Stories of 2019 #43: 2019 Travel Plans

2019 is a year of unknowns. Which is what life is – unknown. But at the moment, I wish I knew which path my life was going to take. I know everyone says you should relax and enjoy this time off but I am a person who loves to be busy, outside and having a sense of purpose really and at the moment I am still in the adjusting process. I bet when I finally start to enjoy my time without a career, I will get one! We can all guess that, can’t we?

But the one thing not unknown at the moment is where I am traveling to this year! Now, this is exciting. From camping to cruises, 2019’s travel and holidays are looking like they are set to be extremely fun. And also growing as many places are being added to my list…

Brighton

We have family friends – Justine and Glen – who live just outside the cool city of Brighton and we are fortunate enough to go down south and visit. However, I have not been since 2017! The last time I went it was a beautifully sunny day, as the pictures show. We went on the I360 and ate fish and chips on the seafront followed by an ice-cream, of course. One thing I love about Brighton is North Laine – packed full of small, quirky and independent stores and cafes – it is easy to spend your whole day mooching around the shops. We then escape the city life, to West Sussex, where our friends own a beautiful house on the front. I am so looking forward to this and revisiting one of my favorite spots.

Cruise

Also dubbed as the ‘booze cruise’ according to my sister’s boyfriend. This is our annual family holiday and with an extra special treat as we will be away for my birthday. We fly from Stanstead to Corfu, where we will board our ship, before sailing to Slovenia, Venice, Croatia, and Montenegro. All the places I have always wanted to go to! Especially Montenegro. Serenaded on a gondola to bathing in the Krka waterfalls in Spilt, I am already planning outfits and bikinis for each place. But you thought cruises were for old people? Well, you have got it all wrong. I have been on four cruises now, this years being my fifth, and they are full of things to do and an endless list of food and drinks that will keep you busy if there is nothing you fancy doing. On one cruise ship by Royal Caribbean, there was even a full-sized ice-rink, zip wire, and elevating bar?! Having not been back at sea for almost five years, I am excited to get back on board the ‘booze cruise.’

Camping

When I was younger, we were always camping. We even spent a whole two weeks in Cornwall, living in our tent (although was cut short due to the endless rain). There is nothing quite like waking up to the sounds of the birds and sitting outside with your morning cup of tea before going to the shower block to get ready. Some people do not like the idea of camping and think that it is basic but not for us Paines. We have carpet, electric and even our hairdryers. We are probably more glamping, than camping. Anyhow, nearby to our home in Stevenage we have a campsite where we are going to. I know it sounds funny to go camping literally 20 minutes down the road but it is just nice to be out in the tent, it does not matter how far or close you are.

Seville

Back with my partner in crime, we are off on another trip! After the last one being fueled by Aperol and tiramisu in Italy, we are hopping over to Spain to test the tapas and sangria. Jessamyn called me one night and asked if I wanted to go away? Obviously, my answer was yes and 20 minutes later we had picked Seville and our flights were booked. Our main reason to pick Seville was the warm temperatures in April and the fact I saw an article on Suitcase Magazine saying the streets were lined with lively bars and flamenco dancing. We are there for four days, so plenty of time to explore the city. However, we have booked during their Holy Week when there are some interesting parades going on… wish us luck!

South West Coastal Path?

Now, this is not set in stone as of yet but I have wanted to do this walk for so long. I am thinking about doing a small section for two weeks rather than the whole 600 or so miles, although I would love to do that! But maybe to ease myself into the idea of solo-trekking, a couple of weeks is enough? I am currently reading two books about people who have walking the whole path and it just sounds breathtaking! Have you ever done the South West Coastal Path or know anyone who has because I would love some advice/recommendations.

So far that is where I am off too and possibly (hopefully) a few more!

Where are you going in 2019?

Stories of adventure #42: My Valentines

The 14th Feb. The day all about love! Now, traditionally it is all about showing love to your partner, but for me, I do not have one, so I am going to tell the other three loves of my life, which are year-round, day in, day out…

Travel

I can’t express my love for travel. Being able to experience and learn from different cultures is just such an amazing feeling. I am extremely lucky to have travelled where I have been and how often I have been away. From one side of the world in USA to the other side in Australia and many places in between, I have had so many brilliant experiences. The fact that you wander aimlessly around streets you have never seen before, eating food you never thought existed and meeting people from all over the world, these are a few of the things I love about travelling.

Fitness

I know this is a bit lame to put, basically exercise as one of my life’s love but I can’t genuinely imagine my day to day life without it (lol). I like to see what my body can do, whether that is seeing how much weight I can lift at the gym or seeing what weird stretches I can get into at yoga or whether I can hike to the top of that peak, I am there, loving it. I am not the type of person to spend hours at the gym, I only go for an hour a day but most days of the week. Not only is it good for my body (I defo have a big booty to show for it) but for my mind, it is also amazing.

Family

The simple 5 (and the dogs). I would not be anywhere without them! We are all on the count down to the ‘booze cruise’ in May 2019 for our holiday together. These simpletons do not need many words to show my love for them.

But I have so many more loves… shopping, cooking, food, drink, reading, learning, movies – the list is endless.

What do you love?

Stories of 2019 #41: Happy Galentines

Happy Galentine’s Day 2019!

Queue some oldies but goodies…

Galentines, palentines, (early) valentines – however you want to spend it, today is a day for showing a bit of love to your friends. Or, an excuse to eat some extra chocolate! Which I have successfully achieved.

Imagine a world where you did not have your best friend or your group of friends who you have been through thick and thin with? Who would you share them embarrassing moments with or spending hours texting about boys with or find yourself laughing for hours over nothing with? Life would not be the same. I mean I cannot tag myself in memes on Facebook and that is why we have friends is it not?! Joking. No, my friends are amazing. They hold all my secrets, they nudge me in the right direction, push me out of my comfort zone and pick me up when I am down and I love every single one of them!

For me, I have found that quality over quantity is important when it comes to your friends. I do not have tons of friends but I have four who I hold dear. At various points in your life friends can change, you gain some and you grow apart from some, but three of my friends have stuck with me through it all and one, a later edition in my life, I know will be there for the rest.

I wish I was spending palentines with them all, cooking dinner, drinking gin and tonics and laughing about things we have done! But with everyone here, there and everywhere – sadly, it would be hard. Anyway, they all know I love them so we can get together and have a late celebration (we do not need an excuse or persuasion haha).

Here are my Galentines – Jessamyn, Mollie, Katie and Jess.

I get so so excited to hear when Jessamyn is coming back from university as it always put a smile on my face seeing her and pizza is always a definite. Mollie, also my cousin, I text her constantly. I would go as far as to say she is my rock. From the decision of whether I should go to the gym or in a meltdown about jobs – Mollie is there. Katie, I lived with at university in our final year and we’ve grown up together, shes the pepper to my salt haha. And, finally, Jess, who I only met over a year ago now but shes is a gem! One of life’s lovely people and I am lucky to have her.

So happy Galentines to this fabulous four!

Stories of adventure #40: York’s National Railway Museum

Another weekend is done and dusted. How do they go so quick when the week can go so slow… But I have had such a lovely weekend with my parents, spending the weekend exploring the beautiful city of York. The reason for our visit was my dad. It was his birthday last weekend and when we went to Edinburgh last year on the train, he saw a sign for the National Railway Museum and has always wanted to go ever since. So, just to show that dreams do come true we got back on the train and made a special visit to the museum.

To mine and my mums surprise the National Railway Museum was actually really good. From seeing the Mallard to the Royal carriages that Queen Victoria rode in, to the Eurostar – there was so much to see. Personally, I preferred the Royal carriages and I loved seeing how the inside of their carriages looked with opulent lampshades and plush sofas, as well as tiny little baths and narrow double beds.

Here are a few photos of our time at the museum.

Stories of 2019 #39: Graduate Life

I just bumped into one of my old school friends in the town today and we got discussing what we are up to in life. She has been to university and studied dance and we were saying about life after uni… What they do not tell you!

You have your degree. And you have worked so hard for that. Late nights in the library fuelled by coffee, endless amounts of reading and learning about certain topics and coming up with your best ideas so you can write your 10,000-word dissertation. But now, you have your certificate and you are set to get a job – a wonderful job too! However what if you don’t? What if three, or even 10 months down the line you are still applying or still figuring out what you want to do for a career? University life is simply cut off. If you are studying away you move back home more commonly, your friends are now dotted around the country, some are in amazing jobs smashing life and no longer do you have that structure in your life of education. Most people go to university straight from school or college and therefore, have spent the majority of their lives within education. It can be tough to finish university and studies have shown that people do suffer from university blues. And it seems silly because university is such a privilege and there are far worse things out there that people are suffering from but I wanted to write about this so people knew they were not alone.

My friends (four in total lol) are either still studying or excelling in their field of work and it makes me so happy to see that the hard work they have put into their education and even the application process of their careers has paid off! But seeing an old friend today made me realise that it is not that simple. It seems there is a misconception around university degrees and work, simply people thinking that people with degrees should go straight into a job. So, when they see graduates working in a shop or being unemployed they tend to make jokes about spending all that money to work where? Yes, people may laugh it off but inside they may be feeling lost and lacking some confidence. Despite 82% of graduates being in employment (yippee!), it does take time to secure a full-time position, according to the Office of National Statistics. So, graduates, have faith in your path and if you are currently unemployed or not yet using your degree – do not worry! Take this time to enjoy life whilst you have the time off and work out about yourself or find a hobby because once you are in a full-time position, it may be a long time until you are out of one.

Most importantly stay positive.

Stories of 2019 #38: WDW Hotlist 2019

I recently was sent mine and Jess’s video from our Walt Disney World trip and I thought I would share it with you.

Thank you to the WDW team for putting this lovely memory together for us. Lots of smiles and shocked faces on some of the rides ha ha.

Stories of 2019 #37: Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom

The land of endless enchantment, where your ultimate Disney fantasy’s become reality.

As soon as I stepped into this park, I was mesmerized. Walking down Main Street with a smile on my face and my eyes wide to take everything in. It truly is the most magical place on earth. All my senses were going. I could hear people singing, see the iconic castle at the end of the street from the parade square, smell the delicious buttery popcorn from the stand and feel the sun beating down on my skin.

Where to begin? There is so much to do in this park from places to eat (honestly if I had not just eaten a massive buffet breakfast I would have eaten my way around the park), shopping and then there are the characters and rides! Our guide took us straight to Space Mountain before we had to meet the group at the castle for photographs. In Tomorrowland this thrill roller-coaster dips and whips around in the darkness as you shoot off in your rocket to space. Queue screaming…

Nothing like a fast roller-coaster to shake up the breakfast! After getting the adrenaline hit of the first ride of the next four days we went to the iconic Cinderella castle. Surrounded by lush rose gardens and a tranquil moat, the magical castle is the perfect place to get your perfect Disney photo.

We did not get to go inside the castle but they showed us from the outside the windows to the Cinderella suite. Imagine staying inside the suite! There is also the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where fairy godmothers can sprinkle their magical dust and transform you into a prince or princess. Or, dine with Cinderella, Belle and all the other Disney princess’s at Cinderella’s Royal Table.

We were so lucky also to have such beautiful weather.

But it was only to get better as we were led to a private rose garden just opposite the castle. And believe it or not, we were greeted by a very very special character. Cinderella herself had met us in the rose garden! Pretty as a picture she was.

Photos complete, me and my hair were ready to be thrown around on some rides. Starting off on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train before screaming our way around Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain and The Haunted Mansion. Then, we took a more relaxed route and went on “It’s a small world” as well as, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spinner.

One of the highlights of having the VIP Disney tour guides is that there is little to no waiting for rides, which is unheard of at Walt Disney World. You all have fastpass+ so you manage to get lots of rides done within probably the time you are queuing without it. I once remember we queued for three hours for the Peter Pan ride back in 2004!

With time to spare before the Festival of Fantasy parade we stopped for lunch. We went to Gaston’s Tavern and had, I think the world’s largest cinnamon bun. I cannot describe to you how amazing this warm, dreamy cinnamon bun was. Alongside this swirl of cinnamon dough heaven I had LeFou’s Brew. It was a must whilst there, so rude not to.

Topped up on sugar, we went to the parade. A celebration of your favourite Disney music and characters dancing their way through the Magic Kingdom. Be sure to spot Mickey and Minnie Mouse in a huge hot-air balloon, Alice in Wonderland chasing after her rabbits and Maleficent on her fire-breathing dragon!

And the excitement just continued as we headed to the Town Square Theater where we were fortunate enough to meet the duo Minnie and Mickey in their celebration outfits. This is a once in a life-time opportunity as you do not often get to meet them both together so be sure to meet them before the 30th September.

Turning dark, we finished off the busy day at the Magic Kingdom with the most spectacular firework display above the castle. Happily Ever After is a dazzling journey of colour, light and music that bought me and many others to tears. There is nothing more special than this firework extravaganza. Simply memorizing. Take your 3D glasses too to see the secret Mickey’s!

I know what you are thinking… India you have not had sugar in a while are you feeling OK? I know my cinnamon bun was what only a few hours ago? But do not worry, America have us covered and we arrived home to a cake on our bed!! I could get used to this life easily.

Tomorrow – Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios and of course, more sugar fueled treats!