Tuesday, 31 January 2017

January in Numbers

 January has been a very exciting month for me! It's always one of the months that inspires me the most, but this month has been extra special. Whilst it has dragged a little (what January doesn't!) it's been worth it's length. I've been considering doing a round-up style series on Suitcase and Sandals for a while now, and finally settled on the idea of going through my month in numbers. I like the ease of it, and the fact it's an online extension of my gratitude journal.

1 new job - which I am loving! I started in the middle of January and it's been so good learning new things in a completely different sector.

2 the amount of city breaks booked this month. I'm so excited to explore more of Europe this year with trips to Warsaw and Stockholm planned!

4 books read including What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor which I loveeeed. It was such a heart-warming read, and you really do fall for the characters. One to add to your 2017 "to-read" list!

1 new house which we have just settled into. We are loving having our own little space - it's already feeling like home

92 the amount spent on basically a whole new wardrobe, thanks to bargain Topshop sales including a pair of Jamie jeans for £8

6 no. of blog posts (including this one)! I'm trying to stick to a regular schedule which I'm enjoying - posts every Friday!

7 posts on Instagram - it's been a quiet month on my instagram; mainly due to the fact I moved house and started a new job

January has been a great month, and I'm really excited about this new feature on my blog! Reviewing my month will be a good way to focus on the things that make me happy.

What have you been up to this month?


Friday, 27 January 2017

If I Went To Uni Again I'd...

18 months after (WHAT?) finishing University, I think I'm just about getting over the shock of leaving and becoming an adult. Whilst I do miss my time at university, it isn't a painful yearning for the carefree days anymore. I'm finally beginning to accept that I'll never be as free as I was whilst I was at University, and it kind of makes me a bit annoyed that I didn't do more with my time. So to help anyone still at University, I thought I would impart my words of wisdom...

Stay In Bed

Yes, do it. I cannot BELIEVE I used to moan about my two 9am's a week. I'm now sat at my desk by 9am EVERYDAY. Just stay in bed, you'll never be able to do it as much again. 9am? No problem, come back home and get back into bed to make up for lost time.

But, Do Something Too

Volunteer at a local charity, write for the university newspaper or join a society. Like I said earlier, this is the best time to make the most of the copious amounts of spare time you probably have now. I wish I had tried out a few working sectors to get a feel for what I wanted to do whilst I was at university; it would have looked great on my CV whilst also helping myself out! If you're short for cash, get a part-time job (which will also look excellent on CV whilst funding your nights out/clothing addiction!).

Learn to Cook, well

One of the best things about moving to university was the independence that I got from it. I would not be able to cook as well as I do now, without having left the home and learning. It's one of the most important skills, and definitely worth learning whilst you have the time at university! Grab yourself a good cookbook and experiment!

Explore more of the local area

I adored living in Canterbury, and wish I had gotten to know the area even better. There are so many nice places in Kent and I wish I'd really made the most of the time I had there. I'd have loved to have gone to the beach a bit more, and visit some of the cute little villages in the surrounding areas! If I were to go back to uni again, I would have made the most of living in the Garden of England.

Work that little bit harder

Whilst I am incredibly proud of the 11.1 grade I achieved at university, knowing I was only 3 marks off graduating with a first was pretty frustrating. I wish that I'd been able to get the extra few marks across all of my essays to reach that overall grade. Working hard at uni is one thing that definitely pays off.

If you went to Uni again, what would you do?

Friday, 20 January 2017

The Anticipation of an Event

 I've always been someone who likes to have things booked into the diary to give me that little spur on when I'm feeling a little blue. Part of the greatness of a particular event is the anticipation of it; planning it, packing for it, the journey; it all adds to the happiness of that event! When I know I have a trip booked, part of the happiness this even brings me is the anticipation of that event. Booking it makes me happy, and planning it makes me just as happy as the trip itself!

The lead up to Lindos, a week of food and sunshine, was a huge part of the fun!

I read a really good book last year. The type of book that you take ages to read just because you don't want it to end! I picked up "The Happiness Project" written by Gretchen Rubins at JFK before our flight back to the UK. I started reading it there and then, and it's been making my life that bit happier ever since!

Gretchen speaks about the happiness that the lead up to an event can bring people. I guess it's always been something that is true, but reading this book really defined it for me. It's making me appreciate the little things in the lead up to events so much more. I arrived home from work one day back in November, and my mum was burning a candle. It took me a little while to realise what the candle reminded me of, but slowly I knew that it was Christmas. Dan's birthday is on the 1st December so I would usually reject any idea of Christmas before that day out of respect for his birthday! But this year, I savoured that smell and it got me that little bit excited for Christmas - I was embracing the happiness that the lead up to Christmas brings me and so many others!

When I first started to really consider this concept, I immediately felt guilty for comparing the lead up to a trip to as amazing as the event itself. My first thoughts were that the event should be so good that it would outshine anything else. Gretchen made me realise that it is absolutely fine to appreciate the lead up to the event and to enjoy it just as much as the event itself. If we all took a little more happiness from the excitement of things we are looking forward to, I reckon that there would be a lot more happiness to go around.

Here's to enjoying the anticipation of the event just as much as the event itself. Personally, I know that this will bring a whole new heap of happiness to my life.

Do you get just as excited about the lead up to an event as you do for the event itself?

Friday, 13 January 2017

48 Hours in Dublin

 Back in November we headed to Dublin to celebrate my Dad's 50th Birthday! We had decided that just the usual birthday celebrations wouldn't be enough and began scheming for his birthday trip back in February. We wanted to go somewhere close enough for a weekend break, and somewhere with lots to do and decided that Dublin would be perfect.

My Sister and I flew out after work on the Friday night with the boys to surprise our Dad who had flown out in the morning; it was so exciting knowing that he had no idea we'd be turning up. The surprise was well worth the wait, and seeing the smile on his face as we walked into the bar was incredible! After a couple of pints (we were in Ireland, what else would we be drinking?!) it was up to bed to prepare for our first day of adventures. In true Suitcase and Sandals style, instead of doing things day by day, I'll be rounding up our adventures!

Where We Stayed

Mum wanted to stay in the hotel she and Dad had stayed in for their tenth anniversary, so we booked into The Parliament Hotel (formerly The Arlington) which was great. The rooms were clean, and had everything we could need in them! We got a really good deal for our stay, and were minutes away from Dublin Castle and The Temple Bar area of the city which was perfect. The staff were excellent, and put a note in our booking to say that we were surprising out Dad so they shouldn't mention the other rooms. We did have a slight issue with the temperature of the showers on day two, but as we were in a rush we didn't bother to complain about this although with the experience I had with the staff, I think it would have been dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Where We Ate

 As part of our hotel booking we got breakfast included which was usually 10 euros. We all had a full Irish breakfast on both days so we were pretty full for the majority of the day which is ideal when you are exploring a new city. Lunch was a spud pot from the Temple Bar food market on day one, and potato wedges from The Hairy Lemon which were possibly the best wedges I have ever had! Dad chose to go to a gorgeous Italian called Pinocchio in Temple Bar for his birthday dinner, and the food was delicious. The prices were reasonable, and the restaurant was so busy; always a sign of a good place. I believe they also offer cooking lessons too which would be fun!

What We Saw

We spent the first morning strolling through Temple Bar, and the food market seeing a few notorious sights of Dublin whilst we were there, including the Ha'Penny Bridge and the River Liffy. We wandered up to the Pop and Rock  museum which was very interesting and featured some very famous names such as Thin Lizzie and U2. Temple Bar area is a must if you are in Dublin. The cute cobbled streets and various markets and shops were so lovely to stroll around. I'd definitely recommend a trip to The Temple Bar, an absolutely massive pub which looked so gorgeous and festive.

Day two took us to the Guinness storehouse which we had already pre-booked! The tour was self-led and we spent a few hours learning about the Black Stuff before heading up to the bar which has 360 degree views of Dublin, including the Wicklow Mountains. Well worth a visit. As we had a flight to catch late afternoon, the rest of the Sunday was strolling around Grafton Street and visiting St Stephen's Green which I can imagine would be lovely in the summer!

How We Got There 

We booked flights from London Stansted to Dublin through Ryanair - some tickets cost us £80 whilst others cost us £40 which shows the difference in price depending on when you book (surprisingly, the cheaper tickets were booked later!). It only takes about an hour by plane, and it was super easy to get to the city centre. Our taxi was around 30 euros for four people, and it took 30 minutes. If you wanted to get a bus into the centre, I believe they run every 15-30 minutes and a single costs 6 euros which is a good deal.

Dublin is a lovely little city, with lots to do and so much to see - I wish we had had a little longer to see more of the city and maybe even take a day trip to see the stunning Wicklow scenery. I'd recommend Dublin if you are looking for a weekend city break, as you can definitely do a lot in a small space of time.

Have you ever been to Dublin?

Friday, 6 January 2017

Wishlist | January

 There are so many gorgeous pieces out there at the moment, and my wardrobe has been calling out for a freshen up for a little while now. As it's January and I have a little bit of spending money from Christmas, it seemed like the perfect time to do so. Finding a piece you really love is always such a bonus, and I've definitely found myself a few staples recently!


How gorgeous are these pieces! I'm especially in love with the gorgeous watch, and the sequinned boots. I'm all about the effortless style; pairing a slightly jazzier piece such as the watch or boots, with a more laid back outfit like jeans and a tee. 

What have you been lusting over this January?

*I was kindly gifted one of the watches by Browns Family Jewellers. I have been wearing it for a while now and can honestly say it is one of the loveliest watches to wear! It's so comfortable, and I think it is so stylish too. It goes perfectly with everything - from my work uniform to an outfit perfect for drinks with the girls!


Sunday, 1 January 2017

2017 | Goals

 New Years is always a time of reflection for me, as it is for many others. I think there is something so refreshing and exciting about the change of a year ahead which makes me reflect on the past year and look towards the future in an entirely different light. After the interesting year that was 2016, I'm hoping that 2017 is one of those years that restores hope for everyone and makes it feel like it's worth carrying on doing our own thing for.

I've always liked to set myself goals, and this year will be no exception. I've pretty much kept most of my goals from the last year but 2017 is all about pushing myself and going beyond my comfort zone. Confidence has never really been my strong point but I'm hoping that this year gives me a chance to forget all of that, and push myself.
  • Travel somewhere with one of my best friends from uni, Mary. We've been saying we're going to do this for three years now so 2017 is the day it will happen! No matter where we go we will have the best time I'm sure.
  • Finally buy a light-box and focus a bit more on my photography! I found it very frustrating last year, but only time will tell if I can improve it a little. 
  • Rent, or buy (if we miraculously find a house!) a place to call our own. We're excited to be moving out but also so grateful to my parents for putting up with us for nearly two years! It's definitely the next step for us to take and I am so looking forward to it. 
  • Go to at least three new different places: maybe even a new continent! I love exploring the world and seeing new places so this is another year to go continue to do so. I'd love to visit Germany or Poland this year!
  • Learn a new skill. Learning a language, or a bit more about SEO would be great. I'm hopefully going to be able to have a bit more time to do so as well so that's exciting!
  • A very generic one, but I want to get a bit more active! I really enjoy swimming but memberships are so expensive. I want to find something that gets my heart pumping without spending too much money!
  • Keep up with my gratitude journal; I have been doing this for two years now and really helps me to focus on the good. Especially on bad days!
2017 is set to be a very exciting year. Whilst 2016 was excellent, I'm hoping for more next year which will only come from pushing myself to be better. Here's to spending a year out of my comfort zone!

What are your goals for 2017?

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