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August Newsletter

 

Hi guys,

Hope you’ve had an amazing summer, although it feels like it’s pretty much over now and Autumn is well and truly on its way! August has been yet another busy month with new trips, blog collabs and plenty of things happening in my personal life too. I’m a little sad that summer seems to be over now, but looking back I’ve had the most amazing few months and have been lucky enough to travel to lots of different places across Europe. as well as creating new opportunities for the blog a little closer to home too! If you follow me on social media you’ll know I’ve been here there and everywhere lately, so here’s how my August went…

 

I hopped over to Hamburg for the weekend

 

 

This was my big trip for the month, my first time in Germany and my third press trip of the year so far! After meeting the amazing Visit Hamburg team at Traverse this year – I told you it was the best travel conference on the planet- I was lucky enough to be invited to experience Germany’s second biggest city for myself. I flew out for a weekend of paddle boarding, sight seeing, festival going and ice cream tasting and had the most amazing few days with some fantastic fellow travel and lifestyle bloggers. My guide to Hamburg will be live on the blog soon and I’m so excited to share it with all of you! Big thanks to Jessi for organizing our trip – see you at WTM!

 

I made the national news & I’ve become an ambassador too

 

 

On a personal note, I achieved something rather amazing this month. For those of you that know me, or have been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I suffer with quite a serious medical condition that has affected me for the past six years. I don’t often write about it, but this month I became an ambassador for The Pituitary Foundation, the charity who have supported me with my prolactinoma diagnosis since I was 18. My story was noticed by the Press Association and was then shared on national newspapers such as The Daily Mail, The Mirror and The Sun, being shared over 1300 times and seen by a collective audience of over 5 million readers! A women’s health magazine has also asked to feature it, and there’s a chance my story may be aired on a US talk show in the coming weeks too! I’m enormously proud to have become ambassador for such an amazing charity, and I’m aiming to do everything I can to raise as much money and awareness as possible for this little known condition and organisation. I have some big plans coming up and am looking forward to sharing them on social soon… watch this space!

 

I had a day at the races

 

Race Days 🐎🎉👯☀️

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You know me, I LOVE an excuse to get dressed up and have my hair and make up done, so when my sisters and best friend suggested a day out at Newbury Races it wasn’t hard for me to say yes. Oh and Olly Murs was performing the same day too, no biggy, I was completely sold; I LOVE HIM SO MUCH! We had the best time at the races that day, despite not winning an awful lot and queuing for what felt like forever for the portaloos. But the sun was shining, the Pimms was flowing and Olly was looking and sounding fineeeee. Can he just dance with me tonight please? Thanks babes.

 

I worked on numerous blog collaborations

 

 

August was probably the busiest month for me in terms of new blog collabs, and I felt so lucky to have so many new opportunities for my little space on the internet! The projects I worked on were also really interesting and varied, so offered something different for all of you lovely lot. From sandwich shop and boat trip reviews to a day out in my home city, I really threw myself into these new projects and couldn’t have been happier to work with some new clients. I also took part in a collab with my favourite brand on the planet –  WALT DISNEY WORLD! :O As the world’s biggest Disney fan I jumped at the chance to team up with Netflights to bring you the ultimate guide to dining at Disney, and here’s the finished project! Big thanks to all the companies I worked with on my collabs this month: The Hollybush, City Cruises, Oxford Castle, Netflights.

 

 

 

I spent the bank holiday weekend in Liverpool

 

One of the most famous places in the music world – the iconic Cavern Club 🎤🎤 #Liverpool #BeatlesWeek

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I bloody love a bank holiday weekend, and even more so when I know I’m going away and get to spend it with my amazing family! I headed back up to Liverpool for the first time since January (it had been far too long) for a weekend of dinner and drinks with my nearest and dearest. Something very exciting happened too… We only went and booked a CRUISE!! My first ever cruise!! I’m excited/nervous about sea sickness but can’t wait to sail around the Med with 13 of my wonderful family members for my mums 50th and my granddads 80th next August! We’ll be flying from Dubrovnik then making our way to Valletta, Sicily, Kefalonia and Kotor before heading back to Dubrovnik for our final destination – any tips for these places or general advice for first time cruisers like me will be greatly received! We had a big dinner in Liverpool on the Saturday night before hitting the town for celebratory drinks too. On the Sunday we headed down to the Pier Head and the Albert Dock and took a wander round the summer stalls on the water front before heading over to Mathew Street and the famous Cavern Club as it was Beatles Week and I felt that love was all we needed to round off an amazing weekend in my second home city. <3

 

And then wandered around Gloucester on bank holiday Monday

 

 

We came back a little early from Liverpool so decided to make the most of the bank holiday sunshine and have a day out in nearby Gloucester, which is just an hours drive from our home in Oxfordshire. We were sooo lucky with the weather and spent the day wandering around the city, watching a charity rugby game and exploring the historic dockyards. We also admired the beautiful Gloucester Cathedral, one of the Harry Potter film locations, which looked even more stunning in the August sunshine. Sadly we couldn’t go inside as film crews were on site filming the new Mary Queen of Scots blockbuster (I might have attempted to spot Margot Robbie and David Tennant through the stained glass windows) but I will definitely return soon to try and catch a glimpse of the inside of this beautiful building!

 

Pheeeeewww I told you I’d had a busy month! I’ve loved every minute and have had so much fun over the past few weeks but, I’m not gonna lie, I’m feeling exhausted lately and really want to just chill out over the next couple of weeks! I don’t have long until I’m off on my next trip though – I’m inter-railing around part of Europe for 10 days and I am SO EXCITED. I’ll be heading to Warsaw, Prague (again), Salzburg and Ljubljana so please send any blogs/recommendations/city guides my way – I need lots of tips for some last minute planning!

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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April Newsletter

Just back from my TV interview with That's Oxon thanks for having me guys! 🎥📺 #selfie #interview #TV #travel #blogger

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Hi everyone!

I know I say this literally EVERY month but I cannot believe that May is here! April seemed to whizz by; I went to Cardiff, Liverpool and London and had plenty to keep me busy in between.. Read on to see what I’ve been up to over the last 30 days!

I had my best month EVER for stats

Love receiving notifications like thissss… April has been a crazy month for me! Thanks #wordpress! 💻📝

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So this is pretty motivating, and I love kick starting my monthly updates with some good news! April has been a record month for me, and I’ve had my best ever stats on the blog! I’ve received over 2400 page views alone, more than 250 new followers across Instagram & Twitter and have written and responded to tonnes of emails! My stats really are booming and I am so thrilled that all my hard work is finally starting to pay off and my little blog is getting NOTICED! Thank you as always to you, the readers who really do make a difference! <3

I was featured in the press (and on the telly!)

 

*NEW POST!* Journeys with Jessica in the press.. head over to the blog to see where I've been featured lately! 🎥📺

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So this month has been absolutely CRAZY in terms of exposure and press attention for my blog! Who would have thought that little old me would make it onto the TELLY?! I was interviewed by The Oxford Mail for my UK Blog Awards nomination which was subsequently posted in their sister paper, The Witney Gazette. I was then contacted by a local travel company owner to see if we could work together, and was also asked to take part in a TV interview with local company That’s Oxfordshire to talk about my how my blog all started. PHEEEEWWWW I’ve never been so in demand 😉 Seriously though it’s been a bloody mental month and I am exhausted but so happy that my blog is starting to get noticed on a much larger scale!

I attended my first ever travel conference in Cardiff

 

 

So I’ve blogged about this soo much but I literally had the best time everrrr at my first travel conference! Traverse 16 was so motivating, inspiring and SO much fun – I met tonnes of new people, made new friends and best of all gained so much confidence. Read my highlights in my separate Traverse blog post – for anyone thinking of attending next year, no matter how little or how much experience you have, just GO FOR IT!

I ran 5 miles for Oxford Children’s Hospital

 

On Sunday 17th April I took on my biggest physical challenge yet by completing a 5 mile run around the beautiful grounds of Blenheim Palace. I was raising money for Oxford Children’s Hospital on behalf of my work team, LET US RUN, where we raised just under £100. A fantastic day was had by all, and I completed the run in just over an hour – considering I had done barely any training at all I didn’t think that was too shabby! If you’d like to donate to Oxford Children’s Hospital please visit my Just Giving page.

 

I went to Liverpool for my cousin’s hen do

hendogirls.png

I was sooo excited to be reunited with all my beautiful family for my cousins hen do at the end of the month. We all headed into Liverpool city centre for a wonderful girly evening and were totally glammed up. We had a superb three course dinner at the quirky Alma de Cuba restaurant, then headed to the chic Palm Sugar bar for cocktail making before ending our night in style by hitting Liverpool’s finest clubs. It’s safe to say there were a few sore heads the next morning, but it was so lovely to be reunited with my beautiful family and I can’t wait until the wedding!

I attended UK Blog Awards 2016!

 

 

So as many of you will know I was SHORTLISTED as a top ten travel blogger at this years UK Blog Awards, beating over 150 other bloggers in the same category. I was so shocked, nervous and excited all in one go and couldn’t wait to attend the awards! I’ll do a separate post about this once I’ve caught up on all my other stuff, but I can tell you that I had the most AMAZING evening and didn’t want it to end! I stayed in the swanky Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel and got to review that for the night which in itself was incredible! I wasn’t a winner on the night,  but to have even been at the event was just such a fantastic experience and I’m so grateful to you lovely lot for voting for me – I certainly wouldn’t have been there without you! Watch out for the full blog post and juicy gossip coming soon 😉

 

 

Soo that’s what I got up to this month, April you’ve been totally crazy! My line up for May is looking equally as hectic with plenty of trips lined up including a weekend in Bournemouth and a luxury spa weekend in Gloucestershire. It’s also going to be my last month at work (OHMYGOD) which means I’ve got sooo much organising to do between now and my Contiki tri in June!! Tell me how your April went by leaving a comment in the box below – I’d love to hear from you!

Love Jess x

💃🎉👯 #liverpool #hendo

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Restaurant Review: Alma de Cuba, Liverpool

 

Last Saturday night I had the opportunity to dine at one of the best restaurants in Liverpool, the fantastic Alma de Cuba, a South American and Caribbean themed eatery set in a reformed Catholic Church. We dined as a group of 30 – it was my cousins hen do and, yes, the girls were out in force!

I’ve never eaten in a place like Alma de Cuba before, the setting and the atmosphere was electric and the surroundings were beautiful. The reformed Church has been decorated in the most stunning way, with elegant touches and carefully thought out seating from booths to tables. We were on the restaurant’s top floor overlooking the lively bar and stage areas below.

alma_high_res_13_22

Photo courtesy of www.alma-de-cuba.com

The menu offers a brilliant range of dishes catering for every palette. As we were dining in a party, we ate from the 3 course set menu with starters including duck spring rolls and pigeon breast, mains including jerk chicken and fillet steak, and desserts including Bailey’s cheesecake and raspberry tart.

menu

We all hugely enjoyed our meals, the food was superb and the whole evening was delightful. Live music played below as we devoured our three courses, and the entertainment went on late into the night. Every weekend Alma de Cuba is famous for its samba dancing finale which is sure to get everyone up on their feet – unfortunately we were leaving early so didn’t get to experience this, but I’ve been told it’s a sight well worth seeing!

samba

Photo courtesy of www.alma-de-cuba.com

 

Until next time Alma de Cuba!

Love Jess x

💃🎉👯 #liverpool #hendo

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I'm Taking the 12 Trips Challenge!

Hey everyone!

So I thought I’d follow on from my recent Bucket List post and share with you some of my upcoming travel adventures for 2016! I’ve been inspired by Monica Stott from The Travel Hack to take the annual 12 trips challenge which, in essence, means taking one trip a month for the next 12 months! The trips could range from exotic weeks away in the Maldives, to short weekend city breaks in Europe or even a little day trip to London here in good ol’ Blighty. With so much to see and do in this beautiful world the choices are endless, and the trips can be as basic or as luxurious as you like!

I’ve decided to take part in the 12 trips challenge as I LOVE visiting new places and I’ve also set myself the task of visiting 25 countries before the age of 25! I’ve ticked off ten so far but I’ve still got a fair few to go! So, without further ado, here is the first part of my 2016 travel plans which showcase some of my 12 trips challenge.. the rest will all fall into place I’m sure I hope!

January

What a show! Literally had goosebumps the WHOLE way through! Incredible. 😱🇬🇧🎭👏

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I kick-started my 2016 with a day trip to the capital with the fam to see the fantastic Les Miserables in London’s West End. We spent the day shopping on Oxford Street, exploring  Covent Garden and stopping for lunch at Leicester Square. I’m always wanting an excuse to revisit my favourite city so this made the perfect little day trip!

February

My only planned trip for February is the cosmopolitan city of Brighton. Me and my friend are meeting up with one of our besties who moved there last year and we can’t wait to hit the shops, bars and clubs.. oh, and the beach too although it’ll be FREEZING this time of year!

PS. Thanks Sophie for the insta inspo!

March

At the moment March is the ONLY month I haven’t got anything planned for!! Hopefully I can be a little bit spontaneous though and book in a little visit somewhere- I’m thinking a day trip to Bath Spa for some shopping and a ladies lunch? Failing that I could always just go into Oxford for the day.. I mean, I know it’s my home, but it’s SO BEAUTIFUL that it must count as a trip? Right?!

April

April will see me returning to London as I’ve been shortlisted to win BEST TRAVEL BLOG at the UK Blog Awards 2016!! I still can’t believe I’m shortlisted and it hasn’t quite sunk in yet! This will be my first EVER awards ceremony and it promises to be an incredible night in Westminster – I’m totally honoured to be attending and will be so excited to share this journey with you all!

May

Bournemouth is beautiful today! ☀️ #bournemouth #bournemouthbeach

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I’m currently looking at not one but TWO trips for this fun filled month – okay, so I know that’ll break the rules but it will be worth it! I’m hoping to head to Dublin for a little city break during the first bank holiday – Ireland will be another country to tick off my list! And I’m also going down to Bournemouth for my best friends hen do (I’M BRIDESMAID AND IM SO EXCITED!!!)

PS. Thank you Hayley for the insta inspo!

June

🎉👯🌹😘

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June is my super duper top secret month which I’ve planned but I can’t share any details yet!! I promise that all will be revealed in March in a special post but until then my lips are SEALED!! Oh, and at the start of the month I have TWO weddings to attend to – one in the Cotswolds and the other in Liverpool the very next day! I cannot wait to see my best friend and my cousin get married! I am most definitely feeling the love at the moment! <3

July

July will see me head to the beautiful Scandinavian capital of Stockholm in Sweden for my first EVER bloggers conference! I’m heading to TBEX Europe with some of lovely fellow travel bloggers Sophie, Emma & Victoria and we cannot wait to explore the city, learn more about our industry and of course meet lots of amazing new people! Wait, did somebody say closing party?!

So there’s my travel plans for the first part of 2016 – who knows, things could all change but I’m pretty sure that’s what my diary is going to look like for the next six months! I will of course reveal my secret June plans soon but, until then, I’d love to hear how you’re all going to be taking the 12 trips challenge? Keep me posted!

Love Jess x