31 December 2014

7 Top Tips for travelling by train

Being in a long distance relationship with someone in Cumbria and having both my sisters living in London, means I am on the train, a lot!  In fact, it's become something of a running joke at work, every Friday I leave the office running for the train station with a suitcase in tow heading somewhere.  Traveling to see my boyfriends usually takes 4-6 hours of train travel and I usually go on a long journey every other weekend, so here are some tips I have picked up to make your journey much more comfortable.  I know they work for me!

1.Dress for travel
When you fly we all think about comfort, but not so much when we travel by train, even though we still have to lump our stuff around and can often be sat for around the same amount of time!  Wear layers and keep it comfortable.  Also you can go from being too warm from lumping your suitcase/ bag around to cold very quickly if your too near the doors!  You need to be able to keep switching positions to stop having a numb bum without flashing your knickers!

2.Book directly with your train provider, not a discount website, it's cheaper!
If I'm traveling to Cumbria I always book with TransPennine Express, and honestly, you won't get train tickets cheaper than booking direct.  There are loads of travel companies who claim to get tickets for less but the best price can only ever match booking direct and then they stick booking changes on the end!  I always go direct, I can't stress this enough!  Some train providers also have loyalty schemes and TransPennine Express will also post your tickets for free, which is another weight off your shoulders on the day!

3. Choose your own seats
When you book online, if you can book a seat (which is free by the way) always do, but look beyond what they initially offer.  You can choose a preference (I always pick a window seat) and they will provide a seat to match.  Train companies will try and fill the train a carriage at a time, however, if you view your reservation you can move your booking to another less busy carriage!

4. Appreciate the view
Such a simple one but often over looked, some of the best views I see all year come from train windows!  Especially with the snow at the moment, everything looks extra beautiful, and make sure you instagram it!

5.Pick up a fancy coffee and some snacks
This has become part of my routine for long journeys and it's something I actually really look forward to.  I grab a latte from the station ( there's almost always some sort of coffee shop, my favourite is Starbucks) and I sit on the train with that, snacks, and my book, complete contentment.  Which brings me to my next point...

4.Bring something to read
For me the best part of train travel is being able to sit and read a book, it's not for everyone but you can take along some magazines or whatever you fancy.  Best part is they don't take up much room and won't run out of batteries!

5. Take a separate bag for your travel essentials
All those things you think you'll never need, but actually will.  Tissues, lip balm, wet ones, travel cards and train tickets all need to be within easy reach.  If the train's busy you might end up far away from your luggage and so having everything you need on hand can be a real god send (and stops the conductor getting annoyed while you try and rummage through your backpack!

6. Bring headphones
Preferably sound cancelling headphones if you have them, then even if you don't want to listen to music you can at least get some peace!  Personally I love listening to the Skyrim soundtrack as background noise, it makes me feel like I'm going on an epic adventure!

7. Tablets, phones and all your charges!
One of the best ways I have found for passing the time recently is playing games in my tablets.  Most of the larger trains have plug sockets too so you can charge that and your phone on the go (another reason I always opt for a window seat).  I love playing board games so Monopoly, Settlers of Catan and Worms are my current go to tablet games of choice, but of course there are plenty of casual games if you want something a bit quicker to play.

So there you have it!  I am a serial train traveler ,and I'm not afraid to admit it!  Do you have any travel tips?


30 December 2014

Winter walks

The good thing about having a dog is that they make you leave the house, even when sometimes you would rather be wrapped up warm, eating chocolates and playing Xbox.  Because of this you see the seasons change and as the snow fell down on us pretty heavily over the weekend, we decided to make it a family affair.

We went pretty much the same way I walked when I wrote this post and yet it all looks so different, it's a cliche' but snow really does make everything look magical!  We all donned out winter gear and headed out in the snow to try and walk off some of our Christmas indulgence ( minus my youngest sister, who being a typical teenager, opted to say in bed).  We were able to share in the dogs excitement and see the beautiful countryside near my house in a different perspective.

Are you a fan of the snow?  Or are you desperately waiting for it to leave?

23 December 2014

Favourite Quotes and Lyrics #11

“You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”

- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I haven't done one of these posts since July, it's about time I shared one with you.  Last Christmas for the first time I read Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol in it's pure form, but The Muppet's Christmas Carol is one of my favourite parts of Christmas.  I watch it every year, and this is one of my favourite quotes ( the Muppet's version is slightly different).

I might be blogging less over the next week or so as I spend time with my family and boyfriend but we will see!  Merry Christmas!


19 December 2014

Personalised Calendars from Snapfish

I was contacted a while ago by Snapfish to see if I wanted to review their personalised calendars.  However because there was some personalised Christmas presents I wanted to get from the site I've only just got round to ordering, woops!  Despite this everything I ordered came really quickly, I was really impressed.  Especially with the Christmas rush and some of the other things I ordered were a bit more complex.  I won't go into what they are now as they are gifts but expect a post after Christmas!

Anyway, onto the calendar.  I chose this style as I thought it would fit onto my desk nicely at work and remind me of some of the awesome people I have in my life.  The website was really easy to use and you can see exactly how it is going to look before you order (which is really useful if you don't trust your own judgment like me) and you can even do some minor editing.  

The quality is really great and the images are all really clear.  To be honest I can't really think of any negatives, their products and service have all been really good!  I really wasn't expecting to be this impressed as I know there are a lot of similar services around but I wouldn't hesitate to use them again.  The pricing is totally reasonable too.

Are you giving any personalised gifts this year? 

17 December 2014

A Very Disney Christmas

Happy one-week-until-Christmas-Eve!  I am crazy busy at the moment but I am trying to keep my blog on track.  If your a regular reader you will know that my household is full of Disney-nerds, and our Christmas decorations reflect this!

Our whole tree is Disney themed, There's probably over 100 so I just took a few of my fave's and a few of the others from around the house.  I know it's not for everyone but honestly, I love it, and I can't really choose a favourite.  Just looking at these pictures puts me in a better mood, and it feels really homely!  Most of these are my mums but I do have my own duplicate versions of most of the Alice in Wonderland decorations for when I finally move out and get my own tree again!  

Do you have any theme to your Christmas decorations?  And what do you think of these Disney ones?

16 December 2014

Burberry Launch at Meadowhall

A few weeks back I was lucky enough to be invited by the guys at Meadowhall to the launch of the new Burberry counter in their Boots store.  I was a little worried when I first entered the store, thinking it would be difficult to find, but even in a busy Meadowhall the Burberry stand really stands out.  It bucks the trend being one of the only stands that isn't black!  It's bright and classy, which is great but it also makes it hard to photograph!

We were greeted by the knowledgeable staff with champagne before being given a full tour of the collection.  Now I don't know about you but I've never really linked Burberry to beauty, that famous check pattern, yes, trench coats, yes, but make up, no, so this was all new to me, and I discovered a lot.  

One thing that did impress me was their colour range in foundations, which provided various shades and tones, something I find companies often lack.  When it comes to the eyes, they have chosen stuck to a minimal amount of shades, and opting for mainly neutrals, which aren't to my usual taste.  All their make up is chosen to coordinate with their current fashion collection, so it's always on trend, and there's real thought gone into the history of every product.

We were given some very cute gift bags containing samples of the new My Burberry perfume which I love, as for the actual make up range I have some reservations.  Especially as it's not the cheapest, but I am being sent some samples soon so I will let you know!

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