Planning a Trip to the Philippines

The relatively open door policy adopted by Philippines has made it one of the most easiest of countries to visit with hardly any barriers in place for entering tourists. Residents of over 150 countries, which have diplomatic relations with the country can enter Philippines and stay there for up to thirty days without having a visitor’s visa. The only condition being is that you should have proof of return passage and a passport with at least six months validity.

There are some exceptions to this rule for a few different nationalities which your Embassy or Consulate can verify in your home city. Customs allow you to bring in your personal belongings without paying duty as well as unlimited foreign exchange. However, when leaving the country you are forbidden to carry any currency in excess of USD 10,000 or equivalent. To make the most of your trip you will need to set aside at least two to three weeks for your Philippines holiday. Suggested itinerary,with top attractions, is described below….

Planning a trip to the Philippines

MANILA (two days)

Once you have arrived at the International Airport, the rest of the Philippines can be easily visited by budget airlines(as there are no road links), which fly to most of the popular places of this charming island country. Many travelers like to skip Manila in order to save time, but they are making a huge mistake. This metropolitan city is full of diverse culture, history and entertainment. The city’s museums, broad streets and shopping malls, make Manila a must all types of tourists.

Manila, Philippines

THE CORDILLERA RICE TERRACES (two days)

A nine hour road trip, over treacherous mountain roads, high into the Cordillera mountains, where even the Spanish colonists feared to enter, will bring you to this special UNESCO world heritage site. Walking over tricky hiking trails you will discover the unique terraces of rice fields, carved out of the mountain, dating back to 500 years.

SIARGAO (two days)

Long kept as a secret, Siargao opened its doors to the outside world only in the seventies. This Pacific Ocean coastline town is known to have some of the most challenging surfing spots in the world. Cloud 9, as it is named after, boasts of a reputation of having powerful waves and rocky bottom backsides. Numerous resorts and hotels can be found here, which take visitors to the outlying popular destinations on conducted tours.

PALAWAN (four to six days)

This 260 mile piece of paradise, runs along the archipelago’s western flank and is often referred to as the best island in the world. The capital Puerto Princesa is famous for its local craft beer and a variety of food delicacies. A short distance away from the city is the underground river – one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. Here you will come upon an archipelago of over 40 stunning limestone islands, where one can hike up to the edge of the cliffs or simply go island hopping. At the extreme northern end of Palawan lies Coron, with its gorgeous beaches and lagoons and the site of a World War II wreck.

BOHOL (two days)

The once laid back and sleepy island of Bohol has today earned a reputation of leading travel destination due to the presence of the Chocolate Hills. The karst limestone which gave these hills their origin are full of deep gorges and valleys, ideal for rappelling and ziplining. Bohol can be easily accessed from the Tagbilaran airport in Cebu or by ferry from the same place. Once you have found your stay in any of the island’s many resorts, take time out to go to Panglao to catch a glimpse, if you are lucky, of the dancing spinner dolphins in the Bohol sea.

DAVAO (two days)

The city of Davao, acts as the gateway point to the three major island groups, which constitute the majority of the Philippines. This major metropolis, is situated on a relatively unspoilt marine and forest habitat. As it affords easy access to both the mountains and the sea, Davao has become a topmost adventure sport destination today. The added attractions here are some animal conservation centres such as, Philippines Eagle Center and Monfort Bat Sanctuary, which are well worth a visit.

PAMPANGA

The cultural hotbed of Pampanga, lies to the north of Manila and showcases the colonial way of life of the Spaniards who once ruled here. Everything from the unique architecture to the food flavor and culture has a mix of Latin in it. The place tops in culinary eats as on the bucket list of food lovers who want to taste the best of the Kapampangan food.

BORACAY

It is said that most people, on return, have left their heart in the beautiful island of Boracay. The experiences here are so unique that visitors have fallen love with the place. Travelers have compared the island and the beaches with best in the world, and not surprisingly Boracay has always stolen the show.

The now unforgettable sunsets and miles of powdery stretches of white sand have made Boracay legendary. To get away from the hordes of tourists, a visit to Alta Vista de Boracay is highly recommended. From here one can have a commanding 360 degree view of the whole island. Thrill seekers can opt for diving from the cliffs on Magic island, which caters to both first timers and professionals alike.

The Philippines has a whole lot of other attractions, but make sure you don’t lose out on the ones mentioned above. Enjoy what this paradise country has to offer and do all what you have not done before.

Boracay, Philippines


*This is a collaborative post.

How To Prepare For A Holiday

If you haven’t already been on holiday yet this summer, you may well be preparing for a last minute or end of summer escape now, or possibly even an out of season trip instead. Or perhaps you are mega organised and are already starting to think ahead to next year and booking up early for then. Whether you are planning a short road trip staycation or long haul flight to exotic location, or somewhere in between, these tips will help ensure your holiday preparations go smoothly…

How To Prepare For A Holiday. Suitcases in background

Research the Location

Start with researching your location. Obviously you will have likely done this already, prior to booking your holiday, but once the main plans are in place it is useful to research specifics too.

Whilst an itinery might be a step too far for many holidays – although if you are doing a road trip or action packed holiday it might be necessary, or at least certainly useful – having a rough idea of how you may spend your time will help you make the most of your holiday.

Also, researching and finding recommendations for the best restaurants, beaches, and so on will help your holiday to be the best it can be. But don’t forget to also explore while you are there too – you may find your very own secret fave spot!

A beautiful holiday location. Greek style buildings near beach. Ariel photo.

Travel Documents

Make sure your passports are in date. Some countries require them to have at least x number of months left before expiry too, so be careful not to get caught out.

Also check any visa requirements. Make sure you apply for these in plenty of time, incase of any delays.

Insurance

It is important to make sure you have adequate travel insurance, especially if you are travelling abroad. Nobody wants to think about things going wrong, but it is important to make sure you are covered if they do. You can get a Bupa Global – Travel Insurance Quote here for example.

Immunisations

Check your immunisations are up to date and whether there are any additional ones you need for the country you are visiting. Make sure you book them in far enough in advance so you are fit for travel.

If you take prescription medication, make sure you have enough for the duration of your trip. Also bare in mind you might need a Doctor’s note to carry them on the plane too, if you are flying.

Booking Attractions

It is often handy to book tickets for popular tourist attractions in advance. This not only avoids lengthy queues, but can save alot of money too.

Practical Preparations

Call your bank or credit card company in advance to let them know where you will be and for how long, so that your card doesn’t get blocked for suspicious activity. This has happened to us before several times and it is so frustrating!

Change up your foreign currency. Be sure to shop around for the best exchange rate. Remember to be just as careful as if you were carrying cash at home, and don’t have more than you will need on you.

Packing

Most people pack way more than they actually need! Whilst it is good to be prepared, and essentials are a must, it is also much easier to pack light rather than lugging tonnes of cases around. And you don’t want to have to pay for excess luggage either, if your holiday involves a flight – or to find it doesn’t all fit in the car either!

I recommend making a checklist of what to pack, as it can be easy to forget the most obvious – and important – things in the rush and excitement of packing. I suggest you then take that list with you, to help remember to take everything with you when it’s time to head back home.

A row of suitcases and backpacks. Luggage.

My essentials list includes:

• Travel documents – passports, visas, insurance, tickets

• Medications and first aid kit

• Toiletries and cosmetics – I try to keep this minimal and as eco friendly as possible!

• Suncream

• Clothes – capsule wardrobe, underwear, swimwear etc…

• Camera

• Reading material – books and/ or kindle

• Kids essentials – favourite toys, games etc…

• Phone chargers

• Check whether you need to take any of your own bed linen or towels. A beach towel is usually a must even if the accomodation supplies others.

A pile of books, sunglasses on top, on table next to beach

Pets

If you have pets that you are not taking with you, then arrangements need to be made for them. Some people opt for pet boarding. If you prefer your pet to be kept in their familiar surroundings, you could hire a professional pet sitter. Or ask a neighbour or friend to help out.

Last Minute Preparations

Make sure you have booked a cab to take you to the airport, or arranged a lift. If you are driving yourself there, it is often best to organise parking in advance.

Ensure you have considered home security before you go away. If you have someone staying with pets, or just house sitting, this is is ideal. Otherwise ask your neighbours to pop in daily and keep a close on the place while you are gone. Make sure alarms and security cameras are on and working correctly before you leave.

Last but not least…

Relax and enjoy your holiday!

Back of person in large sun hat relaxing in pool

Do you have any tips for preparing for a holiday? Let me know in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

How To Keep Kids Happy On Long Car Journeys

It is the summer holidays and England is enjoying a lengthy heatwave, which most likely means fun days out and sunny staycations. However, it also potentially means braving long road trips with the kids too! If you are wondering how to survive the car journey and all stay sane, here are some of my top tips…

How To Keep Kids Happy On Long Car Journeys

Be Prepared

This motto is not just for scouts! Time your journey for evening, if your children sleep well in the car and don’t mind the disruption to their bedtime routine, or opt to travel whenever they are most likely to be chilled in the car. A badly timed journey is so much more stressful than it needs to be!

Comfort

If you are going on an exceptionally long journey, it maybe worth considering the actual car you are using. Comfortable seats, space and even down to basics such as air con, are more than just a luxury if you are planning a long distance road trip!

Assuming it is not going to be practical to invest in a new car specifically for this purpose, you could consider hiring one. This could also be of benefit for safety, reliability and fuel costs. For example, The New BMW 5 Series was voted WhatCar? ‘Overall Car of the Year’ 2017 and reviews well on space and comfort, and has surprising low running costs too. You could even look at secondhand deals on something like this BMW 5 Series, if you travel long journeys by car often. You can find BMW 5 Series For Sale here.

Interior picture of BMW

Have Essentials On Hand

Have snacks, drinks, (reusable) wipes and other essentials easily available on hand. It is much easier to organise this in advance than it is to have to make additional stops just to find essential items, and is especially helpful if you get stuck in traffic and your plan for a scheduled lunch/ snack/ dinner stop goes awry. Of course the driver will still need to take a rest too, but some careful organisation will avoid the inevitable hunger upsets if you do find yourself stuck in long queues!

Queue of traffic in rear view car mirror

Entertainment

Car journeys tend to be somewhat more relaxing if the children are not bored! Taking a couple of favourite toys to play with is a good start. Books are good in theory, but reading can make travel sickness worse so audio books might be a better choice for the car. A tablet with a favourite film, kids TV programmes or fun apps might well keep them occupied for a decent chunk of the journey, so that may help with at least some of the travelling time, but it is handy to have alternatives too. Travel games and card games (Top Trumps etc…) add some variety to a long journey; there are plenty to choose from. You can also resort to classics like ‘eye spy’ if you get stuck!

Boy sitting on top of car, through sun roof.

Emergency Supplies

It is useful to have some emergency supplies ready, that you will hopefully not need, but just incase of the unfortunate scenario that you do. I wholeheartedly recommend having a sick bucket and tissues in the car, even if your child/ren doesn’t usually get car sick. A change of clothes is also useful. If your child has any medications, keep a dose in the car – in the event of a delay at least you don’t have to worry about stuff like that then. Also keep a blanket in the car for any eventuality.

Last but not least, don’t forget paracetamol incase the journey still ends up causing a headache, despite all your best laid plans – but fingers crossed you won’t need it if you follow this advice! Enjoy your roadtrip!!!

What are your top tips for long car journeys? Let me know in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Tips on Getting Some Sleep if your Flight is Delayed Overnight

If you are waiting for a delayed flight and it is night time, then you may want to get some sleep. However, sleeping in an airport is not at all easy due to the noise, light and discomfort. However, if you do need some sleep in these less than desirable conditions while you are waiting for your flight, there are things that you can do to help. Below are some suggestions which might be of some use…

Tips on Getting Some Sleep if your Flight is Delayed Overnight. Image of inside airport at night

Book into a hotel

The obvious solution would be to book into a hotel. Obviously this would only work if you knew that the flight was definitely not coming in for a certain amount of time. You would also need there to be a free hotel room nearby and one that you could afford. Sometimes an airline may pay for accommodation if the delay is their fault and for a long time, so it is worth asking before you book up a room as they may have specific terms with regards to reimbursing you. However, most of the time people will try to get some sleep in the airport.

Use earplugs or noise cancelling headphones

Airports are really noisy and this could stop you from getting to sleep. The best way to block the noise is to use good earplugs, or you may prefer to use noise cancelling headphones. If you do have some headphones, you can use them to listen to music, or something on your mobile device, and this will enable you to relax and hopefully sleep. It should help to block out any noise distractions.

Use an eyemask or hat

The light can be a problem as well. Even with your eyes shut it can still feel bright through your eyelids and make it hard to nap. It can therefore be good to cover your eyes with an eye mask or, if you do not have one, pull a hood down over them or just cover over with a scarf or something like that.

Make a pillow from jumper, coat or bag

Most of us will sleep with a pillow and therefore having one could make a big difference to whether we are able to fall asleep. Some people travel with them, but if you do not then you can roll up some clothing or see if you can use your bag instead.

Find a comfortable chair or place on the floor

Getting comfy can be tricky and you will need to think about whether you can get comfortable on the chair or whether you want to try lying on the floor. This will very much depend on you and what you find comfortable. It may be possible to lie across several chairs depending on how busy it is and how the chairs are designed.

Man sleeping on chair with earphones in

Make sure your bags are secure

It is worth making sure that your bags are secure. Not only is this a sensible practice, but it could help you to feel more relaxed knowing that they are safe. If you are worried that they might be stolen or interfered with, then it might stop you from being able to relax enough to fall asleep. Some people padlock their luggage, but securing it with your body can be a sensible thing to do as well. This will stop anyone taking it and mean they cannot put anything inside it.

Ask someone to wake you

You may also be worried that you might not wake up in time for your flight. If this is the case, then ask a staff member or someone waiting for the same flight if they could wake you up when you need to get ready for the flight. Of course you could set the alarm on your mobile, which is the easiest option, but with all the other noises – and the ear plugs or headphones on to drown that out – you may not hear it. This way you will be able to go into a deep sleep, knowing that you will wake up at the necessary time rather than having a restless sleep as you keep checking to see whether it is time for the flight or not.

Girl sleeping with headphones on

We all have different sleep routines, but it is difficult to imagine that any of us sleep in conditions like this normally. Therefore it will be hard to apply our sleep routines to this. However, do try to make it as like your normal sleep as you possibly can. Perhaps cover yourself over with something, make a pillow and things like that. If you use meditation to listen to certain music, see whether you can find that on your mobile device to use. It is important to try to relax before you sleep, so think of things that you can do which will help and therefore go to sleep.

*This is a collaborative post.

Green City Breaks: Guest Post by Sally – Life Loving

Hello all! I’m Sally and I blog over at Life Loving. My blog is my way to inspire others to get out and about and enjoy life more. I live by the motto ‘ketchup tomorrow, relish today’.

Sally at Life Loving outdoors

The lovely Katie has kindly let me put together a guest post about one of my favourite topics – travel. But today, I’ve given it a twist. I’m going to give you some inspiration for a green city break, so you can be a bit more environmentally-friendly, when planning your great escape.

Paris

One of the greenest options for travel is the train. We are lucky down here in Kent to have the Eurostar right on our doorstep. The travel time into Gare du Nord station in Paris is just over two hours, so it’s perfect for a day or two away. Eurostar trains also run regularly from London St Pancras. Paris is a wonderful choice for a city break. I love going up the Eiffel Tower, visiting the Arc de Triomphe and the Notre Dame. Paris is a city which you can easily take in most of the sites on foot. If you are visiting, I’d high recommend the lesser known Montparnasse Tower, as an option to see a different high-up view of Paris.

Paris arc de triomph

Venice

Keeping on the rail theme. Did you know you can travel all the way to Venice on a train? What’s even better is that you can travel overnight and wake up in your destination. You board a sleeper train at Paris’s Gare du Lyon. Your ticket will give you a bed in a cabin of either three or five other travellers. There’s also a restaurant and bar on-board. This will make the start of your city break really special, travelling in through France and Italy. Once in Venice, there’s a plethora of famous sites to take in including St Mark’s Basilica or heading up Venice’s tallest building, the Campanile, to take in the view. Whilst you are there, you must take a gondola ride – it’s iconic and if you go and don’t, you’ll regret it!

Manchester

Taking a coach to reach your city of choice is really good way of travelling greenly and cheaply. Coach operators like National Express have fares to cities like Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff starting at just £5 one way. Manchester is a great city break in particular. There’s endless shopping opportunities, including the huge Trafford Centre. Manchester is also known for its restaurants and nightlife, so it’s quite a grown up city break. You can add to your green credential by travelling around the city via its famous tram network too.

Copenhagen

This is a city which is famous for its investment into cycling. There’s plenty who would agree that the best way to see the city is by bike. Hire a city bike and you’ll get an electric bike, with built-in GPS and tourist information, so it’s really easy to get around and see what you want. It works out about £3.50 an hour to hire a city bike, but they are perfect to take in Tivoli Gardens or the Little Mermaid statue. If you are visiting in the summer months, make sure you head to the old port of Nyhavn. The surrounding houses are iconic as they have been painted in different colours. But it’s the restaurants you are after here. You can dine whilst enjoying great jazz music.

Scenic view of Copenhagen

Nice

For my final recommendation for a green city break, I will draw your attention to the French Riviera. You again can travel down on train. There’s a high speed service from Paris which takes just under six hours. You can be walking down the famous Promenade des Anglais before dinner time. The old town of Nice is great for exploring on foot or if you fancy a more leisurely option, the open-top bus tour will take you round the sites of the city. If it’s sunny, and it often is in Nice, you’ll be admiring the views from the top deck.

I’d also recommend hopping over to Monaco. The train ride takes about a quarter of an hour and you can take in some of the famous sites that you see televised on the Grand Prix – the harbour, the casino and the Palace. If you time it right, as we did, you can be there just in time for the changing of the guard ceremony, which takes place just before midday.

A picturesque view of Monaco

I hope this has inspired you to look at some different ways to explore some of Europe’s most interesting cities. If you can, I’d highly recommend looking for alternative ways to travel, rather than simply just flying or taking taxis. You really see more of a place when you use the public transport, whether that’s a train, bus, boat or bike. You end up using your eyes more and really understanding how a city works. Plus you’ll know how to get around!

For more tips and advice you can follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

 4 Ways Camping Can Rejuvenate Your Soul

As modern people, we often do not get out into nature half as much as we should, and certainly nowhere near as often as even some of our more recent ancestors did. Instead, we remain indoors for the vast majority of our lives, whether at home, at the office, at the local cinema, or restaurant, or club.

There’s nothing wrong with the indoors, of course. Nature can often be savage and unforgiving, and electric underfloor heating is a tremendous boon in the midst of winter, when would be left fighting for our lives against the elements if we were still hunter-gatherers. Nonetheless, connecting to nature is essential, for mind, body, and soul. So here are some ways that a good camping trip – in as wild a place as possible – can rejuvenate your soul…

Title image with faded camping picture in background

It can wash away the preoccupations of daily life

Over the course of our normal 9-5 workdays and the lives that surround them, we are caught up between a near-endless number of obligations and concerns and preoccupations of various types. These obligations aren’t just all in our heads, either, although many of them are. There are real obligations placed on us by society to fill in the right form at the right times, complete our projects by particular deadlines, top up our cars, and attend parent-teacher meetings. All these preoccupations – each small in their own right – can mount and become the kind of chronic stress that leads to breakdowns and unhappiness with life in general.

Camping can wash all of that away for a time. Suddenly you are no longer “plugged into the Matrix”, but are out in nature, with your days and nights stretching before you. What do you need to do out here? Eat and sleep. Everything else is optional.

Leave your phone off and only switch it on for emergencies. Leave all your fancy gadgets at home. Go camping and let nature remind you of a more simple mode of living, and wash your soul clean of its usual preoccupations.

It can get you back in touch with the cycles of nature

Chronic insomnia is one of the major issues plaguing modern man in the developed world. The reasons aren’t too hard to fathom, either. Instead of our days following a natural rhythm, we find ourselves in an “always-on”, world. We can wake up before dawn, watch YouTube videos, organise our days on our planners, have a strong coffee, and leave for work. After working for an entire day, we return home, switch on the blinding artificial lights, and watch Netflix until the early hours.

Camping gets us back in touch with the natural cycles of nature. We rise with the sun, are active while it shines, and then get sleepy – and sleep – moments after it sets. Things seem to fit into their proper categories and positions, and our mood and health begin to improve rapidly.

A tent pitched up on a large open field overlooking the beach and ocean below

It can remind you of your connectedness to the great web of life

We buy our food from the local grocery store wrapped in plastic. We hear about environmental crises, but it doesn’t really register. It can be easy to forget, when living in the city, that we are not just detached individuals floating through the world, but are in fact connected to the great web of life all around us.

Camping reminds us of our place in the order of things. It can make us feel more whole, less alone, and more in touch with the planet we occupy. It can remind us that we are part of a greater whole and have an important role to play in the world.

It can give you space to dream

One of the most damaging consequences of being caught up in the constant flow of information and distraction that makes up modern life, is that we are so drawn into the everyday complexities of things, that we completely lose our perspective and forget, or can no longer manage, to dream the big dreams that make life truly worth living.

Getting out camping in a wild location can truly give us a different perspective on life. Now, we see our normal lives as if from a great height. We’re in a different place, somewhat outside of space and time, and we can see more clearly than we did before. From this perspective – this place outside of our normal routines – we may once again find the space to dream, to wonder, and to plan our lives from a transcendent place of hope and excitement.

A tent in the forest

*This is a collaborative post.

Are You Wasting Money In The Worst Areas?

Do you have trouble with money? It’s possible that you struggle to save because your money is actually draining away in wasteful areas. There are lots of areas in life where you might be spending a lot more than you actually need to. Cut the cost, and you will find you have a lot more money to play with at the end of each month. Let’s start by thinking about purchases that you should never have made in the first place…

Are You Wasting Money In The Worst Areas? title with image of piles of coins

Straight Out The Box

Financial experts will tell you that you should never purchase a car brand new on the market. The reason for this is simply the depreciation. When you buy a car, it will immediately start to drop in value. There is literally no way that you can make money off a car that is purchased brand new when it comes time to sell. Unless of course, you decide to purchase a classic. However, even then, you will need to be careful how much you drive the vehicle and what you use it for. You see? Even purchasing a classic vehicle, something that should always balloon in value, isn’t guaranteed to lead to an ROI. The obvious answer then is to purchase a car second hand. While this can be risky, it does mean that you won’t be losing as much money when it does inevitably start to drop in price Instead of losing half the value of the car, that value will already be gone when you make the purchase. There are other benefits too. You’ll be able to afford a nicer car, and that car will be cheaper to insure. Gocompare.com can show you how expensive it is to insure a Merc and one that is second hand will always be a lot cheaper.

An image of an expensive new car

The Package Deal

Are you booking a holiday this year? You might have heard that booking a package holiday is cheaper. Unfortunately, it isn’t. If you use a package holiday, you’ll be buying your holiday from an agent. They will search through the indexes and systems to find the right holiday for you including hotels, flights, add-ons and anything else that you might have asked them about. They’ll then bunch all these items together. But on top of that, you’ll need to pay for their services. Agents will typically add money to the cost of your flight to cover their service. As such, instead, it’s far better to use sites like Lastminute.com to find your own. Right now, it’s possible that your holidays are costing you a fortune, but they really don’t have to.

A group of people on the beach on holiday

Throwing It Away

How much do you spend on shopping every week? Fifty, a hundred or more? If you’re spending a lot on food, you at least want to make sure that you’re getting the greatest use out of it possible. But most people don’t because leftovers get binned. Instead, you should be saving these, freezing what you can. With the right planning, you can have whole meals frozen ready to feed your family another day of the week. You’ll be amazed how much money this will save you overall.

Spaghetti bolognaise. Dinners can be prepared from frozen leftovers

We hope you find this advice useful when you’re looking for ways to cut back the waste in your life. Do you have other suggestions? Leave a comment!

*This is a collaborative post.

My Favourite Holiday Memories

I love thinking back to old holidays, reminising about my favourite moments and the funny times. An old photo, comment from a friend or even just a random memory popping into my head brings a smile to my face; holidays are often so full of moments to be treasured!

My Favourite Holiday Memories title with beach background

My first ever holiday (I think!) was a trip abroad to Majorca with my parents. I don’t remember a single thing about it to be honest, except that my mum was heavily pregnant with my brother at the time and I am pretty sure lied to be allowed on the plane! I remember seeing photos of her lounging on a sun bed and one of me wearing sunglasses on the beach. I looked so happy in the photos; so even though I was too young to actually remember any of it, I clearly had a good time!

My first proper holiday without my parents, aside from residential school trips in the UK and France, was to Tenerife with a friend when I was 16. I fell in love with it and it instantly felt like ‘home’. I was so drawn to it that I returned a couple of years later to live for a short time, working as a bar rep. There were loads of amazing, fun memories from those days, as I am sure you can imagine! I would love to return one day; perhaps to the otherside of the island though, as it is more family- friendly. www.holidaygems.co.uk have some fab deals if you are tempted by this idea too!

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#TBT Tenerife days

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Some of my funniest, and fondest, memories are actually of holidays closer to home though. There were girly weekends away with one of my favourite people in the whole world, which we still often giggle about now – years later. Or the Scotland trip we went on with my mum. And not to forget of course, the wonderful family holidays I have taken Squiggle to as well.

A photo of Squiggle and her mum on the beach playing in the sea

I can’t pick a single favourite holiday; I loved each one in different ways and for very different reasons. Each one holds lovely memories of precious moments with people I love, randomness and laughter! That’s why I love holidays so much!!!

What are your favourite holiday moments? Tell me in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Holidaying at home whilst pregnant: 5 of the best British destinations

Pregnancy can be tough on expected mothers, and their families. Increasingly, people try to get away for a holiday while pregnant; it’s a chance to enjoy some time together and, more than anything, relax. I remember when I was about 7 or 8 months pregnant with Squiggle, we took a short holiday together as a couple. I loved having a fantastic time relaxing by the beach and eating dinner at the harbour on the British south coast.

However, you won’t want to travel too far. Staying in the UK has loads of benefits. There’s no language barrier, travelling times should be reduced and you’ll be familiar with the food. Plus, there are some great destinations you might not have considered for a holiday before. It’s no surprise Britain is increasingly fond of staycations!

Holidaying at home whilst pregnant: 5 of the best British destinations caption with a photo of Katie from Living Life Our Way holding her large bump next to a UK harbour.

The fantastic destinations you should try include…

The Peak District

If the countryside is your true home, head to the Peak District. The great outdoors doesn’t get much better. Whether you’re happier exploring the quaint villages, enjoying some time in a cosy country pub, or exploring the peace and quiet with your muddy boots on, the Peak District is the perfect place to escape while pregnant.

St Ives

Fancy being a big kid again and making sandcastles on the beach? St Ives is a grown-up coastal destination, which has a beautiful and charming town next to the beach. Enjoy bracing walks and local food, or visit the numerous galleries and exhibitions in the town.

Plus, taking a trip to the seaside has great health benefits according to this pregnancy guide, including:

• Heightened relaxation
• Better sleep
• Healthier skin

Whitstable

Another coastal town, just on the other side of the country, Whitstable is a fishing and harbour town in Kent. It’s only about an hour by train from London, yet still feels peaceful and relaxing.

Enjoy fish and chips on the pebble beach, walking past the candy coloured beach huts. The tranquillity – conveniently located – is just what you need later in pregnancy.

Edinburgh

If you fancy a city break while you’re pregnant, Edinburgh is a fantastic choice. Whether you time your visit with the world-famous Fringe Festival or would rather a quieter time in the city, Edinburgh offers a huge range of things to do.

You can explore the fascinating architecture, visit Michelin-starred restaurants, climb Arthur’s Seat, or enjoy a concert at the castle. Edinburgh is an exciting city, with a lot of stuff going it – it’s one to plan well, to make the most of your trip. Just remember to schedule in a few breaks!

Bath

Another fantastic UK city, Bath will blow you away. The whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with huge cultural significance and beauty wherever you look. It’s also quite compact, so you can get around most of the main attractions on foot in a day – perfect for pregnancy.

Without a doubt, you’ll want to visit the original Roman Baths. You might not be able to take a dip in there, but the Thermae Day Spa’s rooftop pool comes highly recommended.

Have you been on holiday in the UK while pregnant? Share your experiences and recommendations with us.

*This is a collaborative post.

Home Or Away? Why Both Scotland And Portugal Are On My Travel Bucketlist!

I have already written about various destinations on my travel bucketlist and for this post I have two more! These are by no means new to my list, but I haven’t blogged about them specifically until now. However, I have picked these because they will most likely be the main contenders for our next trip!

Home Or Away? Why Both Scotland And Portugal Are On My Travel Bucketlist! Image of Scotland and Portugal

Scotland is on my bucketlist because I think it has absolutely beautiful countryside and is special to me because we went there as a final trip with my mum when she was terminally ill. Portugal is largely due to Squiggle showing an interest in it because she has a Portuguese friend, but also I haven’t been myself either and would love to go. So which should we go for next; home or away?!

Scotland

Technically not a staycation yet close enough to feel like it, Scotland is somewhere I am keen to explore with Squiggle because of the abundance of outdoor space with its stunning countryside scenery and a wealth of nature and wildlife to spot. Travel to Scotland from England is relatively quick and easy too, with various modes an option depending on your preferences and priorities. I have travelled by both plane and rail previously, but would drive with Squiggle so we have the freedom and flexibility. It is roughly a 6 – 7 hour roadtrip to reach the Scottish borders from London so a stopover might well be required too!

Beautiful Scottish countryside. Image from clickstay.
Credit: Clickstay

Aside from a brief trip to Glasgow once for a conference, the only time I have visited Scotland is for the memorable holiday mentioned above. There were around a dozen members of family and friends, so we treated ourselves (with massive help from a wonderful charity) to a huge amazing chateau to stay in, much like some of the ones on Clickstay. It is so fun and unique staying somewhere so magnificent in the middle of the countryside. Of course there are slightly more modest options to stay too though!

Massive chateau in Scotland. Image by Clickstay.
Credit: Clickstay

Portugal

As mentioned already, I haven’t been to Portugal despite it being one of the closer countries to visit abroad from here in England. I kind of feel, for me at least (and when I was younger), that Portugal always seemed understated whenever holiday destinations were discussed – almost as if it were a lesser known cousin to places like France, Spain or Germany. I don’t know why that is. Maybe it had successfully avoided becoming a tourist trap (which is a good thing!) and I just hadn’t opened my eyes to less obvious options. I don’t know. But yet I gather it is a great travel choice!

Portugal coastline.
Credit: Clickstay

Portugal has some gorgeous rugged beaches that I have seen compared to the Californian coastlines, whilst also benefitting from plenty of green space too. With a warm climate for much of the year, and some parts even winter is mild, it is ideal for soaking up some vitamin D whilst enjoying plenty of time outdoors. It also has some interesting history, and it is a great learning experience to explore new countries and immerse yourself in different cultures. I am sure Squiggle would love to pick up some of the language along the way too, as she mentioned this before!

Villa in Portugal
Credit: Clickstay

I would most likely stay in a beautiful villa in Portugal, because I think it is nice to have that homely feel and tonnes of space to ourselves. Squiggle finds it abit overwhelming otherwise to be honest. One with a private pool would be preferable, as that would be a wonderful luxury that we would definitely make the most of!

So where will we end up next – Scotland or Portugal? Or somewhere else entirely? I will keep you posted! Where are you going on your travels?

*This is a collaborative post.