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

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

Travel With Me: Lisbon

Olá!

I am currently suffering with the worst holiday blues after returning from a city break to Lisbon with Jack. I had been excited for this trip from the minute I booked it and it didn’t disappoint and we have already decided that we need to go back to explore all the little gems that we missed because Lisbon is full of them!

This was both our first time in Portugal so we didn’t really know what to expect but I definitely think it is up there with one of my favourite countries I have been too; from the little tiled streets to the grand plazas overlooking the river; it was all perfect!

Day 1:

We had a morning flight so we go to the airport with plenty of time to get some breakfast and we were also in a prime spot to see President Trump fly in on Air Force 1 which was pretty cool; even if it was Trump. We arrived to our hotel and it was perfect, very cosy and had a great view of the mountains but we didn’t even stop to unpack because we wanted to get out and explore straight away. We walked around Praca do Comercio, soaked in the views of 25 de Abril Bridge and grabbed a lovely dinner in the Beer Museum before getting an early night to prepare for our first full day.

 

Day 2:

None of the days had clear agendas but we knew we wanted to go to the aquarium so we decided to do this first so we made sure we done it. From Praca do Comercio, we got the 728 bus straight to the aquarium which was only about 20 minutes away and spent the next few hours looking at all the fishes and the cutest fluffy sea otters. As we headed back it started to rain so we did what the whole of Lisbon decided to do and went to see the famous Time Out Market. The market was amazing, you could get any kind of food you want but you might have a hard time finding a seat. We opted for a pastel de nata from Manteigaria which we heard about from our favourite food show ‘Somebody Feed Phil’. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing they were, definitely the best I had while we were there. Once the sun came out again, we wondered up to Castelo de S. Jorge and took in some of the best views I have ever seen!

 

Day 3:

You can’t go to Lisbon without going to see the Belem Tower so this is what we did on day 3. Again, we got the bus from the main square and travelled about 25 minutes in the other direction from the aquarium, I feel like I am a pro at the Lisbon public transport! We went straight to the Tower and it was stunning, there was even a man playing Disney songs on his violin which just made it so much more special. We then took a stroll through to Belem Town and soaked up the sun in the gardens before heading back towards the hotel. Of course we found a bar so we sat outside in the sun enjoying the sun. We went for dinner and the strolled down the cobbled streets with an ice cream and macaroons and it was perfect.

 

Day 4:

Our last full day was very bitter sweet; we headed over the river to climb to the top of Cristo Rei which gave the most amazing view of Lisbon and made me feel like I was in San Fransisco which is number 1 on my bucket list so I was a happy bunny. We then headed back down and popped to Ponto Final Restaurant for a drink before heading back to the ferry. Of course as it was our last day it rained so we used this to do a bit of shopping before heading back to the hotel to chill before going out for our last dinner.

 

Day 5:

The saddest day as we were heading home. We had a afternoon flight so checked out and headed straight to the airport. I would have given anything to get off the plane and stay in Lisbon as it has become one of my favourite cities as now has a special place in my heart.

-Hannah X

Mid Month Favourites

I haven’t done a favourites post in such a long time and there are a few products I have been loving so I thought I would switch it up and show you a few of the in a mid months post.

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  1. Radiance Perfection Vitamin C Serum – IK have lost count the amount of times this has featured on here and Instagram but it’s just that good. I feel like it keeps my skin looking healthy and really sits well under my foundation which amazing. A little bit goes such a long way so I know the bottle that I have is going to last a long time

 

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2. No. 7 Stay Perfect Foundation – I have been obsessed with this foundation for years now but haven’t really shared my love for it in a long time. It’s the one foundation I always go back to because the colour is perfect on me and it lasts all day. It also looks so good in photos which is something that I always look for too.

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3. Freedom Bro Duo Powder – I much prefer using a powder to fill in my brows because I always think that looks the most natural and the one I have been loving the most is by Freedom. You get 2 powders in each compact and the ones I use and alternate between are Auburn and Medium Brown (this one) and they are great; my brows look so good throughout the day.

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4. Red Cherry Lashes * – Don’t really wear false lashes too much unless I am going out out but I have been loving these natural everyday lashes from Red Cherry. These were kindly gifted to me and I am so glad they were because they are great for completing the perfect spring time look. The go on so easily, especially with the help of the  special applicator. You can pick up your own here: https://falseeyelashes.co.uk

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– Hannah X

 

 

Let’s Talk About Smear Tests

Let’s Talk About Smear Tests

The 2 words that make every woman squirm; ‘smear test’.

Growing up, I dreaded the day I hit 25 because I knew it would mean having a cervical cancer screening or a smear test. You hear so much negativity about how it’s painful or uncomfortable and the amount of woman getting them is at an all time low and to be honest I can’t blame them. The thought of laying on a bed, naked from the waist down having a stranger investigate you is a daunting experience and one that I wanted to put off forever.

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In the Uk, you receive a letter inviting you for a screening and once you have had it done, you don’t have to re-do it for another 3 years. I received my letters; yes I had received 2 before I did it; last summer and immediately folded them back up and hid them. Out of sight, out of mind and all that. Fast forward to last Monday and I was on the phone to my GP’s booking an appointment. I don’t know what came over me but I finally plucked up the courage to have it done in the week and I wanted to share my experience because I genuinely do believe there needs to be a bigger conversation about it because they can literally save lives and really aren’t as bad as everyone thinks.

So flashback to Wednesday, I arrived at the doctors and followed the nurse down the corridor into the room. There it all was; the form of questions, the bed, the curtain and the swab. Trust me, if I could have left at that moment I would have. The nurse was so lovely, she sat me down and went through a few questions about my last period and when I received my letter etc. She then explained what was going to happen and took me through the curtain so I could get unchanged and in place.

Sitting with your ankles together and your knees apart is never a good look for anyone but believe me when I say nurses do this every day and they genuinely don’t care what it looks like, they are just there to do their job. I’ll be honest, I am the biggest wuss and have no pain tolerance at all so I was expecting the worst. I’d be lying if I said you couldn’t feel anything but it was about a 1.5/10 and it was more discomfort than pain as you could feel the bristles of the swab but that was it. I couldn’t believe how quickly it was over.

The results usually get sent to your home about 2 weeks later. It’s really that easy. I think I was in the room for about 5/10 minutes and most of that time was spent not being prodded; so please, if you haven’t and are of the right age go and get your smear test done. I felt so proud after and it is there to potentially save your life and stop anything cell changes becoming too nasty.

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If I can do it, then you definitely can.

– Hannah X

Blogmas Day 24| Christmas Outfit

Ah, I can’t believe this is the last Blogmas post of 2018; its been hard keeping up with sharing my posts and promoting them but I have loved every single minute of it and want to say a massive thank you if you have read any of my posts.

Growing up, I have always dressed up for Christmas; I’m not really sure why but I love it. Usually I like to go out and get a whole new outfit (how extra) but this year I have chosen to wear the dress I wore to my sisters graduation which I absolutely love!

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Do you dress up or keep it casual for Christmas?
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and festive period and all the love for 2019

– Hannah X