Travel with Me: Madrid

Wow! It has been a hot minute since I sat down and wrote a post, I guess writers block hit hard and I honestly have not had time to think, but I’m here with a new blog! I have recently come back from a few days with Madrid and the best way to fight the holiday blues is to write about them.

I love city breaks and me and Jack try to get a few in each year, especially around his birthday; this year we decided on the Spanish capital. I have been before when I was about 14/15 but I was rubbish at taking photos then so I actually had no real memories so I was excited to explore the city again with a fresh pair of eyes.

Our flight was around midday so by the time we arrived and got to the hotel it was time to head out and suss out the local area and find some dinner. We were staying right by Calle de Fuencarral which is full of shops and restaurants so it didn’t take us long until we found a place and settled for burgers and sangria.

 

We didn’t really have a set itinerary but we knew we wanted to go and see the Bank of Spain because we are obsessed with the Netflix show Money Heist and luckily we were staying right next to it so that was our first stop. We then wandered around and got some breakfast and stumbled across the Royal Botanical Gardens which is a must do, so many beautiful flowers and plants. We honestly walked for miles after that and ticked off most of Madrid in a day including; Plaza de Mayor, the Royal Palace and of course one of the many churro cafes (I am craving these now still). We then headed back towards the hotel for dinner at Miss Chen and a few drinks – I definitely think I am a white wine connoisseur now.

 

Day 3 was a bit more thought out with a visit into the Royal Palace and Cathedral –  both of which were so amazing; we love looking into the history of where we are staying so this was right up our street. The rest of the day was pretty chilled with visits to different bars and shops.

 

Our last full day was special because it was Jack’s birthday and what better way to celebrate than with a trip to the zoo. We were like excited kids, we got up early to make sure we had a good breakfast and got a taxi over. The zoo itself was fantastic with so many different animals including 2 of my favourites; dolphins and raccoons. We stayed there for most of the morning and it was definitely one of my favourite bits of the trip. We then headed back into Plaza de Santa Ana for some birthday drinks and dinner. By this point I was getting a bit sad because our final day was coming to a close and I really didn’t want to head back to reality.

We had an early morning flight so was up and out by 8am to begin the journey home. I was so sad that the holiday had come to an end, it was such an amazing time away and we’re already planning our next ones.

 

– Hannah X

Procoal Foot Mask

I am not the biggest fan of feet at all but I know it’s important to look after them. So when Procoal offered for me to try out their foot mask* I was very intrigued.

The boot type mask is designed to break through dry and callous skin and allow it to peel away leaving you with visibly softer feet in just 2 weeks. I can’t lie, I was a bit nervous to try them because I could just imagine my skin peeling in clumps and flakes but it wasn’t that bad. Granted I only done them a week ago so haven’t seen the full effects.

My feet do already feel so much smoother which is perfect as I’m going on holiday next week so I will be fully prepared. I am so impressed and can’t wat to try out more products from procoal.

-Hannah X

*This contains a gifted pr product. Thank you so much Procoal for working with me on this post xx

Having a Life Coach

I like to think I’m a pretty open minded person who is up for trying new things; so when my friend Zoe told me her colleague was training to be a life coach and needed people to work on and if I’d be interested, I didn’t really bat an eyelid about saying yes.

I have gone through therapy a few times and thought it would be similar but they are respectively different. Coaching is more about having a goal and finding techniques to stay motivated and work on those achieving those goals. This I think works better for me because instead of just exploring a situation/emotion and talking about it; with coaching you also look to see how you can break down that behaviour and move away from it.

My sessions are done through Skype and from the beginning I have felt so comfortable and able to be as open as possible. When the course started, we discussed exactly what my goal/s are and every week we talk about new techniques to help get me there. It’s great because we recap on the previous 7 days to see what worked and what still needs a bit of improvement.

I love how we have a main goal but little goals come up along the way and they are always something that is very achievable so I feel good when I’ve succeeded. I honestly look forward to the sessions every week and we do them on a monday so I have a focus for the next few days.

Of course I am only one person and my experiences could be completely different from someone else’s but I’d strongly recommend giving it a go. I have learnt so much about myself and can’t wait to see what the rest of my journey is going to teach me.

-Hannah X

Must Have Perfumes

I’ve been told that I have this talent for smelling someone’s perfume and knowing exactly what it is and it got me thinking about my favourite perfumes because there are a lot.

Alien – Thierry Mugler

This is such a classic smell! I think I have been wearing this for a few years and I’m pretty sure it will always be in my collection. It lasts so well but I sometimes like to top up with the Superdrug Blossom spray which smells exactly the same but for a smaller price range of about £4 ( that’s a secret between us)

Tiffany – Tiffany and Co

I am a huge Tiffany fan so was incredibly excited when they bought out a fragrance. Aside from it looking so pretty on my vanity in it’s blue box, it smells divine. It’s very light and floral which makes it the perfect daytime scent.

Daisy – Marc Jacobs

Just like alien, this will always be a staple scent for me and one that I have been wearing for years. I first bought it when I went to New York back in 2011 so it does hold a special place in my heart as a reminder of my favourite city. It’s like and fresh so great for the days but this is a good transition fragrance for the evenings too.

Si – Giorgio Armani

This one is the perfect evening smell as its so strong. It’s still floral but there are some muskier notes too it. A little definitely goes a long way with this one and you very rarely find you need to top yourself up with it

What are your favourite fragrances?

-Hannah X

Travel With Me: Rochester

Two travel posts back to back; what a jet setter haha!

After the best weekend in Bath, I spent the next weekend in Rochester in Kent with my friends and it was the perfect little weekend get away. I have never really visited Kent, I have only driven through it so I was pretty excited to spend a long weekend exploring.

We stayed in a cute little holiday camp which was great as my friend has a 3 year old daughter so we knew we would have entertainment for her in the evenings. Of course when we arrived, we were greeted with rain but that didn’t damped our spirits and we were eager to see what was on offer at the site. Once we unpacked and sorted ourselves out, we chilled and had some dinner before heading to the clubhouse for bingo and the evening entertainment.

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Saturday was such a sunny day so we ventured to Amherst Fort followed by a afternoon visiting Rochester. The Fort was really interesting, there is a huge tunnel system that was used during WW2 which was pretty cool! I know I say this about every new place I go to but I really did fall in love with Rochester, it was so quaint and quiet and the castle and cathedral were incredible. We had a wonder and then found a crepe place so of course I had to have a nutella filled crepe. We headed back to the holiday park to go on some of the amusement rides and to go on the 2p arcade machines. The weather was so perfect so we went to the onsite restaurant for dinner and sat outside – it was actually like we were abroad, I could have sat there all day. After heading down to the beach to collect shells and pebbles, we retreated back to the caravan for face masks and movies.

Sunday was our last full day so we wanted to make the most of it but in pure British summer style, it absolutely bucketed it down. We tried to visit the on site Fort but rain just made it so unenjoyable that we headed back to the restaurant for lunch. Luckily the sun decided to show its face again and perfect timing as there was an ice cream van outside.

On route home, we headed for afternoon tea at Fleur de Thé which was one of the best afternoon teas I have ever been too. The sandwiches were so fresh and instead of giving you loads of little cakes and tarts, you got to pick a slice of one of their homemade cakes – I of course went for Victoria sponge and it was to die for. We then headed back home where I think I napped for the majority of the day but it was the loveliest little girls getaway with my best friends.

-Hannah X

Travel With Me: Bath

To celebrate our 2 year anniversary, Jack and I visited the historic town of Bath, Somerset. It’s been somewhere I have wanted to go to for so long so I couldn’t wait to get there.

It was exactly how I imagined it; quaint and full of quiet, cobbled side roads. We arrived last Friday at about half 2 but couldn’t check in to the hotel until 3 so leaving the bags in the car, we decided to go for a little wonder.

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I was so surprised by how many independent coffee/tea shops there were and knew I’d have to take advantage of the home made scones they were selling too at some point; but let’s come back to that. We naturally found a pub and ventured in. The pubs there were some of the cosiest I have ever seen so over a pint and glass of wine we planned the rest of our day.

 

My grandad told me that the one thing I had to do in Bath was visit the Royal Crescent where all of the houses bend round in a semi circle so we decided to do this one first. It was so unlike anything I had seen but was pretty cool and surrounded by a huge park. After a little stroll, we headed back to check in to our room and freshen up for our anniversary dinner.

Saturday, our full day in Bath. We got up pretty early as we knew we wanted to make the most of the day and headed straight for breakfast. After seeing Hannah’s instragrams of her time in Bath, we ventured into Pickled Greens for Toasties and coffee and it was the perfect fuel for our day. I much prefer going to smaller places like that because as well as giving money to smaller businesses, the food and drinks are actually so much nicer and fresher.

 

On to the Roman baths. You can’t go to Bath without heading into the baths to learn all about the history. It was really cool to see how well everything has been kept and interesting to think about what it used to look like. I love history so this was definitely a highlight for me. Now, remember how I said earlier about taking advantage of the scones, it was time. We found a cute Georgian tea house and went in for a pot of tea and probably the biggest scone I have ever seen. I loved it! The place was decorated perfectly and there was classical music playing throughout. We then had a little look around the shops and the local indoor market before heading back to the hotel to freshen up again for dinner.

 

 

Our last morning was so bittersweet because I didn’t want to go home at all but I knew that saying goodbye to this trip meant that we can now get excited for Madrid in October.  We headed for breakfast to set us up for the 3 hour journey home and had one little last wonder around before getting into the car. The journey home wasn’t too bad and we managed to do it in one go. I’ve now been home a week and I am pining to go back so badly!

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-Hannah X

Orsett Hall Spa

I’m all about treating yourself but something I’ve never done is have a spa day. I’ve been for massages but never done the whole walk around in a robe and flip flops thing so when the girls suggest one I was so eager to book.

We looked through for days trying to find the perfect package; honestly, there are so many spas in Essex, and finally decided for Orsett Hall. The package that we chose included afternoon tea, fully use of facilities and a treatment which I thought was so good! We could chose the treatment and opted for a back massage each but also decided to add on a facial to make the most of our day.

As I’ve said, I have never been to a spa day before so didn’t know what to expect although it all seemed straight forward. As soon as we arrived, we headed to the garden restaurant for afternoon tea which was full of all the classic sandwiches and some amazing sweet treat like macaroons and brownies.

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We then headed down to the spa where we were greeted with a bag full of our robes, flip flops and a towel and given a tour of the area. We had some time to spare before our first treatments so we found a spot by the pool and settled in for the day. The pool area was great, with a pool big enough to do lengths, a jacuzzi, steam room and a sauna with a shower to cool down.

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My first treatment of the day was a back massage which was the one I was most excited for and it didn’t disappoint. The only sad part about it was that it was 25 minutes, it was so good that I never wanted it to end. I carry a lot of tension in my shoulders so I was so happy and felt like a completely new person after it.

After each treatment, you are taken to a relaxation room where you can have a drink of water and there are recliner chairs where you can sit and relax before heading back to the pool area. After a little swin, it was time to head into treatment two; a facial. I have never had a facial as I have quite sensitive skin and am often worried that it was break me out but I braved it and I’m so glad I did. The facial was all Elemis products and my consultant really made sure she picked the right products for my skin type. I have never seen my skin look or even feel that good in my life and I found myself going back to the tester station to try more.

After our two treatments, we headed back to the pool area for a dip in the jacuzzi before jumping in the shower and heading home. We were so sad to leave but we have all decided we need to do more spa days. I honestly can’t believe I’ve waited so long to do one but can’t wait for more. It’s so important to treat yourself and what better way to do it than with a back massage and your best friends!

-Hannah X

Port Lympne Reserve

It was my birthday a few weeks ago and I wanted to do something special to celebrate turning 26 so me and Jack took a trip to Port Lympne. I love going to zoos and aquariums so I was so excited to go as I had heard so many good things;  we arrived and I was literally like a 5 year old running from the car park to the main gate!

We started off by going to see the wallabies before making our way to ‘base camp’ to catch the safari. The safari’s run every 15 minutes and take you round the majority of the park and allows you to see the animals up close and personal which is so special. We sat right near the window so we could peek out and get the best views and it was incredible. I completely forgot that I was still in England because you’re completely surrounded by nature and animals, I’m not even kidding, we had to stop to let a giraffe cross the path!

After about 45 minutes, we got to the half way point of the safari where they give you the option to stay on it and go back to base camp or you can get off and walk the rest of the way back which is what we did. As soon as we got off, we found ourselves in the Dinosaur park which was full of scale models of different dinosaurs which Jack absolutely loved; it was like being in a peaceful version of Jurassic Park.

We carried on walking back towards the entrance and stopped off to see a lot of monkeys, some meerkats and the most adorable lion cubs. I knew before we went that they had recently welcomed some cubs but we hadn’t seen them and we were slowly coming to the end of our day so I thought we wouldn’t but as luck should have it; after making friends with some tigers, we found ourselves right in from of a lion, lioness and 3 of the cutest cubs I have ever seen. They were so playful were making the sweetest noise. I think we honestly stood there for about 15 minutes just watching them because they were so precious and it definitely was the highlight of the day for me.

Port Lympne is somewhere I have always wanted to go and I’m so happy that we went and on a special day too; I already want to go back because it was fantastic but I think next time I might suggest staying because the hotel looked stunning.

-Hannah X

Can’t travel? Sell your holiday and get your money back!

Can’t travel? Sell your holiday and get your money back!

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Travelling is something everyone looks forward to- the new culture, the history you’ll learn, and the food, of course! We neglect to believe that, sometimes, plans change. Sometimes you even have to cancel your whole trip. It happens more often than you think. You’re left feeling disappointed that you missed a vacation, in addition, you’re left frustrated that you’ve paid for a trip you couldn’t attend. Countless times, travel reservations are non-refundable, so if you can’t go…that means you lose the money you’ve paid.

It looks like you’re not alone. Millions of people have found that they have lost money on unused travel bookings, usually for non-refundable flights or hotel reservations. However, there is one thing they fail to realize; there are ways they can sell their non-refundable travel reservations safely and easily!

How to get a refund for your non-refundable travel reservations A much-needed solution has been created by SpareFare.net. The company has created a secondary marketplace for travel reservations. SpareFare connects people who have bought flights, hotel rooms or even complete holiday packages, but have found that they cannot use them, with those that are looking for a chance to take advantage of discounted travel.

By utilising the service, those who originally bought the holiday can recover at least some of the money they paid, whilst the people buying can often save as much as 50%-60% of what they would originally have paid. It is a win-win situation for both sides! Not only do you receive a great discount, but as a trusted platform, both buyers and sellers are protected from fraud. Moreover, SpareFare acts as an intermediary, making things progress smoothly throughout the whole process.

Now that the basics have been presented, how does the reselling actually work?

Selling an airline ticket

Before you can consider transferring your flight, you must check that your airline allows name changes of the ticket holder. More often than not, it is allowed – over sixty airlines allow for name changes! The change takes 1 minute and is done through the passengers’ online account. Usually, there is a fee for the name change, and this varies by airline and fare type. If you find that a specific airline’s policy does not allow for ticket name changes, then it may be worthwhile contacting them to see if you can get further details. A full list of all airlines which allow changes can be found here.

Selling a hotel room

Hotel reservations are even easier to sell! You’re usually asked to call the hotel with whom you have a reservation. From there you can inform them you need to change the main guest name within the reservation. More often than not, there will be no fees to be charged with this, however, you should always check with your hotel, just to be sure. If you have booked through Expedia or Booking, you can change the guest’s name through your online account

Selling a package holiday

A package holiday usually comprises of flights, transfers, hotels and any other extra features associated to your holiday. In this case, you will need to speak to your personal travel agent. The option to transfer your holiday will either be a part of their terms and conditions, or, if you cannot see it in there, you could always speak to someone to find out whether or not it is possible and if there will be any fees to pay. Please remember that if the travel agent is based within the EU, then they must give you the option to change the name on the reservation, by law.

The process as a whole

One of SpareFare’s many perks include protection to both the buyer and the seller. Not only do they make sure that the process is safe, but they also help to ensure that the price is fair too.

The process of selling or buying through SpareFare is:

1. The buyer will put forward a price that they are happy to pay.

2. The seller then decides whether or not they want to accept or decline the offer. The bidding process will take into account the current price of holidays and flights, all to make sure that a true discount is applied and that an over inflated price is not charged.

3. The seller will be responsible for changing the name on the booking, only once the buyer has sent over the money.

4. The buyer confirms that everything has been received and is correct.

5. The seller will then receive their money once the time of the travel reservation comes. This is to ensure that they do not change the names back on the booking and cheat their way out of money.

Of course it’s upsetting to realize you cannot attend your holiday, however, with some help from SpareFare, you’ll soon forget about your inconvenience- you will have redeemed some of your money from the unused trip which you can use for your next holiday!

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*This is a guest post written by SpareFare but no payment has been received for this*

 

-Hannah X

Lisbon Style Diary

I can’ believe that I’ve been back from Lisbon for over a week already but it’s okay because I am not quite done with sharing highlights from the trip. So here is a style diary of what I wore each day.

Day 1/5 – As these were travelling days, I opted for the same pink trousers, black top and converse. Comfort was so key!

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Vest Top – TopShop // Trousers – Primark / /Shoes – Converse

 

Day 2 – Aquarium and St. George’s Castle

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Jumpsuit – Primark

Day 3 – Belem

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Dress – New Look

Day 4 – Cristo Rei

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Top – Topshop // Skirt – Primark // Shoes – Converse

 

-Hannah X