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#bloggersfestival – event round up!

Hi everyone,

So last weekend I was lucky enough to snap up a ticket for the annual #bloggersfestival held at the luxury Conrad St James Hotel in Westminster by London lifestyle blogger Scarlett Dixon, in association with Scarlett London events. Although back for a third year running, this was my first time to the festival and I couldn’t wait to attend and to meet some new blogger friends! Here’s how I got on…

The arrival

Best backdrop ever 🌸🌸 #bloggersfestival @scarlettlondon #flowerwall

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I think the arrival was possibly the best thing I’ve ever walked into. Like, there was a flower wall. An ACTUAL, real life wall, made of flowers. Think Kim K. Think luxe fashonista and you’re there. I fell in love with this wall – a fair few photos (mainly selfies) were taken and I literally could have stayed there all day, I just wish I dressed up a bit more so I could have taken a more flattering photo!

 

The stalls & sponsors

The set up for #bloggersfestival was looking good last week! Thanks @scarlettlondon @conradlondonsj for an amazing event! #fbf #london

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The stalls at this event were quite heavily beauty and fashion focused, from the likes of Jewellery Box & Beverly Hills Formula to Exuviance and Heaven Skincare, so I felt like there wasn’t really much on offer in the way of travel. I would have liked to have seen a popup stall from a tour operator or even a luggage supplier, but I guess we’re all human and we all have skin/hair/beauty needs so it wasn’t completely irrelevant to my jetsetting lifestyle!

 

The competitions

Hoping to win these beauties from @gosendgo ! Having a fab day at #bloggersfestival @scarlettlondon

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There were a number of competitions that were being ran from selected stalls throughout the course of the day. Some were offering the chance to win big prizes, such as a Michael Kors watch and a £250 US gift bag, whilst others were running ones with smaller prizes. I entered pretty much all of them, via social media of course, but didn’t win a thing – boooo! I suppose it’s the taking part that counts though, and my Twitter/Insta was going crazy with notifications throughout the day.

The goody bags

 

Possibly my favourite thing about the festival was the endless amount of FREEBIES that were on offer throughout the day. I’m not one to go and grab free stuff, sometimes I feel cheeky and that I should pay for things where necessary, but I literally didn’t put my hand in my purse all day as everything was totally free! We were greeted with drinks and pick n mix upon arrival, then different goodies were thrust into our hands (or arms) whilst making our way around the stalls. I picked up everything from face masks and hair oils to phone charging devices, chocolates and make up. It’s safe to say that getting back on the Oxford Tube whilst carrying three bags, my handbag, jacket and umbrella was a bit of a challenge, but a fun one none the less! A big THANKYOU to all the lovely sponsors for the gifts and treats that I picked up during the day.

The goodbyes

Best day at #bloggersfestival with @scarlettlondon @katevictoriaphotography @girlgoesto @footstepsontheglobe

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Loved meeting these girls at last weekends #bloggersfestival @conradlondonsj in #London with @scarlettlondon 💖🎉 #fbf

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I spent the day with the lovely Kate from Kate Victoria Photography, we met up in Westminster just beforehand, once we’d found each other under Big Ben’s shadow and fought our way past hundreds of tourists! When we were at the hotel we met up with Mel from Footsteps on the Globe and Becky from Girl Goes To and we all had a lovely time devouring cupcakes and comparing freebies. Thanks for the company girls – see you at the next event!

So there we have it, my round up of my first ever #bloggersfestival experience. Did you go to the festival too? What did you think? I already can’t wait for the 2017 event – big thank you to Scarlett for putting together a fantastic afternoon!

Love Jess x

#fbf to when me and @katevictoriaphotography made the Twitter wall at last weeks #bloggersfestival 🙋🎉 @scarlettlondon

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My first travel conference: Traverse16

 

So I’m just back from my first EVER travel conference, and what a weekend I had! Traverse 16 was held in the lively Welsh capital of Cardiff this year and the city stadium made for a fantastic venue. I was super impressed by Traverse; they were welcoming, friendly and the whole atmosphere was relaxed and informal yet completely informative and helpful – I learnt SO much! Here are my top highlights from a fun filled weekend…

 

I met so many new people & have made some wonderful friends

We've arrived at the #traverse networking party! Hellooo free food and drinks 🎉🎉 @lucyronan

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So I have known the beautiful Lucy Ronan from Faraway Lucy for the past few months now – we are both shortlisted as finalists in the UK Blog Awards – and we decided we would FINALLY meet by attending Traverse together for our first ever networking conference. Naturally we were both a little nervous but it actually really helped that we were together and I think we boosted each others confidence by sharing ideas and discussing everything we had learnt from our differing workshops.

I also met the lovely Sabina Trojanova, Emma Hart & Sophie Davis from Girl vs Globe,  Paper Planes and Caramel Waffles and Sophie’s Suitcase respectively – we finally met girls!! – and it was lovely to put faces to names as we have been in touch with each other in the virtual blogosphere for so long.

 

I attended workshops with industry professionals and expert bloggers

So many reasons to visit #cardiff 📷🇬🇧@visitwales @traverseevents #traverse16 #findyourepic

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I took part in three workshops and two one-to-one sessions during my days conference – I had such a jam packed day but I loved every second! I also took the opportunity to speak with the sponsors who were showcasing their brands and I met some really interesting people. My favourite workshop was ‘How to take the Leap into Fulltime Blogging’ with Monica Stott of The Travel Hack– this was incredibly helpful and I was full of admiration for Monica after seeing first hand how she has turned her hobby into a career.

 

I also attended a writing workshop with Abi King of Inside the Travel Lab and a photography workshop with Kim Leuenberger – both talks were fantastic and I came away with so many ideas and so much inspo. Before the day was out I was lucky enough to book two 1-1’s with Skyscanner’s Tika Larasati and Julie Falconer of A Lady in London – thanks for the advice ladies!

I entered some competitions

Because who doesn't love dressing up stupid to try win a free trip ✈👓 oh hey @icelollyholiday @traverseevents #traverse16 #findyourepic

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And here's another one.. This time for @expedia ✈🏊 @traverseevents #traverse16 #findyourepic @visitwales

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Who doesn’t love a good competition, especially when there are travel prizes and free trips up for grabs?! I entered four different competitions during my day at Traverse, two included dressing up silly for Expedia & Icelolly to win free trips/credit towards a bookings (see above – I had so much fun) the other was a treasure hunt with ILOVENYPR searching for US themed clues to win (yep, you guessed it, a trip to NYC) and the last one was a Twitter comp with Surprise Trips – guess the ‘surprise’ European city and win a free trip! I had so much fun entering the competitions and chatting to the lovely sponsors throughout the day and I know so many others did too – unfortunately I wasn’t a winner but it’s the taking part that counts, right?!

I bagged tonnes of cheeky freebies

Oh hey freebies.. who knew I could pick up so much free stuff at a travel conference?! Thanks @traverseevents 🙋👜 #traverse16

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This was a MAJOR highlight for me.. who knew there could be so many freebies up for grabs at one of these events?! As I walked through the door at home my mum was quite literally astonished as to how much I’d brought home – I left the house with one bag and came back with FOUR! Amongst my fabulous freebies was a lovely Expedia towel (and pen and paper clamp), a Traverse business card holder, a Skyscanner hoodie, a cute little monkey from Cathay Pacific and goody bags from Visit Wales and Wye Valley. Thanks folks, love all my new blags!

I networked the hell outta there

https://www.instagram.com/p/BEBJWZwNPuf/?taken-by=jessica16_x

 

 

As this was my first conference, the act of ‘networking’ was something totally new to me but I think I took it in my stride and seemed to do ok! Effectively, networking is just chatting with like minded people and making contacts; I was just happy to get my name out there and meet as many people as possible, plus I love a good chat- who doesn’t?!

I set fire to a table (I’m not even lying)

 

Lol. I know what you’re thinking; who even sets fire to a TABLE?! Well folks, it did happen – and I think Lucy and I wanted the ground to just swallow us up there and then. I have never been SO EMBARRASED and I’ve done a lot of crazy things in my time! I’m sure I don’t need to give you all the explosive deets (see what I did there ;)) but basically there was a waffle in a waffle box (obvs) and a candle and a table..and then there was a flame and a pint of water and Lucy got soaked… you get the gist.. nothing in my life has ever compared to how mortified I was on that Friday night! Talk about making a good first impression… #ooopppsss

So as you can probably tell I had a whale of a time at my first ever travel blogging conference and cannot WAIT until the next one! A big thank you to everyone at Traverse who made my first experience so worthwhile, especially Lucy & Ollie who were both hilarious and soo friendly and welcoming <3

Until next time Traverse!

 

Yesterday's beaut of a venue for @traverseevents… It's a good job I'm a football fan ⚽⚽ #traverse16

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24 Hours in Brighton!

 

Hi everyone,

So this weekend I returned from a super short stay in one of the most lively cities in the UK – and what a blast it was! Brighton is a trendy seaside resort brimming with quirky cafes, bars and restaurants as well as a multitude of high street and designer stores. You’ll also find Britain’s answer to the Taj Mahal, a similar looking London Eye and one of the best piers in the country! On a time limit and wanting to explore as much of the city as possible? Read on for my guide to exploring Brighton in 24 hours…

Where to Stay

 

Brighton has a huge range of  hotels from grand buildings with glorious sea views to small, tucked away hostels and B&B’s for those on a budget. The Hilton and Mercure are particularly impressive with a prime sea front location whilst the Travelodge in the centre of the city offers good value for money.

 

I actually stayed at my friends house in Littlehampton, around a 40 min drive from Brighton, but if I returned I’d love to stay at one of the central hotels so I could be in the heart of the action (and avoid the taxi ride home at silly o’clock in the morning!)

 

What to See

 

There’s LOADS to see and do in Brighton, least of all Britain’s answer to India’s iconic Taj Mahal! The Royal Pavilion is a beautiful building right in the centre of the city and is perhaps Brighton’s most visited tourist attraction.

 

 

 

There’s also the world famous pier with its dazzling lights and candyfloss stalls, the pier that got burnt down twice (it’s still half standing in the sea!) and a decent sized Ferris Wheel offering views of the sea and surrounding city.

 

In addition, you’ll find a Sealife Centre, Museum & Art Gallery and Theatre Royal as well as the pretty marina.

Where to Shop

 

 

Brighton is brimming with high street and designer stores as well as quirky, independent and locally owned shops offering handmade goods and quality clothing. Head down to Churchill Square for world renowned stores all under one roof- perfect on a rainy day!

Alternatively, Brighton is also well known for its kooky shopping streets, The Lanes, where you’ll find cafe’s, patisseries, craft shops, record stores and clothes shops aplenty.

https://www.instagram.com/p/_AEsWkHKdI/?tagged=thelanesbrighton

Where to Eat

As it’s such a huge city, Brighton has no end of foodie places on offer from well known chain restaurants including Bills and Bella Italia to locally owned independent Indian restaurants and fish and chip shops!

New #coconut colada made with #Venezuelan #rum – #latin #Wednesday in #brighton

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Head down to the seafront where you’ll find an abundance of high end restaurants and luxury eateries including the fantastic Salt Room serving meat and fish specifically.

Where to Drink

Brighton is well known for having a colourful nightlife with its its array of lively bars, clubs and pubs it’s certainly an eventful night out! Big clubs in the city include Pryzm and Vodka Revs with well known pubs including Wetherspoons and Walkabout also making an appearance.

Brighton ready 👯🍸 #brighton #drinks #nightout

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So there you have it, my complete travel guide to a city break in Brighton! Hope you’ve enjoyed the read – stay tuned for my February Newsletter coming up next!

Love Jess x

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Britain's Most Romantic Getaways

Hi everyone,

For all you lovers out there you’ll be well aware that it’s coming up to the highly anticipated Valentines Day this Sunday! If however you’re single like me, you’ll just be excited for the half price chocolate that’ll be on offer in stores the next day 😉

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In all seriousness though, whether you’re attached or not, Valentine’s is a great excuse to escape for a little weekend away. I’ve put together some inspo from all corners of the UK and thought I’d share seven of my FAVOURITE destinations for that all important romantic getaway…

Bath

Oh beautiful Bath, where to begin?! Located on the banks of the River Avon, this Roman World Heritage city is one of the most visited in the UK and is truly something special. For an unforgettable romantic experience head to the Thermae Bath Spa for a series of treatments and bathe in naturally warm mineral waters whilst enjoying incredible panoramic views across the entire city. Bath Abbey is also a sight not to be missed, especially when it’s all lit up at night!

Oxford

Ok, so I know I’m biased as I just happened to be born here, but Oxford really is one of the most beautiful cities in the world! From the cobbled little side streets to the iconic university buildings and the bustling covered market, Oxford has it all. Go punting along the River Thames, enjoy afternoon tea in a posh hotel or explore some of the world famous Harry Potter film locations; with so much to see and do in Oxford you’ll never be bored during your romantic getaway!

York

Like Oxford, the ancient city of York is bursting with hidden cobbled streets and cute little cafes and shops just waiting to be discovered! Aside from shopping and enjoying some of the many eateries on offer why not take a step over to the dark side and explore the fantastic York Dungeons or take a ghost walk around the city? You’ll be sure to cling to each other as you tour the beautiful Minster and learn all about York’s varied history from its Roman, Viking and Medieval times!

Edinburgh

This Scottish capital is on my wanderlust wishlist and is somewhere I’m just dying to visit. Edinburgh has so much to see and do and is one of the prettiest places in Britain with an added touch of romance. Visit the stunning Edinburgh Castle, head to the local zoo (home to the UK’s only koala bears!), catch a show at the Royal Lyceum Theatre or hit Princes Street for some serious shopping. With so much to see and do you’ll be sure to have a fantastic time – don’t forget to wrap up warm though as the Scottish winds make for some sub-zero temperatures!

The Lake District

Late afternoon in the Lake District in northern England. 👍🏼

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The Lake District is England’s largest national park home to almost 3000 square kilometers of rolling countryside, beautiful mountains and yep you guessed it, an endless amount of lakes. Take a boat cruise along Lake Windermere, explore the market towns of Keswick and Kendal or enjoy some traditional English food in one of the many old pubs and inns dotted about the region whilst admiring the stunning scenery. For those of you who are a little more adventurous why not get in your sports gear and attempt to climb some mountains? You know you want to…

The Cotswolds

So I’m biased AGAIN (hey, I’m allowed to be😝) but for a quintessentially romantic countryside break you just can’t beat a stay in the beautiful Cotswolds! I’m lucky enough to have been brought up here and I do take it for granted, but there’s so many places that I’m STILL exploring even now! Head over to Bibury, Burford or Bourton on the Water for cute little days out; you’ll find shops, cafes and restaurants aplenty all set in the prettiest of locations. For somewhere less touristy try Broadway or Chipping Campden which are equally as beautiful!

London

How could I NOT include our very own capital city in this special wanderlust list?! Although somewhat commercialised and highly expensive, there’s just something about London that sees people returning time and time again, especially when there’s a special occasion to celebrate! For something romantic I’d recommend taking a dinner cruise across the River Thames or hopping on the London Eye for unparalleled views across the city. If extravagance isn’t your thing grab dinner in Soho or catch a theatre show in the West End.. the options are unlimited in London and you’ll be spoilt for choice during your romantic stay!

So there you have it, that’s my pick of the most romantic getaways in the UK! Where else would you include in yours? Have you been to many of these places before? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

💜Happy Valentine’s Day you beautiful people!!💜

Love Jess x

NB. Thanks to Quiet Achiever, Love Great Britain & World Places for the Instagram inspo in addition to my own pics!

Vimto Fusion Festival 2015 – August Bank Holiday Weekend!

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Hi everyone,

So during the last August bank holiday I attended a huge music festival with my younger sisters in Birmingham’s Cofton Park. The event has been running at the venue for the past three years and hosts Capital FM had promised that this year’s festival would be the biggest yet and they certainly didn’t disappoint! With huge headline acts over the three day weekend, including Ed Sheeran, Rudimental and McBusted, Vimto Fusion Festival was one of the highlights of the 2015 music calendar so far.

wpid-Photo-20150324183845035 Image courtesy of Google Images

We visited on the Sunday, 30th August, to see supergroup McBusted as the headliners along with a host of other stars including British pop princess Jess Glynne, US rocker Adam Lambert, hit boybands The Vamps and Union J and teen heartthrob Conor Maynard to name but a few. We arrived at the festival shortly before the gates opened at midday so didn’t spend much time queuing. Our transport was courtesy of a brilliant Fusion package put together by the festival in conjunction with National Express. Our ticket price was £79pp including entry to the festival and a return coach journey from Cheltenham which worked out brilliantly as the coach stop was virtually opposite Cofton Park. The event was very well organised with each act on stage at an allotted time and intervals in between each one so there was plenty of time for toilet, food and drinks breaks which was essential!!

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The layout of the festival was brilliant, the site was enormous and there were plenty of food and drink outlets offering almost every type of food you could think of; from pizza to pancakes and curries to candyfloss there really was something for everyone! There were a couple of bars on site and drinks prices were about what you would expect to pay at a pop up event but there were also free wine samples being handed out which me and my middle sister took advantage of… much to the dismay of our disapproving 16 year old sibling!

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As well as food and drink outlets there were also a range of pop up shops selling sweets, confectionary and typical festival items including flowery headdresses, glow in the dark boppers and, of course, the trusty pac a mac’s and ponchos that have been seen everywhere during this rainy summer! Although it did rain most of the day, it was warm and humid and was lovely when the sun was out! The umbrellas and wellies were out in full force though and this added to the festival vibe that was present throughout the event- think Glastonbury but without the tents and communal showers!

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As the event was sponsored by Vimto and Capital FM, there were free goodies being handed out throughout the day along with various competitions and prizes up for grabs. Vimto staff members were handing out as many free drinks bottles as you could manage, whilst Capital FM were giving away free ponchos (extremely useful as mentioned above!!) and were mingling with the crowds taking professional photos for their online social media gallery. Huge loudspeakers blasted out the latest chart tunes across the park whilst the entertaining Dance Cam was on hand to capture the audience singing and dancing along to the music before projecting their beaming smiles on the large screens on stage. There was also a large bouncy castle and a fairground for the kids (and adults) which was a great way of passing the time before the show started at 2pm.

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We had been sitting on our coats up on a hill a short distance away from the stage and were getting up and dancing along with fellow crowd members before we walked down towards the stage to get our spots prior to the larger acts being introduced. Blankets and coats were allowed but deck chairs were forbidden so be mindful of this if you are hoping to set up for the day! Capital FM DJ Christian Williams did a warm up to the concert shortly before 2pm, playing new music and chart hits to get the party started before fellow DJ act Gorgon City opened the show. They were followed by teen sensation Conor Maynard and Youtubers Alexa Goddard and Karen Harding along with new Irish boyband Hometown before the bigger acts appeared on stage from around 5.30pm until 9pm.  Union J and The Vamps both played brilliant sets and really got the crowds going – there were hundreds of screaming girls everywhere we looked! Adam Lambert was brilliant and Jess Glynne was incredible, both of their voices sounded amazing with the live music!

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Finally, just after 9pm, headliners McBusted graced the stage and kicked off their show with hit song Air Guitar. They sounded brilliant together and it was easy to see why the newly formed super group had been such a hit with audiences. They proceeded to delight the crowds with Busted classics including You Said No, Crashed The Wedding and Thunderbirds Are Go along with McFly chart toppers Five Colours In Her Hair, Obviously and All About You. The set was brilliant and I have never danced so much in my life! I saw McBusted in July when I went to their outdoor Concert at Westonbirt Arboretum so the set was virtually the same, but seeing my sisters faces light up when all our childhood classics were played was an amazing moment and made for a fantastic concert. McBusted bowed out to the hugely popular Year 3000 which we were singing all the way back to the coach and was a perfect ending to the show.

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For our first experience at Fusion we all had a wonderful time and categorically agreed that we would all be back next year without doubt! The festival was great for adults, kids, groups and families alike and there was something on offer for everyone. A big thank you to all the organisers and the brilliant acts for putting on such a fantastic concert, we will certainly be back!

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Have you ever been to a music festival before? How did you find it, and was it worth being out in the rain all day?! I’d love to hear your experiences!

Love Jess x