Travel: 5 days in Malta

Last month, I travelled to Malta for a short holiday. I went mainly to support my sister who was playing in the Women’s World Snooker Championships, but I’m also not one to pass up the opportunity to see somewhere new.

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As part of my ‘wedding bucket list’, I’ve always wanted to shoot a beach wedding so I decided I would also plan a styled shoot while there. I’ll writing a seperate blog on that, so keep your eyes peeled. Amongst all of that snooker watching and having wedding cakes/flowers etc arrive at my hotel, I’m glad to say we did manage to explore Malta 🙂

Loving a good road trip, we hired a car – always my favourite way to explore somewhere!

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On our first day, we headed to the north of the island and found a gorgeous secret bay, off a back road somewhere. This was probably my highlight of the holiday – the place was so secluded and peaceful. While there, we drove round another back road and came out in Imgiebah Bay, where we met a retired man walking. He was telling us he spent every winter in Malta, walking most days around the coast of the island. Sounds like my retirement dream! This coast line was so incredible, I can definitely recommend making time to walk there.

The west of the Island

Another day, we headed more to the West of the island. On our way to Dingly Cliffs, we stopped at Mdina, the ‘silent city’. We had a quick walk around the fortified town, exploring the narrow lanes within the city wall. It was seriously beautiful – very quaint, with gorgeous architecture and plenty of interesting nooks and crannies to find.

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Carrying on past Mdina, our sat nav sent us on what seemed the most random route – the track took us between farm fields, and then into narrow lanes which we barely fitted through (despite only being in a small car). Great fun though, and we eventually reached Dingly Cliffs. This side of the island is stunning – very dramatic coastline, and you can see for miles out to sea!

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We took the coast road further south and found the Blue Grotto, a natural cave formation in the cliffs. We stopped off at the small seaside resort next to it, Il-Qrendi, and had a stunning outdoor lunch by the sea. It couldn’t have been more perfect, as it was also the hottest day on the island since we’d been there.

Valletta

One evening, we drove into Valletta, the culture capital of Europe for 2018. We needed to cheer up my sister who had been knocked out the snooker, so stopped for cocktails at the Hard Rock Cafe in the harbour, before wandering up to the old town for sunset. And what a sunset we had! The skyline was absolutely stunning and I really enjoyed walking through the old streets as it got dark. We dined al fresco in a lovely square covered in fairylights, before heading back to the hotel. It’s a truly stunning city.

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Gozo

On our final day in Malta, we decided to catch the ferry to Gozo, having had recommendations we should see The Azure Window, a natural door formation which recently collapsed into the sea. It was such a windy day we thought we were going to get blown over the edge when looking into the Blue Hole, a natural swimming pool in the rocks next to the collapsed window. I can imagine what a gorgeous spot it must be for a swim in the summer.

As it was the final of the snooker that day, we decided we would squeeze in one more bit of sightseeing before rushing back to the hotel to watch it. We drove north to the Wied Il-Mielah, another natural door forming in the cliffs of Gozo. It was a lovely spot to see, although I stumbled up the steps and dented my wide lens… massive fail.

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Before heading back to the airport for our flight home, we were meant to visit the small fishing town of Marsaxlokk, but thanks to it being the closing ceremony of the snooker, and St Patrick’s Day the evening before, our heads were a bit sore! Cue napping before a slow journey to the airport. However, there is always next time! Would love to go back to Malta in the summer and make the most of the coast and secluded bays 🙂

Caroline x

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What I loved this month: March 2018

 

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I have been a little quiet on the blogging side this month as this was my month of three styled shoots, so a little bit busy! Because of unexpected snow, it ended up being the month of two styled shoots, which was truly gutting. Still, two is better than none! So that leads me on to..

  1. My first destination styled shoot

I am so proud that I organised and photographed my first destination shoot, which took place in Malta. I couldn’t have done it without Planned by Tara, who managed to find suppliers and co-ordinate everyone – I never realised planning something abroad would be so difficult. We ended up with a fab group of suppliers and I ended myself so much on the day! This is just a small preview – I’ll write a separate blog post on the shoot where I will share all the details and full list of suppliers 🙂

 

2. My cacti inspired shoot

I have always loved cacti and succulents – my house is filled with them. They inspired me so much, I planned a shoot around them. Again, I’ll do a separate blog on this shoot, but heres a little preview.

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3. Malta

This month, I went to Malta for a short holiday with my sister as she was playing in the female World Snooker Championships over there. Around the snooker (and my shoot), we got to explore the island and I loved it! We hired a car as we love to get off the beaten track, and spent days driving around the coast finding hidden bays, little nooks and crannys, and generally admiring the natural beauty.

4. Day trip to the West

Last week, I had a shoot in Bristol, and while I was over that way, decided I should at least make the most of it and explore the Cotswolds a bit/see my family who live in nearby Cheltenham. I took the scenic route from Bristol and stopped off in gorgeous Painswick. The sun was starting to go down, but I fitted in a short stroll around the village – it was so beautiful and quaint.

5. Moo Free Easter Eggs 

I was a bit dubious about vegan chocolate when I first made the switch, but over the past few months I have found some super tasty alternatives. Wanting to spoil myself with an Easter egg, this week I bought Moo Free’s egg with Choccy Drops. It is delicious (I’ve actually been nibbling away on it while I write this). I am definitely going to stock up before they vanish from the shops (although a bit of a treat at £3.50 per egg).

I hope you all have a fantastic Easter! I am taking some time out, and going to Scotland with my other half, where we will be driving the North Coast 500. So excited to get out into insane scenery and explore the upper most parts of the UK! Follow me on Instagram for inevitable travel posts while I’m here 😉

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What have you been enjoying in March?

On a side note, I also took my first booking for 2019 this month. If you are getting married next year, get in touch to save your date!

Caroline x

 

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What I loved this month: February 2018

Another month passed! We made it through what is my least favourite month of the year. I mainly got through by throwing myself into working on exciting projects, of which you will probably get to see around the start of April. Bohemian or adventurous couples keep your eyes peeled – these will most definitely be for you!

I feel like I haven’t done that much this month aside from working. However, some how, alongside planning projects and booking in engagement shoots for the upcoming season I have managed to do some other stuff, so this month I have been loving:

  1. Brian Fallon – Sleepwalkers

Anyone who follows my Instastories may have seen me raving about this album over the past few weeks. Brian Fallon is the lead singer of The Gaslight Anthem – a band who I discovered when they released the ’45’ Single. That same weekend I then went down to HMV and bought their whole back catalogue based on that song. Since then, Brain Fallon has released 2 solo albums filled with soulful punk rock tunes. If you can listen to ‘If Your Prayers Don’t Get to Heaven’ and don’t find yourself at least clicking your fingers or doing a little jig, we probably can’t be friends. If you like Frank Turner or Against Me! , you’ll probably like this 🙂

.. and because it never gets old, even though it was released nearly 6 years ago (!!!) – 45

2. The Depot Wedding Venue

This month, I exhibited at my first ever wedding fair. I had a blast hanging out with amazing suppliers, meeting the venue’s team and of course, meeting you guys! You can check out my full blog on it here.

Benches at the Depot wedding venue, decorated with eucalptus foliage and rustic table decor

3. Friends

My winter nights have definitely been spent hibernating this year, and Netflix adding the whole of Friends has definitely meant chilled evenings snuggling up and watching it all again. Back in the day, I always thought I was a Phoebe, and watching back has cemented it for me.. I am in love with her 90s fashion in it! However, I am equally horrified that the series is 20 years old. It still feels like yesterday I was watching it all for the first time when it was out.

4. Harry Potter Marathons

My other half got me the Harry Potter box set for Christmas, and since then we have been having friends over for Harry Potter marathons. I seriously love the books – they used to be released a few weeks before my birthday, so every year as a child I always got one as a present. However, I’d never seen the films so really loving getting back into the Hogwarts world and seeing it come to life.

5. Jenna Kutcher’s Goaldigger Podcasts

Jenna Kutcher is an insanely talented wedding photographer, artist educator and podcaster. I discovered her through the Rising Tide Society last year (which in itself is a must for any creatives out there). One gloomy Monday this month I listened to one of her podcasts on my daily commute and since then have been hooked. They are full of tips, motivation and business advice for girl bosses and honestly, once I’ve listened to one I feel so pumped and full of inspiration. Thank you Jenna!

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6. My Slow Cooker

As someone who is following a LDN Muscle guide, I am BIG on food prep! Most Sundays you’ll find me planning out meals for the week and making batches of food. A Slow cooker is sometimes a girls best friend for this. This month I’ve been making lots of lentil bolognese and chickpea curries in it. In fact, right now I have a gorgeous Lentil Dahl cooking away. Follow my vegan slow cooker Pinterest board for recipe ideas.

As you can see there has been quite a lot of Netflix bingeing and hibernating going on! I’m also happy to say I’ve been keeping up my new years resolution of reading more – If you saw my last post you will have seen I started reading Shantaram at the end of January. I’m still reading it as it is colossal, but thoroughly enjoying it 🙂

Let me know what you’ve loved this month, and what you’re looking forward to in March – I would love to hear from you!

 

Caroline x

What I loved this month: January 2018

The start of a new year is always a refreshing time, but equally January and February are two of the most grim months of the year! All the Christmas joy and cramming in seeing as many friends as possible has passed with December, and everyone is skint and adjusting back to normal busy lives in January.

I always enjoy focusing on what holidays I want to plan in the next year and what I want to achieve. I decided I wanted to share more on my blog as I enjoy writing, and thought I would do a more personal blog once a month on what I have been enjoying. So here goes…

  1. Veganuary 

I started phasing in being vegetarian and vegan into the last half of 2017, but completely fell off the wagon over Christmas (blaming cheese mainly and my love of it). However, I went straight back on track in January. For some reason, it’s felt way easier – possibly because in the last few months theres been so many new products in the supermarkets, and restaurants have introduced vegan menus. I’ve still been caught out a bit.. we had a Chinese takeaway this month and I happily ordered what I thought would be a vegan meal.. veggies with cashews and a side of pineapple rice. The pineapple rice turned up with heaps of egg in it… I had to laugh, it seemed so absurd. Lesson learnt! Some places make it way easier – My new fav restaurant is 90 Degree Melt in Stepney Green. It serves vegan friendly cheese melts and American grub. I am obsessed with their Buffalo Cauliflower wings and Mush Blush melt. YUM. I also had my first vegan takeaway pizza last night.. thanks Papa John’s. It was divine!

Follow me on Pinterest for vegan recipe inspiration. I got two great recipe books for Christmas, so these and Pinterest are my main sources of vegan food ideas.

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2. Reading 

One of my new year resolutions was to read more. I’ve always been a book worm but taking time out to read got replaced last year by social media, life admin and general busy-ness. This year I am putting my phone down a bit, slowing down and reading more.  Books I read this month:

  1. A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara. This took me a while to get into as it was so long but I couldn’t put it down in the end. Spanning the lives of a group of friends from their college years, this book followed them through the struggles, high points and low lights of life. The book was so relatable as the characters progressed through their decades, and I just wanted them all to be happy. It explored so many dark themes, but at the same time was a life affirming read. 4.5/5
  2. All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr. Following a teenage Nazi and a blind French girl, this book traveled through the war years, following both characters as they followed their hearts to achieve good in a broken world. This was a heartbreaking and eye opening account of war, but it left me wanting a bit more. 3/5

I’m now reading Shantaram, which has been on my reading list for a long time. Don’t expect me to finish it anytime soon as it’s HUGE! I picked up this while on a random walk  through Wanstead and found it in a charity shop there.. it’s the first physical book I’ve read in forever!

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Let me know what you’re reading in the comments below – or leave your suggestions on what I should read next 🙂

3. Hygge 

January is definitely a clear excuse to make your life ‘hygge’. A trend that has swept the UK in the last few years, it encompasses enjoying the simpler things in life and creating a sense of wellbeing. Instead of working every night, I’ve given myself time out to snuggle up under a blanket and read, surrounded by candles. I’ve also taken to making homemade bread every Saturday morning and gardening (any one following my Instagram will know my cacti collection is starting to take over). Sundays are for walking and exploring the local area – I normally wander to Wanstead and look round the charity shops for books, or head into Epping Forest. Generally, attempting to live in a slightly slower way has been lovely! I feel super mellow, and whilst this has made me a little lazier on the work side, there is definitely a good balance to be struck 🙂 More on Hygge principles here

4. LDN Muscle 

I’m a bit addicted to my fitness, and over the space of a year and a half completed a few rounds of LDN Muscle’s Bikini Guide. Having got an injury last summer, I had to stop weight lifting and spinning to let my body recover. I ended up exploring low impact alternatives and have become a huge fan of Yoga with Adriene’s youtube workouts, but being someone who gyms every day, I found it really frustrating not to be lifting or doing anything super intense. After 6 months I’m back in the game and getting strong again! I tried 2 weeks of BBG by Kayla Itsines, but after it flared up my injury, I decided to go back to my faithful bible: The LDN Muscle guide. Yay for lifting weights again! I’m still doing Yoga with Adriene – I can’t recommend her enough! Her videos are usually my pre-bed wind down 🙂

It’s also been a super fun month as I went to my first ever Essex Wedding Breakfast Club, a monthly meet up for wedding suppliers. It was great to meet everyone, and see some friendly faces! I came away feeling really inspired and pumped for a great 2018.

Let me know what you’ve been loving (or hating) in January!

Caroline x