Home and Away – Home Swapping and Renting

Alex and I are currently camping out at his parents house while they are away, as we are renting our place out via Airbnb again. This is the second week in a row that someone has rented our home and as much as I miss my creature comforts, it has meant that we can now afford a long awaited trip to Berlin in October. I’ve been dying to get there for years and can’t wait! I love to travel and without home swapping or renting our place out on occasion, we certainly wouldn’t be able to do it as much as we do. We’re pretty frugal when on holiday and it helps that we don’t like to take in the usual tourist attractions. We’re just happy to roam the streets sucking up free atmosphere!

This year, a few of our really good friends have chosen to get married over Christmas – One in India and the other Australia. With the peak season flight prices and increasing workloads around the festive season, we have had to pass and unfortunately can’t go to either. No amount of saving would have covered the costs and we couldn’t get any home swaps. Christmas is always a tricky time for those. Most long distance swappers like to swap for over three weeks and we only had a max of two. We really struggled to make the decision to turn down the invitations, but it just didn’t work for us. *sad face*
If all of my friends would move back to the UK, that would be much appreciated!

Anyway, mustn’t grumble. I’ve got more travel out of this year than I expected and have been a lot luckier than many that have never ventured outside of the UK. For those of you that are keen to know more about home swapping or renting someone’s pad below are a few links that you may find useful. There are hundreds of site out there, but these are the ones that have worked for me over the years. You do have to pay to register on the worthwhile sites, but if you search in Google, there are often promo codes or free site trials. Give it a go if you can and see more of the world than you might have done otherwise.

Home Swapping:

http://www.booking,com – Select apartments

Have you every considered home swapping or renting out when you can?

My favourite room in our home…

Home and Away - Home Swapping and Renting






The One Where She Baked a Cake for the Dentist

Excuse the blogging silence. I’ve been feeling a bit down in the dumps. Nothing serious – Just more tooth pain and yet more dental work. Today, Foursquare tells me that I have checked into my dental surgery for the 12th time this year. Twelve times. After not going for seven years… Can you believe it?! I decided to bake my dentist one of my favourite cakes (add more ginger), just because he has been pretty nice and is dealing with his nervous patient very well. I also baked myself a cake, but currently can’t eat it because my face is all swollen and sore… Poor me.

Other than that, nothing exciting has been happening this end. We rented out our house via Airbnb last weekend (to help pay towards the repair of our blocked kitchen sink), and came to stay at the in-laws house whilst they were away. It’s Thursday now and we still haven’t moved back. I’m not sure why, as its only half an hour away, but we’ll definitely pack up and move back for the weekend. Betsy the Chihuahua has learnt to run up and down the stairs here and keeps chasing Fat Cat around the house, so I think we need to leave pronto, if not for the cats sanity alone!

It’s my birthday in a few weeks and I accidentally made a few online purchases a few days ago, whilst looking for ideas for my wishlist. Oops.  I’m not really one for birthday celebrations, but am using it as an excuse to buy more lotions and potions to make my face feel a bit more bouncy! This time I have opted for some Indeed labs products from Boots as there is another three-for-two offer on at the moment. I’m testing out the Hydraluron Moisture Booster, Peptabright and Eysilix Instant Eye Rescue and will let you know how I get on with them all. I can tell you that after only a few days of using the Moisture Booster my skin is feeling a lot more hydrated… Now I’ll just sit and wait for it all to take 10 years off!

Until next time x

The One Where She Baked a Cake for the Dentist


The Retro Festival

So, my on-off plans to go to The Vintage Festival are officially off. The festival was cancelled just two weeks before it was due to take place, due to poor ticket sales. They are now joining forces with Wilderness Festival and will be running at a later date – People can transfer their tickets over to the new event or get a refund, but what a lot of chaos this has caused! People have booked hotels, flights and camper vans, and many of them have lost their deposits and much more.

I know that often these things can’t be helped, but the ticket prices were steep this year. Last year they offered a lot of 2-4-1 tickets when sales were slow, so I think people were probably holding out for that again… However, the most they got was a small reduction deal on Time Out. I kind of saw this coming when I noticed them up their PR game online (being my line of work), so I held out on buying tickets and only booked a hotel room that would give me a refund up to 24 hours before. No loss for me, but I feel truly sorry for those that have lost hundreds of pounds.

We had been quite looking forward to a bit of Vintage, but all is not lost! Last week I discovered the Retro Festival in Maidenhead and have now got tickets to attend on August 10/11/12th. Turns out the festival has been running for six years, yet I have never been!

The Retro festival seems quite different to the Vintage Festival and is aimed at the pre 1966 era.  They promise the following… ‘Three live music and entertainment stages with some of the very best acts in UK vintage and Rock n Roll; hundreds of classic and vintage cars, caravans, military vehicles and steam engines; live action roller derby bouts from the London Rockin Rollers; the Demon Drome Wall of Death and  many more surprises’.

Sounds terrific to me!

There is camping and more importantly glamping, for those that want to look their very vintage best and have that little bit of luxury. Who knew camping had got so fancy?! With a choice of bell tents, high end toilets and showers, on site beauty tent providing hair and makeup artists and access to hair rollers, straighteners, hairdryers and other beauty equipment – 24 hour security, secure lockers with built in mobile chargers, bell boys, 24 hour reception, concierge and food and beverage delivery service – WOW! We however, have rented someone’s flat down the road (via Airbnb) for just £37 a night. I’m a sucker for bricks and mortar!

The main problem I’m going to have, up until the event is sourcing some clothes to wear for three vintage days and nights. As much as I love vintage, I’ve got a lot more furniture than clothes. I’m going to enjoy shopping in Brick Lane to style both Alex and myself, and if that fails us, there are going to be plenty of retro  stalls at the festival.

If you fancy coming along take a look at all of the festival details here:

Website: www.retrofestival.co.uk
Facebook page: The-Retro-Festival
Twitter: http://twitter.com/RetroFestivalUK

It looks like a fab weekend and the ticket prices are not too bad either.

£50 for a 3 day ticket per adult. From £17.50 for a single.
Young persons pass is £34 for the duration or from £11.50, depending on the day.
Children under 11 FREE.
See WEBSITE for full Details

Do you wear vintage and if so, where do you usually buy it from?

With This Ring

Over the past few weeks quite a few people have been asking me when I’m going to get married. I’m engaged you see and have been for about a year and a half. I guess this is about the time that people start expecting their invites?

When Alex proposed he did not ask me to marry him. He asked me if I would engage him. He knows me well… I’m not really the marrying type. He even asked me whilst I was eating my chocolate dessert. Tactics of course  – He knew I was in a good mood and would probably agree to anything with my mouth stuffed full of my favourite pud.

Getting married is not something I’m convinced about yet. All that standing around declaring my love in front of people who have blagged a ticket to a free and very expensive meal, just because they know me… Oh no, I’m not falling for that one! Apparently there are plenty of ways of doing weddings on the cheap but that’s simply not my style darling! What with the average wedding cost being around £15,000 and most of the friends living in Australia and New Zealand, I don’t think I’ll be able to negotiate having mine anytime soon.

The one down side to not having our ‘big day’ is that we probably won’t ever get an excuse to splash out on a fabulous trip abroad right after a good old knees up with everyone we know.  I was very tempted to enter this  Destination Honeymoon competition that I saw on Airbnb. I’d love nothing more than to get away from it all in The British West Indies or even closer to home in Tuscany but alas, there is no chance of me being lawfully married before the requested date. Perhaps one of you would like to enter? You will no doubt be  able to remember the first time you met you’re loved one better than me anyway. (Those party days never did me any good at all!)

Ever the romantic through and through. That’s me.


Last night I received a Facebook message from a New York Times reporter asking if she could give me a call to chat about my use of the site Airbnb. Not one to turn down a bit of exposure I accepted and my comments should be in the paper in a few weeks – Fabulous!

For those of you that don’t already know, Airbnb is a pretty awesome site that allows you to post up your whole home, or simply a room in your home, for someone to rent out whenever it takes your fancy. Very soon after I posted our flat, towards the end of last year, I was offered the option of having a professional photographer come and take pictures for free…Yes FREE! I jumped at the chance, had a lovely morning cup of tea and a gossip about the site with Alex Oates  the photographer and the results were fabulous. I’m certain they have helped us grab a bit more attention and I have to say both the website and the iPhone app are very user-friendly and look pretty slick to boot.

Our Pics By Alex Oates – AirbnbOur listing here: http://www.airbnb.com/rooms/53255

We’ve only had the time to rent our place out twice this year but both times have been pretty successful with a couple coming from as far as Australia. Having only a one bedroom flat means we can’t host whilst e are here –  Which I’m almost certain would not be not my thing anyway (I’m a bit of a loner who likes to sit in my pyjamas when I’m home). We simply leave the property with someone if it fits in with our diaries and tally ho, we set off for a change of scenery. Generally we use this time to take a trip ourselves using the money we make to fund our own travels. As a budget-conscious person this is an ideal way for me to follow my passion for travel without actually paying much out of my own pocket.

I’ll admit I was a little nervous for our first rental. We’ve only ever done house swaps in the past and you know that when you are swapping people they are trusting you in their own home, so its likely they take more care and I just somehow felt a bit more at ease about that whole scenario. My nerves were put at ease on our return though when everything was left pretty much spick and span.

There is no turning back for us now. If we can’t swap, we’ll be stuffing all our important bits into the garage, having a spring clean and listing the dates on Airbnb – A much better option than a hotel for longer periods of time. I’ve even found myself looking at flights and seeing if I can find a good place for us to rent out on the site before even thinking of booking!