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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15 things that make me happy

2017, lifestyle, music, student

Hello!

A lot of my posts recently have been a bit mopey, so I thought I’d write a post that focuses on a much more positive outlook! Not tips or advice or any talk of mental health, just fifteen simple things that bring me joy!

Some require more detail than others – some need no explanation but others I’d like to give a little bit more detail to. This post is as much for me as it is for my blog, so I hope you enjoy it.

  1. Long drives with my mum
  2. Listening to music with really good headphones on – my Apple headphones really loud are great, but really high quality headphones in a quiet room where you can hear literally every line of the songs; love it
  3. Lindor chocolate
  4. When things are organised and tidy – ironic considering the state of my bedroom and desk but when everything is in it’s place my brain feels just that little bit happier
  5. Seeing live music – my favourite bands concert, a local band performing in a cafe, even a decent busker – live music that show’s real talent just makes me happy
  6. The sea – I don’t know if it was growing up so far from the sea, but being near the sea and hearing the sound of the waves and watching the water ripple calms me down a lot
  7. Coloured pens – I’m basically like a child, colours make me happy
  8. Wearing a dress and feeling really cute
  9. When you’re having such a good time with friends and you don’t notice the time until it’s 3am
  10. Having everything on my to do list ticked off
  11. The woods and open fields – the complete opposite to why I love the sea, but fields and trees and woodland areas remind me of home and I would love to act a scene in a wood, I’ll write it into a book one day
  12. Getting a good grade on something I worked really hard on – the nerd in me just loves doing well, but getting a first on any assignment feels like I’ve actually done well
  13. Creating, in any form – writing, video, blogging, photography, fiction, I just want to make things
  14. Being able to just dance in an open, empty dance studio
  15. Looking back at old photos – I’m a very nostalgic person

I could have gone on and listed more, but I didn’t want to overdo it – when I started this list I struggled a bit but the more I got into it the more and more I listed and the more I thought of. Even if you don’t have a blog I thoroughly recommend making a list like this because it really makes you appreciate the littler things – things that make you happy doesn’t have to be a person or a big event, little things like feeling good about how you look or having a nice selection of pens.

I hope you’re feeling happy and you’re having a good day! Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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tips for saving to travel

2017, student, travel

Hello!

Disclaimer (before we get into all this): I’m a student so I only have a part time job, I don’t have to pay taxes or pay off a loan so… bear that in mind.

When you’ve decided you want to go travelling and have picked a goal or a time you want to go, the big thing is saving the money to actually go. Personally I know I want to do some travelling in 2018 and then 2020 is going to be my proper year out and travel all over the world year, so I’ve got a good few years to save as much as I can before I go anywhere.

But I’m really bad with money – I really struggle with wanting to spoil the people I love and wanting to treat myself. However if I want to go travelling I need to pay for it, so here are some of the ways I’ve found have been helpful for me when I’m trying to save.

Close all the tabs you have open – Amazon, that January clothes haul, that new toy or game or gadget you’ve had your eye on, just close it. This doesn’t mean to say it has to be forgotten, but if you really want to go travelling, it can wait.

Make a wish list – a list of all the things that were in those tabs so you can either budget it in so you can buy them soon or just so you have a list of things you want when you get back and you can save again. By then you might realise you don’t even really need some of these things anyway! Making a list means you can evaluate what you really want and you won’t forget anything.

Have a money bank – like a physical money bank, like the ones we had when we were kids. Having something physical can 1) be really rewarding and nice decoration and 2) can be a nice way to empty your purse or wallet at the end of every week. Sure it might be filled with coppers and loose change but it’s something – spending money, a few extra drinks here and there, anything helps.

Open a savings account – sounds obvious, but the key here is to actually use it. Set yourself a weekly budget and then put what you don’t spend of that budget into the savings account at the end of the week, or maybe have a monthly budget and do the same thing. For example, if you allow yourself to spent £50 on food, a night out, maybe someone has a birthday coming up (however you want to spend it), but say you only spend £35 this week or you have a few pennies left at spending £48.27 or something – put the difference in the savings account. It may not be much but it all builds up in the long run.

My last tip would be that you need to stay very aware of your bank account – trying to save is all well and good but you need to live in the moment too and stopping yourself from doing anything to save you money means you might not enjoy your time at the moment, spend time with your friends and family but be cautious as well. You have to be strict with yourself but also be kind.

These tips aren’t even necessarily just for travelling – if you’re like me (and every other student) who got a bit trigger happy with the overdraft spending and you’re trying to see that positive bank balance again, these tips can help you too, or even if you’re just trying to save money in general – this doesn’t have to be travel money!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Where for Christmas?

2016, travel

Hello!

I’m at home with my family for Christmas (well that answers that question doesn’t it!) but as someone who really loves travelling, the thought of Christmas in another country sounds really interesting! Here are a few places I’ve thought about spending Christmas and would like to in the future!

Somewhere sunny – as I’m from England, ‘nice’ weather over Christmas just isn’t something that happens but I think it would feel completely different. Part of me feels like I might not feel Christmassy but then I wonder how they decorate for Christmas in sunny areas like do they still have the image of snow and Santa in his big suit or is it different because they have sunny Christmas’s? The silly things I wonder about! I’d love to go to Australia or perhaps somewhere in Africa, culturally I think it would be really interesting.

Somewhere that doesn’t celebrate Christmas – I imagine if I wanted to go somewhere on my own and be a bit reclusive it would be interesting to completely separate yourself from Christmas. I know I’ve already used the word ‘interesting’ far too many times but these are the kind of things I find intriguing, this is what I think about! I’d need to do some research as to where I’d go if I was going to do this but, dare I say it, it would be interesting!

Somewhere really snowy – just like the sunny thing, England doesn’t get proper snowy, England doesn’t get ‘proper’ anything except rain but it would be so cool to spend Christmas in the snow. I feel the cold a lot anyways so I’d probably freeze but with seven layers and the biggest boots you’ve ever seen, I’d love to have a proper White Christmas. Maybe I could learn to ski too! I’ve never been skiing, don’t think I’d be very good at it, but it would be fun. Somewhere like Canada, Switzerland, maybe somewhere in Scandinavia – there are so many snowy places, especially at this time of year!

I fully intend to go everywhere, I really want to travel a lot and all these places will go on my list!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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A Date Day in Bournemouth

2016, travel

Hello!

Having moved to Southampton, I’ve got to explore a whole new area of the country 170 miles away from home. Bournemouth is somewhere my cousins moved to when I was younger, somewhere I went on a family holiday to once and somewhere that’s just a short train journey away from home now.

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Talking to people around Southampton and at uni, a lot of people are very fond of Bournemouth and rightfully so – it’s a beautiful South-Coastal city, somewhat overshadowed by the fame of Brighton’s seaside tourist attraction.

My boyfriend took me on a date day there back in late April and I’ve been back since to visit my sister when she was there over the summer, but I love the city and I really want to go back there soon.

From the train station, it’s a really short walk to the beach and it’s really pretty – so picturesque and the pier is so much fun. This area of Bournemouth is really popular in peak season, but we went on a weekend before school was out for the summer so it wasn’t too busy (we might try a week day next time just so it’s nice and quiet!).

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My favourite parts of Bournemouth were the things we did on our date day and it started with a walk on the beach, we then found a little arcade and decided we were going to find a good one. We had a look at a bunch of arcades, we got chips for lunch and then we went up to the Odeon team to buy tickets to a movie we went to see later that day.

Side note: the screen we were in at the Bournemouth Odeon when we saw Jungle Book was beautiful, essentially it was a converted theatre and it’s absolutely stunning.

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But before the film we went into this amazing arcade literally right next door called Fanzone – it’s not a dingy arcade full of gamblers it’s just a friendly, fun arcade with games like Plants vs Zombies, MarioKart and Temple Run as well as all the traditional penny pushers and games like that. Winning tickets is somewhat addictive, one day I’ll get the 6000 tickets I need for the giant teddy.

We then went to the cinema and saw the beautiful theatre and watched Jungle Book, which was amazing and I wrote a blog post about it at the time if you’re interested in my thoughts! You can read it here if you’re interested.

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The perfect way to end this date day was by heading back to the beach and having Harry Ramsden’s fish and chips with our feet in the sand! I love the beach and the sea and chip shop chips are my favourite things in the world. Next time we go, I think we might try sitting in the restaurant because sit down restaurant experiences are my favourite, I love eating out.

If I could afford it I’d do restaurant reviews but I’m a student so I can’t afford to eat out at all, if there are any Southampton restaurants reading, I’d love to do a review…

Thank you for reading!

Sophie xx

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How to pack the bare minimum!

2016, travel

Hello!

I’ve been on a couple of big trips now and I’m slowly getting better at packing – I like being quite minimalist and I like using everything I take on a trip with me, so I thought I’d collate some tips that might help you if you’re packing for a holiday or a trip!

Side note: I’m assuming you’re going on a holiday, abroad for about a week – adjust more or less accordingly!

1) Don’t overpack clothes!

Realistically, don’t plan outfits for every day – you don’t need seven t-shirts, four pairs of trousers and three dress shirts! You can wear a t-shirt more than once and it’ll just be disappointing if you bring home clothes you didn’t even wear!

You do need spare underwear though. That’s useful.

2) You don’t need a whole library!

As someone who thinks they read but realistically don’t read as much or as fast as they like to think they do, I always take three or four books away with me and I barely finish one so save your own space and take a realistic amount of books! Or a kindle, that’s a good compromise and then if you do get really into reading you can read more if you like.

3) Be realistic with bathroom stuff!

Do you need that massive bottle of brand new shampoo with you? Probably not! Either buy travel sized cosmetics or buy those little packs of tiny bottles and portion that new bottle of shampoo into the little bottles and taking a little travel sized dry shampoo or hairspray.

4) Be careful with your other cosmetics!

Do you need all your make-up? Is it going to be too hot or too cold for make-up? Is there a sun-cream foundation you could take instead (two birds one stone?)? Only take the stuff you really need, not everything. A few hair bobbles will go in your make-up bag and do you really need your curling iron?

5) Keep only the stuff you need on the plane in your hand luggage!

Clothes, hygiene items and even some forms of entertainment can go in your suitcase – the kind of things you’d put in your handbag or your pockets (if you’re lucky enough to have male-sized pockets in your clothes!). The less you have to carry on the plane, the less you have to worry about losing – phone, passport, plane ticket, money, a book or music device, maybe painkillers or plane remedies, the list doesn’t get much longer than that.

The incentive is that you’ll have less to carry, you won’t have that feeling of ‘why did I bring this?’ when you where the same pair of shoes for the whole trip and if you want to buy lots while you’re there, you’ve got more space!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Galapagos Islands, Ecuador | Travel

2016, travel

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Hello!

Travelling is a huge part of my aspirations and what I’d like to do in the future so I want to start writing about it! With it being over a year since I went to Ecuador, I want to start writing about the places I’ve been and what I loved about them.

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The Galapagos Islands were part of my trip to Ecuador last summer. I went with a company called Camps International and it was all arranged through my school and it’s absolutely incredible, fully 100% recommend the company (I’ve been on two trips with them now).

Whilst I was in the Galapagos, I got to go snorkelling, I go to see some beautiful tortoises and learn about the history of the islands and I met some absolutely incredible people.

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It was one of my favourite places in the whole of Ecuador – the times we had there were some of my favourite moments of the trip, the snorkelling was one of the best things I’ve done in my entire life and some of the photos I managed to capture were absolutely astonishing.

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There’s lots of shops with all the same generic touristy stuff but I was a tourist so I bought a lot of the generic touristy stuff… but it was very nice!  It definitely helps to know Spanish numbers, at least, but a lot of the store owners and venders speak very good English so you’ll probably be okay.

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I saw an old American man pouring vodka into a coke can and smile at me, it was a wonderful, wonderful trip.

If I went back, I would definitely learn more Spanish, I definitely want to finish learning to scuba dive (that’s a story about Tanzania that I’ll write about one day!) and I’d love to see more of the islands because they’re astonishingly beautiful.

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I hope you’ve liked this travel post, let me know if you’d like me to write more!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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The Booby Turtle

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