TRAVEL

Life is an adventure and there’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Read articles on some of the best places in the world to visit with travel tips and not-to-be-missed experiences. 

Career Crush: Travel, Work and Friendship

The summer time for many people means that the holiday you booked and planned months in advance is finally near. You get to go out and purchase new swimwear, research the best beaches and finalise your travel itinerary. 

We do this because let’s face it; work sucks. Holidays are when you switch off the work email and have fun with friends. But what if your holiday was your job, and your work colleague was your best mate? And you basically got paid to travel? Whaaaaaat?

Well that’s what Natasha Oakley and Devin Brugman, or Tash and Dev as they call themselves, have achieved with absolute perfection, with their blog and brand, A Bikini A Day

A Bikini A Day Back Story 

It doesn’t sound like it was much of a rough starting point to the average girl living in the North East England as such, but it’s definitely a small-time to big-time success story. So, Tash and Dev were living and working in Hawaii shooting look books and videos for local swimwear brands. Sounds like a pretty good job so far, right?

Then they went travelling but kept their connections with the swimwear brands and started sharing pictures wearing said bikinis on the relatively new social network, Instagram. They took this simple idea and turned it into a fully fledged blog with travel and swimwear related content and named it, A Bikini A Day. Amassing a huge following this hobby quickly became a full-time job for both women.

A Day in the Bikini Life

OK so a comparison here would be helpful…

My social media: A snap of my lunch, quick video of my dogs and possibly a picture of my trip to the gym for good measure. 

Their social media: exclusive fashion party in the Hamptons, photoshoot on a beach in Turks and Caicos and definitely boat trips off the Amalfi coast. (I would love to share tons of their pictures but can’t because they aren’t my pics to share! – So head to their Instagram here or I have embedded a few Tweets of theirs throughout). 

This might make some people envious or slightly irritated. But these women are always working. The difference is they have managed to carve a career out of doing something they love and other people want too. In Tash’s own words:

“It’s a full-time, all-consuming job to be constantly creating content.” – Harpers Bazaar, 2016

Moral of the story is: find something you love and turn it into something that’s useful to other people too. 

A Blog that Works

With an endless stream of the type of share-worthy content everyone loves; from bikini reviews and healthy recipes, to the best suncreams and stylish beach bags, A Bikini A Day is a blog designed to fuel the ultimate traveller day dream. 

Starting out as photographers and bloggers themselves, Tash and Dev have continued to shoot and edit their own blog content, even with an audience well into the millions, located all across the globe. 

Making Waves

Tash and Dev now have their own bikini brand; Monday Swimwear. The reason for the name..?

“Because when you’re in a bikini on a Monday, you’re having a good day.” – Monday Swimwear

Fair play. As bikini experts they have managed to source the best fabrics in mix and match shapes and sizing to suit a variety of body shapes (only up to size 16 though I would mention as a downfall). But I really want one. They price at around £120 though, so this is unlikely for me. They also launched an activewear range; Monday Active and have multiple design collaborations with brands including Guess, Revolve and over in the UK, Missguided

Travel and Life Inspiration

If you’re looking for travel inspiration, or even if you have just booked a holiday, don’t forget to check in with A Bikini A Day blog as they have lots of tips for the best products for skin and hair protection in the sun as well as unique places to visit. Plus, if you have started working on a project with a friend that you love, just look at how it’s turned out for Tash and Dev – anything is possible. Dream big, work hard and have fun.

Girls’ Weekend in Barcelona: Pretty as a Picture

Spending a girls’ weekend in Barcelona is always appealing! This photo diary reminds me of just how picture perfect it was there, even in January. 

Dirty Thirty in Barcelona

I’ve been to Barcelona a few times, but never before in the winter. Going on the last weekend in January I wasn’t sure what to expect but a girl’s weekend in Barcelona during the gloomiest month of the year is always a good idea! Keeping the surprise was hard as it was for my friend Maddie’s 30th birthday. It turned out to be a perfect location with mild weather and sunny enough days for sitting outside while enjoy alcoholic beverages like laaaadies. 

girls' weekend in barcelona

View from our MH Apartments Opera Rambla balcony.

girls weekend barcelona

La Rambla.

(Way more hectic in summer).

girls weekend barcelona

The beach. Duh. 

girls' weekend in barcelona

View from Columbus Monument. (It’s a roundabout).

girls weekend barcelona

View of Columbus Monument. Near the port. 

girls' weekend in barcelona

Drizzly walks through the city.

girls weekend barcelona

Architectural oldness.

girls' weekend in barcelona

La Sagrada Familia.

Travel to Barcelona in Winter

Return flights to Barcelona on the last weekend in February are currently £82 from London and £103 from Newcastle. We stayed at the MH Apartments Opera Rambla – literally a few steps from La Rambla and a few bars (muy importante). The apartments were big with a small balcony and kitchen area (we ate out all the time, but it’s there if you need it!)

A spontaneous weekend in Barcelona would easily make the perfect romantic getaway for two if you’ve not organised anything for Valentine’s this year. 

Where’s you favourite winter city break destination? 

 

Ibiza Hen Do – Out of Season but Totally IN

Why consider Ibiza out of season. Girls’ weekend or hen do – there’s more to Ibiza than clubbing.

Hen do in Ibiza in October

OK, so for most people the thought of doing an Ibiza hen do when the clubs are all closed probably sounds like a fatal error (fatal for maid of honour, most likely). But for me it was awesome! I used to love clubbing when I was younger but it’s just not my scene any more. Ibiza is still one of the most beautiful, hedonistic and stylish places in the world, with an incredible food and drink scene, aside from the nightclubs. 

I was pretty lucky to get a very early mini hen do with my uni friends. Holly and I are both getting married next year and Sarah and Hannah spend half the year living in Ibiza – so they kindly invited us to join them for a long weekend catching up on the White Isle.  

What we got up to in Ibiza

Weather – for the Brits Abroad

In typical Brit style I think I checked the weather every day in the week leading up – as October can be a little colder and you should expect the occasional rain shower. However, we were really lucky (warning: smug pants are officially on throughout this post). It was hot and sunny every day. Weirdly warm for October, averaging about 26 degrees. Although, there was one freakish wind storm that lasted all of about 5 minutes but managed to devastate Sarah’s outdoor terrace – still, it provides a memorable moment!

What to wear – for the fashionable

We mostly wore jeans, cami tops and cardigans; so not the normal hot season look. I also had a dress, trainers and leather jacket as a dressier nighttime option (so no heels). It can get a bit cold at night but it’s still fine to sit out if you have a jumper / jacket. Day time was – bikinis! Ibizan style is pretty relaxed; think hippy chic, so printed flowing fabrics, jewellery and body paint or glitter tattoos. And real tattoos, of course. 

ibiza hen do

Staying and getting around

We rented a car, which worked out crazy-cheap (€40 for the long weekend – that’s €10 each). I’m thinking this was because it was out of season, but I’m sure it would still be worth it even at the height of season, especially for day time trips to quieter, picturesque beaches. 

We stayed at Hannah’s flat in Playa d’en Bossa, as she shared with five other people but most had either gone home for the season or were moving into different accommodation for the winter.If you’re going out of season it’s worth checking Air BnB! The first night we sat out on the balcony looking down the busy street towards the sea having a few drinks. Before we knew it, it was morning, which always happens with good friends you rarely see! 

Tapas Time

Tapas and cocktails is my ultimate food-drink power-combo and La Taberna del Parque was the boy. Even the most basic of tapas still taste incredible in Spain; potato croquettes literally rule my life on holiday. Do not underestimate the Spanish croquette. Meatballs, tuna tartare and chicken gyozas were on the table amongst many other tapas. Sarah was able to stomach a mojito picante – I had a sip and it’s pretty hardcore, and I normally like spicy stuff. Ibiza town is a great night out as you can wander from bar to bar enjoying wine, cocktails, bar snacks and tapas right into the early hours of the morning.

hen do ibiza

La Taberna del Parque

Bitchin’ Beaches

We spent most days sunbathing at beautiful beaches with little beach cafes and clear blue waters. My favourite was the small and rustic cove Cala Gracioneta. We picked up sandwiches made fresh to order at the local supermarket on the way and met up with some of Sarah and Hannah’s friends from Ibiza and chatted, sunbathed and snacked all day. So basically, yeh, it was bliss. 

hen do ibiza

Cala Gracioneta

Ibiza Sunsets

Watching the sunset is part of Ibiza culture; it’s about welcoming the night time and getting excited for the night life about to begin. We headed to Hostal La Torre after one of our beach days in San Antonio, which is incredible. The views are out of this WORLD and it’s styled in typical contemporary Ibizan restaurant/bar – i.e. white, chic and awesome. We ordered a bottle of wine and some bar snacks. Unfortunately the sky was a little hazy, so we saw the sunlight fade away behind the mist, which was still atmospheric but you can get better Ibiza sunset pictures on a really clear day. 

 

Hostal La Torre, San Antonio

More Food, Por Favor

Another amazing place to eat was Can Bass in San Josep. We drove here as it was a bit out of the way to where we were staying. The restaurant decor is incredible with giant hanging lampshades, cosy cushioned seating areas and an alfresco cocktail bar. We chose to sit outside even though the evenings do get a bit nippy in October, just because the style of the restaurant simply called for it! 

ibiza hen do

Can Bass, Sant Josep

Ibiza Hen DO IT!

Keeping a hen theme we played ‘Mr and Mrs’ one night, which I was reeeally bad at considering Pete and I have been together for 11 or so years :/ Luckily, being with people in the know we were able to see some beautiful parts of Ibiza and for me it was one of the best experiences I’ve had there. And we didn’t go clubbing! My phone memory was full whilst I was there so I could only use Snapchat so this video below is all I have to show – but it’s a pretty good summary of our trip.

My Next Ibiza Trip

I’ve decided to have my official hen do at home in Newcastle in June next year because (I think/hope) I will have quite a lot of people and I don’t want people to spend a lot; I just want them to have a really good time! But if you are planning a Ibiza hen do late in the season, definitely still consider October as you still get some sun, it will be cheaper and you can experience the more chilled side of Ibiza. 

I’ve still never watched the sun set at Es Vedra, which is one of the most iconic spots. It’s considered a very spiritual place, just off the coast of the island. 

ibiza hen do

Finally, I also saw this on my Instagram feed and this is somewhere I would like to stay when I go back to Ibiza. Because I’ll always return to Ibiza, even when I’m a Nana; because Ibiza never gets old, even if I do. 

ibiza hen do

Tropicana Ibiza Coast Suites, Playa d’en Bossa

January Ibiza Deals

After the high of Christmas and New Year comes dismal January, which is why lots of people like to plan their holidays now, but that means there are also a lot of deals to be had! Expedia currently has a trip from Friday 13th October for two nights at £164pp including return flights to London and a suite at the Tropicana. 

BREAK AWAY

Andraitx Spain

View from my room in Andratx, Mallorca.

Holidays that come along at just the right time can be life changing.

They don’t have to be particularly eventful, in fact, sometimes its the sheer stillness of a holiday that can bring about new prospects.

My holiday in Mallorca was relaxing; I read three books, I ate bread every day (sometimes several times a day, which I never do at home), and had an afternoon nap every day, just like a Nana.

It was lovely, and I was seemingly serene from the outside, but inside I was fighting a constant battle in my head, playing over imaginary conversations in my head.

I was at a crossroads. I had to make an important career/life decision, which unfortunately I can’t talk about just yet.

However having time out from the everyday hustle and bustle does help to put life into perspective. Some of the questions I asked myself:

– What am I good at?

– What do I want to learn?

– What do I enjoy in life?

– Where do I want to be in five years time?

– What’s still waiting in my bucket list and are they achievable at the rate I’m going at career-wise and personal life-wise?

Sometimes its good to give yourself a personal review, after all you only get one life so its important you get the most out of it. YOLO and all that jazz.

So I say dream, at every stage in life, and who can blame me with holiday vistas like these?

Andratx Mallorca

Andratx Harbour Spain

Andratx harbour, Mallorca