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New week, new start!

Happy Monday everyone! 🙂

So its a new week and a new start for me as I have decided to relaunch my blog under a brand new name: Journeys with Jessica!

What do you all think?! I wanted something a little catchier than just my name followed by a few numbers so decided to take the plunge and change it up altogether!

There were a few names in the mix and I narrowed it down to three choices, but in the end Journeys with Jessica came out on top as I feel it best describes what I do! I don’t just visit places on a whim, I really plan my trips and experience lots of different things when I’m away so, for me, it really does feel like I’m on a journey.

I’ve also come on a bit of a journey by writing this blog, and it’s something which I am proud of and am keen to develop more and more. I can’t wait to write all about my future trips!

So here’s to new beginnings and, hopefully, the start of something very exciting for me! I’m planning to set up a new dedicated Twitter page and ill update my Trip Advisor account accordingly,  but for now please keep reading and thanks for your ongoing support!!

Please note that my old address (jessicalouise1601.wordpress.com) has now been deleted so you’ll have to use my new address to access my blog, it doesn’t automatically redirect I’m afraid! Please visit journeyswithjessica.wordpress.com in future.

Have a good week everyone 🙂

Love Jess x

My upcoming events..

Hey everyone,

So I haven’t posted since the start of September as I’ve been very poorly lately and have taken some time in getting myself back to normal. I obviously haven’t been anywhere and therefore haven’t had anything interesting to write about! However I have used my recovery time to think about my next trips that have been planned for a while, and to get prepared before I travel.

Between October and December I am lucky enough to be visiting London, Birmingham, Oxford, Leeds (potentially) and Reykjavik – eek! I have planned trips to see Lee Evans at London’s 02 arena, Disney on Ice at Birmingham’s NIA arena and Shrek the Musical at Oxford’s New Theatre.

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I shall also hopefully be having a girly weekend away in Leeds with my cousins, although this is not confirmed yet as we all need to plan it properly! We were a little confused as to where to go for our weekend, we did Blackpool last year but fancied a change this year. Does anyone have any tips for the perfect girly weekend away up North? We discounted Manchester and Liverpool as we’ve all been before but any other suggestions would be welcome – please comment below!

The place I’m most excited to be visiting is the Icelandic city of Reykjavik, one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth! I’ve always wanted to go and experience the culture, the atmosphere and of course get the chance to see the famous Northern Lights. Me and my best friend were discussing it randomly and both decided that we should go! So, with the help of the brilliant Secret Escapes website, we’ve booked our dream trip. I’ve never been on a luxury planned trip before but this one has it all; three nights in a 4 star hotel, three different planned tours, spa access and complimentary bike hire throughout the stay, what more could we want?!

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I’ll be posting more about my trips in due course and will be asking for your comments and tips on how to make the most of Iceland as I’ve never been there before. In the meantime, when I’m not travelling, I’ll keep you updated with whatever else I’m doing on my weekends off!

Bye for now,

Jess x

Nb. All photos courtesy of Google images.

Cardiff continued..

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Cardiff continued.. and I’m going to now share my experience of the nightlife and shopping in the city centre both of which we found to be brilliant and really made the weekend special! Please read below to find out more..

The daytime:

Cardiff is home to some of the best shops In the country and the two huge shopping malls that are located in the heart of the city certainly offer something for everyone! Capitol and Saint David’s are the names of the two shopping centres and they are host to a range of big name shops from high street favourites to designer havens you can’t go wrong by stopping here!

We spent most of the day shopping and then headed to The Glassworks pub for a lovely lunchtime stop! I would describe this pub as a posh wetherspoons which offered an excellent choice of food at great value for money in a lovely location just round the corner from Saint David’s. I opted for a large chicken and bbq pulled pork double  burger with skinny fries and a salad.. I know, my mouth is watering too just thinking about it!!

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The nighttime:

After we were worn out by all our shopping we headed back to the hotel to start getting ready ahead of our big night out! The three of us were dressing up Disney style for my friends 21st so we spent hours on our hair, make up and outfits and the results are below.. see if you can guess which characters we are meant to be! (I’ll challenge you to guess them all ;))

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After a few cheeky pre drinks in our hotel room we headed to our first stop which was,  yep you guessed it, good old wetherspoons!! The drinks were cheap, the atmosphere was good and it was the perfect place to get the party started!

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Cardiff has such a varied nightlife with loads of fantastic bars, clubs and pubs and we tried out 5 of the venues but wish we had one extra night to visit a few more of them!  We headed to Soda Bar after wetherspoons which was a small club playing the latest chart music and it was only £3 entry but the drinks were quite pricey. From here we wen on to Las Iguanas for a lovely cocktail, again lovely little place but £6.50 per cocktail so try and go when they are offering deals otherwise it can get quite expensive! Our next stop was Retro (my favourite!!) which was a 90s club playing cheesy pop hits all night long-I was in dance floor heaven! Cheap drinks, two floors and tunes you can sing your heart out to.. What more could three girls dressed up as disney characters want from a night out?!

Our final stop, after a couple of bags of chips on the way back (!!), was the well known Walkabout bar which was bigger than we expected and offered a brilliant dance area as well as a more chilled bar area. We didn’t stop for a drink as only stayed for a couple of songs before we headed back to the hotel, but we would definitely have stayed for longer if our feet weren’t so tired!

Overall we had a brilliant night out in cardiff and will definitely be returning ! Here’s a final snapshot of us looking a little worse for wear in the hotel lift on the way up to the room… I think it’s fair to say we needed our beauty sleep after that !

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On that note I shall also bid you goodnight as I’m getting tired re-living my super busy weekend, so goodnight everyone I’ll be back soon with some more posts about my latest adventures!

Love Jess x

My latest trip.. girls weekend in Cardiff!

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So its not quite Barcelona, but I headed to Cardiff last weekend with two girlfriends for a fun filled night away in celebration of a 21st birthday! Please read part one of my trip below and ill do a couple more blog posts about the rest of the weekend to follow shortly!

The hotel:

We chose to stay at the four star Best Western Plus Maldron Hotel in the centre of the city and what a brilliant choice it turned out to be!

 

 

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There weren’t many hotels that offered triple rooms, but this one was a reasonable £150 for the night (breakfast not included) and was perfectly located for us. The train station was behind the hotel, and there was an NCP opposite which was £6 for 24 hours parking so we couldn’t complain at that! We stayed on the third floor and the room was big with a double and single bed as well as a good size bathroom.

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Free wifi was offered throughout the hotel which was useful and I can imagine is essential for customers on business trips! The bar and restaurant looked lovely but we didn’t have chance to try these out as we headed straight out into the city to make the most of the little time we had there! The hotel is situated in front of the train station so inevitably it was quite loud but we’re all deep sleepers so it didn’t keep us awake and the windows were pretty sound proof which helped cut out the noise from passing trains!

 

The beds were a little uncomfortable though, I personally found the mattresses quite hard and the pillows weren’t very fluffy, but I suppose you can’t have everything! The best thing about this hotel though is undoubtedly it’s fantastic location as it’s in a prime place to discover all that the city has to offer – we didn’t get a taxi anywhere as everything is in walking distance! I would rate this hotel 4 out of 5 and would definitely stay again!

Please be sure to look out for my next blog posts which detail information about the nightlife in Cardiff and, most importantly, the shopping experience!

Speak soon!

Jess x

Final day in Barcelona!

Hey everyone,

So here is my final write up of our last full day in Barcelona, and it was certainly the best day out so far! After recovering from my horrible sickness the previous day I was determined to fit as much as possible into this last day so I didn’t feel that I had missed out on what the city had to offer, and I certainly made the most of it! We had booked tickets for a hop on hop off bus as we liked the look of the routes they offered and wanted to see as much as we could on our last day! The bus service was brilliant, we caught it from the Central square in the middle of the city (Placa de Catalunya) and took the red route first of all which took us past the main attractions. A day ticket was 26 euros, so pretty reasonable considering it took us across the whole city.

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The three routes broke down as follows:

Red route- stops included the well known Estacio de Sants, Anella Olimpica, Mirimar Jardins, World Trade Centre, the vibrant Parc de Ciutadella Zoo, and the scenic Port Olimpic & Port Vell

Blue route- stops included the world famous Sagrada Familia, Monestir de Pedralbes, Francesc Macia-Diagonal and of course the renowned Nou Camp (Barcelona’s football team stadium)

Green route – this repeated many of the stops on the red route, but kept more to the coastal side of the city so the beach could be seen from all angles. Parc Diagonal Mar was visited along with another dirve past the well known Port Olimpic.

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My preferred route was the blue tour as there were attractions on there that I was more interested in than some of the other routes and it was very scenic, taking you through the busy city streets and then to the outskirts where the views were more mountainous. The Sagrada Familia was by far the highlight of the trip for me, I thought it was absolutely stunning! The architecture was incredible, and I got some great photos from lots of different angles. Would have loved to have gone inside and done the tour properly but, as we had limited time (and my friends weren’t as big on cathedrals as I am!) we decided not to stop off at any of the attractions and stayed on the bus during both routes. As with most of these bus tours, the guided commentary on the ear phones was excellent and very informative. I have been on bus tours with similar companies in Paris & London and also found them to be brilliant!

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We stopped off for lunch in between the red and blue routes as we were getting rather hungry and ate at a little café in one of the quieter areas. We actually found this to be quite a nice refresher in between sitting on the top deck of the bus sunning ourselves and taking in the sights! Luckily there was a bus stop directly opposite the café as well which meant we could see when we were next due to be picked up and could always catch the next one if we didn’t make it as the buses came every 15-20 minutes – the service really was fantastic!

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Later on in the day, after we had got dropped off back at the Place de Catalunya, we decided to head to St Joseph’s market (Mercat de Sant Josep/ La Boqueria) one last time to gaze at the wonderful fruits, ice creams and smoothies and soaked up the wonderful Spanish atmosphere whilst we went around looking for some scrummy treats to purchase. As I mentioned in one of my previous blog posts, if I could have brought this market over to England with me I definitely would have, it was so beautiful!

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That evening, on our last night, we decided to head to one of the most upmarket restaurants in the city, The Attic Restaurant, located at the very bottom of Las Ramblas and right near to the port. The menu was reasonable but the portions were very small, although we expected this so we weren’t disappointed and the food itself was exquisite! If I were to return I’d definitely book a table on the roof top terrace- it looked amazing!

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We rounded off our last evening in Barcelona by bartering with the street sellers and I got myself a Louis Vuitton replica bag at an impressive price of just €18 so I was feeling proud of myself!! They were quite pushy though which made us feel a little uncomfortable, but I suppose that happens everywhere.

So with my purchase in tow we headed back to our lovely hotel and packed our bags ready for the flight home the next morning.. sob sob! 🙁 in a nutshell, Barcelona is one of the best cities i have visited and I can’t wait to go back! If you’re planning on going any time soon I’d love to see your blog posts and if you have any questions please get In touch so we can have a good old discussion about this beautiful place!

For now my Barcelona blog posts have come to an end, but I’ve been a busy bee since I’ve been back in England so ill post details of my new adventures soon!!

Thanks again for reading everyone! 🙂

Love Jess x