A Week in Tenerife

Playa de la Americas Tenerife

The first time I had a holiday in Playa de las Americas, Tenerife, I was about 10 years old and I remember loving the lazy days by the beach and my Dad telling me I should try out a jet ski! (I declined, but I would love to try one out one day!).

I was lucky enough to head back to the island this year for a wonderful week in the canarian sunshine. We relaxed, we explored and we ate and drank through our bodyweight of delicious food and drink. You can’t beat a cold fruity glass of sangria!

Tenerife is such a beautiful island with something for everyone, so if you’re looking for a little bit of holiday inspiration for 2018, here are my recommendations.

We stayed in a hotel which was just on the edge of Playa de las Americas and Costa Adeje. One of the most stand out reasons to choose this side of the island is how this beautiful stretch of coastline offers you the most stunning sunsets. Perfect to watch with a cocktail in hand!

Playa de las Americas is a lively resort resulting in choice for everyone. Restaurants, cocktail bars, beautiful beaches, clubs, shops (credit cards at the ready ladies!), watersports, kids entertainment…you’ll be sure to find the perfect little spot for you and how you wish to spend your holiday. It caters for families, couples and singles alike.

I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite trips and things to enjoy during your stay in Tenerife. Hopefully this inspires you to go and explore this gorgeous island that’s steeped in both natural and manmade history.

Mount Teide

You can’t go to Tenerife without considering a trip to the island’s most focal point. Teide is the third largest volcano in the world from its base. Standing proud at 12,000ft. Originally, Tenerife was actually three different islands, but it was all brought together due to the volcanic activity of Teide.

If you’re not afraid of heights, be sure to book a ticket in advance for the cable car to take you up onto Teide. I’ve done this both this year and when I visited as a child and absolutely loved it both times. It’s a really fun way to travel up to see some beautiful scenery.

Playa de las Americas Tenerife

Teide trip Tenerife

Wild Whales & Dolphins

One of my favourite things to do in Tenerife is to go out on a boat to spot whales and dolphins in the sea. You just can’t beat seeing animals in their natural habitat just doing their thing.

We didn’t manage to see dolphins this time but we saw loads of beautiful pilot whales including some baby ones too! It was so magical and a real privilege to see them.

We went out on a catamaran and paid a little more (about 10 Euros) to have a lovely VIP bed on the front of the boat, which is really worth doing if you get a chance to.

Playa de las Americas Tenerife

Whales Playa de las Americas Tenerife

The City of Garachico

It’s definitely worth exploring the different areas on the island, and one place I’d really recommend is Garachico.

This city is full of history to discover all about the lava flows that came from the eruptions many years ago. We had a guide to walk us around the town, so I’d recommend a guided tour or grabbing a Tenerife guidebook that may explain all about the town and its history.

If you’re a strong swimmer, I’d recommend packing a swimsuit to jump in and enjoy the rocky pool areas by the sea! Waves flow in to this secluded area of water, creating a really fun place to swim (like a wave machine in a pool, but a naturally made one!). We watched person after person jump in and enjoy themselves, we were quite jealous we couldn’t join them!

Garachico City Church Tenerife

Exploring Garachico Tenerife

Rock Pools Swimming Garachico Tenerife

Wine Tasting & Food to Enjoy

Tenerife and the other canarian islands actually produce a decent amount of wine! We headed up into the hills on a guided tour and wine tasting session, which was great fun and really interesting.

Whenever I travel somewhere, I always try to make an effort to try the local cuisine. In Tenerife it’s all about beautiful seafood dishes. We had a lovely octopus starter in our hotel’s restaurant, but you’ll find a whole host of options either in your hotel or at nearby restaurants I’m sure.

Another typical treat to try are the canarian potatoes, which are divine! These salty tasting potatoes are found everywhere and are most definitely moreish.

As you travel round the island, you’ll be likely to notice the vast amount of banana farms. The bananas over there are a little sweeter to the taste, so definitely try those out too!

Tempted to holiday in Playa de las Americas in 2018?

You may want to pop over to the Holiday Gems website here and discover all the wonderful holidays they have on offer. There really are some beautiful hotels to book on their website. It’s definitely giving me the travel bug once again as I write this!

I really hope this post has given you a flavour of what’s on offer on the stunning island of Tenerife. Why not hire a car and make the most of the island?

*This is a sponsored post thanks to the lovely people at Holiday Gems, but as always my thoughts on the beautiful island of Tenerife are most definitely my own.

Join me on social… Twitter: @Amanda_Alston// Instagram: @Amanda_Alston // Facebook: facebook.com/amandaalstonblog


F1 Pit Stop Challenge with LV=

F1 Pit Stop Challenge

As some of you may know, besides the typical girlie things I love…beauty, fashion, homewares etc. I also love cars! I’ve grown up watching Formula 1 since I was little and have always had a keen interest in cars from a young age, all thanks to my car loving dad. Apparently, even as a toddler I’d go along in the pushchair pointing out car badges and saying their brand names.

Last year I was lucky enough to go to the British F1 grand prix at Silverstone for the first time, thanks to Ian buying me a ticket for Christmas (thank you!). I’ve also been to various other days across the years with family and friends, such as the touring cars (BTCC) which was brilliant. I even took my own car onto the GT86 Drivers Club stand at Japfest Silverstone earlier this year. Here I am driving into the event on the day trying to look really cool haha…it was so much fun!

GT86 Dark Grey Metallic

Now I don’t stand there and say oh yes, I know everything about cars. I really don’t. When it comes to maintenance it’s always been a case of “dad can you help me…” – but after watching him work on my cars and his across the years I have definitely picked up a thing or two.

I really do think that car maintenance and safety is so important and not talked about enough. At the end of the day, we need to realise that having a decent, well-running, safe, secure, insured car is paramount over so many other meaningless things that we splash our money on.

Your car is effectively catapulting you across the country at 70mph – it’s time we made sure we do it safely. Whether that’s doing the checks we should do before long drives, ensuring our tyre tread depth is healthy and that the tyres are pumped up to the specified levels or making sure we don’t do silly things like buying second hand tyres. I mean, just don’t.

LV= (car insurance) have published a really interesting report on car maintenance which you can read *here*, which highlights how few of us prepare properly for our MOTs and also provides us with some super helpful hints and tips on how to be better prepared.

Our F1 pit stop challenge was so much fun and oh my did our competitive sides come out! What seemed like a bit of a laugh turned into a real competition, especially between my team “The Wheel Nuts” and the team from Autotrader.

The car itself and the wheels we used for the challenge were all genuine Mercedes ones used in the 2015 race. It had a proper engine… a Mercedes detailed front wing… how bloomin’ cool!

Female Car Blogger

In teams of 3, we battled against each other to see which team could be the quickest at using the gun to undo the wheel, take the wheel off, put the new wheel on and then use the gun again to secure everything. Now, I’m pretty damn proud that our team managed to get this down to an awesome 3.65 seconds – and I must say, we did do a few changeovers around that mark. No fluke in sight you see, we’re real professionals in the making, ha!

However, team Autotrader pipped us just ever so slightly with 3.10 seconds! Fair play to them, they did a great job and it was so fun competing against them and talking lots of fighting talk haha.

Formula 1 Pit Stop Challenge

Everyone was really up for a good giggle that evening and both us and the Autotrader team went away with some absolutely amazing prizes, so I have to say a big thank you to Talented Talkers and LV= for inviting everyone down to Shoreditch for a night we won’t forget I’m sure.

Grab a nice hot drink and have a little read of LV=’s findings on this link https://www.lv.com/car-insurance/car-maintenance and get your car prepped and safe for the icy winter months ahead.

A big thank you to Kaye Ford as well for the fab photos and videos she provided everyone from the evening. Do go and check this very talented lady out over on her website www.fordtography.co.uk

Join me on social… Twitter: @Amanda_Alston // Instagram: @Amanda_Alston // Facebook: facebook.com/amandaalstonblog

3 Little Holiday Toiletries Packing Tips

Today I wanted to share with you just 3 quick little tips I use when packing toiletries for a holiday. These will help you to reduce your weight and bulk (remember: every little helps!) and leave you with more space for new holiday buys!

Holiday Toiletries Packing Tips

Sachets…sachets of everything!

Sometimes you find them in magazines and sometimes you can even buy them. I find sachets of products really useful, as you can fit them in different little slots in your toiletries bag around the bigger bottled items etc. Plus, once they’re used up on your holiday you just throw the little sachet packaging away and there’s no bulky bottle to bring home. (Top tip: bring scissors to open them easily!)

Holiday Toiletries Packing Tips

Sample perfume = scents galore!

They’re sometimes available from beauty kiosks, you can apply to receive them online and I’m sure they’re found in other places too! These are super useful, so I stash them away for holidays whenever I get one. Not only are they the fraction of the size of a standard perfume bottle, it means you can bring a selection of fragrance with you on your trip. Again, once used up you can just throw the little bottle away.

Holiday Toiletries Packing Tips

“Nearly finished” products

Holidays are a great place to use up products. I do this more on UK holidays when it doesn’t matter about taking heavier/bulkier items. This time (in the beautiful Lyme Regis!) I’ve brought along the rest of my Soap & Glory hand cream, Sainsbury’s face wipes for refreshing my face and neck (they’re a bit rubbish at removing eye makeup!), Olay day cream and a mini bottle of body cream that I took from a hotel – as you do! Again, products that can be used up and thrown away whilst here, thus creating a plethora of space in my luggage to take home any new holiday buys!!

Holiday Toiletries Packing Tips

I hope these 3 quick little tips have got you thinking. Get stashing those little samples and sachets, and feel great once you’ve decluttered those “almost finished” products too.

Have a great trip! :)

Summer Holiday Haul

Hola! Buenos dias!

It’s summer holiday countdown time!! Woohoo!!

Summer holidays get me *way* too excited. I love every part of it. The planning, the packing, the holiday haulin’, the airport, the flying…and of course the holiday itself! The amount of excitement I feel for holidays should probably be illegal.

Where are you off to this summer!? I’d love to know! :) This year I’m off to sunny Lyme Regis in Dorset and then jetting off to the beautiful Balearic isle of Majorca, I cannot wait!!

Whether you’re jetting off far away or having a staycation in the UK, it’s time to get excited over those beautiful summer items dotted all over the shops right now.

Today I’m sharing a little round up of the bits I’ve acquired in recent weeks in case they tickle your fancy…so here goes!!

Pineapple bag new look

Okay, so I’m ridiculously in love with this pineapple bag from New Look. I spotted it a few months ago in store but didn’t buy it as I was feeling the need to reign in on my spending I had to walk away. Buttt…fast forward to my birthday and Ian was so amazing as to buy it for me! Yay!! So this pineapple bag has my name on it and will be coming on holiday with us and I could not be happier.

Poundland Travel Bottle Kit 2

Now this is an absolute bargain that I just had to make you guys aware of! This toiletries travel bag is just £1 from Poundland! Amazing! Considering all other stores seem to charge around the £5 mark for similar things, this is a great buy. Sending a big thank you to my work colleague who bought one of these and made me aware of this little bargain!

Matalan Flip Flops

Matalan Flip Flops 2

These were another bargain buy at just £4 from Matalan. The perfect flip flops for days lazing on the beach or for round the pool when you just *have* to make your way to the bar for happy hour cocktails! If you’re looking for a few cheaper bits for your holidays this year, I’d really recommend heading over to Matalan. I’ve often found some little gems in store (and online!) at a fraction of the price of some high street stores – leaving you with more cocktail money! Perfect!

Tesco Beach Bag 1

Tesco Beach Bag 2

Beach Bag 3

Hellooo beach bag! This a beautiful beach bag if I ever did see one! With it’s pretty and colourful stitched detailing, this bag will pair up with every outfit I throw in my suitcase this summer. With a subtle glimmer from the gold sequins threaded throughout the detailing, it’s great for dressed up and dressed down outfits. You’ll find this little beauty at Tesco for £12. (Top tip: if you collect Tesco Clubcard points, they’re currently running their “Clubcard boost” promotion, allowing you to spend your vouchers on clothes.)

Ann Summers Palm Beach Cover Up
Ann Summers Palm Beach Cover Up 2

Ann Summers…it’s not necessarily the first shop everyone thinks of when they start their holiday shopping, but hey, give these guys a chance! They’re not just all about sexy times ya know!

I was on the hunt for a pool-to-beach cover up that was loose fitting and really lightweight, so when I stumbled across this mesh hot pink little number with 30% off in the swimwear sale, I just had to snap it up! It’s the Palm Beach Cover Up from Ann Summers (click here to view it in its full glory), and it came in at just £10.50. It’s fun, it’s colourful, it covers all the right bits…plus it’s perfectly lightweight for suitcase overpackers like me!!

Ann Summers Sandia Strappy Bikini Top

Ann Summers Sandia Strappy Bikini Top 2

Finishing off my holiday haul is yet another Ann Summers swimwear purchase. The Sandia Strappy Bikini Top – a matching thong is available if you so wish…

Okay, so I don’t envisage myself having a full on sunbathing session in this beauty, as I fear the rather dodgy tan lines I’d receive. However, this is my “get your A into G and work out hard enough before the holiday so you feel body confident enough to wear this” piece – or at least wear it underneath  something like the above cover up… But, isn’t it beautiful!? It’s black, it’s full of strappy goodness and it has a really nice shape, perfect for various sizes of lovely ladies. Fab!


…sooo, after reading through this once again I’ve just got ridiculously excited for my holidays ahead yet again! Yay!

Please feel free to leave links to your hauls, I’d love some further holiday haul inspo!

Happy holidaying!!


48 Hours In London

I have well and truly fallen in love with London. The way in  which you can walk around the city and just stumble across something new and different within a matter of minutes is simply amazing.

A couple of weekends ago me and Ian were lucky enough to spend the weekend in London, exploring like proper tourists. I often travel to London for work purposes, so it was lovely to go there for the sake of adventure and fun times for once.

Sooo, once work was done on the Friday we hopped on a train to London (with me looking like a bag lady – I really need to invest in one of those small roller suitcase things!!). Living in Milton Keynes is great as you can hop on a train and be in London in 40 mins. A tube ride later we arrived at London Bridge in the middle of the hustle and bustle of London. A little walk later and we arrived at our hotel for the weekend…woop!!

We stayed at the Citizen M London Bankside hotel, a rather cool modern hotel with funky pod style rooms……along with an iPad you can control everything in the room with! How bloody awesome is that?! Imagine curtains and blinds moving up and down, the room colours changing like a disco party and music to suit your mood…we were like big kids playing with it! It was great! :D

CitizenM London Bankside

CitizenM London Bankside

CitizenM London Bankside

CitizenM London Bankside

CitizenM London Bankside

The rooms at Citizen M have everything you need, a fridge stocked with yummy drinks & treats – all FREE! A lovely shower with two different shower styles, shampoo & body wash, a safe, a huge XL king size bed AND a normal sized hairdryer which isn’t stuck to the wall and actually works properly! Thank you Citizen M for the hairdryer alone!!

Besides our fab room, they also have a really nice chill out area downstairs. Whether you want to hang out and drink cocktails late into the night or use the working area (with Macs provided) during the day, you’ll be catered for. They also have a great little food area where you can pick up breakfast or a snack 24/7 – 3am drunken munchies!? Sorted!

Sooo…that’s the scene set…but what did we do!?

Friday Night

We decided to stay nearby and head to Pizza Express at London Bridge to grab a nice carby dinner to prep ourselves for the weekend ahead. I had a nice classic American pizza and it was pretty damn lush! And of course it was washed down (I hate that phrase!) with a nice ice cold Peroni.

Staying nearby we walked back through the bustling area back to our hotel (can’t get much more nearby than that I guess..! Ha!) and grabbed a couple of cocktails at the bar. It has such a cool vibe, so it was just nice to sit, chill, drink and just “be”.

Cocktails at CitizenM

Cocktails at CitizenM

Cocktails at CitizenM


Hellooo Saturday! This was our proper full day in London, with no stresses about work being the next day or worries about going to grab the weekly food shop or anything…we were free!!

Earlier in the week it was my birthday (yay!!) so Ian had planned a couple of things for us to do to celebrate. He is a lovely one! So first up we headed to the Shard. How impressive is that building!? Just standing there all tall like “hey!” …Ian had booked us a trip up to the top to soak in the views of London. (Those scared of heights need not apply!!) …woweee! What. A. View!!! We couldn’t have picked a better day, the sun was shining, the sky was clear and we could see for miles. Amazing!! I couldn’t recommend it more. People on the streets below looked like tiny little ants, helicopters flew by and all the key London landmarks were there to be seen. I loved it!

The Shard London

The Shard London

The Shard London

The Shard London

The Shard London

The Shard London

Once our viewing time was up we headed across town (I originally wrote “time” there instead of town – now that would be clever!) …and headed to a big shop called Harrods. You may have heard of it!? I’d never actually been in Harrods before, so it was interesting to see what it was all about. After asking for directions a few times we finally ended up where we wanted to be – that place is con-fus-inggg!

Another birthday treat (spoilt right!?) Ian had booked for us, was to have an afternoon tea! Yay! We opted for the amazing champagne afternoon tea which came with some lovely pink champagne. You can choose a tea of your choice, so I went for the classic English Breakfast whilst we pigged out on a yummy selection of sandwiches (which they replenished with another lot as soon as we finished them!). The scones and cakes were simply amazing too and if that wasn’t enough they also bring you a little dessert in a pot at the end – you will not be left feeling hungry! The atmosphere in there was lovely, a man played fab little tunes on the piano whilst we dined and the friendly waiters attended to our every need. A cup left empty of tea? It was filled! A napkin left on a seat whilst you pop to the loo? They’ll pick it up, fold it and place it carefully back on the table for you! Amazing right!? Feeling very full of sandwiches, cakes and tea we rolled ourselves out of Harrods and explored the surrounding streets of London to soak it all up.

Afternoon Tea Harrods

Afternoon Tea Harrods

Afternoon Tea Harrods

Afternoon Tea Harrods

Later that evening our thoughts did finally return to the thought of food. We headed over to Canada Water to hunt down a cool little foodie place that Ian had discovered online called Hawker House, which is part of the Street Feast London group.

London Fun Times

Fun Times London

A 5 minute walk from the tube station we found it, a warehouse-like building filled with a wide variety of street food traders, bars and loads of seating to sit and chill with your yummy treats! Wow! Could this weekend get any better!? This place is sooooo good! There’s a DJ playing tunes to keep the atmosphere fun and upbeat and I also noticed a cheeky dessert place for those with a sweet tooth. Can Milton Keynes have one of these places PLEASE!? We headed to “Prawnography” (ha!) and had some crab meat fries, which were deeelish! If you ever go out for an evening in London, it’s really worth checking out these guys!

Feeling slightly tipsy, it was time to head back to our hotel…


Our last day :( …but we were determined to make the most of it!!

We had a nice chilled start to our day and checked out around 11am. Citizen M have a room you can pop your luggage in during the day, which is super useful!

London Town

We decided to go and hunt down Petticoat Lane and check out its famous market. I wasn’t too sure what to expect but it was filled with stands selling ex-highstreet branded fashion items and cheap fashionable items. Imagine typically East-end sounding men shouting “come on ladies! All dresses just £3!!!” and people pushing past you (hold on to your bags!)…and you can imagine what it was like. A real bustling market! I managed to pick up a sleeveless jacket (£8) and a lovely stripey shirt (£3). It was fun walking through but I couldn’t have stayed there too long as it was a little crazy!!

Next up was Spitalfields market after a quick sushi stop at Itsu – I am definitely sushi’s latest no1 fan! The market had a lovely atmosphere and had a fantastic array of stalls, from quirky fashion pieces to different types of yummy food. I’ll definitely have to head back one day to check it out properly!

Whilst there, Not On The Highstreet were holding an “offline” event to promote their funky wares. There were workshops for jewellery making and calligraphy, alongside product displays and fun little wooden shed-like buildings that you could walk through and discover interactive displays. We took a walk through one of them and it had walls covered in animals that you could colour in!! How cool!? So we couldn’t say no to a little bit of colouring in!

Colouring In

After Spitalfields we had another little wonder around, but soon realised it was time to head home. We genuinely had such an amazing weekend, I wish I could relive it! It’s definitely one to treasure.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to ThoughtMix who I won the weekend stay through – lucky me!! And of course to Ian for booking some amazing experiences for us to create a weekend to remember.

Until next time London! :)


Useful links:

CitizenM Hotels

View from The Shard

Harrods Afternoon Tea

Street Feast London / Hawker House

A week in Sorrento, Italy

A street in Sorrento

A street in Sorrento

A street in Sorrento

A street in Sorrento

Fruit in Sorrento

Fruit in Sorrento

La Plaza Hotel Rooftop Pool

La Plaza Hotel Rooftop Pool

Inside Sorrento Cathedral

Inside Sorrento Cathedral

Earrings hanging outside of a shop in Sorrento

Earrings hanging outside of a shop in Sorrento

One of Sorrento's many ice cream parlours

One of Sorrento’s many ice cream parlours

Flowers in Sorrento

Flowers in Sorrento

Eating lasagne in Sorrento

Eating lasagne in Sorrento

The ruins of Pompeii

The ruins of Pompeii

Boats at Capri

Boats at Capri

Sorrento bay at twilight

Sorrento bay at twilight

Drinking Prosecco in Sorrento

Drinking Prosecco in Sorrento

Walking through the streets of Ravello

Walking through the streets of Ravello

Looking out at the Amalfi coast

Looking out at the Amalfi coast

You may have noticed from my introductory post that I’ve just travelled to the beautiful place that is Sorrento in Italy. We (me and two of my lovely friends) decided to stay at the Plaza hotel which is just a stone’s throw from the main piazza, so we had plenty of restaurants and shops on our doorstep. Perfect.

We checked in to our hotel, popped up to our room via the lift, unlocked our door and there we were – home for the week. However, within literally 30 seconds of entering our hotel room I was chasing a cockroach with a plastic cup! (Very brave I know! It was a real fight or flight moment!) …aside from that initial little blip, our hotel was lovely, honest! It’s a modern hotel with clean white lines, which is unusual for Italy as most hotels are quite traditional.

The Sorrento streets were full of life (and many scooters, so watch your step!), every turn you took would take you down another small street lined with restaurants, ice cream parlours and little shops.

We had a very busy week discovering the bustling streets of the town, visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum, the Isle of Capri and the stunning Amalfi coast. Pompeii was so vast and it was amazing to see the place in the flesh, it’s chilling to think what happened to the town and its people all those years ago. We also made a visit to Herculaneum, which is a smaller, less well-known, yet better preserved version of Pompeii.

The Isle of Capri was lovely, however, here is a word of warning – don’t sit inside a hydrofoil boat! Now I’m the type of person who enjoys rollercoasters, loves flying and I’ve been on many boats in my time, but this was the first boat to make me feel sick. Very sick. Let’s just say it was quite obvious that the people around us weren’t too pleased with the trip too… We didn’t see that much of Capri, probably because we were more focused on how we were getting back – the first thing we did was book our tickets back to ensure we were on an open top boat! Capri was lovely though from what we did see, very pretty.

Later in the week we booked ourselves onto the Thomson Amalfi Drive coach trip, and we’re so pleased that we did. The views were beautiful! We made stops in towns of Amalfi, Scala and Ravello. In Amalfi, we were given the chance to go on a boat trip, which gave us the chance to look back on Italy’s coastline from the sea. It really was a great little road trip, I’d definitely recommend it.

On the last night we headed up to the hotel’s roof terrace to take in the views of Sorrento by night. I treated myself to a strawberry daiquiri and as I gazed at the stars above I was lucky enough to see a shooting star! It was a bittersweet night, as it was so lovely yet we knew we had to come home the next day.

So to sum things up…what a fantastic holiday we had! I’d highly recommend a trip to Sorrento and the surrounding area. A few favourites from the holiday…

Favourite quote from an Italian man: “In Italy we don’t say ‘ooh, ahh’ we say… mumma mia!!”

My apparent favourite phrase of the holiday: “Thingy ma jiggy thing”

Favourite meals: 1) Fillet steak with porcini mushrooms 2) Cannelloni 3) Lasagne made with meatballs topped with aubergine

Favourite restaurant: Meating – found in a back street just a few metres walk from the main piazza, here you will find delicious steaks cooked to perfection, lovely staff and a few free delicious extras thrown in too. Sit downstairs if you wish to hear a little live background music whilst eating your meal.

Outfit featured: Dress – Primark (old), Hat – Next, Sandals – George at Asda (old), Bag – Mantaray (same style, different colour) Click here to find out more about the Plaza hotel in Sorrento, which we booked through Thomson.

Amanda x

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