THE MINI BREAK CHRONICLES (OR FROM IRELAND WITH GUINNESS) ~ PART THREE

And now for part three….. I’m sure like me you too, dear reader, have forgotten what I was doing and what I am writing about. When last you visited I was in Galway having a ball and enjoying their Guinness…

DAY THREE: HOME AWAY FROM HOME

Grizzly and groggy we wake up in our overly priced hostel in Galway and endure a cold shower while cursing the fact we panic chose our accommodation. Once we had showered and suitably defrosted we embarked on the task of deciding what to do with the rest of the day. After a quick google session along the lines of “what to do in Ireland” we squashed ourselves back into the car and hit the open (rather windy) road.
Google had spoken! Today we would take the scenic route to the Cliffs of Mohar. This road took us by miles of beautiful Irish coast and directly through the heart of the Burren. Again, if you haven’t already been then go go go! I can’t even describe how amazing and magical it is (and I’m running out of room so I’m not going to!).
Once at the cliffs we spend a happy few hours delighting ourselves with the death-defying drops of the cliffs and pretending we’re not at all wussy by standing close (ish) to the edge. (TB (travel buddy) was not a fan.. especially when I slipped over… Everything was under control…!).
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Playing it cool…

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Tb looking (not so) cool*…. (*amazing photography skillz!)

If you have a penchant for seabirds and are willing to stand for hours in the hope of seeing a Puffin (we didn’t see one and ultimately I was gutted… TB informed me later that they hadn’t even arrived yet..) then this is the place for you. Equally, if you like jumping around on mountain paths, pretending to be a goat, like a wally then this is also an ideal spot to visit.
(TOP TIP: If you are traveling by car they have a massive cheap car park!!)
After sprinting our way back along the coastal paths (we turned a 4 hour round trip into 2hrs.30) we decided it was high time for some lunch/breakfast and a place to stay the night. TB has already nearly demolished all our emergency French Fancies. (The bastard!)
Five hours later – after driving down every tiny road possible and arguing with the stupid satnav (she was not up for our adventures)- two very cranky Scots (and a disgruntled Siri) rolled into Lochrea. Apparently, it’s hard to find somewhere to camp in Ireland when you don’t want to be a bother and don’t really know where you are. We decided on one final attempt at somewhere to say before hitchhiking back to Scotland… TB had found a campsite. We arrived to find two cars in a vast car park and a huge dark building towering over us…. Shit…!
Finding the reception empty… a little note tells us to look in the dining room. The door opens into the most beautiful room where three ladies are washing up together… I panic completely and squeak something at them about camping. Fifteen minutes later TB and I are booked into the most stunning A-frame Glamping cabin. As we tuck into massive bowls of homemade veggie stew and freshly baked rolls the three women cluck over us and ensure we have all we need. Their kindness makes you giddy and a touch weepy.
This magical place is known as the Slieveaughty Centre. I deep down, from the bottom of my heart urge you to visit this magical and inspiring place if you can. They operate on an honesty policy and anything they had was ours. Their organic kitchen is glorious and their buildings & facilities are wonderful.
I cannot thank the travel Karma enough for this wonderful find. Join me next time to find out more about what TB and I get up on the last 2 days of our Irish adventure.
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Pretending I’ll post a blog on time..

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING AND IF YOU HAVE ANY TIPS, COMMENTS OR STORIES ABOUT BADGERS THEN PLEASE DO GET IN TOUCH INSTAGRAM @ACCIDENTALVOYAGER OR FACEBOOK
MAY ALL YOUR JOURNEYS BE ACCIDENTAL!
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Travelling Soho with Manila

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING AND IF YOU HAVE ANY TIPS, COMMENTS OR STORIES ABOUT BADGERS THEN PLEASE DO GET IN TOUCH INSTAGRAM @ACCIDENTALVOYAGER OR FACEBOOK
MAY ALL YOUR JOURNEYS BE ACCIDENTAL!

The Mini Break Chronicles (Or From Ireland with Guinness) ~ Part Two

Welcome one and all (mum and dad I know it’s only you!) to the second installment in my Irish adventure. I know you are all desperate to hear about the wonderful shenanigans of your two favorite Scottish folks so I’ll jump right in. But if you missed my amazing part one you can catch up here.

Day Two: Rage against the (possible) Plagiarism 

Wake up uncomfortably early to the sound of cows and AB’s (adventure buddy’s – for those who didn’t pay attention before) elbow wedged firmly in your ear…. maybe camping in a mini is best left to those who like each other… (I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t like each other afterward anyway)?
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Morning neighbor.

After settling our differences about who was the most irritating companion in the night – it was definitely AB – we tried to unpack our selves from the car.  This proved harder than expected as dodgy knees and knackered necks provided as sure sign that we are not as young as we used to be.
One we had suitably stretched out and returned the car to (mostly) full working order we rustled up some breakfast then stood next to the car (“no crumbs in the car….”- pfft) stuffing our faces with deliciously fluffy fruit scones whilst watching the heavy morning mist settle into the bottom of the valley below us.
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I love scones!

We only had two places we needed to be during this trip. Hotels were booked for night 2 and night 4 in Galway and Dublin. One night camping in the car one night in a hotel seemed like an excellent idea before putting it into practice (we’d forgotten winter is cold and Minis are small). By the end of today, we needed to be in Galway – that’s all we knew.
After a quick pitstop for a morning coffee and a couple of hours wasted in a shopping center on the outskirts of Galway (This was in case of emergency – there are no good pee spots on Irish roads #livid!).  One of the great things we learned in Ireland is that nearly every hotel has discounted parking in overnight multistory car parks. This meant we could happily leave the car for as long as we liked.
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Beautiful boats enjoying some discount parking.

Once all checked into our overpriced hostel we set out to explore the town. Arriving on a Saturday meant that we were able to stroll leisurely along the street markets.For anyone who loves arts, crafts or sea urchins then this is the place for you. The rest of the day was spent happily cruising the streets of this lovely city. The buildings are beautiful, the sea is beautiful and the people are beautiful. Whilst wandering through the town AB suddenly starts spluttering with indignant rage. It turns out that the inhabitants of Galway refer to themselves as Galwegians. AB, living in Glasgow as he does, had some serious issues with what he thought was blatant plagiarism…. Once he’d calmed down after a long stroll along the seafront, we ducked into a wonderful restaurant and some excellent tourist trap bars to fill up on food and Guinness (it pays to be a basic bitch – these bars were great!).
Once you have discussed the meaning of life with your AB head elsewhere for live music and to test if the Guinness tastes different in different pubs (I’m still not sure it does).
Prance home in the early hours to your beastly hostel down the scary alleyway.
I do hope you have enjoyed this installment and join me again next time to find out what happened when we explore some slippery cliffs. Will we see a Puffin? Will we not?? That is the question….
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING AND IF YOU HAVE ANY TIPS, COMMENTS OR STORIES ABOUT BADGERS THEN PLEASE DO GET IN TOUCH INSTAGRAM @ACCIDENTALVOYAGER OR FACEBOOK
MAY ALL YOUR JOURNEYS BE ACCIDENTAL!

The Mini Break Chronicles (Or From Ireland with Guinness) ~ Part One

What better way to soak up the glories of Ireland than by spending 5 days road tripping with an adventure buddy and his Mini?
For anyone who hasn’t seen a mini before they are pretty dinky and I had had the ingenious idea of using one as a makeshift campervan/tent… We had planned one day in the camping one day in a hotel. Admittedly the idea of camping in said Mini wasn’t quite the experience I had in mind – I hadn’t taken into consideration the amount of shit I had insisted on bringing or the fact that even I am tall for these cars – but at least I had someone just as stupid – and far more patient – than me share it with.
Sooo for anyone who also enjoys stupid ideas, beautiful scenery and the capers of two Scottish chums I bring you the 5 part Saga of our Irish adventures (there’s just too much I want to tell you!!)

Bho Alba gu Èirinn (from Scotland to Ireland):

We started this adventure as we meant to go on, arriving for our 4 am ferry 5 hours early and already exhausted. This time was spent arguing with my adventure buddy in a seaside carpark somewhere in Scotland – it was his fault we were so early so I felt justified. We continued to argue our way onto the ferry and then napped/argued accordingly throughout the journey (top tip: if your Adventure buddy falls asleep then spend your time glaring and resenting their sleep).
When we finally arrived Ireland was dark, freezing and rainy (just like Scotland) and by this point, we were no longer awake enough to bicker. If you’re looking for true luxury I would certainly suggest a casual 3-hour kip in the Giant’s Causeway carpark. This way you can wake up to busloads of tourists peering in at you through the window and gale force winds rocking your new abode while your adventure buddy snores from somewhere in the boot of the car.
Giant’s Causeway is amazing! If you haven’t already been then go go go! Especially if you’re like me and find rocks in impressive shapes and wonderful folktales fascinating. This is where my adventure buddy really came in useful (other than for all the driving…). He gave a good and thorough lecture about rocks – he’s a real scientist may I add – and then he even tried to remember the story of the Giants… He had a vague idea.. just couldn’t remember the names… the ending… or the plot but he told it passionately…! If you haven’t heard the story of Giants Causeway it really is delightful and I suggest you read it HERE …now (by hyperlinking it saves me admitting I also do not remember the names, plot or story?).
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Just look at that!!

After marveling at stones, birds and cliffs and an exciting moment where we think we saw a seal (I didn’t have my glasses so I’m pretty sure it was just an old shoe having a day out) we retired to the cafe to enjoy overpriced sandwiches and coffee. It’s here that I found our my AB (now too lazy to write Adventure Buddy) had been holding out on me.  There is a rope bridge 20 minutes away from Giant’s Causeway that takes you to a tiny Island!!! What could be better!?
It’s only when you are waiting in the queue for the aforementioned rope bridge with a jolly man shouting “Key is to keep moving – Don’t look down – It’s not that windy” that AB suddenly announces that he is in fact scared of heights. This made me feel a little guilty, how could I not know this after years of friendship and adventure? But he’s adamant he will cross this bridge… it doesn’t look that bad anyway.. a few meters maybe… how wrong we were! I’m not too phased by heights, but I do get a little touchy when halfway across a tiny bridge, situated over a crashing, forboding sea, on an excessively windy day with sheets of ice rain pounding in my face, and said bridge takes a vomit inducing tilt sideways towards the sea. Through the terror, I spotted TB craping himself ahead of me and sprint crawling his way the rest of the way across -because I’m a horrible person this made me feel a little more cheery.
Carraig a’ Ráid is beautiful and bleak after centuries of harsh coastal weather but the view along the coastline is stunning. On the island, there is one solitary cottage with a tiny boat nestled next to it. Together they stand in the face of all the elements. The only problem is that once on the island there is no way back to the main and but to cross the dreaded bridge again (we did consider swimming but the water looked a little chilly).
The way back was worse than before.. in the few short minutes we had been on the island the wind had picked up even further and now howled menacingly around us as we clutched the quivering ropes. The only things between us and a watery (cold) grave.
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Shit Balls! (Shaky photo due to Post Bridge Terror)

Once safely back on the mainland, we spent some time roaming the cliffs on wobbly legs – walking off the fear and pretending we hadn’t really been that scared. After we returned to the car we embarked on the task of drying all our soaking gear. (TOP TIPS: dungarees are not a great hiking chum… the water will creep all the way up your body).
Off we set on the real adventure. We did not need to be anywhere so just cruised through miles of wonderful Irish country. Crossing the border and soaking up more mountains, cottages, and fields. The plan tonight is to camp.
After a quick dinner in Siglo, we set ourselves the mission of finding somewhere to stay the first night. This task proved harder than we expected. The roads are not like in Scotland and camping places are hard to find if you don’t know where to look. As the evening drew to a close all seemed to be lost…
If you have a dying need to find out what happened next and whether we found somewhere to camp and cannot wait for Part 2: From Galloway to Galway (I’m still to write it so you might be waiting a while. You are welcome to read through some of my past adventures or check out my facebook or Instagram.  For now, I leave you with this… Just look at those rocks!
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A Scottish girls guide to Packing like a Pro

When I spot those chic women in the airport with their stiletto heels and over sized sunglasses wheeling their delicate suit cases ahead of them I always feel a slight pang of jealousy as I heave my (now holey  & decidedly grubby) rucksack onto my shoulder and fumble with my (equally bulging and grungy) carry on backpack.

Moments like this make me wish that I was a smooth packer and so now I bring you all I have learnt about how to make packing as streamlined and dreamy as possible.

Step 1: Choose you bag

This is crucial! Too small and you have to deal will the overspill of plastic bags. Too big and you have to spend all your money on more clothes or gifts for everyone – With such an empty bag it only figures that you don’t have enough dresses!

I opt for a wonderful £20 karrimore backpack as a carry on (overspill) and a ten year old rucksack – chosen at a time when I thought bright pink and off grey was the height of sophistication (I still think this!!)

When choosing a backpack be sure you listen to you mum and go for the one with a metal frame… yes it has lasted well but no I do not appreciate the extra weight and rigidity (I could fit in so much more shopping if it wasn’t for the frame!)

*I love you mummy….

A backpack in action.

Step 2: Make a list

List making – possibly the most important thing to do before you travel. Assess your destination carefully and then plan your outfits accordingly. This minimises the unwanted load – think high heels on a camping trip (not that I’ve done this before….). You won’t use them and you never use them in normal life so don’t bring them!

Step 3: Do the Safety pack.

This activity has saved me many a panic. It reassures you that your bag has not shrunk during its retirement on top of the wardrobe.

Follow your list carefully to ensure no extra weight is carried.

A good safety pack also helps you realise you should travel more as clouds of dust billow out of your bag when you uncover it…. either this or you should dust your room more often……?

**Top tip: if you suddenly run out of time (forget to pack) you can use your safety pack as an actual pack…! #nifty

Step 4: Reconsider

plans can change at the drop of a hat…. maybe I should take those heel on my hiking trip….. just in case!

Step 5: Final pack

This is the one where you unpack your safety pack to ensure that you have enough woolly jumpers of Croatia and enough short shorts for Iceland. Take this time to revisit the sacred list and feel free to add in a few extra bits you forgot before – makeup, electronics, wires & extra socks.

Whilst doing this pack I would advise organising your bag so you have easy access to everything you might need. Pop your wallet and passport into an accessible pocket on your day bag as well as a spare pair of socks (you will never wear them but my Britishness makes me worry about chilly toes)

Step 6: Panic

For the full “pro packer” experience I would advise unpacking everything the hour before leaving – just to be sure. Once repacked, grab everything else you may possibly need – including the kitchen sink if possible – and make sure you are covered for every eventuality.

Step 7: Savlon

Sprint back to your room and grab that trusty tube of savlon! Your friends will mock you but then they will thank you.

How do I get all this in there?!?How do I get all that in there???

I do hope this list has helped those of you looking for tips on how to pack like a pro! Although these steps will ensure you arrive at the airport sweaty and twitchy you can be safe in the knowledge that you have everything you need.

Remember, as wonderful as the chic lady looks I bet she forgot her Savlon!

Smug faces for those who pack Savlon Smug faces for those who packed Savlon!

Thank you so much for reading and if you have any tips, comments or stories about badgers then please do get in touch instagram @accidentalvoyager or Facebook
May all your journeys be accidental!

A Scottish Girl’s guide to a weekend in London.

As a socialite, influencer and all around amazing human being I feel it is my job to share those insider tips on how to make the most of your London weekend.

With so many things to do in the city that has everything, it is easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to planning a cracking weekend. This is why I bring you three easy to follow weekend suggesting to suit every mood…

For the office womble:

If you’re like me and spend your weekdays sitting in an office staring at a computer screen and periodically being shouted at then I assume you’re going to want to start your day with the usual crying. Personally, I like to dedicate in 10 – 15 mins to this activity before starting my day (If you’re in a hurry I suggest a quick 5 min cry while showering?). Shake off the crying with a brisk walk and coffee time. Head to town to sample some wonderful coffee delights. I would suggest The Roasting in Pimlico or if your feeling fancy, take a stroll down the river to the National Theatre and pick up a coffee from their cafe.

*The office Womble is a sleepy creature so follow each activity with a nap or Netflix in bed.

The Zen bunny:

For those who are at one with themselves – and everything else – I would suggest starting your day with a quick Yoga session held under the arches of Clapham train station. Follow this with a quick brunch at Cote to catch up with your chums. Then spend the rest of the afternoon sipping Matcha Lattes while nibbling vegan cheesecakes and jotting dates in your diary at Unico in Portabello.

 

The Social Badger:

Wake up to a cracking hangover and try to piece together your night before heading out to a bottomless brunch. I recommend The Piano Works or Aster in Victoria for a slap-up brunch experience. Spend a few hours in the afternoon snoozing with friends and trying to fend off the second hangover. By 7pm the hangover is in full swing, head back out to a different bar to curb the pain you’re feeling – Percy & Founders or 68 and Boston offer wonderful arrays of delicious cocktails.

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See how many drinks you can fit on the table…

I do hope these options help you all to rock your weekends in the city. Just remember, you’re still cool if you choose to spend your weekend sitting in bed eating doughnuts and pretending to be a journalist…. not that I would do that…………..

 

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Rocking the weekend in comfy jumpers…

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed these ramblings and I would love to hear from you if you have any suggestions for how to spend your weekends in London.

 

Feel free to check me out on Instagram (@accidentalvoyager) or stalk me on  Facebook (I’m not that interesting)

 

 

A Scottish girls guide to snow day travels

For those of you who know me or have read this blog before ( unlikely I know but I like to think of myself as an established influencer) you will probably be aware of the horrific luck I have when it comes to taking the train trains. This has inspired me to share with you my ten step guide to train wise traveling during a snow day.

Step one: Planning

get super excited and prep your journey. Book your ticket weeks in advance. Request your holiday day and ensure all your friends know you’re out of town for any plans they may require you for on that day (again… I’m an influential person…)

Step two: The night before traveling

Begin to wonder if this so called “beast from the east” will impact your journey. Stick head outside to assess weather conditions… conclude it’s pretty chilly but merrily ignore all emails from train companies.

Step three: The morning before leaving

Frantic packing mixed with urgent web searches to find out if any trains are running.. decide it’s probably fine.

*Top tip: prebook a train that is now cancelled – this allows for the fun activity of trying to work out alternative routes (yay!)

Step four – leave

You’re all packed and ready to go! Saunter to the underground underground…. dashing not advised as pavement is super icy and covered with London gunk ….

Step five – false start

Turns out you weren’t as cool as you thought! Go one stop on the tube then realise you have forgotten your purse. Leap off train at Victoria and penguin march back home in blisteringly cold gale.

Beast from the east meets beast from the north...

Step five: try again

After finding your purse in the bottom of a different bag and changing out of the dress you were wearing into the thickest jeans you own you’re free to set off again.

Step six: lost

Wander in circles at st Pancras station trying to find a platform – any platform ( seriously its like a shopping centre?!? Why so many cafes?!!!?). Finally buy your ticket

Yaaaaaaaay!!!!!!!!!!

Step seven: Wait for platform

…………. *sigh*…………..

Step eight: They announce platform.

wait on platform with cheeky hot choc in hand ( now I see why so many cafes). Try to ignore threatening tannoy announcements warning me to go home now and never go outside again.

Step nine: Victory

after forty minutes the train arrives. Get on train feeling smug – finally the adventure continues.

Looking pretty chilly....

Step ten: Surprise!

Train terminated without warning due to the weather conditions. One stop away from your destination take a moment to stand, shivering and call your mummy for suggestions. After twenty minutes in the freezing cold abandon your mission and catch, what seems to be,the last ever train back to London. Return to bed with your dressing gown on and one slipper sock (I seem to have lost the second).

Sad adventure face!!!

And there you have it… the perfect way to travel Accidental style or as others would call it… a waste of a holiday day! I do hope you’ve found this useful 😊