Miami South Beach…

I really enjoyed our stay in Miami, everything from the warm sunshine kissing our ghostly pale winter skin to the gorgeous pastel painted Art Deco buildings lining the streets. Miami was a real treat.

I feel like you can’t visit Miami without having a day at the beach. The beaches are just divine with powdery sand and ‘water so clear you can see to the bottom’ (thanks Will Smith). So on a sunny Sunday in February we hit up the infamous South Beach.

The atmosphere was great – everyone was out from families to girl gangs and people who looked like they were taking a break from a Men’s Health photo shoot. People were having picnics, playing music and generally just frolicking. I love a beach day and couldn’t wait to slip into my new Seafolly swimsuit, however, there wasn’t a changing facility in sight! So I landed up hiding behind a little shed with Phil holding a towel whilst I shimmied my starkers body into the new cozzie. I can assure you it wasn’t my finest moment, but completely worth it for a swim in that turquoise sea.

I must also mention that somehow I got fried despite wearing factor 50! Although luckily it turned to tan, which almost never happens. I’m not sure if the sun was extra strong that day or my winter skin so pale after a few months of cloud, either way I definitely returned home with a holiday glow!

I also introduced Phil and his Dad to Texas Roadhouse where we had amazing bread (seriously it’s so good), drank sangria and generally stuffed our faces whilst watching birthday go-ers mount a wooden horse. It was grand.

In the evening we went to a bar along the water which was a really nice end to a really nice day.

Have you visited South Beach?

L x

Arriving in Miami…

I had been looking forward to exploring Miami for months, dreaming of beautiful beaches, silky sunshine and bright blue skies. Miami always appeared as such a glamorous place and I couldn’t wait to see what it had to offer so after our trip to Orlando, we drove down south to Miami.

The drive took around four hours with a stop for lunch. It was pretty straight forward with no traffic. We checked into our hotel which was located along the waterfront and had gorgeous views which I was quite excited about!

We decided to go for a sunset stroll along the beach in the evening. It was so pretty with the pastel coloured lifeguard huts and sand dunes. There is was also a cat colony which was amazing, so many kitties!

There’s something really tranquil about being at the beach around sunset. The colour palette changes entirely and the crowds disperse. It makes me feel super chill!

Have you visited Miami?

L x

Visiting Volcano Bay for the first time and a trip to the mall…

One of my favourite things to do on holiday is shop. It’s funny because I don’t actually go shopping at home very often at all. Sometimes weeks would have passed without me popping into town for a nose at the shops. Online shopping is another matter, I’m rather partial to online shopping. Anyway, whilst on holiday, Phil and I love shopping. Sometimes things are cheaper abroad, but mostly it’s because you can find things that are a little bit different to back home. Anyway, when Stateside we adore a trip to the Mall and if there’s an outlet nearby then even better!

When Phil and I were last in Orlando, we found an outlet Mall just under 2 miles from Universal Studios. We visited a few times during the ten days that we were there and picked up some treats, so knew that we wanted to visit again on this occasion.

We had a great time, I picked up some gorgeous summer clothes from American Eagle as well as the dreamiest Kate Spade bag. I love Kate Spade and this quirky bag was such a bargain. I was super pleased!

After we had exhausted the Mall, we popped over to Volcano Bay at Universal. I had been desperate to go since it opened last summer and it did not disappoint!

I’m such a fan of the Disney waterparks and I had a good feeling about the Universal one as their parks are really well put together.

It’s a bit awkward to get to as you have to take their shuttle bus from Universal Studios. I found this a bit annoying to be honest and would have much rather driven there ourselves. We had to wait for a while on the way there as well as the way back. We also went out of peak season, so I imagine it’s worse in the summer.

The park itself is fantastic, really well themed with the iconic volcano in the centre of the action. There are so many rides and the rapids are the best that I have ever been on.

One big issue that I had with was the Tapu Tapu queue system. Originally I thought that it was fantastic, but if you visit the park after midday (like we did), a lot of the rides are already fully booked for the rest of the day. This kinda sucked as we didn’t get to go on as many as we liked. I would therefore recommend that you go early and tap in to any that you are set on riding.

After a busy day shopping and visiting Volcano Bay, we headed over to Disney Springs to try out the Star Wars Void experience. It was fantastic and we had so much fun. It was well thought out and immersive. I would definitely recommend it.

What are your favourite things to do in Orlando?

L x

Visiting Universal Studios, Florida…

Orlando is well known for being the theme park capital of the world. From the gigantic Disneyworld right through to Busch Gardens, there really is something for everyone. With so much to do and being completely spoilt for choice, it’s hard to formulate a plan to include it all. In the few times that we have visited Orlando, only once have we managed to squeeze in both Universal and Disneyworld. On this occasion, we only had time for Universal, which I wasn’t hating on because who doesn’t adore a trip to Universal Studios?!

I’ve only been to Universal in Hollywood and the one in Florida. Both have a completely different feel and whilst I like Hollywood’s take, I love Universal in Florida. I think that it’s because it is that much bigger, spread out and quite unique. Their entire Harry Potter sections are great and I love all of the HP themed rides. There are also more shows over in Florida and the Hulk rollercoaster which is a firm favourite with Phil.

I think what I love the most about Universal in Florida is the memories. How magical it was on our first visit years ago. Lounging in the sunshine shovelling chocolate flies into my mouth with my gal pal whilst waiting for the boys. Realising that The Mummy ride is different in Florida compared to Hollywood. The memories are definitely my favourite part.

We had such a nice time revisiting rides we have ridden many times and trying out new additions (we were all disappointed with the new Jimmy Fallon simulator). I like how detailed Universal Studios is as well as the variety on offer. Plus they have a Panda Express in the food court at City Walk, so I can end my day stuffing my face with my favourite fast food place Stateside.

It’s never a goodbye when leaving Universal, always a ‘see you soon’ and I can’t wait until we go again.

Have you visited Universal Studios?

L x

Hanging out with my uni pals in Boston…

Friendships are funny things. You just meet another human, often by way of chance, decide you like each other and then continue to meet. There’s no pressure or obligation to form a genuine friendship it either happens or it doesn’t. Sometimes you grow apart and sometimes you grow closer together. There’s a variety of friendships. School friends, friends of friends, work friends, mum friends, hobby friends, family friends… But the best part is that it’s more often than not, organic and genuine. Family are great, but ultimately you are kinda thrown together with an unwritten obligation to tolerate each other regardless of whether or not you actually like one another simply because you are ‘family’.

We all have different friends that cater for different needs. The friend you call in a crisis, the pal you meet up with and vent over dinner, the buddy who just makes life that little bit easier just by existing, the one who makes you laugh and the one who will always have your back. One of my favourite types of friendships are the ones that are timeless. The people who you can go months without talking to, years without seeing, but when you reunite it’s like no time has passed. The ones who are open and pure without boundaries. This type of friendship is the type that I’m lucky enough to share with my uni pals.

Logistically, it’s very tricky for us to meet up as we all live on different continents and lead completely different lives. But throw us together and we chat for hours, share similar views and have our own humour. It’s great. I love how openly we talk and that we trust each other implicitly. My gal pals are such warm, welcoming people and I love, love, love it when we can catch up.

The two days that I was in Boston, we ate lots of food, shopped and chatted pretty much the whole time and it was blimmin’ brilliant. I got to explore the city a little, but I wasn’t really bothered about getting under Boston’s skin. I just wanted to enjoy the time with my friends because it’s such a rarity for the three of us.

I’m so glad that we managed to meet up properly and I can’t wait until we can do it all again.

Do you have any long distance friendships?

L x

Travelling alone for the first time and visiting Boston…

Just before Christmas I received a lovely letter from one of my uni pals suggesting that we have a reunion with another friend of ours who lives in Boston. The three of us were super close during our time at university and despite each of us living on a different continent, we’ve managed to stay in touch. I last saw Cindy in January 2017 whilst we were visiting Hong Kong, and the last time we were all together was at my wedding in the summer of 2015.

Anyway, it worked out that the three of us would be Stateside at the same time (during our trip to Florida), so it made sense for me to leave the boys down south and hop on a flight to see my buddies for a couple of days.

I had never flown alone before simply because the occasion hadn’t arisen. I always go on holiday with Phil and as we met so young, I had only been on holiday with family beforehand.

I wasn’t nervous or worried about flying alone, I love travelling and am used to the flight experience. I thought that it might feel weird, but it was absolutely fine. I was sat with a nice lady who lived in Fort Lauderdale and was also travelling to see friends. I had a little nap, read an issue of Vogue and before I knew it, I was in Boston.

As we descended into Boston, the pilot announced that the temperature was 26. I thought it was odd that it appeared to be as warm as southern Florida before realising he had meant 26 Fahrenheit. It was actually minus 3. It’s so crazy to think that just a three hour flight can take you somewhere so different.

Luckily for me, my kind friend Heidi met me at the airport with her super cute little boy Jasper. We went shopping and ate lots of food with her husband Ian and then returned to the airport to meet Cindy.

It was so lovely to be reunited and we immediately went to a dessert lounge in Quincy for a catch up before turning in at Heidi’s for the night.

Have you travelled alone before?

L x

The Everglades, Keys and Fort Lauderdale…

Of all the times that we have travelled to Florida, we have never quite managed to make it to the Everglades or The Keys. We always seem to become swept up in the lights of Orlando and the beaches in North Florida. I think that there’s just so much to do and explore that we always seem to run out of time. Anyway, on this occasion, we decided to fly to Miami and explore the southern part of the sunshine state.

Our first stop was The Everglades, a gorgeous national park oozing with wildlife and greenery. We went on an airboat tour from The Everglades Holiday Park . The airboat was super fun and our host very knowledgeable. I loved feeling the wind in my hair and looking out for gators. Luckily we managed to spot quite a few on our trip. They are such majestic creatures and I feel like I learnt a lot about them from our trip. The only downside to the airboat tour was the part at the end where you have the option to hold a baby gator. It had its mouth tied shut and I just felt like it was completely unnecessary. Nobody needs to hold an alligator and the poor little thing must have felt terribly vulnerable. That being said, I would still highly recommend the boat tour and I think that overall they have good intentions with the wildlife.

Next stop was a trip to Key Largo. I had heard how dreamy the Keys are, but I didn’t imagine that they would be quite so lush. I immediately fell in love with the chilled atmosphere, crystal clear sea and how genuinely beautiful they are. The sea was warm and inviting. Possibly the clearest sea I have ever seen and still as a Polaroid. I could see fish everywhere and it was just so, so lovely. We found a little hidden beach tucked away behind some (also dreamy) houses and just existed there for a while. The winter has felt terribly long (and appears to be never ending – snow over Easter, say what?!), it was so, so nice to soak up the sun and feel it on my skin. I loved walking around in flip flops and a sundress. The temperatures were 27/28 degrees every day and it was absolutely divine. What a treat.

Continuing our beach theme, we headed over to Fort Lauderdale for a sunset stroll on the beach followed by dinner at a restaurant with live music that kisses the coastline. We also had a look around the shops. Fort Lauderdale is quite lively in the evenings, so I would definitely recommend a visit.

Have you visited Southern Florida?

L x

Welcome to Miami…

I have wanted to travel to Miami since Will Smith blasted onto the scenes in the 90’s with his aptly named track. The connotations of sun, sea, sand, warmth and fun called my name and I knew that one day I had to go. When booking our annual air miles trip for this year, I was originally looking to fly to Orlando for theme park fun (I’ve been desperate to go again since Volcano Bay opened at Universal). There wasn’t any availability for Orlando on the dates that we needed, but there was availability for Miami – result!

Flash forward a few months and I’ve found myself back in the sunshine state. We’ve got a few things planned whilst we are here but I’m mostly looking forward to enjoying some time soaking up the sunshine. It’s been so terribly grey over winter and I had forgotten what temperatures above ten degrees felt like. It’s dreamy.

Anyway, I can’t wait to explore and share!

Have you travelled to Miami?

L x

A look back at 2017 and to 2018…

I know it’s a terrible cliche, but the end of a year just draws out a reflective side of me and so I thought that I would take a look back over what memories 2017 created.

January

January was a big month for me as I turned thirty. I decided to spend my actual birthday in Hong Kong at Disneyland because why not?

I had a really great day up until the evening when I vomited the most I have in my entire life. It was legit awful. I basically didn’t eat for the rest of our trip which is a shame because Chinese food is my favourite.

When we returned I had a Hawaiian themed party at Moor Park Mansion. It was so, so fun and literally everybody dressed up in Hawaiian shirts, flip flops (two of my buddies were a pair!) and leis absolutely everywhere. It was so colourful and brightened up the dull days that January brings.

My amazing cake was from Bluebell Bakes, which is where I get all of my cakes from. They are delish!

February

In February, we had the best trip to LA with our buddies. We had so, so much fun. We went to Disneyland (again), Knott’s Berry Farm, Malibu, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Long Beach… oh it was brilliant. We were blessed with good weather which really lifted us from the depths of grey winter back home. Kate and I went whale watching and saw four grey whales!!! It was incredible.

March

March was a bit of a quiet month for us, but we enjoyed walks with Holly and I got a new passport which I was quite excited about!

April

In April we headed over to Amsterdam over the Easter break. We fell in love with the city and had a great time doing all of the touristy things.

When we returned, we had a meal to celebrate Phil’s birthday and I surprised him with another awesome cake from Bluebell Bakes. It was a League of Legends themed cake. He loved it!

May

In May we enjoyed celebrating friends and family birthdays and walks in Marlow. We also had our annual Eurovision bbq party, but I didn’t take any photos!

June

In June, I ordered a really amazing outdoor dining set which I was super excited about and we took Phil’s Dad over to Brussels for Father’s Day weekend. We went on the Eurostar for the first time too. It was great!

July

July was a mammoth month with so much going on. My bestie turned thirty, so we went out to celebrate.

My gorgeous friends Sarah and Matt had an engagement party and I was asked to be Sarah’s bridesmaid!

We had a hen party for my lovely friend Kimberley and then we headed back over to LA for more whale watching (humpbacks this time!), Taking Back Sunday and Disneyland (again).

August

We spent most of August stateside which was incredible. We went to San Diego for the first time and it took my breath away. What a spectacular place!

We also went to Vegas and flew to the Grand Canyon. It was just as beautiful as when we visited on our honeymoon. I saw Britney for the last time (sob) and we saw Ed Sheeran at the Staples Center. It was a great trip.

We also squeezed in a British beach trip with our furball Holly.

September

September gave us the wedding of our two friends Kimberley and Simon. They got married at a gorgeous venue in the Cotswolds and it was such a pretty day.

October

In October we mostly focused on the house and our renovations. We had the whole of upstairs replastered and ordered new stuff. It was all very exciting.

November

In November we visited Waddesdon Manor and Warwick Castle.

Our new fur baby Ivy moved in!

December

In December we celebrated Christmas with friends, got to know Ivy a little more and headed off to Budapest before seeing in the New Year with our buddies.

2018…

This year I’m looking forward to having a pyjama party for my birthday (mostly so I don’t have to bother getting dressed).

We are also heading off to Barcelona, Center Parcs and Miami. I’m looking forward to planning more adventures, finally finishing off renovating the inside of the house and celebrating Phil’s thirtieth birthday. We’ve also got our friends wedding at the end of the year so I can tell that it’s going to be a good one!

What are you looking forward to this year?

L x

Venice Beach and Santa Monica…

When we visited LA in February this year, we decided to stay in Marina Del Rey so that we could explore Venice Beach and Santa Monica easily. We absolutely loved all three places along the beach and I knew that I categorically wanted to visit again when we were on the West Coast in the summer. Flash forward six months and Phil and I found ourselves in the exact spot that we spent Valentine’s Day at, eating cheesecake and taking in those gorgeous Marina views. What a treat!

The area is currently undergoing development and we were surprised to see just how far it had come in those six months. It’s such a lovely area with lots of outdoors activities going on – including paddle board yoga!!! Defo giving that one a go next time although I’m almost certain I’ll end up in the water.

When people ask me if I enjoy cycling, I reply with ‘only in LA’, which whilst I’m aware it sounds a bit ridiculous, it’s true! I just love cycling along the beach on the concrete paths adorned with skaters, Segways and fun. It’s just so effortless with gorgeous views of the sea. 

I like to cycle from Venice Beach to Santa Monica pier, it’s not far at all and really enjoyable. Sometimes we make a couple of stops, for example on this occasion we stopped at Muscle Beach to have a nose (which resulted in a detour to Gold’s Gym after Phil saw someone wearing a hat that he liked!!).

P Diddy was super reluctant to go cycling, we almost literally had to drag him onto the bike and move his legs for him at first, but after a few minutes he loved it and was even singing whilst he cycled! We had to prize him off once we had finished.

On this occasion, Phil and I shared a tandem because we haven’t done that before and we thought that it would be fun. It was great! I sat on the back whilst Phil did all of the hard work. I would highly recommend it!

Once we reached Santa Monica, we hung out for a while on the beach enjoying the sumptuous sunshine that SoCal offers. I really, really love LA and the lifestyle.

On our cycle back, Phil spotted a pair of sunglasses that he’d been after for over a year on a stall (it was a good day for Phil), so we stopped in Venice Beach for a little shop. I love the atmosphere in Venice, so fun and colourful. No doubt without hidden dark sides, but mostly fun and bright.

Although we currently have no plans to travel back to the West Coast, I know that LA is somewhere we will definitely be visiting again. I just love it there so much!


Have you visited Santa Monica?

L x