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