Packing for a (short) Staycation

I’ve been standing looking at my wardrobe for a good hour now, at times I’ve also sat down.  SP and I have been invited for a weekend in Devon with friends and I have that sicky icky feeling that I’m trying to quell, cause I don’t know what to pack.  I mean, what do you pack for a weekend in the UK where you have no idea what the weather is going to do?


I want to make sure I’ve got all my bases covered and it would be dead easy to just pack for practicality (it’s bound to be cold and wet isn’t it?).  But, I want to appear as if I’ve stepped out from one of those A5 catalogues that fall out of the Sunday supps.  Yeah, I want to look like I’ve got some sense of style like these pics below that I scooped off Pinterest.  A tall order.  So I better get started.


Hush. Image via Pinterest

Boden. Image via Pinterest

Hush. Image via Pinterest


Four days later and what looked like a promising weather forecast has turned out to be but a dream. It’s going to be grey sky all weekend.


Things can change though!  So, with a colour theme finally decided, blue, (I’m rad, I know), I’m going to pack lots of layers, take a few light pieces, but make sure there is plenty in my weekend bag to keep me warm.  Hence my bag will include:


  1. blue/white striped t.shirts
  2. cotton chambray long-sleeve shirts
  3. denim jeans –  1 boyfriend/1 skinny
  4. grey cotton harem pants (dead comfy)
  5. denim shorts (ever optimistic!)
  6. swimming costume (there is a heated outdoor pool – item most likely to stay in bag!)
  7. off the shoulder cotton day dress (in case the sun does show its face)
  8. two blue light-weight knits
  9. blue hoodie (part of the back-up plan)
  10. one floaty easy-to-wear dress (heading out for pub dinner Saturday night)
  11. low-heel embellished sandals to go with above
  12. Adidas Originals trainers to go with everything else
  13. large bright yellow tote to add a pop of colour
  14. cross-over tan bag
  15. fluffy socks….

Continuing on the blue theme, I did a little snooping on the net and found these lovely pieces that would have been great additions to my weekend wardrobe, had I had the spare cash.  I am absolutely loving all the baby blue off the shoulder tops that I’ve seen around and you can pick up some great bargains in the sales right now – try Mango and Zara for cheap deals. I would also like a sweatshirt with a cheeky message, a long denim skirt, which would be a great addition to the wardrobe and would see me into Autumn as well, and some longer-length boyfriend cut-offs.  Ah well, I can dream.


Hope you have great plans for the weekend. Enjoy!


Gail xx

Croatia: Holiday Photo Diary

It’s such a downer when your holiday is over isn’t it?  I’m trying not to let the post-holiday blues get to me and it is lovely to be back in blighty. There’s no place like home, of course, but still who wouldn’t want to sit by glistening blue waters all summer.  I would.


I hope you are well and have had a good few weeks. This week’s post is a short photo diary of my holiday to Croatia, which included a trip to the beautiful city of Dubrovnik.


Croatia was not our first choice of destination this summer.  In fact we were originally booked for Egypt because I’d heard it was wall-to-wall sunshine and SP would be happy swimming with lots of fish.  Then, as we know, safety became even more of an issue to travellers there and the holiday wasn’t viable so we had to find somewhere else to lay our sun hats!


We didn’t have many immediate friends that had travelled to Croatia, one or two, but when I found a well-appointed hotel just outside of Dubrovnik I quickly booked us a room with a sea-view as I had wanted to visit this city for some time.  Our accommodation, Hotel Croatia, sits on a cliff top above the charming little village of Cavtat.  A quick read of Trip Advisor confirmed that the reputation of the hotel was solid and it had a swimming pool and a waterfront sunbathing area, we were covered.


So without further ado, here’s some photographic evidence of our week in gorgeous Croatia.


First stroll around Cavtat Marina




Possible mooring spot for super yachts


Plenty of places to eat, drink and watch the world go by


There’s always room for Greek Salad



Loved wearing these sandals from Primark and just £10 – FUN


I love wearing shorts and try to get away with it when on holiday


You can’t beat a colourful kaftan


Old port, Dubrovnik


We walked the city walls, but honestly it was too hot to take many photos and we melted hence the lack of bodies featured


A beautiful city


Looking out to sea


The city walls run for 6365 feet


Old Town, Dubrovnik




Adriatic sunset

Did you have a good time SP?


He did.  We loved it and will absolutely go back.  SP’s sister is heading to Pula later in the year and we would love to travel around this country more, although for an easy, chill-out break, we would likely go back to this hotel.  It had everything we needed and more.


Now I’m just envious of everyone still getting ready to go away.  Ah you got to love the summer months.


Next week, it’s all about staying here in the UK.  What will I pack for a weekend in Devon?  Pac-a-mac at the ready!


Gail xx





Bags of Interest

Does anything say summer more than a big ole straw bag?  These roomy, bung-it-all-in bags are perfect for carrying everything you need for the beach, a picnic in the countryside (or nearest strip of grass in the city), visits to a market town fair (where you’ll spend next week’s shopping money on a bottle of artisan chilli oil you don’t need), and swinging from your arm on the streets of a city that’s not raining (if you’re lucky).


I think I’ve mentioned this already, but I’m going on holiday soon!  So a big bag that will take me from airport to hotel to shopping on the streets of Dubrovnik, is on my mind.


My last bag was from Warehouse. It’s a bright, orange striped bag with a zip, that has done a very good job for a fair few holidays, but it’s starting to look ragged and I’m now on the hunt for a replacement.


You don’t have to look very far and from what I’m seeing on the high street straw/wicker/jute  bags/baskets/totes/shoppers, whatever you want to call them, are are having a fashion moment this summer.


There is a lot of choice and I’ve done some searching online and come up with a ton of choices below.  My personal favourites can be found in Mango as seen in this shot taken by me while out shopping.  There’s a lot of choice in store.



I’m in love with anything sporting a pom pom or a tassel, like these four.

Mango - Jute Cotton-Blend Bag £29.99

Mango – Jute Cotton-Blend Bag £29.99

Mango - Embroidered Shopper Bag £29.99

Mango – Embroidered Shopper Bag £29.99

Accessorize Raffia Pom Pom Bag £29.00

Accessorize Raffia Pom Pom Bag £29.00


I love all four bags, but I better make a choice soon or they’ll be gone.  In the meantime, here’s a larger selection, in case, like me, you’re in need of a hard-working accessory this summer.

Gail xx

Holiday Make-Up Made Easy

I look dreadful without make-up.  I’m not one of those women who wears make-up at night or jumps out of bed before her husband wakes so that he never sees her without war paint, but I know I need it during the day and I’m happier, more confident when I have a little ‘slap’ on.


I’ve recently reverted to ‘carving out time’ to put it on, as I did in my youth.  In my thirties, there was no time, or maybe I thought I didn’t need as much time, and my face was done in minutes.  Now, as I get older, I’m building up the drugstore again and I’m starting to think I might end up like Barbara Cartland as my bathroom overflows with colourful goodies.


Hopefully SP will stick around and forewarn me of graffiti-style war paint wearing as I get older, but that’s down the line and my immediate problem lies in the holiday make-up bag, which is a bone of contention between us.  It all started when we couldn’t carry anything over 100ml in our hand luggage and I couldn’t hide ‘all that stuff’ in a tote.  I know it’s for a good reason, but now all my make-up is visible in the shared suitcase (obviously where I’m going wrong) and ‘make-up control’ guidelines dictate very serious restrictions. The trouble is SP considers said make-up kit a luxury, I consider it First Aid.


Without make-up my head looks like a spud and it’s particularly worse when I expose my skin to the sun.  I do not have summer-friendly skin.  I’m naturally pale and really have to stick at the sun worship to gain any colour, always being mindful of how long I’m out in it,  as I can scorch like a tomato on a grill.


I wear high factor protection on my face the whole time I’m away and then add a swish of MAC Bronzer to give my face a sun-kissed look of an evening.  These items are non-negotiable, but with make-up space at a premium I need to limit myself with the rest of the ‘equipment’ and not take the complete drugstore, which is how I found myself fine-tuning my kit to the items below for my last holiday.



Wearing high factor protection is great for your skin, but try standing next to a bronzed beauty in the Med, it ain’t so hot.  So I always take foundation and powder away with me.   This time I wanted to find a 2-in-1 product that also didn’t break the bank.  Chatting to beauty bloggers on Twitter and doing some digging around I found a 4-in1 product, True Match Genius by L’Oreal.


A primer, concealer, foundation and powder in one compact, it comes with a built-in mirror and application sponge.  It’s creamy to touch, but transforms to a matt texture with a satin finish once on the skin.  It offers medium coverage and because it comes in a small case I could take it with me everywhere and touch up should my skin get ‘flushed’.  I really liked the result, but I think I’m going to go a shade darker this next holiday to give me a little more colour.


I was also advised to try eyeshadow sticks or crayons, which meant I didn’t have to take any brushes with me – hoorah – see saving space comes naturally to me!  I found these by Max Factor.  They aren’t new in the world of beauty, but certainly a fresh idea to me.  These are 2-in-1 Gel Shadow Liners.  They offer a high pigmentation and I bought a light brown/gold colour for day wear and a metallic grey for an evening.  In truth they are quite chunky sticks so I didn’t wear them as a liner and drew over the whole eyelid, but that suited my needs.  I think you’d need a pretty steady hand to just use them as a liner.  I loved the colours and coverage though.

There are some nights of course when you want to add more sparkle to your look and for that I bought Urban Decay’s Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner that I kept reading about all last year.  I bought Midnight Cowboy which offers a wash of gold glitter that can be delicately worn on the outer rim of your eye, or hell-for-leather over the whole eyelid.  It depends on what you’re looking for and whether you’re going to an Abba tribute gig or not, but I found a tiny amount really makes your eyes pop in a pretty way.  I wore mine with Benefit’s Roller Lash Mascara (not pictured), which is my currant fave.


Lastly, I had a sample (must have been from a magazine) of Benefit’s Hoola Lip Gloss.  It does say Ultra Plush on the packaging, but I did find it really quite heavy to wear and it took a little getting used to.  It’s pretty much nude on the lip, but does offer some shimmer.  I’m not convinced that it did much for me, I’m too pale and need colour, so I will be reverting back to a pink gloss for the next holiday.  But if you go a gorgeous nut brown (please don’t stand near me) then this could be a gloss for you.


And that was it, my holiday ‘look’ with just a few products.  I literally got a gold star from SP.


Don’t worry, I got my own back. I more than made up for it with shoes!!!


Have a nice weekend.


Gail x


Bikini vs One-Piece? Once more unto the beach dear friends

“According to what I heard on the radio, it’s the one-piece that’s in this year,” said SP while he was washing the dishes last night.  I know what you’re thinking. What would I do without him!


I also know that many of my friends are making the change from two piece bathing suit to one-piece this Summer, and, while I can see the benefits of doing so, I’m not sure I’m ready.  (Though others by the pool might think I am!)


It might sound silly, but for me, it would feel like a move towards more mature times, like shopping in BHS, and I’m not ready to give in.  I expect there are plenty of you who disagree and I’m not that hard of face or opinionated to look at the alternatives.   Am I making a mistake?  What are the options out there?  I thought I’d take a look-see.

Next - Photo from Pinterest (3) Jungle Print Multiway Swimsuit £32

Next – Photo from Pinterest (3) Jungle Print Multiway Swimsuit £32


I have definitely changed my pool-lounging habits over the past eight-nine years.  I still have the bikini that I wore on my first holiday with SP, but I haven’t put it on in years.  Designed by Kylie or for Kylie by H&M, it’s a metallic, no-bigger-than-a-piece-of- floss-style bikini with padded bra for extra oomph.  It doesn’t cover much.  It wasn’t meant to, we all know how tiny she is.  And so was I, a little bit, back then.


Certainly as I kicked in to myforties I made sure there was more support and more material to my bikinis and I found Marks & Spencer, year after year, has had some of the best options on the high street.  They always produce a really good selection of bandaux tops each year, which means you won’t get strap marks and have to limit your choice of evening wear on holiday. They come in the latest colourways and have removable padding, which normally I dislike in bras, but I’ve found these to have just the right support for me.


M&S Halterneck Bandeau Bikini Top £10


Bottom-wise, the floss has long gone and I’ve chosen M&S’s Roll Top Hipster Bikini Bottoms for quite a few years.  The material is always gorgeously soft and the added width to my hips give me a little more shape.

M&S Roll Top Hipster Bikini Bottoms £14


All in, £24.  That’s not bad and I will be taking my collection with me this year, but what if I, or anyone else, fancies switching it up this holiday season.

The choice of one-pieces out there are actually really, really good.  I did a bit of snooping around and every store that is showcasing its new beach wear has a nice collection of wearable swim suits.  Next has so much choice there’s bound to be something for everyone, from plunging fronts and pretty florals, to more sporty numbers and the one that I’ve included in this post, the multi-way jungle swim suit.  Of course that young slip of a thing looks hot, and not in the same way as I would actually be hot (!), but this one-piece is designed to be worn in six different ways including halterneck, plunge, crossover and one shoulder.  I absolutely love its crisp clean colours.  It would look fantastic on my friends who tan easily.


Matalan has some very pretty pieces as has M&S.  The latter also has a collection of swim suits with secret slimming tummy sections. Thanks guys!  However, it’s John Lewis’ collection that has really stood out to me.  Check out the collection below of really gorgeous prints and colours, many of which are strapless.  We may be losing a number of options in the clothing department as we get older, no more daisy dukes, but by god no-one can take bare shoulders from us girls!

Finding these gorgeous pieces is making me re-think my position- the designers are making it so easy to take the leap.  And wouldn’t it be nice to feel in absolute comfort in a one-piece.  No-one else sees me apart from SP anywho and he’s obviously given me the go-ahead.  Ah, go on then.  I think I might be giving in after all.

Gail xx