Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

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.

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

smashleighjayne
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.

smashleighjayne

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,


Making plans and travelling more

purple suitcase


I appear to have been bitten by a bug. A nice bug. I have an itch to get on the move again and see more things.

I haven't exactly turned into a globe trotter like Charlie, Distracted but I find myself constantly on travel blogs, refreshing Skyscanner's 'Everywhere' search and making lists of all the things I want to do. From hiring a villa on the Silver Coast in Portugal with the girls, to saving every penny I can to go to Las Vegas with the boy.

In the past 12 months I have done more little excursions than I have over the past six years. I have been camping with my friends, spent a weekend in the New Forest, taken the boy on a trip to Dublin and am still recovering from my post holiday blues after a a trip to Bucharest.

As we speak, I'm currently flipping through my photos from Dublin and Bucharest working out which ones to use on which blog post... and working out how I could fund this new obsession of mine. Villas with a big group can be really affordable and can also provide the freedom beyond a hotel room so that's definitely a must do at the moment. Especially if you can get one with a pool that's also really close to the beach... (do you see where my thinking is going from here?)... Plus it'll all be SO INSTAGRAM FRIENDLY.

Beach Holidays Europe


I have reached the point now that I understand that travel is good for the soul and there's no point in staying still anymore. Money be damned in a way because new experiences really are priceless. I have spent nearly a year in a vicious of circle of being happy and then not happy.

Back and forth like a really sad boomerang.

I have found something that makes me happy now outside of my normal routine. I need to be happy and relaxed again and it seems that spending time with my favourite people in far away places, even just for a weekend, is the best way to do it.

Time to up my Pinterest game again and send all my new travel ideas to the boyfriend!



My first flight with Ryanair

Yes, I am aware that this isn't a Ryanair plane... I didn't get a window seat... :(

I have heard NOTHING bur horror stories about Ryanair.

Actually, that's a fib.

I have heard nothing but horror stories about Ryanair from very select people on the internet and also from my boyfriend who had flown with them once and swore 'never again'.

Back in October, I booked a surprise visit to Dublin for my boyfriend's birthday. Obviously, being a woman on a budget but with a need for adventure, I used the delightful Skycanner (which is an absolute, god damn revelation) and found the most amazing deal on Ryanair. It really would have been stupid to avoid and I also thought to myself that I wouldn't know unless I tried it. Generally a standard mentality.

Having flown with Easy Jet back in the days before allocated seating, I couldn't imagine anything could be much worse than having to elbow people out of the way to get a seat next to my mum or a friend. Or worse, having that seat next to the toilet...

But, do you know what? There was absolutely nothing wrong with it. Gary had lead me to believe that flying with Ryanair was the equivalent of riding pillion with one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Such an anticlimax really.

The only issue I had was on the way back when due to the idiocy of the public, the queue for Stanstead and Gatwick merged together so no one knew where they were going and it was a bit of a shock to the system not having the opportunity to indulge in free booze like we normally would be British Airway (BA for LIFE, yo) but I really don't get why Gary is so Anti-Ryanair. I'm actually looking forward to flying with them again when we go to Bucharest at the end of the month! I mean, how can you say no to £40 return flights?

I'm definitely a Ryanair convert and am already planning my next trip,.




















A weekend in the New Forest

Burley New Forest
This was our 'garden'

When I started writing this, I was sitting on a train. Its was 6:30 am on a Monday and the sun hadn't come up yet. My feet were soaking wet from the rain, I was absolutely shattered and the idea of going back to London was slightly nightmareish. Mostly because of the adulting it requires.

I had just spent the weekend in the New Forest with my boyfriend and our friend and the post 'holiday' blues have properly kicked in the very second I stepped onto the train. I ended up braving the stupid O'Clock train just so I could stay an extra night. I really didn't want to leave.

When you live in London, sometimes you really do just need to get away for a bit. It's probably the same anywhere but London is so loud, crowded and always busy! It's a fast moving lifestyle so sometimes you just need a quiet place to sit and breathe. 2016 has been so horrid that a trip to the New Forest is definitely what I needed.

We arrived in darkness under a sky of the brightest stars I had seen in a long time. You really don't realise how much of a difference the light pollution has until you go to the middle of nowhere. The 'cottage' (actually a God damn mansion) was down a lane with no street lamps and surrounded by trees on either side. Thankfully we went there in a taxi otherwise we may not have found the bloody place!

Burley New Forest
Said lane during the day
I have seen FAR too many horror films so the idea of staying in a cottage, in the middle of nowhere with no street lights was terrifying to say the least. Thankfully I was with too big strong boys. No way I would have been able to stay there by myself.

Burley New Forest

The 'cottage' came with a pool table for the boys (apparently the selling point), a kitchen that was my idea of heaven (so much Le Creuset) and I discovered that I could keep myself entertained with a piano too! I was beyond happy. I didn't have any sheet music but thank god for technology.

Or house instructions also said that deer roamed the area and if we were to see any in the garden, we would have to chase the, away. I didn't see any deer but we did find this:

Burley New Forest

Yes, those are my pyjamas.

We had absolutely no plans whatsoever for our weekend away. On both days we ended up exploring the small village, drinking many a pint and stuffing our faces.

Burley New Forest

Burley is such a tranquil place with horses just casually roaming around. There were also loads (well, three) witchcraft shops! I obviously had to Google why this was a thing here and apparently it's because the roots of Modern Wicca can be traced back to here. Pretty cool really.

Burley New Forest

Burley New Forest

Burley New Forest

While we were there, I honestly felt the most relaxed I had been in a very long time, even though I had to work from home on the Saturday. It was all so peaceful and slow and SO QUIET. No constant traffic and sirens, no rushing around. I honestly did not want to leave and I really want to go back.

I guess I'll be dreaming of village/forest life for a while. There's honestly nothing better than just chilling out, pint in hand, next to an open fire and pretty much just forgetting about the rest of the world.

Burley New Forest


Have you ever visited the New Forest?