A Jam-Packed Weekend In Ireland

As you're reading this I will be on a whirlwind tour of Cork and Derry in the south of Ireland, discovering all that the 'Wild Atlantic Way' has to offer.

Remember that amazing new job I told you about? It's all thanks to my new position that I will be attending a 'familiarisation' trip this weekend, hosted by Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland.

Here's just a sample of some of the things I'll be getting up to...

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Taking a whistle stop tour of the city of Cork by coach...

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Getting hands on with some hurling and Gaelic football at an Irish games workshop...

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Visiting this stunning nineteenth century Victorian mansion in the Killarney National Park...

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Pretending to be a connoisseur at a whiskey tasting workshop...

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Enjoying the views from the sea on board a wildlife cruise around Kenmare Bay...

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Doing whatever it is one does at an 'interactive sculpture garden' at The Ewe Experience...

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Heading to Mizen Head, the furthest south and furthest west point in the whole of Ireland...

And that's just a small selection of the things they have lined up for us!

Stay tuned to find out more about what I get up to - with this many activities planned I'm sure there will be plenty more posts on the region to come!

Which of these activities would you most like to try out?

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Quit Your Job, Follow Your Dreams...Become An Artist

There's a lot of talk out there in the travel blogging world about quitting you job to follow your dreams and travel the world. But what if your dream isn't to travel the world? What if your dream is to be an artist?


No, I'm not talking about myself. I don't have an artistic bone in my body. I'm talking about this guy that I know. This guy that draws amazing pictures like the ones you can see here.


After endless years spent working for little more than the minimum wage as a chef, he's finally thrown the towel in and quit his job to take his art seriously. 


This guy is called Ian Boonham. You might know him better as 'the boyfriend'.


That's right. You remember how I said that we've decided to push back our dream of long-term travel? Well, while I'm busy making the most of my amazing new job, Ian has decided to take the opportunity to focus on his art.


It's only been a month since he quit his job, but he's been very busy launching a website and getting his art promoted on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.


If you like what you see and want to support a guy who's trying to follow his dreams, it would be great if you could give him a follow, a like or a pin.

As a little incentive to get everyone sharing his work, he's even running a little competition at the moment. If you like his Facebook page and share this image you'll be in with the chance of winning a limited edition art print of the last picture shown above!

Which is your favourite picture?

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Everyday Adventures: The Amazing Maize Maze

When my younger cousin came to visit a few week's ago, I once again made the most of having a little one around and went to visit one of best family attractions in the area, York Maze.


The maze itself was nothing to write home about; walking around in a field of corn can quickly become tedious. There wasn't even the excitement of winding up completely lost and bewildered, as towers visible from all parts of the maze displayed numbers to keep you on track.

Luckily, there was a lot more to it than the actual maze. 

Though my artistic skills might be lacking (I blame it on the paintbrush), I did not hesitate to join in painting the giant mural...


I was a lot more hesitant when it came to holding the animals though. I left it all down to my much-braver-despite-being-much-younger cousin when it came to handling the giant snakes...


Given my recent obsession with hay bales (which my mother has more recently informed me is actually an obsession with straw bales), I could not resist the chance to strike a pose or four...





But despite my love of wheat stalks (I'm not going to lie, I did just look up what straw actually is), my favourite part of the day was without a doubt the pig race!

I had no idea pigs could run so fast!

As we headed over to the petting zoo for the last pig race of the day, there were crowds gathering round the race track and a long queue to place your bets by buying a badge to show support for your chosen pig. As we waited around for race to start we made a last second decision to jump in on the action and placed a bet on Kauto Sty, and in the end I'm very glad we did!


The crowds cheered as a member of staff took to the microphone to start the show, but seconds before the race started there was a last minute entry...


On your marks, get set, go...


Wow, I have never seen pigs move that fast before! It was over so quickly that this is the only picture of the race I got. If you look closely behind the 'last minute entry' (who suspiciously has a bucket of pig feed in his hand) you can see the real pigs that whizzed straight past!

And guess who won the race? None other than Kauto Sty! As they announced the winner and asked all those with the purple badge to step forward, my inner five-year-old came to life!

Alongside the actual five-year-olds (there were a few other adults too, I promise I wasn't the only one), I got to step up on to the 'stage' to collect my medal, and then had the chance to pose with all the characters...



There was still so much more fun to be had too!

There was an optical illusion maze, a 'cobstacle' course, a finger painting maze, an adventure playground, a 'house of cornfusion', and the list goes on. I had so much fun embracing my inner child and would definitely recommend this attraction for young and old alike.

Here's what you need to know...

York Maze is open seven days a week from 10am to 6pm during the summer months. It's £12.50 for adults and £11.50 for children, and worth every penny! More information can be found on their website.

What's your favourite family attraction?

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with York Maze, did not receive any compensation for this blog post and paid the full ticket price for entering the attraction.

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And The Winner Is...

The entries have been closed, the votes have been counted and the winner is the beautiful...

CAMBRIDGE!

That's right, we let you decide where we should go for a weekend away, and you chose Cambridge.

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It wasn't even a close call. Liverpool had a mere one vote and Nottingham was favoured by only two commenters, while Cambridge took the lead with a total of nine votes!

I couldn't be more excited, and to be honest I secretly hoped Cambridge would win! In just a month's time we'll be exploring the city's museums and art galleries, taking a punt ride down the river and admiring the beautiful colleges. Don't forget to hit the subscribe button below if you want to hear all about it!

That's not the only winner to announce though. As a little incentive to get you voting, I offered the chance for one commenter to win a postcard from the chosen destination, and Real Gunner was the lucky winner. A postcard will be making it's way to you very soon!

(For anyone concerned with the behind the scenes of this mini giveaway, the winner was chosen by using this random number generator. I popped in the low and high numbers, one and twelve, then it randomly selected the number eight, so the eighth commenter won the prize!)

Have you ever been to Cambridge?


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Everyday Adventures: A Mini Road Trip To The Coast

There's something so magical about going for a drive. The freedom of being able to go wherever you want and whenever you want. No timetables and tickets to worry about. Being able to change the route as many times as you want and stop off anywhere that takes your fancy. Forget about being considerate of other passengers; make yourself comfortable, put some tunes on and watch the world go by.

This past weekend that is exactly what Ian and I did. We've both got our licences but unfortunately don't have the funds for a car of our own. Luckily Ian's still insured on his parents' car, and as they were out of town for a few days they were kind enough to let us borrow it.

The sun was shining and it didn't take long for us to decide to head towards the coast, with a few detours along the way.

The first stop ended up being an unsuspecting field of hay.


I've managed to develop some sort of obsession with hay bales lately. It's that time of year where the farmer's are harvesting their crops and all over the countryside are fields dotted with hay. Sometimes its rolled up, sometimes it's in squares and rectangles. Sometimes they're spread haphazardly across the field, sometimes they're piled high in gigantic stacks.


With me squealing in excitement every two minutes as we passed yet another field of hay, Ian eventually gave in to my demands and pulled over so we could take a closer look. Isn't it kind of beautiful?


As I was capturing a long distance shot, look who appeared out of nowhere on top of the hay bales!


Of course I wanted a go, but my climbing skills leave a lot to be desired! After a few failed attempts at climbing on to the top, I had to settle with a photo of me chilling on the side.


Okay, that's enough hay for now! Next stop was a cute village green, complete with picnic benches and a charming pond.


We tucked into the sandwiches and flapjacks we'd brought with us, then stopped to capture some photos of the ducks and their adorable baby ducklings.


Why did the ducklings cross the park? To get to the other slide!


Finally we made it the the final destination; the seaside!


As beautiful as the weather looks, it was far too cold to even think of taking a dip.


But we were more than happy to just take a walk along the promenade and enjoy the spectacular views. 


 Why are pirates called pirates? Because they 'arrrrr'!


Of course we had to take a photo or two to prove we were there!


Then as the sun dropped in the sky there was still time to visit some old friends on the way home. The plan to stop by for a couple of hours quickly changed into an overnight stay as we discovered the joys of vodka smoothies - but that's a different story!

Where would you go for a mini road trip?

PS. If you haven't cast your vote on where we should go for a weekend away, it's not too late! Don't forget, you could be in with the chance of winning a postcard from the chosen destination just by leaving a comment and telling us where to go!

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Where Should We Go For A Weekend Break?

This autumn Ian and I are planning on going away for a short weekend break, but the trouble is we can't decide where to go. We know it's going to be somewhere within England and we've eventually managed to narrow it down to just three destinations, but we are really struggling to pick one of the three. So we've decided to let you choose!

Here's how it's going to work. I'm going to tell you about our top three, then I want you to leave a comment below and let us know which place you think we should go to. Whichever has the most votes in the comments by the end of Sunday 31st August is where we'll go!

As an incentive to encourage you to comment, I will be choosing one commenter at random to send a postcard to! That's right, if you leave a comment below you're in with the chance of receiving a handwritten postcard from wherever we end up for our weekend away. I'll pay the postage to anywhere in the world!

Sound good? Let's do this then! In no particular order, below are the three cities we've managed to narrow it down to.

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Option 1: Cambridge

Home to the world-famous university, Cambridge probably doesn't need much of an introduction. The number of famous people that have studied here is ridiculous, covering writers, poets, scientists and lots of royalty. While I would love to take a peek inside the various college buildings, the real attraction for me is the punting. Okay, if I'm being honest I only learnt what a punt is a few months ago, but ever since then I've been itching to visit Cambridge and take a romantic ride down the river on one of these traditional flat-bottomed boats.


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Option 2: Nottingham

Home to the legend of Robin Hood, Nottingham is a small town in the midlands. I've always wanted to visit this city as I imagine it would be quite like York, and I do love my hometown! Full of history and culture, Nottingham has a number of castles, churches and museums to visit, as well as a series of underground caves to explore. The area apparently has an excellent reputation for it's food and drink too, so we'd have to put that to the test! To work off the calories we'd have to try out some ice skating, as the UK's largest ice rink is situated right here. 


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Option 3: Liverpool

Unlike the other two cities which neither Ian nor I have ever visited before, we actually spent three years living in Liverpool. The thing is that when you live in a place it's so easy to put off all the touristy things and think you'll do them another day, only to end up never doing them at all. I am a bit ashamed to admit that I have only done one of the top ten things to do in the city on TripAdvisor, though in my defence I'm not a Beatles fan and the majority of the attractions involve the band in someway or another! In reality if we did go back to Liverpool we probably still wouldn't see many of the attractions we missed, choosing to visit our old favourites and catch up with friends we haven't seen in a while instead.

So where should we go for our weekend break? Cambridge, Nottingham or Liverpool?

Comment below with your answer for the chance to win a handwritten postcard from the destination that wins!

PS. If you want to make sure you find out which destination is chosen and who wins the postcard, as well as well as hearing all about the weekend away when the time comes, be sure to click on the subscribe button below!

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Why We Haven't Started Travelling Long Term, Yet

I've got a confession to make. I lied to you. When I started this blog, I told you that we would be leaving to travel the world this summer. The summer is here and, judging by the weather we've had lately, it's nearly over. Yet we're still here at home. No backpacks have been bought, no flights have been booked, no firm plans or leaving dates have been announced.

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I didn't mean to lie. I genuinely thought that we'd be leaving the country by now. But sometimes things don't always go to plan. So what's been going on?

I got an awesome new job.

I despised my old job with every ounce of my being. Even though I knew it was just a means to an end and was funding my travel dreams, I could not take it a second longer. The plan was to find a slightly more bearable job to keep me going for a few months while we got the money together to start travelling. But I somehow ended up landing something very close to my dream job.

I now work in the travel industry, for a small but rapidly growing wholesale tour operator. I work in a beautiful little office with a great bunch of people. I even get to go on work trips. Remember that time I went to Holland, exploring the countryside, discovering beautiful gardens and visiting royal palaces? That was a work trip, or a familiarisation trip as they're known in the industry.

The new job is even better that I initially thought.

Even when I realised how amazing this new position is, I still planned to just stick it out for six months before leaving to travel the world. But then they had an announcement to make. This tiny company with just one office in York was growing so rapidly that they'd decided to open their first international office. And anybody that wanted to move to the new office was more than welcome to!

The plan has always been to fund our travels with our savings for the first few months, then find whatever jobs we can while we are on the road to keep us going. Basically to work our way around the world. Now here I was being offered a guaranteed job, with a good salary, in a different country. I could hardly turn that down, could I?

The company offers mini sabbaticals too. As it's much quieter in the winter months, members of staff can take up to six weeks off unpaid, to fit in a little travelling or whatever else they fancy. So we get to fit in some of the travelling we're so desperate to start, then come back and earn a little more money before we start the permanent travels.  Could this job get any better?

So we've got a new plan.

Life is going to continue how it is at the moment for the next few months. At the beginning of next year I'll be taking a six week break from work and we want to use this time to visit a few places on the border of Europe and Asia, like Turkey, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. From there we'll be moving to the international office, the location of which I'll be keeping a secret for now. After six months or so working there, we'll finally be following our dreams and heading to Southeast Asia!

What do you think of the new plans?

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5 Airbnb Houses To Rent When You Win The Lottery

Airbnb has taken the world by storm, offering accommodation around the globe which travellers can book directly with the property owners. It has changed the way thousands of people travel, offering the opportunity to stay in a stranger's home and often at much better rates than local hotels can provide.

In some parts of the world rooms can be rented for as little as £6 a night, but at the other end of the scale are whole mansions that could set you back thousands. While I'm much more than likely to be sticking with the lower end of the scale, there is no harm in dreaming. With that in mind, here are five houses to rent when you win the lottery.

1. Grand Manor, Australia


If you want to enjoy the sun down under, this is the place to do it. At £1,105 a night this six-bedded property has a beautiful swimming pool ready for you to enjoy a dip right on the doorstep. If you want to get a bit more active while you're catching some rays, the property owners can arrange surfing lessons for you too.

2. Castle, Italy


This is your chance to turn that childhood fantasy of being a prince or princess into reality. For just £1,476 a night you can stay in a real castle on the outskirts of Perugia and enjoy the views of the Italian countryside from a building fit for royalty.

3. Private Island, Maldives


If you want to get away from civilisation and have a little time and space all to yourself, this is the place for you. Only accessible by a twenty minute sea plane followed by a two hour speed boat ride, this private island is actually the cheapest option on the list, at £736 a night.

For £1,500 a night this beautiful manor house comes with a total of nine bedrooms and seven bathrooms as well as a kitchen, dining room, wine cellar, library, study and billiards room. If that doesn't leave you tempted, perhaps the maid service and option to have your stay fully catered will. 

5. Ski House, USA


Set on the slopes of a popular ski resort, this modern mountain house is perfect for a week in the snow. Unfortunately it is the most expensive of them all at £3,068 a night, but you can always split the bill between a few friends as this property sleeps a total of seventeen.

If money was no object, which house would you choose?

PS. I recently entered a photography competition that is being run by Millenium Hotels for the chance to win a two night stay in one of their hotels. One of the prizes is for the most shared image. Please check out my entry here and if you think it's pretty hit retweet!

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The One Where They Watch Friends

A month or so ago as I was checking my emails I found a pleasant little surprise waiting for me - an invite to a Friends Movie Night in Leeds hosted by Simplyhealth. An opportunity to watch the hit TV show in a luxury cinema, meet other bloggers, and pick up some freebies - I was more than a little excited about what was to be my first ever blogger event!

Cut forward to this week and the day had arrived. I jumped on the train after work and headed straight for the Everyman Cinema. As we headed to Screen 5 ½ I instantly fell in love with with the movie theatre. Not only did I love the fact the screen was number five and a half, but it was full of comfy sofas and armchairs, had a little private bar area, and there was even an outdoor balcony where you could sit and enjoy a drink before the show started.




To celebrate the 10th anniversary since the final season of Friends was aired, we were treated to a screening of the first four episodes. I still can't believe it has been ten years since the show ended - it made me realise I was only four years old when it started!

The whole idea behind the evening was to make everyone laugh, and it certainly did this. The company are promoting the idea that laughter has huge health and psychological benefits, so in the spirit of this I wanted to share my favourite joke with everyone and hopefully make you all laugh too!

A man and a giraffe walked into a bar. They both had a few drinks, but the giraffe had one too many and ended up collapsing on the floor. The man pretty much ignored him lying there and had a few more drinks before standing up to leave. As he headed to the door, the barman stopped him and said, "You can't leave that lying there", to which the man responded "It's not a lion, it's a giraffe!".

What's your favourite joke?

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