Manchester With National Express

Manchester Visit: Eco-Friendly National Express

Manchester is the hub of arts, history, tradition and above all, culture. With over 6.8 million people ambling through the magical old cobbled streets, it is safe to say Manchester tourism is red hot. It isn't just seeped in history, it is also ringing with poetic artistry around every corner, rugged backstreets, which resonates with tourists and natives alike. Manchester is a vibrant, bustling city with so much to offer and just like Leeds, it has that northern charm. We often find that we will take our cars for the simple option to get from A to B or the train but why do we overlook coach travel?


I grew up on coach travel, as did my family, they loved a coach trip, it was synonymous with old fashioned British travel, and today, it's important to get from A to B by also being careful of your carbon footprint. Instead of driving and releasing emissions, look at grabbing a coach. National Express kindly offered me a trip to Manchester, to experience their coach travel within the north; to appreciate the beauty of local coach travel, which is affordable, reliable and better for the planet. It's certainly time for me to start experiencing the beauty of coach trips again. with so many stations across the UK, National Express offers trips that range from local, such as my trip - Leeds to Manchester to further away, such as Leeds down to the South Coast and even abroad. A coach has such a luxe feel and for me, I always associated a coach with a great day out. Still to this day do I feel the same.

Booking The Trip & Deciding A Destination

My goal is to see as many of Britain's cities of culture as possible. Manchester was a great choice . I love Manchester and recently I visited and knew I had to go back again as soon as possible. Usually when I go to Manchester I will make the trip in the car or on the train. So now it's time to enjoy visiting by coach. There are regular coaches from Leeds, every hour in fact. The big coach hub at the bus station to all destinations across UK but regular coaches to and from Manchester and northern destinations. You can book online, their site is easy to navigate and you can grab your tickets on your phone which you show the driver as you board. It's simple and easy.

The Travel Experience....


Once I had my booking on e-ticket, which is sent to email I was able to get on the coach and pick my seat. You are always guaranteed a seat on National Express which I was so impressed with. The first thing that struck me was the leather seats that looked so comfortable and when I got on the coach I found out they were as comfy as they looked. Not only that but the coach was lit with gorgeous blue lights, air conditioned, radio on and good support for your back. I have lower back problems and didn't feel that I wasn't being supported, I really liked the travel.

The journey was smooth running, friendly approachable driver and the best part of all is USB pockets in every seat. you don't need a plug to charge your phone, only your USB lead which is great to save space in your bag. You can travel with your case there is room in the underbelly of the coach and we even were ahead of schedule coming into Manchester which was incredible!

I couldn't fault the service and I am definitely going to plan to book some more trips as the year progresses. I'd love to experience some more of the biggest UK cities with them! 






Eco-Friendly Travel 

Using the train, for me, has its drawbacks. It can feel cramped, anxiety-inducing and often there are lots of delays. Also it can also be pricey! National Express offer incredibly friendly prices, there are thousands of tickets that are £5 or less and you will always be guaranteed a seat if you book. I am not sure why I haven't tried using National Express to take me to Manchester Airport before, it is a really affordable option and that's one thing I am going to be looking into for the future. For now though, it's all about looking at how eco-friendly it is. I am a huge advocate of conservation, my Twitter is a platform for me to speak out about issues about our planet and it is a fact that travelling by coach is the most environmentally friendly form of travel, and on a per passenger kilometre basis, a full modern (Euro VI emissions-standard) 56 seat capacity coach performs better on emissions than the average private car. They are also well equipped for people with limited mobility.

Not only this but it's incredibly comfortable. Whenever I've used National Express in the past, usually from London, I have always had a positive experience. They have never been delayed, the coaches are comfy, there is often WiFi available and it makes travelling nostalgic and pleasurable. The free entertainment services are incredible if you're travelling alone or with someone and you want to be anti-social and do some work! Their power sockets are the best - for someone like me who works constantly out of a laptop, keeping charged up is vital. To book a trip with National Express, click here.


Exploring Manchester 

Manchester is like a northern London to me; I get a little buzz from it. I recently visited the Manchester Royal Exchange, click here to read that Blog and you can see what makes this area in the heart of Manchester such a fabulous place to visit. Thank you National Express for allowing me to travel with no complications and so much ease!

Femme Luxe Finery dresses





*This post was sponsored by National Express but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

12 Most Instagrammable Luxury Landscapes


Luxury travel these days is a buzz word that seems to have lost its mojo, but these stunning far-flung locations with a twist aim to turn heads with their beauty and uniqueness.....



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Whether we are on Instagram or not, most of us will take a snap or two when we travel — but in luxury circles, the bar is raised to the next level, with no shortage of beautiful places pick from.
Nevertheless, there are a few natural gems which have consistently capture the hearts and lenses of luxury lovers (and Instagram stars) worldwide with their extraordinary ‘wow’ factor and visual appeal. 
Here, we count down some of the top luxury landscapes which just can’t take a bad photo — NB: to shortlist for your next luxurious travel trip.
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1. Cappadocia, Turkey

The sun-soaked whimsical ‘fairy chimneys’ and cone-shaped rock formations of Cappadocia in Turkey really can’t take a bad picture.
Everyone from @followmeto to @gypsea_lust @doyoutravel have documented their travels to this geological wonder on Turkey’s Anatolian plains. 
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, this landscape of honey-combed hills in central Turkey is made up of an extensive network of tunnels and chambers which have been eroded over millions of years and carved into the rock faces. Making the dreamscape even more appealing — multiple hot-air balloon flights take off into the sky at sunset, offering any spectator a stunning sight to remember. 
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2. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Croatia — and the sea-side city of Dubrovnik in particular — has made more of a name for itself from Game of Thrones fame of late, after it was picked as the filming location for King's Landing; but the country has several other stunning locations to offer for the luxury aficionado.
One of these is its Plitvice Lakes National Park — a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the oldest and largest natural reserves in the country. 
Spread over 295-sq.-kms of forest in central Croatia, this sanctuary is known for its chain of 16 terraced lakes, joined by waterfalls, that extend into a limestone canyon. The weaving, interconnected waterfalls are constantly flowing, and the lakes particularly are renowned for their distinctive colors, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue, with colors that change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight — which means no photo is ever exactly the same. 
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Photo credit: Chloé Lebrun.

3. Diamond Beach, Iceland

Iceland has long been a photographer’s dream location, with hundreds — if not thousands — of Instagram-worthy locations to capture, but it’s Diamond Beach, on the South Coast, takes the cake.
A strip of jet-black sand belonging to the greater Breiðamerkursandur glacial plain and located by Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, here is where glistening, crystal-clear icebergs come to die, washing up on shore like dazzling gems stranded by the sea in stark contrast to the ebony canvas.
Snapped here: @hobopeeba @itsadogslife5
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4. Maldives, Indian Ocean

Who hasn’t seen an image — drone or otherwise — of this paradisiacal location plugged on social media?
Boasting an endless horizon of crystal-clear turquoise water, dotted with palm-fringed tropical islands and luxurious ocean-set villas and bungalows — any spot in the Maldives is the ticket. 
However, for those who have serious cash to splash and want to treat themselves to the ultimate luxury getaway — look no further than the Jumeirah Vittaveli resort.
Earlier this year, the plush complex unveiled seven new Private Ocean Retreats — all equipped with the Instagram necessity of the moment: winding slides. 
Complete with incredible, sweeping Indian ocean views of the South Malé atoll, the suites come with gigantic open air decks, glass bottomed sunken lounges, outdoor relaxation beds, overwater hammocks — and access a 23-metre slide which runs from the top deck into the gentle waters of the crystal clear lagoon — in addition to in-villa dining, yoga, spa treatments, and the pampering of a dedicated 24-hour butler, of course. 
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5. Lavender fields, Provence, France

Each summer, the rolling hills in the region of Provence in southeastern France are transformed into rows of dusky purple, when the lavender blooms — offering guests an extraordinary visual and sensory spectacle fit for royalty.
While this is probably the most affordable luxury landscape to jet-set to — for those living in Europe at least — if you’re looking for the midas touch, then check out the Relais & Chateaux listing which spotlights some of the swankiest luxe hotels, guesthouses and private residences you can splurge on near the the Route de la Lavande. 
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6. Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

Located 8 hours south of La Paz in Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni, is the world’s largest salt flat and an otherworldly location which should be on the bucket list for any luxury traveller who wants something for the photo album which is a little different and off the beaten track.
Besides its unmatched legacy as a prehistoric lake that went dry, leaving behind a desert-like, nearly 11,000-sq.-km. landscape of bright-white salt, rock formations and cacti-studded islands — those who visit in late April will witness the best of its photogenic qualities you can expect to see both the dry salt desert and the giant mirror effect it creates. This hotspot is also one of the harder ones to get to — so there are far less tourists than any of the others on the list!

Honourable mentions:

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7. Lofoten Islands, Norway

A wonderland of jagged mountains, beautiful fjords, and white sandy beaches, this spot is a rare sanctuary of pristine natural beauty, without the crowding.
Snapped here: @mbeiter @kolkrabenjan
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8. St. Lucia, Caribbean 

One of the top luxury destinations for the rich and famous, feel free to set up anywhere on the coastline with a view of the Pitons — two mountainous volcanic spires rising up out of the ocean — for a spectacular sight.
Snapped here: @annev @missangievilla
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9. Bagan, Myanmar 

The ancient city of Bagan in a hot air balloon at sunrise gives Cappadocia a run for its money — with an Asian twist.
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10. Tulum, Mexico

Although it is one of Mexico’s premier tourist destinations, Tulum’s Playa Ruinas — which boasts well-preserved Mayan temple pyramids overlooking the Caribbean Sea — still makes the cut for its unique combination of stunning aesthetics x archaeological treasure.
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11. Zhangye Danxia National Park, China 

The Rainbow Mountains Of China, located in the Gansu province are the Earth’s paint palette, and offer 200 square miles of mountains splashed with a kaleidoscope of natural colours.
Snapped here: @natalyosmann @nois7
Fuji

12. Mt. Fuji, Japan 

Rising above the clouds, the highest volcano in Japan at 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft) offers an impressive scene, which in spring, is beautifully complemented by a carpet of cherry blossoms as far as the eye can see.
Snapped here: @beccabeczten @kabutipi

Original post: Tidlrs Live Luxury (hosting some of my favourite Blogs of the moment)

The Royal Exchange Manchester

Manchester is a city full of culture, there are plenty of things to do in the city but there is perhaps one little section of the city that is just that extra little bit special and this time of year, it's blossoming with gorgeous decor and lights, which make it perfect for a stop by. The Royal Exchange is a beautiful shopping arcade and building, which houses the theatre inside, however it is worth noting that The Royal Exchange is more than just an arcade - there are plenty of other stores associated with The Royal Exchange that are both exciting and intriguing, shops and boutiques that you wouldn't find anywhere else and that is exactly why it's well worth a visit!




The Shops 

The shops in The Royal Exchange include both high street shops and unique one of a kind shops - that stretch all along Market St, St Ann's Sq, Old Bank St and Cross St! All of the shops are in one place, easy to find and not too far from all the public transport. Not only is it perfect for shopping but there are a range of restaurants that are suited to every taste, including a Vegan Cafe, Vertigo which is beyond delicious. 

Lush - their only UK #NakedLush has all the brand new packaging that is made of entirely recycled materials, for a more sustainable Christmas. They have some beautiful gift ideas, wrapped in recycled scarves, that feel as soft as silk and look beautiful - all the patterns are unique and stunning. They also have an app that shows you the content of their gift boxes, which saves on extra packaging. Scan any gift box to see the content of it before you buy and scan any bath bomb to see how it will fizz in the bath. It's a new chapter for Lush and it's right here at The Royal Exchange!



Moda In Pelle & Irregular Choice - these shoe stores are very different in styles and they are both part of the eclectic and incredible Royal Exchange. Moda In Pelle, elegant and stylish, for the modern day lady, with plenty of heels and handbags, at affordable prices. Irregular Choice opts for a little more of a quirky vibe, colourful delightful shoes and boots, with wacky and unusual styles and designs, plenty of colour and lots of character.

Sostrene Green - brand new to The Royal Exchange, Sostrene Green is a Danish store, with an incredibly "Hygge" feel. Plenty of quaint interiors, dainty and simple and lovely quality they are incredibly diverse with what they sell. From little bits of food and drink to interiors and cute office supplies - I was very impressed with their little Christmas ornaments, and there is certainly lots of great gift ideas, from candles, to dainty dinner plates, art supplies and lots more to ensure you can adopt a happy and calming lifestyle!

Jenny Jones Jewellery - The lovely Amy spoke to me in detail about the brand and all the jewellery that they display - which is a lot! Nestled in the middle of the Exchange Arcade, it is one not to be missed, with jewellery from new brands and lots of vintage picks. I left the store with a stunning silver bee necklace by Kit Heath, one of their popular choices and it a beautiful dainty choice, perfect for Christmas! The whole store is divine, with a very beautiful refit, complete with chandeliers, pink suede chairs, it's a very elegant and classy store and it's full of every type of jewellery you could ever dream of! (They also have a brand new Olivia Burton range which is delightful!) Browse their website here.


The Fjallraven Store - the ultimate outdoors store, if you're planning adventures for 2020, this is the place to come! With plenty of coats and bags for travel, it is a store full of sustainable and durable products which make this a winner. It's time to explore!

Molton Brown - Molton Brown doesn't really need an introduction, but it's another reason to make sure you visit The Royal Exchange next time you're in the city centre of Manchester! Their store has an extensive range of gifts and brand new ranges, including frequent deals. I had never come across a store in Yorkshire that stores a multitude of perfumes and candles, so I spent a little bit of time spritzing myself with some of their delicious scents!




The Whisky Shop - for all the whisky lovers, this shop is for you! They have so many incredible brands, many of which are incredibly high quality and you can also purchase beautifully crafted decanters which make for perfect gifts, especially if you know someone who enjoys whisky as their tipple! It is Christmas, after all!

L'Occitane - this company originated in Luxembourg and has overtaken the UK market. it's such a lovely brand and their shops are equally as lovely. Their focus is on skincare and fragrances and they make the most wonderful gift ideas. L'Occtiane is just another one of the many great stores at The Royal Exchange!

Here is a full list of the shops in The Royal Exchange:



Coming soon to the arcade will be Amaranth well-being and will be opening sometime in December, as well as Yards Store which is soon to grace The Royal Exchange on Old Bank Street very soon!


Food & Drink 

If you are looking for something healthy and delicious and VEGAN, Vertigo is a great idea. With plenty of deliciously colourful salad bowls and delights, this is the place to stop for a little bit of brunch! If you're after something a little more regal, take the time to stop of at Annie's for Afternoon Tea (a la carte menu is also available), which is owned by the lovely Jennie McAlpine. For the family, TGI's and to sit in the centre of it all, there is Michael's coffeehouse for a cup of coffee and a nibble on a fruity cake - there is definitely something for everyone with all tastes, and the Exchange itself is such a quaint and classy area, it's a nice place to shop away from the main streets of the city.


I opted for a berry smoothie with a falafel bowl, a delicious bowl of goodness, and the roasted red peppers were not burnt or grilled, just cooked to perfection with a little bit of spice and a little bit of sweetness from the carrot. This place often gets packed out but take a peek at their menu, it's a great place for a stop off, lovely decor, great staff, the cafe is booming and the food is the ultimate in vegan deliciousness!

There is also The Remedy Kitchen inside the arcade, for all the health conscious shoppers!

So undoubtedly, The Royal Exchange is a must see for anyone visiting Manchester, there are plenty of incredible shops to see this Christmas, places to eat and within walking distance of all travel systems. Have you visited The Royal Exchange yet? I guarantee you won't regret it if you do!


*This post was written in collaboration with The Royal Exchange but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 


1903 Lounge At Manchester Airport

When you're travelling, the most important thing is to ensure that you have a calm relaxing atmosphere before you step on board your flight. At Manchester Airport, there are plenty of lounges to choose from. The 1903 Lounge at Manchester airport is situated upstairs in Terminal One and finally I was fortunate enough to be able to check it out, dragging along my suitcase, despite for that first sip of coffee. Despite arriving a little later than planned due to traffic, the lady in charge, Sophie, guided us round the lounge and offered us a quiet spot to sit, in a little secluded spot, with a beautiful view of the runway. Fortunately the day was clear, so it was great to look out and watch the world go by.

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What's In The Lounge?

The lounge was full of little places to sit, from easy chairs and sofas to upright chairs and a business area. Complete with WiFi, magazines and newspapers, I was really impressed with the intimate but comfortable layout. The decor was modern and chic, plenty of art and colours, and of course the best of all, the range of food and drinks available. The lounge also overlooks the runways and so you can see planes coming and going which is such a thrill on a bright day. It is a great escape from the busy terminal and can get you well prepared for your flight. 

Benefits:

  • Never gets overbooked so always somewhere to sit.
  • Great choice of food, hot and cold
  • Magazines and things to read
  • Computers if you need to double check travel arrangements 
  • Great high speed WiFi 
  • Airy and feels spacious 
  • All different types of drinks available 
  • Toilet in the lounge itself
  • Easy to book
  • Screens to keep track of flights
  • Easy chairs and chairs suitable to work on laptops




From herbal teas to coffee (decaf included), with the tap of a button on the screen, you are able to get your drinks easily and comfortably. There is a range of hot and cold buffet food, made to order and also if you really want to tempt the tastebuds, champagne and guacamole! It doesn’t get better. Although our time was limited, I opted for some fresh juice, decaf latte, egg sandwiches and of course some cheese and crackers - it was a lovely bonus to find Brie this time of year, I definitely felt festive after that! I also tried their chilli con carne which was delicious, as well as a chocolate muffin which was very quickly devoured!



The lounge also has its own facilities with its own toilet which is definitely a bonus. From friendly staff and plenty of good food, 1903 is definitely a great choice especially for people wanting to escape the business of the airport terminal and away from rowdy crowds, the lounge provides solace and comfort and I can’t wait to return to spend more time. To take a look further into the 1903 lounge if you're travelling through Manchester. Click here to book! 

*This was a gifted experience but all thoughts and opinions are my own