Magical Ibiza Villas With Dream Villa Rentals

During these snappy cold winter days, the summer wanderlust inevitably kicks in, and with Christmas around the corner, the pressures of buying a meaningful gift are prevalent. So why not look to the summer seasons already, be dreamy whilst you sit by the crackling fire indulging in your Camembert and see where you could jet off to when the warm sun makes an appearance again. 

Photo Courtesy of Dream Villa Rentals
Ibiza is often renowned as the misunderstood island, often renowned for its party scene, but hidden beyond the summer crowds, stands a beautiful island, full of history, charm and private villas. Sat waiting for you, are Dream Villa Rentals. They feature over 200 luxury villas in Ibiza to rent. They offer many other locations although Ibiza is quickly becoming a hot spot; only this year it has become a popular location for many luxury bloggers. The bohemian chic style, crystal waters and Michelin Star Restaurants to feast your eyes on; with luxury beach clubs and at your Dream Villa Rental, make Ibiza your home away from home. With your own private pool, soak up the vitamin D and vitamin Sea, whilst cooking up some Spanish tapas and watching the sun go down. Opt for a beach villa or a villa in-land; there are plenty of villa choices for everyone. Take your stay on the island to the next level, and hire your own private chef to create some delicious Spanish cuisine; the brilliant team at Dream Villa Rentals will cater to your every need. Take upto 10 people, and prepare to have the holiday of a lifetime on this gorgeous island of Ibiza!

Photo Courtesy of Dream Villa Rentals
Photo Courtesy of Dream Villa Rentals

Ibiza itself, a beautiful Spanish island has traditional Spain at its core, with plenty to see and do. Such as history, walks through the old town, a spot of shopping, high street or luxury, and aqua sports on the beaches, it has something to offer everyone, not to mention it’s insanely Instagrammable views.

Why not look at Dream Villa Rentals and click here to see what properties in the area they currently are offering, and start planning your next vacation in advance. Whilst you sit at home dwelling on the business of the Christmas festivities, your next adventure is never too far away!


I've Discovered the World Now it's Time to Discover Love on Badoo

There comes a time in your life, when the luster of your ever expanding travel itinerary suddenly becomes a little dull, and it’s easy to become burned out. Soaking up culture, and immersing yourself in historical cities is still a boon for my mental and physical wellbeing, I can’t pretend it isn’t, yet there can be a lack of connection to life at home. A certain disruption to the homely obligatory agenda; go for Friday night drinks, or perhaps, catch up with an old friend on Skype that always seems to elude your memory. It’s easy to become burdened with work and travel, but avoiding this emotional burnout doesn’t have to be difficult. Discovering the world is enlightening and perhaps opens up your mind to other cultures, religions and races; it allows you to create a bigger network of friends in the long run, but finding them is not always easy.

Photo Courtesy of: Badoo

I’ve been exploring the exciting vibrant online world of Badoo; a dating focused social network, with a plethora of key features that put this network ahead of the game. Essentially a place to find love, Badoo offers a safe environment to chat, make friends, with both male and females, and engage is enticing conversation, expanding your network of friends, whilst still allowing a distance. Badoo can slot perfectly into your busy travel life, whether you’re at the other side of the world, or stuck pinned to your office chair firing out emails; it’s easily accessible.


Discover 366m people at your fingertips; is one of Badoo’s most exciting slogans. In simple terms, it’s a vast exciting network, and you are guaranteed to find someone who shares your hobbies, passions, problems or postcode! Here are some of the major reasons to use Badoo, and it’s not just their security or safety features, it’s not just their huge collection of people worldwide, but it’s the fun features that they’ve added to Badoo, which create an electrifying buzz whilst you’re using the network. Face recognition allows the app to find the closest person in their network to your celebrity crush; it’s fun, fresh and simple! Highlighted below are some of the most modern, incredible features that Badoo has to offer, which focus greatly on women’s security, which is a prominent topic for any single lady, myself being one of them, I like to ensure the people I am talking to are the people who match their profile photos.  

1.  Video Calls & Selfie Request

Chat to anyone you connect with via video calls, it’s simple and easy and doesn’t require picking up and meeting a stranger for the first time outside of your comfort zone. Play by your rules, and first and foremost stay safe. The ‘Selfie Request’ simply means the person you’re talking to, is required to pop over a selfie as proof that they are the person showing in their photograph. In essence, it is photo verification, and this is a novel idea, especially for first time online daters. If anything seems untoward with any activity on your account, there is a helpful team available 24/7 to assist. 

2. Location, Location, Location

Badoo offer a ‘People Nearby’ feature, which allows you to tap in any location you’re in, whether you’re on the road traveling in Europe or at home perusing the local shops, you can connect. It’s easy to feel a little claustrophobic and potentially concerned when you feel that apps are receiving information about your location, but Badoo only access your location on a 30-mile radius, so you’re always safe.

Photo Courtesy of: Badoo
3. Finding & Maintaining Connection

This makes finding mutual friends incredibly easy. Badoo offers a ‘Friends In Common’ feature, allowing you to find people you may not realize are nearby you often; including a ‘Bumped Into’ feature, such innovative ideas have been sunk into each and every aspect of this dating site, and with this feature, you’re able to see who you may have walked past earlier in the day, whilst stepping out of your favourite coffee shop, maybe even leaving the gym. It’s a brilliant way to make new friends, a new gym buddy, or even a new boyfriend!

It’s a safe, fun way to connect, and of course you can access it by the tap of a button on your phone, no matter where you are. For me, playing around making new friends whilst on a long train journey to work, is an exciting new concept; allowing me to discover life and maybe love on my terms, my time, and my way. Download Badoo today, and find out who you may discover. Our journeys have only just begun!

Follow them on Twitter here.





Top 5 Locations With Jet2

November 30 marked the date of the Jet2 Influencer Dinner held at the ever-so-stylish off the map The Tetley in Leeds, a venue I'd never been to before and one I'm edging to go back to already. Jet2 are my go-to travel company, for flights and holidays, and have served to quench the thirst of my wanderlust on many an occasion, just recently in Krakow, I took a Jet2 Holiday to Poland, and what an adventure it became! The Influencer dinner was a lovely evening, in a gorgeous traditional themed Christmas room with delicious food, and even better company. Chatting to fellow bloggers and like minded people is always such a blessing, and even better when your love of travel can be honoured, over glasses of free flowing wine!


The Evening

The evening began with chit chat, we sat down at our seat, all cute and labelled out for us. We indulged in a three course meal, and finally, after far too much food, Camembert, Nut Roast and Rice Pudding, I endeavoured to complete the Jet2 Christmas quiz where a city break was up for grabs. Berlin, a fantastic location which I have yet to explore; however I am sure one day I will get there! Stumbling through the Christmas themed questions, I didn't quite make the winner's spot but the prize did go to a deserving winner, the lovely Emma over at Paper Planes & Caramel Waffles. Scroll down for a stereotypical 2015 bathroom mirror pose.

The Tetley. Outfit: Closet London

Jet2 have such a friendly team and there is definitely no disputing their incredible deals, and their last minute deals are definitely hot picks! The night was delightful, and there was even a little appearance of snow, adding to the definite spirit in the air. Thank you for an incredible night. Here are some of the destinations I've been to with Jet2 and what makes them super special and the reason why you should book for 2018! Be prepared for some ultra retro photos from way back when but let's call it an early Throwback Thursday!



Krakow

You can read my detailed breakdown of my visit to Krakow and some fun things to do here, but I took this last Jet2 Holiday trip back in November from Birmingham at an incredibly good price (under £200) for 4 nights. We stayed at the INX Design Hotel, which I'd highly recommend for its interior, brand new, clean and modern, although a good ten minute walk from the main hum of the city. Krakow is a fantastic first time city for people who have never been to Poland before. In a prime location for some of Poland's fabulous skiing spots, and of course, Auschwitz concentration camp. For history and culture, Krakow is a brilliant cityscape!





Budapest

Budapest is the Paris of the East and it is easy to see why. My first visit was in 2011, during a beautifully crisp Autumn. Walks down the Danube, strolls around the market and coffee stops around every corner, I was sure to find happiness there. Budapest is genuinely a city I would return to, possibly in the warmer months, to enjoy the city even more, however for a quiet weekend break, Budapest is perfect. It's quiet, and although some may say a little repressed, it is friendly and relaxing, making it a brilliant choice. Such a magical little city and I wish more and more tourists begin to flock here. Hungarian Goulash is also something you must try if you're in the city but of course there are plenty of western restaurants in the city also.

 



Faro

Faro is the main pit stop in the south of Portgual. When you head to the Algarve, you head straight to Faro and it's the gateway to the wanderous beaches of the Algarve. I stayed in Faro back in July, staying at The Faro Hotel overlooking the marina in this charming little town. Although it is a bus ride away from the main beach, most hotels in the area offer transport shuttles there and the Praia De Faro has plenty of beach clubs and restaurants. It is a cheap and affordable summer hotspot without the fuss of a long haul flight you can lots of very hot sun and good food. Be sure to wander round the Old Town of Faro, it was quite possibly the prettiest 'Old Town' of any city I've visited, and very well kept with lots of history to soak up. Read my review on The Hotel Faro here.





Barcelona

Barcelona is the beating heart of Spain, in my opinion more so than any other Spanish city, it's vibrant, artsy, multi-cultural and has the perfect dose of city and sea, to make it a brilliant city break but during the summer, you can make the most of the beach. Barcelona itself has so much to offer, and not just its shopping scene, but it's views. You would need at least three to four days in the city to see all its sights as it is vast and you do need to hop on a tour bus to get round to all the major points.





Prague

I visited a very busy Prague in the summer of 2015. Full of culture, Prague is an incredibly gothic, historical city with a lot of charm. It's renowned for it's party scene for stag and hen dos, although it's a generally quiet unassuming city, with no sign of rowdiness. It is in reach of Vienna for a day trip. It has a distinct European feel, and I imagine at Chrismas, the lights would be lovely. Summer can get incredibly busy, but the perfect excuse to stop for a large double scoop of ice-cream!





To book your next Jet2 Holidays, please click here to see what amazing offers they currently have!

*I was invited to the Jet2 Influencer Dinner as a guest but all opinions and words are my own.

Festivities At East 59

Victoria Gate in Leeds is by far one of the most elegant shopping areas in the centre of Leeds. Filled with beautiful shops and trendy restaurants, it's definitely my favourite new place to go with friends. I was lucky enough to go upto East 57 with my best friend Janine for some Christmas cocktails and delicious foods just as the festive period begins! East 59 is a Manhattan-style restaurant and bar and it's perfectly located so you can sit out on the rooftop terrace and see the graceful rooftops against the gorgeous sunset over the city. It's a brilliant place to hang out with friends, have a good catch up and enjoy all the delicious cocktails on offer. It has a nice vibe, cool, stylish, open and bright, a brilliant lunch spot after a spot of shopping in nearby Victoria Gate.


The Restaurant & Food 

The restaurant is large and friendly, the staff are incredibly attentive, helpful and will gladly be of assistance with advice on what to choose from the menu. The Christmas menu is now in full swing but we were just a little too early, so we picked from the standard menu. We enjoyed some spicy chicken wings and I opted for the aubergine tacos - not too spicy, but spicy enough that you could taste the seasonings well. We perhaps had only one critique which was, perhaps a little bit more chicken and pasta could have been added to the menu but the food was incredibly good. Cooked well, presented nicely, nice and hot and good service, there is no reason to fault the staff or the kitchen in any way. The dessert however was a treat! You can't resist a brownie with ice-cream if it's on the menu, so we decided to take advantage! This wasn't before we were treated to some delicious xmas cocktails that they have just introduced. More on those later!

The design of the restaurant is modern and stylish, it's large and can get very busy but isn't intimidating like some places, the acoustics seem fabulous and you can still have a good conversation with friends; it's really lovely! The terrace outside has its own bar, great views, outdoor heaters, and blankets on the chairs, making it incredibly cosy and homely. It was probably the highlight for me!








The Cocktails

The cocktails were absolutely delicious. Creamy, sweet, and serves as a dessert in themselves, they are utterly divine but perhaps a little strong for us alongside our brownie heaven! Our cocktails were the Gingerbread Eggnog specialty and Mince Pie; you can browse the full range of their menu here. Creamy and very festive, complete with gold glitter, it was super cute and needless to say got all over our lips -we called it a new fashion look!

At night, this place would be perfect for an after work pick-me-up, or a Friday night with the girls, for the cocktails, the atmosphere and East 59 has events on, and it's incredibly social, so be sure to head down there this Christmas for an elegant night out.



Now that their Christmas menu has launched, and the festivities have begun, make sure you book your table this month and enjoy one of Leeds' trendiest and newest restaurants. Click here to make a booking today.

Or be sure to take advantage of the other menus and events they have to offer.


*I was invited as a guest to East 59 but all opinions and words are my own.

Trip To Auschwitz & Birkenau

I felt that after writing all my blog posts regarding Krakow, that this trip to Auschwitz and Birkenau Concentration Camps deserved its own spot, with its own gallery and story. It is a place I had wanted to visit for many years, and although I had a sinking feeling that my emotions would be clouded a little by the consuming tourist vibe and over commercialisation, I did walk away feeling quite numb.





Auschwitz Birkenau Concentration was built outside of Krakow, and over 1 million Jews were exterminated in this camp during WW2 from all over Europe. Brought in on trains, they arrived at the famous tracks of Birkenau, separated from their families and chosen for either work and starvation, or immediate death in the gas chambers. The trip was taken with a local copmany, many hotels will offer this service and you can usually book the tours the day before if it is a little off season. It is around an hour's drive to the camp. Auschwitz and Birkenau are separated, in two separate spots in the village of Oswiecim. In itself, it's a sad town, feels a little forgotten, perhaps never quite recovered from the atrocities of WW2. Auschwitz is the main camp, the most preserved with the exhibitions inside the blocks.

Auschwitz

Walking through the security gates, you see a small courtyard and the famous sign, which translated into English simply means, "Work Will Set You Free". So eerily ironic. You can see the blocks that still remain in the camp. All numbered, and built in what almost feels like a communal village. Sounds silly, but the buildings are not imposing or ugly, the feel there is not solemn, there is a sense of peace and the preservation is incredible. Some of the buildings cannot be entred but many can be, and inside there are many glass cabinets of old posessions of the Jews brought here, hair, shoes, glasses. Far too many for your mind to comprehend, and even more so, knowing that they were taken from victims who most likely succumbed to the evil acts made here at Auschwitz.

Auschwitz does attract many people, even in colder months. Wear suitable clothing and shoes. The terrain isn't brilliant. After looking inside the small museums, as they felt like, we moved onto the horrific gas chamber which still stands today. Walking inside felt surreal, you cannot comprehend it, perhaps only afterwards, your main processes the images and you begin to realise where you have just visited. I was struck firstly with how small it was. I expected a huge space, they most definitely look bigger on television; and this is when you realise how much fear, and chaos there must have been inside when so many people were crammed into these chambers.















Birkenau

Birkenau is an area around fifteen minutes on foot from Auschwitz, where the famous train tracks lie. They remain untouched, and it's a particularly haunting place. The tracks are long, almost too long to see the end from the entrance. There are a few tourists who abuse the area, but you musn't let this detract from your own feelings and emotions. Birkenau is vast. This is where the majority of the work was done, and it is so vast and flat, it does feel a little more abandoned than Auschwitz, particularly because this is less museum-like. There are blocks to walk in, you can see the bunkers where they slept, the toilets, and there are still remnants of the destroyed gas chambers. The ruins of the chambers and buildings are in some ways, more eerie, there's a sense of abandonment, as if it is forbidden territory. Make sure you walk to the bottom to the end of the track you can see the train trakcs in their entirity, and it's the best place to sit and think and realise where you are, you can almost see the horror of the past unfold in your mind.

You can spend as much time at Birkenau as you wish, it feels a little less rushed and chaotic there as it's all outside. The wire fences are particularly disturbing; as during the war, these would have been live, and any prisoner who tried to escape would have had a large voltage surge through them, most likely killing them should they try and touch it. These are all difficult things to imagine; or even comprehend, but well worth a visit if you enjoy history and want to pay your respects to the victims.









Tips

I would recommend visiting the site alone, without a tour group as you are not restricted to time or areas you can wander. Tours are more specific in where you go and how long you have, and whilst alone, I imagine you could truly feel the essence of the place much better than stringing along with a large group.

For more information on Auschwitz, please click here.

For my Blog post on Krakow, please click here.

Zakopane - Poland's Winter Capital

The country of Poland is filled with many treats and surprises. I had no idea that sat just around 70 miles away from Krakow, sat a winter wonderland named Zakopane. It's been dubbed Poland's Winter Capital and is a popular ski resort and has plenty to offer for snow sport lovers and mountain outdoors lovers in general. Zakopane is sat in the Tatra Mountains, which are part of the Carpathian mountain chain, and the town itself is very close to the Slovakian border.

This bespoke trip to the town was a private transfer to Zakopane with www.krakowtransfers.eu and our lovely guide and driver, Jarek was a complete joy!

Zakopane Overview

We set off at 9 a.m, we were picked up from the hotel, in a luxurious car, with bottles of water provided for the trip. An added bonus was having wifi in the car (super helpful when you need to keep on top of work and emails). We headed south towards Zakopane, with a little stop off at a very old church, set just back off the main road. The drive itself was incredibly scenic, and you definitely get to see a side of Poland that you may not experience when just heading to the cities. As with any country, exploring and seeing its countryside is the best way to get the most out of your stay, and experience the true spirit of the country. We carried on towards Zakopane and as we arrived, the snowcapped mountains and snow and ice everywhere felt very festive and magical. It's a popular destination around New Year, with over a million flocking there to celebrate. The views are incredible. Jarek, our driver, suggested a trip up the mountainside for the stunning views and they did not disappoint. Cost only around £4 each and you can hop on the 'funicular train' near the outdoor market. It can't be missed. 

Viewing Point Overlooking The Tatra Mountains
The Tatra Mountains

The Funicular Train Tracks

Jarek introduced us to a charming wooden-built traditional Polish resturant named Owczarnia Restaurant, where Jarek recommended the pork and potato soup, a true mountain dish that was absolutely delicious! Afterwards, we had a little wander around the town. Zakopane itself is very tourist friendly. Plenty of hotels, cafes, and shops! A real little gem hidden in the mountains, and even more charming after the snow had fallen. The sky was as blue as summer, yet as chilly as an icy January. The temperature is known to plummet to around -20 during some winters, so it's advisable to be very prepared if you're planning a little breakaway here.

Traditional Polish Restaurant
Parish Church

After a stroll around the markets and taking plenty of photos in pretty locations, we headed off, for a little drive to the ski slopes. This destination is incredibly popular with skiiers from both Poland and abroad, and with Poland being very inexpensive and good value, it has become increasingly more popular. It's also popular for hikers and outdoor lovers, it has plenty to offer, forests, mountain treks and more and as a day trip, it's briliantly within reach from Krakow - another must-see! 

Skiing For Beginners

After researching a little further into the ski slopes and areas in Zakopane, it is believed to also be an ideal spot for beginner skiiers, lots of places to practice if you're a learner; unchallenging and well kept, they have had very good reviews by many tourists. The resorts include: 
  • Kasprowy Wierch - Two skiing tracks through the Gasienicowa and Goryczkowa Hills.
  • Nosal Ski Station - A northern slope which is fabulous for beginners and skilled skiiers.
  • Szymoszkowa Ski Station - Beautiful views of the Tatra Mountains can be seen from here.
  • Harenda Family Recreation Centre - A slope for beginners and skilled skiiers. 
Mid-afternoon we headed back towards Krakow but the schedule was very open if you had any specific requests for other places to visit. We had seen many interesting things on the trip, and opted to head back towards the city but not before we stopped off at the beautiful Jaszczurowka Chapel in the Tatra Mountains. A quaint and enchanting wooden church sat up off the main road and was the most intriguing church I've ever seen. It was seeped in history and had such a traditional Polish feel. Moments like this make you truly realise you're in the heart of another country! 

Jaszczurowka Chapel

Tatra Mountains

Jarek headed back to Krakow in good time and showed us a little famous pizza place around the Jewish Quarter, before dropping us off outside our hotel. It was the perfect day, and made so relaxed by Jarek - highly recommend www.krakowtransfers.eu. 5*****


Jarek and his company also offer trips to all the sights around Krakow including airport transfers, with a professional and helpful manner. Zakopane is definitely worth a trip and it's safe to say that I will definitely be returning to this beautiful country in the not too distant future, I hope!