A Christmas treat with Jet2 Holidays

A email popped into my inbox a week or so ago asking if I fancied a hamper from Jet2 to help celebrate the festive season. Well after a long week at work, it was such a treat to come home too! Using the theme of European Christmas markets, it was full of goodies to help get me in the mood. I can't wait to make that Yule log in time for Christmas Day and have already used those gorgeous milled wine mugs! Those chocolate coins went down faster than you can say Merry Christmas...

Coincidentally when I went to Magaluf back in May I actually used Jet2 Holidays and can't rave about them enough. We ended up delayed because of an awful storm but were kept well informed and given frequent cups of water to keep us hydrated. It doesn't sound too much but it's a lifesaver when you're stuck on the tarmac inside a stuffy plane. Inside the hamper was also a £60 voucher to go towards a trip. I'm hoping to take advantage of their Jet2 holiday city breaks if our funds allow us next year!


Travel plans for 2019

I vowed that 2019 would be the year I slowed down as I was starting to get travel burnout but alas I turn 30 next year and have got slightly carried away with the celebrations. We have a lot happening in the first six months, a little two much if I'm honest! We were a bit too trigger happy with booking flights and have certainly learnt from our mistakes. We won't be booking two long haul trips again in one year! But nevertheless, 2019 is set to be a year to remember and I honestly can't wait.

Our friends moved to Malaysia around 18 months ago to teach and we promised we'd go visit them. They will have been out there for two years next August and we're worried we would miss our chance if we left it any longer. So we did what any sane person would do... Book flights on a whim! We head out there the day after my 30th birthday party (slight error there I think) in time to celebrate Chinese New Year with them. We have a week exploring Kuala Lumper, Ipoh, Melacca and Cameron Highlands with them before leaving them and heading up north just the two of us to visit Penang and Langkawi. I never had that Gap Yah so this will be first time to South-East Asia, a region that I declared to my parents I would be visiting aged 17. 13 years I'll finally be making that come true. Good things come to those who wait eh?

Las Vegas
Way back when we were tiny pups of 21, we made a pact to go to Las Vegas for our 30th birthday year. We saw it as one big last blow out as friends before the responsibility of houses, marriage and babies caught up with us all. Now that time is upon us, I don't really think any of us will be thinking about the responsibilities for a long time yet, especially the marriage and babies. But we still have a pact to keep! There are six of us heading to Vegas and we've got so much planned. I'll finally be ticking off what feels like a lifelong dream of visiting the Grand Canyon. Let's gloss over the fact the motel we've booked for an overnight stay looks like it should be in a horror film...

We're hoping to head back over to Derry over one of the May Bank Holidays to spend a few days with family. We'll probably just book one weekend that has pretty cheap flights - sadly we can't do any midweek breaks as our holiday allowance is a bit tight!

The Cotswolds
The first wedding of 2019 is one of my old school friends who I have know since I was nipper. 26 years of friendship - mad eh? She's getting married in an absolutely beautiful venue in the heart of the Cotswolds in June. We're hoping to rent an Airbnb in Cheltenham which is around a 20 minute drive from the venue. We'll be driving down after work on a Friday and spending the weekend there so hopefully won't be too hungover to do a bit of exploring.

My boyfriend turns 30 in July and he's always mentioned Dublin as somewhere on his list of places he'd love to go. It's unusual as he doesn't really have too many things on his bucket list. I wanted to surprise him but then I got overexcited with my great idea so I spilled the beans. So it's no longer a surprise. We've spent a lot of time in Ireland over the past 12 years but never quite made it to Dublin. It's be nice to finally tick it off the list!

Finally my last trip of the year will be Rhodes for a work colleague's wedding. I haven't been to Greece since I was about 11 so am very much looking forward to going back as an adult. Give me all the Greek salad and baked feta please! Rhodes is an island I haven't been too and I've heard great things about it.

2018: a year in travel

So we still have a good few weeks until 2018 is over but I've wrapped up all my travel for the year so though I'd do a round up. This year has been pretty full on despite me declaring I was going to start taking it easy. It seems I just don't have that much self control when it comes to booking trips away. Here is where I've been lucky enough to visit this year - it's been a blast!

The first trip of the year saw Connor and I head to Bordeaux for a couple of days in January to celebrate our 11 year anniversary. We found £20 flights with Ryanair and a great Airbnb just a few minutes walk to the centre. Bordeaux is a brilliant size for a few days of exploring, eating and drinking. The architecture reminds me a lot of Paris and it's very pretty. I think anymore than two days you would run out of things to do. It has made me keen to explore even more of France now. I've got Toulouse and Lille on my list next.

New York
Ah I never thought I'd ever have been lucky enough to visit New York a second time so this still feels like a bit of a pinch me moment. It was so nice to experience the city with my mum, to see it through her eyes, and she encouraged me to see it at a much slower pace. I'm guilty of rushing everywhere on a city break, so desperate to fit everything in. We had such a fantastic week together and I was so sad it was over. Hopefully this will be the start of a new city break tradition for us.

May saw 13 friends and I headed to Magaluf for our friends wedding in Mallorca. What an experience! I never thought I'd have a holiday to Maggers for the first time at the grand old age of 29. We all based ourselves in Magaluf as there was such a mixed crowd of people. Going out on the strip was a hilarious yet slightly traumatic experience but one where I had so much fun. It felt like I was 18 again!  The beautiful wedding venue itself was set in an olive grove around an hour inland, I felt like I was an extra in Mamma Mia the whole night! It was one of the best nights of my life, let alone the best night of my married friends!

A mere three weeks after heading to Magaluf, I was on my way to Benidorm for my sister-in-law's hen do. After nearly a year in the planning, I have to be honest and say I was absolutely petrified about this. But it went great, even if I do have to blow my own trumpet! We spent three days relaxing in a villa just on the outskirts with a private pool before heading into Benidorm for evenings full of dancing a lots of gin.

Northern Ireland
There first of my three trips to Northern Ireland was in August with my blogging babes. We stayed at Hannah's parents house in County Antrim for the bank holiday weekend. It was glorious. I don't think I ever stopped laughing or eating. We saw some incredible sights and int cemented the fact that Ireland really is my favourite country in the world. It's somewhere that just feels like home.

Next up was Belfast in September with some friends to see Biffy Clyro. Apart from a few hours, I hadn't really spent much time in Belfast so I was really excited to see more. I absolutely fell head over heels for the city. It's a city transformed with so much going on, such incredible places to eat and just such cool vibe. It's hard to imagine that it was in the midst of the troubles just 20 years ago. The transformation has been breathtaking. I honestly cannot wait to visit again.

My boyfriend's family live in Derry so it's a place I have a special place for my heart. We headed over last month for a few days to spend time with family and it was great. We didn't really do too much exploring, just choosing to spend our time in the city and sitting in front of the fire in the evenings catching up with a drink. Connor's cousin has just got an adorable Jack Russell terrier who was only 6 weeks old so we got to enjoy lots of puppy cuddles. My favourite type of cuddle!

Four places to go for a winter road trip in the U.K

The Causeway Coast
It's no secret that one of my favourite places in the U.K is Northern Ireland and the Causeway Coast is up there as my all-time favourite place in the U.K. I'm so excited to be heading back over the Bank Holiday weekend. It's such a beautiful place in the world and there is so much to do. The Causeway Coast runs from Derry to Belfast and is full of lots of little gems. The places to see are endless and thanks to the short distances between places you can see so much in such a short amount of time. My personal favourites include Balintoy, Portstewart, Derry and Binevenagh Mountain.

The Scottish Highlands
There's nowhere better in the U.K for a road than Scotland in my opinion. The vast open road is so beautiful and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. It's so hard to believe you're in the U.K. We were lucky to have friends who moved to the Highlands so we took full advantage. The Highlands are full of little cute villages, incredible castles, very friendly locals and picturesque beaches. If you're basing yourself near Inverness, make sure you schedule in Tarbat Ness lightbouse. Here you'll catch seals and dolphins which will be the highlight of your trip!

I've visiting Cardiff a handful of times now and it's got a special place in my heart. The city is the perfect size for a couple of days, with no end of delicious restaurants to enjoy and many streets to get lost in. I'd definitely recommend a trip to the castle and a wander along the bay - spot some Touchwood and Doctor Who filming sights while you're there!

There's just something about being by the sea isn't there? Plymouth isn't the prettiest of places but there is so much fun to have there! Make sure you book in a tour at the Plymouth Gin distillery, take a trip over to Cornwall on the boat, trek to the top of the lighthouse and take a stroll around the cobbled streets of the Barbican.

Do you have any recommendations on where to go for a U.K road trip?

Is travel burnout actually a thing?

Black skinny jeans: Matalan (similar)
Black tunic: ASOS (Similar)
Checked blazer: Miss Pap*
Adidas trainers: JD Williams*
Red leather backpack: Michael Kors (similar)

Even just writing the title of this blog post has made me cringe a little bit. It's a bit of a tragic first world problem isn't it? I realise how incredibly lucky I am to have had the opportunity to see much of the world that I ever thought was possible whilst I growing up. Not every one can have the privilege of travelling and I completely understand that. It took me to about the age of 24 when I went to Berlin to realise that people like me could travel and see anywhere in they world they wanted too. No where was really out of bounds, I just had to save up and work hard to make it a reality. Since then I feel like I'm been eager to squeeze in any many countries, cities and towns as I possible can just in case I can't manage to see everything I want to.

This year I will have taken seven flights by the time 2019 rolls around. I never thought I'd say this but I feel like it was too much. I feel like I've hardly spent any time at home and my year has been spent living out of a suitcase. Seeing the world is such a beautiful thing but it can be exhausting. Constantly getting used to new cities, never really having a base for more than a few days, unable to settle into a routine and constantly feeling like you have to be 'on form' to make sure you make the most of your surroundings. I feel like I'm neither coming and going. I've been so incredibly busy that I feel like I'm on the verge of a burn out. It's no longer enjoyable.

Admittedly next year I do have two big trips to take and I'm so excited to tick Malaysia and Las Vegas off my bucket list. I still can't quite believe I'm going! But after April I'm going to take a step back. Take things a bit slowly and enjoy my home I've made with my boyfriend. I want to spend a lot more time within these four walls and spend my weekends in my home town. Not words I ever imagined I would ever say! I've always been so keen to leave it behind... Here's too having friends round for wine and cheese, spending evenings wrapped up in a blanket watching Netflix on the sofa and experimenting in the kitchen with my collection of cookbooks.


Exploring Ireland: Giant's Causeway, Bushmills, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

The UNESCO world heritage site of the Giant's Causeway has been named the fourth greatest natural wonder in the U.K.  It's been on my list for years to visit and despite venturing over to Ireland quite a few times I'd never quite made it. We usually visit my boyfriends family and other things always seem to get seen first. Plus there's just so much beauty in this part of the world that it's so difficult to know what should be your first priority! However, this time I knew I had to finally make it as Hannah's house was a mere walk away so there was no excuse. 

They say the 40,000 interlocking basalt columns are the result of an ancient volcanic explosion. But really the columns were actually built by a giant... Irish giant Fionn MacCool was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Bonandonner. Having bravely accepted the challenge, Fionn started building a causeway across the North Channel so they could both meet for a fight. But Fionn starts to panic when he realises just how much bigger Bonandonner is than him so his wife Ooonagh disguises Fionn as a baby and tucks him into a cradle. When Bonandonner sees the size of the "baby" he reckons his father must be absolutely huge so he flees back to Scotland, destroying the causeway so that he can't be followed.

Despite the insane crowds, the Causeway is such a peaceful place. There's just something about being with Mother Nature, seeing all the beauty and hearing the waves crashing against the rocks. It's such a beautiful place. Ireland really does know how to blow you away. I could have spent hours mesmerised by the Atlantic Ocean but alas we had a schedule to keep too. 

I'd recommend visiting as early as you can to avoid the crowds. You do have to pay around £13 to visit the visitors centre and park in the car park but actually entry to the Causeway is free.


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