5 May 2018

Why You Need To Visit Warsaw


Warsaw or known in Polish as Warszawa, is the capital of Poland, often overlooked by it's sistering city, Krakow, Warsaw is rich in history and in nightlife, need I go on? 




If you decide to visit Warsaw, then you'll find yourself greeted by statues of mermaid's and while I know everyone loves a mermaid or two, there's actually a really interesting reason behind it... The legend of the Warsaw Mermaid goes as follows: A mermaid who was swimming in the sea, stopped on the riverbank near the Old Town, she loved the place so much that she decided to stay, two fishermen came to wonder why the river was making such huge waves, they also noticed that something was catching their fish and then releasing them from the nets, they went to investigate, which is where they found the mermaid, upon hearing her beautiful singing, they both fell in love with her. However, a rich merchant decided to capture the mermaid and trapped her in a wooden hut, but after hearing her distinct cry, a young fisherman and his friends went to go and release her, soon after, she declared that she would help any fishermen who needed it. Ever since, the Mermaid has been seen armed with a sword and shield, ready to protect her beloved city. 

There are other stories too which say that one fishermen named Wars, captured the mermaid and instantly fell in love with her, her name being Szawa (Warsaw) - Which is how the city got the name. 


Culture 


Warsaw is rich in culture and there's plenty of things to do for all you museum lovers. Warsaw was completely rebuilt after it got destroyed during the Second World War, however the beautiful, Gothic architecture is one to be admired, with pretty pastel buildings giving it that ultimate European feel. 


Popular museums include:


Warsaw Uprising Museum 

Chopin Museum 
Museum of the History of Polish Jews
Copernicus Science Centre

Food & Drink 


The food in Warsaw is quite similar to German, however we tried the speciality food which included home-made dumplings and sausage, 


They drink A LOT of vodka, so if that's you're thing then knock yourself out (literally). Food and drink is so cheap here, along with everything else, a meal for two including 4 drinks cost around 15 Polish złoty - so that's around £4-£5 in the U.K.


In terms of bars and clubs, the New Town has everything from Casinos, bars and nightclubs, drinks cost around 15 złoty which is really nothing compared to the U.K - there is also a huge shopping mall which includes the Hard Rock Cafe, M.A.C, Bershka etc. 


Also, we realised that everywhere is still open on Sundays! Unlike the U.K, where everything shuts early. 








Accommodation 


This was my first time staying in a hostel and I was soooo nervous! I didn't have a clue what to expect, but we managed to get a private room with ensuite, I have to say, it was a really good experience and we paid roughly £150 for 3 nights (between two). 


I have to say, I was expecting a little more people to be staying here and it didn't really give me the whole hostel experience that I was expecting, but considering that we stayed in January, then it was still pretty busy. I can imagine that during the summer it gets really packed in there! 


There is free WIFI, a common room with complimentary tea and coffee and a cafe which as a bar downstairs, they had an organised evening for those staying at the hostel when we went, so if you're staying on your own then this is a great way to meet some fellow travellers. 


We stayed at the Oki Doki Hostel in the Old Town, so if you're going solo or just looking for somewhere where there's a possibility to make friends, then click here. 







Budget


Poland is really cheap and you'll be able to enjoy this beautiful city without breaking the bank, the food is amazing and you can easily pick up a cheap bite to eat without worrying about what you're spending. Of course, eating in places like the Hard Rock Cafe is going to cost you a bit more, but it's still probably cheaper than back home. 


We managed to walk to most places, but if you're feeling lazy they do have Uber (just be aware that it's not as fancy as back in the U.K) and getting around the town cost us about £6. 


Overall Verdict 


Warsaw is definitely a hidden treasure, much missed off the list thanks to Krakow, this stunning city has everything you need, from culture, shopping, food and night-life. It's cheaply priced beer and accommodation is perfect for back-packers or those looking for a last-minute city break. 


I'd love to come back to this amazing place and experience it during summer! 


Leave a comment below if you've been here :-) 


G x










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17 April 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Florida!



Anyone who knows me, will know how much I am obsessed with Florida, Orlando to be exact and with Florida on the brain for the past month, I thought I'd do a blog covering everything you need to know on Orlando including the best parks, where to stay and when to go, so carry on reading if you wanna find out the 411...

Why Orlando?
If you're a theme park addict like myself, then Orlando is the perfect place for thrill seekers alike, it's home to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios as well as Busch Gardens which is just outside of Tampa. Oh and SeaWorld, but we won't be mentioning that topic here... 

Not to mention, Florida is known as 'The Sunshine State' which means that it's basically hot all year round and your more than likely guaranteed good weather whenever you go. 

Is it for everyone? 
Even if you're not a big fan of rides, I'd still recommend giving it a go, if you're not a thrill seeker, there's still plenty of other stuff to stick your teeth into! 

The Parks 
Prepare for this section - it's looooong 



Walt Disney World 
Disney is every kids dream, from meeting your favourite princesses to seeing Cinderella's Castle up close and personal, Disney transports you into their universe and even if you're not a huge Disney fan, you can't help but feel the magic of these incredible parks. Walt Disney World is a huge resort, from a variety of hotels to ESPN and Downtown Disney, there's a selection of things to do for everyone. Here's a rough breakdown of the Disney parks and what to expect: 

Magic Kingdom - The most popular and probably most iconic of the parks, this is more for children and lacks thrill rides, however it's probably the most Disney-fied out of the lot as it's the home of Cinderella's Castle. Rides here include: Space Mountain, It's A Small World, The Haunted Mansion,  Splash Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean. 
Tip: See the Wishes Fireworks display & visit the park in the evening 

Animal Kingdom - One of my favourite parks, Animal Kingdom has recently opened Pandora: The World of Avatar which features a brand new ride (can't wait to go on this one!), it's also home to Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, Kali River Rapids and Prime Evil Whirl. The thrill levels in this park vary so I do think you'll find something for everyone here. 
Tip: If you're looking to see some animals, go on the Kilimanjaro Safari where you can see real animals including lions, hippos and giraffes.

Hollywood Studios - Another one of my faves, Hollywood Studios is a behind the scenes of Disney and this includes a back lot tour of movie magic (double check if this one is still here), Hollywood Tower of Terror, Star Wars and of course, Rock n' Roller Coaster featuring Aerosmith. Again, thrill levels at this park are varied and you'll find something for all ages, they are also opening a Toy Story Land in late June 2018. 
Tip: Wanna get out of the sun? Go and see one of Disney's amazing stunt shows!

EPCOT - Also stands for Every Person Comes Out Tired... kidding. EPCOT actually stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, which Walt Disney actually came up with himself, he wanted to build a park which was revolved around technology and new tomorrow's. EPCOT is a weird one, as it's split up into countries, which include a variety of different attractions and food, based on the country. Countries include: Mexico, United Kingdom, Norway and China. The attractions are pretty mediocre and this theme park is more of an experience as a whole, although I highly recommend going on Soarin' and Test Track. 
Tip: Adults - Bar crawl your way through EPCOT and try a beer in every country! (Remember, drinking age is 21)

Overwhelmed yet? It's okay, just hang in there... 

Disney also has two water parks named Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach - If you're going in the Winter, make sure you check their opening times. 



Now, let's more on to Universal Studios!

Universal Studios Resort 



Two parks, more amazing rides and the ultimate place for thrill seekers! The home of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and this resort is without a doubt my favourite place to visit!

Universal Studios - The home of E.T, Harry Potter's Diagon Alley and the Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket, The Mummy Returns and Shrek 4-D, this park takes you through the streets of Hollywood and transports you into the world of movie's. The best place for a variety of thrill rides and experiences, including Despicable Me! Here you will also find the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which includes the streets of London, Diagon Alley and the Knight Bus! 
Tip: Start of in this park first, get on the Hogwarts Express at Kings Cross Station and head to the other park on an actual steam train!

Islands of Adventure - This park is, in my opinion, the best out of the two, as it plays homage to Jurassic Park, Toon Land including Pop Eye's River Barges and Hogwarts / Hogsmeade. It's the best out of the two for thrill rides and rollercoasters, including the Hulk! Also, I highly recommend going on Spider-Man as it's one of my favourites!
Tip: To skip the queues and avoid paying a ton of money for a FastPass, join the single riders queues, especially for all Harry Potter rides as they don't accept them on these attractions!

I'd also suggest buying a wand, as they are interactive around locations in the Harry Potter sections... 






When To Go: 

Think wisely here people, Florida is known as 'The Sunshine State' which is a clear indicator that it's hot whenever you go, however, if you go during the peak of summer, bare in mind that you're gonna be hot and sweaty whilst walking around theme parks = not enjoyable. Although everywhere is air-conditioned, you'll struggle to enjoy yourself in the humidity, plus, you'll likely encounter a thunderstorm everyday. 
Easter is a great time to go as it's not too hot but hot enough to feel like you're getting a tan and don't want to die of heat exhaustion, however October is probably the best time as it's cool but still hot enough to enjoy the sun and feel like you're on holiday! Plus, the crowds will have died down by this time of year (but I can't promise it won't be busy!) 

Where To Stay: 

Universal Studios Resort is home to some amazing hotels, food and entertainment, they have a selection of bars, clubs and even a cinema on site if you're getting sick and tired of the theme parks!

Disney has a hugeeee number of hotels for everyone's needs - The hotels are varied in price so I suggest checking them out on the Disney website to see what you're looking for. 

You can also stay in a villa, which is great as you probably save money on food and have access to a private pool, I'd suggest staying in a gated community as they're more safe and secure! Driving in America is crucial as everything is dotted about and isn't in walking distance, so if you can drive, then it'll deffo save you the hassle of getting buses / cabs everywhere! 

Finally...
Here's some things to look out for while you're at Disney!

  • You can actually dine in Cinderella's Castle or the Be Our Guest restaurant where you can meet the Beast, just make sure you make a reservation waaaay in advance (fees apply). 
  • On Main street USA in Magic Kingdom, look above the Fire Station and see if you can find the lamp that never turns off, this was Walt Disney's secret apartment and the lamp remains constantly on as a reminder of his memory. 
  • The Haunted Mansion - Apparently if you see the board waiting time and it says 13 minute wait, then head right over, it means there is no queue! Same with the Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios.

And that's that! I hope I covered everything and I've convinced you to book that trip to Florida that you've always wanted to go on! If you have any questions, suggestions or stories about your trip, leave em in the comments! 

XO



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22 January 2018

Books You Need In Your Life Right Now!


I have always loved reading and as I've got older, I feel I've wanted to just read everything possible and educate myself and grow as a person. I've got a sh*t load of books that have truly changed my outlook and mindset, so I thought I'd share them with you: 

1. The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris 




Overview: This book is not a self-help book or a 'get rich' quick book, what I found about The 4 Hour Work Week is Tim Ferris acts as your best friend and business mentor, at the same time. He explains how he went from working $40,000 a year and working 80 hours a week, to earning $40,000 per month and working 4 hours per week. 

It's a book for anyone who wants a little more from their lives and aspires to ditch the 9-5 and have the freedom to work from anywhere you want. A book which actually practices what it preaches and also has an online blog which is displayed throughout the book. He helps you manage your goals, finances and other useful, inspirational tips. 

Rating: 5/5 

2. The Power by Rhonda Byrne 



Overview: The Power is the sequel to the famous book: The Secret. The Power is based on the law of attraction and manifesting what you want in your life such as money, increased happiness and wealth. If you're a big believer in The Law of Attraction, then this is naturally the next book for you to read. For those who don't know, I suggest reading The Secret! 

I found that this book was heavily based on the manifestations of wealth and more job/career related - so if you're wanting some extra cash in your life, then this one's for you! 

Rating: 3.5/5

3. Calm - Michael Acton Smith 



Overview: This book is part book part journal, for those who don't know, I am quite an avid meditator and the practice of meditation has changed my entire outlook on life (if you're sat there thinking omg what is she talking about... I suggest you download the Calm App and come back to me!). This book is based around the app and is all about enjoying the little things. 

From writing 'What I'm Grateful For' to helpful tips of how to stay calm wherever you may be. A playful, beautifully illustrated book for those who need to chill out. 

Rating:4/5 

4. Girl Up - Laura Bates 



Overview: For all you feminists out there - this one's for you. This book is perfect for mums, teens and young girls who are sucked into the pressures of social media and the general pressures of being, well, female. Laura hilariously talks about sex, photoshop and mental health. For anyone wanting to feel empowered, then I suggest you read this. (It's also highly recommended by Emma Watson). 

Rating: 5/5 

5. Practical Mindfulness By Ken A.Verni, Psy.D.


Overview: Another book about meditation and mindfulness, this one is more practical and less spiritual. It basically does what it says on the tin and explores how mindfulness can lead you to a better, happier life. It's extremely overwhelming and sometimes I find it hard to navigate as there's just too much going on! However, it's still a good book to read, especially if you're just getting started in your path to enlightenment... This is basically mindfulness for beginners. 

Rating:3.5/5

6.The Signs by Carolyne Faulkner 


Overview: This beautifully designed book is for all you keen astrologers out there, like myself, I'm obsessed with horoscopes and anything revolved around spirituality, new moons etc. This book is astrology with a hint of meditation. You can learn all about your sign (or someone else's), including the good and bad points and also understand how to read your birth chart. The book also teaches you how to use your strengths to your advantage and makes you more aware of your negative aspects. A very interesting read!

Rating: 4/5

7. The Book: On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts


Overview: This book is sooo difficult to explain as it's such a complex read, I had to read it over just to fully understand it. This book is by philosopher Alan Watts who became a Buddhist, it's not for the faint hearted and I think you may have to understand some technical terms to appreciate it, however, it's still a powerful read for those seeking guidance and understanding about their role in the universe. Alan talks about the role between human and environment and explores the deeper understanding of identity. 

Rating: 4/5

8. The Dalai Lama's Little Book of Mysticism by Dalai Lama


Overview: This great little pocket book includes quotes and teachings from the Dalai Lama himself, it's not a story or self-help book, it basically goes through quotes from him about his thoughts on: The workings of the mind, how we can change our lives infused with mystical experience and the nature and meaning of mysticism. For anyone who is spiritual like myself, this is a nice little read for when you're feeling lost and is perfect for those looking to develop a rich and meaningful inner life. 

Rating: 3.5/5

I hope those books give you a little inspiration, comment below if you have any recommendations or what you thought of them! 

G x 
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7 January 2018

Highlights of 2017


Since 2017 has officially come to an end, I thought I'd review my 2017. 
I've managed to visit a handful of places this year and I'm super grateful to have seen places I've never been before! 

The first stop of the year was in January when myself and my friends went to Amsterdam for the first time, I definitely fell in love with the way of life here and it's probably one of my favourite places to date. There's a great vibe here and plenty of things to keep you busy. 


My second trip was in March went I stayed local and went to the Lake District for a weekend away in a log cabin equipped with a hot tub. I'd recommend staying here if you fancy a quick but affordable getaway in the U.K, there's plenty to do and the site had it's own pub and entertainment. (All dog friendly might I add)!


In May, I finally got to visit Cyprus, a place I've always wanted to visit as I am absolutely obsessed with Greece and heard it's very similar, I stayed here for 10 days and the weather was amazing along with Cyprus itself. The food is unreal and if you love authentic Cypriot, then it's deffo a place I'd recommend. I stayed in Paphos which is basically like the U.K but with sun. It's fully equipped with English road signs, schools and even a shopping centre which has M&S haha! 

The harbour is beautiful and has everything you need, Paphos is also extremely cultured and there is lot's of things to see/do, if you don't fancy lounging by the pool all day. 




In June, it was my 21st birthday and my parents surprised me with a trip to The Warner Brothers Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter, which is something I've alwaaaays wanted to do! It was such a good experience and if your a HP lover like myself, go and see it! I even got to open the doors to the Great Hall because it was my birthday (fangirl moment)... We stayed in cute thatched cottage in Cambridge and thankfully the weather was unreal too! 



Back to Amsterdam again! My friend and I decided to take another visit to the Netherlands in August and experience Amsterdam in the summer, despite it raining on one of the days, the weather was actually really good. We went on the Heineken Experience, which is about 16 euro. You get three free drinks while you're there and get to chill out on the rooftop bar. 




September, I got to visit Geneva in Switzerland for a trip with work. We held an exclusive pop-up event in a hotel for the weekend, but also got to experience Geneva first hand. The nightlife here isn't great and it's really expensive, so bare that in mind if you've been interested in going. However, Geneva is a beautiful place and gives you a countryside feel, as you're surrounded by a gigantic lake and stunning mountains. 




And finally, Rome!
Another place ticked off my list, I've been wanting to go here forever and I finally went in mid-September, the weather was incredible. I feel like I would've liked to of spent more time exploring here as we only went for a long weekend, however it was still a beautiful place and to see the Coliseum and Vatican up close and personal was one to tick off my bucket list. Plus, I got to eat pizza, ice cream and drink wine for an entire weekend. Who wouldn't want that? 






And so another year of travels comes to an end. Don't worry, I've already got my next lot lined up for 2018... Can't wait to see what this year has in store! 



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19 October 2017

When In Rome




My last adventure of the year ended in the beautiful city of Rome, a belated birthday gift we spent a long weekend exploring the ancient Roman ruins and sipping wine in the sun. 

This is everything you need to know about Rome!

We flew to Rome Ciampino from Manchester, which is probably the smallest airport I've ever been to (minus Cornwall), we then got a bus to the Metro station and from then into the centre. The journey took us about an hour to get to our hotel, but I'd say working out how to use the Metro is pretty easy. You can buy tickets from the machines and they're relatively cheap, very similar to the Tubes in London and they are a quick solution to get you from A to B in a hurry. 






Our hotel was lovely, classic Italian architecture and decor was all that could be seen, a refreshing stay compared to modern hotels these days. Our hotel was called Hotel Quirinale and was a stones throw away from the Coliseum and the Trevi Fountain and all of Rome's hot spots (it was also opposite a McDonald's which in my eyes is always a plus)... 

The question I bet you're dying to know is how cheap was Rome? With horror stories about how expensive Rome was, I was pleasantly surprised with the prices here. I'm not saying it was cheap, but it definitely wasn't as expensive as everyone makes out to be. You were paying the normal prices for a cocktail as you would in a club in a UK bar. 

We took around $600 euro between us, which lasted us for three days, including everything. I'd say this is enough but it depends on what you're doing. My Number 1 tip would be find hidden gems rather than mainstream restaurants and bars, if you wish to eat in a beautiful square, then be prepared for sh*t food and hefty price tags. 







Our those who love a good cocktail or two, we stumbled across a bar named The Drunken Ship, a great little place which sells good cocktails and beer, they also have a student offer and is fun for meeting new people, especially if you're a lone traveller or backpacking around Europe. 

The Coliseum and the Vatican - This is obviously a must-see experience, I mean when in Rome, you can't avoid visiting these two famous places. I highly suggest booking your tickets online before you go as you get to skip the queue and it saves you waiting in line, those lines can get out of hand. The Vatican experience we had included entry to the Sistine Chapel, which again, is a must-see. 

My only critique is I did feel like this city was a little run-down in places, when you stepped away from the tourist hot-spots, there was a lot of rubbish and graffiti everywhere, not to mention the weird men who were harassing you constantly to buy things. No, I do not want a fidget spinner. 










Over-all, Rome is a quick-stop destination that is good for culture, food and having a good time. I wouldn't return as I feel like once you've done it, then you couldn't really go back but hey, I wouldn't say no to a free trip. This Italian city definitely has it's charms and I am super grateful I got to experience it as my belated 21st gift! 

If you've been to Rome or thinking of taking a trip, comment below. 

Until next time,

G x 


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