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Sunday, 23 July 2017

A Peep Inside My Suitcase: What I've Packed For My Holiday To Nerja, Spain

I always enjoy planning and packing my holiday wardrobe and this year is no exception. I’m going on holiday, a beach holiday, half-board to Nerja, Southern Spain tomorrow. We went to the same place last year so I have honed my packing to reflect what I wore, used, needed and didn't need last year. 

Dresses
While I never knowingly underpack, I don't want to take so much that it doesn't get worn, yet will still need washing and ironing upon my return, so whenever I go away, I take "outfits" which I've found to be the best way of ensuring that I've packed enough. (By that, I mean laying things out with shoes and accessories to ensure that the right tops go with bottoms and so on). With that being said, this year, I'm only taking dresses because they're easier to accessorise and I find them to be much more comfortable than skirts and trousers in the heat and because they don't have a waistband and the food at the hotel is out of this world! Although I have more than enough to take one dress to wear each day, they do only get worn for a few hours in the evenings, so can be worn on two occasions if necessary. I'm planning to buy one or two from the beautiful little shops in Nerja too, the white dress below being one such purchase last year.

Nerja-packing-white-dress-espadrilles-blue-door

I've packed seven.

Nerja-holiday-packing-dresses
From left to right:
*Allegra red and black dress, £75, Lagom
White midi dress, bought in Nerja last year
*Pleated pink snake print dress, £109 Together at Kaleidoscope
Short white lace detail dress, Heine at Kaleidoscope, past season
Pink broderie halter neck midi dress, £65, Topshop
*Alissa midi strapless gown, aquatic ombre, £299, Alie Street
Stone sequinned shift dress, Mint Velvet, past season

Shoes
I love shoes of course, but I don’t want to pay excess baggage, so for my ten-day vacation, I have exercised great restraint and packed just five pairs. A pair of flip-flops to wear to the beach, a pair of flat espadrilles for travelling and sightseeing, two pairs of wedge-heeled espadrilles to wear to evening dinner and a slightly more formal pair of sparkly black sandals because they go beautifully with the red. black and white Lagom dress above.

Nerja-holiday-packing-shoes
Clockwise from bottom left:
Unisa two part leopard print wedge espadrilles, £80, John Lewis
*Gabby black shimmer sandals, £65 Lotus
*Black, white and gold woven leather espadrilles, Kaleidoscope
*Lime suede wedge espadrilles, £45, Kaleidoscope
Flip flops, Boden, past season

Swimwear
For the beach and pool, I'm taking three bikinis, (and will wear on rotation to minimise strap lines), plus a one-piece swimsuit. I'm going with my parents and my teenage children and we have a huge inflatable ring, which we take to the sea and take it in turns to clamber in and get pushed from person one to another, (my parents are very fit and love this). To avoid the potential of a wardrobe malfunction in front of the four people in the world whom it would most embarrass, I wear a one-piece. The one I'm taking is from last year. 

Red-white-striped-swimsuit-holiday-Nerja

Nerja-holiday-packing-swimsuit-bikini
*Blue Seychelles bikini, Fantasie
*Red animal print underwired bikini top, £14.40 (was £18), M&Co
*Red animal print roll over bikini bottoms, £11.20,(was £14), M&Co
*Coral and white striped bandeau bikini, Dorina at Asos.
Red and white striped one piece swimsuit, Kaleidoscope, past season

Beach Cover-ups
A selection of cover-ups is essential for protecting the skin when the sun is at its hottest. I like mine to multi-task so I take kaftans and beach dresses and wear them to breakfast and lunch over my swimwear. Last year, I found that I didn't have enough. I take them off an on throughout the day so they can get a little crumpled. Although I don't quite have enough to wear one each day, I do have eight, which should suffice.
This yellow beach dress is now in its third year and I love it as much as when it was new. This was taken in Nerja last year.

Yellow Iconique beach dress

Nerja-holiday-packing-kaftans-beach-cover-ups
From left to right:
*Red crochet maxi beach dress, £32 (was £40), M&Co
*Halona fish print beach caftan, £185 Rose Fulbright
*Zig zag strapless maxi dress, £37 Kaleidoscope
Yellow lace detail beach dress, Iconique at UK Swimwear, past season

Bags
I'll travel with this red and white striped shoulder bag because not only is it gorgeous, it has a central zipped compartment for travel documents and valuables and two more compartments for sunglasses, my make-up bag and everything else.
I always make sure my beach bag has a zip, which can of course be left unzipped for convenience. This bright tasselled one is an ideal size and the straps are long enough to be worn on the shoulder too. For evening, I've got two smaller bags, both of which reflect my love of the sea. I always take two purses too, a larger one for the bulk of the foreign currency, credit cards etc which can be left in the safe and a smaller one for taking out with however much cash I need.

Nerja-holiday-packing-handbag-beach-bag-clutch-pouch-purse
*Marty red and white leather shoulder bag, £100, Yoshi
*Pomfret Slouch Pouch, £72 Louella Odie
*Navy and white stripe leather lobster cross body bag, £70, Yoshi
*Tassel canvas bag, £20, Kaleidoscope
*Reef holiday wallet, £25, Louella Odie
*Beam zip top cornflower blue leather purse, £15, Yoshi
*Marty red and white striped leather glasses case, £15, Yoshi

Jewellery
I took a lot of jewellery last year and found that it was too warm to wear anything that was heavy or tight, so I'm taking a selection of wrap bracelets from my own range at Lizzy O, plus some lightweight pineapple and bee pieces from Danon, also from my boutique.

Nerja-holiday-packing-bee-pineapple-Danon-jewellery
Mini honey bee necklace, £59, by Danon at Lizzy O
Honey bee ring in gold, £24 by Danon at Lizzy O
Honey bee bracelet in gold, £27, by Danon at Lizzy O
Pineapple bracelet in gold, £27, by Danon at Lizzy O
Pineapple ring in gold, £24, by Danon at Lizzy O
All of this jewelley is available in silver and there are more matching items too.

The leopard wrap bracelet compliments everything and if I were allowed to take only one thing, this would be it. It's lightweight and super sparkly and looks fabulous in the sunshine. To ring the changes though, I have a selection of coloured diamante set wrap bracelets which I can layer and mix and match.

Nerja-holiday-packing-leopared-diamante-clasp-wrap-bracelets
Diamante set wrap bracelets, £12.50, Lizzy O
Leopard and diamante wrap bracelet, £12.50, Lizzy O
(Sign up to my monthly newsletter here for exclusive subscriber discounts at Lizzy O).

Sunglasses
I'm taking three pairs of sunglasses, each very different. My Transitions Style Colours (clear in this picture) are the photochromic ones that you can read more about here. They're brilliant for wearing when going in and out of doors because they darken in the sun and fade to clear when inside.
The large roundish pair is from a fabulous brand called, rather ingeniously Retrospecced, who take vintage and used designer frames, refurbish and reglaze them and donate a percentage of their profits to the charity Vision Aid Oversees, a cause close to my heart. The third pair is a lightweight cats-eye shape with leopard detail. I keep them all in their rigid cases to protect them when in my suitcase, but use the beautiful soft leather case, (which matches my red and white handbag and can be seen above), when out and about.

Holiday-packing-travel-Nerja-sunglasses
*Leopard detail sunglasses, Kaleidoscope (out of stock)
*Retro turquoise and gold frames, Retrospecced
*Caroline Abram spectacles with sapphire Style Colours

Lotions and Potions
I take a lot of suncare products from various brands, but this year I'm trying some new premium ones from Insitut Estherderm, I shall report back on these because I'm always on the lookout for sun protection that is both effective and pleasant to use; it smells divine which is a good start!
Along with my usual toiletries and skincare products, I've found a few things that are excellent additions for travelling including this Burts Bees lipbalm. My lips get incredibly dry, especially on the plane and this one is excellent. This Merci Handy anti-bacterial gel is nice and small for putting into my bag and smells lovely too. Neither a lotion or a potion but very useful indeed and something I use daily, is a microfibre turban. It helps to dry the hair and is lighter weight and cooler than wrapping a towel around. Finally, I love these scrubbers. I have several types that I use at home and I have deliberately saved this one for using in the shower for thorough removal of sand and suncream. It exfoliates too, so making a smoother base for tanning.

Nerja-packing-suncream
Institut Esthederm sun care, available at Space NK
Burts Bees Lip Balm
*Merci Handy anti-bacterial hand gel
Aquis hair turban
AfterSpa bath and shower round dual texture scrubber, £6.50, Boots

Travel Essentials
This hard-shelled suitcase is incredibly lightweight and is the maximum size that can be used as cabin baggage on Easyjet, British Airways, Jet2 and Monarch flights which is ideal for saving time collecting luggage from the carousel. Because I'm going for ten days and have beach towels, shoes and suncream (in bottles larger than those permitted in hand-luggage), I'm taking another case to check in and will be using this for my swimwear, jewellery, sunglasses, camera and books. It's from Travel Luggage and Cabin Baggage who have an excellent selection of baggage in all sizes along with a wide range of travel accessories. I always check the weight of all of our suitcases with a digital scale before we set off,  because I've had the indignity of  having to take things out of my case to put into one of the children's at check-in, when mine was over the weight limit.
I've been using packing cubes for a while now when I travel. They are a brilliant way of separating lingerie, swimwear, toiletries etc and make the process of unpacking on arrival much quicker. They're useful too for if you're sharing a case or are on a multi-centred holiday.





It's only a short flight to Southern Spain, but my daughter always uses a travel pillow regardless of the duration of the journey. This one is particularly luxurious and comfortable and the more I touch it. the more I think I might use it myself, so comfortable is it. I love my silk sleep mask and although it won't be needed on the flight, I do like to use mine every night.
Beach towels aren't always provided at hotels and even if they are, it's nice to have one's own to use too. Mine is new from M&S and I also got in a coral and white stripe too. It's velour and is beautifully thick and soft.
One last thing is my Mighty Mug! I'm driving to the airport in the early hours so this will have coffee in it. It's insulated so keeps the contents cool or hot as required and it's particularly useful for filling with water and taking to the beach without it getting warm (it's awful when water in a plastic bottle gets warm). The other brilliant thing is that it cannot fall over; very useful when on the beach or by the pool.

Travel essentials for Nerja

Non-essential travel items, but some little luxuries include my red leather monogrammed travel document wallet, passport holder and luggage tag which I love.

Pen-Heaven-monogrammed-embosssed-passport-holder-travel-wallet-luggage-tag-red-leather
*Aerolite 4 wheels hard shell case, £40.99, Travel Luggage & Cabin Bags
*Aerolite Packing Cubes, £11.99, Travel Luggage & Cabin Bags
*Aerolite portable digital weighing scale (for luggage up to 50kg), Travel Luggage & Cabin Bags
*Aerolite Memory Foam travel pillow, £8.99, Travel Luggage & Cabin Bags
*Midnight silk lavender eye mask, £25, Stephie Ann
Velour wide-striped beach towel, £9.50, Marks and Spencer (also available in white and coral)
*Laurige red leather luggage tag, £9.90 or £14.90 with personalisation, Pen Heaven
*Laurige red leather travel envelope, £21.90, (£26.90 with embossed initials), Pen Heaven
*Laurige red passport and travel documents, from £19.90 holder  Pen Heaven
*Pink 350ml Mighty Mug, Dexam £15 (was £21)

I would love to see how beautiful Nerja is if you haven't been. I'll be sharing pictures of the town, the beach, the food and of my outfits on Instagram and Instagram Stories if you'd like to follow. I have a few blog posts that I have already written scheduled to be published when I'm away, but in the meantime, have a lovely two weeks and I'll be back with some exciting new blog posts at the start of August.

Love Lizzy x

Disclosure:
*These items were gifted. My opinions are always 100% honest and the content is always my own. Thank you for supporting those brands that support What Lizzy Loves.

I'm linking up with:
I Will Wear What I LikeBrilliant Blog Posts/The Saturday Share




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Saturday, 22 July 2017

Monkbar Hotel,York: Ideally Located for The Races, Shopping and Sightseeing.

Ian and I had a fabulous time at York Races last week which you can read all about it and see what we wore and what we ate in my previous two blog posts.
Although living in Skipton means the journey to York is less than two hours, it was a treat to stay in a hotel afterwards. Visit York had kindly arranged for bed and breakfast at Monkbar Hotel in central York. It's a 10-minute taxi ride from York railway station and a 15-minute taxi ride from York Racecourse, so it was in the ideal location. Not only this, it sits just metres outside of the city walls and is a very short walk, less than ten minutes, from York Minster and the restaurants, shops and attractions that this beautiful city has to offer.

The hotel is currently undergoing a significant refurbishment which precluded me taking photographs of the exterior and some of the public areas, but do believe me when I say it's a lovely building with an interior that is stylish, contemporary and well thought out. The reception staff were incredibly helpful and accommodating because we needed our luggage storing and a place to change before the races (we checked in early so our room wasn't ready), and they did their utmost to facilitate this.

We had a second-floor suite away from the main building which meant it felt like a private escape. The soft furnishings and wallpaper in the bedroom were beautiful and the bed large and super comfortable.

Hotel suite bedroom at Monk Bar Hotel, York

Hotel suite bedroom at Monk Bar Hotel, York, soft furnishings

The sloping roof made the spacious room feel very cosy and added character. 

Sitting area hotel suite bedroom at Monk Bar Hotel, York

There was a lounge/dressing area with complimentary fruit and bottled water. As well as the usual tea and coffee making facilities was a separate coffee machine: a nice extra.

Hotel suite bedroom dressing area at Monk Bar Hotel, York

The bathroom was very stylish with a lovely amenity kit including shampoo, conditioner, soap, cotton wool, cotton buds and toothbrushes.

York Hotel Monkbar hotel bathroom

York Hotel suite bedroom at Monk Bar Hotel, York

York Hotel suite bathroom at Monk Bar Hotel, York

York Hotel suite bath at Monk Bar Hotel, central York

Breakfast was buffet style with pastries, cheeses, meats, yogurts, fruit, cereals and fruit juices along with hot food. Tea and coffee was served at the table and it was all absolutely divine. 

Breakfast at York Hotel, Monkbar

York Hotel, MonkBar Hotel breakfast

cooked breakfast, central York hotel, Monkbar hotel

Cooked breakfast buffet, York city centre hotel, York. Monkbar

Thank you to the staff at Monkbar Hotel for making our very brief stay surprisingly restful, (we were at the hotel for less than 12 hours in total, yet it still felt like a break) and very enjoyable. Thank you too to Ana Ignatova from Visit York for arranging our stay.

Love Lizzy x

Best Western Plus Monkbar Hotel
St Maurice's Road
York
North Yorkshire
YO31 7JA
01904 638086
www.bw-monkbarhotelyork.co.uk
www.visityork.org

Disclosure:
Ian and I had a complimentary stay at Monk Bar Hotel, courtesy of Visit York. My opinions are always 100% honest and the content is always my own. Thank you for supporting those brands, companies and organisations that support What Lizzy Loves.

I'm linking up with:
Brilliant Blog Posts/The Saturday Share

For more of What Lizzy Loves, please follow on Instagram and Facebook




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Friday, 21 July 2017

York Races 2017: A Winning Day Out

Champagne at York races

It was a privilege to be invited to York Races for the John Smith's meeting last week and choosing my outfit was a fabulous precursor to the day. Everything I wore came from Monks Cross Shopping park near York and I wrote about the contending runners and riders as well as my final outfit choice in yesterday's post. 

We had admission to the County Stand, a formal area in which gents need to wear a collared shirt, tie and jacket. This allowed us to entry to all areas including all food and drink options in the Grandstand and Paddock and Course Enclosure. We went to the recently opened Moet Chandon tent for a small bottle and sat for a while to take in the atmosphere.

York Races, champagne selfie



York Races John Smiths

We were treated to a beautiful picnic and Prosecco platter in the Edwardian Weighing Room, an informal eating and drinking area, that was previously home to riders and officials for over a century. 

Edwardian Weighing Room

Of course I couldn't resist sitting on the scale.

Weigh in at York Races

The picnic was absolutely divine...a salmon and prawn starter, followed by a chicken, ham and asparagus salad, and lemon torte and strawberries.We chose to dine inside because it was a little blustery, but many took theirs outdoors.



The only other time I have placed bets was when I went to York Races some five years ago. The bookmakers are very friendly and are quite used to novices such as myself, so there's no need to feel daunted. In fact, every official, steward and member of staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. We placed a small bet on each of the seven races; Ian choose to look at the form and various statistics, while I picked those with names that appealed. I feel quite vindicated by my non-scientific approach because we each had an "each-way" winner, with neither of our choices winning on the nose.

York Races

York races screen

York Races

York Races

York Races

We were invited to the Parade Ring where one of the Pink Ladies, (herself a former jockey), explained that this is where the horses and riders parade before each race and where the presentations take place,


York Races


York Races, winners enclosure

This is Novoman, clear winner of The Cakemark Stakes, getting watered before receiving his winner's blanket.

York Races, Novoman

York Races winner Novoman

York races, Novoman in winners blanket

And this is the winning jockey Georgia Cox at her presentation and interview.

York races winning jockey, Georgia Cox

Winners enclosure

From start to finish our day at York Races was perfect. There is something for everyone including families and I really hope it won't be another five years before I return. Huge thanks to Amy Swales of York Racecourse for organising, facilitating and hosting which made our day extra special.

Love Lizzy x

I'm wearing:
Coral chiffon dress, £22 (sale price), Dorothy Perkins at Outfit
Coral fascinator, £25, Dorothy Perkins at Outfit
Floral sandals, £17.50 (sale price), Outfit
Leonie stripe beaded and sequinned clutch bag, £14.50 (sale price), Accessorize
Oversized bloom scarf, £10 (sale price), Monsoon
Earrings, £10 for a set, River Island
Coral nail polish, Revlon £6.49 Boots
Pineapple ring, gold, £24, Lizzy O (Sign up to my monthly newsletter here for exclusive subscriber discounts at Lizzy O).

Disclosure:
Ian and I were guests of York Racecourse. My opinions are always 100% honest and the content is always my own.Thank you for supporting those brands, companies and organisations that support What Lizzy Loves.

Photographs of me: 
Ian

I'm linking up with:
I Will Wear What I LikeBrilliant Blog Posts/The Saturday Share

For more of What Lizzy Loves, please follow on Instagram and Facebook




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