Over bank holiday weekend last month, Tom and I were invited down to Brighton by the guys at Brighton Getaways to test out one of their apartments. Having never been to Brighton, we jumped at the chance and hopped in the car for a mini break. We were completely lucky with the weather during the two days we were there as it was the mini bank holiday heatwave and it was glorious!
We set off bright and early on the Monday morning to make sure we got a full day in, so we arrived in Brighton at about 10 am and decided to have breakfast in a little cafe and do some wandering. At around midday, we were able to head to the apartment to check in and see where we’d be staying. We were actually given the Artists Studio* which was walking distance to everything we wanted to see and was located in the North Laines. It was very quirky, with a huge graffiti style mural along one wall, yet it had a really cosy feel about it. Being a studio, it was on the smaller side and was based around one main room, however we felt like we had plenty of space and were really comfortable throughout. The studio also had a kitchenette, free wifi and a really nice shower ‘pod’ type set up which I really liked!
If we stayed in Brighton again, which we have said we’d like to, we’d definitely look at the rentals available on Brighton Getaways as ours completely fit what we needed and was spotlessly clean and very well located. The two guys I spoke to with regards to booking and checking in were really friendly and helpful too which was lovely!
With only a short period of time in Brighton, we decided to check out the pier as that’s a must-see tourist attraction. It has very typical ‘British holiday’ vibes to it but to be honest, I really loved it. We watched all the fair ground rides and had a look at the amusement arcades and generally just soaked up the atmosphere. There was so much going on and as it was bank holiday Monday and beautiful weather, it was absolutely packed! It didn’t feel too crowded though and I really liked that.
One thing I didn’t expect was how beautiful the beach would be. The sea was so clear and really made us feel we were on holiday abroad rather than in the UK. There was such a buzz along the front with performers and holiday goers and plenty of shops for a quick ice cream break. I wish we’d been able to take JJ with us this time as he would have loved it all!
One thing I said I wanted to see was the Choccywoccydoodah shop as I’ve spent many hours watching that show and the displays always blow my mind. Needless to say it was just as good as i’d imagined and I loved being able to actually see them in person rather than just on the TV. The Laines are such an unusual way to shop and we loved wandering around them and seeing the independent stores that they held. It had such a nice vibe to it and it felt very very inclusive as a town, no matter who you were.
Right near our accommodation was the Pavilion Gardens and the Royal Pavilion inside was really beautiful. It almost felt like a temple rather than a pavilion and I hadn’t expected to find that just round the corner at all. It seemed like a really popular place to picnic or stop and have a chat and I wish we had something similar near us as it was such an unusual building!
In the evening, Tom being the foodie that he is, has sussed out a place to eat that promised to be pretty special. Its a restaurant called 64 degrees and is run by someone from Master Chef I believe. It’s won plenty of awards and is considered the best restaurant in Brighton. It serves small plates that promise big flavour and the general experience we had was unlike any other restaurant i’ve ever been to. We were actually seated on the pass so we got a great view of all the cooking and each component that went into every dish.
The menus change regularly dependant on what’s in season and what produce they could get hold of. My favourite thing I had was probably either the Lasagnette or the Rum Bear. The first, being a deconstructed veggie lasagna that was simply incredible and the latter was their equivalent of a Haribo bear but with lots of rum and their own sherbet. It was amazing!
It was a very whistle stop trip to Brighton, but we had such a lovely time and I know we’d both love to return. A huge thank you to the guys at Brighton Getaways for giving us the chance to see such a lovely town and putting us up in such perfect accommodation. I’m sure it won’t be long before we’re back!
*Accommodation provided for PR purposes. All other things mentioned in this post were paid for entirely by ourselves.
Back towards the end of June, Tom, JJ and I headed off for a week long trip to Norfolk rather than jetting off to Europe like we usually do. Our main reasoning was that we hadn’t really done a UK holiday together before and also that we HATE leaving little J behind. Laden with bags, we packed up my car for the 3 hour journey and headed off to the East Coast! If this sounds a little familiar, I did write a post over on Steph’s blog as part of her guest blogger series, so if you fancy a more straight to the point version of events, then click here. This post aims to go into a lot more detail of where we went and has lots of extra pictures!
In terms of accommodation, travelling with a dog can restrict you slightly as not everyone fancies a layer of dog hair being left when you leave. However, Norfolk is a county of dog lovers and we found an absolutely wonderful place in the seaside town of Wells-Next-The-Sea, somewhere I had actually visited many moons ago and loved. We stayed in the Manor Farm Guesthouse run by a wonderful couple called Jim & Annette who actually had two dogs of their own, Rolo & Summer.
I think on average it cost us £78 per night for the three of us, including a delicious breakfast every morning. We were in the smallest room called The Snug, which was a little out building but that suited us perfectly as JJ had full access to the garden at all times. It was really cosy and JJ was made as welcome as we were, he was even allowed in for breakfast with us which was a lovely touch! The location was no more than 40 minutes drive from everything we wanted to see and I don’t think we could recommend it any more! If we head back to Norfolk, we will most definitely be staying at Manor Farm again!
So after arriving mid afternoon, we all had a bit of a doze before heading on a little walk to find some food and let J stretch his legs. We made it all the way down to the beach front (quite some walk I’ll have you know!) and let JJ get his first experience of the beach. It was absolutely adorable and it’s safe to say he LOVED it! On our way back to the B&B we stopped off at The Globe Inn which is a lovely, dog friendly pub. To be honest, the majority of the places we went to eat were dog-friendly gastropubs as it seems that Norfolk do those very very well! Tired after the long journey, we headed to bed so we could get up nice and fresh to enjoy our first full day.
Having decided we were going to make up what we were doing each day as we were going along, we decided to pay a visit to Holkham Hall as it had a lovely dog friendly walk! It was really beautiful and the café at the end was incredible! I totally recommend the Victoria Sponge!! Dogs can’t actually go into the hall but you can really get a nice feel for it from the outside regardless. There are deer roaming the park and there are some absolutely stunning photography spots all the way around.
There’s a lovely walled garden too but we didn’t head in as we had JJ (who likes to be as free range as he can and would probably wee up the flowers) but I think you could take dogs in regardless.
The gift shop was pretty incredible too and I could have spent a hell of a lot of money in there! We actually bought JJ a handmade leather dog collar and a hook to pop it up in our new house (when we have saved up enough deposit to buy one that is!). About lunch time, the heavens opened and unfortunately the weather set in for the rest of the day so we drove back to the B&B to have another little snooze. With the weather being pretty damn rubbish that night, we didn’t want to stray far so headed to the nearby Crown Inn for some tea. This was our favourite place we ate at during our stay and it also had it’s own menu dedicated to gin. I was sold.
The next day was sadly another total wash out with the weather being the typical UK summer offering. Tom got a right earful that day from me as he was the one that suggested the UK holiday. Sorry Tom. Movies were watched, chocolate was eaten and JJ slept off some of his exhaustion from the fun of the previous few days. In the evening we tried a pub by the harbour called The Golden Fleece which was nice but we definitely ate at better places during our stay. It was a much more lively pub, clearly popular with the locals and was pretty packed. I would say that the food was okay for the price, but as I say, we had better!
Hallelujah, day three brought much better weather! Unsure as to whether it would last, we really made the most of it and crammed our day full of things to do! We started off a little off the beaten path at the ruins of Baconsthorpe Castle!
It was actually free to go and was very pretty to see. It would only take you a quick half an hour but if you’re in the area it’s very instagram-worthy! We even found a tiny baby bird whilst we were there and JJ loved playing king of the castle! From there we carried on to Holt Country Park so JJ could have a nice long walk! It’s probably only something to do if you want to walk a dog but we enjoyed it all the same, despite getting lost and wandering off the path into the literal middle of nowhere.
Back in the car again and we wanted to see some proper British seaside fun and Cromer seemed to tick all those boxes. The weather was a little grey, but warm and we got to wander around the town, eat chips and ice creams sat on a wall and even take JJ down the pier. Unfortunately, at high season, dogs aren’t allowed on the beach, but having spent lots of time on Wells beach, we weren’t too fussed.
With JJ barely keeping his tiny little eyes open, we headed back in the car to drive through some villages we wanted to see before dropping him off at the B&B and heading back to our favourite, the Crown Inn, for some much deserved dinner and wine!
Having heard many good things about Old Hunstanton beach, Friday morning meant a trip there and oh my goodness, it’s beautiful. Being a midlander, we don’t see long stretches of beach that often and we all loved it. JJ got to play and run and dabble in the sea and we just soaked up the fresh sea air. Regardless of whether you’re taking the dog for a walk or not, make sure you take a trip here as it’s gorgeous! I’m sure you can see from the pictures, how happy JJ was and that just made me melt a little inside! We also bumped into a couple with 3 Jugs (JJ is a Jug – Jack Russell x Pug FYI!) and that was great as you really don’t see too many of them surprisingly.
The evening brought a little bit of amusement to us when we’d booked a table at the proper local pub, The Bowling Green. Strolling in at our designated time of 7.45pm we were surprised to find it quite rowdy and everyone dressed in black. We were also the only ones seated at a table and definitely looked like outcasts. It was incredibly noisy in there and Tom and I were shouting to hear each other. A little while later, a waitress came up to take our order and apologised for the noise and gave us a free round of drinks AND a bottle of wine. To cut a long story short, the pub had been booked out for a 90 year olds funeral and they’d over stayed their welcome, meaning that we were the only other ones there! I dread to think what it must have been like if they got together for a happy occasion as I’ve never seen such a loud and rowdy funeral in my life! Needless to say the free drinks got us quite jolly and we went back to the B&B laughing and stumbling about the fact we’d crashed a funeral.
On Saturday, the weather was simply gorgeous and really really hot. We headed to the harbour to do the traditional tourist activity of crabbing, much to my delight. Well, when I say we, I mean I engaged and Tom sat as far as way as possible with his resting bitch face. Oh what a regular occurrence this is from the cheery other half. I successfully caught 40 crabs in one hour and gathered quite a crowd of onlookers. Fearing I was going to get sun burnt, I threw them all back into the water and we nipped back to the B&B before heading out in the car again.
One thing Tom was desperate to do was to go to the Queens Sandringham Estate. Although dogs aren’t allowed in the actual grounds, there’s a fantastic country park as part of the estate that goes on for miles and miles as we soon found out. JJ had an absolute whale of a time and we must have done at least 5 or 6 miles before coming back to have an ice cream made in their own creamery and apple juice pressed from the Queens own apple trees! It was such a wonderful afternoon and the estate is beautiful! On our way home, we stopped in a nearby village of Thornham to try out a lovely looking pub called The Orange Tree. The food was amazing and definitely more like high end restaurant style cuisine than pub grub. Sadly we had to shovel it in pretty quickly as JJ was being a pain in the bum as he was so tired. I’d totally recommend it though if you’re in the area!
Our final day and I think it was safe to say that we were all sad that the holiday was coming to an end. We’d had such a lovely time exploring the area and I really would have liked to have stayed even longer. We simply took JJ back to spend time at Wells beach and enjoyed the glorious weather, eating ice creams and sweets by the harbour and just generally enjoying ourselves. We had to pay a visit to our old fave The Crown Inn one last time, but we opted for Sunday Lunch this time and, after three courses, rolled our way back to the B&B for the last time.
We had the most amazing week in Norfolk and made so many lovely memories. I really hoped you liked this post and that it helps if you’re planning to take your own pampered pooch on a holiday in the area. We found everyone to be incredibly welcoming of all three of us and that nothing was too much trouble at all. I would 100% go back again in the future and despite having one bad weather day, we were generally pretty lucky! If you have any other suggestions as to where to go or what to see in Norfolk, then please leave them in the comments!
I’ve had the title of this post in my drafts, along with an abundance of other travel posts, for about four months now and it’s time I got my act together! I am a nervous flyer and I have no idea where that actually came from! My mum was an air hostess and I always liked it when I was younger so your guess is as good as mine. Before this year, I’d only flown once on my own before and its safe to say it wasn’t fun. I was about 13/14 and I flew to visit my friend in Denmark and I’m sure I cried the entire flight there and quite a lot of the three day trip too! Oops. I did, however, get to experience the flight sat in the jump seat in the cockpit though which was one of the most amazing things i’ve ever done. So to be fair, getting that upset was worth it to some degree!
Over the last few years I’ve definitely become more anxious and I find that the idea of certain things such as flying alone is enough to make me feel ill. The big test came this year when my friend Emily and I arranged a trip to the States together during Easter. This all sounds fine right as we’d gone to New York together the previous Easter, but here’s the catch…she was already over there and I’d have to do the 11 hour flight entirely solo. There’s a bit of a spoiler if you’ve read my San Francisco, Seattle or Whistler diaries though as you know I did it! But here’s some tips that I found really helped me to get there:
If it’s making you ill, see the Dr! – I’m starting off with this as it really is important. The whole idea of it was making me feel physically ill so I paid my Dr a visit and got a very low dose of Diazepam. I took it the night before the flight and on the day and it definitely made me feel more relaxed. Not totally relaxed but it took the edge off!
Plan how you’re going to spend the flight – I pretty much had an itinerary! I knew what movies were available on the flight, which ones I was going to watch and when. I had three blog posts I wanted to draft and multiple audiobooks and kindle books to hand! Most airlines let you know the entertainment in advance so just google your airline and inflight entertainment and you should be able to find out easily!
Have a drink! – I never understood this one as I wasn’t a huge drinker but I had one Gin & Tonic (obviously) and it did just settle my nerves a bit. I’d probably have had another one but the Dr had said don’t drink with the Diazepam so I didn’t want to push it!
Make sure you’re comfortable. – I actually did an on the day upgrade to premium class as I was getting myself wound up in knots about the flight. For me this was the deal breaker. I had more space, better and unlimited service, I could recline and try to go to sleep and I was 50 times more comfortable in economy. I flew with Norwegian and to upgrade in advance was over £500 extra but on the day it was only £250. Worth EVERY penny in my mind. Had I not been able to, I’d taken an eye mask, the pillow from my bed at home, comfy socks and a face mask with me anyway to try and get more comfortable.
Talk to people – I was in the middle aisle and had a passenger either side of me. One liked to keep himself to himself but the other was very chatty and we spent a good few hours putting the world to rights and generally passing time. It both calmed me down and seemed to make the journey go faster so it was a win win! He also actually lived and worked in the San Francisco area so helped me out with a few places to go and things to see. It actually got me really excited to get there!
If you’re getting a connection, find other people doing the same one – On my return journey I had to connect in Toronto and we were running late. To put it mildly I was verging on a blind panic, but when I heard people discussing the flight to Gatwick nearby, I went and chatted to them and we ran to the next plane together. It was really nice not to be alone in that situation!
Get someone to take you to the airport – Both my Mum and Dad came to the airport with me and helped me check my baggage in, gather myself together and help me on my way. I’ve got to say though, walking through that barrier and carrying on on my own was the hardest part and it took everything not to run back to them. It was the thought of such a fantastic trip with my best friend that kept me going and how disappointed she’d be if I didn’t go. It’s not a feeling i’d like to relive though!
Get in the right headspace – This is the vital thing I think for me. Remind yourself what’s waiting at the other end, how short the trip will be in terms of the rest of your life and that so many people have had to do similar things. I guess to a certain degree it’s a little bit of mindfulness, living in the here and now not the what ifs. I’ve always tried to take journey’s in stages and tick them off in my head as I go and I find this really really helps! It goes a bit like: home>airport, inside the airport, the actual flight, inside the new airport, airport>destination. If any of these can be broken down any further I will do that too so I feel like I’m constantly making little achievements!
Just ask– The final thing is that if you’re unsure of anything, just ask. The air stewardesses are so helpful, as are people in the airport and for the most part other passengers too. This counts for speaking to your Dr too and anyone prior to leaving for the trip that may be able to help you out with more information!
Weirdly enough now, I actually prefer to fly solo! I find it therapeutic to have a bit of time to yourself and you’ve only got yourself to worry about. I’ve flown on 4 solo flights this year and knowing that I did the 11 hour flight really helps as I feel like I can do anything now if I set my mind to it! Stepping off at the other end is obviously still a relief but such an achievement in it’s own right too! I hope these helped and if you have any other tips yourself then please leave them in the comments!
Tom and I have been together for over five years now and to say we I love travelling so much, you’d have thought we’d have at least spent a day together in London during that time! Sadly that wasn’t the case so this time we were determined to cram as much in together as we could! Neither of us have been down to do tourist things in London for years, instead going for work or a specific event, so we wanted to see the sights and treat it as a real holiday.
The sole purpose of the trip was actually to see Harry Potter & The Cursed Child as we’d booked the tickets a year prior to the day of the first show. We took the train down on Thursday morning and our shows were Thursday & Friday Night. I think i’m going to go into more detail about the show in a separate post for those of you who are interested, but it’ll be mentioned a little later on don’t you worry!
If you’ve ever tried finding a hotel in London, you’ll know how flipping expensive they are! I booked ours a while ago through Booking.com (that link will give you £15 off your next trip if you’re interested!) and it was the Shaftesbury Premier London Paddington Hotel. This was located really close to Paddington station which has 4 tube lines running through it I believe so it’s perfect for getting around! I found the hotel to be perfect for what we needed but we did get an upgrade after complaining about our original room so I would err on the side of caution if booking it. The room we ended up with was a club room which was brilliant but the ‘deluxe’ double we should have had was actually in the basement with next to no light and a shower cubicle the size of a postage stamp that also smelt of stagnant water. Be warned.
On the Thursday we arrived at our hotel at around half 2 and after a quick freshen up, we headed out to Trafalgar Square to see Nelsons column and then on to Covent Garden. It’s safe to say Covent Garden was entirely my choice and was purely to head to Ladurée, Deciem & Charlotte Tilbury! Macaroons eaten, I went to find my shade in The Ordinary foundations as I hadn’t wanted to guess online! I ended up going back to buy some for Lora & Sophie too on the Sunday!
After a bit of shopping, we had to grab an early dinner as the theatre recommends being at the show an hour in advance of the start time (7.30pm). Tom had found a place called Polpo online and it turned out it was directly opposite the theatre! It was a really cute place that served tapas that was delicious! If I was to be picky I’d say that the staff were too attentive and almost bothersome and I got my prosecco served in a IKEA tumbler! Not quite what I was hoping for but we had a delicious meal all the same!
From here we crossed the road to the palace theatre and queued to see the Cursed Child part 1! Our tickets were in the dress circle which I would say is always my favourite place to sit in the theatre. They do come with a bit of a price tag though as I think they cost us £70 each per show! In my opinion they were totally worth it though and if you’re going to go and see the show, you may as well do it properly and not scrimp! The acting and the special effects of the show were absolutely out of this world and I was on the edge of my seat at times! I’d actually read the book so I knew the story line but I was actually glad about that as I didn’t have to spend ages focussing on the plot and I could just sit back and enjoy it all! Part 1 does end on a bit of a cliffhanger though so I could imagine that if you’re new to the story, waiting 24 hours felt like a lifetime!
Day two started with a real bang for us as we’d actually arranged to go on one of the Thames Rocket Tours*. As someone that can get a bit sea sick I was a little nervous beforehand but I loved it! The trip runs from the London Eye Pier and lasts around an hour. On arrival we were given warm waterproof coats (very handy!) and life vests! Each boat takes about 12 visitors and has a tour guide and a skipper. Our tour guide was a lovely guy called Bill and our skipper was Andy! For the first 20 minutes of the ride we leisurely rode out towards Tower Bridge, taking in the sights at our leisure. Bill came round to take some pictures for us all and even took a sneaky selfie on Toms phone.
Once we’d hit Tower Bridge (not literally thankfully), the fun began and we sped off at around 30 knots. I’m not a speed demon but this was amazing and the hilariously dramatic soundtrack in the background was fantastic. Think James Bond, Don’t Stop Me Now and Rocket Man to name but a few! I was so so sad when this part of the journey ended as it was so much fun and unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s safe to say I looked very windswept when we got back on dry land and Tom’s hair had taken on a mind of it’s own!
The final 20 minutes of the journey was at a leisurely pace again but this time, Bill pointed out major sights on route. His favourite things to point out were things that hadn’t perhaps gone to plan and gave Tom and I a tonne of facts to take away with us! My personal favourite is that Waterloo Bridge is also called Ladies Bridge as it’s the only one to be built by women. Its also the only one to come in under budget; get finished on time and it also cleans itself! Girl power at it’s best!
Once we had disembarked the boat, we decided to do a bit of wandering and looking at the sights. We crossed over Westminster bridge to take a look at the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (which is actually the name of the bell, not the tower!) and made our way towards the Shard! We were going to go up the Shard but for around £55 for the pair of us just to go up in the lift we decided to give it a miss! We did have a spot of lunch on the ground floor though at Lang! It’s part of the Shangri-La hotel and offers amazing pastries! We had a toastie each and then it was on to the most fantastic cakes! I had a salted caramel tart and Tom had a raspberry and rose macaroon! They were delicious! One very random thing that was present at Lang was a heated toilet seat! If we had that at home, I honestly don’t think i’d ever see Tom ever again!
Feeling rather heavy, we decided to walk to Borough Market to take a look at what it had to offer. There is an amazing array of food stalls and all sorts of other goodies there and if I lived in London I would love to get my groceries from some of the stalls! It’s definitely an upmarket place though, selling truffles and caviar and other fantastic, yet very expensive, delicacies on every corner! We got the tube to Buckingham Palace from here as it’s just a must-see place for any London Tourist! We saw the beefeaters and took a good wander around the park and the lake, just enjoying being outside in the reasonably nice weather! We finally took a little gander at 10 Downing Street although since I was last there security has naturally been stepped up and you can barely see a thing. We also ended up walking by New Scotland Yard, where Tom took a little boomerang of the sign for his Insta Story!
After heading back to the hotel for a quick freshen up, it was time to head back out to see part 2 of The Cursed Child. Having never seen a show in London, to see two on consecutive nights felt like a right treat! I found the second part to be very emotive, partly because I knew it was the final of something I’d be looking forward to for so long and also from how the story unfolded. I feel like the actors were incredibly emotive and the casting had been picked exceptionally well. My favourite character was definitely Scorpius but I would say 90% of the characters represented both their paper and film counter parts amazingly! It’s totally worth a visit if you can!
Day three was our final full day in London and being people that spend a lot of time on social media, we wanted to take a trip to Camden Market to try and find THOSE Halloumi fries from Oli Baba’s! I had no idea how big Camden was so it took us a while to find them. I may of perhaps tripped into a distillery shop and picked up yet another new bottle of gin, but this one, Half Hitch, is actually made at the market so I couldn’t not get some! We finally found the fries and oh my god they were amazing! Deep fried halloumi with mint yogurt, something that tasted a bit like balsamic glaze and fresh pomegranate seeds. Simply divine!
We wanted to do a spot of shopping from here so we of course went to Liberty’s, Carnaby Street and Harrods and Harvey Nic’s amongst others. I always love Liberty’s and Carnaby street has such a buzz about it. I actually hadn’t realised I’d never been to Harrods before so we whiled away plenty of time in there as it’s HUGE! They sell absolutely everything you could think of and I loved exploring it. It’s a crazy shop full of so many treats that I can’t even begin to list them! After a quick walk down Sloan Street to see if we could spot any super cars for Tom, we headed back home for a quick refresh before dinner.
Oh dinner, how amazing it was! We went to the infamous Distillery on Portobello Road which specialises in gin, gin and more gin! We ate in one of the two restaurants they have there, Gin Tonica. This was yet another delicious tapas restaurant with a gin list a mile long. Weirdly, Tom dislikes gin so he chose a wine that was absolutely delicious! I thought ‘when in Rome’ and opted for the Portobello Road gin which was amazing! We shared numerous tapas dishes which were mouth watering and a pudding that still has me thinking about it! My only thing was that the gins were VERY pricey, the cheapest ones were around £10 a glass so I felt like I could only really have one for fear of racking up a huge bill! I would 100% go back though next time I was in London and I’d LOVE to stay in the hotel they have there! They also have a fantastic gin experience that I am totally putting on my birthday wishlist!
On our final day we had to head back just after lunch time so we decided to have a yummy breakfast instead to finish the holiday off in style! On recommendation from Lora and her husband Chris we joined the queue at The Breakfast Club in Soho and decided to wait in line no matter how long it took. As we were a two it was actually only around 35-40 minutes which I’m lead to believe is pretty good in there! Tom had a full english along with a tea and I had cold pressed orange juice with a veggie breakfast. The juice was some of the nicest i’ve ever tasted and the breakfasts were gigantic! I think next time I would opt for something a bit more specialist so I can try their take on things but the veggie breakfast was amazing! We were both so so full after we’d finished and didn’t need to eat anything again until dinner time!
Sadly that brought our trip to London to an end but we had an absolutely fantastic time full of action packed boat rides, amazing food and wonderful theatre! Let me know what your favourite thing to do in London is!
*Tickets provided for PR purposes. A huge thank you to the team at Thames Rockets for helping to make our trip so wonderful!
Whilst on my travels around Canada & The States, we headed up to a little village called Whistler so I could attempt to try learning to ski in one day. I’d never put skis on before so I had no idea what to do, but I’d always wanted to go to a ski resort to see what all the fuss was about. Whistler is a gorgeous place in British Columbia and is a favourite with skiers worldwide. Even the winter Olympics has been held there so I knew I couldn’t miss out on an opportunity to pay it a visit!
There’s actually a fantastic transfer service from Vancouver to Whistler, so we jumped on the bus at about 5am and trundled off through the mountains. I have to say that the scenery on the way there is simply breathtaking and had I been driving myself, it would have taken so much longer as i’d have been stopping for pictures all the way! Think mountains, waterfalls and roaming elk and you’re probably still not even close to how beautiful it was!
We got off the bus at the entrance to whistler village and headed off for a breakfast of nutella crepes and strawberries at a cafe called ‘Hot Buns’. Even though it wasn’t peak season, the village had a real buzz about it and I enjoyed just watching people lumber around in their huge ski boots! We decided to check into our hostel which was only a very short bus ride away after breakfast so we weren’t carting around loads of bags. As I mentioned in my hostel post, we had such a good hostel that was very synonymous to a log cabin and very very cosy! As ski passes were really expensive for me, we decided to go tubing on day one and skiing on day two. I have tubed before but I forgot how much fun it was! You’re only a small way up the mountain but by that, you are still above the cloud bank so it’s pretty high! We paid for an hours tubing and it was so much fun! You basically fling yourself down an icy hill in a rubber ring and its brilliant! Strangely, it’s really tiring trudging back up the hill with your rubber ring through shin deep snow!!
I’ve got to say we were absolutely soaked after tubing as you can’t wear any kind of boots to do it in! Clearly, trainers offer next to no protection from the snow and they were like little pools by the time we’d finished! Tired and hungry we headed to an Italian in the Village called Pasta Lupino for some much need carbs! This is such a lovely little Italian and was really reasonably priced! Its set at the back of the village and has a lovely family run feel to it!
Day two saw me finally tackle the challenge of skiing and its safe to say I was pretty crap at it!! We started off on the nursery slopes to get me used to it but the snow was very slushy so Emily said I’d probably find it easier higher up. I’ll let you into a secret, I didn’t. The slopes were green runs obviously, but in my eyes they were so steep! I don’t think I could count the amount of times I fell over, cried, swore, had a strop or even told Emily to leave me there for the wolves to eat. By the times i’d done 5 hours skiing I was exhausted and in agony so I headed off with my tail between my legs to have a hot chocolate and told Emily to join me later. I would definitely like another go at skiing in the future as I do think I was pretty hard on myself as it was the only time i’d ever tried to ski before. I’m not easily defeated so I’m going to try at the local snowdome sometime soon!
After a bite to eat in Starbucks our short time in Whistler had come to an end and it was time to head back to Vancouver. I honestly loved the place and I would go again at some point in the future. For reference, a days ski pass and boots/ski hire was about $150 so it’s definitely not a cheap day, but worth it if you’re in the area!
Have you ever been to Whistler or any other ski resort?
A few months ago I was sent a backpack from the team at CabinZero to put to the test over summer. The idea behind the bag is that it is the perfect size to use as hand luggage on an aeroplane whilst being so light (only a mere 760g!!) that you can make the most out of your 10kg allowance. As a frequent traveller and also someone who often travels with just hand luggage to avoid unnecessary cost, I was eager to see if this would work out well for me!
There are actually a variety of different capacity bags available but knowing I always over pack I picked the biggest, the 44L bag in the colour Blue Karma*. When it arrived I actually was a little concerned that it was going to be a bit too big for me, however since travelling with it a few times I’ve found it to be absolutely perfect! There are a series of pockets inside which makes the bag incredible handy for cramming things in and also not losing things to the depths of your bag! On the inside of the main pocket there is a padded laptop sleeve and also a small zipped pouch which I used for underwear or things that I wanted to keep separate from the rest of my luggage. The most deceptively useful pocket is the main one on the front. This looks incredibly flat and if i’m honest, a bit useless, however it has some amazing ability to fit all my shoes in! Every time I’ve travelled i’ve had at least two pairs of shoes AND all my laptop cables in there and it closes perfectly!
The bag also has a couple of nifty little features that you perhaps wouldn’t have expected! Firstly, it can be carried in three different ways. It can be carried as a rucksack with two padded straps; it can be carried vertically using the strap on the top of the bag, or it can even be carried horizontally as there is another strap on the side of the bag. The other feature that I was surprised to see is that there is actually a little tag on the bag that can be registered online so you can track it if it goes missing. This is amazing if it ever gets lost or stolen and is just something that I would never have thought to add, but really makes this bag stand out from the rest!
The actual material of the bag is a robust canvas material that is lined on the inside. I’ve just checked on their website and the bag is actually waterproof which is an even bigger bonus for me! I honestly didn’t think it was as it doesn’t look like that horrible anorak material! I’m notoriously quite a clumsy person and often am a bit carefree with my belongings but so far so good with this! It’s incredibly durable and hopefully will stand the test of time! Talking of time though, should anything go wrong, each bag has a 10 year warranty that comes with it and this is upgraded to 25 years if you simply like them on Facebook! I’d be pretty damn impressed if it lasted 10 years never mind 25!!
The bag I picked retails for £60/$78USD/€68 (other currencies are available!) and their website offer free worldwide shipping so you can pick up one of these bags no matter where you are in the world! I personally loved though that they are based in Leicester, which is only a stones throw away from where I live. I love supporting start-ups and local brands and this is honestly a product that I love and will be using for years to come. If you fancy supporting the brand too, they’ve kindly given me a discount code to share with you which will give you 10% off! Simply enter CZROSEBEAUTYFILES at the checkout. But be quick as it’s only valid for the next 30 days!
Where are you planning on travelling to next? Let me know what colour you like the best from their range, we’re definitely planning on picking up some more so we all have one to travel with!
*I have been sent this product as a PR sample in exchange for a review however all opinions remain my own. This post does contain affiliate links. It sounds cliche but this product has been a lifesaver this summer with the travelling i’ve done so far and for the trips i’ve still got to come!
Hello! Long time no see! My exams are FINALLY done and I have officially finished my degree so back to blogging it is! I’ve got so many posts in drafts and I can’t wait to get back to it! I put a poll up on twitter to see what you wanted to see first and the majority said it was time for my Seattle Travel Diaries! I honestly cannot believe how long i’ve been back now and how much has happened since! I love writing these posts though as I kind of get to relive the whole holiday again!
My last post finished with us leaving San Francisco to get the plane to Seattle, a brief journey of just over an hour! When we arrived we found our hostel and dumped our bags in order to find some much needed food! We found this amazing restaurant just around the corner from our hostel called Local 360, if you ever go to Seattle definitely check it out as everything from the drinks to the food is all from nearby and as much as possible is actually from Seattle! The food was delicious and set us up for an afternoon of wandering round the waterfront. We got to see the famous Seattle wheel, an icon in the scene from Grey’s Anatomy that is played nearly every episode! At the waterfront, yet again we were greeted with some gorgeous Sea Lions and beautiful views over the water. We also had a look around Pike Place Market, one of the key tourist attractions in Seattle where you can buy just about anything you can think of!
The market was full of beautiful blooms, homemade produce and fresh fish, caught by the local fishermen. I could have spent hours wandering around the market just taking in the gorgeous array of things. I can imagine that if you were local then it would be the ideal place to go shopping each week! I feel like Seattle involved a lot of eating and remarkably we had become hungry in that short space of time so we visited a local cheese shop called Beechers who made the most delicious cheese I think i’ve ever tasted! They are inundated with customers wanting to try out their Mac N Cheese which is made from their own cheese! I have got to say it was hands down the best Mac I have ever tasted! Do not miss out on this is you go to Seattle, they also do an incredible tomato soup too!
The next day we decided to try and take in more sights and we of course headed straight to the Space Needle! This is a iconic monument in the Seattle skyline and it was amazing to see it in person! We headed to the top (in something silly like 40 seconds) and walked out onto the observation deck to see 360 degree views of Seattle! It was beautiful! They even have a brilliant way of taking a picture for you at the top with the scenery in the background! We’d bought a twin ticket which enabled us to get into Chihuly Gardens & Glass too. I had no idea what to expect with this but it was a beautiful combination of intricate, coloured glass sculptures set amongst gardens. The work was absolutely incredible and we even managed to watch a glass blowing demonstration too which was fascinating! The whole city seems to love handblown glass so there are always shops with demos going on too but i’d definitely recommend a visit to Chihuly!
In the evening, we got to do something that I found really special. Before I was born, my mum was actually an air hostess for British Airways. She travelled all over the world but always spoke about a restaurant in Seattle that she always visited called Cutters Crabhouse. She said that if it was still there, down by the waterfront, then we should definitely go. Luckily for us it was and it was a lovely experience being able to eat a gorgeous dinner, overlooking the water with my best friend, in a restaurant that my mum has such fond memories of. It was an evening that I will always remember for great food, company and the fact I got to make my own fond memories there too!
The next day we decided to do some shopping and have a more chilled day. However, to head down to the shops we hopped on the monorail to take us there! They are such weird little trains that drive above the road. It was a really quick but enjoyable ride and I’m glad we got to try it out! We got off the monorail and hit the shops, Sephora definitely took a bit of a battering that day! I’m totally not sorry!
For our final day, we decided to have brunch to start the day off right. We headed to a popular cafe called Tilikum to enjoy some incredibly thick, but delicious pancakes! I can safely say it started the day off perfectly! We’d read online about the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle and decided to go and check it out for ourselves. It focuses on conservation and has some native creatures from the Pacific North West that i’d never seen before! I actually got to see a huge brown bear that day and they were as stunning as i’d imagined! The park was fantastically well maintained and the beautiful array of creatures was amazing! There was even a porcupine and mountain goats! We spent a good few hours wandering around with the bird enclosures being some of my favourites as you could get right up close and feed them! We headed off to see the troll statue under the bridge after this as it was only a short walk away. It’s so strange to be in a little residential area and then suddenly see a huge statue of a troll holding a car! Very random but quite a funny little sight to see! We decided to eat at Cutters again that evening for our final goodbye meal in Seattle and to celebrate visiting another fantastic city! Washington was such a stunning state and i’d love to go and do a few more outdoor activities there in the future as I bet it’s brilliant!
The following day we got the Greyhound up to Vancouver to start the next leg of our journey. I had such a lovely few days in Seattle and I’m so glad I got a chance to visit! Have you been to Seattle? If so what was your favourite bit about it?