How to make the most out of your holiday

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Holiday season is upon us!

All you have to do is take a glance at instagram and whoop there it is… photos galore of beyond-beautiful backdrops, perfect beach bods and ultimate baecation goals.

Whether you’ve sorted an extravagant caribbean getaway or a chic short city break in Europe, there’s a few things that I always consider before finalising my holiday plans that I think can help anyone when wanting to find the best destination as well as planning to make the most out of your holiday.

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1.Research any events happening.
I’m the type of person who is always on the hunt for something new to do in London. And to be honest, this is no different to when I’m going abroad. My top tip to making the most our your holiday is to find events happening in the place you plan to visit around the time you’re going. A music festival, a beach party, a food market – if there’s something you’re interested in, more times than not, places in your chosen destination will have events for you to attend. This is also a great opportunity to get out and explore too… who knows you may even make a few new friends on the way.

2.Discover cool places to eat.
Much like the way I research events, I am religiously on the hunt for new eateries. I pretty much plan my day around food, from what time I think I’ll be hungry to what I’m going to scoff down next, even as I’m finishing the meal in front of me.

I’m lucky enough not to be allergic to anything *touch wood* which gives me the freedom to enjoy exploring new flavours and foods, so, one of my favourite pastimes is to look up restaurants (non chains) to see where I can eat next. Pinterest and Instagram (trust me, utilise these platforms) are my favourite tools for this as you get to see great photos from real life people (Tripadvisor doesn’t hurt either!).

This goes hand-in-hand with my first point too. If you’ve found an event to attend, finding a nice spot to brunch it up, or have a romantic evening meal at, nicely finishes off a day out, so keep you eyes out for double-tap worthy food.

3.Don’t Rely on Reviews.
One valuable piece of advice I’d pass on is to not solely rely on reviews. Now, I’m not saying to dismiss reviews completely, but, weigh out your options. Consider price, star ratings and ‘traveller photos’ and carefully read what you’ll get for your money. Whether for a restaurant or hotel, always remember you may like things that some people may not, so relax and look forward to making up your own mind and making your own memories.

After all every experience is a lesson learned.

4.Make a Loose Itinerary.
I love to be organised and everything, but after one holiday to Barcelona, where I had a solid plan for every day of our trip, I think it’s worth remembering, a holiday, is for exploring a new culture and way of life, BUT, it’s also a gateway to utter relaxation (in my world anyway). So, with that being said, I would make a loose plan of pre-booked trips and activities and keep in mind excursions that you’d like to go on, so you have the option to book it while you’re there. The last thing you want to do waste money.

5.Enjoy every day as it comes.
Last but not least, enjoy your time away. Many a time, we put all our energy into planning, that when we get there we’ve already lived out our holiday online. Take the day as it comes and try to enjoy every minute of it.

Do you have any tips, to ensure you make the most out of your holiday, I’d love to know?

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My Caribbean Adventure: 2 Weeks in Jamaica

Jamaica seems like a very distant memory right now, and all I keep thinking about is how much I was enjoying life 😒💚❤️️💛.

My two week adventure in Kingston was definitely one to remember. Split into two parts, I was able to see the real Jamaica and experience its unforgettable people and culture, as well the perfectly-packaged tourist ready version of the island.

Week 1

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Soaking up the sun, and drinking WATA!

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As mentioned in my previous blog, this was my first trip to Jamaica. Kingston is where my grandma grew up, where my dad visited when he was younger, so I was more than excited to experience what they had always talked about.

‘Uppa country’ as locals like to say, is where I called home for the first seven days. (Funnily enough when I got back to the UK I learned that my grandma actually grew up on the same road as where I was staying. Coincedence much?!) Beautiful views, windy country roads, fresh food, is all what consumed my time.

No internet, no TV, just living simply. To some this may sound like hell, but in all honesty it was a relief. Detoxifying even. This is what going away is all about (for me anyway) and it was lovely not to have any distractions and to simply chat, listen, learn and enjoy life.

The week now seems like a blur, I guess the saying ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ is true. The cool late nights playing dominoes or dancing merged into the days where I sat in the sun drinking bag juice. I felt like this is what life is meant to be like 100% of the time – no time keeping, just taking the time to have fun and be.

Week 2

After enjoying a week with family, it was time to move to our airbnb.

Now, can I just take a moment to praise how convenient and affordable airbnb is in Jamaica. We found some beautiful gems to rent, but, settled for an apartment opposite the Bob Marley museum. Super convenient, modern and it even had a pool which we never actually used, but it was nice to have the option, especially as we were hours away from any natural beach.

Being in Jamaica was a gave me nothing short of a whirlwind of emotions, but ultimately it taught me to be confident… unapologetically, inside and out. It’s a mantra that many of us talk about and try to omit, but honestly speaking I didn’t feel conscious about myself, about my weight, about my race and it was lovely to just live life. Maybe this was down I to me being in my natural habitat, being comfortable in my surroundings, and in my skin, it was a feeling that I surely will never forget.

 

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Frenchman cove
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Frenchman Cove
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Frenchman Cove
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Frenchman Cove

We most definitely caught the beach bug and headed even further to Ocho Rios – Turtle Tower beach the day after too.

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Turtle Tower Beach
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Watching Dolphins
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Turtle Tower Beach
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What does this look like to you? #PumPum Rock
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Views from Portland

 

 

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Hope you enjoyed… I know I did!

Are you off anywhere special in the coming months?

Why Kingston, Jamaica Should Be Your Next Holiday Destination

Hey all,

I’ve been back in the UK for just over a week and I am wanderlusting HARD!

From the title of this blog, you’ve probably guessed where I’ve just come back from.

Yes… I’ve been living carefree, soaking up all the vitamin D the caribbean has to offer, sipping on Red Stripe Lemon, and exploring the bustling capital city of Jamaica, Kingston.

The Caribbean is somewhere that I’ve always gravitated towards when looking for my next holiday destination. It’s hot, it’s instagrammable, and there’s so much culture to explore.

Having travelled to Barbados on multiple occasions, I thought it was about time I explored my Jamaican heritage. And seeing as both mine and my boyfriends families are from Kingston, it was only right that this would be our home for 2 weeks.

My heart fell for Kingston instantly. The vibrancy of the city set against the mountain views were absolutely superb, so, if you’re planning a trip to the caribbean or more specifically Jamaica, it’s only right I put Kingston on your radar.

1. The Food

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Locals use wood oven like these to cook jerk chicken and pork
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Pictured: Lobster, Bammi, Plantain, Fried Dumplings

Jamaicans know how to throw down… anywhere! Whether you’re strolling through Kingston passing local food businesses with home made wood ovens, or sat down in a nice restaurant you’re always seconds aways from tasty, fresh food. There’s something for everyone. If you’re after something traditional like ackee & saltfish, lobster and bammi, callaloo and breadfruit or even something more western, like a burger, Kingston has got an array of eateries. Plus, Vegan options are standard!

2. The People

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Locals you’ll find in Kingston

No Problem is Jamaica’s national slogan, and it’s perfectly fitting. The people are loud, confident, outgoing, funny, charismatic and will help you out with no problem. Oh, and somehow, everyone seems to be able to sing.

3. The Culture

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Beautiful paintings inside the Bob Marley museum grounds

With Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley and Usain Bolt national heroes, there is plenty to be explored when it comes to the history and culture of Jamaica.

A Jamaican folktale I came across was that the first Jamaican Bobsledding team actually got the idea to compete as bobsledders in the Olympics after racing around on carts used to transport food in downtown Kingston fresh food market. True or not, it’s quite interesting.

4. The Music (…and the parties!)

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Amazing artist: IndieMeName

As I said before, everyone on the island seems to have a record label worthy voice. Is it any wonder, Jamaica was home to the musical legend that was Bob Marley. The island thrives off of good music and good vibes. From the parties, to concerts, it’s evident that Jamaicans have music flowing through their veins.

At one point during our stay we were at a street party that started at about 5pm and ended at 7am the next morning. Music blasted all night with No Problem. can you imagine the ruckus from neighbours if that happened in the UK?!

5. The Views

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Compared to Barbados, Jamaica is a very mountainous island, so much so, that anywhere  you find yourself in Kingston, there’ll be a beautiful backdrop of a mountains and palm trees to admire. I mean do you need anything else?

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I have so many unforgettable memories from Jamaica that there are so many more beautiful reasons on why you should visit Kingston. Keep your eyes peeled on my next post all about the places you should visit (beaches included)!

Have you/ would you ever visit Kingston?

Life Begins with a Bottomless Brunch

Living Hygge is something we’ve all become obsessed with.

Enjoying life’s simple pleasures may take on different forms to different people, but since taking on the responsibilities of being a proper adult, enjoying going out and exploring has become one of life’s pleasures for me. After all, life shouldn’t begin and end with work.

Bottomless brunch has been on my cards for a while, which is why I sought to find the best bottomless brunch in the city… well one of the best according to Time Out.

Villandry ticked all the boxes for me and after looking at the menu £35 a pop seemed like a great deal, especially as this bottomless brunch features never-ending prosecco!

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Sitting right in the middle of Great Portland Street, Villandry stood out in all it’s glory, it was so pretty.

I was greeted by very welcoming staff and sat my pretty table for two waiting for my Mr to arrive.

Considering they seemed to have very strict booking rules, the staff were very understanding as we were about an hour late (the booking supposedly lasts 2 hours, but I think they don’t mind how long you stay depending on how busy it is), but they assured me that time only starts from when the first prosecco is poured – result!

Once bae and I were both seated, we scanned the menu and ordered food pronto – by this point it was about 12:30 and we were both starving.

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I opted for poached eggs and avocado on rye bread he and a Full English!

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My boyfriend is not a big drinker but as he didn’t drive and we both caught the tube into central London, he let loose and had like 5 glasses one after the other –  literally never seen him like that.

The staff were really friendly, and kept topping up our glasses, it was a bit insane, especially as it was so early. The only time I’ve ever had ay alcoholic beverage at that time is on holiday.

About 30 minutes after we had eaten we decided it was time to go. Too much prosecco had been downed and we were actually acting like a couple of fools. Plus, we wanted to have a walk around Oxford Street. To be honest I think they were surprised we were leaving so early.

All in all I would rate Villandry an 8/10. The mood and atmosphere was spot on, the waiter ensured neither of our glasses were even half empty, but I have to say the food let the experience down – as it looked lovely but it was just OK – I would say The Breakfast Club is better quality. I also noticed that a few groups who came in after us, were served before us, which I feel is plain rude.

Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a nice picturesque spot in London to hang and have a good time with the girls this is the place, but if you’re looking to chow down on a nice brunch with prosecco being very much an after-thought, this place isn’t for you.

I would love to try another Bottomless Brunch just to have something to compare Villandry to…Have you been to any nice spots for brunch?

 

One Year On…

Today riannemitchell.com turns one!

And I feel it’s only right to dedicate a whole post to my blogging journey.

Since I was quite young I always wanted to have a successful blog. I’ve always loved writing, and enjoy sharing my experiences, however, it wasn’t until this day last year that I plucked up the courage to actually make this blog a reality.

It’s still surreal to me that people read my blog (like I actually have real like subscribers-eeek). People who tweet me, like my sh*t and follow me on multiple social platforms. Although I’ve hit many milestones, a year on and I’m feeling a mixture of emotions about being a ‘blogger’. There have been ups and down, great events and PR invitations, as well as the chance to become involved in something big, where I’ve been able to make friends and craft real relationships with fellow bloggers as well as companies.

But, I can’t lie, it’s been hard. Hard to balance life, working full time as well as creating content to blog about. Hard to choose what events to attend, because who wants to take Annual Leave for an event that’s totally cool but will have no relevance on my blog and last but not least, majorly hard to keep up with ever-rolling timelines of social media – because who cares about what was tweeted 10 minutes ago.

But, in some of life’s crisis’ there’s always a silver lining and one thing that I read very recently taught me that if I want an interest or hobby of mine to succeed, I need to work at it full time and put in the same amount of time and effort I put in at my 9-5 – which really put things into perspective.

So with that in mind, I’ve listed a few goals that I’d love to achieve and look back in a years time and say check! (and sometimes that means going back to basics)…

Goals

  • To grow my blog presence – I still can’t believe people actually read and comment on my blog, but I wana go global baby! (maybe not global but definitely bigger and better)
  • Post 2 times a week
  • To join at least 2 twitter chats a week – I mean who doesn’t love a good twitter natter
  • To grow a travel & lifestyle blog that people actually go to for date night ideas, travel destinations etc.  – I love finding new destinations from publication like Time Out so why not gain a real review from moi
  • To comment on blogs that I love reading – This is the hardest thing for me as i’m always reading something, so I feel it’s only right to show appreciation if I enjoyed the read.

One year on, and for the first time I’m feeling confident about my vision for this blog, so as I switch things up a bit, I hope you all stick around for the journey.

See you on my next post x

5 Podcasts you NEED to listen to

Hey guys,

I’m back in full force, and let me tell you…there’s reason for it!

Living with very limited internet connection for nearly 3 weeks has made me really… really value internet connection. I mean lets be fair… it practically rules our every second.

But, when it’s suddenly taken from your fingertips is it any wonder why we… or matter of factly speaking I was left not knowing what the hell to do with my time. It’s actually crazy how much my life is consumed by online shopping, blogging, social media and everything else that comes with owning a smartphone.

While my phone was practically out of service, I had to become creative with how I managed my ever depleting data (there’s just never enough is there?!) so instead of downloading movies on Netflix I decided to discover, subscribe and download different podcasts. (Just click on that little purple icon, you wont regret it)

Podcasts literally saved my sanity. I had no idea that podcasts were a thing (again) until Christine put me on to one, on our trip to Paris and it’s now become a personal fave.

Keep reading and let me fill you in on podcasts you NEED to listen to just because… or if you ever find yourself in your bedroom that doesn’t have a TV and no friends to call (Yes it was hell and some tears were shed but I’m seriously living for the moment when I can laugh at this 😫😂)

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The Read
This podcast is my absolute fave. If you love keeping up with music, pop culture, sipping and spilling tea, take some time out with the cool kids; Kid Fury and Crissle as they throw the utmost shade at celebs you love to hate. They literally make my Mondays worth living and have me dying with laughter at my desk and on my commute. Each episode lasts at least 2 hours but it’s still not enough.

Pandolly
I have been a fan of Pandora Sykes forever – she has the coolest blog and is Fashion Features editor for The Sunday Times Style. Little did I know, that she’s teamed up with her buddy and dating columnist Dolly Alderton to bring you feminist debates, news, and general girl talk without any limitations. If you ever wondered what privately educated women talk about, plug into Pandolly airwaves and be a fly on the wall for an hour or two.

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The Receipts
The ultimate girl talk. When I’m talking to my girls this is kinda what it sounds like. The Receipts podcast is hosted by four women from different walks of life who just happen to be friends. Controversial they may be, you can be sure to get the real from these ladies, who will have you nodding, chuckling and wanting more.

Champagne Room (available on soundcloud)
Please Urban Dictionary the name of this podcast and you’ll get the vibe lol. If you know you’re the bad and boujee type, the Champagne room is for you! The perfect evening podcast. Turn on when chilling at home, and get ready to turn up and these girls -will have you mmhmmm’ing in agreement.

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Cut The Chat
OMG. Ever wondered what guys talk about in the barbershop? Check this podcast out! Hosted by four inner city men, you get to know a general consensus around hot topics like Chocolate City, music and more important hot topics like the recent inauguration. Please Check it out…

So there you have it. If you’re ever in need of a pick me up, plug into one of these podcasts and be entertained.

Many thanks to Starbucks for being the real MVP and providing me with free wifi during this tough time 😂

Perusing Paris:

I cannot believe it’s been over a week since my impromptu weekend away in (insert French accent)… Paris!

A girly trip away is sometimes, in fact always needed, and who better else to spend it with than the blogging gal pals… if you don’t know who I’m talking about check this post. I mean who else truly understands the art, and struggle, of capturing the perfect Instagram post? Only the blogging queens, that’s who! 😂

Our trip was short and sweet, but definitely a barrel of laughs. We fit so much in (thanks Chrissy) that I feel like I actually saw Paris and experienced a little bit of culture – although now that I think of it I didn’t try a croissant – major faux pas! 😱

Whether you’ve been to Paris once ,like me or more there’s so much to do and see. So if you’re planning a romantic trip to France with bae or simply want a have a girly weekend away with your besties, here are some places you should definitely and visit…

Louvre
We visited the Louvre on our first night and it was everything! I’ve always seen so many pictures of people doing the whole pinching the tip thing (lol) but to actually be there and take in the view was something else. We didn’t actually go inside, but just seeing the beauty of the architecture and surrounding buildings was enough, plus, guess I can explore further next time 👍🏾

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Eiffel Tower
Who goes to Paris and doesn’t see the Eiffel Tour?! Like, seriously it is amazing and steeped in history. Did you know it’s re-painted every 7 years and it takes 60 tonnes of paint to cover it? Absolutely crazy! It is recommended that you see at least once in daylight and again at night because it’s truly spectacular, and you really get to see its personality and detail in different light.

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Notre Dame
I can’t believe I got to visit the backdrop to one of my favourite Disney films 🐵. To be honest I was left a little disappointed. I don’t know what it was but I thought there would be more. Nevertheless, the cathedral is beautiful and there are plenty of places to eat nearby.

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Sidenote: If you have the chance to visit don’t let any of the artists outside draw a caricature of you, absolute waste of time and money – if you saw my instastory you know what I’m on about 👀

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Champs de Elysee
There are no words to describe how charming and beautiful this avenue is. I felt so Parisian just walking up to the Arc de Triomphe. There’s only one way to see the Champs de Elysee and it’s at night – definitely the perfect destination for a romantic late night stroll.

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River Cruise and River Seine
If you love to immerse yourself in local history, I would really recommend taking a cruise down River Seine, which is practically next to Notre Dame, so not far to walk. The hour long trip was only €12 and it took us past really cool landmarks  It’s so picturesque and definitely worth the trip if you want to see a lot in one go. Before you take a boat trip, don’t forget to visit one of the many love lock bridges and attach a lock that’ll be there forever… or at least until they take it down – One bridge has collapsed 11 times due to the weight of locks.

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Places to Eat

When you go to France it’s only right that you eat right too so hit up these places.

Street Vendor Crepes 

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La Pere Claude 

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PaperBoy Paris 

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Paris was such a dream. So multicultural and historical. Exploring in -4 degree temperatures is not exactly my ideal holiday, but definitely a trip to remember. I can only imagine just how much the beauty of the city shines through in the summer months.

Paris seems like a distant memory but, 2017 is all about new adventures and travels so I can’t wait to share where I’m off to next…

Have you been to Paris, what was your favourite thing to do? Also, what’s your favourite French word?