TRAVELLING SOLO

Travelling alone can be a daunting prospect but also a really liberating thing to do – and something I believe everyone should do at least once.
 
Although I’ve never travelled to, say, somewhere like India alone, I have been to city breaks such as Copenhagen and Germany on solo trips and there is something really freeing about doing exactly what you want, when you want. You can indulge yourself completely, and for someone who doesn’t just like, but loves, their own company, solo travel is definitely an option for me as I reach an age where friends are occupied with couple and family trips.
 
It could be easy to travel to a country where English is the second language but if you are travelling where you won’t be able to communicate, make sure you take a phrase book to at least help in an emergency. Where I travel to, I learn how to say “I have an allergy to peanuts” to make sure I can advise any restaurants etc. If you’re more of an introvert and would rather people watch than meet people, head to somewhere vibrant such as Paris, Barcelona or perhaps further afield like Malta.
 
In terms of where to visit, safety is paramount and if you’re not a seasoned traveller then picking somewhere like Malta is perfect. With masses of historical trails, rocky coves and quiet towns, it creates the ideal location to relax, whilst offering plenty to do through the day. Although I’m definitely more of a sunbathe-by-the-pool kind of girl, by the second or third day, I’m always itching to go out and discover more about the local culture I’m surrounded by. Malta must-sees include the 16th-century St John’s Cathedral and Casa Rocca Piccola, which is a grand palazzo.
 
Travelling solo can make you feel like an easy target, but there are things you can do to help keep you safe – keep to open and public places, especially at night, walk with confidence and purposefully, carry good identification in more than one place and lastly, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Also have local help numbers, such as the tourist police, programmed in your phone. You’ll probably never need them, but just knowing you have them can give you the confidence to deal with any situations that may arise.
 
In terms of booking, if you’re flexible and ready to go at a moment’s notice you could save pennies by booking at the last minute – although I suspect as a first time solo traveller, you’re more than likely going to want to plan it down to the last detail. No? Just me then? With Malta flights taking off from all over the UK, including Manchester, London Gatwick and Birmingham, it’s a great option for a week of relaxation and vitamin D.

Although a year-round destination, for sunshine at its best, it's recommended to head to Malta between July and September, with temperatures reaching up to 40 degrees in August. My idea of heaven on a solo trip would have to be waking up, having breakfast on my balcony before having a swim and wandering around the town to take photographs. The afternoon, however, would be sunbathing, reading all the books I don't get chance to read at home, cocktails before dinner and perhaps a little walk and people watch before bed. Seven days of that and I'd feel like a new woman. Now where's my credit card?
 

INTERIOR ICON: THE CLASSIC EAMES CHAIR


You reach an age where you get excited at things you would never have dreamt of even thinking about when you were 21. At 30 you get excited about things like furnishing, candles, having eight hours sleep. Hell, I even got excited when my washing machine broke down and my landlord said I could have one of those Panasonic washing machines, where my clothes can be washed, dried and ready to wear within two hours. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

The latest thing to get me excited - and no it's not in the male form - is choosing my dining table and chairs. I fell in love with a white and ash wood Deauville table over at Made.com when I visited last week, and I've been spending most of thing week deciding what chairs would look good with it. 

After finding a lil' dining inspiration over on Pinterest, I came across the classic icon that is the Eames chair. There are so many amazing Eames chairs, but this style which I've featured below is exactly what I want for my new dining/living area. How amazing are these? I've been looking at various sites to see how these babies price up and the best option is to look on eBay. I found a great seller who is offering four chairs for £120, plus the £279 for the dining table and I've saved money on the original £450 one I had my eye on in Ikea. Sometimes it saves to shop around. 

What do you think to the classic Eames chair? Something you'd covet or leave in the past?






Published in conjunction with Panasonic

JESSICA ALBA'S HONEST GREEN SMOOTHIE


A friend of mine, who is in amazing shape by the way, introduced me to natural beauty Jessica Alba's go-to green smoothie a while ago, and seen as I'm on a much-needed health kick I thought I'd give it a go last weekend.

It's a whole heap of goodness in one glass and it's super easy to make - making it the perfect weekend wake-up. Pop all the ingredients below in the blender until smooth and there you have it, one step closer to becoming Jessica Alba #dreaming. When I make it again, I'd swap the apple from a Granny Smith to something a lil' sweeter - with the lemon and the ginger, it was tartier (is that a word?) than Lindsay Lohan.

Here's to starting Saturday the right way.

Ingredients

1 whole cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 handfuls chopped kale
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 apples, cored and seeded (use a sweeter apple, not Granny Smiths like I did)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely diced (I used Very Lazy Chopped Ginger)
  • Frozen watermelon or a dash of the natural sweetener stevia or Truvia for sweetness



  • Recipe courtesy of Jessica Alba's The Honest Life

    FIVE PAST FRIDAY: FIVE LUST WORTHY HOME TOURS

    I love taking a look into other people's houses - not show houses, but real life, functional living spaces, which is why I'm dedicating this week's Five Past Friday feature to lust worthy homes around the world.

    First up, we have this amazing mid-century modern Californian bungalow, which definitely features certain design elements which whet my interiors appetite. I mean, how gorgeous is this bay window and seating area? I love small touches such as the sheepskin rugs thrown over the chairs to create something sumptuous and inviting to relax on. Plus, this decor shows just how easy it is to brighten up a subtle colour palette with splashes of greenery - Ikea are fantastic for plants like this.

    This is definitely a house decor which I'm taking inspiration from for my living room when I finally get to decorate it - especially that corner sofa and window seat area. Love, love, love.

    My next home comes from super-stylish couple Claudia, Levi and their little girl Evie. I came across this home tour on style blog The Beetle Shack and it really is the epitome of effortless, bohemian cool. 

    With white walls, stripped back dark wood floors throughout and even a hammock the study, this house has a touch of the 70's and makes me want to rid of all colour and go back to a natural palette. I love how much wood is everywhere, where its logs piling up for the wood burner, or handmade dishes, jugs and ornaments spotted throughout, it really is beautiful. Plus they have the white subway tiles I dream of one day having in my kitchen.

    Now, if you like your interiors a little more colourful then this Spanish abode from film producer Alice Hernandez could be right up your street. Located in the busy streets of Madrid, this townhouse is a mismatch of styles which seem to work perfectly together. 

    I love the turquoise sofa set against the pink walls, and although I would never have thought about dark blue for a bathroom, it actually works very well for this large space Hernandez has. Although I like a house normally to be a little more "lived in", I do really like the eclectic elements to this house - all I have to do now is find a pink velvet chair to go next to my bar cart. 

    If you've ever seen my bedroom tour I did here on the blog you'll know I'm a massive fan of the simplicity of monochrome. I don't think there are many colour palettes that are as effective as black and white. And that's why I fell in love with this one-bed apartment in New York. 

    I absolutely adore this whole dining area set up, from the black metal chairs, to the trestle table and deep purple flowers used to accessorise.

    I think my favourite spot, however, has to be the outside living space. The layered cushions and throws make this inviting and stylish and the use of the rugs outside ties the interior and exterior together perfectly.

    How could I show you my favourite living spaces without showing you this Venice loft from The Hills star Whitney Port. I love it when a house reflects someone's own personal style so much and this bohemian house certainly does that.

    Filled with artwork, colour and beautifully crafted pieces of furniture - no doubt picked up from a flee market the designer has visited one weekend - this I suspect is my favourite space of them all. 

    I love the rich tones of blues spotted throughout, especially on the prints and patterns Port has used within her bedroom interior. And even though I'm normally not a fan of dark wood when it comes to furniture, I wouldn't turn down her gorgeous dining set - again, beautiful decorated with a bold blue table runner. 

    So there you have it, five of the most inspirational and lust worthy home tours I could find on the Internet. Sure, there were extravagant homes in the hills of Hollywood which could have made the cut, but I wanted this to be about inspiration and showing you homes which you could take elements of and use for your own space. 

    I'd absolutely love to know which home is your favourite - the Californian bungalow, the striped back to nature 70s abode, the eclectic but perfectly polished Madrid pad, the monochrome studio or this bohemian Venice loft? I'm tied between the bungalow and the loft above.

    SHOPPING EDIT: ROOI

     
     
    Since developing this blog into more of an interiors and lifestyle site, I've started to come across some really cool shops, spaces and websites which I normally wouldn't have discovered otherwise. One of those is Rooi - a homeware and lifestyle online store which I discovered earlier this week.
     
    Hindi for cotton, Rooi specialises in Indian and Egyptian cotton linens, with an East-meets-West influence which can be seen throughout. Putting together a shopping edit today was hard, but that's only because there were so many pieces I wanted to highlight. I did, however, managed to get it down to six key buys for this season.
     
    I mean, come on, I was going to get some copper in there right, and this travel candle from Paddywax looks, and no doubt smells, amazing (perfect for your suitcase if you're away from home a lot and want to close your eyes and relax in your hotel room). I've also included another Paddywax candle but that's because I just love the branding - I'm a sucker for great typography, what can I say.
     
    With hotels in mind, this Mayfair robe looks almost too good to take off and definitely reminds me of sleeping in a plush hotel suite for the night. With your candle lit and your robe on, it's easy to create a haven of relaxation.
     
    I like the fact the Rooi doesn't just focus on home goods, but also offers stationery, such as these beautiful thank you cards. With their beautiful cut-out design, these are the sort of cards I'd have on my desk but never dare use. Another desk addition is this link frame which would add texture to a neutral room perfectly.
     
    Finally, we come to my favourite piece - the damask jacquard turquoise cushion. I'm kind of obsessed with cushions and it's almost overwhelming when faced with the five cushions I have on my bed to take off every night and pile back on every morning, as well as the six I have on EACH sofa. They look so good though.
     
    I'm hoping Rooi is a new discovery for you too and definitely drop by the website to see what treasures they have in store by clicking here.
     
    *This is a PR collaboration but as always my views are completely my own. You can view my disclaimer here.
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