Let’s do London

Being from a small town in North Wales large cities have always factor daunting but having been to London a couple of times this year and have realised it’s not actually that big and scary!

Whenever I look at creating an itinerary for London I only factor in the tube if it’s really necessary – by this I mean that a lot of ‘tourist’ attractions are within walking distance from one another. Like all of the below:

Of course, you will want to get the underground to a station that’s initially nearby and I would suggest Piccadilly Circus.

From your starting point you can then make your way to Trafalgar Sq., and then make your way along The Mall to Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park. If you then head to St. James Park – the other side of The Mall – you’ll eventually come to Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament. Once you’ve taken in the amazing architecture it’s a walk over Westminster bridge to the London Eye. Along Southbank there’s a lot for families to enjoy and plenty of places for refreshments.

Although, this is only a small part of London it’s a great itinerary for half a day (if you’re a quick walker) or a full day to get your bearings

From the London Eye we headed to Waterloo station and took the Jubilee line to Tower Hill to see the Tower of London.

This worked for us, next step is paying for the experiences.

Disneyland Checklist in a Nutshell

In April ten of us went to Disneyland Paris for a long weekend during the Easter holidays, and we had an amazing time. We managed to find seats in restaurants and go on almost every ride in both parks.

This was down to good planning and the Disney App but there are many more tips we can give, so here they are in a nutshell.

Before You Go

  1. Pack for all weathers, Paris isn’t always warm so make sure you have a raincoat, umbrella, and long trousers just in case.
  2. Take sensible shoes because it’s a long day walking around the park, and if you don’t have a fast pass then you could be standing in line for a long time!
  3. Think about where you will eat before going, you can book restaurants by calling or you may have time to do a little shop in a local supermarket if you have time spare.
  4. Check what meals are included in your deal because for us breakfast was not included in the price.
  5. Download the Disneyland Paris app

When You’re There

  1. Check the park opening times haven’t changed and head to the park slightly early so you aren’t stuck in a queue to enter. If you are staying in a Disney hotel, you may be entitled to extra magic time so make the most of it!
  2. Take a look at the app to see ride times throughout the day because it will save you soooooo much time.
  3. Make the most of small coffee, hot dog and popcorn stand, as these may be your refueling stops until your main meals.
  4. If you don’ want to see parades then make use of the low queuing times and get on those rides.
  5. The Studio has some fantastic roller-coasters but closes earlier than the main park so know what rides you want to go on before you visit and check the show times.

SUSTAINABILITY AND TOURISM

When I was a student, we had many lectures and seminars on sustainable tourism and this is a concept that is still hugely relevant and that we can all consider when travelling.

Firstly, what is sustainable tourism? Well, it is about creating a positive impact on the place you are visiting through the economy, environment, and society. This post is going to provide 5 main tips that I have learned from my course and put into practice when travelling myself.

Searching for Accommodation

Jersey Accommodation

Using large booking sites may generally save us money but it can cost accommodation providers a lot to feature on aggregator websites in the first place. In the past, I have found a hotel online and have called them directly which has resulted in a lovely room with a view for the same price as a general room on a comparison site, due to the accommodation provider retaining a larger part of the fee.

Keep it Local

Shop Local

When travelling it is nice to get a real understanding of local culture by dining and shopping in store and restaurants owned by locals, but also where the food and products served are sourced locally.

This can require research but nowadays it is easier than ever before, you can simply ask your accommodation provider or the restaurant where their products come from before deciding to eat or shop there. By ensuring produce is from local providers and spending time in places owned by locals you are helping the local economy, rather than giving money to large chain restaurants or stores.

For example when in Sicily we ate in restaurants that advertised fresh products sourced from the local area, and you may find many businesses use this as a selling point.

In Your Hotel

You may not be able to control the way a hotel works but there are some things you can do to assist in sustainability, here are some ideas below:

  • Put your towels away once used and do not leave them lying around or in the bath after every wash, as they will be washed every day unnecessarily. Instead, consider using them a couple of times before leaving them out to be cleaned;
  • This is an obvious one, but turn off anything you are not using such as lights in rooms you are not in, and the television;
  • Be mindful when using the A/C, consider opening the doors if you are in the room, or finding a shaded area to relax if you are tired of the heat;
  • On days you do not need the room to be changed or cleaned leave the ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door to avoid unnecessary cleaning.

Getting Around

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When at your destination think of alternative transport options such as bikes, hikes, and buses. Again, this is something to consider before choosing your accommodation location as you should ensure you are close to a train/bus station or within walking distance to local amenities, alternatively look at cycling routes.

When in France I try to cycle as they have brilliant routes, compared to the UK anyway! This is the perfect way to get around in cities and small towns to decrease your impact on the environment.

If you do use a taxi then try tipping your driver, as in many countries the income is not great and this could be direct profit for their wage.

Recycle

You can recycle in many ways and not just by placing things in a recycle bin, here are some simple ideas:

  • Reuse plastic water bottles – simple!
  • Give any maps or brochures you no longer need to other tourists, or return them to reception/tourist office;
  • If you plan on throwing old clothes or cheap clothes away to make room for new items, ask around for places you may be able to take them for others to make use of;
  • If you have leftover toiletries, take them home.

These are easy things to do and I hope you will consider doing them on your next trip. I am sure there are other things you could suggest and I am interested to hear what you do to help with sustainability please share below 👇👇

2018 in 5 Memories

2018 has gone by very quickly and it was a year filled with highs and lows, but there were certainly lessons learned, that have set us up for the coming year.

Every year comes with surprises but 2018’s surprises weren’t so great, the planned times were amazing but other than those I have loved and lost these are the main memories I would like to take with me for 2018.

Hen Party

Heading to Porthmadog for my hen party was great, and an amazing surprise. I had visited this place for years as a child, as my family owned a caravan there and this was our only holiday every year – looking back it was great.

We spent the weekend celebrating and it got a little messy but the last night we spent pampering ourselves so we were ready to leave on the Monday. I just wish I had of taken more pictures, but I guess, you don’t when you’re enjoying yourself in the moment.

Wedding

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Our wedding was amazing, and truly was one of the best days of my life, and I would do it again.

Finding a venue and planning can be stressful but on the day I totally didn’t care because there was nothing I could do about it, so I just focused on having a bloody good time. This would be my advice for any bride to be – just enjoy yourself.

Honeymoon

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Sicily was the perfect place for a honeymoon it had everything we could possibly want. The glorious beach, a great hotel, shopping, history, and good food… take me back!

Home Improvements

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Moving into our new home about one year ago I would like to have done more than we have, but when we look back we’ve done a lot. This picture shows how much we have done to the toilet.

This year we would like to continue updating the home and we have already started in the living room. The only issue is that every room seems to be grey and white – think we need to widen our colour palette.

Family Time

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After losing someone very close to me last year my family has become even closer and we are making sure we have celebrations as frequently as possible because this is what matters. My family is quite big and it can be difficult to keep up with what’s going on with everyone but it is important to make the time and I will cherish the times we all spent together in 2018.

When looking at your memories in this way the year seems so much better, and perhaps the good times were overshadowed by the odd negative experience. This year I plan to remain positive and implement techniques I have learned to do this such as meditation, The Law of Attraction, and exercise. Come on 2019!

Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations

After enjoying our honeymoon last year, and having witnessed many friends getting married, then trying to find that perfect honeymoon spot I thought I would take some time to create this post, in hopes it makes finding the perfect destination I little simpler for 2019 honeymooners.

Before searching for the ideal honeymoon spot, create a list of must-have criteria, and potential limitations. For example, we could only take time out for one week and therefore could not travel long haul. We also like to do different things when on holiday too, I like to see the sights and explore the culture and history of the place, whereas my husband prefers to relax on a beach and take a swim.

These criteria narrowed our list of places to visit leaving us with a focus on Europe, and as we have been to several European countries we wanted to try somewhere different but that was on my list of places I really gotta see – this left us with Sicily.

To help you create your list and get you thinking, here’s a list of my top 10 potential honeymoon destinations.

An Italian Honeymoon

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If you are searching for a place that has a little of everything then honeymoons in Italy may be for you.

From the cities where you can see history come to life to the spectacular coastlines such as the Amalfi Coast, newlyweds could indulge in fine wine and local cuisine. With so many places to see it is also possible to visit more than one location so Venice, Florence, and Rome may be on the cards.

This is a great place for historical, relaxing, or culture honeymoons. If you love the ocean and want a taste of the tropical life, then the next destination may be the place for you.

Honeymoon in the Indian Ocean

If you love the water and want to travel a little further then a honeymoon in the Indian Ocean can offer just that. The sounds of the ocean and surrounding rainforests will make sure your troubles melt away as relaxation kicks in.

This destination is perfect for a 2 week getaway for those looking to take the time to simply be together.

South of France – Your Luxury Honeymoon

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The South of France is one of my favourite places with amazing beaches, plenty of cuisine and amazing accommodation options this is a romantic place for your honeymoon.

If you are searching for a quieter destination within reach of other places on the coast, Cap d’Antibes is a brilliant option. Alternatively, if you are looking for spectacular beaches then head to St Tropez.

Australia’s East Coast

If one resort is not enough then a tour along the East Coast of Australia can help achieve what you are searching for. From Brisbane/Cairns to Sydney.

If you are looking for a tour then you may need 3-4 weeks to really get into it and have time to adjust to the time difference.

Honeymooning in Marrakesh

Marrakesh2Marrakesh is a beautiful city in Morocco that offers a glimpse into medieval ways, in the walled city. The souks are perfect for shopping, whilst the mosques, palaces, and gardens allow for cultural exploration.

The flight to Marrakesh isn’t too long from the UK and when I went we were here for 1 week which was enough time for us to take a few trips and relax too.

Barbados West Coast

In the Caribbean lies the island of Barbados, which is known for being a happy place. In fact, it is described as being 21 miles long and a smile wide.

The west coast is particularly popular for honeymooners with St James offering famous sandy shores, luxury shopping experiences, and fabulous hotels. Moving further down the coast in St Micheal lie beaches filled with character as the coast becomes more rugged.

This beautiful island is a tranquil environment for a honeymoon and is the height of luxury.

Ibiza Not Just a Party Town

Known primarily for its nightlife Ibiza may not appear to be the best honeymoon spot, but its crystal-clear waters and boutique hotels can be perfect for a happy couple.

If you are looking for a place that is lively, luxury, with hidden gems for relaxation then Ibiza is for you. Ibiza is also home to beautiful vineyards offering tastings and tours for those looking to escape from the main action for the day.

Out of the Sunshine and Over to Iceland

Not all of us are searching for a sunny trip and that’s perfectly fine, I don’t like being in the sun all day, in fact, I prefer the winter!

Iceland is famous for witnessing the northern lights, its Blue Lagoon, and dramatic scenery all of which are perfect for a romantic setting. Many of the hotels here are traditional for the area with a Nordic design that makes you feel warm. This is an especially good destination for a Christmas honeymoon.

New York, New York

This is perhaps the busiest of places on this list but it has a way of making every individual feel special. There are plenty of tours, museums, and galleries to keep you busy, and that’s not including the shopping opportunities – oh and don’t forget to catch a show!

The great thing about this getaway is that you can visit for 4 days and still feel like you have seen and done soooo much, but staying for at least a week is best, in order to see enough without rushing.

Don’t Fancy Going Abroad?

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My last destination is right here in the UK because I have many friends who either don’t want to travel or are scared of flying and I feel many times these domestic tourists are forgotten about.

If you have read my blog posts about North Wales you will know I am a big fan. The Llyn peninsula offers amazing beaches in tranquil environments so you can get lost in your own thoughts and spend quality time together. Some of the beaches have clear blue seas and just around the corner are green fields ideal for a countryside stroll.

This is my top 10 list for honeymoons, from long-haul destinations to perfect places right here in the UK.

How To Stay Connected While Traveling

When you decide to travel, you don’t always think about every aspect of heading off on a trip to somewhere new and exciting. All you’re thinking about is how exciting it will be to get out there and see the world, and often this means that you don’t about what you’re leaving behind – your friends and family.

Staying connected wasn’t always easy, but nowadays, thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever before to remain connected to your loved ones, even when you’re not around. So the next time you head off on a trip abroad, make sure to think more carefully about how to stay connected.

Wondering what the best ideas are for staying close even while far apart? Read on for an array of handy hacks and ideas!

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Take advantage of instant messaging

The issue with staying connected while apart used to be tricky because it could be expensive sending text messages from abroad. However, that’s no longer the case thanks to the birth of iMessage, Whatsapp, Viber, and Facebook Messanger, as each of these services can be used to message for free, from anywhere in the world, just as long as you have an internet connection. Pretty cool, huh? Of course, you’re not always guaranteed free internet access – and you don’t want to use your data as abroad it can cost a lot to use – which is where having a mobile hotspot device can come in handy to have.

Send digital postcards

Yes, these are a thing. Instead of buying a postcard, why not use a postcard-making app where you select a photo that you’ve taken, add a message to the back, add an address, and the company then sends the postcard for you. How cool is that? You might not be able to write the postcards by hand, but it’s a much quicker and easier way to stay connected.

Video chat

Another option for staying connected while traveling is video chatting with your loved ones via FaceTime and Skype. If you want a close chatting experience, where you are face-to-face with your friends and family, then video chatting is the best route to go down as it allows you to chat as if you were face-to-face, instead of thousands of miles apart.

Email

Emailing might be seen as old-fashioned by some, but if you’re traveling abroad in a different time zone and want to stay connected to your loved ones without having to stay up late to chat live, then emailing is a great option. While you could opt to send a letter, emailing offers a much faster and more effective communication method worth considering.

There you have it, everything that you need to know about staying connected while traveling.

 

 

Where will Spring take you?

This weekend presents the perfect opportunity to take a holiday, but where is best to go in the springtime? Here, I’m taking a look at some beautiful spots that are less than 5 hours away on a plane.

We all travel for different reasons from the weather to escaping day-to-day life and a long weekend like Easter is a great time to do this, without using your work holidays (that’s if you don’t work over Easter of course).

Personally, I like to use Easter to do some domestic travelling and leave the short-haul flights for when I have a little extra time. But, there are plenty of places to explore if you prefer to venture further afield.

Iceland

Visiting Iceland seems to be a trend at the moment, everyone I speak to is either going, has been, or is planning to go. This is no surprise it has a lot to offer:

Blue Lagoon

Featured on a lot of programmes and definitely on my bucket list. Located on a lave field in Grindavik this spa is rich in minerals and has a reputation for helping those suffering from skin conditions. Although the sound of bathing in a pool lagoon of with strangers may not appeal to some, it is actually one of the most visited attractions in Iceland.

Geysir

Sitting on the same peninsula as the Blue Lagoon and a 2-hour journey by car the Geysir is a geyser.  A geyser is a natural spring that erupts water high into the air.  As one of the worlds most fascinating wonders, it is a must-see during your trip to Iceland.

Lofthellir Cave

In the northeastern part of Iceland, there is a 3,500-year-old lava cave described as a magical world of ice and darkness. This is a perfect stop for those taking a driving tour of Iceland, although there’s also a little walking involved across the lava field before you reach the cave.

Poland

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A great stop for Spring with a lot to see and do, including drink vodka. Drinking vodka here is more of an experience as it is available in a variety of colours and flavours. To accompany the vodka try some Polish cuisine, with unusual side dishes and seasonings (well to my palate anyway). There are also plenty of historic places to visit:

Gdansk

A colourful port city on the Baltic has stories to tell and is the perfect shopping destination. You can view the 17th century Neptune Fountain which is topped the sea god in bronze or visit the European Solidarity Centre where you can learn about the shipyard revolt, through a unique display.

Auschwitz-Birkenau

A trip to Poland is not complete without visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau and remembering the tragedy of WWII. On this site, millions of people were murdered and the preservation of the area brings this horror to life, allowing all who visit to learn, as well as be a reminder that this should never happen again.

Florence

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A beautiful place to visit during the springtime, home to amazing scenery and florally decorated landscapes. This is a lovely place for those who appreciate nature.

Rose Garden

This free to visit garden offers stunning views, especially if you walk all the way to the top, where you will find Piazzale Michelangelo. The air surrounding the garden is filled with the scent of flowers, soothing the soul and making the walk relaxing and peaceful.

Galleria degli Uffizi

One for the art lovers, this marvellous museum holds some of the most renowned pieces of artwork. But, if you want to get in you may have to wait a while, as only small groups are allowed in at one time, or you can simply book online – which seems like the sensible option.

Jersey

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Last summer we visited Jersey and had a lovely time, home to glorious beaches and the war tunnels we enjoyed exploring the island.

When in Jersey you can also take a day trip to France, we visited St Malo in Brittany which did not take too long to get to on ferry.

War Tunnels

An interesting and slightly eery experience as you explore the underground tunnels from WWII. The layout of the attraction is well done, with the opportunity to follow the stories of real people from that time. This is a good spot to learn about the war and what life was really like for German soldiers and the people of Jersey.

Plemont

My favourite beach of the trip with large caves to discover and golden sands this beach was the perfect spot on a sunny day. There is also a shop that sells hot food and refreshments.

Cornwall

Home to many attractions especially during spring time when the Truro Festival takes place. There are marquees with local businesses and plenty of places to dine. I have visited Cornwall a few times and these have been my favourite spots.

The Eden Project

Be at one with nature and learn about plants, insects, and bugs. Or take to the adventure activities as you defy gravity and hit the skywire.

Caerhays Castle

It is springtime so head to the castle gardens 140 acres of tranquil and scenic walks and woodland. But it doesn’t stop there as part of the estate you can explore the beaches and the castle itself.

There are plenty of places to explore over the Easter holiday or during Spring and it would be great to know your plans.

Let’s relax…

I don’t know about you, but at times I dream of escaping day-to-day life and taking a day for myself. Perhaps staying in a hotel, reading on a sunny beach or wandering around a city.

We all need to let go sometimes and find peace within ourselves and for me, this means having an evening or day to just be. Fortunately, I live in a wonderful place that is close to a city, beaches, towns, and countryside.

There are several ways to relax and here are my top five.

Take a Walk

Walking is a great way to relax, and it can be done virtually anywhere. Simply taking in the scenery and stopping for a little while to observe what’s around you. Obviously, walking in a busy city can have the opposite effect with many people rushing around, in turn, this can make you feel stressed and eager to get somewhere fast.

Heading to a park or local beach where you can hear the natural sounds of the waves and birds is the perfect way to enjoy time to yourself.

Watch a Film

For me, the best way to relax is watching a film or programme, one that is funny or light-hearted otherwise I just overthink it. Making time to enjoy a film or read a book can take you out of your present situation for a little while.

Head to the Beach

Living in the UK, I don’t get to do this as much as I would like to but taking some food and a magazine and sitting in the sun is one of life’s luxuries.

Exercise

Working out is a great way to relieve stress and find relaxation, especially if your last few minutes are spent warming down. The key is finding the type of exercise that is right for you, I don’t like jogging but I love aerobics and dance. I find jogging bores me, leaving too much time to think and ponder, whereas dance and aerobics are usually too high paced music to keep my attention.

Cafe

Taking myself to a local cafe with a magazine, or one with a lovely view gives time to reflect on things and enjoy my own company. Leaving my phone in the car, not in my bag as this is too tempting, I find that this 15 minutes lowers my stress levels and allows me to maintain a relaxed tone, before going home.

There are many ways to relax, and to be honest I’m not sure I’m that good at it but it would be great to know how you destress.

The Living Room Traveller

I read many travel blogs and it seems that those who travel around the globe, writing interesting posts have it made. They are living my dream.

More than travelling itself I like to learn about new places and about the tourism industry, which is why I have a degree in tourism. Landscapes, the business of tourism and the cultures all interest me and it amazes me how different we all are even though we share one planet. Of course, if I knew how I could travel with my family I would do it. Instead, I read books, watch programmes and documentaries, take a trip; using Google maps, and when I have the money I plan an actual trip based on what I learned.

This post looks at what I have learned recently about some places that I would like to visit.

Make sure you don’t judge a place from one source, the issue is that a destination can be shown in both a positive and negative light and likes/dislikes are subjective so make sure you think about what’s right for you.

Hong Kong

Inspiration:  http://www.channel4.com/programmes/travel-man-48-hours-in/episode-guide/

I have enjoyed watching the majority of this series and it would be quite a fun challenge to visit somewhere for 48hrs and cram everything in. The episode I am focusing on is the Hong Kong (Christmas special!).

My first thought when watching this show was ‘why Hong Kong for Christmas?’ Well, even after watching the show, I was still not sure. The show mainly discussed food, some attractions and randomly a tailor.

One thing that interested me was the hotel they were lucky enough to stay in (WAY out of my budget) the technology is interesting and gives you a peek into the future.

Whilst discussing the food Richard Ayoade & Jon Hamm were joined by a food blogger, who took them to many places to try local cuisine. Stinky tofu was not for me, but then again I am a picky eater, I could probably try the snake soup though. However it’s not the food that attracted me, it was the images of the architecture, which seems varied. The peak tram may be a good starting point for viewing buildings even though it looked a little scary, the view from The Peak Sky Terrace 428 seemed worth a look.

Another stop was Tian Tan Buddha, which looks marvellous sitting at 34 metres high, this bronze Buddha looks over the Chinese people and would be a must-see for me. Located on Lantau Island it seems to me it would be worth a trip.

After watching this I did a little research of my own and found some facts that interested me and discovered some attractions that were not featured.

So, Hong Kong consists of a mainland peninsula but also 230 islands, was founded in 1842 and its capital is Victoria City.

Currently undergoing maintenance until February 1st Ngong Ping 360 is a cable car ride, which starts from Tung Chung to the Ngong Ping village. Here you will find shops and restaurants and the Walking with Buddha experience. If this isn’t for you then you could head to Lantau Island, the largest of Hong Kong’s islands. This is the home of the ‘big buddha’ as well as Po Lin Monastery which is known as ‘the Buddhist World in the South’. Both inside and out this monastery is vibrant and from what I have read seems to be peaceful with scents of flowers.

If these places don’t take your fancy you could always nip to Disneyland.

The ICEHOTEL in Sweden

Inspiration: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08qf7xy

Wow! I would imagine this is on many people’s bucket list. This is an amazing place and it is so sad to think that it will eventually melt and have to be reconstructed and designed a year later. Never the less this year’s design featured a large ice elephant (watching you when you sleep), this looked like a lot of hard work and was constructed brilliantly.

The good news is since 2016 there is also a permanent ICEHOTEL 365 experience which is home to an ice bar and gallery. How does this stay cool in the summer? There are solar panels that cool the structure during the colder months.

Even though these amazing buildings are experience enough, if you are staying in Sweden for a couple of days you will probably want to make the most of it, by visiting as many places as possible. Here are a few things I’d love to experience if I get to visit:

Snowdog

The snow dog ride would make this amazing holiday complete with a team of Alaskan huskies taking me on a tour through the snowy landscape. To make this experience even better many excursions include a stop for a traditional lunch.

Sami Siida

A true adventure to discover the Sami culture through the open-air museum. There is also a reindeer encounter that can be enjoyed, which I would love to experience. After reading many reviews it would appear the only issue with the visit is the small cafe and expensive food sold, therefore many people suggest eating before visiting.

Now all that’s left to do is actually get myself to these places. If you have any travel documentary recommendations, I am all ears!