Holiday expectations vs. reality

This post goes out my lovely friend Beth (@livingcolourful), whose recent holiday photo spurred me on to write about holiday expectations vs. reality…


We fly to Croatia in *squeal* two days, and have been looking forward to a sunny break for months. Naturally, with this level of anticipation, a humble week away has slowly morphed into the holiday of all holidays. It has become the M&S ‘this is not just a…’ equivalent of holidays. If Carlsberg did holidays then this one, my friends, is it.

But, as with anything that gets wildly built up in anticipation, there is (of course), a serious case of expectations vs. reality waiting for us in the arrivals lounge. Cloudy skies, stomach upsets, the works.

So here they are. Classic holiday expectations vs. reality – which ones are you familiar with?

Dream: A whole new, European you – yoghurt for breakfast, fruit snacks and, who even needs dessert?
Reality: Gelato. All day, every day.

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Dream: Going travelling to who knows where with little more than a backpack and a book, because you’re going to meet new people and find yourself.
Reality: Waking to find a stranger’s feet in your face on the sleeper train.

Dream: Trying all sorts of fresh, local foods and discovering a new-found (and slightly smug) love for lobster.
Reality: Trying all sorts of fresh, local foods, and discovering a new-found love of heaving the night away in the hotel bathroom. Especially horrific if you’re away with a new partner.

Dream: Going on a lads’ holiday and expecting the bars to be filled with undiscovered Victoria’s Secret models.
Reality: Going on a lads holiday and meeting the same girls you know (and love), just in fewer clothes and clutching fish bowls.

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Dream: Night after night of romantic, carefree sex.
Night after night of sex which becomes progressively more sweaty and awkward as you work around the sunburnt patches.

Dream: Glamourous evenings out drinking cocktails.
Reality: A drink in the bar next to the hotel, before you stagger to bed having walked the length of the city in a day.

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Dream: Seven days of immaculately planned holiday outfits, complete with shoes and accessories. Instagram filters, you are not required.
Reality: The playsuit is too hot. The shoes? Woah. That’ll be seven days of wearing the same two vests, shorts and sandals on rotation, then.

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Dream: Discovering your inner Martin Lewis and haggling up a storm in local shops and markets.
Reality: Feeling pretty pleased at yourself for saving the equivalent of 20p on a donkey-shaped rattan bag, then stuffing your ‘steal’ at the back of the wardrobe for a couple of years until it’s acceptable to throw it away.

Dream: Finally, a refreshed, sunkissed complexion that does not scream ‘air conditioned office’.
Reality: Three days of melted foundation, a make-up mirror meltdown on day four, followed by a begrudging barefaced and sunglasses approach for the rest of the holiday.

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Despite the negative (but totally true) vibe of this post, it’s not meant to be. Half the joy of holidays is the expectation – switching your out of office on, buying indulgent snacks at the airport. You LOVE your meal on the third night because of the dodgy pasta dishes on nights one and two. We all need a comedy and/or shocking tale to tell when we get back. Don’t we all want a more spontaneous life? Well bring it on, frizzy hair, and unpredictable weather. Show me that tourist tat. And the food poisoning? Well I’d rather not, but any travel buddy worth their salt will never tell a soul.


8 ways to up-sex your bedroom

Today we’re talking sex. WIT WOO. With today’s generation being hit by busy jobs, demanding social lives and those needy smartphones/boxsets, our activity between the sheets is in need of some help.

sex surveyAccording to a recent survey, less than one in three couples have sex five or more times a month. While this works for some, almost half feel they should be having more and, unsurprisingly, single out tiredness and children as the main culprits.

So here’s my guide to making your bedroom sex-ready, to get you in the mood or just make sure you can take advantage as soon as the opportunity arises!


Upgrade your sheets
I’ve never tried satin sheets but they seem appropriate in this situation. Just as you’d feel sexy in a silky negligee, sheets that feel silky on your skin will play to your senses. How sssssensual.

Know your scents
There’s a fair bit out there about the impact your sense of smell can have on your sex life. Musk is believed to help girls in particular get in the mood, as it resembles the scent of natural male pheromones. Vanilla and peppermint are also both believed to increase sexual stimulation in men and women, with peppermint giving an added energising boost, too. Light a mint-scented candle or oil if you need a wake up call before your booty call. Place scented candles or oils on bedside tables and switch the scents regularly so you don’t get used to them.

Check your colours
The link between food and pleasure doesn’t stop at scents. Surprisingly, people with red walls were found to have the least sex in a recent report, while those with caramel-coloured walls average three times a week. The theory is that the brain links this colour with indulgent foods and therefore pleasure. Here’s how to build caramel into your room, going for an opulent look with golden tones and peacock blues, or toning it down by mixing caramel with no fuss white and  cream:


Keep your kit close
Whatever your ‘kit’ is or contains, pack it away somewhere out of sight but easily accessible. If your bedside drawer is full of receipts and 2p coins, it’s time for a clear out. Make it easy to choose sex over sleep by having your wingmen – from Barry White to anything that vibrates – within reach.

Clean up
As far as I’m aware, sex in messy bedrooms isn’t a thing for many people. Of course, don’t let it get in the way of spontaneity (“two seconds darling, just sorting my tights”) but generally, get clothes out of the way and try to minimise clutter. Make your room about sleep, relaxation and sex.

Upgrade your sleep
If you’re tired all the time you’re never going to get it on. When it’s time to update your room, go for black out blinds and make sure your room is the right temperature for sleeping. Generally, slightly cool is best. Colour-wise, blue is thought to be the best colour for sleep quality while purple is a no go.

Not for everyone but…

Find some inspiration
I’m not talking porn here, but things that just remind you that sex exists. It could be wall art with a bit of sass or a book of erotic fiction that you can flick through every so often. It certainly doesn’t have to be the kind of thing that puts your room off limits during the house tour – it just needs to have some meaning to you. It could even be a photo (of the scenery!) from your first trip away together, or one of the following from


Ditch the tech
This is not a new concept but is certainly a difficult one. Scrolling or tweeting or blogging on your phone instead of talking to your partner is a nasty habit that we’re all struggling to kick. Do all the browsing you need on the sofa and then, when you’re ready for bed, leave it somewhere out of reach. You’ll still hear your alarm or any urgent calls, but you won’t be doing this *shudder*


Stats taken from The Mirror and Good Housekeeping. Photo credit: Dave Willis.