Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Stop and stare


I have wanted to write this post for months, even years now. Right now whilst I write this I am on my holidays in Italy. Today, I have been to the local water park and it really got me thinking. I have so many things I want to include I hope I manage to portray all of my thoughts and feelings.

If you read my recent importance of friendship post, you will know I surround myself with positive and encouraging friends. In this post I want to discuss what it is actually liked to be stared at on a daily basis, due to being and looking different to the norm. I have a condition which means the hair on my head does not grow at the average speed, and some of my bones are odd shaped. However, I am still able to mobilise well and exercise like everyone else. I also suffer from moderate acne which is actually my biggest insecurity of all.

When I was much younger and at high school I did lack confidence and I used to take a lot of people's looks and comments to heart. Over the years and for the sack of my sanity I have built a thick skin. This definitely takes time, and I know for sure if I wasn't like this and took everything to heart I wouldn't leave the house. I understand how people suffer with huge confidence issues which can also affect someone's mental health as I am not going to beat around the bush some people are truly vile. I honestly don't think some people understand how one smirk or whisper to a friend whilst blatantly talking about you in front of your face, can take your day from a 10 to a 0 in seconds. I try and brush it off as fast as I can as like I've said I would cry every time I left the house otherwise. People point and stare and usually I smile back. I'm not going to lie to boost my confidence and on days when I just cannot be bothered to be nice when people stare I literally stare back at them. It's so petty but it works. It can be really tough some days and if I am sick to death of it, if someone is laughing at me I turn to my sister and point and laugh back. Also petty, but also stops me crying. You have to look after yourself, otherwise you will slowly crumble.

13 year old Lucy would very much struggle with how society has changed in the last 10 years. I was never a target for bullying in school. But I was timid, and yes as I looked different, I did get picked on occasionally. My friends were great and it usually brushed over. There was this one boy who was an absolute toad, and he made my cry quite a few nights when I got home from school. I hate on reflection how much I let it bother me, but I simply did not deserve it. I think this was when I thought stuff this and I needed to change. It has taken my years to get this thick skin, and I now let things blow over very easy. I don't let things build up inside of me, and I very much have a heart of steel. But really should I have to be living like this. I know everyone has insecurities but when it is something you simply can't change, it can be very difficult.

We live in a society which is supposed to be excepting of everyone no matter what. I have simply learnt that this will never, ever, be the case and some people just get thrills from not being accepting. My mum used to tell me a lot of it was down to people being insecure themselves, and I definitely stand by this. When I see that the toad of a boy has not progressed in life, I get a small sense of satisfaction, however awful this may sound. I think over the years my mental health has been affected but I never put it down to that. These days, I can be very short and direct with people and that's because I am not always open to a conversation where I may have to explain things that I don't want to. My defence mechanisms and guard are put up very easily, as I always want to protect myself.

I have learnt since being a nurse how children can be very protective of their conditions, and I can totally relate. It's a huge part of you, and what makes you, you. I have kids point at me, and I usually just turn around as it can be difficult for them understand. Adults, nope, you have no excuse, just blatant rudeness. I am also very stubborn. I first realised this when I started university 4 years ago, I would not let little things go. I would let them eat my up inside and it would drive me insane. I would want people to apologise, and they wouldn't. If someone was in the wrong, I would ignore them for days. It takes a lot for me to apologise though, and that is definitely a weakness of mine.

I want to address self-confidence in the post. I am a massive advocate for self-confidence and building your own confidence can take years. As I say in the water park standing there in my bikini after consuming two weeks' worth of carbs probably being the biggest I have ever been, with my hair being very blonde when wet it makes it look even shorter, and then I have zero makeup on and all my acne on display. I know we could all write a list of insecurities, but it is learning to overcome them which is the biggest hurdle of all. I cannot pin point the time or place in my life, where I literally thought fuck this I am who I am and I am not changing anytime soon. Having self confidence and being cocky and brash is completely different. I know putting some make up on, and buying something which I feel fab in does me the world of good. It is about finding what sparks that bit of self confidence. Writing a list of all the things you like about yourself for me that is my eyes, boobs and having a small waist. Try it and learn to focus on the good and slowly the bad well not seem that so bad anymore.

The main reason for writing this post is to say to please, please, don't let shitty people bring you down. It is so easy for me to say, but honestly I have been there, and actually I am still there. I think building my thicker skin has done me the world of good. I don't take things to heart, I laugh things off, I think about how sad it is that people get there thrills from bringing others down. I'm not saying that I am oblivious or people don't think make me still feel massively insecure because they do. But, it is learning to have a mute or even an off button, and letting that moment drift by. That might be having once less dark day a week, by trying to overcome insecurities and learning that you are you. In 2017, you would think with how far we have come, people would be more accepting. If we look at the bigger picture, we are probably going backwards. We should all be a little more kinder, and a little more accepting.

If anyone every wants to discuss anything please feel free to comment or inbox me at anytime.

Lucy
xoxo

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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

How I plan my travel posts




This year I have really loved writing travel posts, it has sparked a new found passion. When visiting a new place I have really got into reading other bloggers travel guides and posts as they can provide really insightful information. I have made a note of all of the important parts of a travel post which I always take into consideration.

I always start off by discussing the booking process. I think explaining exactly how I booked, whether that be in store / online it is important for people to know. I usually book online and I always include the exact website which I have used. Next up, I like to mention the flights and airlines which I used for my holiday. People can be unsure as to what to expect, may have not traveled far or not frequently, meaning they may need some helpful prompts.

I think always like to start off talking about the actual hotel which I stayed in. I discuss every detail down to location, style, space and then roundup essentially whether it was good or bad. I like to also do a simple overview of the city, and first impressions. You know when you arrive on holiday and you can instantly feel like your going to have a fabulous time, I think this is essential to include.

People are massively interested in the best places to eat, I know I am. One of my friends said that she always uses Trip Advisor to help plan and find the best eateries, and this is a fab tip. Whilst in Barcelona I used it on more than one occasion to find some amazing restaurants and bars. When writing a review I always like to include the name of the restaurant, an approximate location (if you can) and a review of how the food was. If I thought there was a stand out meal or drink on the menu, I always ensure I include it. People like recommendations of food and drink. I also think including a price range can be important, as everyone has different budgets.

If you are writing a travel post about a city break, I think it super important to write all about what you actually got up to. I write all the places I visited, whether they were worth visiting, prices and their best features. I then make sure to add in a must see places section, things which I think you can not miss visiting. It can very overwhelming choosing what to do when you only have a matter of days to do everything which you want to. Having someone say this is a must see activity/visit whilst you are there, with an explanation why can help you whittle down and help you to utilise your time more wisely.

This is the exact notes which I wrote in Barcelona and I thought it was important to include so can see how very simple notes can help you remember to include all of the details. I had a notes page dedicated to places I ate. When I came to write the Barcelona food recommendations post it was a massive help, as it was a quick reference to eat place I ate as there is no way I would of remembered the name and details of each individual place each day.


I also wrote a post on how to plan travel posts as a newbie back in April which has lots of hints and tips as to the layout of posts. This was just a quick post as to the simple process as to how I plan my posts whilst travelling quickly and easily. I also keep a note on my phone that simply says:

-Flights/airlines
-Transfer from airport
-Hotel
-Location
-Where to eat / names of eateries
-Places to visit
-Must see places

It is a basic summary of everything which I have mentioned in this post with simple headings. Having it saved in my notes is a massive help, and I highly recommend it as I promise when you get home you will thank me that all your information is there in its basic form, and all you now need to do is expand in detail.

Lucy
xoxo





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Sunday, 13 August 2017

Barcelona

I recently went to Barcelona for the first time, and I have to say it is an amazing city. My two friends who I went with have both been before, so it was great as they had a whereabouts as to where everything is. We did so much whilst we were there I have had to make a list so that I don't forget anything. Our hotel was called The Moderno, it was a three star hotel and I have to say it was in the perfect location. It was situated half way up La Rambla, which is where a lot of shops and eateries are. We all said that we would recommend the hotel to friends and family. The hotel staff were very accommodating and gave us lots of useful information about the city and transport.

The transport links within Barcelona are fantastic. The hotel receptionist told us all about the different transport services available. There is a large underground system, and we had a stop situated across the road from our hotel. It takes you across the 5 zones of the city, and is easy to use once you get the hang of it. I bought a fabulous mini guidebook before I went which contained an underground map, which was great as we could plan each days journeys before setting out. They also have a great bus service all around the city. Heads up, if you are staying on La Rambla are heading to the beach, the number 59 service takes you straight there. When when first arrived at the airport in Barcelona we got the train from the airport into the centre of the city, and then an underground to our hotel. The hotel receptionist also told us that you are able to buy a ticket called a T-10 which you can use ten times on all public transport for 10 euro. This is such a great buy, and a little tip is that more than one of you are able to use one ticket. We would put it through the barrier and then pass it back, this means that if you are a family you can all use the same ticket. We bought four T-10 tickets between us during our four day trip.

There is so much to see and do, and if it is your first time visiting then it is definitely great to try and plan your visit.

We went to the Barcelona Pavilion which is famous for its fabulous architecture and fountains. This was such an incredible view as you walk up the road to get to the fountains. Heads up, if you are heading here the fountains come on at 11am as we got there just before and we had to wait for them to come on! Once at the top where the waterfall is placed, you can look out across Barcelona and it is such a great view.






Before visiting Park Guell I did not know very much about it at all. I am so glad I visited as Gaudi's work is exceptional. The colours and mosaics which he used within the park are outstanding. We booked tickets before we went as they are super busy, it costs seven euros and it is definitely a must see attraction.



On the last day, we wanted to ensure that we visited Sagardia Famila. It is one of the main attractions in the city and it is definitely worth a visit. They are constantly working on this building and you can see that as there was building work going on. However, this has been going on for hundreds of years as they are trying to finish it in it's original ornate style. It was so beautiful to look at, and I was actually surprised by the size of it, it is huge. You can go inside but it costs nearly 30 euro and I was able to take everything in by just standing outside and staring at all of its glory.



I love going to the zoo, and Barcelona Zoo did not disappoint. We thought as we went on a Saturday it would be super busy, but to our surprise it was half empty. They had all of the big animals which you expect to see including a dolphin arena. I thought the zoo was spread out nicely and we spent three hours in the zoo looking around. You can also book your tickets in advance for this online, which was very easy to do.

Depending on where you are staying it is definitely worth a trip to La Rambla which is where we was staying. It is easy to find and contains lots of your favourite shops and eateries. The Gothic Quarter is also worth a visit, we spent a lot of time eating and drinking in this area as it has a lot of choice.


The beach was also really lovely. What made this such a great trip was that we had the best of both. We were able to see the sights but also go the beach in the afternoon to relax and top up our tans. The beach was very busy with both locals and tourists. The view was stunning and the beach was well maintained. Overall, I had a fantastic time in Barcelona and since coming home I have highly recommended visiting to all of my friends and family.

I have also put up a post this week all about my food recommendations whilst in Barcelona. I ate a lot, and I have a day to day guide of the best places which I would recommend.

Lucy
xoxo
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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Barcelona Food Guide

I am kicking off my Barcelona posts with my food recommendations. I asked on Twitter whether you would prefer to have one big post with all my food recommendations or to split it into two. The majority of people voted for me to do separate posts, which I am secretly glad about as I have a lot of food to talk about!

When we first arrived in Barcelona we headed to the beach and we ate in a great tapas place along the beach front called FOC. For our first tapas meal this was a great introduction. The tacos selection dish was yummy and I would recommend this. I enjoyed this meal a lot, and would recommend it if you are along the beach and are wanting to grab some quick food to head here.


We struggled to find somewhere to eat on the first night, as the restaurants which had we had researched were either full or the menu was not quick what we thought. We ended up at Macchinas, which is essentially a build your own perfect pasta dish restaurant. You can choose what type of pasta you want, what sauce, and then add your own personal choice of meat and vegetables. I went with the chicken pesto fusilli and added broccoli and mushrooms. This was a really great pasta dish and the portion sizes were massive. We then headed to a bar called Sugar, which was very small and had only a few tables but had a great vibe and cocktails for only 4 euro.


On our second day we headed to a little cafe called Escriba just off Remla San Jose. They had a huge range of cakes, biscuits and macaroons. I decided on the gigantic waffle with chocolate sauce, and it tasted as good as it looked.



We were at the beach again in the afternoon and headed to Makamaka, which is located just off the beach front. I had the big maka burger which consisted of the beef patty, bbq sauce, cheese and bacon. I have to recommend the cava sangria from here as it was really fruity.


As we had not had tapas for lunch, and we were in Spain we decided to take as many opportunities to try out the different tapas on offer. I enjoyed the food here at Avinya 10, but it was not the best which we ate during our time in Barcelona. We then went for some cocktails in a bar called First Cocktail Bar which was not too far away. It was once again small, but offered a great array of cocktails. They also had a great concept where each table was provided with sticky notes, and all of the walls were completely covered in messages from visitors from around the world.




On the third day, we headed to the beach in the morning and went for brunch at Breakfast and Lunch. There was a place next door called Brunch and Cake, where we had planned to go originally as they do very instagramable food. However, it was super busy and there was a long queue. We were starving so settled for next door, and their beef and cheese sandwich was really yummy. Later in the afternoon we headed to Zumito for smoothies and juices, and mine was lovely it had pineapple, mango and orange in it.



Easily the best meal of the entire holiday took place at the restaurant Amerre 69. The tapas here was sensational. We decided to get a portion of nachos to start, and it was a gigantic pile. Every plate of food which we ordered here was amazing. I have to mention their cheese croquettes, as they are honestly the best which I have ever eaten in my entire life. I would definitely recommend eating here if you are staying near or within the La Rambla area.




On the last day we went for a lovely breakfast at Tropico. This was a great find by one of my friends which she found on Trip Advisor and the food was as good as it looks. The pancakes were light and fluffy and the cream cheese complemented them beautifully. The juice was also really fruity and refreshing.


I finally found the ice cream shop which I had been trying to find for the 4 days of the trip. Amorino is located half way up La Rambla, they have definitely found a niche within their market. The queue was massive and the prices were to match. It was 4 euro 50 for this ice cream, it was however very tasty and very instagramable!


We decided to have a pizza on the last night before heading to the airport to fill us up before the flight. It was really tasty, thin and crusty just how I like it. They had a great range of pizza and pasta on their menu. We had our last jug of cava sangria here and it washed everything down perfectly.


I hope you have enjoyed reading my Barcelona food guide as we did eat at some amazing places. Check back next week as I will be bringing you my Barcelona city guide, and I will be letting you in on everything which we got up to whilst we were visiting the city.

Lucy
xoxo




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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Friendsfest

Yesterday I went to Friendsfest which is currently touring in the UK. I went to the one taking place at Heaton Park, Manchester with my sister and we had a fabulous time. It is touring up and down the UK for the next few months and you can find all of the dates and venues here. It is sold out in most places, but there are still a few tickets left. We got our tickets online on their website, and it was a mad rush as we really needed to go yesterday as we go on holiday on tomorrow. The tickets were £26 which I do not think is cheap, but these events are never cheap and overall we had a great afternoon out.


When you book online you choose a time which you want to go on the tour set and we choose 13:20. We had planned to get there and got straight on the tour set. You have a member of crew who is allocated to your tour. There is approximately 25 people on each tour. When you first go in to the tour set there is section where they have lots of different things from the show displayed including outfits and props. I felt as though you were a bit under pressure as we were told we had 7 minutes in this section. It was great to see all the different most loved props such as the holiday armadillo.





You then go through on to the set where you go into Joey and Chandler's apartment which is set up the exact same as it was in the series. I found it could be a little bit hard to get all the photos as you want as there are 25 people also trying to get 'that' photo. However, everyone kind of moved in rotation to get what they wanted. 




Monica's apartment is such an iconic set from the series as so much action took place there. I loved looking around and imagining how they filmed it. I was surprised as the set was much smaller than I thought it would be, and I could imagine it being quite cramped at some times when there was a lot of characters all filming there.




Once the 30 minute tour has finished you are then free to wander around all of the other sets at your leisurely pace. We decided to head straight to Central Perk which was very exciting. It looked just as I imagined, once again a lot smaller than I would have thought. They had the stage set up like they famously do, a crew member came and sang some of Phoebe's well known songs which was a great extra touch. 





There is then an opportunity to dress up once at Ross and Rachel's Vegas wedding in bridal dresses and suits. They also have the backdrop from the 1988 prom where you can wear Rachel and Monica's dresses with matching wigs.



They also have got the famous yellow cabs and a NYPD car for you to take photos with.




There is also the opportunity to take photos with the famous opening for the credits with the umbrellas, orange sofa and the fountains. We had to queue for 25 minutes to get these photos, as it was the most in demand part of the set.


 There are also food and drink stalls placed around the park. This was great as they had a huge screen where you can watch snippets of different episodes whilst relaxing on deck chairs.


Overall, I had a great afternoon. As you can see if you want to get lots of photos recreating famous scenes with the sets, you definitely have the opportunity to. Me and my sister both said that we thought that the tour set was a little bit rushed as you were allocated exactly 30 minutes. I would have also liked to have been given some more information during this, to give you a little more insight and learn some new behind the scene facts and knowledge. However, we both had a great time and it really did bring everything to life. 

Lucy
xoxo


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