Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Why going on holiday with your friends is the best thing you'll ever do


2017 has clearly been the year of adventures and exploring. Sure, I haven't been away as much as some people I know but it has definitely been a lot. For me anyway.

I still have my trip to Scotland with Gary to look forward to which is nice and we're going to *hopefully* spend a couple of days away over my birthday. This year has mostly been about me and the girls.

With three little trips away with my friends under my belt, from weekends in Bucharest and Cornwall to a day trip to Whitstable, just me and Leanne. I have decided that hollibobs with your friends is just amazing.

Beaches in Cornwall

I love going away with Gary but there is something different about going away with your friends, even more so when you're all bloggers!

When you travel with your friends, it's an entirely different vibe. There are a bunch of you who want to do different things meaning more adventures to be had and itineraries to be planned. Or you can just wander around being perfectly happy in each others company. Whatever suits you!

I've mentioned before that my girls are like a little family to me and it brings me so much joy that even though we're all so very different, we're also like minded, this is what makes travelling with them makes them even more awesome.

visit bucharest


Through travelling with friends, you'll get to so more of one place, whether it's because someone wants to eat at a particular place or someone else wants to see a particular old thing. You make sure there's enough time to do at least one thing everyone wants to do.

There are also the giggles. The 'in' jokes that will just appear. Like, did you know R Kelly was the greatest artist if the 90s?

You'll also find out more about each other, how someone may not be a morning person (me) or how someone has never tried Cornish Ice cream (Jasmin)

weekend in cornwall


As a little blogger-only one, you'll also be sure to get the very best content. Because we all love photography so much, what should be a 20 minute walk can easily turn into an hour. You want to spot the tiniest details of everything, find the perfect door to have an outfit taken and have at least one person spot the opportunity for the perfect candid. Just another way we support each other completely.

A lot of people worry about going on holiday with friends. I mean, you'll be spending more time in close proximity with each other. What if someone falls out? What if that giggle you thought was cute actually becomes irritating AF? Well, none of these things have applied to me. I was so happy to explore with my best girls and most definitely will again.

You take a whole new experience away with you and new memories that you'll look back on forever.

A few hours in Whitstable

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I have really been missing the sea. I'm hardly a beach person at all, as in lounging around in the sand for hours on end, but the smell of the sea and the sound of crashing waves really makes me happy.

Leanne is always one to spot a bargain and managed to get us day tickets to Whitsable for a whole £10 thanks to the South Eastern Hidden Gems promotion. I'd never been to Whitstable and actually couldn't point it out to you on a map because, dear lord, am I rubbish at geography... I kept getting it confused with Whitby. Both begin with W and both are by the sea...I think Whitby is by the sea?

Smashleighjayne

The ever wonderful Erica had been very recently and her Postcards from Whitstable post filled me with glee. I couldn't wait until I was exploring the coast in the sunshine, Instagramming all the things, eating all the seafood and obviously eating all the ice cream. Ever the optimist, I chose to wear a summer dress and sandals because if you have sunshine thoughts there will be sunshine, right? Nope.



It HAMMERED IT DOWN. And it Hailed. Our weekend was no where near as sunshine and picture perfect as Erica's but it was still awesome.

we arrived in sunshine, then it started to rain. Our only real plans for the day were to eat oysters so we took refuge in the Whitsable Oyster Company restaurant right by the sea. We got their last table, ordered 2 different types of oysters (The Casino Oysters were my favourite), Scallops, Mussels AND CHIPS. Despite the rain, thank god I was wearing a floaty dress...

Smashleighjayne

Smashleighjayne

These things are famous for a reason.

The Oyster thing was pretty much the only thing we had planned for our trip to Whitsable. Other than that, we just wanted to Instagram all the things. The weather really wasn't on our side though and due to their local Festival that day, we just knew we weren't as lucky as Erica.

Smashleighjayne


Every time we passed the bright pink Wheelers Oyster Bar there was ALWAYS a car parked outside, we had to duck into two different pubs to stay dry (at least I got to try a local beer, my favourite thing) and the journey to the castle plan was quickly abandoned WHEN IT STARTED TO HAIL. IN AUGUST.

Smashleighjayne

Smashleighjayne

Being by the beach regardless of the weather made me far too happy though. I plan to go back so I can sit in the sunshine, and breathe in the sea air. I'd love to hire one of the beach huts and just spend a weekend being my happiest. Plus, ice cream.

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THIS MELTED EVERYWHERE


Things you need to do in Cornwall

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My little Sea and the City adventure with Travelodge and the Bangarang Girls seems a complete AGE ago. It's now nearly the end ofHOW?) and my need for another holiday is here again. I've just booked off a block of holiday to go on a mini staycation in the New Forest again plus an extra couple of days around my birthday so hopefully Gary and I can scoot off somewhere then.

It's been HAMMERING it down in London a lot recently and it's bringing back fond memories of dancing on the beach with an umbrella and eating ice cream in between rain bursts. Our trip to Cornwall really was glorious and, being the fabulous human that I am, I have put together a little list of things you must definitely 100% do when you go too.


Drive there

Yes, I'm sure the train is nice and easy but you don't want to restrict yourself to one place. When we went, we considered St Austell our 'base' and instead drove around and visited different towns to make sure we really got the most out of our trip. Some places were only 10-20 minutes away so you don't exactly need to drive for hours to find a new place to eat or a new beach to explore. It'll make your trip seem 'fuller'

Eat Cornish Ice Cream

Personally, I think this is a given because there is no better ice cream ON THIS PLANET than the Cornish variety.



Try the Local Sea Food

Dude. When you're by the sea, you need to try the sea food that has been caught right next to you. That's coming from someone who never used to eat fish (at all). On our first full day in Cornwall, we visited Charlestown and had dinner at Wrecker's and treated ourselves to a proper feast.

As a sea food newbie, I made sure I tried a little bit of everything. I wasn't brave enough to actually rip crab to shreds like Leanne (I tasted it, and it wasn't for me) but I liked pretty much EVERYTHING I had. Turns out I like Oysters now and their Sea Bass was the BOMB.

Smashleighjayne


Eat Cornish Pasties

To be honest, I'm starting to spot a bit of a theme here... It's kind of like I ONLY care about food...

Either way, pasties are awesome. I have loved them ever since I was a kid and how can you beat what is essentially a pie that you can hold in your hand? The pasties we got in Fowey (pronounced Foy) had come out of the oven literally a minute before we arrived and we had to carry them around for ages until they were cool enough to eat. It was totally worth the wait and the pastry crumbs all over me.

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Do more than just go to the beach

Yes, Cornish beaches are absolutely gorgeous, even in the rain. But there are rolling hills, port towns, Heritage properties, tiny little villages and OH SO MUCH exploring to be done and things to learn. yes, learning is cool.

Smashleighjayne


Try a local beer

This one isn't to everyone's taste but whenever I go somewhere new, I have to have a local beer. Preferably an ale. Just like the seafood, local beers always taste better when they just have to travel down the road to get to you.

pubs in cornwall

I do miss Cornwall, I honestly forgot how much I loved it as a kid so will inevitably be dragging Gary along for a weekend break to Cornwall next year. Hopefully with a little less rain. If you have any other tips for Cornwall, let me know!






*disclaimer, I was invited as a plus one for Travelodge's Sea and the City campaign but all the ramblings are my own.

Looking back on holiday moments and memories


I recently found myself in charge of organising the family holiday snaps for the past 20 years. There were beach scenes, mountains and all the cousins looking different each year as we got older. Seriously, if you looked at pictures of us back then and met us now, you'd think that we weren't the same people.

Travelling with my family (and now my friends) is one of my all time favourite things and having the photos of our adventures together really hit home how important it is to me.You can have them up in frames, in albums like these from truprint or scattered across multiple social media platforms. Either way, having a flick through brings back some of the best memories and it got me thinking of my favourite holiday moments.

Two day drive to Italy

When I was a teenager, we drove to Italy. 2 families with six kids in tow. We stopped off at every border a long the way, we had walkie talkies in the cars, we got lost in Germany and one car broke down near Paris. It really sounds like the holiday from nightmares but it was actually one of the best I ever had. I met my first boyfriend, I got closer to my cousins and we have so many stories from that trip that we still chuckle over them today.


Getting up close and personal with some penguins

Yup, that's right. Actual penguins. Althougjh my trip to the Falkland Islands was kind of tarnished by being viciously dumped, I still got to experience a bunch of things only a handful of people can. I sat on a beach surrounded by penguins, we were followed by a sea lion, my dad went swimming with dolphins whereas I was too scared too...



First Holiday with friends

In second year of uni, a bunch of my old school friends (including Charlie, Distracted) took a trip to Barcelona. It was my first holiday without my family which felt a little strange, but I was spending it with some of the very best people. Some of the pictures we have make you think 'oh, Lord. What were we doing' but some of them also just make you smile. I still have vivid memories of shot bars and beaches but also of the architecture and remembering where to go for the best ice cream in the city. Oh yeah.



Going on holiday with my boyfriend

I have been on holiday with a boyfriend before but I was still at university, we hadn't been together for a long time and we both had very different ideas about holiday-ing. in 2015, I got to have my first 'grown up' holiday with Gary. We spent a weekend together in Nice and just RELAXED. No rushing around trying to get things done before we left. We didn't worry about being touristy, we just ate all the food, drank all the beer and chilled on the beach. It was amazing. We got to be silly together in a different place.



A holiday without the beach

Looking back on all the holidays I've had... I'm pretty sure a beach has always been involved somewhere. However, earlier on this year I went on a short break to Bucharest. A little city trip is something I hadn't done before and it was an entirely different type of holiday. Exploring was more important than relaxing and spending time with the best people in the world.


These are just some of my favourite Holiday memories and I'm sure there will be plenty more to come. What are yours?



*Disclaimer; this post is in partnership with Truprint but all words are mine, mine, mine.

A weekend by the sea in Cornwall

smashleighjayne
Fowey Harbour

It’s not very often I get to go on multiple little trips away in one year. After years of pretty much staying put in London, I’m absolutely loving it and am always thinking about the next break. I have loads of bloody holiday to take at work too so I should probably start actually sorting myself out.

This weekend, I was well chuffed to be Captain Charley’s +1 for the Sea and the City trip to Cornwall with Travelodge. I used to go to Cornwall all the time as a kid with my family for caravan holidays so I knew it would be an entirely different experience as an adult. For a start, I’d be more interested in exploring small towns and trying new food than dancing with Sid the Seagull and Lizzy the Lizard.

After a traumatic journey to meet the girls where I not only missed a train but I then missed my stop once I was on the train and had to turn around again… (I know, typical me), we were off on our five hour journey to St Austell. Praise be to Jasmin for volunteering her car and her role as driver. We wouldn’t have made it here without you.


Charlestown Cornwall
The lovely seaside town of Charlestown

I’d never heard of St Austell before and, after we had checked into our Travelodge, we eventually googled what to do on our little holiday, over freakshakes, pasta and hotdogs at the always classy Frankie and Benny’s. It turns out that cornwalls.co.uk said that ‘although some might describe it as pretty grim, it does provide an ideal centre for some of the loveliest beaches in Cornwall’. We did notice that it was, as Charley dubbed it, ‘the Chav Centre of Cornwall’, and when we asked some of the locals what we should do on our weekend away, they, in no uncertain terms, told us there was nothing to do in St Austell.  Hasty planning on phones over dinner was then underway. Note to self: Research where you’re actually going BEFORE you get there.


One thing I remember as a kid was that the beaches in Cornwall were always gorgeous, I mean, they have actual sand and everything. It was top of the list of things we had to do. After the absolutely wonderful (although slightly sticky) weather we have been having in London, I packed skirts and sandals in a positive mental attitude. When we opened the curtains the next morning, it was grey and drizzling. As the Scottish say, it was pretty dreich. Oh well, a little rain never hurt anyone!


smashleighjayne

Smashleighjayne
Left to Right:

Now, despite the negative statements we have seen about St Austell, they were definitely right about it being a ‘centre’, we had a whole day of adventures where we visited the beach and I had a little dance in the rain, explored the gardens of the fancy and stately home of Lanhydrock and popped by the harbour of Megavissey. As well as jumping out of the car in a tiny village because the houses were so instagrammable. Such blogger clich├ęs.

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My awkward/limping strideby with Jas. Picture by Charley.

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Here's my stupid 'I have Ice cream' face - Picture by Jas
Walking, eating, sitting, driving. We made sure we could see as much as we could and eat as much as we could, not a single moment was wasted. We tried new things and got to know eachother even more and, all in all, we had the BEST time.

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Breaking up our wanderings, Charley and I not only used our little Travelodge to sleep and refresh (dude, are those beds COMFY by the way), it also became a little blogging hub for us. A place to bounce hashtag thoughts off each other and remember anecdotes and quotes from the night before edit photos and check Twitter. Thank you Wifi. It’s the reason why I have this post up sooner than any other I have done this past year. I’ve actually had time and a place to do it!

smashleighjayne

Cornwall is so much more than just sandy beaches though. There are National trust building scattered all over the joint, brewerey's and independent bars, AMAZING food and, well, too much to discuss in one post. watch this space instead for more things to do in Cornwall.

In the meantime, you can keep up with our adventures and more that Cornwall has to offer on Instagram right here:

#BangarangByTheSea


#SeaAndtheCity


Spending a weekend in Bucharest



One of the best things about a big group of friends is how you are always making plans. Half of the time they don't happen but every now and again you actually go through with it. We all have big adventure plans, a lot on our own and a fair few as a group and I'm pretty sure we're all trying to hit as many countries as possible.

Throw back to Black Friday 2016 and seven of us had randomly booked flights to Bucharest... for a grand total of £40, why would you not? I seriously have a new found love for Ryanair and I'm not even ashamed.

None of us had ever been before, I was convinced they used Euros and I had no idea how VERY FAR AWAY it was. Like, near Russia far away. Or not, but pretty far.

My last girls' holiday was in my second year of University with a bunch of friends from home went to Barcelona and pretty much spent the whole time drinking (we also took in the culture etc but most of my photos from that time, we are either hammered or in the process). Going as a grown up is an entirely different experience. You find yourself wanting to explore more, appreciate things like the architecture and be more than happy to miander the cobbled streets looking out for much more than just the next bar.


The first on our list of things to do was to just get out. After lugging our suitcases up three stories (the lift in our building was scary as hell), we donned some makeup and warmer clothes and headed out to explore Bucharest.

Romania is unlike anywhere I have ever been before. To be fair, I haven't really travelled as much as some of the other Bangarang girls (*looks enviously at them all*) but I have been around! Eastern Europe is like a different world of its own. Political tensions and previous changes are clear in everything from the street art, the buildings to the big protests we didn't realise were still happening.

Milly's bright pink hair made her our own personal prop and go to strideby for all photos

Our first day in Bucharest was mostly exploring the Old Town, and mostly going in search of food. When you travelling with a bunch of bloggers it's guaranteed that content is just as important as the experience. We were all pretty snap happy, shouting for stride-bys taking 100 pictures of the same thing to get the perfect angle and looking for tiny details. It's no surprise that what could have been a ten minute walk took over an hour. #BloggerProblems.

Our first stop for dinner that day was Distrikt 42 in the Old Town where we realised just how CHEAP Romania is when my entire meal cost the equivalent of £9 and a pint of beer was roughly £1.34. I mean, it was almost too good to be true.


Fueled and knackered, we headed back to our apartment (costing us a grand total of £30 each... SUH CHEAP), laden with prosecco and snacks. Pyjamas were thrown on instantly and we settled down to an evening of cackling. Friends are the best.


Our first full day in Bucharest was supposed to start with Brunch. The night before we had passed The Urbanist and once we saw the work BRUNCH, our hearts filled with joy because we are such massive blogger cliches. Turns out Brunch in Bucharest isn't what you think. It's pretty much just sandwiches and coffee... sad.


After downing coffee (Especially Erica who had hers like a shot) we headed out in a desperate search for food.



It seemed like luck wasn't really on our side that day in terms of food. After walking for what felt like an age, we discovered Fabrica. It looked like a cool old dive bar you'd see in Biker movies and was covered in art. felt like our kinda place. Crepes and omlettes were promptly ordered as the hanger was getting real. An hour later, only half of us had eaten (I was a lucky one), the manager was shouting at the chef in Romanian and we prompltly paid up and left.

After stuffing our faces with pastry, we went on our separate ways for a bit. A group of us went on our own mini architecture tour while others went shopping.

Bucharest feels slightly decaying but in a beautiful way. It's like the city is tired. It really is gorgeous. It's also full of holes and hazards so we took to screaming HOLE at eachother after many an incident of nearly falling over...


My favourite game: Taking pictures of Katy taking pictures

GRINGOTTS. Well, not really but it made me think of it

Classic Erica
Our last evening was spent attempting to spend the last of our money in Bucharest's oldest Inn, Hanul Lui Manuc. We failed. Despite how much we ordered (amazing traditional Romanian dishes) and the fact we upgraded from the House Wine, we still left with pennies. My share of the meal came to a grand total of £16.40. Mental, eh. Tuirns out taking roughly £100 each for a weekend was double what we needed.

After a 36 hour round trip in Bucharest, I have decided I'm going to see more of Eastern Europe with Riga already top of my list (See Being Erica's blog for why).

Picture by Little Miss Katy

I have to say that going on holiday with my favourites is up there as one of the best things I have ever done. If ever you get an opportunity to sahre something as awesome as this with your besties, just do it. You will not regret it.

Picture by Little Miss Katy

To see more of Bucharest and decide whether you want to vis yourself, here are the rest of the girls' posts :)




*Note, I have been working on this post (paragraph by paragraph) since precisely the14th March. I have no idea how it took me so long but it did. I am useless.

Spending a long weekend in Dublin

Dublin at night

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably would have noticed that I went to Dublin. I'm still working may way through all of the pictures in an attempt to make my Instagram account look gorgeous.

I have made it a bit of a plan to travel more, even little weekends away (taking inspiration from Erica, Charlie and Katy) and when I was stuck for ideas for my boyfriend's birthday present when my original idea fell through, I came across the best deal on Skyscanner and booked immediately.

Dublin has been on my 'I must bloody go there' list for ages, especially since a colleague lived there and raves about it. My greatest literary love is from there and I bloody love a Guinness. Why would I not want to go?

For a city that is quite small (a population of only a million people according to my Irish friend), there really is so much to see and do that we didn't have time to do as much as we wanted. Still really sad that I missed out on the Leprechaun Museum...

Here are a couple of things I did and loved that I thought you would enjoy too.

Trinity Library - The Book of Kells and the Long Room


Trinity College Dublin


This is pretty much the ONE thing on my list that I desperately wanted to do whether Gary liked it or not. I'm a proper book weirdo, I love the smell. I sometimes walk into Waterstones JUST to get a hit. Yup, I am strange.

The Book of Kells is a display of the four Gospels in Latin and is shockingly beautiful but for me, I mostly wanted to go into the Long Room. It's a library of over 200,000 dusty old tomes and is considered to be one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. The pictures speak for themselves really.



JUST LOOK AT IT

I will never forget that smell. I also wish I had taken my proper camera. iPhone pictures really don't do most things justice.

 You do have to pay to visit the exhibition and go into the Long Room and there can be a pretty hefty queue so I suggest you book in advance online so get to skip right on in.

The Guinness Store House

This one is pretty obvious really and doesn't really require much explanation. As a Guinness fan, it would have been stupid not to go.



Visit the Temple Bar

A friend told me not to go to Temple Bar but I totally did anyway because I am SUCH a massive tourist sometimes and I have no shame. The whole area of Temple Bar is obviously a tourist trap. The prices sky rocket just when you walk into the area and I believe it's the busiest part of Dublin. But it was wonderful.


I said on Twitter that the air itself seems to sing as there really is music everywhere, this is even more true in Temple Bar. Bands and musicians seem to play all day every day. How can you not feel happy there?

Temple Bar Music Dublin


Walking everywhere

As the city is so small you can walk everywhere. The architecture is wonderful and you're bound to stumble across something amazing down one of the tiny streets.

Dublin Ireland
look how adorable and wonky it is

Try the food


This is a bit of a weird one. You might be thinking 'the food in Ireland can't be that different', well it's not really. There are different combinations of things and different ways of cooking things that just make them burst with flavour. All the food I ate, definitely fit into the 'hearty' category and I didn't eat the same thing every day.

explore Dublin


Visit Oscar Wilde

This is something I didn't know about. I knew my hero grew up in Dublin and that he attended Trinity College (one of the reasons I wanted to go), but Gary, bless him, discovered where he was born and the monument to him. I was so happy that he let me go on my own little pilgrimage You can see it all over my face!


Doesn't it all just look wonderful? Bet you want to go yourself, right? Why wouldn't you?

Well, before you book yourself a flight, here are an other extra couple of things you need to know before you go:

It may be cheap to get there, but it's not cheap to stay

It's VERY expensive. Probably on par with London, if not a bit more. Save those pennies first.

Check Tripadvisor before you book your hotel

I did not do this and it ended up panicking on our first day there. Turns out where we were staying wasn't as bad as the Tripadvisor reviews made out to be but we were essentially using it as a bed and nothing more. We spent so much time exploring that we literally needed something to drop into at night.

You can't Instagram everything as much as you may want to

There are building works pretty much everywhere at the moment so half of the stunning architecture or street art will be obscured by scaffolding and fences. Not ideal when you've recently become a bit of an Instagram fiend.

Be prepared to go back

I'm going to. Most definitely. I loved it all so much,