Lifestyle: A Few Days in the South of France

Sun. Sleep. Cheese. Wine.

This was pretty much all I planned to do with my time in the South of France, and I wasn’t disappointed. Add in the company of two of my best friends, a lot of chats, plenty of good books, and my half my bodyweight in ice-cream and you’ve got the makings of a pretty fabulous holiday.

 photo South of France 2016 23_zpspjmuiti5.jpg photo South of France 2016 22_zps3ctqtx76.jpg photo South of France 2016 12_zpsabaigxgm.jpg photo South of France 2016 21_zpsoro8yqtm.jpgWe stayed in a villa in the sleepy village of Agel, two hours from Toulouse and without even a boulangerie. This suited us perfectly, as we had no intention of doing anything more strenuous than reapplying sun-cream! The pool was the perfect size for a quick refreshing dip, the sun that perfect temperature for sunbathing – hot, but not so hot it gets unbearable after 10 minutes.

 photo South of France 2016 15_zpswa7mwjdt.jpg photo South of France 2016 24_zpshitcx7br.jpg photo South of France 2016 26_zpsb2jpnlem.jpgWe stocked up on fresh bits and pieces to pick at over breakfasts and lunches – plenty of fruit, some of the most delicious bread, and far more cheese than three girls should eat! I reignited a love for proper, full-fat cream cheese. Give me a spoonful of that, some cracked black pepper and some vegetable crudites and I’m a happy girl. Add in some ham, some salami and proper, good bread and that’s my idea of a perfect lunch.

Then there’s the cheese. We bought a cheese selection, alongside an additional hunk of brie. We worried it was too much, would some go to waste? Turns out another block of brie would have been more than appropriate – although we perhaps would have sunk as opposed to floated in the pool on our last morning! Some days we ate a massive lunch, other days we split it into two, indulging in a ‘snack’ of cheese and wine in the late afternoon.

 photo South of France 2016 27_zpspyaskae5.jpg photo South of France 2016 4_zpsi4armcxz.jpg photo South of France 2016 3_zpsuew00ni8.jpg photo South of France 2016 2_zpsdinlgepe.jpg photo South of France 2016 5_zpsusbz8rpl.jpg photo South of France 2016 7_zpskgdzjl9x.jpg photo South of France 2016 8_zps8vuvfc5n.jpg photo South of France 2016 20_zpshpmez2ln.jpg photo South of France 2016 18_zpsyppmwgem.jpg photo South of France 2016 19_zpsk71ya854.jpg photo South of France 2016 10_zpsaehvtixl.jpg photo South of France 2016 13_zpshouwudip.jpg photo South of France 2016 14_zpskofesv1e.jpg photo South of France 2016 9_zpsvgoubpas.jpg photo South of France 2016 11_zpszw9koauk.jpgOne evening we got adventurous, heading for a wander around the next village before driving to a riverside restaurant. Admittedly the pizzeria we chose was not the most French menu available, but it was busy, the smells coming from the kitchen were incredible, and the outside seating was just too pretty to turn down. The pizzas were huge, with generous toppings on a thin woodfired base. But the puddings! These were something else. Ice cream sundaes served in flower vases, with a cheeky crepe ordered to share for good measure. My Nute’lce was a mix of chocolate, hazelnut and salted caramel ice-creams, whipped cream and what seemed like a good half jar of nutella. Unbelievably good, well worth feeling slightly sick for!  The area was super pretty, with instagram-worthy houses and boats every few yards, just adding to our evening out.

Other evenings were not so adventurous – with the villa being fully stocked with old-school Disney videos we made full use of them!

 photo South of France 2016 16_zpszu3v7ot7.jpgIt was so lovely to completely switch off and unwind for a few days. With limited internet, no revision, and a Kindle full of new books I came back completely rejuvenated. It was definitely needed! Now it’s time to stress over degree results and finding a place to live in London…

Are you off on holiday this year?

Fashion: Holiday Packing

Last week I talked about my makeup bag for Italy, this week it’s the clothes. I had a real struggle with year as I’ve lost a lot of weight but didn’t want to buy a completely new wardrobe. Consequently quite a few items are being altered by safety pins…

 photo bed429a7-03bb-4886-9a9a-fa80d58cce9c_zpsyjnbud05.jpgObviously I’ve thrown a satchel in there. Me and W are sharing just one checked-in bag I’ll be taking a carry-on case – so my satchel as to squeeze inside (thanks EasyJet!). I’ve gone for my smallest one. An 11″ in London Tan, it’s a complete classic. Buckles to prevent pickpocketers, justtttt big enough to take my camera and snacks, it’s probably an ideal travel companion.

 photo 9864fa19-8f87-4997-9224-8347f41590ea_zps4hgqd7cv.jpgTaking these photos it’s blatantly obvious how much I like floral prints. We’ve got floral playsuits, floral dresses, floral skirts. I’ve always liked changing for dinner on holiday so despite not being in a ‘posh’ hotel this year I’ll be continuing to do that. Nothing fancy, but a dress thrown on will make me feel like I’m making a bit more effort.

 photo f78f8b63-de07-46d8-ad8c-8b52383d4670_zpseaotpczr.jpgI’ve thrown in a couple of ‘nicer’ evening options too, in the hope of a romantic meal or two. My lace skirt from Marks & Spencer has to be one of my favourite items, but I rarely wear it as it always seems a bit OTT. I’m planning on pairing it with delicate sandals and a black cami. Another of my nicer outfit is a version of this dress from Asda, only with (of course) flowers on it. The cut of the LBD was so flattering, I’m really looking forward to wearing this one with gold accessories.

 photo ad094783-0232-46cd-8f0f-8c01779b9663_zpsoshuizs0.jpg photo 6a1e4570-91a8-40b3-a76f-06742a873449_zpsom8xbsij.jpg photo 619c8a2b-2bd1-473d-81f1-d7dc5bb5d9b2_zpspdst2awa.jpgDaytimes are more casual. Shorts, cami, done. My denim shorts have been saved from the last time I went abroad (three years ago), although they were far too tight and I had to size up. Oops. This year this smaller pair are far too big, I still need to locate a proper belt for holding them up. I rarely wear shorts, so wasn’t too impressed with the rest of my pairs being unwearably huge – but extremely happy to realise I now fit into a few of my younger sister’s clothes. Yep, stealing clothes from a fifteen year old… My daytime tops are one of this year’s top finds – £8 in New Look (pre-discount), perfectly fitting, light material, but thick enough not to show off what colour underwear I have on. I found one in every colour (and two black ones…). I’ve also thrown in a single bikini, just in case we manage to squeeze in a day for sun worship. All I can say is thank goodness for tie-side styles, or I’d have had to have bought a new one of these too!

 photo 20fb01d0-2b32-4f36-8bf6-81802969bf90_zpsmayw2rsa.jpg photo 30046ddd-7d5d-4f8c-a849-1369d7c1a559_zpsn13ofmgt.jpgShoes. Oh shoes! I wouldn’t consider myself a shoe person, yet I have loads of the bloody things. At time of writing I’m currently at four pairs of sandals (+ one pair of casual flipflops), one pair of flats and one pair of trainers. I don’t want to imagine the look on W’s face when I try to pack those so somehow I’ll have narrowed it down by the time you read this. I’ll definitely have my new sandals from Deichman – so comfortable!

I’ll travel in jeans, so I think I’ve got pretty much all basics covered. My holiday will be almost over by the time you read this – so if I’ve forgetten anything I’m sure you’ll have heard about it over on Twitter. Any excuse to go shopping…

Are you off on holiday this summer? What kind of clothes do you take away with you?

Lifestyle: Travel Essentials

I may have mentioned it once of twice, but I’m off on holiday soon! It’s only a little trip around Italy, but it’s been planned for months. After receiving some pretty horrific news the week before leaving I definitely needed to get away from it all!

I thought today I’d go through some of the essentials I’ve got with me – whilst I haven’t been abroad in three years these were failsafe items during my teen years, so things haven’t changed much!
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Camera

I’ve been asked by a couple of people to do a post dedicated to my camera, so I won’t say too much for now! I will say that I’m not convinced a camera is necessary for travel nowadays with smartphones, however my phone doesn’t take pictures without tinting them purple! I’m only taking my kit lens away with me to save space, and reduce damages should the worst happen.

Insurance

I can’t be an actuary and not get travel insurance! I personally wouldn’t go away without it, but that’s because I’m accident prone and W is diabetic (and that bumped up my premium nicely). I’ve also taken out ‘personal item’ cover which will pay out for damage/loss/theft of camera, phones, sunglasses etc.
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Tablet & Headphones

I’ve been in two minds whether or not to take this, but I think I will as it’s ideal for catching up on TV – I simply download past programmes as I can then watch later without wifi.

Of course, no-one else on the plane wants to hear what I’m watching, so I’ll be taking my new Sudio* earphones. These are so unbelievably comfortable (I hate wearing earphones so this is a huge plus), look pretty cool and don’t slip out. Sound quality is pretty awesome too.
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Emergency Supplies

Another non-essential for most people, but I’m definitely taking a packet of biscuits and a pocket sized bottle of squash.

With W being diabetic I’d always worry if we didn’t have food with us, espeically overnight in the hotel, so that explains the biscuits. Whether I’ll eat more than him remains to be seen… The squash is because I typically don’t drink enough water, so this is an attempt to keep me hydrated. I’ve also got plenty of antihistamines (going to Italy with a tomato allergy is a bit worrying!), painkillers, insect repellant…pretty much a whole pharmacy!

I’ve also been sent some UV Indicator bands* and decided to put them to the test. You apply suncream over the top and wear all day – and apparently they let you know when it’s time to reapply or seek shade. I wonder whether these will stop me turning pink?!

Satchel

I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t carry a satchel, but I reckon they are really practical for trips like this. With the buckles they are pretty secure from pickpocketers, plus this one is pretty small and light without limiting what I can carry.

It fits in my carry-on suitcase too, which is a complete bonus thanks to EasyJet’s restrictions!
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Passport & EHIC

Confession time! For just under a week, less than a month before take-off, I had no idea where my passport was. Oops. I’ve found it now and keep obsessively checking it’s where it should be. I’ve also made sure my EHIC card is in date – this gives free or reduced healthcare in Europe so is a pretty important card! I know some (cheaper) insurers won’t pay out a medical claim if you don’t have one of these, you have been warned…
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Sensible Shoes

Admittedly these aren’t the most sensible I could have picked, but it’s not like I’ll be doing any serious hiking this holiday! I was planning on taking an old pair of (completely wrecked) grey pumps but found these last minute. Cream, lacy, pointed toes – what’s not to love?!

Travel Wallet

I came across this in Paperchase and couldn’t resist – it’s perfect for the organisation-freak in me, and keeps everything to hand. It’s big enough to hold passports, tickets, reservations, whilst still sliding into the fullest of bags.

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Sunglasses

I never wear sunglasses unless I can help it – in fact I think the only place I’ve made sure to carry them with me has been Switzerland. Despite this, I’ve managed to collect about five pairs in my drawers at home. Two have labels still attached. And which pair am I taking away with me? The pair I got free in a magazine…

What are your travel essentials? Are you off anywhere nice this year?

Beauty: Holiday Packing

A long-awaited trip, I’ve been planning Italy for what feels like months. The first time me and W have ventured abroad on our own (does Scotland count?!), the first time I’ve been to Italy in a while. It’s been planned meticulously, planes, trains, hotels, restaurants, how to warn of my tomato allergy in Italian…

 photo bed429a7-03bb-4886-9a9a-fa80d58cce9c_zpsyjnbud05.jpgI’m ridiculously excited to get away, and I’ve been secretly planning what to take for months. I don’t want to take a huge makeup bag with me as I want to get the most out of our time away – so I thought I’d share my minimal beauty supplies. Of course, I’m also saving space for when I hit Duty Free and Kiko!

 photo 9957bb08-e437-4a0a-86a4-863978292b5f_zpswxl1ozj2.jpgFirst up is the usual boring stuff – though I’ve limited showing you the toothpaste! I’ve picked up some miniatures for sharing between us – I rarely use shampoo, so one small bottle is fine between us for a week. I’ll need to grab another small bottle of conditioner as mt hair drinks it up, and I need to take a trip to Bodyshop for a mini shower gel too. Skincare wise I’ll be taking my facial soap, and a small amount of Pixi Glow. I’ll need to grab a small bottle of makeup remover too!

I’m not too sure how my hair will take to the heat (last time I experienced it was five years ago in Turkey – and it wasn’t pretty) so I’ve grabbed a salt spray in the hope of keeping somewhat presentable locks. We’ll see…

 photo 68ae4a27-7d1c-4001-b945-e8e6a4219acc_zpsyj00b4k0.jpgNow onto more exciting bits. I couldn’t go away without my all-time favourite moisturiser, and the newly released BB cream is also coming with me. Factor 50, it will hopefully stop my face getting burnt! I’ve got a big bottle of SPF20 for the rest of my body, as well as a small tube of non-tinted SPF50 for shoulders and top of feet (mine are prone to burning!). For days I’ll just be throwing on BB cream, mascara, and possibly a little concealer.

 photo 3682435a-1a19-4120-ac48-cf463c82ad05_zpszaeejreo.jpgEvenings are where I’ll vamp it up slightly. I’m planning on taking my Smashbox palette as it pretty much covers all bases when it comes to eyeshadow looks. As I’m still pre-holiday I’m still convincing myself 3 lip choices is fine (a nude, a plum and a red) but somehow I’m guessing a few more might make the cut. I’m wanting to pick up an orange-toned red in duty-free too…

 photo a21b66c9-72cb-4de9-84d9-b34f9cf5fc4e_zpsr388kkr0.jpgAnd of course, I’ll be taking my beloved Hourglass palette. This on top of the BB cream makes for a fabulous and effortless base! I’ll be using the Ecotools mini brush kit for applying – I found it on the reduced counter in Boots at a bargain price so I highly suggest going for a browse. Full review coming up. Oh, and the giant cosmetics bag is from Ted Baker, I fell in love as it’s so uni-sex without being boring. And it fits perfectly in the bottom of my weekend suitcase!

 photo a8a1e92d-62ef-46f8-a551-7ba236c01c68_zps9aynndsy.jpgAnd that’s it! I’m pretty impressed with how streamlined I’ve kept this considering my makeup collection has expanded dramatically in recent months. Now as long as I ignore that temptation to pack allllll the lipsticks we’ll be fine!

What are your travel must-haves? Do you like to take a full or reduced makeup bag on holiday?

Lifestyle: Second Time Lucky

When I was 10, I was meant to go to Disneyland Florida. A three-week holiday was booked, along with all the park tickets and a dolphin-swimming trip. I was SO excited.

The six-month count down made it seem so close, yet so far away. The three-month count-down meant it was soon – to a ten-year old anyway. And then came a phone call. My granddad was seriously ill in hospital having had several major heart attacks. Despite the fact I knew he was majorly ill (I’d watched, unknowingly at the time, him suffer the first heart attack), it came as a huge shock. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the cancellation of the holiday. The trip had been planned as part of celebration of my grandparents ruby wedding anniversary, and a seriously ill granddad meant there was no way it could take place. I was gutted. I feel ashamed now as I know I should have been more worried about my granddad, but I cried, I ranted, I raved. What made it worse was two of my friends went on a similar trip that year. My sister felt equally devastated.

Fortunately my granddad recovered, and he promised myself and my sister he’d take us when we were older. Unfortunately that’s never going to happen, as the dreadful thing that is early-onset Alzheimer’s decided to rear it’s ugly head. I know he’d dearly love us to get that Disney experience and, though I’ve given up my Florida dreams, I’d dearly love to take my and my sister to Disneyland Paris to both relieve our disappointment, and fulfill some of my granddad’s dreams for us.

 

If I had a second chance, I’d book a trip to Disneyland Paris for myself and sister. We’d visit Baloo and all our favourite characters, scare ourselves silly on the rides (we’re big wimps, so even Big Thunder Mountain is pushing it for us!), and spend a fortune on Mickey ears. We’d get to do all the things we missed out on that year of our childhood, and I know my granddad would love us to go. And that’s why I’m entering this Ocean Finance competition, which gives me the possibility, the chance, the glimmer of hope that one day I can treat my sister to the holiday we missed out on.

What would you do if you have a ‘second chance’?

Lifestyle: A Weekend in Oxford

Having an income this year (I’m currently on full-time placement) has resulted in hugely itchy feet. I’m desperate for some European trips away, but with W a good few hours away trying to organise that has proved a logistical nightmare. Instead we’ve settled on a few UK city breaks – resulting in last weekend being spent in Oxford.

 photo 2015-02-01 15.56.39_zpsmujqiktb.jpg photo 2015-02-01 14.19.12_zpsudpr1ro0.jpg photo 2015-02-01 14.17.37_zpso8j0koj9.jpgA teeny city really, Oxford is so picturesque. It seems a lot more peaceful than Cambridge (we visited for a day last year), although most of the colleges were closed to visitors. We stayed at the Newton Guest House, which was perfectly located, and great value for the price. Just a few improvements and it could be a gorgeous boutique hotel – breakfast needs work, and the old fusty-smelling wardrobes need to go! But for a good £30 less per night than anywhere else I’m not going to complain…

 photo 2015-02-01 14.15.02_zpsnas3n78b.jpg photo 2015-02-01 14.14.43_zpssjvntjdh.jpg photo 2015-01-31 18.24.41_zpspqkzfijn.jpgWe spent most of the weekend just enjoying each other’s company; this first time we’ve managed to be properly just the two of us since June last year. We played tourist, warming ourselves up in museums and photographing the pretty buildings. A few lovely date nights too – so night to put on glamorous make up and heels (so I can see over his shoulder!).

 photo 2015-01-31 14.02.54_zpsz3yqv3wk.jpg photo 2015-01-31 14.02.39_zpsqqwke0z2.jpg photo 2015-01-31 13.55.52_zpsritpth5y.jpg photo 2015-01-31 13.55.21_zpsufq1qjrj.jpg photo 2015-01-31 13.53.40_zpsawnzceva.jpgThe Natural History museum is well worth a visit. It’s small, but we spent a good couple of hours in there. It’s amazing how many exhibits they have crammed in there – a good amount of dinosaurs and animals, plenty of rocks and even a live bee hive. Gorgeous building too.

 photo 2015-02-01 13.27.07_zpsf15oioj9.jpg photo 2015-02-01 13.26.47_zpstyme5fff.jpgWe also enjoyed the Ashmolean, though I have to say I much prefer places like the Natural History. It’s a matter of personal taste though!

 photo 2015-02-01 15.34.41_zps6bbgq3yv.jpg photo 2015-02-01 14.19.26_zpsk8fwuhae.jpg photo 2015-02-01 15.45.57_zpsqlogvdma.jpgWe also had a romantic if freezing walk along the river – I was definitely glad of the oversized scarf! We made a quick retreat when it started to snow, stretching out a pot of tea in a cafe as long as we could to stay warm!

I’d definitely recommend Oxford for a city break if you’re looking for something slow-paced and relaxing, but with plenty to see. From pricing up other options it’s also excellent value – far cheaper to get to and stay than York or Bath (my other wish-list cities at the moment).

Oh, and happy V-day people! No matter what your relationship status, today is the day to wear pretty underwear, eat chocolate and love yourself and those around you!

Have you been on a UK city break recently? Where would you recommend we visit next?

Lifestyle: Tips for the Fringe Festival

For the past two years I’ve been lucky enough to holiday in Edinburgh – I’ve fallen in love with the city, and I would highly recommend you visit. There’s just so much to do and see, yes it is often chilly and rainy but it’s just lovely. I wrote a post about Things To Do In Edinburgh a few months ago, so if you’re planning a visit do check it out!

Last year I was even luckier and got to visit in August – during the Fringe Festival. Word of advice if you do plan to visit in August, its a lot cheaper to stay out of the city. We rented an absolutely gorgeous apartment (1 bedroom, slept 4) for around 1/3 of the price of what we would have paid in Edinburgh – we stayed on the coast in North Berwick, had a sea view, and it only cost around £4 for a return to the city centre. Staying outside of the busy city means we had time to relax, and we even managed to spend a whole day playing on the beach. It did limit us slightly as there was a last train, which meant no late shows, but we still saw all the ones we wanted to!

Tips for Visiting the Fringe

    • Pack picnics. This will definitely keep costs down, mainly because I saw for myself that many places (Hula Juice bar, full review here, was not one of these though!) increased prices for the festival. Cafes are also likely to be extremely busy, so at least a picnic will allow you to eat as and when you need to. One of my favourite and cheapest picnics is to buy a baguette and a pack of chorizo slices – so thrifty, so tasty.

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  • Designate a meeting point. The city will be busy, scarily busy at times. The likelihood is you will lose someone, so have a place in mind to meet. I’d suggest a particular cafe or shop, as opposed to the station or tourist attractions.
  • Avoid eating at venues. Ridiculously overprice in general, and the food wasn’t really that great. I do remember a really nice burger just before seeing Jay Foreman though!
  • Buy tickets in advance. Seriously, the queues were just so, so long. Even the queue to pick up tickets was rather boring!
  • Take all the leaflets you can carry! Don’t shun people giving out leaflets; take them, read them, and consider which ones you’ll see. We saw some of our favourite smaller shows this way!
  • Work out where venues are. Even if you just glance at a map beforehand, it’ll probably ensure you won’t be late.
  • Get to shows early. For bigger acts, this is a necessity. There’s no allocated seating, so the earlier you get there the best seats you have. I become a pro at getting to the front – we had front-row seats for quite a few, including Omid Djalili (who is hilarious).
  • Book early. If there’s a big name there, tickets will sell out. I’ll never forgive myself for not getting Sarah Millican tickets. Especially now my boyfriend and entire family has seen her, my favourite comedian, and I haven’t. Not that I’m sore about it…
  • Plan meals, book restaurants. As I said, the city is busy and so its best to book a table if you do want to eat out. I have a few detailed reviews coming up, but I highly recommend The Filling Station (American diner type of place), Just Burgers, Urban Angel, and of course there’s the usual chain restaurants too!
  • Store luggage. Edinburgh is hilly, so you really, really don’t want to be pulling cases around. Its also busy (if I haven’t mentioned it) so you will just be in the way. However Edinburgh Waverley charges an immense £9 per item to store bags, which is ridiculous. The easiest and cheapest option we found (not taking advantage of the galleries lockers for visitors) was taking the short walk to the bus station and hiring a locker there. We hired a large locked for 12 hours at £8, which took our two medium suitcases, two large bags of shopping, and coats – we could have fit more too. An advantage of these lockers is there is also a 3 hour storage option, so you can chose something that will fit your needs. Highly recommended!

 

Are you going to the Fringe this year?

Lifestyle: Weekend in Devon

Last weekend I was lucky enough to head off to the seaside with my family for a few days. It’s actually been three years since I’ve been away with them, and almost seven years since I’ve been down in Devon despite virtually twice-annual visits as a child – so it was a lovely chance to see how things have changed and spend some quality time together!

 photo 2014-07-18131043_zps2964ceee.jpg photo 2014-07-18132844_zps4adad749.jpg photo 2014-07-18133705_zpsc3a6abd0.jpg photo 2014-07-18140238_zpscf5a27d7.jpgWe spent the Friday wandering round Babbacombe; a quiet seaside town with a scarily steep incline down to the seafront. We were a little lazy and only walked down; there’d been a huge thunderstorm at home the night before, so a four-hour drive coupled with little sleep left us all a little worse for wear! Being lazy did have its advantages though as both my sister and dad faced their fear of heights and used the Cliff Railway with us…with the bribe of fish and chips at the top! Delicious fish and chips too, from a shop that supposedly came second in the country in some kind of competition.

 photo 2014-07-18212135_zpse2324295.jpg photo DSC_0267_zps6069e774.jpg photo 2014-07-20214752_zpsf7ff75dd.jpg photo 2014-07-20211719_zps87c1db50.jpg photo 2014-07-18205749_zps6ad39741.jpgWe stayed in a chalet on Devon Valley Holiday Park – believe it or not this was actually a Daily Mail holiday, so we paid £15 each for the three nights…and then a £30 supplement to take the dog! Definitely good value, and our accommodation was much better than expected. We’d booked a minimum of a one-bedroom place, but ended up with two good sized bedrooms, a lovely living space, and a clean if bright (lime green!) bathroom. The park itself was quiet, but with just enough to keep any kids busy. Me and my sister made use of the indoor pool a few times, and also visited the two-penny slots every night! The views of the river were also pretty spectacular, as was the surround lanes.

 photo 2014-07-19123420_zps357ccb88.jpg photo 2014-07-19133908_zps9261d4c3.jpg photo 2014-07-19124219_zps70610d2d.jpgOn the Saturday we visited what is perhaps my favourite British beach. Parking in a rather secluded carpark, we proceeded through a damp and dingy tunnel in the cliff face before coming to a lovely cove. Ness Beach allows dogs all year round, but its pretty quiet compared to other beaches. A little pebbly (most Devon beaches are!) with plenty of seaweed for someone to roll in, it was picturesque and just lovely. After getting a little burnt we headed back through the tunnel and towards lunch at The Ness – I have a separate post planned for this!

 photo 2014-07-20123548_zps4cd57972.jpg photo 2014-07-20141931_zpsc4d666dc.jpg photo 2014-07-20145104_zpsbc9c7b4d.jpg photo 2014-07-20143719_zps9bef744e.jpg photo 2014-07-20143824_zps39af775e.jpgSunday was a bit of a mixture. We first headed to the dog-friendly beach in Teignmouth. We didn’t find this particularly dog friendly as it was ram-packed with families; my dog finds children quite stressful so after an unsuccessful swimming lesson (he will not, unbribed, get more than his paws wet!) we headed to Dawlish. Dawlish is a lovely little town; a little like a mini Bournemouth. A lovely lunch consisted of a slice of mustardy Chicken & Ham Pie from Gay’s Creamery, followed by an ice-cream (one scoop peanut butter, one scoop snickers) from Sticky Fingers. Pretty immature of me, but I did giggle at those neighbouring shop names! We wandered around the gardens trying to get a decent picture of the black swans, getting distracted by how photogenic my dog is, and then wandering along the sea front. More sunburn followed Sunday!

 photo 2014-07-20180811_zps6700a982.jpg photo 2014-07-20181329_zps18de20fa.jpgSunday also saw us purchasing a bargain take-away Cream Tea (from Gay’s). Four scones, four portions of jam and a tub of clotted cream for £3.50 was great value, although we did go and buy our own jam (raspberry over strawberry any day!). We found this excellent, with the scones being some of the best I’ve eaten. Yum yum!

 photo 2014-07-21110514_zps4a52e08d.jpg photo 2014-07-21110555_zps1b7abcf2.jpg photo 2014-07-21114049_zps5eca651b.jpgWhilst we had to be out of the accommodation by 10am on Monday, we decided to still make the most of our break! We travelled along the coast to Sidmouth, to pay a visit to the Donkeys. Again, I’ve not been here for many years – it was lovely to see how many donkeys have joined since my last visit, and also the new stables. We then travelled onto Seaton; not a typical tourist town, but one we know well from annual March visits due to the Grizzly! To be honest I actually didn’t recognise the area as so much has changed since I was last there; but the scampi & chips, and lemon meringue ice cream, were all pretty good!

 photo DSC_0282_zpsf5ebc4fd.jpgA chaotic journey home followed, with iced tea split all over the car (oops), driving off motorway services with the boot open, and hanging heads on the car door (double oops). But it was a lovely weekend, wonderful to spend time with my family and I hope its not as long until we head away again!

Have you been away anywhere nice?

Lifestyle: Packing A Small Suitcase

 photo 2014-07-17164523_zps39cee783.jpgAs I’ve mentioned before, my long-distance relationship often means I have to back a small case/bag for a weekend quickly (I have managed to pack and make a train 85 minutes after a lecture finished once, though never again!), and I often need to pack sensibly. I’ve been caught out by heatwaves, and become stranded due to snow, so a few extra outfits is a must! Recently I went away to Devon with my family and was told I could take one case and one satchel only. As this case is a cabin-sized wheel-on I thought it would be a great post opportunity as I can show you just what I can cram into a small space!

 photo 2014-07-17165349_zpsdc3e81da.jpgI actually ended up getting seven outfits into this case, as well as shoes (two pairs) and toiletries. The only thing I didn’t fit in was my walking boots – but they take up half the case so I decided to wear them! Oh, and just to point out that although we only went for a weekend I spent the surrounding nights at my boyfriends so packed extra, I didn’t just go too mad! My key packing tips are to stick to ‘convertible’ outfits. I went for dresses that look great with sandals, but work equally with black tights, shoes and cardigan – perfect in most weathers! I also picked neutral colours cardigans, so the few I took went with everything. You may notice that I also stuck to florals, they’re definitely my favourite kind of print! Finally I stuck to rolling everything up. This saves so much space, although it is a little time consuming!

 photo 2014-07-17181404_zps674b85a2.jpgIn terms of makeup I pretty much followed what I took to Edinburgh, but without foundation (I just relied on concealer and Java Rice Powder instead!) and with a hair gel instead of tousle cream. I’m still loving the Wilkinson’s plastic bottles I bought – I’ve noticed them still on sale in my store so if you’re going away I’d highly recommend you pick some up! There was a new addition of an MUA cream blusher, and I also stuck to just MUA power pouts for a more sheer wash of colour – I have a dog that seems to love the smell of the Revlon Matte Balms, and sitting next to him in the car would not have been an enjoyable experience had I been wearing them! I ended up having a great time – posts to come soon!

Are you off on holiday this summer?

Lifestyle: Preserving Memories*

For a few years now I’ve been meaning to sit down and go through the several thousand images on my laptop, printing off the best, the most important, the most memory-provoking. Of course more important tasks always got priority, and I never did it. I sorely regretted that when my laptop died before university – I’m still working out a way to get it to stay on long enough to copy them over to a memory stick. The photos I do have left unsurprisingly still didn’t get printed, until a few weeks ago.

 photo 2014-07-08105041_zpsdbd5fbe7.jpgI was offered money towards products of my choice from Cartridge Discount, which I promptly put towards ink cartridges for my printer. The printer we have at home is a pretty good one, not only can it do double-sided printing on its own (wonderful for printing exam papers – I can just leave it to it and not waste tonnes of trees paper) but it also has a separate little section for photos. This means I can print out photo-sized images without having to trim them myself, and there’s no messing around trying to size the image either. The quality is pretty damn good too, I was quite pleased my work paid off as I have some lovely images to put into albums, frames, and make into presents…

 photo 2014-07-08105826_zps250e464a.jpgI printed out some of holidays and scenery. I was amazed at how clear some of my photos from Switzerland (I holidayed there in 2012) printed out. Obviously I had to print some of my Edinburgh Zoo photos too!

 photo 2014-07-08105724_zps7e93b646.jpgMy ever-so cute dog had to make an appearance. I actually think I printed more photos of him than anything else!

 photo 2014-07-08105917_zps2bada689.jpgThen there’s my pictures from university. My house organised a BBQ to celebrate end of exams, and we got some lovely pictures. It’s great I can know put them in an album knowing I won’t accidentally delete them!

And finally there’s the obligatory couple pictures! I’ve put this little arrangement together to show how much we have both changed since the beginning of our relationship – him more so than me! They also show how my boyfriend now cannot pull a nice face when presented with a camera lens…

 photo 2014-07-08110119_zpscd552875.jpgI’ve loved having physical copies of my photos – I’ve been showing them to everyone I’ve seen since I printed them! I can’t wait to buy some more pretty frames and albums and begin putting them together.

What do you do with your photos?