Over packing the key to sucesful packing.

Advice, Travel

Overpacking is definitely a pet peeve of mine. I hate it, it’s wasteful and unnecessary and generally it’s down to not organising my list properly.

This holiday to Les Deuce Alps I only over packed slightly but it still rankles me. I could have just packed one jumper instead of 3, I could have just worn it a few times instead of 3 different jumpers that I wore once.

Perfect packing list

They key to perfect packing is a list and also packing cubes. They really are. When I write my list I like to think in out fits. What goes with what. But also I love a packing cubes Gavin mocks me for them but I find them essential.

Making a list is easy, you just need to know what you are doing and if you are going out out! Because we were going snowboarding I knew that my main priority was layers and keeping warm. This is my ninth year in the slopes so believe me when I tell you that hotels, bars and restaurants all have the heating on. You will always be warm when you are out but it’s getting from a-b that you need to focus on.

Oh baby it’s cold outside

Layers, you need layers and you also need to think practically. A pair of gloves is essential on the mountain but also off. You need a pair to keep your hands warm but also to protect them if you slip on the ice or snow. Cutting up your hands on a slip or trip is not a great idea!

Hats and scarves! So they have proven that it not true that majority of your heat comes out of your head however if you are completely wrapped up except for your head then it’s going to cold so pack a hat any will do! Scarves aren’t a must but you can use them as an accessory and keep warm. Win win for everyone.

The coat

Me and Gav generally don’t take extra coats with us. We use our snowboarding coat for day and night and it was only a mistake this year when the weather was cold and wet. We only had one night of issues but it was enough to make us think that next year we may take a thin waterproof that we can layer up with a hoodie underneath.

Again you will need to coat to protect you if you slip but also because it’s bloody freezing! We had snow, rain and hail! We needed our warm coats.

Safety first people

I have already written a blog on safety stuff so I won’t repeat myself! If you don’t look after yourself then you are a danger to everyone else!

But beginners need:

Sunscreen: no matter the weather it’s an extra barrier for your skin

A helmet: you head is a watermelon you hit it hard you die or brain damage. Be smart and protect your skull.

Goggles: visibility is key safety for you and fellow mountain buddies. Sunglasses are no substitute, fallon our face and tell me what a great idea they were. You can get cheap goggles online so no excuses.

Knee pads: cushioning for the part of your body you will rely on the most when boarding. As an extra you can do back armour etc if you want!

Gloves: you can’t board or ski without gloves. You can’t, cotton or wool ones will freeze your hands even in warmer climates. Invest in these. They need to be snow proof waterproof you name it. Mine have armour built in so I don’t break my wrist again.

Insurance, don’t be a dunce. No matter how smart you are and how safe there are always idiots on the mountain. This holiday we witnessed a fair few helicopters lifting people to safety and a lot of them were small trips that resulted in breaks and sprains. Often caused by others on the mountain. I knew a guy who slipped broke his back but didn’t know anything was wrong until he went and complained of a twinge. Get insurance it’s cheap compared to a helicopter flight.

Summary

Be smart. When it comes to safety then layer up. Know your limits and obey the rules.

You don’t need to overpack you can think in layers but it’s cold. So you can layer up and reuse items again and again.

You need an outfit for every night especially as all the photos of you will be out in the snow with you hat gloves and coat on. No one is impressed with heels in the snow.

Be practical and you will be fine. Plus you are in France so you will have great food and booze to keep you happy. You don’t need to overpack you just need to pack smart.

Self reflection

Advice, Dreaming, Planning, self care, Travel

This winter I have been busy. So busy I have missed out on a lot. It will be worth it if I get my bonus this year but it has still taken me away from the things I love and the people I miss. When you work in retail Christmas is your busiest time there is no doubt about it but life goes on weather you are out socialising or at home working.

Next year we are planning Christmas in January. Presents meal you name it. We will still have a Christmas meal but a less hectic one.

I love Christmas and it truely is my favourite time of year it I am just too busy to enjoy it. The week of Christmas I will be in France snowboarding and relaxing so I don’t mind how hectic it gets right now.

My head is already rocking with what I want to achieve next year.

Last years goals

Miraculously my goals last year were all hit. I had to save for the wedding, make for the wedding and look after myself for the wedding.

I didn’t hit all my travel destinations but I did travel to Madrid, Bulgaria, Jersey, France and Yorkshire. This years travel is going to be really exciting with Japan and Italy on the cards!

My sister asked me what I would do if I could do anything. I said draw.

Draw and paint.

But actually put the effort in. Sit down and practice what I love. So I am setting myself a challenge. 12 pieces of art next year that I am brave enough and proud enough to sell. That’s only one a month but it will still be a challenge.

I still have to actually do it.

I have enough paints and pencils and even pads to get started but I can’t tell you the last time I sat down and created something I was proud of.

Treating myself

I have no issues spending money on food or events but when it comes to me I wimp out. Skincare and food I don’t mind spending money on, or holidays or meals out.

But me. I stop at me. I need a new back pack and I have been eyeing up a Fjallraven backpack but for some reason I haven’t bought it. I was hoping to get it for my birthday or Christmas but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

So I should just buy it for myself.

Why not, it’s not frivolous it’s essential and cheap backpacks don’t last.

I need one that fits my laptop and that won’t tire so I am doing my research and I want it in green or yellow.

I am also buying my first Mac. This will again be for my illustrations but I think it’s important to have a goal. This will be a an expensive bit of tech but to me it’s a necessity.

Getting the house sorted

I am a messy person and I need to get it sorted. My head and home are cluttered to the max and although I won’t be chucking out massive amounts of stuff somethings have to go. We are planning on buying a new kitchen and moving the bathroom. This is going to cost a lot so I need to start saving.

Read moreI love to read. It used to be every waking moment I would reach for my book and although I do have books on my phone I really do prefer to turn the pages so in the knew year I will write a list of books I plan on getting round to reading and a few I want to reread!

Organisation, self belief, travel and saving

I was to spend less on crap and invest more in me, my body, wardrobe, home and larder.

Less is more is my motto for next year

A french affaire: Christmas in the Alps

Travel

I love Christmas, decorating the house, which I will still do. Eating the food getting snuggly. But this year as our first married Christmas we are treating ourselves to Christmas in the Alps.

It will be hard because I love Christmas so much. I love the build up and the magical Christmas night.

I am lucky that my best friend and husband are joining us.

Its great as couples we all get along, very easy going its going to be great.

What’s not to love about Christmas in the French alps?

Snow, the views, French wine, all the cheese, stews and steak. Okay I will have to stop because I am drooling thinking about all the Vin Chaud and cheese.

We will actually have a white Christmas!

When I first learnt to board over ten years ago it was in Le 2 Alps and ten years later I am spending Christmas there with the same man who wanted me to learn. This is going to be really special.

I am still not a great boarder

But I love it.

I love the clean air.

The views.

Going from top to bottom.

I really love the Apres ski.

This is good practice for Japan not the drinking, but the boarding.

I am trying to make it a bit special so and idea would help.

So far, I am thinking stockings and crackers but I also have the two meals to consider.

French Traditions I am looking forward to

• Christmas eve feast

• Champagne

• La Galette des Rois

Christmas Eve feast

In France Christmas or Le Réveillon is normally the big feast. It’s the time that you spend with your family and traditionally head to Mass. As we are not religious, we will just be taking part in the feast.

It can last up to 6 hours. My mum has been to a few where they were talking so much that the first course wasn’t served till midnight and she arrive at 7pm.

Hopefully it wont be that long but we are trying to book a restaurant at the moment now so we don’t end up starving.

Champagne

Well, when in France. I love champagne, I do.and a glass before dinner sounds heavenly. A friend bought us champagne glasses for a wedding feast. She knew I hate flutes (bubbles go up my nose and I often spill it. I much prefer the traditional champagne saucers!

I am imagining champagne and candle light everywhere.

French Cake

Ummmmm I am glad I will be boarding for the most part. I am going to be glad of the exercise because I need to work off all the patisseries and cakes.

Galette des Rois is really yummy.

We had one with my nephew and said to him that he may not find the “king” Feve and he did! It was a really wonderful moment and we were all smiling!

A french affaire

I can’t wait but I will miss a few things about not being home. This will be a true experience for us and we are all getting excited. Looking at Christmas jumpers and silly things!

If there are any other French traditions and things, I must try please let me know.

And if you have any ideas how to make Christmas personal when staying in a hotel I would love to know.

Madrid the food and the City and the drinking girlsu

food, Travel

So day 1 was awesome. Day two I woke up fine, dreaming of a breakfast of dreams. So I hopped in the shower and got ready.

We hopped in a cab and headed to our breakfast place which was truely amazing. Only it was there that the hang over hit me. I was doing well until this point. I ordered my coffee and a fresh juice and then my food arrived.

Federal Cafe

Hangover

Whenever I am hungover I feel like avocados and smoked salmon are my best friends. I normally ask for the hollandaise on the side but I didn’t.

I wish I did.

They had added garlic in it which didn’t settle well with me. I wasnt sick but I felt horrible and just needed to be quiet. But my friends were worried so they asked a lot of questions and I withdrew into my hangover dreaming of my bed!

I just wanted to be alone.

Segways

This is were Becky informed me we were on Segways for the next section of the day! I couldn’t think of anything worse. Little did I know this would clear my hangover right up!

So we walked over to the Segway area the temperature had cooled to a 30 degree heat so although it was super hot still it had nothing on yesterday.

We all got water and hydrated but I wasn’t thirsty I was just tired. I sat in a slightly shady street with my wedding attire on and slowly died by the side.

Our instructor was brilliant he was super funny and patient. He had to be, we were awful! Becky went first and was so scared she screamed the street down and I could stop laughing. We all laughed at Becky as she awkwardly used the Segway. Tears streamed down my face of pure joy and I forgot my hangover and cane alive again!

It turned out none of us were much good. Two were okay and the rest of us hated it and swore we would never get on one again. He gave us ten minutes to feel it out for ourselves and one by one we dutifully got back on.

City tour

Whizzing around Madrid on the Segways were amazing. It was a great way to see the city and it was so safe. Madrid laws state that cars must wait for the Segways so we were allowed in the road not on the pavements.

It was so much fun, the driving helped cleared all our

Then we went do the market place! Yes it’s touristy but the bustle of all the food stalls and all the choice wow I loved it!

I bought an octopus skewer which was so tasty and massive!

Then we went to the main square for beer and ice cream. The bar where really sweet although they didn’t know what a shandy was but they looked after us.

Nap time

I was still exhausted. A few of the group had already left and now it was my time to put my head down and catch up on sleep.

So I went back to the hotel and caught up on some sleep. When I woke up we headed back upstairs to the roof top bar!

I needed the pool! Everyone ended up coming up for a glass of cold wine, gin and a dip in the plunge poool again.

Today was 34 degrees so it was still super hot! Then we all headed downstairs to get ready again. Becky had planned everything so well. Even down time was accounted for! We had a great day and it was about to be followed by an amazing meal!

Barata

jiminy cricket batman that starter was heaven on a plate. The mozzarella was soft and creamy the pesto was injected by me served with bread oh my word. I would actually fly back to Madrid for this meal right now.

The fish and pudding were also great but starter was out of this world.

The sangria was flowing the laughter was constant and the games were fun.

It was such a great night but we had an early flight and we were all aware of it! So we finished the hen how we started!

On the rooftop drinking gin!

Oh Madrid, flamenco and the Danettes: Day 1

Travel, Wedding

So last weekend I was in the most incredible people with the best bunch of girls any one could ask for. A few of my friends couldn’t make it but honestly the girls were amazing especially my best friend Becky.

Hen do do do da do

We arrived about 11.00am Spanish time went straight to our gorgeous hotel and hit the roof top bar.

Madrid is full of amazing bars and restaurants and our hotel was awesome it also had a tiny pool that we took advantage of after a short but alcohol fuelled flight!

We drank a really nice white wine which was ice cold and perfect. Did I tell you it was 38 degrees and super super hot.

Hence our mini dip in the pool. We had to wait for a lot of posers to take their photos before we could go in ourselves!

We all gave ourselves time to get ready. This was my hen do, and I wanted to look really nice. The girls had a flamenco lesson organised for me so I offered them dress options and they chose my black swishy dress.

Apparently non of them thought it was black because it had a tropical print on it!

they should really know that I don’t really do black clothes as I find it drains me! And

Dyspraxia and dancing

I love to dance, you put a song I love on and I rarely leave the dance floor. At Weddings I am the guest who will dance with your grandma or distant cousins if I love the beat.

But I can’t sequence. Learning dance routine I find so difficult. Remembering how things go is so tricky I stay away from a lot of routine aerobics. This is a part of dyspraxia I have had to deal with my whole life. So I was freaking out when I was told it would be flamenco dancing.

Flamenco is about your whole body especially your hands and feet. We didn’t do to bandly if I do say so my self. I really really loved it and so did the girls. Our tutor was exceptional and really chilled. I red

Reading about Madrid

I read Victoria Hislops The Return which is about Spain and the Ramirez family who are caught up in Francos civil war. The youngest is a flamenco dancer who dances so much her shoes are transparent. Franco banned dancing and Flamenco. I had this vivid image in my head of flamenco dancing and it totally lived up to it.

So flamenco dancing left me feeling an even deeper connection with Spain then I had before. I really do love Madrid and I have been to a lot of places but this city is spectacular.

Dinner and drinks

After Flamenco we went upstairs to watch a flamenco show as well as eat really good food.

We were starving and had just exercised and it was still 35 degrees at this point. The Sangria was flowing and the food kept coming and I was getting really drunk so I had to slow down.

We decided to head back to the bar in the gardens which was near my hotel. As I was a bit tidly me and half the group decided to walk.

Half an hour into the walk I had sobered up a bit and was now tired. It was a long walk in the heat. So we popped in a cab and headed to another roof top bar this time in the middle of the gardens.

It was so beautiful up there!

On the way out we discovered there was a club underneath so the dancing commenced.

Unfortunately I may have drunk too much!

Far too much but I had the best day ever with a great bunch of friends!

Hen do packing, what to take on a mini break

Planning, Travel, Uncategorised, wardrobe

Can you believe it. We are finally going to Madrid for my Hen do. I can wait. Madrid is one of those magical places that feels big and small at the same time.

Full of history, bars and restaurants I can’t think of any where I would rather go. I know the girls are going to love it but we are all praying that its not too hot. Any temperature above 24 degrees and there is going to be issues. At the moment it is 35 degrees.

So packing is going to be tricky!

Packing for all possibilities

Pretty sure that Becky has a few outfits for me so not sure what I need to pack. Thank fully she is letting me not Gavin pack.

I am a packing addict. It makes me happy. So the idea of Gavin packing my clothes filled me with dread. No offence to him.

I didn’t need any new items for this trip however I managed to pick up a few tee shirts from MnS in their contentious cotton range that sung to me.

Things to bear in mind. It is going to be hot and although I will wear factor 30 I still may get burnt. This isn’t good but a coverup is always useful. I will definitely want to change in the evening.

Travel outfit

Cotton trousers to travel in (Emma hill I listened)

  • Pink cotton Vacation tee shirt
  • Sports bra crop top think from Primark ( I love these)
  • Thin Jumper ( I get cold on planes)
  • Summer Jacket

The rest

My hand luggage is going to be minimal this time.

Outfits, the funny thing was when I was laying out my clothes I put far too much out! So photographing and planning this out has helped me slim down my choices.

  • Tropical black dress (for evenings or day)? Still deciding about this.
  • Pink cropped Jeans
  • Navy Shorts
  • White Tshirt that says the world is your lobster
  • Navy and white vest
  • Gold sequin Zara vest For going out out can team up with pink jeans or navy shorts for a cute look
  • Tropical jigsaw soft Hawaiian dress
  • Black tropical dress for days or nights

Accessories

Tan bag it goes with everything

Flat Espadrilles we will be walking

Tan tom toms sandals I can walk in them and they are slip on

Silver/ gold sandals for out out occasion

Pink block heals that are also cute but I haven’t worn them yet so still deciding

A cute little rope belt

My prescription sunglasses which are a must for being able to see, write draw ( don’t think I will have time) and protect my eyes.

A loose white linen shirt. If I get burnt I can drape it on my shoulders without sweating to death.

That is pretty much it.

I don’t need to take a lot and I don’t really like to take too much, plus I would like to pick a bottle of gin for the collection.

I use packing cubes to put everything in. I have even put my makeup and beauty bag in a packing cube so I can scoop it out when we arrive.

Thursday the hen do begins and I can’t wait.

Makeup plan fail! Passport photos trying not to look like a pyscho!

Advice, Beauty, confidence, Travel

So I lost my passport and it’s been stressing me out. First world stress obviously as it’s for my hen do trip in just under 4 weeks.

So I thought hell I know I could write a little blog on what I did to prepare. Like a get ready with me plus prep.

I was so happy with how I looked a little extra mascara a bit more blusher. Umm no still looked like a pyscho.

Pre-care pamper session

So the night before I thought about it. I used the Philip Kingsley Eslastizer on my hair as a treatment rather than just a pre wash treatment.

Frank had a bath first of course. He gets jealous if I spend too much time in the bathroom. He loves a hot bath but I have to cool it down for him incase he cooks.

Any goo back to me!

Skincare

Used my Omorovicza cleanser. It’s gorgeous balancing luxurious and light. At the moments it’s replacing my Elemis, especially in the mornings if I was want to wake up rather than indulge.

So I haven’t used my baby facial in a few weeks. I was using it twice a week and then reduced it to once. I love it. I don’t find it too strong on my skin. I have had a few hormonal breakouts so my skin has been pretty grim.

I used my baby facial.

I love this stuff. It goes on and you feel a slight tingling and leave it as a mask for 20 minutes and wash it off.

Applied a wee bit of Matryxal because it’s my favourite product ever I think!

Then you are left with baby plump skin straight away and in the morning!

After I applied that I used my Guerlan night mask just to give it an extra bit of cushioning.

Pre care hair and skin done!

Morning of the photo shoot ha ha

The next day I woke up to lovely skin. Myi was so happy. So I decided as this image has to se me through the next ten years I better look decent.

So I applied makeup.

You can’t wear too much in a photo but just enough to highlight your features.

What I forgot was that passport photo booths wash you out! They strip back all the effort and I was left looking, well, like a psycho.

For the next ten years!

I redid it 6 times.

I looked awful in all of them! So I picked the best of a rotten bunch.

This photo will haunt me for the next ten years but hey ho.

At least I get to keep my European passport if this crappy brexit ever does happen.

I look like a pyscho

I should have applied more makeup!

But I am a proud European!