Travel | More Strand & More Stripes

Spending time away from home can be nice. After a week of living with no living room or dinning room, it was a welcome relief to put the house back together on Friday and head away from the ever mounting dust to the fresh countryside air. Getting away from it all really is the best way to relax.

Last year Chris and I headed to Malin in Donegal for a weekend away with our friends and their children, we enjoyed it so much last year we had to do it again this year. I have to say I was really looking forward to the break, feeling completely remote. Chris luckily had the day off on Friday so he packed the car, did a shop to bring up some food and then came to collect me from work so we were straight on the road. From Belfast, Malin is quiet far and the house we were staying in doesn’t allow dogs, so Piper heading to mums for a holiday, treated like a princess no doubt. We arrived to the house at 8pm, the kids headed to bed, time for a glass of wine and dinner, it’s the weekend so lets unwind.

The house we stay in has more than enough room for 6 adults and 5 kids, with everything you could need, including a hot tub. After a long week, a dip in the hot tub is perfect. The run into the hot tub on a cold October night really is bracing, no more so than when you have to get out and dry off. Luckily there is an aga in the house (the dream) so once your back in the house, its nice to warm up by the aga before heading to bed.

Saturday morning, Chris and I lay in, no help to our friends who were up with their kids. You can tell neither Chris or I are parents, we didn’t even wake up to the sound of the kids in the morning, we were in a deep sleep. After a good nights sleep it was time to brace the great outdoors. Driving through country roads where you barely meet another car and there is no traffic lights, parking is at the side of the street, free from traffic wardens and an jams are from meeting a tractor on a windy road. It’s refreshing.

We made our way to Genevan Waterfall for a walk but unfortunately due to the adverse weather we have been having recently it was closed as bridges have been destroyed and the trail isn’t safe. Thankfully the guys found that out before we all started to trek up. We then made our way to Pollan Bay for a walk on the beach, it was brisk, but I loved seeing our friends kids play in the sand, despite the fact I was standing around freezing, running around playing with kids sure does get the temperature up. Then time to head back to the house for a leisurely lunch.

After lunch we drove to Malin Head for a walk, the most northernly point in Ireland, now here was where you really needed your coat, the winds were so strong. It was amazing to go for a walk along the edge of the island, at the point where lots of families said good bye to their relatives as they made there way to the US, somewhere I have been back and forth to lots, this was the last time these people seen the Emerald Isle. On our way back, we spotted a heart made of stone with C&K, no no, don’t get carried away, Chris isn’t some kind of romantic, nor would I want him to be, but some other couple must have made it when we were on our walk!

After a fast paced walk back to warm up, we drove back to Malin and we enjoyed a Guiness (with a dash of blackcurrant, the only way I can enjoy a Guiness) and games with the kids, its unbelieveabe how competitive we can all be. New favourite game dobble, well lets just say the kids showed me up, and I wasn’t even trying to let them win, more practice needed. We made our way back to the house for the evening.

Saturday night, Chris made chilli for burritos and tacos, not your typical Irish dinner. Storm Brian had descended to Donegal so there was no way I was journeying out into the windy night to get into the hot tub. Wine by the aga is much nicer, not to mention the chat all night was so good. I went to bed on Saturday night and realised I had hardly looked at my phone, now that is detox, not only when you know you shouldn’t look at your phone but you don’t even want to because you’re having such a great time.
We woke up on Sunday morning had breakfast, tidied the house ad although the others made their way to the beach we went to mummy’s house for Sunday lunch, there is no greater treat than someone cooking for you, especially on a lazy Sunday. We popped Piper into the car and drove home for a relaxing afternoon in the house. I started writing this blog post while Chris unpacked the car, I think I played a good card there. This really was weekend bliss, fresh air really is good for the soul. Until next year Donegal!
Lashing of Love,
K xo

Travel | In flight essentials

Today I’m off travelling again, this time with work. Travelling is one of the most rewarding things we can do, no matter where your destination is or what the purpose of the trip is there is always something to learn and pick up along the way. Not to mention, even if it is a busy work week there is always duty free to keep you motivated eh! Travelling with work is probably my favourite aspect of my job but it can really take its toil and although I don’t mind when I’m travelling by myself, but it can get lonely. Now travelling alone doesn’t really bother me at all, it’s more the flight that I’m just not fussed on and let’s face it Northern Ireland isn’t flourishing with direct flights so there is usually stop overs and that’s were it can get a little more challenging. I once had a terrible fear of flying and although not completely away, one turbulent and my knuckles begin to turn white and I start to say a prayer. All that being said, once I’ve landed and I get to finally enjoy my destination I can see that it’s all worth while. Through my travels I have found that there are a range of things which I need to not only to keep me entertained but keep me on top form to ensure when I land I am ready to roll quickly.

Cleanse & Moisturise 

As soon as the fascin seatbelt sign is turned off I skip out to the bathroom to give my face a good clean and moisturise. Before we land I love nothing more than to wash my face again to remove any dirty from the artificial air to try and prevent any break outs. I have found that a facial spray really will help to reinvigorate the skin as well as the beautiful scent which makes me feel much fresher.

Endless Entertainment 

Most long haul flights will have a tv in the head rest in front of you but it’s more for the boring lay overs and terminal hanging around. I always bring my iPad with movies and books galore and a couple of magazines so I’m well entertained while I’m waiting. Patience isn’t an attribute I possess so I really need to make this as enjoyable as possible. I make sure to pack my Belkin charge pack to be sure that I never run out of battery on my iPad or phone…now that really would be a crisis.

Home Comforts

Sitting for an extended period of time in economy can get a little uncomfortable. I always bring a pair of leggings, hoodie and some fluffy socks. Getting comfortable with a pillow and blanket makes it’s even better. If it’s an over night flight I bring along an Optrex Warming eye mask to help settle me over to sleep.

Relax & Rehydrate

Once you’re relaxed it is important to rehydrate. I wouldn’t travel without berroca. I allows find planes are really dehydrating and with the air conditioning coughs and sneezes can spread infections s quickly. I always bring a berroca and have one on the plane just before we land. Trips work or pleasure are usually hectic so I take one everyday to be sure I stay at my peak during the trip.

Travelling is amazing but most importantly, if you are travelling alone, be safe. If you don’t have a transfer organised, be sure to ask the taxi driver how far away your hotel is if you don’t already know and then call (or at least pretend to call) a loved one, then they will know that someone is waiting for you. Most importantly enjoy it, take in the new cultures, try new foods, see something you have never seen before. My philosophy on travel (if you can even call it that) is to get up early and stay up late to maximise your time there, just think about the next week you’ll be back home and there is plenty of time to catch up on Netflix when you get home.

Lashings of Love,

K xo