The One with a New Site

Friends – I have such exciting news!

As my dreams for my blog and photography journey have changed, so have my needs and desires for a website. You can now find me over at kaitbailey.com where I will continue to blog my way through life, love, and the pursuit of beautiful photos.

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement along the way. I assure you, I could not do this without each and every one of you.

xoxo

Kait

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Baileys Take Britain | What We Packed

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Full disclosure over here – I obsessed over what to pack for our trip long before I worried my way through other semi-important details, like where we were staying and how we would get there. You see, when I am thoughtful in my packing I can really nail it. But when I don’t consider it carefully, I somehow end up overpacked in terms of how much I bring, but also under-packed in terms of appropriate outfits. So this time, I erred on the side of being over prepared and perfectly packed. I’ve linked to our favorite couldn’t-live-without-items, a few of which we purchased specifically for the trip, but for the most part we packed favorite items we already owned.

We both brought our phones and used them whenever wifi was available (I also added a temporary international plan with Verizon), and Joe borrowed a tablet from a friend so that he could submit work for his graduate classes while we were away. We each brought a novel for entertainment, plus we snagged a crossword puzzle book in the airport which we got a lot of use (and laughs) out of. I hemmed and hawed over camera gear to bring – I knew that it would probably be best on my anxiety level to leave my 6D at home on account of it’s weight and value to me. I opted to bring my hardworking little guy, the Canon SL1, and after going back and forth on which lens to bring (I wanted to limit myself to just the one), I brought my Canon 35mm. That lens is wonderful on the cropped body camera, and I’m so glad I chose it over the 50 mm, which would have been way too cropped in several scenarios. With that camera and lens combo, I knew I’d get great quality images but wouldn’t be weighing down my bag.

Speaking of bags – we packed in carry ons only! Joe and I both borrowed backpacks from friends for the trip, and packed everything we needed for the trip into those two bags. In addition to the backpack, I also carried this Camera Bag, which was 100% perfect for my gear. I could fit my camera with a lens, my petite wallet, sunglasses, lip balm, cell phone, and could even cram an umbrella in there when I needed to. If you’re traveling with a camera and love a nice leather bag, this baby is the ticket. We also brought along this Collapsible Daypack, which we filled with souvenirs and used as Joe’s personal item on the flight home. It also came in handy during hikes. These Packing Cubes were another winner, and made unpacking and repacking our bags seamless.

Aside from the bags and camera, the other item I worried about the most was our footwear. We anticipated wet weather (but got so lucky and avoided it for the most part) and I wanted to make sure we both had waterproof options that didn’t require lots of space or clunky looks. I rotated through these waterproof and ultra comfy Ankle Boots and a pair of black Nike sneakers that I snagged right before we left. I also packed a pair of Birkenstock sandals, but I only wore them one day and could easily have left them at home. Joe brought a regular pair of sneakers and a pair of waterproof walking shoes. All of our footwear was comfortable for walking 8 or more miles a day, and went well with the clothes we brought. There were no blisters or foot pain at all, which was wonderful.

We stuck to neutrals with our clothing items and packed with layering in mind. Temperatures ranged from 50-70 degrees, and we had wind in a lot of places. I wore these Ankle Pants, these Leggings, or skinny jeans each day. I packed 1 long sleeve top, 3 short sleeve tees, 2 tanks, 2 sweaters, 2 cardigans, and 1 dress for variety. I wore this Anorak Jacket almost every day as my outer layer, and it was perfect for a crossover between active hikes and urban city walks. Joe wore jeans, these Shorts, or these Travel Pants every day with a rotation of 6 short sleeve tees, 1 long sleeve tee, and 1 polo, with a rain jacket and 1/4 zip pullover for outer layers. We went basic on the toiletries, but the MVPs in that arena include the dry shampoo and febreeze. We ended up not needing the bug spray or sunscreen, and I’m happy that I only packed a single jewelry option.

All in all, I think we did a great job covering all of our packing needs, and we were easily able to carry our packs around for our two adventurous weeks.

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In list form, what to pack for two weeks in England and Scotland in June – carry on style:

  • three pairs of bottoms – skinny jeans, lightweight black pants, black leggings
  • eight tops – 1 long sleeve, 3 short sleeve, 2 tanks, 2 sweaters (stripes and neutrals)
  • one dress – for an impromtu garden party or seeing a play
  • two cardigans + one jacket – perfect for layering purposes, jacket = water resistant
  • two scarves + 1 set of jewelry – simple jewelry and scarves for a pop of color
  • three pairs of shoes – ankle boots, sneakers, sandals
  • cotton pajamas – keep warm on the cool highland nights
  • undergarments + socks – with packing cubes, pack enough for fresh undies each day
  • toiletries – super basic on makeup; face wipes, dry shampoo, and febreeze advised
  • converter + portable charger – UK specific converter, plus any chargers needed
  • backpack + camera bag – for all carry on packing needs
  • camera, wallet, sunnies, umbrella – all purse essentials
  • passport – leave in safe, have easy access to a copy
  • travel friendly credit card – Capital One Venture card was perfect for us
  • book + journal – something to read and a place to record everything you did!

 

Well folks, that’s a wrap! Thank you so much for following along.

Until the next adventure,

Cheers!

 

Baileys Take Britain | Scotland

Scotland was hands down our favorite part of the trip. Heck, it might be the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to. It is so lush and green and wonderful, offering endless places to explore. We spent a very full week in Scotland, starting and ending in Edinburgh, and driving our way through the highlands in between. Scotland is our must-go-back place, if only for the scenery.

We began with two days in Edinburgh, and stayed at the sweetest little bed and breakfast right near the city center. I would go back and do my entire honeymoon at this bed and breakfast, it was just that great. With Bells Brae as our home base on the Water of Leith, we made our way up and down the Royal Mile. We spent a solid two hours touring Edinburgh Castle, followed by the Scotch Whiskey Experience, then walked down to Holyrood Palace, which was unfortunately closed because of royals in residence. We then climbed Arthur’s Seat for an incredible view of the city (and a face-full of wind). We found some great pubs in Edinburgh for food, and were easily able to walk everywhere we needed in the city. Edinburgh was our favorite city that we visited because of its history and the overall feel of the city – not too stuffy, easy to maneuver, and just friendly all around.

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After two wonderful days in Edinburgh, we headed north. Or really, northeast and then northwest, with a stop at St. Andrews before moving on towards Inverness. We putted our way through the Himalayas at St. Andrews, just adjacent to the old course. After a quick round, we moved on towards Inverness with a stop at Blair Castle (not totally worth it, but the bagpipes and narwhal tusks were cool) before making our way to Culloden, the battlefield where thousands of highlanders lost their lives for the Jacobite cause. We loved getting to experience that piece of history by walking through the moor. We opted to stay in Drumnadrochit instead of Inverness, which afforded us a great view of Loch Ness and proximity to the Urquhart Castle, which we did first thing the next day. We briefly explored Inverness one evening and found it to be nice and quaint, but were very pleased with our choice to stay in Drum. Urquhart Castle was our favorite castle stop, with the stone ruins set against the sparkling blue waters of Loch Ness. At the suggestion of our Edinburgh hosts, we opted out of a Loch Ness cruise and for a hike to Glen Affric instead. This was totally worth the stop as the views of Glen Affric, appropriately named the most beautiful glen in Scotland, were nothing short of stunning.

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One of my favorite things about Scotland is just how pretty literally every corner of the country is. We spent a fair amount of time in the car driving from Loch Ness to Isle of Skye, and then once on Skye, there’s really no other transportation option than to drive by car, but even with all of that drive time, it never got old gazing out the window at the green cliffs and mountains that would spring up from nowhere. Isle of Skye was absolutely breathtaking, with some of the most unique rock formations and scenery in all of Scotland. We loved our time there, and could easily have spent an entire week exploring the landscape of that curious little island. When we could finally tear ourselves away from the views, we hit the road back towards Edinburgh (this was our longest driving day, a total of 8 hours when all other days were 4 or less), making stops at Stirling Castle and Rosslyn Chapel. Rosslyn Chapel was my favorite abbey/chapel/cathedral that we visited. It’s a tiny gem of a place, filled with ornate carvings and intrigue. I loved every second of our tour, and am so glad we got to see it. After our stop at Rosslyn, we made our way back to Edinburgh for a final evening of gathering last minute gifts before making our way back to London the next morning.

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Our must-see Scotland stops:

  • Edinburgh, specifically the Castle and Arthur’s Seat
  • Culloden Moor
  • Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness (stay in Drumnadrochit)
  • Glen Affric
  • Isle of Skye, specifically Kilt Rock and Quiraing (stay in Portree)
  • Rosslyn Chapel

Our Scotland tips:

  • Secret Scotland Tours – this site has extensively detailed driving tour itineraries of Scotland, and is seriously incredible. We purchased the Scenic 4 Day Tour and Accommodations Guide for a mere twenty pounds, and used that as the basis of our trip. We varied a lot from the tour, but having all of that wonderfully detailed information made me feel confident enough to plan an itinerary that worked best for us. We highly recommend using this company!
  • Drive carefully! There are a lot of roads that don’t even have room for two-way traffic, so get used to proceeding with caution. Also, don’t pop a tire like we did.
  • Be productive with your drives. Getting around Scotland via rental car is an easy way to travel, but there’s no use in just driving from Point A to Point B in a day – check out sights that are along the way and stop at a few! This is how we planned our driving routes, and it broke up the trip and we got to see a lot more this way!
  • Stay at bed & breakfasts and get to know your hosts. They’ll have great local advice on where to eat and stops to make.
  • Pack for wet weather. We never actually got soaked, which was awesome! There were a couple of times where it would rain lightly, but it was always when we were walking from one place to another, so it was never bad. We got super lucky with this weather, but it’s always best to be prepared!
  • Plan for as many days as you can, then add a couple more. The only thing we would change about our trip is that we wished we had spent more days in Scotland and maybe a day or two less in London. While we got to see the things we wanted, there was easily more we could have packed into an extra couple of days.

For the long-story-short version: we loved every inch of Scotland we got to explore. I’m so glad that our trip planning evolved into what it was, and that we were able to learn and see and do so much! Shout out to our dog-watching family, house-watching friends, and all of our many cheerleaders along the way – we couldn’t do it without you!

Baileys Take Britain | Cambridge + Bath

After our first whirlwind day and a half in London, we hopped on a train to Cambridge to visit Joseph – our dear friend from college and the best man in our wedding. Joseph is currently studying clinical neurology at St. John’s College in Cambridge (what an underachiever) and was part of our reason for choosing the British Isles for our trip in the first place! We were able to spend a weekend with Joseph and Rebekah (his equally amazing girlfriend), and we packed quite a bit of fun into two very full days!

Upon our arrival in Cambridge, we grabbed a quick dinner of fish and chips before seeing a show of the Footlights – a Cambridge comedy troupe. The show was hysterical, and we thoroughly enjoyed our first evening together! The next morning we were up early to begin the drive to Stonehenge. This day was full of a lot of great sights, but we also spent a collective eight hours in the car thanks to plenty of traffic. Joseph was a real trooper and navigated us safely around dozens of roundabouts and through the countryside. I was completely stunned when we drove right by Stonehenge on the highway – we could see it from the road! Once we parked and made our way to the sight, it was all very surreal. The stones are huge in size and in mystery, and the whole site has an eerie feel. We were only a couple of days ahead of the summer solstice, but managed to miss the bulk of the crowds.

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After making our rounds at Stonehenge, we hopped back in the car and headed toward Bath. I knew next to nothing about the city of Bath, but learned a lot once we got to the town’s central attraction: the ancient Roman baths. The town is rich in history, and the well-maintained baths are absolutely stunning. We spent a couple of hours exploring the exhibits around the baths, then meandered through the rest of the city, notably Bath Abbey and the Royal Crescent. I loved the mix of Roman ruins with gothic architecture, and the whole town was very walkable and easy to maneuver. While this stop wasn’t one I had planned for or researched about, I was so glad we made the stop and got to see that slice of history!

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Our next day was spent exploring Cambridge – its separate colleges and chapels on foot, the canals by boat, and the gardens via garden party. We started off with a tour of the canals by punting – think Venice-style gondolas, only on an English river and manned by (mostly) amateurs. After a near run in with a willow tree, we opted for dry land and toured St. John’s College and King’s College nearby. The fan vaults in the chapel and King’s College were incredible. We spent the afternoon at a St. John’s garden party for graduate students, where Joseph graciously invited us as his guests. Rebekah insisted that garden parties are a very English thing, and I’m inclined to agree. It was a lovely afternoon, and after checking in at our next bed and breakfast, we all met up again for dinner and bowling. The next morning, Joe and I were off bright and early to Scotland.

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A special thanks to Dr. Dr. McAbee – we so enjoyed our time with you and appreciate your tour guide expertise 😉