Hakone, I wish I stayed a wee bit longer

Honeymoon, Personal Experience, Travel

So lots of Japanese people head to Hakone for the Onsens. Being tourists we wanted to see Mount Fuji, take a trip in the pirate ship, eat volcano cooked eggs and take the ropeways. Which is fine but we didn’t really get out to the restaurant and walk anywhere but the touristy areas. And there really isn’t anything wrong with that but if we had had more time we would have loved to explore more.

We left Tokyo at about 11 and got on the bullet train to Hakone. We packed a bento lunch and watched Japan whiz by. It was easy. We had booked our seats E and D so that we could see Mount Fuji the whole way. Japanese travel efficiently is something all countries should aim to achieve.

When we arrived we booked a Hakone 1-2 day pass and it was worth it. There had been a landslide so the little train was out of action so instead we hopped on the bus for 40 minutes. Dropped off our rucksacks and headed straight for the rope way.

Mount Fuji

This area of Japan is so serene with all the trees, rivers streams trickling down the mountain. Clouds often cover the peak of Mount Fuji so rather than relaxing in our hotel we wanted to get straight up and see it, in case it was Hidden The next day. With clear skies above us we checked into our hotel and went straight our again.

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that gondolas are my absolute favourite thing even though I am scared of heights I don’t mind being in one. And because tourist levels were super low we got a gondola to ourselves. We rode it to the top and entered what can only be described as the dragons den.



The Dragons Den

Now it says that if you have asthma then you shouldn’t go up here. Gavin said he was fine and wanted to go so we went up anyway and he didn’t suffer at all. I am not saying people should go up if they do have asthma but you guys know your levels. The conditions on the day we went up were lovely so I think that helped.

This place was magical they said that a few years ago an earthquake opened up small fissures adding to this dramatic sulphuric smoke. I took so many photos I was completely in love with nature’s drama. There was still a lot of trees plants and birds around which felt slightly out of place. I want to do a bit more research on this place.

We walked around for a bit then headed to the gift shop. The museum was closed but everything else was open. So in Hakone they have magical eggs that are cooked in the volcanic water boiled for 60minutes and they turn black. Now legend has it that for every egg you eat you live an extra 7 years.

They come in bags of 5 so I ate two and Gav ate 3. We also had a curry pan and a beer so we were pretty full. They are just normal boiled eggs they don’t smell or taste any different. But 7 extra years guys! I had to try.

So we went all the way over then back again, which felt right as this is definitely Hobbit country and Smaug is definitely hiding beneath this mountain.

Prince Eric’s boat

We wanted to catch the last pirate ship of the night. Accross the lake, I thought it would be amazing to watch the sunset whilst we were on the ship however I forgot that the mountains would block out the light so it was really pretty but no sky drama. It looked like the boat at the start of the Little Mermaid. This boat is purely for tourists and it’s all for show. The journey was cold and pretty and we stayed outside drinking instant coffee and had a good old laugh.

At the end of this we hopped on a bus back to our hotel where are rooms where ready and dinner was served in just 15minutes so we ran upstairs to change into our traditional robes yukata.

Even though we had only spent a few hours travelling we were both tired so even though the food was great I didn’t have much of an appetite. I will pop the hotel food in its own blog just because it was exceptional.

Dinner and Onsen

The restaurant was full and we were the only tourists there which makes a nice change. We ate our amazing meal and then jumped in the Onsen. ( we didn’t jump in we had to do all the bits first!) I had the whole place to myself so we could really enjoy it.

It was nice to have an early night. We had breakfast which was a epic feast that I am still dreaming about another Onsen at it was our last one for a while and then thought we would do a bit more sight seeing.

We visited the Hakone open air museum which was lovely but modern art isn’t really my favourite. We did enjoy all the Henry Moore’s as well as the actual grounds were impressive. The Picasso wasn’t my favourite but we were lucky because it was fairly empty and we got to wander around at our own pace.

Outrage favourite bit was actually the foot Onsen which was beautiful and we were the only ones in it so we took our time and just took in the park. There we a few your cherry trees blossoming but not incredible pictures yet!

We divided to visit Hakone town have a wonder round the shops eat amazing cheesecake and mocha from ancient store holders. We wish we could have stayed a bit longer but Hiroshima was calling us.

We then took two bullet trains to Hiroshima.

Even though we spent the night there we really didn’t get the chance to explore this wonderful place. So when we return we already know that we will book two nights minimum here and spend some actual time visiting bits of the Hakone deserves a bit more time and effort.

First day in Tokyo… an early start

Personal Experience, Travel

When we arrived at Tokyo it was 6am and we were understandably tired. Our hotel would not let us check in Till 3, so we had some time to kill. Our hotel was in Shinjuku and we decided to head there and just have a walk around and take in the sights. Our luggage was forwarded to our hotel so we didn’t have to lug them around.

We decided to get off at Harujuku. We knew full well that not much would be open at they time but it would be nice to see bit. I was in my snowboarding coat and it was 17 degrees so we searched a few shops for something I could change into. In the end gGav gave me his shirt and I wore it like a dress.

We found a little coffee shop and ordered an egg sandwich. The shop had a hatch so we ordered from there and the door to the right looked into it. The cutest Dalmatian puppy stood at the door and we were invited in. The cafe was also a dog groomers. So we had puppies running round our feet. It was wonderful.

Sandwich was delicious too

If you want an excellent cup of coffee I would definitely recommend this place. Whyte Sandwiches. It was a tiny place but was super clean and they were all about sustainability and looking after the planet. We chilled here playing with the dogs and setting up our WiFi which was super easy.

Then after a bit of hunting for a dress I never bought, Harujuku started to get busier. We had seen the amazing candle floss here and even though it was early we thought that as we may not be back to Harujuku it was now or never. A little girl stood in the door way holding a candy floss that was half the size of her. The look of elation was exactly how I was about to feel when I got mine.

Every colour was a different flavour !

We wondered around a lot, the streets started filling up but it never got swamped. Then we headed back to our hotel. It was 13.30 and we just wanted to see if our room was ready. It was, thank god, because we were both exhausted. We decided not to fight our jetlag and set our alarms for 4 hours. We both passed out pretty fast.

Our room was small but immaculate and the view over Japan was insane.

When we woke up still feeling tired but more ourselves, we headed to the roof for an Onsen. Onsens are hot baths, shallow so you can’t swim but deep enough for your privacy. You can’t wear clothes and you have to wash before you go in. I will write a little blog on them when I get home.

I was so nervous about being naked infront of other women I ran to the shower cubicles and then ran to the Onsen. About 5 minutes later I realised there was an outside Onsen. It was cold and the water was hot.

This is the view from the other side

Din dins

We knew we wouldn’t have too much energy so we got ready and headed out. It was about 8pm by the time we left our hotel. We headed for memory lane or Piss Alley. We did get a wee bit lost and went down the wrong lane but we easily found the right one. We stopped at the first yakatori place on the left and had a grisly meatball and some tasty chicken all downed with Japanese beer.

Which is so good.

Then we went to another yakitori place had more beer with more meat. I read somewhere that if in doubt head to the Albatross bar so we went there for a few cocktails. A nice old fashioned followed by a spicy gin. It was really cool in there and we will probably is it again.

Then it was about half ten! Where does the time go we started heading home and Gav saw a sign for gyoza so we went to the second floor of a building and had last ordered with two sides of gyoza. You had to order through an iPad and it was all Japanese so we ordered 3 beers by mistake!

We drank them and ate up and by the time we arrived at our hotel it was almost 12.

So we hit the hay.

It was a lot to do on our first day but the Onsen really helped us relax as well as the 4 hour nap. When we woke the next day we were a little tired but we haven’t suffered from jetlag.

My advice to you is sleep if you need it just not for too long and if you can get to an Onsen then have one. Book a private Onsen if you don’t like to share.

That was our first day in Japan and we loved it. Good food. Good drinks! A perfect way to start our honeymoon.

Minimal skincare packing for Japan

Beauty, Planning, skincare, Travel

I think you are going to be shocked by how little I am taking to Japan. It’s minimal. But not because I have changed my ways. I love skincare and I am still learning what my skin needs.

I just don’t need to take everything.

I am looking forward to buying and trying some Japanese skincare. I have watched a lot of YouTube. @gothamista strikes again and I have taken notes of all the skincare and a few makeup bits I should get. It will all go in my Japan travel journal which I am in the process of making.

Anyway back to skincare.

I am taking 5 products in total.

Cleanser

Toner

Moisturiser

SPF

Lip balm / everything cream

That’s it! It has to be I want to have room for all the bits I plan to buy and try when I am out there. I already know I can get most of them over here but it’s Japan and exciting, so I am allowed to go crazy.

Cleanser

So normally I would take my Elemis but I have been a bit blue this January and I haven’t eaten well nor have I exercised so my skin has suffered. To me I feel like Elemis is my luxury cleanser, yes I use it every night but I feel like it’s a treat for me where as my Omaravisca is still luxurious it just feels a bit lighter perfect for holiday. Easy to decanter.

Toner

I am actually going to decant this into my little atomiser. It’s the Elemis apricot toner and it’s nice and gentle on my skin. I have enough toners ( I think, so I don’t think I will be buying any more but we will see) we haven’t hit the shops yet!

Moisturiser

It’s back to Elemis again! I am taking a small amount of my day cream and I will use it for day and night. I will be buying moisturiser in Japan there are a few brands I would like to try DHC and Sheseido are at the top of my lists! Sometimes my skin likes rich creams sometimes it just likes an everyday moisturiser. Elemis doesn’t let me down but it’s nice to try new things.

SPF don’t leave the house without it

My La Roche Posay is coming with me everywhere, I will buy a body SPF if it calls for it. But I am going snowboarding and if it’s sunny or overcast my pale skin will need protection. This is a factor 30 which will be fine for my skin I will carry it with me and top up when needed.

Lip balm

Okay I am cheating here. It’s two products not one. This one is from my Lydia Elise Millen Cult Beauty Box. It’s the Lano everything cream. So I can use it for my eyes, moisturiser, hand cream. It’s only 85mls so I don’t even have to decant it! I will also have with me my lanolips lip balm which is the best lip balm ever. Again there is a few lip balms in Japan I would like to try, they have a lot of honey flavoured ones that will be finding there way into my handbag!

Minimalist skincare for me

So that’s it!

6 skincare products. I bought these little plastic containers from Primark for £1,50. Now I know plastic is bad for the environment but these will get reused again and a again. It’s all well and good skincare companies using glass bottles and jars but they are impossible to travel with. They way too much and you always worry they will smash! Foiled tubes are definitely the way forward as they can be recycled, don’t smash and are easy to transport.

I am being greener with my bamboo cotton buds which my husband bought! And my reusable cotton pads that I won in a competition I just need to buy some more!

I am going to write another post on what I plan to pick up in Japan and I can’t wait. Not long to go now.

Are you a minimal skincare packer?

Curating and Planning my Japanese wardrobe

Honeymoon, Organising, Planning, Travel, wardrobe

I am finding planning my Japanese wardrobe difficult. March means it may be cold and warm so I need to bear that in mind: we are also travelling a lot of the country so I needs to be minimum however it’s 3 weeks of clothes!!

Challenges

  • Weather changes
  • Snowboarding clothes
  • 3 weeks
  • Everything has to be comfortable
  • Limited space in the suitcases
  • We want room to bring things back!
  • Shoes need to be slip on or easy to remove

Most of this I already have but there are a few pieces I need to buy. I want my wardrobe to be mix and match

Weather Changes

We are going in March so the weather will cool and mild hopefully but as we are visiting the north and south we will be having all sorts of weather changes. Everything will need to be breathable and good for layering.

Snow boarding clothes

With the exception of my jacket which is pictured I didn’t put any of my kit in the picture. I am taking my goggles, knee pads and gloves as this is my basic amour. I will pack my new snowboarding snood as well because this doesn’t take up any room but it is tricky. I am still contemplating my trousers but I will have to see how small this all packs down. They will definitely deserve a packing cube of there own!

3 weeks

3 weeks is a good amount of time but at the moment I feel like I have a few too many pieces so I may have to edit this down even more. It’s about everything working together. We will be living out of our suitcases travelling the country. I have looked into laundry places and I think it will probably be a good idea to visit them at least once.

Comfort is king

I generally don’t wear uncomfortable clothes nothing is ever too tight but in Japan I need to make sure my clothes and especially shoes are super comfortable. We will be walking everywhere!

Gavin mentioned to me he will be buying new trainers ones that slip on so he can get out of them easier. This is smart thinking so I won’t be taking my knee high boots. My Chelsea boots and sandals will be fine although I will have to go bare foot when I wear them. I will have to have a pack of sockettes in my bag at all times.

I am also taking my gym gear. Incase I get up early and want to go for a run plus I can use them as a layer for snowboarding!

Chosen items

There is still a lot to consider but I have started washing and ironing my clothes and hanging them up on my rail to see if I need anything or better yet if I have anything I would rather take. I bought a pair of Marks and Spenser jeans and they fit so well I am going to buy another pair. My vests are a little bid grubby so I will be buying some basics and I think that’s me done!

I never wanted to spend a fortune on my wardrobe but a few nice pieces to spark it up. I will keep you informed if I buy anything else or add to it. Looking at this as a picture I know I can cut back and we have also looked at some of our hotels that have laundry service so we can invest in that and hand wash any items by taking some liquid detergent with us.

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!

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.

May Day British Beach trip avec pooch!

french bulldog, Personal Experience, Travel

So Easter, then Mayday equals a lot of extra days off. This May Day bank holiday I had my mum visit me from France! Yay.

Thought I might share a nice day at the British seaside with the pooch! He hates being left at home and we love taking him with us. I think it’s great that you can take a dog with you. London is pretty good for dog friendly places but where we are going is super dog friendly!

We decided to treat her to a day trip to Leigh-on-Sea a place that if I won the lottery I would move to in a heart beat. If you have never been to Leigh it’s so lovely. A traditional British fishing town where dogs are welcome in so many places!

We got the train up and arrived at Leigh-on-Sea just before 12pm. It was busy considering that the weather was grim. Dogs were everywhere. We walked passed the cockle sheds passing lots of walkers a few tourists and a lot of locals!

All the puppies

It isn’t a long journey but obviously a pint was in order! Also more frenchies and the most gorgeous British bulldog Hugo!

He was super friendly. He jumped straight up on the table and Frank, not to be out done, jumped up to!

Then we wandered up along the front and hadn’t walked more than 10 paces before we came across Sara’s Tea garden which is an amazing dog friendly cafe. Frank had his own menu and came away with his own homemade snacks! Pretty much every table had a dog underneath it.

Oh yes the human menu was pretty great too.

The great scone debate

We all had the scones and the Essex Tiptree jam. Jam first then clotted cream!

I really don’t understand how people put jam over cream it’s practically impossible!Tea was good. As a Brit we judge tea places quite harshly. If I say it’s a good cuppa it’s a good cuppa!

Then we had to walk off our scones! So we walked all the way up to Chalkwell. The houses along the sea front are the stuff of (lottery) dreams said the weather wasnt perfect but it was great for walking. Frank tried to give me a heart attack by almost jumping in the sea!

On-Sea Estuary

Technically it’s the estuary not the sea, but do I love it! Leigh-on-Sea has won awards for its beaches even though its not big. Dogs aren’t allowed on the beach which is a shame because Frank loves sand.

Just before the main beach there is a little bank between the buildings so we let Frank play with that stretch of sand whilst we waited!

Of course we walked all the way there and walk all the way back! It was a lovely walk and by the time we got back we were ready for a nice local pint at Ye Old Smack.

Plus I had some time for some planning! Lots of birthdays and appointments this month!

waiting for the train

We were happy. Eaten yummy scones, gorgeous ales, 15000 steps befriending lots of puppies.

We checked the train times. Still had time to snark in another drink!

This time something warm. Then home.

How was your bank holiday?