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March Newsletter

 

 

 

Hi everyone,

I realise we are now almost two weeks in to April, and that March is well and truly OVER, but I haven’t yet had time to eat/sleep/breathe since I returned from my little European escape to Bratislava and Vienna which is why this post is seriously overdue! If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I’ve been a very busy bee lately, and if you don’t (why don’t you? Go follow go follow!) here’s my March round up in a bit more detail so you can see exactly what I’ve been up to over the past few weeks!

I popped down to London for a work event

 

Dinner with a view 😍🍴 #London #visitlondon #nationalportraitgallery

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Right at the start of the month I was invited to take part in a team-day in London with one of my clients who I work with as part of my freelance business. We met for breakfast at Café in the Crypt in St Martin in the Fields and then headed to The National Portrait Gallery to gaze at some of the wonderful artwork on display. After a little wander we popped up to the gallery’s exclusive restaurant and had a fantastic lunch with brilliant rooftop views over the iconic London skyline. Before it was time to catch my train back to Oxford I went for a little stroll past Trafalgar Square, down towards The Mall and Buckingham Palace and spent a lovely sunny afternoon playing tourist for the day!

I had my annual hospital check up

 

My hospital check ups are a big part of my life, not because I let my illness define me, but because I am constantly monitored and I want to see how I’m progressing, or deteriorating, and with each year that passes it’s sort of another milestone that I’ve reached. This year marked my sixth annual check up, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I was first diagnosed with my prolactinoma! I’m really pleased to say that I’ve been responding well to another year of the same medication (I stopped then re-started it last summer) and it seems as though the tumor is still shrinking – yay!

I still need more tests doing on my eyes so I have been referred back to the hospital in August for another mini check up, but my next full check up will be in another 12 months time, so March 2018. The Pituitary Foundation, the wonderful charity who have supported me with my diagnosis for the past six years, actually published my story on their website this month and it was really well received – have a read if you can spare five minutes out of your day, as hopefully it will help you to understand why I get so poorly and often can’t travel as much as I want to!

I’ve fully embraced Spring

 

 

 

I just love sunshine.  I love the warmth of the air, I love the blue of the sky, I love the feeling that summer is just around the corner, and that’s probably why I love spring so much! We’ve been really lucky to have had a few bright sunny days over here in the UK lately and it makes me appreciate where I live even more when I can get out for long dog walks in the countryside and spend some quality time in the great outdoors!

I spent Mothers Day at Wembley with my dad (sorry mum!)

 

 

This was a totally spontaneous, unplanned day trip that just so happened to fall on Mothers Day, ooops! My dad had been given a couple of free tickets to watch England’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley Stadium so we thought it would be rude not to make use of them! The sun was shining, the fans were out in force and it was a beautiful day for the beautiful game! It had been a good 12 years or so since my dad and I had last gone to Wembley together so, as we walked down the famous Wembley Way, we took a little trip down memory lane and reminisced about the last time we were there. We had a really lovely day out and I can’t wait to go back to Wembley again in the not too distant future!

I took a trip to Cotswold Wildlife Park (for the 1000th time)

 

What a beautiful day for a wander round #cotswoldwildlifepark in the sunshine ☀️☀️ #Cotswolds #oxfordshire #happysaturday

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I live literally 5 minutes from the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens, located just past the pretty town of Burford (where I went to school!) so I have been coming to this place since I was a newborn baby! Me and my sisters always try and visit when we can, even though one of them works there at the weekends! We chose a really lovely day (luckily) and spent all afternoon wandering around the park and gardens seeing the animals, taking our westie dog with us and enjoying ice cream in the sunshine. CWP is a fantastic place for a family day out and I never tire of it despite visiting every year since I was born!

I spent 2 days exploring Bratislava…

 

🌅🏰 We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill 🌅🏰

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March also saw me take some adventures a little further afield, and I was so ready for another city break by the time the end of the month came around! Me and Lucy had planned our mini Europe trip to Slovakia and Austria so flew to Bratislava for two nights to start off our adventure. Our only full day in the capital was spent walking over 16km, hiking up to the beautiful castle on the hill, climbing towers for spectacular panoramic views across the city, and learning all about the history of the city with a walking tour from Visit Bratislava, who we worked with during our trip. I’ll be writing up a full guide to Bratislava in the coming days, but I really really loved my time there and I can’t wait to show you all my pretty photos!

… and then hopped on a train to Vienna for two nights!

 

Ohhhhhh Viennaaaaaaa 🎼🎼

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As part of our mini Europe tour we jumped on a train from Bratislava to Vienna for two nights and spent some time exploring everything the Austrian capital had to offer. We arrived early in the city and had enough time to visit the famous palaces, opera houses, churches and the beautiful St Stephen’s Cathedral. We also wandered through some of the many green parks and spent an afternoon at one of the oldest amusement parks in the world! Working with the Vienna Tourist Board, we fitted in as much as we could during our short stay before heading back to Bratislava again to fly home. A city guide to Vienna will be published on the blog soon so keep an eye out for that, but Lucy and I had the BEST time on our mini Europe adventure!

So there we have it, my March has been crazy busy but I wouldn’t have had it any other way! I’ve already spent the first two weeks of April running around like a headless chicken, going on a spa day, taking my little dog for long walks in the countryside, and working every hour god sends to try and get more money for my upcoming travels! The rest of April is filled up too and my next trip will be London for three nights at the end of the month for Traverse 17 and I am SO EXCITED! How did your March go? Leave me a comment below – I hope you’ve been enjoying the warm sunny weather we’ve been having here in the UK…long may it continue!

Love Jess x

 

I'm just gonna keep posting pics from my #Bratislava trip cos I was there this time last week and I LOVE IT SO MUCH 🏰😍 @visitbratislava

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It's almost time for my next trip!

 Hey everyone!

So this is just a super quick blog post to say that I’m off on my next trip tomorrow and I am SO FRIKKIN EXCITED!! This is the first time I’ll be doing a city break without my sister, and will be travelling with my wonderful friend and fellow travel blogger Lucy instead! Lucy and I have known each other for just over a year now, we first met at Traverse 16 and then attended UK Blog Awards together, and have become firm friends and stayed in constant touch since then. I’m sure you’re already following her fab blog, but if you aren’t, head over to Faraway Lucy now to SUBSCRIBE!

 

 

Tomorrow Lucy and I will be meeting at Birmingham airport before jumping on a flight to Bratislava for two nights – we have no idea what to expect from this little known city (everyone I’ve spoke to has asked me where it is?! ITS SLOVAKIA PEOPLE!) but we’re looking forward to exploring as soon as we get there. We’ve heard the castle, old town square and the cute little churches are particular highlights, but send us your recommendations so we can plan!

 

Beautiful view of St. Martin's Cathedral |📷 @nastyadreamer | #thisisbratislava #visitbratislava #bratislava #slovakia

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On Thursday we’ll be saying goodbye to Bratislava and catching a train to the Austrian capital of Vienna where we’ll stay for a further two nights. The two of us have ALWAYS wanted to go to Vienna and are sooo excited to be hitting up the sights when we get there.  We’re really looking forward to checking out the opera houses, one of the many beautiful palaces, and we’ll also try and sneak in a cheeky visit to Prater Park, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world!

 

Beautiful photography by @v.for.vertigo #vienna_austria #austria #vienna

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We’ll also be working with the Vienna and Bratislava tourist boards during our trip, so watch out for special social media and blog posts coming soon! As always, you can follow my adventures on my social channels, which I’ll be updating wherever possible, so keep an eye out on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages over the next few days! So again, if you have any blog posts, inspo ideas or recommendations for either Bratislava or Vienna PLEASE send them over to me and Lucy, we can’t wait to plan our trips! See you on the other side!

Love Jess x

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February Newsletter

 

⛴⛴ #Liverpool #titanic #takemeback

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Hi everyone,

With January being a ridiculously long month I always forget that February is a super short month and therefore March comes around so so quickly! It only seems like yesterday since I wrote my January Newsletter, and my highlight of this month was my first overseas adventure of 2017 which was pretty amazing! Here’s what I’ve been up to over the past few weeks…

I started planning my European adventures

 

 

Now that January is out the way, February gave me a chance to really plan my adventures for 2017 and have a good think about where I want to go, and what I want to do. I’m still not entirely sure, and I’ve been mulling it over for weeks now, as you’ll know if you read one of my recent posts. I have however decided to book another trip and am sooo excited to announce that I’ll be heading to Bratislava and Vienna at the end of March with my lovely friend and fellow travel blogger Lucy from Faraway Lucy! We’re flying in to Bratislava, staying there for two nights and are then catching the train to Vienna for two nights before flying back from Bratislava to the UK on 1st April. We’re both super excited and can’t wait for our first adventure together… send us all your recommendations for Bratislava and Vienna please guys!

I was featured in IceLolly.com’s new campaign

 

 

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll notice that I recently posted a few throwback photos from some of my previous trips to Zakynthos and Paphos for a new campaign that holiday comparison site IceLolly were running throughout February. The campaign was called #IceLollyLoves and I posted a series of photos from destinations I completely fell in love with the first time I visited them, and I chose Zakynthos and Paphos, but focused on Paphos for the purpose of the article that IceLolly had put together. I really loved taking part in this campaign as it reminded me how much I love exploring beach destinations, something I haven’t done for the past three years whilst I have been city-breaking my way across the world! I’m off to Tenerife in May though and can’t wait for some proper sunshine and a full week of relaxation! You can read the article that IceLolly put together here – my contribution for Paphos is top of the list!

I took a social media detox

 

 

A couple of weeks ago I was feeling a little down after having a few bad days in a row. It may have been something to do with the fact that it was Valentines Day and I was feeling even more single and lonely than I usually do, but something in me was just feeling really unhappy and I knew I had to do something about it. So, on Valentines Day, I decided to take myself off social media completely for the whole day and just remove myself from what was becoming quite a toxic online environment. I don’t want to see what presents people have bought each other on the most commercialised day of the year. I spend my days browsing Facebook seeing that couples are getting engaged, moving in together and having babies, and I always wonder why it’s not me living those dreams, and why it’s always somebody else instead.

I know I’m not ready for those things yet, and I love travelling as much as I can and just enjoying myself, but deep down, I find it hard to accept that I haven’t quite got my life together yet. Anyway, I took myself off social media to try and remove any negativity and, you know what, it really helped. It just made me realise that looking at other peoples lives and comparing mine to theirs isn’t doing me any good at all, and it made me realise I just need to concentrate on what I have got, not what I haven’t got. Social media is a massive part of my job, and my blog, but I’ve decided to cut down on how much I use it in my personal life, and I think that’ll have a big impact upon the way I see things going forwards. I’ll be cutting down a lot over the next few weeks so I’ll report back in a couple of months time and update you then!

I went to Copenhagen for the weekend

 

Been in #Copenhagen for less than four hours and I'm already in love! This place is so beautiful 😍😍 #visitcopenhagen

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If you’re following me on social media you’ll know that I recently went on my first overseas trip to the Danish capital of Copenhagen and I had the most wonderful time! I travelled with my sister and we spent four days indulging in scrummy Danish pastries, people watching at the beautiful Nyhavn Harbour and exploring the stunning Christansborg Palace and Rosenborg Castle on foot. We wandered down the Stroget, the largest pedestrianized shopping street in Europe, climbed up the Round Tower for spectacular views of the city below and trekked along the waterfront to see the iconic Little Mermaid statue. We also found the time to cross the Oresund Bridge over to Sweden and had a day out at Malmo as well, ticking off another country along the way! We had a wonderful trip and I can’t wait to share my full guide with you soon… watch this space!

 

I reviewed another wonderful hotel in the Cotswolds 

 

Just another hotel review 🏨🏨🍾🍾 #standardmonday #luxlife #ionlygetoutofbedforchampagne

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Last night I was staying in the pretty Cotswolds town of Watlington where I had the pleasure of reviewing The Fat Fox Inn, a beautiful country pub with 9 en-suite rooms perfectly located between Oxford and the Chiltern Hills. I stayed with my best friend and number 1 travel companion Emily who comes with me on all of my review trips – it’s a hard life isn’t it! We had a lovely stay and enjoyed a fantastic dinner, a cosy night’s sleep and a scrummy breakfast before heading to Oxford today for a day of shopping and lunching. I’ll be posting a full review and blog post in a couple of week’s time, so watch this space…Thank you to The Fat Fox for having us!

So there we go, that’s how my February turned out! Did you have a good month? Let me know what you got up to – it would be great to hear from you!

Love Jess x

 

Watch and you'll see, someday I'll be part of your world 🐚🐚 #Copenhagen #thelittlemermaid #ifoundariel

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Why I'm not sure how my 2017 will turn out…

Back in my happy place 🌊🐬 #Cornwall #lovecornwall #stives #swisbest #GB #UK #visitengland #visitbritain #lovegreatbritain

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Hi everyone,

So I’ve had a weird few days this week, and I just wanted to share something with you… I’ve got this thing in my little brain telling me to book trips, get out there and see as much of this world as possible, as quickly as I can. I don’t know what it is, but I desperately want to travel more than I ever have done before this year, and I want to see it ALL! I want to inter-rail across Europe, I want to road trip across America (again) and I want to travel around Australia. Yes I know that seems like an awful lot of places to go in the space of 12 months, but I just want to jet off and explore as much as I can…

I know I have this constant need to tick off countries, and cities, and my 25:25 challenge is probably to blame for that(!!) but this month I’m feeling the wanderlust more than ever and I just can’t understand why. I’m not complaining, I don’t think I could ever get bored of browsing Skyscanner for their cheapest flights to anywhere, or scrolling through Secret Escapes’ latest newsletter when it lands in my inbox each week. I won’t ever tire of booking those flights, searching for the perfect hotel room and finalising all my travel plans, but I guess I’m just itching to explore all of these places, and I want to see them all NOW! I had my birthday last month and I got sooo many travel related pressies that it made me more determined than ever to up my travel game for 2017.

 

 

Maybe it’s because I don’t know what I’m doing with my life this year. I’m toying with the idea of doing Camp America (or something similar) for a few months this summer, but I’m also considering doing some resort work abroad, or potentially a placement at Disneyland Paris if I get accepted. I have all these ideas floating around in my head but I just don’t know what to do for the best. Half of me wants to live and work abroad for a few months, just to see what it’s like, but the other half of me wants to continue to base myself at home and travel little and often instead. Do I bite the bullet and go and live in America, or do I stay here and book lots of short city breaks and then just jet off every few weeks? I’ve spoken to my family and friends about it but they’ve just told me that only I can make that decision, it’s just so damn hard!

My travel plans for 2017 are well underway and I’ve already got four trips in place for the first part of the year, with Copenhagen, Bratislava, Vienna and Tenerife firmly booked in! I’m so excited to be going to so many new wonderful places, all for the first time, and I’m genuinely looking forward to visiting each and every one of them. I’ve loosely planned an itinerary for exploring Europe this year, and it includes popping over to Slovenia, Croatia, Switzerland, Poland, Germany and Holland to name but a few! Some people have told me I’m trying to do too much too soon, but I’m young and I can afford it so why the hell not! My main goal though is to visit Australia for a month in January 2018 to celebrate my 25th birthday, and I’m aware that I have to save soooo much money if I’m going to be able to afford it, so some of my European dreams may have to wait until after this (boooo).

 

 

I did speak to my lovely nan on the phone the other day though and she told me to enjoy myself, take time on my travels and explore destinations properly so that I could appreciate it fully. She also told me that I’m never too old to travel, and I can keep on going for as long as I want! My nan and granddad didn’t start travelling until they were in their 40s, and they’ve been to hundreds of places so I know I will continue to travel for as long as I live, but I just can’t help feeling that I want to do it all now! It’s not that I want to get it out the way, I just want to get the big trips out my system so I can then look at getting myself a proper career next year when I come back from Australia.

I think I’m just a little confused about what I want at the moment, and where my life is going. I’m currently working two jobs, trying to save as much as possible, whilst balancing my home life, social life and my health. All my friends are in relationships, they have a partner to share their trips with, some of them are married/engaged and have babies or are expecting, and I’m just over here on my own trying to make my life the best it can be.

 

Don't look back… You're not going that way! ✈️🌎 #Venice #Italy #Venezia #wanderlustwednesday #noregrets

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It’s hard, and I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I wish I had a partner to share things with, to snuggle up to on a Sunday night or to explore the world with one step at a time, but it’s ok, I have myself, I know I’m strong and independent, and I have my amazing friends and family and for that I am so grateful! I’m not trying to turn this post into a rant or a moan, I just feel so overwhelmed with my constant desire to travel at the moment so I’m trying to channel my energy and have things to look forward to whilst trying to cure this ever increasing wanderlust!

Have you ever felt the need to travel constantly? Are you not sure where your life is going at the moment? If you’re in the same boat as me PLEASE let me know – let’s talk about it and try and make ourselves feel better – after all, sharing is caring!

Love Jess x

 

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January Newsletter

 

So the first month of 2017 is officially OVER! Is it just me or did January seem to be a really longggggg month?! I’m not complaining, I love it when the month seems long, five weeks is quite a long time and I hate it when time goes too quick. January is one of my favourite months of the year, not just because a new year brings new beginnings, but also because it’s my birthday month too and I love any excuse for a celebration! Here’s what I got up to in January…

 

I started 2017 off the right way by being on holiday in Cornwall

 

First day of 2017 spent at the beach with my sisters 💖 #family #love #Cornwall #stives #happynewyear

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Starting as I mean to go on… spending the first day of 2017 on the beach was amazing and I think it’s a good omen of things to come this year! Hopefully the next time I’m at the beach it won’t be quite as cold as the one down in Cornwall, but I loved being by the ocean and feeling the wind in my hair. We had such a brilliant time celebrating new years eve down in Cornwall and spending the first couple of days of 2017 there was really special too.

 

I popped to London for a little day trip

 

 

A couple of days after I got back from Cornwall I hopped on the coach to London for the day for a bit of post Christmas shopping. I was meeting my lovely friend Amy who was over from Australia, I met her on my Contiki tour last summer and we have remained firm friends ever since! We had a lovely day shopping, lunching and sightseeing and London was looking beautiful in the cold, frosty weather – I already can’t wait to go back in a couple of months!

 

I got myself a part time job

 

So if you read my New Years Resolutions post you’ll know that one of my aims for this year was to get a part time job and, guess what, I got it in the first week of Jan! It’s only a few hours a week at a local retail store, but I have the option to take on overtime and they’re really flexible so I can work as little or as much as I want as well as running it alongside my freelance business! I’m really pleased to have got the opportunity to start earning a bit of extra cash as well as making new friends and gaining new skills.

I celebrated my 24th birthday

 

 

I love having my birthday in January as it gives me something to look forward to just after Christmas! I always make a big deal out of celebrating my birthday every single year, no matter how old I am, and this year was no exception. A few days before my birthday I had gone out for drinks in town and I went out to Oxford a few days afterwards as well to celebrate properly. On the day itself I had a wonderful day spending time with two of my closest friends, I had lunch with Kath and cake with Tiff (and cuddles with baby Esmee!) before having dinner and quiz night with two of my other besties, Steph and Kirsty. Thanks girls for making my day so amazing <3

 

I ran a Twitter poll to let YOU decide my next adventure!

And we have a winner! See you soon Copenhagen 🌎✈️ #travel #twitterpoll #citybreak #nextdestination

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So this is something I had never done before and was a little nervous about but, when I couldn’t decide where to travel to for my next winter city break destination, I decided to run a Twitter poll and let my followers choose my next holiday! I’d narrowed it down to Copenhagen, Riga, Vienna and Tallinn and had been thinking it over for days but couldn’t decide between them all, so that’s where you lot came in! My poll proved quite popular and got lots of people talking and, in the end, Copenhagen came out on top so that’s where I’m off to next! Thank you to everyone who voted and made me decision for me, can’t wait to share my trip with you!

I firmed up some of my upcoming travel plans

 

 

After Copenhagen was chosen by you as my next city break destination I thought I ought to get booking and firm up my trip before I missed out on all the deals. January seems to be a really good month for booking travel plans, especially if you’re looking for cheap flights, and I snapped up a bargain with return flights from London Luton to Copenhagen for just £50pp. I also booked a holiday to Tenerife with my sisters and will be staying in Playa de las Americas for a whole week at the end of May – I am SO excited for some sun and a proper beach as this will be my first beach holiday in three years! These are the only two trips I have confirmed as of yet for this year, but we are still only in January and I have plenty more adventures lined up so watch this space…

I was really poorly

 

 

Sadly it hasn’t all been fun and games for me this month after I spent all of last week suffering from a horrible virus. I was sent home early from my shift at my part time job as had been feeling really dizzy all day; I had a bad headache, was experiencing terrible back pain and could barely stand up! I went straight to sleep for a few hours when I got home only to wake up feeling boiling hot and then subsequently started vomiting for 5 hours straight! I HATE being sick so this was my worst nightmare and it really took it out of me. My temperature was hitting over 38.5 degrees, I had a raging throat and I was waking up with horrendous night sweats. I didn’t leave my bed or eat anything for days and it took me ages to get over it but on day 6 I finally started to feel a little better and I’m now back to my normal self.

 

I spent the weekend in Liverpool celebrating my sisters 18th birthday

 

Because family is everything 💖 Happy 18th Soph! 💖 #Liverpool #family #birthday #love

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On a better note I have just returned from spending the weekend in Liverpool with my amazing family celebrating my sisters birthday – I can’t believe she’s 18! We had the best time seeing lots of family and enjoying each other’s company before having a big sit down meal at the Stanley Restaurant on the Albert Dock, part of the Titanic hotel complex. Liverpool is one of my favourite cities and I always love spending time there, particularly because I get to see all of my family too!

 

So that’s how my month went, and now I’m looking forward to February and my first European adventure of 2017 which will take me to Copenhagen! How did your January turn out? Let me know what you’ve been up to!

Love Jess x

 

Birthday night out #2 🎉💃 #oxford #Saturdaynight #letsgooooo

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