I’ve known my friend Erica since we met on our first ever Disney trip together back in 2009. We’ve always stayed in contact and, along with most of the original members of the Disney 7 (our group of mummy bloggers from way back who met on our very first Disney trip), chat pretty regularly. Erica lives in Edinburgh (where she runs the hugely successful Edinburgh food blog, Foodinburgh), so we don’t get to see each other that much. Every so often the opportunity comes up for us to take a trip together, and this time as we were both so busy, we wanted to choose a holiday where we could kick back and relax. We wanted lovely, chic surroundings for a few days of quiet contemplation and catching up, with a bit of light exploration thrown in. As you probably know, I’m a bit in love with cruising: I love the glamour, the gorgeous surroundings, the delicious food, cocktails on the deck and waking up in a new port with all the fresh possibilities of exploring a new destination, so we chose a Greek islands trip from Malta on board P&O Oceana – a beautiful not-too-big, not-too-small ship, with a bit of old-world glamour thrown in. And although you might not immediately think of taking a cruise with friends as a grown up holiday option, we absolutely loved it. Here’s why we think cruising with friends is fabulous:
You don’t have to be ‘scared of flying’ to be a nervous traveller. There are all sorts of different reasons why you might not particularly like flying: it might be a dislike of large crowds or being squished into places with lots of strangers (this is mine), meeting new people, the feeling of being trapped in an enclosed space, food allergies or preferences that can be difficult to manage when you’re away from home… it all adds up to feeling like you’re not in control of your own destiny, and that can feel unpleasant and make anyone feel anxious. I don’t actually mind flying at all – for me, it’s an opportunity to sit back, chill out, watch a film or two, read a big pile of magazines and not look at my phone for a few hours, but I do know that travelling can be a whole lot easier if you have a few simple techniques up your sleeve. Here are my top tips for nervous flyers:
We all know that feeling, right? After a gorgeous holiday, the last day is such a massive come-down: you’ve got to be out of your room by midday but your flight doesn’t leave until the evening, you don’t want to get sandy and have nowhere to shower, so your last day is spent miserably killing time, sweating in your travel clothes, before heading home. While I was in beautiful Barbados, though, Virgin announced a brand new concept that’s going to change all that, and I think you’re going to love it. Step forward The Departure Beach from Virgin.
If you’ve been following me on my social media channels over the last week, you’ll know that I’ve got a secret to share: an island so rich in history, so naturally lush and beautiful, so authentically old Floridian that everyone should visit. Situated just off the coast of the north eastern edge of Florida near the border with Georgia, what this quirky little barrier island lacks in size, it makes up for in character; with a chequered history and a beauty that will steal your heart. Say hello to Amelia Island.
My very first holiday as an adult, away from my family for the first time ever, was in Mallorja (or Majorca). My friend Clare and I went to Palma Nova. We chose it because it was it was supposed to be a bit quieter than its slightly noisy neighbour, Magaluf, and we had the most wonderful week of sunbathing, cocktails and lazing on the beautiful beach. One thing we didn’t do, though, was explore much, which is one of the reasons why Mallorca continues to rate quite highly on my holiday bucket list and why I was delighted with Booking Mallorca asked me to pick a few faves from their selection of lovely villas and apartments.
So after our 24 magical hours in Walt Disney World and boarding the gorgeous Disney Dream in Port Canaveral, it’s time to tell you about our shore adventures in the final part of our photo diary. From Port Canaveral, we cruised south east to Nassau and then back north towards Disney Cruise Line’s private island, Castaway Cay. Here’s what we got up to:
So the start of this week was ‘blue Monday’ apparently – the most depressing day of the year. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see my post about how I keep happy, basically by always having something to look forward to. Yes, I know I go away a lot so this is quite easy, but often, and especially when I don’t have a trip planned, it can be something as simple as having a page in my notebook where I jot down ideas for our lovely new en-suite (when we can finally afford it), or planning a family night out, or a drink with a girlfriend pencilled in the diary. As long as there’s something lovely to look forward to, or something that needs planning, I’m a happy girl.
Every year when it’s coming up to Christmas, we have the same old conversation about whether we’d go away and spend it somewhere else. We’re generally divided. The boys aren’t so keen, but I’d love to spend Christmas somewhere cool (sometimes we just need to break out and do something a bit different). Here’s my pick of five AMAZING destinations I’d love to visit over the festive period. So, pack your bags, book your flight cheaper with Hotels.com deals, and give your family something unique this Christmas – the whole wide world!
If you’re heading off on a winter holiday (lucky you!), it can often be difficult to track down everything you need. Bizarrely, swimwear only seems to be in the shops around May and then if you don’t grab the nice stuff it’s all gone again by summer, so if you’re going in November you’ve got no chance! Happily, the interwebs are here to soothe your woes, and if you hunt around you can get a bargain too!
So last time, I told you all about our hotel, the lovely Sea Breeze Beach Hotel in Oistins, and recommended a few fun things to see and do while you’re there.
Another thing we really wanted to do while in Barbados was explore the rest of the island away from Christchurch, where we were based. Barbados covers about 166 square miles and one of the best (and most fun) ways to do see it is to jump on a jeep and experience an island safari. Here’s how we got on!
I wonder if it’s just me, or if all mums of older teenagers approach every family holiday opportunity with a bit of a heavy heart, thinking: ‘this could be the last one EVER’? I mean, frankly, it’s ridiculous, because, as a friend in a similar situation rightly told me recently, ‘it doesn’t matter how old they get, they’ll always be up for a free holiday’. Especially one as heavenly as this one.
I love this. I don’t usually share this type of thing, but I think it’s SO interesting (I’m really nosy). It’s a huge list of celebrity holiday homes that us mere mortals can actually stay in! Read more
So, Grandad English has a biiiiig birthday coming up. I won’t mention it otherwise I might get one of his customary ALL IN CAPITALS emails (he’s a regular reader). Thoughts have naturally turned to an epic pressie to celebrate the big day – maybe a joint one between us all. And of course, being me, the first thing I thought of was that old thing about life experiences and not things – snapshots, not stuff.
If you’re planning a family holiday this year, you can’t go very far wrong with the Canary Islands. The climate is beautiful year-round, and around this little archipelago just off the south west coast of Morocco, there’s a holiday, and a hotel, to suit you. Whether you’re looking for peace and quiet, or for a bustling party destination, there really is something for everyone. Here are my top five Canary Island experiences:
So if you pop in occasionally, you’ll know that Mr English and I recently spent a while in Florida, visiting the Macy’s stores in both Orlando and Sarasota. We particularly loved Sarasota – it’s a beautiful area and there’s bags of stuff to do as well as a really cool foodie scene. We whittled our favourite experiences down to five really fab experiences:
There’s nowhere guaranteed to make me feel more Christmassy than a Disney park. Disney do Christmas so well, with twinkly lights, garlands and a 24m high Christmas tree (decorated with over 1000 decorations and 500 light bulbs) and, my favourite touch, snow fall on Main Street, USA (which always makes me cry). As an added bonus, this year, Disneyland Paris will be celebrating with the cast of their blockbuster movie, Frozen.
- Weekend wishlist: new season trends are landing! August 11, 2018
- Houses and scare zones at Halloween Horror Nights 2018 August 10, 2018
- Our tips for making the leap to university August 9, 2018
- Cruising with friends: our P&O Cruises Oceana adventure August 7, 2018
- Weekend wishlist: REN skincare deals and discount codes August 4, 2018