Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The EU Referendum

I'm not one to necessarily post about politics here on Suitcase and Sandals, but yesterday marked a huge historical event. It may not be a day I am particularly overjoyed about, and I definitely had a cloud hanging over me as I began to question the future and how well this is going to go. I woke up at just past 1 o clock this morning and decided that it would be a good idea to check the results. Remain were losing quite considerably and I was very shocked I have to say.


Yesterday I was angry, and very disappointed. I see a lot of issues with the leave campaign, and things had begun to change already despite the fact that the real change will not start taking place for a little while yet. I wasn't surprised that politicians from the Leave campaign were already going back on their word.

Today, I feel a bit better. The majority of the UK have voted to Leave the EU, but there are still thousands of us who wanted to remain. It's time for us to focus on the things that we think are important - we cannot change the fact that we are going to be leaving the EU, but we can do our best to encourage and vote on the things we want from now on.

 I personally believe that our borders should be open because we expect the same rights as others, and also because some of the people arriving in our country from Europe or further afield are here for their safety. I think that trade between Europe is incredibly important, as well as trade with other countries. I believe that it is not immigration that is putting a strain on the NHS, but a lack of funding - not due to the "fees" we supposedly paid weekly to the EU. I believe our rights as mothers, fathers, employees and citizens should be protected in a way that the EU has protected us.

My family history lies in England, Ireland, Poland and Italy and I'm PROUD to be European. I'm proud that our country, and other countries in the EU stood for peace, and for freedom for all. The EU was created after two horrific world wars, in which more than just British soldiers died. Since then, we have sadly been at war with others, but never with our neighbours. I am grateful to the EU for so many things...

I am grateful for the EU because it meant that my parents could look after me after I had been born, and we were able to bond because of laws on maternity and paternity leave.

I am grateful for the EU because our cities are multicultural, and diverse. I am grateful for the people who have decided to make Britain their home - those from within the EU, and those from further afield.

I am also grateful to those who have decided to make Britain their home, because they contribute to our economy. I believe having the right to work all over the EU is so important. It is fulfilling for us, it is fulfilling for the rest of the EU citizens, and I am praying that this does not impact that as much as we originally thought.

I am grateful for the EU because my rights as a worker as protected. I do not earn minimum wage, and I am able to save for a house. I am grateful because I have met many incredible people through my work from various different nations.

I am grateful because I am going on holiday today, to relax on the gorgeous island of Rhodes in Greece and so far this year have travelled easily but safely to Amsterdam and Paris. Now I may not be able to travel in Europe so freely, and it is most likely to cost me more than ever before.

I am grateful for the NHS, and NHS profesionnals. I am grateful that they have been able to support my family when they have been facing medical challenges. I believe that the NHS needs more funding, but I do not think that leaving the EU is going to help that.

I'm just hoping that this changes things for the better. It may not be the outcome I wanted, but fingers crossed that things won't be as terrible as I had first imagined. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Summer Holiday Essentials

 Just four more days until I'll be heading off on my summer holiday to Lindos with Dan. I'm SO looking forward to spending a week away together in the sunshine after what has been a crazy year. We both really need this holiday, and some time together away from the stresses of everyday life. As we're only going for a week, we've both had to be pretty strict about what we'll be taking away with us so I thought I'd put together a post of the essentials that we'll be taking to Greece with us this Saturday!

Kefalonia, 2015

Sun-cream and After-sun

I would never go abroad without it! Taking care of your skin is so important, and if there was only one thing I could take on this list, sun-cream would be that thing. I have always tanned easily, and in recent years I have always been incredible cautious about making sure I have enough sun-cream on. It isn't worth the risk!

Swimwear

Not only did I find the cutest bikini with SEAHORSES on it this year, but I've basically made a promise to myself to wear nothing but swimwear next week. I've picked up a cute swimsuit too for when we head down to the gorgeous St. Paul's Bay - seriously google it, I'm all heart-eye emoji even thinking about it.

A really good book

I tend to go through a book a day when I'm on a summer holiday! Reading is one of the most relaxing things to do when I'm away and I can't wait to lie on that sunbed getting my teeth into a new book! Hopefully I'll find one that makes me laugh out loud. I'll be taking my kindle as well as a couple of paperbacks too!

Pack of Cards

Dan and I love playing cards on holiday. We never really play them at home, and it's just one of those things that really makes us feel like we're away and that we can relax! I'm looking forward to thrashing Dan at 21 and learning some new games.

Camera/Phone

For capturing pictures of idyllic beaches, bright sunsets and food to help you get through the winter. If you didn't take a picture of it, you didn't do it - Am I right? Plus I need some good pictures for this blog, and if my previous visits to Greek islands are anything to go by, I'll be in for a treat in Lindos this year.

Sunnies

Because of all that glorious sunshine! Protecting your eyes is pretty important, and I fell in love with this gorgeous pair of sunnies from Pimkie at ASOS. It's also a massive bonus that sunnies happen to look great in OOTD posts, and I'm hoping to do some kind of Lindos look book whilst I'm away so these will be the perfect accessory!

What do you pack for your summer holiday?

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Canterbury

 Every time I head back to Canterbury, my emotions become a confused mess of elation and sadness. I've only actually been back four times since finishing my degree last June because life just gets so busy. I love Canterbury though, and I always will. It's a gorgeous city - not too big, but big enough and I couldn't have chosen a better city to go to University in! But coming back is hard. Partly because I miss my course, partly because I miss my friends and partly because I miss this city itself.

Herne Bay which is a gorgeous beach a stone's throw away from Canterbury

 Canterbury is always going to have a special place in my heart. It was the place that I found myself at 18 years old living along for the first time. It was the place that I found some fabulous friends, some of whom will be friends for life, and it was the place that I fell in love with Dan. Every corner I turn when I am in Canterbury, there is a memory. Some good, some bad but overwhelmingly memories that make me miss this city and the experience I had in it.

It was also the place that I became who I am today. I wouldn't be as confident or as happy as I am now had I not gone to university in Canterbury. Part of me going to Canterbury was to learn how to survive on my own, and I definitely mastered that. I can cook myself a meal, change a lightbulb (just about) and cope on my own. I know how to budget and manage my money. I've travelled all across the country by myself, and grown in confidence. Before I went to university, I wouldn't even go into town by myself and now I almost prefer it! Canterbury was good to me.

 My three years in this city changed me as a person, and for the better. I grew to love time by myself, and that is one of the most important things I could have learnt. There are always going to be times that you are alone and appreciating your own company is so important. I owe so much to this city, and the experiences I had there!

For now though, I can only hope we'll be back in Canterbury soon.

Do you still miss your university city a year on?

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

A Day in Disney


 A couple of weekends ago I headed off to Paris for a little weekend adventure with Dan, my sister and her boyfriend. We caught the Eurostar there on Friday afternoon which was a first for us, and we absolutely loved the ease of it all! As nervous flyers, both my sister and I felt so relaxed which was a great start to our Parisian adventure. If you've never been on one before, I'd definitely recommend it!

 The main reason for our trip across the channel was Disneyland Paris. Sarah and I have been once before back in 2001. Our parents surprised us a few days after Christmas that we would be going which is obviously one of our favourite childhood memories. However, that was such a long time ago now and both of us were eager to head back and see what it was like. Dan loves Disney, and Richard had never been before so we dragged the boys along for some fun.


 Determined to make the most of our day at Disney we headed to the parks early to get started. We brought ourselves t-shirts and Minnie ears (has to be done!)...then it was time to get started on the rides. I'm not the biggest fan of some rides, but even so it was nice to be back in Disney and taking it all in. Luckily the weather was gorgeous, reaching 26 degrees at some points. We had the sunshine on our faces all day long whilst walking around the parks.


Disneyland spares no expensive on the parades and the rides, and the effort put into all of the attractions is insane. Throughout the day we managed to get on quite a few rides - including the teacups, Pirates of the Caribbean and 'it's a small world'. We all especially loved Buzz Lightyear's Laser Blast. It was made even better by the fact we competed against each other, with Dan and I taking the victory. To infinity and beyond!




At around 4.30 we got into place ready to watch the parade as we knew it would fill up pretty quickly. It's safe to say no-one does parades quite like Disney does! I managed to capture Sarah and Richard's faces as the parade began and it's a great picture. They were both in awe. The parades are so well thought out and each and every float is so intricately decorated. Don't even get me started on the costumes either, because they are out of this world incredible. I absolutely love watching the parades, and had the "Magic Everywhere" song in my head for the rest of the weekend!




As we had park hopper tickets, we decided that we would hop over to the Hollywood studios park for a few hours between the parade finishing and Hollywood studios closing. Dan and I had watched Ratatouille in the week before going to Disney as we'd never seen it, and had heard great things about the ride there. We all went on as single riders which is something I will definitely consider again as it halved the waiting time - and we loved the ride! I reckon we'd have gone on again if we'd had a little bit more time.



Our final few hours were spent in shops, and admiring the castle in the dusk. Unfortunately we had to leave before the fireworks began but before we left we made a promise to each other that we'd be back, and we'd stay in a Disney hotel so we could stay as late as we wanted.

Disneyland, we'll see you soon!

Have you been to Disneyland Paris recently?

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Suitcase and Sandals | Two Years

 Suitcase and Sandals has been my little home on the internet for the past two years now - although sometimes that doesn't seem possible! I started this blog after reading them for a couple of months, and thinking how much I'd like to start one of my own. After a lot of encouragement from Georgia (Mapped Out) and hours spent thinking of my blog name, Suitcase and Sandals came about. I've always considered this blog to be a space for me to remember everything I got up to in my early twenties - and beyond, and it was always intended to be a lifestyle blog.

Suitcase and Sandals has also been a place to document my trips to Barcelona, Florida, Turkey, Gran Canaria, Rome, Kefalonia, Amsterdam and Paris! Here's to many more trips...

Despite this, I've ventured into beauty (very occasionally) and even fashion, most recently posting my first ever Outfit of the Day post which was exciting. On rare occasion, I've delved a bit deeper such as my post on the BBC documentary "The Secrets of South America:Extreme Beauty Queens" which you can find here. I really enjoyed writing this post actually, and the great thing about reflecting on milestones such as two years of blogging, is that it inspires you all over again too. What I will say is, is that whilst I'll never delete my first posts, it's nice to see how far I've come, and how my writing style has developed and improved.

Blogging has taught me so much, and I continue to learn even two years on. I think it's an asset to add to any CV, and I'm proud to have my blog on there. You learn so many skills as a blogger, I think it's important to show them. In the past two years I've learn basics about SEO, I've developed my photography and I've grown in confidence both in my abilities and in person. It's great to be able to chat to other like-minded people; mainly people who understand the true love for stationary...

Reading blogs, and writing my own, has opened up a whole new world to me. I spend a lot of time reading other people's blogs and writing this one and I love it. I've had some great opportunities, and met some truly lovely people - even in just two years! I'm so grateful, and so pleased that I stuck it out during times of the dreaded "bloggers" block. One of the best feelings is writing a post and someone really relating to it and commenting on it. It's such a mood, and confidence booster!

So thank you to anyone who's stuck around for two years, or if you've even read my blog twice - thank you! I love engaging with other bloggers, and it always makes my day if someone comments or likes something I have posted. Thank you!

How do you celebrate your blog birthday?
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