My first trip to Italy*

This post is in collaboration with Bookings For You – Accommodation was provided for free for the purposes of review. Photos is this post are those I took myself and photography from the Mansalto Tuscany website unless stated. As always, words and opinions expressed are 100% mine. Enjoy!

I’ve officially been to Italy. Bucket list item, check!

As part of trip that was the brainchild (and also professional dream) of Violet Glenton, I joined 9 other girls on a four day adventure to the Tuscan countryside at the beginning of October and I had the BEST time.

Meet the gang! (just out of shot from left) Becky, Em, Steph, Ashton, Liv, meeee, Emma, Amy, Violet and Charl

With the help of Bookings For You who were kind enough to provide our accommodation, Vi booked us into Villa le Tornaie

Hidden in the beautiful hills of the Mansalto vineyard, the villa is surrounded by green for miles and feels completely chill.

In short, this villa is the archetypal Italian country dream. Pretty stone buildings, lots of flowers, wood rustic furniture and clean white bedding, exactly what I pictured and EXACTLY what I got.

There’s a wonderful courtyard area that helped connect the upstairs and downstairs living areas and it was one of my favourite areas. Standing above and gazing over the Tuscan countryside became my absolute favorite spot and felt like something out of a Shakespeare play. Demonstrated nicely above by Emma and Amy re-enacting Romeo and Juliet for my pleasure!

Everywhere you look was a beautiful sot to admire or snap a photos of

We had a pretty large kitchen that had a modern hob (the same as the one I have at home so at first I was the only one who knew how to use it) dishwasher and plenty of utensils. We were able to have a few of us in here at once without getting up in anyone’s grill.

What you can’t see out of shot is the fridge/freezer (fairly standard size for a family and fit in a LOT of pasta/chees/fruit/prosecco) and a 6 person table which we used to store more food and drink on (favouring the long table in the main living area)

The main living area is massive, there were a few more couches than you can see pictured but yes you can also spy a piano in the top right corner which several members of group had a little turn on (shout out to Violet for her her rendition of Adele’s Hometown Glory). We had some lovely communal breakfasts and dinner here. There was also a couple of lovely wrought iron tables in the courtyard which were lovely to sit at and enjoy a morning brew or evening glass of wine.

Bedrooms – well; I genuinely had no option but to use the website images of these as a group of 10 gals makes for clothes and beauty products flung all over the place! I stayed in this twin room with Emma (the furniture had been re-arranged prior to our stay) which had lots of room and firm but comfy beds. The bathroom was a good size overall and had room to put all of our toiletries and towels.

The double/master rooms were equally roomy had a stunning airy quality with some event having four poster beds for extra Italian glamour.

Now, I’ve stayed in villas many times before, but this one was just a bit extra when it came to what was available away from the bedrooms and living areas!

So obviously, there’s the pool. I’ve purposely picked the snap I took when it was slightly overcast so that you can see how lovely it still is, and huge! Lots of sunbeds (that have these cool visor flaps you can use to shade your face) and not overlooked by any other property, nothing but rolling hills of the vineyard in sight.

Inside downstairs is where it really gets exciting…

Disclaimer: the bottom right image is stock photography and is present as an example only.

Why go to a spa when it can come to you? As well as the pool our villa had a large jacuzzi (I think it seats about 8) gym, sauna AND steam room (each of these seat about 4 comfortably) that the whole group put to excellent use at all hours of the day and night.

I think this kind of villa would best suit a large family group, couples or a relaxing getaway for a group of ladies. However, realistically it would be great for almost every kind of group!

Top tips for visiting this area:

– Driving is a must. We flew to Pisa Airport which is about 2 hours away, the nearest taxis are based in Siena around 30 minutes away so the alternative would be far more pricey. Our group of ten hired two 5 seater automatic cars through Ecovia which cost approximately £135 each for 4 days and included fully comprehensive insurance

– We flew from Manchester with Easyjet (my first time with them, which I was pleasently suprised by) who also fly to Pisa from a few other airports around the UK. The main flight days seem to be Tuesday and Saturday

– Pack bug spray; mosquitos WILL eat you outside if you don’t

There’s some video footage of the villa and my Italy trip in full saved as an Instagram story highlights if you want to get a whistle-stop of everything I did. I’ll be doing another couple of posts shortly on some fun things to do in Tuscany, as well as outfit inspiration for a trip away in the late summer weather, so keep your eye out for those.

If you’re sold by the idea of taking your own Tuscan getaway, take a look at this and the other accommodation available on the Mansalto property. If you fancy exploring other areas, Bookings For You also offer a range of handpicked accommodation in other areas of Italy and France including Umbria, the lakes and Provence.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


5 Things for 2019 – Update #3

So, you may remember from my last update that I’ve decided to take one of my goals out (not drinking) because it wasn’t looking achievable for the year, so I’m down to 4 things for the next two updates. Here’s how the rest have been going and a sneak peek about what’s coming up in chapter 4 of 2019…

  • Shop in my own closet 75% of the time

Aside from (and partly on) holiday this one is still going well, much to my surprise and delight! My thought process has changed a lot so now when I think “I’m going to XX, what am I gonna wear?” I head straight to the closet instead of the Internet and take a long hard look at what I have. Usually, this resolves it. Top tip I’ve learnt during this process – don’t forget to check your washing and ironing baskets as part of this process, you’ll get a fuller picture of exactly what you have and probably find stuff you forgot about that feels brand new again!

  • Get a home bar

Brief and to the point – not moved on any further since the last update, can’t really say much more!

  • Un-join the gym and get outside

This has still happening but on a far more ad hoc basis – in between peoples holidays and life commitments, the girls and I haven’t been as on it as we’d like in the last couple of months. The intention is still there and I’m fully expecting this to kick back up a notch now that normal service has resumed. I did a decent bit of walking on holiday over the summer which helped to plug the gap a tiny little bit too!

I’ve also been starting to think about adding a little more heavy duty cardio to my regular activity – I don’t want to go back to the yay, but I do want to try some exercise classes to see what I like and if they can help me meet some of my health goals going in to 2020 (eek!)

  • Get out of the house more

I’d say this is going OK, not sure if the Mr would give a matching answer! I’ve definitely made myself do more over the summer, but there are still a decent amount of times that I’ve done closer to nothing and stayed at home on the couch a lot. I’m feeling good about the amount of social vs antisocial activity, which is the positive outcome of this goal, so I’m just going to carry on and see what else happens over the next few months.

So, what else has is happening?

  • I went to Mykonos
  • If you follow me on Instagram and are a regular reader, you’ll probably be very well aware of this fact by now! I was lucky enough to work with a couple of great companies during my trip including Mykonos Vioma and Truffle Shuffle who featured in my 7 Outfits I wore in Mykonos post. There were a few things that surprised me about Mykonos that I’d not seen anybody else mention before, and I’m going to cover those in a future post so keep a look out for that.
    • I’m going to Italy (Image credit: booking.com )
  • This is something I’m ridiculously excited about saying, and by the time you read this I will be there! I’m heading off to a beautifully villa in Tuscany with a fabulous group of gals as guests of Booking for You*. As a huge fan of the cuisine, it’s been a long held goal of mine to eat Italian food in Italy, on this trip I’ll get to do that and so much more. I’ll be putting up posts about my experiences in October/November as well as social media activity, so make sure you’re following me to see wassup.
    • I’ve booked a VERY exciting bucket list adventure for next year

    The travel plans just keep on coming, that’s what we like! This is as much as I’m willing to share at the moment, just in case something happens, however when the up gets a little closer I,l reveal more. Stay tuned….

    And so we head in to the final chapter – dark evenings, autumn leaves, festive fun and who know what else!

    Thanks for reading,

    J xx


    A few things that surprised me about Mykonos

    I know that Mykonos is on a lot of people’s bucket lists, and after going to Santorini last year I was excited to go and experience some more Greek chilled out beauty. Although I liked it, there were a few things that I wasn’t expecting to come across during our trip that I thought would be worth sharing in case these are things that would be useful to know if you’re thinking of going, or that might even a deal breaker to you deciding go at all.

    I’ll be honest and say that I probably compared Santorini quite a bit whilst we are there, but only because they’re often mentioned in same breath and I thoroughly enjoyed our time there last year. Even so, here are ( in no particular order) the key things that stuck out that I’ve not noticed anybody really mention before:

    • The Scenery 🏞

    Don’t get me wrong, Mykonos is a gorgeous island, but there’s a very clear ‘Instagram v Reality’ vibe about it. On one side is what you see all over Instagram (including my Instagram feed a little bit) whitewashed buildings, blue accents, flowers and clean cobbled streets. The reality is definitely there, the photos you’ve seen ain’t fakes, but they only show you the heart of Mykonos Town which is just a small part.

    And then there’s the reality (some of which I’ve also shown on my insta feed) – lovely clean beaches, crystal clear water and gorgeous sunsets.

    again, all gorgeous features to have on holiday, but there are plenty of places in the world you can get them. Away from Mykonos Town, you could basically be anywhere in Greece.

    • The Busy-ness 🛵 (this is a stock image doesn’t really do the situation justice, it was much busier than this, however I was too focussed on getting through it safely than snapping a pic of it so this will have to do!)

    This is an understatement! I visited in August, peak summer holiday time, so I knew there’d be lots of other tourists and cruise ships docking and was prepared for the streets to be a bit crowded. And they were, but usually not overwhelmingly so, you could still walk comfortably but getting a photo in some parts was tricky. What I wasn’t prepared for was the traffic – cars, mini vans, buses, ATV’s and Vespas, they are EVERYWHERE. It’s difficult to cross the road, there are limited pedestrian footpaths next to the roads so walking next to traffic can feel a bit dicey at times, and the constant noise of vehicles beeping and speeding round corners kind of takes the shine off the serene and beautiful environment in certain areas.

    The torch app on your phone will be a literal lifesaver if you’re staying out of the resort centre, some of the roads aren’t lit so it’s a good way to keep yourself visible.

    • The prices 💸

    Before went to Mykonos we were told it was expensive, but we were told last year that Santorini was expensive and found that perfectly reasonable when we got there (without having to do a lot of work researching places off the beaten track to eat and drink). Turns out, Mykonos really is expensive! Expensive to me worked out at mid/higher end London prices – 15-18€ for a cocktail, 30€ for a steak and 30€ for 15 minute taxi ride. We spent about 50% more in Mykonos than we did in Santorini last year, definitely no issues with the Greek economy in Mykonos!

    It did mean we had to compromise a little bit on a few things such as the amount of drinks we had each day, how we travelled and where we ate. We didn’t compromise on anything we wanted to do though; if there was a restaurant we really wanted to go to we just planned ahead and had cheaper eats at other times to make up for it.

    Couple of tips I’d impart to anyone hitting Mykonos that I found useful:

    – Apart from our hotel bar we only found one place that sells cheaper drinks which is a bar called Mex, cocktails here were about 8€ so half the price but it’s only open late evening and is a little too ‘Magaluf Weekender’ for me. Other than that, drinks are virtually the same price whether you have a premium view or are in a side street, so you may as well head for the more boujee places with views of Little Venice and the Windmills.

    – Taxis are well known for not being clear about the price until the end of the journey which makes budgeting hard, I discovered a taxi app called i-Move that was useful. It’s a bit like Uber so you can track your driver, but unlike Uber it guarantees an exact price when you book.

    • The sea 🌊

    Gorgeous colour and beautifully clear….but choppy as hell! We enjoy a boat trip on a summer holiday so made sure to book one before we travelled, but we learnt the hard way that the sea in these parts is hella not suitable for a relaxing day. Shortly after this picture was taken, we spent about 20 minutes almost vertical and being lashed with salt water (I’m not talking just a gentle spray that you sometimes get, it felt like someone was stood throwing full buckets of water over us. We, and virtually everything we had in board with us, got absolutely soaked). We were told by the crew (who were very lovely and attentive) that the sea is always like this, so definitely NOT THE PLACE TO BOOK A BOAT TRIP.

    It’s not just being out at sea, in some places you’re not safe from the sea either! Walking along the front at Little Venice, the waves are still a little wild and frequently splash up and in to the walk ways and bar seating areas. On the way to dinner one evening we took a risk and walked across the front, but it didn’t pay off and I got an absolute soaking (though I dried off quickly in the heat). It can also get a little bit slippy, health and safety nightmare.

    I hope this post doesn’t come across as too negative, realistically only the sea straight up ruined any part of the trip. The other stuff was absolutely no problem and could be worked around to ensure we enjoyed ourselves, this is just meant to be a bit of an FYI so hope its of some help if you’re planning any Mykonian adventures in the future!

    Thanks for reading,

    J 💋


    Where to eat/drink to get the best views of Mykonos

    Last year after my Greek getaway I posted my guide to Greek food which is something I can’t really add to, however as people usually go to Mykonos to get the iconic views they see on Instagram (or at least in my experience they do) I thought it would be useful to share some of the places we visited. Myself and the Mr enjoy a good spot by the sea and a lovely sunset, so finding places to experience these are always a priority to us, and the are some good options below that are fairly easy to get to and aren’t eye wateringly expensive…

    Sunset cocktailsThe Garden

    We were so lucky that this place turned out to be about 700 meters away from our hotel, and the fact that it’s accessed via a fairly long walkway lined with flowers and lights makes you feel like you’re about to discover a secret hideaway. When you actually get to the bar area it has a very laid back and cool aesthetic (think wood, beanbag chairs and fire pits) and a wide veranda looking out over the Mykonian coastline.

    We headed here about an hour before the sun set to have the opportunity to settle in, take photos and choose our drinks. We requested a seat right at the front of the veranda to get the best possible view of the sunset which has a 20€ per person minimum spend stipulation (other tables not style front do not have a minimum spend that I’m aware of) which the equivalent to a couple of drinks each.

    The cocktails we had were served in these cool tiki style glasses (mine even had a bloody biscuit on top!) which added to the upmarket/Mahiki feel.

    When we visited we were not given any time limit for our table or made to feel like we were being rushed, the staff simply checked back in every now and then to see if we needed anything.

    Little Venice and the windmills

    We visited quite a few places around this area that give good views of one or both, but these two were my favourite:

    Veranda is a bar in the heart of Little Venice that has a completely open seating area right on the water (what I mean by this is that the tables were placed right towards the edge and there wasn’t any kind of wall/barrier between this and the water) in addition to a regular patio seating area.

    From here you can get a great view of the iconic windmills of Mykonos town (I do have some better, more zoomed in photos, but wanted to give a realistic idea of distance for this) on one side, on the other you can enjoy the rest of the waterfront buildings that make up the Little Venice area. Coupled with the sound of the water, it’s a thoroughly nice place to stop for a leisurely drink or some nibbles.

    (again, this phot isn’t zoomed in, it’s exactly how I could see it from my seat whilst leaning over a little bit). Drinks prices are fairly standard for Mykonos, between 10-20€ for an alcoholic beverage.

    Nice and Easy

    Is a large restaurant at the foot of the steps towards the windmills, meaning you can see them much closer up and all of Little Venice from across the bay.

    Drinks prices again are fairly similar to Veranda, though here I chose to have fresh pomegranate juice (fresh juices seemed to be a thing in Mykonos Town and I’m here for it) which was about 8€. We also enjoyed quite a large lunch here, with the average Mail meal costing 15-20€.

    There are two key differences to this location to be mindful of over Veranda – if you sit close to the sea front (it’s across a small beach shielded by a low white wall) there’s no cover so can get extremely hot, secondly it attracts co start foot traffic from people visiting the windmills, walking to Little Venice and taking endless photos.

    Relaxed romance above Mykonos TownKaravaki

    For our last night we booked a table at this restaurant, which is part of the Vencia hotel. Stepping out on to the lower level terrace and seated at our table, we greeted with a birds eye view of the whitewashed houses below us. The sun was setting as we arrived, although we didn’t have a perfect vantage point as we did at The Garden it was still really beautiful.

    Food here was a little more pricey than other places we’d been – we paid 120€ for two starters, mains, one dessert and three alcoholic drinks (drinks wee average Mykonos prices) which is similar to if you were dining somewhere in Central London.

    The views were great, the quality of the food was great, the service was great, so we felt it was money well spent.

    Top tips for getting the best views

    • Book in advance, either on resort or before you travel if you’re that organised. If you’re not comfortable e-mailing or calling yourself because of language barriers, staff at your accommodation will probably be happy to assist as they did with us.
    • Be tactical about the times you visit – check what time sunset is going to be so you can allow time to fully watch it set, perhaps consider visiting places for food at less busy times of day such as breakfast time. A lot of cruise ships dock in Mykonos too which can make these extras extremely busy, so it may be worth checking the official cruise schedule to see how ships are in port on any given day.
    • If you’re chancing walking into a venue without booking, have a quick look at the seating before you choose your spot to make sure it’s not in the ‘splash zone’ (I unfortunately found this out the hard way) if there’s a seat available right at the front but the place is already busy, think about why others haven’t sat there first!
    • If you do get lucky enough to sit right at the front, particularly to one side, be prepared for other tourists to be constantly standing very close to you or shimmying down the side of your table to take photos. This has the potential to be quite annoying since you e planned in advance to be there and paid for food/drink in order for your prime spot where they haven’t, but as long as you’re aware and manage your expectations accordingly it’s usually fine.

    if you’re heading to Mykonos I hope this is able to help give you a head start on your holiday research!

    Thanks for reading,

    J xx


    A visit to Mykonos Vioma Farm and Winery*

    Items in this post were gifted or provided at a discounted rate, I also spent some of my own money on items shown. All opinions are completely my own.

    Welcome to my first Mykonos post!

    After thoroughly enjoying our wine tasting experience in Santorini last year, the Mr and I were keen to see if we could do something similar on this years Greek adventure, and after a bit of research we came across Mykonos Vioma Farm and Vineyard. A family business established in the countryside of Mykonos (yes, there’s more to the island than the white pebbled streets and windmills!) that offered the opportunity it’s chill out, drink some wine and try some local nibbles. Sold.

    We travelled to the Vioma partly by local bus (from Mykonos Town to Ano Mera which took about 15 minutes and cost 1,80€ per person) and the rest by taxi (this took about another 10 minutes and cost 17€. It is walkable in about 25minutes but it was hot and we didn’t know the way, alternatively if you contact Vioma in advance they can arrange return transfers from Ano Mera for 5€) .

    The vineyard is only open to visit until 5pm, so unlike last year we visited around lunch time. We started things off with a tour of the property by Marianna, the daughter of the owner. The farm and vineyard are organic, so their approach and their appearance is quite different from other vineyards but was really interesting to hear about how they do things. They also try their best to adhere to a zero waste policy as much as they possibly can, which is fantastic to hear from a small family business. They also shared that they used a more unusual method to grow and cultivate their vines – they have placed speakers throughout the property that play classical music . Totally true; we saw the speakers and heard the music for ourselves!

    We also got to meet some of the farm animals including the beautiful and gentle donkey, chickens, goats and a sheep. There are also 5 dogs kept as pets on the property which were wandering about everywhere during our visit and were very friendly to stroke and interact with (as I’m not allowed a dog at home, this part was a lovely extra treat for me!

    (just as an FYI – many of the farm animals are likely to be in pens during visiting hours, this is to protect the grass and herbs/vegetables being grown on the property but we were advised that there are periods of the day they can have some time out and many months where they have free reign over the property. They all looked healthy and were happy to interact and take food from us)

    We were also able to see the storage and furnace for the grapes , which this guy is carved into the side of – Dionysus, Olympic God of wine, vegetation, pleasure, festivity, madness and wild frenzy. Definitely the right person to be watching over it!

    Now time to chill. We took a seat in the dining area with a birds eye view across the grounds and the Mykonian countryside. Bring on the wine and nibbles!

    There’s a small menu to order both food and drink from, so you can really tailor your experience. We chose to order a rich garden plate which costs 26€ (there are a variety of options that vary in size and price, the most expensive being about 44€) and included a selection of local and ‘farm to plate’ produce including salad, meats, cheeses and breads. As these wee served to us Marianna gave us a walk through of everything on our plate and explained what it was, where it had come from and any history it had within Mykonian culture.

    It was all delicious, I loved everything on the plate equally and (best of all) The Mr let me have most of the cheese.

    Also – I’m not quite sure if you can see well in the above photo, but each table was painted with a different colourful image of Mykonian culture, which is a quirky and cute touch.

    So, let’s talk wine. We went for the four wine tasting; a single glass of wine cost between 5-6€ so this is better value and allows you to taste a few varieties of wine on offer. First up was the white, which we enjoyed with our food…

    Next came the rose…

    The red…

    Finishing off with a lovely little dessert wine

    What I liked about this tasting compared to my Santorini experience is that the wines were brought out at different times rather than all at once, meaning they we served and drank at the right temperature and weren’t left out in the heat. The staff asked us when we were ready for the next glass rather than bringing it out to a set schedule which meant that we never once felt rushed could just relax and enjoy the surroundings. The wine measures were pretty decent too at around 175ml for the first three and smaller for the dessert wine as measures are a bit different for this.

    All wines available to drink on the day are also available to buy from then vineyard, I think this was priced at around 7-10€ per bottle.

    This was a lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon – we got to try some yummy fresh food, try lovely local wine and got a little extra Mykonian history and culture thrown in for good measure. If you like to take things at a gentler pace on holiday and relax but still want to have some time off from the beach or pool, this is definitely one for your to do list if you’re heading to Mykonos. We were there for about three hours but a trip could be longer or shorter depending on how much time you have and how much wine you want to drink.

    You don’t have to book your visit to the Vioma but I would advise getting in touch to give them a heads up as to when you’d like to go – as Mykonos is a popular cruise destination there are certain days were they have an increased number of visitors which makes the place super busy (Marianna was kind enough to advise of which dates during our stay would be busy so we picked a day that avoided this, there were about another 10 tourists visiting at the same time as us).

    Thanks to Marianna and the lovely team at Vioma for hosting us as part of our Greek getaway!

    Thanks for reading,

    J xx


    8 Reasons to choose Hull*

    This post is a paid collaboration with the University of Hull however all words, opinions and declarations of awesomeness are completely my own

    Choose Hull for what? I hear you cry. Well, everything – to visit, live, study and work!

    I’m Hull born and bred; however there was a time when as a teenager that I thought it wasn’t the place for me and high-tailed it abroad for a few years. I returned by choice for good in 2005 and have since seen the city go through a major glow up and thrive as it deserves to. And so, I am proudly telling you today that I fully appreciate what a cracking place Hull is!

    I’m going to share some of things I like most about living in Hull – some you may know, others you won’t, all of them more reasons to check it out for yourself…

    1. There’s lots to keep you entertained, day and night, throughout the year

    There’s ALWAYS something happening in Hull. What can I say, we’re a sociable bunch! There’s a hive of comedy clubs for a low cost giggle and drink with friends, as well as aborting calendar of annual festivals and civic celebrations – Pride in Hull, Freedom Festival, Hull Fair and Humber Street Sesh to name a few. There are theatres (yes, more than one), and event venues (the latest being Bonus Arena) that attract some amazing acts and shows, not to mention the University’s jam-packed Welcome Fest calendar. If you’re looking something to Hull to do, anything, you are likely to find it!

    2. You can embrace culture, in all its glorious forms

    Thanks to our 2017 City of Culture status and the legacy that is Absolutely Cultured there are a variety of cultural-focussed activities happening all year round. Not only that, but when you take the time to actually look at the buildings in Hull, you realise some of them actually pretty spectacular.

    A lot of the older architecture is inspired by the Dutch (we had that link long before P&O got in on the action) and is really lovely to admire.

    (this is one of Hull’s most photographed streets, a true example of some its hidden gems)

    Buildings not your thing, how about street art? Head to Bank Side Gallery – a once thriving industrial estate that has dwindled over the years but has been revitalised into a graffiti artists paradise and a huge outside art space that’s constantly evolving.

    You’ll get some great pictures for the ‘gram here too.

    3. It’s pretty darn cheap

    Hull was once voted the cheapest place in the UK to live. I’m not sure if that’s still the case, but compared to the rest of the UK you get more of a bang for your buck here on the Humber. House prices/ rent are very reasonable (I would NEVER be able to afford the suburban 3 bed semi I call home in any other City), there’s plenty of places to get a great bargains on shopping (clothes and food) and eating out. Lots of people choose to live in the Hull area and commute to work in other nearby cities such as Leeds purely because it’s cheaper and they can have a better quality of life.

    4. It’s easy to get to, and get to other places from

    It’s never been easier to get to Hull – trains, buses and roads all have easy and direct routes in to the City Centre from all around the UK, so people can come and visit really easily. That also means that those cheeky weekends away (or days out for cocktails, wink) can happen with ease – you can get directly to London in under 3 hours and Leeds in an hour by train, the nearest airport (Humberside) is half an hour drive away and connects to international destinations via KLM. And, one of the funnest trips you can make is on a P&O mini cruise to Amsterdam, fondly referred to as a “Dutch Dash”. We’re pretty close to the coast here too. Beach, please.

    5. There’s a frickin’ marina in the middle of the city centre!

    Well, not quite the middle, but about five minutes away from the middle, and it’s really pretty to wander around. This area of the city has been really nicely developed over the past couple of years so is buzzing with cute independent shops, places to grab a casual coffee and have a slap up meal (and perhaps a cheeky cocktail or 3) with some lovely surroundings.

    6. You can eat amongst the fishes and find Nemo

    Hull is home to The Deep; a unique looking aquarium and conservation charity sitting proudly on the banks of the Humber. They’re home to over 5,000 animals including the UK’s only pair of Green Sawfish, a pair of Loggerhead sea turtles, adorable penguins and of course our favourite Clownfish (Nemo) and Blue Tang (Dory) from the movies.

    (image credit: @thedeephull Instagram)

    Three nights a week it turns in to the Two Rivers Restaurant which serves a seasonal menu whilst you dine with a difference in amongst the larger viewing windows inside the aquarium.

    7. You can indulge your inner foodie/drinky with ease

    Take it from someone who has tested this to an alarming extent! I can’t think of many kinds of cuisine not available in the City, and it’s all equally tasty. Dietary requirements are catered for really well, and meals are pretty good value (refer back to point no. 3).

    Hull also has its very own ale trail around the Old Town, if you’re not an ale drinker there are also great cocktail bars (and even a couple of roof bars to enjoy views of the City while sipping them).

    8. University of Hull

    One of the first reasons people visit Hull is to consider going to uni here, and the campus really is a massive selling point. It’s a fantastic mix of original, more traditional buildings and newer modern structures, so you really get a sense of where it’s been but also where it’s going.

    As both a graduate and former employee I have such fond memories of place – to this day the smell of toast and coffee reminds me of academia, and I often head back for a wander around to appreciate the beauty (autumn for the colourful leaves is a personal fave). There are amazing views from the top floor of the swanky new library, lots of places to eat/drink, the courses available are varied and have a great set of lecturers from such a wide variety of backgrounds.

    So there’s my highlights, and I reckon I make a pretty good even if I do say so myself. If you want to find out more, well…you’ll just have to come to Hull and see for yourself!

    If you think studying in Hull could be for you, visit the campus and take a look around, there’s also still plenty of time to apply for the 19/20 academic year or discuss clearing options (I actually didn’t apply until July before starting September the same year via the standard application process)

    Thanks for reading,

    J xx


    5 Things for 2019 – update #2

    What a busy and turbulent quarter 2 2019 has been! Here what’s been happening with my original goals, plus a few extra bits of gossip…

  • This one has still been going OK, but mostly by default – can’t see much in the shops that I like, and when I have tried to do any shopping most of the stuff has gone back as it just isn’t right. I’m planning to spend a bit more this month to update my summer/holiday wardrobe as the weather has kicked it up a few notches and I’m making summer vacay plans (more about that in a bit)
    • Get a home bar Progress of this one is pretty straightforward – we actually have a bar in an area of our home, we just haven’t made it functional yet! As you can see by this pic, it has quite a specific look, so it’s going to take a bit of time to work out how to decorate around it. We’ve managed to set up and style a full bar cart (which has been done since the New Year, I just haven’t written a post about it yet) so we’re part way there.
    • Un-join the gym and get outside This one is going ok, particularly now the UK weather is getting a bit warmer and the nights have been lighter. Still a bit hit and miss on occasions; sometimes I can be out and about and pretty active, other days it’s a bit more of a challenge, so I’m just trying to do as much as I can when I can. I still have a regular little walking group with my pals to keep things on a social and motivational track, myself and the Mr also pop out sometimes after work as a good way of unwinding from the day and setting aside some properly quality time.
    • Get out of the house more
    • Dranks out, drinks in I’m going to be honest and say that I think I need to take this one off the table. After reviewing the goal and becoming more sociable in the evenings (as per goal #4) I’ve decided it’s not achievable because I don’t want it to be at the moment. Part of setting foals is to review and track their progress , then make changes if the original plan isn’t working out, so that’s what I’m doing. I’d still say that about 50% of the time in social situations I’m driving and having soft drinks, but still

    So, what else has been happened since we last caught up?

    • I booked a summer holiday

    Ya gal is heading back to Greece! After a fabulous trip to Santorini in 2018 (I did a series of blog posts on Island hotspots, best things to do and a guide to Greek food) the Mr and I are heading to Mykonos. If you have any top tips for things to do (other than take loads of money) or places to go, please let me know. We considered going to Ibiza but, as my other half so eloquently put it when he saw the cost, “it’s getting ideas above its station with those prices! ” and I got my first choice of vacay. Yay.

    • I went back to the dark side
  • To keep my hair looking healthy and easy to manage, Chelsea and I decided to give me hair a bit of dark chocolate makeover for summer. I know right; I’m the only person who goes dark for the summer months!
    • I turned 36

    Ugh. Not one I like to admit, but it’s happened and I’m dealing with it! To mark this ‘milestone’ I did a bit of a different blog post to any I’ve done before, but I really enjoyed putting it together!

    For the past few years I’ve done a dedicated ‘what I got/did for my birthday’ but this year was a bit more low key due to some persona and family illness. Instead I thought I’d just do a little roundup here (like I did with my Lanzarote holiday in my last update post) of some key parts. Had some lively food, went to a Shappi Khorsandi gig and had a quick but lovely visit to Liverpool

    And that brings us nicely to the present day and in to quarter 3 of 2019, I wonder where it’ll take me…

    Thanks for reading,

    J xx