Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Ola Barcelona!

Desperate measures have been taken to pretend that I'm still in sunny Spain and not sat back at my desk, crawling through emails. My dinner for the next week is going to be paella, tapas and more tapas. If this doesn't scream, take me back to Barcelona then I don't what does. {That's a lie, I do. But that would mean spontaneously booking flights and I don't think my boss or bank would appreciate that}. As you can probably tell, I had a fabulous time gallivanting round the city. Granted, I wasn't the most healthiest of human beings, and I wouldn't recommend flying with the flu, but a girl's gotta make the best out of a bad situation. 

After a horrendous trip to the airport, a delayed flight and a change of seats, we were off into the air. One thing I've learnt from flying with the Spanish is, once the plane has landed, they don't wait around. Fast forward past the grumpy-passport control man, impatient baggage collectors and friendly bus driver, we arrived in the center where everything happens. The next five minutes were spent turning our map around and spinning on the spot to work out what road we needed to be on, but luckily for me, Jay has a strong history in Scouts, so he's practically a human compass.

Our hostal was tucked away on a cute little street with a lift that made me feel like I was in The Lizzie McGuire movie, although the movie fails to show you the almighty thud and fear in your eyes as it rocks and drops a little when you get to your floor. Waking up the following morning to a fellow-stayee singing, badly, in Spanish. at the top of his lungs, at seven o'clock was not how we anticipated starting our day, but it got us moving, especially after spying the pastry shop that was just round the corner on the walk to the hostal the night before. 

With a pit-stop for suncream, very important, and a morning pastry, equally important we started our day as we meant the next few to go on, being t-total tourists. From hopping on and off an open-air bus, losing ourselves in Gaudi's work of art, wandering the streets and bumping into many people whilst looking up at the architecture and not in front of us, trying on an armful of clothes in Zara, to lying on the beach pretending to be asleep to avoid being convinced to buy a mojito or have a massage.  

Our evenings were spent devouring pans of paella and one too many tapas bowls, finished off with a healthy dollop of ice-cream; my pick of the day has to be Nutella. If you're looking for a place that is filled with sun, sea and s-ity life then I'd highly recommended Barcelona. There's so much to do, and so much we didn't do, so that gives us the perfect excuse to go back, right?

{Keep your eyes peeled for more Barcelona goodness coming your way}


Friday, 20 May 2016

How To Plan A City Break

When it comes to travelling I have the same cliché ambitions as any other dreamer, being able to quit your job and just travel the world with nothing but a camera and backpack to keep you company. But frankly, I'm just not ballsay enough, my funds are insufficient, and this dream crosses my other life-plan of owning cute country cottage with enough land for a Shetland pony. So, the next best thing for keeping my travel bug under bay is a city break.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love two-week holidays, especially when I come back feeling fabulously tanned, but this year we thought we'd go for something a little different, not that it took me four months to bring in some dollar. Neither me or Jay have ever been on a city break, so knowing where to start was a challenge. But we got their in the end, and as of 5:15pm today I will be bursting out of the office a little like this.

This is probably the hardest decision of them all, unless you know exactly where you want to go. With the popularity of city-breaks rising, there are so many new places popping up that you've probably never heard of. From this moment onwards Trip Advisor should be your new best friend. Take time to research into the city, to understand the best time of year to visit, the types of things you can see and do whilst your there, what food is on offer. More importantly, ask around. The best travel tips come from those who have already experienced it- it's the main reason as to why we chose Barcelona.

Be realistic. I'm not suggesting you do something crazy like try and stick to only spending £462, but give yourself a price range. It'll help with the whole deciding on where to go part, and when it comes to booking flights, the earlier you book, they cheaper they are!

This is one we pondered over for far too many evenings. I spent hours on Booking.com, Trip Advisor and Airbnb searching for that perfect accommodation. Reality check, if it's a city break then you're most probably only going to be using the room to sleep in, so don't stress out. The most important factor is location. We've settled for a quirky, but budget, hostal that's has the most perfect location, there's a Mango Outlet store just across the road, meaning we can spend more of our budget on enjoying the surroundings, eating good food and buying a whole new wardrobe.

I'm not one of those weirdos who has every single minute of their holiday planned out, but it turns out I do like to have an idea of what we want to do. When you're going away for a long summer holiday its quite easy to go with the flow, but when you only really have 3 whole days, you want to have some kind of kick-ass plan. Trip Advisor is great for getting the inside info on what you can't miss, and even if you don't go with anything pre-booked, you can still have a few ideas floating around.

See ya on the other side


Monday, 16 May 2016

Burnby Hall's Tulip Festival

Throwback to seven days from now, and I was feeling as smug as a bug that I wasn't waking up with Monday morning blues. {Although, it came back to bite me in the bottom with a vengeance today, but with only a week till Barcelona, nothing can dampen my mood!} Last week we were celebrating Jay's twenty-second birthday T-Swiz style, starting off with opening his cards and gifts in bed, because you never grow out of birthday traditions.

Fast-forward an hour or so and we were ready to head out. Luckily we'd pre-planned our venue for the day as otherwise our combined indecisiveness would have left us inside for at least another half an hour. With a picnic in the boot and sun shining down we set off to Burnby Hall in quest of their famous tulip festival.

Accompanied by our newly acquired RHS membership, we managed to gain free entry and started off by wandering round and admiring all the pretty tulips. In the middle sat a huge lake where the fish were pretty much jumping out of the water. No, they were regular koi carp not salmon, but if I was a bear I would have been loving life, a bit like this. We then chose a spot to picnic, a decision that requires a large amount of though such as where the sun is and where screaming children aren't, and set up camp for a few hours.

A fair few pringles, and an ice-cream later we decided to call it a day and head home ready for a birthday meal at Zizzi's. This gem is definitely another one to add to the 'what to do at the weekend list' and I'm already stoked for their next seasonal festival.


Sunday, 15 May 2016

Little Things #23

What better way to round off the weekend with Pocahontas on the TV and chocolate by your side (Since I jet off to Barcelona next week I should probably be replacing chocolate with lettuce leaves but yolo!) This week may not have had me topping up my non-existent tan, but it did have me going for a wander outside of the city, pit-stopping for an afternoon tea and discovering there is an ice-cream boat that sails down the river.

  • We also took a bit of a detour and stumbled across the allotments, which we're currently on the waiting list for, and it's got me planning all sorts of things on Pinterest
  • Jay celebrated his twenty-second birthday this week and one of his brothers brought him a new board game so you can only guess how we've been spending our evenings. 
  • We've started a sunflower competition at work and mine is finally growing. {The tortoise and the hare taught me that slow and steady wins the race}
  • Another client win meant celebrations with prosecco. I love my job.
  • At the start of the month I caught up with some of my uni girlfriends with a visit to the big smoke.
  • Our calamondin (mini-citrus tree) has finally started flowering which means we will soon be graced with tiny little oranges. 
  • Once Upon A Time has had me in pieces over the last few episodes and I don't think I'm ready for the upcoming 2 hour finale. 
  • To celebrate Eurovision we had a feast at work, followed by an impromptu visit from the ice-cream man, what a Friday. 
  • I bought a new sun hat in preparation for our travels and I'm a little bit obsessed.
  • Shay Mitchell shared some of her twenties life-lessons, which makes it a-okay to say no to a crazy night out and instead spend it in your pjs watching chic flicks, not that I'd do that anyways.
  • We purchased a picnic blanket and it's already been out for its first spin. 
Till next week amigos. 


Wednesday, 11 May 2016

RHS Harlow Carr

RHS-Harlow-Carr-White-DaffodilsYou are now reading the blog of a fully fledged RHS member. Yes, I'm twenty-one years old going on sixty. We hadn't even stepped through the doors before handing over our money, those sales guys see us coming! But, it's no secret how much I love a good garden centre, so pair that with acres of flowers, plants and trees galore and I'm sold. 

This is most definitely my new happy place. Pair that with the fact that it was a scorcher of a day and I was pretty much in heaven. I'm probably forgetting to mention that the real reason we headed here was because my Dad was up from home visiting my grand-parents, so thank you papa for introducing us to this wonderful gem. Walking round, the gardens were scattered with tulips, keeping in with the season and all that jazz, and with my recent obsession with the flower you can imagine I got a bit picture snappy.

At the half-way point we had a pit stop at an outdoors Betty's shack. I wasn't going to be one of these crazy fools who have a hot drink because it's somehow refreshing. No-way, hos-say. I opted for two scoops of chocolate ice-cream in a tub, and what a good choice that was. Once the oldies had rested their legs, we set off again, ambling round and admiring the hours of handy work some dedicated gardeners put in. I probably should include something about the time I also spent glamorously dodging wasps, there is downsides to the great outdoors and those insects are one of them.

I must admit I was pretty sad to leave, I could have spent hours there. But it just means I'm hella excited to return and explore the woodland walks and meadows, because, ya know, we get in for free now and all that,


Sunday, 8 May 2016

May Goals {2016}

Wouldn't it be ironic if one of my goals for this month was to get back into my blogging routine. But when one is struck by a two-day migraine, staring at a screen after doing that at work was the last thing on one's mind. I'm back to full-health now though and am thoroughly enjoying this scorcher of a weekend. So whilst I'm out bathing in the sun in an attempt to not be milk-bottle-Mary on holiday I shall leave you with my May plans.

  1. Wear in my new converse
  2. Purchase myself a new scent at duty free
  3. Keep my sunflower alive at work (once it grows)
  4. Put my new nail varnishes to good use
  5. Continue with GOT so I can be down with one of the cool kids

Right now I'm probably munching on a burger, or two, and revelling in the fact that I've taken tomorrow off work for Jay's birthday so it's a three day weekend for me.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Bank Holiday Fun

Hands up if you're loving the fact that it's already Wednesday, bank holidays, I dig you. Unlike most who spent Monday morning savouring that extra lie in, I was up at 6:30 and on a train by 8:20. Crazy, I know. But rewind back to March, train tickets from York to London in May were £8 and you were well overdue a catch-up with your uni chicks, it's like a perfect maths equation.

Admittedly, the majority of our day was spent sat down gossiping about life but what girl doesn't love a good girly catch up accompanied by a Starbucks cinnamon swirl. Don't you worry though, we squeezed plenty of touristy activities in from an amble round one of my favourite parts, Covent Garden, to strolling down the Embankment, to being cultured in The Tate, which I'd never been to before. Not only did I manage to do one new thing, but for food we headed to GBK (Gourmet Burger Kitchen) which I had also never been to- shocking for a burger lover like me. I kept it classical with a good ol' beef burger, but went adventurous with a tropical twist of an added pineapple, cos I'm a fancy pants like that. It was lip-smackingly good and if you're ever not sure what drink to refresh your palette with, I would highly recommend the strawberry and elderflower fizz.

One thing I wouldn't recommend though is reading P.S. I Love You on your train journey surrounded by many other train users. I did finish the whole thing in the space of two 120 minute train rides, however it did leave me wanting to cry with every page. Either that or I was just heartbroken that I had to say goodbye to my chums for another few months. Until my next adventure in the big smoke.



Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Monthly Round Up: April {2016}

So when did May happen? This post was meant to go out last week, but it feels like I blinked and bam, hi May. Not that I'm really complaining as May has started off as a wonderful month, and with what I've got planned, it's going to be a banger. When I look back at April, my memories are clouded with the extra-ordinary weather we experienced last week, but there was also some great moments like nailing my sister's birthday present or having a grand day out with a fellow colleague.

The Good
Our Queenie has to get a mention here, doesn't she. I'm such patriotic bad ass, and I revelled in the nationwide celebrations, everyone loves singing Happy Birthday round a flaming beacon.

The Bad
5 week months are a recipe for disaster when it comes to a healthy bank balance. Whoever thought it was a good idea to pay you a week early was wrong, it is never a good idea.

The Ugly
My new, replacement converse aren't so feet friendly at this current moment in time. I know we've gotta build the bond to break down the hard heel wall, but seriously, a walk round York and I feel like I've climbed a mountain.

The Weird
We currently have two kids bikes stored in the corner of our bedroom, but there is a legitimate reason for this which isn't that I'm starting a second-hand bike shop as a secret side job, or is it...

The Wonderful
I headed out to see The Jungle Book on an evening and it was an evening extremely well spent. Am I now dreaming of quitting my job and flying out to explore the jungle, hell yeah.*

Here's to a magical May which includes a 5 day trip to Barcelona, have I mentioned how excited I am?


*In case my boss is reading this. I'm not actually quitting my job. Please don't fire me.
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