South Africa Table Mountain Girl View Did I mention that I spent 2 weeks in South Africa recently? Of course I blimmin' did, I think the entire world knows now. I was squealing with excitement before our trip and then shouting from the rooftops about how fab it was as soon as we got home (and over a month later... hence this post). South Africa is such a huge country with so many amazing things to do, I was so overwhelmed with information when it came to planning our trip.  So if you're planning a trip to this amazing country, here's what you can fit into a 2 week South Africa itinerary!

Day 1 - Flying & Driving

While there are direct flights to South Africa from the UK, we opted for a layover in Istanbul (with Turkish Airlines who were great) to save on a bit of cash! We flew overnight and landed in Johannesburg at around 10am. After a quick customs and baggage reclaim experience, we were headed to pick up our car. The 4 and a half hour drive to Kruger National Park was upon us. Our entertainment of choice for the journey was the podcast "My Dad Wrote a Porno" (which you should definitely listen to if you're not to prudish) and the time flew by! It was late afternoon / early evening by the time we arrived at our accommodation (Crocodile Kruger Safari Lodge) and after around 24 hours of flying, layovers and driving, we were completely knackered, and hit they hay shortly after dinner.

Day 2 & 3 - Kruger National Park Game Drives

South Africa Kruger Rhino South Africa Giraffe Kruger Now for the moment I'd been waiting for - two days of game drives Kruger National Park! I couldn't fly all the way to South Africa without ticking this dream experience off my wishlist. This was without a doubt one of the highlights of the trip and I've written about it extensively if you're interest in hearing more about it:

Day 4 - Driving and Flying

After two amazing days, it was time for us to head back to Johannesburg Airport for the next part of our journey. The 4.5 hour drive flew past again and after a long lunch at the airport, we flew down to Port Elizabeth for the next leg of our South Africa adventure.

Day 5 - Tsitsikamma National Park & Storms River

South Africa Storms River Kayaking South Africa Storms River Hiking Tsitsikamma National Park Unfortunately, we weren't able to spend any time exploring Port Elizabeth and instead jumped in the car to head to our first activity on the Garden Route. 2 hours later, we were in Tsitsikamma National Park ready to kayak and lilo on Storms River with Untouched Adventures. Unfortunately due to bad weather conditions, our kayaking tour was cancelled so we instead enjoyed the day hiking around the beautiful area. South Africa is a hub for adventure activities, you could easily spend days setting your adrenaline racing with activities such as kayaking, climbing, hiking, zip-lining, abseiling, paragliding, shark cage diving, surging, hang-gliding etc! Well... whenever the weather co-operates. Less than an hours drive later, we were arriving in our hotel in Plettenberg Bay ready for the next day.

Day 6 - Plettenberg Bay & Kynsa

Monkeyland

Plettenberg Bay Monkey Land Monkeyland Monkey eating tree Monkeyland baby lemur Our first activity of the day was Monkeyland (which sounds cheesey but I can confirm that it's not). Monkeyland is  home to 700 free-roaming rescued primates. These monkeys all come from captivity and after a rehabilitation period are released into the forest. You will be taken on a guided hour long walk through the HUGE forest observing the monkeys roaming freely (there is a strict look but don't touch policy). When in South Africa, I strongly urge visitors to research the "sanctuaries" they are looking to visit, Monkeyland appears to be a good one!

Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary

Jukani Albino Lion Jukani Sleeping Cheetah We then visited Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary (which is owned by the same company as Monkeyland). Jukani is home to big cats rescued from people's homes (where individuals thought that they would be able to keep them as pets) or canned hunting facilities (where they are kept in confined conditions and individuals pay an extortionate amount of money to shoot them). While I think Jukani do an amazing job in educating visitors (particularly on the point that any "sanctuary" which allows you to touch the wildlife is not a true "sanctuary"), resources are obviously tight and the enclosures aren't as large as I would have hoped. That being said, these cats have come from awful conditions and are unable to be released into the wild again; Jukani is the best option for them.

Lunch on the Beach

Plettenberg Bay Beach Plettenberg Bay Bungalow It wouldn't be a trip to South Africa without some epic food and epic views. On recommendation from our hotel owner, we headed to The Bungalow in Plettenberg Bay for lunch. Sitting on the rooftop in the glorious sunshine with a view of the beach wasn't too shabby!

Knysna Heads

Knysna Boy View Knysna Heads Couple Knysna A quick 30 minute drive later, we were in Knysna, another gorgeous sea-side town (South Africa is FULL of them). We obviously drove up to "Knysna Heads" view point and took some photos and a stroll around the area. The drive up is gorgeous and filled with lots of amazing houses - this is where my dream house would be!

Drive to Oudtshoorn & Watch The Sunset

South Africa Landscape South Africa Sunset An hour and a half drive inland through varied terrain lead us to Oudtshoorn where we would be spending the night. Oudtshoorn is in a semi-desert area and Callum regularly asked "where on earth are you taking me?" as there didn't appear to be any form of civilisation nearby for the majority of the drive! On arrival in a truly lovely guesthouse (Karoo Soul), we ate food and played cards whilst watching the sun set from a cosy outdoor communal area.

Day 7 - Cango Caves, Roadtrips & Swellendam

Cango Caves

South Africa Cango Caves Cango Cave Formations One of the main attractions in Oudtshoorn is the Cango Caves. There are two different options for visiting the Cango Caves, one being the normal tourist route and the other being the "adventure route". We opted for the normal approach as the adventure route will see you climbing and crawling, taking on tight spaces and generally facing a whole host of challenges. The caves are super impressive and definitely worth a visit! This area of South Africa is also renowned for it's ostriches. We didn't partake in any of the ostrich based activities while we were there - but you'll be sure to see hundreds standing by the roadside!

Roadtrip

South Africa Roadtrip South Africa Roadtrip Views Ronnie's Sex Shop After visiting the caves, we spent a fair amount of time weighing up our options on what to do next. We knew that we had to be in Swellendam for our hotel that night but had two options on how to get there. The inland journey on the "R62" takes around 2 hours 30 minutes and we were told it passed through plenty of wine estates that we could stop at for lunch etc. The alternative would be to head to the coast (Mossel Bay) before heading to Swellendam, with the entire journey taking around 2 hours 45 minutes. We tried to take this route but our sat-nav was showing a much longer journey time - no idea what was wrong with the roads on this day! So with that, we started our journey inland. We didn't see many places to stop but did stumble across the cutest little rural farm shop and restaurant for lunch - win! Of course, a stop at Ronnie's Sex Shop was in order too - don't worry, it's not an actual sex shop. Just a bar!

Bontebok National Park

Bontebok National Park On arrival in Swellendam, we checked into our hotel and quickly headed out to self-drive around Bontebok National Park before it closed. The park is home to the Bontebok (an unusual antelope type) but unfortunately we only had an our to quickly drive round the park and then leave - so only spotted a few Bontebok from afar.

Day 8 - Hermanus

Whale Watching

Baby Southern Right Whale HermanusHermanus Whale Swimming Tail After an early wake up call and an hour and a half drive to Hermanus, we were ready to do some whale watching! We visited in late September which is one of the optimum times to spot Southern Right Whales off the coast of South Africa - it's safe to say that I was excited! I'd recommend booking a later whale watching cruise than we did. So many people told us to go and see L'Agulhas (the most Southern point in Africa) but it just wasn't possible for us to drive there before heading to Hermanus without missing our pre-booked whale watching spot. We booked a two hour trip with Hermanus Whale Watchers who were amazing. Warning - if you get seasick, take some medication beforehand or you'll end up with your face in a bag for the entirety of the journey (just like Callum).

Exploring Hermanus

Hermanus Landscape We didn't realise that we would be visiting Hermanus on the day of "Hermanus Whale Festival" meaning the town was a hive of activity and we weren't short of things to do or see! With live music and plenty of market stalls set up along the sea wall, we spent the day pottering around in the sunshine and eating good food before driving to Elgin for our final stop on the Garden Route.

Day 9 - Elgin and Cape Town

Cape Canopy Zip-Lining

We stayed in Elgin solely for the fact that we were then a short drive away from our 9am Cape Canopy Zip-lining Tour. There is another Cape Canopy Tour in Tsitsikamma National Park that we could have gone to, but of course Callum picked the biggest and scariest zip-lines (11 in total shooting from mountain to mountain). With my fear of heights not going anywhere soon, I'd cried before the safety briefing was over and din't think that I would be able to do any of the zip-lining. Thankfully, the guides are super reassuring and a few zip-lines in, I was loving it! The entire experience lasts for around 4 hours. Unfortunately I didn't have any zip pockets in my clothes, so couldn't take my camera/phone with me. The kind guides did film some elements though which I will upload at some point!

Cape Town

Cape Town V&A Wheel After a 1 hour drive (which was much busier than any of the drives we'd done so far), we were in Cape Town for the last leg of our trip. After checking into our amazing hostel (The BIG Backpackers), we walked over to the V&A Waterfront to explore for the rest of the afternoon.

Day 10 - Chapman's Peak, Cape Point, Simon's Town & Boulder's Beach

Chapman's Peak

Girl Camera Car Chapmans Peak Drive Day 10 was our last day with the car, so we made sure to drive own to Cape Point. The journey takes just over an hour and is super scenic. Over the course of the two weeks, we had seen a tonne of gorgeous landscapes but there's definitely a reason why the Chapman's Peak drive is so famous!

Cape Point

Cape Point Girl View Cape Point Sign Our top tip would be to set off in the morning fairly early. We had no issues getting into Cape Point National Park, but as we were leaving, the queue was really starting to build up. You could spend as little or as much time as you want in Cape Point. Some guided walks take around an hour, or you can simply jump on the funicular and do minimal walking - either way, it's a gorgeous area and well worth you time.

Simon's Town & Boulder's Beach

Boulders Beach Penguins on Rocks Boulders Beach On the way back up to Cape Town, we stopped off at Simon's Town for lunch and some exploring. This is of course home to the famous Boulder's Beach! I could have spent hours watching the penguins, who knew they could be so entertaining. Simon's Town is also a great place for lunch. We decided to eat at Seaforth Restaurant (which is right by Boulder's Beach) and it was incredible! The restaurant has amazing views of the sea and the food is even better. I don't eat fish, but it looked really good and even I considered eating it! Instead, I opted for the Cape Malay curry, which I highly recommend. We then obviously hopped back in the car for the hours drive back to Cape Town for the night.

Day 11 - Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch Wine Cheese Stellenbosch Wine Chocolates With the car safely returned, we decided that the best way for us to visit the Winelands would be on an organised tour (don't drink and drive kids!), our Cape Town hostel arranged this for us and despite it being an overcast and cold day, we had a great time! The tour took us to 6 vineyards in Stellenbosch and it's safe to say that most of our group were fairly tipsy by the end of the journey! While this was a great introduction to the wine region, this is one area that I'd definitely like to go back to and maybe stay the night.  Especially if the weather is better, it's meant to be a truly stunning area - not that we could tlel that through the clouds!

Days 12 to 14 - Cape Town

Kirstenbosch Gardens Girl Bo Kaap Colourful Houses Cape Town Hall We spent the next 3 days exploring the City of Cape Town. Of course, this is a huge city with SO much to do, but here's a brief outline of our highlights!
  • Table Mountain
  • V&A Waterfront
  • Free walking tours
  • Bo'Kaap
  • Camps Bay
  • Hop On Hop Off Bus
  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  • The Old Biscuit Mill Market
  • District 6
  • Greenmarket Square
And with that, our two amazing weeks in South Africa were over and it was time to make the long journey back to the UK. If you're thinking about visiting South Africa, do it. It's a country filled with hundreds of activities, gorgeous scenery and incredibly hospitable people. Have you ever been to South Africa? What was your favourite activity?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Danielle1

     

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Things you could do instead of scrolling girl holding phone Laura recently  introduced me to an app that monitors the amount of time that I use my phone in a day (including how many times I unlock the screen)! Let’s just day that the results are pretty terrifying - how can one tiny device take up so much of my day? Let’s face it, the hours spent on my phone aren’t productive... the majority of them are  spent aimlessly scrolling through Facebook (which at the moment just seems to be filled with pregnancy announcements, people getting married and casual racism). I have an hour and a half commute to work earth way, so a 3 hour round trip each day to try and to entertain myself, so it got me thinking, what could I be doing with my time? 1) Pick up a good book I love to read but recently I’ve struggled to find the time to read (apparently all of my time is spent on my phone) – I take books with me on my commute but find that I’m too tired to pick it up. If you're on my blog, there's a high chance that you love to travel, so here's some recommendations from other bloggers! Matt has written a great post about wanderlust inducing books, many of which, I’m dying to try and read. Similarly, Dave has spoken to a whole bunch of travel bloggers to find out what books inspire them to travel and summarised it in this amazing blog post! 2) Write blog posts After a long period of writers block, I’m suddenly really excited about my blog and writing (this might have something to do with the very inspiring Blog At the beach event that I attended with Ice Lollyread about my day here). In fact, I’m currently writing this blog post whilst on my morning commute instead of aimlessly scrolling through Facebook! I also wrote 4 blog posts on the train journeys to and from the Blog At The Beach event! No more unproductive train journeys for me! 3) De-clutter your life I don’t just sit scrolling aimlessly through my phone on train journeys... I’ll do it at home too. Waiting for dinner to cook? Scroll. Got a spare 10 mins before I need to leave? Scroll. Got into bed and should be asleep? Scroll. Instead I REALLY need to de-clutter my life, starting with my wardrobes! You may have seen my recent tweet about giving away 90% of my old jeans... this was just the start! I want to get rid of everything I don’t wear, don’t need and brings more joy to my life, maybe even create a capsule wardrobe? This was listed on my “22 goals for being 22” after all! 4) Write a diary A few months ago, I bought a 5 year diary really cheap from Tiger. The concept is that you have a box for every single day for 5 years – it started well and I wrote every day in January... it’s spiralled somehow into being a book that simply sits in my room and this needs to change! Documenting your thoughts and feelings can be so therapeutic and it will be fun to look back on in a few years time! 5) Pick up the phone to a loved one Okay, so this won’t help my phone usage app, but remember that life is short, treasure every second that you have with people. Send that message, gossip to your hearts content, tell someone you love them, giggle like there’s no tomorrow. 6) Work on your dream business When I first started commuting to London 4 years ago, I was making friendship style bracelets as a side hobby. No, it didn’t bring in tonnes of money (thanks Topshop for starting to sell the exact same style bracelet that people could buy for pennies and have instantly!) but I loved having this little hobby and something to throw myself into. Now, it’s writing about travel. So instead of sitting scrolling through my phone on my commute, maybe I’ll work on my twitter reach, follow some new people, create conversations, engage am audience. Maybe I’ll reciprocate the love for fellow bloggers and comment on a few posts. 7) Plan an epic adventure Okay, I should stop doing this one so much, I don't have enough time or money! But adventures don't have to take you halfway around the world or cost you an arm/leg; plan a day out close to home. You'll have a great time and it will keep you off your phone!

RELATED: If you're looking for day out inspiration in the UK, be sure to read about my trip to Arundel (which I highly recommend) and my £20 day out in Essex (with massive savings)!

8) Practice a new skill Keeping things travel related, my new skill would definitely be learning a new language. I've fallen in and out of love with the DuoLingo app so many times that I can't keep count anymore. My basic German is poor (at best) and if anyone has any tips on learning a new language, I'd be glad to hear them!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Danielle1

PLACES I AM DYING TO VISIT IN.png Firstly, happy new year! I took a break from blogging in February because of how busy work is for me during January - but I'm back now - hope you didn't miss me too much (ha - unlikely)! 2017, you've come round too quickly, but in some ways not quick enough. Whilst in 2016, I spent the year visiting some amazing places and experiencing new things - as much as work/exam restrictions would allow me to anyway! The year was also filled with unexpected sadness following the passing of my beloved Nan and other bits and bobs that I won't bore you with now! With the coming of the New Year, I am already thinking about where I can travel to this year - I've currently only got one trip booked but as soon as I know how many exams I will be taking this year/how much annual leave I need to dedicate to them, I will definitely be booking more!

SHORT HAUL DESTINATIONS

Photo: My trip to Slovenia in 2015
You may have noticed that I have become the short-haul European city break Queen (is that a title you're allowed to give yourself? Sod it, I've done it now). At the moment, these are the easiest trips for me to do and I love having loads of little trips spread out across the year! Marrakesh, Morocco In March I have a trip booked to Marrakesh with Callum and I can not wait! Marrakesh has been on my wishlist for ages and increasingly more people are telling me that I should go. We're looking at doing as many excursions from the city as possible - I am loving the look of the overnight Sahara Desert camping experiences. Sarah has got me obsessed with the idea and you can read her blog posts about the experience here and here. Luxembourg Why would you want to go somewhere so small and insignificant? Yes, that's a question I've been asked many times. But Luxembourg has a huge draw on me at the moment and I don't necessarily mean Luxembourg City (however, it is gorgeous and I would obviously dedicate at least a day to it)! I want to rent a car and go castle hunting in the countryside during the Summer and also complete the Mullerthal Trails which look incredible. With a country so compact and plenty of flights from the UK, I'm hoping that I can fit a quick trip to Luxembourg into a UK bank holiday. Slovenia You may be aware that I am absolutely OBSESSED with Slovenia. I visited for the first time in 2015 and I am itching to get back. I was in the country for 4-5 days last time and it wasn't enough (I was also really unlucky with weather on my trip to Bled/Bohinj/Vintgar Gorge which you can read about here). I have made a pact with myself not to revisit places that I have already been to as there is so much of the world left to see, but I feel like I still have unfinished business in Slovenia and I want to show everyone else how magical this country is!

RELATED:  Read all of my posts about Slovenia here!

Balkans Roadtrip

I am in love with the Balkans. There are so many little towns and attractions that I want to visit in the whole area. Ideally, I would hire a car and explore the whole of Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro but I think I'd never want to come home!

LONG HAUL DESTINATIONS

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Photo Credit: Unsplash
With so many busy seasons at work this year and potentially a few exams, I very much doubt that I will be able to make any long-haul trips - but a girl can dream!

South Africa

I was meant to be volunteering in Zimbabwe during 2016 but had to cancel my plans due to study commitments - this does not mean that my dying need to visit the Southern African countries has diminished! At the moment, I'm hugely lusting over South Africa in particular! I want to go on safari in Kruger National Park, hike Table Mountain, explore both Cape Town and Johannesburg, see the penguins at Boulders Beach - I turn into an over-excited tourist just thinking about it.

The Philippines 

I'd be lying if my obsession with the Philippines doesn't stem from Christian's videos earlier this year. If you've never considered the Philippines as a travel destination, maybe you should watch this epic drone video. Christian also has plenty of daily vlogs from his time there which I was obsessed with!

Indonesia Bali is a popular destination for a lot of people at the moment but I want to expand past Bali, I want to backpack through the entirety of Indonesia. I have become fixated with the gorgeous country but don't think that it will be a possibility to get long enough off work to do it this year! The Entirety of South America I have not made it a secret that I am hoping to have a sabbatical from work once I am fully qualified and use the time to travel around South America - the countries/islands at the top of my list at the moment are Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, the Galapagos Islands and Easter Island. Whilst this is more likely to transpire in 2018, I am far too excited at the prospect to not include it here!

RELATED: Read my South America bucket list here

UK DESTINATIONS

Photo: My trip to Loch Katrine, Scotland in 2016
During 2016, I tried to visit as much of the UK as possible and there's still so much left for me to see! Edinburgh ended up being one of my favourite destinations of 2016, so here's hoping another UK gem will steal my heart in 2017! Northern Ireland I want to fly into Belfast and explore the city before heading out to some of the really iconic attractions of the area such as Giant's Causeway. I know a lot of people who fly to Ireland regularly to see family and they don't understand my dying need to visit! Peak District I am happiest when surrounded by mountains and lakes. Fact. So how the bloody hell have I never made it to the Peak District?! Let's not forget that the town of Bakewell is also in the Peak District and who doesn't love Bakewell tarts?!

Three Peaks Challenge

Following on from the aforementioned love of mountains, I would absolutely love to be able to conquer the Three Peaks Challenge! If you aren't familiar with the concept, the challenge involved hiking the highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales (usually within 24 hours). Am I fit enough to do this? Absolutely not. Is that going to stop me? Absolutely not.

More of the Scottish Highlands

It's no secret that I fell in love with Scotland last year. How I hadn't yet visited that glorious northern territory is beyond me. I'd love to spend a week or so driving around the Highlands, basking in the glorious scenery. I think that all we've learnt from this post is that I like pretty scenery.

RELATED: Read about my day-trip to the Scottish Highlands with The Hairy Coo FREE tours here!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Danielle1

241855-ian-snow-christmas-globes-lifestyle-2

Photo Credit & where to purchase these baubles: here

01. So, how many long weekends can I buy as presents for other people before it's obvious that these are really just presents for me? 02. Oh my god, it's nearly 2017, I have no travel plans yet. WHERE DO I WANT TO GO? THE WORLD IS MY OYSTER. 03. Wait, no, how much annual leave do I have next year? Eurgh, is this the year I quit my job to travel? 04. I can't really afford to quit, maybe I'll buy another lottery ticket this week... or six. 05. Am I allowed to use my phone at the dinner table today? RyanAir just announced their boxing day sale... PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT: £9.99 FLIGHTS EVERYONE. NINE POUNDS. 06. More presents with maps on? You guys know how to please me. 07. All of these travel pictures, posters, scratch maps, memorabilia as presents are great... but I'm running out of wall space. Time to build a new wall. 08. Do people think I'm weird for getting excited about packing cubes as a present? Probably. Do I care? No. 09. I'm off work till the New Year - where can I go to escape the miserable British weather? Ooooooh, this snowy Winter holiday looks fun, I'll go somewhere with even worse weather than home! Logic. 10. I want to go away over Christmas. Wait, what if that country doesn't have pigs in blankets?

RELATED POST: THE ULTIMATE TRAVELLER’S CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE

Okay, so maybe it's not a list for EVERY traveller. I know my obsession with RyanAir and pigs in blankets is abnormal, but I'm sure you can relate to at least some of them! I honestly can't believe that it's Christmas already. 2016 has flown by so quickly - it's been a pretty pants year by all accounts, but I did get to travel to some new and exciting places (you can read my 2016 travel round up here). I can't complain too much though, on Boxing Day I'm off to Canada - what are your plans for Christmas? I want to hear all about them!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Danielle1

London Winter Pavement LightsLondon Oxford Street LightsLondon Winter Snow Big BenLondon Harry Potter Studios HogwartsLondon Festive Afternoon Tea B Bakery
Where photos are not my own, the watermark shows the credited author. Please click on the photo to view the original source.
Working in London means I take it for granted and don't go out of my way to enjoy what the city has to offer. I rarely visit London at the weekends seeing as I have to do the 3 hour round commute every week day already! However, London is the perfect place during Winter (despite the bitterly cold weather). So in an attempt to get myself out and exploring this beautiful city, here is the ultimate Winter London Bucket List!
  1. Visit the ultimate Christmas London destination - Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
  2. See the Covent Garden decorations because who doesn't love a giant reindeer?
  3. Ice skating at Somerset House (once I stop being a wuss)
  4. See the amazing window displays on Oxford Street
  5. Eat festive treats at Borough Market (... and the non festive treats... JUST EAT EVERYTHING)
  6. Explore the lights of Kew Garden After Dark
  7. See a Christmas show on the West End - Cinderella pantomime anyone?
  8. Stumble across Christmas Markets
  9. Take a frosty walk around the many parks - who knows, you might be lucky and get snow!
  10. See Trafalgar Square's  giant Christmas tree (which apparently resembles a gerkin this year lol)
  11. Grab a mulled wine... or two!
  12. Splurge on loved ones in Harrods and Hamley's for the little ones!
  13. Curl up in a cosy English pub to escape the cold because there's nothing better than a hearty pub lunch!
  14. Treat yo'self to a luxury Christmas decoration from Liberty (and then cry when it comes out of the loft broken next year)
  15. Explore the WHOLE Christmas floor at Selfridges (and probably the other floors too, just for good measure)
  16. If Somerset House isn't your cup of tea, head to Canary Wharf for futuristic skating surrounded by skyscrapers
  17. Experience a luxury Fortnum and Mason Christmas Hamper
  18. Go for a festive afternoon tea
  19. Get squished in the crowds watching the New Years Eve fireworks
  20. Eat your way through the Taste of London Festive Festival (which is stupidly in November and I have now missed)
  21. Go behind the scenes of the films and visit the Harry Potter Studios for "Hogwarts in the Snow"
  22. Hit the Boxing Day sales (... if you're brave)
  23. Drink in a rooftop WigWam surrounded by Winter Nordic Viking decor at Queen of Hoxton
  24. Shop, eat and Drink at the Southbank Winter Market
  25. Test your cold threshold by taking a drink at The Ice Bar
  26. Just explore and enjoy all of the pretty twinkly lights!

RELATED: Want to see my all-year round London bucket list? Be sure to read this!

I absolutely love the city at this time of year and definitely want to take a trip one weekend in December - is there anything else you love doing in London?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.

Danielle1

All photography credit lies with the respective owners shown in the watermarks.
Out of all the continents, at the moment I feel like I am drawn to North America the least. I can't tell you why, because I'm not entirely sure. I think it has something to do with my absolute love of small charming historic towns as opposed to large commercialised cities (Okay, I know I love London, but London has a decent amount of history too!). However, the area of North  America that really appeals to me is the National Parks. I absolutely love the ridiculously beautiful unspoilt landscapes. The Grand Canyon is one of my favourite places I've ever been and Yosemite National Park is high up on my wanderlust list! So, I need some help. I've compiled a list of the things I can think of that I'd like to do. But if anyone has some suggestions/hidden gems that might help me to fall back in love with North America, I'd love to hear them! Bucket List
  1. See the sloths in Costa Rica
  2. See the Grand Canyon (read: here)
  3. Take an American Road Trip
  4. Visit the Mayan Ruins in Mexico (read: here)
  5. Visit Niagara Falls
  6. Drive along the Big Sur
  7. Go celebrity spotting in Los Angeles
  8. See the beautiful Yosemite National Park
  9. Visit Alcatraz Prison
  10. Experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans
  11. See the famous New York skyline from Liberty Island
  12. Visit the beautiful Vancouver
  13. Experience the city of sin, Las Vegas
  14. Rent an RV and go on an unplanned adventure
  15. Visit 50% of the states
  16. See the volcanoes of Hawaii
  17. Spot wolves in Yellowstone National Park
  18. See the colossal sculptures of Mount Rushmore
  19. Tour the Panama Canal
  20. Tour Havana in a traditional car, Cuba
  21. Relax in the hot springs in the Canadian Rockies
  22. Go hiking in any of the beautiful mountain ranges of Canada (I'm not fussy)!
  23. Skydive over the Great Blue Hole
  24. Get the iconic photo of Horseshoe Bend National Military Park
  25. Drive into the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater
  26. Get lost in Redwood National Park
  27. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge
  28. Drive through Monument Valley

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Danielle1

All photography credit lies with the respective owners shown in the watermarks.
And finally, I am posting a bucket list that I have actually crossed some points off! I might be biased because I live in Europe, but I do think it is one of the most interesting continents. I love it here. I spend as much time as possible exploring close by European cities and I'm always amazed by how much there still is to see and do.

RELATED: Find out how I spend so much time in European cities when I work full time with my "Top Tips for Travelling and Working Full Time"!

Bucket List
  1. See the Northern Lights
  2. Visit all of the Balkan countries (my favourite area of Europe!)
  3. Explore the Norwegian Fjords
  4. Explore my family's history in war memorials in France (read: here)
  5. Hire a car and take a mountain side road-trip
  6. Visit Oktoberfest
  7. Get smashed with tomatoes at La Tomatina
  8. Visit Lapland at Christmas time
  9. Explore more of the UK and see what's on my doorstep
  10. Drive Iceland's Golden Circle
  11. See the beautiful Lake Bled, Slovenia (read: here)
  12. Visit the Scottish Highlands
  13. Eat my way through Italy
  14. Visit a Christmas Market
  15. Go Island Hopping in Croatia or Greece
  16. Take a cruise around Amsterdam's canals (read: here)
  17. See how history has formed today's world at Auschwitz (read: here)
  18. Spend some time living in London
  19. Drink Guinness in Ireland (I don't even like Guinness... but it has to be done!)
  20. Visit the Instagram perfect Hallstatt, Austria (read: here)
  21. Get lost in Istanbul
  22. Experience the fairy-tale medieval city of Tallinn, Estonia
  23. Take a French/German road-trip exploring all of the castles
  24. Visit "Dracula's Castle", Transylvania, Romania
  25. Finally visit Russia and not be put off by the expensive visa!
  26. Go husky sledging in Finland
  27. Soak up the  water's healing powers in a Hungarian thermal pool (read: here)
  28. Visit Eltz Castle, Germany
  29. Visit Ukraine's tunnel of love
  30. Visit the beautiful Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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All photography credit lies with the respective owners shown in the watermarks.

Ahhh Africa. The continent I should have got to visit this year - you might remember reading in my 2016 Travel Plans that I had a 2 week trip booked to Zimbabwe where I would be volunteering with black rhinos as well as visiting Victoria Falls. I had to cancel my trip due to work/study commitments and it's safe to say that I was gutted! There's so many things I would absolutely love to do in Africa - hopefully I can get there next year! Bucket List
  1. Volunteer with animals
  2. Go on a luxury African safari
  3. Stay in a beautiful traditional Riad in Marrakesh, Morocco
  4. Take a camel camping trek across the Sahara desert
  5. Visit the Egyptian pyramids
  6. Gasp in awe at the wildlife in Madagascar
  7. Hike Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
  8. Visit Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe/Zambia
  9. Take a Nile River Cruise, Egypt
  10. Climb Table Mountain, South Africa
  11. Climb the Ethiopian Highlands
  12. Soak up the sun in Zanzibar
  13. Try sand boarding on the Sossusvlei Dunes, Nambia
  14. Raft the Zambezi River
  15. Stare into the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
  16. Take a journey on the "most luxurious railway in the world" - Rovos Rail
  17. See the penguins of South Africa
  18. Experience Cape Town's wine
  19. Witness the Serengeti's great migration
  20. Trek the Atlas Mountains and visit the Berber villages on the way, Morocco

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Danielle1

[caption id="attachment_11524" align="alignnone" width="1024"] A young adult posing on the Uyuni Salar, the sky is reflected.
Released[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_11528" align="alignnone" width="1024"] "Aerial view of Macchu Picchu ruins in remote landscape, Cusco, Peru"[/caption]
All photography credit lies with the respective owners shown in the watermarks.
If I had to choose one continent to visit right now, it would most definitely be South America. I am lusting, hard. Once I have finished my tax qualifications, I think South America will be my continent of choice when I take an extended period of time off work to travel (hopefully in 2018!). So, without further ado, here's my ultimate South America bucket list! Bucket List 
  1. Say hello to a giant tortoise on the Galapogos Islands
  2. See the Moais on Easter Island
  3. Hike Machu Picchu, Peru
  4. Visit the beautiful Salt Flats (Salar de Uyuni), Boliva
  5. Hike the W Trek in Torres Del Paine, Patagonia, Chile
  6. Cruise the Amazon river into the rainforest
  7. Take a traditional dance class (and learn to laugh at how awful I am)
  8. See the thundering Iguazú Falls,
  9. Experience Rio during carnival time, Brazil
  10. Visit a remote tribe
  11. Go wine tasting in Mendoza, Argentina
  12. Sail on Lake Titicaca, Peru/Bolivia
  13. Cycle on Death Road, Bolivia
  14. Shake the "Hand of the Desert" in the Atacama Desert, Chile
  15. Get up close to Christ the Redeemer, Rio, Brazil
  16. Stand in the middle of the world on the Equator in Quito, Ecuador
  17. Meet the penguins of the Faulkland Islands
  18. Swing on the "Swing on the edge of the world", Ecuador
More Inspiration  I have been searching the internet for A LOT of South America tips and tricks recently. I am in love with the idea of the continent and can't wait to explore it! My favourite videos/blog posts are:

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Danielle1

Given that I work in London, I tend to take the city for granted. So I've decided to draw up a London bucket list to make sure that I actually do more things in the city!

Tourist Attractions

 There are hundreds of tourist attractions in London, so here is my small pick of the ones I'd like to try the most! 

1) Ride in the London Eye ✔ The London Eye is one of the most iconic sights in London - be sure to pre-book your trip and hope for good weather! 2) Visit the inside of Buckingham Palace & see the changing of the guard ✔ I've visited Buckingham Palace many times and seen the changing of the guard. However I didn't ever visit the inside until last year - it was amazing and you can read all about it here. 3) Do a tour of the Tower of London ✔ The Tower of London is another sight that I hadn't managed to see inside until very recently - we did a twilight tour and it was great! The Beefeaters tell brilliant stories and there is plenty to see inside! The Beefeater showing us around was from Chelmsford - so obviously we had a lot of Essex banter! 4) Take a cruise down the River Thames ✔ Whilst the river isn't the prettiest (unless you like murky green water), there are plenty of attractions to see along the river and this is the perfect thing to do on a sunny day! Read all about my experience here. 5) Take in the views from the Sky Garden Take a trip up to the Sky Garden (it's free!) for unrivalled views across London - but be sure to book your time slot in advance! There's also a bar and a restaurant! 6) Take in the more expensive views from the Shard The views that you're more likely to have heard of are from the Shard. A rather controversial building (my boyfriend hates it and says it looks unfinished... he's a bore). I've never been to the Sky Garden or the Shard but I'm swaying towards the Sky Garden... just because it's free! 7) Climb the O2 Arena You can now climb/walk across the top of the O2 Arena! Imagine doing this while the sun sets - perfect! 8) Visit inside St Paul's Cathedral I love a good Cathedral, so how have I not been inside St Paul's Cathedral? Probably because it's expensive! If the UK had as many free-entry beautiful cathedrals as the rest of Europe, I'd be one happy girl. 9) Hear the chimes of Big Ben ✔ Everyone needs to go and see Big Ben (and the surrounding area!), get their infamous Big Ben selfie and hear the chimes - they happen on the hour every hour if you're wondering. 10) Hire a Boris bike for the day A "boris bike" is the affectionate Londoner term for the Santander cycles you see throughout the city - simply pay, cycle and then plug the bike back in a the closest bike bank to your destination. A cheap way to get around the city quickly but be warned - the roads of London can be crazy and we don't have many cycle lanes! 11) Visit Windsor Castle and get the iconic "long walk" photo This is probably at the top of my list of things to do right now - Windsor Castle looks incredible and is only a short train ride out of London to picturesque Windsor! 12) Visit the Houses of Parliament  This is something I will be doing in November as my qualification's ceremony is held inside the Houses of Parliament - AMAZING! 13) Get the iconic Abbey Road photo Heard of The Beatles? Of course you have. So head over to Abbey Road and get that iconic photo! 14) Explore Kensington Palace Can I wander the halls pretending to be Kate Middleton? You can call me the Duchess of Cambridge from now on.... a girl can dream! 15) Roam around getting camera happy at Kew Gardens When the city is filled with hustle and bustle, it's nice to escape to the peace and quiet. There are plenty of parks to choose from in the city, but Kew Gardens is at the top of my list of green places to see right now! 16) Take in the views from Primrose Hill Located in regent's park, if you want somewhere peaceful but closer to the city centre than Kew Gardens (see above), then Primrose Hill is the one for you! 17) Go pretend house shopping in Notting Hill / Chelsea / Kensington With rows and rows of gorgeous houses, what better place to go pretend house shopping?! Get a few #DoorsOfInstagram pictures while you're at it! ;-) 18) Visit Nelson in Trafalgar Square ✔ Nelson's Column stands tall in Trafalgar Square to commemorate Admiral Nelson. On the few days that we get sun in London, I've been known to sit by the fountains absorbing the sun on my lunch breaks. 19) Stroll around embankment at night ✔ One of my favourite areas of London is Embankment, especially at night. Walk across the bridges taking in the views of Big Ben, Parliament, The London Eye and London Bridge, all lit up and looking beautiful!

Harry Potter

1) Visit Platform 9 and 3/4  ✔ Located inside Kings Cross station, make sure you take the time to pretend you're a wizard but beware of long queues! 2) Walk across Millennium Bridge - hopefully with fewer dementors! ✔ Any of the bridges on the River Thames are great to stroll across and enjoy the views. However, if you're a Harry Potter fan, this is the bridge you'll be the biggest fan of! 3) Visit the reptile house at London Zoo (although I won't try talking to the snakes) ✔ The famous snake scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was filmed inside the reptile house inside London Zoo - take a peek inside if you're brave enough! 4) Visit Leadenhall Market  Leadenhall Market was apparently used as Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Even if you aren't a Harry Potter fan, this is a beautiful Victorian market building and should be worth a visit! 5) Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studios ✔ Located 20 miles North-West of central London, you'll find the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studios. While it's not in walking distance/a quick hop on the tube like the rest of the items on this list - if you're a Harry Potter fan, you need to check out the Studios!

Museums 

Most of the museums in London are free! Yipee! Therefore they make a really great day out if you want some culture but don't want to take out a mortgage (because let's face it, London is a pretty expensive city!). However, be warned, because they are free, they are often very busy on weekends and school holidays.

1) Get up close and personal with the dinosaurs at the history museum ✔ You've probably seen the iconic photos of the T-Rex towering in the main entrance hall, why not go see him? I'm sure he won't bite! This is one of my favourite museums in London and for good reason! 2) Explore the interactive exhibitions at the Science Museum ✔ If you're visiting London with kids and want to visit a Museum, the Science Museum is the one for you! I haven't been for a few years, but can remember so many interactive activities and kids loving every minute! 3) Marvel at the costumes at the V&A Museum ✔ As a former textiles and design student, it's safe to say that I have spent a lot of time exploring the costumes and clothing at the V&A Museum and it is definitely worth a visit! 4) See the Egyptian mummies at the British Museum  I have actually visited the British Museum before, but I was very young and we were mainly using the building to escape the rain while we were on our way to our actual destination - I I'd love to go back, especially to see the Egyptian mummies. 5) Release my inner history buff a the Churchill War Rooms There's no hiding the fact that I am a bit of a history nerd - it's what I should have been studying at university before I decided not to go. I'd love to explore the Churchill War Rooms - everyone who has been raves so highly about it! (FYI - this one isn't free!) 6) Bask in the beauty of the Courtauld Gallery I'm not a real art fan. There, I said it. So gallery's tend to bore me a little bit - but the Courauld Gallery is in such a beautiful building that I'd enjoy just admiring the outside. Although apparently the inside is a real treat too!

Entertainment

London is definitely somewhere that you will never be bored!  These are my top picks of things to do to keep yourself entertained (if the range of tourist sights aren't enough to fill your time here!)

1) See a West End Show ✔ Living so close to London, I take the range of shows on offer in London for granted and almost forget that other UK cities don't have half the range of entertainment that London has on offer! My absolute favourite West End show is Wicked! However, I've also seen The Lion King, Matilda, War Horse (now ended), Women In Black (twice!) and all were great! Be sure to check the internet for late minute cheap tickets and don't be scared by "restricted view" seating - I've never had any issues. 2) Watch a play at Shakespeare's Globe  After studying King Lear at school in such detail, I'd love to see it performed on the traditional Shakespearean theatre stage. I'm not sure how much I'd be able to remember nowadays though (sorry Miss Chiv!) 3) Watch a football match at Wembley Stadium ✔ Despite the fact that this is a fairly new stadium, Wembley Stadium has become an iconic London Stadium in no time at all! I recently won tickets to see a friendly football match between London and Holland with my boyfriend and can confirm that you don't have to be a massive football fan to enjoy it. I've also seen a few bands play here and it's a great atmosphere if you like big venues! 4) See an "indie" gig at one of the many intimate awesome venues ✔ From the large Wembley Stadium to the teeny tiny intimate venues of London, we have it all! There's nothing better than seeing a local band at a small venue and really feeling really up close and personal with the performers. 5) See your favourite band at the O2 Arena ✔ Another great venue is the O2! I've seen many bands here and will continue to see many more in the upcoming years. My favourites being Biffy Clyro, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Foo Fighters, Coldplay & Adele (my massive girl crush of the moment). 6) Visit a comedy club for some cheap laughs! There are plenty of comedy clubs scattered through London and all provide a great night out. Be sure to look out for "work in progress shows", these are the shows that big name comedians do to test out their material and tickets are a fraction of the actual tour ticket prices. 7) Watch a tennis match at Wimbledon Enough said really. This is an iconic day out - get me some strawberries and cream already! 8) Be amused by the street entertainers in Covent Garden ✔ I work in Covent Garden, so often get to see the street entertainers in full force - another very busy area during school holidays! But a great way to keep yourself entertained for free! 9) Go to a film premiere in Leicester Square Just down the road from Covent Garden is Leicester Square - try and visit on a premiere night to spot some celebrities and get a taste of the glamorous life! 10) Try an "Escape Room" ✔ This is a phenomenon that is currently sweeping the world - I've seen escape rooms in so many cities now! I did one with London Escape Entertainment and would highly recommend. 11) See a show at the Royal Opera House Whilst I'm not a huge Opera, classical music or ballet fan, there's something really special about seeing hugely talented individuals performing in this world class venue.

Food

I eat a lot of food. That's an understatement. But I tend to stick to a lot of the chain restaurants near my work for a quick lunch-time meal. Here are a few places I would love to try! 

1) Eat a curry on Brick Lane I am a huge fan of Indian food. I mean, a HUGE fan. I've heard so many people talk highly of the curry houses on Brick Lane and now I'm absolutely dying to go! 2) Visit Clos Maggiore Located in Covent Garden, Clos Maggiore is known as the most romantic restaurant in London - the flower covered ceiling is very Instagram worthy, surely that's a reason to visit in itself! 3) Have Afternoon Tea at a fancy restaurant ✔ I've had afternoon tea many many times now, who doesn't love sandwiches and cake? Free-flowing champagne is usually also an option! The next afternoon tea I want to try is the Mad Hatter's Tea Party at the Sanderson Hotel. 4) Have a picnic in one of the many parks ✔ Whilst London is a bustling city, there are plenty of green spaces and areas to relax - grab a picnic and head to the nearest park on a sunny day for a great afternoon! 5) Buy food at Borough Market ✔ Borough market is the ultimate food destination in London in my eyes! Think British meats, local wines, dairy, fresh fruits, vegetables and baked goods galore! 6) Eat authentic Chinese food in China town London's China Town isn't the biggest in the world, but the food is to die for! I often walk past drooling at the smell! 7) Visit Mister Lasagna This is a new restaurant in London that maybe isn't on many people's radars yet. London has lots of "quirky" eats to choose from, so I thought I should include one! Mr Lasagna specialises in yep... you guessed it... Lasagne. In fact,the only main meals they have on option are lasagne - TWENTY different types to be accurate! If you can't pick what lasagne to have, you can select 3 smaller portions for around £8 or £9 - bargain!

Shopping

When I'm on a city break, I don't tend to do any shopping as I want to go and explore the city, however, as I live in such close proximity to London and it has some iconic shopping areas, it would be rude not to visit! 

1) Explore Camden Markets ✔ There are plenty of markets to choose from in London, but Camden is definitely my favourite area. You'll find all kinds of weird and wonderful treats here - and delicious street food! Although, I'd love to go to Portobello Markets too! 2) Shop on Regent's Street ✔ The famously beautiful curve of Regent's Street is filled with high-end stores. The perfect place to go window shopping! 3) Soldier through the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street ✔ Oxford Street has a lot more high-street options in comparison to Regent's Street but it can be unbearably busy! I love Oxford Street at Christmas time. Christmas lights make everywhere much more appealing for me *stares longingly into the distance* 4) Visit all of the major department stores - Selfridges, Harrods, Harvey Nichols & Liberty! ✔ You've heard of Macy's and Bloomingdales in New York, it would be wrong not to give the same appreciation to the London counterparts. Selfridges is my favourite - I often visit as it's not too far from work and in my opinion has the greatest range of products/brands. However I really want to spend more time in Liberty!
Photo Credit: Here

Winter Activities

If there's one time you need to visit London, it's Winter! Although, be warned, it gets VERY cold.

1) Visit Winter Wonderland ✔

Winter Wonderland is a huge Winter set-up in Hyde Park. Think Christmas markets, theme park rides, ice bars, a circus, Christmas lights, mulled wine, etc etc!

2) Skate on the ice-rink at Somerset House Probably one of the most picturesque things to do in London during Winter - I just need to get over my fear of ice skating first! 3) See the New Year's Eve fireworks from Alexandra Palace You're probably wondering why I chose Alexandra Palace... I think this is a beautiful area of London and I'd love to be up on that hill with a view over the rest of London! 4) Be at the River Thames for the New Year's Eve fireworks Now for the more traditional place to view the classic New Year's Eve fireworks - right by the river! I'd love to do it once. But have heard many horror stories of being very cramped and queues for the grimy toilets that are hours long! 5) Go on a Christmas lights hunt ✔ During the Winter months, you can't go too far without stumbling across some Christmas lights. Covent Garden is one of my favourite areas at this time of year.

MY SCORE!

Tourist Attractions - 7/19

Harry Potter - 4/5

Museums - 3/6

Entertainment - 6/11

Food - 3/7

Shopping - 4/4

Winter Activities - 2/5

Total Score - 29/57

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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