Travel made easy, budget friendly Bulgaria

Advice, Personal Experience, Travel

Going to Bulgaria was already friendly on the wedding budget but we like to take a few mini bargain luxuries.

Transportation

We ordered the Gatwick flyer which is a airport taxi service that does all airports in London not just Gatwick. Picked us up from our door and dropped us off at stanstead airport! Not as expensive as a taxi and we were lucky enough to be the only ones on the journey.

Brilliant.

The driver helped with the suitcases. Was lovely and chatty and so was the driver the driver on the way back. They let you know what time to be picked up and they track your flights I they know when you get in!

Love them, rate them. Will use them again.

Ryan Air

Okay I whinged about Ryan Air and they were fine, we upgraded to priority so we could get another bag and have the bigger seat. So it was an added expense but it meant no fuss. No issue with our bags and space for our suitcase.

Lounge

Gav get two lounge passes a year and we pay for the rest. The lounge is only good if you get a few hours. They are totally worth it. Unlimited food and drink just don’t get too drunk. You can pick up a bottle of water and snacks and charge you phone.

I loved it.

Last time I was at stanstead it was being redone. This time however it was completed. There was lots of choice of dining, shopping.

I bought a Chanel lipstick and balm, Gav bought an Aftershave and two bottles of gin. We tried the Sulent Pool

The flight

It’s roughly 3 hours to Sofia from Stanstead. The flight felt long but I had my books and Gav treated us to a cheeky gin and tonic!

So we had a lovely relaxing time.

When we got off the plane we only had to wait 5 minutes for our transport. Priority means your luggage gets a space as well which is great.

Sofia airport was clean and organised. We didn’t have to wait for long for our luggage and the oversized bagged was also quick!

We paid a little extra for room on our seats, we had to pay for extra for baggage. Bulgaria is so budget friendly that we could afford a few extras and they were great. We whizzed through the airport. If you a few hours to spare then a lounge may be £30 plus but for a few drinks and food you can totally make the money from it! Plus they supply water bottles for your flight.

Yes all these things were added extra but they were budget extras. These little luxuries made our journey so much easier.

So if we have the time we would do it all again!

What’s in my hand luggage

Organising, Planning, Travel

Okay this is just a quick one but these are some of my favourite blogs so here goes!

What’s in my hand luggage for snowboarding

This is my snowboarding bag. Ryan Air don’t let you have a big bag so I had to think carefully about what I packed.

Gloves

These are my cheapy Primark gloves I bought for a £1. They are a gorgeous forest green and unraveled the first time I wore them. I stitched them up and now they are perfect. I just love the colour. We have a transfer to and from the airports so we don’t meet to go far with the suitcases. But I hate pulling a suitcase in the cold.

Bullet Journal

This baby goes everywhere with me it should really have its own passport!

Goggles

These are my new goggles and they fit perfectly over my glasses so I don’t have to wear contacts. They come with a cover to protect the lense and we had to buy them last minute as my think glasses were involved in a dog chewing incident!

Book

I always take two books on holiday. I find the glare of a phone too much on a long day. I also like turning pages and physically holding a book.

Purse

This little one is perfect. My friend brought it for me for my birthday. It’s suede carries all my cards and money and is stylish too.

It can fit into my pocket and at the moment it is holding my house keys.

Socks

These are my boarding socks! They were the first pair that Gav bought me and I still use them. They are a little threadbare. But I still use them and they double up as flight socks if I get cold.

The flight is only 3 hours and I generally keep my shoes on for short flights but they are there just in case.

Stationery

What is a bullet journal without pens? I have two here a Sakura fineliner and and a lestraset fineliner. I like them both I am pretty sure one is a 3 and one is a 5.

Vitamin C

These are boots version of bercocca and are great after a night out or if you are feeling a bit low. We never really go snowboarding without them. Often I like one before I fly.

Cables

I have having to root around in a bag to find things. Cables and technology are now essential. We bought these flight bags in a pack and I love them. I normally use them for my make up and skincare. I didn’t want the fuss this time! So I packed them away in the main suitcase. In here I have my multi usb plug and cables, adapter and fully charged charger.

Most airports let you charge so I want too worried about my phone dying but it’s good to be prepared.

Tissues

Can’t travel without them. I sometimes have hand sanitiser but I left it in the main luggage.

What I bought at the airport

I always travel with a lip balm on me. My lips get dry really easily but I decided to take advantage of tax free shopping and a 20% off voucher and bought myself a lipstick, Gav treated me to this super little Chanel balm which is lovely and light!

I also bought us some new travel toothbrushes. I am being conscious of wasting plastics so tried this bamboo brush. We will see how I feel about this later!

That’s pretty much it!

My snowboarding backpack doesn’t hold too much so that was all I could comfortably fit in!

What do you put in your hand luggage?

Snowboarding Outfit planning and packing

Organising, Personal Experience, Planning, Travel

When I first went snowboarding I looked up what to wear!

I had no idea.

Gavin informed me of all the bits I needed for the trip and insisted it was better to buy better pieces. Well ten years on I still have my snowboarding coat. It has a few wears and it came in handy during the snow in Britain a few years ago. But other than a few patches it looks pretty perfect.

It’s a Betty Rides coat and I bought it in TK Maxx for £60. I didn’t even know if I would like it but I go back every year to the slopes sometimes twice!

This isn’t about necessities though that can be on another post. This is about what to pack when you are there!

So firstly if it is your first time on a snow trip then unless you are naturally gifted then you are going to fall over or tumble a lot. This means that you don’t want to pack in anything two restricting after you get off the slopes. I live in jeans I always have I find them so comfy but I won’t be taking my super skinny ones. Instead I will take ones that I can spend all day in and love it.

We are traveling with Ryan air which are a shit but cheapish airline. Normally I wouldn’t complain but the flight may be say 60 but then they charge x amount for hand luggage, x amount for a suitcase. I would rather fly with B & A or virgin but sadly they don’t fly there.

Don’t get me started on flying from Stansted either.

So I always have a travel outfit. To save space I travel in my boarding coat as this would take up so much of my suitcase.

I have a favourite Harry Potter tee that I always travel in and my roomy jeans.

No heels

Let’s talk about shoes. Ladies I promise you don’t need heels. No man cares about your shoes especially when there is snow or worse ice outside. So base you outfits around cute boots and walking shoes! Moon boots are adorable and you can make them work. You can wear trainers if it’s warmer weather!

Ski holidays are often about fun so don’t be afraid to add pops of colour and clashing items. When I first went everything was neutral. Now I love bright turquoise accessories.

Another thing you need to bear in mind is layers. When it’s cold in Britain we know we don’t cope that well. But ski towns are built for the cold. I have never been cold on a ski trip. Maybe on the mountain or a chairlift but never in the town. All the restaurants and bars are lovely and warm so layering is key.

The restaurants hotels hostels are all warm. You don’t need your thickest jumpers. Just think about how hot you get when you travel. Coat jumper tee: perfect layers. It is better to layer up then. A few thin jumpers will see you through.

Night life going out out

We aren’t really clubby people but when we are on holiday we sometimes will spend the night dancing away! Now you can dress up if you like but the majority of people will be in cute tees and hoody’s.

We come for the powder not for fashion.

No club or bar is going to turn you away because you are wearing snow boots jeans and a tee! It’s cold they understand.

It’s all about comfort! You are going to see a lot of big brands like Montclere, Canada Goose. These brands are super duper expensive but they are all about comfort and keeping you warm!

So what to pack!

Start with a list.

Try to build outfits rather than individual items. I find writing a list makes it easier to not over pack and to really think about what you want.

I do love packing cubes they make everything so much easier!

When it comes to boarding gear a list is essential so you don’t miss anything off. This also doubles as Gavs list so he can use most of it!

I think both of us has two tees we didn’t use so that isn’t too bad!

Organising is key to stress free packing.

So write a list.

Plan your outfits.

And enjoy!!

Setting Goals: Happy new year

Advice, Organising, Personal Experience, Planning, Travel, Wedding, Wedding Budget, weight loss

I am not a fan on overpriced New Year’s Eve parties. I feel they are a waste of money and energy! You can enjoy the same evening on a normal Saturday night out!But I don’t mind a house party or a  nice meal with friends. I have had some great New Years.

Two Hogmanay’s in Edinburgh

A pie fight at a Bugsy Malone party

A meal with friends and cocktails

And then one New Year’s Eve where we had a bottle of champagne and played computer games all night.

Other than that, can’t say I have had many great ones. Like Christmas I think that it is all about family. About sharing a kiss with your loved one, Jools Holland on the tv and a big smile on your face.

Also I love my bed! If I can spend New Year in my bed with food and booze and fur babies then I am a happy girl. Sadly, my other half is very outgoing so we take it in turns.

One new year my choice, one his.

Generally, it’s like most things, a big pressure to do something to talk about. I have never been a fan of any of that. I hope I have never been or never will be, a show off. Although rooftop parties in New York look amazing I would love to experience that, I am not someone who feels left out if I choose not to go.

New Years is just a big rip off

Tickets to your local pub! Drinks doubled in price, Leery men hoping to scoop up the single girls at the end of the night. (This was my late teens clubbing in Camberley and Fleet).

This year I get 4 glorious days off.

Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday…. Pure heaven.

I can’t wait. We have some tidying to do which Mrs Hinch and her Minky have prepared me for. Some wedding planning (although that may be on hold till after the break.

But a break nether the less!

Exploring and Travel

I also am not the biggest fan of setting New year’s resolutions. except this year we actually have a goal to work towards… the wedding. Planning this year is key and we are so excited. My brother called me asking me to join him and dad on a road trip to our house in France. We are taking a van and picking up some bits before Mum sells the house. This also means that we can buy some French bits for the wedding which I am so excited about. Gav may kill me.

 

Travel Plans this year:

  • Bulgaria
  • Road trip to Jarnac
  • Madrid
  • Munich

My Goals

Well I have been good at maintaining my weight but I haven’t lost any more so I still have a stone to lose and when my ankle heals, I am going to start running again. Get my whole body toned and back into shape.

Skin care

Well I have already started this journey so it is time to get back into the habits and truly look after my skin. This means from the inside out so I will be drinking plenty of water and eating lots of fruit and its bye, bye to chocolate as this makes me break out. I just need a new serum (praying Elizabeth Arden goes in the sale)

I still need to find a beautician and book my bridesmaids there’s. I am leaving up to them if they want it done. Hair and makeup.

Hair

Well I got all my grey hairs coloured and covered and Gav wasn’t impressed with my blond skunk streaks as they are fairly bold. Now I am thinking of going a bit warmer and red. Not Bright Aerial red just a dark Auburn which is closer to my natural colour. I am growing it as long as it wants to grow and thinking of having it half up and down.

Still need to book a hairdresser for the wedding which is super stressful as I have never ever found someone who is good with curls. I get hairdressers who cut my hair really well but I leave with my hair frizzy and fly away.

Saving

No one likes to talk about money but weddings are expensive and we all know that. I am saving money on flowers, ceremony and booze but our venue is ridiculously  expensive.And its our dream to get married there. It will be totally worth it.  I have less then half my time and less then half the budget to save for. I have been working really hard to scrimp and save. Turning down nights out because of fares and expenses without neglecting my friends too much. Working overtime and extra Saturdays are making a difference to my saving now.

Makes: Getting Crafty

I have a lot of things to make. Napkins to dye, table clothes to hem. Photobooths to build and paint, and invites to cut up. The list is pretty impressive. We have a lot of details to finalise. And in a few months’ time I have to book the civil wedding.

I am hoping to make the majority of items before June so that I can fix any issues if any arrive. And not get too bogged down by it all.

Writing that list makes me a wee bit sick.

We are getting married in 8 months

8

Ocho

Cannot believe it and I cannot wait.

I almost wish I had another year to plan and make.

But I don’t.

Time apart

Advice, Personal Experience, Travel

Me and Gav often holiday apart from each other. We always have done. Time apart can be great, it can make you appreciate each other.

Sometimes it sucks!

We are two very independent people. We have our own friends who we will see in as a couple or individually. His friends are my friends but we have no issues not being together 24-7.

Les Deuce Alps…… and I am in England!

We holiday separately not because we don’t want each other there with us but sometimes we can’t holiday together. This summer I spent 3 weeks with my family in The Seychelles and France. I missed gav but I had my family so I was just home.

Soppy cow

But now he is away and I am home alone with the fur babies and I am not enjoying being home alone.

I am still going out!

The Blues Kitchen Shoreditch with my Uni Friends

Still seeing my friends but I have to be home for the puppy! so my time is limited. Frank has to come first because he doesn’t have anyone else looking after him but me.

I am cleaning the house top to bottom and keeping busy. Because it needs it and to keep me busy and stop me missing him.

Us

Me and Gav aren’t romantic at all, but now he is messaging me 10 times a day! Normally it would be once. It doesn’t help that he is snowboarding with out me! But he is also on holiday with my best friend!

He deserved a break he has been working hard and it has been a stressful year for him. I know how much he loves a winter holiday. When we first started dating Gav took me snowboarding. As I am a slow learner gav planned a holiday together and then one he can snowboard at his level. He loves it and so do I!!

So I am happy he is there.

It is also making me appreciate how much I miss the little things he does for me. Lazy smiles, taking a bite out of his toast every day our morning chats!

Everything!

The silver lining is I have written some of my vows, my house is starting to get clean and tidy! I don’t feel very Christmasy in my home as the tree is still not decorated.

But time apart can be a good thing it’s just I don’t want to be apart from him right now!

Bulgaria travel: Snowboarding plans for next year

Planning, Travel, Wedding Budget

With all the wedding planning and budgeting, I didn’t think I could squeeze in a ski trip this year. It’s our 10 year anniversary so Gavin is treating me to a week snowboarding in Bulgaria.

I have never been to Bulgaria.

I can’t wait.

Planning the Snow Trip

When our snowboarding group started to talk about where we wanted to go I knew that the Alps were far out of my budget. I turned down the holiday and then they started looking further afield. I am not a great snowboarder but I have been doing it for long enough that I am confident on most slopes and situations. Unless we are talking about a sheet of ice I can pretty much tackle any slope. Just really really slowly.

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Photo by Borislav Krustev on Pexels.com

Bulgaria is cheap, super cheap. We are talking half the price of the French Alps in a hotel as well. We normally rough it in a french Hostel and so far I haven’t missed any luxuries. After 10 years of UCPA’s  its a hotel for us this time. The price tag is also great!

We are planning on renting a Chalet at some stage as most of us have our own equipment. We had a chalet in Samoens 4 years ago and it was so beautiful. I still have the same jacket I bought at the start of my Snowboarding life. I invested in a good coat and its only now that there is a bit of wear and tear in it. I also have amazing armour after I broke my wrist on the flattest slope on Samoens!

Borovets Ski Resort

The Apres ski is supposed to be amazing which I didn’t expect. The town has enough entertainment for us with restaurants and bars. The actual slopes are supposed to be great nothing too challenging so I will hopefully get a few more red slops under my belt. the only downside it the chairlifts as that is what they mostly are. My favourite thing to do each holiday is to board from the top of the mountain to the bottom. Then I reward myself with a nice vine chaud or Peche beer.

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I will pay for lessons for the first day to act as a warm-up plus it will just be me and my cousin in the glass. we will have some constructive tuition and then join the others on the rest of the holiday.

We are spending our evenings planning routes and looking on tripadvisor for restaurant recommendations. We like to slip out one night and just spend the evening alone. I really looking forward to not spending 40 euros on 4 bottles of beer! The pricing all over Borovets seems amazing value for money.

Living in London means I am used to spending £4-5 on a beer and £10 on a gin and tonic. With wedding planning and budgets I have been limiting my nights out but I still budget for a few.

Otherwise, what’s the point.

I am looking forward to dressing in cosy knits and sampling the sumptuous Bulgarian cuisine. I have already my guidebook as I like to be informed.

If you have been to Borovets Ski resort and have any advice let me know!

France, Mum, Food and Wedding Talk

Flowers, Personal Experience, Planning, Travel, Wedding

My mum is my biggest cheerleader. She is impressed by pretty much everything I do which is great and much needed when you are feeling blue. France is one of my homes, her home. An army brat learns to make a home where ever they can!

This little blog is just about me and my mum, France, food and a bit of wedding talk. Hope you enjoy!

Lazy me

When I get to Jarnac I turn into loungy French me. I swan around the house drinking Kronenburg, nibbling of french bread and Port Salut. I am happy as Larry coming back home to France.

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We normally don’t stray to far from Jarnac as my breaks to see my mum are all about relaxation and family not travelling frantically about. We normally end up on the veranda, have big life talks or curled up at night on the sofa chatting nonsense.

Until my parents moved to France I didn’t think of it as a holiday destination which is crazy. I think for couples France is so romantic, chateaus, champagne and amazing food. France doesn’t have to cost a fortune and from Britain it is just a short flight.

Most people tend to go straight to Paris, the French Alps or the south of France and they miss out on all the beautiful cities and towns in between. If you want a relaxing, meandering, brocante filled long weekend then visit France.

I spent a long time on the lawn sipping passion fruit gin and tonics going through my mums floristry books. It so peaceful and beautiful.

All the weight gaining alcohol

This trip was a lovely lazy trip. We went to a vineyard and picked up Cognac Champagne which if you are ever in the area you must try. It is delicious and very rare even in the area. I bought all their stock they had left which was two bottles!

Yum.

My mother is kindly supplying our toasting Champagne from a local vineyard and we cant wait. It is light and not bitter at all, we had it at my brothers wedding in proper champagne glasses ( which I wont be having: tiniest gripe).

All the yummy food

Mum has been learning more french recipes and Eggs Mimosa  is definitely my new favourite. This was one of the best lunches of all time, light and refreshing and enough left overs that I could have it for tea the next day.

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We went to a few restaurants and had amazing steak at both! our aperitif was a lovely Cognac Schweppes.

Although my mum is a wee bit stressed about making my bouquet everything else she is really relaxed about. She cant wait. We had a slightly stressful conversation about the legal part of our ceremony which I am still annoyed about. Annoyed that I have a legal ceremony not the fact that she was talking about it.

It has kind of grown from two people to immediate family but hey, thats okay. It just means our super fancy meal at the Holborn Dining rooms will be at a great affordable London Pub instead.

My sister referenced Kate Winslet’s wedding and I said yes, just like that! Well we all know I love Marianne in Sense and Sensibility!

We also talked about Videographer’s and prices and my brother suggested that I stop focusing on creating these magical Youtube moments and just pay someone to capture the whole day. I think he was right and me and Gav discussed it and we are now just looking for someone to capture our day.

Nothing Fancy

Just withing our budget.

And that’s what I need to focus on. Not creating a stupid Pinterest wedding I need to create a beautiful wedding for me and Gav. A moment in time when our friends and family can drink and be merry.

That’s what we are focusing on, oh and our budget.

At this moment in time I would like to be under our budget not over it!

when I left France and my mum is was so hard. I had to say goodbye to so many of my family in such a short time. My mum is coming over to help with the invites and wedding planning but that’s not till the new year.

Till then it will just be Skype!

Bon voyage mon ami!