& Other Stories Dress | Radley Bag* | Primark Sandals 

With only a few months until my 30th (say WHAT?!), I definitely thought I'd have figured out my style by now.
I mean, I mostly know what works for me, but there's still times when I'll order something knowing it won't be right, but thinking that maybe this time it will. It normally ends up in tears, with lots of regret and a huge amount of sighing at having to deal with that ever-growing returns pile. And then I normally repeat the whole process again in a few months...
Just incase something changes.
FYI, it doesn't.

For me, my style is fairly simple. What once used to be a wardrobe full of fast fashion, is now a mixture of key pieces, timeless fabrics and those slightly more expensive purchases that I know I MUST get my wear out of. Along with some cheap and cheerful I'll-wear-this-for-a-season clothes.
Because, we all have those quick (and last minute planning) fixes. Right?

I like things that I can wear for all occasions (well mostly), such as this dress. I bought it on a whim when I was last minute panicking over having nothing to wear for a wedding. I tried it on, and thought that even if I didn't end up wearing this on the day, I'd wear it all summer.
And for once, I stuck to that.
I wore it to the wedding (and continued to ask if I looked OK, because I was the only girl in black, and well, is black REALLY a good choice for a wedding?) and I've worn it pretty much every week since.
It just works.
For the heatwave. For the office. For drinks with the girls. For some dinner with the male. And for basically, anywhere I go.
And, I've also been using my new Radley bag, almost as much as I've been wearing this dress. Except not AS much, because once my card holder, perfume, keys, lipstick and tissues are in there, there's no room for my phone (8plus in case you're wondering). But it's cute, and fits well with the rest of my wardrobe - so I'm happy to sometimes sacrifice the tissues.
I mean, tissues are practical and all, but cute bags are nicer.

So, I guess until Autumn starts to arrive, I'll continue wearing this dress, that for once has served the purpose of wedding guest outfit, and everyday attire (hooray for once!). And maybe even then, I'll just throw a fitted black jumper on underneath, to wear it all year round.
Actually, that's not such a bad idea.
And then the tissues can live happily up my sleeve.
Oh, I like this idea already. Maybe I do have my style figured out after all...

More like my life hacks.


Now that I'm a lady of leisure (well, to a certain extent - we can all pretend), I'm trying to make it my mission to accompany the male more on his work trips. Also known as: find where he's going and then plan my own little trip around it.
So when he had Scotland in his diary for a day on my first week of freedom, it was a no brainer to go and explore the sights of Edinburgh again, but this time in Summer. I'd visited a few Christmas' ago, and fell in love with the city and it's places, but instead of staying central, I knew there was other spots I wanted to visit (also, stalking Louise's IG).
And what better time to start learning all about time alone and appreciating your own company, than this trip. With an optimistic mind, a fully charged phone and a book in my bag, I jumped on the flight to Glasgow excited for the day ahead.

I'd seen gorgeous pictures and heard lovely things about Stockbridge, so with the weather being beautiful and it not far from the centre, I headed that way as soon as I arrived into Edinburgh. I found myself wandering down streets that I didn't need to, purely just to admire all of the houses - before stumbling upon Circus Lane.
Circus Lane is beyond beautiful, and so very picturesque. The houses are quaint, well looked after and full of colour and life. And even through the stroll down this lane merely lasted only a few minutes, I found myself falling in love with Edinburgh just that little bit more for all of their cute lanes and mews.

I wanted to be a little prepared for this trip, more in the way of somewhere to lunch. Louise had mentioned a few places to lunch in Stockbridge, and with The Pantry being moments from Circus Lane, it seemed like the perfect pit stop for lunch.
They had some delicious options and being an indecisive person, only made it trickier, but I opted for their U.S.A (ubiquitous smashed avocado) alongside a fresh pot of peppermint tea. The Pantry is a lovely little spot, with cute interiors and a relaxed setting.
I've never lunched alone before (not in a cafe anyway), so it felt a little strange, but I had my book and in between uploading my photos to IG (of course), felt proud for doing it alone. It was, actually, kinda nice.

Dean Village wasn't somewhere I'd heard of until recently, and I can't quite believe that this not-so-hidden gem is only a 10 minute walk from the centre. It's an absolutely beautiful oasis, with cobbled streets and storybook Victorian cottages and the Water of Leigh. 
I merely spent my time wandering around, exploring all the different lanes and corners and admiring all of the charm, wondering whether it was possible to move into one of the houses.
A definite must visit when you're in Edinburgh, because it's completely full of so much charm.

I'm not a coffee drinker, but with minimal phone battery (I wouldn't normally mind but I needed it for my boarding pass home later!) and in need of a refreshment, I stopped by The Milkman as I was heading back towards the centre from Royal Mile. I'd snapped a photo of the quaint coffee shop when I first visited nearly two years ago, so I was eager to head in. Siting with a book in hand, an iced coffee to my side (and my phone firmly on charge), I happily sat in one of their corners for over an hour. For such a small space, it was a fairly popular spot and I can see why. For someone who doesn't really drink coffee, I'm currently thinking about their Iced Coffees...

Edinburgh truly is such a beautiful city, and I can't wait to head back again at some point, for another day of exploring. Because, this city has so much to offer, and I feel like I haven't even covered half of it.
It's a bold statement, but I actually think that Edinburgh might just be one of my favourite places.

Perfectly placed up a winding mountain road, perches Cantaloupe Levels. Picturesque with views for days and daybeds that you'll never want to leave.
Yep, we felt at home the moment we'd changed into our swimwear and relaxed on the daybeds.

A little like Cantaloupe Aqua, upon arriving you're instantly swept away into another stylish, yet intimate location. Whilst a boutique hotel, it felt much more like a hidden jungle getaway, where you'd only find this place either by spotting it from afar or being in the know. The views are unbelievable, that no amount of photos or videos (I took a fair amount) could quite express just how incredible it is to wake up and see infinite ocean and coastal views, and Galle Fort glistening in the distance. From waking up in the morning, to having dinner in the evening, the location was just the place to constantly overwhelm and take your breath away. 
Basically, so much green!

Swimwear on, sunscreened up, and books in our hand, we decided to embrace Cantaloupe Levels in true style. 
By not leaving for those two days.

From walking up the two flights of stairs, we instantly knew we were in for a treat. With floor to ceiling windows, a king-sized bed and the perfect lounges to lay back on and watch the world go by beneath you, Cantaloupe Levels makes you feel zen pretty quick.
We stayed in the Suite Dreams suite and let me tell you, suite dreams it was. We slept like babies, and woke up feeling like royalty with that view overlooking Galle Fort. We had plenty of room to potter around in (also just embrace cooling down with the A/C), however found ourselves spending most of the day by the pool.
A little like Cantaloupe Aqua, there really is nothing quite like waking up to a view, and being able to essentially roll out of bed and into the pool.
That's the good life to us.

Much like everywhere, you want somewhere that's classed as a good location. As far as Cantaloupe Levels go, this was a pretty sweet spot. Whilst we didn't do much in the area, it was only a short Tuk Tuk ride down the road towards Galle. Overlooking out to Galle, you can see there's a fair amount to do, with the trading port, and endless lanes full of stylish cafes and boutiques. There's also the famous Lighthouse which is worth a visit.
Closer to Levels, you can walk to visit the Japanese Peace Pagoda temple (make sure to cover up!), or head for a Jungle Beach Trek which apparently is beautiful for sunset.
Or make like us, and just literally hideaway in the jungle, surrounded by greenery, pool vibes and plenty of Dhal!

Talking of Dhal, the food at Cantaloupe Levels was beyond incredible. 
Breakfast did not disappoint, with a huge selection of foods, including traditional Hoppers and Rotis, as well as all of the fruit your heart could desire. We're not really creatures of habit, but we definitely ordered the same thing each morning, just because we liked it.
By lunchtime, we'd be snacking on the poolside menu, with dishes such as Jackfruit Hummus & Crudities, Seeni Sambol on Flatbread and of course Dhal. And by evening, we'd be debating over which Sri Lankan dish to have before opting for one of their Viyanjanaya's which didn't disappoint. And also came with Dhal. So double wine.
Genuinely, the Dhal was that amazing. So much so, that I did much have it for every meal.
When in Sri Lanka and all that...

After a hectic trip, we wanted to spend our last few days just lounging. So when we eyed up the pool, complete with daybeds and sun loungers, we knew we'd planned our trip the right way round.
As I said above, we literally spent the few days at Levels lounging. We had our books, some music and merely dipped in and out of the pool, with nothing but calmness around us. It was so peaceful (and hot), that we felt truly relaxed.
Which is definitely what we wanted.
Also, it reminded us a little of our trip to Miami. We could have quite easily stayed here for a few extra days.. If only!

So if a few days unwinding after a whirlwind trip around the island, is your thing - then we couldn't recommend Cantaloupe Levels enough. It's the perfect spot for complete relaxation in a beautiful jungle setting. And, a little romantic too.
We'll never get over that view. Not ever.

*We were guests of Cantaloupe Levels, but all photos and thoughts are my own

Both a calm yet playful paradise, Cantaloupe Aqua is one of those places that however beautiful the photo, it will never do it justice.
That beach looks so calm right? Even calmer in real life.
And the mist between the sea and the sky? Even more breathtaking in person.

Upon arriving into the gated property, you're instantly swept up into this stylish yet tranquil beach getaway and with the most beautiful view of blue skies and seas directly ahead. After four nights of endless travel, we definitely felt we'd booked Cantaloupe Aqua at the right time, for a little bit of R&R and a chance to catch some well deserved rays. Within moments we instantly felt at home, making full use of the outdoor space, taking up any opportunity to sit and chat over a Corona or three. And get lost in thought at how incredible it was to be looking out at the Indian Ocean with nothing directly opposite us (our minds are blown pretty easily).
Absolute bliss. That's what.

So with our brains well and truly switched off, our swimwear on and our stomachs happy with the choice of food, we decided that we didn't want to leave Cantaloupe Aqua. Not for a while anyway.

There's having a room with a sea view, and then there's having a room with a sea view at Cantaloupe Aqua. 
Have you ever seen so much blue? We're talking blue on blue on blue.
As soon as we opened the door to our Aqua Chic room, we knew we were in for a treat. With floor to ceiling windows, a king-sized bed, a balcony overlooking the bay and an infinity Jacuzzi, this was the true definition of tranquility. There was plenty of space to roam around in, and although we spent majority of it downstairs surrounded by the sea, it was nice to escape back to the room for an afternoon nap or some downtime on the balcony.
For me, there really was nothing like waking up, with the blinds up from the night before, watching as the morning light shines in and the view of the ocean to look out onto.
It really is the simple pleasures of travel for us. And a good night sleep!

Within minutes of entering the hotel, we were greeted with warmth and care and a refreshing glass of Coconut Water (I'll admit, we're not Coconut fans, but when you've been sitting in a car for four hours, it was delightful). Throughout our two nights at Aqua, everyone constantly checked in on us, asking how our stay was and if we needed anything (we're pretty chill!). They'd ask us about our lives back home, and be eager to talk about their culture and traditions, which we found thoroughly interesting. Sri Lankans are known for their friendliness, and with the staff at Aqua, they definitely were just that. 
We never felt unwelcome, and actually, were treated like absolute royalty.

Locations are always a big deal depending on what you want out of your trip. For us, we'd been travelling around the country; in the mountains, the jungle, the city and a busy town, so being beach side for a few days was the perfect chance to just slow down.
Cantaloupe Aqua is located in Talpe, Unawatuna and known for its coral reef and palm-lined beached. Whilst backing onto the main road which heads towards Galle, you instantly feel worlds away with the private gated entrace, and only views of the sea and soft white beach infront of you.
The village of Talpe is quiet, so we found there was little to do, so took enjoyment in taking walks along the beach as the sunset. And with a delicious menu in the hotel, perfectly paired with a bottle of wine, the sleepy village we were in didn't quite matter, as we listened to the waves crashing over the rocks and relished in just how beautiful of a country Sri Lanka is.
It truly is a beautiful place.

At home we're not really that great at breakfast, but as soon as you're elsewhere, it almost becomes standard. And let me tell you, breakfast at Cantaloupe Aqua did not disappoint. 
Not one bit.
Each morning, we were both greeted with a fresh fruit platter, alongside fruit juice. We'd then debate over what to order, before settling on a firm favourite of Avocado Toast and Omelette. On the last morning, the chef kindly brought out his favourite Banana Pancakes with a side of Buffalo Curd. Having visited the local market the day before, we'd been eager to try the Curd they talked about, and a little like a Greek Yoghurt, it was sharper. More bitter. But the best combination with their sweet and tasty pancakes.
Sitting al fresco, overlooking the sea with no awareness of time was one of the things we loved most about this stay, and if we could, we'd have made breakfast last until dinner time..

Now we're fans of cooking (the male more so), so when we got the chance to try the Culinary Demonstration that Cantaloupe Aqua offer, we were there with bells on (OK once I'd finally persuaded the male that setting a morning alarm would only happen once on the trip). We set off to the local market in the morning with Exec Chef, Nandana to check out all the local produce - with the first stop at the fish stands. Which, isn't really where I liked to be...
I gently broke the news to Nandana that I'm vegetarian, so after a little story about the fishermen and how far they travel in their tiny boats (it's truly incredible and I appreciated THAT part), we swiftly headed towards Galle to browse the colourful fruit and veg on offer. I can't quite express how much wonderful fresh produce they have, and actually, how proud they are of this. 
That's what I loved.
We then headed back to the hotel, and popped on our aprons and paper hats, preparing to cook 7 delicious Sri Lankan dishes. It's fair to say that when Nandana declared we'd be making Dhal, it took all of my restraint not to kiss the man - I love Dhal.
And I now love proper Sri Lankan Dhal even more.
We also really like fresh coconut in our salad too. 

Whether you're looking for a few days relaxation or in need of a pit stop during your whirlwind trip around Sri Lanka, we'd definitely recommend a stay at Cantaloupe Aqua. As soon as you're greeted with nothing but the Indian Ocean in sight, you're instantly left feeling calm.
And debate if you'll ever come home again.

We may have, but we're already thinking up our reasons to go back again..

*We were guests of Cantaloupe Aqua, but all photos and thoughts are my own
It's been a while since I did a Life Lately post, considering all I've done in the past 18 months is eat everything, travel more than usual and sleep very little. But I'm back again, sharing all things daily life to trips, because to me, that's where it all started for Little Winter. And alas, weekends in this household (and week days for that matter...) are for catching up with friends over a few Aperol Spritz and gins (or wine, we're not fussy) and pizza. After all, is it even summer if you're not hungover and lacking sleep most days?

My job leads me to all kinds of wonderful things, and last week was spent at Taste with Asia de Cuba. After a morning of some stand installing (actually, I can't take credit for this - I totally sat in the sun and helped with the ivy arrangement. Oh and some time-lapses, cause social), we spent the evening debating which dishes to order, admiring all of the beautiful stands (Ketel One have nailed it) before heading to Laurent Perrier for a bottle of the good stuff. THIS is why I love London life.

Last weekend, the girls and I took a spontaneous trip to the New Forest. We headed straight for Lymington where we pottered the quaint streets, ate our body weight in delicious food and refused to leave the cute town without buying an ice cream. Once we'd ordered our favourite flavour (honeycombe for me, Candy Floss for Kim), we jumped back in the car in search of horses. To our delight we came across plenty, along with some baby donkeys - which distracted us right until the evening. Pro tip: don't carry carrots in your handbag - they'll definitely try and befriend you a little too much!

Currently feeling all of the feels for my family who took part in the London to Brighton bike ride. After waving them off at 6.30am on Sunday and falling back asleep, then realising how late I was to get on the road myself, it was tense whether they'd beat me to the finish line (could you imagine, especially considering I was driving?!). Unluckily for them they had a bike issue, which gave me plenty of time to park up, grab a bite to eat (and pop to a few shops) and collate 12 videos of other bikers cross the finish line (I could not let myself miss that moment!). Whilst a brief trip to my favourite seaside town, it's always a pleasure to be there.

I couldn't not share a Life Lately post without this one popping up. What a character he's turned into since we moved to London. With the options of heading outside, some days he merely sits at the back door and declare that plenty of fresh air. And other days, he'll be out whizzing about on the grass for hours on end, inviting all the other cats in the 'hood to our home. Not that I'm complaining, because cats. This is his favourite spot - the perfect place for checking if his food bowls been filled up, keeping tabs on when the front door opens and which neighbour cat is coming in through the back door. He's got it good.

We're always heading home, because there's nothing like spending time with family. So the other weekend, we loaded up the car, picked up Kim and Stew and took them for an adventure to the smallest county of England, Rutland. The weekend was absolute bliss - making ourselves at home in the garden with a glass of wine in hand, evening walks in the field (not so ideal for those with hayfever) and tucking into a delicious home-cooked dinner before curling up for a peaceful night sleep. Once awake and fed (again), we popped on our trainers and went in search of bikes to hire at Rutland Water. With 11 miles under our belts, and a hungry stomach, we finished up the weekend with lunch in Stamford before venturing home, all calm and completely content.

Here's to more weekends like these.

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