York & Bournemouth photo diary | mini trips

2019, photography, travel

Hello!

Since passing our driving tests my boyfriend and I have been everywhere – we drove down to Basingstoke, via Reading, in and our of our local city and in the last week we’ve done well over 500 miles to York and Bournemouth to see family friends and my sister.

I love talking about travel on my blog and I love talking about the process of travelling and documenting my adventures to new places, but York and Bournemouth are places I’ve been before and they weren’t really sightseeing trips. So instead, with the magic of Huji, I’ve taken loads of pictures that I thought I’d share.

So my godmother’s kids wanted me to watch their swimming lesson so can I just acknowledge how difficult it is to do a photo diary AND not get any children in swimming costumes in? Very challenging, but I actually quite like this photo in the end!

Trying to be artsy while the boyfriend makes sure I don’t walk into anyone…

And from York, to Bournemouth!

Harry Ramsden’s for dinner!

my silly boy!

the BEST arcade in Bournemouth

my favourite dominos is the veggie one, if you’re offering

this place had the potential to be really cool, but the service was above and beyond crap tbh!

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I’m a WALKING stereotype

And after this walk on the pier, we drove to my sister’s new house to go have pancakes and drove home!

My blog has always been about authenticity for me and a lot of these photos aren’t groundbreaking, but they’re personal memories and that’s what I love them for – most of our lives are mundane, so why isn’t that worth documenting too?

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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making more local travel plans

2019, travel

Hello!

One of my goals for this year was to take a little trip somewhere new with my boyfriend every month – this hasn’t worked out because I prioritised life things like saving to upgrade my car and now saving to move out, but since passing my driving test this week (it still feels so surreal just to say it!) I’ve got a whole new lease of inspiration that I thought I’d share.

Now that I’m not bound by trains or being too far to walk or anywhere, the whole country feels so much more accessible. Next week, the boy and I are going to see his family in Basingstoke then going up to Reading to view some properties for moving, then a couple of weeks later we’re going up to York to see my god-mother and her kids.

I had so many elaborate (and expensive) plans for the year – I wanted to go to Amsterdam in July, Santorini in September and Berlin in December and I don’t even think if I hadn’t bought a car or moved I’d have been able to do that. But there’s still so many places I’ve never seen in the UK that I feel even more excited to see.

Being new to driving, I’m obviously not going to be doing trips right down South to Cornwall or all the way up to Scotland, but places within a couple of hours drive and not too many hundreds of miles is definitely achievable!

The first place that springs to mind is Brighton – my main experience of the city is from the YouTubers I follow that live there but it seems like such a vibrant and quirky city and I really want to go and experience it myself.

I definitely want to spend more time in Bournemouth – with my sister at uni there I really have no excuse but there’s an arcade just off the beach front that is somewhere I could spend literally hours and Bournemouth beach is the nicest beach on the South Coast (I think anyway! I’ve not been to that many).

And there are other places that aren’t beach towns on the South Coast that start with B – I want to go to the National Space Centre in Leicester, I want to visit Bath, I’d love to see places like the Stone Henge and go back to Hadrian’s Wall and learn more about it. Britain is a country steeped in history and there’s so much to learn and I genuinely can’t wait to go see more of it in my little Hyundai.

That’s not to say I don’t want to travel further afoot – I really do want to see everything this world has to offer. I still want to go to Amsterdam, Santorini and Berlin, I want to visit my friend Emma in Texas, go see my family friends and cousin in New Zealand, I want to go to the Pokemon Centre in Japan with my boyfriend and more than anything I want to go back to New York and spend more time enjoying the city rather than rushing round trying to fit in as much as we could (though that was great too).

Travelling has been something that has been one of my main life ambitions since I first decided to go to Tanzania with Camps International in 2012 – spending a month there in 2013 showed me a small glimpse of what the world looks like and I’m going to spend the rest of my life seeing more and more.

But not right now. Travelling is more than long-haul flights to countries thousands of miles away. It’s about making memories with people you love and me, my boy and my little car are going to make so many memories.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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breaking my 2019 travel plans…

2019, goals, travel

Hello!

I’m a hugely ‘goal’ orientated person – I write monthly goals to motivate myself, I frequently check in with my ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ and 2019 goals and sticking to them is really important to me.

But let’s talk about this travel goal – my aim was to go on a little trip with my boyfriend every month. Not a huge holiday, not going abroad every time but taking a night or two away just to see somewhere new and have a day off every month.

In January we went to Devon, in February we had a Centre Parcs holiday, in March we had a weekend in Paris, in April we went to Cambridge and in May we went to London MCM ComicCon and explored Stratford and Canning Town.

And June? I’ve got nothing booked, I’ve got no ideas and I don’t think we’re going to have time.

The biggest factor is money – I can’t afford to spend too much on picking somewhere, paying for a hotel, paying for trains and transport and food, whilst I really want to… I just can’t justify it. The second thing is location – we live in the middle of nowhere at the moment, getting anywhere by train largely involves going through London which makes journeys long and fairly expensive. And the third thing is time – we have plans this weekend, next weekend is going to be stressful for reasons I’m not going to disclose (nothing dodgy or dark, just not gonna go into it), the following weekend we have a family gathering and the weekend after that we have potential plans.

So I think I’m going to have to break the 2019 Goal for a month and I kind of hate it.

I’m someone who likes patterns – setting myself a 30 day challenge or a once-a-month challenge I’m someone who likes to tick boxes and missing a day or a month really bothers me, but on the other hand – forcing myself not to be bound by those types of things is probably good for warding off potential OCD and I don’t want to force a trip somewhere I’m not excited about a spend money for the sake of it. I’d rather take a month off and go somewhere really exciting in July (I’ve got lots of ‘last minute’ trip ideas… stay tuned).

Part of the reason I wanted to write this post is that amongst travel bloggers, travel instagrammers and feeling like every single person you know on Facebook is going somewhere sunny by the sea in the Mediterranean, sometimes it feels like being stuck at home is the worst thing in the world. There’s a whole world out there to see and right now it’s not on your path to go see any of it, for one reason or another.

So it’s a reminder to myself on two fronts – one, that I will go see the world at some stage, I will see everything it has to offer and really properly enjoy it because I won’t have rushed it. And two, that not sticking to every single letter on my 2019 goals is okay too. A year is a long time and things change and different priorities arise, everything works out for a reason and just because it doesn’t happen when you hope it will doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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a night in Cambridge | travel

2019, travel

Hello!

I can’t believe it’s May and I’m about to start talking about New Year’s Resolutions but I had three resolutions that I wanted to complete every month – read a book, do a ‘one square every day’ drawing and go on a little trip. I never meant like a full on holiday but just seeing somewhere new every month with my boyfriend.

In January, we went to Newton Abbott in Devon for my cousin’s wedding, in February we went to Centre Parcs in the Lake District (didn’t see much of the Lake District… but I’m counting it!) and March we went to Paris.

Obviously, I’ve made a vague plan/list of ideas for each month for the rest of the year and my plan for April was to go to Cambridge – it’s just down the road from where I live on the train, it’s a beautiful city with so much history and architecture so it just made sense.

So I booked a little ‘last minute’ trip just six days in advance – booked a Premier Inn, booked the train tickets and we were ready to go! So last week, we hopped on a train and visited somewhere we’ve never been before!

The thing that was a little bit different for me on this trip, is that I didn’t really plan in advance – I had a little google of things to do and tried to get some ideas but everything cost money and we didn’t have any money to spend really.

So we hopped off the train and picked a direction to just walk in – we saw a food place called ‘Big Ass Burritos’, we passed the coolest Wetherspoons with a cinema attached, we passed botanical gardens and so many stunning churches and it was so lovely to just walk with literally no plans.

We found a shopping centre called Grand Arcade that was lovely for a browse (a Typo shop and a Disney store for me and a Raspberry Pi workshop for my boyfriend) and by then we were starting to get a bit peckish and tired so we searched on maps and started to follow the route to the hotel.

On the way we found another shopping complex, The Grafton Centre, which had CEX, Game and a Cafe Nero across the road so we did a bit of browsing (I resisted buying a Nintendo Switch), had lunch in Nero (the best cheese and tomato toastie on the market, in my opinion) and then walked towards Premier Inn to check in for the night.

We stayed in the hotel room for an hour or so just to get our energy back a little bit, then we headed to a Tesco’s superstore across the road for evening supplies, then there was a big retail park complex across the road that had the Frankie & Benny’s we wanted to go to for dinner at the end, so we had a really domestic-couple’s trip to Currys PC World to look at Magic Fridge’s and talk about what our dream vacuum cleaner is, a browse in Argos’ sale section and a stalling look around the Homebase garden centre before heading to F&B’s for food.

And wow the food didn’t disappoint – my boyfriend has an absolutely huge pizza, I had an amazing lasagne from the ‘FeelGood’ menu (so I didn’t feel too guilty about treating myself!) and we treated ourselves to two sides – garlic bread pizza (very disappointing, literally 1/10) and cheese and bacon fries (exceeded expectations, 8/10). The best bit – restaurant dining doesn’t have to break the bank, it wasn’t the most expensive restaurant anyway but it doesn’t take much to find vouchers or discounts so definitely worth looking around if you’re going on a trip and don’t have a huge budget to work with.

The most surprising thing about the whole trip is that the food from our dinner was so filling, neither of us wanted to eat any of the Tesco’s snacks we’d bought before in the evening, so packing it all to come home the next day was a bit of a challenge.

We took it really slowly the next day – we didn’t check out of the hotel till half 10, maybe nearer 11am and then we just walked again. We wanted to explore Forbidden Planet and I had a couple of bits I wanted to pick up in Primark and they were both near the Grafton Centre, so we took a slow waddle back via lots of charity shops (gotta love a charity shop!).

For lunch we headed to the Wetherspoons we’d spotted the day before and spent the best part of a couple of hours killing time – our train was 5 or 6 hours away at this point and we weren’t that far from the train station. We didn’t really have any plans, didn’t have anywhere we particularly wanted to see so we really weren’t sure how we were going to kill this time.

After we left Spoons, we wondered into the University Botanical Gardens but unless we missed something huge, there wasn’t much to see and we felt like we were actually trespassing the whole time. It was a very nice garden with actual ‘don’t walk on the grass’ signs, but other than a nice lawn and amazing buildings there wasn’t too much to see.

So after a quick wonder and getting a little bit lost, we settled in the Cafe Nero by the train station for the best part of two hours, just talking and scrolling and enjoying the atmosphere of the city.

Then we hopped on the train home already thinking about where we want to go next. In May, we’re going to London for MCM ComicCon and that’s our trip for the month – we’ve been to this area of London a few times now but I’m hoping to find some new places to explore this year then it’s all about where we’re going to go in June – there’s a few university open days I want to attend so I might tie a trip in with one of these but I think I prefer doing it all a bit more last minute and feeling a bit more spontaneous.

Any recommendations? I’m thinking Bath or Brighton but please do let me know if you’ve got any suggestions!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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first time traveller – reviewing Paris

2019, travel

Hello!

Yes, I promise, after this post I’ll stop with the Paris spam (or at least, maybe stop mentioning it as often!) but I thought I’d do a little review post talking about the city from a travellers perspective, a tourists perspective and the perspective of my first trip abroad as a lead traveller!

Going from just going on a holiday and my only responsibilities being making sure I bring enough pairs of socks, to being the one booking the train tickets, finding a suitable hotel, planning a sort of itinerary is quite a big leap and it’s daunting when someone turns to you in a foreign country!

It was a weirdly adult feeling and on the one hand, it was cool because I proved to myself that I had the freedom to go anywhere but on the other hand ew does that mean I’m an adult?

I’ve picked a few key things that I was nervous about or felt were a barrier whilst I was there and I’ll just have a little natter about each one, if you have any tips or advice for any of these let me know in the comments below or send me a message on Instagram!

t h e   m e t r o

I was worried about transport around the city – I knew there was an underground-like system but having been to New York last year and gone the wrong way on the Subway, I wasn’t too sure how I would handle the metro. But I can’t speak more highly of it – using Google maps, it told me my final destination and what direction to be going in and we didn’t go the wrong way at all!

It’s definitely nicer and easier to understand than the London underground but would probably be much more difficult if I didn’t have Google maps on my phone.

It’s really reasonably priced, surprisingly easy to use (well, if you’re only wanting to buy single tickets and have Google maps!) and the ticket machines have lots of different languages to choose from!

And with that in mind…

t h e   l a n g u a g e

Before going on this trip, I felt confident in my minimal English – if nothing else, I knew how to say “sorry, I only speak a little French, I am English!”. But we got out there and I froze – I suddenly felt like everyone was judging me and I didn’t want to get anything wrong so I didn’t feel confident enough to try.

After the first few interactions, I did get a bit braver but then in the city it only took my vague attempt at a ‘bonjour’ for anyone to start talking to me in English. What it taught me is that I really should have brushed up on some key phrases before I left, but actually – I remember more French than I thought and my biggest barrier was confidence!

The thing that really helped me was that I thought if I was working in London and someone came up to me and tried to speak English as a second language, I’d be pleased that they’d given it a go rather than them making me speak their language! I’m sure most of the people who worked in Paris felt the same, I just needed the confidence to try.

f o o d

Following the language barrier, the next thing I was more worried about after we got there, was ordering food. I’m quite a fussy eater anyway and I get a little bit anxious about the ingredients that might be used that aren’t necessarily listed on a menu or packaging (mayo in sandwiches is my worst enemy!).

On our first day, we got sandwiches from Lidl, the next day we had lunch at McDonalds and dinner at Hard Rock Cafe (where the menu was in English anyway), the next day was a bakery for pastries (we were getting a bit braver), back to McDonalds (because it was easier and we knew we’d like it, we’re both a lil fussy) and another Lidl dinner. It’s something I definitely want to work on for the next time I go to a non-English speaking country because I didn’t feel immersed in the culture and I did feel a little like I was cheating.

But it’s intimidating on so many fronts – the language, worrying about having to eat something I don’t like (or going hungry) and wondering whether the places we were going were commercial enough to have English speaking staff or if it was too rural. Granted, most of this is in my head but it was something that I now know bothers me and I need to be aware of and face if I want to try more authentic food.

So in conclusion – I think in terms of first time lead traveller, I’d probably have been better off picking somewhere that is predominantly English speaking for my first trip, however I feel marginally more prepared to go to other non-English speaking countries, especially as most people we had to interact with in Paris spoke English to a service level.

I’m already looking to book a trip to Amsterdam in July so any recommendations and top tips on learning key phrases in Dutch would be welcome please!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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let me show you: Paris

2019, photography, travel

Hello!

If you haven’t seen all my Instagram posts, blog posts and YouTube videos… I went to Paris last weekend!

It was just magical – it was my boyfriend and I’s first real trip away (after over 3 years together!), it was his first time out of the country, it was my first time really taking the lead on booking a trip – it was hugely monumental for us as a couple and because it’s just such a beautiful city.

I decided when I went to New York last year that I wanted to start a travel series called ‘let me show you’ and when I first started that I intended to travel much more in 2018 – that didn’t happen! But I still want to carry on writing this series so as the title says, let me show you Paris!

Our first view of the Eiffel Tower – just breathtaking

a backlit Eiffel Tower, I have so many photos of the Eiffel Tower

but even the view opposite the Eiffel Tower was beautiful, the Seine is just stunning

see a cute avenue of trees? Clearly need an outfit photo

just LOOK at it!

It’s not often I actually like a photo with me in it, but this one is such a great summary of the trip, I’m so happy Lucas took it!

credit for this one has to go to the boyfriend – he started using my mum’s old Sumsung S7 before we went and the camera worked out really well for him, absolutely stunning picture

I’m still thinking about this nutella crepe, to be honest

This view is from the metro window!! Absolutely magical to speed past the Eiffel Tower and the Seine – not the most amazing photo but such a beautiful memory

Arc de Triumph, immediately viewable from the second you step out of the metro

the architecture in Paris is just second to none – to think about how this was built and how magnificent it all is? Just amazing

Doing a night cruise of the Seine was my sister’s suggestion – I thought it might not be dark enough and then by the time we were on the boat the sky was this beautiful navy colour and just look at the Eiffel Tower all lit up, it was just amazing

this was halfway through the night tour as we were turning round to head back – I love all the colour reflected in the water and actually? The photo from my phone was better than the one on my camera – really experimented with lots of mediums on this trip

The Eiffel Tower sparkles every hour and it’s the most magical thing, it’s just stunning

on to Day 2 – next step; the Louvre! Getting a picture without anyone stood in the way was actually a mission

I don’t know what this leaf with plants on is meant to be, but I kind of love it and I took a lot more pictures of it than I really should have

Notre Dam – it was just mind blowing, we sat for a long time just looking at it, I definitely want to go inside and up next time

sneaking up on the Pantheon

I think every building in Paris is just astonishing – again, definitely one to go inside next time, just even from the outside it was just stunning

And the original Statue of Liberty in the Jardin de Luxembourg! (I might have spelt that wrong) The gardens around the statue are actually just so beautiful – we sat there for literal hours, partially because we needed our phones to charge but it gave us this time to be disconnected from technology and really talk to each other and really embrace the moment. I’m definitely making more time to be without technology on any other trips we do in the future

This trip has motivated me more than effort to actually making travelling happen this year – I’m hoping to do an overnight trip to Cambridge this month and I’m looking into going to Amsterdam in July so if anyone has any (kinda budget) recommendations for those places (or anywhere else!) please let me know!

Tell me all about your favourite places to travel in the comments, I want to share the travel love today!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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planning a weekend trip in Europe | travel

2019, lifestyle, travel

Hello!

When I first started blogging, my three topics of choice were lifestyle, music and travel and I really did not show that in what I was writing. I’ve made it a little personal goal of mine to write genuinely relevant travel content this year, not ‘I wish I could travel here’ and ‘one day I’ll go to these places’ but stuff that genuinely reflects where I am in terms of travel at the moment.

Long story short, my boyfriend and I have had a trip to Paris in the works since last January (yes, I mean 2018, 13 months ago) and after mishaps getting my boyfriend’s first passport, spontaneously buying EuroStar tickets in November because they were so cheap (£29 per person each way, £116 total – utter bargain, keep an eye on trainline because it’s so worth it in what you save!) and everything else – we’re going to Paris for 3 nights at the end of March.

Slowly I’ve been ticking off the things I need to do – this week I’m going to book a hotel (because gal’s gotta save) and for my boy’s birthday (one whole year after declaring I would take him to Paris in the first place) I wrote up a kind of mock itinerary and sure, he can scrap it and write a whole new one if he likes but wow, I put so much time into it.

(let’s pretend this screenshot of my laptop screen is edgy and creative and not just a bit weird or lazy, I was aiming for edgy okay)

So I’m going to have a little chat about how I made this itinerary – I got a bit hung up on hotels and stuff but a few people on Instagram said not to worry about finding somewhere too fancy because for our first trip to Paris we should spend as much time as we can in the city and where we stay is just somewhere to sleep. So at present I’m hoping to book this ibis hotel which is near the Gare du Nord train station where we’ll be getting the Eurostar too but a couple of people have told me to have a look on AirBNB as well but I’m kind of skeptical and it scares me a bit so if anyone has any AirBNB advice or where to stay in Paris recommendations please do let me know, probably on Instagram is easiest! Or a comment, whatever floats your boat.

But back to my itinerary! I put a lot of research into this but I also made the most of instagram by blocking my boyfriend from seeing my stories (it was a birthday present surprise, I was trying to be subtle!) and asking for recommendations and writing down everything that people had suggested.

And then, like the basic bitch I am, I googled ‘things to do in Paris’ – but more specifically, my sister recommended getting the Paris pass which gets free access to a bunch of attractions. I haven’t bought this (I’ll explain that in a second) but there is a free 120 page guide to the city that I downloaded and scrolled through and made notes of the things I thought Lucas (the boy) and I would be most interested in doing.

From there, I condensed the list to things I actually thought we would do and then I used Google Maps to be able to visually see where all these attractions were to try and group the things that are in similar areas and plan out our days a little bit. Most of Thursday and Sunday are taken by travel but there’s still two full days that we can fit in as much as we can!

When I grouped things I was looking for morning activities, afternoon activities and maybe one evening thing so there’s time for lots of things! Once I could see them all on the map there was a few things that I ruled out because they were so isolated but I grouped things and popped them on the itinerary.

From there I did a little more research into each potential thing and how much tickets or anything would cost and included that and I could also look around each area we’re in for breakfast/lunch/dinner and list a few options. Finding places to eat in advance I really struggled with – I think we’ll mostly just have a look at what’s around us when we’re ready for food and go where’s convenient and looks good but the one thing I have booked is Hard Rock Cafe Paris because I want to make sure we can get a table on Friday night. I’m so excited about it, ever since I went to Hard Rock Cafe in New York I’ve wanted to try as many as possible and I can’t wait.

I’m very aware that we’re not going to follow this itinerary to the letter (other than trains, we can’t miss those) and I’m so happy to go with the flow but I didn’t want to go into this trip with absolutely no plans because I definitely would have missed something amazing.

So that’s how I made our little itinerary and that’s our plans for Paris so far! I definitely want to have another look and potentially book a few bits in advance but I won’t be buying the aforementioned Paris Pass for a few reasons that I want to be explicit about – firstly, I think it’s incredibly expensive. If you’re going to do everything in the guide, then I’m sure it’s worth the money but for a two-full-days-in-city trip it is almost certainly going to be a waste of money. Secondly, developing on that – doing a quick price up of each activity that costs money that I think we’ll be doing and it costs less to buy them all individually than to buy the pass. Thirdly, I think it’s a bit gimmicky – being a tourist doesn’t have to cost that much money and if I wanted to I could definitely do this whole trip without paying for attractions or activities. The website sucks you in with ‘you’ll waste so much money if you don’t buy this pass!’ but when you add it up, it’s just not the case.

If there’s any recommendations or questions about Paris please do leave them in the comments! Although I’ve been on a few amazing trips, I’m still very new to travelling and being entirely responsible for everything we do so all tips and recommendations are welcome!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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5 tips for packing a weekend bag | Travel

2019, lifestyle, travel

Hello!

Remember when I used to write about travel on this blog? Well she’s bringing it back lads – between having a few trips planned this year and wanting to travel more, I want to write about it more too!

Already confirmed this year I’ve got a little holiday to Centre Parcs with a close family friend, a trip to Paris with my boyfriend and lots of ideas for the rest of the weekend but the purpose of this blog post is packing for a family wedding down in Devon this weekend.

Now though I’m going to be talking about packing as light as possible, I am going for 5 days (kind of by accident, it’s a very long story!) so bare that in mind!

Whenever I’m packing, I want to make sure that I use every single thing I take but, on the flipside, don’t leave myself short – if I’m going for one night and I’m only taking a backpack that I’m going to be carrying the whole time I need to make sure I’m only taking the bare minimum. Whereas if I’m going for a few days, staying in a hotel and driving there and back I know I can take a suitcase and not worry too much about it being heavy.

With all that in mind, here are a few of my top tips for packing efficiently for short trips!

1 – make a list!

Shock horror, isn’t my first suggestion always a list? I know, but what I mean is make something visual – whether it’s putting pen to paper and planning outfits for the trip, making a note on your phone of how many items of clothing or any essentials you need to remember or even if it’s laying everything out on the floor so you can see it all! Personally, I find it so much easier to think about what could be missing or what I’ve over packed when I can see it all.

2 – get everything before you start packing

Again, going to sound incredibly obvious but lay out everything you need (and I mean everything) before you start folding it all up and putting it in your suitcase or pack. Just so you know exactly what you’re working with and can figure out whether your bag is too big or too small. So much easier than rushing around everywhere collecting the bits you’ve forgotten!

3 – using packing cubes / freezer bags to separate things if it helps!

Whether it’s separating each outfit by day, separating items of clothing or even just putting all your toiletries and beauty bits in different freezer bags (or whatever your bag of choice is!) having some organisation within your travel bag can make finding what you want while you’re away so much easier.

Packing cubes can be a great long term investment but if you’re not sure if they’ll work for you yet, either use bags you already own or freezer bags, carrier bags, anything really! Whatever you can think of to separate out what you’re taking in whatever way suits you best.

4 – what toiletries do you really need?

It’s so easy to take every dry shampoo, moisturiser and face mask under the sun but realistically, what are you actually going to use? It’s so easy to feel like you’ll suddenly need everything but on some shorter trips you might not even need to do a hair wash, so why lug bottles of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel when you don’t need them.

If you’re wanting to bring lots but don’t want to bring full size bottles, either buy travel versions or alternatively (cheaper but more effort) buy those little empty bottles you can get at Boots or Superdrug (or the like) and bring a little bit of each product rather than the full bottles.

5 – don’t bring entertainment you don’t need

A weekend away can mean such a variety of things – using public transport for a one night stay, driving somewhere for a 4 night stay or flying somewhere short haul for a three night stay (or any amalgamation of the three!) and consequently, different forms of entertainment may be necessary.

For a train journey, I tend to bring my laptop or use my phone to pass the time, in the car I can’t do anything but listen to music and sleep and if you’re flying anywhere you’re probably going to spend hours in an airport so it might even be worth bringing a back of cards or Uno!

But on the other hand, you don’t want to take your laptop, three hard drives and a full set of coloured pens (for bullet journal stuff, or colouring, whatever floats your boat) if you’re not going to have time to use them! Really think about what you’re going to be doing while you’re away, whether you’re going to have time to use them or if you’ll need them (for work or, let’s say, writing blog posts!) so you don’t have to carry anything you’re not using!

With all of that in mind, I’m off to pack! I hope this has helped, if there are any travel related blog posts (or anything related blog posts!) you’d like to see please do let me know in the comments below!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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2019 Travel Goals

2018, travel

Hello!

It must have been nearly a month ago now when I booked trains for a trip to Paris next March with my boyfriend – I’ve not booked a hotel yet because that’s 2019 Sophie’s money problem!

However, booking the trains and a few other hotels for other little breaks next year has given me a goal for the year – in an ideal world, I’d love to do a little trip every month. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean I want to go abroad every month because that’s just ridiculous. But so far in January I’m going to Newton Abbot for a wedding, in February I’m going on a Centre Parcs holiday (which I’m actually ridiculously excited about), in March I’m going to Paris, in May I’ve got a weekend in London for MCM ComicCon and in November I’m going up to Sheffield (I think?) for a friend’s wedding.

So, in between all of that I think it’s feasible to do another couple of European trips on some of the other months of the year! I just think it’ll be a really nice goal to have a couple of days away each money with my boyfriend, whether it’s visiting friends, a night in London, a new city in the UK or somewhere else completely.

I have so much ambition and next year I’m going to turn things around and really make a life for myself, so why not write blog posts about the ideal world and drive myself to work for it? Either way, I’ve got 7 more months to fill so I thought I’d do a little post on my top 3 European destinations that I’m keeping my eye on for 2019.

Amsterdam – what a stereotypical millennial! I know, but I’ve been dreaming about travelling everywhere I can since I first came back from Tanzania in 2013 and as well as being a stunning city that I’d like to see for myself, Amsterdam is a good place to go for a fairly simple ‘first trip’. I’ve never been on a plane on my own or been the lead traveller, it’s always been a trip lead by a teacher or a lecturer and I feel like Amsterdam is such a popular city to visit that it would be a good first flight trip (with Paris being my first train trip). So it’s a double sided coin – both a good trip for my boyfriend and I learning about travelling and a beautiful city to go see!

Berlin – to be honest, I’ve never been massively drawn to travelling to Germany but it’s an incredible city of culture and I want to learn more about it! It’s not that I didn’t want to go, it’s just that I wasn’t fussed about it, but I think it was that I was so bad at learning the German language in school that the thought of going to a country where I just couldn’t get to grips with the language is a bit daunting. But I can’t be put off by a whole amazing country because the language intimidates me and it’s an opportunity to learn some of the language I’ve convinced myself it was impossible for me to learn!

And last but not least, Santorini – I think I mentioned it in my last travel post but I’m fascinated by Greece and I think in the summer or around my birthday maybe a week in the sun could be really lovely. Last summer I was so jealous of everyone posting pictures from sunny summer holidays and it was extra frustrating because I just couldn’t comprehend having the money for a summer holiday but this year I’m going to make sure I have a summer holiday for myself! This one is top of my list I think, maybe a birthday-off-summer-season-beach holiday please.

If nothing else it’s all really motivating me to save for travelling and maybe a bigger trip in the future and I can’t wait! If you have any recommendations or travel advice please do let me know in the comments, on twitter or on Instagram – I post on Instagram every single day so I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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places I want to travel right now

2018, lifestyle, travel

Hello!

I’ve not written a travel post for a while, but I thought I’d write a little post about the top 3 places I want to travel right now because my beloved boyfriend finally got a passport! For his birthday in January part of his present was that I’d take him to Paris and he needed to get himself a passport before we could go.

Here we are nine months later and he’s just got a passport and no trip is booked.

But having seen so many people’s holidays on Instagram Stories, I’ve been collating a little list of places I’d like to go as my first look into organising my own travel and thought I’d write about them (mostly so I don’t forget).

Paris – to be honest, Paris hasn’t always been top of my list but I think considering my boyfriend has never left the country before, it’s only a short flight away from the UK (or the Eurostar if you didn’t fancy flying!) and I imagine the architecture there is beautiful. Obviously it’s quite commercial and a huge tourist spot but especially having been to New York, sometimes the tourist spots aren’t a bad thing! Especially for my first time there, I want to see everything and I’ll search out the more indie niche places another time.

Santorini – I’ll be honest, most of my experience with the beautiful islands of Greece has been from Insta Stories and YouTube vlogs but I’ve kind of had a digital love affair with Santorini for a few years now. It looks like an absolutely beautiful place, I’m definitely already thinking about the Instagram pictures and the Instax pictures would be just stunning. Obviously, I don’t really want to go to Santorini just for the pictures but it just looks like a stunning island that I’d love to visit.

Athens – back to Greece again! I loved Greek mythology when I was younger and the history and legends surrounding Greek culture really intrigue me and I’d love to go to the heart of Greece and see where it all originated. I’d need to do more research on what specifically I’d like to see in Athens but I imagine it wouldn’t take me too long to make a pretty exhaustive list.

I appreciate that two of these places are in Greece but what can I say – I think these would be good for first time trips as they’re not super long haul flights and I can’t imagine too much can go wrong, but I still have big places like Thailand, Australia/New Zealand and more of America on my list too!

If and when I get round to going to these places, I’ll definitely document the process, share anything I learn along the way and write about where I’m going! I love having my little space that I can look back on when I’m older.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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