Competition: WIN £150 of holiday vouchers with Southall Travel

If you could jet off anywhere right now, where would you go?

It’s one of my favourite questions to ask myself, because I love the idea of endless possibilities and being able to wake up in any destination at any time. For me, right now, it’d be NYC. It’s been a while since I’ve visited (a year or so) and I’m starting to miss the city, the food, the sights… Plus it’s spring in the city right now, one of the best times to visit.

Ideally I’d spend a few days there, maybe do a little shopping, a lot of eating (you can’t not when you’re in NYC) and a little sightseeing. Perfection!

Where would you go? 

To get you a little bit closer to your dream destination, the lovely people are Southall Travel are giving £150 of holiday vouchers (to redeem on their website) to one lucky reader. The winner can buy any holiday package from Southall Travel and they will be able use the voucher for £150 discount.

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Southall Travel do travel tours, hotels, flights, travel insurance and car rental – so a bit of everything you need for the perfect holiday.

You can enter by clicking here:

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Southall Travel Competition – Terms & Conditions (this is kinda long but bear with me): 

1. The prize promotion is open to all UK residents aged 18 years or over except employees

(and their families) of Southall Travel and any affiliates or subsidiary companies, as well as

representatives or agents of Southall Travel and anyone else who may be involved or

connected with the prize promotion. Any entries submitted by agents or third parties will be

invalid and will not be accepted.

2. You may enter this prize promotion by completing the online entry form.

3. There will be only one winner.

4. The prize(s) will consist of a holiday voucher worth £150 only, courtesy of Southall Travel

Group. The winner can purchase any holiday package from Southall Travel and they will be

able to use the voucher for £150 discount.

5. The holiday voucher will be valid for 3 month from the date of issue. The travel dates has to

be within 1 year from the date of issue of the voucher, i.e. the booking/purchase needs to

be done within 3 months of the issue of the voucher, however the travel dates can be

within 1 year from the date of issue.

6. The prize promotion closing date is the 11th May 2016 (the “Closing Date”) and any entries received

after the Closing Date will not be accepted.

7. The winning entry will be selected at random on 11th May 2016 and the winner(s) will be

notified by email within 7 days. To contact you we will use the contact details supplied by

you when entering the prize promotion.

8. If you are notified of a winning entry, you must confirm acceptance by email to claim your

prize. If you do not reply to confirm acceptance within 5 days of being notified as a winner,

we may offer your prize to someone else.

9. Only one entry per person per method is permitted.

10. Submission of entries will not constitute proof of receipt and no responsibility will be

accepted by the Southall Travel for entries or acceptances which Southall Travel does not

receive. Southall Travel shall not be liable for any loss or corruption of data in transit. No

responsibility will be accepted for entries or acceptances which are lost, delayed or

damaged in the post or elsewhere. Illegible, incomplete, late or defaced entries will be


11. The prize(s) must be taken as offered. No cash equivalent or other alternative prize(s) are

available in whole or in part except as provided for in these terms and conditions.

12. The winner(s) agree to participate in any publicity or other such promotional activities

which the Southall Travel may reasonably require in connection with the prize promotion

and Southall Travel shall have the right to use each winner’s name, likeness, image, voice

and biographical information for advertising and promotional purposes in connection with

the prize promotion in all media without further notice and without the need to make any

payment to any winner for such use.

13. All prize(s) are non-transferable and where prize(s) consist of tickets/voucher, all such

tickets/vouchers are non-refundable. Southall Travel reserves the right to substitute prize(s)

of an equivalent value should the prize(s) become unavailable for any reason. If any winner

is not able, for whatever reason, to accept the prize(s), then Southall Travel reserves the

right to award the prize(s) to another participant.

14. By submitting an image or any other materials (“Submission”) in relation to this prize

promotion you: (i) confirm the grant by you to us of a worldwide, perpetual, royalty free

licence in the Intellectual Property Rights in your Submission, (ii) waive any moral rights and

like rights you have in relation to the Submission so that we shall be entitled to use the

Submission in any and all media at no cost to us and (iii) warrant to us that the Submission

is owned and controlled by you and that you have the right, power and authority to grant

the rights set out in these Terms and have obtained all the necessary approvals, consents

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Submission will not infringe the Intellectual Property Rights, privacy or any other rights of

any third party; will not contain anything which is untrue, defamatory, obscene, indecent,

harassing or threatening; warrant that your Submission does not violate any applicable law

or regulation (including any laws regarding anti-discrimination or false advertising); and

warrant that your Submission is not obscene or pornographic.

15. The decision of the Southall Travel is final and binding and no correspondence will be

entered into regarding the outcome of the prize promotion.

16. No purchase is necessary to enter this competition.

17. The contest is also covered by Southall Travel terms and conditions and data protection





UK Winter Getaway Ideas

There are those who look forward to winter, excited over hushed conversations by the fireplace and being bundled up in the most comfortable and stylish winter clothes. Then, there are those who simply want to get away from everything winter, like the snow, the grey skies, and the utter discomfort of a -0.1°C. I must admit, I usually feel pretty smug around this time of year, when I’m cosy and wrapped up working from home with the heating on full blast.

If you plan on combatting the cold with a trip away though – and if you’re planning to make a getaway, why not book an airline flight and hire a rental car the rest of the way for your trip? There are car hire in Newcastle Airport and other airports which you can book to make your trip more convenient – meaning you can take a mini getaway whilst staying in the UK.

This list will help you decide where best to go to avoid the unforgiving cold.

  1. Tynemouth, Tyneside may just be the perfect choice for those who want to go cycling. All they have to do is drive up to the Coast and Castle cycle route and they’re good to go. Seekers of souvenirs may want to drop by Georgian Front Street where a row of independent shops that look out the seaside clifftop ruins of the Tynemouth Priory are. There are also plenty of modest apartments and B&Bs around the place, so be sure to check them out.
  2. Boscastle, Cornwall is an Atlantic village devastated by floods some ten years ago. Now, it’s back to its old self–craggy cliffs, green water in the harbour inlet, and smoke curling up from the chimneys in the old cottages, just like before. For those interested, you can pay a visit to the Witchcraft Museum where the largest collection of witchcraft related artefacts and regalia can be found. However, it’s the walks that you really want to experience. The rocky paths of the Bossiney Cove or Tintagel are blessedly empty after summer.
  3. Southport, Merseyside has the peculiar British Lawnmower Museum that will guarantee to make for a memorable trip. There is also the Marine Lake there where you can go boating and watch birds. The shore may not be too endearing, but the beach is wide and stretches for miles reaching to Formby Point. Pay a visit as well to Warehouse, a restaurant co-owned by Liverpool footballer Steven Gerrard.
  4. Portmeirion, Gwynedd is an Italianate tourist spot, a version of Italy’s Portofino on the Dwyryd estuary. Built and designed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, this destination boasts of a Mediterranean feel where there is a dazzling piazza, a domed Pantheon, statuaries, colonnades, watery vistas, topiaries, and loggias. The pretty cottages might look like neat houses, but no one actually lives there. They are actually holiday lets or hotels. Check out Tremadog Bay and find hidden coves and views.
  5. Oban, Argyll, West Highlands is also known as Scotland’s seafood capital. It is also a busy little harbour town where it’s difficult to get a seat in any of its restaurants if you happen to drive by and pay a visit on-season. Head up to the white sand beaches of Ganavan, or hike up to McCaig’s Tower, a 19th century coliseum lookalike where it’s best to watch ferries at sunset.

Exploring Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas

As a regular visitor to Las Vegas, I’ve done most of the city’s ‘big attractions’ and ‘tourist must-do’ things. One of my absolute favourites of these, has to be the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

If you are wanting to explore some more of the local scenery and the ‘outback’ (I guess you’d call it?) – but you don’t fancy the 11 hour round day-trip to The Grand Canyon, then the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a great option.

Who should I travel / tour with?

We booked our trip with Pink Jeep Tours, who are my favourite tour company in Vegas, they also took us to The Grand Canyon 3 years ago. They’re my favourite tour company based in Vegas, and I couldn’t recommend them more.

How long will it take to see the canyon?

It literally only took 30 minutes to get out to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area from a central Las Vegas Hotel (we were staying at The Cosmopolitan at the time), and about 3 hours to drive around it, so it’s a great little day trip you can do without it eating up your whole morning, day and night. In total, put aside 4 hours if you’re going with a tour group – maybe a little longer if you plan on driving yourself and exploring more, and maybe stopping for lunch.

You spend a few hours out of the city, and you get to see some incredible scenery and landscapes. It’s the perfect escape 🙂

Here are a few of my favourite shots from the day…

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas


What is there to see in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area?

The most famous part of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is the famous red coloured bit (you can see in the photos above). Your tour will definitely do a stop off here, and you can climb down to some great views and photo opportunities. There are also lots of rock climbers around this part of the canyon – try it if you dare (and only if you’ve done it before of course!).

Random fact 1… It’s this part of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area that was used during the filming of 127 Hours (that movie were he cuts his arm off).

Random fact 2… This part of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area was also where Captain Kirk died (the character not the actor!) in Star Trek Generations. Apparently, every year, lots of Star Trek fans come and pay homage.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas

There’s much more to Red Rock Canyon though – and it’s not just the small red-rocked area. There’s also a huge mountain range and beautiful desert too. You can see the sun over the mountains above, and the sparse area of woodland and Joshua Trees below.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas

There’s no doubt the area is stunning, and it’s incredible to be stood there overlooking such a beautiful landscape, knowing the glare of Las Vegas is a short drive away.

The National Conservation Area works in a one-way road, so you enter in one place and exit in another – this means you can drive it yourself, but it also means you have to leave time to drive the whole way around if you plan on visiting. I kind of loved this design of the park, as it means the road isn’t congested, and it also means you get to see everything.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas




If you have any questions about visiting the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, don’t hesitate to drop me a comment or tweet! 🙂

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Restaurant Suggestions in Las Vegas

Last summer whilst touring the USA, we made the obligatory stop-off in Las Vegas. Of course, Vegas is probably better known for its casino chips than its edible chips – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some amazing places to eat in the city. If you’re looking for restaurant suggestions in Las Vegas, you’ve come to the right place….

Burger BarThis classic eatery certainly puts McDonald’s to shame. With choices of different meats, countless unique toppings and tasty drinks such as a caramel martini, Burger Bar is a hit along the Las Vegas strip. As the prices here are cheap compared to other establishments, it is ideal for those on a budget.


While Spago is a bit pricey, it is well worth the extra money spent. Inspired by renowned chef Wolfgang Puck, Spago offers organic vegetarian dishes, seasonal foods such as lobster and a host of signature salads. The ambiance here is likewise calm and inviting.

Top of the WorldThis restaurant boasts a unique blend of French and American cuisine. Dishes such as grilled portabello, chilled seafood, roasted pork belly and fois gras are only a few of the choices here. Keep in mind that the prices can be quite high, so stopping by for a tasty cocktail may be best for those on a limited budget.CraftsteakAs the name hints, this establishment specialises in all things related to steak. Lamb shank, grass-fed veal and braised short ribs are said to be some of the most popular choices here. While the meats are indeed impressive, side dishes including fresh salads help to round out any meal. The prices here are moderate compared to top-of-the-line restaurants.


Andre’s is a Las Vegas property that focuses on fine French cuisine. This unique approach can be seen in such dishes as pan-seared duck breast and their pepperoni-crusted fillet of beef. Still, it should be mentioned that their selection of wines is just as appealing. More than 1,500 varieties are available. Andre’s can be a bit expensive, so it is wise to take a look at the menu ahead of time.

China PoblanoOffering an eclectic mix of traditional Chinese noodles alongside tacos, China Poblano is certainly worth a closer look. Smaller portions are ideal for those who wish to sample different platters and the prices here are very agreeable.Lotus of SiamLotus of Siam is inspired by Eastern Asian cuisine and the chefs here are not afraid to add a few spices to their menu. Vegetarian rolls, sushi and noodles are very popular. Lotus of Siam is also very cheap; their all-you-can-eat lunch buffet is very popular.

Wicked Spoon

Wicked Spoon is by far one of the most interesting (and cost-effective) restaurants in Las Vegas. Dishes such as pork chalupas are found alongside chicken pot pies and even dim sum. Those who enjoy mixing and matching will love Wicked Spoon.

Lindo Michoacan

This restaurant focuses on Mexican dishes. The authentic quality of this food allows every item to be truly delectable. Some popular favourites include their quesadillas, fresh Mexican gulf shrimp and a tasty handmade guacamole. Lindo Michoacan is also very amenably priced.

Origin India

Those who are looking for cheap and yet sumptuous food should always visit Origin India. Choices such as lamb with spinach and creamy chicken makhani will certainly leave a lasting impression. The prices here can nonetheless be quite high.


Rao’s offers more than a century of experience within the culinary field and this shows in their kaleidoscope of Italian dishes. Excellent options include their spaghetti alla bolognese although their entire menu will please the palate. Prices here are rather agreeable although some dishes can be a bit on the high end.

Michael Mina

This establishment is a perfect choice for those who enjoy seafood. Dishes such as deep sea tuna and Maine lobster pot pie should not be missed. For the quality of the food, it is a welcome fact to know that Michael Mina is very reasonably priced.



Your Guide to a Successful Last Minute Getaway

Usually I’m the kind of person who loves to plan.

I like making lists, and I love sitting in front of Google researching destinations, hotels and day trips.

This autumn though, Pad and I did something a little bit different… We booked something last minute, and grabbed a late deals.

Where did we go? We headed to Ibiza. it was the perfect time of year to visit… It was off-peak (so cheap), last minute (so cheap) and during term time (so cheap). Are you getting the theme? We were on a budget!

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Where else can you go last minute? 

Not every city / location lends itself well to last minute getaways and late deals. Some places actually get more expensive the later you leave it. You’ll also want to steer clear of any national holidays or seasonal events that may prompt people to take a vacation – because that means hotels will already be full, and won’t be filling rooms for cheaper prices.

I find that European beach destinations are a great choice most of the time (except during school holidays of course!) because these hotels are usually big enough to have spare rooms that don’t sell out.

Ibiza, Lanzarote, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma are all popular resorts for late deals.

How much should you put aside? 

It depends how much you want to spend. We spent £600 each for our Ibiza vacation and this was for all-inclusive in a 4* hotel, their nicest suite, during off-peak season. It felt like a huge bargain – because once we arrived we didn’t have to spend a thing.

You can have a 7-night, half-board deals in a standard room from as little as £171 – so it really does save you money having the flexibility to book last minute.

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Things to look out for?

  • What food boarding is included? And are drinks included in your package?
  • Are flights included?
  • Are transfers included?
  • What star rating is the hotel, and does it have good reviews?
  • How many nights is in the package? Some packages are only 4-5 nights, rather than 7.

A beginners travel guide to Macau

The Chinese Peninsula of Macau is somewhere that has grown in popularity in recent years, maybe the super glamorous cameo it made in the recent James Bond film helped! I know this destination wasn’t even on my radar until I saw it though Mr Bond’s eyes.

With the tourism industry now booming, Macau has taken over from Las Vegas as the world leader in gambling revenue. While there are many casinos in the city, there is much more to Macau, here are some of the top things to do when visiting the island.

To begin with, if you want to experience one of the most spectacular sights that Macau has to offer, then a visit to the Macau Tower is an absolute must.

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This has become an iconic sight for residents and visitors alike since it opened in 2001. Appearing on Ladbrokes list of things to see in Macau, it is located at the heart of the island, those willing to climb the 1,109 ft structure will be able to enjoy absolutely stunning views of the Macau Peninsula, Coloane, Taipa – and even over to mainland China.

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Aside from this though, it also offers a range of activities, including shopping centres, theatres and the exciting Skywalk X round the outside rim. Furthermore, if that isn’t daring enough for you, you could try a bungee jump (because why the heck not?)

For the foodies… 

Macau offers plenty of great places to experience the local cuisine, with one of the finest being Seng Cheong Restaurant. You will find this in Old Taipa Village, on Rua do Cunha Street, and the dish you have to try is the Crab Congee – which is what it has become famed for.I know the food was one of my favourite parts of Hong Kong, and you can expect the same amazing local cuisine from here too.

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If you’re feeling brave… the likes of Deep Fried Salted Frogs Legs, Raevian and Frog Leg Congee can be found here too (yes, not just in France!). While here, you should also take the time to visit the rest of Taipa Village, as the old-fashioned shops and restaurants within this little enclave give you a taste of old China within the modern city of Macau.

If you want to explore the most famous aspect of Macau – its casinos – a great starting point would be the City of Dreams Casino, located on the Cotai Strip. This 420,000 square foot complex boasts 1,514 slot machines and 450 table games – including Blackjack, Baccarat, Roulette, Sic Bo and various forms of poker. It also offers other entertainment, such as the House of Dancing Water show combining dance, diving and theatre, and the Club Cubic nightclub. The Venetian Macau is another casino you should.

This has four separate gaming areas – the Phoenix, Red Dragon, Imperial House and Golden Fish – with 800 table games and more than 3,400 slots. Situated on the Cotai Strip, its mix of great gaming and live shows and sports events makes it essential.

Macau is becoming one of the world’s hottest tourist destinations, and it is easy to understand why.

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5 Beautiful Boutique Hotels in France

France is just a small hop across the Channel from London, or a swift train ride away using the Eurostar – so it’s basically the most convenient holiday destination ever. But it’s not just city breaks in Paris, it can be countryside retreats and boutique hotels.

I’ve been looking for the best boutique hotels in France (for future reference you know?) so here are some of my favourite picks:

Argi Eder

This rustic family hotel has beautiful traditional features and a lovely homely feel to it. There’s a gorgeous pool to relax by, and a lot of countryside to enjoy too. The hotel is a 30 minute drive from the Atlantic coast, so you can even take some day trips out to the sea if you fancy it.


Arraya Hotel, Sare 

Located a short drive from Toulouse, this cosy hotel is decorated Basque-style with the style of the residences from the 16th century. If you’re after something traditional and sweet – with a family-style welcome then this is the place for you. I love the exterior of this hotel – it reminds me of the tudor house I grew up in as a child!

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Artishow, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

This trendy yet rustic hotel is everything you’d expect from a stylish French boutique hotel. They have a cute rooftop hot-tub as well as an indoor pool – so your relaxation needs are totally taken care of. Who wouldn’t love to spend their holiday sunbathing on the stunning rooftop taking in those views over the nearby village?

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Auberge de Banne, Banne

I love how green this property is! So many lovely plants and trees nearby! This area of France is a hotspot for celebrities – and often used as a film set for TV shows and movies too. The rustic setting is pretty and picturesque and the epitome of French living. This hotel feels glamorous but luxurious too.

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Auberge de Concasty, Boisset

If the exterior of this beautiful property doesn’t impress you, then the interior and surrounding areas definitely will. Rooms are surprisingly spacious and offer beautiful views over the surrounding countryside and rolling hills. Those little blue shutters on the windows are adorable too – I’m in love!

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Gadgets that make Travel and Business Easier


This is a sponsored post with IHG Business Advantage (Intercontinental Hotels Group)

When your business is blogging, and your blog is a travel blog – all three things become mixed together like some bizarre cocktail. When I travel, as much as it is for fun, it’s also for business.

Every detail I want to remember and record – and I need to be on top of it all to make the articles and photographs as beautiful as possible. If you’re in the same boat as me, and need a little inspiration of which gadgets to invest in, IHG Business Advantage made a list of business travel gadgets to make it all that little bit easier…

Folding keyboard

Because then your iPad can be your laptop. It saves so much luggage space (and weight too!).


Clothing Steamer

Might not be the most obvious choice, but they’re so much easier than irons, way faster (and more fun too haha).


Lightbox Therapy

When you travel for business, you don’t have time to be jetlagged.

With light therapy you can prevent jetlag by “tricking” your body clock and slowly shifting it to the destination time zone. Depending on if you travel west or east, you expose yourself to the light of a lightbox before the trip at certain hours and by the time you arrive your body has already adapted the local time so you won’t suffer from jetlag. Invaluable for every international business traveller!lightbox-2 Luggage Tracker

The idea of loosing my luggage fills me with dread – especially if you’re on a business trip! This little gadget lets you keep track of it.



Multiple Device Charger

I don’t know about you, but I have a laptop, an iPad and a phone – and all of them need charging at least once a day. This little gadget means I’m never without charge.



Noise Cancelling Headphones

I’d recommend Bose headphones personally, but any noise cancelling headphones are a god-send on a flight. Means you can concentrate so much better – or just tune out.


Solar Charger 

You can charge your phone on the plane, using the sunshine from outside… AMAZING. Must have. solar-window-charger Neck Cushion

The most low-tech item on the list – but equally one of the most useful / necessary. I won’t get on a long-haul flight without one.


10 ways to save money on your vacation

Planning a wedding and travelling aren’t really two things that go hand in hand. Right now, almost every spare penny we have is being tipped into the wedding fund, and travelling has taken a bit of a backseat. But – as always, there’s a way around it, and researching ways to save money and make the most of vacation time (without spending a fortune) has become my new saving grace.
Here are a few tips…
Book your flights early
Air fares, train tickets and many other kinds of transport you may use are always at their cheapest if you buy them way ahead of schedule. You may have heard people talking about waiting until the last minute to get even cheaper travel deals, but this is obviously a bit of a gamble (that might not pay off!) so booking things early is usually your best bet for the cheapest fares.Go in-direct 
Another quick way to save a bit of cash is to chose in-direct flights. This isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but it can offer big savings.Pre-book airport transfers
You may have got used to simply flagging a taxi when you leave the airport at your destination, but pre-booking your transfer can save you a lot of money and time spent waiting around when the airport is particularly busy. There are several companies out there that provide pre-booked transfers, and most have taxi and shuttle services for parties of all sizes. Alternatively – research whether Uber is in use at your vacation destination – this can saves loads of money over the course of your holiday.Keep an eye on foreign currency
Seen as you’re going to decide on where you want to go early in the year, you’ll have a lot of time to check the value of the currency you’ll be using abroad. Set little, regular reminders for yourself, and only change your money when your currency is at a low point.

Choose all-inclusive
Many travel agents, such as Going Places and Thomas Cook, offer all-inclusive packages which give you unlimited food and drink in a lot of hotels in their destinations. This is a great way to keep cost down over the week as a whole, and you can have a stress free (money free) vacation once you get there.

Keep an eye on voucher codes
Websites like VoucherBin have all sorts of money-saving vouchers available – and setting up email alerts for travel related ones is a great way to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Be careful with your phone
Believe it or not, you can live without Facebook, and turning off your phone for the week will cut down on the nasty financial surprises you may otherwise come home to. I actually find this helps me enjoy my holiday a bit more too…Save air miles
Like countless other people on these schemes, you may already be taking this step. If not, it’s an excellent way to cut down the cost of your flights, giving you more to enjoy yourself when you’re away!


Making the trip: Getting from Christchurch to Queenstown

Queenstown, set on the banks of Lake Wakatipu, is a breathtakingly beautiful town, and one of my favourite places in New Zealand. The spectacular mountains and the crystal clear lake play host to the many adventure sports available in New Zealand, so it’s somewhere the majority of travellers in NZ flock to. Christchurch is the South Island’s largest city; so it’s probably where you’ll fly into or arrive at, and Queenstown may be the first stop on your trip!
When I was travelling around NZ I did so much research on the different transport available, especially on the Christchurch to Queenstown route (and which was the best for me) so I figured I’d pop it all into one blog post and hopefully it’ll come in handy for anyone doing the NZ travel-route too.
Take to the skies

Christchurch to Queenstown is a popular route, and Air New Zealand flies this route approximately 4 times a day, Mon-Sun. In the summer months, they offer 5 flights some days of the week, though this varies. The flight is approximately 1 hour long, so it’s a pretty short hop over which is convenient if you’re short on time. Flight prices start from $69.

Recommended for: People in a rush, people who love incredible views (the flight over has some immense window views!).
Not recommended for: People who are scared of flying (the flight into Queenstown can be a bit daunting as it’s through a mountain range).
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Bus it in

If you want to get the coach there, you can get a direct bus from several companies. Intercity do a daily direct service from as low as $39, which takes around 8 hours. Naked Bus offer similar, with fares around $40 and a journey time of 9 hours. Both companies have promotional fares for booking ahead of time. I did this journey myself and we got stuck on a very old vehicle with zero suspension and I was so thankful for my sea-sickness tablets. So if you get motion sickness – might be worth taking a few just in case.

If you wish to make it a tour, Scenic Pacific Travel offers a coach service along the same route for $104 which includes refreshment stops at Omarama and Geraldine, a lunch stop at Lake Tekapo (worth the extra time – as it’s STUNNING!) and commentary from an experienced tour driver.

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Recommended for: People on a budget, who don’t mind a longer route.
Not recommended for: People who are impatient.

Make it a road trip

If you’ve got the time, the most satisfying way to do this route is by car, so you’re in control of which route to take and where to stop. There’s several routes available with some stunning scenery to take in along the way. I’ve only done this route from Queenstown to Christchurch (so the opposite way) but it should be pretty easy to reverse the routes below… (I hope anyway!)

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The coastal route: This route takes a bit longer (643km, 7.5 hours) but has the beautiful coastal scenery. Head south from Queenstown to Dunedin via Alexandra, Roxburgh and Lawrence, taking in the Karawu Gorge along the way. From Dunedin you head north, following the coast up to Christchurch. There is plenty to see and there’s a few pleasant towns along the way, such as Oamaru and Timaru. Take a picnic for lunch!

The inland route: This is the mountainous route; it’s 483km with 6 hours of driving. Just out of Queenstown, Cromwell has a few vineyards, if wine is your thing. It might not be directly on the way, but one of the main reasons to go inland is to visit Mount Cook, and if you’re looking to make an overnight stop, this is a very good place to do it. Back on the road, you’ll pass Lake Tekapo, then the town of Geraldine which has a very crafty, country vibe.

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Hiring a car is easy. The likes of Avis and Budget operate out of both the city and the airport and have offices at Queenstown (in the town and the airport), making a one-way hire simple.

So it all boils down to how long you want to take, how much you want to take in and whether you want to sit back and enjoy the view, or take the wheel yourself. Bon Voyage!



Quirky things to do in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is full of the typical tourist haunts, but some of the best things in the city are the are found off the beaten path (if you dare to go looking!).

I only managed to schedule a few days in the city last year, but I crammed in as much as I could. Here are some of the best Quirky things to do in Los Angeles…

1. Visit Evergreen Cemetery

Evergreen Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Los Angeles and has become one of the weirder, quirkier tourist destinations in California. You will recognise many names on the tombstones, as the cemetery is the final resting of numerous famous faces. There is even a jogging track running through out if you are in the mood for a melancholy, extraordinary run! The running track is actually a good excuse to go there – because otherwise you’re just a weirdo visiting a graveyard.

2. Time Travel Mart

A visit to the Time Travel Mart at Echo Park will result in you being able to tell a friend exactly where they can buy dinosaur eggs! This crazy market place offers the quirkiest items you can find, from a vintage conquistador helmet to a full size robot replica. Another great aspect of the Mart is that all proceeds go to charity to help the education of 6 to 18 year olds.

3. The Sunken City

Located in San Pedro, visitors can experience something a little different by walking the remains of Sunken City, a neighbourhood that literally sank in to the ocean! You will be able to see old foundations and outlines of where old roads used to be situated. Sunken City is a crazy reminder of just how fragile human creations can be when pitted against nature.


4. The Museum Of Jurassic Technology

Though it may have an official sounding name, this museum on Venice Blvd is a crazy and wonderful collection of fake historical curiosities and objects. With exhibits including paintings of space dogs from Russia and kooky holographs, this is certainly the place to be if you want bizarre!

5. Abandoned Zoo

Those into a spot of urban exploring will love walking through the remains of the abandoned zoo at Griffith Park. LA’s original zoo location is now a physical reminder of the past, and it makes for a really cool and slightly creepy walk for people who want something a little more than a normal afternoon ramble.

6. Visit Sweet

The super popular sweet shop, aptly named Sweet, located on Hollywood Blvd, is the closest thing you will get to visiting Willy Wonka. From a chocolate laboratory where you can make your own creations to a crazy and weird candy dispensing urinals, this shop is a must do for any LA tourist!

7. The Museum Of Death

Those looking for something a little more morbid can try the Museum of Death on Hollywood Blvd. The place is a shrine to everything sinister, with features including a serial killer room and an autopsy room that houses real life crime scene photographs. Certainly not one for the faint of heart!

8. The Electric Dusk Drive-In

When you think of LA, you think of classic drive in movie theatres, and the Electric Duck Drive-In on San Julian St is a great example of the very best the state of California has to offer. Kick back with your friends and enjoy a movie from the comfort of your own car; chill 1960s style!

9. Jumbo’s Clown Room

This joint on Hollywood Blvd is part burlesque; part pole dancing club, part normal bar, but the one thing that is guaranteed is that you will have an amazing time. Jumbo’s Clown Room will definitely give you an LA experience that you will not forget for a long, long time.

10. Watts Towers

Constructed by one man, Simon Rodia, the incredibly weird Watts Towers at 107th St will be a treat for any lovers of unusual architecture of urban history. Marvels of twisted metal and interesting shapes, the towers are unlike anything you have ever seen.



NYC Shopping Map: Where to Find What

Without a doubt, hands-down, New York City has to be one of the best shopping destinations in the world. It’s hard to go there and not want to splurge and spend. You’ll find big designer brands, huge department stores, independent stores and thrift shops with hidden gems waiting to be discovered – it’s all there on one island.

One hell of an island… right?

Whenever I’ve visited NYC though, I’ve always wished I had a NYC shopping map, telling me where to find what, where to go, and where to look. So following that train of thought, and figuring that if I’ve looked for that info, maybe other people are too – here’s my own NYC shopping map which I hope will be super useful and help you spend lots of money 😉

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Below are my absolute favourite shopping destinations in NYC and all the ones every keen tourist will want to check off their list. You’ll also find a map of where to find each one too…

1. Bloomingdales: 1000 Third Ave., at 59th St.; 212-705-2000. 504 Broadway, nr. Spring St.; 212-729-5900;

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2. Barney’s New York: 660 Madison Ave., nr. 61st St.; 212-826-8900;

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3. Tiffany’s New York: 727 Fifth Ave., nr. 57th St.; 212-755-8000;

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4. Macy’s NYC: 151 W. 34th St., nr. Broadway; 212-695-4400;

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5. Madison Avenue: Madison Ave., 57th St. to 72nd St.

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6. Sak’s Fifth Avenue: 611 Fifth Ave., nr. 50th St.; 212-753-4000;

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7. Bergdorf Goodman: 754 Fifth Ave., nr. 58th St.; 212-753-7300;

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8: Lululemon: 408 W. 14th St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-255-2978;

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9. Toys R Us: 1514 Broadway, nr. 44th St.; 646-366-8800;

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10. Chelsea Market: Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave., nr. 15th St.; 212-243-6005;

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11. The Apple Store: 767 5th Ave, New York, NY 10153, United States

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12: Grand Central Terminal (market): 42nd St., at Park Ave.;




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13. NBC Experience: Rockefeller Center, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112, United States.

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Still need a bit more help than my NYC shopping map and need extra help navigating the city and figuring out how and where to shop in NYC?

If you’d like more suggestions and a personalised shopping guide, Hayes and Jarvis have launched a NYC Shopping App which is definitely worth downloading for that extra bit of support. Sometimes Google Maps doesn’t quite cut it getting you there – and the app features 100 of New York’s best stores and has been curated by the city’s retail experts, so it’s probably the most helpful thing I can recommend.

It can even create a shopping tour of the shops most suited to you – which is great as it means it’ll group together all the shops nearby – so you’re not trekking halfway across town halfway through the day.

It’s free too – which helps.

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Afternoon Tea at The Lancaster, London

Of course, as someone who lives in London (and loves sandwiches) one of my favourite things to do is go for Afternoon Tea.

For all those non-UK people reading, afternoon tea is a very civilised affair (usually somewhere a bit posh) where you have tea, scones (with cream and jam obviously), cake, more cake and mini sandwiches with the crusts cut off. It’s yum.

I’ve had my fair share of afternoon teas in London and I always think it’s a great little activity to go and do when you have guests round for the weekend. We took my fiance’s parent to the afternoon tea in Harrods a few months ago, and then over new year my sister and went for afternoon tea at The Lancaster, London.

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Afternoon tea at The Lancaster Hotel is available in the hotel’s first floor lounge every day from 2pm until 5.30pm. The hotel feels quite posh as you enter, so this definitely feels like a ‘treat’ 🙂

Lancaster London Afternoon Tea is priced at £30 per person.
£40 with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Champagne
£45 with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Champagne (Rosé)



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A fantastic pre-theatre treat that will not leave you wanting anything more for the rest of the day.

What do you get?

There was first a selection of small sandwiches, which included cream cheese and salmon, cucumber, beef – basically the classic afternoon-tea sandwiches is what you should expect. And don’t worry if you’re still hungry after finishing them – the staff will always bring you extra!

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The sweet bites included a white chocolate and raspberry lollypop (with that fizzy popping candy to dip it in), apple and honey cupcake, lemon fruit tart, caramel and hazelnut tranche plus passion fruit and raspberry macaroon – I’m not a fan of macaroons so my sister got those. This is then followed with plain and raisin scones with homemade strawberry jams and Cornish clotted cream.

Hello you! Do you follow me on Instagram yet?

If you didn’t know, The World and The Some is on Instagram! Click here to follow me 🙂

If you like my photos, and general travel stuff – I think you’d like what’s going down over on there. So, if you don’t already follow me, I’d love it if you’d head over and say hello!

Here are a few of my favourite photos from the past month or so. Enjoy!

Did you know, you can also Follow my blog with Bloglovin?

How to spend a weekend in Bath, UK

Pad and I recently escaped London for a weekend, and headed up to the gorgeous city of Bath, which is about 2.5 hours by train. After stalking the internet and train times, I found a First Great Western route that went direct (and anyone who knows me will know…. I’ll always choose the direct trains!)

Ever since Pad and I returned from our RTW trip I’ve been really excited about finding UK destinations to visit on the weekend. I probably haven’t seen as much of the UK as I’d like, and when you’re working a full-time job, budget and time becomes pretty tight. With all that in mind, little mini weekend getaways to places like Bath seem perfect for us – because the travel is cheap and it takes no time to get there from our base in London.

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I actually found a pretty useful app by First Great Western (whilst stalking their website for train tickets) that gives you suggestions on city breaks and weekend away destinations within easy reach of London. This was pretty useful for me (as someone who doesn’t know much about the South of England – as I grew up in the North!) so I thought I’d refer anyone over to it in this post in case you’re feeling inspired…. So just click here to have a play around.

Anyway back to the weekend and beautiful Bath!

Unfortunately (yet again) we were plagued with bad weather! So the photos aren’t as gorgeous and sunny as I’d have hoped! But moving on…. a little bit of rain has never stopped us before.

Here’s how we spent the weekend:

1. The Royal Crescent

I kind of feel like this area of Bath, sums up the whole city. It’s a bit of a walk away from the shops and city centre – but so worth it. The houses are gorgeous, and the views are pretty special too. I’m a sucker for architecture and beautiful buildings, so this was bound to be my favourite place in the city! It was pretty blustery and cold for us (the weather never seems to be on our side at the moment!) – but I imagine in the summer time it is just stunning up there.

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2. Bath Ales

A weekend away for Pad and I always includes finding a lovely food place. My favourite place that we found in Bath was actually a gorgeous bar right outside the station called Graze, owned by a special brewing company called Bath Ales. Pad is a big beer fan, and especially loves his IPA’s and special brews – so the bar we found was like striking gold for him! Definitely a recommendation for anyone who fancies some nice drinks in a beautiful atmosphere, with lovely views.

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3. Spa Treatment! 

It’s not called Bath Spa for nothing! Whilst a lot of people head to the Roman Baths (which are pretty spectacular!) we headed to a local spa around the corner instead called Champneys Spa. It meant we avoided the tourist crush and the big queues, and that the experience was truly relaxing. We both opted for a back and shoulder massage and it was great. The spa was even in one of the old Bath buildings, meaning the treatment rooms had lots of character and history. It was like an hour of heaven after aching from all the walking we’d been doing! I might make it a permanent addition to every city break I do from now on!

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4. The sights, sounds and shops

Bath has a fair amount of places to see and discover over a weekend, and one of my favourite places was the gorgeous riverside. It was a little flooded during our visit, so we could head down into the public park – but we happily enjoyed the views from the bridge and road instead. It’s probably Bath’s most iconic area and the bit that springs to mind when describing it. I love all the old building down by the river bank and the shops and cafes that run over the bridge too. It reminds me of a little ancient ‘Harry Potter’ style town. Does that even make sense? Probably not – but anyway, it’s all very nice! Sometimes, all you need to do to enjoy a new city is walk around and soak in how lovely it is – even if you’re in the rain!

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So that’s what we spent our time doing in the city! There was plenty more to explore (ideas here) but as we were only there for a short weekend, and the rain made being outside a little unbearable – this is just about all we could fit in!

Would I recommend Bath? Definitely! It’s a great little city and it feels far from the hustle and bustle of London – making it the perfect mini-break on the cheap. We stayed a little B&B called Grays Hotel, and I’ve already reviewed it here, if you want to take a read!

If you did anything special worth a mention in Bath, or have any restaurants / bars to recommend, share them in the comments below 🙂

Did you like the photos featured in this blog post? Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @TheWorldAndThenSome where I post lots more gorgeous photos from my travels!

Photo Post: The Eiffel Tower, Paris

During my recent trip to Paris for my birthday,  I took more photos of The Eiffel Tower than I knew what to do with.

It’s kind of big, and it kind of sneaks into most photos without you even realising it. But it’s also pretty nice looking (almost like they designed it that way on purpose…) so I didn’t really mind too much.

Anyway, I took so many photos, I thought I’d do one blog post full of just the Eiffel Tower photos. I swear I didn’t just spend all my time around the Eiffel Tower (as much as it may seem so from this initial set of photos, I did go to other places too… but I’ll write about them later).

As you’ll probably be able to tell, we didn’t have the best weather during our weekend away – but I don’t think the photos suffered for it luckily. When you’re in a place as photogenic as Paris, it tends to look picturesque even in the worst conditions.

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Did you like the photos featured in this blog post? Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @TheWorldAndThenSome where I post lots more gorgeous photos from my travels!

My Entry: Capture The Colour Competition

Last year I never got a chance to enter the Capture The Colour competition – because we were way to busy with preparations for our move to New Zealand. But now we’re back in the UK – I can finally enter some of my own photos – so here goes….


A photo that I’ve always loved, taken at sunset in Dubai with one of my closest friends (yay for self timer!). This part of the world means an awful lot to me as it’s where I was born, and it’s where my Mum has recently moved back to. It’s one thing being British, but I’m also very proud of my roots in this beautiful part of the world too.



This was the view taken from my balcony in Queenstown, New Zealand. I lived there for 6 months – and you can’t possibly imagine how incredible it was waking up to this view every morning. Whilst I think many people would look at this photo and assume it’s meant for the colour Blue – for me it’s the green that makes this image pop. I love all the little green trees and their delicate reflections in the lake below, and of course the huge tree in the foreground. I honestly don’t think you could find a more perfect outlook than this.



I had a few photos I wanted to use to represent the White category, but in the end this is the one I opted for. This is the Dubai fountains, and every time I visit Dubai I make sure we go watch them at least once. The first time I ever saw them (coincidently – when I took this photo) I cried like a baby, because I was just so overwhelmed by how beautiful it was. I loved watching people’s reactions to them, the absolute awe and magic everyone feels when the water start dancing.



For me Blue is the ocean and the sky – and there is no need to be subtle about this colour at all. This photo is one of my favourites that I’ve ever taken, so I had to use it for this competition. I think it sums up the colour Blue for me, the freedom of the ocean and the neverending-ness of the sky. I like that.



When we visited one of the floating markets in the Bangkok area, this lady (in the red coat below) took my breath away. She must have been about 85 (+) years old, and there she was, working in a tiny boat, selling fruit and even flashing us a cheeky smile. I was just bowled over by her, and for me she captures the colour Red brilliantly.

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As part of the competition, we also have to nominate 5 other travel bloggers to participate, so here are my nominations:

Samuel from Nomadic Samuel

Monica from The Travel hack

Lauren from Only Chasing The Sun 

Rusja from Roo Around The World

Giulia from Travel Reportage

the first day :)

After 3 full days of travelling, 2 long haul flights, two swollen feet (twice over), many duty free shops, 4 seriously questionable in-flight meals… we’ve finally arrived in Auckland. Actually, after yet another seriously disappointing in-flight food offering (I don’t even want to show you photos… for fear of putting you off any meal you may currently be eating) the first thing we did when we arrived in Auckland was get McDonalds.

But you have to cut us some slack here – it had been 10 hours+ with no food (unless we had chosen to eat the cold omelette with chicken sausage) and that big yellow M might have well have been a big yellow H for Heaven. We practically ran over. Funny thing was, the cabin crew from our flight were in the queue behind us…. so clearly they didn’t rate the food either.

The taxi from the airport took about 25 minutes and we could not be happier with out choice of hotel. We’re in the Sky City Hotel (It’s also a big Casino and resort in the city centre – the big tower which weird people jump off)  so we knew there would be a King Size bed, and the hotel woud be good quality. In reality though the hotel has blown us away – it’s so nice to be able to relax here for a few days before flying down to Queenstown – where we’ll finally have finished the journey.

The bed is HUGE. The kind of bed that makes you sad, because you know you have to go back to a normal sized bed at some point in the future, and you’ll have to eventually leave this bed shaped piece of perfection behind.

Here is how excited we were:

Today we were pretty much concentrating on jetlag recovery and ‘set-up-life-stuff’. The plan for this was as follows:

– Massive breakfast. Including; Fruit, Full English, Waffles with Maple Syrup, Toast with Peanut butter and Streaky bacon. It was so good we are pretty sure we’re going to need it again tomorrow. “Need” haha.

– Lots of Juice

– Set up bank account

– Buy SIM cards

Turns out Paddy’s iPhone won’t work in NZ with the network because it’s locked – so needless to say we bought a new high-tech replacement asap. It’s pretty snazzy. I think he’s really pleased.

We then spent a few hours walking around the city harbour, had a drink in a very pretty waterside bar and then headed back to the hotel. We’re both struggling a bit keeping our eyes open so decided it’d probably be smart to go back, nap and then head back out in a few hours (to the casino… exciting!)

The thing is, we know we’re going to come back to Auckland and see it properly – Paddy won’t feel complete until he’s jumped off the big tower – so there’s no pressure to cram it all into these two days. Which is kind of nice – because it means I feel no guilt wanting to nap!


Stuff we’ll miss about London.

I wanted to get this site populated with a few posts before we went – so here’s another. As friends will know – this move isn’t a permanent one and we are more than planning on returning back to London. We both absolutely love the city – and it’ll be a massive shock to the system not being here any more (and mainly not having 24 hour buses and 24 hour Sainsbury’s, etc).

Here are some things we’ll miss about London: 

– Hawksmoor Steak House

– The constant stream of red buses everywhere

– Forbidden Planet

– The Southbank

– Embankment

– Our lovely friends

– Distilled (Where Paddy works)

– Electric Dialogue (Where Ellie works)

– The unpredicatable weather which is sometimes nice

– Monmouth Coffee

– My Sister

– The Thames in the sunshine (not in the rain)

– The shops (Paddy does not agree with me here)

– Piano Bar

– Brixton Market

– Team Spam


Things I am worried New Zealand won’t have: 

– Jalapeño Peppers (Paddy – for the record – bet me $5 there will be afore mentioned peppers. We’ll see.)

– Marmite

– Haribo sweets

– Friends on TV