Five Things I Learned on Our American Road Trip

This year’s American road trip wasn’t just the biggest holiday I’ve ever been on, it’s also one of the most thrilling things I’ve ever done, period.

As well as seeing seven states’ worth of towns, cities and wilderness, spending nearly three weeks on the road with my favourite people was massively exciting! It was a totally new experience for me and it’s safe to say I learned a few things along the way…

Research is everything

From rest stops, to must-do activities, to the restaurants you REALLY want to avoid, doing your research before this kind of adventure really pays off. When you only have one day in a town, you want to make the most of it (and not waste any time Googling things to do when you get there!). Prior to our trip, we had a group access spreadsheet showing our timeline in each location and a Pinterest board to get all our ideas down. On reflection this was probably one of the smartest things we did and I would highly recommend it!

Expect the unexpected

You can plan as much as possible (see above), but sometimes you will still be surprised at where the road takes you. For us, it was up the side of a mountain on a dirt track on the way to Aspen (thanks a lot, road closure!), to a cabin in the middle of the woods in Utah (which Gary thought was a ‘rustic themed hotel’ when he spotted it online, haha!) and uh, Roswell generally (!) to name a few. These twists and turns are what made parts of our trip super memorable, and I wouldn’t want it to have went any other way.

Keep your camera charged

A bit of an obvious one, but when you’re using your camera so frequently (I don’t think mine was ever more than a few inches from me at all times…) it’s really easy to let the battery run out. Pack your charger, and make sure you use it regularly! Keeping my camera and phone charged meant I could freely capture the cities, the ghost towns, the insanely beautiful views and the odd selfie whenever I wanted.

The more you buy, the more you need to carry

…so go easy on the souvenirs! During our American road trip we visited more tacky gift shops, malls and gas stations than I can keep count of, and the temptation to buy things was REAL. But, when you’re having to transport everything around with you (there was a lot of car boot Tetris, you guys!), the novelty of shopping wears off fast! As some of you will remember, I picked up very small enamel pins as souvenirs as they were cute and easy to store!

Pack multipurpose clothing & accessories 

Partly to save suitcase space, also because you’re never quite sure what the weather is going to be like from one place to the next. I don’t think I’ll ever truly be a ‘capsule wardrobe’ type (surprise!) but I definitely brought a few things that I could get good use out of. My most-used item was this huge leopard print scarf (£2 from Primark about ten years ago!!), which I wore in my hair, as a wrap on chilly evenings and even over my face when we were in the windy desert.

These are just a few things I learned on our road trip, and I’ll be keeping all of them in mind for future holidays. If there’s anything I haven’t covered here, or if you have a question about something I’ve mentioned, feel free to get in touch or tweet me!

Here’s to adventure and the open road!

The £1.50 Interiors Hack to Update Your Space

interiors hack

There’s nothing like making a small change that results in a big impact, especially when it comes to home decor! Over the last week, we’ve been making a few updates around the flat – restyling rooms, adding some new plants, moving furniture around, that sort of thing – before Project Bathroom gets underway.

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We’ve seen first hand how big a difference these little updates can have, but there’s been one in particular that I just LOVE –  and apparently, so do you guys (after I posted a photo on Instagram last week, quite a few of you got in touch with questions and comments!). I thought it might be handy to talk about it in more detail today, so you can see just how inexpensive and simple it really is! How inexpensive? Um, how does £1.50 sound?

This is an easy interiors hack that can truly breathe new life into a room, and the best part is that you can switch it up as often as you like!

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Some of you might remember that the bookcase was previously lined with mint paper, making it stand out against our living room walls (previously grey, now peach!). Over the last month or two, we decided that we wanted to change the paper to something new, and hopefully bolder.

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After failing to find any wallpaper that was a good fit for our home style, we started looking at wrapping paper! I know it sounds crazy, and you certainly couldn’t do a whole room using it, but for the small space involved, it actually made a lot of sense.

Once we started looking at wrapping paper to line the bookcase, we suddenly had a lot more choice! It introduced more options in terms of patterns and colour palettes, and of course, the prices were much lower.

interiors hack

I was in IKEA last week when I happened to spot this leopard patterned paper. As well as the colours being a perfect match for our home, I just loved the eye-catching print! It seemed too good to pass up, so I picked up two rolls at just £1.50 each and added them to my trolley. I couldn’t wait to let these leopards loose in the flat…

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So, here’s how we did it: 

1. We measured each space in between the shelves and cut the paper to fit (so much easier than taking the shelves out!).  As we were removing the old paper, we actually had some good templates to work from this time around!

2. After emptying the shelves, we fixed the paper to the walls using a non-permenant adhesive (blu-tack, pins or double-sided sticky tape work best). Like I said before, the beauty of this interiors hack is that you can change out the paper again and again, so there’s no point messing around with wallpaper paste unless you have to. Plus the paper is so light that it will stay up easily.

3. With the paper firmly in place, we re-arranged our shelves and admired our new backing paper!

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It really was as easy as that, and we ended up only needing one roll of paper to do the whole area.

Cheap, cheerful and bursting with colour, there’s nothing about this update I don’t love! Every time I walk into the living room it immediately catches my eye and seeing the jolly little leopards leaping around makes me grin. I’m already planning a few more upcoming projects in the flat, so be sure to follow me on Pinterest to see what I’m using as inspiration.

interiors hack

Do you have an interiors hack to share? If you could let an animal loose in YOUR living room, which would you choose?

Love,

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Veganuary in Glasgow: The Places to Check Out

veganuary in glasgow

A new year gives everyone the chance to try new things and keep an open mind so, when the subject of Veganuary started popping up on my social media feeds about a month ago, I was happy to see that it had started to gather a lot of excitement. As a lot of you will know, I went meat-free nearly two years ago (check out my Veggie Diaries blog series for more on that!) and, even though I am not strictly vegan, a lot of the food that I eat is.

But what is Veganuary? By going vegan for the month of January (see what they did there?), a lot of people are challenging themselves to live a cruelty-free lifestyle and eat plant-based meals for the month. There are many reasons for people to try it out – it could be to see if they find any health or nutritional benefits, it could be to to reduce animal and environmental impacts, or it might be part of a wider new year’s resolution.

Whatever the reason. thousands of people have decided to give Veganuary a go and of course the main topic of conversation is food! Specifically, what to eat and where to eat.

The ‘what to eat’ part is easy, as thanks to countless cookbooks and Pinterest it really couldn’t be easier to pick out something to make at home. As for ‘where to eat’, there are actually a lot of places in Glasgow that cater to a vegan diet. In fact, we seem to be spoiled for choice these days! I thought that it might be handy to give you guys a quick shortlist of where to grab something yummy if you’re out on the town and sticking to your Veganuary challenge…

Saramago Cafe Bar at CCA

Where: Sauchiehall Street

Must-try dish: The beetroot & portobello mushroom bourguignon served with olive oil mash and french beans. Bon appetit! 

veganuary in glasgow

Picnic

Where: Ingram Street

Must-try dish: The freshly-made salads, which can vary slightly from day to day but are always packed with tasty ingredients like miso courgette zoodles, carrot, pesto pasta and sesame. Like having a rainbow on your plate!

Stereo

Where: Renfield Lane

Must-try dish: It’s a tie! I highly recommend The Old Italian sandwich on foccacia AND the cashew & cauliflower cheese gnocchi.

Mono

Where: Kings Court

Must-try dish: For me, it really doesn’t get any better than the beetroot & kale pizza – the garlic ‘cheese’ swirled on top is super creamy and the sun-blushed tomatoes, dill, capers and red onion pack a punch.

These are just a few of the cafes and bars in Glasgow offering awesome vegan options – though I must admit that they are my current favourites! Whether you’re trying Veganuary on for size or if you just love good food, I’m sure that you’ll enjoy them.

What are some of your favourite meat-free meals? Are you trying anything new this January?

Here’s to new challenges and ALWAYS leaving room for dessert…

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(Both photos from my Instagram page)