Posted in Holiday Happiness

Oh Vancouver…

Oh Vancouver… you weren’t on my list but you absolutely should have been. My first time in Canada and you were where we landed to begin our adventure. You see Canada was way down my travel list I’m ashamed to say. My other half had it at the top of his list so that’s how come I found myself there.

This coastal cosmopolitan city in western Canada did not disappoint. I’m not a massive city lover… I mean don’t get me wrong, I loved Rome for its architecture, New York for simply being New York but what was there to love about Vancouver? Everything.

Vancouver sky line
View of Vancouver from Stanley Park

It’s sooo clean!

It is not often I say this about a city but I found I found Vancouver to be so clean. We actually stayed in the downtown area on Granville street which was probably the least clean area but still it was clean as far as city’s go. Wandering around in the sunshine, between the gleaming buildings and litter free streets was just lovely.

Walking around Vancouver
Clean streets in Vancouver

The Canadians are so nice!

In Vancouver I had my first interactions with the Canadians and let me tell you they were so polite and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble for them from the hotel staff bus drivers, even to people in the street who we stopped to ask directions. They were all so nice! I officially love Canadians ha ha!

Granville Island testing glass pens
Testing handmade glass pens on Granville Island

It’s all about the food!

Vancouver has no shortage of great places to eat. It is actually known for its seafood predominantly and we passed plenty of sushi restaurants. We enjoyed a meal in Black and Blue steak house which had a lovely ambient setting, impeccable service and a fantastic selection of steaks on the menu. Staying somewhere you can cook for yourself? No problem! Granville Island is the place to shop for all things food or even just go for a browse and indulge whilst there.

Yummy cakes, Granville Island

Just look at the scenery…

Vancouver really has it all when it comes to scenery. Stunning mountain ranges, pretty parks, the sea, harbours and beaches. It’s found itself listed as one of the most beautiful cities in the world in many publications and it’s easy to see why.

Canada Place Vancouver
Canada place Vancouver

It’s the great outdoors

Vancouver has a lot to offer in terms of outdoor pursuits. Visit in winter and you can enjoy skiing and snow sports. Summer hiking is popular along with camping and water sports are on offer. Not forgetting biking! Did you know Vancouver has more than 279 miles of bike routes. We loved our time riding around Stanley Park.

Riding bikes in Stanley Park
Bike riding in Stanley Park

Oh Vancouver!

I only spent 3 days visiting you but I would of happily stayed a week! I would of loved to explore more of the city and soaked up its vibe. Our itinerary was jam packed as to get the most out of our time so we didn’t really have much down time. On the plus side I have a few more detailed Vancouver posts coming up so stay tuned!

Vancouver… you were my first taste of Canada and what a fantastic place to start. I will be back at some point to see more of you for sure! Thanks for the memories.

Kayakers by Granville Island
Vancouver lookout
Granville Island
Vancouver towards coal harbour

Have you visited Vancouver? Do you think it’s worthy of it’s beautiful city title? I think it’s safe to say I think it is.

Rachael 🙂 x

Check out Black and Blue Steak House and book a table here.

Posted in lifestyle

Summer and Winter Wardrobe Swap

It’s that time… summer and winter wardrobe swap day! Perhaps I’m doing it slightly early as the sun is occasionally peeking from the clouds still, but after Fridays ‘I have nothing to wear meltdown’ whilst trying to get ready for a cinema visit I thought perhaps I will have something to wear if I do my swap.

Do you swap your wardrobe over?

Why on earth do I do a swap? Well, everything would fit in my wardrobe but I’m afraid it would be rather crammed in. I’m pretty sure I won’t want to wear shorts past September (incase your wondering I’m by Manchester in the UK!) Anyway, does anyone else do a summer and winter wardrobe swap?

Summer or winter fashion?

I LOVE summer clothes… I seem to buy more in this season than winter. This is probably due to holidays and wanting new outfits. I’m not exactly thrilled by winter clothes… people say ‘oh who’s ready for winter woolies, bonfire night, Christmas lights or some s*** like that… hmmm not me!! None the less I boxed off Saturday just gone to retrieve my winter attire from the loft.

Sort first, pack away later…

Before this I sorted through all things summer. Some items cross over into seasons but summery dresses, play suits, shorts, too many bikinis all were relegated to the not needed until next year pile.

Summer clothes ready to store away
Summer stuff to go away…

The most annoying thing is sometimes I hold on to items that I wasn’t keen on just because I feel bad parting with something I’ve worn once. Away they go to briefly make a wardrobe appearance next summer only to be tossed in the charity bag when they don’t make the cut again. Ugh! Does anyone else do this?

My no buy!

Now in case you missed my previous two posts, I’m actually doing a no buy. Guys… let me tell you I’m wondering what the hell I was thinking?! I’m only a week in. Yep ONE WEEK. I passionately blogged about loving a challenge blah blah only to realise this is the biggest challenge of my LIFE lol.

So it’s time to fall in love with what I have! I’m hoping given the winter stuff has been stashed away for six months I might feel like I have a new wardrobe anyway! Hmmm, who am I kidding… I hope your routing for me guys! Ha ha!

Winter jumpers hanging in my wardrobe
Hello winter woolies!

So my summer and winter wardrobe swap is officially complete. I’ve got a a few things coming up over the winter months that I’m already pondering what I’m going to wear… a trip to Edinburgh with the girls in particular. Best get outfit planning instead of shopping!

Have you indulged in some autumn inspired shopping yet? What are you loving this season? Have a browse for me ha ha!

Rachael 🙂 x

Posted in Holiday Happiness

18 Things I Learnt by my Second Cruise

This is 18 things I learnt by my second cruise… because do you really learn everything from your first? I realise I am still at the beginning of my cruising life but none the less now I’ve done two cruises on two different lines I feel able to give you advice and good tips. I recently cruised on Royal Caribbeans Rhapsody of the seas and previously on the Disney Fantasy – which you can read all about here.

So if your yet to book or go on your first cruise then these 18 tips may help you ace it the first time instead of like me what will be my 3rd time (when I book again, not any time soon!)

1. Do your research… which cruise?

All ships are different, that’s in size, amenities, ports of call, on board entertainment programmes. What’s most important to you? I don’t think you will be disappointed on any cruise to be honest but choose your most important box and make sure that’s ticked first.

My choices!

The first time I cruised it was simple… I wanted to experience a Disney one. Second time I picked based on ports of call. Fairly well travelled in Europe I wanted to make sure I was hitting places I hadn’t yet been. Also for me I didn’t want a massive ship. Travelling with my tween I knew he would clear off… I wanted half a chance of finding him! I chose Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas – capacity 2000.

The Disney Fantasy cruise in Port
Disney fantasy in port

2. Embarkation day is busy

When we got on this recent cruise we were hungry and headed straight to the buffett restaurant, same as everyone else. It was pretty stressy finding a table etc and I was going mad! Not a fan of all inclusive at all (no judgement if you are) it had that feel to it. Please know it never felt like this again! Consider booking a speciality dining for when you board to avoid this rush… I did but missed it! Whoops! Which brings me to my next point…

3. Don’t underestimate boarding time…

This latest cruise took longer to board then the previous Disney one. The port felt huge, the queues were long (we didn’t queue thanks to some VIP thing I booked) it did take a while to actually get on the ship. Not stressful but we did think we would pretty much walk on and we didn’t hence missing our lunch. We had actually been exploring that morning but in hindsight maybe box off the first day to just get on board if you want to make the most of it.

4. Pack a day bag

Seriously… don’t get caught out without things you might need straight away in your case. Aside from obvious things I mean your swimwear, sunglasses etc. Your case can take a while to be delivered to your stateroom and the last thing you want is your kids going mental because they can’t get in the pool!

12. The pools are not big

Okay so I’ve only done two cruises but as far as I can see this is across the board. Think of them more as a quick dip to cool off not swim! The main one will be overrun with kids who don’t seem to notice they are sharing it with 50 other people ha ha! Most ships will also have an adult only pool which is great to escape. Some have water slides like the Disney fantasy, that actually had a water coaster running around the outside, it was so fun!

Chilling in a hot tub
We always favour the hot tubs!

5. Which Stateroom?

Another thing to think about here is how much your on the boat. I did a seven day cruise and was off the boat 4 days exploring, not utilising my drinks package. Funny story though… my son made lots of mates who had no package (so you just get water, orange, lemonade, tea and coffee) he spent all our cruise getting everybody’s drinks! Ha ha! So you could just make a friend with a package 😉

Both my cruises I’ve booked the cheapest state room with no window based on knowing I won’t be in it much. The only thing that’s tricky about them is the lack of space for all your stuff! You need to be highly organised to not end up getting frustrated keeping on top of things. Disney hace magic portholes in their cheapest rooms which give you a real time view of outside (off a camera) and you might just see a few of your favourite characters appear in it too – magical!

6. The initial cost is not all you will spend…

Cruises are masters at getting you to part with your cash or should I say credit card. That’s right… everything on board you pay for with your room key (which is linked to your onboard account and credit card), swipe here, swipe there, few cocktails later… erm how much am I up to!! Do I even care?! Ha ha!

Best way to keep the cost down is pre pay everything you can. We had a deluxe drinks package (£345 for me, £150 for the soda one for my son) we prebooked our two excursions that we chose. Also pre pay your tips!! This is huge, if you don’t you will end up with a bill in excess of £200 (in my experience) before disembarking. If your British and not use to compulsory tipping you probably won’t enjoy parting with it at the end. I didn’t pre pay on my first cruise and I racked up £1500 I think between tips, drinks, a special meal and a few souvenirs, yikes!!

7. Drinks packages…

Ahhh the dreaded drinks package! Do you want it? Is it worth the money? Okay I will let you into a secret… I didn’t pay those prices above, thank god! They were the prices but because I booked early I got my drinks packages included, winner! However I spoke to a couple who booked about six months in advance and they paid less than me but no drinks… maybe they just charge you and say it’s free?! Who knows… Consider booking early non the less.

Are they worth it?

If you don’t get a drinks package for free consider how much you actually drink!! If it’s 2-3 drinks a day it may be worth paying as you go. I think I worked out that to make it worth it in my cruise I would need to drink at least 5 cocktails a day! I drank seven cocktails when I first got on board and was giddy… let’s just say I don’t remember much of the speciality restaurant I dined in that night!

You won’t be drinking if your off the ship…

Only you can answer this. First off ask yourself how much time do you plan on spending in it? If you will be out and about maybe it’s not worth the extra cost? If you like your own space book one with a balcony where you can enjoy time out watching the ocean. The suites are utterly fabulous if you can stump up that kind of cash.

Cocktail drinking
Cheers to cruise life!

8. You will not be able to do everything

FACT! my first cruise I assumed after a manic week in Florida I would be nice and chilled on board, wrong! The ships have extensive entertainment programmes which are delivered to you each evening for the next day. You will want to do loads but don’t! Pick the things that jump out at you and don’t spend your time running round the ship (like I did!) trying to see and do everything. On my second cruise I accepted I would not be doing everything and felt more like I had relaxed – it is a holiday after all!

9. Dining in the restaurants every night is a mistake

Much like the above dining in the restaurants every night is hard work. Again all ships are different but your tied to a specific dining time. You might just be having a great time on deck and not feel like going and getting dressed for dinner again. Then don’t! Skip the restaurant and go to the buffet/more relaxed dining room a few evenings. They have no end of choice anyway!

10. Formal night is not as formal as you may think

Personally I loved formal night, all those tuxedos and beautiful dresses and the band playing. However if your not a dressy up person don’t sweat it. Many men are just in a shirt and long trousers, ladies in nice dresses – not full length ball gowns. Check what it says for your ship but it’s unlikely everyone will go all out, so don’t stress! My son and I were not dressed to the nines on our recent sailing and we fitted in fine.

11. Stay on board when in port to enjoy peace

This is not something I have done but other cruisers have told me it’s great. I’m a get off and see the world kinda girl but if your there for the cruise life and not too then stay on board and enjoy a chilled day with less people.

13. Bring clips for your towels

How did I miss this memo?! Your out at sea… of course it can get breezy!! Pack towel clips to ensure your towel stays put when you trot off to the bar.

14. Excursions with the cruise company or independent?

I’ve always booked through the cruise company through fear of not making it back to the ship. Bottom line… if your out with them they can’t leave you. However I won’t be doing it in the future. At some ports of call I felt our excursions were rushed. For example when we had a beach day they dropped us off at 10am and picked us up at 1:30, despite the ship not leaving until 4:30pm and it was only 20 minutes return journey. If you want to run to your own schedule make your own arrangements (which may also be cheaper) but don’t cut it fine getting back to the ship.

Cruise excursion to Dubrovnik
Wondering round Dubrovnik old walls

15. Kids club is a godsend

Let me repeat that… KIDS CLUB IS A GODSEND ha ha! They usually run 3 sessions a day, morning, afternoon and evening. They will keep your little treasures safe and amused when they have burnt you out. Nursery age kids? No problem… they have that covered as well. Teens, literally have a ball! They have a cool place to hang out rather than a supervised club. Activities are still put on and it’s there choice if they do them. You will find they make friends and hang round the ship together breezing in and out of the club.

You can dine in peace thanks to kids club… take the kids to the buffet and drop them off to kids club then head to your chosen restaurant, they will thank you for it and you won’t have indigestion! Disney go one step further and actually pick them up from the restaurant if you prefer. So once they’ve eaten they go… meaning no rushing out for you. Ahhh yes I will have a 3rd glass of wine!

16. Your kids won’t like getting off the ship

True story… no kids want to get off!! Why would they? They are having a ball and now you want to drag them round Rome or whatever… they will moan and you will here when are we going back to the ship?! My tip here is bribe them ha ha! If your good now you can stay up a bit later… or you could use ‘I swear to god if you don’t behave you will stay in the cabin!’ That worked for me! Try to pre-empt this and keep it interesting for them too.

17. Consider working out on board

Cruises are full of yummy food, tempting treats and sugary cocktails! Your on holiday so your going to indulge. On my first cruise I didn’t work out and put on half a stone! Ha ha! This time I was wise… I still indulged a bit but I headed to the gym 4 times onboard. Not into that? There were yoga classes, spinning and exercises classes on board. Why not simply take the stairs every time instead of the lift? Or some brisk walking laps round top deck whilst taking in the sea air.

18. You will want to book another cruise!

You agonised over booking the first… will I like cruising? Will it be too busy? Will my kids be bored? I’ve not met anyone yet who’s been on one and hated it. That’s not to say those people aren’t out there. But don’t be surprised if when you come off your already planning your next. You can actually book your next whilst on board ha ha! Very clever… get them whilst they are in the moment. My son BEGGED me to do this but I already have next years adventure planned.

Dressed nicely on formal night
Formal night

So there are my 18 things I learnt by my second cruise. I hope you enjoyed reading it and if you are going on a cruise I hope I gave you some points to think about. Seasoned cruisers… is there anything else you would add here? Let me know!

Rachael 🙂 x

Posted in lifestyle

Hello September!

Hello September! We are a week into September already! So I thought I would do a little general blog post today to check in with you guys… Did everyone have a lovely summer? I hope so.

Summer Fun!

I have been referring to mine as ‘the summer of dreams’ as I was lucky enough to go on not one but two big holidays. Oh my gosh you guys I have had the BEST summer ever! Firstly I went to Canada and then onto America. Then After a week and a half at home I jetted off again to board a mediterranean cruise. Lucky girl! But you know what they say, work hard play hard!

But this is the thing right… people say I work hard but it never really feels like work! I love this quote…

Quote
So true…

Back to Dance and Cheer

Hello September means back to my job running my dance and cheer academy this week. It’s been a intense week as everybody needs new dances choreographing (that’s 24 classes). We are prepping for competition next month in cheer and I also am launching some new classes too. Yikes! Life is busy!

Fitness Resumes

In other news post summer I am looking forward to getting back into my fitness. I’m love the gym and yoga but I’ve slacked off with being away lots. I’m certainly ready to flood my body with those feel good endorphins again! Anyone else miss fitness like crazy if they have a break?

Blogging life!

Moving on to my blog… Firstly thanks for being here. I don’t know if your following me for travel or more lifestyle type posts but the good news is I am planning on blogging twice a week moving forward. I have managed to pretty much stick to a Sunday posting schedule as research tells me it’s easier to grow a blog following if your consistent. It’s time to try to commit to another day, after all I have plenty to share.

What will I share?

You can expect to hear about my summer of dreams (I worked it out to be around 38 blog posts!) I am still trying to make eco swaps so I will update on that. Also I’m on a no buy (honestly I’m already regretting announcing this) Will I stick to it?! Who knows, ha ha! I will also be sharing more peeks into my little life, dance, cheer, fashion, fitness and more!

Welcoming September with a smile
Cheesy back to cheer pic!

So that just about concludes this Hello September post! Thanks to those following me… you’re all stars, I’m loving sharing with you all. Wishing you all a fantastic month!

Catch you soon,

Rachael 🙂 x

Posted in Personal Development

My No Buy Rules!

So last week I talked about starting braving a no buy… if you want to know more about this you can read my original post here. It’s now time to delve more deeply into my no buy rules!

Well today we officially hit September, this marks the start of my no buy. To make this a successful mission I have had to identify a set of rules. Basically as I said before ‘no buy’ doesn’t mean buy absolutely nothing. If you are thinking of doing a no buy remember set rules that work for you. Somebody else’s might not work. Look at your life and how you can make cuts for the better, don’t make yourself totally miserable.

So here are the rules I’ve set myself…

1. No clothes shopping. At all. Guys… I don’t need more clothes. Seriously… I might lust after more but I need to appreciate the things I have already. I’ve decided I will do a blog post each month called ‘learning to love what I have’ in which I will share with you what I’ve been up to and what outfits I put together.

2. No new make up. Identify my essential make up kit and only buy replacements of those things when they run out. This will be foundation, concealer, touché eclat, mascara, blusher. I would add highlighter but I have 5 right now. Enough said. Let’s not go there about lipstick/gloss.

3. No new beauty treatments. Now then this is where a lot of my hard earned cash goes… I am a sucker for being pampered. Giving this up would make me miserable and it’s actually just a part of my routine/life. I have a facial every 3 weeks, nail appointment every 2, intimate wax every 3 weeks and a monthly massage. Yikes! I know… but I would happily add more. So no more beauty appointments beyond my regular.

4. No overbuying on every day consumables. This is things like shower gel, facial wash, bubble bath, shampoo and conditioner. I can not buy these until I have used up what I have. So for example I have a lot of shower gels right now including all the samples I’ve acquired. I love going to lush, I love shopping online for pampering at home products so this one could be challenging. Cleaning products would also come in here… but they aren’t really an issue ha ha!

5. No new books. Ahh man, I love books! But I already have so many. Yup you guessed it that’s many I’ve not read. Also I need to cancel audible as I’m just not using it these days yet I’m paying and racking up credits.

6. No new stationary. Notebooks, cute pens, jazzy post it’s, every type of journal under the sun… I have an issue with stationary… it’s just so pretty these days! so no more.

7. No homeware. Buying homeware isnt a big issue to be honest… but it could be if I’m banned from buying everything else ha ha! So on the list it goes!

What else?

Okay so apart from the obvious essential bills, grocery shopping and fuel what else have I not mentioned?

Dining out. I don’t feel this needs to go on my list as we don’t go out all that much as I work evenings. After 4 hours cheerleading on Saturdays I am goosed ha ha! We do go out obviously but not every week so I don’t feel this needs to be addressed on my no buy.

Entertainment. Again no need to be added. I love the theatre so occasionally I treat myself to going there. The odd concert, cinema and day out I enjoy but in all honestly I’m so busy with my dance school this isn’t an area of overspending concern.

Holidays. Want to really know where a lot of my money goes? Right here in this category. Do I intend to cut down? Absolutely not… life is for living and seeing the world will never be a waste of money in my eyes. I have three holidays planned next year though and will try to book no more. hmmm!

Okay so I think that pretty much completes my no buy rules torture list, ha ha! But seriously this may not look challenging to some but this will be for me. Check back in with me at the beginning of each month and I will share an update of how it’s all going. Finally I promise to be absolutely honest if I have any hiccups.

Can you think of any catergories I’ve missed? Anyone else survived a no buy? Or anyone want to join me?!

Happy September guys, make it a great one!

Rachael 🙂 x

Posted in Personal Development

Braving a No Buy…

Yep… I’m considering braving a no buy. I can hear my friends laughing as they read this! But one does love a good challenge. The term ‘No Buy’ has crossed my path several times in 2019. If you’ve been following my blog you will know I briefly talked about my consumerism habits and was wanting to become a more mindful shopper. Then in June I talked about how I’m not doing enough for the planet and talked about my eco friendly mission.

What’s a no buy?

Well the name is a tad misleading as of course it’s virtually impossible to stop buying everything. However it is possible to not buy new unnecessary items and make use of what you have. Upon joining this movement you determine your own rules. Popular ones include you may only replace essential items once they have run out. Now here’s the grey area… you determine what’s essential. So for example I would deem certain items of make up essential to my life. I’m not about to forgo mascara for example other people might but that is not for me!

Why do a no buy?

Good question… am I insane? Ha ha! Okay so after moving house last year I realised how much I actually overbuy. My friends have accused me of being a marketers dream in the past. However I have already made some changes to my consumerism habits since my move. I reckon that around 70% of my time on a weekly basis is taken up by my job as a dance teacher and going to the gym. Therefore I am rarely out of work out clothes. So keep purchasing items that don’t fit into this category when I already have many is a waste of money.

The financial side…

Many enter into a no buy simply because they have to. When a shopping addiction has spiralled out of control and they have racked up credit card bills to make your eyes water. This is not me thank god. I learnt my lesson with this fairly early on in life when I went to New York and blew £6000 on a credit card which consequently was a pain to pay back quickly.

My financial situation is good, I have less than £1000 debt. I have savings in the bank to which I add to monthly. The savings are mostly to go towards a house deposit with my other half when we move hopefully next year.

My reasons for a no buy…

1. I empty my bank account every month. Who can relate? Every penny is gone! I want to get to the end of the month with money in my bank (I do save but this about wanting money left in my current account)

2. I already have enough stuff!

3. I want to appreciate what I have more

4. I want to be less susceptible to advertising (ha ha!)

5. I want to have more time to be creative (this could be the time I spend mindlessly browsing online or the days I go shopping just because)

6. Boost my savings prior to moving

7. I like a challenge

A year though?

Okay guys the thought of a year is making my head fall off so I’m going to commit to six months. I will be starting next week so this is September to February. I realise Christmas is in the middle of this so that will be complete torture no doubt when I see all the pretty things I want. Also I’m going away in February so that will be a tough one too to not shop for holiday. After the six months I will reassess and see if I think a) I can do a year and b) if I think it will be beneficial. Finally my promise to you I will be honest, if I fail… I will fess up, ha!

Follow my journey…

By sharing this journey with you guys through my blog and social media it also holds me accountable. You can follow me on Instagram @thepretendgrownup Failing yourself is bad but failing in front of others is the worst. Wish me luck! I will be back next week with my list of no buy rules.

Have you completed a no buy year? Any advice is welcome!

Rachael 🙂 x

Posted in Personal Development

Eco swap mission – update #1

Hey guys! So I think it’s time I gave you my eco swap mission – update #1! If you want to read my original post you can do that here. But in a nutshell I’m trying to make some swaps that are better for the environment.

So how is it going? Well without further ado let me give you my eco swap mission – update #1!

What have I swapped so far?

1. Water bottle

2. Coffee Cup

3. Bags

Have you made these swaps? These are the most basic so I hope so.

4. Eco friendly cleaning products

I was keen to swap out our cleaning products for more eco friendly alternatives but honestly anything ‘eco’ is way more expensive it seems. So imagine my delight when I stumbled across an eco range in none other than Wilkinson’s! In this range they do the following –

Washing up liquid £1

Dishwasher tablets £3.50

Bathroom spray £1

toilet cleaner £1

Multipurpose spray £1

Kitchen spray £1

Laundry liquid £3

Fabric conditioner £3

Eco swap mission - cleaning products

These low prices are really low for an eco range! I tried out the sprays and the toilet cleaner and loved them. They did the job just as good as other leading brands. I initially didn’t buy the washing up liquid as I thought it wouldn’t be any competition for fairy but I was so impressed with the others I went back and picked it up. I was not disappointed, it bubbles well and cleans the dishes perfectly.

The eco friendly bit…

Okay so how is it better for the planet? They use sustainable plant derived ingredients and are packed in 100% recycled and recyclable bottle. In addition to this they are aquatic life, septic tank and vegan friendly. Oh and they smell way nicer than traditional cleaning products!

I think it’s safe to say here is a swap I have made that I will be sticking to. Get yourself over to Wilkinson and try it… don’t forget to let me know what you think!

5. Eco friendly washing tablets

The company SMOL will deliver eco friendly washing tablets right through your door. By cutting out the middle man and delivering direct to you they reckon they save you around 50% compared to other leading brands. The tablets boast fewer chemicals and come in fully recyclable packaging which is great.What’s more is they give you a FREE trial. Yes that’s right, they send you 12 tablets and you just pay the £1 postage. You have nothing to lose! Just to give you an idea of price after this I paid £3.95 for 24 tablets delivered the next month.

Eco friendly washing tablets

6. Eco friendly sun cream

With two impending holidays eco friendly sun screen was on my mind. I had been looking online at loads but honestly they were expensive compared to regular brands. But actually you don’t need to splash out… no other than well known brand Nivea are actually doing eco friendly sunscreen.

Eco friendly sun screen

7. Bamboo toothbrush

Ahh now this is a tricky one… I use an electric toothbrush that I love! But I have invested in a bamboo one too for when I travel. Sadly I’m not ready to give up my electric one but at least I won’t buy any more plastic ones when I go away.

Bamboo toothbrush

So that concludes my eco swap mission – update #1… I’m pretty happy with the changes I’ve made so far but many more are yet to be made. I’ve actually been on holiday and about to go on another so it’s hard to have this at the forefront of my mind. In September I look forward to further committing.

Have you made any eco swaps? Feel free to share ideas with me in the comments. If not I’m hoping I’ve inspired you start to make changes…

Rachael 🙂 x

Posted in Uncategorized

30 Things You Didn’t Know About Me!

Today I want to share 30 things you didn’t know about me! So I’ve written quite a few blog posts now and it suddenly occurred to me that a post like this might be rather fun for you guys to get to know me a little more. So here is 30 things you didn’t know about me (in no particular order)…

1. I live in the UK in a place called Warrington located between Manchester and Liverpool. When I go on holiday I always tell people I’m from Manchester just because it’s easier as they have heard of it!

2. I have a 11 year old son (Lex) who is my world but he drives me potty! He is energetic, creative, funny but oh so stubborn! Completely knows his own mind… wonder where he gets that from?! LOL

2. I have one sister (Heather) that is eight years younger than me but often seems to be the wiser one (thanks for you ongoing life advice sissy!)

3. My favourite colour is yellow because it reminds me of the sunshine.

4. My favourite tipple is red wine. I won’t pretend I know my wines, I don’t! I just usually go for one of the more expensive ones on the menu and hope for the best.

5. I have a pet lizard called Eugene, he’s a bearded dragon and is ten years old. He is so adorable! Lizards are my favourite animal closely followed by alligators.

My friend Eugene

6. I’m obsessed with getting beauty treatments. There is nothing I love more than a pampering… my particular weakness being facials.

7. I am Disney mad. On my bucket list is to visit every park. So far I’ve only done Paris and Florida (both several times) I look at something Disney related every single day without fail and I love following Disney pages on Instagram.

8. I love to travel and average 4 trips a year. I get seriously fed up of paying off holidays, I’m never not paying one off! but they are oh so worth it.

9. I once missed a flight back from Ibiza by a whole day through partying too hard ha ha! When I tried to check in I was told this flight left this time yesterday?!?! 24 hours… POOF! Your only young once 😉

10. Two of the best places I have ever visited (aside from Disney) are Positano and Langkawi – Many moons ago but the beauty of the Andaman sea and the rainforest is still imprinted in my mind.

Chilling in Positano

11. A favourite day out of mine is the zoo! No matter where I go I try to visit one. Zoo’s I have visited include… Central Park, Berlin, Barcelona and very soon I’m going to San Diego!

12. I’ve been practising yoga about 2 years now, doing 2-3 classes a week. I’m going to be yoga teacher when I grow up! when I was much younger I tried yoga and found it boring. Clearly I didn’t understand the benefits – I do now.

13. I love fitness and have total gym guilt if I don’t go! Despite having an active job I deem going to the gym a very important part of my life.

14. I’m a Cookie monster! Seriously though how nice are cookies?! in particular cookie desserts when they are warm, melted and gooey with ice cream, yummm!

15. 4. I teach dance and cheer for a living. I have my own dance academy with 250 children in. Dance is my life! I’ve ran my dance business for 19 years… does that make me old? No it does not! I started it at just 17 😉

With some of my cheer stars!

16. Some of my friends refer to me as a Duracell bunny because of my endless energy apparently!

17. I can’t get enough of roller-coasters… I find them totally thrilling. High on my bucket list is to visit Ferrari world in Abu Dhabi.

18. Amongst my favourite films are Wolf of Wall Street, Catch me if you Can, Mrs Doubtfire, Honey I Shrunk the Kids and yeah basically all Disney films.

19. I actually hate skinny jeans. They look great but as soon as I get through the door I literally stand on the door mat and peel them off!

20. I really enjoy doing crafts but don’t do them enough these days. Sitting in a big mess surrounded by crafting materials being creative sounds like a day in heaven to me!

Pottery painting

21. I’m petrified of walk through horror type experiences. Once was more than enough to try this… I know it’s not real but my brain refused to believe that (serious heart failure and crying!)

22. I love quotes… my favourite one of all time is – ‘she dreamed improbable dreams, followed her heart and created her own little fairytale’

23. I believe in fairies. My grandma and I use to make little gardens for them within her garden. We use to make little goblets out of the silver wrapping off kit kats wrappers and leave them out for them.

24. One day (when we move) I want a Disney Den aka a summer house in my garden, full of Disney stuff I love. It will also have a reading nook and a crafting area.

25. I love fashion although I don’t spend quite as much as I use to on it. Putting outfits together is one of my favourite things to do, especially for holidays.

Ready for a night out

26. I am a planner and love to know exactly what I’m doing and when. I like to fill my diary with plans but sometimes regret over planning and having no down time!

27. I don’t watch much tv, it feels such a waste of my life!

28. I was married and divorced by the age of 28. Everyone told me to wait but head strong young me wouldn’t listen. I lived in Germany near Düsseldorf as an army wife for 3 years. I also gave birth to my son there.

29. I hate tomato ketchup, I can’t even look at it ha ha! I also hate wool that feels really woolley, do you know what I mean?! All wool when wet feels disgusting and squeaky, ugh!!

30. This post actually started off as 20 things and I could have gone on and on… so my final one is I talk to much! That’s why I started this blog to give everyone’s ears a rest ha ha!

I hope you enjoyed my 30 things you didn’t know about me… is there any you can relate to? Or anything I mention here you would like me to see me blog about? Why not say hello below and tell me something about yourself!

Rachael 🙂 x

Posted in Personal Development

I’m so in Love With Blogging!

I’ve just realised… I’m so in love with blogging. I’ve just spent a good hour of my morning reading others blogs again. Gone are the days when I would mindlessly scroll through social media. Granted I still like a nosey at Instagram but it’s reading blogs that’s stole my heart.

So here I share my reasons why I’m so in love with blogging with you guys!

1. Escapism

I am literally transported into your world. Just as a good book provides escapism so does a great blog post. I can sit there smiling as you I can hear the passion in your writing. A great blog post takes me on the journey with you, I’m captivated.

2. Transparency

I love how transparent people are. How people share there journeys with you with a no holds barred approach. It’s commendable and gives others the confidence to speak out about things perhaps they wouldn’t.

3. Advice

Don’t under estimate the value of a good blog post for advice. There’s people out there who maybe have been what you are going through. It could be advice on something health related such as anxiety or it could be advice on something as simple as what to wear on holiday.

4. Inspiration

Blogs are inspirational in more ways than one. You may be inspired by someone’s strength to overcome something. You may be inspired to visit a destination they have visited. Perhaps you are inspired to be more productive.

5. They open your mind

I like to think that I am not a closed mind person. But even I have come across blog posts that have opened my mind. That moment when you think wow I never really thought of it like that.

6. Educational

Every day I am leaning facts about things I didn’t know. Reading blogs is expending my mind more than scrolling through social media posts ever would. I love learning new facts about things I’m interested in. You guys are educating me and I’m grateful.

7. Language

Language is a beautiful thing. I am a lover of words. I love to hear a new word that I don’t know the meaning of and look it up. I am learning so many new words on my blogging journey. I have actually started to carry a small notebook in my handbag so I can jot down any words I come across that I didn’t know and write the meaning of them to refer back to.

8. Creativity

I am a creative person. I teach dance for a living, I love to craft (although I rarely find time) I’m happiest when I’m being creative. Blogging is another creative outlet for me. I look forward to sitting down on a Sunday morning and writing my latest blog post.

I have just literally wrote this post in 10 minutes. It came so easily to me because I really love blogging and the reasons why are so obvious to me. I’m still at the beginning of my blogging journey and to be honest I’m kind of winging it. I hope to develop mine further but for now I’m just happy to have found another passion. My reason for starting mine was I just have so much to say and tell the world ha ha! But I hope I’m providing the above too now I know the power of blogging.

So keep doing what your doing you lovely people. I’m so happy to be part of the blogging community.

Is there any other reasons you would add to the above why you love blogging? I would love you to share them with me. Why not just come say hello? I would love to get to know more bloggers.

Have a great day!

Rachael 🙂 x

Posted in Holiday Happiness

Surviving a Flight – What to Pack for the Plane

This is your ultimate list for surviving a flight – what to pack for the plane! I never use to have a list but as time has gone on I’ve realised if I don’t I always forget something! I’ve really pushed the boat out so to speak with holidays this August with not one but two big trips. I am beyond excited!! I’m going to have so much to share with you guys.

With my first trip to Canada and America less than a week away I have been packing. I am loving how super organised I am (okay so this has taken planning) but I thought what better time than now to share my list with you all. Now I’m flying long haul but this list is great for any trip. I guarantee it will have things you didn’t think of, So here goes…

1. Essentials

Let’s start with the obvious essentials… passport, any paperwork, money, bank and credit cards. I like to keep all these together in a cute travel wallet. Glasses… I don’t wear glasses but if I you do they are essential obviously. Also ladies if it’s that time of the month don’t forget your lady products.

2. Phone & Tablet

Surviving a flight without these? Don’t think so! Don’t forget to ensure they are fully charged.

3. Big Scarf

Planes can get cold so a big scarf is great as this can double up as a blanket. Okay, I hear you, they give them out… did you know that they don’t rewash them every time just repackage them if they look clean… yuk! Use your own 😉

4. Paracetamol & Medication

Self explanatory, you don’t need a banging headache on a flight. Also be sure to organise and pack medication you might need to take whilst in the air.

5. Dehydration Tablets

Okay so this will maybe apply more to long haul but flights are sooo dehydrating. Dehydration tablets I have used before but not on a flight. I am prone to getting water infections so on my 12 hour journey I will be having 2 of these. They are a scientifically balanced formula of electrolytes and glucose. Just dissolve them in 200ml of water to keep you hydrated.

6. Facial Mist

Speaking of hydration I love to take a facial mist to spritz my face through out the flight and keep my skin hydrated and fresh.

7. Ear Plugs & Eye Mask

Absolute must for surviving a flight! Want to get some shut eye? You might not if the cabin is particularly noisy and I for one can not sleep with light blazing. A good eye mask and ear plugs are a must particularly for long haul.

8. Fluffy Socks or Flight Socks

First thing I do when I get on the plane is take off my shoes and put on my warm fluffy socks. You may prefer flight socks though if you have circulation problems.

9. Headphones

Obviously you need these to watch films and maybe listen to audio books or podcasts (I’m totally obsessed with pod casts right now!)

10. Travel pillow

If you find a good one they are amazing! I have tried a good few now and really rate memory foam ones. The trick is to choose one that comes quite high on your neck so when you flop your head to the side it really supports it.

11. Book or Magazines

Your going to need a entertaining especially if it’s a long flight. When your done with the films reach for some reading. Books are actually a genius way to send me to sleep ha ha! Bonus on a flight.

12. Magic Painting

Move over colouring it’s all about magic painting now for me now. Aside from your book all you need is water! I find this even more therapeutic than colouring. Maybe you prefer to colour… don’t forget your pens then!

13. Snacks

Snacks on planes are so annoyingly expensive. I try to take a few things with me that I bought at home (not in the airport, they are extortionate in there too!)

14. Eye Drops

I couldn’t be with out my refreshing eye drops on a flight now. The cabin air can be so dry I always have them to hand but I particularly like to use them just before we land. No red dry eyes for me, only fresh and sparkly!

15. Make up

I’m not a fan of much make up when flying… it’s not a great look when you wake up with mascara down your face. Plus give your skin chance to breath. That said I know arriving at your destination bare faced isn’t appealing either. Pack your essentials is a clear zip lock bag. Mine would be touché eclat, mascara and lipgloss.

16. Eco Friendly Wipes

You can read all about my eco friendly mission here but biodegradable wipes are a must. I like to wipe down my tray table etc when I get on the flight with them (don’t judge!) also good for sticky hands etc.

17. Bamboo Toothbrush & Toothpaste

Bamboo toothbrush because its eco friendly of course! Some flights provide a toothbrush and toothpaste but always good to have your own. If you’ve been flying a long time or asleep its nice to have the option to freshen up your mouth.

18. Elizabeth Arden 8 hour Cream

I bought some eight hour cream many moons ago on a flight to New York and ever since it’s been a must. Where do I start? Dry lips? this will sort it out. Bit of highlight to your cheeks? No problem. That mascara that ran down your face… this will swiftly remove it. Taming your brows? Yes. Not to mention that it’s oh so amazing on sunburn. Holiday staple indeed!

18. Portable Charger

Just a back up for any devices that may need a recharge if you plane doesn’t have that luxury. I once forgot to charge mine and let my son run my battery real low thinking I had back up. We ended up stranded in a remote part of Italy with not a taxi in sight! Don’t forget to change it!

19. Travel Journal or Notebook

So this may not be applicable to everyone but if your a blogger this definitely comes in handy! Even if your not you may find a notebook and pen handy in your holiday bag. You never know if you might need to note something down!

20. Hairbrush, Dry Shampoo & Bobble

Last but not least I always have a hairbrush and bobble. I typically travel with my hair freshly washed and down but I may want to tie it up during the flight. Dry shampoo is great to spray in before you land for a freshen up!

So there we have it! With this list you will be well on your way to surviving a flight! Is there anything you think I missed? I’m all ears!

Rachael 🙂

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no extra cost to you) I only ever recommend products that I have personally used and benefitted from. Thank you for your support!