, your favourite rollerball perfume, a face spray. These are the things that if you don’t take, you’ll wish you did! It’s better to be safe than sorry, and the travel sized versions of these products are so small you won’t even notice the space they take up!

Buy food in the airport for the plane, and to cover you for your transfer at your destination. I’m not a big fan of airplane food, and to be honest I don’t think many people are! I’d much prefer to grab something I like from before we jump on the plane, and any delays getting to your hotel could leave you hangry. Matt and I always pack sweets and protein bars , and we’ll grab our favourite crisps, maybe a sandwich and plenty of water in the airport. And of course, Diet Coke!

Pack travel adaptors in your carry on. You don’t want to be rummaging around your suitcase for adaptors when you get to your hotel, especially after a long travelling day. Also, we take an extension cord with us (in our checked luggage) which means you can charge up to six items with only one adaptor!

Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that are easy to take off/put back on at security. It’s just common sense; it makes the lines move quicker, and it gives you more shopping/drinking time in the airport, which is the best part of being there! I’m wearing my Birkenstocks to travel in because they’re just so flipping comfy, and not at all a hassle to slide off through security. My travel outfit is still being decided, but I’m pretty sure I’m going for a Levi’s t-shirt, black leggings and an oversized denim jacket I can throw on if when I get a little chilly!

Take at least one outfit, swimwear and fresh underwear in your carry on bag incase your luggage gets lost or delayed. Okay, this is maybe just for the worriers and anxious travellers like me, but I would much rather have the peace of mind knowing I’d be able to get through a day or two without my suitcase, if it were to get lost. I’m so scared of this happening!

Carry ibuprofen, paracetemol, travel sickness tablets and any other important medication in an easy-to-find spot. These are the kind of things I used to throw into my bag then have to empty the whole contents to find what I’m looking for. Matt and I sometimes suffer with a little travel sickness and I’m prone to aches and pains caused by my arthritis – there’s so much sitting around during travel days! I always keep these in the outside facing pocket of my backpack, so they’re super easy to reach.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this was somewhat helpful to you, and maybe gave you a few ideas of things you wouldn’t normally think about. What are your best tried and tested ideas to ensure a smooth journey? Are you a super strict planner like me, or do you ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ like Matt?! Get it? Fly?

-G x

Road Trip Essentials

Happy, happy Sunday, loves! As this post goes live Matt and I will be in Manchester for a family re-union, we’re so excited! My mum is from Manchester and most of her side of our family still live down there, so we’re all getting together for the first time in a LONG time. My great aunt and uncle are also visiting from Canada and I haven’t seen them in around four years! The rest of our family from up North are headed down a day earlier than us, because Matt was working we couldn’t go until Sunday. We’re happy though because we get to make the most of a cosy Saturday evening at home then leave early on Sunday morning. Fingers crossed we’ll miss most of the bank holiday traffic and get there pretty quickly!

As I mentioned briefly at the end of this post, Matt goes away for a whole week from next Sunday *sob sob* so we’re making sure to enjoy every second we’ve got together before he goes! I’m going to miss him like CRAZY but I’m so grateful we have a fun trip to look forward to before he leaves. I know he’s going to have so much fun being away but I literally feel like my right arm is missing when he’s not around! Especially going to sleep and waking up without him, it’s so rare we’re apart at night and it’s the worst feeling. I’m really excited for him to have an adventure, but I’m already (not so) secretly counting down to picking him up from the airport on his return… sssshh! Literally me right now:

BUT back to the present: we’re even more excited for this weekend because we’ve got tickets for the Manchester United Legends vs Bayern Munich Legends game and my mum, brother and uncle are tagging along too! Everyone else is sitting it out and enjoying being with family, but I know we’ll have a great time at the game. I can’t wait to see David Beckham up close! Matt and I did a stadium tour of Old Trafford back in December – I’m linking my photo diary from that trip here!

Road trips are seriously one of Matt and I’s favourite things, and whether it’s for a day trip or a weekend getaway we are pros when it comes to knowing what we need, and what we don’t. I absolutely love packing, especially for weekend breaks! There is however so many things we’ve found are good to have on hand whilst travelling that you don’t want stuck in your suitcase whilst on a motorway. I also love travelling by car because there’s no weight limits, and you can bring whatever the heck you like!

Aside from what to take with you, we’ve learned a few tips and tricks we put into practice for each road trip:
1. Use Waze to navigate your journey, it will be your best friend. This free app is seriously the best, and I never see people talking about it! You can add your destination, set the time you ideally want to arrive and it will tell you exactly what time you need to leave. It warns you of any upcoming traffic or roadworks, and advises the best places to detour or stop.
2. Check your tyres, screen wash and oil before you set off to give you peace of mind. You definitely don’t want your journey to be interrupted by issues with your car, so making the necessary checks and alterations alleviates most of this worry. We’re not used to driving super long distances in England (literally you can drive from the most Northern point to the most Southern point in less than ten hours) but it’s still so important to be safe and make those checks.
3. Carry cash for any service station stops. Matt and I are so bad for paying for most items on our debit card whether we’re buying groceries or clothes, but I’m trying to make a concious effort to carry – and use – cash on a more regular basis. We once stopped at an M&S in a service station and their card machines were down, all I wanted was a pot of fresh pineapple but we didn’t have any cash, learn from my mistakes!
4. Dress comfy. If you’re sitting in a car for a long time you do NOT want to be wearing jeans. Unless you’re like Matt who finds jeans ‘comfy’ but he’s just weird and if that’s you, you shouldn’t admit it! Ha, but for real I can’t stand sitting around in jeans! To travel for a while I typically wear leggings, trainers/comfy sandals and a t shirt, with a sweater or denim jacket to throw on if I get chilly. Also, if you’re the passenger and you’ll be taking your shoes off (the only way to travel in my opinion) make sure to take fluffy socks!
5. Pack your patience. Seriously, the chances of a slight detour or traffic at some point during your journey is pretty high, and you don’t want to spend your travelling time stressed out or speeding to make up lost time. Apps like Waze really help out here, but sometimes even stopping to grab a breakfast muffin or re-joining the motorway after stopping off can be a headache. Stay calm, and stay safe!

Just to be transparent: the photos of me in this post were actually taken in Matt’s car, not mine! We were coming home one evening last week and the light was so good we decided to take the opportunity to take pictures there and then! #doingitfortheblog. So, we have a full tank of diesel and a clean car, I’ve made a snack run and our suitcases are filled to the brim. (Well, mine is…) so let’s get into the essentials for our road trip:

The must-have beauty bits
I definitely don’t need my skincare or haircare products, makeup bag or toiletries whilst we’re on the road, so they are safe inside my suitcase in the boot. There are a few things I would always keep in my bag whether we were out for the day/night or I was at work, and these are the things I want in the front seat with me! I have to take lip balm wherever I go (even like… downstairs, lol) so that is a must. I’ve packed two for this trip – Glossier Balm Dot Com and Burt’s Bees Coconut & Pear; they’re both super nourishing and hydrating, and I just like to have options! Keeping my hands soft is just as important, and my favourite cherry blossom hand cream from L’Occitaine is a must. The last things I like to keep near me are the products I reach for just before we arrive at our destination; my face powder, tangle teezer (this one is so much cuter than mine), my favourite travel sized perfume and my current favourite lip gloss in the shade Hot Toddy. We’re heading straight to my aunt’s house and I want to look somewhat ‘put together’ after a long drive!

A good soundtrack
When you’re going to be in a car for X amount of hours, you really need good entertainment! Thankfully Matt and I are easily entertained, and could happily talk the whole drive there (and back) without any distraction from music or podcasts, but we actually really enjoy listening to both. I’ve saved my Sh*gged, Married, Annoyed podcast from Friday to listen to on the drive down – it’s my favourite EVER podcast and Matt really enjoys it too! Seriously Rosie and Chris are freaking hilarious; I wrote about it a lot more in this post. We’ll also listen to one or two Small Town Murder podcasts, James and Jimmy are so funny and if you’re a fan of true crime (told in a comedic way) this is the podcast for you. I’m pretty sure I’ll add a little Ed Sheeran and Disney songs into the mix at some point too – perks of riding shotgun is you get to make all the music decisions, sorry babe! Also we love the pre-made Spotify playlists (Cheesy Hits, Feel Good Friday and Road Trip Sing Along Songs are our favourite), I can hardly wait for us to hit the open road and sing stupidly loud! 

A blanket
LOL so hear me out on this one, I promise I’m not like a three year old. It may be Spring on the calendar but that doesn’t mean we have Spring weather, in fact it’s been completely all over the place recently. The mornings and evenings are cool, and some days have been absolutely freezing! I’m also one of those super annoying people that’s always cold even when it’s hot and humid, and Matt is pretty much always hot. Having a blanket for the journey means he can have the air con blasting but I’m still toasty and cosy! I even have a specific car blanket – the multi coloured one pictured above – that I got in Florida when I was 12 (yes I was cold in Florida…) This blanket has been half way around the world with me so many times and I absolutely love it, it’s the perfect travelling companion! Except for Matt, of course. As mentioned above, I also always pack fluffy socks and wear a comfy sweater or hoodie, I just want to be warm and comfortable!

iPhone charger
No matter how we are travelling or how far we’re going, a phone charger is a MUST for any journey. Battery packs are great and something I pretty much always keep in my bag, but if Matt or I wanted to charge our phone whilst on the road we’d more than likely plug it into the car USB port. Keep your cables up front so you don’t have to stop at a service station and root around in your suitcase mid-trip, I may be speaking from experience… you’ll thank me later!

Drinks and snacks
The best part of a road trip is 100% snacks, right?! We’re fully stocked up on the essentials and for us that’s almost all junk food. Sorry not sorry. I really wanted to take bananas (I’m obsessed with them right now, I don’t know why!) but the thought of the peel sitting in the car for a few hours makes me feel sick. So I guess I’ll have to eat chocolate instead, ha! As we’re heading down super early on Sunday morning we’ll probably eat very little of what we’re taking, but I’m sure it’ll come in handy when we’re at the hotel and for the trip back up North! We’ve got plenty of Diet Coke, water, chips and dip, Cadbury’s chocolate buttons, Propercorn coconut and vanilla popcorn, strawberry Starbursts and our favourite Kind bars just incase we’re stuck between meals! Also you can’t forget hand sanitizer or wipes, I never leave the house without my pocketbac, it comes in SO handy and Matt is always borrowing it too. I find wet wipes are a necessity when you’re travelling no matter what you need them for, and these ones from Cheeky Panda are biodegradable so they’re good for the environment!

Sunglasses
Sunglasses are a necessity when heading out on a road trip for passengers and the driver, and we’re being hopeful we’ll actually get lots of sun this weekend! The sunglasses I tend wear most are from Quay and they’re my absolute favourite; I always pick them over my Raybans, they’re so light on my face and go with any outfit! They were also super inexpensive compared to so many sunglasses brands, definitely keep your eye out for deals coming into the Summer months. Eye. Get it?! I wear sunglasses on my head as a ‘hairstyle’ continuously throughout Spring and Summer, and it’s one of my favourite looks – I love having my hair down but just hate it being in my face. 

Reading material
I don’t always feel comfortable reading in the car, it completely depends on how I feel that day. For the most part, Matt and I will be talking, listening to podcasts and singing (badly) to our Spotify playlists, but I like to have options. I just finished the most amazing book (Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid – it’s so so good guys! There’ll be lots more about it on the blog this coming Wednesday). I picked up If You Could Go Anywhere by Paige Toon and although I’ve only read a few chapters, I’m really enjoying it so far! I also grabbed my latest issue of Cosmopolitan for good measure, and Matt has his copy of Four Four Two in case we have a little downtime at the hotel in the evening or following morning.

A rubbish bin
Seriously, how many times have you been on a road trip and had nowhere to put all of your rubbish?! Cans of pop, crisp packets and chocolate wrappers always end up stuffed in the side of the car doors for us, but this trip I wasn’t having it. I picked up this pop-up rubbish bin from eBay (Mrs Hinch has got me browsing eBay like no tomorrow!) that we can keep in the back so we don’t need to worry about finding all of our rubbish when we get to our destination! 

Re-usable bottles 
Chances are we’ll be stopping off at a Starbucks at least once on the way there and on the way back (and there’s one super close to our hotel, I can’t wait for a morning Starbs as that’s a complete luxury for us, we don’t live near one!) but I’m really trying not to buy one-use cups as much as I can help it. My Chilly’s bottle is my new favourite thing! The colour is perfect, and I’m already getting so much use out of it. I’ll fill it with water before we set off, and re-fill along the way. I’m trying to convince Matt that he needs one too! I’ve also had a Kate Spade thermal mug for so long and although I use it more in the Autumn and Winter months, I’ll almost definitely be grabbing a hot chocolate or vanilla chai in the morning!

Umbrella and raincoats
Like I said, it may be Spring but you just never know what weather to expect in England. As well as my obsession with the Co-Op (lol, more context in this post) I’m kind of obsessed with looking at the weather, Matt and our families are always joking about me being a weather reporter LOL. But, the forecast is almost always wrong! We’ve been on too many road trips where we’ve stopped at a service station and I’ve had to grab my scarf or blanket to cover my hair from the rain, not this time. Lesson learned!

Medication
Of course you hope you won’t need it during the journey (or the trip itself) but it’s always better to have it on hand. I have arthritis and sitting still for any period of time is just not good for my legs – my arthritis is much worse in my knees, hips and ankles – so I literally need to have ibuprofen with me. I also pack other medication I need for the trip, which stays in my bag anyway so would always be close! Since last Spring when we road tripped to Harrogate I’ve packed travel sickness tablets too, as sometimes Matt and I can feel really unwell being in the car for so long. I think it’s worse when it’s super hot and humid (which it’s not meant to be this weekend… I’ve checked all my weather apps) and Matt is poorly if he’s the passenger. This means he’s always our designated driver, bless him! 

Thank you so much for reading! Do you love road trips as much as we do? What are your road trip essentials? I hope we haven’t forgotten anything, I always feel worried as soon as we hit the motorway and there’s no turning back! We’re going to be making the exact same trip in just over three weeks as we’re heading to Croatia and flying from Manchester airport, I can barely stand how excited I am!

-G x

My Favourite Self Care Practices

Happy Sunday, loves!

I’ve talked about my love of practicing self care on my blog several times, and there’s so much more to it than beauty regimes, (although that is one of my personal favourite ways to look after myself). There’s so many things I do that make me feel good, relaxed and ready to take on the world. I think we all sometimes need an extra spoon of self care, and we need to be better at knowing when it’s time to give ourselves a break. It’s so important to look after yourself, and nurture that feeling inside that sometimes is just screaming for a little ‘me time’!

Breakfast dates. Waking up early and heading for breakfast with Matt is hands down one of my favourite weekend activities. We never get chance to do this during the week due to my work schedule, so every opportunity we get we make the most of it. There’s something so fun to me about being up early; there’s less people around, you’re way more likely to get a table, and breakfast food is the best food. I mentioned a few of our favourite local spots in this post. (Well, I’m obviously biased but all of our dates make me so happy – good food and good company is forever the best combination!)

Being outside. Whether it’s after breakfast or mid-afternoon, another weekend favourite of ours is going for a long walk. We love to go down by the coast or through the countryside, there’s so many beautiful views all around. In this weather, it may involve wearing twelve layers, but it’s SO worth it. We are so lucky with where we live; we have so many beautiful places right on our doorstep. If we travel ten minutes one way, we’re at the beach, and ten minutes the other way we’re in the countryside. I think fresh air does so much for your mind; it’s freeing and wonderful!

Reading a book. Lounging in the bath reading a book is my ultimate unwinding place. I mean, I’d love to be reading and laying by the pool with Matt in Croatia, but it’s not June yet. I find reading to be my perfect escape for a few moments of peace and quiet, to allow myself to re-charge my batteries and relax. Also, I mentioned this in my January favourites post, but if you missed that you may not know… my favourite social media babe has only gone and wrote a bloody book! An Edited Life is your one stop shop for all things organisation and planning and I’m so sad I finished it. I’ve just started reading Normal People by Sally Rooney (my fourth book of the year, I think I’ll definitely hit my goal to read 20 books this year at this rate!) and I’m really enjoying that too. I have a few more books in my stash to read, but please leave any recommendations below!

Cooking. Oh, I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before… LOL. Cooking is one of my favourite activities, and I’m so grateful it’s something Matt and I get to do together almost every night. The occasional night we’re so tired (or recently, so unwell! We’re thankfully feeling so much better now after being poorly for over a week) we throw in a few flatbread pizzas and call it a night. When it comes to cooking, we’re learning as we go, and having so much fun doing it. We generally get ideas from recipe books/blogs then over time we adapt to make things the way we prefer, I can’t wait to share some with you on the blog in the coming weeks! My favourite things to make in the Winter are warm dishes, filled to the brim with veggies (and usually served with garlic bread, we’re obsessed guys!)

Exercising. I realise this isn’t exactly ground-breaking , but moving my body and working up a sweat makes me feel so dang good. I love yoga and HIIT workouts, and I alternate my workouts depending on how I feel that day. I don’t work out every day, unfortunately, but I’ve stepped my game up so much already this year! Working out is good for my body and mind, and makes me feel so much happier in my day-to-day life. I also keep thinking about the fact I’ll be living in a bikini for a week at the end of June and I’d rather not resemble a marshmallow.

Listening To Podcasts. I got into podcasts towards the end of last year, thanks to the lovely Savannah. She talks about Small Town Murder a lot on her blog, and I was so intrigued I went onto Spotify and started listening, now I’m hooked! Matt enjoys the stories too, James and Jimmy are so funny and I’ve learned so much from them. I wrote a post about some of my favourite podcasts which you can read here, and as I mentioned in that post, Bryony Gordon’s Mad World is so good if you’re needing a big ol’ tablespoon of self care.

Organising/Cleaning/Tidying. LOL, this really does make me feel good. I hate when things are unorganised and not as they should be, so taking a little time out of my day to make things more streamlined helps immensely. Something as little as making our bed every morning is an important one to me, or keeping my makeup bag clean with just the important bits in, or taking out all of the crap that somehow accumulates in my work tote regularly. I also love cleaning my makeup brushes as then when it comes to doing my makeup the next day I enjoy it even more! The next post you’ll see from me on Wednesday may have something to do with this…

A Pamper Night. So, as I mentioned above self care doesn’t solely revolve around beauty, but I really do feel good after a hot bath, exfoliating, shaving and moisturising my whole body, washing my hair and really going in on my skincare routine. I’m a bit of a loser and have products I use for ‘special occasions’ which basically means before a date night or if I feel a bit naff. My ideal pamper night also includes eating a really naughty dessert wihlst snuggled up in bed… Matt and I are always sneaking off to grab a McFlurry, oops!

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite self care practices? What makes you feel your best?

-G x