Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
2019: Travel, Targets and Taking Back Control.

2019: Travel, Targets and Taking Back Control.




This post is in collaboration with Jet2. 

I can't believe how many days are left of 2018, we are swiftly moving towards 2019, and this time of year is often full of reflection, accomplishment and future dreams for most. Each year we start out of with the biggest goals and often don't' accomplish them. For the last two years, I've gone for the approach of not trying to make each new year a new me, more like a more refined version of me and it helps with relieving the pressure of needing to change. This year I set myself some mini goals which were things as simple as getting my hair cut often to help it grow, nail my skincare routine and do more social things and I am happy to say these were all something I was actually able to do! My 2017 goal was to return back to the blogging after struggling to commit to my blog after a tough few months, and my goals were just to stick to blogging at a pace in which I felt happy, I got rid of my 4 times a week posting schedule and went for a when I can type of approach and my content has become a lot more substantial and I've fallen back in love with writing, two years later I am still loving it. So I hear you say, what about 2019? I want to make 2019 a year where I actually go and see some places, experience some things and live a little more. 


With the help of Jet2, I think this may be something which is actually possible. With a lack of funds being one of my top reasons for struggling to be able to explore. I've learned that Jet2 have a variety of package holidays that include flights and accommodation which helps when looking into the planning process as it feels like one less step to worry about. Their site is full of helpful tips including advising you what is nearby, how far to visit different locations and shares a variety of reviews from other customers. In their brochure, it even tells you the cost of a pint in the local area which I think is a great added touch. When looking at city breaks section of their site, it advises what is great about the hotel you want to stay, what you can do and also some information about the place. As much as I'd love to go back to America (without my parents in tow) for my anxiety, I feel like I need to try to tackle a city break or two first. 


In 2019 I'd love to visit Venice in the warmer months as I went as a teenager and remember there being so many great things to look at and enjoy but I didn't have long in Venice so it would be great to spend a weekend there and then Berlin or Krakow around Christmas time to really experience what the Christmas markets have to offer. As much as I enjoy visiting the Birmingham one most years it would be amazing to experience this in another country. Jet2 kindly sent me a hamper full of goodies which you would find at a traditional Christmas market and it's got me in the mood for planning myself a weekend getaway for early December next year. The photos of these places which I've seen on other blogs look amazing! 2019 is going to be the year I attempt to take the plunge and break out of my comfort zone and jump on a plane, train or even boat to visit new places. 


For 2019, I am hoping I can keep my anxiety at bay and visit the places I want to visit and explore this country (a work in progress) as well as others. For anyone who has travelled or been on trips with anxiety/other mental illnesses, how did you overcome your fear and just do it? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@dungareesdonuts) as I'd love to discuss it further with you. As far as my other 'big' goals for 2019 go, I am yet to set many, however, Will and I did get engaged this year so it would be great to start the wedding planning and begin to save for a deposit towards our own house. For the smaller goals, I want to keep this year's goals going, as well as adding getting a better sleep pattern in place, and also cutting down the amount of time I spend on my phone as since Apple has added in the reports to share how much time on a weekly basis, I've spent looking at my phone it has shocked me (anybody else shook by how long they actually spend on their phone?). I want to spend less time looking at the screen and more time enjoying life. 


Let me know in the comments what you want to achieve in 2019 and also what goals you set yourself for 2018 and did you manage to complete them?
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Olivia Jade
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Exploring Birmingham: The German Markets and Christmas Shopping.

Exploring Birmingham: The German Markets and Christmas Shopping.



I was recently asked to explore Birmingham as part of a campaign, as part of this collaboration I was given some spending money to explore Birmingham, however, all thoughts are my own as always. As someone who lives only a 30-minute train ride away from Birmingham, I couldn't wait to spend my time in the city, especially now the German Market was in full swing. Despite living close to Birmingham, I don't spend enough time here, there is always so much to explore, with the Bullring, Mailbox, Grand Central Station and it's many shops and also outside of these places, there are miles of streets full of shops and restaurants too. If you are travelling to do your Christmas shopping here, I'd recommend staying in a hotel as there many hotels in Birmingham and it's great for splitting up what you want to do and gives you a little break in between shopping. I mean there is so much walking my feet can do, and if you're like me and want to go pretty much everywhere it can become a little much.  

So I headed to Birmingham on Tuesday, ready to take on what Birmingham has to offer. When we arrived, we decided that food would be a great place to start, because who wants to shop on an empty stomach? I decided to try one of the many places in Grand Central and went to Tortilla which is a burrito bar which serves a variety of yummy food including tacos and nachos, which was an amazing experience and so reasonably priced too. Stay tuned for a full review of Tortilla in the near future. 

With a belly full of food we headed outside to the German Market, which is a Frankfurt styled market it runs from New Street to Victoria Square, it is packed with stalls full of amazing food including crepes, hotdogs and chocolatey treats. There are pop up bars accompanied by adorable little tables, which are selling German beers and hot chocolate. Stalls which were selling coffee beans, popcorn and marshmallows. Along with an assortment of gift stalls which had a generous offering of Christmas decorations, jewellery, hand-painted ornaments and rainbow candles. Will and I decided to get some keyrings for ourselves and one for our friend. I went for Jessie keyring as she's my fave and I've had a similar one in the past which I loved. After we had a long mooch around the stalls we headed back inside of Grand Central. 
Bullring bull



German market

German Market

We went to a few shops within grand central including John Lewis and Hema, before heading through Link Street, which is where we found Driftroom a quirky store selling a range of gifts and lighting and we spoke to the shop owner who was happy enough for us to take photos of the goodies within. After 30 mins in the store, I decided to buy a new card game 'cat chaos' which I can't wait to play and then we left. I was tempted to buy one the bigger lights but it was the idea of carrying it around and on the train which made us leave it behind. We popped into the Disney Store and Debenhams also, where I purchased a jar of personalised Nutella. After this, we headed to Selfridges which is four floors of gifts, clothes and of course more food. We had a look at all four floors which we don't often do, as I wanted to check out all it has to offer, and treated myself to a few bits from Paperchase and lusted over a Gucci bag. Once we had a look around we headed to Eds Diner to get some dessert, where I had waffles sandwiched together with Nutella and Will had cheesecake covered in peanut butter and chocolate sauce, washed down with a large Pepsi max each and with that we headed home to get the train. 

I had a fabulous time exploring Birmingham and if my feet weren't super painful I could have spent another few hours there for sure. I hope you enjoyed this post and if you'd like to see more posts on Birmingham let me know in the comments below. 

Selfridges Robin Christmas

Driftroom

Disney Store Birmingham

Eds diner cheesecake

Eds Diner Waffle

*I was gifted some spending by Hotels.com in return for this post, all thoughts and opinions are my own :) 
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Olivia Jade
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3 Top Holiday Bucket List Destinations

3 Top Holiday Bucket List Destinations


Back in 2016 I did a post about places I want to visit and it is still to this day one of my most viewed posts of all time, I then reached out to you guys on Twitter and asked if you want more travel posts and 95% of you said yes! So since then, I have been wanting to bring you more travel-focused content and over the last few months, I think I've been doing that pretty well, including my posts about travel anxiety, wanderlust in the UK and when in Spain. So I decided to bring you another post about where I want to visit in the world next, now I am overcoming my travel anxiety and wanting to do more things, I thought it would be the perfect time to get planning. 


Amsterdam:
Amsterdam is a place which has been on my list of places to visit for a long time, and this year it is *possibly* happening! With everyone in my office at work talking about it recently it has prompted me to get it sorted. With so many amazing museums including the Anne Frank house and the Van Gogh museum (I've also been told I need to check out the sex museum, by a fair few of my friends) Along with other things like canal boat tours, the flower market and even the red light district. Amsterdam sounds like a place of lots to do, and you able to pack a lot into a few days so great for a long weekend away.


Mauritius: 
A newer destination that has been added to my dream holiday list is Mauritius, which is full of beautiful beaches and lagoons and has so much to do. When looking at the Visit Mauritius I found out so much about the island and what you can do, I was drawn to visiting Port Louis as that is the capital city of the country. There are so many amazing things to do such as visiting the photography museum which is compiled of art from Tristan Breville, lots of shopping (gotta love the shopping) and there is even a China town. Which came from when Chinese migrants in 1780, and today there is still very much a Chinese culture and it is filled with restaurants and supermarkets!  


Budapest:
The last destination on my list to visit is Budapest, this destination for some reason has always just seemed appealing to me. Again, there are many museums to visit such as the pinball museum and the Holocaust memorial centre. As well as that there are some unique things to do like go for a dip in the Szechenyi baths and shopping at the central market hall. I've also heard some great things about the cuisine in Budapest. 

Where is on your list to visit? 

*Collaborative post
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Olivia Jade
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What I always pack for travelling!

What I always pack for travelling!


Going away travelling can be a stressful experience for anyone, for me, I find it difficult due to the masses of anxiety that build up beforehand and I ended up forgetting just about everything I am supposed to take with me. Packing for a holiday is something I dread as I am more of a throw these items of clothing on the morning kinda girl, rather than planning each outfit, so I usually end up taking half of my wardrobe, shoes I haven't worn in years and just about every medication I've ever taken 'just in case'. In the past, I have forgotten items from my phone charger to my kind of, important inhaler, oops.



I was recently introduced to an app called Medsmart which is your virtual medicine cabinet, where you can store a list of all of your medications, set reminders of when you need to take them and it's great for in an emergency to allow a full list of your medications and conditions to be listed. The app is also completely free with no hidden charges within, this app works well for me as it allows me to make sure I have all of my meds packed and I also live with the fear of something bad happening and the people around me not knowing what possibly could be wrong. The Medsmart app has over 20,000 medicines listed, some letting you know how to take a certain medication and most of them listing the ingredients in. It also includes a share button to allow you to be able to send a list of your medication to somebody else, this is great if you were in a foreign hospital and they do not have your medical records. You can download Medsmart here for Apple devices and here for Andriod




In my hand luggage, I always need headphones as they're key to surviving any long journey, some earplugs are always good for a long haul flight as nobody wants to hear the snoring of Barry from two rows behind. I also would need to include my inhaler, a hair bobble, my phone, a possible colouring book and some snacks, can't beat a few packs of sweets on the way really. Oh, and a really good book or two. I tend to store the majority of my medication in my hand luggage as they are easily able to be accessed. 



For my suitcase the fun really beginnings, like I said above I am awful at picking what to wear in advance so I pretty much chuck in anything that I've worn within the 3 years which is remotely sun-related in case I may need it. Enough makeup to last me around 6 months, my toiletries which are in another bag similarly sized to makeup bag, I mean you never know when you're going to need more than one deodorant and how many hair bobbles you may lose (those things are forever getting away) and are you really going on holiday if you don't take double the amount of pants and socks for the days you are actually going for? Shoes are usually the thing that I spend the least time thinking about, I pretty much live in Converse so I add my trusty pair of pink converse and a pair of sandals in my case and I am good to go.

The final few things I always add to my luggage are a map of the place we are going to (Google Maps is so unreliable), a phrase book for those go to phrases I may need such as 'where can I get a pizza from?' and enough of the currency to have a royally good time. Oh, and I may possibly need my tickets and passport, could be helpful! I would love to know what your travel essentials are in the comments below and also if you use this app what are your thoughts on it?

*This post is in collaboration with Medsmart but all words are my own and if you haven't yet downloaded their app, I'd recommend it as its a lifesaver! 

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Olivia Jade
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Learning to cope with Travel Anxiety

Learning to cope with Travel Anxiety



One of my greatest desires in life is also one of my greatest fears. Travelling. I would love to explore the world a little more, and even my own country. Being stuck in a little town in the Midlands doesn't have a huge amount to offer and when you know there is a whole world out there, ready to explore, but what is stopping me? Anxiety. My old friend, and although it's stuck with me throughout thick and thin, I wish it would leave me alone. As someone who struggles with the idea of getting onto a train and going to the closest city due to what they may encounter another country seems like a whole other playing field. I have spent many hours planning trips that never happened and which involve me leaving my own town on a rare occasion and that has to be with people that I know, well. For me, it' the fear of the unknown, new place comes with the anxiety that I may get lost or something bad may happen. Travelling abroad comes with the idea of getting stranded in another country or something worse and don't even get me started on getting on a plane and being ok with it. There are so many other hurdles for me to overcome to allow me to travel as much as I'd like, but a starting point is like most with anxiety, working out the triggers and how to 'deal' with them. 

Getting stranded abroad this is something that you can never completely rule out of your mind, even people who don't suffer from anxiety find this one troubling. Whether this is from a cancelled flight, a lost passport or bad weather, it can happen. It's important to break it down into how to come to ease with each possibility. If your flight happens to get cancelled for whatever it can be scary as you don't know the next steps and for anyone with anxiety, that is a major trigger. To get in contact with hard to reach airlines CSG is amazing for sharing all of the numbers you may need, how much it will cost to contact them and further numbers for things when you return such as complaints. Also, with most cancelled flights if you will be waiting overnight for another one you can get put up in a hotel which is paid for to allow you to get some rest. I'd like to convince myself this is just an extra day you're on holiday, you get to visit a place you may not have previously been able to, and breakfast is usually on offer. Yay.

Having home comforts come along for the journey is something that I always find helpful as it allows you to have that comfort blanket. I often find experiencing lots of new things at once makes me have a *bit* of a meltdown. I usually make a bunch of playlists that I feel comforted by, my favourite book and even my favourite teddy, yes I am 23. It's the little things that remind me of home that make me feel safe, being able to access social media and people I'd usually talk to at home also makes me feel grounded like they're only a message away. As much as I enjoy having some social media free time whilst away, it is always good to have that resource there when you need it.


Plan out your stay before you go is such a must when you suffer from travel anxiety I hate not knowing what we are going to do so I can plan just about everything for that day, including places to visit, how much money I will need and what to wear. It can sound trivial when written in a list like above but for someone who suffers from anxiety its a make or break deal. I like to pack things way in advance and then double check them and possibly even triple check them as forgetting things sends me into a huge panic. Before leaving to go on holiday I now have to do so many checks for making sure I have my medication and inhalers as there have been far too many trips when I've forgotten. I often find a checklist helps to remember your must-haves. 

Hopefully, these tips help a little bit with your Travel Anxiety and I would love you to share any of your tips you have for overcoming anxiety whilst travelling in the comments.


*Collaborative post. 
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Olivia Jade
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Things you need to do when in Dubai!

Things you need to do when in Dubai!



Last month I created a post about things to do when in Spain, which seemed pretty popular with my readers. So when I was offered the chance to feature a digital map which allows people to find what to do dependant on their budget I knew my readers would love it. I've never personally been to Dubai, so this was great for me to learn some more about what Dubai has to offer. For someone who has read into Dubai, I have always assumed it is way out of my budget due hearing things about it being one of the most expensive places in the world, so after reading into it more I was happy to find out you can actually visit Dubai on a budget! After finding out that Dubai has now opened an IMG theme park which features Cartoon Network and Marvel which is inside has made it all that more appealing to the child within me. Reading countless articles about Dubai being referred to as one of the safest destinations in the world has massively changed my perception. The key things to remember when visiting Dubai is to dress moderately in public places such as malls, which means covering up your knees and shoulders. 

Along with great weather and some of the amazing, once in a lifetime experiences, you can do, it's worth adding Dubai to your travel bucket list. Although Dubai is known for luxury there are so many choices of things to do, some of them even under 50p! Including a cruise down Dubai's creek which sounds like a dream date. There are also a lot of things to do when you fancy a little splurge like visiting the Wafi Mall, which is in the shape of a pyramid! Finally, for those looking to go all out you can get a 24-carat gold facial which costs around £4800 (just a little bit on the pricey side, but it does sound amazing! For more ideas feel free to check out the map below to learn more about each destination.



Have you ever visited Dubai? 

*Collaborative post, all thoughts are my own and someone really needs to get me that gold facial asap.
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Olivia Jade
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Festivals Around The World.

Festivals Around The World.


Festivals in England primarily consist of either one of two things. It's a complete mud pit and you basically may as well be the mud by the end of it or it's scorching hot but us Brits don't know to handle this and end up moaning about how hot it is, would we even be British if we didn't moan about the weather several times a day though? I've booked some time off from work during the next few months and was curious to see what awesome festivals other countries have to offer. I was surprised at the huge range of choice and decided to share my top 3 with you! I'd love it in the comments if you could let me know your favourite festival, be it the UK or anywhere around the world! 



La Tomatina - Spain: 
I briefly touched on this festival in my 'when in Spain' post, but there is so much more to this festival than what I mentioned previously. The festival as you may have guessed from the title is something to do with tomatoes. It is, in fact, a tomato-throwing festival which takes part at the end of August in Valencia. This year it's on August 29th, in previous years it could have to up to 50,000 take part. Since ticket sales came in, it is limited to 20,000. It reminds me a little bit of being in school when a food fight breaks out, expect this is the point rather than something that will end in a punishment. 

Around 11am on the day of the festival, trucks of Tomatoes arrive, then according to La Tomatina Tours the following happens "Technically the festival does not begin until one brave soul has climbed to the top of a two-story high, greased-up wooden pole and reached the coveted ham at the top. In practice, this process takes a long time and the festival starts despite no one reaching the meaty prize. The signal for the beginning of the fight is firing of water cannons, and the chaos begins. Once it begins, the battle is generally every man for himself." The tomato fight lasts around 1 hour and then the big clean-up begins! If you're heading on holiday to Spain or are looking to book a cheap holiday to Spain this year, La Tomatina is festival you must go to! 



Tomorrowland- Belguim: 
A dance festival that started back in 2005 which hasn't stopped growing since it began, with over 400,000 of festival goers attending last year! The festival full of fun, colour and is known as one of the biggest EDM festivals in the world, with DJs taking over this festival for two weeks in July. For people the eye capturing the set is one of the many reasons people flock to Tomorrowland. Trip Advisor has a page full of reviews and helps you to find out what will be in store for you during your time! It is even referred to as the Disneyland of music and from the amazing pictures that flood the internet, I have to agree. Have you ever been to Tomorrowland? 



Notting Hill Carnival- London: 
It's pretty shameful that I have something within a few hours of a train and I didn't even know it existed until recently. According to Visit London, "The Notting Hill Carnival was first held in 1966 as an offshoot of the Trinidad Carnival, celebrating Caribbean culture and traditions in London. When the Notting Hill Carnival first started, around 500 people attended the Caribbean festival. The carnival has since become the largest street festival in Europe, attracting hundreds of thousands to London, and continues to grow in popularity. Expect to see some 50,000 performers in the parade and more than 30 sound systems, with more than one million people attending over the carnival weekend."

Notting Hill Carnival takes part on August bank holiday and is a huge street festival, filling the streets with colour, Caribbean music and food. The festival is filled with performers and on the last day of the carnival there is a massive parade for the Grand Finale. The best part of this festival is that event is free! A great way to bring people together. 

Have you been to any of these festivals?

*Collaborative post


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Olivia Jade
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There's Just Something About A Road Trip

There's Just Something About A Road Trip



Road trips are massively underrated, there's something about the freedom they encounter and you can get from A to B with loads of stops in the middle. Or you can just let the roads take you and end up somewhere you've never been before dependant on how adventurous you are. I think as a blogger a trip around the UK meeting different bloggers would be so fun! Whether you want to stay in the UK and make your way around or whether you want to get a ferry with your own car or just rent a car once you get to your destination the opportunities are endless. Whether you going to plan your stop points beforehand or just wing it you can achieve so much in a short amount of time. I decided to share with you my top tips for having the best road trip, ever. With the help of Kwik Fit and their amazing new e-book full of the most scenic places to plan a road trip in around Europe and its full of hacks, you may never have thought of!  

Prepare your vehicle:
This is probably the most important tip on the whole list, as you don't want to get stuck in unfamiliar place with an issue, make your car is fit for a long drive. It's worth checking your tyres as well as your car bulbs, the screen wash and the oil are checked and if you're unsure about whether your car is safe for the journey ahead its always going to a garage and getting it the once over. Make sure your vehicle is clean, I mean as fun as it is sitting in the back with stale Maccies is, some people might not enjoy it as much? 

Music is key:
Is it really a road trip without music? Whether you're creating one for the occasion or finding the best that Spotify has to offer, music is key and for long journeys, my friends and I create collaborative playlists that way everyone has something on the playlist they like, although the driver has the ultimate power if they can skip songs on their steering wheel.

 

Take an old-fashioned map:
Granted a road trip isn't really a road trip until you get lost, and with multiple people, in the car with, phones it is likely you'll be able to locate a way back on the right path. However, it is always worth having an old fashion map handy, you never know when you might lose 4G! Does anyone know where to buy a map these days?

Pack the essentials: 
The essentials vary from person to person dependant on what you count as an essential but for me, food is at the top of the list, I can't go more than 10 minutes without thinking about my next meal, so I definitely could not go hours without it! Crisps, sweets and cheese and onion rolls are the ones for long journeys! Also, drinks, toothbrushes, some clothes, and deodorant are pretty essential imo. Wouldn't fancy a long car journey with me after not brushing my teeth for a few days.



Have fun:
Of course, the centre of any road trip is fun you're hitting the road in search of an epic adventure and this is something you will hopefully achieve. Wherever the roads take you, enjoy yourself!

What are your tips for going on the best road trip?

*In Collaboration with Kwik Fit. 
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Olivia Jade
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