Musings: Mirrors, Illusions and Space

Please note, this post is in collaboration with Cox and Cox. 

Ever since I got on the property ladder, I’m so much more aware of interiors and all things home. And as much as I’m a free spirit and my main passion is travel, there is something about the creature comforts of home.

Living in London means we’re all short on space, especially personal outdoor space. Whether you have a small garden, a balcony or a communal one, I’ve thought of a few ways you can make your green space feel bigger with the illusion of mirrors. 

Not just for vanity

Sure you may use a mirror to check your hair is still in place or your outfit works, but birds are attracted to shiny things. You can attract an abundance of wildlife into your garden with a few mirrors dotted around.

A portal to another world

Surround your new garden mirror with plenty of foliage and it’ll look like the portal to another world. Think ‘Secret Garden’ in summer or Chronicles of Narnia in winter.

Furniture

When it comes to small spaces, you start to get creative with your thinking. That old sofa that’s been sitting outside your place for weeks waiting to go to the dump may have a new purpose. Try re-purposing it with new material (cleaning it of course) and making your outdoor space as good as your indoor space. A mirror hanging being this can make those summer mornings feel a little extra special. In winter, if the weather is dry, grab a blanket, a cup of coffee and cosy up with a good book.

A new glam space

I love getting ready to go out and sometimes getting ready in my room gets hot and sweaty. Why not pop your dressing gown on and get ready in the outdoors? You may just grab some inspiration from butterflies passing by or the typical London wildlife like foxes and pigeons.

Now you too can create the illusion of space with mirrors.

What ways do you make your outdoor space feel bigger? Or if you have a big space, do you make it feel cosier?

Char xo

Please note, this post is in collaboration with Cox and Cox; all views are my own.  Images sourced from Unsplash. 

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Memoirs: The Ultimate Affordable Luxury City Break Guide

Right, so my dear friend and blogger boss Jess from the huge FBL Network requested this post. If you haven’t heard or seen of Jess before, where have you been? She also runs her own blog – and you can frequently find us tagging each other in memes on Instagram. I should point out that her Snapchat stories on the other hand remind me of lost footage, I guess that happens when you own an Android (even if she just got a new one).
I should note that I travel off-peak as I don’t have kids and I am finding crowded situations make me anxious these days. So it’s very rare you’ll catch me on holiday in the peak of summer unless it was cheap. I always look at prices before I book so I wouldn’t decide on destination and then book, it’s more price determines my destination. So if it’s relatively cheap, I’m going.
Disclaimer
I know all these destinations have been documented on travel blogs and Instagram time and time again but there must be a reason we’re attracted to them right?

Dubai

How much will it cost?
I find that Dubai can be as low as £399 for 3 nights and as high as £2k depending on your preferences and time of year. I would keep an eye on Skyscanner for flights and Expedia for hotels, but you’re best off booking them together.

How long to go for?
5-6 days is ample time for Dubai or if you’re going East, stop off for a couple of days to break up the journey and tick another one off the old bucket list.

 

Get a night flight after work to save on day’s travel and a night’s hotel cost OR take a long layover. Virgin and Emirates Airlines have late night flights from Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

 

 

Where to stay?
I have personally stayed at the Bonnington Jumeriah Lakes Towers and Sheraton Grand and loved both for different reasons. When it comes to Dubai, the service and hospitality is on point, so I would highly recommend going for a 5-Star hotel.
When to go?
During Ramadan hotels and flight prices drop by at least 30%. I paid £617 for 6 nights over a bank holiday inc flights and 5 star hotel.

 

Winter months – January to March will see flight prices drop as well as the temperature. It never gets cold in Dubai but you can explore this sandy city without

Hot Spots: Nikki Beach, Baristi Beach, Drift Beach, Cove Beach, Level 43 rooftop bar, Desert safari, Drai’s.

 

Check out my Dubai series here:

Las Vegas

How much will it cost?
£500 to £1,500 depending on the time of year and the accommodation you pick. From the UK, the flights are expensive but the hotels are very cheap in Vegas so it kinda balances it out. I’ve seen deals for a little as £400 per person for a week on HolidayPirates (inc. flights and hotel).
Do beware of the resort fees which can amount to an additional $40 per day. The more of you there are, the cheaper it’ll be. Vegas is definitely best for groups, the more of there you are, the cheaper things will be.

How long to go for?
The three times I’ve been to Vegas, I’ve done a week, 5 nights and 6 nights and I think 5 nights is absolutely perfect. Some say you only need 3 nights BUT remember, you’re going to be jet lagged and after being on a 10 hour flight, you’re going to need a few days to stretch your legs.
Where to stay?
The Venetian is one of the biggest and most luxurious hotels I’ve stayed in. Perfect location and don’t get me started on the gondola ride.

 

The Trump *cough cough*. It’s really affordable and the lack of casino is a welcome change if you want some quiet.

The Mirage is another great hotel, and the location is the best I’ve stayed in on the centre of The Strip. It’s definitely a four star hotel as there were some things that weren’t up to standard, but its a great option if you don’t want to stay in a five-star hotel.

When to go?
  • August – Only if you can handle the heat.
  • September – Cheaper and the party season is starting to wind down.
  • October – Still warm but not a ton of crowds.

 

Hot Spots: Tao Beach, 1Oak, Drai’s, Vic and Anthony’s Steakhouse, Voodoo Rooftop Bar and Lounge, Bond Bar at The Cosmopolitan.

 

Read more:

 

Los Angeles

How much will it cost?
In contrast to Las Vegas, the flights there from the UK are cheap (I’ve seen them as low as £350) but the hotels are whats expensive. There aren’t many budget hotels that aren’t out of the way, so its worth splashing out a little bit and staying somewhere mid-range.

 

How long to go for?
3 days / 5 days / 7 days
There is plenty to do in LA and if you’re doing a multi-stop destination on the West Coast. I’ve been twice and I’d definitely go back, but I’d recommend hiring a car to really make the most of it, or Uber it everywhere.

 

Where to stay?
The Biltmore (Downtown LA) is a lovely old Hollywood style hotel, rich in history and the basement pool will have you wondering what those starlets got up to in their heyday. I’ve also stayed at The Beverly Hilton which is of course is in Beverly Hills and a stone’s throw away from Rodeo Drive. The rooms are a little outdated but the lobby and pool area makes up for it.

When to go?
I’ve been to LA in September and October and both times were affordable in terms of flights and hotel but LA, much like London is an all year round destination.

 

Hot Spots: Catch LA, Mr. Chow, The Abbey, Universal Studios, The Original Pantry

Read more:

Cannes & Monaco

These two destinations are the epitome of bourgeois and close enough to one another to tick off in one trip. You can even go all out on the French Rivera and add in Nice, Antibes and St. Tropez.

How much will it cost?
I went on the Easter bank holiday just gone and paid around £144.50 (per person) for flights and hotel. If you book in advance you can get really cheap flights (check British Airways and Easyjet) but hotels are quite pricy.

 

How long to go for?
Three days is all you need but you could easily do a week. The South of France has so much to it and I definitely want to go back to explore St Tropez, Nice and Antibes.

 

Where to stay?
Hotel Simone is a lovely boutique hotel in the heart of Cannes and a short walk away from the beach and 2 minute walk from the station.

 

Obviously if you have a glucose guardian, they may prefer to splash out on a hotel along the Cannes promenade or the Monte Carlo hotel in Monaco, just don’t forget my invite.

 

When to go?
The South of France is beautiful all year round but if you want glamour, visit around the time of the Cannes Film Festival or for peace and quiet, March to April is where it starts to heat up.

Hot Spots: The Monte Carlo Casino, La Chunga, Bar L’Amiral, Gotha Club.

Read more:

Milan

How much will it cost?
I went on the late May Bank holiday in May 2016 and my flights with RyanAir were £25.99. Milan rarely is more than £100 from the UK (don’t quote me on that and the airport is in easy reach of the city centre.

 

How long to go for?
Three days is definitely enough if you’re staying in Milan, however Lake Como is nearby, so it’d be worth adding a couple more days if you want to check this beautiful piece of nature out.

 

Where to stay?
I stayed at the Crowne Plaza and it was perfect for the solo traveller. It was definitely the definition of affordable luxury and the metro station was right outside. There are plenty of other options that are more central but those come at a cost.

 

When to go?
All year round.

 

Hot Spots: Check this out. As this was my first solo trip, I just went with the flow.

 

Read more:

 

Ultimately, we all travel differently. You might want to book a cheap flight and cheap accommodation and splash out on experiences or you might want to do the opposite. There is no right way to travel.

 

Read More:

Char xo

Musings: 5 London Musicals to Inspire Your Travels

Please note this post is in collaboration with Encore Tickets.

 

I always need to stop and think about London sometimes, there is so much to do, so much to see and if you haven’t checked out any of the musicals in town you might want to part with your money.

 

What I love about musicals is that they transport you to a whole new world song through song, sound and sight. How many times have you left the theatre feeling full of joy? From classics like Jersey Boys to new shows like Aladdin, there is a London musical for everyone. Even if you might not think it might not be your cup of tea, open your mind and your heart will be full of glee.

 

42nd Street and New York City

42nd Street transports you to New York City a little after the Great Depression where money was scarce but hope was high. This musical is told from the point of view from a young dancer wanting to make his name on Broadway. If you’ve never been to New York, 42nd Street will make you want to buy some tap shoes and a ticket to the Big Apple. Is it the concrete jungle where dreams are made of or musicals?

Read more: Musings: I’m Going to New York!

You’ll be learning that there is a Sunny Side to Every Situation in no time.

You can book tickets here.

The Taj Express and India

Bollywood is absolutely huge, some say it’s bigger than Hollywood and Nollywood, and the Taj Express is no different. With songs from Oscar nominated composer A.R. Rahman, you’ll be wanting to say Mumbai to your office and explore Bangalore.

You can book tickets here.

Mamma Mia and the Greek Islands

The sequel to the Mamma Mia movie came out earlier this summer and whilst it has a noteworthy cast, nothing beats the musical. You’re probably thinking, ‘Here I go again’, but with good reason, who doesn’t want to visit a Greek Island?

From Mykonos, Santorini and Kefalonia, I’m not quite sure we’re told where Mamma Mia is set, but what I can guarantee you is laughter and fun from the beginning. With ABBA classics like ‘Chiquita’, ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’ and ‘The Winner Takes It All’ you’ll be taking a chance on a Greek Island of your choice in no time.

You can book tickets here.

Aladdin and The Middle East

“Let me share this whole new world with you.”

Those song lyrics sum up Aladdin perfectly, right?

This musical is set in the fictional Middle Eastern town of ‘Agrabah’ where orphan Aladdin spends his days with his monkey Abo in search of food and of course keeping out of trouble. In an unexpected meeting with Princess Jasmine, the two hit it off instantly but are faced with the perils of social class, a Genie and the dreaded Jafar. The modern-day equivalent to Agrabah is the tech-hub that is Dubai; whilst there may be no magic carpets around, there are jeeps that take you dune-bashing in the desert. Close enough.

You can book tickets here.

Read more: Memoirs: The Dubai Diaries – Part One

Carmen La Cubana and Cuba

Ever been to Cuba? Nope, me neither, but Carmen La Cubana is the hottest musical to hit the London scene.

It infuses Bizet’s classic score with Classic Cuban influences and you’ll be wanting to cool down with a Bacardi in no time.

Set against the Revolution in Cuba in the late 50s, Carmen La Cubana is one of the most popular operas of this era and it teaches you about this time in Cuba’s history than any textbook ever would.

You can book all these incredible London musicals through Encore Tickets here which have over 29 million happy customers to date. You may just be inspired to book a holiday whilst you’re at it too.

What are your favourite musicals? Do any of them inspire you to travel?

Char xo

Please note this post is in collaboration with Encore Tickets, all views are my own.

Musings: Testing Out Vision Direct Lenses – A Review

Please note, this is collaborative post with Vision Direct. 

I went sent some of the Focus Dailies All Day Comfort Lenses by the team at Vision Direct and in true Charlotte style, I had to put them to the test in a variety of situations. If you wear contact lenses yourself or are considering wearing them, you should consider the environments you’ll be wearing them in. Are they for every now and then? Nights out? Work? Sport? Or just simply to take a break from your spectacles?

Mine is for all of those reasons, I routinely like to take a break from glasses as sometimes I wonder if people see me or them first. Weird right? I guess things will become clearer in 2020. Anyway, enough of me wishing for the future and here’s how I got on with the Focus Dailies All Day Comfort lenses in the past. 

Festival Fun

I went to Wireless Festival in early July and this was the perfect opportunity to test-drive these contact lenses. When it comes to festivals, I am conscious that sometimes there might be dust around because of the grass and after a few drinks, my attention to detail might not be the same. Tell me I’m not the only one? 

Hands up who is over the heatwave!?

The verdict: They stood the test! I usually carry a spare pair around with me all the time incase my eyes get dry and I didn’t have to change them. Best of all, not at one part of the day did my eyes feel at all dry.

Read more: Wireless Festival 

At Work

Life is a spectacle…

Most of the time, I wear my specs, simply because laziness takes over and they’re just ‘easy’. However, I do like to switch it up and wear contact lenses as I usually go to beauty blogger events after work. What was great about these is that they lasted ALL day. I put them in around 7am and came home at 10pm and they were still intact. 

Counting down the minutes until lunch
Counting down the minutes until lunch

The verdict: Although I did have to put eye drops halfway through the day, I suspect this was more to the air-conditioning than the lenses themselves.

Read more: Commuter Quirks

Working Out

Glasses get in the way when working out. They steam up like you’ve just opened the oven to take out your dinner and when working out, its nice to have nothing restricting you (other than your personal trainer).

The verdict: They withheld a sweaty session with my PT and they didn’t fall out when I wiped my face with my towel. 

Read more: My Workout Playlist 

A Night On The Tiles 

Nights on the town are becoming a rarity in my ‘old’ age but if its one thing I always do and that’s wear lenses. Glasses and a glam face just don’t suit me in my book, plus clubs are hot, weirdos like to take your glasses off and that isn’t right. 

 

A direct vision… 

What I love most about Vision Direct is the fact that they send sweets with your order. No seriously, before I had this opportunity I was a customer and will always be. Their delivery is quick, so you can count on them if you need them in an emergency and best of all, their prices are super affordable (with plenty of lenses to choose from). I’m keen to try some of the coloured lenses next, just imagine all the different make up looks I could do with green eyes!

Have you shopped at Vision Direct before? 

Char xo

Please note, this post is collaborative post with Vision Direct, all views are my own. 

Musings: My Love Affair With Italy – A Bucketlist

Please note, this is a collaborative post with Opera Tours Italy. 

I’ve been to Italy three times in the past few years and I will always want to go back and it explore a new place, town or city. From the classic places like Milan and Rome, there is so much waiting to be discovered around every corner.

Just where else do I to go? Or go again?

Rome

I loved Rome when I went and I didn’t think three days was merely enough, I could easily do another week there. Maybe even mix it up and try an Opera Tour; what better way to learn about a culture than through song, after food of course. Imagine being guided through the cobblestone streets and led to those ancient amphitheatres? For now, I’ll just show you some of my photos from 2015 trip:

 

Read more: Memoirs: When in Rome – Part One

Florence

When you think of Italy, Florence doesn’t come to mine first, you probably go straight to Rome, Venice or fashionable Milan. Florence on the other hand is famed for its small town feel and the big city Cathedral. Santa Maria del Fiore or for us who don’t speak Italian, Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower is just one reason I want to visit this magical place, but taking in the renaissance such as Botticelli’s Venus is just another. Not only that, Pisa is only an hour or so away by train, so I’d be able tick two destinations off in one trip.

Read more: Memoirs: Solo Travels in Venice

Bologna

The red buildings of Bologna stand in comparison to the rest of Italy. Not only that, the seven churches of Santo Stefano would make for great exploring and of course some beautiful photos. Whilst I may not be religious, I have an appreciation for churches as they have some of the most beautiful architecture in the world.

Read more: Memoirs: Me in Milan – Part One

The Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is the place I imagine spending summers in my 30s just writing during the day and going back to my yacht at night. A girl can dream, right? Its a UNESCO world heritage site for a reason. From the pastel coloured houses to the famed lemons (random I know) and the warm Mediterranean sea, this coast is waiting for you… and me.

For now, I’ll just show you some snaps of my solo trip to Venice earlier this year:

What parts of Italy would you love to visit?

Char xo 

Please note, this is a collaborative post with Opera Tours Italy. 

Memoirs: The Ultimate NYC To Do List – See/Eat/Do

 Do you ever have a yearning of where you’re meant to be? I’ve wanted to live in New York for as long as I can remember and whilst I toy with the idea day after day, part of me says go for it, the other part of me wants to stay in London.

Is NYC just another London? No. It’s better. So whilst I’ll push my NYC dream to 2022 (a fake deadline, I know), here is my ultimate NYC see, eat and do list.

See

  • Upper East Side 
  • Carrie Bradshaw’s house 
  • Meat Packing District
  • Times Square – Think of Trafalgar Square, just bigger and with even more tourists. 
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Harlem – Not the place it once was, Harlem is so diverse, so buzzing and somewhere I will be selling my mixtape one day. 
  • Grand Central Station
Read more: Memoirs: Vegas – See, Eat, Do (Part One)
  • Statue of Liberty – Get the free ferry.
  • Central Park – Read about my $50 horse and carriage ride here. 
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Empire State Building – Concrete jungles where dreams are made of. 
  • Ground Zero – A place of reflection. 
  • See a Broadway show – Check Groupon for cheap tickets
  • Bryant Park
  • The Rockerfeller Center
  • The Bronx 
  • Harlem
  • Madison square gardens
  • Barclays Center – Hit up a basketball game or a concert. 
Read more: Musings: Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn – All the Hotels I Wanna Stay In

Eat 

  • Junior’s in Times Square – They do most amazing cheesecake!
  • STK
  • Tao
  • Nobu 
  • iHop
  • In & Out
  • Popeyes
  • Jacobs
  • Syvlia’s – The BEST soul food in Harlem. 

Clubs/Bars

  • The Griffin
  • Up and Down
  • PHD Rooftop Bar
  • Aces – Well this place has closed down now, but you can read about my adventures here.

Read more: Musings: My Stripclub Anthems Playlist
  • Avenue
  • 1OAK
  • Lavo NYC
  • Game
  • Sono
  • 40/40

Have you got any tips for NYC? 

Don’t forget to check out my NYC Diaries which is a bumper six-part series:

Char xo 

All images are taken by me.

Musings: The Travel Bloggers You Should Be Following in 2018

I’ve been wanting to compile this list for a while as there are so many amazing content creators out there. We’re all in this together but all for different reasons albeit it to make a living, explore the world in a certain way or just as a place on the internet to document your memories. What is common with us all is a love (and a need for travel). 

Of course, if I didn’t put it out into the universe, I wouldn’t have been able to compile this list alone right? 

In no particular order, here are the travel bloggers, vloggers, influencers and content creators you should be following in 2018. 

Kate Hawkins of Girl Masked 

“I’m a uni student who loves reading and writing. I love travelling around Ireland, where I live, especially the coastal areas. I do travel by plane occasionally as I love experiencing new places. My favourite places that I’ve been to are London and the South of Ireland.

You should be following me because then you can get a variety of travel tips and recommendations and read fun and relatable content!”

Blog: girlmasked.com 

Josy of A Walk and a Lark

“I moved to Canada last year so most of my posts are about exploring the beautiful lakes and mountains around BC. You should follow me if you like travelling slowly, photography and ridiculously pretty views.”

Blog: awalkandalark.com

Tanaka of Tanaka Travels 

“As an obsessed new experience collector, my passion is for checking the world off my bucket list one adventure at a time. Did I forget to mention? It’s all on a budget. My cheapest trip has been a £10 Return to Pisa, Italy. Here’s a further reason to join! 

Tanaka Travels now has a yearly girls trip, catered for sisters with unreliable friends. This year, eleven beautiful girls join me in Cinque Terre for only £125pp. It was an absolute dream!”

Blog: https://www.tanakatravels.com

Peter and Megan of Lets Get Tripsy 

“We are a couple of married Canadians, Peter and Meggan who love to travel (a tale as old as time) and we found we were boring our friends reliving our tales of travel so why not share it with the world!?  Hence, we started a travel blog (along with 1000s of others) but every story and journey is unique – so why not add ours to the mix!?

Our blog is both picture and story centric – not so much an instructional/itinerary based blog but instead one of us and why we travel and what we get out of it – places we truly love and enjoy.  We are real people with real jobs and the same limited vacation time as everyone else – relatable we find!

Our favourite travel destination so far – Iceland, without a doubt. 

People should follow us because we are regular people, perfectly imperfect – we are genuine and want to simply share our travels with others along with the joy we get out of each place and activity we do.”

Blog: www.letsgettripsy.com

Kasia of Kasiawrites 

“I’m Kasia and I’m all about travelling in the footsteps of history and blogging about it. I write about interesting tidbits from the past, channeling my inner history nerd. My fave places to date are Iceland and Italy! Follow me for an adventure through time. 😜”

Blog: www.kasiawrites.com

Bernie and Jess of Watt Where How 

“Bernie and Jess Watt are travel bloggers from Australia, living in NYC. Our blog blends travel experiences from around the world with tips for those coming to NYC to live or vacation. We’re focused on short, budget-friendly breaks but also deep dive.”

Blog: www.wattwherehow.com

Becky of Becky Bedbug

“I love European city breaks and scouting out McDonalds abroad (shoot me). My favourite destination is Salzburg, Austria because I like to pretend I’m Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music and you should follow me for my witty charm 😏.”

Blog: www.beckybedbug.com 

Georgie of Georgie Minter Brown

“My platform is a budget travel and lifestyle blog with a bit of beauty & fashion thrown in. I love a good road trip, with my fave destinations being New Zealand or Vietnam (can’t choose).”

Blog: http://georgieminterbrown.com 

Liza of Spontaneous Travel

“I’m a free spirit kind of individual who gushes about nature and less bricks.

My blog is mainly more of personal experiences and not so much about ‘top five tips’ per say. I make it a point that my personality shines through so the reader can relate and connect with me.

Fave travel destination… hmmm this is a very hard one ☝🏾Vietnam and most recently Nepal.

I capture pictures that are pleasing to the eye and very in the moment. If you’re into nature swing by and let’s look at some mountains and trees together by clicking the like button too.” 😀

Blog: https://spontaneoustravel15.wordpress.com/

Kelle of Its Kelles Space

“It’s Kelle’s Space is a beauty, lifestyle and wellbeing blog. I cover everything from product reviews to wellbeing to my personal travel tales (as I like to call them).

I love to travel because it allows me to change my perspective on life and the world. My favourite holiday destination is anywhere that’s hot.

I would love to go to Santorini one day, that’s my ideal holiday destination.”

Blog: itskellesspace.com

Miranda of A July Dreamer

“A July Dreamer is a UK travel and lifestyle blog sharing budget and family friendly trips. I love weekend getaways and so far my favourite destinations are: Bucharest, Bali and Dubai.” 

Blog: http://Ajulydreamer.com  

Sarah of The S Road

“The S Road is a travel and lifestyle blog with a motorbike focus. Sarah is trying to encourage people to consider travelling on two wheels and as well as sharing her hobbies which include snowboarding and solo travel. My favourite destinations are Jamaica and Morocco.” 

Blog: thesroad.com 

Rebecca of Bexcapades 

“I’m a primary teacher now travelling Austrailia working on a farm and my blog is about my adventures & struggles with mental health. I like to travel budget to mid-range and slowly to feel the culture. My favourite place is Noosa (which is also where I live), you should follow me cos I’m actively writing as much as possible.”

Blog: http://bexcapades.com 

Becky of The Owlet

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A few weeks ago I spent 48 hours exploring the beautiful city of Bath with some very successful bloggers 🏙 Do you know what I realised? To be successful you need to push yourself, and maybe I’m too chilled out, but I’m kind of happy staying in my lane, even if that’s the slower option 🌸 Regardless, I actually pulled out my laptop to edit today rather than just slapping a filter on everything. What do you think? 🤔 . . . . . . . . #visitbath #swisbest #loveforsomerset #psootd #fatgirlstraveling #sheroams #girlvsglobe #dametraveler #femaletravelbloggers #livetotravel #solotraveller #bristolbloggers #letsgoeverywhere #postcardplaces #ladiesgoneglobal #womenwhotravel #livelaughdressup #traveltales #roamingwomen #girldiscoverers #sheisnotlost #wearetravelgirls #girlsthatwander #fatshion #selfiesforselflove #fatgirlscan #goldenconfidence

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“I’m a plus size travel blogger, all about travelling that makes you feel great. My travelling is all done by train/boat. My favourite place is Toulon – a tiny little seaside down in France. It’s like the Caribbean in Europe!”

Blog: http://theowlet.co.uk 

Anna of Would Be Traveller

“Would Be Traveller is an ethical adventure blog, dedicated to helping be more responsible in the way they travel the world. There’s a healthy dose of wildlife photography, tips for vegetarians and eco-friendly accommodation too! My favourite destination so far is South Africa as I spent two weeks exploring incredible landscapes, drinking wine and seeing animals in the wild. Now you can’t beat that!” 😁

Blog: https://wouldbetraveller.com

The Wading Wade

“I’m a travel professional from London, currently living in Seville, Spain. Wading Wade is about: local life • hostels • food • people and learning!

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"So what do Balinese people think of Eat Pray Love and it's depiction of Bali?" . . "I think we don't really have a problem with it, she had an experience and it made her happy so that's good. Of course we don't live like that, it's an expat experience, but the main thing is she's happy. It's good that it made Bali more famous" . . "But that's not the real Bali, you know people come and Balinese people smile in the hotels but it's more than that if you scratch underneath the surface. For example a big part of our culture is ceremonies, a Balinese person will have 13 ceremonies in their life personally, and that's not including the gods or the village! It's like our socialising, almost how you would 'go to lunch'." . . "We are also very proud of our culture, spirituality (Balinese Hinduism) and original communities. I would say 99.9% of Balinese people have stayed in the community they were born in, out of choice" . . Conversations from a local cooking experience with @tresnabalicookingschool #KeepWading #WadingWade . . #Ubud #Bali #eatpraylove #visitbali #indonesia #solotravel #balibackpacker #travelbff #girlslovetravel #travelnoire #blackvoyageurs #wearetravelgirls #SUITCASEtravels #womenwhoexplore #travelstories #traveldeeper #shareyourstamp #gltlove #intravelist #traveltips #travelhacks #vacaymood #travelfly #localtravel #melanintravel #hinduism #balineseculture #balinesehinduism

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People should follow me because of my useful lists of travel websites, and my travel series.. ‘Meet the Travellers Series’ which documents long form travel stories about people who travel, why they do, and their practical tips. 

My favourite destination is probs Berlin in the summer or Ubud, Bali and of course Spain! 😊 (sorry I’m indecisive)… and Colombia.”

Blog: www.wadingwade.com

Kristina of Gin and Biscuits 

“I am Kristina and I’m a beauty & travel blogger. On my site, you can find a bit of both + beauty travel tips coming soon! I am in love with France & Italy and I can’t wait to visit Morocco soon!”

Blog: http://ginandbiscuits.co.uk    

GiGi of Tea With GiGi

I’m a 23 year old travel blogger from Gibraltar and 99% of my annual leave goes towards travelling ( with maybe one day to recover). My favourite destination I have been to so far is probably Poland, it definitely surprised me! 

You should follow me because I try to make my travel guides full of information and hidden gems I’d personally like to know about myself, and not just information you could find on TripAdvisor”

Blog: www.teawithgi.com

Sandra of Sandra Manjie

“My platform is a lifestyle blog that focuses on cultural & travel experiences. On it, I paint a picture of some of my favourite destinations (which include Jamaica, Senegal, Tunisia), travel tips & tricks and Carnival reviews!”

Blog: sandramanjie.com

Riri of Riris Travels

I’m a full time Musical Theatre Student who travels when she’s not at uni. I usually travel on a low budget to places in Europe and Asia. My fave place so far is Japan!”

Blog: riristravels.wordpress.com

Elizabeth Everywhere

“I started my blog when I lived in Paris to share my adventures with family, and now I can’t stop talking about my travel experiences. My favourite destination is France.”

Blog: http://elizabetheverywhere.com 

Zoonie Travel

“I’m a retired broadcaster. My blog is aimed at older people. Most travel blogs seem to be about single girls partying on a Thai beach. Nothing wrong with that, but older people have different needs. I love trains, Canada, and follow me cause my content is really for everyone.”

Blog: zoonietravel.com

Efia of Effy Talks Life 

“…solo travel, haha does Disney land count? 

Uh San Diego, I spent two months living and working there and that was one of the best summers of my life. Follow me for posts about travel, mental health and how NOT to get kidnapped.” 

Blog: http://Effytalkslife.com 

Go Before You Don’t 

“Hey we are a travel vlogging couple. We were robbed a few months ago in Bolivia. He stole my whole camera bag, all of our equipment (canon 80D, rode videomic, mavic air drone…etc) It was tough and a real test of our endurance.”

YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/ernM6BpHGF0

Mattie Lacey D of MLaceyD

“I’m a London journalist who started a blog to write about all the things I don’t get to at work – mainly travel! My favourite destination would be the Maldives or a greek island because there isn’t much to do (#slowtravel).” 

Blog: mlaceyd.com

Eccentric England

“I blog about cool places to go and quirky things to do at home in the UK and abroad. I love the beaches of Australia, the colours of Mexico and the teapots of Uzbekistan!”

Blog: http://eccentricengland.co.uk

Tanya of Glam Glitz Gloss

Glam Glitz Gloss is a lifestyle, food and fravel blog because there’s nothing better than travelling or eating, combined being the best.

I love to travel, preferably finding a cheap deal to do, and was lucky that my Mum took me away a lot when I was younger. Im off on my first solo adventure in December to Malta. 

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Just casually chilling by the pool with a glass of Prosecco living the dream 🥂 Speaking of dreams, as I’m about to enter my 30s, I’ve been thinking about my dreams and goals I’d like to achieve in the next decade. I want to go full time with the blogging whilst building an events business alongside it, starting with blogger events. I want to save to move out and learn to drive. And most of all I want to full in love with myself all over again as I seem to have lost my way in the last year 🧜🏻‍♀️ A dream doesn’t become reality through magic, it takes sweat, determination and hard work but I’m ready to put the work in. If you can dream it, you can achieve it! ⭐️

A post shared by Tanya l London Blogger (@glamglitzgloss) on

The travel wish-list currently includes Italy, Amsterdam, Cancun and the Maldives. My favourite destination is of course Magaluf.” 🧡

Blog: Glamglitzgloss.co.uk

Kat of Addicted to Travel 25

“I have a full time job as an archaeologist and a part time travel blogger. I use my spare time and spare money to travel as much as possible. Most of the travel I do is around the UK and Europe, perfect destinations for those on a budget but I also travel further afield. 

My blog is a way for people to get some great tips of things to do, see and places to eat whilst travelling, some of which are a bit different to the norm. My favourite destination is a tricky one, my favourite country is Italy, the archaeology, the food, the wine, I love it all. 

My blog is perfect for those who want to get advice on great locations from a part time travel blogger, everything I do and write about is affordable. I’m just an average working woman travelling the world when I can.”

Blog: http://www.addictedtotravel25.wordpress.com

Michelle of Michelle Travels

“I guess you can say I’m pretty interesting. Think super bubbly & adventurous in a bitesize person – fun I know. Lover of food & pink gin and lemonade.

My favourite destination would have to be South of France. It’s just a different world there – think palm tree’s, fast cars and great wine.

You should be following me because why not? If you like cinematic views meets bouji & extra vibes go for it. I’m just trying to enjoy for everyone and show people anyone can do it.

YouTube: Michelle Travels (Blog coming in 2019) 

Ella of Hey Paradis

“My blog isn’t technically live yet, but it’ll be all about the things I learn about myself through my travels. So I’m putting this out there just to keep myself accountable.

Blog: Heyparadis.com  (Coming August 20th) 

Mel of Mel Adela

“Mel was born and grew up in Singapore with Sri Lankan and German heritage – London is now home. She loves to fit in short getaways discovering Europe in between her longer haul adventures, which mainly involve seeing her favourite animals – Elephants! Her favourite place remains Southeast Asia, her home away from home.”

Blog: Mel-adela.com

Ade of My Breaking Views

“My website is called MyBreakingViews and I I’m trying to travel at least one country in every continent expect Antarctica (it’s too cold lol). I did a study exchange in Singapore and since then have travelled around the world and want to share my experiences with everyone.”

Blog: mybreakingviews.com

Meg of Meg Fabulous 

“Meg Fabulous is a London based travel blog that focuses on food and travel experiences. My favourite destinations include Cuba, New York and Trinidad for carnival!”

Blog: Megfabulous.com

Roma and Russell of Roaming Required 

“We’re Roma and Russell, a married couple from Australia who are currently living in London. Office workers by day and travel bloggers by night, we take every opportunity to explore the world one city at time. Whether that’s a European city breaks, weekend trips around the UK, or an ambitious road trip across the continent, we’re up for almost anything. 

We’re not luxury bloggers or backpacking travellers but sit somewhere in the middle, essentially making memories for life without breaking the bank. If you’re interested in short breaks or European destinations then we’d love to connect with you.”

Blog: www.roamingrequired.com

Jess of Road2Culturedom

“Well I’m Jess from South London (hehe) I write about my travels and experiences(backdated from Cuba in 2015 – 1st solo trip). My favourite place has been Peru so far and I prefer to travel in small groups! If you follow me, you’ll learn nuggets of info about my world travels!”

Blog: roadtoculturedom.com

Johnny of Johnny’s Travaventures 

“My favourite destination is currently Canada and I have no preference of the way I travel.

I want to bring different areas of the blogging community together, get to know new people, help each other grow and thrive in a genuine way.”

Blog: johnnystraventures.com

A few more (by me):

Doyin of Move With Doyin 

Doyin is the definition of modern-day travel extraordinaire, if she isn’t planning the next Wind-Collective trip, she’s hitting up the Essence Festival or Coachella in the States. Not only though she is one of the co-founders of BBTravelMeetup, bringing black travel lovers together across the UK and soon the world. 

Blog: movewithdoyin.com

Hannah of This is Hannah Ajala 

Hannah has such a refreshing take on travel and hers is all about learning about people and their stories play a big part on her life. If she isn’t bossing it as a broadcaster by day (or night), she’s working with Doyin of Move With Doyin to put together BBTravelMeetup events. 

Blog: https://thisishannahajala.com

Emilie of London City Calling

Emilie makes you want to make the most of London through food and activities. If she isn’t trying out a new venue or discovering a new food, you’ll find her exploring Europe.

Blog: Londoncitycalling.com

Tee of Tee and a Passport 

I absolutely LOVE Tee’s content and she is the epitome of a great solo traveller. What inspires me most about her is that she goes for it. She went to the Maldives alone and this is somewhere where most would go on their honeymoon. Tee is changing the narrative of travel and what destinations are supposed to be day by day.

Blog: https://teeandapassport.com/

Jess of The Travelista

I’ve been following Jess’ blog for years and she has such an approachable take on luxury travel. It feels honest, looks stylish and inspires me to grab my passport.

Blog: thetravelista.net

Montelle of I Am Montelle

Montelle took her first solo trip outside of the UK earlier this year and having missed her flight, she still made it. A traveller through and through!

Blog: https://iammontelle.co.uk 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYdu8GRcBjU3zU4TCtgYLNg

Jodie of Alajode 

Where do I begin with Jodie? If she isn’t taking incredible photos, she’s eating her way through her present destination. 

I can just about keep up with her digital nomad life but you can too on her blog and YouTube channel.

Blog: alajode.com YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/alajode

Debbie of Wanderlust Calls 

Debbie sets a goal and sticks to it. If you’re not inspired by her goal to achieve 25 countries before 25, you’ll be taking notes of how she manages to shoot solo on her blog channel.

Blog: wanderlustcalls.com YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKn6PeUyrdPqysVyuDMt92A/ 

Flights and Feelings

These two South Londoners (ew) will make you want to go back to NYC in a heartbeat. If they’re not hosting vlog parties (again in South London), you can catch them blogging about their European trips and remember, catch flights and not feelings.

Blog: http://flightsandfeelings.co.uk  

YouTube: Flights and Feelings

Jenna of Jenna’s World View 

This lady wins the award for the world’s my stylish travel blogger. If she isn’t writing about self-care or self-love through travel, you’ll find her on Twitter being the most supportive blogger I know. I foresee big things for Jenna – let’s collaborate soon though!

Blog: jennasworldview.com

Temi of The Palateport 

Temi loves to eat her way around the world and she loves everything to do with travel and food – eating it and travelling the world to eat food. If she’s not handing out on advice of where to eat or reminiscing about CVS bae, you’ll find her listicle pieces inspiring. 

Blog: https://thepalateport.com  

Annabel of The Woman in Transit

Annabel’s take on travel is ‘Getting lost and being found’. Travel helps her shape the woman she is becoming and she claims the adulating thing is still weird to her… (me too). 

Blog: thewomanintransit.com

Bella of Passport and Pixels

“I’ve been obsessed with photography since I was little, and my absolute favourite type is travel photography. I’m never happier than when I’m in an amazing destination, entirely absorbed in the people, landscapes, wildlife and culture. Photography is the thing that gives me the most pleasure in life, and I’d like to think you can see that passion in the images on my blog. And I won the UK Blog Award for Photography this year, so I must be doing something right! I tend to travel either with work (I’m a freelance factual TV producer) so I sometimes also write stories of what life is like on the road (and no, it’s definitely not glamorous!).

When I travel for pleasure I either do it with friends or family, or as part of an organised group, since I’m very sociable and always found travelling alone too lonely! My most recent favourite destination is Uganda. I spent four months there at the start of this year, and the photo opportunities are incredible. Do follow me if you love wildlife and documentary-style photography, and especially if you might be interested in Uganda, because I’ve got LOADS more photos and posts coming up!”

Blog: www.passportandpixels.com

Eat Sleep Love Travel

Vicky and Chris of Eat Sleep Love Travel have a whole host of content for those of us who work full time. From handy destination guides to the top things to do those secondary European cities, ESLT has it all. 

Blog: www.eatsleeplovetravel.com

If you think there is anyone else that needs to be added to this post, pop a comment below or tweet me over @char_x0. 

Happy Travels! 

Char xo 

Musings: 5 Destinations to Consider for ‘Slow’ Travel*

When it comes to travel, most people would agree that there’s so much to do in such little time, and we all want to pack as much into our lives as possible when it comes to travel, meaning we want to pack as much into each trip as possible too. How many times you actually got to take it easy on a trip? 

Therefore, it’s reasonable to question whether the trend of “slow travel” (where a traveller spends a reasonably long time in one place, for example a month, often working and fully integrating with the culture of the destination) is a viable way to squeeze more from their travels or whether it’s just putting the brakes on your potential to see the world.

This question comes down to how you view seeing the world; if you’re someone that wants to tick off 100 countries, then slow travel is unlikely to appeal to you – whereas, if you’re someone that wants to scratch beneath the surface and really connect with the authentic pulse of each unique place you visit then slow travel might be right up your street.

Indeed, whilst there’s much to enjoy about travel there are also components of travel that some people hate.  At the top of the list for many, in addition to packing and queuing at airports is that of other travellers, meaning if you want to get away from it all and head off the beaten track away from the tourist masses then slow travel might be ideal for you, as it will allow you to immerse yourself in the real culture of a destination away from the tourist veneer.

The thought behind “slow travel” is that by spending more time in a single location you can experience the place in more depth and more authentically, like a local.  It’s ironic that the term “like a local” is often used in guidebooks in an attempt to help travellers get beneath the surface of a city, yet, it’s ironic as if the recommendation is housed in something like a Lonely Planet guidebook then it almost guarantees a steady stream of tourists.

1. INDONESIA: BALI

Made famous by the film Eat Pray Love, Bali is a spiritual hotbed of quirky travellers.  Now, Bali is by no means the cheapest destination in SE Asia due to its popularity, though other parts of Indonesia remain very cheap and are equally as beautiful as Bali.  If you’re interested in the remote working lifestyle then you might want to check out Hubud.

Image sourced from Unsplash
Read more: Musings: The Indonesia Bucketlist*

2. SINGAPORE

Singapore is a melting pot of cultures with a serious fantastic foodie scene.  Singapore isn’t the cheapest place to live in SE Asia but this is compensated by the fact you can earn a decent wage here, and regulations for foreigners working within Singapore are pretty easy to navigate.

Hotels can be pricey, but there are some great deals to be had on cheap hdb rental that are worth checking out if you’re going to be staying in Singapore for a while.  This way, you can have a great base for exploring other parts of the region, as there are cheap flights to the majority of popular destinations such as Thailand, India, Malaysia and Cambodia.

 

3. THAILAND:  CHIANG MAI

Chiang Mai is a digital nomad’s mecca with a high concentration of freelancers working from the many independent coffee shops to be found within the cities ancient walls.  There’s also a large university here meaning the city has a young, vibrant, and aspirational feel to it – it feels like people are going places, albeit it at a suitable relaxed pace.

Finding somewhere cheap to live for a few months in Chiang Mai is really easy.  There are several modern condos available, for exclusive rent, on AirBnB at a cost of around $10 per night (presuming you are renting for over a month).

Chiang Mai is a fantastic place to have as a long term base to allow you to explore the rest of Thailand.  There are direct flights to Krabi, Phuket and Koh Samui which are all beautiful island destinations in the South, whilst having a base in the North (which is cheaper than the South) means you also have access to places like Laos and Myanmar.  The food in the North is known for being better too – the only limitation is that if you’re used to having a daily fresh young coconut, Chiang Mai doesn’t seem to cater to this demand as much as everywhere else in Thailand.

 

4. TURKEY: ISTANBUL

Istanbul is much like London, New York and Paris.  It is one of the world’s most interesting cities yet it is comparatively cheap and less packed with tourists than its western counterparts.

Istanbul is unlike any other city in the world due to being separated by the Bosphorus Strait which is a large river that divides Istanbul into two sides, on two different contents, the European Side and the Asian Side.

The European side offers a more modern city, with well known brands occupying the busy high street along with hipster bars, galleries and artisanal coffee shops.  The European side has a similar feel to San Francisco in some ways.

In terms of finding a property to stay for a while, you’ll find trendy loft apartments at a quarter of the price you would pay in New York (if not less) whilst the Asian side offers even better value, yet it is a little more shabby and back to basics.

5. MOROCCO: MARRAKECH

The majority of people visit this incredibly vibrant city for just a short while, as visiting Marrakech can feel like an endurance race in some ways due to all the hustle and bustle of food vendors, snake charmers and shopkeepers trying to tempt you with their wares.

Marrakech, can however be a fantastic place to base yourself for a few weeks or months whilst exploring the lesser known gems of Morocco such as the Sahara Desert and Atlas Mountains.  However, if you’re looking for a more chilled out vibe then you’ll want to head to the Atlantic coast where you’ll find Essaouira which offers a much more relaxed pace of life more akin to what you might expect in Portugal.

Read more: Musings: Magical Morocco*

What destinations would you consider for s l o w travel?

Char xo 

Images sourced from Unsplash.