Thursday, 12 September 2019

Travel Diaries - Prague



Hello again!

I'm back with another one of my travel diaries and this time I went to Prague! I know how much you guys love these posts and I absolutely love writing them, so I am so excited to be sharing another trip with you and all of my tips and tricks I have picked up. So again, I hope you enjoy this post and I hope it helps if your off to Prague soon yourself or your off on a city break, as I think you can use general tips I have mentioned in my previous city breaks travel diaries in majority of cities in Europe. So I'll stop babbling and crack on with the post!
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Amy Shipley
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Sunday, 7 July 2019

Tips On Booking A Trip On A Budget!


Now, I think everyone would love to just hop on a plane and see the world. Sounds like a plan right? But I'm afraid it isn't all that easy - as seeing what the world has to offer comes at a price! And now a days it can seem pretty expensive to travel anywhere, even getting a train from Manchester to London leaves a burning hole in your purse, never mind travelling anywhere else abroad.
And I do think a lot of people can be intimidated by the cost, which is a given of course, but there are some ways you can get around paying out loads of your money to travel and see the world on a budget that suits you! Of course, travelling isn't for everyone and a lot of people do like their home comforts, but for people like myself who have been bitten by that travel bug, it's important to take any opportunity to simply just do it! Of course that's easier said than done, with work commitments, family commitments or just life generally can get in the way of doing something like travelling, so when the time does come when you can just get up and go - JUST DO IT!
As the saying goes, "you only live once" and it's so true, you've got to take any opportunity to do things you really want to and just the blissful thought of looking back in years to come and thinking "I'm so glad we did that". But anyway, enough of me getting all deep and emotional about life, haha! Just thought I'd simply start this blog post with my method of thinking when it comes to travelling especially. "Fuck it, let's go" and I am so happy I have that mentality because I have such amazing memories from places I have been to. So let's get into the post before I start getting all deep on life and that again!

Travelling, like I said it can be very expensive. But in most cases there are certain things you can do to tip-toe round those huge costs! So I have a few tips and tricks that I have picked up over time when I have booked my trips.

Look at booking everything separate!

Flights or any other form of travel!

When your booking a trip, whether its a short weekend away or a full on two week holiday, its always  worth looking at the cost of each aspect of your holiday separately. This mainly being flights and hotels. Now, with flights you must SHOP AROUND, I call it a roulette with getting a great price for a flight as flight prices change every single day, so you may strike lucky! When I decided to go to visit my dad in Singapore last minute, I managed to bag a flight with British Airways for just £500, which is amazing for last minute and around Christmas time. But out of interest, I looked the next day and the same flight I had booked went up to £1200! So if you see a price for a flight which you think is amazing, BOOK IT! But if you think it could be better, shop around and wait around because you could have a bargain pop up! It's all about knowledge of flights too, knowing how much roughly it is for a flight to a particular place and knowing when you've got a good deal.
My top places to look for flights is Sky Scanner, Google flights and the individual airlines websites, as they sometimes have offers and last minute deals that aren't shown on sites such as Sky Scanner. Google flights is great, as it gives you a visual calendar with prices on, so you can see prices for particular dates dead easy! This I've mainly done for flights but it goes the same for boats, trains etc.

Hotels

It can be so much cheaper booking your accommodation separate, and my favourite apps to look on are of course Booking.com, Trivago, On The Beach.com and I could go on as there are so many, so again SHOP AROUND, and you could find a hidden gem hotel that you may not have seen through a travel agents. This is amazing too if your in a situation where you can travel around and see different places, and through booking separate your not restricting yourself to one place, unless that is what your wanting to do, just chill in one place. Whatever type of holiday your going on, the idea of booking separate can benefit anyone one way or the other.

Independant Travel Agents

Don't feel as though you have to book your trip through the larger travel agents such as Virgin or British Airways, of course unless you want to, as sometimes they do have great deals, but most of the time they can come up quite expensive.
I'm not sure as it many be different in various parts of the UK, but for me personally, I have found an independent travel agent from a brand called Althams, and she gets some amazing deals! Deals that beat what the big chain travel agents offer. And I can message her with where I want to go and my budget and nine times out of ten she gets it and she's had some amazing feedback. But with her not being chained to just one airline or hotel branch, she will get a deal best suited to you, and not one that would more suit the airline, if that makes sense!

Also, check out independent websites for amazing deals! For example, loveholidays is an amazing site with such good deals. I have literally just booked a Prague trip on their website, and for four nights, staying in a four star hotel with breakfast and including flights, it only came to £300! Amazing!! Icelolly.com is another amazing one, Lastminute.com is another favourite of mine. So it's definitely worth having a mooch on there to grab some amazing deals.

Voucher Sites

A lot of people forget that you can grab some amazing holiday and travel deals on voucher sites, such as Wowcher and Groupon! With these I think it is a roulette of finding what you want, as of course they'll just have the odd random one on, but also getting a good deal. As I am writing this post, Wowcher at the moment have this amazing offer, where you pay just £99 and you get a random long weekend away. So they simply call you up one day and tell you where and when your going. For me, I LOVE THAT! But I know that it can be quite a daunting thing if you need full control on travel plans! But still, an amazing way to see somewhere new or experience something you may not have thought of, for just £99! So always keep your eye on voucher sites for these sort of offers, or travel offers in general!

Save And Grab A Last Minute Bargain

Easier said than done I know, and I also know a lot of people already do this, but saving and booking a last minute deal is a great way to travel on a budget. For example, we went to Florida in June and we paid around £900 for just the basics for the trip, and we was out and about doing holiday shopping and we saw in the window of a different travel agent, near enough the same holiday as ours for just £450 per person, thats HALF THE PRICE. Of course your not always guaranteed a fab deal and it would be stressful only having like a few weeks to prep for your holidays but definitely worth it. Just pop a little bit each month in your savings and you'll thank yourself later when your on a beach sipping cocktails having paid next to nothing to be there! But I know the struggle of saving, I'm pants at it! Hahaha!

So, I hope this post has helped or you have learnt something new, I know that a lot of people may know about some of these but I have met people that didn't have a clue on some of the ways you could book trip. I also hope that its inspired you to go on that trip you've been thinking of or saving for that dream holiday, because travelling to new places for me makes me so happy and there are hundreds of places I want to go to!

So travel plans for me at the moment, well I have a cheeky short break in Prague booked for August, a cute weekend in Centre Parks in October and I have something in the works at the moment where I could be going over to Singapore for Christmas and New Year with a trip to the Philippines in between and maybe a sneaky weekend in Bali. So definitely be on the look out for more travel diaries!

Thankyou for having a nosy and a read of me post, and I hope to see you on the next one!

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Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Maybelline Dream Urban Cover Foundation Review



Hello there!

I think I have found my new all time favourite foundation, like I am actually obsessed with it and I of course wanted to share it with you! So, I needed a new foundation for my trip to Orlando, and I was mooching around in Superdrug when I came across the Maybelline Dream Urban Cover foundation. I had never heard of this foundation before and I hadn't really heard anyone speaking about it before, but perhaps it had only just released. But what sold me on it initially was it had SPF 50, which was a big one for me as I was travelling to a very hot country, but its always great to have SPF in your foundation to prevent any sort of sun damage to your skin, no matter where you are. Also, it claimed to be full coverage but light weight, which intrigued me massively!
So without waffling on with how I came to behold my beloved foundation, lets get straight into that I think!

So I bought two shades in this foundation, one for my normal skin colour and another for when I get a bit of a tan. So I got the shades "warm nude" and "natural beige", and they are perfect for me, and while they don't have the largest shade range, which I am hoping they will add too, you can definitely achieve your desired shade my combining two of them, and I have loved the results of doing this myself!


The coverage is insane! The foundation has a very lightweight consistency, and you wouldn't think that this would be so full coverage with how thin and light it is. It doesn't look cakey at all, I think it actually gives you a radiant glow, enhancing your natural features, whilst covering those odd spots and redness, which again I wouldn't expect from a full coverage foundation - well to this extent anyway. Not only does it have amazing coverage but it lasts ALL day, I used this and only this when I was in Orlando and I wore it during the day to the parks. And if you know Orlando it's so so humid, and I expected it to come sliding off my face but it didn't! It stayed put without any touch ups at all - and that was in Orlando! And not once do I feel it on my face, you know when the feeling when you know you have lots of foundation on? Well with this, you simply forget that it's there - I absolutely love it! I have had so many compliments on my foundation, and I feel a lot more confident in it compared to other foundations I have absolutely loved in the past.


Another great point is that it has an SPF of 50! This was ideal when I was away, as I could use it to give me that bit of coverage on holiday without having to worry about the sun damaging my skin. But theres always a stigma where we only worry about skin damage when we're away on holiday, but even when the sun pops out here in the UK (which I know never happens - hehe) it's important to protect your skin. And if it's in your foundation that you use everyday - absolute bonus! There is always this thing about SPF foundations causing flashback in photos, and this one doesn't at all! Whilst we was away I was constantly being photographed in the parks and taking photos myself and never noticed once that my foundation was flashing back in photos.

The foundation comes in a compact little tube, perfect size for travelling with! It is a tube bottle, so you squeeze the product out, there isn't a pump or anything. I personally don't mind that, I think its a lot cleaner, and I simply just squeeze a little onto the back of my hand and off I go!
I use a brush to apply my foundation, I use a stippling motion rather than swiping the makeup around my face, as I feel I get the best finish and I don't loose any of the coverage and get an even application. I will be honest I haven't tried applying this foundation with a sponge, as I have been really enjoying the way I am doing it already. But with a sponge being known for absorbing extra product, I only assume that you'd lose the coverage aspect but I will have to try and see!

Now here's where it gets even more fab! All these foundation perks and it is so affordable, these foundations are currently £10.99 in Superdrug, and it's normally a similar price in Boots! I am just talking about retailers in the UK but its a drugstore foundation! But currently as I am writing this post, in Superdrug there is currently an offer where you can get two Maybelline products for £12 and this includes the foundation! So perfect if you need a couple of shades! Always keep an eye out for offers in Superdrug and Boots as there is always something - plus both stores do student discount of 10% which you can have off on top of your deals! Plus, they always up it to 15% or 20% every so often so take advantage if your a student as you can save that extra bit of dollar!


Left: Natural Beige Right: Warm Nude


























I think I have covered everything! All in all, I think I would go as far as to say that this is my all time favourite foundation - and the best one I've tried in a while! I loved foundations from Giorgio Armani to Huda Beauty, but this one takes the number one spot for me! And being so affordable, you can't really complain. So I definitely recommend and say to must go and try it!

Thanks so much for reading my post, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I loved writing about it and I hope if you've tried it that you absolutely love it! And I'll see you on the next post!

Superdrug website link to the Maybelline foundation!

Boots website link to the Maybelline foundation!
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Saturday, 22 June 2019

My Florida Theme Park Guide



Hey there!

I have recently come back from an amazing holiday in Orlando! And while I would normally do a travel diary, but I have actually already got one from the last time I went and it's pretty similar to what I would've wrote about for this time. So instead I thought I'd do a theme park guide, as I have learnt a lot of tips and tricks over the times I have been to Orlando, plus I am itching to write about something Florida related. I absolutely love theme parks, and with Orlando being the theme park centre of the world, I absolutely love going there, plus there is something brand new and different every time you go. Plus the weather is a bonus.
                        
My Top 3 Parks

Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure

Universal Studios is by far my favourite park of all time. Although in Florida you get many hardcore Disney fans, I am absolutely crazy for Universal. I love the rides and the range of them they have, from hard-core rollercoasters to out of this world motion simulators, there's something for everyone. And of course, one of the main reasons I love it so much is Harry Potter! Both Diagon Alley in Universal and Hogsmeade and Hogwarts in Islands of Adventure, I am absolutely obsessed, the rides, the theming and everything in between. But overall the parks have such amazing theming, rides and all the staff are so helpful and friendly. Plus, they have just opened the new Hagrid's Magical Creatures ride, which was amazing! We was lucky enough to be there for the opening and ride it!

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is such a beautiful park, and while most people will choose Magic Kingdom as their favourite park, it just isn't as appealing to me as Animal Kingdom is. It's such a stunning park, filled with gorgeous nature and animals, with amazing theming and rides. They have spectacular shows throughout the day, including Lion King, Nemo, and the Up bird show. Animal Kingdom has some amazing rides, and is home to probably the best ride I have ever been on "Flight of Passage" in the Pandora area of the park. Plus Animal Kingdom is an amazing place to get those amazing instas!

Busch Gardens

While the Disney parks and Universal parks have a variety of rides for everyone, if your looking for just rollercoaster overload, then Busch Gardens is the place to go. They have some amazing coasters, and there's something different with every single coaster. It is around a 2 hour drive from Orlando, but is 100% worth a day out too, and theres lots of transfers available from your hotel. Or even if you have a car it super duper easy to find!


My Top 5 Park Tips

1.
If your not staying on site at Disney World, when you visit the parks, buy a cooler bag and take your own bottles of water, cans of pop plus snacks like crisps and sweets. You can get a standard size cooler bag from Walgreens or Walmart for around $10 and if you fill it and take it with you, you'll save a hell of a lot of money. As a bottle of water in the parks are around $3.50 and for that you can get a huge pack of the same brand water from Walgreens or Walmart and you can take a couple a day in your cooler bag. This goes for fizzy pop and stuff too. Plus its also handy to take your own snacks, just incase your peckish as Disney days are long days! But be sure to try some of the unique snacks and treats in the parks and not restrict yourself too much, but it always comes in handy, especially if there is a lot of you.

2. A sort of a similar tip to the first one, but for the Universal Parks and Volcano Bay. In both parks you can buy a re-fillable cup for around $15 with tax, and you get free refills all day! And you can bring it back and use it again for just $8! This is such a great thing to save you from spending lots on individual drinks. Plus there was just two of us, and we shared just one cup as you get unlimited re-fills, so just share a cup rather than having one per person! It saves a bit of dollar and you'll get your moneys worth on re-fills.



3. Take advantage of your Disney Fast Pass +! Now, I have done a whole other post on booking a Florida holiday - and I always, always tell everyone to grab their park tickets beforehand from ATD (Attractions Tickets Direct). And with the Disney tickets, you get fast pass with them, so you can of course shorten the long waiting times - because they can be so so long! For those staying on site at Disney you get a long 60 days in advance to fast pass some of your favourite rides, whereas those who aren't staying on site get 30 days, which is still fab! It can be really difficult to grab fast passes for new or popular rides, but you only get 3 fast passes in advance per day so make sure you use them wisely! Top ones to look out for would be Avatar Flight of Passage, Slinky Dog rollercoaster, Seven Dwarf mine train and Test Track! There we go, one from each park! You can do all of this through the app!

4. Download the apps! Im talking specifically about Disney and Universal, but having the apps on your phone come in super handy! Mainly to check ride wait times and you can get updated on rides that have broken down etc. You can keep up to date and book your Disney fast passes I was talking about in the last tip on the app and if you have the specific pass (it comes with the ATD Disney passes) you can store all your professional Disney pictures that you take around the parks too! Also with both of the apps you can link up your bank card to make paying for various things in the parks a lot easier! Especially in Volcano Bay waterpark, the Universal app links up to your Tapu Tapu band that you get on arrival at the park and you can just tap it to pay for drinks, lunch or whatever else you may buy. And it is so much easier, as all your stuff is in lockers and saves going back and forth. So a lot of great reasons for having the apps on your phone during your trip! I normally have all my phone apps in a little travel category.

5. Don't feel you have to stay from open to close. In Orlando, with any theme park, there is this overcoming desire to do absolutely everything and use every single moment, although that's not a bad thing to think, it can be so tiring. Majority of parks in Orlando, from Disney to Universal to Busch Gardens, are open from around 9am - 11pm or even later, that is a super long day! We stayed on International Drive, so a lot of the time we had a pool morning and spent the afternoon/evening at the Universal Parks. Or if it was Disney, we'd get the later shuttle bus at around 11:30 am and park hop to make the most of the trip to the resort. It's so important to rest on this type of holiday and relax, as that's what your on holiday for. My final tip - HAVE FUN but HAVE TIME TO RELAX!



























I think that is everything from me. I hope this post was helpful and you found it interesting - and if your going to Orlando or anywhere on holiday soon for that matter, I hope you have the most wonderful time! And as I said earlier, I haven't done another Orlando Travel Diaries post as I didn't see the point but I will link a few piccies below!

See you on the next post!











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Amy Shipley
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Wednesday, 8 May 2019

New Beginnings



Hello there,

I'm back after a few months of not writing on the blog! I have missed writing on my blog so so much and there is so much to catch you up on!

So, where have I been? Well, I have just finished my fourth and final year of University so I have been one stressed little lemon the past 6 months! With dissertations, portfolios, essays, the list is endless. But HURRAH I have finally finished all my work and I can finally say goodbye to University for good. I am so proud of myself for finishing everything as I have really struggled with aspects of my course, but relieved it is all over and I am excited with a few things I have lined up and the future in general!

LIFE. Life just gets in the way sometimes. I was working such long hours in a job that I absolutely hated and you just get into a robotic routine and its just a shit time really. But I am so thankful that I have gotten a brand new job that I am very excited to start, and I start an internship that will hopefully give me the boost to start my career. So yes, very excited, but also that this new job and internship gives me extra time to dedicate some TLC to my blog, because I absolutely love writing on here and I feel so excited to be back on it! 

Anyway, enough of the boo-hoo, I have also been up to some fabulous things! I went over to Singapore again for the New Year and had an amazing time. If you don't know my dad lives over there and has done for over 15 years, so I have been over quite a few times, it's like my second home away from home. Anyway, I spent the New Year with my Dad, his wife and my little brother Harry who is growing WAY too fast! I posted so many pictures on my Instagram so be sure to check it out! Anyway, I had an amazing time and I am so lucky to be able to call a gorgeous place such as Singapore my second home.

WE'RE OFF TO DISNEY! Yes, we (myself and my boyfriend) are once again off to Florida and I am so excited!! We are there from the 3rd June - 18th June and have so much planned including Disney of course, Universal, Busch Gardens, Daytona Beach - SO MUCH! I am so so excited, and it's such a lovely trip for both me and Oliver after the stress of my last year of University, and Oliver always works hard so it's a lovely treat for us both! I will be doing a full 'Travel Diaries' post when I return, and be sure to follow me on mainly Instagram as I will be posting lots of pictures and stories to keep up to date with!

So with all that said I am very excited to be back and writing on my blog. And as you can see my blog has had a makeover - I am absolutely in love with it and its all thanks to 'GEORGIALOU STUDIOS' - I bought one of her many gorgeous designs, and with my own customisations I am so so obsessed with how my blog now looks for its re-launch! I also got 10% off my design through signing up to her website, and her designs are super affordable! I will link her website below if your interested in sprucing up your blog. 


With all that said, thank you so much for reading this little post and I hope your as excited as I am for new posts and content. I have decided I will upload a new post every WEDNESDAY AND SUNDAY. But be sure to follow my social media pages to keep up to date!

Thanks for reading and I'll speak to you on the next one.

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Amy Shipley
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