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Help! I'm having a mid (20's) life crisis!

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Hello everyone,

I’m writing this post because I feel a bit lost at the moment, I’ve sort of come to a bit of a crossroads in my life and I’m not sure how to feel about it. I’m writing in the hope that I might see some sort of light at the end of the tunnel before I get to the end of the post, or in the hope that there might be someone else out there feeling the same way as me! I’m kind of going to use some of my Instagram feed for some inspiration and to remind myself of the good times I’ve had in the last 12 months! So here goes, I’m just going to write from the heart and see what happens…

This week I’ve been feeling very low, quite upset, and I’ve been bursting into tears almost every day. I got upset yesterday at work and just broke down completely in front of my manager.  I think the reason I’m upset is because I simply don’t know what to do with my life. I’ve never had this feeling before, I’ve always been quite content and grateful for a good job, nice car, fantastic family and friends and a good social life. However over the past few months I’ve realized that we are coming to the end of another year and I’m reflecting on what I’ve done/achieved in my life.  I’ve just found myself thinking that I’m not truly happy, and I think that stems from my desire and ambition to do something new.

I’m just itching to get away and explore the world, make incredible memories and meet new people, but I have no idea where to start. I’m torn between staying at home and just looking for a move to a new job in the travel industry, moving abroad to work, or just upping sticks and leaving to travel as much as I can. I’d much rather leave my life as I know it now to do something completely different, then come back  and try to kick start my career, but what if it goes wrong? What if I run out of money? What if I can’t handle not having a routine as I have done my whole life? There’s so many ifs and buts, yet I don’t know a single person who hasn’t enjoyed their experience of travelling.

I think I just need to stand tall, hold my head up high and take the plunge. If I don’t do it now, I never will. I’m in the perfect position, I don’t have kids, a boyfriend, no real financial commitments, and I have some substantial savings behind me – so why not just do it?! I’m dying to walk on beautiful beaches with the sea breeze in my hair, or to explore intimate cities and embrace their vibrant history and culture. I think I’m leaning more towards just travelling! Help! HOW DO I MAKE THIS DREAM A REALITY?!

 

I’d adore waking up to stunning sea views like the above, but I’d be equally happy with wandering the streets of ancient cities and releasing my inner explorer! Do I go long-haul on a once in a lifetime trip to the US or Australia, or do I have fun interailing round Europe’s  cities seeing their most famous landmarks? HELP!

On the other end of the scale, I’ve also thought about what skills I possess and whether I could make a living by working abroad rather than just travelling for a few months. I aced my GCSEs and A Levels and taught English to kids at school, I’ve been in employment since I was 16 and have good working/ customer service/computer skills that I’ve built on over time. I’m also getting more and more experience with my writing and I’m now freelancing and getting PAID for articles that I write. I suppose that in itself is an absolute dream come true! Who would have thought I could get paid to do the thing I adore?!

I still want more though, it’s not enough to just write a couple of articles a week – I need to earn a living from it in order to be successful, quit my day job and travel full time. I feel there are so many options I’m just not sure how to go about it!

Most of my friends have partners and are at different stages in their lives, and I can’t travel on my own as I have ongoing health issues which require me to go to the doctors and the hospital every couple of months. That in itself is a major issue – HOW LONG AM I SUPPOSED TO TRAVEL FOR?! I get check ups at the docs/hosp every three months – it’s so annoying! I’m sort of tied with that for the rest of my life which sucks.. and I get seriously lonely at the best of times so to go on my own just isn’t really an option at the moment.

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At my lowest point, when I was taken to hospital.

Ahhh I’m just going round and round in circles, I think I just need to really take my time and make the best possible decision for me, and only me. Have you ever got to your mid 20’s (OK, I know I’m only 22) and wondered what the hell it is you want to do with your life? Please share any comments/advice/wanderlust/inspo in the box below and I would LOVE to hear your thoughts!

Yours,

A very unsettled Jess x

 

 

Canary Wharf: Best Restaurants

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Image courtesy of Google Images

 

I usually write these London restaurant guides for The Culture Trip but I’ve decided to publish this one on my own as I’m currently undertaking a different style of project for the site. Here’s my take on the best restaurants in the lively Canary Wharf..

Located in one of the most exclusive areas in London, Canary Wharf is a modern, cutting edge business district surrounded by skyscraper hotels, boutique shops, restaurants and, of course, the waterside Docklands. This handy guide rounds up the top restaurants in the area and caters for every palette with a range of international cuisine from Japanese sushi to Mexican burritos… Bon Appetite!

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Image courtesy of Wahaca.com

 

Wahaca’s Mexican Street Kitchen

For a little bit of Mexico in the heart of London head to the fantastic Wahaca Restaurant in Canada Square. Boasting over 20 chains across the UK, Wahaca is popular with guests from all corners of the globe and their eclectic menu serves dishes to suit every palette. Diners can choose from traditional Mexican dishes including tacos, burritos and taquitos as well as picking from a range of sumptuous sides such as sweet potato fries and spicy ‘slaw from the extensive menus. The interior décor is vibrant and colourful with a brilliant roof top terrace bar serving classic cocktails whilst offering stunning views across the city. Wahaca’s also offers a speedy takeaway service for those looking for a quick and convenient lunch or evening meal. Wahaca’s is open daily from 11.45am-11pm Mon-Fri, 12noon – 11pm on Saturdays and 12noon – 10.30pm on Sundays.

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Image courtesy of Google Images

 

Amerigo Vespucci

Located on the corner of Cabot Square, with stunning views across to the Docks and surrounding Canary Wharf area, Amerigo Vespucci is a traditional Italian restaurant offering a selection of dishes from four corners of Italy. The superb a la carte menu boasts daily specials including handmade pasta, fillet steaks, veal medallions, fresh fish and king prawns. The extensive wine list serves a range of different tipples from all regions of France and Italy as well as boasting classic cocktails, Champagne and Prosecco. Dinner and drinks can be served Alfresco for a unique dining experience in one of London’s most sophisticated and glamorous settings.

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Image courtesy of Wagamama.com

 

Wagamama

Perfectly positioned on a mezzanine level of Jubilee Place, standing next to the iconic Canary Wharf tower, this branch of the popular high street chain stands in the vibrant, bustling area of London’s Docklands. Bringing traditional Japanese cuisine to the heart of the city’s financial district, Wagamama offers fast, fresh food at an affordable price and is perfect for business people looking for a speedy lunchtime treat! Boasting an extensive menu serving everything from snacks and sides to lunch and evening dinner, specialities include wok fried noodles, steamed rice, a range of curries and fresh salads. Open daily from 11am-10pm, and from 11.30 – 9pm on Sundays, Wagamama also runs a take-out service so you can enjoy excellent Japanese cuisine from the comfort of your own home.

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Image courtesy of Gaucho.com

 

Gaucho

For a taste of luxury in the midst of Canary Wharf’s formal business district, Gaucho brings a touch of Argentina to savvy central London. In a fantastic location, with stunning views of the River Thames, Gaucho welcomes diners from all across the world for every imaginable occasion from stylish business lunches to intimate dinner parties. Boasting an extensive menu with the freshest ingredients cooked from the open kitchen, Gaucho’s authentic Argentine dishes include sea bream tiraditos, acorn fed Iberico pork and tenderised fillet steak. An eclectic range of brunch, Sunday dinner, sharing platter and canape menus are also available for the discerning diner. For the ultimate glamorous ambience, Gaucho even offers sommelier service, a PA reward scheme, alfresco dining for up to 190 guests on the fantastic outdoor terrace, and an exclusive lounge bar serving expertly crafted cocktails and fine wines. Gaucho is open every day from 12noon until 11pm.

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Image courtesy of Google Images

 

Browns Brasserie & Bar

Built in the 19th century by Napoleonic prisoners of war, and once used as an old sugar warehouse, this historic building is now part of the popular Browns chain and offers a relaxed atmosphere in the heart of London’s Docklands. Browns boasts a number of fantastic menus with popular offers including 2 courses for £11.95 Mon-Fri, afternoon tea, Sunday roast dinners and even luxury Lobster nights every Thursday. Browns is well known for its signature dishes, most notably their hand pressed British beef burgers and classic expertly mixed cocktails. Browns is also famous for the elegant sound of its onsite piano- a live pianist plays every Sunday from 1pm-5pm- the perfect accompaniment for dinner and drinks in the most relaxed of atmospheres. Browns is open daily from 8.30-11pm Mon to Thurs, 8.30-midnight Fri-Sat and from 9am-10.30pm on Sundays.

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Image courtesy of Google Images

British Summertime Festival: London

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Hi everyone,

This week we are set for a heatwave here in Britain with temperatures in some parts of the country reaching as high as 33 degrees! I love a good old British summer, with the sun shining gloriously one day and then the skies pouring with rain the next! It looks as though we are in for a good few months of warm weather though so fingers crossed it stays that way. Luckily my family are one of the thousands that have booked a stay-cation and we will be holidaying in the UK this year. We are off to sunny Cornwall at the end of this week so I’ll be posting about that on my return, in the meantime you can check my Instagram account while I’m away to see all my seaside snaps!

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Anyway, back to this post and in line with the GB theme that’s present throughout many of my articles I thought I’d bring you a review of a summers day out I recently had in London. I headed to Hyde Park in the capital on for the annual British Summertime Festival that returned for its second year running. This year the line up was huge, with headline acts including Kylie Minogue, Blur, Taylor Swift & The Who. Spread across two different weekends, the concerts provide a fun filled day out for all the family with plenty of food stalls, bars, kids activity dens and fairground rides. I attended with one of my close friends on Sunday 21st June and our headline act was global superstar Kylie Minogue featuring disco band Chic & Nile Rodgers, pop star Mika, icon Grace Jones and the up and coming Years & Years and Foxes. There was a real festival vibe throughout the venue and it was very chilled, the weather was great and we had a fantastic time!

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General admission was at 1pm so we caught a late morning Oxford Tube from Thornhill Park & Ride direct to Marble Arch – this is a brilliant way of travelling from Oxford to London and our adult return fares were just £14 each! After we were allowed in we checked out the attractions around the park, got our faces painted for free by the Palmolive promo team & had a ride on the fairground. Just be aware that once you’re into the park and your tickets have been scanned you aren’t allowed out again so there’s no chance of popping back to Oxford Street for some last minute shopping!

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We were worried that we’d have so much time to waste before the concert that we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves, but by the time we checked out the surroundings and had something to eat the music was nearly starting and the concert was in full swing! Food-wise I opted for meatballs, chips and garlic bread (£10 with a drink) and my friend had a BBQ pulled pork sandwich with chips and a drink (£13). The food is a little on the pricey side but the portions were a very good size, larger than we expected, and included a drink which was a bonus. There is so much choice with cuisine from all around the world as well as plenty of sweet treat stalls including Spanish churros and Belgian waffles – they were to die for!!

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On to the music which started just before 4pm, with newbies to the pop scene Years and Years performing first on the Great Oak Stage. They were followed shortly by Mika who really got the crowd on their feet with his famous pop tunes. After an interval dance legends Chic and Nile Rodgers took to the stage and added to the party atmosphere getting everyone to sing along to their greatest hits. Over on the Barclaycard stage we watched young Louisa  , also known as Foxes, perform some of her well known songs. Shortly afterwards the iconic Grace Jones performed some of her wacky songs back over on the Great Oak Stage in a choice of rather revealing outfits until it was time for the main event to take place. We had all been waiting for Kylie and Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills provided an entertaining countdown to her set whilst the crowds flocked towards the front of the stage. There was a Barclaycard VIP arena for celebs and people with priority tickets but we were stood in the general admission area with good views of the stage and there were plenty of big screens around aswell.

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Kylie’s set was fantastic and she was certainly the star of the show! unfortunately we had to miss the end as the Oxford Tube’s from Marble Arch finished early but we were actualyl glad to be able to get back and beat the crowds so it all worked out well in the end. We had a fantastic day out at British Summertime Festival and can’t wait to return next year! I’ll certainly be keeping my eyes peeled for the 2016 dates and line ups once they’ve been revealed!

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Love Jess x

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A Royal Day out: Ascot Races

Hi everyone,

I’ve recently returned from my very first Royal Ascot experience and I’m delighted to be sharing this with you all; I had a truly fantastic time and the atmosphere was incredible. Unfortunately my bets didn’t pay off so I didn’t win any mega bucks, but the day was brilliant none the less! So without further ado here is my Amazing Ascot round up…

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We travelled to Ascot as part of a coach trip group leaving from a local Burford pub, The Mermaid, located on the busy high street. I went with my mum, sisters, cousin and aunty and my cousin’s fiancé’s family actually own The Mermaid and they all came with us as well. There was a large group going from the pub and the coach was full so there was a brilliant party atmosphere on board!

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The journey took around an hour and a half and we stopped at a lovely village pub (The George on the Green, nr Maidenhead) on the way for a quick drink before heading towards Ascot. Our ticket price of £45pp included transport there and back, a champagne breakfast and access to The Silver Ring Enclosure at Ascot.

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Upon arrival at The Silver Ring Enclosure we split up in to our separate groups and enjoyed the day with our families. The enclosure is huge and the dress code is much more relaxed than the Grandstand and Royal Enclosures which require you to look very formal and to wear a certain attire. I chose to wear a coral coloured shift dress with matching clutch bag and comfy tan wedged heels. My dress was a bargain from Quiz clothing and I didn’t want to take it off I loved it that much! I would have liked to have worn a fascinator if we weren’t in the Silver Ring, but it wasn’t compulsory and not many other people wore one so I went without!

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The day doesn’t officially start until Her Royal Highness the Queen arrives in the Royal Procession which takes place each day at 2pm. We got a great spot on the sidelines so we could watch the carriages ride past and I got some lovely photos of the Royal family. I’d never seen the Queen before so it was super exciting!

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We placed our bets for the first race and watched the horses gallop past, they were so close we could feel the ground move and it was such a great experience. We moved around the enclosure for the other races that took part throughout the day so we could see the track from different areas. There were tonnes of betting stands dotted around so you could get the best odds on offer. Many race goers took picnics and drinks with them but, if you’re like us and hate carrying things, there’s plenty of food stalls and bars offering a range of products.. just be prepared to pay a bit more than average as it is Ascot after all!

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There are six races in total on each day of Ascot and famous jockeys from all over the world take part and compete for first place. We witnessed horse racing history as we saw the legendary Frankie Dettori win his 50th Ascot race with his horse Osalia. He was congratulated by the Royal family and cheered loudly by the enormous crowds. The racecourse was packed full of around 40,000 people on the day that we went and the atmosphere was electric!

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With a 300 year history, Ascot is a five day long world famous extravaganza best known for its sporting, social and fashion highlights. We had a truly amazing experience and I’d urge everyone to go at least once in their lives as its definitely something to tick off the bucket list! As their strapline says.. Ascot really is Like Nowhere Else..

image Image courtesy of www.essexlifemag.co.uk

Have you ever been to Ascot or are you wanting to go next year? If you’ve been to the races before please comment and show me your best outfits I’d love to see them!

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Love Jess x

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Rooftop bar review: The Varsity Club Oxford

Hey everyone,

So I’ve recently been to a super cool rooftop bar in the centre of Oxford which offers incredible views across the city. I went with my sister and two of our friends for cocktails and a nice chilled evening. We usually hit the clubs on a Saturday night but The Varsity offered an alternative evening out in a much more relaxed environment.

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Laid out over four floors, the venue is split into a lounge bar, dance floor, private members area and the famous rooftop bar. Serving bar snacks, sharing boards, a variety of drinks and even afternoon tea, and with various deals running throughout the week, there’s something available for everyone at Varsity.

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The rooftop does tend to get very busy so I’d advise booking up if you want to secure a table, but the four of us turned up at around 8.30 on a sunny Saturday evening and we managed to find a good spot so I guess it depends on timings etc. We watched the sun go down and enjoyed the last of the warm weather before leaving shortly before dark at around 10pm. This gave us the best of both worlds as we enjoyed views of the city both in the sunshine and also lit up after dark.

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There’s a professional photographer on site to take those all important photos against the gorgeous Oxford background, and they are uploaded to their website and social media pages a few days later so you can tag yourselves on Facebook!

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Drinks are a little on the pricey side, but I always believe that you get what you pay for in life and you pay a little for the experience of enjoying the rooftop bar. Cocktails are around £8 each but they are beautiful, a particular favourite of mine is La Vie en Rose which is a mixture of pear and apple liqueur & juice served with crushed ice, edible sugary sprinkles and real rose petals.

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I’d highly recommend visiting Varsity with friends, partners or family for a classy night out in a brilliant venue set against a beautiful city backdrop. I will most definitely be returning next time I’m in Oxford!

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This week has been extremely busy for me; I’ve been to Royal Ascot for a day at the races, the theatre for a Michael McIntyre show and tomorrow I’m off to Hyde Park in London for the British Summertime Festival. With loads to blog about I’ll be posting updates for you as soon as I can! I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend 🙂

Love Jess x