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July Newsletter

 

 

Hey everyone,

We’re at the end of yet another busy month which means it’s NEWSLETTER TIME! July has been a bit crazy for me, and I’ve fitted so much in to the past few weeks that I’m feeling slightly frazzled, but in a really good way. I’ve been on a couple of press trips, I’ve been working my bum off at my part time job and I’ve been spending time with people who mean the most to me. I’ve also thrown my heart and soul into my blog this month; it’s had a complete revamp and is now totally self hosted, and I’ve also landed a couple of new freelance writing jobs – yay!! It’s been a busy few weeks, so here’s how my July went…

 

I spent a week in Switzerland

 

 

Let’s kick this off with the most exciting news from this month… I’ve just got back from spending a week in Switzerland and it was honestly one of the most incredible places I’ve ever visited! I, along with four other bloggers, (Hannah, Hayley, Elaisha and Allison) flew to Geneva to explore for a day before hopping on a train to Sion and then ending up in the ski resort of Nendaz where our accommodation was waiting for us. We stayed in a luxurious chalet with gorgeous mountain views and spent seven days mountain hiking, spa indulging and cheese making whilst discovering everything else that Nendaz had to offer. I would never have thought to go to a ski resort for a summer holiday, but this trip changed all my perceptions and I genuinely had the most wonderful time exploring a brand new country with four brand new friends. I’ll be posting content of my trip over the coming weeks, but, in the meantime, you can catch up with my photos by checking out my Instagram page. A big thank you to Travelopo and Nendaz Tourisme for sponsoring our fantastic trip!

 

My blog has had a makeover

 

My blog has had a makeover – come check it out!

 

I’m sooo pleased to be able to tell you that my blog is now totally self hosted! I have wanted to make the transition for so long, but have never really known where to start or how to go about it. Luckily, one of my old school friends (thanks George!!) was able to help me so I’ve finally made that move and am really happy with the results! The site looks virtually the same, there’s just been a few menu/theme/layout changes and I’ve neatened the footers and sidebars up a little. I’ve still got a few changes I want to make, but I have so much new content I want to share with you and I want to get that live first before I focus on niggly site things. I’m super pleased with the new site and hope you like it – please do let me know what you think as I would LOVE to hear your feedback!

 

I wrote a little life update

 

 

Given that we are now more than halfway through 2017 (how did THAT happen?!) I thought I’d use July as a midway point for my personal life and start reflecting on how my year has gone so far. You might remember that I wrote my New Years Resolutions post back in January, and in my newest update I discussed how I was getting on with those resolutions… Most of them are going really well, but some of them aren’t and I realised that that’s okay. It’s okay that I’m not smashing every goal I’ve set myself because it’s normal not to achieve every expectation, and it’s good to have more goals to aim for, and other things to tick off in future. How are you getting on with your 2017 resolutions, if you even made them in the first place? Would love to know how you’re doing!

 

I went speed-boating across the Thames

 

 

At the start of the month I was invited by the wonderful team at Thames Rockets to hop on a speedboat across the Thames for a whirlwind tour of London. I was lucky enough to choose one of the hottest days of the month and took my sister with me along for the ride. We both had a brilliant time seeing the sights and hitting top speeds as we jetted across the river, so I’d recommend the Thames Rockets speed boating tours to anyone looking for a fun filled day out in our gorgeous capital city. I’m also running a giveaway and am offering you the chance to WIN 2x tickets to hop on board with the Thames Rockets team – all you have to do is follow me and Thames Rockets on Twitter, and RT my pinned tweet, it couldn’t be simpler… Good luck!

 

I explored the best of London on foot

 

 

After jetting across the Thames, my sister and I fancied a stroll along the river to see all the London landmarks from a different angle, and so we decided to walk from Westminster to Tower Bridge. It took us a good few hours to complete the walk, and we saw so many famous landmarks including the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard to name but a few. I’ve walked this route many times before, but it was so lovely in the sunshine and we really took our time, marvelling at the sights and taking hundreds photos along the way!

I think that’s everything for July, I feel as if I don’t know whether I’m coming or going lately, but its because I have so much on over the next few weeks and have already had a busy month! August looks set to be just as crazy, with some new collabs lined up as well as another press trip, this time to Germany with the wonderful team at Visit Hamburg – I fly on Friday morning from Heathrow and I am SO excited! Have you got any Hamburg tips for me? Send them over!

Love Jess x

 

 

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A Little Life Update: My Half Year Review

 

 

We are now over six months into 2017… OVER SIX MONTHS?! How the bloody hell did that happen?! It feels as though January to June came and went in the blink of an eye. I have done so much, traveled so far, and experienced so many new things, but it’s not until I take a step back and look at my diary, or my Instagram page, that I realise just how much has happened these past six months.

Let’s rewind back to 1st January 2017; the first day, week and month of a brand new year. A chance to focus on new things, make new memories and set new goals. I did all of those things at the start of the year. I spent the post Christmas/New Year period down in Cornwall with my family, taking long dog walks on the beach, eating ice cream sat on the harbour walls, going out for dinner in nice restaurants and waking up to sea views every morning. Just after I got back from Cornwall I made myself some New Years Resolutions. Given that we are now past the midway point of 2017 I thought I’d do a little life update and reflect on the things that have happened in the past six months, to see whether or not I’m on track and if I’m achieving/failing my goals set by my 2017 Resolutions post… Here goes!

 

 

I want to travel to 10 new countries

 

 

This was my biggest and most challenging resolution – definitely the one I was most scared about tackling, but I’m so pleased to say that I’ve been smashing it!! So far this year I have taken seven trips and have been everywhere from Copenhagen and Bratislava to Menorca and Tenerife. I’ve been to five new countries, five new cities and made countless new memories. All of my trips have been totally amazing, but highlights have included my first ever group press trip to Menorca, a last minute city break to Sofia, and a girly holiday with my sisters to Tenerife. In the next two weeks I’ll also be ticking two new countries off my list as I’m heading to Switzerland tomorrow and Germany the week after! Both are group press trips with other bloggers and we’ll be working with the respective tourist boards when we are out there. I’m so excited for my future travels and feel I’m in good stead to complete this challenge as I’ll have done 7/10 by August – not bad going if I do say so myself 😉

 

I want to stop buying scratch cards

 

Amazingly, I’ve actually not done too badly at this one! So I’m not saying I’ve stopped buying them completely – cheeky ones still fall into my shopping basket every now and again – but I have made a conscious effort to try and avoid them wherever possible and I now only use the self service check out at the supermarket to minimize the temptation at the kiosk! I’ve started a little savings pot too and am collecting 50p’s and £2 coins, so whenever I do get the urge to buy one I plonk my change in there and watch it build up –  WAY more fun than losing money every week!

 

I want to grow my blog as much as possible

 

This was probably the single most important resolution for me, and I’m proud to say I think I’m halfway there. I’ve still got a long way to go before I can become a full time travel blogger, but before this year I had never been on a press trip and by the end of August I will have been on THREE in the space of just a few months! For me, a real turning point came when I visited #Traverse17. If you read my post you’ll know that I had an amazing time at the three day travel blogging event down in London, but what I didn’t expect from it was the sheer amount of opportunities I would be opened up to after attending. Just a few weeks after the conference I was lucky enough to be selected to attend the Must See Menorca press trip in April, along with the Spanish Tourist Board and Traverse themselves. And then I was asked to pop over to Hamburg for the weekend with the Visit Hamburg team. I’ve also grown in confidence and have started reaching out to pr companies, tourist boards and local attractions to create new opportunities for myself. So what if there’s no press trip advertised? Make yourself known and start creating things that you might otherwise miss out on!

 

 

I now really enjoy the networking side of things and rarely get nervous. At Traverse everyone was pitching themselves to the tourist boards for trips, I could hear fellow bloggers practising what they were going to say in their speech and it made me feel a little nervous – I certainly wasn’t professional enough to start pitching!! When it came to meeting the brands and speaking to the tourist boards though I actually felt really confident and was completely myself. I didn’t ‘pitch’, I didn’t start reeling off numbers of followers, my monthly page views or my audience demographics, but instead I started talking about the brands and asking questions. I told Visit Spain that I have been to their beautiful country 14 times, and that I have the most amazing childhood memories of beach holidays and tapas and paella. I told Visit Hamburg that I genuinely have always wanted to go to Hamburg because I want to start exploring some of the smaller cities across Europe and promote them to new audiences, rather just writing about capitals like Berlin and Barcelona. I was 100% myself when I was talking to these brands and I think this just might have been why I was lucky enough to be picked to attend these brilliant press trips.

 

I want to spend more time with family and friends

 

First night out together now that Baby Buck is old enough! Why do I feel so OLDDDDD 😭 #saturdaynight #sisters #love 👯💖

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I like to think I was pretty good at this one anyway, but I do think I have really started to spent more quality time with the people that mean the most to me, and I’m so grateful to have the most amazing support network. I still live at home so I’m really close with my parents and my sisters (probably too close, we argue constantly, but we always work things out). I live near to all my friends so I go out for dinner and drinks with them every few days and am always making plans to catch up whenever I have the time. Sadly the rest of my family are split between Liverpool and Essex, so I don’t get to see them as much as I’d like to, but we communicate daily and they’re only a phone call away.  Every single person in my life right now knows how much they mean to me, so thank you <3

 

I want to spend less time on social media

Yea this one hasn’t gone quite the way I’d have liked it to. I’m a social media obsessive; it’s my job, my hobby, my whole life, what can I say?! I’m actually quite sad I haven’t nailed this one as I know that the amount of time I am spending on the net is damaging and I really want to cut it down. I just find it difficult to switch off and feel like I constantly have to know what’s going on in the world. I recently read a brilliant article by the lovely Emily Luxton who described how Instagram is ruining her life. I really resonated with a lot of the aspects in Emily’s post, although my blog isn’t as big as hers, so it’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who has an unhealthy relationship with social media. I  know it’s not good at all though, so I’m gonna work really hard to cut down my usage over the next few months… Wish me luck and please send any tips my way. PS thanks Emily for the refreshing, very honest and personal post! <3

 

I want to stop looking for love

 

 

Lol this one is easy. I’ve done it, I’m not going to find anyone, so I’ve given up looking. Ok that’s not strictly true, I was seeing someone off and on for a couple of months, but he found his way to me, I didn’t go looking for him. And we’ve known each other YEARS, so it wasn’t a new thing. Or a Tinder match – that’s deleted, thank God. I’ve finally stopped looking because I genuinely have no desire to be with anyone at the moment. I know that’s quite sad and at times I would love to have someone to share my life with, and I do want that for my future, but right now it’s the last thing on my mind. I don’t have TIME for a boyfriend, I’m travelling too much to want to settle and I’m so spontaneous and carefree that I just don’t want the hassle of a relationship, despite the good things that I know will (one day) come with it. I don’t feel unhappy though, for the first time in months I feel really great about being single and am just getting my confidence up before I decide when/if I want to start dating again. There’s no rush though, I’m still only 24 – sorry mum, you’ll have to wait a bit longer to be a nanny 😉

 

I want to focus on myself

After that last paragraph, I think this goes without saying, but I have focused on myself so much since January that I’m actually starting to feel a bit selfish! Is that a bad thing?! I guess it kind of is, but I’m just looking after number one because one day I won’t be able to do that! So I’m saying YES to new opportunities, YES to hanging out with new friends and YES to doing whatever the hell I want. I’ve been really enjoying every aspect of 2017 so far, and hope that will continue for the remainder of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I still get my down days, and there are (very few) times when I really struggle to be happy, but I’m much better at picking myself up, dusting myself down and painting a big smile on my face.

 

So there we go, I don’t think I’ve done too badly?! It’s quite nice to look back at all the things I’ve done since January and it gives me the confidence to carry on as I have been doing so that I can make the most of the rest of 2017. For now I’m looking forward to heading to Switzerland tomorrow – don’t forget you can follow my journey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! What new years resolutions have you been sticking to this year? I’d love to know if you have been achieving your goals, so leave me a comment below!

 

Love Jess x

 

Party #2 of #MustSeeMenorca and we're having tapas and cocktails at the beautiful @portbluehotels

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20 Reasons Why All Single Girls Should Learn to Love Themselves in Their 20s

 

 

The Heartbreak Hotel. We’ve all been there. We’ve checked in for a week or two. Some of us may have checked in for a few months, or maybe even longer. It seems that almost every 20-something girl has had her heart broken at least once in her little lifetime. Almost every girl has had to feel incomplete, or inadequate, after her asshole of a boyfriend cheated on her. Or left her because he ‘didn’t know where their relationship was going’ or ‘didn’t know what to do for the best’. There’s no way to sugar coat it – having your heart broken is the worst fucking thing in the entire world. It feels as if it has been pulled out from your chest, stamped on multiple times and shattered into a thousand tiny pieces, that achingly painful place where your heart once sat happily is now empty, missing, non-existent. Having your heart broken is even more painful if you’re a girl in your 20s. You’ve not long finished college/uni, you’re starting to take your first steps into the land of full time work and you’re feeling like you’ve got your whole life together when – BAM – you lose the love of your life and suddenly your whole world turns upside down…

You don’t eat, you don’t sleep and you can barely get up in the morning. You have no feelings, no excitement about planning your weekends, no wish to eat anything nice for dinner, no desire to think ahead further than the end of the day because it seems pretty pointless if your other half/lifepartner/soulmate/ best friend isn’t there to be with you. But you know what girls, there is someone better to spend your time with, and plan your days with. Someone you remember all too well but have never really got to know properly, the one that has been there for you all along. That person is YOU. You are the one who needs to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and get on with your life. Life is a gift, use it, live it, treat every day as if it’s your last, and don’t waste your tears on guys who just don’t deserve them. I know not all guys are out to break our hearts but, in my experience, sadly most of them are. Your number one priority should be yourself. The best way to move on from your heartbreak and rebuild your life is to start focusing on YOU. Learn to love yourself, and the rest will all fall in to place. Here’s why…

 

They see me strollin 🏃🏃 #Tenerife

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You’ll work out what you really like

This is so true. You’ll learn things about yourself you didn’t know, or had forgotten all that time ago. So you liked that restaurant because of it’s good food? WRONG – you liked that restaurant because you and him used to go there all the time. You don’t need to go back there again, find somewhere new, think about what it is that you ACTUALLY like and start doing the things YOU want to do.

… and what you don’t like

You’ll also realise that you don’t like a lot of stuff too, and that’s ok. It’s ok that you now hate that aftershave because it makes you think of him, and it’s ok that you no longer watch that TV show on Sky cos you used to watch it together on a Wednesday night. Go find yourself a new show to watch and make it your thing.

You’ll realise you can do whatever the hell you want

This is probably the single most important reason why you should learn to love yourself. I’m not saying you didn’t do what you wanted to before, but a relationship is all about give and take. It’s about compromise, and most of the time you probably let him watch the football instead of that new reality show because you didn’t want an argument, but look at you now! You have allllll the channels to yourself and can watch whatever takes your fancy. Or why not go all out and choose your next holiday? YOU can choose where you go: how long for, who with (or without), what you’ll do out there. The compromise is OVER and you’re an independent female who can conquer the world… I’m looking at you, miss solo traveller!

You’ll learn what’s important

When you get your heart broken you feel as if it’s the worst possible thing that could ever happen to you in your whole entire life. And yes, it sucks, it’s horrible and it’s awful and there’s nothing anyone can say to make you feel better. But then you realise that there are horrible, awful things happening every day in the world that are so much worse. People get ill, people die, people lose loved ones. People are in accidents, they’re at the wrong place at the wrong time, and in one split second their lives are over. Your life is not over. Yes, the life as you knew it is over, but your new one is only just beginning. You’re getting the chance to start all over again. So many people would give anything to have a second chance at life, so take it.  That’s when you realise the value of life, and how important it really is.

You’ll start looking after yourself

Loving yourself means that you’ll really understand your body, and your mind. You’ll know when you’re feeling sad and you’ll know how to make yourself feel better. Your body will listen to you. It will know when you’re getting overworked and will tell you when you need to chill out. Being by yourself is good for you, it enables you to enjoy your own company without the constant need to be surrounded by people, and this will do wonders for your self-esteem.

You’ll see things from a different point of view

Taking a step back and putting yourself first will allow you to look at things differently. With your new found confidence you’ll be looking at things from a totally different view point and will realise what really matters, and what really doesn’t matter at all.

 

 

You’ll give the best advice to people going through the same thing as you

You can now see things from another point of view, and this will enable you to offer so much advice to your girlfriends who are having a tough old time. Instead of letting them wallow in self-pity you’ll tell them to get their best dress on, fix a smile on their face and get out there and have a whole lotta fun.

You’ll stop wasting time on people who don’t deserve you

You learn who your real friends are when something shit happens to you. There will be the ones who want to find out what’s happened and will text you non-stop for days, but all they’re after is the latest gossip and before you know it they’ve dropped you like a tonne of bricks! Um, we have no room for gossips and bitches in our new lives – CYA.

You’ll start living life more spontaneously

Life is for living, grab it with both hands. Now that you’re focusing on number one there are so many more things you can go and do.

…and you’ll have the courage to do things you only dreamed of previously

Want to road trip across America? Do it – I did! Want to interrail round Europe? Do it – I did that too! Want to work a summer season abroad? Do it! Ok I haven’t done that yet, but it’s on my list 😉 Your new found confidence will allow you to be more spontaneous and your life will instantly become a thousand times more exciting than it was before.

You’ll stop getting hurt so easily

It’ll take some time, but you might want to meet someone again a few months or years down the line, and you’ll have learnt not to give yourself away so easily which will stop you getting so hurt! Us girls are good at protecting our feelings when we’ve been let down before, so this is one of the best things to come out of a heart break.

You’ll appreciate the little things

Who knew a long hot soak in the bath could be so good for the soul? Or that a relaxing face mask and a big bar of chocolate could boost your mood in a matter of minutes? These small things will do wonders for your self-esteem, and your happiness levels will be up in no time.

 

 

You’ll stop comparing your life to others…

It’s so easy to do this when you’re under confident, particularly when you’ve had your heart broken. You’re looking at all these couples settling down, having babies and getting engaged – WHO NEEDS TO SEE THAT ON THEIR FACEBOOK?! Admittedly, there is a (tiny) part of us are happy for them, but the other part of us just wants to wallow in self-pity and ignore all the happiness going on around us. Once you’ve ‘found yourself’ you’ll be able to deal with this whole comparison thing and you’ll see that, although you’re not getting married or having kids anytime soon, you’re debt free, don’t have to worry about bills and can live your frikkin life. As I’m literally the only single person in my entire friendship group, this is something I can completely relate to!

…and you won’t care what people think about yours

Say goodbye to those insecurities, the constant worry of what people think about you or are saying behind your back. When you’re full of self-love and confidence you’ll realise that none of these things matter and can focus on what you care and think about, not what these people think about you.

You won’t care about things that don’t matter

As your confidence grows, you’ll stop giving a crap about things that don’t matter, and this will come from knowing yourself and what your priorities are.

You’ll be way more fun than the person you were before

Part of the reason learning to love yourself is so great is that you’ll just appreciate and enjoy things way more than you did before. You’ll find new things to get excited about, new people to meet and new places to go, and you’ll have so much fun along the way.

Your confidence will double

Hey miss sassy pants, yea I’m talking to you! Own your new life and make it the best it can possibly be. Confidence is SUCH an attractive trait, and you’ll have the guys queuing up.

 

 

You’ll become your own best friend, but your mum will still be your rock

So you’ll be spending lots of time by yourself, and that’s amazing and you’re the only person you think you’ll need, but you do need other people too. Like your mum – she’ll be your go-to if you’re having a down day, or just want someone to moan to. And your friends and family members are important too – don’t shut them out. They were complete rocks to me when my world fell apart, and they’ll never realise just how much they helped me.

You’ll become bigger and better than ever before…

If you can dream it, you can do it. You’re going to have the most amazing life, and you have the most amazing future ahead of you, so dream big princess! If I can do it, you most certainly can.

… and you’ll finally feel 1000x happier

Hold your head high, and your middle finger higher. Put your best dress on and slip into those stilettos. Take that new profile pic and show everyone what you’re made of. Look good for yourself, no one else, you don’t need to impress anyone. In the words of Bieber – maybe you should go and love yourself. You got this girl, now go get your amazing life back.

All the single ladiesssss.

PS. All of these things have happened to me… And I have totally turned my life around. Living proof that learning to love yourself is the only thing a girl needs.

 

👙

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How to survive your first group press trip

 

Ready for the opening party of #MustSeeMenorca with @traverseevents @spain @turismomenorca @portbluehotels ☀️⛴

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Press trips. The holy grail of the blogging world, and they’re so sought after that bloggers literally compete with each other in a bid to get picked by brands and companies. I’ve never had the opportunity to attend one before, but if you’ve followed my blog lately you’ll know that I was recently invited on my first EVER group press trip, and what a trip it was! Along with 59 other bloggers, Instagrammers and Youtubers, I was invited to explore the beautiful Spanish island of Menorca as part of  the #MustSeeMenorca campaign with Jet2, Traverse, Turismo Menorca and Spain. As this was my first ever group press trip I was totally unaware of what to expect, and was a little nervous to begin with, but once I embraced everything and felt more confident, I found myself having one of the best week’s of travel I’ve ever had! If you’re about to jet off on your first group press trip and aren’t sure what to expect, these top tips might help you get through it…

 

Understand the brief before you go

 

 

This is single-handedly the most important thing you should do before accepting an invitation to attend a press trip. Check the brief that the company have sent you, go through it with a fine toothed comb and make sure you can deliver what they have asked of you before you go on the trip, and before you start to create content. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or to tell them that you can’t deliver on a certain aspect of the brief, as they may be able to work around you so that you can come up with a compromise together. If a company have asked for daily Instagram posts whilst you’re away but all you’ve done is one tweet every other day, it’ll just reflect badly on you and look as if you haven’t checked the brief at all. Also, check that you know the right brand accounts to tag if you’re posting on social, and know what relevant links you need to include in your content. It’s something so simple, but it’ll really help to make sure you don’t miss anything and that you stick to creating the content that both you and the brand want and need.

 

Interact with fellow attendees online 

 

 

This is something I swear by, and I do it every time I’m going on a group trip or event, not just a press trip or a work related activity. I think there’s something about making friends with people online that helps you to feel less nervous about meeting them face to face, as it takes away that feeling of being total strangers and meeting for the first time. I always search the hashtag of the event/trip before attending so that I can see who else is, and say hi that way.

 

 

Before attending Traverse16 for the first time I searched the hashtag on Twitter, found a lovely girl called Lucy who was also going for the first time, chatted online with her for a bit and she then invited me to stay at hers so we could attend the conference together. Fast forward a year and Lucy and I have attended many other blogger events at the same time, become firm friends and have even taken a little holiday together! That’s the power of social media, it brings people together who have similar interests and opens up new opportunities – and sometimes it’s definitely who you know, not what you know, that can make all the difference.

 

Don’t be afraid to be a little nervous

 

Cave parties in #menorca are my favourite🍾 #MustSeeMenorca #igersmenorca

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Press trips are naturally very daunting, and often a little scary. Most of the time you’ll be going on trips with bloggers who have been doing this for YEARS and are total pro’s at the whole networking thing. At the other end of the scale though, there are always people like me who will be on their first ever press trip and that’s totally OK – we’ve all gotta start somewhere! Don’t be afraid to show that you’re a little nervous, it makes you human, and your fellow bloggers will admire you for being so honest.

 

 

Before the #MustSeeMenorca trip I posted in the Facebook group just to introduce myself and said that I was feeling nervous as my blog is so small compared to some of the other big bloggers that were attending, but I received lovely comments and messages from other attendees saying that there was no need for me to nervous, or that they were feeling the same too, and that they were really looking forward to meeting me. Little things like that make the world of difference and my nerves soon turned into excitement as my confidence was increased in no time!

 

Document everything as you go along

 

 

Make notes, take photos, record videos. Do everything you can to capture as much content as possible whilst you’re on the move. Even if you’re not required to post anything whilst you’re away, keep things for yourself so that you have a database of notes and images to work from when the time comes for your content to be created. If the deadline is a week or two after the trip has ended, chances are you’ll have forgotten some of the most important aspects that you wanted to write about, so by keeping that database you can keep your memory fresh, and your content will be as accurate as possible. Don’t forget to keep your phone location switched to ON so that you can record destinations as you go along without even realizing it – super handy when you come to post a photo on Instagram two weeks later and can’t remember the name of the location!

 

 

Be honest and open with your group at all times

 

 

Luckily, I’m a terrible liar and am pretty transparent. I’m always open and honest with people, and I know they find it easy to tell when I’m upset, or when I’m not well. On one of the days of the #MustSeeMenorca trip I felt really poorly, had a banging headache and could barely open my eyes. One of the girls quickly noticed I wasn’t quite right and nodded to one of our group leaders for help. I was taken out of the sun and offered a bit of respite for half an hour where I had something to eat and had a sugary drink to make myself feel better. Within half an hour I was fine and was able to re-join the group, but it made the world of difference knowing that I could take that time out without feeling bad about letting anyone down, and could focus on getting myself better for the rest of the day.

Coincidentally, I think some people from our group thought that I might just have been drunk/hungover on that day as we had just left the gin distillery, which probably didn’t help! When I re-joined the group for dinner a couple of people had asked why I had been poorly, and I mentioned that I suffer with headaches on a daily basis, although some days are worse than others. It was at this point that I decided to open up to a small number of my new friends in the group and I started talking to them about my medical condition, and how it affects me in day to day life, as well as when I’m travelling. After a few minutes they were really supportive and I think they really respected that I had opened up to them. It made them understand why I had taken time out of the trip that day, not that I needed to have a reason to justify myself, but I’m a very honest person and I think they appreciated that too, just like I would have done if someone else had been in my position that day! If you’re feeling down, you’re feeling poorly or you’re just feeling not quite right – TELL someone, and don’t suffer in silence. You are not alone.

 

 

Special thanks to the lovely Nicola, Pete, Pedro, Nienke, Steve, Eileen and Georgie who listened to me rambling on that lunch time 😉 It really meant the world to know I could open up to you about something so personal to me. <3

 

Most importantly… just be yourself

 

 

This goes without saying. You do you. Just be yourself. Don’t try to act like someone else to fit in with the crowd – this isn’t high school! Get to know as many people on the trip as possible, say YES to as many activities as you can, embrace new experiences, make new friends and push yourself out of your comfort zone. If you can do all of these things whilst staying true to yourself then you’re on to a winner and will get the best possible experience from your first group press trip.

 

 

These steps really helped me to have the best time away during my first group press trip, although I know people work in different ways and no two press trips are ever the same. I feel very fortunate that #MustSeeMenorca actually felt more like a holiday than a press trip, and it allowed me to make new friends, grow in confidence and enjoy exploring the island. It didn’t feel like work one bit, but I know many trips have strict itineraries, deadlines and a set amount of required content, so by following the steps above you can prepare yourself to get as much out of the trip as you possibly can.

 

 

I hope these tips have been helpful! Have you ever been on a group press trip before, or are you planning on attending one in the near future? Let me know your thoughts as I’d love to hear from you! My next group press trip will be to the gorgeous Swiss resort of Nendaz in July and I’ll be working with the Travelopo team and 4 other fabulous bloggers to bring you some exciting content – watch this space!

Love Jess x

NB. All photos are my own, unless the embedded Twitter posts say otherwise. Thanks also to Spain for the featured image! A big thank you again to the wonderful teams at Spain, Turismo Menorca, Jet2 and Traverse for hosting my first group press trip, and for making it so special!

 

,

May Newsletter

 

 

Hi everyone,

It’s the last day of May and it’s been one hell of a month for me over the past few weeks! I’m quite impressed I’ve been able to get this newsletter out on time, given that I’ve barely been in the country this month and have been here there and everywhere! As you’d expect, this newsletter is almost completely travel related because of my recent trips and here’s what I’ve been up to over the past few weeks…

I took a spontaneous city break to Sofia

 

Had the best time exploring the beautiful city of #Sofia with my wonderful friend of 10 years 💖

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

This was super spontaneous, very unplanned and it almost didn’t happen as we very nearly missed our flights!! My lovely friend Toni and I wanted to do a last minute city break to an underrated European city and, after frantically scrolling through Skyscanner, we found return flights to the Bulgarian capital of Sofia for a bargain £30! How could we say no?! We only had 2 nights to explore but quickly fell in love with Sofia’s history, charm and beauty. We took a walking tour, ticked off all the big landmarks, enjoyed some of the local cuisine and drove into the mountains for spectacular panoramic views. I’ll be posting my travel guide to Sofia over the coming weeks so watch this space!

I went on my first group press trip to Menorca

 

So this was totally unexpected and even more last minute than my Sofia trip but I was completely shocked and delighted to have been selected to attend my first ever group press trip with the teams at Jet2, Spain, Traverse and Turismo Menorca. I spent a whole week exploring this beautiful island, taking part in all the fantastic activities that had been put together for us and learning so many new skills at the 2 day conference. The best thing about this trip though was all the new friends I made, and for that alone I feel so so lucky to have been selected to attend this trip. Thanks to everyone who made my week in Menorca so amazing, can’t wait for a reunion in June!!

 

It was time to celebrate my sisters 22nd birthday

 

family

 

The middle of the month brought my sister Hannah’s 22nd birthday and we had a big family meal to look forward to as my nan, grandad and great aunty all from Liverpool came down to stay with us for a few days. We hadn’t seen each other since January so it was really nice to catch up and spend some quality time with people who mean such a lot to me. We went for a lovely meal out to celebrate Han’s 22nd and picked a little pub in the Cotswold town of Burford to spend the evening. Family time is so important and it was so lovely to take a little break from work, I just wish mine didn’t live so far from me!

 

I’m still in shock after the Manchester Terror Attack

 

Waking up to the news from #Manchester this morning hit me really hard. Maybe because it's just closer to home, or maybe because it's the real loss of innocent, young, beautiful life that has been so cruelly snatched away. And for what? How can it be that you can take your kids to a concert and not return? This world is beautiful but this world is also evil- we must not let that take over and shadow everything that is good. I'm not sure what to think or say, but I found a little bit of peace sat in this spot in #menorca this afternoon just watching the waves crash against the rocks and trying to blur out everything that has happened over the past 24 hours. But we must not forget, and we must still keep the people of #manchester in our thoughts 💔

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

I still can’t believe this has happened and I still don’t really know what to say about it. I was in Menorca when I found out and it still doesn’t feel real. I went to bed that night after seeing a Sky News alert on my phone that simply just read ‘incident in Manchester’. I didn’t really know what had happened, and didn’t think too much of it at first so I switched my phone off and tried to get to sleep, but there was something that was bugging me and keeping me awake. I can’t explain what it was but I felt this sickness in the pit of my stomach and I laid awake in bed for hours trying to dismiss it. When I woke up the next morning and read the news headlines I instantly burst into tears. I couldn’t believe it, I had really hoped and prayed that the word ‘incident’ I’d seen before bed wouldn’t have turned into the word ‘terror attack’ the next morning. But it had. And it was horrendous. I have no words for this appalling, senseless attack on 22 of our own beautiful men, women and children, all of whom were attending a concert and all of whom didn’t return. My heart is still breaking and I have thought of those innocent, wonderful people every second of every day since that fateful day. <3

I celebrated three years of blogging

 

Onto a happier note now, and one of my biggest personal achievements. If you read my most recent blog post you’ll know that I recently celebrated my 3 year blogiversary which was kind of a big deal for me! Three years is actually quite a long time, and I could never have imagined three years ago that my little blog would be where it is now. I’m forever grateful for the opportunities, friends and new found love for travel that my blog has brought me and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me, and for Journeys with Jessica. As always, thank you so much for your continued support, it really does mean the absolute world! 🌏

I won tickets to visit The Shard

 


So this was rather exciting and, again, totally unexpected! There’s a bit of a theme running with this months newsletter, can you tell?! I entered a competition during #Traverse17 to try and win tickets to The Shard in London – it’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to visited but sadly never been able to! I thought I’d chance my arm and enter the competition, and little did I know that I’d been named as the winner and received my VIP tickets through the post! I’ll be taking my sister with me later on in the summer and we both can’t wait to visit – a big thank you to Circular Cruises and Thames River Services for sending my prize, and congrats to the lovely Nicola who also won tickets – it was fate that we met each other on the Menorca trip too, don’t you think?!

And I’m currently en route to Tenerife!

 

tenerife

As if this month hasn’t been crazy enough I’m just about to leave for the airport to head off on my final trip for May. I’m going on a girly holiday to Tenerife with my sisters and am so excited just to chill out on the beach, lay by the pool and soak up some sunshine. The last few trips have been a bit hectic and I’ve taken my work away with me both times, so this week I’m looking forward to completely switching off and taking some time out. Hitting ‘out of office’ on your emails is the best feeling ever, right?! We’re staying right at the heart of the action in Playa de Las Americas so send your tips, tricks and blog posts my way please!

So there we have it, just a short update on the places I’ve visited this month! Given that all I’ve done is travel I haven’t got much other news to report but I’ll be in Tenerife for the next week and am then hoping for a quiet month in June to give me chance to catch up with everything and get my blog content back on track – please do bear with me as I have travel guides to Vienna, Sofia and Menorca to post and want to get them published as soon as physically possible. I’ll be back from Tenerife soon, but in the meantime you can follow my adventures over on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram! Was your month of May as busy as mine? What did you get up to? See y’all soon!

Love Jess X