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100 Things in London – webpage share!

New Webpage Share!!

http://www.lastminute.com/inspiration/100-things-in-london/

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I spotted this article online last week while I was browsing the web and just thought I would share it with you all! Lastminute.com have compiled a list of the top 100 places of interest London and have added lots of fun facts and figures for you to have a look at.

Browse and share and pick your top three like I have:

– Tower Bridge
– Westminster Abbey
– Trafalgar Square

What are yours?! Get in touch, I’d love to hear what makes you love London!

Jess x

Spa day in Oxford!

Happy Thursday everyone!

So rather than sitting at my desk at work like any normal Thursday, today I spent the day in a brilliant spa complex in Oxford! It made such a nice change to get away from work for a day and completely relax, I now feel totally refreshed! I had bought the spa day as a present for my mum back in March but the complex had been booked up for months so we’ve had to wait until now to get a slot! It was definitely worth the wait though.. here’s how we got on..

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We arrived at the Oxfordshire Health and Racquet Club, otherwise known as Virgin Active, at 10.30am ready to make the most of all the facilities on offer before our spa treatments which had already been booked in. First of all we made our way to the gym for a quick workout and then headed to the pool area for a cool down and a swim. The pool area boasted a steam room, sauna and jacuzzi as well as a baby pool for the kids and a large 1.4m deep ordinary pool.

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After spending a good two hours enjoying these facilities and working up an appetite we decided to break for lunch and made our way to the lounge bar by the reception area. The menu was great with loads of choice from soup and pasta dishes to burgers and sandwiches from the deli. We both opted for the latter; a steak and onion ciabatta and a chicken, mozzarella and pesto panini with sides of sweet potato fries.

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The food was brilliant, we weren’t kept waiting for too long, and the prices were decent too. I expected to pay way over the odds for a lunch, or for the portions to be small, but £18.50 for two meals, two sides and two drinks didn’t seem bad at all!

After allowing our lunches to go down and spending some chill out time in the lounge we headed up to Tranquility, the spa treatments rooms, which we were booked into for 2pm slots.

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I was booked in for a facial whilst my mum chose a back neck and shoulder massage. We both thoroughly enjoyed our treatments and the experience was made even better by the lovely therapists who looked after us.

We came away from our spa day feeling totally relaxed and rejuvenated and we can’t wait til our next trip! We are hoping to come back to Virgin Active next year so I’ll be sure to book up in advance to avoid waiting for to long next time.

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So that’s how my Thursday turned out, I hope you all had a good day too! My next trip is a weekend away in Birmingham next Saturday so ill update you then; in the meantime look out for my next Throwback Thursday which I’ll post in a weeks time.

Speak soon!

Love Jess x

New Facebook Page!

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to let you know that I’ve created a brand new Facebook page to go alongside my current Twitter page and this WordPress blog. I wanted a page where I could link to my other sites as well as share lots of pictures and updates from my blog and Facebook gives me exactly that.

The link:

https://www.facebook.com/journeyswithjessica

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I would love it if you could spread the word, share my page and give me a few likes as I’m trying to reach as many people as possible with my work and I know the power of social media and what it could do for my online presence!

Thank you for your continued support- my next blog post will be coming up shortly and will detail my next trip which is a spa day in Oxford this Thursday and I’m very excited about it!!

Speak soon,

Love Jess x

Throwback Thursday – Disneyland Paris 2013!

Hi everyone!

Welcome to my latest blog post – THROWBACK THURSDAY – which will be a new monthly feature and will detail information about some of my favourite past trips so that I can relive some of my best travel moments! I tend to post reviews on my Trip Advisor account whenever I travel, so I will also include links to relevant reviews and you can ask me questions about my past trips which I will try to answer as best I can!

So on to the first Throwback Feature and it’s definitely a gooden….

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DISNEYLAND PARIS 2013

For those of you that know me, I am a massive Disney fan (well, I suppose geek is a better term!) and I’d visited Disneyland Paris before when I was 13, but when I went last November with my ex-boyfriend I was so excited to be able to go and do everything properly, as an adult!

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We visited between 5th-9th November 2013 just in time to watch Mickey’s Magical Bonfire & Fireworks display and we also caught the first few days of the Christmas period which was beautiful.

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The giant Christmas tree had been put up and the decorations were appearing more each day. We were even lucky enough to see the Christmas Calvacade which was a new parade so that was very exciting! Just so you know, it’s kinda hard for me to go through this trip in detail as I’ve had a difficult break up with my ex this year so I’ll just focus on this happy time and share my experience with you all!

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THE JOURNEY:

We travelled by Eurostar from London St Pancras direct to the Disney station at Marnee La Vallee and caught an early train so we could make the most of our first day! We had never gone by Eurostar before and found the experience to be completely stress and hassle free and super convenient!

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The only change we made was at Lille station for a short connection that then took us straight in to Disney itself. The train journey was around 2 and a half hours, and with short check in times and no limit on baggage we much preferred the train line to the airport!! I would definitely choose the Eurostar over flying to Disney when I plan my future trips.

THE HOTEL:

You can read my official review of the Newport Bay hotel on my Trip Advisor account here.

We stayed for four nights five days in the three star Newport Bay Hotel which was located a short ten minute walk away from the Disney Village and the parks. We had requested a Lakeside room as we were staying for our anniversary, and the view we got certainly didn’t disappoint as it looked out across the impressive Lake Disney.

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We were located on the ground floor which we didnt mind too much but I think I would have chosen to stay a bit higher up if I could and will factor this in to my next visit. Breakfast each morning was plentiful but the Continental did get a bit boring after a few days and we missed a good old English fry up! I did love the hotel though, it’s the biggest of all the Disney hotels and it’s stature is certainly impressive.

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Facilities include an indoor swimming pool, captains bar, cape cod restaurant and the yacht club restaurant which offers a varied buffet dinner should you choose to eat there one evening which is what we did! I loved the nautical theme that ran throughout the Newport but my favourite elements by far were the meet and greet area and the merchandise shop located in the foyer, both of which were truly magical! The characters did meet and greets at all the Disney hotels and you could pop in and out of the reception areas of each hotel which we thought was brill – photos below were taken in ours, The Newport Bay (Pluto & Goofy)  and the stunning Hotel New York (Minnie) which I would love to stay in next time!

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THE PARKS:

We found November a great time to visit as the queues for rides were virtually non existent! We visited Monday-Friday which was definitely the best time to go as I’ve heard weekends can be stupidly busy with some queues over 100mins long! We didn’t experience waiting times anywhere near as long as this and were so pleased that we could go on all the rides and enjoy it without spending our days queuing. The Disneyland park has five different lands:

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Photo map of parks courtesy of dedicatedtodlp.com

Main Street USA – home to loads of merchandise shops and boutique stores lining the way up to Sleeping Beauty’s castle, the prettiest part of the park! This is also where all the character parades take place throughout the day.

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Fantasyland– also where the castle is located but filled with kids rides, restaurants and character meet and greets. You can queue up in the Princess Pavillion and get a photo with your favourite Princess although you don’t know who you’ve got until you enter the booth which keeps a lovely element of suprise – some of the looks on the kids’ faces were priceless!

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Discoveryland– the sci-fi area, a favourite with the boys, home to the ever popular high thrill Space Mountain roller coaster, Wall E photo opportunity and Videopolis which previews great shows with Mickey and Co.

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Frontierland– a cry from the Wild West with the trademark Big Thunder Mountain ride, cruise liner that sails round the land, the Haunted Mansion experience and cowboy saloons a plenty! The Aladdin Agrabah experience is also not to be missed.

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Adventureland– climb aboard the mighty ship and the virtual ride inspired by the famous Pirates of the Caribbean films and journey with Indiana jones on a white knuckle roller coaster ride. We also loved the swinging bridge that connected you to a different part of the land.

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Walt Disney Studios – the studios are located adjacent to the Disneyland Park with many rides and new attractions.  Crushes Coaster, Aerosmith Rock n Roller and The Tower of Terror are there for the  thrill seekers plus there’s plenty for kids too.

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The animation studios offer a fascinating insight into how many of the famous Disney films were made, from the original Snow White & the Seven Dwarves to modern greats including The Aristocats, Fox & The Hound & Tangled. The studios are home to many daily shows including the famous animagique and cinemagique as well as Stitch Live.

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When we were there we watched the Stars & Cars parade which was fab and had some great floats including my all time favourite The Little Mermaid who I didn’t see on my first visit back in 2007 so I was super happy to catch a glimpse of Ariel!

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There is plenty to do in both parks but Disneyland itself is my favourite as it is truly magical! I would recommend spending at least 2 days in the park and 1 day in the studios to make sure you can get everything done and you can allow time for queues, meet and greets and parades etc.

DISNEY VILLAGE:

The Village is located near the front of the parks and is near to all of the Disney hotels, you actually walk through the village to get to them which is lovely! The Village is home to a large cinema showing the latest Disney related films, plenty of restaurants and bars (please see the next section EATING OUT for more info) as well as loads of lovely merchandise shops where you can buy anything from fridge magnets to cuddly toys.

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We loved the look of the PanoraMagique which was a large hot air balloon that takes you over the village and Lake Disney offering spectacular views of the resort. Unfortunately this attraction was closed during our visit but it’s definitely something I’m keen to try next time I go!

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EATING OUT:

There are loads of places to eat and drink throughout both parks and the brilliant Disney Village which we loved! We ate in Cafe Mickey, Planet Hollywood, Rainforest Cafe and Earl of Sandwich in the village, all of which were amazing, but the dining experience we had at Cafe Mickey was incredible!

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I’d been back in 2007 but there were more characters this time and it wasn’t as busy during lunch hour (may have been different during the evening) but we got to spend more time getting photos with the characters which was a bonus! Unfortunately, I stupidly managed to delete around 200 photos from our last couple of days at the park which I was completely gutted about. I had taken loads of pics with the characters from our Cafe Mickey lunch but they were all lost; I guess it just means that I’ll have to go back on another trip as soon as possible though!

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We also ate in the Hakuna Matata and the Bella Notte restaurants in the parks but didn’t stop anywhere in the Studios so I’d like to try somewhere there next time I go. Eating out can be pricey but after all it is Disneyland and if you don’t go all out you won’t make the most of everything this amazing place has to offer!

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Ooh just a tip, make up some baguettes at breakfast to save money on lunch and take a few empty water bottles with you as you can fill up for free at the various water fountains throughout the parks!

DISNEY DREAMS

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This magical light show, which runs every evening at 7pm, is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen and definitely deserves a paragraph to itself! It costs the park around £1,000,000 to put on this show every single night but, for thousands of Disney fans, it’s definitely worth that! Sleeping Beauty’s castle turns into a wonderful sight with laser beams, water fountains, music and the most beautiful lighting you’ll ever see.

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The show tells the tale of Peter Pan trying to chase his shadow and, with the help of Tinkerbell, he goes through lots of different magical worlds before he finally pins his shadow down. With music from Tangled, The Lion King, Beauty  & the Beast, Brave and many more this is a truly brilliant all singing all dancing phenomenal masterpiece which will leave even the most grown up of grown ups wanting to watch it all over again!

I don’t really know how to summarise my Disney trip as it was completely incredible and I just didn’t want to leave! We packed in as much as we could into the five days and truly got immersed into the wonderful Disney spirit; it’s hard not to soak up the amazing atmosphere that is present throughout every corner of Disney. I can’t wait for my next visit and am already planning to go next Halloween to see what that’s like as I’ve heard it’s brilliant – I’ll keep you updated on my plans for that one!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my first ever Throwback Thursday feature and I can’t wait to share my next trip down memory lane with you all! Again if you have any Disney related questions that you need help with just get in touch.

Bye for now everyone!

Love Jess x

Weekend in London!

Hi everyone! This weekend I headed to the best city in the world with one of my closest friends for a night at London’s O2 arena to watch Lee Evans on tour. I bought tickets last November and had been looking forward to this weekend for so long that I couldn’t wait to arrive! image I met my friend at her house in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, and we caught the train to Kings Cross station before navigating our way across the tube lines until we arrived at the famous Millennium Dome. I’ve been to this venue before to see various shows and concerts and it’s size and stature has always blown me away and I absolutely love it’s design! 02  02 pic The O2 isn’t just a concert venue, it’s so much more than that. With a multi screen cinema, bowling alley, numerous bars and plenty of well known restaurants you could come here just for an evening out with friends or to spend the afternoon lunching. You could even climb the roof of the dome if you are feeling a little more adventurous… That’s definitely on my to-do list for the next time I visit! cinema cabana After arriving at the venue just before 5.30pm we had plenty of time to kill before the show and so we headed for some dinner and drinks to help pass the time, plus we were incredibly hungry! There was so much choice that we could’ve eaten in about ten places but we opted the all you can eat Chinese, The Water Margin, which was great value for money and the food was brilliant! The dinner deal was £14.80 per person with drinks payable separately and this entitled you to as many food courses as you could manage; with three plates each it’s safe to say that we certainly made the most of it! chinese After our meal we headed to the ticketing entrance and made our way up to block 410 to take our seats (row R, 671-672) which I must say were very high up but we had a great view of the stage and the whole arena. We were directly opposite the stage and I’d sat in similar seats at a concert there last year so knew what kind of view to expect. empty arena me n steph Lee came out on stage at 8pm and played a fantastic show until 11pm so he kept us entertained for hours! He was absolutely brilliant and so funny with all new jokes that had everyone in stitches; my cheeks were hurting so much from laughing! There was a short interval at around 9.30 and a brilliant finale which involved Lee donning a sparkly jacket and playing the piano dedicating a song he’d written to his wife who was in the audience that night. He sang brilliantly (I didn’t know he was that talented!!) and then ended the show with his famous rendition of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody which had the whole audience rocking and everyone was on their feet. It was a fantastic end to a truly amazing show and we had a brilliant night! lights After making our way to the packed tube station and heading back to King’s Cross via the Northern line we arrived back at Hatfield train station at around 1am well and truly exhausted and ready for our beds! But I had a brilliant time and am already planning my next show night as I can’t wait to return to The O2! me n steph kings cross My next trip is a spa day in Oxford which is coming up on 18th October so I’ll keep you posted on that and the other adventures I’ve got planned for the rest of the month! For now, thanks as always for reading, and I’ll write again soon. Love Jess x