Say yes to a girl’s holiday

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We have been going away with each other and our other girlfriends since we were 18. Our first girls holiday was in 2010 to Zante and we loved it. Since then we have been to Kavos, Portugal, Ibiza, Barcelona & Majorca. Although our holidays have changed a bit throughout the years we still have the most amazing time and have created unforgettable memories.

We have just got back from a girls holiday, which started in Barcelona on a hen do and ended in Majorca! We had been looking forward to this holiday for such a long time and it definitely did not disappoint. We had so much fun chilling, drinking and eating basically all day everyday.

In June 2016 we went to  Ibiza (which you can read all about here). We booked the holiday super last minute and before we knew it we were boarding the plane and on our way. We were away for five days and we honestly had the most amazing holiday. We fully relaxed and it was just what we needed after months of solid work. we split our days up by doing a mixture of chilling by the pool and taking part in fun activities such as a boat trip to Formentera. We also had to go to a pool party because lets be honest you cant go to Ibiza and not go to at least one pool party.

Holidays can be expensive but they don’t have to be, we paid no more than £200 for our trip to Ibiza which included our flights, hotel, food and drink (we were all inclusive). If you can’t afford £200 then why not look for a holiday in the UK we have had some brilliant weekends away that barely cost anything.

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Reasons why a girls holiday could be just what you need

Girly pool chats are the best, we discuss everything and anything! It’s the perfect time to discuss anything that you have been meaning to get off your chest for the past few months. In Ibiza we had pool chats every day with an iced coffee or Mojito in hand and it really helped us make decisions about what we needed to change in our lives on our return.

You will be sure to laugh constantly the sort of laughing that makes you cry and leaves you with tummy cramps.  We always come back from a holiday feeling like we have done a full week of AB workouts.

Days, weeks and months can fly by and you suddenly realise you haven’t seen your friends. Going on holiday always reminds you of how much fun you have when you are together and the importance of keeping the friendships going.

Going on holiday with a partner or your family is AMAZING but they don’t always get it when you need the perfect Instagram shot! That’s when you need your girls there helping you find the dreamiest backdrop.

Lots of dancing takes place on a girl’s holiday which is sure to put you in the best mood ever, need we say anymore?

We cant wait to go away on lots more girly holiday! Have you got any in the pipeline?

 

Barcelona Brunchin’

There seems to be a theme going on here, first we had Budapest Brunchin’ and now its off to Barcelona for a spot of brunch.

As with the visit to Budapest we found all our brunch places in Barcelona from Instagram. We used the hashtag #barcelonabrunch and #barcelonacoffee and our list of places to go just got longer and longer. Sadly we only managed to visited 3 places for Brunch (we were only there for 3 days!), however will also share the other places we wanted to visit, and you will have to let us know what you think/share photos to make us jealous!

1) Brunch and Cakethere are 4 Brunch and Cake’s in Barcelona (Brunch and Cake, Travel and Cake, Cup and Cake, Brunch and Cake by the Sea) but we decided to visit Brunch and Cake by the Sea as this was the closest one to our hotel, and it had outside seating too. The pictures on Instagram of this place looked amazing and we wanted to go there long before Zanna mentioned it on her vlog! However after she visited, we knew we had to as we knew it would be good! The food was so colourful and the menu was expansive and there was so much to choose from. However one issue we did have and we will be honest here is that you cannot make alterations to ANYTHING on the menu which we think was a little silly. Okay, we understand for the food as it does make life easier for the chefs, but for the drinks too….. really? All we wanted to do was have almond milk instead of coconut milk in a smoothie but no. Anyway rant over, at least if you are to visit you all now know that you cannot change any dishes or drinks and have to take them as they are. This means you may want to look at the menu in detail before going. On a positive note the food and drinks we enjoyed were delicious and most certainly an Instagramers dream. Definitely check this place out if you are off to Barcelona.

2) Mr Robinson – this place is tucked away and isn’t somewhere you would just stumble across. There is inside and outside seating and the decor is amazing and the staff are lovely. We loved our brunch here and again the menu was amazing with so much to choose from and dishes to suit all needs. We would 100% recommend the smoothie bowls if you go as they we DELICIOUS!

3) Alsur Cafeoh wow this cafe is so cute situated on a beautiful square with an amazing outside terrace. The food here is very unique and quirky we loved the waffle sandwich it was divine. Again so much food to choose from that you want to spend the whole day here eating and drinking.

4) Topico BCN – We didn’t have a chance to visit here, however their Instagram is so bright and colourful it looks amazing, everything seems to be served with flowers! If we had another day here we would certainly be taking a visit here.

5) Green and Berrythis place was a little too far away from our hotel to visit for brunch and we were also too far to have the food delivered by Deliveroo (trust us we did look into it as we wanted to sample the food so bad!). Described as a health food store the food and brunch in particular looks amazing from here, their Instagram account leaves us drooling!

6) Flax and Kale – we literally love their Instagram account and spied their healthy ice cream so we HAD to go! There is Flax and Kale and also Flax and Kale a porter (takeaway). We really really wish we had a chance to return here and sample their brunch as it looks amazing. The cafe is pretty big and there is outside seating too which is a bonus.

7) Cocuy Cafe – Another cafe that looks like Instagram heaven, here you can get brunch and also bagels and smoothies too. Just stalk their Instagram and it will make you instantly hungry!

8) El Flako (Cornflakes and co) – this is basically a cereal cafe and as we are both cereal lovers we wish we could’ve visited here too. Guess we will just had a to make a return visit to Barcelona. If you love cereal, then this is the perfect place to grab some breakfast/brunch

9) Milk – located in the gothic quarter is this quaint cafe that also serves brunch. We opted not to visit here as we wanted to brunch at places with outside seating. However their menu and food looked divine.

An Amtrak Adventure

We have always wanted to explore the U.S. via Amtrak, as we love the idea of visiting the country via train or bus. We have heard and read lots of good reviews about Amtrak, especially that it’s known for being very reliable and offering a comfy mode of transport. We have planned our route below so you can use it for inspiration. We have visited some of the cities before, but we’d jump at the chance of going again!

San Francisco

We would start our trip in San Fran, as it’s a city that everyone falls in love with immediately. We definitely recommend hiring bikes and cycling over the famous Golden Gate Bridge. We would suggest taking the longer scenic route and then taking the boat back to the city after a long day of exploring.

You can’t write a post without mentioning food, especially when visiting America. You have to visit In-N-Out Burger, which is a burger joint that’s only in six states. You also have to try the bread bowls filled with chili con carne or seafood chowder, as they are specialities in San Fran.

“The Princess Diaries” is one of our favourite movies filmed in San Fran. Of course, we would take a ride on the tram and hop off and visit the amusement arcade to reenact that famous seen with the Queen of Genovia.

Los Angeles

We would definitely take a trip to the famous Barry’s Bootcamp and end the workout with a delicious shake in the summer sunshine. When in LA, you must visit the Hollywood sign. Take a walk to the Observatory Griffith to get that Instagram shot.

We would also visit the Walk of Fame, where there are over 2,500 brass stars on 18 city blocks. We would take a long walk and try to spot our favourite celebrities and public figures.

San Diego

We would of course love to visit Belmont Park and take a ride on the Giant Dipper. It was constructed in 1925, but it’s still the centrepiece of Belmont Park. We love amusement parks, and Belmont Park looks like so much fun.

We would also love to try a fish taco in San Diego. We would go to Oscar’s, as we’ve heard this spot sells the best fish tacos in town. We’ve been told we may have to stand in line, but it would definitely be worth the wait.

Las Vegas 

You can’t visit Vegas without stopping by a famous pool party. We love the Wynn and the Encore. They’re so much fun, and the atmosphere is incredible at both.

We would also spend an evening dancing the night away at Drais, which is a rooftop pool and nightclub that overlooks the Strip. You should also watch the incredible water display at the Fountains of Bellagio. It takes place seven days a week, and you can find the timetable here.

To take a break from a busy Las Vegas schedule, we would take a day trip to the Grand Canyon for the breathtaking views. If you have cash to splash, then you should definitely opt for a helicopter ride for an experience you’ll never forget.

Albuquerque 

We have always wanted to visit Albuquerque, New Mexico, so we would set aside a few extra days to visit and properly explore this city. During our trip, we would stay at one of these hotels close to the Amtrak station.

We would kick our trip off with a tour of the Old Town, as we have heard it’s a reflection of the city’s Native American and Spanish heritage. We would also love to visit the ABQ BioPark, Paseo del Bosque, Petroglyph National Monument, and Sandia Peak Tramway.

New York

After spending a few days in Albuquerque, we would fly to New York. We would end our trip here because you can’t go all the way to America without visiting the Big Apple. You can read all about what we would get up to in Brooklyn here.

Now, where are our passports? We need to make this dream a reality pronto!

Whats in our hand luggage

For some people they will only travel with hand luggage – putting baggage in the hold is just so expensive anyway! When we go on short holidays we will ALWAYS travel with hand luggage, whats the point in paying the extra when you can usually fit everything into a small wheelie suitcase anyway. Additionally it means that you have your luggage with you all the time so as soon as you get off the plane there is none of that faffing about waiting for the carousel, plus the little panic when your suitcase still hasn’t appeared isn’t fun at all.

However for those longer holidays where you have check bags we thought we would share our hand luggage essentials so your holiday can run as smooth as ever.

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1) Spare underwear/clothes – this is number 1 because its SO essential you do this. If by that very unfortunate event your suitcase ends up halfway across the world in China you need to have some spare clothes and of course spare swimwear. We always pack a spare bikini and underwear in the event this might (and we hope never) happen.

2) Phone – this is most probs a given as we know everyone these days are glued to their phones, however it has to be on our list anyway. These days you can download the airline app and have your boarding pass on your phone, we LOVE this and it saves that stress of printing or losing your paper ticket. Paper is so old school now anyway 😉

3) Portable charger and cable – this is vital for your hand luggage to keep your devices fully charged. The cable is important because some airports have charging points and some planes also have charging sockets, so you will never have to worry about your phone running out of battery.

4) Magazine/books – you have to have something to read to occupy your time and in case of a delay too! We always treat ourselves to a magazine for holiday, because we rarely buy them otherwise. Plus once you have the magazines you can also read them by the pool. If you don’t want to carry so many books we recommend downloading kindle app to your phone or tablet, or even purchase a kindle.

5) Headphones – we use our headphones to listen to music on the flight or at the airport. However we often download programmes to watch on the flight onto our tablet, so will use headphones to catch up on our favourite TV show.

6) Moisturiser/lip balm/toothpaste & toothbrush – planes can make you feel so dry due to the air con so we always carry moisturiser and lip balm with us to keep our hands and lips moisturised. Brushing your teeth can make you feel ten times better about yourself and if you are travelling long haul then we would definitely recommend this one.

7) Socks – planes can be so so cold due to the air con, therefore we will always bring a pair of socks in our hand luggage – there is nothing worse than feeling cold on the plane. However if you are on a long haul flight they will provide you with socks!

8) Eye Mask – if you are on a night flight or a long flight then an eye mask will be your best friend! Eye masks are so small and easy to fit in your hand luggage, and may make that long plane journey not feel so long!

9) Local guide book – you may as well kill some time by flicking through the guidebook and getting ahead of the game with planning your trip.

10) Pen & paper – We always make sure we carry a pen and some paper with us. We always find we spend the plane journey planning the holiday and writing down the things we want to do and places we want to see, this often involves flicking through a guide book (see point 9!). Sometimes we draft out a mini itinerary too to make sure we fit everything in.

11) Anti-bacterial hand gel – this is a necessity as you never know what you are going to touch or if there will be any tissues to dry your hands. In addition aeroplane toilets are not exactly the nicest! We love ones that smell nice and fruity!

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Happy travels! 

Paris food: Latin Quarter

The Latin Quarter is located in the 5th arrondissement is to the south of the River Seine and close to the Jardin des Plantes. The Jardin des Plantes is a very pretty garden that reminded us of Kew Gardens in London.

This is a completely different part of Paris and there were some amazing cafes that we stumbled across when exploring. Our favourite street was Rue Moffetard. The Rue Mouffetard sometimes has a food market but if not there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to visit instead. Below are the highlights:

Dose – Dealer de Cafe
Maybe one of the only independent cafes we found that serves iced coffee. It was a real struggle to find anywhere in Paris that serves iced coffee, its strange how it isnt a ‘thing’ yet in Paris – but hopefully will be soon! There are two of these in Paris, one of the Rue Mouffetard and the other on Place du Dr Felix Loblieois. Not only does this cafe serve iced coffees but also amazing brunch and sweet treats too.

La Maison des Tartes
A place that basically only serves tarts, from savoury tarts to sweet ones this place is where you need to visit! They also serve brunch on a saturday.

Au P’tit Grec
The queue outside this place was crazy, so crazy that we took a picture to show how busy it was! If there is a massive queue then this place MUST be good! Au P’tit Grec sells crepes and paninis and pride themselves on the food always being fresh. The best thing to do is takeaway as there is less of a wait.

Vegan Folies
Also situated on the Rue Mouffetard you will find this vegan cafe serving up a vegans dream. The desserts and pastries look amazing, and its a must visit!

Alberto
The amazing rose shaped ice creams are what drew us into this ice cream shop. If you want a instagram worthy picture of ice cream then you have to head here! You can tell they take pride in every ice cream cone they make and the selection of different flavours is dreamy. The perfect place to visit on a hot summers day.

O’Tacos
French tacos are apparently a thing, who would’ve thought! If you fancy some tacos then this chain of restaurants is the place to go, and thier instagram sure will leave you drooling! The one on Rue Mouffetard is not their only one so if you are craving tacos find an O’Tacos near you!

Rosa Kiwi
This frozen yoghurt bar is so cool! You choose your type of yoghurt from natural to chocolate or berry and then choose all your toppings. There lots of toppings to choose from including fresh fruit, chooclate, sweeties and a variety of sauces. It is all done by weight so you weight your yoghut and pay per kilo. We had such fun creating our toppings and the natural frozen yoghurt was INCREDIBLE!

Strada Cafe
This place looked super cute and on weekends no laptops are allowed to make way for brunch. The atmosphere at this adorable cafe was lovely. Here you can enjoy brunch along with coffee, juices and a variety of sweet treats too.

Joe Burger
If you fancy a burger then this independent burger bar is pretty cool. Each month they have a flavour of the month and all burgers are made to order.

A Tourists Guide to Paris

Paris is an amazing city and we were lucky enough to spend the weekend there at the end of April. There so much to see and do so we have written down the top 10 things to do when visiting Paris:

1) Eiffel Tower
Of course you have to see the Eiffel Tower when visiting Paris, although you don’t necessarily have to go to the top of it, sometimes you want it in pictured as its so iconic and if you have climbed up it it wont feature in your pictures. The best place to go for pictures directly in front of the tower is the Place du Trocadero, you can walk through the gardens and up the stairs and have stunning views of the Eiffel Tower. As for all places in Paris to get good pictures it best to go early and beat the crowds.

2) Arc du Triomphe
You can climb up the Arc du Triomphe and get amazing views of the streets of Paris or head to the Champs Elysees where all the amazing shops are with the Arc du Triomphe at the end. On the first Sunday of every month it is free to climb to the top of the the Arc du Triomphe.

3) Notre-Dame de Paris
This famous cathedral is located on the Ile de la Cite and is very popular with tourists so is a great photo opportunity. You can visit inside and climb to the top too. When here make sure you also visit the Ile Saint-Louis which is the slightly smaller island but has some amazing shops and restaurants. Make sure you also visit the green market stalls on the streets surronding the Notre-Dame de Paris!

4) Sacre-Coeur – Montmartre
Another touristy place you must visit when in Paris and great photo opportunities. This stunning church is located at the top of a hill. Whilst here make sure you visit the artist market, which is iconic for Paris and can be seen on many postcards! The Sacre-Coeur is also very close to the Moulin Rouge if you are a fan of the film then pop here for a picture outside the famous red windmill.

5) Galeries Lafayette
The Galeries Lafayette are a huge department store, so if you fancy a spot of shopping then head here. However we recommend you visit here for the free amazing views of Paris. If you head right to the top of the building there is a roof terrace that looks out over Paris and its not to be missed.

6) Boat trip
We went on a boat trip with a company called Bateaux Mouches which took us up and down the river with commentary. The commentary pointed out all the landmarks and also gives a brief history too which is interesting. The commentary is in English, French and Chinese. However there are many other boat companies to choose from and all as equally good.

7) Grand Roue
This is like going on the London Eye only much more cheaper. To ride this costs 12 euros and you go around twice. This is a different way to see the sights of Paris and get some pictures from high up. From the wheel you can see all of Paris so its pretty spectacular.

8) Palais Royal
These gardens and courtyard are stunning and the black and white pillars and perfect photo opportunities. Its best to visit early to avoid all the tourists to get a good pictures without massive of crowds spoiling it

9) The Ritz
This is the hotel that Princess Diana stayed in when she visited Paris. The Ritz is on the Place Vendome and is surrounded by designer stores including Rolex and Chanel. Its good to go here for some stunning photographs of the square, and oogle at the expensive cars.

10) Museums
We have put 2 museums into on point in order to make this list only 10 (oooops!). The Louvre is where the Mona Lisa painting lives, however be prepared to queue to enter the museum and also be prepared to see how small the painting actually is! If you don’t fancy going inside you can take some cool pictures with the famous glass pyramid. When visiting the Musse D’Orsey make sure you go and see the iconic huge clocks and take that Pinterest worthy picture! This museum is in a former station so inside it is pretty impressive.

 

Northern Ireland National Trust

On my short visit to Northern Ireland we visited a number of different National Trust places so it seemed fitting that our next post about the National Trust was all about Northern Ireland.

In total there are over 30 National Trust places you can visit, the country is so beautiful that I can see why there are so many stunning National Trust places to visit.

Castleward
Castleward is where some of Game of Thrones was filmed, I personally haven’t watched any of the episodes but for the avid fans you can take a GoT tour to all the set locations. Coincidentally whilst we were there the BBC were actually filming a TV drama called The Woman in White, they were filming a scene with a horse and cart and doing take after take. Castleward is so close to the sea and you can do a coastal walk along the bay overlooking Portaferry. You can also visit the mansion and grounds too, that are beautiful.

The Giants Causeway
This is one of the most famous places in Northern Ireland where all the rocks are naturally hexagonal. This is a very popular tourist destination and they arrive by coachload! This is free to visit for National Trust members however I would recommend you do what we did and park in Portballintrae, where you can park at the end of Beach Road and walk to the causeway to save money and also see the stunning Norther Ireland coastline where you can also see Scotland!
The Giants Causeway itself is very very busy but most definitely worth a visit.
The walk back to the car you can do a loop and walk along the mainland next to a railway track.

Rowallane Gardens
These gardens were really close to our cottage so we visited one morning, would recommend going early in the morning as you will have the place to yourself. The grounds at Rowallane are simply beautiful and we were lucky to be visiting in spring so there were lots of flowers in bloom. We took advantage of the map and did a nice loop around the grounds. We then ended the walk at the tea rooms where I enjoyed a soya luxury hot chocolate and gluten free chocolate cake. There is something about National Trust tea rooms, they are so cute and cosy and the food is always amazing. This is the sort of NT place that you don’t need to spend the day at, but can visit on route to somewhere.
This NT place is very close to the small town of Saintfield where there are 2 fish and chips shops if you fancied a spot of lunch.

The Crown Bar
This is the oldest bar in Belfast and surprisingly is owned by the National Trust. However saying that by being a member doesn’t give you any perks, you can’t get a free pint! This bar is a must see on a visit to Belfast its so cute and there are loadsa booths to sit in, but you have to be wait a bit for a free one!

Carrick-a-Rede
Visit here if you a feeling very brave where you can walk along a rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede. You used to be able to turn up here and walk across the bridge, however to manage the crowds (Northern Ireland has become very popular recently, most probably because of GoT!) you now have to turn up and pick up a ticket for a slot that day.
This means you have to go and get your time slot and potentially go back for your allocated time slot.
However, it is totally worth it to get that Instagram snap of your daring to cross the rope bridge to show off to your friends!

Now summer is nearly here we shall be making the most of our life memberships and visiting some more National Trusts places, expect to see lots more posts!