Friday, 19 August 2016

Travel Chatter - My top 10 travel essentials

With the summer now in full swing I'm betting there a few people jetting off or traveling cross country for a little R n R! Today I thought I would share my top 10 travel essentials. As usual you can see these items in more detail on my You Tube Channel.

These are the 10 essentials I will use for the travelling part of any journey, whether by plane, train or car. These can also be used for any travelling when we're out and about on holiday too. These are my standard items that I will use for anything from an overnight trip to a two week vacation, and of course I'll add different things to the list for different trips.

Tablet - This really is a multi-use travel item. I use my tablet to download TV and music for the trip, keeping electronic copies of all my travel documents and to use Google maps.

Headphones & Splitter - Noise excluding headphones are a vital item for travel, particularly public transport. The splitter means my partner and I can watch TV or listen music together.

Portable Charger - An important item for long journeys, my portable charger can recharge my phone or my tablet twice!

Filter Water Bottle - I'm very picky about the different tastes of water, particularly when I'm away from home, both abroad and within England. I like to take a filter water bottle on trips so I can filter the local tap water.

Reusable Bags - Zip lock plastic bags are incredibly useful for organising bags for travel, carrying snacks or carrying potentially leaky items like sunscreen. I also take tote bags when we travel which are good for carrying towels, food, duty free purchases etc...

Snacks - It can be a bad start to a holiday if you arrive hungry and all the shops/room service are closed for the day. I always travel with some snacks, such as protein or cereal bars, to munch on during our travelling, when we arrive and to take with us on day trips while on holiday.

Emergency Kit - My emergency kits contain all the little items you need in your handbag e.g. hand sanitizer, plasters etc. I have a different one for different uses e.g. my everyday handbag, my night out handbag and I have one especially for travelling. If you'd like to know more about my travel kit, let me know and I'll do a separate post.

Notebook & Pen - I like to write lists for absolutely everything, so you can bet I'm going to need a pen and paper on a trip. We also use a notebook to plan out walking routes for the day, particularly when site seeing in a city - it's a great way to make sure you see everything you wanted.

Cross-body Bag - A little handbag is so useful while travelling and for day trips when you get there. A cross-body is my bag of choice because it means I can keep hands-free and carry all my other bags. I particularly like this one because it has two separate and secure zip closures for important things like passports etc.

Hoodie - I get cold really easily and always like to carry something that will keep me warm. I know a lot of people use a big scarf as a blanket. I prefer a hoodie because I can really snuggle up, cocoon myself and feel warm on a flight, when I'm tired in a unfamiliar hotel room, on a bus or a train. I can also wrap it round my shoulders for a little warmth.

So that's everything in my travelling essentials. What's your absolute necessity for travel, which item makes life so much easier?
Speak soon x

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Paperhaul July 2016 - Unboxing and review

Last month I shared with you my first Paperhaul subscription box which I thoroughly enjoyed. Who doesn't love a bit of non-bill related post, especially when it comes with super cute stationery!?

I was very much looking forward to receiving my second box, which arrived a little earlier this month, and it definitely wasn't a let down.

The theme is a sort of Alice in Wonderland theme - although if you watch my unboxing on You Tube it does take me an inordinate amount of time to work out! This week's box is my a designer called Gaze of Dolls Designs. The illustrations are just lovely, so brightly coloured and a cute design.

This month's box included 3 little notecards with envelopes, a large greetings card, a notepad, stickers, washi tape and two postcards.

This is my second box and I think the notecards, greetings card, postcards and washi are standard items with two items which change round. This doesn't worry me too much at the moment, but I shall see how much I use these items over the next few months.

The design of this box is just beautiful and, I have to say, I do prefer this box over last months. My favourite items are the flamingo notecard and the notepad I think. Maybe the blue postcard too!

I am loving this little subscription with my little gift to myself arriving in the post every month - I particularly love that the box fits through the letter box! I'm already looking forward to the August box!

Do you subscribe to Paperhaul, what was your favourite item this month? What other stationery boxes do you subscribe to?
Speak soon x

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Presenting Beautiful Gifts - Stocking Up on Gift Wrap Supplies

As an arty person I am drawn to aesthetically pleasing things, and nothing pleases me more than handing over a gift that just looks beautiful. Don't get me wrong I love giving gifts and always put a lot of effort into choosing a gift that is perfect for the recipient, but I also love to make it look beautiful too.

I have been sorting out my study recently and noticed that I was running low on a few gift wrapping essentials, top of the list being pretty wrapping paper. So I have been on a bit of a gift wrapping shopping spree lately and thought I would share my precious finds with you today...

Gift Wrap Purchases

I love having a variety of gift wrap on hand to pick the perfect piece for the presents I am wrapping. I have in the past bought rolls of gift wrap, and still do, but I have developed a liking for the gift wrap sets which typically include two sheets and two gift tags. I have found a few places where they are reasonably priced and it means I can have a large variety of gift wrap in my collection without having to store lots of rolls. 

Both Wilko and Sainsbury have a beautiful selection and priced at just 90p and 99p respectively I have found the prices on point too. 

I have made sure to pick up some pretty but plain gift wraps as well as those targeted at specific events such as a birthday. That way they can be used for any event and are a more flexible option for my collection. 

I don't always match the gift tag with the wrapping paper it came with and have a growing collection of gift tags too! Sometimes I make themself with some pretty card and some stickers. 

Gift Wrap Decoration

Of course the gift wrap is only the first part of the gift wrapping process. The decoration is, in my opinion, the best bit! I have found some fantastic offerings of late in Paperchase, including these stunning adhesive gift bows.

For ribbon, I have recently discovered the delights of Tiger. A store I have been wanting to visit for some time but there are none near me. Recently I have however, visited two places with a Tiger store - haul coming shortly. These stores have these fantastically huge rolls of gift wrapping ribbon and for just £1. These are a fantastic find and one of my favourite additions to my gift wrap trolley.

My ambitions this year are to improve on my gift wrapping flare and I have been watching some fantastic You Tube videos and reading some great blog posts. I hope to share my gift wrap storage with you soon. How do you wrap your presents? Do you enjoy creating a piece of art as part of your gift giving?
Speak soon x

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Planner Goodies & Stickers: Review of The Plump Planner Stickers

I'm sharing another Etsy sticker haul on my You Tube channel today, this time from one of my favourite Etsy shops - The Plump Planner.

I initially stumbled across The Plump Planner store for functional planner stickers and have purchased quite a few already. I have since also discovered her weekly planner spread kits too! I'm sharing my most recent purchases in my latest sticker haul today on You Tube.

The first thing I love about The Plump Planner is the array of choices available on her store. I think there is literally a sticker for every eventuality, but yet Karen still manages to create new ideas all the time. I have a good selection from a "water the plants" reminder to stickers for my workouts, but there are still stickers in her collection I would love to have.

The sets are great quality and often include some fun, pretty pictures.They aren't re-positionable but you get a lot in a set. My "change the bed sheets" set included 72 stickers on two sheets.

The weekly spreads also have a good offer of stickers including normally 8 full boxes and some half boxes. Depending on the set they also include some decorative stickers and some have some check boxes - I particularly loved these daisy check boxes.

Karen runs the Plump Planner alongside her full time job so the shop is not open permanently. Instead she seem to open the shop on a weekend for a few hours and then closes again to work on those orders. The Plump Planner is now on instagram which is a good place to check when the shop opens so you can get your order in. Whilst you have to be quick with your order, it is worth it when you get one!

Finally, I have to say that the price of The Plump Planner sticker sets is absolutely fantastic! Each set is just £1.95 and with two sheets of stickers per set I think this is an amazing deal!

I have to recommend The Plump Planner as a great British Etsy store to check out for both functional and decorative stickers.

Have you used The Plump Planner before? What's your favourite sticker store on Etsy?
Speak soon x

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Travel Chatter - A weekend in Dublin

A few weeks ago we made the first of our mini trips this Summer, heading over the Irish Sea to Dublin. As I mentioned in my review of the Cavendish Hotel in London, we have a few trips to make this year and I thought I would dabble in the world of travel blogging. I've been thinking of the sorts of things I might want to cover and settled on: our travel, accommodation, eateries, activities and the best bit of the trip. We always like to find fun local eateries and I hope to make our finds a big part of these posts.

How we traveled...

We travelled to Dublin from Gatwick Airport. As usual I booked our flights with British Airways, my favourite airline. On our way out we flew with Air Lingus, a BA partner and on the way back we were with BA. Neither flight was particularly troublesome, and at just over an hour its a quick little trip.

While we were there we used a combination of buses, trams and taxis. We were staying 10min or so (by car) from the key central areas so we made use of the public transport during the days. Whilst the systems were perfectly reliable, I did miss my Oyster card. The buses require exact change to purchase on board and the trams require you to purchase a ticket before boarding (no running for a tram!). We realised a couple of days in there is a travel card option which I would recommend looking into, to avoid our struggle with finding change!

Taxis were reasonably priced, I would say a bit cheaper than London and there is a flat rate to the airport. There were plenty available in the centre of town late at night. They also have Uber.

Where we stayed...

We stayed at the Hilton Kilmainham. The hotel itself was very nice and pretty much as you would expect from a Hilton - spacious rooms, really large comfy beds, a big buffet breakfast and decent wifi. The Livingwell centre was a nice option for a chilled out evening before dinner. The swimming pool was on the small size but suitable for a few laps - they did require us to purchase swimming caps to wear in the pool for a couple of euro. Not a big deal but a little annoying.

The location of the hotel is superb. It is directly opposite Kilmainham Gaol (Jail) and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The Guinness Factory is a a 20min stroll. There were two bus routes close by the hotel, the tourist buses stop directly outside for the Kilmainham Jail and there is a tram stop about 10min away.

Where we ate...

We found some great places while in Dublin ranging from a good Irish fare to gourmet dining. These are a couple of our favourites:

The Pig's Ear - this was fantastic little restaurant located above some shops, behind a bright pink door on Nassau Street. The restaurant is spread across a couple of small rooms with only a few tables in each. This makes for a lovely intimate setting without too much noise. The food was superb, I particularly recommend the Pork & Ham Hock Croquettes. The prices were very reasonable for the style and quality of the food. Unfortunately I was enjoying my evening so much I forgot to take any pictures!

Sprout & Co - just round the corner on Dawson Street we stumbled across this great little healthy eating option. Serving salads and juices it was a great  healthy lunch option and was obviously popular with locals, who were queuing out the door shortly after we arrived.

What we did...

Kilmainham Gaol - this was a fascinating visit, particularly in 2016 (100 years on from the 1916 uprising) and a great option if you like your history. The tour guide was very passionate, perhaps too passionate - we came away feeling very guilty for being British! The tour lasts about an hour and costs 7 euro. It is a popular visit so definitely worth thinking in advance about when you might want to go so you can book online.

Guinness Factory - no trip to Dublin is complete without visiting this star attraction and is worth it for the views of the city from the bar on the top floor. The tour is a self guiding tour so great for doing at your own pace and you of course get a pint of the good stuff included in the price. I would say, at least try your free pint if you drink alcohol. I'm not a huge fan of Guinness but even I buy into the theory that it tastes different in Ireland!

Best bit...

I have to say the best bit for me was probably the dinner we had at The Pig's Ear. It was such an intimate restaurant and such lovely food that it made for a beautiful evening, even on a rainy evening in Dublin.

We did have a thoroughly good time in Dublin, despite the typical Irish weather and I would highly recommend a weekend visit. Have you ever been to Dublin? What was your favourite bit?
Speak soon x

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Paperhaul June 2016 - Unboxing and review

I have been toying with the idea of subscribing to the Paperhaul subscription boxes for a few months now. As a stationery lover what's not to love - cute, beautiful stationery to arrive in my letter box once a month as a little surprise gift.

Paperhaul Subscription Box

I finally got round to signing up in May, but I missed the cut off for May boxes so I have been waiting an age for this little box to arrive. But it did, on Saturday 25 June when we were all feeling so miserable about things. Perfect timing!

Lennie Chalmers Paperhaul Box

The June box includes pieces from Lennie Chalmers and includes some print style pictures of buildings and cities. The colours seem autumnal to me, which I thought was a bit strange for a box in June, but they are very pretty.

June 2016 Paperhaul Box

This box included a mini mirror, washi tape, 3 mini notelet cards with envelopes, 2 postcards, a notebook and a card with envelope.

June 2016 Paperhaul Box

When considering a subscription box I like to make sure it is value for money and by that I mean I will use a sufficient proportion of the contents of the box in my day to day life. Notebooks are definitely usable in my world, I have a large collection of notebooks because I always like to carry one to make to do lists.

June 2016 Paperhaul Box

Greetings cards are always handy. I keep a selection of greetings cards in my gift wrap station at all times so I have one for every occasion. I think this card would make a beautiful housewarming card so I'll add this to my selection of greeting cards for the next one of my friends who moves house.

June 2016 Paperhaul Box

I'm not so sure when I will use postcards but I could maybe frame these or use them on my inspiration notice board.

June 2016 Paperhaul Box

I don't write that many letters but I do like to make sure I remember to send a thank you card when someone buys me a gift or does something nice. I can see these little notelets being a nice option for thank you cards.

June 2016 Paperhaul Box

I love the inclusion of the washi tape and the pretty mountain print is a unique addition to my washi collection. The mirror feels a bit random but I'm sure it will be useful in one of my travel kits or handbag kits.

I was particularly impressed with the paper quality of all the cards in the box and the washi is good quality too. The notebook is quite simple in design but great for a little notebook for your handbag.

Overall I enjoyed my first subscription box and am looking forward to receiving July's box. 
Have you subscribed to Paperhaul or do you subscribe to any other stationery themed boxes?
Speak soon x

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Stationery Haul - Kikki K Sale Purchases June 2016

If you follow my instagram or have seen any of my You Tube videos you'll know I love my stationery and can't resist the temptation of a few new stationery purchases on occasion. The Kikki K sale offered just such temptation.

I had been wanting to pick up some filing and organisation items for my study and took advantages of their buy 4, pay for 3 items offer. The pink colour is beautiful and is perfect for the colour scheme I am going for in my study. I picked up a couple of magazine racks and a couple of storage boxes for keeping my study items neatly stored away.

I took advantage of the sale to stock up on my greetings cards. They had some lovely mother's day cards which I'll hold onto for next year and some cute new baby cards that I need for a couple of people later on this year.

I also picked up a couple of cute Halloween items - the garland will look cute against my black fireplace and I might find a little frame to put the "Happy Halloween" greetings card in.

Of course, a Kikki K haul wouldn't be complete without a couple of stationery items. I needed a new desk pad for work and this pad fit the bill perfectly, and was a steal at just £3. The matching pens was obviously a necessity ;-). I picked up a little cloth gift bag which is working wonderfully as a bag to keep my Kikki K planner in.

Finally I picked up this healthy living journal. I have been looking for a journal to track my eating and exercising for a while and thought this looked perfect. I have always found tracking my food is a fantastic way of maintaining my diet and I'm hoping some beautiful stationery will keep me on track. I shall post on instagram how I am getting on.

I have shared my haul on my You Tube channel if you want to see in more detail. Have you made any exciting stationery purchases in the summer sales?
Speak soon x