How to make a travel journal

Travel journal cover

My grandmother is currently downsizing from her 3 bed home where she has lived for the past 30 odd years to a 1 bed apartment in a warden retirement home. She’s very excited about her new life, at the prospect of meeting lots of new friends but we are going through the process of what to keep and what to throw away. It’s a tough job and a long one.

Travel Journals – a thing of the past?

Today during our keep/chuck ceremony we stumbled across her travel journals. I remember these back from my childhood when I would spend hours watching her make them, passing her the empty sugar sachet or postcard to stick in. I was fascinated about the journal and about the travels and the story they told as I turned the pages.

travel journal collage

Back to the present, we sat down for a long while going through them; me, living her travel through the pages, she, reliving the moment and remembering all sorts of things from those travels. I never knew she would have moved to New Zealand she loved it so much.

What is a travel journal?

A travel journal is more than a photograph album, it’s a memory book that captures all sorts of moments. It’s a bit like a Time Capsule because as you open the pages you are transported back to that moment in time and how fantastic is that for our children who are quick to forget but when prompted by a photo or a memory it all comes flooding back?

Travel journal

What a brilliant idea for them to sit and write or draw or create as you go through the holiday creating a bit of quiet time in the busy schedule of Eat. Beach. Sleep. Repeat. What a great idea to keep them alert and on the lookout for signs of the new place you are visiting

What do I need to make a Travel Journal?

The beauty is you can be as frugal as you wish, the joy that a travel journal gives is the creativity and the recording of the holiday memory through your eyes.

There are travel journals online to buy, take a look at Midori and fauxdori for inspiration, put those search terms into Pinterest and the page will come alive. Then check out my Pinterest Travel Journal board I’ve been creating

A very simple notebook can do the trick but if you intend to stick things in like me then a ring binder will allow more space between the pages.

travel journal verona

What else do I need?

  • A pen and the desire to create a memory
  • Fine point colour felts
  • scissors
  • highlighters
  • washi tape
  • glue stick
  • paper clips
  • post its
  • scrapbooking coloured paper
  • coloured pencils
  • felt pens – watch out they don’t bleed through to the next page
  • a zip bag to keep it all in.
  • Hard card to keep flowers to dry in
  • Plastic bags for collecting items on the go

I’m sure there’s plenty more you could take but I’ll stop there for now, you get the idea.

travel journal kit

Do a little prep before you go

Find a map of the area you are going to and stick it in, have a search on internet for what’s to see, what food is typical, drinks to try and where.

Write a Top Ten Things To Do list, a What I need to remember list. You’re getting excited – write about it! What I am hoping the weather will be like, what I am most looking forward to.

Parts of the holiday to cover

  • The journey – time of departure, method of travel,how long did it take, best bit?
  • Your accommodation – what, where, nicest thing? Worst thing?
  • Country facts – flag, money, language – how do you say hello?
  • Food and drink
  • Places visited
  • Souvenirs
  • Daily diary – snippets of your day
  • Overall best bit

What to collect for your journal

  • Travel tickets (plane, train, bus & metro)
  • Luggage tags – does the airline offer some at the check in desk?
  • Tourist maps & brochures (very handy for cutting out later and sticking next to photos)
  • Museum, art gallery, movie & theatre tickets
  • Menus from restaurants and cafes
  • Flowers, leaves & herbs
  • Napkins, matchbooks, business cards
  • Receipts, coins, stamps
  • Coasters & beer mats, wine labels
  • Food labels that are different, sweet wrappers, bottle caps
  • Magazines, newspaper cuttings in the local language
  • Postcards and photographs (when you get home)
  • Tags from clothes & souvenirs, shop bags
  • Sand from the beach (place in a small plastic bag), Flat sea shells & sea glass
  • Rubbings of interesting textures (graves, paving stones & metal grates)
  • Drawing or sketch
  • A small watercolor painting of something you saw, sunset, flower, view
  • Journal entry – write down what you did, how you felt and what you saw

and finally some travel quotes that you might like to use

Once a year go someplace you’ve never been before — Dalai Lama

We came. We saw. We loved.

If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet.

I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met.

You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

The trouble is you think you have time — Buddah

Better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.

I want my toes in the sand and a cocktail in my hand.

Eat. Beach. Sleep. Repeat.

The more that you read,

The more things you will know,

The more you will learn,

The more places you will go — Dr Seuss

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.

Travel far enough you meet yourself.

Travel makes one modest: one sees what a tiny place one occupies in the world — Gustave Flaubert

Chit chat: Sunshine, riding bikes and building Wendy houses

sloe gin

Who had the most fantastic weekend this last one? We did and I really hope you had a lot of fun too. I just love the Sloe gin that Gordon’s has made, have you tried it yet?

First things first, the British weather played ball and husband got his BBQ out TWICE! He was over the moon, a barbie and a beer and my man is the happiest soul on earth.

wendy house completed


Secondly, we got round to building the girls wendy house I mentioned in my Asda Direct post a short while ago and they LOVE it, we hadn’t got the roof on and they were already moving in.

mari and grandmother

Thirdly, we invited the Golden Oldies round to share our BBQ and we had a wonderful meal outside.

But our fun weekend doesn’t stop there, the girls finally at very long last have picked up how to ride a bike, at school they’ve been practising on balance bikes and gaining confidence. We have been asking if they’d like new bikes for their birthday in July and been met with tears and angry frustration, ‘But I can’t ride without my stabilisers!’ no manner of ‘We’ll help you-s’ went to aiding the situation and we had even started thinking of other presents and then school jumped in and did the ground work for us, it’s amazing how they’ll dig their heels in with us but go ahead quite happily with their teachers.

Anyway, very content with themselves, we had a practise run before turning the camera on and it went perfectly and then we went for a second take…oops!

I should have foreseen it shouldn’t I? Typical!

Anyway here’s my third attempt with Alice showing off her new skills – you can hear me saying ‘Watch where your going!’ this time too :)

I weeded my veggie plot and it’s now looking respectable again, I need to get my hands on some sawdust or make a quiche quick, crush the egg shells and use them to deter the slugs and snails from eating my baby vegetables!

vegetable plot 17 may 2014

So a quick run through of our building Wendy house task, we started on Saturday and had to dig up the uneven garden, lay a base – we used patio slabs on sand and here we put the base down to work on.

wendy house base

Second part was to start constructing the front panel, adding the door and windows and that took us to about 4pm on Saturday when we called it a day as we had family coming for a BBQ.

Sunday morning we were up and out by 9am, we wanted to get as much done as possible quickly so we could sit back and enjoy the gorgeous day, the next part is to put the back and sides on followed by the front, once this part was done the girls were LOVING it and already moving bits in whilst we carried on with the work

wendy house construction

The roof was next and by this time it was getting hot, I’d like to point out that no money was added to the swear box and the instructions were easy to follow too.

wendy house construction

The roof went on, the felt cladding went on, which is a dirty sticky job and then the last fascias and what nots to finish off the job. You’ll notice I haven’t added the panes to the windows yet, this is because I want to paint it first and don’t want to fiddle about with masking tape

wendy house twins

The girls are in their element, I do worry they may grow out of it quite quickly, so to make it more personal I’m going to put some pictures up on the wall they’ve brought home from school, add some books and toys in there and to start them off well, we all went in on Sunday evening and had a game of Uno, they thrashed us! I taught them far too well it would seem.

playing Uno

I’m taking part in Point and Shoot this week

Grandparents – the pillars of the family

Grandparents are possibly the most important people in a family; they’ve been around enough to know better and they’ve been around enough to know not to tell you so! They are like a comfort blanket or a favourite cuddly toy, something we always go back to for more. We know their arms are always open wide, their kisses are sincere and their hearts are there for us no matter what. Who hasn’t been slipped a sneaky coin in the palm of their hand and looked up to see nanna or grandad wink and put their fingers to their lips, signing a secret between you?

We also know that all grandparents’ time is limited and this is why we should make more of an effort in our daily lives to fit more ‘grandparent’ time in. I speak for myself when I say that too frequently, a week goes by and I haven’t been to see my nan. Not because I don’t want to – I love going there, she always has freshly made cakes and an interesting conversation whilst the twins slowly wreck her house around us. But, because the week slipped me by – shopping, ironing, gardening, twin club, blogging and heaven knows what else. I get to Friday and wonder what on earth I’ve done with all that time?

I don’t know about you but I love listening to their stories. Their time as youngsters was very different to ours, the hardships were greater, the rules sterner and life was harsher. Many have lived through two wars and can remember them vividly. The heartbreak of losing friends, colleagues and family to gunpowder will never leave their bones and is a subject they never tire of talking about.

Recently, I have spoken to a friend who sadly lost her grandad to an aggressive cancer, a man whose mother no longer remembers her past, her friends, her possessions, he is thankful she still recognises him, but for how much longer? A lady whose 90-year-old grandmother is in hospital, her legs swelling beyond belief and the doctors who don’t know what the problem is. And a family member who lost her mother after a 10 year battle against cancer leaving three grandchildren behind and a heartbreak that only time and love will heal.

Our ‘oldies’ bring an anchor to our lives, they are the family encyclopedia. They can reel off every medicine in the pharmacy and know what it’s for and how many times a day it should be taken. They can complete the Daily Telegraph crossword which is genius in itself and they know how to hug a child, dry up tears with a biscuit and when everything in life turns upside down, they are there to help pick up the pieces and put it all back in the right place again.


My grandmother who was 90 last year. Her name is Nona, an unusual name. She is completely independent and loves walking, reading, art and crosswords. She can make a cake to melt any dieting willpower you may harbour. Knit, sew and enjoys spending her time doing puzzles.

Roy, Paul’s dad, will be 80 in September. He is also completely independent, irons his shirts on Saturday morning, adores an all-day breakfast, flies his model aeroplanes that he constructs himself and can brew a proper cuppa.

They keep each other company. Their motto is – Life is too Short and they are living every minute they can to the full. If it were in my power I would have them around for the rest of my days but sadly, that won’t be the case so I must make sure to ‘fit them in’ as frequently as I possibly can because when they’re gone, they’re gone and there will be no coming back.

I know they both read my blog as they both have laptops and are computer savvy so I shall take this opportunity to thank them both for everything they do for us and remind them that I love them both dearly.