Travel | Freetown Christiania, Copenhagen

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

When I visited Copenhagen in 2012, one of the things that was top on our list of things to do was to visit Freetown Christiania which is a self sufficient commune in the middle of Copenhagen. We visited and had a guided tour around and I have to say that it was one of my favourite things that we did during our trip and now that I am older (I was 13 when we went), I would love to go back and appreciate the place more!

Christiania is 84 acres and is on top of an abandoned military base. It was founded in 1971 by squatters and artists who created it initially as a social experiment. The founders said that Christiania is ‘beyond the reach of Danish law’ and it even has it’s own currency – the løn and its own flag. Christiania is the only place is Denmark where the selling of cannabis is overlooked by the law. They have a street in which they sell cannabis where they have shops that are open all day and sell around 30-40 different types of cannabis.

Walking around it, it is full of vibrant street art and everywhere you turn there is something new to see. There are also restaurants, cafes, art galleries, museums, music venues and historic buildings within Christiania.

The residents initially didn’t want to own Christiania as individuals as they created the town to oppose those kinds of ideals but in 2012, after some struggles with the Danish government, they decided to buy the land as a collective.

Christiania has nine common laws that help to maintain order there and, when walking around the area, it does feel like the original message of the place hasn’t been lost over the 40 years that it has been there.

It’s definitely a special experience and if you find yourself in Copenhagen then definitely check it out, it’s definitely something you won’t find anywhere else!

Making Money | Swagbucks

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

As a student, true to the stereotype, I don’t usually have a lot of money! Student loans are a bit naff really and barely cover my accommodation. My parents send me money but I don’t like relying on them and even with the money they send me, that covers my food and living expenses so, if I want to treat myself or book a holiday, I need to find ways of earning money that can fit around my student lifestyle. Therefore, I thought I would start a series on my blog in which I talk about the side hustles that I use to earn money!

One of the sites I use sometimes is Swagbucks, it’s an American site and essentially, you earn points which can be traded in for different gift vouchers or cash (I tend to get amazon vouchers as they offer the most value for points!). There are lots of different ways you can earn points and many require minimal effort such as daily polls, searching or watching videos to name but a few.

What I usually do with swagbucks is answer the daily poll and use the Swagbucks TV app on my phone to watch videos (I don’t usually actually watch the videos, usually I just let them play whilst I am doing something else). There are loads of ways to earn with swagbucks and lots don’t interfere too much with your everyday life, perfect if you are a student trying to earn some extra cash! To earn bigger payouts on Swagbucks, surveys and referrals are really useful and will help the points mount up quickly. They also have games that you can play to earn points, offers and cashback on online shopping so, if you go through swagbucks to shop on ASOS for example, you can get some SB points back on your shopping.

I’m not saying that you can make a living from swagbucks, but it is a nice way to supplement your monthly income. One of the main things for me is that I have lots of different ways of earning money so I don’t have to rely on one particular method! Therefore, Swagbucks is just one of the things that I do every month to earn a little extra money! I hope you enjoyed this post and let me know if you would like to see more of these kind of posts on my blog!

Travel | Bucharest, Romania

Sunday, 8 January 2017

So, over New Years, my friend Georgie and I went to Bucharest for 3 nights and today, I thought I would do a round up post of our time there and what I would recommend to do if you find yourselves in Bucharest!

When we told people that we were going to Bucharest, we got mixed reactions and, to be honest, we weren't entirely sure what to expect but we were pleasantly surprised by the city! It was really beautiful with an amazing mix of architecture styles and it was lovely to just wander around the city! We had two full days in total as our flight arrived late at night so we  managed to fit quite a few things in whilst not cramming our schedule so we had some spontaneity!

Where to Stay

On this trip, we stayed at a hostel for the first time! We wanted it to be as inexpensive a trip as possible as of course, we are both students so we decided to stay in a hostel in the centre of Bucharest - Little Bucharest Hostel. It was a really great hostel with loads going on! We went on a pub crawl on our first night with the hostel and actually had our New Years Eve party there too! It was really clean and a very sociable place to stay! It was also in a great location, right in the centre of the old town so I would definitely recommend it on all fronts if you are looking for a place to stay in Bucharest!

Where to Eat

We had a slight issue on two of our days in Bucharest eating as it was New Years Eve and New Years Day and a lot of places seemed to be closed! Luckily we got in to the restaurant that we really wanted tot go to on the first day - Caru cu Bere which is the oldest restaurant in Budapest and they had amazing food and a student deal which meant that you could get a full meal and drink for 13.50 lei which is the equivalent of about £2.60!! We ate in a couple of other places too but that was definitely my favourite place that we ate in Bucharest as the other places were places we just had to find and go into because they were open as so few places were open on New Years Eve and New Years Day but the food we had at Caru cu Bere was amazing! We also had an amazing Romanian dessert on our last day called Papa Nash which were donuts filled with cream cheese and covered with jam, they were great!

What to Do

It's a relatively small city so you probably can do most of it in a few days, although there were a few things that we had to miss out on due to opening hours during the festive period such as the Cotroceni Palace and The Village Museum but we managed to fit a lot of the things we wanted to do in! One of our must dos was the tour of the palace of the parliament which is absolutely huge and really interesting to look around! We saw 5% of the building on our 2 hour tour and it was so interesting to learn about the history of the city and culture! We also loved the free walking tour which showed us around a lot of different parts of the city and gave us different insights into the culture and we learnt more about the revolution which was fascinating to learn about! I would definitely recommend those two things if you go to Bucharest! It is also a really lovely city to wander around and get lost in! There is a lot of contrasting architecture and it's really interesting to just wander the city and look at the buildings!

I will do some more in depth posts about different elements of our trip to Bucharest but I hope you have enjoyed this little taster of our trip to Romania!

Travel | Barcelona, Spain

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

So, for the first week of August, I went on holiday to Barcelona, Spain with my family (mum, dad and one of my brothers) and one of my childhood friends who lives down our road. I thought today I would run through what we got up to in Barcelona and my recommendations for you guys!

Where to Stay

We stayed in an apartment that we found on AirBnB that was situated in the Vallcarca neighbourhood which is a little bit outside the centre of Barcelona. It was a really nice apartment in a nice area, although it wasn't very central which I do prefer when I'm staying somewhere. The lady we rented it from, Carmen, was lovely and very knowledgable about Barcelona and the surrounding areas and, as our flight was delayed on the way out, she stayed up until midnight waiting for us to get there! It was a lovely apartment and definitely exactly what we needed for our stay!

Where to Eat

We did a combination of eating meals out in local restaurants and we did a little bit of cooking in our apartment. A place that I would definitely recommend would be Gelaaati Di Marco for amazing ice cream in the gothic part of the town! My brother is vegan so we were looking for vegan places and found this amazing ice cream place which was incredible!! The ice cream isn't all vegan but they have an amazing dark chocolate ice cream with no dairy in whatsoever and it was still so creamy and delicious! We also ate in an amazing vegan restaurant near there too but I unfortunately have no idea what it was called!

Where to Go/What to Do

There is literally so much to do in Barcelona, we didn't even scratch the surface and we packed a lot in! We of course did all the typical tourist bits in Barcelona such as Park Guell, Casa Batllo and Casa Mila, we also went to Montserrat, took a day trip to Castelldefells to go the beach and went up Mount Tibidabo to see Sagrat Cor one morning! We didn't really go to the beach in Barcelona, (Barceloneta Beach) that much as we found it far too busy and crowded although we did go down a couple of times at night when it was much quieter and had a cocktail by the sea!

Barcelona should definitely be on your list of places to see in Europe! I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a city break, especially art lovers as the city is brimming with inspiring architecture and art history!

Travel | Upcoming Trips!

Friday, 23 December 2016

Hey! So, today, I thought I would do a post to update you on some of the trips that I have coming up at the end of 2016 and in 2017!

So, from the 29 December to 5 January, me and one of my best friends are going to Bucharest, Romania and Budapest, Hungary! We're going to be in Bucharest from 29 December to 1 January and then we're flying to Budapest on the 1-5 January! We're both really excited as they are cities we've never been to before and we are also staying in hostels for the first time!

Then, in February, I have a reading week at Uni so me and another best friend are going to Vilnius, Lithuania from 19-23 February. We're staying in a hostel again and we chose Lithuania for a slightly geeky reason as Lithuanian is the closest language to the original language (Proto Into-European) that most European languages now stem from!

In April, me and Brandon, the friend I'm going to Lithuania with are going with my family to spend a chill week near St Ives, Cornwall. My mum wanted us to go on a family holiday at Easter but as we have Uni work, she didn't want it to be too busy so a chilled out week in Cornwall in perfect!

After exams at Uni in May, I'm planning to go and spend 10 days to 2 weeks with Brandon and his family at his house in San Diego! We have planned lots of things to do, especially as I have never been to America before so we are both super excited about that!

Finally, from 20 July to 10 August I am doing 3 weeks volunteering in Thailand teaching English as a foreign language! This is something that I am really excited for as, of course I do a linguistics degree so languages interest me and to be able to combine that with travel is amazing! I also get a TEFL qualification from doing it which means I can teach in other places afterwards!

I'm so excited for all of my 2016/2017 trips and can't wait to see more of the world! Do you have any travel plans for the end of 2016 or next year?

Rainy Days in Aberdeen!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

In October, I was asked to play the first dance at a wedding in Aberdeen as, alongside my degree, I do singing gigs as my job. So I was really happy to be asked to do this as I love playing at weddings as they are always really special! As this wedding was in Aberdeen, I travelled up on the train in the afternoon and went straight to the wedding venue which was at a beautiful hotel in Aberdeen.

I played the first dance which was a song called ‘The You and Me Song’ by The Wanadees which was lovely and then I headed to the AirBnB that I was staying the night in near the hotel. It was an absolutely lovely AirBnB and I took some photos to show you guys. It was a room in this couple’s house and, they were actually at a concert the night that I arrived so I didn’t see them until the following morning but they had dropped the keys off at the hotel for me, left me a ready meal and a bottle of wine out and lots of information about what to do in Aberdeen as they knew I had some time in the city on the Sunday.

Unfortunately, on the Sunday, it was absolutely tipping it down, so I didn’t get to see as much of Aberdeen as I would have liked to as I am definitely of the mindset that, if I’m in a new place, then I want to see of much of that place as possible. However, as it was raining so much, I didn’t manage to see that much. I had a wander around the Waterstones they have there which is absolutely huge and I also went to the maritime museum which was free, indoors and actually really interesting!

I actually have a friend at uni who is from Aberdeen so I think in the future I definitely will go back to Aberdeen and hopefully see it when it’s not so rainy, but I did have an absolutely lovely time, even though it was a long way to go to only play one song!
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