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?

 

Favourite apps when travelling abroad

We love to be organised when going away, so we thought we would collate a list of our free favourite apps for you to download before you next hop on the plane to your dream holiday.

Maps.me- This is an excellent app that will help you get around smoothly. When you are connected to wifi you can download the map of your surrounding areas, it will then save it so you are able to access the map without needing to connect to 3G/4G & wifi whilst out and about exploring We know lots of contracts now days come with data roaming but that uses battery which we personally would much rather use for photos.

Airline App- Gone are the days of printing out a boarding pass, you can now have it accessible on your phone. You can also track your flight on most of the apps and manage your booking prior to flying, how technology have evolved!

Hotel apps- if you are going on a spontaneous trip or going away for a longer period of time hotel apps are just what you need to make any last minute reservations. Our favourite hotel app to use on the go is booking.com it’s user friendly and you can also cancel or amend your booking if your plans change free of charge. It’s also a really good way to read hotel reviews before booking.

Currency app- with the current economic climate always changing and the exchange rate fluctuating you can keep up to date on what you are spending by using the currency exchange app. It’s also a great way to quickly check how much something is worth in your home currency.

Trip Advisor- we rely on this app so much when on holiday especially when deciding where to eat. We love that you can see other guests photos and read honest reviews. This can also be used to see hotel reviews, we rarely book a hotel without checking trip advisor. Be sure to leave a review yourself to help other travellers make good decisions.

Afterlight – this is our favourite photo editing app which unfortunately is an app you have to pay for but its not going to break the bank it only costs…. There are loads of things you can do on this app and let’s be honest every blogger loves finding a good photo editing tool.

Instagram- Instagram is our favourite app of all times. It’s the first point of call when researching our holiday destination. We search hashtags to help us find local hidden treasures that we would never have come across otherwise. For example when we went to Paris and Budapest we searched #pariscoffee #parisbrunch #budapestbrunch and found some amazing places to go that didn’t feature in your typical guidebook.

Boomerang- although this is also on Instagram that app is pretty cool and who doesn’t love a boomerang!

Tunnel Bear- if you are wanting to catch up on TV whilst away then this app will allow you to do so. You cannot watch itv hub, BBC player or 4OD outside of the U.K. However an app such as Tunnel Bear changes the VPN on your device so it thinks you are back in the U.K.- magic.

Kindle- there is something about reading a book whilst on holiday chilling by the pool. Books can take up a lot of space in your suitcase and the weight can also add up. If you are a fast reader then you probably find like us you can get through a fare few books whilst away. Although we do prefer having an actual book to read it’s much more convenient to download a number of books to the kindle app. The kindle app is compatible for both the iPhone and iPad.

Spotify- having music to listen to in the day by the pool is dreamy! We also love listening to music in the room whilst getting ready for the evening ahead. Spotify is free but the free version does have adverts so if these annoy you it’s probably better to sign up and pay £5.99 per month as it is advert free.

We are aware that using all these apps is likely to drain your battery which lets be honest isn’t ideal. So a few tips and tricks we would suggest are: turning your brightness down, switching low power mode on and turning your phone to aeroplane mode as this will help you save battery. Another idea could be to invest in a portable phone charger, we would be lost without ours.

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!

Escaping the Big Apple

New York is a blogger’s dream, an Instagram paradise, and a foodie heaven. If you’re a fellow travel blogger who loves exploring and taking endless photos, then the Big Apple should definitely be on your hit list.

When we visit a new city, we like to stay in the nearby towns or boroughs that tourists often overlook. This allows us to appreciate and experience the culture of the locals. If we were to go back to New York, we would definitely choose to stay in Brooklyn. It’s a short ride away from Manhattan, or you can hop on the subway, take an Uber, or walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

There’s so much to do in Brooklyn that we would also schedule in some time to explore the borough properly. We’ve decided to plan our perfect day out in Brooklyn to make us feel even more wanderlust for a trip to this gorgeous borough.

Where We Would Stay

We would use HotelPlanner to book our choice of hotels in Brooklyn. The prices vary in this borough, but there’s something for everyone whether you’re splashing out or saving cash. Even better, HotelPlanner guarantees the lowest group rates or they pay for your hotel room!

Morning Run

One of our favourite things to do when we go away is to wake up in the morning, put on our running shoes, and go for a run. We love exploring the city before we’ve properly started the day. In Brooklyn, we would run through Prospect Park and along the promenade, enjoying the views before everyone else wakes up.

Brunch

We love love love brunch, which is a massive thing in New York. Of course we would go for brunch somewhere different every day.

Le Barricou

Brunch is served 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. so you won’t miss the brunch here! The menu and pictures we’ve stalked on Instagram look amazing. There’s a great variety of egg dishes, pancakes, French toast, and filled croissants.

The Wheelhouse

We’re sold on bottomless mimosas for $15 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This place looks so dreamy, as the brunch menu is so simple. You basically pick a toast with a variety of toppings, and then you can add a topper like egg or bacon. If you aren’t feeling the standard brunch, the sandwiches look incredible.

Fort Defiance

You can eat brunch here from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the weekend, and then during the week, there’s a breakfast menu. The menu is small and simple, but sometimes we prefer that. In the evening, this place is a tiki club that looks like it serves the most amazing cocktails.

Brooklyn Flea Market

The Brooklyn Flea Market takes place at Fort Greene on Saturdays and in Williamsburg on Sundays. We love a good flea market, and we could spend hours browsing all the stores and grabbing some bargains. We imagine that flea markets in America are way better than the ones in the U.K., as we kind of have that thrift shop song in our head. However, Macklemore aside, we’re sure we would find some great bits for photo shoots.

Brooklyn Bridge

We find this one of the most enchanting bridges we’ve ever laid eyes on. We would most definitely have a fitness photo shoot on the Brooklyn Bridge. Imagine how beautiful those photos would be.

Pizza Tour

When in Brooklyn, you most definitely have to go for a slice or two of pizza. We have done a bit of research and would love to go on the original Brooklyn pizza tour. Not only would we get to see some amazing sights, but we would also get to try the best Neapolitan and Sicilian pizza in Brooklyn.

Of course, we’ll be staying in Brooklyn, but we’ll definitely be doing all the touristy attractions around New York City, too. Imagine all the Instagram photos and not to mention the shopping. Heaven.

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!

 

A toursits’ guide to London

Despite both living close to London we do love having a touristy day out in London and exploring the amazing city. London is incredible because there is so much to do regardless of your age and there is also so much history to the city.
We have decided to pull together some ideas if you are planning a day out in London. You can pick your favourites from the below list and tailor the day to suit your needs. The great thing about London is that a lot of it is walking distance away from each other and the best way to explore a city is by walking. When you walk somewhere you find areas that you wouldn’t normally discover and really explore the city.

Central Tourist locations:
Buckingham Palace – get off the tube at Green Park and walk to Buckingham Palace to see one of the most famous sites in London. This place is swamped with tourist so be careful in the crowds, but make sure you get that good shot. The best time to go is to see the changing of the guard at 11am.

Trafalgar Square – You can walk to Trafalgar Square along the tree lined Mall from Buckingham Palace, or the closest tube is Trafalgar Square. You can visit the National Gallery here or the National Portrait Gallery and also take pictures of Trafalgar

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament – You can easily walk to Big Ben from Buckingham Palace or from Trafalgar Square, or the closest tube station is Westminster. Big Ben is so iconic so you have to visit here when coming to London. If you are lucky you may see lots of protestors outside too. Make sure you walk along Waterloo Bridge to get a good shot and this bridge then takes you to the London Eye

London Eye – The London Eye is a great tourist attraction and personally we think the best time of day to go on it is at dusk so you can watch the sun set over London. The London Eye may be slightly expensive but if you haven’t been on it before then its highly recommended. You can spend your visit pointing out the iconic buildings across the skyline.

Sea Life Aquarium – a great day out for the family is the aquarium which is right by the London Eye. For those who love aquariums and sea creatures this is a fun day out!

Tower Bridge & London Bridge:
These locations are very close to each other so it’s a good idea to visit all these places together

Borough Market – Borough Market is foodie heaven and the closest tube is London Bridge. The best time to visit the market is early in the day as it is less busy, however the market is only open Wednesday to Saturday There are so many different food stalls here to purchase food from but also street food stalls to purchase delicious hot food. You could spend hours here tasting samples of different cheeses, meats and sweet treats. Make sure you visit Rabot 1745 for the most incredible hot chocolate.

The Shard – the tallest building in London is guaranteed to provide you with incredible views of London. You can be on the 72nd floor of this building admiring the London skyline with 360 degree views. To visit the viewing gallery you need to book in advance, but you could also visit one of the many bars or restaurants for dinner and drinks with a difference.

HMS Belfast – the HMS Belfast is moored between London Bridge and Tower Bridge and is such a fun day out for the whole family. There is so much to do and see on board the ship and of course great views of the iconic Tower Bridge. On the HMS Belfast you will learn all about live at sea but also about World War Two.

Tower of London – Tower of London to see the crown jewels is an excellent way to spend the afternoon in London. To make the visit enjoyable for kids you can download an interactive app to keep the kids encouraged throughout the visit. The great thing about a visit to the Tower of London is that you can spend as little or as long as you like here.

Tower Bridge – one of the most famous bridges that people often think is called London Bridge, but make sure you do not mix the two! Tower Bridge is a suspension bridge that consists of 2 bridge towers tied together at the upper level by 2 walkways and you can visit Tower Bridge and climb to a glass floor walkway for impressive views of London. Your ticket also included a visit to the engine room to learn about the inner workings of the bridge.

Covent Garden/West End/Soho:
Covent Garden – you have to visit here purely to see how beautiful it is, the covered market place is gorgeous especially at Christmas. You will also see some amazing street performers here

Theatre – a trip to London isn’t complete without a trip to London’s West End to see a play or a musical. There are so many amazing shows on at the theatre you will want to see them all! Aladdin is incredible and so is Lion King if you are a Disney Fan. Mamma Mia is an amazing sing a long musical that is guaranteed to make you feel good. Matilda is also incredible and highly recommended. Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera are also excellent choices

Eating – There are SO many restaurants in this area that you are spoilt for choice. There are too many to put here, but look out for a post about pre-theatre menus in London soon. However, many restaurants offer excellent value pre-theatre menus so make sure you research or book in advance.

Regents Park/Camden:
London Zoo – London Zoo is amazing if we do say so ourselves! It’s such a big zoo so you could easily spend the day here. Nestled in Regents Park and close to the stunning Primrose Hill this is a great place to visit with the family. There are lots of events on throughout the day in particular learning about different animals. We love bringing a picnic to the zoo, however there are plenty of places to buy food too.

Madame Tussauds – Madame Tussauds is on the edge of Regents Park and is part of the famous wax work museum chain. You can take your picture with a number of famous people and pretend to be mingling with the celebs! The wax works change of a regular basis. When booking your ticket online you get to pick a time slot, its advised to book in advance otherwise you could be queuing for hours to gain entry.

Camden – Camden is very very close to the beautiful Regents Park. Camden is a very vibrant and eclectic part of London right by a beautiful lock. Camden is famous for its market so make sure you visit it for a browse. There are also many different street food stands to buy delicious food.

This is only scraping the surface of visiting London, make sure you check back for more blog posts about the best city in the world (we may be biased!).