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Tips for the perfect city break!

City breaks are on the rise, why wait until the summer to take one long holiday when you can take multiple city breaks throughout the year. I don't know about you guys, but where I live it's boring. A small town in the Midlands, I want to go out and explore the world. Whether you want to explore different cities within the UK or spread your wings and visiting Europe there are plenty of choices out there. With some European countries being only a couple of hours worth of travel, yay! If you're willing to take the risk in aid of getting a cheaper holiday; I would advise writing a list of places you want to visit and checking the cheapest destination a few days before you are due to travel and get your stay for a fraction of the price which also means more money for food, booze and more food! Going on a break earlier in the year is also cheaper due to occupancy levels for most places being down. 

I love exploring England myself (that's what I tell myself due to my lack of funds and the travel sickness I suffer on most forms of transport) and my travel bucket list this year is full of places within the UK, I started the year with Manchester for my birthday and Birmingham for a day trip and I'd love to go to them both again, as well as visiting places such as Bath, Liverpool and making more trips to London. There are so many quirky and fun places to stay in the UK. But if you fancy somewhere a little further afield somewhere in Europe may be more down your alley. Especially during the warmer months. It's totally worth checking out Amsterdam as it's so easy and cheap to get there, as well as Italy, Budapest and France as they're within a small distance. I thought for this post as you have probably guessed by now, I love creating lists so I decided to create a list of my top tips for creating the perfect city break, simple easy and cheap! 

Always look around first: 
This is a pretty obvious one, but there so many sites out there that offer discounts and you can compare what is on offer. Sometimes you are able to get a 4-star hotel for a huge discount, this is dependant on when you book it and what types of places you like to stay in. Hostels are usually a much cheaper option, however, you can get apartments and hotels on the cheap too. It's worth reading lots of reviews on the places you are going to stay, to make sure you don't end up somewhere that looks like it should be Holidays from Hell (does anyone else remember that show?!). Places like Travel Supermarket and Trivago are good for finding the best deals quickly.

Get travel insurance: 
Despite city breaks often being short, the worst can still happen. Travel Insurance Explained is an amazing resource for finding out what type of travel insurance you need for your mini break and they even include great places to visit for the type of break you want to go on and they even explain what the small terms in your policy mean, I don't know about you but I never understand my rights with that stuff. They have also created an amazing guide for Valentines Day, including the best places to visit and what insurance you may need including things such as theft which I wouldn't even think of. Even for a short break, it's worth getting yourself covered. 

Make an itinerary: 
Due to only being in your destination for such a short amount of time, it's totally worth planning everything in advance, from how you will get from a to b, to different restaurants and attractions you want to visit during your stay and also mapping them out so you are able to locate them easily. When I visited Manchester I was shocked how many different things I could do in a little over 24 hours because I planned in advance. We went to a secret bar called The Washhouse (you may have heard me talk about it once or twice) but you have to book in advance and if we didn't plan in advance we wouldn't have been able to visit. 

Pack light: 
I am usually the worst at this, as I never know what I want to wear until the day we are on and even then I still change like 50 times (more like 3, but yano what I mean) so packing light isn't something that comes easily to me. However, for a city break, it is often great to travel light, especially if you can't check into your hotel until later. Who wants to lug around a huge bag for the majority of the day, no thanks! I mean for two days, nobody really needs 5 t-shirts, 4 pairs of underwear (yep, I am that person) and every item of makeup I own. 

What are your tips for preparing for a city break? 

*This post is in collaboration with Travel Insurance Explained, however, these tips are all my own and I totally need the small terms of Insurance explained to me! 

Budget Travel: 5 tips for your dream holiday on a budget!

*This is a collaborative post* 

The start of the year in the UK has some pretty rubbish weather, if it's not raining it's so windy you feel like you may actually fly away and in some places, the snow fell heavily. It always makes me want to get away from the UK as soon as possible. As much as I enjoy city breaks within the UK, at this time year, I want to go somewhere hot. I decided to compile some tips for planning the ideal getaway for less so you can jet off as soon as possible. Let me know in the comments what your top tips for planning the perfect getaway for less are. 

Be open to go 'anywhere':
If you're looking for a bargain, it's worth being open to a few places which you'd be happy to go. Check out the reviews of the place online first, to check out what is around, what is good for tourists and dependant on who you are going with, will depend on what you are looking for. There is no point in paying for a cheap getaway if there is nothing to whilst you're there. Prioritise what is important to you to see and where you're going e.g. if you're looking to go to the beach make sure there is one within a short driving distance as you don't want to be racking up the costs when travelling. If the beach is within walking distance even better. When heading off it's worth looking into travel passes beforehand as some places have a great rail system which means you don't have to hire a car which racks up another huge expense. Seat 61 is a great blog with some amazing tips when it comes to travelling in Europe, check out this post for more information about train travel in Europe. 

Pick a less 'mainstream' place and get insurance:
A place which is a huge tourist hotspot will usually allow places to hike up their prices. With everything from the restaurants, hotels and local attractions being upped in price as so many people want to visit, they can do that. Before choosing a place which may be less touristy it's worth looking into the safety of the place. Although the chances of a disaster striking while you’re on holiday may be relatively low, it is difficult to ignore the ever-present risk of something unpredictable happening. As climate change is likely to be the cause of more frequent weather extremes. Finding a holiday destination immune to wildfires, flash flooding and severe storms, may not be quite as easy as you first thought.

However, when you find the destination of your dreams, most of us will take the risk as it's worth it for us. Sectors connected to the travel industry, such as insurance, recognise that there is a thirst for travel and are adapting their products to ensure that they offer a wide choice of covers to enable travellers to protect themselves against crisis’ and disasters. For example, Insure4Retirement, a specialist Over 50s Home and Travel insurance provider, in partnership with Just Travel Cover, offer a Crisis Response Service with their Ready2Go Gold travel policy. A key benefit of this cover is a dedicated phone number which gives travellers access to immediate assistance and an unrivalled set of skills if disaster strikes while they are abroad.

Investing insurance may seem an annoyance for most of us as luckily most of us do not end up needing to use it. However, if the worst did happen, it's a great reassurance to know that the support is there when it is needed. Plus, if anything medically was to happen and you aren't covered, those medical bills aren't cheap.

Don't go during peak times:
It seems obvious, but picking the date in which you jet off is super important. It's worth comparing dates before going. Choosing your days wisely as jetting off midweek can often be cheaper than the weekend of the start of the week. Plus look up school holidays, not only in the UK but the place you are going to visit as families are more likely to want to go during these times, which tends to hike up the price a lot. 

Consider an indirect flight:

On a budget, flights can be one of the more expensive parts of a holiday. However, they no longer need to be. Taking an indirect flight and stopping off there for a few hours can often work out cheaper than going direct. Although it can be annoying (and boring) being in an airport for extended periods of time when you could be already sunning it up. You can get massive savings on your flight, giving you more funds to spend on your holiday. Sites such as Skyscanner have your back for finding the cheapest flights. 

Do your research about the place your visiting: 

Planning what you want to do in advance can save you funds too. If you want to do set things it is worth booking them in advance as you are more likely to save than rocking up on the day. As well as fitting your plans around the place you are going, it is likely it is going to be more expensive to do outings on a weekend than mid-week. Usually going out of season can save you a ton of money, going after all of the schools are going back and when the weather is starting to change, can make trips cheaper too. 

I hope you've enjoyed my post on tips for travelling on the cheap side hopefully it helps you find some great deals, for you to enjoy whilst still pinching those pennies. 

I'd love to know your tips for planning your dream holiday for less in the comments.

Tips For Preparing To Go On Holiday!

Happy Friday all, I am finally able to say this and be happy about it being Friday as I am not actually at work tomorrow for once. Yay! Today I have decided to bring you some fabulous tips for when you're preparing to go on holiday. I did promise more travel related content this year and I am so far sticking to this. Some of the posts I've done so far are Best Budget Holidays and Luxury Holidays For Less! As the weather is getting warmer and we are now in the Spring I decided it would be the perfect time to bring you these tips! Let me know what other travel posts you want to see on my blog this year, as always feedback is greatly appreciated.

1. Find out how much hand luggage you're allowed.
If you're only going away for a weekend, hand luggage may be all you need to take with you. With most airlines you have to pay extra to take a suitcase but most offer free hand luggage up to a certain weight. To save money and have extra funds for your holiday it's worth checking out.

2. Be Secure.
A lot of time burglaries can happen when people are on holiday, it's often worth getting someone to come and check on your house every few days and even installing cameras to watch the outside and even the inside of your house. A great one I've found for the indoors the Panasonic indoor camera. You are able to watch what is going on in your house even when you're not there. As well as getting alerts when something isn't quite right.

3. Sort Out Travel Money In Advance
Often when travelling people leave getting their money til the last minute, but often this isn't the best thing to do, when you're sorting out your travel money doing it in advance and online can get you better deals. Money Supermarket compares the best deals for travel money.  

4. Inform Your Bank 
If you're anything like me when you're on holiday your money doesn't last very long and you end up using your card whilst abroad. It is worth informing your bank of this so they don't block you from using your card abroad, often banks can treat this as suspicious if you don't inform them.

5. Check Your Travel Docs 
When preparing to go on holiday it is worth checking all of your documents are in order before heading off as well as checking your passport is still in date a fair amount of time before you are due to jet off. Before going on holiday I like to print all of my documents and then keep them in a folder to make sure I have everything I could possibly need.

What are your top tips for preparing to go on holiday? 

*Collaborative Post 

Tips For Travelling On A Budget!

Travel posts, I remember last summer I promised I would bringing tons more travel related content to my blog and then seemed to have lost my blogging mojo for a lot of the end of last year and most of this year. BUT, I am trying to get back into blogging more and travel posts are something I love to write, so here I am with another travel post, finally!

I am a huge fan of tips related posts as you can probably tell from the amount I have done recently. Including tips for festivals, changes to feel better and getting ready for summer holidays. Today I am bringing you tips for travelling on a budget, and as I am currently planning my own trip on a budget to Amsterdam, I thought it would be the perfect time to share my findings with you all.

Look for the best time in the year to go:
If you want a holiday on a budget going during peak season is probably going to cost you so much more. As everyone is looking to go on holiday at that time, the school holidays is when the prices tend to go up as everyone who has children is looking to take them away. If you don't have to consider this, the best times to go are just before and just after this. Thomas Cook has some great tips on the best times of year to go on holiday abroad!

Last minute: 
Booking last minute can often make everything so much cheaper too, the way it works is some airlines have flights in which they need to fill last minute so they reduce them to get the seats filled and it works similarly with hotels, if there are rooms which need filling putting on last minute deals entices people in. They also do similar deals during off peak times as hardly anyone is going on holiday. But it works well if you're looking for a great deal.

Often accommodation can be the expensive part of a holiday especially if you've snapped up an amazingly cheap flight. But on my search for a cheap hotel/hostel for Amsterdam I found some great choices on Kayak who offer to help you find cheap accommodation as well as flights. For the UK I've always found Euro Hostel amazing and they are in some great locations in the UK providing cheap hotels in Newcastle, Edinburgh and Liverpool. Sometimes even a Google search of 'cheap accommodation' can help bring back amazing searches. If you're looking for a bit of a unique choice of accommodation Airbnb can offer some amazing choices for this.

Dependant on where you're going flights can be pretty pricey especially if you're booking fairly far in advance. I've found searching around different websites and comparing times of year as well as different airports can make a huge difference. I noticed a massive difference when flying from Birmingham and Manchester, sometimes travelling further afield can make the overall price of your holiday cheaper, even if you have to spend a little bit more getting there.

Plan everything:
My final tip would be to plan everything in advance from all of the places you want to visit whilst you're on holiday, to where you want to eat. Having an itinerary in advance can help you save money and figure out where you want to splurge and where you want to save. If you want to spend a lot of money on fancy meals and nights out, it is about keeping the expenses down in the day or if you're more of a day trip kind of person, can you cook your own evening meals? Planning cheap ways to get to the airport is also a good way to keep the cost down, whether you fancy going on a train, getting a taxi or even getting a bus pass and going on a coach. It's worth adding up the price of all of the options available and then taking the most effective and cheap one.

I hope these tips help, let me know in the comments what your tips for travelling on a budget are!

For more travel posts on my blog check out- My favourites places to eat in America, Luxury holidays for less and why chose an escorted tour holiday.

*Collaborative post 

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 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.

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!  

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

Wanderlust: 5 places I want to visit! | Travel

I promised that 2016 was the year of travel posts on my blog, so here is another travel post which I am sharing with you lovely lot. This time I am sharing with you 5 places in the world I want to visit at some point in my life, hopefully in the next five years! If you fancy reading more of the travel posts I have shared on my blog you can find those here.

1. Japan
I have wanted to visit Japan for such a long, and the recent need to go is becoming even bigger, everything looks so bright, pretty and fun. Going to Japan just seems like an experience in itself and it is totally different to everything in the UK. Obviously Tokyo would be one of the places I want to visit, but if I was going to go Japan I would want to visit Kinkaku-ji and Kyushu for their amazing landmarks and things to visit.

2. Thailand
Another place that has been on my list for a long time, after seeing many programmes about Thailand and hearing some great stories about things to visit, I want to experience it for myself. Bankok and Pattaya being two of the places I've been recommended to visit the most!

3. Dubai
One which has fairly recently in the last year or two made it on to my list is Dubai, after seeing some of the gorgeous landmarks Dubai has to offer I was sold. Although it's a little different to the others on my list, it's interesting to learn about other places. The Dubai malls looks AMAZING, and i'd totally want to visit there as well as some other amazing places like Kite Beach. On the website Travelbag there are lots more reasons to visit Dubai.

4. New York
I have visited America previously but I am yet to visit New York and this again is another which is fairly new to my list, but it's somewhere I would love to visit. I have seen various videos on New York and seen so many films set there, it just seems amazing! My grandparents have been and recommended it also. I've been to Florida and Pittsburgh but I can imagine NY is a lot more hectic and city like.

5. Rome
I have visited Italy a bunch of times but never made it to Rome, and with Rome being such a beautiful place and known for it's outstanding landmarks it's a place I totally want to visit. Seeing the lovely Fii post about it has made me want to go even more. With so many beautiful things to see and fabulous places to eat, I am totally down.

*Collaboration with Travelbags 

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. 

Tips For Getting Festival Ready!

Happy Wednesday all, how are we all doin'? I'm sat in the sun writing this post and as it's ALMOST summer now and the festivals are starting to commence I thought I would share with you some tips for getting ready for the festivals. I am a huge fan of festivals and kinda gutted I am not going to one this year. There are some seriously amazing lineups like, EMINEM at Leeds omfg! As well an amazing all round line up at Download. Plus Bestival sounds awesome, I am gonna make that happen one year!

Pack light:
For festivals you often think it's a great idea to bring everything including the kitchen sink, but it actually works well if you pack lighter and preferably a bag on your back. Never take things to festivals which you care about as it's possible they met get stolen if not could possibly get wet or COVERED in mud. Oops. Take minimal clothing and only the essentials.

Plan your travel:
When going to a festival planning your travel is essential, whether you're driving, getting the train or even hiring a mini bus there can be a lot of planning involved. The earlier you plan it the more likely it is to be cheaper as well as successful. If there a lot of you going a mini bus or even coach hire can be an option, SMC coach hire have some great choices of transport. It makes sense to hire one if you;'re going in a large group and can split the cost and can often be more cost effective than getting the train. If you live local to a festival obviously planning your travel isn't as much of a big deal as you can often get free/cheap buses from a local town.

Stand out: 
With festivals if you lose someone/something it is pretty much impossible to locate again so make yourselves stand out. Get a BRIGHT tent (Go Outdoors have a great guide for finding the best one for your festival needs.) and find someone all of the people you are with can wear. Whether that be bright hair, carrying inflatables, wear fancy dress or something else fun, make yourselves stand out.

If you can't hack the camping: 
If you're not one for camping but still want to go to the festival getting a hotel can work, going back and forth each day. It can work out more expensive but if you're not one for dirt and sleeping in a tent this can work just as well. Cairn Hotel Group offer amazing choices of hotels across the UK perfect for those who fancy a bit of luxury during a festival.

Luxury For Less - 4 ways to cut the cost of a luxe break.

If you’re longing for a high-class getaway but your belt is still firmly tightened following the Christmas season, you’re not alone. There’s no need to scrimp on luxury though, even if you’re trying to be a little more economical when booking a holiday this time around. Destination2 has a little advice for any traveller who fancies a stylish, upmarket break without the expense.

1. Prioritise
What is it that you want out of your holiday? Once you have decided on the type of experience you want, this will help you to discern which areas of the trip will cost more, and where you might be able to cut corners comfortably. If independent sightseeing is more your sort of thing, perhaps opt for a package that includes all meals so you’re free to splash out a little more on the internal travel element. However, if your dream holiday resembles more of a taste-tour and you’re itching to try a different restaurant, bar or eatery each night, perhaps book a hotel in a central location so that travel costs you very little. Many resorts even offer free shuttle services within your city, and some will even whisk you off to destinations quite a way away! Speaking of free services…

2. Find the freebies
You’ll be surprised by the offers you can uncover if you do your research in advance! Some major cities offer discounted entry to popular landmarks and even money off meals in particular eateries if you apply for a special card before you travel. There are also a number of highly enjoyable experiences you can enjoy free of charge all the year round in a vast number of cities, such as visits to museums and galleries, festivals, parades and galas, walking tours and trips to beauty spots such as beaches, national parks and nature reserves.

3. Dodge the rush
There are a huge number of holiday destinations that are just as enjoyable - often more so - when you opt to miss their annual tourism peak. Prices are often bumped up at these times, and the best hotels fill up very quickly. Travelling in April rather than August can mean savings of hundred of pounds, on both flights and accommodation, and that is not to be sniffed at! Research your dream escape to discover their most popular months, but just be aware that there may be a clear reason why particular seasons are quieter - many countries have periods of rather extreme weather, so be sure to learn the times you ought to avoid.

4. Go all-inclusive
In the past, an all-inclusive holiday simply suggested the following: flights, hotel room, three meals a day. However, tourism is an increasingly competitive market, and the jetset lifestyle is quickly becoming the norm for a large number of people. You’ll be astonished at the extras and add-ons that can be thrown in as part of an all-inclusive holiday in order to secure your booking. From bar tabs to spa access, experiences that might otherwise set you back a fair amount of money often come part and parcel when you book with particular resorts or hotels, so get searching and see what treasures you can unearth!

*Sponsored Post

55 Blog Post Ideas For When You're Stuck In A Rut in 2019.

The longer you've been blogging, the harder it can be to think of content ideas. I remember when I started blogging in 2013 there were always chats and a community to share inspiration with and the posts were a lot more simple back then. It was all about reviewing a product, taking some pics and sharing it with other bloggers for most. Since then, blogging has come a long way and although I still love to create content there have been times when I've got into a rut and not known how to get out of it. I made a list of blog post ideas for when you're stuck in a rut in 2015 and also 2017 but I feel even since then a lot has changed blog-wise. Some of these posts I've written myself which I will highlight so you can click on those for inspiration if you fancy, but a lot of them are brand new ideas. At the bottom of the post, there will be a version of the which you can download and keep handy for when you're lacking inspiration. 

Lifestyle post ideas: 
1. Top 5 podcasts 
2. Introducing your pets
3. How to shop on eBay/Ali Express/Shein/Wish. 
4. Pop Vinyl Collection
5. 5 must-see documentaries
6. Films every Disney lover needs to see. 
7. 15 facts about Friends/ (other TV show of your choice) 
8. How to dye your hair bright colours 
9. 10 creative fonts 
10. Favourite products / least favourite of the month/year
11. Your favourite films of all time
12. Photography tips 
13. How to get over a friendship break up 
14.Ways to seek help when you're struggling
15. Top tips for freshers 
16. How to survive a breakup.
17. How to make friends as an adult (I did a post about Bumble BFF)
18. Self-care ideas 
19. 5 beauty hacks 
20. 10 tips on how to study better. 
21. Ways to feel inspired
22. How to tackle Pinterest
23. How to get over a friendship break up 
24. How to write a great CV
25. Tips for caring for a pet

Food post ideas:
26. How to make galaxy food (I made galaxy pancakes)  
27. Best restaurants to visit when you visit (insert place here)
28. 10 easy snack ideas
29. 5 tasty meals on a budget
30. How to make the perfect cupcakes
31. A review of your favourite restaurant 
32. My dream menu

Fashion post ideas:
33. Shop my style 
34. Who inspires my style?
35. 3 ways to style your favourite item of clothing
36. Perfect locations for outfit posts you may not have thought of. 
37. Tips for getting the best outfit pictures 
38. Wishlists. 

Travel post ideas: 
39. 15 unusual packing hacks
40. 9 reasons to visit a place (I recently wrote about Florida) 
41. The ultimate travel must haves 
42. 10 places to visit on a budget 
43. 5 of the most romantic places to visit 
44. 15 iconic locations to visit
45. Travelling with anxiety
46. Hotel reviews 
47. Best places to get currency 

Beauty posts: 

48. Summer inspired makeup
49. How to make your own face masks
50. My skincare routine 
51. How to do the perfect winged liner. 
52. Testing a range of products (I reviewed MUA Pro Base and JOICO recently) 
53. Festival make up looks 
54. Makeup bag essentials. 
55. How to have a spa day at home. 

I hope you've enjoyed this post and are now feeling inspired if you end up using any of these ideas I'd love for you to share your posts with me. 

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The story of a fair trade cup of coffee!

It's international coffee day, which of course means, we need to talk about coffee! Until I started working, I didn't think much of coffee, did rate it but also didn't know enough about it to slate it. But when you're working lates or early mornings, coffee is pretty much a must and so much cheaper than energy drinks. Soz, Redbull! To celebrate today, I have a guest post I'd love to share with you about what goes into making a fair trade cup of coffee, which I had no idea about. Let me know if you enjoy this post and let me know in the comments what your thoughts are on coffee. Oh and if you enjoy this post, I previously wrote a post about 5 ways to enjoy coffee.

If we Brits are married to our cups of tea, then coffee is our secret love affair. Recent figures revealed by the British Coffee Association, paint Britain less as a nation of tea-drinkers and more as coffee connoisseurs, with our coffee consumption increasing from 70 million cups a day in 2008 to 95 million cups a day in 2018. Obviously, coffee beans don't grow in the UK, so here is the story of how they get from beans to your cup. And, if you’re a fan of drinking fair trade coffee, that journey is all the more wonderful and varied. You see, the journey of a coffee bean depends on which farm it came from, the grower of the bean, and how it was processed.

Obviously, a large-scale coffee plantation will operate a lot differently from a simple (and much smaller) fair trade coffee farm. Sure, you know about the ethics surrounding fair trade coffee, the issues of pay and the treatment of workers, but it goes far beyond that. The number of workers, the use of wastewater, the difference in fair trade coffee production can't be understated. The process is more eco-friendly and more worker-friendly! As an example, CIPAC's fair trade honey and coffee co-operative in Guatemala has in excess of 140 members working for them. It may be a remote area, but it's a fantastic area to grow coffee all the same. Numerous farmers here are performing a trade inherited from many family generations. There is lots for CIPAC’s farmers to do before the beans are ready to be made into the delicious coffee we know and love. So what exactly happens on the journey from bush to mug? Let’s follow some of CIPAC’s fair trade coffee growers to find out.

Harvesting coffee beans:
Winter is typically coffee-harvesting season for many farmers. On family-owned farms, the whole family might get involved. Coffee ripens at a slightly different time within this period, depending on the climate, the altitude, the type of soil and the variety of coffee. Some farmers even live in areas with their own microclimate, which means the coffee they produce has its own particular and quality flavour! Throughout the season, the same coffee plant can be harvested up to two or three times over. This is because only the ripe cherries are hand-plucked from the bush to guarantee a high-quality coffee. On large coffee farms, the harvesters must travel up steep hills and down into valleys to collect the cherries in a basket — which can be exhausting.

The de-pulping process:
Once the coffee has been harvested, it is moved on to the farmers. This involves the harvesters often having to travel up and down hills and across rickety bridges to reach the end destination, where the cherries are de-pulped within 24 hours. While large-scale plantations use heavy machinery to quickly take off the coffee-cherry skins, farmers at CIPAC either use a small electric de-pulping machine (where the cherries are poured in the top and emerge de-pulped from the bottom) or their own energy. The coffee beans are closely inspected as they’re poured into the machine, and any beans that don’t look quite ripe enough or are too ripe are taken out.

Cleaning the cherries:
Once the coffee cherries are de-pulped, they are submerged in unique water pools for a full day in order to clean them and remove any remaining layers. Some beans will float in the water and these beans are always removed. After washing, the leftover water will contain some toxic elements that mean it can’t just be thrown onto the plants in their backyard. But farmers at CIPAC know what to do – they re-use the dirty water and skins to make an eco-friendly compost to use around their coffee plants!

Drying each coffee bean:
After cleaning, the beans are laid out to allow the sun to dry them naturally. The farmer chooses an area that’s wide, flat, and clean, and spreads the beans out with a rake. They turn the beans with this rake while the sun shines, and then hurry to cover them with a huge sheet if there’s a hint of rain or moisture about. As well as this, they also cover the beans every night, to keep off the dew. This process can take several days, or much longer if there’s rain!

Transporting the beans:
Once the coffee has dried, parchment beans are formed. The farmers take the sacks of parchment beans to the nearest road, where they’ll be collected by a van sent by the coffee co-operative. Farmers in the most remote areas must make their way along dangerous winding mountain paths and encounter huge cliff drops. Can you imagine having to walk along a cliff-edge while carrying a 30kg bag of coffee beans? If there are no co-operatives to sell their products to, farmers often have to make longer, more dangerous journeys to find a trader. Once the beans reach the co-operative storage site safely, they’re then weighed, checked for quality, and stored.

Transforming the beans:
Once the parchment beans arrive at a fair trade cooperative, they are then turned into green beans. This is the most important quality milestone yet and involves the beans being judged by their weight and appearance, to make sure they’re of the best quality. Finally, the beans are ‘polished’, which removes the last layer of skin covering the coffee beans. The beans are then sampled by buyers for quality in a process known as ‘coffee cupping’, which involves them slurping coffee in an attempt to accurately taste all the subtle flavours of the coffee, especially for the special varieties grown in areas with their own microclimates. These samples are sent to the co-operative, so they can easily vouch for the quality of the coffee to buyers! Finally, the finished beans are bagged and sold to an exporter.

CIPAC sells the coffee beans to Cafesca, a fair trade operator based in Mexico. From there, some of the beans are sent to another Mexican fair trade operator, Descamex, who is the only facility in the world to use the Mountain Water Method to produce decaf coffee. Descamex sends the decaffeinated beans back to Cafesca, who transform all the coffee beans into instant coffee and instant decaf. Once the finished coffee is sealed in jars, they’re loaded onto a container, then onto a ship, and then transported to the UK to be sold by retailers such as TraidcraftThe journey has now reached its conclusion and it’s clear to see that coffee beans go on quite the adventure before making it into your mug! And while the huge coffee plantations use lots of workers and modern equipment, the fair trade farmers at CIPAC like to keep it simple. Family-run farms. Hand-picking only the ripest cherries. Drying the beans naturally under the heat of the sun. Fewer chemicals, and far more character.

Who knew that so much went into making a fair trade cup of coffee?

*This is a paid guest post, however, I had full editorial rights over it and I hope you enjoyed the article as much as I did! 

Things I'd Do If I Won The Lottery #3

Happy Friday all, I hope you're all well. Last year I did a couple of posts on what I'd do with the money if I won the lottery and they were both super popular so I thought I'd do a part 3 (part 1 and 2 if you fancy reading them). I thought it would be interesting to do a part three almost a year a later because the things I'd buy/do have totally changed and I always love it when other people do these posts!

A new wardrobe:
Still similar to my previous post with the shoes, but I'd love to be able to spend some money on getting some new staples for my wardrobe including many expensive bags as well as the ones on my alternative bag wishlists because who doesn't want an unholy amount of awesome bags. I think I would probably spend far too much money on band t-shirts too.

Pay off debts:
A bit more of a boring one but something that needs to be done, i'd pay off my student loan as well as other boring debts, but how good would that feel?

Buy a house:
I am pretty sure this one is standard for most people, I'd buy a beautiful (and big) house in the middle of nowhere, with a pool and a place for my own gym. As well as get my own awesome home cinema and a wall water feature. Pretty much like all of the houses on Cribs (throwback, does anyone remember that show?!)

Redesign my garden:
Is it just me who gets inspired by Summer to do things, especially in the garden! I found out that I have some strawberry plants in my garden and it inspired me to want to get more seeds. I am also obsessed with cute garden furniture and ornaments. Nest have some gorgeous contemporary pieces including chairs. Which would look amazing in some blog pics, don't ya think?   

There are so many amazing places I'd want to travel to, including exploring more of America (road trip anyone?) Japan and Amsterdam. I did a wanderlust post of all of the amazing places I want to visit which would all be getting a look in if I got the chance.

Treat my friends and family: 
A bit of an obvious one, but it would be something I'd love to do. I would happily treat my friends and family to things they've wanted for a while as well as help them with debts etc.

What would you do if you won the lottery? 

*collaborative post