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Sick of stressful airport travel? Ride in style with National Express!

 

So your alarm is set, your suitcase is packed and your trip is booked. Every final detail is confirmed, from your flights and transfers to your tour itineraries and restaurant reservations. Going on holiday can be pretty stressful, and it is often made worse by the hassle of getting to and from the airport. Flying is lots of fun, but let’s face it, who really wants to get there 3 hours before a flight and spend ages queuing at the check in desk?! Not me, that’s for sure! One of the things I find most stressful about travelling is actually the hassle of getting to and from the airport. I can drive but I prefer not to travel long distances in my car and would rather not leave it at the airport car park for a week.

Living in Oxford, I am lucky that I have several airports to choose from when considering booking flights, but the hassle of getting to and from each airport has often put me off in the past. However, as an avid fan of public transport, I would always try and catch a bus, coach or train to an airport wherever possible, and that’s where National Express comes in. I’ve been using National Express services for years and have always had fantastic journeys, so I was delighted to be asked to team up with them for the purpose of this blog review, and when I realised I needed transport for my upcoming European city break it was hard to refuse such a fantastic offer. Lets find out what I got up to on my recent trip with National Express…

 

An early start

 

My coach from Oxford to London Gatwick

 

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person in the world who will happily get up at 2am, after zero sleep and at the most awkward time possible, just to jump on a cheap flight to anywhere if it means I can get better value on my travel deals! Luckily, National Express is the largest operator of scheduled coach services in the UK operating high frequency services linking more than 900 destinations. National Express know that there are lots of people out there who, like me, need to get to an airport at ridiculous o’clock in the morning, and they operate coach services direct to the terminal for all major UK airports, 24 hours a day with 1,100 airport services running every day. They also offer generous luggage allowance of two medium sized suitcases and a small piece of hand luggage as well as driver assistance – pretty amazing if you ask me! My 2am wake up call didn’t seem so bad when I hopped on board my perfectly timed coach ready to start my next adventure.

 

A comfortable outwards journey

 

Image courtesy of National Express

 

One of the benefits of getting on an early morning coach usually means that it’s not too busy, although surprisingly my coach was pretty full by the time I left Oxford to head to London! The coaches are also usually very quiet during the early morning times, which means I can catch up on some much needed sleep before arriving at the airport and being in holiday mode. National Express coaches are modern and comfortable with a variety of facilities and features including a free wifi and entertainment system which consists of a complimentary on-board app offering TV, films and magazines to passengers. On board the coach you’ll also find smart leather seats, convenient power sockets for charging your mobile devices, comfortable leg room for business class passengers, welcome air-conditioning on a warm day and clean toilets on every journey. My outwards journey from Oxford to London Gatwick took just under 2 hours and it was smooth, comfortable and extremely easy.

 

A relaxing homeward journey

 

Image courtesy of National Express

 

After my whirlwind weekend abroad, it was time to come home and I actually looked forward to my return journey back home given that my first coach journey on the way out was so comfortable. I wasn’t sure if I would actually make my return journey on time as my flight was delayed by almost an hour! But luckily we made up some time and I had booked the coach an hour later than I had actually needed to just allow for some additional time, so this really helped. If your flight is delayed though, I’m aware that you can hop on the next coach (up to 180 mins after your booked coach time) providing that the driver of the next available coach has room for you. My journey home was just as good as my journey out and I felt fully relaxed by the time I got back to Oxford – there’s nothing worse than a stressful drive home to dampen your holiday mood!

 

So as you can see I had a really pleasant journey to and from Oxford and London Gatwick during my recent trip and it definitely made my holiday both stress free and hassle free. Turning up and being able to get to and from the airport safely and swiftly really makes me relax before a holiday and, for me, is a great alternative to driving. The drivers were friendly, the seats were comfy, I felt safe at all times and even got a couple of hours kip before my flight… Oh and the free on board WIFI worked a treat too – bonus! Overall I had a fantastic return journey with National Express and I would highly recommend their services to anyone looking for a hassle free start and end to their airport trips. You can also benefit from a Coachcard if you’re a young person (aged 16- 26), a senior (aged 60+), or if you’re registered as disabled. For the price of just £12.50 a year you’ll get up to a third off standard and fully flexible fares, as well as benefiting from discounted travel to and from nationwide festivals, and 20% off Pizza Hut too!

Have you ever travelled with National Express before? What did you think of their services? As I mentioned, I have used them for many years and never had a problem so am already looking forward to booking up next time I need airport transport. The question is, where will I travel to next? Answers on a postcard please!…

Love Jess x

NB. I was a guest of National Express and was gifted tickets to come on board for the purpose of this review but all thoughts and comments are of course my own.

For more information and to find the best value fares visit www.nationalexpress.com or call 0871 7818181

 

Image courtesy of National Express

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A Travel Guide to Cornwall: The Capital of the South West

 

Located on the southwestern tip of England, and famed for its sandy beaches, rocky cliffs and glorious bays, the rugged county of Cornwall offers the perfect stay-cation to thousands of holiday makers year after year. The Cornish Riveria is home to popular seaside resorts, beautiful harbour towns and awesome surfing regions too, offering a fun filled family holiday or weekend break. Whether you’re going surfing in Sennen Cove or fishing in Falmouth, you’re sure to have an amazing holiday with so many things to see and do. I’ve been going to Cornwall almost every year since I was a six month old baby and, to this day, I never tire of its beautiful scenery and it’s long sandy beaches. I love Cornwall so much that I thought I’d put together a round up of my top things to do in one of the UK’s most loved go-to getaways at any time of year, and with a little help from the guys over at Clickstay, you can find your dream Cornish holiday home too…

 

Stand on the edge of England at Lands End

 

My whole world in one picture, at our favourite place

 

I don’t know what it is about this place, I can’t help but feel emotional each and every time I visit. I’ve been going to Lands End, the most westerly point of England, for years now; I’ve been as a baby, as a child, as a teenager and as an adult, and each time I go I get the same feeling. I get goosebumps on my arms,  shivers down my spine, and tears running down my cheeks. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve stood near one of the cliff edges, standing alone and just gazing out into the sea, lost in my own thoughts. As the name suggests, standing in those places and looking out to sea literally does make it feel as if you’re standing on the edge of the world, at the place where the land ends, and it’s pretty damn special if you ask me! As well as offering stunning views across to the Atlantic Sea, you’ll also find a whole host of fun things to do for all the family, including exploring one of their interactive exhibitions, playing in the park, visiting the wildlife centre and stopping off at the  shop and large restaurant.

Go surfing in Newquay

 

Image courtesy of Visit Cornwall – I only have hard copy photographs from my time in Newquay a few years ago but  they’re all in the loft!

 

Newquay is perhaps one of the best loved surfing spots in the whole of the UK and for very good reason. With its large sandy beach, crystal clear waters and awesome tidal waves, Newquay provides the perfect surfers paradise and attracts thousands of tourists year after year. Some of the UK’s surfing competitions are held there and their surfers rank amongst some of the highest in the world. There’s more to Newquay than surfing though, with its busy high street and pretty promenade which is popular with locals and tourists alike. This seaside resort is located on the North Atlantic coast of Cornwall and offers one of the best beaches in the entire county. As well as surfing, Newquay is also famed for its vibrant nightlife and is often a hit with men and women on stag and hen do’s looking for a memorable weekend away down on the Cornish coast. The last time I went to Newquay I headed straight to the Sealife Centre to discover some of our beautiful marine life and spent an afternoon in the sunshine devouring homemade ice cream – bliss!

 

Go mermaid spotting in Zennor

 

Image courtesy of Encounter Walking Holidays (I don’t have any pics from my time in Zennor when I was a little girl!)

 

I love a good fairytale, and Cornwall has myths and legends at every corner, which is one of the main reasons I find it so magical! The Zennor Mermaid is something that has fascinated me since I was a little girl, and it still continues to do so even now… Legend has it that Mathey Trewella, son of the local churchwarden, became transfixed with a female parishioner who attended services and sang every hymn sweeter than all the rest. With her enchanting beauty and haunting voice, Mathey followed her home and was never seen at Zennor Church again. Years passed and, one Sunday, a ship allegedly cast anchor in a nearby cove prompting a mermaid to rise from the ocean and beg for the anchor to be removed as it was trapping her home beneath the sea. Recoiling in horror, the sailor quickly set sail believing that the mermaid was an ill omen and that she would curse them. When the villagers heard of this, they agreed that the mermaid was the same lady who had long visited their church, and that she had enticed Mathey Trewella to come and live with her under the sea. Today, the famous “mermaid chair” at St. Senara’s Church can still be seen and is one of the popular tourist attractions in Cornwall, putting Zennor firmly on the map for centuries to come.

 

Go back in time at Tintagel Castle

 

Image courtesy of English Heritage – sadly I haven’t managed to get to Tintagel yet!

 

This medieval fortress is one of the best known in the whole of England, and one of the most visited too. Located in North Cornwall, Tintagel Castle was built in the 13th century by Richard, first Earl of Cornwall, and was settled during the early Medieval period. The castle was believed to have fallen into disrepair and was left to rot for hundreds of years before archaeological investigation on the site began in the 19th century. Like many castles in England, Tintagel was linked to yet another hisotric myth, this time the legend of King Arthur, where the castle was believed to be the place of his conception. Since the mid 1900s the castle has been turned into a major tourist attraction and is now owned by Prince Charles and managed by English Heritage.

 

Celebrate the New Year on St Ives Harbour

 

Fireworks over the beach on NYE

 

I’ve only actually done this once, and I can’t believe I haven’t done it more times if I’m honest! I love celebrating New Years, even more than I love Christmas, because I love the idea of reflecting on the past year but also looking forward to the next year ahead too.  My family and I celebrate NYE together every single year and last year we went to St Ives for the first time during the festive period. It’s an old tradition for everyone in St Ives to wear fancy dress on new years eve, with literally EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the town going all out and dressing up – you end up looking pretty stupid if you DON’T dress up so we knew we had to go hard, or go home! Once we’d picked our outfits we headed down to the main street to do a pub crawl. Everyone tends to have the same idea and it’s so much fun looking at all the different outfits – I was people watching til my heart was content! Just before midnight everyone runs down to the harbour to get their spot for watching the fireworks over the sea, and there’s then a marching band that goes on parade up and down the harbour front and off onto the cobbled side streets. The whole night was amazing and we had so much fun! I would highly recommend St Ives for NYE for a quirky, alternative place to go – it definitely beats queuing in clubs and paying for overpriced drinks!

 

So there we have it, just a few of my top picks for your visit to this beautiful county. Whether you’re off surfing, rock pooling or standing on the edge of England, you’ll be sure to have a fantastic time. Have you ever visited Cornwall before? I’d love to know what you thought of it! Don’t forget to find your dream holiday home with Clickstay to make your holiday extra special.

Love Jess x

NB. This post was brought to you in collaboration with holiday rental company Clickstay, but all thoughts & comments are of course my own.

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Nine Reasons to Visit Nendaz, Switzerland

 

If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I’ve just returned from a wonderful week away in Switzerland after staying in the ski resort of Nendaz, located above the Rhone Valley and just a 2hr train ride away from the popular city of Geneva. I flew out to Switzerland to join 4 other bloggers on a press trip to Nendaz where we were staying in a Travelopo chalet and working with the local tourism board too. We had such a fantastic week and enjoyed a jam packed itinerary showcasing all that the resort has to offer. I would never have thought to visit a ski resort for a summer holiday, especially as I thought there was nothing much to do other than go skiing in winter, but I have had my eyes opened to the amazing things there are to see and do in Nendaz, from mountain biking and cheese making to bisse walking and spa indulging, and here’s why I think you should visit this beautiful resort too…

 

1. The scenery is incredible

 

 

Nendaz was truly stunning from every single angle; the landscape looked different every time I woke up and I can’t believe how much it changed on a daily basis! Sometimes there were bright blue skies, other times it was grey and snowy, but no matter what the weather was doing, there was no denying that this place looked totally out of this world. My favourite views were from our beautiful chalet, which I will talk more about in another blog post, and the views from Tracouet, where we celebrated the traditional Alphorn Festival, were pretty amazing too. I really enjoyed just going for little walks around the town, and hiking further afield when we were making a day of it, as walking was definitely one of the best ways to appreciate the spectacular scenery that Nendaz has to offer.

 

2. There are endless activities on offer

 

 

Considering we visited during summer, I really wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of activities, and thought there wouldn’t be much on offer at all, but I couldn’t have been more wrong! The lovely Annick from Nendaz Tourisme put together a fantastic itinerary for us which comprised of mountain biking, bisse hiking, cheese making, sunrise watching, festival going, spa chilling and outdoor swimming! Each and every one of our days in Nendaz was jam packed with plenty of things to do, but with just enough free time so that we could relax and enjoy everything that the resort had to offer. My highlights were the gorgeous outdoor swimming pool with the most amazing views of the mountains in the background, cheese making in the middle of the Alps at 7am, and taking three ski lifts 3300m high to catch the sun rise at the top of Mont Fort, one of the highest points in the whole of Switzerland! As well as doing all of these fantastic activities, you could also go husky sledding (weather permitting), take a guided tour of the old town, or join a group exercise class. There really are so many things to see and do in Nendaz that you’ll be completely spoilt for choice!

 

 

3. The ski lifts are a great way to get around

 

 

Although Nendaz itself is small, the mountains are obviously mahooooosive and it’s difficult to get around all of them if you’re limited on time. I’d never been on a ski lift before, but by the end of the week I’d been on them several times and each trip was such a great experience and a brilliant way to get up to the top of the mountains in such a short amount of time. The ski lifts offer panoramic views over the valleys below, and they’re pretty spacious so you can have a few of you in there at a time and STILL have enough room to get those all important selfies. Not gonna lie though, I did feel a little queasy whilst on my way up and down on those lines, I just tried not to look down and kept my eyesight level – this really helps me with my motion sickness, but if you’re lucky and don’t suffer like me, you’ll love every second and get the most stunning shots!

 

4. It’s beautiful at any time of year

 

 

We went during summer, so the weather was mainly beautiful, with bright blue skies and it was surprisingly really warm! On most of the days temperatures were hitting 25 degrees plus which meant we could get in our bathing suits for the spa and the pool and enjoy some gorgeous sunshine. At night though, or on days when the sun wasn’t shining, it felt much cooler and there was a bit of a chill in the air, so I’d definitely recommend taking a jumper or a jacket. As we had so many early starts for our itinerary, we got to experience the weather first thing in the morning which was freeeeeeezing, especially at times when we were over 3000m high! I thoroughly enjoyed our summer stay, but I would also really love the opportunity to visit during winter as I think the snow and icy temperatures would make this place look even prettier than it does when it’s warm, and it’d look like a proper little winter wonderland too!

 

5. It’s easy to get to

 

 

We started our Swiss adventure in the vibrant city of Geneva, so hopped on a train from there to Sion in order to make our way to Nendaz. We then took a bus (line 362) from Sion direct to Haute-Nendaz and reached our destination in a short 30 minute journey, complete with steep, winding roads and stunning views of the towns below. The buses from Sion to Nendaz run every hour and cost 10fr per person, or around £8 each. Trains from Geneva-Sion run every half an hour and we found SuperSaver tickets for as little as 34fr each way, which was £28pp – an absolute steal in our opinion! Visit the Swiss Rail website for more info, and don’t forget to look out for the SuperSaver tickets when you can to grab a bargain.

 

6. The nightlife is pretty good

 

 

OK, so it’s not exactly Ibiza, and you won’t find David Guetta playing a DJ set anywhere on the resort, but considering this is a largely un-touristy area, Nendaz has plenty of things to keep you occupied during the evening, no matter what season it might be. You’ll find an abundance of bars and restaurants along the main road from Haute Nendaz station, just past the tourist information office, and there are plenty of others dotted in between Haute Nendaz and Basse Nendaz too, it’s sister resort. During our stay we mainly chose to eat in and use the kitchen facilities at our luxury chalet, but on a couple of nights we actually ate in two of the best restaurants in the area, both of which were rated #1 and #2 on Trip Advisor! Our first evening out was at Cafe du Sapin Blanc, a gorgeous restaurant in Basse Nendaz with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and trees, serving organic homemade food. Our second evening out was a little closer to home, just a 5 minute walk from our chalet at the wonderful La Lanterne et le Vieux-Chalet, an excellent restaurant boasting quirky, tailor made menus and the friendliest owner in the town! A big thank you to Nico from Cafe du Sapin Blanc and Alex from La Lanterne for looking after us both nights, and for allowing us to sample some of the best items on your carefully thought out menus!

 

7. It’s fun for all ages

 

 

As you know, I travelled with four other travel bloggers to Nendaz for a group press trip – we’re all young girls in our twenties – but this place is suitable for people of all ages, no matter what you want to get from your holiday. We saw kids, families, groups of guys and girls, couples and solo travellers too enjoying everything that Nendaz has to offer. There’s fun sports for the kids, a luxurious spa for the girls, nightlife for the adults, and intense mountain biking for those who are a little more hardcore! I know that I, along with Elaisha, Hannah, Hayley and Allison, had the most amazing weekend in Nendaz and we were sooo sad to be leaving after a fantastic week! Miss you girls!

 

8. You can explore as much as you want on foot

 

 

Nendaz is quite a small town, so it’s super easy to reach everything on foot. If you have a hire car, then that would be great for exploring the nearby towns or places a little further afield, but you really don’t need a car to be able to get the best out of Nendaz. If, like us, you’re arriving by bus from Sion, you can explore the entire town from Haute Nendaz station, right opposite the tourist information office. There’s one major road running through the resort, and it’s lined with shops, restaurants, bars and cafe’s so has everything you need for your stay, and it can easily be reached by walking. Throughout the rest of the resort there are other roads, pathways and streets leading to a number of different areas, but no matter what route you take you’ll find they all end up back where they started, so by walking you really can’t get lost at all!

 

9. You’ll be in the heart of the Swiss Alps

 

 

One of the best things about Nendaz is it’s fantastic location, nestled in the very heart of the Swiss Alps. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a place as beautiful as Nendaz before; the Alps genuinely took my breath away every time I looked at them and I felt on top of the world each time I climbed them. The Alps are famous for being the most iconic part of Switzerland and, given that they make up around 60% of the country, they attract the most tourists too. With mountains as high as 3000 metres, the Alps offer spectacular views from the top and look just as good from down at the bottom, making them quite possibly the most photographed landscapes in the whole country.

 

I still can’t look through my photos from Nendaz without gazing in awe at the incredible scenery that surrounded us during our stay. The resort really is one of the most beautiful places I have ever stayed in, and I didn’t realise just how much I would enjoy my week there. With so much to see and do, Nendaz is perfect for families, couples, groups or even solo travelers just looking for an alternative location for their summer holiday. If you’re an outdoorsy kinda person who enjoys fresh air, gorgeous views and long mountain hikes then this is most definitely the place for you! A big thanks to the team at Nendaz Tourisme for putting together such a fantastic itinerary for us, and to Travelopo for providing our beautiful accommodation for the week. Have you ever visited Nendaz, or stayed somewhere similar? For someone who isn’t particularly sporty or outdoorsy I absolutely adored my time in the resort and would recommend it to anyone looking to do something a little different this summer instead of lying on the beach for a week!

Love Jess X

NB. My trip to Switzerland was sponsored by Travelopo and Nendaz Tourisme but, as always, all thoughts, words and photos are my own.

How to survive your first group press trip

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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!

 

April Newsletter!

 

 

Hi everyone!

So as usual I’m late putting my newsletter up as I’ve had another CRAZY few days towards the end of this month attending the fantastic Traverse conference in London! I got back from Vienna right at the start of the month, have done some exciting day trips and have taken on some new blogging opportunities too! It was so lovely to have some much needed time off over the Easter break, and here’s how my April went…

 

I took part in my first April fools day campaign

 

 
Right at the start of the month I produced a sponsored post in collaboration with the fantastic Netflights team showcasing five beautiful destinations that look as though they belong on a totally different planet. I had a really good response from this post from you lovely lot and you seemed to really enjoy it! For the eagle eyed readers amongst you though, you might have spotted something slightly odd… and I can now reveal that this post was in fact an April fools day campaign! GOTCHA!! Did you twig?!

 

I reached 3000 Twitter followers

 

 

 

This is a HUGE milestone for me and I’m so pleased to have finally reached the big 3K mark on Twitter! A few years ago I could never have imagined that even just 3 of you would follow me on Twitter and be interested in reading my blog, let alone 3000 of you! A big thank you to everyone who has followed me and my journey over the past few years, I can’t wait to keep growing my blog and my social presence and am eternally grateful to all of my wonderful readers. Next stop, the big 5k! 😉

 
I went to Blenheim Palace for the last time this year 

 

What a beautiful day and what a beautiful part of the world we live in ☀️☀️ #blenheim #sunshine #sundayfunday

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So if you’re an avid reader of my blog, and you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I go to Blenheim Palace an awful lot! It’s so close to my home (just a 15min drive) and it’s one of the most beautiful places in Oxfordshire. Sadly our annual passes have come to an end and we won’t be renewing them until 2018, but we had one final wander around the grounds and the palace on a lovely sunny April weekend. I really made the most of my last visit to Blenheim and went for lunch in Woodstock too to make a proper day of it. I will obviously be returning to Blenheim again soon, just not for a year or so until I renew my AP, but I’ll miss this pretty place! Until next time, Blenheim 😘

 

I had a girly spa day

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Back in January I booked a spa day as part of my sister Sophie’s 18th birthday present for the two of us as well as my mum and other sister Hannah and we couldn’t wait for our first girly day of 2017! We headed to the super modern Bannatyne Banbury Spa in Oxfordshire, around 40 minutes from home, and were treated to back massages, facials and full use of the facilities including pool, sauna, steam room and hot tub. We had lunch there to make a proper day of it and it was so lovely to spend some quality relaxation time together – I totally switched off and had a good detox. I love a good spa day and it’s even better when I get to spend it with my beautiful family!

 

I had an exciting meeting with a local PR company

 

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So I can’t say too much about this at the mo, but last week I had a super cool meeting with a local travel PR company in Oxford and I think I’m going to be working with them at some point in the not too distant future on reviews and press trips! I’ll bring you more news as and when I have it, but all I can say is that I’m really excited to be working with a fantastic team and I can’t wait to get cracking on some new blog projects for 2017!

 

I had the most amazing weekend in London at Traverse17

 

 

 

Ahh I’ve just got back from a brilliant weekend in London for my second time attending the fantastic Traverse conference! I went to the Cardiff event last year and it was fantastic but this year was EVEN BETTER with more workshops, more events, more brands and sponsors and lots more parties! Michael, Paul and the rest of the Traverse team ensured every single one of us bloggers were well looked after at the Ravensbourne building next to the 02 arena and I learnt such a lot from my three days there.

 

 

I networked as much as I could, making sure I spoke to as many people as possible, and this really helped to boost my confidence. The highlight of the weekend was a river cruise along the Thames hosted by CityCruises and CheapFlights – seeing all the famous London landmarks lit up after dark was mesmerising and something I’ll remember for a very long time! Thanks Traverse team – you da best! <3

 

So my April was filled up nicely and wasn’t too crazy busy but it ended on a real high with my recent weekend in London. The month of May is now upon us and I’ve got some exciting things planned as well as my first beach holiday in three years with a week in Tenerife to look forward to at the end of the month! How did your April go? Let me know in the comments below!

Love Jess X

 

 

Also here's me loving life at #CanaryWharf just because tube station tourists have more fun 🚇🚇 #youknowit #TravelTuesday #I'mageek

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