Saturday, 5 November 2016

How I Planned My NYC Trip with Round the World Experts



I recently booked a trip to New York using the company Round the World Experts and I thought I would share my experience with you.

I was recommended this company by my Mum who used them to book our family trip to the US and Canada in 2014, we went to Toronto, Las Vegas and Los Angeles over a two week period and this company sourced us cheap flights and also two hotels, one in Toronto for the three days we were there and one in Los Angles as a lay over before we drove to Las Vegas. Knowing what a good deal she was able to get when it came to booking my trip to New York she reminded me of this company and after checking out other options they came up as the cheapest - I know this wont happen in all circumstances but its certainly worth checking to make sure you have as many options to explore as possible.

Now although this company has a website that gives you an idea of the locations that they can help you plan trips to, you deal with an agent over the phone to make your booking and to help you plan your trip. When you first call up you are asked what part of the world you wish to travel to from an automated list and if you are planning a complete round the world trip there is an all other inquiries option, you are then put through to the relevant team who specialise in this area who can help you to plan and book what you would like.

I was put through to a very helpful agent called Anna who is part of the North American team and I told her what I wanted: 4 nights in NYC in March 2017 with flights from my local airport Newcastle International and a central location hotel. This was all searched for and I was given options for timings for my flights making sure I had plenty of time between my flight at my connections in Heathrow Airport. We then discussed hotel options, as I'll be travelling with my cousin before I started my research we had discussed what kind of hotel we wanted to stay in. We wanted a central hotel in either Manhattan or Brooklyn close to local transport and within easy reach of the main attractions. I explained all this to the agent and she gave me a few options, while I was on the phone I was googling the different options and sent the links to my cousin to see what she thought. We eventually decided on the Affinia Manhattan NYC a very central hotel right next to Madison Square Gardens and Penn Station and incredibly close to places like the Empire State Building, Times Square, the Chrysler Building and Rockefeller Centre.

This is a screen shot I sent to my cousin to show her how close
our hotel is to everything

Once we had decided on these main aspects of the trip the agent went on to discuss options of things to see and do, this company can organise various things extra to flights and accommodation which is really helpful. I was offered theatre tickets and hop on hop off bus tour tickets that included various tickets for museums and art galleries. At this point as myself and my cousin hadn't discussed in detail what exactly we wanted to do I stuck to the flights and hotel and booked these knowing I could come back and add these things at a later date if I wanted to. I paid a deposit of £100 to secure everything and have been making payments every month breaking down the cost into manageable chunks, another great service they offer (please bare in mind they only offer this service on package trips like the one I've booked). It turned out we could get hop on hop off bus tour tickets with entrance to five attractions included in the ticket cheaper than the ones offered from this company so I would suggest doing a little research elsewhere to find some deals before you make a booking, as I said you can always add them on to your booking at a later date if you want to.

Overall so far I have had a very pleasent experience with this company and they have been very helpful and gave good advice on flights and good hotel recommendations. Making my payments has been very easy and I have had no problems whatsoever. I make my last payment in December so all that will be left to do then is to get excited.

Have you used Round the World Experts for booking trips before? Did you find this post helpful, would you think about using this company when planning your own trips? Please do let me know in the comments.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

My Top 5 Rides at Walt Disney World Resort Florida


5. Peter Pan Flight

This ride can be found in the Magic Kingdom the original of the Disney parks. Now this ride isn't an action packed thrill ride but for me its just a bit of nostalgia. Its one of the first rides I ever went on when I first visited as a kid. Its classic Disney and takes you on Peter Pan, Wendy, John and Michael adventure to Neverland. You fly over London taking in the nursery and then all the delights that can be found in Neverland including a run in with Captain Hook.
4. Kali River Rapids

This ride can be found in the Animal Kingdom. Themed as a rafting expedition through India, this is a great ride to go on when you need to cool off on a hot day as you can almost guarantee that you'll  get at the very least splashed if not completely soaked. Every time you go on this ride you never know how wet you will end up as the raft jolts and jostles in so many different directions it all adds to the fun.

3. Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain

Like Kali River Rapids this ride can be found in the Animal Kingdom. Probably the most adrenalin inducing ride in the Animal Kingdom, you start with a small build up while you are waiting in line starting out in a fictional travel agency and moving on to a room with expedition equipment and then you move into what looks like a Yeti Museum. One on the ride you speed through Himalayan Mountain Villages and then you move on the Everest's Base Camp, this is where the thrill ride really begins with twists and turns, misdirection and a nice little surprise at the end before delivering you safely back to base.

2. Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

This ride can be found in the Hollywood Studios park. So this was a real tough one to choose between the top two but they are super close. The build up to this ride sees you walking into the recording studio where Aerosmith can be seen. You are told that they need to get to their live show across town and then they make sure their manager get some 'super' stretch limos for you. You then move on to the queue which looks like a backstreet car lot where you are met with the limo to take you to the show. Once strapped in you are shot off into the LA traffic. A quick ride with lots of loop the loops, twists and turns with neon signs illuminated as you move around while Aerosmith songs blast in your ears. You are dropped off outside the show with a red carpet reception.  

1. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Again this ride can be found in the Hollywood Studios park just a stones throw away from the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. Another of the thrill rides. The build up starts almost immediately as you enter the reception of the abandoned hotel and you are show a short film detailing the events that lead up to the hotel being left to ruin like it has done. You then move in to the back rooms of the hotel where you are taken to the service elevator where you are seated and your ride begins. The best part about this ride is once you have moved through all the story and the tension has built up to breaking point you are suspended for what seems like and age not knowing if you are going to be dropped in this elevator or thrust up into the air before you are thrust and dropped numerous times before being dropped back off on the ground floor. I have to say this ride is always at the top of my list and one not to be missed.

These are just my top 5 rides and believe me it was so hard to choose because they have so many wonderful rides to offer everyone not just thrill seekers like me. I also have to say that each time I visit Disney World I change my mind on which rides I love the most I honestly just love theme parks and Disney so combining the two is just a dream come true for me!

What are your favourite rides at Walt Disney World or any of the Disney parks around the world? Would you be interested in my Top 5 Rides at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure?

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

An Italian Adventure ~ Day Three



Taking in Pompeii, Sorrento, The Island of Capri and The Amalfi Coast

Day three saw another early start this one even earlier than the last two, this was so we could hit the road and make the most of our last day before heading back to Rome. We drove from Sorrento down the world famous Amalfi Coast to the small town of Amalfi taking in he gorgeous views along the way. We saw the sunrise over the Mediterranean Sea and the view was just perfect a great way to start your day!



Next up we stopped at a look out over the hillside town of Postiano to get s few snaps of the picturesque little town again watching the sun rise over the hills it was truly magical we took a few shots from the look out and then we got a group shot with all the people on the tour which is a nice little memento of the trip and a good way to remember all the lovely people I met on this trip.





Once we arrived in Amalfi we went to a great little place and had some breakfast pastries before having a little look around the town, we had quite a bit of time to kill and the town was fairly small so once we had looked at the cute shops and the Church we headed to the marina and chilled out there catching some sun. We then met back up with the rest of the group for a little boat trip to see some of the scenery from the sea. On this boat trip we anchored up for a short while so we could jump off the boat and have a swim in the Mediterranean which was a real treat.








Back on dry land we piled back onto the bus and were shipped to the hilly town of Ravello more in land than Postiano and Amalfi. Once we arrived here we went straight for some lunch having a panini and a Peroni of course. We didn't have to much time in Ravello because it is so small but we wandered around for a little while and grabbed a frozen yoghurt with all the chocolate toppings and general yumminess before jumping back on the bus to head back to out campsite in Rome.




Back in Rome a few of us that had booked in to the campsite for the evening before heading onwards on our travels met up for dinner at the campsite restaurant as a final goodbye and also a chance to swap contact details.

This was my first experience of travelling on my own in the sense that I didn't go on this trip with anyone I knew in advance, and this is a very big step for me. I used this trip a taster of what solo travel and organised independent trips might be like, and I must say it was an absolutely wonderful experience once that I hope to do again in the near future. Its such a great way to see the world whilst making new friends along the way. 

You can read Days One and Two by clicking on the links

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Wish List ~ US Cities


The USA being as vast in size as it is, has a lot of great cities with so much to offer visitors. Each one has its own unique charm and history wherever you go there is always some new and interesting to see and do. I have had the fortune to visit some of the wonderful cities this amazing country has to offer and here are a few that I have on my wish list for futures trips!

Nashville, Tennessee

This city was added to my wish list in the last year but has kind of shot straight to the top! I've always known about this city but not really known what it had to offer until I started watching the Country Music TV Drama Nashville which is set in its namesakes city. As well as opening up my music tastes to the world of Country Music I've also realised that the Country Music Hall of Fame is housed here and there are always live music performances happening all over the city in all kinds on venues including the most prestigious of all The Grand Ole Opry. As well as its Country Music scene you can also find the Antenbellum Plantation mansion houses turned museums still in keeping with architecture and interiors of the civil war period, you can also visit some civil war battlefields are near by too. As you can see there is so much for you to see and do in this southern city and I cant wait to see it.

New Orleans, Louisiana

So ill be the first to admit the reason this was added to my wish list was mainly because I really want to go to the Mardi Gras Festival, it just looks like so much fun and so colourful. Having looked in to what else this fantastic city has to offer I was pleasantly surprised and found there is way more to this city than its street festival. Just to have the chance to take a wonder around the different districts and neighbourhoods looking at all the different architecture and businesses etc. people watching is something I could easily spend an afternoon doing and I hear that the French Quarter is great for this. I'd also love to catch one of the street cars taking in some of the sights and scenes. There are an abundance of museums from the World War II museum to the Old Mint and plenty of houses for me to explore. As well as all this culture New Orleans is well known for its food scene in particular Creole cuisine with its wide variety of influences from French to German, Spanish and West Africa. As well as this there are loads of other culinary places I'd love to discover, Yum!

Boston, Massachusetts

I cant remember exactly what it was that attracted me to this city but I have a feeling It may well have been it's English town influences being in New England after all! Boston is well known for its prestigious university Harvard as well as other world renowned learning institutes, but there is so much else to see and do. Arnold Arboretum is the oldest public arboretum in North America and has some lovely landscapes I could lose myself in exploring and seeing all the different plants and species. Another big draw is the freedom trail, a two and a half mile walk taking in 16 of Boston's historic sites a great way to see all the important sites learning all about the historic events and buildings in this culture rich city. Id wouldn't mind taking in the Sam Adams Brewery Tour as well because who doesn't love a brewery tour and with the promise of free samples, I'm there! Sine I went to my first Baseball game in Tampa earlier this year if I got the chance I would love to go to one of the Boston Red Sox games, the atmosphere at ball games is so fun so going to see another game would be the best.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

So I can see a theme developing here my stomach seems to be informing most of my decisions to visit certain places, oops! So as you will have probably guessed the first reason that drew me to this city was the cheesesteak sandwich it is world famous after all! Another big draw for me is he historic parts of this city, the Liberty Bell is housed here as well as Independence Hall and Constitution Hall where the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were debated and subsequently adopted, it would be great to find out more about the origins of the United States. You can also climb the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art made famous by the film Rocky, there is also a statue of Rocky himself commissioned for Rocky III and donated by Sylvester Stallone to the city and sits at the bottom of the steps waiting for that picture perfect moment.

New York, New York

This city has been on the wish list for as long as I can remember it has everything I love in one place, it has shopping, tourist attractions, museums, history, culture, open spaces, bright lights, great food, great bars. Some of the main things id like to see and do would most definitely be Central Park a great place to people watch take a nice walk in the fresh air have a picnic take a few selfies and maybe even a rowing boat ride. To get some great pictures of the New York Skyline I've heard that the Top of the Rock is one of the best because you can get the Empire State Building in your shot I would obviously like to go to the top of the Empire State building too but to get a shot with the building in is deffo on my list. I cant wait to get lost in all the amazing shops that New York has, in particular Tiffany's. Ever since I saw the film Breakfast at Tiffany's I have always wanted to recreate that iconic scene taking my breakfast pastry and coffee to the store and browse the window displays, and pop in to see all the beautiful jewellery. I want to walk along the Brooklyn Bridge, hop on the Staten Island Ferry, take in the Statue of Liberty, explore Grand Central Station, browse some of the many museums and galleries and stand in the middle of Times Square and take it all in. I'm lucky enough to be going to this amazing city next year and I actually cant hold in my excitement there are so many wonderful things to see and do that one trip will not be enough, so I'm sure that there will be many more visits to New York in my future! 

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

An Italian Adventure ~ Day Two


Taking in Pompeii, Sorrento, The Island of Capri and The Amalfi Coast

Day two was an early start so that we could get the ferry across to the Island of Capri for a day looking around an exploring the island. We were lucky that a ferry docked up right outside our camp site and we all piled on for a journey across to Capri that took about an hour, we stopped of at another dock to collect some more people from another town and then we headed straight across to the island. On the approach you could really marvel at the beauty of the little rocky island its such a beautiful island. Feeling a touch hungover from the night before i made myself comfortable and had a little snooze, its a real talent of mine to be able to fall asleep almost anywhere! 



Once we disembarked we headed to a little Café for some breakfast, as it was still quite early my appetite hadn't quite woken up so I just had a plate of fries with some Mayo. Other people in the group had some really yummy looking food with Bruschetta, Pizzas and Paninis on the menu that all look super tasty! Once we had finished eating we headed to a little shop that sold food and drinks and I picked up a sandwich to keep for later on. Lunch in the bag a few of us decided to head to the other side of the island to go and see the Blue Grotto.

 We hopped in a stretch Fiat car that took 7 of us across to the other side of the island for our tour of the Blue Grotto. This mini tour of the island was great we went right to the top of the mountain and had some amazing views over the Mediterranean Sea and of the main land to. Once we arrived at the  Blue Grotto we joined the queue which was quite long but we were willing to wait as we had heard that it was well worth seeing. As we neared the front of the queue there was a little bit of a dispute happening between a Italian family and one of the gents that rows the boats that take you in to the grotto. Unable to understand we watched on this typical Italian argument which in itself why quite amusing they get so animated. Soon a few more of the row boat handlers joined in and the family stormed off quite angry and we found ourselves at the front of the queue completely unaware as to what was happening. An Italian further back in the queue approached the rowers to ask what was going on and he then explained to us that the water had become to choppy and it was becoming dangerous, they could get us into the grotto but they may not be able to get us back out again. 




Disappointed we picked ourselves up and headed back to catch a bus to head to one of the little towns on the island to do a bit of sight seeing. We caught the bus to Anacapri where we decided to go on the chair lift right to the top of the mountain to take in the panoramic views. It cost 8 euros for a single trip or 11 euros for a round trip, as we were short on time we opted for a round trip. Now I'm terrified of heights so going on this was a huge deal for me and I'm pretty sure my heart rate was raised the entire trip especially when a wasp landed on my bag and I couldn't move to wafted it away, terrifying times indeed! Up to the top safe and sound I took a look around taking pictures of the beautiful scenery before heading back down.





Back on solid ground we headed back to the marina for the last part of the day sitting on the beach soaking up a bit of the sun before we headed back to the ferry to take us back to the camp site. Once back we freshened up and then headed for some food on the camp sites restaurant. 

That's all for day two make sure you check in again for the third and final day!

You can read days One and Three by clicking on the links!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Why I Don't Want to Give Up Working to Travel!


I have had the travel bug from a young age, I've always looked forward to family holidays abroad and long weekends hopping across to some of the wonderful cities Europe has to offer as well as some of the cities here in the UK. I have been very lucky to have experienced so many different countries and cultures already in my life and I hope to see and explore many more and also revisit some of my favourite places too.

I also have some career ambitions too and its taken me until now at the age of 27 to figure out what it is that I want to do with my life, and I am currently studying for a degree in International Studies through the Open University. Studying this way allows me to keep my full time job that I currently have working for the MOD in a Military Medical Centre. Working and studying in this way allows me to earn as I learn so I can still afford trips and holidays while still chasing my career ambitions.

I really enjoy the job I currently have and I could never imagine myself not having a job or working it's a very important part of my self. I would in an ideal world love a job that allows me to travel and in studying for my degree I can hopefully achieve that dream. My ideal job would be to work in a British Embassy overseas or in the Diplomatic Service, both jobs that can offer me the opportunity to see the world whilst also feeding my interest for Foreign Affairs.

So although it will take me a while to get where I want to be career wise doing things the way I have still allows me to use my annual leave allowance, taking trips and experiencing new and exciting things along the way and also keeping me motivated to keep going with my studies and keep pushing myself to achieve my career goals. I think its all going to be about balance, making the most of the annual leave I do get planning trips carefully seeking out good deals picking up tips and tricks as I go.


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

An Italian Adventure ~ Day One


Taking in Pompeii, Sorrento, The Island of Capri and the Amalfi Coast

Last week I took the plunge and went on my first ever Solo Travel trip! I decided to ease myself in gently by booking a long weekend trip to Italy with the travel company Busabout. I booked on to the Busabout Italian Adventure cramming a whole lot in to the short time here is what I got up to!

I met the Bus outside Plus Camping Roma where I had stayed over night its a camping village just outside of Rome very convenient and very inexpensive. Once on the bus I got chatting to a few of my fellow travellers and soon made some very good friends. Our first stop was the lost city of Pompeii, a place I have wanted to visit for so long. We were guided around the town by a local guide and she gave a very interesting and detailed tour which lasted around two hours. Pompeii is definitely worth visiting its so interesting to see what life was like in Roman times what the buildings looked like and there uses also all the tools and pots etc. everything almost perfectly preserved a real treat for any one interested in ancient history its like a snapshot in time.












After a spot of lunch we hit the road again on our way to Sorrento. We arrived at our campsite for the next few days dropped off our luggage, freshened up and then went into Sorrento to explore. As part of the tour we were scheduled to go to a Limonchello tasting at a cute little shop in the town owned and run by great guy called Tony, now I'm not a huge fan of the drink itself but he also sold Limoncello infused chocolate covered nuts which were just to die for. Having picked some chocolates to take home for the family we moved on to a look out over the Sorrento bay and en-route I picked up some Gelato and Prosecco to chill with before my evening meal.





After our meal we went to a local cocktail bar that did us a cheap deal on drinks and we all got suitably merry drinking numerous cocktails moving on from the normal sized cocktails to those big fishbowls fairly cheap too! We then decided to move on to a Karaoke bar because who doesn't love a spot of Karaoke huh?? I had an absolute ball getting to know my fellow travellers more and having a real laugh. We missed the last shuttle bus up to the top of the hill so we ended up walking, which I was none to please about but I made it back and in to bed safe and sound!








So this is just day one as you can already see we crammed so much in to the time we had check back soon for days two and three!

You can read Days Two and Three by clicking on the links!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

My Favourite Foodie Snapchatters


If you're anything like me and love looking at gorgeous pictures on Instagram of Food and all the amazing places around the world to eat then stick with me! Its from this obsession that I discovered that some of the Instagram accounts I follow also use Snapchat as a way of showing me what gorgeous places they go to eat and the fun and frolics that follow this. So I decided to share with you today some of my favourite Foodie Snapchatters!

Devour Power
Snapchat Name: devourpower 

This is the first account I started following and My God I'm so glad I did, even if I do get massive food envy from watching their snaps. The account is ran by a cute couple that live in New York and everyday they visit some amazing restaurants and eateries snapping as they go. They are mostly New York based so if you are looking for some off the beaten track places to eat in New York you really must check them out. They will also share food snaps from any destinations they visit, on their recent trip to London they went to some amazing looking eateries that I'd never heard of but will certainly be checking out next time I'm in the capital.

Food with Michel 
Snapchat Name: foodwithmichel

I discovered Michel when he did a takeover of the Devour Power account and I loved his little day out in San Francisco I decided that I absolutely needed to follow him. Michel is LA based and again showcases the best that the LA food scene has to offer from Tacos to Korean BBQ he goes absolutely everywhere eating some amazing looking food, making me want to go back to LA just for the food. His fave place is a Korean BBQ spot that gives you this little table top BBQ to cook your meat on and then around the side are some little trays with Cheese and Corn that melts from the heat of the BBQ and he goes crazy for it and i must admit it does look good.

Stir and Style 
Snapchat Name: stirandstyle

I think I found this account from following her Instagram account and June is the nicest girl she so sweet on her snaps I love her. She is also LA based but does a bit of travelling and shares her foodie adventures too. June mixes food snaps with a look at her personal style (hence the name) so she also shares fashion items etc. with her followers. She does give a focus on more Asian cuisine and shows some of her home made creations to so a real balance. 

There are many more Foodie Snapchatters that I follow but these are my top three and I do look forward to seeing where they are and what they are eating each day. My food envy is from watching these snap stories is insane.

Let me know your favourite Foodie Snapchatters in the comments below?

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

My Travel Pros and Cons



I know I'm quite new to the world of Travel but with most things in life I don't like going into situations anything less than prepared so I decided to make a Pros and Cons list of travel so that when I'm off on my travels there are no shocks to the system!

Pros 

Freedom. Up until now I have always relied on other people to come away with me and although for the most part this hasn't been to stressful, I like the idea of solo travelling for the freedoms it will give me. If I want to go somewhere I can just book it an go (depending on annual leave approval), I don't need to think about if someone else wants to go to that destination too or if they will like what I would like to see and do. I like the idea that ill make memories unique to me and that I have wanted to make and I will experience things that I want to experience and not feel like I have to please anyone else this can be done on my terms.

Escapism. I'm not trying to run away from anything as such its more a break from the mundane for me. I have a Monday to Friday 9-5 kind of job which I do enjoy but sometimes things can become a bit samey as with most jobs and the days and weeks can feel like they roll into one another, so even just a change of scenery like trip away for a week or two or even a long weekend helps to break this up and helps me feel refreshed although I'm sure ill never feel ready to return to work, the thought doesn't seem as daunting after a break.

Learning. Travelling to any new country or culture is an opportunity to learn something new and I want to take full advantage of this experiencing it all for myself. I'm a huge history buff so I'm drawn to places that have a rich history and stories to tell. I love the idea of organised tours for this too as you usually get a knowledgeable guide who tells you everything you could possibly need to know.

Self Discovery. I've always been a little bit of a creature of habit and stayed well within my comfort zone, so I see solo travel as a way to push my boundaries and find out for myself what I like and what I don't. Its also a chance to see new places and discover new things find out who I really am, I want to prove to myself that I can do this by myself I and know ill be a better person for it.

Costs. I know you might well think this is a Con and it is a double edged sword featuring in both the Pros and Cons list. If you really do your research and planning you can find some incredible deals that make the costs of travelling low. Saving what money you can will soon add up and depending on what destinations you chose to visit you will find your money can go a long way, if you really want it there are always ways and means to make it happen.

Cons

Homesickness. I can get terribly homesick if I'm away from my family and home comforts for to long, and I've probably used this as an excuse to not get away more often,. But, with the advent of modern technology like Skype and What's App staying in contact with loved ones has never been easier, and lets face it being away from home for a little while is nothing compared to the experiences I will have and memories i will make that I can share with my family on my return.

Costs. Like i mentioned in the Pros the costs of travel have their Cons to. Depending on where it is you want to visit depends on how far your cash will stretch, you might well have saved money on flights and accommodation but you still have to factor in living costs as well and this can be the undoing of your whole trip. But with some careful planning prior to the trip you can be prepared, as long as you are aware of general costs before you go you are less likely to have any nasty surprises whilst away.

Anxiety. I have a real hang up that when I first meet new people that they wont like me and this all stems from someone making a snap judgement of me before actually getting to know me years ago now. But this has stuck with me and I always worry that ill make an awful first impression and i wont be able to make new friends, I know I shouldn't worry because I've been in plenty of new social situations since this and got along with people just fine and even made some new close friends over the years, so like i said in my Pros list putting myself out there will help me develop as a person and i hope soon this will no longer be an issue for me.

For me the Pros far out weigh the Cons and I really look forward to getting out there and seeing the world and all it has to offer!

What are your Travel Pros and Cons? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Travel Essentials



Depending on where you are travelling and what you will be doing on you're trip depends on what you would pack to take away with you, but there are some essentials that you need to take with you no matter the destination or the time of year and climate and I'm going to let you know what I like to take with me on any trip I may take.

Travel Insurance

This is the most important item you can take away with you, whether you need to actually use it or not having an insurance policy gives you piece of mind. You can get single trip or annual policies depending on how often you are likely to travel and some good deals can be found on comparison websites. You can chose the level of cover you get with even some of the basic ones offering very good cover from lost luggage to flight delays and medical cover which is most important as medical costs abroad can be very expensive should you need it. I had to use my Travel Insurance two years ago, I travelled to Toronto with British Airways and flew from my local Airport of Newcastle to Toronto via Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 my luggage made it from Newcastle to Terminal 5 but due to a baggage system malfunction at T5 my luggage never made it to Toronto. For the two weeks I was away I never received my luggage only being reunited with it on my return home. A quick read of my insurance policy meant that I could buy clothes and essentials keep the receipts and then claim back the money spent on my return. When it came to my claim there was no dispute and a cheque was promptly sent to me in the post. Now I know not all experiences with claiming on your insurance will be this pleasant,  but it's still well worth having.


Travel Pillow

This is always a necessity when it comes to travel for me, you never know when you'll need it. From catching a few z's in the departure lounge or on your flight to long car or bus journeys. Being able to get my head down comfortably is so important. You also don't know how comfortable pillows provided in hotels etc. are going to be so it's always nice to know you have your own. I got mine in Primark last year and it was relatively inexpensive but super comfy, you can also buy ones that have memory foam in them taking that comfort to an all new level.

Camera

If like me you love to take pictures where ever you go then you wont leave for a trip without a camera. I am by no means a professional photographer so I just have a Sony Bridge Camera, which doesn't require any other camera equipment which is great and the quality of the images I get with this camera suits my needs and are pretty decent. I also take some pictures using my phone so as long as I have one or the other I'm good to go.

Plug Adapters

If you want to use any electronics while abroad then you are going to need a plug adapter. You can get country specific ones or worldwide ones that you know know will cover you wherever you happen to be in the world, you can even get adapters now that have USB ports in them so you can charge and use all electronics to your hearts content.


Power Bank 

Along the lines of your plug adapters, this just allows you to charge any phones or tablets while you are out and about so you can Instagram that beautiful city scene or Snapchat your trips and not have to worry about running low on power. I picked up this one in Tesco for £25 and has 4000 mPh which should give two full charges of a phone and one for a tablet. They come in all shapes and designs so I'm sure you'll find one that suits your needs.


Pain Killers

This is an essential I take with me everywhere whether I'm travelling or not, because you never know when you'll need some pain killers for yourself for a friend etc. Just an all round useful thing to have on your person. I usually take with me Co-Codamol and Ibuprofen as one works well for muscle pain and the other for pain more in the bone and both together cover all your bases. It's also recommended to take any hay fever medication if you are a suffer and its goes without saying you should always carry with you and prescribed medication you need to take regularly.

These are items ill take with me no matter the destination or time of year. Depending on where I'm going and the time of year and weather ill take some other essentials which I plan to share with you all soon so keep an eye out for that!

What are your Travel Essentials please let me know in the comments below?

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Wish List ~ European Cities


Living in the UK gives give me a great opportunity to see Europe as most destinations are only a short flight away, and a lot of the budget airlines fly to all the wonderful picturesque cities in Europe. While I have had the opportunity to see many of the wonderful cities that Europe has to offer there are still so many places I want to see and so I thought I'd share with you all what they are!

Florence, Italy

I've always loved Italy, the history, the food, the culture its a county that I'm sure ill never tire of visiting. I've been to Rome and Venice already and Florence has been on my wish list for quite sometime. The photos I've seen give me major travel envy and I really want to see the museums, the churches and the architecture. I would love to just wonder around the city looking at all the wonderful beautiful statues, monuments and piazzas, taking a stroll along the Ponte Vecchio looking at the shops that sit on top of this bridge. Eating and drinking my way around the city taking in all this wonderful place has to offer.

Carcassonne, France

I first became aware of this medieval city from reading the book Labyrinth by Kate Mosse and from there I decided to do a little more research. From this research this place sounded right up my alley medieval history almost perfectly preserved giving you a real glimpse into what life would have been like in medieval times. I'd love to lose myself walking around the tiny twisting and turning alleys taking in the picturesque historic fortress. The Cite itself was said to have inspired Sleeping Beauty's castle and the Disney girl in me just love this! There are jousting competitions held throughout the summer, something id love to experience and getting to do this in medieval surroundings will only add to the experience.

Prague, Czech Republic

Quite a few people I know have been here and I've never heard a bad thing said. My parents went to Prague for a cultural long weekend and one of my cousins went for a Hen Party weekend, so as you can see It's a real versatile city that has a lot to offer. I love a castle, and Prague Castle being the biggest ancient castle in the world makes me very excited to see it, the castles location as well is a big draw sitting above the city I imagine to views are to die for. The Old Town is also somewhere I'd love to explore taking in the old buildings and monuments and having a look at the Astronomical Clock. Not forgetting the New Town with museums, shops and restaurants to be discovered this is also the part of town where the trendy bars and clubs can be found.

Barcelona, Spain

My first experience of Spain was the town of Benidorm, now I'm not knocking those people that love to visit this resort its great the beach is lovely and the town has really embraced the British holiday makers making it almost a home from home, but for me I want to get away to see new cultures and experience things that I wouldn't be able to back home. I like to take in some history, museums etc. so this is why Barcelona is on my list, not only does it have a gorgeous beach to catch some sun but the city is chock full of culture from the Architecture in particular the buildings of Antoni Gaudi to Las Ramblas a walkway full of street performers, bars and restaurants, almost like Covent Gardens.

Budapest, Hungary

I've been following Aaron a traveller on both Snapchat and Instagram for a couple of months now and he is currently in this gorgeous city giving me major travel envy once again. The Parliament building and the Royal Palace are two of the main attractions that I'd like to visit but the city has an abundance of museums and galleries that attract many tourists so there is plenty to keep you busy. There are various view points that offer some great views of the city which I would most definitely like too take in.

Athens, Greece

Now I've heard good and bad things about Athens and I'm having mixed feelings about whether to go or not, but then I think sometimes you just have to see places for yourself to make up your own mind, so I'm keeping it on my wish list. I've always had a fascination with ancient cultures since a young age and Athens being the centre of the Ancient Greek world it seem like a no brainer that I should go and see this historically rich city for myself. At the top of the list of things I'd like to see is the Acropolis, the ancient town of Athens and on top of the hill the Parthenon a temple built for the goddess Athena the Goddess of War and patron of Athens. There are loads of other ancient sights to experience as well as museums parks and gardens to explore. I'm also a huge fan of Greek food so any chance to tuck in to some Gyros is fine by me so I'm sure there will be plenty of cute Taverna's to discover.

Of course there are tonnes more cities that I want to visit but for now these are the main ones and ones that I would like to make my priority and I absolutely cannot wait to discover everything that these gorgeous cities have to offer.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Solo Travelling ~ Why Now?


I've always loved visiting new countries and experiencing new cultures and I've always done this either with family or friends. I'm quite the shy introverted person and I can get anxious in unfamiliar situations and places and I've used this as an excuse to not get away more often. I like to have at least something a little familiar around me to help me feel safe and able to enjoy my experience.

I'm 27, single with no ties so you'd think, great yeah go out there do what you want see the world! But I have just never had the courage to do so, that was until recently something just clicked in my head like why am I always waiting for other people, people who have their own lives and there own things going on, it can be difficult getting things organised so if I want to go I should just go. Get over yourself Lisa you're not getting any younger and who knows what's around the corner. I still hope to go away on trips with friends and family but now I wont be waiting so long in between trips.

So I have decided to give Solo Travelling a go! I plan to start small with a 3 or 4 day trip some where in Europe, ease myself in to the experience slowly so I don't overwhelm myself and get put off. From the research I have done there are some good deals to be had with companies like Contiki and Busabout these companies specialise in organised bus tours all over the world. Using a travel company like those mentioned I think will be a good start as technically I will be travelling on my own  but ill get to meet some like minded people on the journey and this experience will force me out of my comfort zone.

I really hope that pushing myself to do things that aren't part of my usual  routine will really open my mind and inspire me to try more new experiences. It is my ultimate aim to say yes to more experiences in life no FOMO for me. I think the dipping my toe method will work well for me allowing myself to get used to this new experience on my own terms and building myself up to bigger and better things.


Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The Future of Little Miss Lines


I have recently tried getting back into writing content for my blog and I've written a few new posts mostly beauty and one, a more of a lifestyle piece. But I still don't feel that same passion I did when I first started, and it occurred to me that's because I don't have the same passions in life as I did when I started up Little Miss Lines. I still love to write and I especially love to write blog posts so in order to keep this up I had to think about the future of Little Miss Lines.

So I have decided that in order to keep me writing  I need to change the direction this blog is going in. I plan to move away from the beauty posts that I usually frequent and focus more on lifestyle and travel posts. As I have grown up a lot over that last few years its has become clear to me that although I do love my beauty products and luxuries its not something I enjoy writing about any more. I would rather spend my time and hard earned cash on a lush meal in a new found eatery or on a trip abroad feeding the travel bug that lives within me, so I would like to write more about these topics and exploring these interests and sharing my experience with you all. 

I always thought that working in full time employment meant that I was forever destined to the All Inclusive beach holidays that don't get me wrong I do love and will I'm sure still go on in the future, but I never thought I'd be able to see the world the way someone who is travelling in their gap year or someone who gave up their rat race to travel the world. It always seemed like an experience that would never happen for me, that was until very recently when I came across the travel blog 'A Dangerous Business' and reading some of her posts gave me the push I needed to just go for it and make travel fit around my life and not the other way around. Two particular articles that struck a chord with me were 'You Can Live a "Normal" Life and Travel, Too' and 'Why Travelling as a Female Rocks (And Why it Sucks)' and if you're like me worried about working and travelling and also about the safety of solo travelling then you should give these and the other very informative articles a read. I'm looking forward to reading her other posts about various destinations and ways and means of travelling around the world. 

I have also recently had a few changes happen recently in my personal life which has totally changed my outlook on life and this has also given me that push to want to see more of the world and not have to rely on anyone to come with me! I can do this on my own and I'm likely going to meet some amazing like minded people when I do, getting me out of my comfort zone and allowing me to grow more independent in the process. I also have a very strong idea of where I want my life to head career wise and that is full time employment so ridding myself of the misconceptions that I need to chuck that all away in order to see the world is very empowering for me right now, and doing a little research and some planning means that I can still pursue my career goals whilst also making sure that my personal ones don't get left by the way side. 

I have been very lucky in my life so far to have had the opportunity to travel to places such as America and Australia but these were part of family holidays and I'm very grateful to my parents for giving these opportunities to me and I think it is from these holidays that I caught the travel bug, but as I'm older now and I still hope to go on family holidays in the future, I'm going to take matters into my own hands and make my own memories and experiences making new friends along the way.

I know from reading up to now it seems like Little Miss Lines is to become a travel blog which I guess it will become travel heavy but I'm also a girl who loves to eat, so I'd also like to share more of the places I go out to eat and sharing foodie tips and any recipes that I think you guys may like. I've recently been trying out some of those Buzz Feed Tasty recipes that pop up on Facebook timelines regularly so I think it might be fun to share with you how I go with recreating them. I love when I'm out and about for a day finding a new restaurant to eat at so you can expect some restaurant reviews on here to.

I hope that you will stick with me during this change but I'm sure you will all agree you need to produce content that you are proud of and happy with or else it will just feel forced and that is not good for anyone really. Posts in this early stage wont be regular as I need to actually get out there and get some experiences under my belt but I have some exciting things planned for the near future so I'm really excited for what my future holds and excited that I can have the best of both worlds a Life Work Balance if you will.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Fat Hippo Underground ~ Shakespeare Street Newcastle

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So as you will all know by now I love my food and any opportunity I get to eat out, you bet ya bottom dollar I'm going to take it. If I could afford to id never eat in again but alas the Champagne Lifestyle will have to wait a few more years while I build my empire!!

So last weekend I had arranged to meet up with an old friend Jenny to talk travel plans and just have a general catch up, we have both wanted to try this place for sometime so we saw this as the perfect opportunity to give it a go. We had originally planned on visiting the Durham branch as this was closer for us but from watching the news during the week it was the weekend of the Miners Gala in the city centre so we thought it best to stay away as it can be very busy and we were not likely to get a table or navigate our way around the city as easily as we would have liked. So it was then decided that we should just make a day of it and go to Newcastle do a bit of shopping and then finish the day with some tasty burgers!

So after a very successful day hitting the shops and a little stop off at the Botanist for a little drink we made our way to the Fat Hippo, we had booked a table as were unsure of how busy it was likely to be, it was around 16:30 by this time and we needn't have worried because they seemed to have plenty of tables and a steady flow of customers. I imagine if you wanted to go later in the evening on a weekend it may well be worth booking as it did seem like a popular spot.

Once we had been seated we settled in and started to peruse the menu to make our food choices for the evening. I went for the Texas Burger, two 4oz beef burgers with streaky bacon, cheese onion rings and topped with BBQ sauce. I upgraded my fries to the Dirty Fries which were skinny fries topped with Fat Hippo Sauce (Think Cajun Mayo) and bacon bits, delicious. I also went for the Mac and Cheese Balls starter to come along as a side dish with the burger. The burger was so tasty a little pink in the middle and super juicy and the toppings were perfect. I only managed to eat half of it because it was quite big, my friend made me feel better about leaving half by saying that I technically ate one burger because of the two beef patties haha! Now the Mac and Cheese Balls were my fave, they are just the best invention ever it was Mac and Cheese rolled into balls dipped in bread crumbs and deep fried, they were served with a white BBQ sauce which I didn't think much of but I asked for extra Fat Hippo Sauce and this combination was just lush. Jenny went for the PB&J Burger, two 4oz beef burgers topped with chunky peanut butter cheese and homemade bacon jam. She stuck to plain skinny fries to come with her burger and then ordered the Deep Fried Gherkins as a side. From all the noises she was making it seemed like a messy burger but very tasty nonetheless and she did so well managing to eat pretty much all of it save a little bit of the burger bun, but all meat was demolished and she also enjoyed the Deep Fried Gherkins too.

As we had a little bit of time before our train home we gave it a little wait and then ordered some dessert. Nothing to heavy as I was still feeling very full even after half an hour so I just went for the Lemon Sorbet which after the heavy meal we had just devoured was refreshing and a great palette cleanse. Jenny went for the Sorbet and added a little of the Chocolate Ice Cream to go along with it. They did have other options such as a Belgian Waffle and Chocolate Brownie but I honestly don't know after those burgers how anyone could manage them!!

This place offers some pretty amazing burgers and is definitely up there with some of my favourite burger joints. It's somewhere I would like to come back to, I would like to try the Durham branch on a weekend that is not to busy as I can imagine that it will be just as good and from a snap I have seen on their Instagram the views look stunning so that's on the agenda!

Fat Hippo have branches in Newcastle, Jesmond, and Durham so if you in any of these areas you should go check it out!

*Photos supplied by Jenny Stabler @jennys._lens

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