Outfit Essentials For A Beach Holiday

I was umming and ahhing about whether I wanted to actually publish this post, but with beach holidays season upon us I’ve been talking about a lot with friends who are in a similar situation – what to wear when you’re not entirely comfortable with your ‘beach body’ (God I hate that phrase).

I obviously want to start with a disclaimer to this post, and say that I am happy with my body – It is healthy and strong, and usually sits at a size UK 10/12 dependent on the shop, and I am lucky enough that my size is stocked in the UK high street. I don’t want this post to come across as preaching to people that they should cover up certain areas, it’s just what I think are great items for a beach holiday if you’re not happy with certain areas of your bod as I am.

Over the years and throughout my travels – for Australia especially – I have perfected a holiday wardrobe that I love, and I use to help me feel confident and Summery, whilst also covering up areas I don’t want on show. Like I said, this is not a preachy post at all, I always say, you do you. But if you want to see the products I am a huge fan of for hot holidays, then look no further.

High Waisted Bikinis

God bless the gal/guy who thought to make bikini bottoms high waisted. Regardless of whether you’re flat-tummed or not, everyone can agree that by the end of the holiday when you’ve had a few too many beers and ice creams the holiday bloat can arrive.

I personally think they’re a great shout, and they look super flattering – especially H&M ones which seem to have magical holding-in powers. I had a plain black high-waisted pair of bottoms from a few years back, and this year I’ve spruced it up by buying two new bikini tops to match.

Failing a high-waisted bikinis, I feel like there are some really good-looking swimming costumes around right now. Long gone are the days of looking like an Olympic swimmer in your Speedo swimsuit, as now we have plunging, tummy-tucking and gorgeously printed options. I am always a fan of H&M swimwear as I think they really nail the cheap-but-good swimwear options, but I have also seen and heard good things about Figleaves and ASOS own brand.

Cotton Shorts

I picked up a few pairs of these for my trip to Australia and I have to say they were an absolute game changer. I used to feel like the only holiday options for shorts were either tiny, tight denim ones or long, chino-style safari Susan ones.

The flowy cotton shorts look super flattering – thanks to the high waist – and the cotton material is breezy and stretchy. I also always make sure to bring them along with me to festivals, because they’re just so easy to wear and still look great paired with a fancy top (also not a faff to take off in a portaloo… TMI?).

They’re great for beach holidays as they’re so easy to slip in and out of you can pop on a pair with your bikini when you’re on the beach, as you need to cover up when you’re on the search for ice cream after all…

Midi Skirts

I am super happy that midi skirts have made a return and that they’re no longer just granny-chic. This Summer especially I’ve noticed some great midi skirt selections and have picked up a few for myself – because paired with a smart shirt and shoes these also work really well for the office.

I particularly love midi skirts for us gals who don’t particularly like the tops of our legs, and also don’t want to be caught short (excuse the pun) wearing a mini skirt in the UK when the weather turns. I’ve put a few of my favourites below, and I own a few of them and can confirm the light, breezy material of them is super beneficial when it’s sweltering outside.

Wrap Dresses

i.e A dress sent from the gods for us curvy girls. I have not seen one wrap dress that isn’t unflattering, and thanks to the wrap function they can be pulled as tight as the wearer chooses which means it’s perfect for hot weather, because you’re not getting too sticky in the heat. I picked up a wrap dress in Brighton when were hit with a sudden heat wave and I was caught short (i.e wearing black jeans) and I love it.

I’m planning on bringing it on my holidays whilst also wearing it in the UK on out-out nights, it’s got it all.

The Cherry on the Top – Hats

I have – many times – in the past, forgotten this little life saver and have ended up with a burnt scalp, which isn’t fun or pretty at all. Thing is it is really hard to find a nice hat of your holiday, as I’m (personally) not a fan of fedoras and don’t really fancy a cheesy slogan written across my hat, as seems to be the rage right now.

In absence of $400 to buy the Gucci boater hat, I wanted to look a bit closer to home – and more reasonably priced. I actually picked up this little beauty in Primark for £4. It sits nicely on the back of my head, has a nice little bow t the back and I don’t feel it looks fedora-y at all.

Links to items in this post can be found below:

  1. Yellow H&M Swimsuit
  2. H&M High Waisted Bikini Bottoms
  3. South Beach Tie Swimsuit
  4. H&M Paper Bag Shorts 
  5. ASOS Design Paper Bag Shorts
  6. H&M Shorts with Tie Belt
  7. & Other Stories Crepe Skirt
  8. Nobody’s Child Split Skirt
  9. ASOS Design Floral Skirt 
  10. South Beach Straw Hat
  11. & Other Stories Straw Hat
  12. Pieces Straw Hat

I hope you enjoyed this post, it’s slightly different to the usual on here, but I hope it’s helped if you’re in need of some Summer fashion inspiration. For more travel updates and pictures you can check out my Instagram @GrundyTravels. Thanks for reading!


The Beginners Guide to Paddleboarding

Picture the scene – 9am, calm and serene open ocean water, the sun already beating down but not too hot, a paddle board underneath you and oar in hand, gliding through the water. Then, give it 5 minutes, and picture me falling off.

Just like my foray into surfing and also into yoga, I am well aware my balance is terrible, but I didn’t realise just how vital this would be to commandeering a paddle board. That may sound stupid, but I suppose in retrospect I went into the whole experience completely unprepared – but regardless, I still had an amazing time.

After searching several beaches on the North of Majorca in the lead-up to the big day, we found Playa de Sant Joan, which was more secluded and picturesque than the neighboring beaches of Alcudia and Es Barcares. I would definitely recommend this seaside spot if you fancy picking up a paddle board yourself, as for 15 euros an hour it’s a pretty good bargain – and trust me, you don’t need more than an hour unless you’re planning on paddling to Ibiza, in which case, fair play to you.

Paddleboarding really is such a great way to have an incredible hour (or few) out on the open water. Personally I found that paddling out at 9am was the perfect time – the sun was still on it’s way up so it wasn’t as hot as the peak of the day, but it was still really warm. It made it more refreshing for jumping – or falling in.

Luckily, the benefits of falling off a paddle board right at the beginning is you lose the fear, and it worked for me – I didn’t fall in again! But I have to say it does take a lot of effort to keep your balance, and your best spot to be on the board is right in the middle. You also need to make sure your paddle is the right height – which in retrospect is something I should’ve done before I’d got up on the board.

Of course your paddle board instructor should give you a run-down before you head out onto the water, but just a few tidbits that we learnt from ours. It was recommended to start off paddling on your knees and to get up to standing once out of shallow water, and to paddle as though you’re ‘scooping’ the water away from you.

I also learnt – the hard way – it’s a lot easier to turn round on your paddle board by braking with your paddle, than to try and paddle around 180 degrees… It makes complete sense and you won’t wear yourself out in the process.

I would wholeheartedly recommend giving paddle boarding a try, as it’s a lot more relaxed and peaceful way to explore the ocean and surrounding coves than kayaking – in my opinion. Even better, if you have a goPro like myself you can purchase body straps or – as I did – attach your flexible stand to the paddle – to grab some great snaps from the water.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you are thinking of giving paddle boarding a go sometime soon I hope this has been of some help. For more travel updates and pictures you can check out my Instagram @GrundyTravels. Thanks for reading!

Summer Daze in Pollença

I don’t think there’s any better feeling than getting to the top of a 365 step climb in 30 degree heat to find a little bar at the top – especially with 2euro Sangria on the menu. Of course, this cute little bar isn’t the intended end goal of the breathless climb, as at the top of the bleached steps in Pollença, the Calveri chapel sits as the cherry on top of the very warm cake.

I have to admit I went into Pollença completely unprepared for what was to come, but reaching the top of the Calvari steps was a highlight of my most recent trip. I started off hesitant, and quite resistant to the challenge, but it’s something I’m glad we did, for you’re rewarded with an incredible view of Pollença from the top.

And plus, 365 steps – one for every day of the year as my boyfriend pointed out – doesn’t sound like that many, but in the peak of a 30 degree day it is quite a feat…

Said Calveri chapel was once owned to the Knights Templar, and it can be accessed by the impressive climb, lined with boutiques and villas where you stop to catch your breath and look back across Pollença town towards the mountains beyond. Of course, once you’re there you can reward your climb with a refreshing glass of Sangria to toast your heroic journey – just as the Knights would’ve wanted…

The medieval town is frequented by tourists, but still seems to be favored by the locals. Unlike Port de Pollença – the town’s more popular and busier seaside resort – you won’t find your usual holiday souvenir shops, but more likely laid back boutiques with jewellery, bags and home trinkets for sale.

Luckily for me I also has my eye on the straw bags I had seen around Majorca and wanted to pick one up for myself. And even better, the higher up the steps I walked, the cheaper these bags seemed to drop in price.

Sangria and shopping for handbags aside, walking through the bleached streets was a calm and sleepy little town, which covers the majority of the Majorcan town, and looks gorgeous in the peak of the sunny day. It has a laid back feel and a calm demeanor, with locals and tourists intertwined, dotted around the town in the various cafes and bars on offer, to offer a pit stop and shade from the heat.

Sitting on the North side of Majorca – a slightly less frequented by the British tourists than the popular South of the Island with Palma and Magaluf, it’s sleepy streets benefit from being in a quieter atmosphere.

If you have any plans to visit the Balearic isle anytime soon I’d definitely recommend a visit to Pollença, if not to laze through the side streets in search of trinkets, then give the 365 steps a go, and reward yourself with a sangria on me…

I hope you enjoyed this post, it’s slightly different to the usual on here. For more travel updates and pictures you can check out my Instagram @GrundyTravels. Thanks for reading!

The Best Rooftop Bars Around the World

If there’s one vital travel lesson I’ve learnt in the past year – it’s to find the best view in any city you need to head to a rooftop bar. Sure, you can splash out on tickets to the nearest tourist trap and head up for your skyscraper view or you can follow the Grundy Travels train of thought – rooftop bar = view + drink.

I’m lucky enough to have travelled to quite a lot of countries throughout the past year, and in the process I’ve tried quite a few rooftop bars – all in the name of research of course. Below is a round-up of my favourite I’ve been to from around the globe, to stop, grab a drink and watch the world go by – from the top.

Mr Purple in NYC

I am so, so happy we came across Mr Purple, especially on such a gorgeous and sunny day in New York so we could have an incredible view of the infamous skyline. Because of it’s location you can see both The One World Trade Center and The Empire State building on either side, and an incredible view of the bustling New York streets below. It was a bit too chilly for a dip when I was visiting last time, but in the Summer heat it would be a great spot to stop and dip your toes in their infinity pool.

Like the majority of bars in New York it does have a pricey drinks menu to match, but I can confirm the drinks are pretty tasty, and the food menu looks divine too. If the weather isn’t great when you’re visiting it still has a great indoors area, which has floor to ceiling high windows – enough to still get a good view. Mr Purple is actually located within a hotel, so it’s not clearly signposted from the street – which means it’s a (perhaps not so well) kept secret…

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Park, Lisbon

Hidden on the fourth floor of a car park – yes really – PARK is a raised terrace bar with a gorgeous view of the Lisbon skyline including it’s infamous bridge and river. It is dotted with bars situated inside, and has an outdoor terrace to sit back and relax with friends and a giant Aperol Spritz.

The menu isn’t too pricey considering what an incredible view you get, and there are plenty of options to go large and get jugs of cocktails… It is a gorgeous spot to stop at when the sun is setting, so you can see all the way out to the bridge, and if you have excellent vision, maybe even spot the tiny Christ The King statue on the other side of the river.

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Neni/Monkey Bar, Berlin

Even though this bar is enclosed, it definitely still counts as a ‘rooftop’ bar, and you can’t dispute that once you’ve seen the incredible view from the top. Not only do you get a view across Berlin, but right next door is the Berlin Zoo so you have a birds eye view directly into the monkey enclosure, which is quite an incredible sight from above.

Monkey Bar is the cocktail bar with plenty of room to kick back with a creative cocktail and admire the view, or you can pop to Neni for something to eat, and I can vouch that the food is absolutely delicious (it’s where I had my birthday meal…). Not only does it have a beautiful view of the Berlin skyline, but the interior decoration is pretty great too.

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La Terrasse at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann in Paris

On top of the most extravagant shopping department stores I’ve ever seen is La Terrasse, which has both the option to sit outside in the good weather, or inside their big ice-bubble. You can stop for a coffee, lunch or something to drink, all whilst taking in the view from the top.

You don’t actually even need to stop for something to eat as there is a viewing deck that’s free to access, but it’s always a better experience with a glass of fizz in your hand. You can of course spot the Eiffel Tower in the difference, but it’s fun to watch the Parisian streets bustling by below you.

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Sushi Samba London

I can’t finish this post without a shout-out to my own city, with Sushi Samba in London. You can stop for dinner – although you’ll have to book in advance – but you can rock up on the day for a spot at the bar. The cocktail menu is extensive and creative, and there are still bar snacks on offer if you’re peckish – but it can be quite pricey.

The view you get from the top is incredible – especially at night – as you’re right in the middle of London’s skyline and incredibly close to the infamous Gherkin. Speaking of heights, the journey up in the elevator is not for the faint hearted, as it’s completely surrounded in glass, which offers an incredible view of London on your way up to the bar, but may not be best for those who are not a fan of heights…

I’m not sure about you all but that round up of bars has made me really in the mood to go and find a cocktail… preferably with a rooftop view to match… I hope you enjoyed this round up of rooftop bars, if there are any essential bars I need to try please let me know in the comments! Otherwise, more travel updates and pictures are updated daily on my Instagram @GrundyTravels. Thanks for reading!