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*AD – This “weekend breaks in York” post features a press trip with Visit York and gifted experiences. But as usual, all opinions remain my own.

I set myself the challenge at the start of the year to really make the most of my time in the UK. To get out and see new places. To explore what had been right on my doorstep the whole time and to rediscover the places I already knew – read: staycation in Cromer. Two thirds of the way through the year and I’m happy to say I’ve ticked off visiting one of the cities I’ve always wanted to visit. I was invited on a press trip to York with Visit York, and it did nothing but confirm that this beautiful city is one of my favourite places in the UK. After I raved about what an amazing time I had there, my parents instantly booked a trip! I can’t wait to hear what they think of all the places I’ll be recommending in this post.

Why York is the perfect city for a girly weekend away

While York is the perfect city for any occasion, whether it’s a romantic weekend away or a family trip. After visiting with one of my best friends on a long overdue girly trip, I’m convinced it’s one of the best cities in the UK for catching up with your girlfriends. Not only is it absolutely beautiful and great for exploring, but it has a fantastic range of speciality gin bars, one of the best afternoon teas I’ve ever had. And don’t get me started on the fantastic selection of restaurants from local to international cuisine to refuel after a busy day shopping in the winding lanes.

But even more importantly, York has a fantastic atmosphere that lends itself well to a girly weekend. It is by far the friendliest and most welcoming city I have ever visited. I lost count of the number of lovely people who started conversations with us at the markets, in bars and on the streets. The genuine warmth that comes from this city makes it a fantastic place to bring your girls. While some cities might be more intimidating, York is a place where you can go on a night out without getting hassled by guys, where you can feel safe walking around at night.

The view from York Minster

Where to stay for your weekend breaks in York?

There are so many great places to stay in York, from cosy B&Bs to grand hotels, to budget-friendly options. Whatever your budget, you’ll find a place that suits you. One great thing about York being such a small city is that no matter where you stay, you’re never far from the very centre. We were able to spend all weekend walking between sights, the hotel, restaurants and shopping. My favourite way to explore a new city is always on foot, so this only made me love York even more.

We stayed at Radisson Hotel York, which was only my second time staying in a Radisson. Overlooking the river and with amazing city views over the Minster at both sunset and sunrise. A great budget-friendly option with a touch of class. The hotel is set to one side of the bridge into the city and easy walking distance from the train station. Just a few minutes’ walk from the main shopping area and close to the Shambles. It’s a great location for weekend breaks in York. From the second we walked in the door, the staff were so welcoming. And, it was the comfiest bed I’ve slept on in years! Rooms start from £63 a night and include a full cooked buffet breakfast with continental options.

Check out this page for a choice of 600 properties in York to suit all budgets and preferred locations.

Exploring York city walls

How to get to York

Getting to York is simple no matter which direction you’re travelling from thanks to the LNER line. Trains come with free wifi, no booking fees and offer cheap tickets on various routes. If you’re travelling from London, tickets start from £18. From Edinburgh is costs as little as £17.50 to reach York, or from Aberdeen it costs £129.50. We travelled from where I live in Norfolk and had a lovely, easy journey via Peterborough. Despite having two changes, the journey only took us around 3 hours which was plenty of time for snacks and catch-ups.

I really recommend travelling by train when you visit York. Not only is it perfect for sharing a bottle of bubbly on the train, but the city is within easy walking distance of the train station. York is a much smaller city than I expected which makes it perfect for exploring on foot and avoiding parking charges. Unless you plan to venture out of the city, there really is no need to travel by car. Also – when we travelled on a Friday afternoon, our journey was much shorter by train than it would have been in rush hour traffic.

Bettys Champagne Afternoon Tea, York, Gifted

Where to eat when visiting York?

I think you all know by now that food is a huge priority of mine when I travel and York was no different. I was hugely excited to see how many amazing independent restaurants and cafés lined the streets. The city reminded me a bit of Cambridge, a really unique style and a lot of creative cuisine. I definitely recommend eating your way around the city during your weekend breaks in York.

Breakfast

A recommendation via Insta, Teajuanas Café was a perfect end to our weekend in York. Just a short walk from our hotel, it was the perfect place to brunch before we headed home. Think speciality coffees, teas and a nice simple menu with all the sexy toppings to build the breakfast you want. I went for poached eggs on avocado toast with smoked salmon. They also have meatier options with bacon and parma ham, or veggie options. And for those who fancy something nice and simple, they even offer marmite on toast! Plus I better not forget to mention the shining jewel on their menu – if you think you can handle it: Huevos Rancheros! Get here early because the café is small and it filled up quickly.

Lunch

If you ask me there’s no better place to head for an afternoon bite than the Shambles Market. Not only is it great for browsing but there’s an amazing range of food stalls. The market boasts street food options from all over the world including North Africa, Turkey, France, Sicily and of course, local delicacies. I couldn’t resist the savoury crépes at KREP and plumped for a goats cheese, pickled beetroot, roast tomatoes and rocket – absolute heaven!

Afternoon tea

Now I’m pretty sure you already know where I’m going to recommend, its reputation precedes it! Betty’s Cafe Tea Rooms is an institution in York having opened its doors over a century ago. It’s a place I’ve had recommended to me countless times. As someone who loves afternoon tea, was always on my UK bucket list. We enjoyed a Champagne Afternoon Tea in the Belmont Room when we visited and it couldn’t have been more perfect. I want to clarify, because I didn’t know before I visited, that there are two options when you go to Betty’s.

  1. You can turn up and join the queue for a Traditional Afternoon Tea downstairs in the tea rooms. This costs £19.95 (£27.95 with a glass of Champagne) You can also book ahead.
  2. Or, you can book the Belmont Room (which is upstairs and absolutely lovely!) for afternoon tea. Click to book an afternoon tea – it costs £34.95 per person (£42.95 per person with Champagne)

I was absolutely blown away by the amazing service and the gorgeous food and drink. So impressed, that I’ve actually booked the exact same afternoon tea as a surprise for my parents when they visit York next weekend. If you can’t stretch to an afternoon tea, it’s worth popping in the gift shop to check out the tasty treats they have on sale there.

Dinner

An epic start to weekend breaks in York, we dined out on the Friday night at award-winning Café No.8 Bistro. Just a few minutes walk from the Minster and our hotel, it gave us a chance to see the beauty of the city at night. This cosy little restaurant may seem unassuming from the street, but prepare to rediscover your tastebuds thanks to their amazing chefs. My favourite meal of the weekend, think casual dining but with a touch of elegance and using all local ingredients of the finest quality.

For both of us, the standout dish was the main – Pan fried duck breast with sesame, 5 spice, Bootham honey, miso glazed Pak-choi, chilli, peanut and coriander sauce. It was actually the first time I’ve eaten meat in over two years and it couldn’t have been more perfectly cooked. It’s worth going to York purely for this melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. Highly recommend booking ahead – the restaurant was fully booked for the whole night when we were there.

Absolutely Lucy at York Minster during her weekend breaks in York

Which bars to drink at in York?

York is jam-packed full of amazing little bars, traditional pubs and even speciality drinking holes. It’s a hive of activity on a Friday and Saturday night. So whatever your scene, I really recommend taking a walk around to discover what the city has to offer. During one short stroll we managed to find some cosy old pubs with live music, buzzing cocktail bars, speciality gin bars and much more. Apparently there’s a total of 365 pubs in York so why not plan a year-long pub crawl to try and fit them all in? Top recommendations include:

I also really recommend checking out this post by The Travelista – it’s a fab guide to York which helped inspire my own trip. And best of all, Jess is local, so she really knows the best places.

The Shambles, York

Where to shop during your girly weekend?

Start with the Shambles

Perfect for browsing the market for cute and quirky wares that are great for gifts. Then head along the actual Shambles where you’ll find endless potion and wand shops filled with Harry Potter memorabilia in a nod to the street inspiring Hogsmeade. You’ll also find great little independents around here selling everything from coffee and fudge, to luxe bath products and postcards.

Head to the shops

Once you’re done over this side, head out of the front of the market to find all your favourite high street and luxe brands within easy walking distance. York has a fantastic range of shops so is perfect for a girly weekend.

Absolutely Lucy at Shambles, York, during her weekend breaks in York

Top 10 things to do during weekend breaks in York

One thing I really loved about York was how many unique experiences it offered. There are so many things that make York special – from its culture and heritage, to food and drink, to its fabulous shopping. You can read more about these #OnlyInYork experiences with Visit York.

  1. Walk the city walls (free!)
  2. Climb to the top of York Minster (York Pass or entry fee)
  3. Join a ghost tour – better yet – join the Bloody York Gin Tour!
  4. Visit Clifford’s Tower (York Pass or entry fee)
  5. Go the Shambles and walk in Harry Potter’s footsteps (free!)
  6. Get scared silly at York Dungeons
  7. Feel festive at York Christmas Markets
  8. Take a boat tour and see the city from a new perspective
  9. Relax along the riverside or in the park by St Mary’s Abbey
  10. Make friends with the locals – some of the friendliest people I’ve met!

If you’re planning on a lot of sightseeing – be sure to look into the York Pass. It’s the official sightseeing card which gives you entry to 45+ attractions across York and North Yorkshire. Super convenient and easy to use, you also get a free guidebook and 24 hour York City Sightseeing bus ticket included. Plus discounts at ASK Italian and vouchers for ghost walks, evening river cruise, taxis and car hire. Let me know if you use this guide to plan your weekend breaks in York!

Have you been to York – what did you think of the city? What are your favourite UK cities for a girly weekend break?

Absolutely Lucy sign off

*This post on fly drive Canada holidays is a collaboration with Canadian Affair

Canada is a country that has always been high on my bucket list and I know that when I eventually get there, the only way I want to travel is to drive. I’ve actually got family living in both Toronto and Montreal, so if you ask me, a Canada road trip would be the perfect way to squeeze in a visit. I’d definitely consider doing the Canada working holiday visa after how much I enjoyed Australia. I’m expecting much the same as far as the wide open roads and breathtaking scenery. But instead of deserts and oceans, this time I’d look forward to having my mind blown by the incredible mountain ranges, national parks and lakes. If you love road trips as much as I do, this post is perfect for you.

For those who are new to travel or road tripping abroad, or who simply want the planning process to be as easy as possible. Fly drive Canada holidays are a perfect solution for those who don’t want the stress of organising a big trip, but want to keep the freedom of the open road. Enjoy the best of both worlds and get to see all the spectacular sights Canada has to offer. From east to west, Canada has so much to offer including the Rocky Mountains, Whistler, Lake Ontario, Niagara Falls and Nova Scotia. So read on to find out why you should book a trip today!

Emerald Lake, Banff, Alberta, by Bruno Soares dos Santos, fly drive Canada holidays

Emerald Lake, Banff, Alberta, by Bruno Soares dos Santos

What are fly drive Canada holidays?

One of the most popular ways to explore Canada, these self-drive holidays are the ultimate package deal of travel, accommodation and activities. Everything you need to enjoy your trip is included in fly drive holidays in Canada from the time you book. This leaves you with little more to do than sit back and enjoy the drive as you travel across this beautiful country. With a package that is organised around your dream trip – you can see Canada the way you’ve always imagined. Start by choosing your vehicle, whether it’s a car or a motorhome, and give yourself the freedom to stop and enjoy hidden gems along the way. You decide the journey so whether you want to stop and take in the views, spot wildlife or even a great picnic spot, the choice is yours.

Pick from a selection of pre-selected routes travelling east, west or in any direction you please. Or, if you don’t find a plan that includes everything you want to see, you can tailor your own package. With epic scenery in every direction, you’ll be spoiled for choice! Once you’ve chosen your route, you can add on activities and excursions along the way. And don’t forget, each night you’ll be provided with a pre-booked hotel to rest your head before the next day of travel. Either side of the road trip, you will have return flights booked flying to and from your chosen airports. This is the trip for the adventurous soul who wants a stress-free holiday and the support of a team of experts to make every moment perfect.

Peggys Point Lighthouse, Nova Scotia, fly drive Canada holidays, by miquitos

Peggys Point Lighthouse, Nova Scotia, by miquitos

10 reasons why you should choose fly drive Canada holidays

Canada’s beauty will blow your mind

Take a second to look at the images in this post and you’ll see how utterly incredible Canada is. While there are some awesome cities to check out, you don’t travel there for that. It’s all about getting away from it all, exploring stunning nature, enjoying hikes and climbs, visiting mountains and alpine lakes, epic views and the list goes on. Whether you prefer mountains, forests, cities or ocean – there’s something to suit all tastes.

Freedom and flexibility to travel how you want

One thing that is hugely appealing for those looking to book fly drive Canada holidays is getting to enjoy adventure travel without being held to an itinerary. Perhaps you don’t have the time to plan a trip independently, so getting a team of experts to do it for you can be a great idea. But fly drive trips allow you to still remain independent and to structure your days the way you like. If you want to drive a certain route, stop off to take pictures or have a picnic along the way, or take a detour to check out a view. The choice is yours.

Canada is made for road trips

Think huge open roads, epic national parks and camping spots. With so many amazing places to visit that are so spread out, there’s no better way to travel to be able to squeeze as much in as possible. Plus who doesn’t love a road trip? It’s a fantastic way to travel and to see and experience a country in a totally different way to when you just fly in and out of a city.

Carl Campbell, Otter Lake, fly drive Canada holidays

Otter Lake by Carl Campbell

Book your entire road trip as a package

The term “package deals” always screams Benidorm to me. But the truth is, these days travel companies have completely changed their package deals to reflect what the customer really wants. There are some incredible adventure travel packages available all over the world and fly drive Canada holidays are a perfect example of this. You get to enjoy adventure travel and getting to explore amazing locations. But you also don’t have to deal with the organising stress or spend ages comparing prices! A team of experts is on hand to tailor your trip to your every whim and travel desire. Even better, the team of experts is at the end of the phone if you need them during your trip.

Tailor your route to your travel desires

A team of experts will help you to tailor your travel route to what you would love to see the most. If you love mountains and lakes, they will organise so you get to see as much as possible. If you fancy a few days hiking and cycling in national parks, or even camping out. Even if you want more time in the cities for sightseeing and shopping. If you want to stop off for adventure activities or even to visit some hot springs. Your journey can always be changed to fit in another stop.

Add extra activities and excursions to your itinerary

Whether you fancy squeezing in a whale watching trip, or want to go skiing during your holiday. It’s so easy to add in extra little trips and to book them before you even arrive. Save yourself any stress while actually on holiday by asking about great add-ons for your package. You can never have too many adventures!

Banff National Park – Mt. Rundle and Mt. Cascade, Rocky Mountains, by Bernard Spragg

Mt. Rundle and Mt. Cascade, Rocky Mountains, by Bernard Spragg

Enjoy home comforts after a long day of adventures

Spend each night at a pre-booked hotel with all your home comforts after a day on the road. Choose between hotels for all budgets and styles and have them all booked ahead. If you want to, you can spend a few nights camping. Or even hire a camper van for comfort during your whole journey but the freedom to stop anywhere and sleep. The choice is yours.

Fly in and pick up your pre-booked car at the airport

Starting your fly drive Canada holidays couldn’t be easier. Just catch your flight and when you land in the country, your pre-booked car or even motorhome will be waiting for you at the airport. Hit the road straight away without any complicated paperwork or last minute organising.

Enjoy hotel upgrades if you book pre-packaged fly drives

Some companies offer great little bonuses if you book their pre-packaged fly drives so it’s worth looking into the fixed packages they have available. You may find that one of the trips perfectly fits with your dream holiday. Some companies offer free hotel upgrades to more luxurious options as an incentive for booking these pre-organised trips.

I don’t know about you guys, but writing this post has seriously given me the travel bug! I’m so keen for a trip to Canada and to really get lost in nature. Most of all, I really need to see some of these views with my own eyes just to believe that they are real! I hope this post has inspired you to try adventure travel but on your own terms!

Have you been to Canada – which was your favourite part? Is Canada on your bucket list?

Absolutely Lucy sign off

 

*First pic Moraine Lake Sunrise – James Wheeler

 

*This staycation post is a collaboration with The Personalised Gift Shop

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m definitely guilty of choosing to go abroad over travelling my own country. So often my travels involve long-haul travel and tropical climes. But that means there is still so much of the UK I’ve yet to explore. Spending this summer in the UK has given me a perfect opportunity to finally visit some of these places. This weekend I’m actually heading to a UK city I’ve always wanted to visit and I’ll share that with you in a later post. But for now, let’s talk about last weekend when I teamed up with The Personalised Gift Shop to try out one of their gift experiences. I chose a little staycation – a lovely overnight stay at a hotel in Cromer, on the North Norfolk coast.

Absolutely Lucy at her staycation hotel in Cromer

My staycation gift experience

This little staycation was well-timed after a busy few weeks, I was looking forward to a night of R&R and a day along the coast. I was staying at the Links Country Park Hotel in West Runton, just a short distance down the road from Cromer. It was just an hour’s drive from my home which made it a perfect location for me to get to after work and still enjoy the sunny Friday night on the beach. I headed straight to Cromer for a walk on the beach, a Mr Whippy ice cream and a stroll along the pier. It was perfectly-timed and the second I sat back in my car, the storm clouds gathered and the heavens opened.

When I arrived at the hotel, I checked in and was sent to my lovely spacious room, before heading down to dinner. I was so impressed by the friendly, welcoming staff as they sat me in the perfect spot, overlooking the sunset. It was a great way to end the day, with a glass of wine and a huge plate of Cromer crab tagliatelle. After dinner, my evening was all about enjoying a glass of Prosecco and a movie in the comfiest bed I have slept in for a long time. It was so lovely to have a night away that was purely dedicated to relaxing in luxury. I had the best night’s sleep I’ve had in months and woke to blue skies and a delicious breakfast at the hotel.

If you’re in the area, I really recommend the Links Country Park Hotel – book here.

Ice cream at Norfolk coast, Cromer

Why you should choose a staycation

There are so many amazing reasons to choose a staycation and enjoy a weekend on your home turf. Why not save yourself the bother of travelling far? After a long week at work, the last thing you want to do is hop in the car and drive for hours to start your break. Instead, why not drive half an hour up the road and instantly relax.

Who can honestly say they’ve seen all their home has to offer? So often we’re guilty of not really appreciating what is really special about our area. But often there’s so much right on our doorstep, we just have to take the time to make the most of it. Norfolk for example, is an absolutely amazing county for weekend breaks and unique experiences. And yet, despite living here all my life, there’s still so many parts I haven’t yet seen. Working with The Personalised Gift Shop was a perfect excuse to spend some time at a part of the Norfolk Coast I haven’t visited in years!

Absolutely Lucy, Links Hotel, Norfolk coast, staycation

Why you should consider a solo staycation

I took this little overnight holiday solo and you know what, I loved every second. This solo trip didn’t happen because I had no-one to take, in fact I had several volunteers! I chose to go solo because I love my own company, and because I deserved a treat. Some of my followers couldn’t believe it when I announced it on social media. I had to stress the fact that being alone doesn’t = being lonely.

I know it can seem a little crazy to some to take a night away in a hotel by yourself. But it’s one of the best trips I’ve had this year. Before I went solo travelling, I had never done it but now it’s something that is vital to my mental health. It’s restorative. I really do feel that until you are entirely comfortable in your own company, you will never be truly happy and relaxed with others.

It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I really recommend trying it even on a smaller scale. You don’t have to start with a hotel by yourself. Why not try going out for a coffee and sitting alone in a coffee shop? Or why not try going for brunch by yourself? It doesn’t mean you have to do it all the time. But it’s the biggest confidence boost to feel comfortable enough in your own skin to sit quietly by yourself and enjoy life.

Absolutely Lucy in her happy place on the Norfolk coast

Why a gift experience can make the perfect present for a traveller

I’ve always felt gift experiences trump gifts every time and I love to find the perfect way to treat family and friends. This might mean a spa day or dinner at a restaurant I know they’ll love. It could be an activity like climbing the O2 or even a hot air balloon ride. It’s something you can get so creative with, and a great way to be really thoughtful. For travellers, so often we spend a lot of time away from home, so when you’re back to celebrate special occasions it’s lovely to include some quality time with the ones you love.

It’s also a fantastic way to treat people without helping them to accumulate more stuff. After spending years living out of a backpack, I see little point in having stuff I can’t take with me. Even for those who have a base – “what do you buy for the person who has everything?” For me, I’ll choose making memories with a person every time over yet another bottle of bubblebath.

6 ideas for the perfect gift experience

  1. Short breaks – whether this is a hotel, a spa or even a glamping experience
  2. Foodie fun – choose afternoon tea, a three course meal or even a wine tasting
  3. Spa time – pick from a spa treatment, spa day, or overnight stay
  4. Adventure days – these could range from zorbing and skydiving, to a zombie experience
  5. Days out – race day packages, sightseeing and cruises are just some of the many options
  6. Driving and flying experiences – the car of your dreams on the racetrack, or take a helicopter ride or flying lesson

Have you had a staycation near your home? What kind of gift experience would you love for your birthday?

Absolutely Lucy sign off

Flexible working – two very simple words that can have a huge impact on your quality of life. I should know, if it wasn’t for flexible working, I wouldn’t be able to live the life that I do. Working remotely, travelling the world – those are luxuries that come with a flexible working lifestyle. But there’s so much more to it. As I’ve discovered over the last year, flexible working is absolutely vital for so many people. It can be the decider for parents being able to both work around their children. For businesses, it can give them the chance to support their staff through the hardest times. And for those struggling, provide them with a way to keep working while they get back on their feet. If it wasn’t for flexible working, I would never have been able to escape domestic violence, while still keeping a job I loved.

Why are we talking about flexible working?

A few weeks ago MP Helen Whately introduced a bill in UK Parliament calling for flexible working to be default for all employees and for this to be included in employment contracts. The bill takes into account that the idea of the 40-hour/5 day working week suited a time when households had one primary earner. But times have changed and now most households will have more than one income, and both parents often want to, or have to work. The economic climate means it’s simply not an option for many families to have one person staying at home to look after the children. But this does mean that people are looking for more flexibility than ever.

Now Whately is arguing that unless business-owners have good reason to enforce specific working hours, that employers should introduce flexible working to every job. It’s a huge change and one that could be hugely beneficial to the UK workforce. No longer would we be stuck in a patriarchy that celebrates men as the breadwinners while women are penalised for being able to work less hours due to childcare. How many women have missed out on career opportunities because they had to pick up their kids at a certain time or they couldn’t go on that business trip? How many people have had to use their holiday time up because they weren’t allowed to work from home?

Absolutely Lucy in poppy field, domestic violence

But does flexible working actually work?

Flexible working is already happening all over the world and has shown huge success. New Zealand has reported a huge increase in productivity. Working less days for the same pay made staff even more efficient and engaged with their work. Malaysia and South Africa are areas where remote working and “home office” are becoming more common and this has had a huge impact on terrible traffic problems. They’ve also introduced in-office childcare and flexi-time to many businesses as a way of bringing more women into the workforce. Germany faced strikes by workers who demanded flexible working which have pushed the country to find more of a balance. I’ll talk more about this later on. And finally, Japan is using flexible working as a way of engaging the 600,000 young unemployed people and to encourage them to contribute to the economy.

Why is it so important to me?

I was lucky when I moved to Germany and found a role that offered flexible working and had a big focus on work-life balance, encouraging downtime as much as working time. This was actually the deciding factor for me taking the job. I was offered another role around the same time which offered more money, but it was clear that the company offered a very different working environment. I’ve been in offices where the pressure is immense for very little reward, where your workload isn’t reflected in your pay. Where every single day you feel drained before you even arrive in the office, you feel guilty for taking toilet and tea breaks. When you’re made to feel guilty for refusing to take on yet more work outside your working hours.

One thing that is very important to me is always maintaining a separation between my job and my life. While my job is important to me and I will work hard for any role I take on. I am not defined by my job and my personal life will always take priority. It’s important to me that I find companies that understand this. I know I’m immensely privileged to be in a position where I can be picky about jobs and that not everyone has this opportunity. But I do think it is important that we are given the space – in any job role – to shape a job around our life. We were not put on this earth to slave away until we die, we were put here to live. Sometimes life gets in the way and we need that flexible working to fit our careers around our lives.

Absolutely Lucy poppy field - flexible working

How flexible working saved me from domestic violence

When my relationship broke down and my partner became increasingly violent towards me, I felt trapped. I was living in a country away from friends and family. And I didn’t know how to get out of the situation. It had reached a point where I was at risk every time I walked into my apartment. I realised I had to do something. Working for a company that offered flexible working had already helped me on various occasions. Including the times when I had been attacked by my boyfriend and had been unable to go into the office because of my injuries. At one point I had to work from home for a whole week. I physically didn’t have the strength to travel to work and was in so much pain.

Things came to a head one day and I realised it was now or never. I had to leave the office to go home, pack and leave while he wasn’t there. After some pre-booked holiday, I was able to continue working remotely from the UK and to stay far away from a man who had become increasingly dangerous. I didn’t feel safe to be in Germany any longer and my company respected that. Had it not been for flexible working, I wouldn’t have a job. More than that, I would have lost my job at the time when I needed the stability and support of my colleagues the most. Had I not had such an understanding team around me, I could still be in that awful situation. Having access to flexible working saved me from domestic violence, and potentially saved my life.

Absolutely Lucy poppy field, flexible working

A step forward for the worker bees

I know that not every situation is as dramatic as mine was. But it’s important to realise that everyone has their own reasons for wanting flexible working. That every reason has a huge impact on their quality of life. Whether that means childcare and women not wanting to be “homemakers” or simply not having that as an option. Or it might mean something as simple as changing your working hours to make your commute a bit more bearable. Having days where you work from home because the car breaks down or you’re getting a food shop delivered.

There’s so many small ways that this could affect everyone’s lives. It could give us back our freedom and control of our work-life balance. I know I could never go back to rigid hours and a strict working environment after flexible working. This change could mean a huge step away from the patriarchy. A step towards creating a workforce where women are celebrated for their work. Where women are given every opportunity and are finally are paid equally. Where women are no longer penalised because they also maintain a home and raise children.

I’d love to know what you guys think about flexible working – could this impact your life?

Absolutely Lucy sign off

*This hammam towels post is a collaboration with Sorbet [AD]

I’m always looking for colourful and versatile new products to help make my travels run smoother. I’ve teamed up with Sorbet, to test out their Hammam towels and wraps for our upcoming adventures. Over the years I’ve definitely become good at packing light and finding ways to reduce the amount of stuff I take with me. Finding products that can be used for multiple purposes is always my favourite way to help lighten the load. And with several big trips still to come this year – I want to be prepared for every eventuality!

Absolutely Lucy Sorbet hammam towels & wrap on the beach

The story behind Sorbet

Sorbet first started after company director, Amanda, went on holiday to Turkey and fell in love with the brightly coloured traditional Hammam towels as they adorned the beaches. Filling her suitcase with as many as she could carry, she was inspired by the candy ice-cream and sorbet coloured shades. Back in London, her friends and family liked them so much, she located traditional weavers back in rural Turkey and started producing the towels en masse thanks to the help of her authentic suppliers. From 2011 to now, the company now stocks 28 mouth watering colours in 100% cotton, a luxury range of bamboo/cotton fibres and ice cream colours.

Absolutely Lucy Sorbet hammam towel and wrap on beach in the wind

Review of Hammam Towels

They sent me the turquoise and satsuma coloured Hammam Towels from the original collection, plus the pink coral Hammam Wrap to try out. As you can see, the bright colours fit perfectly with Absolutely Lucy and I took them straight to the beach. These amazingly versatile fabrics are lightweight and quick to dry. This makes them perfect towels for the beach or even as a sarong or cover-up. They are also great for everything from picnics in the park, to the swimming pool, camping, festivals and road trips. Last summer I spent a month road-tripping around Europe and these would be perfect additions to your van or campsite. If you’re planning on a festival this summer – they would be great for creating a colourful campsite.

Absolutely Lucy, beach, beach huts, english summer

Review of Hammam Wraps

The coral Hammam Wrap is my new favourite travel accessory and I can’t wait to take it on my next big trip in September. It’s incredibly soft thanks to being hand loomed with a stonewashed effect. It would be perfect for snuggling up on a long flight or bus ride. I never travel without a scarf or pashmina to protect me from the chilly air-con. These also double up well as a cover-up if you’re visiting religious areas. What I love the most, is that as well as being practical for all your travel needs. It’s also really stylish and would be a great evening accessory. I’m all for anything that brings a splash of colour to my outfits – and this is such a gorgeous shade.

Absolutely Lucy at the beach, picnic

As someone who has tried many a quick-drying travel towel over the years, only to find they end up making your entire bag smell. I’m really excited to give these Hammam Towels a try on my next big trip. The all-natural 100% cotton is lightweight and will dry quickly, no doubt leaving my bags a lot fresher and cleaner. Plus, they’ll take up a lot less space, and use up too much of my luggage allowance. All the more space for the treasures I collect along the way. Find out more and order the products online at the Sorbet website.

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*This Ibiza holidays post is an AD

Ibiza holidays – everyone has their own idea of what the phrase means, but what’s the reality? I remember being 21 on the White Isle with two of my best friends celebrating being free of university. Naturally we went for the full San Antonio, glittered bikini experience and hit up as many clubs as possible. But it’s become clear to me over the years that there is so much more to Ibiza than the version I experienced. So I’ve teamed up with Dream Villa Rentals to give you a taste of what Ibiza is really like, and why it might be the perfect destination for your summer holidays.

Why should you choose Ibiza holidays this year?

Well let’s start with the fact that it’s just a 2.5 hour flight from London until you’re sunning yourself on the gorgeous, white sandy beaches. A perfect destination for all age groups, whether it’s your mates looking for a wild weekend, or the whole family looking for a relaxing two-week trip. With beautiful beaches, gorgeous little towns with white buildings, hippie markets and historic buildings to explore – there’s plenty to keep everyone entertained. Known infamously as a party island, there’s a whole other side to Ibiza that you might not know about. As well as crazy clubs packed full of ravers young and old, there’s also a big foodie scene and some amazing restaurants to try.

Beaches range from party strips like San Antonio to the more peaceful beaches in the North-East. Choose from nudist beaches, family beaches or you could even hire a boat and tour them all! Whatever you’re looking for, you’re sure to find the Ibiza holidays of your dreams. Choose between beautiful ocean view hotels overlooking the water, and stunning villas high up in the hills. Plus did I mention the weather is amazing? Skip out on the UK summer that never arrives and you could be enjoying 30+ degree heat in just a few hours.

Ibiza holidays with Dream Villa Rentals

When to go to Ibiza?

The best time to visit Ibiza is in the summer – May to October is peak summer season. Temperatures between these months will range from early 20’s to early 30’s. Crowds will also change a lot during this time, so it really depends on what sort of trip you want to have, when you will go.

Clubber’s paradise

If you’re a seasoned raver, you’ll know that while the season kicks off in May, often a lot of the biggest parties are happening later in the summer. July is when the crowds and the parties will be in full force with huge DJs set to play any of the clubs. There are also a range of festivals taking place throughout the season – including the Ibiza International Music Summit in late May, Ibiza Rocks in mid-June along with the annual gay pride festivities. The Ibiza Jazz Festival is early September and in October, there is the Ibiza Light Festival. Mid-June to mid-September are the busiest times for the parties so best to get tickets early to ensure you can get in! Find the latest updates on Ibiza news and events here.

First-time party-goer

If it’s your first time on the island and you’re keen to party but not sure you’re ready to jump in the deep end. Why not book earlier or later in the season? You’ll avoid the masses of crowds which can be a bit intimidating for some who prefer more downtime around the parties. Book for early May, or late September onwards and you could also save money because you’re not visiting during peak season. For younger travellers who might be going on their first holiday abroad with their mates – this is a great option. Plus while it may be a tad cooler than peak season, you’ll still be seeing temps of 25+ degrees.

Relaxing family beach holiday

For those who fancy a peaceful beach holiday with the little ones, planning your Ibiza holidays is important to avoid the crowds. Instead of going for the peak summer months of June/July, why not book for May, September or October? This way, you could save money on accommodation and could be more likely to have the beach to yourself. Temperatures are also a bit cooler at these times which is great if you have young children who want to be in the water and on the beach all day. Sitting at around mid-20’s, the temps are perfect for hot days and cooler evenings plus the water is just about warm enough for swimming.

Luxury getaway in the sun

If you just fancy a cheeky weekend away with your mates, or your partner, Ibiza is the perfect destination. Quick and easy to get to, you could easily have your feet up enjoying a cocktail within a few hours. With amazing luxury options available – it’s great if you fancy a little treat. The best thing is, these options are available all year round whether you fancy staying in a 5* hotel or getting a poolside villa. However, it is worth remembering that travelling in peak season means prices are hiked up significantly. Travelling outside of the June-September window might save you a lot of money and give you even more options for accommodation.

Seashells collected on the beach

Where to stay for your Ibiza holidays?

Ibiza Town

The perfect spot whether you’re looking for culture, are a bit of a foodie or just want to party! It’s great for families, gay-friendly and caters for all budgets including luxury. There are museums, art galleries, amazing restaurants and plenty of street entertainment. Drink cocktails and watch the super-yachts drift past, dance the night away at Pacha or chill on the beaches of nearby Talamanca. If it’s your first visit – this is the place to be.

Playa d’en Bossa

The best place to stay if you’re after nightlife – it’s just a short drive south of Ibiza Town. Home to the biggest beach bars, clubs and parties on the island including Ushuaïa, the biggest outdoor club in town. There are lots of accommodation options available which make it much easier if you just need somewhere to catch some sleep after partying all night. There’s also lots of great beaches and water-sports available for during the day.

San Antonio & San Antonio Bay

One of the cheapest areas for accommodation and perfect for young clubbers, those looking for parties, young families and those on a budget. I remember booking a 3-pax apartment for me and my girls for 10 nights plus flights for £320pp. On the northern coast, it’s easily accessible from the airport and is also home to the well-known Cafe Del Mar, Ibiza Rocks and many more party locations.

Ibiza holidays wit Dream Villa Rental property

San Carlos

If you’re looking for the 60’s, 70’s hippie Ibiza holidays vibe, San Carlos is the place for you. A small village found inland, it has a bohemian feel not found elsewhere. Explore the Las Dalias hippie market for treasures including fashion and local jewellery. Head to Anita’s Bar for drinks or hike to Aguas Blanca beach. While prices are much higher than average around this area, it is still possible to book budget and affordable rooms if you want to stay nearby.

Santa Eulalia

A resort town that is considered the best neighbourhood for those travelling with kids. The island’s third largest resort area comes with lots of accommodation options to suit all budgets and some amazing local restaurants. There’s lots of swimming pools with slides and play areas for the children and beautiful white sandy beaches with a palm-tree lined promenade perfect for an evening stroll.

Cala Tarida & Cala Vadella

On the south-west coast of the island, this area is perfect for young families looking for a budget-friendly holiday in the mid-range pricing. With family friendly resorts set around beautiful sandy coves, this is a great place to enjoy the beautiful nature.

Absolutely Lucy with ocean view on the beach

Why choose Ibiza holiday rentals on your next trip?

If you fancy a little luxury on your Ibiza holidays – look no further! Dream Villa Rentals have added a beautiful new range of Ibiza villas for rent for summer 2022, located across all the best areas of the island. From private villas with pools tucked away from the crowds up in the North. To luxury villas and holiday homes just a stone’s throw away from the sea in the South. You’ll find a range of the larger style holiday rentals which are great if you’re a big party all looking to stay in the same place and also a collection of high-end Ibiza villas for people looking for the ultimate villa experience.

Property prices range start from around £3,500 per week. All of the villas come with a private pool and most have Wi-Fi and air conditioning as standard. If you require a private chef for your stay the company can also help with arranging this and many other added services.

Villa pool view

Top 5 things to do on your Ibiza holidays?

  1. Visit the UNESCO site Dalt Vila – in the highest part of Ibiza Town where 16th century ramifications and bastions still overlook incredible panoramic views.
  2. Hit the water – whether you’re into jet-skiing, paddle boarding or fancy taking a sunset cruise around the island, it’s a great way to see Ibiza from a new perspective.
  3. Soak up the sun – with so many gorgeous beaches to explore, you’ll be spoilt for choice! Head to Talamanca or Playa D’en Bossa, or you could even catch a bus to Cala Comte to be blown away!
  4. Dine out in foodie heaven – the Balearic islands have a pork speciality called Sobrasada, or you could try a bullit de peix, a fish stew served at local restaurants around the island. Plus lots of fresh seafood!
  5. Party until the sun comes up – of course, Ibiza has your back when it comes to club nights, DJs and amazing bars overlooking the ocean. Whether you want to stay out until the break of dawn or just fancy a cocktail, the island will always provide.

Have you been to Ibiza – what kind of Ibiza holidays would you enjoy the most?

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