Blog

Blog

Postcards from the French Riviera

I had always wanted to experience the french riviera. Years of hearing about their warm weather, blue waters and luxe lifestyle had definitely pushed this destination up my bucket list.

When it comes to travel I always end up travelling in a shoulder season. I’m not entirely sure whether I do this or purpose or not but I find it always works in my favour. There are always fewer tourists and sometimes you can notice price drops in some stores, although price drops also tend to be accompanied by drops in the weather. I have to say though that having 20-degree weather in October is still great to me!

Accommodation – Hotel Ozz

When it comes to accommodation on my trips I tend to just book what I’m feeling at the time or most commonly what fits within my price range for that particular trip. On this occasion, I wasn’t just looking for myself, both I and my friend Luke were checking out the french riviera for the first time.

Hotel Ozz worked out perfectly for us! A mix between a hotel and hostel it had the perfect balance for what we were looking for on this trip.

We were lucky enough to have a rooftop room, which I would definitely recommend to any guest intending to stay at this hotel. The windows gave you the best vantage point into the city whilst the private balcony lets you relax whilst amongst the locals. Unfortunately, I was unable to take a picture of our room as we arrived quite late a night and had already spread out our belongings by morning but you can view the huge array of rooms available to you at Hotel Ozz.

Their classic French style breakfast helped us kick the day off right, with a croissant and baguette accompanied with spreads and morning coffee. A factor we really appreciated was their centralised location in Nice, everywhere we wanted to go was within walking distance!

Hotel Ozz Breakfast - Postcards From The French Riviera

The Town and Sea – French Riviera

One of the great appeals of the French Riviera was its blue waters! This was something I could not wait to see for myself and at less than 15 minutes walk away this was one of the first places we headed. I always appreciate walking a lot more when I’m travelling as it gives you the opportunity to see so many more sights and come across interesting nooks than when travelling by car.

So I’m sure you guys are aware there is a Notre Dame In Paris, did you know there is also one in Nice? Well, personally I had no clue until I randomly stumbled across it on our walk toward the coast. Not only was it beautiful from the front and the back, there were significantly fewer tourists here.

Postcards from the French Riviera - Behind Notre Dame
Behind Notre Dame

 

Even though visiting in October with the days not as warm and sunny as when in the peak of summer the sea was still glowing blue. One thing I really enjoyed were the little things I didn’t expect such as the beach being a pebble beach and not a sandy one. Usually, I’m not a huge fan of pebble beaches as I like the feeling of sand between my toes, but I know this isn’t the case for everyone. The sound of a pebble beach might make Nice seem even more appealing to you.

One thing that we wanted to experience but didn’t get the opportunity too was the fact you can go cliff diving right under the “I Love Nice” sign. Although it sounds like a really fun a great idea I would try and aim to go when the waves aren’t as rough because you can easily be slammed into the jagged cliffs. Which brings me onto my last point.

I was stunned by the varying coastline Nice has! From the pebbled beach to the cliffs and back to the marina I don’t think there was one point where I thought I’m bored with what I’m looking at.

The Place To Eat – French Riviera

When it came to finding French food in the french riviera, we did slightly struggle. Although we did accidentally get to try some local cuisine in the form of caramelised onions on a pizza like dough… I forgot what the term for this is! So if you’re French and reading this and have any idea about what this is called please let me know! So the restaurant we happened to come across this in was called La shounga, just a stone’s throw around the corner of the monument de morts.

Oddly enough we heard the best restaurant to eat at was a place called La pizza. Now before I get into what this place was like, I think the story of how we found this out is much more interesting. In the many Uber rides, we took whilst in Nice, I would definitely say this was my most memorable. In London most Ubers tend to be cars that aren’t particularly that expensive, however, in Nice every uber we took was either a really nice Audi or Mercedes.

On this particular occasion, we were picked up by a driver with a Mercedes E class. After the general fumble of trying to speak French to him, we realised he was fluent in English. Now here is where the story gets interesting, not only does he speak English very well he actually runs his own taxi business alongside being Charlize Theron’s personal driver when she is in France! Obviously gobsmacked as we were, long story short we all know Mariah Carey is crazy.

Anyway back to this restaurant, so this driver recommend la pizza to us. We were a bit sceptical, wanting to eat French food as we were in France but he was adamant this was the best place that locals eat. He wasn’t wrong, arriving at La Pizza this place was packed full of locals and on top of that served some great Pizza and Pasta!

 

Luxe Life Monaco

Luxe Life Monaco - Postcard From The French Riviera

Train journey

I think I appreciate and enjoy those spur of the moment trips, those that you make the split decision the day before. I say that because that’s how we ended up in Monaco. A place I’ve probably dreamt about seeing ever since I watched the old James Bond movies as a youngster.

What I didn’t know is that you can get a train ticket to Monaco from Nice for only €3.50 One Way or €7.00 Return, you don’t even need your passport for the train which shocked me more! Getting to Monaco by train was really easy, especially from Hotel Ozz. Gare De Nice Ville has trains going to Monaco every 20/30 mins. A good idea is just to head to the station grab your tickets, then just chill a bit in the cafes they have outside, we used this opportunity to grab some macarons. In case you have a struggle finding the ticket counter, turn right upon entry walk down the hall slightly and then turn left at the ticket booth.

Depending on what sort of views you’re after, sit on the right side of the carriage for coastal and the left side for countryside and houses. As much as I would have enjoyed coastal I did not regret sitting on the left side at all! The views were just as beautiful.

Small country with big money

Monaco is known for is high life, I did often think this might have been an over exaggeration but I was obviously wrong. within minutes of arriving, I saw what was probably a continuous stream of 5 supercars driving behind one another. I definitely knew by then I had arrived in Monaco.

Walking around the small city centre, it actually didn’t scream money. It seemed much more like a small town, you could see locals going about their daily lives. Albeit there were some people dressed very well so you could always tell there was a certain air about the place. Overall it seemed beautifully quaint.

Something I was really shocked to realise was how beautiful the Monaco landscape is. Whilst walking around the town we stumbled across a pathway that leads to the Monaco Palace. This was unlike any palace I had ever seen before, with views in the background of mountains resembling Yosemite. The palace walls were built like a 17th Century castle looking out onto the Monaco marina, it honestly felt like you were walking through a dream… or a film set.

As much as I would have loved to stay longer in Monaco my Euro Trip was just beginning. I had gotten a taste and wanted more! I had to make a promise to myself to return one day…maybe with more money haha.

Even if all you have is a day in Monaco I would definitely recommend walking around as much of the small country as you can, people are kind and the views are beautiful. You never know maybe you can persuade someone to let you join them on their yacht!

Did someone say Helicopter?

Monaco literally must have been a dream. Not only was it photographic heaven, I got to fulfil another lifelong dream of mine there and ride in a helicopter! I mean what an amazing experience. I would never in my wildest dreams thought my first ever helicopter ride would have been flying me back from Monaco to Nice!

Monacair - Post
I didn’t even know this was a thing people do, I mean you can do it too! The amazing company Monacair offer commercial flights to and from Nice and Monaco. Their staff are super friendly and helpful and honestly, the 10-minute journey was probably some of the best minutes in my life. This is definitely an experience I would recommend and I will probably do again! (Oh head’s up though, if you intend on getting a helipcopter ride, you will need your Passport!)

Well, I hope you guys found this guide article interesting and insightful!
Let me know below if you have any questions!

Remember I’m running a TRAVEL FOR FREE GIVEAWAY open to all my Subscribers! Click Here to get more details!

MonkOut.


Pin This Post And Share The Love.

How To Experience The French Riviera - @FlunkingMonkey

Blog

Why you should think before booking with kiwi.com

Ok, so that may be a bit of an overreaction. Here’s why I regretted and why you should think before booking with kiwi.com 

The Beginning

My journey started when I looked toward booking a quick getaway into Europe. As I tend to be quite indecisive I changed my choice destinations quite a few times. It had gone from Nimes to Nice, Murcia to Barcelona and adding in Lisbon and Faro into the mix.

The Search

When It comes to looking for flights I’m a die-hard user of Skyscanner. From experience, they do tend to give you the lowest prices, sometimes even £1-2 lower than those listed on Kayak.com. Now as I knew I didn’t want to keep flying back to the UK I decided just to fly from each destination to the next. Luckily or unluckily for me, Skyscanner has a multi-stop search function, allowing me easily to place my destinations and dates I’m looking to travel between. After tweaking my search to what appeared to be the cheapest dates Skyscanner displayed to me a list of flights! Great these were all direct flights between my destinations on the dates I was looking to travel. Now the price was alright, a decent amount (for the number of flights I would be taking…or so I thought).

Skyscanner Multi-Stop Search - Think before booking with kiwi.com
An example of a Multi-Stop Skyscanner search

As those who have used Skyscanner in the past know, after you flights are listed you can proceed to book them with the suggested websites below. For me, only one option appeared: Kiwi.com. I clicked through and saw that booking with Kiwi.com gave me the ability to book all my flights at once! Only enter my passport details once and pay!

Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 15.06.48.png
An example of the one site display, showing Kiwi.com

Success? or Not?

I thought at the time how great! Why aren’t more people using this company? Obviously a bit sceptical I looked at their reviews on Trust Pilot with 95% of them overwhelmingly positive, knowing most people had a good experience with them I was confident enough to book my flight. Once completed, everything went smoothly! I received a booking processing email followed shortly by a confirmation email.

Kiwi.com Homepage - Think before booking with kiwi.com

Trust Piolt -- Think before booking with kiwi.com

 

Wait. Hold on a minute. I’ve only looked at the flight using Skyscanner multi-stop function. It will be fine, booking with kiwi.com must have been the cheapest choice right?! I mean Skyscanner gave them as the only option to select from offering them as the cheapest price.

Well, no harm in checking? WRONG! After entering my flight in multitabbed single searches on Skyscanner, I realised that by booking my flights separately I would have saved £70! Now I know this isn’t a lot of money but considering I travel a fair bit this could have been an extra trip!

Help?!

Coming to the realisation I’d been had, I decided to call kiwi.com with their 24/7 support. In my mind I’m thinking it’ll be fine they’ll be able to sort this out for me. Again I need to stop believing in the best of companies like this, obviously given the title of this post I was WRONG!

After being unable to get through to them for a good hour, I ended the call, I had work to be getting back too. I decided to call them again the following day in hopes of being put through to someone. Calling the next day I was placed through to a customer service operative a lot quicker within 10 minutes in fact. I hilariously had a bit of a panic as I assumed I would have another long wait, so I had the phone on speaker on the other side of the room … Having to run over to clarify presence and unflustered myself to be able to explain the problem to them.

Here is where it gets interesting! I speak to the customer service agent and I state the issue to them. I inform them that I booked my flight through Kiwi.com and paid an extra £70 that I would have saved had I booked my flights separately. I asked if the would honour the correct prices of these flight? I was immediately shut down and told No. I asked why and they stated that “prices always change” which of course I know they do, but I checked immediately after my confirmation came through. I was then provided with the same generic response, flight prices change consistently “our prices are kiwi.com prices” which shocked me slightly.

Many established travel companies, such as Expedia and Last minute to name a few offer a price match services even after booking, I was shocked that kiwi.com did not offer a similar service.

I exclaimed that this was terrible business practice, to which a response I was shocked to hear and found hilarious at the same time. “Kiwi.com are a company and they have to make money somehow”. At this point I’m beyond done with trying to debate with this customer service agent, I explained how that’s even worse practice to take advantage of your customers and there are better practices even enforced by similar agencies that are much more successful than you … Now I can see why.

Usually I would try and fight to the end, however, I could see this company and its practices ones that were stringently enforced, would not be subject to criticism.

What now.

In hindsight, I look at it as a blessing in disguise. I know now that kiwi.com care very little about their customers and are in the business solely for monetary gain and this is obviously not a company I would like to assist meeting its goal.

I would recommend that people learn from simple mistakes that even as an experienced traveller I make! When looking at multiple destinations always check for your flights both as a group and separately to see if you can make a worthwhile saving!

Saying all that I know there are positives to booking with kiwi.com such as the ease of booking multiple flights all at once, the ability to manage all your flight bookings in one place. I just don’t think that these “benefits” are worth the excess amount you will pay for flights, booking through their website! I hope going forward kiwi.com improve their current business practices towards customer service and inflating prices.

Well, I hope you guys found this guide article useful! Let me know below if you have any questions!

Remember I’m running a TRAVEL FOR FREE GIVEAWAY open to all my Subscribers! Click Here to get more details!

MonkOut.


Pin This Post And Share The Love.

Think Before Kiwi.com (2).png

 

Hacks

How To Increase Your Exposure on Instagram

I always get messages from people asking how they can increase their exposure on Instagram. Whether this is by getting more likes or comments but generally just how to go about this process of getting their work seen by more people.

Before I begin I want to make it clear I in no way believe I am an Instagram expert. These tips or pointers are not a sure fire way for you to become “Insta-Famous”, although saying that I don’t think it should really be something you aim for but if you are it doesn’t work overnight.

I believe if you utilize the tips below they will help any photographer amateur to professional increase the amount of exposure their image gets on Instagram. I’ve chosen not to use to word impression for a particular reason as I believe it is an inaccurate factor created by “Facebooks Instagram” in order to obtain more paid advertisements via brands and businesses. A high number of impressions is not what you should be looking to achieve, engagement is key…in both directions.

Increase Your Exposure on Instagram In Just 5 Steps

What is your niche

Before you can even begin to think about growth or how to increase exposure on Instagram, you must first determine your niche. When you’re creating or reformatting your channel you have to decide on the type of images you want to produce. This could be Portraits, Street photography, Fashion photography or Travel landscapes. Picking a style and sticking to it can be beneficial as people know what to expect when coming to your page, consistency is key.

What are your images trying to say

Once you have figured out your niche you have to determine what your images are trying to portray, this may seem like a slightly heavy-handed question but it’s actually quite simple. Many fashion or style accounts serve to update people on the latest trend, whilst many travel accounts serve to provide wanderlust or bucket list inspiration.

Remember to be unique, you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.

Photographs: Colours, images, and layout

You’ve done it! You’ve figured out exactly the type of account you want to be, you know exactly the type of images you want to post, now here’s where the real work begins to increase your exposure on Instagram.

Now you don’t need a professional camera to stand out but there are considerations you have to make before we move any further, how good are your images? if you’re in any way unsure read This before continuing.

When it comes to uploading a picture you have to consider everything from the colour to how the position of the image will affect the overall feel of your channel.

Images that are brighter and contain more blue tones are known to do more favourably on Instagram.

Applications like UNUM and Later work well in helping layout where you place your images. Common feed themes are the Rule of three: which display three alike photos in a row, Alternating frames: which see two horizontal white framed images surrounding a vertically framed image.

How to Increase your Instagram Exposure - Apps -FlunkingMonkey

Hashtags

Probably the reason why most of you came to read this and potentially the most important. Hashtags are beyond KEY in ensuring you increase your exposure on Instagram alongside engagement but also to maintain growth.

Going back to Step 1 know your niche, if you don’t have this down your hashtags will be useless.

When deciding what hashtags to select and use for your images, know they are temporary. By this I mean, I tend to change my hashtags every few months, this is because my account may outgrow hashtags or hashtags might outgrow me (too much competition).

Selection

To determine what hashtags are best suited for your account you have to do the research. You have to see which hashtags are in the correct size range (i.e. How many people have used them), What sort of accounts are using them and lastly what engagement the Top 9 photos are receiving.

My recommendation: (Account size/Total amount of time tag used)

100-999: 1,000 to 50,000 Total Tag Use*
1k-4.9k: 3,000 to 100,000
5k-9.9k: 5,000 to 500,000
10k-29k: 15,000 to 800,000
30k-49k: 20,000 to 1 million
50k-99k: 50,000 to 1 million
100k+: 100,000 to 3 million

These will vary depending on engagement levels if your levels are lower or higher than expected adjust accordingly.

It’s good to select a range as you have a higher chance of becoming a top 9 photo for that particular hashtag and showing up as ‘recommended’ for similar accounts and those who are interested in your niche.

When it comes to deciding what tags to use, always select between 25-28 Tags. As I am unfamiliar with other niches other than travel, I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending any, however, I can tell you the system I use to determine my tags.

Find the most common/biggest tag i.e #BeautifulDestinations

How to Increase your Instagram Exposure - BD - FlunkingMonkey

As you can see its current usage is at 13mil+ which means many accounts will be tagging their pictures with it daily. This also means unless you’re already a big account receiving large amounts of engagements it’s highly unlikely your post will be seen by anyone.

Find the smaller more niche tag

By looking at the Top 9 posts, I aim to find the one that got there with the least amount of engagement. I then look at what hashtags that particular account used on that photo. Here you now have access to a new range of tags you may have never thought of and by reading/clicking through them, you can determine which ones will be of most use for you. These tags could hopefully be more relevant to you, fitting within the range I described above, and have Top9 photos similar to yours.

How to Increase your Instagram Exposure - BD Image - FlunkingMonkey

How to Increase your Instagram Exposure - Tags - FlunkingMonkey

Once you’ve done all that, you can start using them! You’re on your way to increase your exposure on Instagram.

Bonus Tip

Should you or shouldn’t you tag ‘repost’ accounts? This is a tricky one as you should limit your expectations. I would say it’s worthwhile tagging these accounts in photos you truly believe will have a chance at being reposted, just remember even if they are your extended exposure will be limited to that day (dependent on the repost frequency). For example, I got reposted on an account with 9.7 Million followers, my reposted image gained over 130,000 likes but over the course of 24 hours I gained maybe 100 followers?

Posting

When it comes to how much to post or when to post this will all vary on your account size and audience. The more you begin to understand the latter the more likely you will increase your exposure on Instagram and experience account growth.

It helps to think about when people are most likely going to be on the app, it could be office workers on their lunch break between 1-3pm or people on their way home from work at 5-6pm or people at home in the evening flicking on their phones 7-10pm.

Interactions

In order to maintain exposure, you have to keep up interactions not only with your followers but with the wider community of your potential audience. When I say interactions, I mean liking, commenting and direct messaging (when appropriate).

Take the initiative to gain insights into what your audience is doing, what type of images they are posting and what type they are usually engaging with. Remember this is social media, so be social. If someone takes the time to comment on your images try to respond either directly on your post on via message, this will make the other user feel more appreciated and could result in further post interactions potentially leading to higher follower exposure due to the Instagram algorithm.

Well, I hope you guys found this guide quick and easy to follow! Let me know below if you have any questions!

Remember I’m running a TRAVEL FOR FREE GIVEAWAY open to all my Subscribers! Click Here to get more details!

MonkOut.


Pin This Post And Share The Love.

How to Increase your Instagram Exposure - FlunkingMonkey

Blog

How To Take Better Photos On Your Phone

If you’ve ever looked at images on the internet and wondered how it was taken or why your images don’t look like that? You’ve come to the right place! I’m going to show you how to take better photos on your phone and how to edit them for upload, in less than 5 minutes.

Understand your light

When it comes to figuring out how to take better photos the principal step is knowing where and what your light source is.

Camera Light explained

Perspective – What are you trying to capture?

As broad as that sounds, it’s honestly something you need to figure out. Who or what is your subject? Once you’ve established that you can begin of thinking of ways to capture them in the best way.

The first step would be to turn on your Gridlines:

To switch the grid on …

  • iPhone: Go to “Settings,” choose “Photos & Camera,” and switch “Grid” on.
  • Samsung Galaxy: Launch the camera app, go to “Settings,” scroll down and switch the “grid lines” option to “on.”

Now you can begin to play with composition (‘Where things are going to be’). [Here] is a great selection of different types of composition you can play around with. Just by duplicating their composition style you’ll see before your very own eyes, how the placement of your surroundings can improve your photos.

Shoot to edit

This is the bit I probably enjoy the most. You’ve done easy work, you now know how to take better photos. Now comes the part where you can really make your image stand out amongst the crowd.

Below are some sample iPhone 6s Images I captured during my travels. I’m going to show you how you can edit them from standard to amazing using the app SnapSeed.

Images that are brighter and contain more blue tones are known to do more favorably on Instagram.

Below are two different types of images, both shot in two different light environments.

Boracay, Philippines.

This simple edit is really easy to achieve, tweaking only a few settings on SnapSeed.

SnapSeed Dashboard - PalmTree - FlunkingMonkey

Above you can see the array of editing options you can select from in SnapSeed. For this edit, all I am going to be using is the Tune Image and Curves sections.

SnapSeed Tune - PalmTree - FlunkingMonkey

The best way to learn how to use this tool is to look at what the extremes of each setting do to the image. You will slowly begin to realise how to use these tweaks to adjust your image to where you want it to be.

SnapSeed Tune Edit - PalmTree - FlunkingMonkey

In my original image, I knew that it was already bright but it didn’t really pop so I increased the brightness and then reduced the highlights to bring back some detail in the distance. As I was standing under the palm tree there was a lot of shadows so I chose to lift some of that away to bring back more of the leaf details. Lastly, I knew the original image was sort of just one solid colour, so I desaturated the blues and added slight ‘orange’ through the warmth slider, replicating the sun.

SnapSeed Curves - PalmTree - FlunkingMonkey

The last step I tend to take whenever editing images on my phone are to adjust the image curves. The curves control the light in the image, splitting the graph in the quarters the top right quarter controls the overall highlights and the bottom left controls the overall shadows.

I like to push the highlights to add a bit of glow to the image whilst slightly deepening the shadows. As a final adjustment, I usually push up where the base of the line curve starts to add a bit of fade to the image, which gives it that extra bit of depth.

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.

 

SnapSeed Dashboard - Ha Long Bay - FlunkingMonkey

As you can see the light in Ha Long Bay was very different to that of in Boracay. What I want the viewer to focus on here is very different. So here I’m only going to focus on the top two sections, Tune image and Details.

SnapSeed Details - Ha Long Bay - FlunkingMonkey

In my original picture a lot of the details in the islands was blown out due to the light, so to bring some of that detail back in I have to increase the structure and sharpen the image.

SnapSeed Details Edit - Ha Long Bay - FlunkingMonkeyOnce completed I only now had to tune the photo to get to where I needed it.

SnapSeed Tune Image - Ha Long Bay - FlunkingMonkey

I knew my main focus here was to bring out more of the deep greens of Ha Long Bay, so by increasing the Saturation more of the colour started to pop. By reducing the Highlights less reflection of light was visible on the water really allowing it to POP!

Well, I hope you guys found this guide quick and easy to follow! Let me know below if you have any questions!
Remember I’m running a TRAVEL FOR FREE GIVEAWAY open to all my Subscribers! Click Here to get more details!

MonkOut.


Pin This Post And Share The Love.

How To Take Better Phone Photos - FlunkingMonkey


[Please Note – There are no sponsored items in this post]

Blog

Why you'll regret not going to Lithuania

So before my adventures in Lithuania actually began, I kind of had to figure out exactly where it was. For someone who travels as much as I do, my geography skills aren’t really up to par. Anyway, so it turns out Lithuania is the southernmost Baltic State!

Vilinus and Trakai

We started our journey of in Vilnius, where after an extremely late Wizz Air flight we woke up at the Artagonist Hotel! This quirky hotel was smack bang in the middle of Vilnius old town. It felt as though you stepped into a dystopia where modern technology met classically beautiful architecture, the small city was filled with cobbled streets and a maze of streets filled with quirky little stores.

Artagonist Hotel

Lithuanian Street

Curved Street Part 2

Lithuania goes Roman

Trakai

Walking through Vilnius you really felt the clash and fusion of Lithuanias deeply interwoven historical past. This became even more evident as we came to Trakai, where I was lucky enough to experience a traditional Karaim lunch and learn a little bit about the history of the Karaim people, whose Turkish routes have brought hints of middle-eastern culture to the Baltics.

KYBYNLAR-

Karaim Table_

Only 200 Karaim people live in Lithuania and only around 2,000 remain in the world.

So after burning my mouth on some of the hottest soups and delicacies the Karaim people had to offer, we headed out to see the iconic Trakai Island Castle. Unfortunately, for us, the rain had decided to come in but that wouldn’t stop me whipping out my camera out to capture its magnificent stature!

Castle on lake
I can just imagine, how amazing it would be to sail on these beautiful waters on a warm summer day.

After a long and wet afternoon around the lakes of Island Castle, we headed back to Vilnius for a Hot Air Balloon ride…turned hill climb as the weather, unfortunately, was not permitting. (One of these days I will get on a Hot Air Balloon!)

Hill of Three Crosses

I guess it wasn’t the worst of compromises, after a small incline trek reaching the top of the hill of three crosses we got the chance to see the amber skies over Vilnius as the sunset over the city. It slightly felt like Lithuania’s take on Christ the redeemer.

Three Crosses

Anyksciai

Can’t really say no to regional parks where you can walk amongst the height of the trees, can you? Anyksciai Treetop walking took us 34 metres above the ground giving us breathtaking views of forestry as far as the eye could see.

Green Trail

Tree Top Trail

Although still debated, Lithuania translates to mean the land of rain. Which explains the abundance of lush forests and much greenery we saw during our time there. It also explains why every time we tried to go see their fantastic sights the rain came back with a vengeance to flush us out to the next place. I guess it made each experience short but sweet, so if you want to try and avoid it I would meticulously check the forecast before you book anything!

Lucky or not so lucky depending on how you look at it, the sun came out just as we prepared to jump on Anyksciai Alpine Rollercoaster!  Now considering you’re throttling yourself down a series of hills at 40mph with nothing to control yourselves except a stick it can be a bit daunting albeit terrifying your first time. What a great experience it was though, having done the laps the laps twice, it makes you realise that such a ‘simple’ experience is just as enjoyable or even more so than the huge roller coasters you find at theme parks. I would definitely like to go back and try this out again, maybe in winter next time!

Alipine Coaster Ride

Siauliai

Just outside of Siauliai you can come across one of Lithuania’s most interesting sites, with different meanings for everyone that visits there. The hill of crosses is literally a hill filled with millions of crosses and that’s just an understatement. The site has constantly changed since the day of its formation, so what I saw may not even be the same in a few years time.

Jesus on hill of crosses

The site resonated with a previous pope so much that after his visit to Lithuania and the hill of crosses he donated a Cross depicting Jesus, which can be seen upon the entrance to the site.

Cross on Hill of crosses

Lake House – Pas tėvukus

Just imagine everything you would want from that rustic lake house experience and live them out through, probably, the best homestay I’ve ever experienced. Located smack bang in the middle of a national park, Pas tėvukus looks out on to lake Berzoras making you feel cut off from reality in the best possible way.

Cabin interior

Aside from its wonderful location and accommodation, it’s owned by the most the most gracious welcoming hosts. They also provided us with an authentic (regional) Lithuanian dinner where I had the best ribs I’ve probably ever eaten and had an odd encounter with cannabis.

Dinner
Photo courtesy of Elle Croft 

Lake pier

Klaipeda

As our 10-hour road trip across the country of Lithuania began to come to a close, we found ourselves in Klaipeda. Dubbed Lithuanias Capital of Culture, I once again felt as though I was walking amongst the stories of the past. Having been quite interested in history since I was a child, I honestly overlooked the past of countries such as those in the Baltics.

If you enjoy cobbled streets, Italian/Romanesque architecture and generally relaxed city vibes this is the place for you.

Lithuanias Main Harbour
Lithuania’s Main Harbour

Street walk

Ship Lithuania

Esio Trot Balcony
Anyone else getting Esio Trot Vibes?

Curonian Spit

Just when you thought Lithuania couldn’t get even more confusing, things just became curiouser and curiouser. A short boat trip across to the Curonian Spit National Park, we found ourselves on Witches Hill. Ironically this place really has no historical significance related to actual witches in any way, yet a folk tale spun out gave way to the creation of this woodland area filled with ‘Witchy type’ carvings and the odd children’s play area.

Witches Hill.jpg

By this point, I didn’t think Lithuania could shock me anymore and yet we rocked up in the desert…well the Dead Sand Dunes which span across the national park.  Now usually when you think sand your mind would probably go to, the beach, the desert I.e. Middle East or Egypt. I don’t think anyone’s first thought would be the Baltics or Lithuania.

Desert New-2.jpg

Nida

The slow moving town on the Curonian lagoon, Nida truly lives up to its picturesque coastal town image. The small town filled with boats, galleries, markets and restaurants makes you feel as though you’ve found the town doing everything right.

Bike Ride.jpg

For what was probably the most strange yet balanced adventure I’ve had so far, Lithuania definitely took my breath away! I truly understand why “Real is Beautiful” is their slogan. From walks through history into the woods and deserts, I’m so glad I had the opportunity to visit yet so disappointed they aren’t spoken of more!

Lithuania is a country that reminds me of why I have such wanderlust and sense of adventure, as there is so much to see in the world in places we never would have thought off!

Let me know what locations have surprised you, or where I should go next!

MonkOut.


Pin This Post And Share The Love.

BALTIC EDIT - Why you'll regret not going to Lithuania


[Please Note – all opinions in this post are my own]

Blog

Amazing Essential Travel Hacks you can do last minute

As a traveller, I’m always jetting off to places at the last minute which can mean I’m not always left with a lot of time to prepare for the inevitable problems that we all come across when travelling. There is, however, some amazing and essential travel hacks you can do at the last minute to help make your journey and travel experience so much better!

First things first: You guys need to get Amazon Prime!, it is an Essential need for travellers in my eyes. Not only is it a useful tool to get products with immediate delivery but they provide both a Video and Music service, which work perfectly for those long flights, layovers and chilled evenings to name a few. I can’t think of a week where I haven’t used at least one of their services. Even if you’re still not sure they even offer a 30-Day free trial! So you can check it out for yourself and make up your own mind, I know you won’t regret it!


Check out these Essential Travel Hacks!
Last Minute Purchases that can make your Travel Life Easier!



Travel Essential 1: A battery pack

A battery pack can literally save your life sometimes. It’s a perfect way to ensure you always have access to your phone, tech and can even be a great way to make friends on the go. Trust me there hasn’t been one day when people haven’t asked me if they can use my charger.  Make sure to go all out and get the big 20,000 mAH+ ones, the bigger the number the longer it will charge your tech!


Travel Essential 2: Packing cubes

Packing cubes are a great way to really utilise all the space in your suitcase or backpack and stay organised at the same time. They’re a great way to keep clean and dirty clothes separated and are perfect for when you are rushing between destinations. As you tend to only open one cube at a time you’re less likely to have your clothes all over the place! (Unless you’re beyond help) …

Here’s a Handy Tip: Roll all your clothes tightly and you’ll fit more in, plus sometimes they end up less creased than when folded!


Travel Essential 3: Shower/Cosmetics Bag

As a past user of plastic carrier bags for my shower bag, I can’t begin to tell you how much investing in a good Shower/Cosmetics Bag has helped me throughout my travels. No longer do I have to shift through piles of product I don’t need, or sifting through my entire bag to find my toothbrush that I was 100% sure I packed. Everything I now need is in useful compartments and it stores away perfectly amongst my packing cubes.


Travel Essential 4: Saftey Wallets

Sometimes were not always travelling to the safest of destinations and we should be taking precautions to keep our personal items safe. An Item I found that came in great use was a simple Wallet with a Chain, this was something I could easily attach to a belt loop and pop in my pocket. That way when I was on the go I had an extra level of security, it may not have stopped any theft but it would have made me aware a lot earlier.


Travel Essential 5: Hard Drives

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen the ‘Storage full’ pop up across my devices and even more so when I’m travelling. The last thing you want to be worrying about when you’re visiting amazing places is whether or not you should be taking a picture of something because you only have 200mb left! There is one simple solution bring along a Hard drive! Not only can you back up all your amazing memories, you can also bring along with you all your favourite movies and music!

 


Travel Essential 6: Earplugs and eye masks

Now Earplugs and eye masks aren’t always needed but in the situations where you do need them, you will love the fact that you brought them along, i.e. A screaming baby on a plane with windows wide open and your body clock is saying it’s 02:00 a.m. They’re lightweight and can be stored pretty much anywhere… so why not?

 

 


Travel Essential 7: Headphones/Earphones

For me, Headphones are a dire need. There have been many times where I’ve turned up to the airport and realised the headphones I brought along barely work and end up spending an extraordinaire amount buying replacements from anywhere that sells them along the way, costing me a bomb and they all end up breaking within a few days anyway. So now I always buy two pairs before any journey just in case!

P.S. For those of you who aren’t as keen on the ear plugs, headphones can always serve a dual purpose.


Travel Essential 8: Partition Bag

Turn any bag into a camera bag! This lightweight velvet lined sleeve has made it so much easier for me to transport my camera, it’s got adjustable compartments to fit any size camera. I’ve been able to fit in a Camera an attached lens, a spare lens, a vlogging cam and spare batteries and chargers all into this little bag! The padding is thick enough to keep it all protected and it fits perfectly at the bottom of all my backpacks.


Travel Essential 9: Tech Secure Backpack

Sometimes I travel with lots of tech and find its a huge hassle getting through security because of the number of items I have to dig out of my bag. Depending on where you tend to travel yes it can be beneficial to sign up for TSA Pre. For me as I tend to travel to multiple worldwide destinations this isn’t really a useful suggestion. One item I haven’t had the opportunity yet to try but cannot wait to purchase is a specialist backpack. Not only can you access items like Laptops through easy compartments, but it’s also theft-proof!


Travel Essential 10: World Adaptor

Adaptors are one of the easiest items to forget! Every trip I’ve ever gone on this is the item that’s come to mind last. The great thing about getting these last minute is you don’t even have to think. Half of the time I never even know what plug sockets the country I’m going to is using. So grabbing one of these World adaptor plugs has saved me a lot of worries, any plug goes in and any plug goes out.

 


Travel Essential 11: Luggage Scale

Don’t Risk it! Weigh your bags! The number of people I have seen at airports having to reorganise their baggage is immense, don’t be that person. Having a luggage scale with you can be so handy it will give you piece of mind and can help you pass through baggage check so much quicker (it doesn’t even take up that much room).

 

 


Travel Essential 12: The Perfect Carry On/Backpack

For many travellers, budget airlines and their carry-on policies are familiar friends. I’ve definitely had that panic many times wondering whether my bag will fit in their ‘tiny’ compartments. Lucky for all of us some companies have had the initiative to create perfectly sized backpacks and suitcases (for those who are inclined either way). Ultralight with various compartments working perfectly with packing cubes these are a must have!


Travel Essential 13: Custom Luggage Straps

Ever had your bag just about close…Worrying about your bag popping open on the flight? Always picking up someone else’s suitcase on the carousel? Well no longer! Luggage straps have so many uses I can’t even list them all, definitely a key purchase for any traveller.

 

 


91g42v8h2bdl-_sl1500_Travel Essential 14: A Fresh Water Filtering Bottle. 

An item that might not have crossed your mind is filtering bottles,  they can really come in handy for those of us travelling to less westernised locations. In many countries, you can’t drink tap water or you have only basic access to fresh water. In both cases, the water might be filled with bacteria and parasites our systems can’t handle.

These bottles are awesome because they allow you to drink water from anywhere (minus the ocean). You can scoop rain water right out of a puddle, drink it and it won’t harm you! I, on the other hand, used it when I had a bit too much to alcohol drink in Vietnam and needed water first thing in the morning… No problem though right from the tap into this bottle and I was good to go! (P.S. I know you might say just get bottled water but come on man think of the environment!)


Check out these Essential Travel Hacks!
Tips and Tricks to make sure you have the best Trip!


Travel Hack 1
Searching in Incognito may show you a lower fare

Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 18.17.11
Incognito Browsing.
Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 18.17.40
Normal Browsing

Travel Hack 2
Some airlines offer Free stopovers (I.e. Icelandair) so when booking be aware of this and you could grab yourself a free 24-hour stopover and a two-for-one trip!

Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 18.21.04

Travel Hack 3
Always check in online…were not in the 90s anymore!
This will guarantee you the seat you want and save you precious time at the airport.

Travel Hack 4
As rare as it is, it’s worthwhile when booking long distant flights to know your Airlines upgrade category, there are some seats that will never be eligible and you wouldn’t want to be in one of these the days they do decide to upgrade people.

Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 18.28.26

Bonus Hack – PlusGrade can direct you to bid on upgrades for your flight. You can potentially grab yourself a bargain!

Travel Hack 5
Seat Guru will give you a great insight into your selected aircraft for your flight, and help you find the best seat. If you hate middle seats try to get on Boeing 767-300 flights, they have the least amount!

Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 18.32.41

Travel Hack 6
When travelling having internet access is vital so when you can’t access any or you have to pay it, you feel like the world is ending.
So you better bookmark this page because it has nearly all the WIFI codes to airports around the world!

Airport wifi codes - Step up your Travel game with these Amazing Travel Hacks and see how you can WIN AIRLINE TICKETS!

Travel Hack 7
If you know you’re going to be really hungry on your flight? Order a specialist meal, you’ll get it earlier than everyone else!

Travel Hack 8
Are you going to have a Long stop over? Download the Lounge buddy app you can buy cheap passes to some of the best airport lounges around the world and sometimes even get free entry!

Lounge Buddy - Step up your Travel game with these Amazing Travel Hacks and see how you can WIN AIRLINE TICKETS!

Travel Hack 9
Sometimes when we land we can be in a rush to get somewhere I.e. another airport. You can stand there at arrivals and wait for ages for a taxi, or you can go to the departures zone and order/grab your taxi from there. There are much fewer people at departures looking to leave the airport.

Bonus Hack – If you’re travelling alone Uber pools are a great way to save money.

Travel Hack 10
Stuck on how to get your destination?
Rome2Rio gives you a breakdown of the best transport options available to you. This app worked wonders for me when I was island hopping around South East Asia.

Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 18.43.20

Travel Hack 11
Know you’re not going to have internet access when you’re out and about?
Download maps.me and take your maps offline, you can download select destinations at a time and still use the navigation feature offline!

Maps.Me -Step up your Travel game with these Amazing Travel Hacks and see how you can WIN AIRLINE TICKETS!

I hope you guys enjoyed all my amazing travel hacks you can do at the last minute! If you enjoyed this post and found it any way useful make sure to Follow + Subscribe for more content just like this!

From the beginning next month I will be doing an AIRLINE TICKET GIVEAWAY EVERY MONTH to one of my lucky Blog Subscribers!
So make sure to subscribe to be within a chance of winning!

MonkOut.


Pin This Post And Share The Love.

Step up your Travel game with these Amazing Travel Hacks and see how you can WIN AIRLINE TICKETS!


[Please Note – all opinions in this post are my own]

 

Blog

Long Weekend in San Francisco

For a long time, I’d always wanted to visit San Francisco partly because it always looked like a stunning city, but most probably because I was a huge Charmed fan and that’s where the show was set. I’m sure this is the case for many people whether it be San Fransico due to Fuller House or Brazil due to Fast and Furious, were often enticed and drawn into many locations due to the way they’re portrayed through media outlets.

One of the first things I noticed about San Fran was how vibrant the city was! From the green palms and blue ocean to the colourful buildings and street art! Luckily for me the weekend I was in SF they had a freak heatwave that everyone definitely made me aware of. Letting me know that was not the norm and to enjoy it, which of course I did.

SanFran Buildings

Accommodation – Green Tortoise

When I was looking into where to stay I was really unsure whether to splurge on a hotel or not, but as I knew this was going to be a solo trip I knew a hostel would be my best option. Now I know there are always hostel sceptics and who cannot stay anywhere but a 4 star+ hotel but they’re not as scary as you might think, the best thing to do in any scenario is Review! Which I recommend everyone do.

Green Tortoise

The great thing about The Green Tortoise Hostel is that it is smack bang where you want to be to get easy access to the entire city. The hostel has a free breakfast in a huge common area with a great view of the Transamerica building perfectly enjoyed by sitting down with your morning coffee in their cushioned booths.

Green Tortoise Views

One thing I usually find with hostels is that there is always something that lets them down. To be honest, I slightly struggled with figuring out what that was with the Green Tortoise. Their staff were super friendly and had laughs with quite a few of them and their rooms and bathrooms are kept very clean. I guess if I was pulling at straws they could have A/C but as I mentioned SF is usually pretty windy so they rarely need it at night, they could have more bathrooms but again I don’t think people realised you can use bathrooms on other floors … I alway ended finding news ones I never even knew were there!

As I know that some of us are extremely busy and don’t always get the chance to fully compare where best to stay. To make your life a little bit easier here’s a Hotel and Alternative Hostel both with great reviews and locations! Although if you have the time feel free to search, I tend to use Booking.com due to their handy Free Cancellation on most accommodation!

China Town and Little Italy (Districts)

The great thing about staying in the centre of cities like SF, is that everything is within walking distance. A great perk of The Green Tortoise was that it’s located in the junction between Little Italy and China Town, meant you get easy access to great food which can really make or break a trip in my opinion. The hostel actually had a handy guide for the best food and cafes in the area sorted according to distance and price! I was loving up the Italian pizza slice joints so if you ever find yourself there make sure to check out Golden Boy and Tony’s.

Golden Boy

Pizza

Being a Tourist.

A lot of people forget social media networks are here to connect us, so I used my Instagram just for that. I really wanted to see more of SF from a local perspective so reached out to a San Franciscan (is that what they’re called?) to hang out during my time in SF. Luckily for me, I picked a good’un in Melissa! who was nice enough to show me around and take some of the fantastic photos with me that you might have already seen on my Instagram.

You cannot fly all the way to the east coast especially from the UK and not do Standard’cisco! You can always mix it up along the way but don’t miss the main attractions guys.

All over SF you’re going to find various different periods of architecture, which I absolutely love which is why my camera roll is pretty much filled with half the buildings in SF that I passed. The most iconic set are The Painted Ladies, unfortunately for me, Alamo Square (Park) opposite them was closed meaning I couldn’t get the shot I was hoping for but I made it work. I felt slightly sorry for their residents with people coming up all hours of the day just taking pictures of your house, I guess its the price you pay for living somewhere that stunning.

Painted Ladies

I didn’t think I was going to be shocked by anything in my experience of San Fran but I’m glad I was. I’m not sure if many people on the other side of the pond know about The Place of the Fine Arts, I just know I definitely did not. What a stunning piece of work right en-route to the Golden Gate bridge. It looked as though a part of Rome or Greece had been plucked up and placed right there in sunny California.

melissademataphoto-sanfrancisco-1243

There’s not much I can say which probably hasn’t been said about probably the most photogenic bridge in the world! No one can deny the beauty of the Golden Gate bridge.

melissademataphoto-sanfrancisco-1673.jpg

“That curvy road. You know that mad curvy road.” My description prior to knowing the name of Lombard Street. Now going to see a random street might not sound like the most appealing thing to do but this is really a once in a lifetime experience.

Lombard street

Due to SF being built on a tonne of hills, you get to have the most randomly fun photogenic experience. From the top of the street, you get to see those classic SF cable cars go by, whilst you can look down on a view of the SF streets all the way down to the pier, going down the street is a journey within itself! I recommend hoping in an Uber Pool (surprisingly cheap) and getting them to go down.

Tram

Mission.

So unbeknownst to those of us that do not live in San Fran, Mission district is apparently the place to be, can’t say I don’t understand why! Dubbed after the main street that passes through the area, it’s filled with lively people enjoying the independent restaurants and boutiques that fill the area. Sometimes old habits die hard so I had to make sure I got the best Greek food and Bubble Tea in the area (Although the lack of Honeydew Milk Tea was seriously disappointing guys).

Mural

Point Reyes.

You guys feeling some visual paradise? Yes? Good, head to Point Reyes. Again, I had never heard of this location prior to my trip to California but thank god I did.

Coast Line

Sometimes (going back to my initial point about hostels) Is that you can meet so many people as a solo traveller, lucky for me I met two great lads who were up for a last minute road trip down to these breathtaking coastlines. So if you find yourself with a free day around San Fran or Northen Cali just rent a car for a day and drive! I recommend you definitely hit up Point Reyes or try to go somewhere unexpected!

Point Reyes Hill

House

Sheep

So if you’ve made it this far and read all there is to read about San Fran … maybe you’ll be will to go a bit further or you just want more?! Then make sure you’ve subscribed to my YouTube channel where you can follow me around and get real insight into my San Fran adventures through my Travel Vlog coming soon…

MonkOut.


Pin This Post And Share The Love.

California Edit - Pin


[Please Note – all opinions in this post are my own]

Blog

Florida Edit

Who’s truly experienced Florida? I thought I had.

I’ve been to Florida and the U.S. In general more times than I can remember. Now I’m extremely lucky to have been able to travel there many times, but going to the same place repeatedly really numbs you to that environment. I mean the world is huge! There are so many places to see so why go back to the same places over and over … Well, that’s just it, the world is huge because there is so much in it and I forgot how much is actually in Florida. Which is why I was shocked by my most recent trip there.

Experiencing Kissimmee

After an unusually long 9 hour flight, Into Orlando, we were lucky enough to get an evenings rest at the Omni Orlando Resort before our jam-packed week began.

Wild Florida…Who Knew?

Sloths! Sorry, I couldn’t even wait to intro them…but we’ll get back to that later. Who’s heard of an Airboat tour before? I know for me prior to actually going on one my only reference to them was from this old Simpsons episode. They’re actually fantastically fun! We got taken around through the swamps, marshes and rivers in the Central Florida Everglades getting up close with Alligators, Herron and even the odd Cow.

AirBoat

WildFloridaAirboats are also a fully functioning Wildlife Park, which is why I was lucky enough to get up close to baby sloths! Which are pretty much one of the most adorable animals I’ve seen up close.

Celebration

I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to move somewhere more quickly in my life. The town that Disney built, as it’s famously known. This town guys, is like nostalgia meets fairytale meets … The Truman show? I mean picturesque neighbourhoods and amazing architecture full of colour, which mostly just made me hungry because they reminded me of cakes.

Biking around the town gave us such a great peak into the in’s and out’s of these beautiful neighbourhoods, surrounded by greenery and animals.

Celebration rental

SeaWorld

Now I’m probably the first person who can point out a lot of animal injustice in the world and have to admit I did have a lot of presumptions about SeaWorld …mostly negative prior to my most recent experience there.

What I can tell you is despite their dark past SeaWorld has been doing a lot in terms of animal rescue, rehabilitation and public education that really made me open my eyes.

Generally, the direction I see them going towards is educating the young in a way they see animal safety and preservation as a top priority whilst balancing that out with a fun family day out at a theme park.

Crystal River

I feel as though I could write a whole essay just on this town! It was just a part of Florida that kept on giving and was a defining moment in my trip.

So after an exhausting day having the most exhilarating time at Universal Orlando! (I mean you might as well spend a day being a big kid again). We sat down to dinner after a long car journey, at the Katch Twenty-Two restaurant. Usually, I try not to judge a book by its cover, Katch Twenty-Two made that a bit harder with its ‘local dining’ facade. I don’t think I’ve been so pleasantly surprised in my life! Hidden in this small town in Florida is one of the best restaurants I’ve ever eaten at with the most lovely customer service. I would fly back tomorrow just to eat there again.

The Plantation

We stayed at The Plantation on Crystal River a 200+ acre eco resort which was beyond the perfect setting for our time in Crystal River.

Plantation
Our first day had us up in the early hours of the morning swimming with Manatees! This was such a rewarding experience, to get up close to these gentle giants and learn so much about them.

Although here’s a top tip: Pee beforehand and do not drink too much water. Otherwise, you’ll be close to the edge guys, Trust me.

Chassahowitzka River

That particular day just kept on giving. The afternoon saw us Kayaking through the Chassahowitzka River where we not only saw more Manatees but felt as though we had left Florida and were dropped smack bang in the middle of the Amazon.

Chassahowitzka River 1

A vast valley of clear water surrounded by untamed greenery leading off to hidden paths in all directions, can anyone else see heaven?! I was definitely deep in my comfort zone it was such a perfect way to end our time in Crystal River.

Daytona Beach

I’ve probably been dreaming of Daytona since I’ve left! So saying that it definitely did not disappoint…Miami what?

International Speedway

Daytona Race Track

So have you ever gone 170mph+ in a 600HP NASCAR? Because it’s freaking awesome! Kicking off our Daytona experience was a (Richard Petty) Driving experience on the Daytona International Speedway. Having never really understood the ‘hype’ around NASCAR my short experience here really changed my mind.

Daytona Racing

I don’t think I’ve ever had a better-timed hotel arrival than the one at Hampton Inn Daytona Beach Oceanfront. Walking into my room I was hit with the sun just as it touches the water creating the most beautiful sunset streaming into my room, it was that view we all dream about when booking a holiday. We didn’t even have to rush down to catch it on the beach as the hotel was smack bang on the ocean front, probably less than a minute from my room to having my feet in the ocean.

Paddle Boarding

I wasn’t the biggest fan of paddle boarding after my experience in Indonesia, where I spent most of the time in the water trying to get back on the board. My experience at Three Brothers Boards definitely changed my opinion.

Three Brothers

Besides the great experience around the Daytona bay marina, the guidance provided by the instructor was so supportive. By letting me go at my own pace, it really improved my confidence and put me at ease, more so than I would have ever been doing it alone. By the end of the experience, I was more comfortable than ever and really enjoyed my time out on the water.

Eco-Boat Tour

Time to extend anyone? Re-schedule a flight to spend one more day in Florida… why not!? I mean I can’t be missing out on an Eco-Boat Tour! What a fantastic way to conclude my new adventures In Florida, then one last time getting up close to birds, alligators and even a few more manatees mixed in with a lovely cultural throwback for the area, courtesy to our amazing captain Doug Little on the St. Johns River Eco-Tour.

Now I know this is definitely going to be one of my longest posts so I commend you if you’ve read this far in. It’s always the worst feeling when a fantastic trip ends! Mostly because all those amazing moments are now memories. The great thing about blogging is I get to share these great moments with you but now you can take all this and go make your own!

MonkOut.


Pin This Post And Share The Love.

Florida Edit - Pin


[Please Note this trip was sponsored by Vist Florida – all opinions in this post are my own]

Blog

The Weekend Edit – London

I’ve been super busy lately and haven’t really had the chance to get out much to do things I really want to do. I have, however, been compiling a list of all these places dotted around London I want to visit! Perfect to fill up your weekend.

 Ralph’s Coffee & Bar – Regent Street

rcb-interior-2-tatler-9jan17-pr_b_1080x720

How awesome does this place look, it’s designed from a preppy polo club perspective and it works brilliantly! I feel like I’m going to step back in time to a 1940s Parisian bar or a classy gentlemen’s club in New York.

08934402-ce16-4079-bfab-978d55c7c178_main_crop

This new bar is located in Ralph Laurens Regent street store and Is definitely going to be a new hot spot, great for escapism for the usual London drab.

Coppa Club

1

So back in October’16 Coppa club blew up 8 igloos and threw them in front of tower bridge. Now not only do you get amazing 360-degree views of The Shard, Tower Bridge and The Thames, they’re included as part of their regular table service and filled with awesome quirky furniture. Fingers crossed these aren’t just limited to winter and are planning to stick around, as they’re perfect for all seasons.

igloo-coppa-club
Tables are a hard reach in the igloos so make sure you book well in advance!

Chin Chin Labs

8862b935a4f64dc594feac37ab3baa457343f879_chin-chin-labs-hot-choc-camden-market_cm_jo_hero
Now this place has been popping up all over the internet lately and I’m slightly annoyed I haven’t tried it yet. I mean a blow torch Marshmallow on Hot Chocolate! Yes! The best part is, mix it up they do Ice cream here too! I know I’m definitely going too 🙂

L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele – a.k.a Naples’ most famous pizza joint.

16683823_767693603384131_3196938490681624826_n
Not only was this place featured in the novel Eat Pray Love, for which the film adaptation was one of the reasons I packed my bags and jetted off for 7 months. They’ve opened a branch in London. Pizza lovers assemble … and get ready to queue. I’m still going to go the Naples one without a doubt, but knowing I don’t have to jump on a plane to get this world famous pizza is a huge plus.

200_s

This will be me, I can’t wait, get in my belly.

Charlotte Street Hotel

hotel-cs

Home comforts in public? Yes, please. This place is the perfect to relax, grab a cup of coffee and get comfy. I know when I’m always running around London or even after a mad long day I can’t wait to sit down, I know now this is going to be one of my go-to spots.

original-charlotte-street-hotel-interior-jpg-2c195dd

If you’ve already been to any of these places let me know what your experiences were like there! If not … I’m going to be doing a massive round up of all these places soon enough, so keep your eye’s peeled on my Instagram Story!

What places can you recommend for the weekend?

MonkOut.


Pin This Post And Share The Love.

Weekend Edit (3).png


[There are No promoted products mentioned in this post]

Blog

Winter Edit – London

I’m an Islander. Regardless of the fact, the island I was born on is the usually cold and dismal U.K. Trust me I am much more suited towards the tropics, which also goes for my wardrobe. I mean who wouldn’t want the constant sunshine? Apart from during Christmas when it has to be cold. Yes, it does, sorry to you all in the southern hemisphere. Although I haven’t seen a good Christmas snow in a while.

az-20170114163621
Cold. Raining. Everything’s Hazy. Perfect summary for London during winter.
Palm Tree manual edit.jpg
Doesn’t Life in the sun just seem more appealing? – Clearwater, FL.

Sometimes I have to deal with the fact I’m going to be stuck in the cold probably until I either spontaneously take another trip or until spring comes around. So I better get prepared, as London has a lot of amazing places to see and experience and I intend to do just that. Where the Jumpers at?

I actually haven’t had the opportunity to purchase many new clothes lately, probably a mixture of me being too lazy and refusing to accept that I’m going to be in the cold for a while. So when I did get the chance I jumped at this:

_MG_3131.jpg
Limited Edition – Collared Neck Mac – Marks and Spencer

The reasons I like it so much is because it’s light weight and also works perfectly for that transition from winter to spring. It’s also my first Mac style jacket, I’ve always loved the ones that Burberry designed but they were always out of my price range! I did feel this was a good compromise. The cut is brilliant, it’s not too overbearing, which I find can happen really easily with jackets, and when you have quite a rounded frame like me they don’t really do you any justice.

Check out the Item here: http://bit.ly/MS4MAC
 Tip: Go for a size smaller than you usually do. 
I find with M&S jackets they tend to oversize.

It feels so good to be writing again, now that I’ve finally put words to screen I have so many new ideas flowing. I’m already thinking of my next post! So Until then guys!

MonkOut.


Pin This Post And Share The Love.

winter-edit-pin


[There are No promoted products mentioned in this post]