How I’m Still ‘Travel Blogging’ From Home

TRAVEL, UK Places

Travel blogging from home, what does that look like, what does it mean? Well, it means that I’m making all the plans and locating all of the best spots and it looks like me but sat down at my kitchen table (probably my new favourite spot) rather than be out and in it. Don’t get me wrong being out and immersed in it is my preference but in these times and with the current worldwide situation that is just not possible.

With this in mind I have created a list of places I would love to visit and a detailed plan of what I would do whilst I am there, you know, if I can go in the future. I will be posting one of these per day alongside any usual content that I’ve planned.

Walks in Derbyshire
Millers Dale and Chee Dale walk in Derbyshire

There is also a lot of content from trips and experiences that I have never written about. Memories in my head and photos stored away. They can all come out and be shown the light of day if there is a nationwide lockdown.

As well as planning to the nth degree I will also be taking the pooch out when and where possible whilst always keeping that social and safe distance and getting in the garden as much as possible. And you never know there is always a little lifestyle blogging that I could do.

If you want to catch up on some Days Out or Short Breaks, feel free.

So that’s it. The ways I am planning on still being a travel blogger and not actually doing the travelling part. More the travelled or wishful traveller.

Until next time,

L x

Disney Holiday Planning

Dreaming of a Disney Holiday

Disney Diary, TRAVEL

So there it is. The Disney parks have been closed for now in the interest of the nation’s health and holidays have been cancelled here, there and everywhere. We haven’t had a definitive cancellation from our holiday company yet but we won’t be surprised when it comes and at least we will know for sure and be able to take the next steps. This also doesn’t mean that we are never going to go. Whether we are offered a refund or rebook we will be heading to Walt Disney World at some point in the future and that’s why I am not going to stop planning, researching and dreaming of Disney.

From restaurants to rides and everything inbetween I want a mix of planned time and free time to roam the parks or do something we previously enjoyed. There are plenty of rides that we have been told we must go on. To name but a few they are:

  • Flights of Passage
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Space Mountain
  • Tower of Terror – (been on the Paris one which is apparently scarier?)
  • Expedition Everest
  • Test Track
  • Buzz Lightyear (this is a Paris fave so cant wait to see the difference/similarities)
  • and finally Splash Mountain

I know there are so many more but these are the ones that keep popping up. Is there any rides that you would add that we just can’t miss?

Disney holiday ride planning, Chip mug

We will be staying off park when we go and so will be booking our Fastpasses in the month before we travel. With this in mind we will have to hope that the rides we really want to go on either have Fastpass availability or have super short queues when we’re there.

As well as rides I can say that I am very excited to visit the restaurants. The sheer volume of snacks on offer amazes me and I think that Disney ‘snack’ sizes will pretty much be my lunch! There will be a Disney ‘Food I Can’t Wait to Taste’ up soon.

If you want to chat about all things Disney, come and say hello over on Instagram @lorenjessica_

Until then,

L x

Chocolate Labrador Dog Friendly Bookstore

The Dog Friendly Bookshop

Books, TRAVEL, UK Places

This post contains affiliate links.

There is no doubt that I love going into a bookshop. Always have, always will. I’ve enjoyed reading since I can remember and wrote stories and started this blog because I liked to write. In a way it’s therapeutic, in another I like sharing stories and information. In a bookshop you can find every genre you could want from that classic non-fiction, a sports player’s autobiography or even a mini book of quotes to keep you going through those motivation dry spells.

It was in The Cotswolds when I realised Waterstones was a dog friendly shop. I was on my own walking Mia around town and thought I’d nip in to see if they had a certain book I had been looking for. I checked the sign on the door and found that they did in fact allow dogs. This is great news to me as I wouldn’t, couldn’t leave her tied up outside of a shop. It’s sheer luck I’ve never needed the loo whilst out and about because I don’t know what I’d do.

Now Mia is a medium sized dog, being a Labrador and all, and she has a thick saggy tail and she’s not the most graceful of dogs 99% of the time. That tail of hers gets about and those tables in Waterstones can be a little awkward to walk around with a chocolate chunk sometimes but for the most part of we keep her close she’s as good as gold.

Jojo Moyes After You and Coffee
After You by Jojo Moyes

I managed to successfully (and without too many dog related issues) purchase a book, After You by Jojo Moyes to be exact, find a dog friendly pub and sit reading with a cuppa. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon. I also finished the book and you can read my thoughts here.

It was a few months later in Chesterfield that I realised, on wanting to head into Waterstones, that this one was also dog friendly and that maybe, just maybe, they all are. Hubs was fully prepared to wait outside until I spotted the sign of confirmation and we headed in, he could have been waiting aaages for me to look round so it’s really helpful.

Bookstore cafe
Peppermint tea and a Halloween cookie in Bath

I now find a Waterstones everywhere I go. There was one in Rye when I visited recently, one in Bath which even had a cafe and one on multiple floors in Nottingham. I used to avoid them as I thought they were expensive however now I’d choose this over other high street bookshops. Even though it is a chain each branch is slightly different. I love their handwritten notes, the fact some have cafes (I’d live there), their dog friendly vibe and of course the ease of finding that book I want, or sometimes didn’t know I wanted.

Have you been happy to find out somewhere is dog friendly? Did it make you go more often?

Until next time,

L x

Mia wears the Julius-K9 Camo Harness in Size 1.

Cobbled street in Rye

Two hours in Rye

TRAVEL, UK Places

I recently got to visit the town of Rye, just for a couple of hours and as much as they flew by and went very quick I also feel like I managed to see a lot in the small amount of time.

Starting on the road below the church I hopped out of the taxi, walked straight up and inside. It was at the top of a small street surrounded by Tudor style buildings, boutiques and restaurants. It had started to rain so I didn’t hang around. In the church it was classically designed with stained glass windows, pews down one end and a tower that you could go up. It wasn’t open on the day I visited due to the recent storms but on a clear day it must be great to get a full view of the town.

Rye Street and St. Mary's Church
St. Mary's Church, Rye

On exiting St. Mary’s church you come face to face with a charming gift shop named Forget Me Not. This was one of my favourite shops whilst in Rye as it had any gift for any family or friend, the lady working there was also a gem; helpful, friendly and happy to show you their products. I made a small purchase whilst I was there and will definitely go again on another trip.

I already knew where I was going to have a cup of tea when I got to Rye and this was The Cobbles tea rooms. I had been before with my husband and couldn’t wait to head in to the cosy cottage style building. I ordered an earl grey tea to have with a scone which came warm and delicious and included jam and cream, the only way to have a scone wherever you are in the country.

The Cobbles Tea Room, Rye
Scone and Tea at The Cobbles, Rye

After a warm and a dry I went for a wander around practically every gift shop in the town. I checked out the bookshop which I am pretty sure is a disguised Waterstones (and therefore my favourite bookstore) and simply carried on walking around taking photos for another 20 minutes waiting for my taxi to return.

It was in this time that I walked back up near the church and saw the castle complete with cannons and turrets looking down along the back of Rye. There was a chocolate box row of houses lining the cobbled streets and filled with character.

Castle, Rye

I will definitely go back to Rye at some point in the future and for a little longer next time. I will fit in a trip up the church tower, a visit to Petit Cafe who I saw on Instagram and a proper look round the castle.

You can also check out my first visit to Rye and see The Cobbles Team Room in a little more sun. Where would you love to go in the UK?

Until next time,

L x

Minnie Mouse inspired ears from Ears by Jade

Planning Our Florida Trip

Disney Diary, TRAVEL

This post contains affiliate links.

It’s no secret that I am super excited to be heading to Florida this Spring. It was my Christmas present from my husband last year who booked us flights, hotel and our Disney tickets. He packaged the booking confirmation up surrounded by Disney pj’s, mouse ears and in a Disney holdall, it was perfect and I thought they were my presents to begin with but nope, a holiday to boot.

Disney Epcot inspired mouse ears from Ears by Jade
Mouse Ears by Ears by Jade

There were a few things I needed to book when it was passed to me but the majority had been arranged and I was happy with that (I’m not the worlds best holiday planner!)

One thing left to organise being our tickets to Universal. I couldn’t go to Florida and be in Orlando without visiting Universal and the Harry Potter attractions. I visited the Harry Potter studios in London a few years ago (before all of the updates and more) and enjoyed that so I am very excited to see a whole replica of magic. Now I just have to catch my husband up on all of the films, it’ll only take a few *days* surely.

Of course being the money saving, budget analysing person that I am I had to do my research before jumping into a sale. I had heard of Attraction Tickets just before Christmas and thankfully had only heard good things. They can provide tickets to the major theme parks including Disney, Universal and even the Kennedy Space Center which is where we are also hoping to visit. After a bit of searching online Attraction Tickets were also the best value for money for the whole two weeks. At the time of publishing the tickets priced at £278 per person, the deal being that adult tickets cost the same as a child ticket. This also included the three Universal parks which is great because my husband is very excited about the water parks whilst we are away. I keep telling myself that the water slides won’t be as scary as rollercoasters but we will find out when we get there I guess!

The other things that we have left to book are our ride fast passes and restaurant reservations so if you’ve got any recommendations of places we must go let us know and I will add it to my Disney checklist.

Until next time,

L x

Chocolate labrador dog in the Lake District

Camping With Dogs

TRAVEL, UK Places

This post contains affiliate links.

Last Autumn we went on a group holiday with two friends and their adorable cockapoo. We planned on keeping our trip to the Lake District fairly cheap and decided to camp or ‘glamp’ in yurts for the week.

Camping with a pooch isn’t all new to me. We used to take our family German Shepherd camping for the weekend but I can’t say I was a responsible adult at the time (still not sure, jokes) and don’t remember the whole ‘letting out’, ‘stopping barking’, ‘escaping under the door’ details.

Tents are a little odd sometimes. You’re basically in an open field miles from nowhere without a lock on your front door. You wouldn’t do it on your house so I have no idea why we do it or not on our tents. Apparently we’re more trustworthy in the wild. This also proves problematic when you add a dog to the mix as most tents zip to the floor and a dog can figure out once the nose is under the canvas it can probably wiggle right out. Locks can be added if there are two zips on the door, just make sure you know the code/have the keys when you do that first unzip and run to the loos first thing in the morning.

We are lucky Mia either doesn’t know how to escape or that she doesn’t want to but I’ve seen other dogs behave differently. A friends’ dog we went camping with wanted to be with mum and he would go through the tent door at any time she was away, the lock on the door was a rope that you slipped over a wooden ground peg.

Chocolate labrador in the great outdoors

Although not a runner Mia does tend to get up on her high horse about every noise outside. Whether it’s as simple as a look up towards the noise or a bark to let any dangerous intruder/random normal passer-by know we are in there she is all about the alertness. It’s great for us and we know our backs are covered but it can get a little noisy first thing. With Mia in this situation reassurance is key.

I’ll be doing some more on dog holidays soon but if you’re yet to catch up see my dog packing blog post or for something a little more glam than camping try a Weekend in the Cotswolds.

Until next time,

L x

View from Bagno Vignoni

Italian Travel Diaries – Bagno Vignoni

Italian Travel Diaries, TRAVEL

As you may have read in other posts I love visiting Italy. Myself and my husband have been to a few places as a couple and will keep going for as long as we can. There is always a new place for us to explore, different places to eat and for me plenty of photos to take. Amongst our favourite places Bagno Vignoni is towards the top of the list. This has become one of my favourite places as the whole area was incredibly tranquil. From the car park walking down we were immediately immersed and feel surrounded by nature. Even though on our second visit two years later we saw the building works that were going on it didn’t impact our surroundings.

In the middle of Bagno Vignoni sits the previously used natural spa baths it was restaurants, shops, a hotel and a modern spa. A short walk outside of the square showed the history of the mills, the waterways and how they were used to sustain the town years before. On our honeymoon we stopped for a coffee on our first visit and a light lunch on our second as I wanted to return before we left. Our second trip to Italy a few years later we visited again. It looked like they were putting more money into the area, adding another building and this time, looking down from the old waterways, people were below in the water themselves. The shops around the bath sold handmade pieces, decorations and homewares from the local areas and it was good to see that they had kept it authentic and true to style.

Bagno Vignoni Land

Next time we visit Tuscany I have no doubt we would go to the baths again, maybe even taking a dip ourselves. I would also like to plan ahead during another trip and try their spa facilities as well as hopefully be able to treat both of us to a massage. I love going to a spa so doing so in such a stunning place would be a great experience.

If you haven’t had enough of Italy try my Montalcino Travel Diaries or read about our trip to Venice. .

Until next time,

L x

Having a farm shop picnic in Montepulciano

Italian Travel Diaries – Montepulciano

Italian Travel Diaries, TRAVEL

Having been to Tuscany twice now, once on our honeymoon and once with family, we have managed to visit Montepulciano multiple times. One our first visit we went back two or three times before we even realised that there was a whole other part of town we hadn’t yet explored. During our second holiday to the area we were slightly more seasoned and were ready with more of what we wanted to see and where we wanted to go.

One of our favourite spots in Montepulciano is the balcony of Caffe Poliziano. Walking through the cafe restaurant you can sit at the back looking over the fields enjoying a drink and some dessert treats. They have a large glass cabinet of mini desserts and patisserie treats that at the time cost between 1 – 4 euro each. It is a relaxing spot with a luxury feel and we will no doubt be going on our trip to the town.

Sat on the balcony outside Caffe Poliziano in Montepulciano

My next spot again includes food funnily enough. This time in the form of a picnic. Hiring a car on our honeymoon meant we were able to go just outside of Montepulciano to a farm shop where you could pick a basket of meats, cheese, bread and wine and sit outside. This is up there as one of my favourite experiences from our honeymoon as it was just relaxed, easy and had beautiful views.

Another experience we got to do on our second visit to Tuscany was wine tasting. Down in the cellars at Cantina Fattoria della Talosa we got to see the barrels of wine and hear what made each wine different to the next. We also got to hear about the history of the site which was said to be the oldest in the area to include a visit to the caves and of course taste the local wine and eat the meats and cheeses alongside it. It was here I decided to bring a bottle home for my parents as a ‘thanks for looking after the dog’ gift.

Anytime we go to Tuscany now we will always visit Montepulciano and my husband says the town is one of his favourites, as with most places in Italy the food anywhere we go is amazing and here is no different. Pizza, pasta, bread and wine is all I ask for in any restaurant so I’m always happy in Italy.

If you havent already check out my other Italian Travel Diaries posts and see more of Montalcino and Venice.

Until next time,

L x

Mia in her dog friendly holiday accommodation

How We Choose A Dog Friendly Stay

TRAVEL, UK Places

I am starting to strongly believe that there are millions of hotels, b&b’s, youth hostels and airbnb’s in the UK alone, no, billions even. So how do you pick where to stay? What to see? Add on to that taking a dog and well it’s another ball game altogether. That is why I decided to put together a little something about how we choose a dog friendly stay.

Choosing where to go.

We have a couple and their cockapoo pooch who we love to go on dog holidays with. Going with another dog-friendly couple for me makes the holiday a little bit easier for a couple of reasons. One of these being we’re not stopping anyone from doing anything. I would hate to be that person that had to say we couldn’t do a certain thing or go to a certain place because we have a dog and dogs aren’t allowed in. Don’t get me wrong if we chose to go on holiday with someone we would kind of expect them to understand but I may still feel like that sometimes. Another reason being they ‘get it’. If your dog starts sniffing the lamppost and the whole group comes to a halt or you have to constantly pull your dog back because ‘no, not everyone who walks in the pub wants to stroke you’.

When we choose where to stay we do tend to look for places known for their dog friendly areas that include lots of walking but somewhere with a town because the four of us are not really into cooking. The areas we have either been or have looked into are The Cotswolds, Lake District and Cornwall and for the next holidays we are likely going to stay in Scotland and see what further North has to offer.

Choosing where to stay.

As two couples we have previously stayed in tents, yurts and hotels. I must say now I think the future will include more hotels, bed and breakfast accommodation and/or holiday cottages as we have decided we thoroughly enjoy those extra comforts. Booking these we either look on sites such as Petpyjamas, HolidayCottages or Airbnb/Booking.com and select the pets allowed option. We have to be aware and read the small print on if the accommodation charge extra for dogs staying in the room. I have seen places charge anything from £10-£30 for a dog staying which I can only guess goes to room cleaning, what I don’t quite understand is the room should be cleaned properly anyway but that’s a question for another day. Some places offer dog friendly rooms for no extra charge and we’ve recently booked through PetsPyjamas as they ensure dogs go free.

Mia the chocolate labrador in the Cotswolds

Choosing what to do.

We always check the local area for nearby walks or places we can park the car and jump out and explore. The best place we have found doing this and going for a super long dog walk is probably the Lake District but there are plenty of walks in other places we go too. After walks we need to make sure the places we want to eat are also dog friendly. Sometimes we’ll have a walk around town and just check signs in pub windows to see if they allow dogs and other times if we are travelling into somewhere I’ll do a bit of an online search to make sure we’re not going to go hungry whilst visiting a local town. During our last dog friendly holiday they were allowed in the bar area and not the restaurant. This was fine by us as we could still bring the pooches and the bar area was cosy with the hotel team giving the dogs a fuss whenever they passed. As breakfast was served in the restaurant we couldn’t take the dogs with us but as this is a quicker affair (so we can head out for the day) we either put the dogs in the car or left them in the room. Another bed and breakfast we have stayed at dogs were not allowed to stay in the room alone. This meant one morning we bought Mia down for breakfast, no one else was in the b&b, and the second morning (due to her not settling with people coming in and out and she’s a greedy chocolate labrador) we popped her in the car where she is more than comfortable.

If you haven’t already check out my posts on dog friendly stays that we have been on or my thoughts on finding dog friendly accommodation. Our previous trips include stays in the Lake District and the Cotswolds which have all been great so now excuse me but I’m off to plan our next holiday!

Until next time,

L x

Montalcino

My Top 3 Tuscan Trips

Italian Travel Diaries, TRAVEL

Ahh Tuscany, take me back there. After much deliberation we chose Tuscany for our honeymoon and were able to return since that visit almost three years ago. As we have hired a car on each of our trips we were in a great position to do a little touring and see some local (and not so local) sights. I thought I would put together three of my favourite destinations in Tuscany to go alongside my Italian Travel Diaries so here they are.

1. Bagno Vignoni. A beautiful area containing thermal baths, history and how the baths were used back in their day and restaurants and shops to go with it. The place is full of natural beauty and we’ve visited on three separate occasions now as the setting is so tranquil I know no place like it in the UK. To see more visit my post from our Tuscan trip.

Views at Bagno Vignoni

2. Montalcino. This was one of the quieter towns we visited whilst staying in Tuscany and that might just add to why it has made the list. Offering the same in quality of food and attractions as some of the other towns but being less busy leads me to want to visit again. On our last trip with family we went here a few times for different meals and I would love to explore more of the area in the future. Visiting the stunning restaurant Franci and getting a view of the castle is something I hope to remember. I have added Montalcino to one of my favourite places in Italy for its serenity and the fact that it had a less ‘touristy’ vibe.

Montalcino castle

3. Florence. Ok so we’ve gone from two of the quieter destinations to probably the busiest. We spent two nights in Florence when we visited and it is one of my favourite cities, and I’m not a city girl at all. The architecture is something else and sitting on the open rooftop bars looking over to everything is an experience I want to do in every place I go to. Being a city it had everything you could have wanted in terms of gorgeous places to eat, retail therapy and spots to simply take in the atmosphere and to me it never felt over busy. We went in the peak of summertime (it was boiling) and there was still space to walk a round freely.

Do you have a favourite city or town in Italy?

Until next time,

L x