My 2015 travel wish list!

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Hi everyone,

So I’m jetting off to Prague for a few days at the end of February and I’ve been thinking about where I’d like to go this year, and what trips I’m planning on booking up over the next few months!

I’m big on city breaks at the moment and I think that’s going to be the focus of my upcoming trips, I’d much rather fit in lots of small mini breaks as opposed to a long two week beach holiday. I’ve done the whole beach thing so many times before and it does get boring so I’m looking forward to being a bit more adventurous this year! As I’ve mentioned, Prague is already booked up but here’s a few more trips I’m planning on adding to the pipeline:

– London day out and concert – March

– Liverpool weekend away – April

– New forest weekend away – May

–  Cornwall family holiday – July

– Amsterdam city break – September

– Bruges Christmas markets – December

If I can pull off all my plans for this year I’ll be extremely happy, I’m saving very hard at the moment to plan my summer in America for next year so don’t have an awful lot of money to play with, but I’m aiming to go on most if not all of my planned trips.

I may also have opportunities to attend a couple of travel conferences this year, including TBEX in Spain and Traverse in London. I would be delighted to attend these conferences and gain the opportunity to network and start growing my blog. I’ve made contact with a few other fellow bloggers via the power of social media so can’t wait to get to know them and meet them properly at these events!

Next post will be February’s Throwback Thursday feature so please keep reading and have a lovely weekend!

Love Jess x

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The day I became a tourist in my home city: Oxford!

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Hi everyone,

So last weekend I was in my beautiful home city of Oxford doing a bit of Saturday shopping and had a few spare hours to kill whilst waiting for a friend. I wondered whether I should wander aimlessly round the shops trying on dresses that I couldn’t afford, or whether I should do something more useful and get some cool photos for a brand new blog post and so, naturally, I chose the latter option! Firstly I headed in search of the famous Radcliffe Camera which is one of the must-see sights if you are visiting Oxford. After a short stroll off the high street and past Trinity College I came to the Bodleian Library and was in awe of the incredible architecture of this beautiful building.

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The Bodleian Library was home to The Hogwarts Infirmary in the blockbuster Harry Potter film series, and there were Harry Potter tours being carried out while I was there that I was trying to ear wig on! The surroundings really are stunning, so it’s hard not to see why it was chosen as a location for one of the country’s biggest films. IMG_30579857334588IMG_30572826134741 IMG_30618858017206

Next I found myself on Magdalen Street walking past the famous five star Randolph Hotel; what I would give to spend a night of luxury there! Directly opposite The Randolph is the beautiful Ashmolean Museum which is one of my favourite attractions in Oxford. Having been on plenty of school trips here when I was younger I know they it’s home to some of the best historical artefacts in the world . Entry is free so make the most of it and while away a few hours in this incredible building when your visiting.

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Finally I strolled back up towards the high street and past the Carfax Tower before catching up with my friend and going for dinner on the way home. We headed to Jacobs Inn, Wolvercote which I’d heard great things about and couldn’t wait to try for myself! I had the chicken pie and my friend opted for a burger – the food was great and the atmosphere was lovely, a spacious nut warm and welcoming pub right on the river Thames. We couldn’t have picked a better spot to enjoy some early evening dinner! You can read my review on Jacobs Inn here: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g186361-d4606454-r253493733-Jacobs_Inn-Oxford_Oxfordshire_England.html#REVIEWS

I had a wonderful day being a tourist in my home city and can honestly say it’s been one of the most refreshing things I’ve done in a long time. It just goes to show that sometimes you don’t need to travel far to have a great day out.. things can be on your doorstep and, of course, life is what you make it! So next time your on your daily commute or are visiting somewhere you’ve been 100 times before just stop and spend a few minutes pretending that this is your first visit and see where your travel instinct takes you!

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Love Jess x

NEW YEAR NEWS!

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Hey everyone,

As it’s a new year I thought I would change a few things on my blog but also bring you a round up of stats that I’ve collected over the past 8 months. Since my blog began back in May 2014 I’ve gained new followers, enjoyed a large social media presence and have continued to build it as much as I can in order to share my adventures with you all.

As a breakdown, my followers on each of my social media sites are as follows:

WordPress – 62 followers/ over 2000 hits

Facebook – 68 Likes

Twitter – 816 followers

Instagram – 161 followers (not bad considering I’ve only had it for two weeks!)

LinkedIn – 222 connections

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As you can see, I have quite a large social media following across the board which I am very grateful for but am keen to grow as much as possible in order to increase my audience. Some interesting stats and information on hits to my blog were detailed in my WordPress Review of 2014 which you can of course read separately!

On the more visual side of things I’ve been wanting to get to grips with changing the layout and design on my blog for a while now as I feel this is quite limited and doesn’t allow as much freedom as I’d like. I’ve opted to edit the theme, homepage and navigation tabs on my site and, although I’ve only made a few basic changes, I’m hoping this will make my blog look a little more appealing and will read better on screen whether it be via a standard desktop computer, or a sleek mobile site.

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The main alteration I’ve made is to have a front page section with a navigation panel on the left hand side so my readers can choose which posts they want to read, rather than scroll through them all from the most recent to the oldest. I’m hoping this presents my blog much more clearly and allows room for my About page to be viewed first before any other posts are read. I’ve also included my contact details on the front page which makes it even easier to get in touch so if you have any questions, comments or feedback to pass on to me then I’d love to hear from you!

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The great debate on my mind at the moment is whether I should continue using my current WordPress blog that provides me with a service free of charge, or whether I should take the plunge and switch to a self hosted site with more flexibility to create exactly what I want without any limitations. I’ve seen a few other travel bloggers ask the same question and also followed the thread closely to see what the general response is. As far as my initial research goes, most of my fellow bloggers advise paying for a self hosted website to allow the degree of flexibility to heighten as much as I want, but I am unsure of taking this step for a number of reasons…

Firstly, as much as I love my blog, I am yet to start making money from it as a business and very much think of it still as just a hobby as I’m only in the early stages of it’s creation. As I’m not generating any income from my blog I therefore don’t have any expenditure, so am reluctant to spend money on websites and themes if I’m not getting anything back other than a pretty display. Obviously appearance and professionalism is important to me, but my writing style is where my skills lie and is unique to my blog so therefore I can write in whatever format I like as long as people are continuing to read that’s the most important factor! Secondly, I’ve built up quite a large number of hits/followers/likes on my WordPress account and really don’t want to lose these if i switch over to a different site! I love interacting with fellow WordPress bloggers and enjoy the ease of the site, along with the basic features that an IT novice like me can deal with!

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If you have any comments on any aspect of this post or would like to pass on any feedback please please do get in touch. I’d also love to hear any suggestions or opinions on the debate that’s at the forefront of my mind at the moment, so whether you vote WordPress or self hosted I’d love to hear your thoughts!

In another news, it’s actually my 22nd birthday on Friday so I’ve got lots planned for the weekend and I’ll be sure to bring you an update on my adventures soon!

Love Jess x

NB. All images other than my profile photo & screenshots of edits to my blog are courtesy of Google images.

Welcome to 2015: Happy New Year!

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Happy new year everyone, and welcome to 2015!

I had a brilliant time up in Liverpool celebrating the new year with all my closest family. We stayed for three days and managed to squeeze in a bit of shopping in the city centre to make the most of the time we had up there!

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I know I’ve said this before, but Liverpool truly is one of the best cities in the world. There is so much to see and do and the whole atmosphere is just incredible. I fit in as many trips up there during the year as I can so that time can be spent with the family, but I also try to visit the city centre as much as possible.

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Rather than heading back to the city for a night out to celebrate new years eve we decided to have a big family house party instead which was amazing! I love having everyone together, and singing Auld Lang Syne whilst watching the local fireworks was truly magical. 12 months ago I went to London’s embankment to see in 2013 which was amazing and an experience I will never forget, but this time I really wanted to spend it with the whole family instead.

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I had a magical end to the year, and I hope you did too! What did you all get up to? Please tell me your new year stories I’d love to know how and  where you all celebrated!

2015 has some big things in store for me, and I can’t wait to share all my new adventures with you! First of all I’m planning a European city break in February but need to figure out the best destination to go to; I’ve heard places like Budapest, Vienna and Krakow are incredible but I’m veering towards Prague at the moment. If you would like to share any suggestions with me for my city break please get in touch!

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Happy new year everyone, see you on my next post!

Love Jess x

2014 ROUND UP!

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Hi everyone, So as we are nearing the end of this year I thought I would round up my highlights of the last twelve months and showcase how much my blog has grown since I started my brand Journeys with Jessica. As many of you know, my blog has only been active for the last six months and I run it alongside my full time job as an estate agent so unfortunately cannot give it my undivided attention although I do try my absolute best to update it as much as I possibly can!

I’ve been on some brilliant trips this year and have loved sharing my adventures with you all, so long may it continue and here’s to more success in 2015! There have been so many to choose from, but my top three highlights of 2014 are as follows:

1) Family holiday to Majorca

2) Winter city break to Reykjavik

3) Summer city break to Barcelona

Please click on the relevant links to view my blog posts for the separate trips! As well as growing my blog I’ve also updated my Trip Advisor account to Senior Contributor with currently over 30,000 readers and have been voted in the top 1%  in Oxfordshire. Please click here to view my Trip Advisor account and to view my travel map!

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I have grown my social media outlets this year and have a record number of followers on Twitter, Facebook and WordPress so that’s all down to you lovely lot! Thank you so much for choosing to keep up to date with all my latest adventures, I hope you continue reading and enjoy my posts – I can’t wait to bring you more in 2015! My current plans for next year are a bit up in the air at the moment, but I am hoping to go interailing around Europe over the summer and will squeeze in lots of city breaks so that I have tonnes to write about whilst getting my latest travel fixes!

Finally, I have made some wonderful friends in the blogosphere over the past 6 months and am excited to take this to the next level when I start attending travel conferences next year. I cant wait to meet some of the people that I have been interacting with recently! A big thanks to you for all your tips, friendly messages and helpful words of advice. Special mentions must go to the lovely Char from Taylor Hearts Travel and to the brilliant Jess from The Travelista as you two have been particularly helpful to me – can’t thank you enough!

That completes my round up for 2014 – it’s been a blast! I would like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and fun-filled 2015… speak soon!!

Love Jess x

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