How to Plan a Summer Holiday…And Some Bargain Summer Dresses (with pics)

For my family, planning a summer holiday is less about deciding where to go and more about making sure that we get the campsite we’ve been perving the previous year. This is because we always go to Yellow Sands, just outside East London. BUT, we recently had to plan a summer holiday to Thailand, in the middle of a South African winter, and it was all sorts of delightful. There’s so much less to pack in summer, generally.  So, I’ll share some tips to plan a summer holiday that rocks, and then I’ll share some summer dresses that I picked up for a total bargain. Seriously, I still have a friend that rolls her eyes at me when I brag about how cheap the one dress was on sale. You’re going to roll your eyes too.

Tips to Plan a Summer Holiday


Obviously, how much you have to spend on a holiday is going to determine what kind of holiday you’re going to have. If you haven’t got much, maybe a camping trip near home or a little B&B in Graaff-Reinet (as opposed to a big touristy city) is the way to go. If you’ve been saving, you might be able to do that SCUBA diving trip to Sodwana or a cruise from Durban to Mozambique. So, if you want something more exciting than a tent in the Karoo, plan and save well ahead of time.

List The Possibilities

I love lists. They make me feel so organised. I’m always motivated to do things so that I can tick them off my list. I’m a ticker. Not a crosser-outer. I mean, we want to accomplish things, not be messy little pigs. Make a list of all of the possible places you’d like to go and why, as well as the pros and cons of each place (e.g. camping with a baby may be cheaper, but really stressful). This makes the world of endless possibilities much more manageable.

Do Loads of Research

Actually, holiday research is kind of fun. I say this because my whole job is about research and writing, so it doesn’t sound that appealing to me. But, if I was researching which beach I’m going to be bronzing up on in T minus two months, I think I could handle it…Find out things like what restaurants are close to your accommodation, what other travellers say about the aquarium you’d like to see, and which markets or waterparks will open when you’re in the area.

Write An Itinerary

Ok, I’m being a total hypocrite, because I can’t imagine anything worse than having to plan to this degree. But, you can keep it brief. Just highlight the main things you’d like to do and see in a place, and how long you’d like to stay in each place. Leave it open so that, if you really love one place, you can stay for a bit longer, if possible. I do agree, although this goes against my grain, that an itinerary kind of takes the pressure off when you arrive.

Plan B’s

This is especially important for families with kids. When you’re alone or just a couple, an unexpected rainy day is no biggy – just read or go to a movie. But, when there are kids, it gets more complicated. So, make a list of nearby things to do and see in case things don’t go according to plan. Also, you can pack card games and board games, download Apps, and take along indoor activities.

~~~ Here’s the secret, though: Only show the kids these plan B’s as and when you need them. Otherwise, they’ll want to stay in on the good days to play Minecraft and be totally bored of it when the rains come and the winds howl.~~~

My Cheap Summer Dresses

Ok, onto the next instalment…

I wear a lot of dresses. More than that, I get extremely hot. Like…menopausal-woman-in-a-48-degree-desert-plain hot. Even though I’m 37 and it’s not 48 degrees and the nearest desert is miles away. So, I’m so excited about these el-cheapos that I recently found.

Pick n Pay Clothing


Green summer dress
The belt nips it in effectively in the waist, so it doesn’t look too bulky (IMO)

This is from Pick n Pay clothing and cost R240. For my shape, it’s not the most flattering, because it’s quite loose and, when you’re…curvy, you sometimes need things to be a bit more fitting so that you don’t look like a house. When I say “you”, I mean me. That having been said, it has a belt; so it all makes sense again. It also has pockets, which I took out. I know, I know. The world lives for dresses with pockets. Me, not so much.  It’s thin and light viscose, making it perfectly cool too.


Foschini bodycon dress
Nice for work, dinner, conferences, or a night out.


This bodycon dress from Foschini blows my mind a little, based solely on the price. I don’t know what the original price was (I remember it being closer to R400, marked down to about R200; but I’ve been known not to have a clue what I’m talking about. It was definitely R250 or more…that’s safest). So, I went to the till to pay my R200 or whatever it was, and the gentleman asked me for R58. I laughed, I guffawed, I flailed around on the floor in a seizure at his mistake. He asked again for his R58 (but not before telling me that he’s never had someone react like this to a sale price. It had obviously been a stressful week for me and I would’ve preferred that he pretended he didn’t notice my weeping. I exaggerate, but only slightly). It’s fitted and mainly polyester so, while there isn’t very much of it, it’s a bit warmer. It’s perfect for summer evenings.


Navy and white summer dress
I like the length, and the neck has a cute tie at the back.

This number is from Jet and only cost R150. I find that Jet’s dresses are often too short for me (I’m 178cm), but this is just right. It’s extremely thin polyester, but somehow manages not to be see-through. It’s perfect for hot days. I especially like the print 1. because I’m apparently turning into my grandmother, who would’ve donated organs for anything in navy’ and 2. white makes me so happy.

I’ve also picked up a few great viscose tops from Superbalist, Mr Price and Jet, and some gorgeous pants (three-quarter on me, they’re probably designed to be ankle-biters) from H&M. I’m the furthest thing from a fashion blogger, but I always enjoy sharing a good deal. Let me know if you’ve found anything exciting. And budget-friendly. I’m all about the budget-friendly.

Thanks to Radical Raptors at The Heath for pretending not to notice me posing on your property, and thanks to my sweet friend that took pictures without once telling me that this was encroaching on our cheesecake time.

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    • 30th Oct 2018

      Always so kind, thank you. Thinking of you lots.

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