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Why going on holiday with your friends is the best thing you'll ever do


2017 has clearly been the year of adventures and exploring. Sure, I haven't been away as much as some people I know but it has definitely been a lot. For me anyway.

I still have my trip to Scotland with Gary to look forward to which is nice and we're going to *hopefully* spend a couple of days away over my birthday. This year has mostly been about me and the girls.

With three little trips away with my friends under my belt, from weekends in Bucharest and Cornwall to a day trip to Whitstable, just me and Leanne. I have decided that hollibobs with your friends is just amazing.

Beaches in Cornwall

I love going away with Gary but there is something different about going away with your friends, even more so when you're all bloggers!

When you travel with your friends, it's an entirely different vibe. There are a bunch of you who want to do different things meaning more adventures to be had and itineraries to be planned. Or you can just wander around being perfectly happy in each others company. Whatever suits you!

I've mentioned before that my girls are like a little family to me and it brings me so much joy that even though we're all so very different, we're also like minded, this is what makes travelling with them makes them even more awesome.

visit bucharest


Through travelling with friends, you'll get to so more of one place, whether it's because someone wants to eat at a particular place or someone else wants to see a particular old thing. You make sure there's enough time to do at least one thing everyone wants to do.

There are also the giggles. The 'in' jokes that will just appear. Like, did you know R Kelly was the greatest artist if the 90s?

You'll also find out more about each other, how someone may not be a morning person (me) or how someone has never tried Cornish Ice cream (Jasmin)

weekend in cornwall


As a little blogger-only one, you'll also be sure to get the very best content. Because we all love photography so much, what should be a 20 minute walk can easily turn into an hour. You want to spot the tiniest details of everything, find the perfect door to have an outfit taken and have at least one person spot the opportunity for the perfect candid. Just another way we support each other completely.

A lot of people worry about going on holiday with friends. I mean, you'll be spending more time in close proximity with each other. What if someone falls out? What if that giggle you thought was cute actually becomes irritating AF? Well, none of these things have applied to me. I was so happy to explore with my best girls and most definitely will again.

You take a whole new experience away with you and new memories that you'll look back on forever.

Off we pop to Bedfordshire: Getting a good night's sleep

sleeping tips


I am notorious for being crap in the morning. I'm difficult to wake up for a start (Charlie has been known to clap in my face), if you want to have a coherent conversation with me in the mornings then you'll need to wait until I'm at least two coffees in, I have also been known to sleep until 2pm on a weekend.

I have no shame in this.

I am also a nightmare to sleep with. I fidget, a hog the covers and I talk in my sleep. Seriously, I feel so bad for Gary. Poor sod.

Considering all of the above, it's very rare that I will have a bad night sleep these days. And I mean very rare. Sure, I'll struggle to wake up in the morning regardless of what I do because I just love sleep so much. This is mostly because that over the years I have finally nailed down my way of settling in perfectly. Everyone has their own methods and there are several tips out there for getting the best night sleep ever, here are just a few that work for me.

Hold back on the caffeine

Now, if you know me personally, you'll know that I am pretty much Lorelei Gilmore. Milly has even said before that every time she sees me, I have a coffee in my hand. It's true.

via GIPHY

I can't get through my day without coffee but I make a point of not having any after 6pm. Tea, I can get away with but really you shouldn't be doing that either... you know it, I know it. Put the cuppa down.

Magnesium is your friend

I have been taking Magnesium for years to help with period pains (yup, it works. Trust) and after all the research in the world, it turns out it's also great to help you sleep! Who'da thunk it.

Devices down, yo

These days, people spend more time on their phones than they do asleep (averages, obvs) and I am definitely one of those people. I guess you could just blame this on my job but in reality, I'm just addicted to Social Media. Instagram = Life.

Before Gary moved in, I used to perch my laptop on the edge of my bed and watch Netflix. I'm scared of the dark (yup, judge me if you like) and it helped me feel safe and monster free at night. After a couple of scenarios when Gary noticed I actually spoke to the TV in my sleep, we realised that this was part of the reason why I slept poorly. Since then, no more David Attenborough to fall asleep to, maybe one YouTube video for the giggles but that's it. Phones down and lights off.

Breathing patterns work a dream

I don't always need to do this one as I can fall asleep quite quickly but if there's a little niggle at the back of my head (we've all been there) or I have broken my no caffeine rule, breathing certainly helps. I do gown the route of in for seven and out for seven. It helps relax my body and gives me something to think about that isn't 'Oh god, did I send that email'.

An Electric Blanket is the best purchase you will ever make

Yeah, I know that sounds proper old lady but seriously. You will thank me.

Gary isn't the biggest fan of the electric blanket because he's always too hot (hence why it's OK for me to be a duvet hog), but if I'm on my own, I love popping the blanket on for 15 minutes before I get into bed. It makes the bed a nice roasty toasty cocoon and I feel proper cosy when I'm all snuggled up in the streets.

If all else, fails... Harry Potter it is. The ultimate comfort for any problem I'm having.

Right now, I can't stop thinking about my bed and am really looking forward to going home tonight.

What are your best tips for getting a good night's sleep?

Wizarding Wardrobes at Warner Brothers Studio Tour London

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Yup. That's right. I went back to the Studio tour. Jealous much? JUST LOOK AT HOW HAPPY WE ALL ARE.

Smashleighjayne


If you follow the Warner Brothers Studio Tour on Instagram, you'll have already had a glimpse at what Wizarding Wardrobes is. It's a chance to go behind the scenes of the wardrobe department. Initial sketches and final designs of some of the best costumes are on display and you are able to learn more about each piece and the inspiration behind them.


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back in July (yup, I'm rubbish again), I went to the event launch because clearly I am now best buds with the Studio Tour. Some of the designers themselves were there, including the legend that is Philip Treacy (*fangirls*) who completely sassed Erica (you really need to check out her A Muggle Reacts post, it's amazing) and rather begrudgingly but did it anyway, let me put on a Beauxbatons hat!

Smashleighjayne


Yup. Admit it. You hate me a little bit right now.

Rita Skeeter is one of my favourite characters, I love to hate her SO MUCH. Plus, her outfits through out the movies are just spectacular. From the Acid Green power suit that matches her acid tongue and the Quick Quotes Quill to the dragon inspired costume from teh first task in the Triwizard Tornament. For Rita, a lot of the inspiration came from the style of Vivienne Westwood and you can really see it.

Smashleighjayne

Wizarding Wardrobes is more than just the clothes themselves. We also got to meet the Makeup department, saw someone transformed into Bellatrix Lestrange and even got our own Dark Marks, we really are the coolest.

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Yeah, I'm evil now.

Words can't really describe the sheer hilarity of us becoming Horace Slughorn's armchair or running around with a tennis ball.. Dobby... or making Dobby do the time warp in the special effects department. You really couldn't wipe the smiles off our faces for the whole evening.

Smashleighjayne
LEANNE IS A CHAIR
If you also want to experience Wizarding Wardrobes at the Studio Tour, you have until 27th September, so you better get your butts in gear!

Being taken behind the scenes of the look and style of our favourite films truly was magical, but what made it even more so was, as always, being with my favourite nerds. We gave Erica a glimpse into our world and Emma got to visit the tour for the first time. Our whole evening was full of giggles, prosecco and wonder. And I couldn't be happier.


Smashleighjayne


If you'd like to see more Wizarding Wardrobes glee, make sure you check out Emma Inks and here's  Little Miss Katy's vlog for you too. Cue giggles.




*Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the launch of Wizarding Wardrobes by the Studio Tour but I don't really need to tell you that the words are mine, right? I'm such a nerd, it's just a given now.

Force Friday II at John Lewis


As an utter nerd, there are a couple of days in the calendar that will always be celebrated in weird and wonderful ways. You have May 4th Be With You, Harry Potter's Birthday on 31st July, going back to Hogwarts on 1st September an, of course, there's Force Friday. This time, the second.

This Friday, John Lewis on Oxford Street not only held an exclusive event to showcase their new Star Wars range (toys AND tech) but they set up a pop up Cantina Bar complete with actors from Secret Cinema mingling in character costumes and serving you drinks at the bar. Do enjoy this picture of me with my new BFF Chewbacca. The height difference is just BEYOND funny.

Picture by Charlie, Distracted



LOOK HOW HAPPY I AM.

The Cantina was exactly as weird as you wanted it to be. C-3PO was in his little net on the floor, all broken up. Little weird creatures sat in cages, the Cantina Band made us all dance and there  were Twi'leks everywhere, all painted blue and green.



The Cantina served pretty much non-descript mystery drinks in what look like little potion bottles, one of them tasted like Christmas in a bottle! If you couldn't be bothered to queue,well, lucky you! You'd be able to spot the odd 'smuggler' walking around in full costume, sneakily slipping people drinks out of his satchel. It was like you were actually on Tatooine and just like Secret Cinema a few years ago when I was completely overwhealmed and so very happy I cried.



I had a dance with R2-D2, was force choked by Darth Vader, cuddled Chewbacca and ran around wanting all of the things. I was in such a happy place.

Now, this is just a fangirl post about the Cantina itself but I'll totally be following up with a post on my top 5 products that I totally need to get... if you also want to go to the cantina to geek out, don't worry your little cotton socks. It's open all weekend so get your butt down there!


A few hours in Whitstable

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I have really been missing the sea. I'm hardly a beach person at all, as in lounging around in the sand for hours on end, but the smell of the sea and the sound of crashing waves really makes me happy.

Leanne is always one to spot a bargain and managed to get us day tickets to Whitsable for a whole £10 thanks to the South Eastern Hidden Gems promotion. I'd never been to Whitstable and actually couldn't point it out to you on a map because, dear lord, am I rubbish at geography... I kept getting it confused with Whitby. Both begin with W and both are by the sea...I think Whitby is by the sea?

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The ever wonderful Erica had been very recently and her Postcards from Whitstable post filled me with glee. I couldn't wait until I was exploring the coast in the sunshine, Instagramming all the things, eating all the seafood and obviously eating all the ice cream. Ever the optimist, I chose to wear a summer dress and sandals because if you have sunshine thoughts there will be sunshine, right? Nope.



It HAMMERED IT DOWN. And it Hailed. Our weekend was no where near as sunshine and picture perfect as Erica's but it was still awesome.

we arrived in sunshine, then it started to rain. Our only real plans for the day were to eat oysters so we took refuge in the Whitsable Oyster Company restaurant right by the sea. We got their last table, ordered 2 different types of oysters (The Casino Oysters were my favourite), Scallops, Mussels AND CHIPS. Despite the rain, thank god I was wearing a floaty dress...

Smashleighjayne

Smashleighjayne

These things are famous for a reason.

The Oyster thing was pretty much the only thing we had planned for our trip to Whitsable. Other than that, we just wanted to Instagram all the things. The weather really wasn't on our side though and due to their local Festival that day, we just knew we weren't as lucky as Erica.

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Every time we passed the bright pink Wheelers Oyster Bar there was ALWAYS a car parked outside, we had to duck into two different pubs to stay dry (at least I got to try a local beer, my favourite thing) and the journey to the castle plan was quickly abandoned WHEN IT STARTED TO HAIL. IN AUGUST.

Smashleighjayne

Smashleighjayne

Being by the beach regardless of the weather made me far too happy though. I plan to go back so I can sit in the sunshine, and breathe in the sea air. I'd love to hire one of the beach huts and just spend a weekend being my happiest. Plus, ice cream.

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THIS MELTED EVERYWHERE


Festival Survival and lessons learned: 21 vs 28

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Here's me at my first festival. so young. so very young.

When I went to my first festival, I was rubbish at it. I bought a tent the day before, only took a sleeping bag and nothing to lie on, didn't take any weather appropriate clothes and forgot all the basics like hand sanitiser and loo roll. I spent so much money on food, it's obscene and I spent even more on alcohol. Oops.

I'm now nearly thirty and you'd think by now that I'll have learnt from my previous mistakes, The answer? Have I bugger. I leave tomorrow (at time of writing), I haven't packed a thing and I don't know where to start. I know that once Friday rolls along, I'll be so much more organised and the whole thing will be amazing. I just hope Milly remembers her tent.

I have been going to festivals for a fair few years now so there are definitely at least SOME things I have go better at (clearly not packing) and it really does make me chuckle about how different my experiences have been over the years.

Reading Festival 2013

The Basics at 21

I took NOTHING. It felt like that anyway. I didn't take enough pants for a start and it's only by some divine miracle that I actually remembered a deodorant, srlsy. I had to do a hasty run to the nearest Asda to pick up things like dry shampoo and hand sanitiser. As they had CLEARLY sold out of little stuff (guessing other Festival goers were equally as crap as me) I had to leave with big bottles which then just had to be thrown away as I didn't have space to carry them back!

The basics at 28

Fortunately, Push Doctor have sorted me out with the ultimate Festival Survival kit so I don't need to worry about it. even sun lotion! However, over most recent years I've made sure I have stocked up on travel bottles of all the necessities from superdrug way before hand. Less waste and less money spent. Winning on both fronts!

Sleeping plans at 21

My friend Silvia and I convinced ourselves that a tiny two man tent was all we needed... that meant very little space and a very uncomfortable floor. Sleeping in a tent is cold enough as it is but when there's just a thin piece of plastic and a sleeping bag between you and the ground, you get so much colder. Layering up with jumpers just won't be enough.

We had all of our stuff piled up at our feet so we had to sleep all curled up and woke up every morning with aching backs and necks. Totally don't recommend that nonsense.



Sleeping plans at 28

An air mattress is going to be your best friend. As will be a onesie. I plan on taking a Big Mac onesie with me because I am oh so classy and totally living the brand (#werk) as well as two sleeping bags just in case.

Milly has a 4 man tent so we'll have plenty of space for all our crap too. YAY! SPACE!

Food at 21

The only things I took with me at my first festival was a cereal selection box and super noodles. i had a camp stove for coffee in the mornings because I genuinely couldn't survive without it. This is probably the only sensible thing I did but it was literally just used for coffee. Cue me spending a hideous amount of money on burgers and cheesy chips when I could have actually used the stove to cook those bloody super noodles...

Food at 28

I've become a bit of a foodie over the years but I know I can't expect anything fancy from the middle of a field. As gas stoves are now banned (thanks youths), Milly and I will be collecting a solid fuel stove, a kettle, tins of sketti, bread and basic breakfast stuff that will be easier to cook. And obviously coffee. At least this way we'll be saving a few pennies by having a half decent breakfast. It'll also give us more energy than my standard 21 year old breakfast of pro plus, dry cereal (where do you keep milk!) and coffee. That's the plan anyway.

Basic hygiene at 21

baby wipes. I don't even want to think about it. I am ashamed.

Basic hygiene at 28.

Use the showers. Not only will you feel more comfortable, the other people on the train home will thank you. They do get busy though so I tend to go either at ridiculous O'clock or if one of the opening acts aren't really doing it for me.

Alcohol at 21

Drinking and eating at festivals is where you're going to spend most of your money. Plus there are all the queues and I had to carry my passport with me at all times because I looked (and sometimes still do) like I was 12. Not exactly ideal. Luckily our Festival Friends were better prepared than us and kindly shared their booze with us.

Such a classy chick. Some things never change.
Alcohol at 28

You don't necessarily need it as much as you think you do. Yeah it's nice but that doesn't mean you need to go to the bar every 10 minutes. To make life easier for the young of face, you can get an over 18 wristband and leave your I.D. and valuables in a locker (rather than under your mattress or hidden in the lining of your sleeping bag) and one of the best choices is remembering to take booze with you into the campsite. You can't take it into the arena but you'll definitely thank yourself later.

Money at 21

I had no budget. I used the cash machines that charge you an absolute fortune. I spent so much money on my card without a single thought that I lost count of my spending. Such regret in my life choices. I was broke for the whole of September...

Money at 28

I'll be taking a set amount of cash but I don't want to be oh so very poor in September again. For emergencies, I also have my Monzo Card (if you don't have one, get one) for emergencies which is very handy and can track all my spending. I'm desperately hoping to keep everything to less than £200 but I guess we'll just have to see what happens!

That time Charlie, Distracted and I were more excited about Nine Inch Nails than anything else

Now, obviously everyone's Festival Experience is going to be different, these tips are just based on my own. Push Doctor actually have their own rather nifty Festival Survival Guide that's definitely worth a gander. You may find your own way surviving 4 days in a field and if you do please teach me your ways.

Really, the only thing that matters is that you have a whale of a time. Dance, be silly, sing and giggle until your ribs hurt. You're going to love it.

Reading 2013... I'm not really sure what's happening either



*Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Push Doctor but all lessons and tales of tragedy are my own. #SorryNotSorry