There are lots of things that I probably take for granted a little. Being a born and bred Londoner and living in one of the best cities on earth. Being reasonably healthy. My family, who are absolute heroes. The fact that gluten free pasta exists and it's actually good (my god isn't pasta good?!)...

The list is a bit too long for my liking, but one thing that I never take for granted is the fact that I get to travel so much. Whether it's for work - it's 99% of the time for work fyi and it's 99% of the time nowhere near as glam as it looks - or pleasure, I have been so incredibly lucky to travel the world more than I could ever have imagined in the last couple of years and as a result of this, when I book my own holidays I'm always at a bit of a loss where to go. You guys know that if I had full control I'd end up only ever going to NYC for the rest of my life which is why when I stumbled upon SRPRS I just knew I was going to end up booking and going.
SRPRS is a company that is based around booking a surprise trip, with very minimal filters so you end up wth absolutely no idea where you're going until you get to the airport. You can chose from a 3,4,5 or 7 day break in Europe, which London airport to fly from, whether you'd like a slightly more comfortable room and then of course, the dates you'd like to travel... and then the rest is left up to SRPRS.

1 month before the trip you'll find out what time you need to be at the airport (and which airport you're off to). 1 week before the trip you can log in online and check on the weather forecast so you know whether you need your cossie - cossie, lol, no you're secretly a 90 year old inside - or your 10 layers of fleece, coat. A few days before you receive your pack including a scratch card which you'll use at the airport to unlock a code that you then enter into your app. Included in the pack is also your boarding passes in a little black envelope so that once you find out where you're off to, you don't need to worry about checking in. 

And then you're ready to go *insert all of the party popper/sassy lady in red/airplane emojis here*

So after arriving at the airport with my partner in crime, Al, we scratched off our scratch card, entered the code and honestly jumped with pure shock and delight when we realised we were going to.......


So yeah, blimmin Vienna. It's funny because when we received the forecast (2 degrees fyi, no you are cold just thinking about it) we looked at all the places it might be, made completely uneducated guesses and not once did we even consider Vienna. It just never crossed our minds.

A plane and mildly terrifying taxi journey later and we arrived at the Ruby Sofie Hotel in Vienna and I have to say, it was pretty much love at first sight. The bar area and lounge spaces are laid back and cool - think The Hoxton meets Clerkenwell Grind (if you're not a Londoner/a blogger this might be ridiculously unhelpful for you) - and whilst I hate the word "trendy"... it was really bloody trendy. Our room however was an entirely different vibe... possibly the largest I've stayed in (that wasn't a suite), our room was white and airy and incredibly spacious. We had a bed that could fit 5 people - Oi, get your head out of the gutter, you - and a beautiful shower/lounge space. 

I think I forgot to mention that the breakfast buffet, i.e my life forte, was absolutely incredible, with endless tea options, almond/oat/rice/god knows what else milk and basically every option known to man... I challenge you to not demolish at least 4 plates.

And if you don't then we can't be friends.

I mean, we can, but you'll just have to up your total pig eating game ;)
Vienna as a place was the Meghan Markle of cities. Beautiful, elegant but also a lot of fun (I mean, I don't know Megs personally but I bet she's secretly a right ball). Think clean and light and very easy going. The food was bloody amazing and the general vibe of the city was somewhere I could see myself spending a lot more time.

Now, as we were only there for a few days and spent most of our time chilling and soaking up Vienna rather than seeing every tourist site there is to see, this won't be a "guide" as such... but here's a few highlights I'd recommend;

Schonbrunn Palace - A beautiful and historical monument for the city, Schonbrunn is absolutely worth a wander to as it really is stunning. 

Swing Kitchen - OH MY GOD SWING KITCHEN!!! Ally found this place as it has Vegan burgers and Nuggets and all sorts of wonderful, amazing things and a lot of the food here also happened to be gluten free. If it's wrong to love Nuggets and chips then lock me up and throw away the key pals because this place was incredible.

Stefel Rooftop - After a day of wandering Al and I took it upon ourselves to live our best Sex and the city lives and headed up to the rooftop bar at the top of Stefel department store. An aperol spritz and 30483084 belly laughs and cry tears later and I think I could safely say that it was a very good decision!

Hundertwasser House - Nestled quietly off of a side street in Vienna, you'll find Hundertwasser house. An apartment house built after the idea and concept of Austrian artist Friedensreich, it's an expressionist landmark which to be honest, is just pretty damn cool. There's nothing to do there but it makes for a fun photo and there's a red telephone box there so, you know, if you fancy a taste of London in Austria, this place is your guy!

St Stephen's Cathedral - We absolutely just stumbled upon St Stephen's cathedral and my god, am I glad that we did. It's pretty much an architectural dream (not that I have a single f**king clue about architecture). Stunning inside and out, whether you are religious or generally have no interest in cathedrals, get your butt down there and marvel at the beauty, I promise you won't regret it.
Photography by Ally 

And I think that's it for my little Vienna adventure. As I've already fangirled 304830943 times, SRPRS really is such an incredible idea and one that I can not only not recommend highly enough but will also be rebooking asap.

I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse of Vienna too, it's one of those places that's pretty much perfect for a weekend break. Enough to do and take in but also chilled enough to just enjoy it. 

Just the way I like it!

Lol, that 100% sounded like some kind of cheesy slogan at the end of an American toothpaste ad. Soz about that!


A huge thank you to SRPRS for organising the most dreamy trip for me and Ally. We'll never forget it!


Jet lag is a bitch isn't it. And I don't mean the oohhhhh I'm soooooo sleepy kinda jet lag. I mean the kind that sits on your shoulder from 10am - 10pm like "Go to sleep now Elle. Oh, you're not sleeping? Well BRB whilst I get some bricks and put them on your eyelids then." And then from 10pm to 5am "COME ON BITCH WAKE UP, WE HAVE AN ALL NIGHT RAVE TO GET TO!!!!"

So yeah, this is me, with 2hrs sleep, googling "Can you die from lack of sleep" and subsequently "how to get over being a drama queen".

Happy Thursday to you all too kids.

Anyway, this post - the first in a month which I'm generally mortified about but I'll get to that soon - is not a big ole moan about jet lag, it's about my trip to Mexico where I spent 10 days with my favourite person on earth, Ally, drinking Pina Coladas, laughing until I cried, ignoring my phone, forgetting that my job and life outside of my Mexican all inclusive resort even exists and honestly... living my best ever life.

This post is about how I ignored social media and how my life became 34983589x happier for it, and how even though I'm back into the swing of work (20 emails down before 5am, sometimes Jet lag, you're not a bellend), I'll never, ever let social media/namely Instagram, effect my mental health and my overall happiness ever again.

Yes I said mental health. Yes, I let Instagram affect my mental health and to any non Bloggers that may sound extremely extreme, but to 99% of full time bloggers/bloggers who's blogs/platforms take over their lives too, I know you'll get it.

So, let's begin, how I gave up giving 2 tiny little fucks about likes and managed to be the happiest I've ever been....

I want to start by saying that I've not had a proper day off since I went full time with my blog a little over 3 years ago. That sounds dramatic doesn't it? It's not. Even on Christmas day I wrote a blog post (yes it was because I actually felt inspired and yes I adore writing so it didn't feel like work, but yeah... it's still work). It's not that I don't want to... I guess it falls down to the fact that a) I have been extremely, extremely lucky to have worked consistently for the last 2 years or so, and now more than ever, so I physically haven't felt able to take a day off for fear of falling so far behind and ending up in a black whole of 359385 emails and tears. And b) because I guess when you've worked so tirelessly on this hobby that's turned into a career and your own business that you, and only you have made work... it's hard to walk away from that you know. Even if only for a day.

I know from an outsider how that looks/sounds. Oh diddums poor you that you have to fanny around in front of a camera or say yes or no to travelling around the world. And I also know that to bloggers/people that get it that you'll understand entirely which honestly, is why I'm writing this.

I know that so so many of you will also feel the same (some less so, some more so) so I hope it inspires you to change the way you look at social media. I hope it allows you to step back and realise that taking some time away won't stop the world from turning... 
Something changed for me in Mexico and in all honesty, this whole year. Last year, and trust me when I say that I am genuinely, wholeheartedly embarrassed to admit this... Instagram completely ruined my life affected my life to the point of, it had the capability to make my day good or bad. I never at one point didn't hate that it had the ability to do this and I never at one point lacked perspective enough to know that how I felt was ridiculous. Ridiculous, illogical and completely irrational. But, no matter how many times I saw stories of young kids with terminal illnesses or terrible disasters happening all over the world, I couldn't completely snap myself out of the sheer panic that my photos were "dying" or my followers were declining for long enough. I'd say "life's too short to care"... and then 3 days later, there I was caring again.

Again, everything you may or may not be calling me right now is nothing I haven't called myself before.

But Mexico was different. Mexico I paid for myself - as opposed to a lot of trips I go which are press trips and therefore have obligations for content in return - I went with my best friend and absolutely zero work obligations. We booked all inclusive specifically so we only had to move from Beach to pool to restaurant to pool bar. We decided, basically, that we were only going if this was 100% a holiday and not a "mostly holiday but also half the time I'll be stressing about taking photos for instagram" holiday. And that's exactly what we did. I had a back up of London photos and I took 4 photos the whole time I was there. 


4 photos in 10 days.

For reference, I usually go out and shoot a minimum of 2 outfits (approximately 100-200 photos per outfit) every single day at home.

I replied to max 4/5 urgent emails per day, I decided to post on Instagram every other day so I didn't have to wake up at 4:30am every morning (screw you 6 hour time difference).

I basically laughed every second of every day, I made some of my favourite ever memories, I watched the stars at night from the beach, I swam with turtles and snorkelled through cenotes. I flirted with Mexican men (absolutely no shame, it's what Ally and I do best because together we are insufferable and totally shameless), I turned myself from human to 99% Pina Colada and 1% regret. 

What I didn't do, was stress about Instagram. I didn't get even slightly down or sad or panicky or stressed that the algorithm has changed and my engagement is now half of what it used to be. I didn't go to some of the most stunning places in the entire world and see it through my phone, I saw it with my eyes.

Barely because I'm as blind as a bat but I tried anyway.

I finally, genuinely, lived my best ever life.

I just didn't care. And most life changingly (pretty sure that's not a word, pretty sure I couldn't care less)... I still don't care.

I still wake up feeling unbelievably grateful every single morning that I get to do the job I do. I still work just as hard as I ever did. I still create the same content that I did before. From the outside, apart from slightly less posts than before, absolutely nothing will change.

But from behind the rainbow coloured grid, this girl will actually be living her best life rather than saying she is whilst actually having a minor breakdown.

I'm sorry this was the most rambly, repetitive, probably shockingly written post... but if I'd have read something like this a year ago whilst I was struggling so badly with social media every single day, I'd have found it a great source of hope. So I hope that if you're struggling too, you can realise that one day... you really just won't care.

Life is too short to give a tiny little shit on God's green earth whether you got 2000 likes or 5000 likes. You'll be grateful for your health and your loved ones and your happiness.

Just how it should be!


© the Elle next door

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