Thursday, 27 October 2016

My Top 10 Halloween Films

It's finally Halloween season and I couldn't be happier, I love this time of year - not just because it's a guilt-free day to load up on sugar. But I love dressing up, going to parties, seeing all the decorations, carving pumpkins, it's just a lot of fun in my eyes. Some argue this holiday is overrated or just for children but I'd have to disagree - have some candy and enjoy yourself! Now as Halloween quickly approaches, I'm sure you've all realised the bombardment of horror films in the cinema. I say skip the cinema this year and host your own thrill-fest! For me, it just wouldn't be Halloween without dedicating a whole evening (or day) to watching some of the most dark and twisted films about. Watching behind a large pillow is also optional... Whether you love your candy apples with a zombie horror, your eyeball cupcake with a demonic flick or your pumpkin pie with something a little more light-hearted, I've got you covered for the ultimate Halloween film night! Invite your friends round, lock the door, turn off the lights, grab your popcorn and enjoy!
A Halloween movie marathon would just not be complete without including the film named after this holiday. Released in 1978, John Carpenter's 'slasher film' began one of the most successful horror franchises spawning a whopping seven sequels and creating one of the most iconic horror villains. After a six year old Michael Myers kills his sisters, he is committed, however fifteen years later he escapes looking for revenge. (Trailer)
Scream is definitely a Halloween classic, redefining the horror genre in 1996. With a great cast, great storyline and actually some pretty good scares, Wes Craven directed a film that I keep watching year in, year out. The film's plot is actually quite smart, mocking the conventions of horror which had become clichéd at the time. Spawning three sequels and a television series (I keep meaning to start watching it!), this film is a must for Halloween. (Trailer)
The Strangers
I remember watching this film when I was about twelve and it absolutely terrified me. Based on true events, this film is centred on a young couple who are terrorized one night by three masked assailants. Even now, it's probably still one of my favourite Halloween flicks. This home invasion horror is suspenseful, creepy and full of terrifying scares so that means you need to go watch it! (Trailer)
Friday The 13th
This film is another ultimate 'slasher film' which started off a highly successful horror franchise with the latest being released in 2009 and a new one already in the works for a 2017 release. I thoroughly enjoyed the 2009 film which was conceived as an origin story which had some brutal deaths and plenty of scares. However it has put me off going camping forever... (Trailer)
A Nightmare On Elm Street
Another film from the late 2000's and another remake (Hollywood do love their remakes) is A Nightmare On Elm Street. A lot more terrifying and creepier than the original, this film revolves around a group of teenagers who are being stalked in their dreams by a burnt man called Freddy Kruger. So have fun trying to sleep after this one. One, two, Freddy's coming for you... (Trailer
The Cabin In The Woods
I watched this one years ago with a friend and I was terrified but absolutely loved it! If you want good scares, action, tension and a multitude of crazy and wonderful monsters then this film's for you! It starts off like your everyday run-of-the-mill horror film; a group of students retreat to a remote forest cabin and fall victim to... BUT! There's a twist in this one with an absolutely crazy ending! (Trailer)
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Now for something a bit more light-hearted. Whether you think it's a Halloween film or a Christmas film, it's amazing either way - heck watch it for both holidays! It revolves around Jack Skellington from 'Halloween Town' who stumbles into 'Christmas Town' which has some hilarious consequences. If you've never seen this film, then get to it now! (Trailer)
The Conjuring
Now this film is genuinely terrifying! There's not many supernatural horror films out there that actually frightened me as much as this one did! It revolves around Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigators, who come to the assistance of the Perron Family who are experiencing increasingly disturbing events in their farmhouse. With the possibility of a second sequel in the works and countless spin-off films, it's no surprise that it's one of the highest-grossing horror films of all time. You be the judge and check it out for yourself... but I warn you, it will put you off hide and seek for life! (Trailer)
This ones for all the zombie geeks out there. It has everything you could ever want from a zombie flick; an amazing cast, great scares, countless funny moments and more dead people you could shake a stick at. Definitely check this out if you want a good chuckle with your zombie brains. Now all I have to do is wait for the sequel... (Trailer)
Corpse Bride
Another classic from Tim Burton. How can you not watch this film at Halloween? Starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, one man's mistake during his wedding rehearsal finds himself married to the corpse bride! So two brides; one dead, one alive and one very confused groom, who will be pick? This film is brilliant and full of laughs for the whole family with Burton still incorporating his dark and creepy tones into the madness. (Trailer)

So there you have it folks, my top 10 Halloween films! What are some of your favourite scary films to watch over this horror season? Do you think I've left any out? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time guys.

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Thursday, 13 October 2016

The Girl On The Train | Film Review

So it's been exactly a week since I went to see The Girl On The Train. I can't believe it's taken me a whole week to actually post this, it's so difficult trying to juggle University, work and blogging. But anyway, here's a bit of a brief background story. This time six months ago I had never even heard of the book, The Girl On The Train, actually this time three months ago I had never heard of it. It was only this summer on my trip to Mallorca that I decided I really wanted a good book to read to keep me occupied while relaxing in the sun. So I chose this one and (oh my god!) it did not disappoint! I don't class myself as a big reader but I couldn't put this book down. Page after page, chapter after chapter, it had me gripped from the very start. I needed to know what was going to happen. I may have got sun burnt in the process but it was worth it. I don't care what anyone says, it was the best book I had read in a very long time. Since I found out there was going to be a film adaptation released just two months later with Emily Blunt cast as the leading lady, I honestly couldn't wait. So you could imagine my excitement walking into the cinema with my friends to watch the film I had been obsessing over for the past couple of month. With tickets bought in advance, great seats, and popcorn at the ready, it was finally time to watch it! So check out my honest review of The Girl On The Train below and find out how it compares with the book.

So The Girl On The Train stars Emily Blunt as Rachel Watson, an alcoholic divorcee who inadvertently becomes wrapped up in a missing persons investigation. Once married to a man named Tom Watson, the pair lived on a perfect suburban street overlooking the sea and the train tracks that stretch into Manhatten. However due to personal circumstances which drives Emily to drink, Tom begins having an affair with a woman called Anna. This pushes Rachel over the edge and she moves out to live with her friend. Rachel travels the Hudson Line everyday where she averts her eyes from her previous home where Anna is now bringing up a child with Tom. She now fixates on a couple living next door who she believes is the "embodiment of true love." However one morning she see's something that changes everything and derails her fantasies for good. As a woman named Megan Hipwell goes missing, Rachel confides in Scott Hipwell, acting as an old friend of Megans which draws her further into the investigation. Secrets are uncovered, trust is broken, lies are told and after the events of one night, life will never be the same for these characters. However does Rachel's own lapse of memory due to drinking hide her own guilty secret? 
So here's my take on The Girl On The Train. Lets start by saying I preferred the book over the film. I thoroughly enjoyed the eagerly anticipated adaptation and I was on the edge of my seat with suspense but I was still a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong Erin Crissida Wilson remains structurally faithful to Hawkin's novel, but I don't understand why some changes were made travelling from the page to the screen. The book was set in England so I'm not sure why the film is set in New York, it gave the film a completely different feel to it. Also Rachel and Scott's relationship wasn't explored and delved into as much compared to the book, omitting a specific bedroom scene that I'm sure many fans were looking forward to seeing. I also felt that the film as a whole was a bit anti-climatic which I didn't get from the book. But all in all I'm so glad this film stayed on the tracks and stayed true to the incredible storyline.
This film had mystery surrounding all of it's characters, drama and some of the most intense scenes I've watched in a long time. In the end, however, the whole movie rests upon the shoulders of Emily Blunt, and she holds it all together, even as her character is falling apart. I've seen Emily in many films from The Devil Wears Prada to the Edge Of Tomorrow but nothing like this. She pulled it out of the bag, playing the hell out of this blackout drunk and adding a touch of welcome sympathy. The casting was superb, especially the three leading ladies who all gave incredible performances. The Girl On The Train has the perfect balance of suspense, darkness and danger. From Tom's psychological torment to the apparent utter helplessness of Rachel to the vast secrecy of Megan, TGOTT takes a darker yet more sympathetic change from the book. The deceit and horror that unfolded on the pages was adapted brilliantly onto the screen. From the cinematography, to the shocking revelations to the final reeling moment, The Girl On The Train is a brilliant film and is one not to be missed.
Apart from one continuity error that I don't want to get into (it will lead to crucial spoilers) as well as some bizarre changes, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. After hyping myself up to see it and ignoring the mixed reviews, I actually think it did the original novel some justice. However I do prefer the book over the film. I think some critics are being incredibly harsh on the movie but we all know you shouldn't believe everything you read. So that's my honest review of The Girl On The Train. That's my very first review on here so hopefully you enjoyed reading it. If you have ANY interest in TGOTT yourself, then what are you waiting for? Grab your ticket, wait on the platform and become amerced in the life of Rachel Watson.
Are you going to see The Girl On The Train? What are your thoughts on it? Do you prefer the book like me or the film? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time folks.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Tuesday Tunes | October Playlist

Good morning everyone! I hope you're all having a brilliant day! So I think we can all agree that summer is well and truly gone. We can tell just by the cool, crisp mornings and the sound of colourful leaves crunching below our feet. So I thought it would be the perfect time to share with you guys my October Playlist. All of these songs have been stuck in my head for the past few weeks or even months and I doubt I'll be getting bored of them anytime soon. So with Autumn in full swing, this playlist is perfect for your everyday commute, sunset stroll, weekend adventure or basically any other Autumn situation you may find yourself in. Enjoy!
So we're kicking this playlist off with a bit of DNCE. After hearing Cake By The Ocean back in the summer, I immediately became a fan of theirs. So when I heard they were releasing another single, I was very excited. And boy, Toothbrush does not disappoint! They've incorporated everything that was great about CBTO and created another song you can sing at the top of your lungs to - believe me, I've tried to hit them high vocals, doesn't work. Now Dua Lipa is slowly becoming one of my favourite newcomers of 2016. I hadn't heard of her before Hotter Than Hell but she's released some brilliant songs before that. Her new single, Blow Your Mind, is so catchy and I know I'll be singing it right the way through these colder months.
It seems like Justin Bieber is everywhere at the moment. And here he appears not once but twice in my October Playlist. I honestly can't get enough of Let Me Love You and Cold Water. Two huge hits by two huge DJ's. Bring on the next one! It seems every time Sia releases a new song the whole world goes crazy and falls in love with it. The Greatest is no different. What a song! Now it seems like Ariana Grande can do no wrong these days. She's just releasing hit after hit and I'm loving her a little bit more everyday. Not only is Side To Side amazing but it's featuring Nicki Minaj. I'll say no more.
Now I don't care if Heathens was released back in the summer, it is still an absolute tune. Not gonna lie, I think I'm becoming a bit obsessed with Twenty One Pilots - they're so good! So many male artists are releasing so many amazing songs lately, it was hard choosing which ones to put in this playlist. Of course I had to include Shawn Mendes though. After only the first listen of Treat You Better, I loved it and I've been singing it nonstop for the past couple of weeks. It had to be included. Now if I'm honest, when James Arthur released his first single off the back of winning the X Factor in 2012 I was disappointed. But I am so happy that he's back! Say You Won't Let Go is stunning and it shows, with it being at the top of the charts right now. Bring on the next single! Now I thought it wouldn't be long until Calvin Harris drops another banger but I was quite surprised with this one. There was no huge artist featuring or extravagant production behind this one, just his vocals and a catchy beat. It reminded me of his earlier music so this song definitely gets a thumbs up from me.
Okay, Galantis can do no wrong in my eyes, they're already one of my favourite dance music acts. They just seem to get better and better with every song they release, Love On Me is amazing! Just give them a listen if you haven't already and get dancing! Now I was never a massive fan of One Direction but I must say, Niall's debut song as a solo artist is absolutely incredible. Just him and his guitar. Simplicity at it's best. The Town is quickly becoming one of my favourite songs right now - I may or may not be listening to it as I type this. But I'm actually really looking forward to hearing more of his material. Lastly, we have Bruno Mars' 24K Magic to end my playlist. Bruno dropped this song out of nowhere last Friday and I've had it on repeat ever since. It's got that Uptown Funk-vibe to it so it's definitely a great song in my eyes. Put your pink rings up to the moon! Bring on album 3!
DNCE - Toothbrush
Cheat Codes (ft. Dante Klein) - Let Me Hold You (Turn Me On)
Dua Lipa - Blow Your Mind
Emeli Sande - Hurts
DJ Snake (ft. Justin Bieber) - Let Me Love You
Sia - The Greatest
Ariana Grade (ft. Nicki Minaj) - Side To Side
Major Lazer (ft. Justin Bieber & MO) - Cold Water
The Chainsmokers - Closer
Twenty One Pilots - Heathens
Shawn Mendes - Treat You Better
James Arthur - Say You Won't Let Go
Calvin Harris - My Way
Galantis - Love On Me
Niall Horan - This Town
Bruno Mars - 24K Magic
So there you have it folks, that's the songs I'm going to have on repeat this month. What's your favourite song on my October Playlist? What songs are you loving at the moment? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Reasons I love Autumn | Lifestyle

Happy Autumn everyone! So we're well and truly into this season and it won't be long until the clocks go back - really can't wait for that extra hour in bed! Even though it feels like summer only started two minutes ago, I absolutely love Autumn and everything that comes with it. From the cool, crisp mornings to the piles of colourful leaves everywhere to all the festivities on the run up to Halloween and Christmas, I absolutely love this time of year! Not to mention sweater weather - hands up, who's filled their wardrobes with sweaters and jumpers? *raises hand*. So after a lovely stroll through my local park I am currently cocooned inside a blanket on my sofa with hot chocolate and marshmallows. I feel so bloody cozy right now so I thought it would be the perfect time to share with you some of the reasons why I love this time of year so much! 

The Colour - Honestly there's nothing more beautiful than watching the leaves around you change colour from green to wonderful shades of reds, oranges and yellows. I just find these colours so warm and homely. Walks in the parks are also a must, hearing the leaves crunch under your feet is so relaxing so grab your camera and go exploring - it can be great for that Autumnal Instagram shot.
Comfort Food & Hot Drinks Season - It is now acceptable to drink hot chocolate everyday for the next 3 months! If I'm honest I'm not much of a coffee drinker, I just love grabbing some hot chocolate and sitting beside the fire in the evenings. Autumn is also great because of comfort food and I love any and all excuses to eat food. I'm going to try and be a bit healthier this year but sometimes I just can't resist when I see warm cookies or toffee apples.
'Tis The Season Of Pumpkins & Halloween - How can you not love Halloween? You get to dress up in costumes, eat sweets, hopefully get scared and have a great time! I already know what I want to be this year and I'm so excited! As well as that I can't wait to see pumpkins everywhere. I really need to up my pumpkin game this year because the last couple of years they haven't turned out well so I'm ready to start carving! Pumpkin-flavoured everything also comes out of hibernation. I'm already seeing everyone walking around with their Starbucks pumpkin-spiced lattes. But I'm more excited to hear that Dunkin' Donuts are making pumpkin concoctions as well! *RIP clean eating* Enjoy pumpkin season!
TV Is Way Better - Let's be honest, this is so true. Whether you're into your X-Factor or Strictly or obsessing over the return of The Walking Dead, you have to agree with me on this one. Apart from the exception of Game of Thrones, Autumn/Winter television is 100x better than Spring/Summer. I just love settling down on those dark nights in front of the fire to watch amazing telly with family.
Nights Drawing In - Don't get me wrong I absolutely love the lighter summer evenings but I just think the darker nights make everything more cozy. Another excuse to draw the curtains earlier, block the world out and grab another hot chocolate. I also love the cool, brisk autumn mornings as well.
Movie Marathons - These are more like movie days instead, let's be honest. Just curled up on the sofa or your bed with a big bowl of popcorn and countless films to watch sounds like a pretty good idea to me. Invite your friends over and make it even better! Have a scary movie-athon on the run up to Halloween or get into the Christmas spirit with a great selection of Winter classics. I know I'm going to be doing that so what are you waiting for?
Sweater Weather - Sweaters, jumpers, boots, coats, hats, gloves, scarves, you name it, they'll be pouring out of my wardrobe this season. I love being able to layer when it comes to this time of year and any excuse to start a new wardrobe, am I right?
Countdown to Christmas - Need I say more? The countdown to Christmas has already begun and I couldn't be more excited. Obviously I don't show my excitement until Halloween is over with or else I'd get strange looks. But that also means the Christmas market is on it's way! A complete strip of Christmas food, drink, decorations and activities galore. The Christmas market is just the beginning of a long list on why I love the run up to Christmas and it won't be long until it's finally here again! 75 days and counting...

So there's my reasons why I absolutely love Autumn. I can't wait to see what the next couple of months will bring. What do you love most about Autumn? I'd love to know!

So I guess the only thing left to do is to go grab your boots and have fun in the leaves.
Until next time guys.

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Thursday, 6 October 2016

Uni Edit | Student Living at Home

Welcome back guys! I hope you're all have a brilliant weekend! I've been meaning to post this one for nearly two weeks now. I've had the inspiration just not the motivation to actually sit down and write it. My days have been extremely busy either with University assignments, travelling, work or binge-watching Teen Wolf. I've been wanting to do this post ever since I started my second year at University, I just haven't had the time to. That is, until now. So like I said, I've just started my second year at University, actually just finished my second week of it today. Update - it's 10x harder than first year already - send help! Not only is the workload different (and harder) for me this year but my whole experience in University is different altogether. Last year I was a nervous little bushy-eyed fresher who didn't know much about University but jumped right in at the deep end by moving away from home and lived in student accommodation. This year, it's different. I'm living at home. I'm commuting to University three days a week and honestly I couldn't be happier.
Over the past couple of weeks so many students have packed their things and left home for University, however for my second year I decided to stay at home for a number of reasons. For instance, I actually didn't enjoy living away from home as much as I thought I would. I also just didn't have the money to even do anything I wanted - yes, I became the poor student stereotype. But I'm just going to share a few reasons why I changed from living in accommodation near University to commuting every week.

Save Money - This was a pretty big issue for me throughout the majority of first year. Yes I had my student loan AND grant but most of that was being spent on rent and food. I also wasn't living directly on campus as well so I still had a bus journey to take every morning and evening. By living at home this year, I'm saving so much money. I'm commuting my train which doesn't phase me as I love travelling by train. I find it so relaxing; just reading a book or listening to music while passing through the Northern Irish scenery is just perfect. Student accommodation for second years is usually over £200 per month on top of food, drink etc. While I'm only paying around £130 for a monthly train ticket and all of my food is bought at a cheaper price back home. You'll probably be wondering, that's very well but will you not be missing out on societies or even nights outs with your university friends? A lot of my university friends are living up in University accommodation so if I didn't have much work one night and wanted to go out clubbing, then I could crash at a friends house. That's actually what I did at the recent Freshers last week. I honestly don't feel like I'm missing out on that much while saving a heap load of money.    
Keep My Job - On a previous post I briefly mentioned that I got a hired at the beginning of summer. This included working weekdays and weekends. That's very well throughout the summer months when the only thing you have to worry about is taking holidays. I really enjoyed having an income and the extra money in my pocket. However I knew that if I got a house near my university for second year then I would have to give my job up. And I really didn't want to do that. So I'm commuting this year and I'm quite glad as I'm only timetabled to be in for 3 days per week. That's given me the opportunity to keep my job, commute to university happily and have that extra bit of money for myself - no more worrying like last year!  
Relationships - This was another big one for me. Although there's countless social networking site out there that allows you to stay in touch with your friends and family back home, you still feel a bit disconnected. I remember having to miss out on a lot last year with my old friends and even missed out on family birthdays. Some relationships were put to the test, some were strained, some actually got stronger. But I didn't want the same thing to happen this year. So by staying at home and travelling to university I have time with my new friends but also have way more time to meet up and see my old friends which I couldn't really do this time last year. I also get to spend more time with my family which I absolutely love.
Healthy Lifestyle - As you can imagine, the majority of university students live off of pot noodles, pasta, pizza and alcohol. Thankfully, I wasn't that bad. Once Freshers was over last year I did try and make reasonable food choices however they weren't always the cheapest. And I ate sooo many sandwiches that I'm actually sick of them and don't want to see another one for a very long time. But this year, I'm at home and can actually prepare healthier, more delicious lunches. There's also nothing like coming in from a long day at university to a big home-cook meal from your dad. Especially in the colder months. While at home I obviously don't go out and drink as much as I did in my first year but I have more time to exercise and keep fit. That's a big positive in the long run. I always have opportunities to drink while at home or out around university but I feel living at home gives you a much healthier lifestyle.
So even though the mornings are a little bit earlier and I don't have as much independence as I did last year, I feel like I'm going to be a lot happier throughout this upcoming year. For me, by staying at home I have the best of both worlds - friends on my course, friends at home, and by earning a bit of extra money through part time work I'm able to do lots of things I couldn't do this time last year. So there you have it folks, that's my reasons for staying at home this year while at university. Sorry it's a bit lengthy but I hope you enjoyed reading it! I'd love to know if you're living in university accommodation this year or staying at home like me.
Until next time.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Hello Autumn | My season essentials

Welcome back guys! So it's official. Sweater weather has arrived and Autumn is finally upon us! Not too sure which one I'm more excited about. But we can all definitely tell it's no longer summer... Even just in the past week I've really began to notice a change in the weather. The nights are longer, the mornings are so much cooler and the leaves are slowly changing colour and falling to the ground. Even though I'm not happy to be saying goodbye to the sun and heat until next Spring, I'm actually really looking forward to Autumn this year. I am so ready for conker fights, leaf crunching and pumpkins galore, who's with me? But now that the weather is starting to cool down, it's time to replace all of them t-shirts and shorts with light jackets and sweaters. So I'm just going to share with you guys some of my latest Autumn purchases that are definitely essentials for this season. 
Featuring: Black Top - Zara Menswear, Camel Jacket - Primark Menswear, Ripped Jeans - H&M, Shoes - Primark Menswear, Watch - Fossil

So a couple of days ago me and my friend met up in Belfast City Centre to grab a coffee and have a catch up before I start back to University next week - so nervous for it! One particular area we like to stroll through is the Cathedral Quarter of the city which is where we headed. Soon we found ourselves in the centre of Saint Anne's Square which acted as the background to these photos here. Considering I don't live very far from the city centre I was actually quite surprised that I had never been inside the square before. But I loved it! The architecture was stunning with incredible views of Saint Anne's Cathedral - very Instagrammy indeed! I love the fact that even now I'm still discovering new and exciting things in this city.
  Luckily the square was very quiet during this part of the day so we could snap away with ease. On that day I was sporting my new black suede top from Zara that I picked up when I was in Manchester. I couldn't recommend it enough due to the comfort alone. Not too tight, not too baggy, just right. Plus the length of the arms are great as they're not too short like a casual t-shirt but are long enough to keep you comfortable during the cooler days. I think a plain black top is a classic for any man's wardrobe, it goes with so many things. So definitely look into picking one out this season. I was also wearing my Primark slim fit camel jacket which I love not just for the colour but for the fit as well. I can't tell you how many times I've cycled through jackets over the years and always wanted a camel one. When I found it I thought it was perfect for this time of year, not too heavy or tight. You can also layer it with other pieces which I like.    
Now a pair of jeans are a no brainer for this time of year. You can't go wrong with them, especially ripped ones. They're a statement piece for any outfit you put together. As Autumn is now here I'm starting to build my wardrobe with confident, classic pieces and a good few pairs of jeans will definitely be in there. Black shoes are nothing new but I love these black converse and thought they completed the outfit that I was going for that day. Now a stylish watch is an essential for any man. Adding a bit of decoration to your wrist can make a big impact to your whole outfit. They're so convenient and you're able to mix and match if you have several. These days I never leave the house without a watch on. I absolutely love my new watch from Fossil - I definitely need to get some more before the year is up. 
So there you have it folks, a few of my Autumn essentials for this season. Give it a month or so and it'll be cold enough to bring out the big coats, woolly jumpers and hats but for now I'm enjoying the lighter pieces. I'm very excited to see what the next couple of months will bring, especially Halloween - I'm already thinking of what I could dress up as! But what are you guys wearing this season? What are your Autumn essentials? I'd love to hear from you. Drop a comment below or come chat to me over on Twitter.
Until next time guys.

Friday, 16 September 2016

The Body Coach | Quick, Healthy Lunch Idea

We're quickly entering the season of long nights and fluffy jumpers. And that means everyone wants to give up on their summer bodies and eat, eat, eat. So, again, I thought I'd try something a little bit different with this one. In my previous post I briefly mentioned how this summer I've tried to become much healthier and fitter. I feel like I've changed my life around for the better, cutting down on all the processed food, opting for fresh, tasty meals instead. Obviously treating myself on the weekends - can't live without chocolate! I do a lot more exercise as well, mostly High- Intensity Interval Training or H.I.I.T for short - quick, intense bursts of exercise followed by a short recovery period. But I honestly feel so much better for it. I can also eat so much more food which is always a bonus. So why did I make this change in the first place?

Several months ago I came across The Body Coach on Instagram who's a bit of a fitness guru; always posting photos and videos of healthy dishes and different workouts. His enthusiasm and passion really inspired me so I went out and I bought his book: Lean in 15. It was one of the best purchases I had made in a very long time. It's absolutely filled to the brim with healthy meals that are absolutely delicious. Along with that, it's actually pretty informative as well. It gives so much information on all the nutrient groups, the importance of staying hydrated - I have a bottle of water beside me while typing this - and prepping like a boss, as he would say. Now when he says these meals will only take you fifteen minutes to make, he isn't joking. They're so easy to prepare and cook and taste 100x better than what I was eating before. So since the beginning of summer I have been cooking my meals for the week using this book as well as getting inspiration to create my own healthy dishes. Along with the H.I.I.T training, I just feel so refreshed and energised all the time.

 Now there are several recipes in this book that I absolutely love, it's pretty hard to choose a favourite - they all just taste sooo good! But I'm going to share with you all one of the meals from this book that are definitely up there in my top five. I think it's a perfect quick and healthy lunch idea for anyone who wants a tasty meal. So check out how to make it below:

Cheesy Chorizo, Chicken and Spinach

So according to the recipe, you will need:
- 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
- 75g chorizo, finely diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 x 240g skinless chicken breast fillet, cut into 1cm slices
- 4 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 3 big fistfuls of baby spinach leaves
- 1 ball of mozzarella, torn into chunks
- 20g pine nuts
1. Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat.
2. Add the chorizo and fry for a minute.
3. Add the onion and fry for another minute.
4. Increase the heat to maximum and add the chicken.
5. Stir-fry for 3 minutes, the chicken should be almost completely cooked through.
6. Throw in the cherry tomatoes and cook until they begin to collapse.
7. Toss in the spinach and stir through until fully wilted.
8. Use a wooden spoon to make little pockets in the chicken and vegetable mixture, then drop in small chunks of the mozzarella.
9. Turn off the heat, let the mozzarella melt before spooning the whole delicious lot onto a plate and scattering over the pine nuts.
10. Devour.
Writing about this is making me so hungry. I really wish I had this book when I was living away at University last year, it would have been so helpful. I can't wait to buy his next book: Lean in 15: The Shape Plan, for more delicious recipes and even more advanced exercises. So if you want to know anything more about this recipe or The Body Coach himself, then click here. Anyway I hope you enjoyed reading this, just something a little bit different for me. I've prepared the majority of meals in this book and they're so tasty but feel free to take liberties and add your own twist. Who knows, you could be the one with a book out next.  
Anyway, have a great day folks!
Until next time.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Summer 2016 | Photo Round Up

Hello everyone! It's crazy to think that just like that summer is over with for another year. The past 3 or 4 months have went by so quickly and so much has happened. Now Autumn is practically upon us, it's the time to bring out all the coats and woolly jumpers - I'll probably be seeing pumpkin spice flavoured everything too. Now Autumn is definitely one of my favourite seasons for so many different reasons but I'm pretty sad to say goodbye to Summer '16, especially because we probably won't be seeing the sun again until next Spring...
This post is a bit new for me but I thought I'd round up all the things I did this summer which made it fun and special for me. From travelling to different parts of the Mediterranean to getting a job to catching up with family I hadn't seen in years, I thought this summer was brilliant and I can't wait to share it with you.

Photo 1 // End of First Year - This photograph was taken the day I had to hand my keys in to the accommodation officer and say goodbye to what I had called home for the past year. It was quite emotional seeing the place so empty and it's going to be weird not being there in September. But the place is filled with so many brilliant memories from my first year at university that I'm going to remember for a very long time!
Photo 2 // My Friend's Birthday - For my friend's 19th birthday I travelled out to the countryside to her boyfriends house where we all had a party. It was the first time all of my friends were together for a long time due to work or university and it was so lovely to catch up on what everyone had been doing. We all sat around the fire and had a barbecue while watching the sunset across the field, it was a great start to summer. 
Photo 3 // New, Healthy Lifestyle - Since the beginning of this summer I've been trying my hardest to become much healthier and fitter. Now I wouldn't say I was unhealthy as I did enjoy some exercise but I did have a strong sweet tooth and wouldn't say no to some chocolate or doughnuts. But I wanted to make a change. So I bought The Body Coach which is a book filled with quick, healthy recipes that are delicious as well as different exercises you can do wherever. So I started making these meals, I exercised more, I got more sleep and I felt 10x better. And I still do. I still exercise 4 or 5 times a week now and still eat healthily, obviously having the odd chocolate bar on the weekends...
Photos 4 & 5 // Holiday to Calpe - So at the beginning of June a couple of my friends and I travelled to the Spanish coastal town of Calpe for a week. It was absolutely beautiful, I couldn't fault the whole trip. From the scenery to the hotel where we stayed, it was stunning and I really didn't want to leave. I wrote a blog post about the trip here if you want to learn more about what we did.   
Photo 6 // Robert James began - At the very start of July I decided to set up this blog and it's honestly one of the best thing I've ever done. I didn't think I would enjoy blogging so much. I feel like it's given me so much more confidence especially with everyone on here being so friendly. The photo above is taken from my very first blog post that you can read here - don't judge too much as it was very early days and I didn't really know what I was doing...
Photo 7 // My Sister's Graduation - Back in July my sister graduated University with a First Class Honours Degree in Geography and I couldn't be happier for her. She worked so hard in her last year and she deserved it! The day was brilliant - any excuse to wear a suit - but it was a lovely day spent with family at the university and along the North Coast of Ireland.

Photo 8 // St. Georges Market - I visited St Georges Market in Belfast with my parents. I had never been to it before but I absolutely loved trying all the fresh produce and walking around all the stands - I bought so much!

Photo 9 // Catching up with friends - Over the summer it was hard to see my friends all the time as the majority are working different hours to each other. But when I did meet up with them we always did something fun such as going on a road trip to the coast or taking a hike up a mountain. The photo above was snapped inside a cave at the top of Cavehill overlooking the city of Belfast.

Photo 10 // I got a job! - Yes I did it! I got a job! I couldn't be happier after desperately trying for so long. I've been working there for nearly 2 months now and I wouldn't change it for the world!

Photos 11, 12, 13 & 14 // Holiday to Mallorca - This was definitely the highlight of the whole summer for me. Two weeks away in the sun with my family exploring this beautiful island. It doesn't get much better than that. I wrote a blog post highlighting some of the things we got up to including a spectacular trip that I will never forget. So check it out here.

Photo 15 // Reunited! - Two days after returning from Mallorca I found out my Pilipino friend who had been away for over 18 months would be returning back to Northern Ireland. I was so excited and happy to see her again! When we met up we went to Nandos for a bite to eat and she had brought me presents back from the Phillipines which were so cute. The picture above is of us at Belfast City Hall relaxing in the sun - which is quite rare in Northern Ireland...

Photo 16 // Bank Holiday Weekend in Manchester - My family and I travelled to Manchester for the weekend to attend a family wedding. Not only was it amazing to see all of my English family again after so long apart but we also got to explore Manchester and the picturesque town of Wimslow too. I wrote a blog post all about that weekend here.

So there you have it folks, that was my Summer 2016 photo round up. I hope you've enjoyed reminiscing with me. I've had a brilliant time over these last couple of months but now it's time to get the head down as I'll be going back to University for second year in a matter of weeks! That's quite scary as I've still got so much to do before that but I'm looking forward to going back. But what was your summer like? I'd love to hear from you! Drop a comment below or come have a chat with me over on my Twitter, I love talking to new followers. Also don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin' and Instagram too.

So until next folks.

Bloglovin' // Twitter // Instagram


Monday, 12 September 2016

Top Tips for Freshers

So it's that time of the year again. Soon enough the Hogwarts Express will be leaving Kings Cross Station and all the universities across the country will be opening their doors to welcome in another batch of students. I can't believe it's been a whole year since I was in that position - minus the Hogwarts Express, unfortunately. My first year at university has been a complete roller coaster from start to finish but I've loved it! It really began to sink in that I would be leaving home when I went to collect my keys for the accommodation and I started to get really nervous about the whole thing. I didn't know anyone, I would be away from home and I didn't know my way around the university at all. I felt like my world was about to be turned upside down. I was panicking so much that come the very first day I was just a bundle of nerves. But looking back on it, I really didn't have to be so nervous. Everyone on my course was in the exact the same position and they were all so friendly. After the first day, I was chatting to people on my course and even went out in the evening with my housemates. Overall I absolutely loved my first year. I didn't go out drinking 3 times a week like some people I know and I still enjoyed myself. The first year at university can seem really scary, like I said, I was terrified this time last year. But my best advice could be not to feel so nervous and worry as well as always look at the positives. Your in university!! Not everyone can say that, just enjoy it while it lasts. So I'm just going to run through some of my top tips for surviving freshers: 
 Use social media - I would say this is a biggie, especially if your living away from home. Before I moved into my accommodation there was a Facebook page set up which I was added to. This included everyone that was going to be living in the same area as me. I thought this was so handy. Not only did I get to find out who my housemates were before even moving in but I could talk to and get to know the people I'd be seeing every day for the rest of the year. I thought it was a really good way to introduce us to the place and settle our nerves a bit. So definitely check out if your university accommodation has any Facebook pages or forums set up so you can get to know your peers. Also don't hold back with social media once university/freshers has properly begun. It's a great way to talk to the students on your course and get involved in things, which leads us on to my second tip...
Get involved - I know it will be nerve-wrecking starting somewhere new where you might not know anyone. But try and get out of your comfort zone and try new things, even start conversations with people. If your waiting in a cue why not talk to the person in front of you and get to know them, more than likely they'll appreciate it and feel better as they're probably just as nervous as you. Or. Once your moved in why not knock on you roommates door and get to know them. *Hint* Bring food with you, your roommates will love you instantly. There's also the Freshers' Fair. Here you'll probably get all your pens for the next 6 months along with some pretty cool information on things you could get involved in. Seriously don't hold back, just go for it. Joining clubs and societies are a fantastic way of meeting new people especially if your not a huge drinker. So whether it's the Environmental Society or Film Club or signing up to be on a sports team, just go for it. Put yourself out there and I'm sure you'll meet some great people.
Work out a simple budget - Okay I don't think I could emphasise this enough. But please budget!! There are so many people I know who used their entire student budget in the first few weeks. They also spent the next couple of months living off of pot noodles, water from the water fountains and having to use the university toilets as they can't afford toilet paper. Yup, the student life can be hard. But please try and budget. If you like going out clubbing, even limit yourself to one night a week. I used to get money out at the start of the week to do me the next 7 days and it actually worked. So I'd recommend trying that.
Sleep - This is a pretty big one. You'd think this would just be basic knowledge. But a lot of students think going to sleep at 4:30am for a 9am lecture is fine three days in a row. No. Not it is not. You will more than likely fall asleep in your lecture and not have a clue what's going on for the rest of the week. So definitely get a good nights sleep, you'll feel 10x better come your morning lecture.
Do your work - You'll hear so many people say that first year doesn't count for anything and second and third year are the important ones. Well my friends that's a load of nonsense. If you have that mind set and don't try in first year then you won't even be back for second year at all. As a fresher you'll probably just want to get out and party but do take the work seriously. Get your head down and get stuck in. If that means completing a deadline in advance then do it, relieve some of the stress and avoid a breakdown. 
Make your room your own - You heard me. This is going to be your place for the next year, you''ll want to make it look homely. Whether that be through sticking up posters, photographs, polaroids, song lyrics, special memories, anything to remind you of home. It will make you feel so much better.
Enjoy every moment - This is probably a bit cliché but these years are going to fly by so quickly. I still can't get over how I'm going to be starting second year in a couple of weeks! But they really are an amazing few years so don't take them for granted. Take advantage of everything that's thrown at you and have a great time!  
Oh and one last thing. Be careful at the end of the year, it tends to be when Voldemort tries to kill you.
So there you have it folks. There's my top tips for surviving freshers. It's probably a lot longer than I was expecting but I hope you've enjoyed reading it. Hopefully this will help someone who's starting university this year. So what are your tip for surviving freshers? I'd love to hear from you. Drop a comment below or follow me on Bloglovin', Twitter and Instagram.
Until next time folks.

Friday, 9 September 2016

72 hours in Manchester | Bank Holiday Adventure

Hello guys! So I briefly mentioned in my last post how I was busy with family over the bank holiday weekend, and what a fun couple of days it was. Catching a flight over to Manchester for the holiday was definitely more exciting than staying at home. Yes the sun wasn't shining the whole time, and yes the roads were absolutely bunged. BUT. I got to spend the weekend catching up with family I hadn't seen in years. AND. I got to explore parts of Manchester and the cute little town of Wimslow that I'd never seen before. So this will probably be quite a lengthy post, but stay with me. We squeezed so much into 3 days, even a wedding! So read below to find out what we got up to:

So I woke up on the Friday morning with the sun splitting the trees, my bag already packed and the smell of eggs coming from the kitchen. At that point I knew it was going to be a good weekend. After arriving at the airport we took a short coffee break before boarding our flight which surprisingly was only up in the air for 35/40 minutes before making it's decent - a lot shorter than travelling to New York! Once in Manchester we got a taxi from the city airport to our hotel which, again, was fairly close. We stayed at a Premier Inn hotel which was located on the outskirts of Wimslow, just 15 minutes away from the airport. Being the UK's top rated hotel chain I was actually looking forward to staying here. And it did not disappoint. I had such a relaxing stay, the staff were so friendly and the food was absolutely delicious, especially breakfast! 
So we dropped our bags, got freshened up and caught a taxi to the Trafford Centre. Now. I hadn't heard much about the Trafford Centre before, my sister just said it was a big shopping centre. If I'm honest, I wasn't expecting much. Boy, was I wrong. I could not believe the sheer size of the place, it was absolutely massive! It had every shopping and restaurant chain you could ever think of, a huge arcade which included bowling allies, spectacular architecture and palm trees everywhere you looked. I also found out it has Europe's largest food court and the UK's busiest cinema! It was amazing! After hours of shopping and exploring the gigantic centre and a quick drink and bite to eat in Mardi Gras, it was time to go home or back to the hotel at least. As we were heading towards the entrance we walked past the most beautiful and grandest staircase I had ever seen - I could not resist taking a photograph of it. I just wish we had shopping centres like that back in Northern Ireland.  
The next morning, I started my day with the most delicious Eggs Royale before starting to get ready for a family wedding. I was actually quite nervous because I hadn't seen my English family in so long. But on the other hand I was extremely excited to see everyone and watch my cousin walk down the aisle. The location of the wedding was absolutely stunning. Situated in the grounds of Styal Golf Club, it must've been one of the most beautiful wedding settings I had ever seen. The whole day was amazing and the weather actually held up which was great. It was so lovely being able to spend the entire day with my family, catching up with my cousins and aunties and uncles. With me being the youngest in the family everyone kept commenting on my height as I was a lot smaller the last time they saw me - okay, I was a very small teenager. The band which came on during the evening was great, the drinks being served were even better and don't even get me started on how delicious the wedding cake was - I may have went up for a second slice. But it was probably once of the best weddings I had been to in a very long time.
I woke up the next morning feeling rather tender, shall we put it like that. Thank god for the hotel breakfast! But we got ready for the day ahead and met up with some of my English family again for some lunch. We went to the Coach & Four pub which looked so old fashioned and beautiful as the original stonework was still intact. We all sat in the conservatory part of the pub where there was a huge buffet and an array of wine just for ourselves. I don't think I've ever eaten so much food before in my life but it was delicious! Afterwards I had to say goodbye to my English family which was sad but I know we'll keep in contact and hopefully I'll be seeing them again very soon. Later on, my family and I decided to explore the town of Wimslow and discovered two of the cutest parks I'd ever seen. One even had a huge lake in the middle of it - great photo opportunity. We then watched the sunset and headed back to the hotel for a couple of drinks at the bar before sitting down to watch a film in our hotel room.
On the Bank Holiday Monday we woke up, had our last breakfast - I couldn't resist a full English fry - and headed back to Manchester airport. The flight home was so relaxing and it was so lovely to be welcomed back with some sunshine. I honestly enjoyed every minute of that weekend and would love to go on some more short breaks in the future as well! Have you went on any short breaks recently or can recommend any? I'd love to hear from you! Drop a comment below and don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin', Twitter and Instagram. So until next time folks.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Uni Edit: Keeping in touch with friends

Happy Friday folks! It honestly feels like I haven't posted in ages, I've just been so busy with family over the Bank Holiday or with work. But now I'm back and it's September already! Where has 2016 gone? It won't be long until the long nights roll in and I start seeing Christmas stuff everywhere - that's not entirely a bad thing though. September is always such a busy month for everyone, getting back into the swing of things with school, work, university etc. Lucky me doesn't have to go back to university until the end of this month though. It's crazy to think that I'll be beginning the second year of my degree in just a matter of weeks. First year went by far too quickly!
This time last year I had so many worries and concerns about starting university, especially because I was moving away from home and I didn't know anyone at all. I was worried about so many things; who was I staying with? What's my course going to be like? Will I like my course? Will I get along with the other students? How much is food going to cost me?? (The last one - very important!) But even though I was (I know this is cliché) starting a new chapter in my life, I didn't want to lose contact with any of my old friends. That was a big worry for me. And I'm sure I'm not alone, it's probably a big worry for a lot of students starting first year every year. So I'm just going to quickly run through some ways you can keep in contact with your old friends while away at university. Hopefully I'll be able to keep your home sickness at bay.  

FaceTime/Skype - I think if you're ever missing your friends or family members' faces back home, then FaceTime or Skype are the next best thing. When a voicemail or text won't cut it and you want to have a conversation face to face, definitely download either of them. Trust me, when the cold months arrive and you're wrapped up in your duvet because the heating won't come on (again) a friendly face will make you feel 10x better. FaceTime is easy enough to install in Apple products and Skype is basically the same thing on a laptop. With both, you can exchange video and audio calls, messages and much more. You'll never feel lonely at University with these two installed.
Social Media - Whether you have Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, it has never been easier to connect with your friends or even your family while at university. With the ability to post photographs and videos, status' about your day and even private messages, you'll never miss what's happening in your friends' lives and vice versa. Honestly seeing a quick post or message from a friend can really lift your mood while at uni. So basically make sure you have all 3 before you start and then you'll definitely have a good idea on what's going on back home. 
Snapchat - Now I only got Snapchat when I first started university - literally in the first week. And I'm so glad that I did! It's such a simple way to stay in contact with your old AND new friends. Your able to take photos and videos and then send them to your contacts where they can see them for several seconds. It's hilarious, I love all the different filters. It's great when you end a stressful day of lectures to look at your phone and find a funny video from your friend. Just makes your day that much better.
Phone Call - Yes, a good old fashioned phone call. They still exist. If your friends aren't that great with technology then a phone call at the end of the day is a great way to keep up to date with everything. And if you and your friends are all on the same phone contracts then it won't cost a thing to make a call, even better!
So there you have it. Hopefully that helps with anyone's worries about old friendships while at university. You can still keep them strong as long as you stay in touch every once in a while. I know a lot of people will be starting university very soon and reading something like this might help. Also if you have any questions about university life, don't be afraid to ask. It can be hard keeping friendships alive sometimes, especially when you don't see each other that often. But it's well worth it in the end.
Thanks for reading guys, until next time.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Mallorca | Photo Diary

I briefly mentioned in my last post that I was going on a two week holiday to the island of Mallorca. Hands down, the best two weeks I've had in an extremely long time! Not only was the place we were staying in beautiful but the island as a whole is absolutely stunning! Now I have travelled to Mallorca before when I was younger but I never really got a feel for the whole island, we just kind of stayed in the area our hotel was in. But this time around was different. I saw so much of the island that I hadn't seen before; beautiful ports, incredible architecture, stunning landscapes etc, all in the space of two weeks! Obviously I didn't spend the whole time travelling. I adored where we stayed in Ca'n Picafort and I definitely made plenty of time for the pool and beach - might I add it was right beside our hotel! Despite the popular belief that the island only boasts clubbing, I found myself engrossed in the history and local culture via the Old Town in Alcudia and Palma. My camera literally was not out of my hand for the whole two weeks, it was just so picturesque! With a 3am start and seven hours of travelling by plane and coach before reaching our hotel in the North East of the island, it was safe to say I was exhausted. But I was so excited to get out and explore the island! Read below to find out what I got up to:

Palma Cathedral & City - Despite having become quite a modern city, Palma, the capital of the Balearic Islands, has retained it's culture and charm. As soon as I arrived in the city I was in complete awe of the dazzling gothic La Seu Cathedral which overlooks the Parc de la Mar and the Mediterranean Sea. Once inside the historical building I was completely blown away by it's history, architecture and it's art - the cathedral has one of the worlds largest stain glass windows. It's crazy! After exploring the rest of the grounds we had plenty of time to explore the captivating capital. There is honestly just so much to see and do in Palma. Whether you want to hit the shops and boutiques (trust me there's plenty) or sit back and relax in one of the many Spanish restaurants, there's something for everyone here.
Alcudia Old Town & Port - This is the main tourist centre in the North of Mallorca and it was only 15 minutes away from our hotel. The Old Town is one of the most visited villages on the island and has a 14th Century wall built around it. However you're able to step up onto it and follow it around the majority of the town taking in everything from a different perspective. Have your camera at the ready! Inside there is a maze of streets that are fairly narrow and surrounded by interesting buildings and architecture. The town also hosts a market twice a week and has several popular restaurants and bistros famous for traditional Spanish food in small settings. We spent a huge chunk of the day in the Old Town before heading down to the coast, it was just too beautiful with stunning views overlooking the landscape. Port d'Alcudia is only 5 minutes away from the Old Town and is a much more built up, tourist area with a huge sandy beach that stretches for 14km! Most of the restaurants are located around the marina which is lined with dozens of tall palm trees.
Port de Pollenca - This small town is located just 6km east of the inland town of Pollenca and it is honestly one of the most beautiful places on the island. It is the most northerly town in Mallorca and boasts incredible views of the nearby mountains as well as having access to the sea and the cutest beach. It has a coastal pathway which stretches for over 2 miles which is lined with various bars and restaurants. While walking along it we stopped at a couple of bars to sip on a few cocktails and took in the magnificent coastal scenery. We had one day there but honestly one day is just not enough, the place is stunning!
Western Encounter - This was definitely the highlight of the whole holiday for me! I discovered Mallorca by coach, boat, tram and train in one day and it was absolutely amazing! We travelled through the spectacular Tramuntana mountain range, taking in the incredible views before seeing the famous winding mountain road which lead to Sa Colobra. Honestly the views were absolutely breath-taking - again, camera was at the ready! After the visit we boarded a boat to Port de Soller. I don't think I'll ever forget sailing along the rugged coastline and seeing the picturesque coastal town ahead of me. We explored the resort which consists of shops, restaurants and bars that stretch from the beach front right up into the mountainside. It looked like somewhere from a movie, it was incredible. We then hopped on the tram to the town of Soller which is located in a large bowl-shaped valley. After strolling around the unique town we boarded the Soller wooden train. It travelled up through the mountains, twisting and turning through the old tunnels, chugging past some of the most beautiful scenery I'd ever seen. That was a journey I'm never going to forget. 
There's honestly so much more to do on Mallorca. From various boat tours to water parks to Cap de Formentor - which is at the top of my to-do list when I'm next on the island - there's something for everyone.
Son Baulo Hotel - Situated directly on the Son Baulo beach and beside a nature reserve, what more could you want? I couldn't fault this place. From the food to the service to the rooms, I couldn't recommend this place enough! I had an amazing time there and I'll definitely be back for more!  
Those two weeks went by far too quickly and I probably ate far too much paella as well. But I feel like I experienced so much of Mallorca. I learned so much about the island while also relaxing and unwinding in the sun. If you've never went to Mallorca, what are you waiting for? Honestly it's an incredible island, you will not be disappointed!
So have you ever went to Mallorca or any of the other Balearic Islands? Any recommendations on where to go and what to see? Let me know in the comment section below. Oh and don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin', Twitter and Instagram.
Until next time folks