Our First Night Away in the Camper Van

As some of you may know, Tom and I (but mostly Tom!) converted a Renault Trafic into a camper van earlier this year. After months of insulating, building and decorating, we were very excited to have our first night away!

*Side note - if you would like to find out how we carried out the conversion, Tom has made some great videos documenting the process and has also written blog posts on how it was done. Click here for the videos, and here for the blog posts.*

We have a short wheel base van, so it's quite cosy inside - but comfortable! We opted for a Union Jack patterned fold down sofa-bed (which is awesome) and is big enough for the two of us to get a good night sleep. Tom built a table using recycled kitchen work top and MDF, which also looks great - and has loads of storage room underneath!

The walls are covered with felt, and the ceiling is wood panelled. There's also jazzy purple and green lights. We love it!

We spent our first night away next to the sea in Hamble. It was lovely to wake up at 6am to this view!

I'm looking forward to many more nights away in our van!

A Day at the Warner Bros Studio Tour!

As you may - or may not - know, I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Who isn't? We decided to visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour (this was my third time!) to see the new things that had been added. I'll be honest - excitement levels were high!

If you haven't visited the studio tour yet, be warned - there are spoilers ahead. If you don't mind seeing some sneaky peeks - read on!

One of the additions to the tour was a scene set up to demonstrate the camera tricks used when Hagrid was on screen - super flattering of course!

Another new addition was the Forbidden Forest - containing Buckbeak!

The most exciting new part of the tour was Platform 9 3/4 - complete with a huge steam train!

Obligatory Platform 9 3/4 tourist photo...

Butterbeer is well worth a taste if you ever visit the tour - it's super sweet and very creamy! Perfect for achieving a foam moustache.

Winter Boating in the Solent

I love living on the South Coast, and having access to a boat allows us to get views not accessible to most people! Over the winter months, Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent are almost empty - allowing us brave folk to head out for some beautiful days on the water.

On this particular day, Tom and I were helping out a friend with some safety boat assistance over in Southampton Water - and it proved to be a beautiful day (albeit with a very early morning). Tom's an expert at driving his RIB - so he's usually at the helm. I'm not too bad myself though!

I'm excited for us to squeeze in a few boat trips this winter so that we can enjoy beautiful days like this one!

Franco Manca at West Quay

If you live anywhere near Southampton, or visit regularly, you'll know that West Quay recently had a facelift, with a huge new selection of restaurants - which is very exciting indeed! After a tiring day walking round IKEA (which is always fun) we found the lure of new restaurants very appealing. 

We ended up choosing pizza - which is always a good idea. It was our first time visiting Franco Manca, and we were definitely impressed.

Franco Manca specialise in fresh sourdough pizza, wood fired and topped with local ingredients.

They also have a great selection of appetisers - we opted for Burrata & Salami.

One of the things I liked most about Franco Manca was how reasonably priced all the food was - with pizzas ranging from £4.95 to £8.25 - which is definitely hard to find in a restaurant! The pizzas were delicious, the staff were all friendly and the atmosphere was welcoming. I'd highly recommend a visit if you have a Franco Manca near you!

The coffee was also pretty good..

I'm always on the hunt for a good pizza restaurant (who isn't?) - so I'd love to know if you have any recommendations! Let me know in the comments what your favourite pizza place is.

Christmas in Devon

Last Christmas, (I know - I'm so behind!) we went away to Devon for a few days with Tom's family. Unfortunately it didn't snow - but the cottage was still very festive and cosy!

I've never had dogs before, so I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to go out for (slightly soggy) walks!

One of my presents to Tom was a drone - which I still consider to be an awesome gift! We did discover that they definitely require some skill to fly though...

We had a lovely, cosy time away and it was perfect for the slightly rainy Christmas period.

Gunwharf Quays Fireworks Night

Last November, Tom and I went out on the boat with his family to watch the Gunwharf Quays fireworks. We moored up at Haslar Marina to get the best view in the house - and even better, there was no one else there, so it was a bit of a private showing!

I'd highly recommend heading out to watch the Gunwharf Quays firework display if you haven't before - whether you watch from Gunwharf itself, from the water or from Portsdown Hill, they'll definitely look amazing! They are usually a few days after Bonfire night, meaning you are able to see fireworks twice. Awesome!

Travelling Home from Padstow

The sun decided to come out and greet us for our last full day in Padstow - which made for some pretty photos! (and gave us a great excuse to have another ice cream...)

If you've ever been to Padstow, you'll know it's full of art galleries, each with a different range of items on display. We popped into one, and found some awesome paintings by a local artist.

We came across a cocktail bar that specialised in Gin - lots and lots of different Gin and Tonic combinations. It was a pretty good tipple!

We drove home the next morning - and that was the end of our little holiday!