If we ever get there.. (Budapest 1/3)

Ahh Budapest,

I believe I had highlighted in an old post that we were heading to Budapest in Hungary on a trip this summer to attend the FINA Aquatics World Championships which were being held there.

I decided to book this because as a diving fan I was keen to attend the world championships, I convinced my long suffering family Budapest was THE place to visit and succeeded (OF COURSE!)

We booked a week which is a little bit longer than I would usually want for a city break but I figured that almost three days would be taken up by the diving so we would be fine.

Does anyone ever find that as soon as you book something people come out of the woodwork with hints, tips and tricks? Well we got everything from “Don’t get taxis you will be ripped off”, to “ooh, you can’t spend money in Budapest” and everything in between.

Our first blip was the currency – Hungary is a member of the EU but not a fully fledged member of the Eurozone yet so they accept Euro but the currency is still Hungarian forints. We tried to order €1500 worth of Forints, which is almost half a million forints! Two days after we ordered this in the bank they rang us, we had only ordered 5000 forints which is about €16! Disaster!! At least we got it sorted..

The second dilemma we faced before even leaving was a major one! As a group of four, three of us are major Game of thrones fans so we were going to be flying out around 18 hours before the SEASON PREMIERE! So it was a toss up between having to be able to see it out there or avoid all social media for the whole week! It was a no brainer in fairness.. SO I packed in my AppleTv and made sure we had a way to watch out there! Now, we were off…. At Last!!!

 

For the rest of the Budapest trip make sure and subscribe!!

 

Until Next Time,

Stephen 😛

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Travel, without breaking the bank

As I have previously said I love travelling but I derive most of my joy for holidays in planning them. I have been the de-facto planner of family holidays since I was 12 and have found that there are multiple factors that can be applied to a search to make sure that the most enjoyable, relaxing or whatever type of holiday you might be searching for can be achieved without breaking the bank. Below are some of the best tips:

1. Plan Ahead, Way ahead

One of my favourite things to do after I come back from a trip is starting to plan the next one, what I love to do is pick four or five trips from my travel bucket list and give myself a rough estimate old-1130743_960_720of a new timeframe. Allowing at least six months between the previous trip and the next allows an opportunity to research the locations, the things to do the
best hotels etc. Of course it also allows an opportunity for you to build up the funds needed for another trip. An example of planning way ahead is the fact that i have been planning a trip to Orlando for almost 3 years now and the trip is no closer to coming to fruition, as a result I have the trip planned to perfection and know exactly where I want to visit while there, what to see and how long would be needed, I also know the cost p/p almost in my sleep and if given 6 months notice. The more time you allow for planning the cheaper the trip.

2. Last minute greatness

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Do you always find yourself running for the plane? If so then booking last minute may be your thing!

Ok so being so planned and organised this is never an option for me – I just can’t do last minute, but I do have family who have found that you can get away for just as cheap. A friend of mine actually has just packed a bag for whatever the weather, turned up to the airport booked the cheapest international flight available and worried about hotels and other arrangements when they landed. They ended up staying in a b&b in croatia which was basically just some woman spare room, the couple in question credit the holiday as the best they’ve ever had and they got a week away for under €250. Nice if you can handle the stress of not knowing.

 

3. Flexibility & Adaptability

aircraft-1362587_960_720If you want to save money on getting away you need to be flexible. Its that simple. You will need to know where and when you are and are not available to travel. Whether you are using one for two from above or a mixture of both you still need to know where you don’t want to go or when you can’t go. Example when I’m travelling with my parents i know not to look at northern Africa or turkey as once my mom sees a country on the news it becomes a no-go for about five years. So once you know where and when you can’t go then you know what you can accept and save €€€.

4. Visit – Don’t Book.

I reckon Travel agents will probably start to charge a fee for a consultation soon enough because the number one tip I have garnered while planning a holiday is that while booking online is all well and good, sometimes a professional opijapan-218615_960_720nion can just help to kickstart the ideas. Personally when i narrow a trip down to two or three places I present at a travel agency and get some advice on both places, to be honest I just like to get the brochures which they are becoming less willing to hand over, I mean personally I wouldn’t really mind paying €25 for the opinion of a travel agent. When you get the information and the price, nine times out of ten you can go home and get a cheaper price online!

5. Be Realistic.

Ok Honestly,being realistic is the pillar here. Say you set your heart on a destination, you owe it to yourself to know the price points that come attached. The last thing you want to do is travel halfway across the world and then not enjoy it to the max because you didn’t realise how expensive it was.

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Snap fliters galore in London!

Lets say you want a weekend away to London but you only want it to cost €500 total. Likelyhood, either its not going to happen or your not going t
enjoy it like you should.

Hotels in central London (tube zone 1) are expensive,  and the most reasonable room rate I can find is €150 a night! Flights from Dublin are around €50-€100 per person and when we were last there  “activities” (we did the making of harry potter and  a musical ) cost almost €200 extra. On top of all of that London is expensive and you have other costs such as travel etc to consider, a more realistic expectation would be €800-€1200 for a weekend to visit the Queen in Buckingham Palace.

 

 

Hope you enjoyed the list and I really want to hear if you have any other tips or if you use any of these tips!

As always thank you so much for reading

Stephen 😀

Baskets & Budgeting

Around this time of the month every month I find myself filling baskets online of clothes, Skincare stuff and other general tat that I probably don’t need.

Getting Paid monthly is not the most fun thing but I think budgeting becomes so important when your wages only comes in once every four weeks.. sometimes a little longer depending.

Anyway I like to keep it simple by just having a little exec sheet saved with my usual expenses, phone bill and the likes things that are regular and then once i know what I’m getting paid just pop that figure in, deduct your expenses and then you know what the balance is that is left over to spend.. this is always the figure that i am watching because if it isn’t enough i need to streamline my online baskets and thats never fun.. 😦

As I’m writing this post I currently have tonnes of  holiday clothes in an ASOS basket and a nice little boots basket full to the brim of skincare/grooming essentials. On top of that i have to pay for our flight to Budapest and start putting away some spending money all mixed in to the regular expenses.

Fingers crossed that this month my wages is like a phone number so that i can afford all the expenses and still buy my baskets..  If i can, expect a couple of haul posts –  Hopefully.

Thanks for reading,

Any tips on budgeting or how does getting paid monthly vs weekly affect you? let me know in the comments

Until Next Time,

Stephen 😀

 

My Favs: YouTubers

My taste on YouTube is varied and usually I find myself going on to watch one video I have in my sub box and then three hours later panicking over only getting 5 hours sleep if I fall asleep right now! I am subscribed to loads of channels and have a couple of channels with notifications on – only a couple of my subs are THAT important! Below is a couple of the content creators that I watch ASAP!

*This list is not definitive and ranking is in no specific order*

1. Tom Daley

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Obvious choice for me! To anyone who knows me this addition will come as no surprise! Tom Daley uses his YouTube channel for a variety of reasons. Initially he used it as a platform for his coming out but has since evolved to vlogging competitions and trips that he takes. Tom also uses his channel to post life hacks and fitness videos (which I obviously use HaHa!) Definitely one of my favourite channels!

Why not Check his channel out and subscribe to him!

2. Ellen O’Keeffe – Bumps & Roundabouts

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Not only a great channel and blog but one of my favourite people ever! Ellen is my first cousin and to be honest the inspiration behind my starting this blog! El’s channel is a parenting/lifestyle/cleaning one because she is super organised and her cleaning videos are mesmerising. Mum to two (one of which is my little godson Aidan) and a blogger/ vlogger to be honest I don’t know how does it all and continues to produce such amazing content. I can’t even find time to schedule a few posts in between naps! Haha. Check It Out!

3. Calum McSwiggan

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Calum is such a unique and creative creator that his videos are always a must watch for me! Cal tackles hard-hitting and serious topics and specifically LGBTQ+ issues while also posting zany and hilarious videos. Some of my favourites are the story time type videos where cal talks about things that have happened him previously, Nuns found my gay porn is my personal favourite video but definitely worth a visit to this amazing channel

4. Riyadh K

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I love Riyadh! We Irish are known as a hilarious bunch who like our few drinks and bitta craic and thankfully Riyadh K ( like myself) doesn’t dispel those myths! Riyadh is a hugely successful YouTuber currently hosting a BBC3 TV show. On YouTube Riyadh has had a couple of viral videos from pranking the Westboro Baptists to giving his mum access to his Grindr. But aside from the virals the channel itself is pure great content and I really encourage you to check him out!

5. Dan & Jon

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OMG #RelationshipGoals! Dan&Jon give TD & DLB a run for their money cuteness wise. The love these two have for each other is palpable in every video and although I only discovered them less than a month ago they have quickly become of my favourite YouTubers! Content includes Weekend and trip vlogs and favourites videos as well as wacky YouTube challenges. 100% a Must Watch!!!

Notable mentions of other channels I LOVE!

The list was too short to mention all of my favourites and this still won’t cover it but here’s five more of my faves!!

  1. Zoella 
  2. Joe Sugg
  3. V-Squared
  4. Two Beeps
  5. Melanie Murphy

Like I said there are so many amazing content creators and I Love so many more than this list of 10 but this is just an idea for some other channels for you guys to check out!

As always thanks for reading!

Until Next Time,

Stephen 😀

Travel: Bucket List

Hey Guys,

Here we go my first real blog post and what better way to start than with my ultimate passion: Travel!

I want to keep it light and short for now so without further adieu:

So I think that travel is one of the greatest gifts that we can give to ourselves and I am not only one of those people who have a bucket list. No. I am one of those people who have two bucket lists! A general list of life goals and a Travel specific list.

I am quite a keen traveller (minus the funds) and hate the idea of revisiting the same place multiple times (except London, I LOVE London.) I think this would stem from the fact that as a child my parents would take me on holidays every year which I loved so much and looking back I cherish the memories from them. But there seems to have been one blip in these memories, the fact that all of my trips for the first 12 or so years of travelling consisted of either Spain, Portugal or the U.K.

It wasn’t until I became a little more stubborn and began to really exploit the fact that i was an only child by convincing my mam (who LOVES traditional sun holidays) to go on shorter city breaks (Which I LOVE!) After this we were lucky enough to travel to places like New York and Rome.

As a way to get to know a little more about me and what I like to do I think what better way than to know the places in the world I most would like to see?

Below I have listed my top five travel bucket list Items:

1. The Olympic Games.

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Ok so not a destination per say but the Olympic Games have long since been a feature of this list. Since as long back as i can remember I have watched the games on T.V. and have always just wanted to experience the olympic spirit. Everyone always seems so happy to be participating be it as an athlete, spectator, volunteer or otherwise.

My Plan: No set plans for this at the moment but I am possibly considering #TargetTokyo for Tokyo 2020. If you know me you will know that I Love Tom Daley and this could be the last games that he competes in so its definitely something I will be checking out.

 

2. Bora Bora.

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Ok so not sure if this is one that would be on everyones list but Bora Bora is 100% on or near the top of mine. Its a tiny island (around 11sq miles) in the South Pacific ocean and I’m almost sure is the closest thing to heaven on earth that we may have. This would be a honeymoon destination of choice for me if I’m being honest but i couldn’t see myself travelling there alone.

My Plan: Definitely no plan for this one within the foreseeable. Like I said it seems to be a honeymoon destination and i think i would need to sort out one or two small details (someone to marry and a wedding 😛 ) before I could plan a honeymoon.

 

3. United Arab Emirates.

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is another one that is at the top of the list for me. The Oil rich Emirates house some of the worlds richest and some of its buildings are of the worlds tallest. Not only that but the country exists within the arabian desert so there is unique balance where five minutes from the city you are in the middle of the desert.

My Plan: Again this one is just a pipe dream at the moment. While I would love to see the UAE I would like to give it a couple of years to see if they may relax some of their more restrictive laws that we are so used to at home.

 

4.  Iceland.

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Iceland is a feature of the list that would actually be highly accessible for me. Iceland is one of the closest to my home country (Ireland incase you didn’t know!) The capital city Reykjavik would be of blatant interest to me as one of my greatest pastimes is exploring cities. Iceland features mainly because of my desire to see the Northern Lights (seen in the picture above) from the “glass igloo hotel.”

My Plan: Again this one is not currently planned but I think within the next two years this one is a strong contender for a possible visit. The proximity to home and therefore affordability is a strong pull factor.

 

5. Budapest, Hungary.

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Budapest was not an obvious contender on my list but in recent months it has jumped up to close to the top. A city famous for its spas and thermal baths is definitely something that interests me. Budapest also houses the beautiful parliament buildings of Hungary (left background of above picture) which is just the most picturesque buildings I’ve ever seen.

My Plan: Finally, Concrete plans! I am all booked and will be travelling to Budapest in July to see the Aquatics World Championships! I cannot wait to experience this beautiful city and visit the thermal baths.

Thats all for now, this was just a teaser of the list which is far more extensive.

Hope you enjoyed this post,

Until Next Time,

Stephen 😀