Covent Garden Christmas Decorations | Ladies What Travel

LWT life lately – November 2016

Find out what ‘life lately’ has been like for the LWT team…


It’s been a bit of a stressful few months work-wise, but my recent trip to Cambodia made it all worthwhile, as it reminded me why I work my ass off – the chance to go on amazing holidays!

For some unknown reason September/October always seems to be my busiest period for freelance work, so having splurged on more trips than usual this year, it was a chance for me to refill the coffers. I was actually so knackered from the long hours of writing and editing that I saved money by going out very little – my Elder Scrolls Online addiction kept me happily occupied as the longer nights began to draw in.

As well as my thrice-a-year magazine editor role I also gained some possible new clients in the world of chemicals and sustainable energy, which is great news and something that helped push through as the deadlines began to loom.

It hasn’t been all work, work, work though. I had mum come to visit for the weekend which is always nice and I also got to finally cash in my big 2015 Xmas present from Justin – a cooking class with Henry Herbert of Fabulous Baker Brothers fame. I headed to Chipping Sodbury with my good friend Toni and spent a day attempting to make making pies and sausage rolls. It smelt like heaven in that room I tell you! I also got some ‘kneading’ action in with Henry (think Ghost, but with dough and a baking bowl rather than a pottery wheel), which made me come over all weak at the knees!

But after all my hard work came my big reward of the year – my main holiday! This year Justin and I decided to head to Cambodia, where we spent three days in Phnom Penh before heading to Siem Reap for a further seven days to explore the region’s temples.

Exploring some ancient ruins near Koh Ker | Ladies What Travel
Exploring some ancient ruins near Koh Ker.

Unfortunately during the trip with both caught colds as well as having to deal with seven days of upset stomachs each (I’m erring towards blaming the malaria tablets!). This had me keeping a close eye out for toilets for most of the trip (and at one point I even fell over whilst trying to balance on an Asian-style toilet ­– nice one Keri!) but it didn’t stop us making the most of our time there, squeezing in afternoon tea at Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor, heading out to the remote temples of Koh Ker and Beng Melea and experiencing Halloween Pub Street-style!

Halloween in Pub Street, Siem Reap | Ladies What Travel
Halloween in Pub Street, Siem Reap.

In the week since I’ve returned I’ve experienced my first ever World Travel Market (WTM) conference, where Emma and I survived Blogger Speed Networking and even won a two day break to Lublin, Poland, and now I’m settling back in home with the open fire going, I’m starting to plan where I might like to visit next year…

Winning a trip to Poland at WTM | Ladies What Travel
Winning a trip to Poland at WTM!


It’s been a busy couple of months for me both travel and home-wise. Patrick and I took a quick trip up to York to stay at Middlethorpe Hall and although we didn’t have as much time up north as I would have liked, we spent a fun Saturday wandering around the city.

And as you’ve probably seen, I was also in Spain for #InCostaDelSol – a trip organised by Spain in the UK for bloggers and Instagrammers to check out the culture and gastronomy of Málaga and the wider Costa del Sol area. It was such a fun trip and it was really interesting to see how the others on the trip worked and to chat to them all about photography, blogging and many other things. And, of course, to eat some of the best food the region has to offer.

Emma enjoying lunch at a vinyard.

As Keri has mentioned, we nipped across to WTM for a couple of days – it was our first visit and it was an exhausting but valuable experience…my map collection and list of places to visit both grew exponentially in the two days we were there.

In normal life, I have a day job as well as being a freelancer. It’s entirely different from everything else that I do which I actually really value as I love the variety. I work as a finance assistant and I am currently working through accounts technician training by distance learning. It can be slow going fitting it around everything else but I’ve just finished a whole level and am about to crack open the books for the next stage.

All that means I’ve not had time to read as much as I usually do, but I do keep my copy of ‘The Atlas of Improbable Places’ on my desk to flick through when I get a spare moment!


This past month I’ve been mainly doing a lot of driving! My husband’s family and friends are up in Manchester so we’ve been travelling up to see them and do a little bit of exploring along the way.

I love the road trips because it gives us a chance to catch up properly and create an epic playlist. This time around, we’ve been exploring the city’s Northern Quarter – its independent boutiques and delicious eateries – and we discover new ones every time we come up!

Apart from that, it’s planning for Christmas and organising all the social events that the festive time of year brings – Christmas markets, lantern festivals and work parties. There’s also a handful of amazing gigs coming up too; Frank Turner, Placebo and Bullet For My Valentine, which promise to be great. It’s been a busy one!

Louise in Manchester | Ladies What Travel
Louise in Manchester.


Work is very busy at the moment as it’s coming up to our events season, but even though it can be stressful at times, I do love it. This job also lets me go to some pretty amazing places for work too. A couple of weeks ago I was at Parliament for a campaign launch by the University of Sheffield. I ended up being mega early because I’d been told it may take a while to get through security and then I got lost in the maze that is Parliament, but what a place to get lost in – it’s stunning!

My family recently stayed in Buxton, Derbyshire for a long weekend to celebrate my cousin’s 30th, my uncle’s 60th and my Grandma’s 80th birthdays. There were eight of us in total including my cousin’s little girl Heidi and her Jack Russell, Suki. I’ve never been in a house so big! It came complete with two sitting rooms, a games room, a huge garden, a cinema room (we watched Strictly’ on the big screen!) and – the best bit – a swimming pool! I bought a flamingo pool float that I discovered during my research for our Xmas travel lovers gift list and we had a blast!

Flamingo float pool fun | Ladies What Travel
Laura and Heidi having fun on the ‘mingo!

It actually snowed a little bit while we were there, only a small flurry, but it was still snow. We went for a walk around one of the parks close by and the autumnal sunshine made for some stunning photos!

Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens in the autumnal sunshine | Ladies What Travel
Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens in the autumnal sunshine.

I am ready to fully embrace Christmas now Halloween and Bonfire Night are over – I think I love the run up more than I do the actual day! While the John Lewis and Aldi adverts are good, you can’t beat the Coca Cola one. As soon as I see that, that’s it – full on ‘Tinsel Mode’ begins! My department at work never really did Christmas until I started working there, which I wasn’t having any of. So I went out, bought some decs and decorated around them until they gave in! I’ve also introduced Chocolate Orange Month, which starts in November and carries on until the last day in the office. We basically all bring in anything chocolate orange-y we can find and gorge ourselves every day, it’s great!

Covent Garden Christmas Decorations | Ladies What Travel
The Christmas lights in Covent Garden made Laura smile on a very cold and drizzly morning in London this month.

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One Comment

  • Ania

    It sounds like you have all been busy and having a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to hearing more about Keri’s trip to Cambodia, and am envious of Louise’s upcoming concerts!

    I hope you all have some fun plans for winter/Christmas, and are also busy planning your next breaks in the sun.

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