Dubrovnik 2

We’ve finally made it to the end of my tour of Croatia, only five months after I arrived home! This third post is about the last stop we made at Dubrovnik – the ancient walled city filled with beaches, history and amazing sunsets. It definitely is the perfect place to end up and 100% worth seeing at some point, mainly because it’s just completely unique.

Where we stayed…

We stayed in Villa Glavic Dubrovnik and I have to admit it was my least favourite of the places we stayed in Croatia. It’s a cheaper add-on to Grand Villa Argentina, but you can still use all the communal areas of that hotel. And the communal areas are the biggest perk – the pool in particular which has the most extraordinary views. It was freezing but laying there with the sea spread out in front of you and the old city of Dubrovnik to the right was just perfect. The rooms, however, not so much. We ended up asking to move because we were given the worst dank and dark corner room with no natural light and plenty of mould. They were nice about it though, they moved us to the room opposite which was much brighter and bigger – so the staff were definitely a positive of the place.

What we ate…

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The food was very up and down in Dubrovnik. Some places were brilliant for veggies and we ended up visiting a few times, and some places not so good. Considering there were so many restaurants in the city, I guess I was a little disappointed.

A few highlights were Mex Cantina Bona Fide (which served Mexican and Italian – I tried both and they were great), Nishta (amazing for veggies and you get a Smiley Bean to keep with your bill – so cute), and Pizza Olivia (great pizza). Anywhere that provided blankets for the chilly autumnal evenings got a tick in my book – and all of these places did.

What we did…

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We’d packed the holiday full so far so when we got to Dubrovnik we gave ourselves a bit of down time. Leaving beautiful Hvar early in the morning, once we finally disembarked in Dubrovnik all we wanted to do was head straight to the pool and make the most of the sun. That’s exactly what we did. Continuing our chilled out vibe, the next day we headed to Sveti Jakov beach and spent the whole day there. It was probably one of my favourite days, the beach was just gorgeous with white sand and turquoise blue waters and so quiet. With the view of the city on the horizon, it was probably one of the best beaches I’ve ever visited and we spent the day dipping in and out of the water.

The next day was cloudy as we expected so it was time to explore the city. First up we walked the city walls – the views were amazing and I really felt like a Game of Thrones extra. Definitely something I would recommend, you see the whole city and the sea laying out before you and it’s something to do come rain or shine. The rain came down heavily towards the end of the walk so we found a cafe that served a cheese platter to cuddle up in. We spent the evening exploring the many nooks and crannies of the Old Town – the thing with Dubrovnik is it’s just worth walking around and taking it all in, it’s nothing like anywhere else I’ve ever been.

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The final day we took a boat over to the island of Lokrum. I swam in a lake, admired a peacock eating a bread roll, hiked up to the castle and visited the cactus garden. When we got back to the mainland, we ran through the streets to make the sunset view at the Buza Bar. After clambering across some rocks, we finished the holiday clinking drinks and watching the sun sink beneath the ocean. Perfection!

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I haven’t done a little list post in a while so I thought today I would put together a rundown of all the tiny things I do to make myself feel better. Because sometimes you might only have two minutes to get back on track and not have time for a full bath/pamper routine. I don’t know if it’s the weather but Feb seems to have been full of those crappy days, we all have them and they’re never any fun. So when you’re right in the middle of it, here’s some little two minute things to pick you up and get you back on the right track. At least until you have time to do that bath/bottle/bed routine that I’m so fond of…

  1. Have a cup of tea: Tea solves everything, I promise. And there are very few places you could be in the UK where you couldn’t get a decent one.
  2. Do a 5 minute yoga/pilates video: OK so this isn’t going to work in the office, but if you’re at home, search YouTube for a 5 minute yoga or pilates or even just stretching routine. You’ll instantly feel more at peace.
  3. Take a shower: Again only if you’re at home or if your office is swanky and has showers. A shower only takes 2 mins if you want it to and no matter what is on my mind I always come out feeling better.
  4. Write everything down: This one really works for me. Scribble everything that’s making you feel crap on a piece of paper, then screw it up and throw it in the bin. Out of sight, out of mind.
  5. Have a fruit salad: I debated writing down ‘eat a pastry’, and I’m not going to lie that also works sometimes. But I love the sweet hit of a fruit salad – blueberries, raspberries and grapes are my fave, and you don’t have the guilt afterwards. You can feel good for smashing that 5 a day target.
  6. Make an exciting diary plan: Whatsapp a friend or just schedule in a country walk for the weekend. It’ll give you something to immediately look forward to and help you realise this bad day won’t last forever.
  7. Buy chocolate: OK so this goes against the fruit salad one, but sometimes only chocolate will do. Eat it now, or tuck it in your bag ready for later. It will give you that quick endorphin boost.
  8. Listen to the sea/calming music: One I’ve become more of a fan of recently, plug yourself in and get yourself away from the world with some calming music. I like searching eight hour sea tracks on Youtube but you might be more of a fan of jungle or rain noises. Whatever floats your boat.
  9. A face mask: If you’re at home, put on a face mask. It takes five minutes and your skin and brain will feel better for it.
  10. 3 minute meditation: Another new one for me but you can do three minute meditation anywhere at anytime and it clears your mind so quickly. If you’re at work, go to the toilet. Close your eyes, let your mind run through your thoughts, feelings, sensations and impulses, then redirect your attention to your breath and follow your breathing in and out for at least a minute. Once you’ve done that widen your awareness to take in how your body feels – scan through your feet touching the floor, your chest rising up and down, the feelings in your face. Then bring yourself back to the room, get up and get on with your day.
  11. Go for a walk: Get outside and go for a quick 5 minute walk in the fresh air. Try and take in everything around you – notice the sights and the smells.
  12. Down a glass of water: Not sure if this is just me but I honestly feel better if I quickly down a 200ml glass of water. Maybe it’s because I’m trying to up my water intake, but also it’s that quick break and refresh for your body. Give it a go.

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As I mentioned in my NY resolutions catch up, Feb was not my favourite month. Little things seemed to go wrong, big things got me down and I just was not feeling the cold and dark. I left it till right until the very end of the month to make exciting plans and that is always a mistake. But there have definitely been little happy moments so here are a few…

1.My new baby cousin

A new baby cousin of mine was born this February and she is the cutest little thing ever. I just love spending time with her whole family for cuddles and that new baby smell. Perfection.

2. My new Topshop Leigh jeans

I’ve already got a few pairs of these and they are just my favourite jeans in the world, they fit so well and they’re so comfy too. This time I invested in some mid-blue jeans as I tend to stick to black and that can get so boring. These teamed with my cashmere M&S jumper equals Sunday outfit dreams.

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3. Throwing an afternoon tea

Randomly last Saturday I decided to throw an impromptu afternoon tea for some of my favourite people and it was surprisingly easy. We popped to Tesco, baked scones and teamed them with bacon and egg mayo mini sandwiches, jam, cream and a selection of mini cakes. It didn’t cost too much and lifted everyone’s spirits. I’m going to do it more often.

4. Wine

Since I went wine tasting, I’ve been slowly experimenting a little more with wine. I still don’t love it but I can definitely tolerate it a lot better now and I have learnt you do have to go for the slightly more expensive one if you want to enjoy it. Hopefully my journey to liking wine is on its way.

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5. Heart shaped puddles

Bit of a weird one, but I just love this pic I took on a winter walk a few weekends ago. Little things like natural heart shaped puddles are so good for lifting up my spirits. 

6. Dressing up

I feel like I left my dressing up days behind me back at University all those years ago. But right at the beginning of Feb I went to a 1920s themed night for my best friend’s birthday and I had the best time. It was so fun raiding the fancy dress shop and you felt swept away by the night when in the venue with all the other dressed up people.

7. My Davina McCall DVD

I mentioned this in my NY resolutions catch up, for two weeks now I’ve done a session every single day and I am beginning to notice a difference to my fitness. I like this DVD because it’s so easy to fit into your routine, everyone has a spare 15 minutes every day so I feel like I can’t make excuses. And it’s a good all round one with a bit of everything from Hiit to Abs and Legs.

8. Going out for dinner

I’ve been out for dinner SO many times this month and yes, it’s bad for the bank balance and the waist line, but I can’t lie I’ve loved it. I’ve been to Carluccio’s, Nando’s twice (I know, so naughty!), Pizza Express, Rabot 1745, various pubs, all sorts of places. But it has been the perfect way to catch up with lots of my favourite people.

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I really enjoyed writing this post last month, reminding myself of all my resolutions and evaluating where I’d got to with each of them. This month I don’t feel like I’ve achieved quite so much so it might not be as fun and rewarding. But then again, it might give me that little kick up the backside that I need. Let’s find out…

Exercise – I’m not exactly following the plan I set out for exercise but I am proud of myself because I’ve come up with a routine which (touch wood) I seem to be sticking to. I’m following my Davina McCall DVD and doing one session every day, so about 15 minutes of intense exercise a day. I’m hoping this will get my fitness up ready to join those yoga and dancing classes I planned to join. I’ve also been going along to all my pilates classes and loving them as usual.

Mindfulness – I’ve been progressing nicely through my mindfulness course, keeping to a class every Sunday and practice nearly everyday this month. I’m now able to do short bursts of meditation without guidance and feel, although I’ve got a long way to go, I’m getting really into it. Only three weeks to go so the real test will be how well I keep it up once I’ve finished the course.

Self-care – I’ve done a little better this month, mainly because I’ve really got into reading (I’m LOVING Big Little Lies) and for me that’s proper me-time. But still I really want to do more and I am finding it hard, whilst keeping up with all the other resolutions too. It needs to be scheduled in and that’s a task for March. I’ve also done lots of sneaky online shopping in Feb, does that count as self-care?!

Getting my business going – I’ve done nothing on this this month and I do feel guilty about it. I want to get it on track for March though, this is hopefully going to be a focus.

Novel – Eek, why do these two have to sit next to each other. Still on the to do list, still getting ignored. It’s going to happen this year, I promise…

Water – I’m still using my app and have tracked my water intake every single day since January 1st. Now I’m exercising a lot I’m hitting the 2 litre mark much more often and I’m really proud of that. I still haven’t really noticed the benefits though, I hope they come soon!

Blog – Not such a good month on the blog front, I’ve had quite a few down days and I just don’t feel like blogging when that happens. Last week in particular was rubbish so I didn’t blog at all and I do feel bad every time I have a full week’s break. I’m not going to let it get me down though, I’ve just got to keep ploughing on. I’ve got lots of ideas for March and I really, really want to just bite the bullet with Instagram, come on Kerrina!

Travel – Things are really starting to materialise but unfortunately Feb wasn’t the month of booking that I hoped it would be. I think March will be that month and I have one long weekend away definitely planned for March which is exciting, just not quite sure where it will be to yet!

Volunteering/charity – I haven’t done anything about this yet but I have come up with a plan – for lent I’ve seen an idea where you give something up every day for the 40 days and fill up a Salvation Army bag with it. Then you have 40 items to donate at the end. I think this would be a really nice thing to do and a good start on this resolution. 

Food – Not so good as Jan, I’ve not put aside so much time to preparing food and have been snacking on naughty bits lots and eating out loads. This month I want to get back to my three healthy meals a day and find some healthy snacks to replace the bad things with. Can’t be that hard, can it?

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I’ve never been the biggest fan of wine. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be accepted as a twenty something. It’s been a drink I’ve tried to like my entire life (well perhaps since I was 16) and I’ve wanted to like it more and more as I’ve got older. If you go out for a business meeting, it’s not really socially acceptable to order a gin and tonic with dinner and I’ve always longed to like the thought of having a cold glass of wine waiting at home for me after a stressful Friday. Don’t get me wrong I’ve drunk wine, plenty of it. It’s often the cheapest thing on the menu so of course I have. But I’ve never liked it, I’d always rather a vodka lemonade and that makes me just sound like I’m still 18.

So recently my boyfriend has been on a mission to get me to like wine. He says he managed to make himself like beer at around 15 so figured he can do the same for me with wine. And his main argument is that I’ve only ever drunk cheap wine – always house white or ‘what’s cheapest on your menu?’ He tells me that’s what’s put me off the drink. So this Valentine’s Day, keen to avoid all the crazy couples and heart shaped balloons, we skipped the typical romantic evening out and headed instead to a wine shop. 

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Bottle Apostle is a chain across London and we went to the one in Clapham South. At first glance it’s just a wine shop selling a hell of a lot of wine. It was empty when we first arrived, but single men kept popping in to pick up their last minute offering for Valentine’s Day. Bottle Apostle isn’t just a wine shop though, it also has its own wine tasting machines – a bit like very special vending machines. You pre-load one of their cards with some cash and get tasting – we went for £15 and tried 8 different wines between us. It’s really easy, you just take your card over to the white or red wine machine, select your wine from a little description card and how much you want to try of it and then press a button and fill a glass. It was honestly so much fun – we tried red wines ‘not for the faint hearted’, Austrian white wine that was ‘light and tasted of oranges’, a sweet dessert wine, all sorts. And we gave it the whole smell, swill, spit treatment too! The shop attendant was so knowledgeable and wasn’t even too offended when I told him I didn’t like wine.

I’m not going to lie, the experience hasn’t made me love wine. I enjoyed some more than others and can definitely taste the difference now so would stop and read the descriptions before just ordering house white in future. But we had so much fun, it was worth it. Just the two of us using the machine and trying all sorts of different wines. We even walked away a bit tipsy – and all for £15. Bargain!