Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Why I Started Suitcase and Sandals

 Back in June 2014 I began writing at Suitcase and Sandals. I had been reading blogs for a while, especially since my friend Georgia (from Mapped Out Blog) had started her own blog too. I loved reading what she had been up to, and in time I began to discover more and more blogs that I enjoyed reading. I quickly became very interested in starting my own blog, and would spend hours drafting posts that I would later publish on Suitcase and Sandals.

Starting my own blog was both extremely exciting, and nerve-wracking at the same time. I was so excited to be writing again and having somewhere to share everything I've been up to, but was apprehensive about sharing it with everyone I know. But, the excitement outweighed the nerves and on the 1st June I posted for the first time. There are two main reasons why I decided to start this blog; to have a space to write down my adventures and to have a place to write.

For as long as I can remember I have loved writing. I have a "storybook" in my room which I wrote when I was around 8 and I remember always feeling the need to have a notebook in hand. It was as if I was incapable of just sitting and watching a film, I always had to be writing something down in that notebook of mine! Over the years I also kept numerous diaries (which are HILARIOUS!) and I think that is another reason why I love blogging so much. I love it that I can read all about my trip two years ago, and I love that my family further away can keep up to date with what's been going on with me. In fact, I'd love it if all of my friends and family had blogs too so I could see what they've been up to too!

Having this blog means that I will always remember the amazing things that Dan and I got up to. I'll be transported back to the countries we visited, the food we ate and the amazing opportunities I have been given because of this blog. It's become a place to document the interesting things we have been doing, and also to share some of my tips. I've shared advice on being a student, your first job out of uni and things like combating tiredness as this is something I've really struggled with recently. I'd like to think that this blog has helped at least one person with a worry/given them a tip.

Why did you start your blog?


Sunday, 18 September 2016

If You're Heading To University in Canterbury

 A year after finishing University at Canterbury, and I am still insanely jealous of anyone starting there soon! It's the most wonderful place to go to University; not too big and not too small, and it instantly felt like home to me. There is just a really lovely feel to the city, and to the university too and I think I am forever going to mourn my time here! As I know leaving for university can be a pretty scary experience so I thought I'd sum up a few of my favourite places in Canterbury to give anyone heading there soon a helping hand...

Where to Eat

Pinocchio's is my all-time favourite restaurant for special occasions. I have an entire post dedicated to how much I love this restaurant here, but I couldn't not include this in a post about Canterbury. This is the one to go to for your birthday, or when your parents come to visit you. The food is fresh, reasonably priced and you get a really decent portion too! What a result.

The Chocolate Cafe was my sister's all-time favourite haunt for whenever she visited. If you are a chocoholic this is the place for you. It was one of the first places Dan and I went for a date, and it's just such a lovely cafe! I am a huge fan of the waffles, although you may want to share if you find that kind of thing sickly!

Kitch was somewhere I used to go with my dissertation lecturer. She was actually on her sabbatical but chose to keep me on as she knew my topic the best, which was so incredibly kind of her. This is a cafe that just oozes health and I usually opted for a healthy hot chocolate which was the best of both worlds!

Where to Party

Club Chemistry is the main club in Canterbury, and it is great! It has three floors, with a variety of different music being played and has actually had an upgrade since I left the city. The drinks are cheap, there is an incredible pole to dance on with your friends; what more could you want!

The Cuban is a bit more upmarket, but that does mean a little bit more pricey. However, the music is always spot on in this venue and I always had a great time in The Cuban. It's also a restaurant during the day, and whilst I've never been I can imagine it being one worth trying out!

The Ballroom is the place to go if you want cocktails. It's almost impossible to get a seat, but there is a bath in the bar which we danced in on many an occasion! They also serve cocktails in teapots which is just so cute, and the cocktails truly are delicious.

The Old Brewery Tavern is the house of Jaeger Rocks which I discovered one very messy night in second year with my friend Sophie. We got absolutely smashed, and I ended up queuing up at 1am for the latest fifa. The drinks are super cheap (only a couple of pounds for a double!) and the atmosphere is always good in this venue.

What to Do

Visit Westgate Gardens which is the cutest little park by the river. I spent so much time in first year reading here with my friend after our exams had finished. We also walked down here in the snow, and it was so pretty! Definitely worth a visit during your three years here.

Take a canal tour down the river. They can be pricey as students, but you have to do it at least once! We learnt so much about our city when we went one day in the summer, and it was just a lovely thing to do. The tour guides are really funny, and all of the information was very interesting - they didn't go too far into the details which is always a good thing.

Walk around the city because it is just gorgeous. If you have the luxury not to go on a Saturday morning, make the most of it because Saturday Mornings are insanely busy. One of my favourite things about the city centre is that it has all of your mainstream shops (Topshop, H&M, Primark etc) but there are also lots of lovely independent shops too - such as Siesta which is right opposite The Chocolate Cafe!

Where to Live

Lanfranc House was the place I chose to live in my first year. It is like halls, but split up into different flats and houses which I really liked as it made it a bit more personal. I miss my first year room all the time, it was a really decent size and not too expensive. Plus, it was close to both the uni, and the town centre too which was excellent. If you are looking for a good halls, I would so recommend this one!

Leydon Lettings were the Lettings Agent we chose for our third year house, and they truly were excellent. They were good at communicating with you, and from memory we didn't have to pay for a deposit at all. They have actually expanded recently I believe, and they offer such a wide range of properties all over the city; perfect for CCCU and UKC students.

Have you ever been to Canterbury? Did you go there for university?

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

12 Things I'm Lusting After This Autumn

 Autumn fashion is easily my favourite; you can get so snuggly but also enjoy some sunnier days too! ASOS always have some gorgeous pieces, and I love trawling through the website for my favourites, especially as the weather begins to cool which is obviously the perfect time to start online shopping! Here are a few pieces which caught my eye on their website at the moment; I especially love the Cat cross body bag and may have to treat myself for New York!

What pieces have you been lusting after this Autumn?

Sunday, 11 September 2016

A Weekend in Edinburgh

 A few months back, Georgia from Mapped Out Blog and I decided it was time to book a girly weekend away for September so we had something to look forward to! Edinburgh was our destination of choice, because we'd just heard some excellent things about it, and it wasn't too expensive either! So on the 2nd September, we boarded a plane up to Scotland for a weekend of fun! Brace yourselves, this is a long one...

Where We Stayed

Whilst we only had a mere 48 hours to explore the city, we managed to pack a lot into our stay. We stayed at Hotel Twenty which was a budget hotel, near the Edinburgh Playhouse - only 10 minutes away from the city centre. It wasn't the best hotel I've ever stayed in, but the beds were comfy, our room was huge (perfect for all the shopping we did!) and it was clean. If you are looking for a bargain, Hotel Twenty has you covered.

What We Saw

After arriving pretty late on Friday night, we decided to take a leisurely stroll up Calton Hill on Saturday morning. It was so nice to be out in the fresh air, enjoying the morning compared to being cooped up inside as we both said we usually would be! If you've never been to Edinburgh, or if you have but skipped out Calton Hill, I would really recommend going up the hill. The views are stunning, it's free and you even get in a little bit of exercise too! What more could you want. If we had been when it was a bit warmer, and had a little bit longer, I think we would have gone back up it again on the Sunday!

We then headed onto the Real Mary King Close experience situated in the Old Town - which was probably a highlight for both of us. It was amazing to be transported back in time, and to learn a bit more about the history of Edinburgh. The tour was incredibly well thought out, and I was so impressed with our tour guide. He really got into the role of a rich merchant, and was very informative about the old streets which were eventually evacuated. If you are ever going to Edinburgh, this tour is an absolute must! You aren't actually allowed to take photos inside the experience, but Advocate's Close demonstrates how tiny these streets were!

On the Sunday, we headed to the Royal Mile for some breakfast, and then just around the corner to the National Museum of Scotland. On the way there, we also passed The Elephant Cafe which is where J K Rowling allegedly began writing the Harry Potter series! The Museum itself is free, and is inside a truly stunning building. It is the perfect place to go to if it's raining; there is something to do for everyone! I especially enjoyed seeing Dolly the Sheep after learning about her in school, and the space section was really cool too. There was so much to see, and we didn't have enough time so if you have a morning or even a day to spare, head to this museum!

What We Ate and Where We Drank

Georgia linked me to this blog post by Hayley from Water Painted Dreams whilst I was at work, and we both knew Bread Meats Bread would be somewhere we had to visit whilst in the city! We were not disappointed in the slightest...although we left incredibly full. If you are ever lucky enough to go to Bread Meats Bread, you might want to order to share; neither of us finished our meals!

Another great find (a recommendation from my friend who is originally from Edinburgh, and my parents) was The Conan Doyle a pub located near the Edinburgh Playhouse. We were both pretty full from our brunch on the Royal Mile, but managed to fit in some chips and a tomato and quinoa salad before heading to the airport. It was a lovely, friendly pub and well worth a visit if you are in the area!

On the Saturday evening, we headed out for a few drinks. Bramble Bar was our bar of choice, and the cocktail we had there was divine - both of us opted for the Mint 500 which was delicious! It was made of Hendricks gin, elderflower, mint, basil, vanilla and more, so good! Whilst the bar was lovely, it was quite cramped and we were very lucky to get a table. We arrived at around 9.30 so if I go again, I'll hopefully get there a bit earlier so I can sample a few more of their drinks!

Edinburgh was the perfect place to head to on a weekend break, but I do wish we'd had a bit more time to explore. The Old Town was stunning, and The New Town offered some incredible shopping (we both had to slam our suitcases shut by the end of it!). There is just so much to do in Edinburgh, and we didn't even spend too much money either. If you are looking for somewhere to go, just for a weekend, Edinburgh is your place!

Have you ever been to Edinburgh?


Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Why I Can't Wait to Own My Own Home

 The game plan for around a year now has been to save as much as possible, with the eventual goal of one day being able to buy our very own house. It's something I think most people dream of from a young age, being able to buy your own home, and having the independence that comes with it. I love my family, and it has been so nice to move back into my family home after university, but I'm so excited to finally get our first house! There are many reasons why I can't wait to own my own home, but these are definitely the main ones...

I am so excited to fill my home with beautiful pieces like this!

One / Decorating it Ourselves

I'm so excited to get my hands on a place of our own, and decorate it to my hearts content. We're both going into this "house buying" malarkey with an open mind, and a determination to improve whatever we buy. It definitely has to be somewhere liveable but we want to add to it, and improve it for whoever is going to buy it next!

Two / Getting to Nose around lots of houses

It's a given that we will have to view more than one house before finding the one we want to call our home, and that makes me so excited. I am a very nosy person, so getting the chance to look in other people's houses is very exciting for me! When I was growing up, I loved watching programme's about buying houses, so this is going to be a childhood dream come true!

Three / Quality time with Dan

I love living with my parents, and I am so grateful that they have given us a home since we graduated, but I am looking forward to some quality time with Dan where we can find our way together living alone. It's going to be exciting learning to do things together that have previously been done by our families or landlords...

Four / Buying ALL the Home-ware

There is a high possibility that I already have around 2 boxes of stuff in the loft already, but there is always room for more. From stunning grey lanterns, to pieces of artwork, it's all up there. I even have a cake tin and some unused cookbooks so that when we move into our own home everything feels new, and unique and special! So exciting.

Five / Creating our very own happy place

A house for me has always been a home. I've spent many happy times in a house that my family loved dearly and I want to have the same for Dan and I. Moving around a lot is not something that is on my agenda, and I'm so excited to find a house that we can make a happy place and one that is our own!

Are you looking to buy a house? What are you looking forward to?

Sunday, 4 September 2016

5 Things to Love About Autumn

 As it's finally September, the Autumnal excitement comes out in full force! Autumn is one of my absolutely favourite months, and I love the feeling of freshness and change that comes with the changing of the seasons from Summer to Autumn. I really love the cold, fresh mornings and the warm hot chocolate. It's my birthday season too, but that needs no explaining because I did a post about that here. Everything just feels so snuggly and cosy which is one of my all time favourite feelings. Weekends are spent curled up with blankets watching films and eating food like sausage and mash. I'm already so excited!

Reading and Relaxing

Reading is one of my favourite things to do all year round, but it just gets even better in Autumn! I love coming home from work, or waking up on the weekend, and getting snuggled up in lots of blankets so I can read the next few hours away. It's a magical feeling! We have the most amazing window halfway up our stairs in this house, and that's my favourite place to read. Watching the world go by!

The Dinners

Autumn definitely offers the best dinner choices. From Sausage and Mash, to Roast Dinners - they are my absolute favourite dinners. They are just so warm and comforting, especially as the weather is beginning to change! Something about a Roast dinner can make everything seem OK, especially when it's a good as my mums...

Autumn Fashion

Chunky knits, warm boots and scarves - Autumn Fashion is definitely a popular favourite for many. Summer can be so challenging to dress for, especially in England, so when Autumn shows it's face I know so many of us are clambering to get into our Autumn cosies. I'm also a huge sucker for pjs and thick jumpers so Autumn fashion is right up my street!


Making blanket forts and snuggling up with someone you love is one of the best things about Autumn; whether you are with your friends, family or other half. I love being all warm and cosy as it gets darker, and crisper, around us outside - nothing beats being toasty and cosy, you just feel so safe!

Warm Baths

Having a warm bath, preferably with a Lush bath bomb, is definitely one of my favourite things about Autumn. I missed having baths so much in my first two years of uni so having one for the Autumn in my final year was such a treat. It's only since I started earning money though that I have really appreciated the power of a Lush bath bomb in the cold!

What do you love about Autumn?
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