11 September 2016

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye!

Saying goodbye, disappearing and leaving home for a while is becoming a bit of a habit for me of late.

Remember when I said my sister and I were determined to do more travelling following America Part 2 (which you can read all about here)? Well - that time is now upon us.

We're actually leaving for Singapore tomorrow! (Wahoo!) Then we're hitting up Melbourne and Sydney before pitstopping in Bali on the way back to be home in time for our cousin's wedding mid-October.

We were originally going to travel around Thailand but, literally the day before we were going to book it, the news broke of the 12 bombing blasts in 24 hours. You could argue that it could happen anywhere in the world right now, given the state of things, and you cannot let it stop you from living your life. However, we thought we should perhaps let the dust settle and simply postpone this trip for the time being, knowing how much our parents would worry if we were out there whilst the country was on high alert.

So, instead, we decided that I would take Nic to Singapore and Sydney (as she's never been to either) and also tick off two more places on my bucket list in the form of Melbourne and Bali. (Squeel!)

I'm super excited, although I forgot how much of a challenge it is to pack a backpack for an extended period of time away. My first backpacking trip was only in 2014, and that time I had to pack for over 3 months rather than just one, but it feels like a lifetime ago. So much has happened since then.

I've managed to pack it though - and pack it well (in my humble opinion)! It's crazy to think that in a matter of hours, I will be back on a plane again.

I'm a little bit gutted that I've run out of time to blog about what an amazing past couple of weeks I've had - Leeds Fest, my 26th birthday, the American coming to visit and Edinburgh to name a few highlights! But I will try to find opportunities to blog while I'm away, or as soon as I get back.

I have to say that I am literally having the time of my life at the moment since I left my job to travel some more. I've never felt so happy, so strong (both physically and mentally) and so comfortable within myself.

I wish I could travel internationally for a career because I love it and I would be so good at it!

Bring on the next trip and, who knows, if there's money leftover - we might be off again! (Here's hoping!)

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye!

(Have you been to Singapore, Melbourne, Sydney or Bali before?! What did you think? Thanks so much for reading! Katie-xo)

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7 September 2016

A Wonderful Wedding Weekend in Ireland

The penultimate weekend in July, following our America Part 2 travelling trip (which you can read about here), my sister and I headed to Ireland for our friend’s wedding on a four night extravaganza.

We barely had time to recover from America before we had to fly out to Dublin from Leeds Bradford airport. I, for one, was definitely still on Chicago time – therefore the wake up time of 5.30am for our 8am flight was somewhat of a KILLER.

However, we managed to drag our asses to the airport and arrived in the Republic of Ireland’s capital city after less than a couple of hours on the plane, loaded with coffee and eager to explore a country we’d never been to before.

Dublin, at times, reminded me of Amsterdam; the buildings overlooking the river, the cute little bridges, the backstreets – it took me back to last November when my sister and I visited the capital city of The Netherlands for a whistle stop tour in three days.

Dublin is a great city to just explore and get lost in – which we did numerous times when poking around the backstreets (I’m usually good at navigation, with a little help of Google Maps, but I was severely jetlagged – OKAY?!)

The city is also very well known for its cute little pubs, often with live music, and being the home of a very famous beer. That’s right, you guessed it – GUINNESS.

My sister and I are not really fans of beer (this may link back to one crazy night in Boston last January where we drank beer until we felt sick and then I actually was sick #WEAK) but we just had to try some Guinness while we were in Dublin. OBVS.

We were also keen to try out the nightlife, after hearing from numerous friends and relatives how freakin’ amazing it is. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it out on our first night. Sure we drank, we acted merry, we met some characters… But oh, did I mention that we were SEVERELY JETLAGGED?! I felt like my head was going to explode at any moment.

Instead we had a nice tea, a bit of a nightcap and then were promptly in bed by 10pm – because, you know, we’re ROCKSTARS.

The next day we headed to Charlestown via Bus Eireann, where the wedding would take place the day after, which took approximately three hours. It was a quite a pleasant and scenic journey as I was able to just stare out of the window at the stunning Irish countryside the entire time.

Once we arrived in Charlestown, we were greeted by the sister of the bride and taken to our B&B where we would be staying for the night. It was here we met up with another friend of ours and her boyfriend and then headed out for some pub grub - NOM. We then ended up in the pub where we were to meet the rest of the wedding party for a pre-wedding celebratory drink.

This ONE drink led to another, then another, then ANOTHER - until OOPS well would you look at the time, we really must be heading home before we end up too pissed and hungover for the wedding. Plus I was, you know, STILL DAMN JETLAGGED.

The next day (the wedding day) we headed to the hairdressers in Charlestown where the bridal party were having their hairs done and then we had ours done before heading back to the B&B to finish off getting ready.

My hairdresser did this really cool thing with my hair where she curled it first of all, then put half of it up but she sort of tucked bits under and knotted it to do it. OBSERVE:

Once we were back at the B&B, it was time to put on my pretty powder blue dress, get properly dolled up and pretend I was Cinderella for the day.

The actual wedding ceremony was at St James’ Church in Charlestown and it was so beautiful – everything from the service to the church decorations to the outfits of the people involved.

Afterwards, the ceremony was followed up with the reception at Mount Falcon in Ballina – the most gorgeous Victorian manor house on the banks of River Moy.

We had a lovely three course dinner followed by drinks and dancing and, in true wedding form, the night got messier and messier as time went on. HELLO, BABY GUINNESSES AND JAGERBOMBS AND ALL OF THE SHOTS.

The next day we forced ourselves to breakfast with aching heads, stomachs and livers before heading back to Dublin on a three hour return coach journey.

We had one night left in Dublin before we had to get up for an early flight back to Leeds, but – SHOCK HORROR – we were too tired and hungover from the weekend’s celebrations to be able to make it out that night.

Instead, we slept. We slept a lot. And BOY, did it feel good.

The following morning, we headed back to Leeds both feeling quite content that we’d had the most wonderful weekend celebrating our friend’s wedding, as well as an amazing first experience of Ireland.

I would not be opposed to going back to Ireland to explore more of it in the future.


(Thank you to the newly Mrs Nicola Johnstone for inviting us to your wedding! Congratulations to you and Rob, once again, and we were so happy to be able to celebrate your special day with you!

Have you been to Ireland before? What did you think to it? Thanks for reading! Katie-xo)

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