If there was one area I would class myself as an expert in it would be travel, more specifically budget travel. When you want to see the world as often as I do you can't afford to stay in 5 star luxury resorts, but that doesn't mean you have to rough it either. I've stayed in all sorts hotels, I've taken all modes of transport, and slowly but surely I'm travelling the world on a shoestring budget.




So how am I able to jet off every few months? Well I'm going to spill the beans and give you some tips on how you can find the perfect budget friendly holiday.

I did want to start by addressing the fact that I do still live at home and I am incredibly lucky to be able to put away a good portion of my wages away each month specifically for travel. I know this isn't something everyone is fortunate enough to do, but I hope this post will help at least one person find an affordable holiday.


Now onto my top tips...


Know your budget - My first tip would be to set a budget and stick to it. It is all too easy to have a rough idea of what you are willing to spend on an affordable holiday and then get carried away. That being said, you should also consider value for money. If you've budgeted a certain amount per night for a hotel but it's only a small amount more to pick a hotel that includes breakfast it might be worth it.

Clear browsing your history & be ready to straight away - Once you are ready to start looking for your cheap trip clear all your cookies and browsing history on your computer and switch to incognito mode. In theory this means that your previous searches or clicks won't influence the price of the holidays, flights, or hotels you are now searching for, although I'm not convinced this works every time.

To give yourself the best chance of getting a budget holiday you should also be ready to book then and there if possible as anything you look at this time around may increase in price next time. Websites seem to be getting smarter at knowing which holidays etc. are the most popular. 



Be flexible - The real bargain breaks can usually be found when you are flexible with where and when you are willing to travel. Weekdays are usually cheaper to fly on and the same can be said for booking hotel rooms. Inconvenient flight times are also usually cheaper too, however if you are a monday to friday worker like myself, late night friday flights can be great as it means taking less annual leave for a weekend break!

Beach or city break? - The type of holiday you want will heavily influence where to find the best deals. For affordable sun holidays, booking packages with some of the larger tour companies can usually be cheaper, however for cheap city breaks I've found that pricing flights and accommodation up separately usually works out better.

Booking things separately does require a little more work but it can massively decrease the price of some holidays. Just be extra careful to ensure all of your dates are correct and double check the luggage allowance as most airlines won't include hold luggage with a flight only.

Flight search websites - So where are the best places to search for affordable flights? Skyscanner is my tried and tested favourite. It think its very easy to use searches through a huge range of airlines to find the best flights. Another good website to use is Kayak. I particularly like the explore feature which shows a map with the best flights from your chosen airport.



Flying isn't the only way to travel - If you are looking to travel any distance it's likely that jetting off will be your best bet, however if you aren't looking to travel massively far and you're not time limited either coach and train services can be quite affordable. I've used coaches to travel across half the continent over the last few years, and whilst they aren't the most comfortable or reliable, I have managed to get return trips to the likes of Paris for as little as £50 in the past.

Check airport locations - Think you've found a bargain flight and you're about to book? Wait! Check where the airport actually is in relation to the place you wish to visit. It's not uncommon for airports to be named after cities which are actually quite far away, meaning any savings you have made on the initial flight will be eaten up by airport transfers. Paris-Vatry airport for example, is actually 93 miles away from Paris! I don't fancy paying the taxi fare for that trip!

So those are my top tips on how you can find and book your perfect affordable holiday, whatever your budget!


Happy Holidays!


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HOW TO FIND THE PERFECT BUDGET FRIENDLY HOLIDAY

On thursday night myself and the rest of the family popped into Birmingham newest pop up bar, Once Upon a Time in Birmingham. It's a Christmas themed pop up bar situated slap bang in the center of Birmingham inside the old Jamie's Italian Restaurant. 
The launch night actually fell on Dads birthday so I thought it would be rude not to nip in for some complimentary xmas themed bevies!


On arrival you are given a pair of kaleidoscope glasses which are meant to 'enhance the experience'. They basically multiply the twinkling lights by 1000 and make you feel like you've already had one too many cocktails.They do make for some fun photos though and I've never been to a bar in Birmingham (or anywhere for that matter) that dish out props for the night!

Once inside there are several areas to sit in, booths, a chill out area, and the main bar area. We chose to drink in the main bar area as there were a few of us and the booths were taken. If you do get the chance I would recommend grabbing a booth as the view you get of the bar is by far the best from there. The booths are also surrounded by a forest of fairy lights making that area almost den like.


Around the bar there are over 88,000 fairy lights, a shit tonne of tinsel, and various other Christmas decorations, tacky doesn't even come close to describing this temporary birmingham bar. That being said I am a lover of all things novelty and I know this place will do incredibly well in the run up to Christmas. Christmas, booze, and a super fun interior? I think they're onto a winner here.


Speaking of booze, what can you guzzle down in this funky little place? Well the menu consists of everything you would expect, wines, beers, soft drinks etc. but it also features several Christmas cocktails which I don't think you would find anywhere else in Birmingham, or even the UK. Over the course of evening I think I managed  to try every festive drink on the menu, but my favourite by far was the super sweet Gin & Pomegranate Punch. It would have been nice to also see a few basic cocktail combinations on the menu but I understand that they've tried to keep the whole experience on theme.


There are also festive bar snacks (Christmas spiced bombay mix, pine salted peanuts, and potato & gravy flavoured crisps) none of which I tried as we had come straight from a Chinese buffet and you best believe we stuffed our little faces silly! The one thing I would have liked to try however was the elusive clear christmas pudding. It's highly advertised and even shown as a bit of a selling point for this Birmingham bar however I sadly couldn't get my hands on any as the chefs had gone home. Better luck next time maybe?


So what did I think overall? It's a fun little pop up that I know will be massively popular over the next few weeks. I do think the cocktails are a little on the pricey side of things but it's a gimmicky xmas themed bar so you're always going to pay a little more at those kind of places. It's probably not the kind of bar you would want to spend every weekend but it's a nice enough place for a few festive drinks in the run up to Christmas!

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* Our drinks were complimentary however all opinions are my own

ONCE UPON A TIME... IN BIRMINGHAM?*

Now who doesn't love a good sale? I bloody love a sale and it seems that my favourite online retailer, Asos, have them all the time! So you could go and wade through all the rubbish in the Asos sale, as lets be honest, Asos specialise in questionable items of clothing, or you could simply scroll down the page to discover my top picks from the sale that never ends.




Just so you know the links used in the post below are affiliate links because ya girl has got to get her 7p commision and all that.

As I'm good to you all I've popped my picks into categories so everything is super easy to find. You're welcome.

Oh and I've also included a cheeky little Asos discount code at the bottom of this page. Don't say I never treat you to anything! 

So here are the BEST items in the current Asos sale...

- Tops - 


- Jeans & Trousers -


- Dresses -


- Knitwear -


- Skirts -


- Shoes -


- Bags -


Right now there is also 20% off everything on Asos using the discount code ASOSXBUMBLE or OURTYPE (either will work but you can't use both, soz). You'll be able to use either of these discount codes until 8pm 12.11.19.

So those were my absolute fave picks from the current Asos sale! Did you treat yourself to anything nice? Show me your bargains over on Twitter!

Now because I love a bit of a laugh I thought I would do another round up of Asos sale items, but this time with a bit of a twist. I've also collected up the most useless, vile, and downright ugly items you can unfortunately buy right now on Asos. Well we all need a giggle after we've pissed our wages up the Asos sale wall don't we???

So without any further ado, here is the absolute worst Asos has to offer right now!


Think you can beat my silly Asos items? Please feel free to tag me in any of the random shite you find yourself faced with on the Asos website, we all know it's full of it nowadays don't we ha?!

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BEST OF THE ASOS SALE & THE UGLIEST ITEMS YOU CAN BUY RIGHT NOW - NOV 2019

Dublin, a dirty old town but an absolute cracker of a place for a city break. It's a city I've visited a few times now and each time I've left hungover and poor. But whilst it's true that Dublin is a very expensive city there are also lots of great things to do that won't cost a penny. So I've rounded up my favourite free things to do in Dublin city!


Dublin Airport

Walking Tour - Shocker! A free walking tour made it on my my list! Now I don't want to say I'm an expect (I deffo am) but free walking tours are kinda my thing and I when in Dublin you best believe I'm jumped on one. There are several tour operators offering free walking tours in Dublin but they should all pretty much cover the same sights; O'Connell Street, Temple Bar, Dublin Castle Etc. You can pay €20+ for a bus tour (which will travel at 0 miles an hour by the way) or your can get off your arse and see the heart of Dublin for a fraction of the price!

The GPO - That big beautiful building full of bullet holes on O'Connell street? That would be the General Post Office and the main scene of the 1916 uprising. It's still a working post office today which means it's absolutely free to enter. Whilst it is all very pretty inside it's the outside that really does leave an impression on you. The exterior is laced with very visible bullet holes from the famous uprising which took place over 100 years ago. You can physically feel the history here.

If you do fancy a paid tour here I would recommend the Rebels Rising tour, though it will set you back €16 for an adult ticket.


Love Lane - Spotted on the Dublin free walking tour

National Museum of Ireland - After more history? Take yourself down to the National Museum of Ireland. It's less than 10 minutes from the centre of Dublin by bus and well worth the trip. I have to point out that I've actually only been to one exhibition here but for a very good reason. Currently there is a fantastic exhibition on the 1916 uprising in the museum which features an original Irish Republic proclamation poster. There are very few of these left now so I would recommend you see one while you can.

Arbour Hill Military Cemetery - If the upsring exhibition leaves you wanting more then I would recommend taking a short walk up the hill to Arbour Hill Cemetery. It's roughly 5 minutes away from the National Museum of Ireland and fairly easy to spot once you've left the museum grounds. Here you will find the final resting place of several of the 1916 uprising leaders. 16 rebels were executed as a result of the Easter Rising and 14 of them were laid to rest here in Arbour Hill Cemetery. 

Grave's of 14 of the Easter Rising rebels - Arbour Hill Cemetery

Glasnevin Cemetery - Glasnevin is Dublin's Largest cemetery and it's absolutely jam packed with some of the most well known Irish people. From Daniel O'Connell (The liberator of Ireland and who O'Connell Street is named after) to Luke Kelly (founding member of the Dubliners) you will find all manner of famous Irish folk here. Whilst I would recommend the paid general history tour, you are free to rome the grave stones as you like.

Molly Malone - Good old Molly Malone, flogging Cockles and Muscles (and erm other services depending on who you ask) in Dublin's fair city ever since anyone can remember. But whilst she was likely not a real person, it wouldn't be a trip to Dublin without visiting her famous statue. It's also supposed to be good luck to rub her left breast. Or was it her right breast? Better give both tit's a tickle just to be sure!

Original Irish Republic poster - Museum of Ireland

Temple Bar - A beer here will set you back a good €7, heartbreaking I know. Now I will admit that a night around the Temple Bar area is fantastic and well worth the eye watering amount of money it will cost to drink here, however, there are better (and much cheaper) pubs in Dublin city. So down your drinks here if you want, or be a typical tourist and snap away at the very pretty, very famous temple bar pub for free, I won't judge you. 

Chester Beatty Library - A library? ON HOLIDAY? Hear me out! Now I'm not expecting you to spend your valuable holiday time walking the aisles of a busy Dublin Library, I do however think this building is worth 10-20 minutes of your time if you're in the area. The Chester Beatty Library is located just beside Dublin Castle in the centre of the city and, you guessed it, completely free to enter. So nip inside, head straight to the lifts, take yourself off to the top floor and walk out onto the roof terrace. From here you will see the rooftops of Dublin and get a cracking view of the Dublin Castle gardens.


View from the top of the Chester Beatty Library 

So those are my favourite completely free things to do in Dublin! I'm sure there are plenty of other free, or extremely cheap things to do in Dublin (see Kilmainham Gaol at just €8 a ticket) but these are just the few I personally enjoyed and would recommend.

Have you been to Dublin? I'd love to hear your recommendations!


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8 COMPLETELY FREE THINGS TO DO IN DUBLIN

A couple of weeks ago myself and Mom were invited* down to Rico Libre to see the new location and try out the new menu. I’m a big fan of tapas on holiday and so I jumped at the chance to test out how well we do it here in the centre of Birmingham. Rico Libre is now situated in the heart of the custard factory, so just a short 10-15 minute walk from Birmingham city centre. 



Between us we ordered 6 dishes which was the recommended amount. Initially we weren't sure if this would be enough as we are big eaters but I think anymore than 3 dishes each would have been a bit of a struggle.

After a fairly intense look at the menu, I finally decided on my three. I chose Pollo Marbella (chicken breast with white wine, chorizo, and cream), Pisto (Spanish Ratatouille), and Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Omelette). The Polla Marbella was nice, though the taste of the chorizo was a little strong for me after a while, the Pisto was delicious, if not a little on the spicy side of things, but the Tortilla de Patatas was the real winner for me. It was larger than the other dishes and really was my favourite of the night. I would also recommend the Pisto as both myself and mom thought it was very tasty, but it is a little spicy and if like me you can't hack the heat, you may struggle with this one.


Mom on the other hand went for Pan de Barra (bread with Kalamata & Halkidiki olives and balsamic oil), Pescado Blanco Frito (deep fried fish in a light batter), and the grilled beef served with a five bean salad. The Pan de Barra was perfect, we both love olives and thoroughly enjoyed nibbling on them as we sipped our drinks. The fish I'm almost certain was moms favourite dish as the portion size was quite generous and she said the batter was lovely too. I will admit though that the beef, as beautifully presented as it was, just wasn't really our cup of tea.

A lot of the dishes were very different to the kind of tapas we’d tried in the past so some of them we loved and some of them just weren’t to our taste, but that’s always the risk when trying out new foods. Sometimes it's nice to give new things a go even if they aren't something you'd be in a rush to try again.


After finishing off our meals we decided to have one small desert between us, and I will admit, it was quite small. We chose the Mousse de Maracuya (Passionfruit mousse in a chocolate cup). I think mom only had one small spoonful, but in all honestly was more than happy to finish it off as the mousse was incredibly tasty with a really great texture to it, and the chocolate cup, well I wolfed that yummy little casing down in no time.

Drinks wise we opted for a bottle of Peach green tea and a can of San Pellegrino as Rico Libre isn’t licensed and we didn’t know this beforehand. I do wish I'd done my research before dining as I'd set my heart on a glass of Sangria which I thought would be readily available in a Spanish restaurant, but as they cannot sell alcohol this would never have been possible. I would definitely recommend taking your own wine/ beer etc. as that way you can drink whatever you like and obviously it keeps costs down a little which is always a bonus.


As for the service, I did think this was a little on the relaxed side of things, especially for a weekday. I did have to ask for things a couple of times, but I will say our server was incredibly friendly and once we had requested something, nothing was too much trouble for him.

So my verdict? As I said previously not all of the food was to my taste, and if I’m honest I did find some of it a little on the pricey side of things. Dishes range from £3.50 all the way up to £7/£8 which can very quickly add up when you are ordering a few items. That being said it is a little independent place set in one of my favourite (and one of the most instagrammable) parts of the city and it offers an experience unlike any chain restaurant you dine in. It's clear that the food is cooked fresh and the ingredients used are good quality, you wont get microwaved tat here.

Are you a fan of Tapas? Where is your favourite place to eat Tapas in Birmingham or even the UK?



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* Our meals were complimentary however all opinions are my own 

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RICO LIBRE - TAPAS IN THE HEART OF BIRMINGHAM*

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