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?

 

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! 

Top 10 cities we want to visit

We do like to write about the places we have visited, however this time we thought we would write a post about the cities we want to visit. City breaks are great because you can go away for a long weekend it can feel like you have been away for ages. City breaks also mean you don’t have to take too much holiday, so you can do lots of mini breaks throughout the year. There are often cheap deals going on flights so there’s no excuse!

Between us, we have visited, Dublin, Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Madrid, Prague, Florence and Paris (we are off to Paris in April again and cannot wait), therefore this post is all about the cities we haven’t visited but really want to. Let’s see how many we can tick off the list!

Barcelona-We have heard some amazing things about Barcelona, and of course want to visit the Sagrada Familia – it is the most iconic building in Barcelona after all. However the Park Guell looks just as impressive! The best thing about Barcelona is that is a city that has a beach, so we would be able to top up the tan and relax for a bit too. We cannot not mention Spanish food, going for tapas and watching Flamenco dancing would be definitely be the best way to spend an evening. And lastly we both love markets, so we would definitely visit a Spanish market whilst there.

Budapest- Budapest is renowned for being cheap so we just have to visit. The city looks incredible with lots to do and we can imagine just wandering the city stumbling across beautiful sites and taking lots and lots of pictures. We have been recommended going on a cruise down the River Danube as it’s a good way to see both Buda and Pest. We also would love to attend a ‘sparty’, which is basically a party at one of the many spa’s in Budapest. Whilst in Budapest we would have to sample local Hungarian food of course, and taste the local Goulash.

Dubrovnik- Croatia looks like a stunning country and the city of Dubrovnik looks amazing and even better it’s another city by the sea, so a trip to the beach would be on the cards! It would be pretty amazing to go sea kayaking here, which would be a different thing to do on a city break or take a trip in the cable car for some fantastic views. Another recommendation has been given to us of visiting the Island of Lokrum, and the pictures do look stunning – maybe we will need longer than a long weekend to visit Dubrovnik!

Lisbon- Lisbon is meant to be the cheapest place to go for a city break so we are intrigued to visit and see if this is true! We would definitely visit the Sao Jorge Castle whilst there and also take a trip to a view point for some cool pictures and also ride the tram. Whist there we would definitely have to enjoy a pastel de nata (custard tart) or two!

Marseille- Marseille is not somewhere you would instantly think of visiting for a city break which is why we want to visit. Marseille is a city in the south of France and looks stunning as there is a Greek feel to the city with a pretty port. We feel this city will be very similar to Paris but less hectic and busy. It would be the perfect city break full of cheese and wine, and of course French bread. Marseille Old Town looks picturesque so I imagine we would spend a lot of time there!

Stockholm- We have never been to Sweden so a city break to Stockholm sounds like a fab idea, and it looks like another beautiful city. The decision is, to visit in summer or winter? We do much prefer hotter climates though…..

Edinburgh- Why should we not pick a city to visit in the UK?! We haven’t visited Scotland and heard so many good things about Edinburgh so a visit would be worthwhile. As you probably already know, we love walking so this would be the perfect city break as we could visit Arthurs Seat and challenge ourselves to climb the main mountain in Edinburgh. It wouldn’t be a trip to Edinburgh without a visit to the famous Edinburgh Castle or a trip to the theatre.

Helsinki- Again this is another country that we haven’t visited, so a trip to Finland would be quite the adventure and experience. In Winter it will be super super cold, but imagine the Christmas markets are quite spectacular and of course lots of snow! The city looks equally stunning in summer and for the past 5 years in summer you can have dinner in the sky, which looks incredible! Imagine eating dinner high up in the sky, the pictures look epic! Kayaking is a main hobby and outdoor activity in Finland so we would definitely have to hire kayaks in the summer or go on a kayak tour. We have also been recommended to do a bike tour of the city, which we can imagine you can do in summer or winter.

Warsaw- A trip to Warsaw would be a very historical and cultural trip, so maybe best to go in winter as we can imagine  a lot of the trip would be spend in museums such as the National Museum in Warsaw, the Museum of History  of Polish Jews or the Science centre. However we would also enjoy the food and drink that Poland has to offer and explore the old town on foot. Breakfast is a serious meal in Poland and we love our breakfast so we will be sure to enjoy a very large Polish breakfast every morning to set ourselves up for the day. Warsaw also has a lively bar culture so we will be sure to visit some bars in the evening.

San Sebastian- This is not a very well-known destination for a city break, but this city in Spain looks beautiful so a different destination to add to the list. There is meant to be one of the best beaches in Europe here so we will most likely spend a lot of time here, from sunbathing, to walking and morning runs along the beach. The old town also looks stunning and we can imagine spending an evening eating and drinking here. A highlight for us would be taking the funicular railway to the top of Monte Igeldo to see impressive views and take some perfect blog pictures!

Where do you think we have missed off our list? Where would you recommended we visit next?

Whats in my rucksack

It seemed fitting that as I (Rachel), love going on solo trips around the world; just me, myself and my rucksack, that I would write a post to share what I pack in my trusty rucksack.

This will include all the necessities that you might not initially think of that I would recommend you pack, I haven’t included all the obvious things such as passport, clothes, suncream etc however writing this post has inspired me to write some additional separate posts about clothes to pack and one about toiletries to pack – so watch this space!

  1. Firstly I will start with the actual rucksack. Basically my motto is the smaller the better. The smaller the rucksack means you don’t overpack, and it also means the less you have to lug around. You have to do a lot of walking with your life on your shoulders so you don’t want to have your kitchen sink in there! You may be walking from the train station to your hostel, or the trek from one gate at the airport to another. When I went to Australia I borrowed my brothers  Osprey Talon 33 rucksack. For my trip to SE Asia I decided I needed my own rucksack. After lots of research, I decided I wanted to stick with a 33 litre rucksack so went with this beautiful Lowe Alpine 33 litre. It can expand to 40 litres if need be. I suggest going out only packing to the 33 litres and then using the extra 7 litres to bring bits back!
  2. Earplugs and eye mask are then my first priority I always make sure I have packed. Make sure you find ear plugs that are suitable for you, there are so many different varieties. Amazon have plenty to choose from! Same goes with the eye mask, you need to make sure its a comfy one as you have to sleep with it on. I like this Go Travel one 🙂
  3. Neck pillow is the next essential, especially if you plan on taking long journeys from place to place. The neck pillow is ideal to help you sleep on the long plane journey but also perfect for long bus or train journeys. I opted for a memory foam pillow and it was SO comfy. Again I opted for a Go Travel one.
  4. People tend to overpack when it comes to clothes, the only thing I would say to overpack with is underwear. Of course you can wash your clothes whilst travelling but you need to ensure you have enough underpants. I would recommend buying some 100% cotton underwear, especially if you are going to a hot and humid country.
  5. Comfy shoes are a necessity for sure. Some trips you may be required to bring walking boots with you, in this case you can be the typically traveller and tie them around your rucksack!! I always ensure I have a comfy pair of trainers with me for all the walking you have to. When visiting a new town or city you want to be able to walk around and explore it all.
  6. The long journeys can often be super boring, so make sure you have something to do on the journey. Make sure you have lots of songs on your iPhone or iPod to listen to. I also have an iPad and download some movies and tv shows to watch on long journeys. However my favourite pass time is a colouring book. I have a small pencil case with different colouring pencils in it and usually buy a new colouring book for a trip.
  7. If you are travelling solo, then I would recommend you buy yourself a selfie stick. If there is no one around that you can ask to take your photo then the trusty selfie stick is your new best friend! I think its important to take pictures to remember your amazing trip, gotta have that pic in front of the Opera House or Taj Mahal to show the grand kids!
  8. If I had all the money in the world then my Go Pro would also feature on this list, but I don’t have one (yet!). It seems everyone I meet travelling has a Go Pro except me. However I have a really good Panasonic Lumix camera and also found an underwater digital camera for £5 in a charity shop. One day I will treat myself to a Go Pro!
  9. Security is key when travelling so make sure you have a padlock packed. Many places have lockers for the guests to use that require you to use your own padlock on, then you can ensure all your valuables are safe!
  10. Speaking of security I also ensure I pack a bum bag, I find these super handy to wear when travelling as it means I can keep my valuables close to me. You can often get ones you can put under your clothes so that they cannot be seen!

 

What would your travelling/backpacking necessities be? Where are you planning your next adventure to, we would love to know!!

Vietnam : Hue

I hadn’t done much research on this place so didn’t know what to expect. However all I knew was that I HAD to do the motorbike tour because it was amazing and my friend had recommended it to me.

We arrived in Hue around midday and then had 45 minutes to check in before meeting for the motorbike tour.

We were all assigned a driver and sat on the back of their bike and were basically taken all around Hue to all the touristy (or not so touristy) sites. We visited 3 temples, a bridge, a pagoda, a museum of rice farming, a bunker and a food market. We were taught how to make a non la and incense sticks and also went to a view point of the perfume river. We also had the most amazing vegetarian lunch cooked by monks at a Buddhist temple. The trip was 6 hours long and simply amazing and a great way to learn all about Hue and also the Vietnamese culture. This was one of my highlights of the trip and I will always remember zipping through country lanes, though rice fields and the crazy traffic.

However apart from the bike tour I would say that Hue doesn’t really have anything else to offer and I think we spent too long here. We only needed the afternoon for the bike tour and could’ve left early the next morning rather than waiting around until the evening for the sleeper train.

Although a visit to the Imperial Citadel is worth it!

 

BLOGMAS Day 15- Paris at Christmas

Paris at Christmas is most definitely magical, the city itself always seems magical any time of year you go, there’s something special about Paris.

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A weekend to Paris is so handy as the Eurostar is so quick. If you can get an early train you can be in the centre before lunchtime, so have the day to explore! Or you can easily fly too and get the train to the centre, public transport is great over there too.

I was lucky enough to spend the first weekend of December in Paris with my mum! We went for 3 days, leaving early Saturday morning and leaving on a late train Friday evening. We found an amazing deal on Voyage Prive and bagged ourselves a room in a beautiful 4 Star boutique hotel for a very reasonable price, the deal included breakfast and also a free boat trip along the River Seine (more on that later!)

We arrived into Gare du Nord and as the sun was shining decided to walk to our hotel to drop our bags off! Luckily the room was actually free so we could fully check in. The hotel was gorgeous, it was modern chic but also very elegant. Check it out Les Jardins du Marais

We decided to walk to the Eiffel Tower to make the most of the boat trip. We headed towards the river and onto to islands (Île Saint-Louis and then Île de la Cité Where Notre Dame is) then headed down next to the river and wandered under all the bridges including the love lock bridge, which is no more!
By this point we were feeling hungry so googled a supermarket and found an express carrefour to go to (we only wanted some snacks!). We headed north and to the Louvre where we took some funny pictures pretending the point at the top – classic! Then we headed along the Rue de Rivoli and grabbed some crisps from the supermarket. By this time it was getting later and we were cold and it would be dark by the time we got to boat, so decided to scrap that idea! We headed to the Ritz where there were some stunning Christmas lights and trees and took some pics. We headed further north and popped into Galaries Lafayette. We decided to head straight to the roof terrace for a view of Paris, and lucky we did because we arrived just as the sun was setting and it was simply stunning! Would reccomend this to anyone, especially as it’s free!
Then we went to the centre of the store to see the most amazing Christmas tree, it was all polar bear themed and even had polar bears in cable cars, so cute!
We hopped on a train back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.


For dinner we went to Cafe Breizh which is a creperie (pancakes to you and me!). We had a savoury pancake and finished with a sweet one, so delicious!!

The next day we woke up and had the most amazing breakfast at the hotel. If you visit Paris on the first Sunday of the month this means all the museums are free including the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Pompidou and you can even climb the Arc de Triomphe for free! We decided to visit the Pompidou however we have never seen queues like it, they snaked all around the building! We decided to head to some famous passages wandering some beautiful streets on route including Rue Montorgueil and then went to passage Vivienne. If I’m honest if I hadn’t visited at Christmas I wouldn’t have been amazed by it, but with all the pretty lights I’m glad we stopped by! We then headed to Jardin du Palais Royal where there are loads of columns, kinda a bit of modern art and we took some fun pictures!!
We decided to walk back to Centre Georges Pompidou and the quees weren’t as bad. The weird thing about this museum is that you most of the museum is paid exhibitions, so if you pay normal entry on another day not sure what you can really see apart from the viewing terrace which I didn’t think was that amazing anyway. To summaries don’t pay to visit here, and we were glad it was free!

As I work for Disney I get free entry to the park, so the afternoon was dedicated to visiting the park. We hopped on the RER to Disneyland Pais – yay!! Now I won’t go into too much detail because I could probably write a whole separate post about the park! However I would most definitely reccomend visiting at Christmas, it is SO magical! The Christmas parade, the huge Christmas tree and of course seeing Mickey and Minnie in their Christmas outfits. We watched Buffulo Bills Wild West show, which is an hour and a half show with a 3 course meal and unlimited beer! It was so great, the food was delicious and entertainment was fab!!
We ended the evening watching the amazing firework display which included Christmassy illuminations on the castle. The perfect end to the day!

The following day was grabbed another amazing breakfast and decided to visit a part of Paris we hadn’t seen before, the Canal Saint Martin. This looks a bit like Amsterdam but not as prettier, but nice to see. We then walked to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and headed to a bandstand for a different view of Paris.
We then hopped on the metro to the Eiffel Tower to finally take our boat trip!
The boat trip may have been freezing cold as we decided to sit on the top deck to get good pictures but was worth it! The trip left from Pont de l’Alma and went all the way along the river towards the islands, around Île Saint-Louis, back past the Eiffel Tower and back to port. It was lovely seeing Paris from the river and we got some great pictures!
We then walked back towards our hotel to pick up our luggage. We firstly headed up to the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and stumbled across a massive Christmas market! It was absolutely huge and I believe put Winter Wonderland to shame! If you fancy a tacky Christmas market in Paris then this is sure the place for you!
We got to the famous Ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde and headed back along the Jardin du Tuileries through the Louvre and back to Rue de Rivoli. We passed the Hôtel de Ville and ended up back at the Mariais district. We went to L’As du Fallafel for a falafel wrap which had been reccomend to us! It was delicious. We ended the evening in Pozetto with a proper hot chocolate, basically melted chocolate!
We headed back to the hotel, picked up our luggage and headed back to the gare du nord to catch the Eurostar home!

I have never walked so much in a weekend before, and ached for days after! In total I walked 66.97km over 3 days which is an impressive 98,637 Steps!

Other places of interest you may want to visit:
Sacré-Cœur
Palace of Versailles
Moulin Rouge
Père Lachaise Cemetery
Tour Montparnasse
Les Invalides
La Defénse

24 hours in Sydney

It has nearly been a year since I returned from my solo trip along the East Coast of Australia so it only seemed fitting to remember my time in Australia with a post about my favourite city – Sydney.

Sydney is without a doubt absolutely amazing, with shops, restaurants and even a beach what is not to love?!

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If we had 24 hours in the city there is so much we would love to do, it would be hard to fit it in but manageable for sure!

A great location to stay is around Central station as the transport links are fab. If we were staying here we would wake up and go to breakfast at Devon Cafe,  which serves delicious breakfast and a great affogato coffee. The breakfast here is quite unique with different flavour combinations. We would then head to Paddy’s Market for some browsing. This iconic market is huge and there lots of cool shops to browse.If we were staying in Kings Cross then we would wake up and go to breakfast at Uliveto, which has an amazing menu and great outdoor seating area.

We would then jump on the train and head to Circular Quay which gets you out right by Sydney Harbour Bridge. Although you can pay to walk across the top of the bridge, however you are also able to walk across the bridge for free from. From the Circular Quay side of the harbour you can start from The Rocks District, and follow a sign along George Street directing you towards a flight of stairs, take these stairs and your walk begins here! The walk might be long and when hot super sweaty but when in Sydney it’s something you have to do. Once at the other side walk to Milsons Point to take some pictures from the other side of the harbour.

Walk back along the bridge Pop to The Rocks District For a sport of lunch, there are some great Street food style restaurants here so lots to choose from, Dare is a good option, which offers Delicious And Responsible Eating. You can even sit and watch all the huge cruise liners arriving. Or eat at The Glenmore Hotel which serves pub grub and sit on the rooftop with amazing views of the Opera House (if you can get a seat on the right side!)

After lunch you can take a quick visit to Sydney Opera House to take some photos outside it! Then hop on the train to Bondi Junction and then take the 313 or 314 bus to Coogee. You will spend the afternoon doing the Coogee to Bondi walk. This is an amazing walk along the coast and is very easily signposted. The walk should take around 2 hours and has stunning views of the coast, and you will walk past lots of stunning quiet beaches, where you may want to stop and enjoy. End the walk chilling on Bondi Beach and maybe even treat yourself to some ice cream, give Gelato Messina a go!

Get back on either the 333, 380, 381, 382 bus to Bondi Junction or take the 333, 380, 389 straight to Circular Quay. Jump on a boat to Manly Beach, the Manly Fast Ferry is the quickest and only slightly more expensive! Walk straight down manly highstreet and checkout the beach. If you have time walk around the right hand side of the promenade to Shelly Beach which can often be a little quieter and in my opinion more beautiful as it’s like a little cove.

There are lots of places to choose for dinner depending on what cuisine you fancy.  Hugos serves wood-fired pizza and an amazing roof top terrace/bar. Or you can try Garfish and the clue is in the name to what you can eat here – seafood galore! This also has views to die for whilst enjoying your freshly caught fish!

Get the ferry back to Circular Quay whilst the sun sets over Sydney Harbour Bridge and snap some stunning pictures

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If you are visiting on a Saturday head to Darling Harbour for the free amazing firework display to end the day in style!

We certainly packed a lot into the day in Sydney but sure made the most of what is to be seen in this amazing city and we hope you found this useful!