Places to visit guest Post series

Who doesn’t like travelling?! I’m sure you all have a bucket list of places you want to visit or a dream holiday. I love to go on holiday and I would love to travel more if only possible but at the moment it’s limited because my boys were still little. However, it’s nice to indulge and get inspiration from travel bloggers who are happy to share their experiences and recommended places for a holiday or travel destination.

Since travelling is one of our interests but we can’t do as much as we would like at the moment that we are launching a “places to visit” guest series

The #placestovisit guest series will be a new Wednesday regular weekly feature on the blog and aims to feature fellow bloggers sharing their traveling diary, experiences, holidays and recommended places they have visited, uk and abroad. It would be a valuable insight to hear their journey of adventure so that when our turn comes, we will be ready and things we learn from their post will be handy for travelling.

The first guest post will start next week. If you would like to take part in this guest series and would like some more information please message me to get in touch.

Philippines

Since we originally came from the Philippines, I would kick start this guest series by showcasing you why you should visit the philippines.

The Filipinos

The people in the philippines is very welcoming and hospitable when it comes to visitors. They are more than happy to offer the best thing they have just to pleased their guest. They are very generous, entertaining and always smiling. They have a cheerful personality that makes you happy as if like there is sunshine everywhere.

The foods

There is a wide varieties of food choices in the philippines since many restaurant cater many different cuisines either Chinese, English, Japanese food and many more so you there is something for everyone. However, your travel to the country won’t be complete without trying filipino foods.

Packing for our holiday in the Philippines and what is filipino pasalubong?

We are going on a family holiday to the philippines again this August and as our flight is getting nearer I have start packing and I have accumulated so much shopping I have collected in preparation for our holiday.

Everytime we go for a holiday to the philippines, I always buy new things for everyone, it's become a habit but I always do it early if I know we're going. I shop around from the sales and buy clothes and other things as gifts and toiletries etc. I buy for my kids, my husband and of course for myself 🙂

Here is what I have packed so far, and this is not final yet as I still have a few items bought online which haven't arrived yet and I need more shopping trips to buy chocolates for family and friends in the philippines.

For me

I must admit, I'm a bit of a shopaholic and I have so many clothes that I don't know what to bring anymore lol, I feel like I wanted to bring my whole closet but I can't. I bought so much new stuff from the sales but I still have loads of new clothes to pack. I will probably just pack loads and giveaway some of them as a pasalubong (gift).

For hubby

Since it's my husband's birthday while we are away, I have bought him loads of new summery clothes to wear in the philippines. It's an early birthday present, but shhh I got them mostly from the sales 😉 and yes they are mostly from H&M. 

For my daughter

My teenage daughter has her own fashion taste and style, according to her she doesn't really want most of the clothes I buy for her  (teenagers, who'd have em!?), so I let her have a browse online and treat her a shopping spree for stuff she wants to use on our holiday. We will probably put the kids stuff in hand carry luggage as we need a lot of space for pasalubong, which I will tell you about in a bit.

Every time I see a clothes sale I can't resist buying for my boys. I even bought them the same t shirt each so they will look like a twins lol I just like them matching, even if there is a few years between them. 

Hubby's shopping spree

Hubby went shopping as well and bought even more so that's another thing to add to our luggage.

What is filipino pasalubong?

Pasalubong is a popular Filipino tradition of bringing home something from your travels for your loved ones back at home. It can be a simple souvenir you got from the places that you went to or food that you have tried and want to bring home with you.

Pasalubong can also be a gift given to you by someone who just came from other place in the Philippines or abroad.
Often, pasalubong is associated with people traveling abroad and are coming back home, who we call balikbayan. So people returning from out of the country, like us, are almost always carrying a lot of gifts from the country that they have been to that they will be giving to those who they left here in the Philippines. However, pasalubong can also be taken the other way around. It can be something you give to other people abroad that came from the Philippines when you travel out of the country.

So far, I have pack this but I have more so they will take the space on our 2 main luggage. All of this will go to our family and friends in the philippines as our pasalubong. It's very expensive to go home for a holiday in the philippines but it feels awkward to go empty handed without giving any presents to them since it has become a tradition for us Filipinos to share blessings and be generous with anything we can give.

5 tips for a summer holiday in Florida

As you know I have just got back from a fabulous trip to Florida. Florida in June is hot and humid, not just warm but very very hot. Most days the temperature reached 36 degrees celcius but by late afternoon (4-6pm ish) there is usually a thunder storm with huge downpour. 

Here are my tips for getting the most from your Florida trip;

Tips for the heat:

  • Buy a cool towel from Walmart, they are cheap at around $5 and stay wet most of the day, they are great round your neck for keeping you cool
  • Wet rides! Make the most of your time in the parks by going on wet rides every few hours to cool off or if you don’t do rides hit the splash zones

Tips for avoiding the rain:

  • Get up early and start your day. Lounging in bed wastes the dry morning, as much as we all love having lie ins when on holiday it is better to avoid the rain by getting out early. 
  • Take a pac-a-mac jacket with you, you can only get ponchos in America and unfortunately they get ripped really easily and once they have been wet a few times they stink!

My final tip is if you go as a couple like we did:

  • Use the single rider queues. Often you only have to wait 10-15 minutes for the ride and, personally, 2/3 times we used them we still got on together. 

Do you have any more tips for enjoying Orlando? Please share!

A Night Of Fun Doesn’t Have To Cost The Earth!

There are few things more frustrating than getting to the end of a busy week, wanting to socialise, only to look at the bank account and see that things aren’t as rosy as you’d like. However, just because you can’t afford a delicious meal and drink after drink, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. There are much more opportunities to have a good time than most people realise, and they don’t involve spending time in the UK’s best bars, pubs, and clubs. Below, we’ve put together a handful of inexpensive nights you can enjoy when you’re watching the pennies.

Source: Pexels.com

Summer Nights

When the weather is fine, the first thing most of us think to do is head out to the nearest beer garden and soak up the rays, beer in hand. But hold on right there, because that’s going to set you back a fair bit. Instead, why not enjoy the simple pleasures of the summer season? On a warm spring night, you don’t have to go out at all. Instead, you can invite friends around, get a summer campfire lit (see http://www.artofmanliness.com/2008/09/04/how-to-build-a-roaring-campfire/ for info how), and spend the night chatting and waiting for the summer stars to show themselves. Perfect!

Cosy Nights In

Alas, this is the UK, and that good weather won’t stick around forever. Soon, and for most of the year, the weather simply isn’t good enough to spend long nights in the garden. Still, that doesn’t mean you have to go out; there are plenty of ways to have a fun night right in your own home. Invite your nearest and dearest friends around. Select your favourite board game. Find a delicious pizza – discount included – from https://www.vouchercodespro.co.uk/dominos-pizza. Have your friends bring a few drinks, share out the pizza, and spend the evening finding out who’s the King or Queen of the Board Games!

Mixing It Up

We have a tendency to get stuck in our ways, always going to same bars and pubs, always doing the same thing. This can cost a lot of money, and we don’t get anything new from it. Instead, look at doing something different. If it’s sunny, then head out into the town and explore. If it’s rainy, then find a coffee shop in your local city and watch the world pass by. There’ll be a lot more going on in your town or city than you realise. Do something different.

Local Events

Regardless of where you live, there’ll be plenty of locals events taking place in your area, and especially so during the summer and around Christmas. Check out what’s going on at sites like the https://www.list.co.uk/ (there’ll also be websites that focus specifically on your area. Try Googling ‘events in [city]’). Whether it’s a festival, parade, free performance, or something else altogether, you’ll be able to find an event near you that is inexpensive or has to cost at all.

Think Different

The main thing to remember when you need to do something fun but inexpensive is: think different. There are always ways to make your own fun; it just requires a little thinking!

 

*collaborative post

Guest Post! Top 10 Travel Bucket List

As I get to travel to more and more places, I get to tick things off my bucket list – but that just leaves room on the list to add more places! Here’s my summer 2017 updated list of places that I NEED to travel to…

1. Santorini Probably the most Instagrammable of all the Greek islands, the hotels carved into the cliff side caves and the blue dome rooves are beyond aesthetically pleasing and have really captured my imagination. I’d love to go here for my honeymoon (I’m not even engaged!) as it looks super romantic, especially the suites with infinity pools or hot tubs overlooking the sea – ideal!

2. Croatia Croatia has become really popular recently and I’d love to go on an island hopping trip there. I’d like to see Dubrovnik and all the places where Game of Thrones is filmed as well as the mid-Dalmation city of Split, Brac, Hvar and Korcula. Apparently it’s an enticing mix of old and new, sightseeing and beach-bumming.

3. Australia Australia has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember but with it being so far away and so expensive, I’ve never had the opportunity to go there before. We’re actually planning a trip in January which I am beyond excited about (I only mention it about 10 times a day) where we’re going to hire a campervan and drive from Sydney up the east coast to Cairns. I’m especially excited for an overnight sailing trip to the Whitsunday Islands which has been recommended to me by pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to about the trip.

4. Kenya I’ve always wanted to go on safari and see some magnificent animals in their natural habitat, rather than in zoos. I’d ideally love to stay at The Safari Collection’s Giraffe Manor, a boutique hotel with luxury rooms set in 12 acres of land where you can have your breakfast with wandering giraffes.

5. LA I’ve visited America a couple of times – Florida and New York – but LA is now top of my list. I’d like to wander up Rodeo Drive, roller skate on Venice Beach and hike in the Hollywood hills. Add to this star spotting on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a tour of celebrities’ houses.

6. Macedonia A very late addition to the list, Macedonia has very recently caught my attention and, in particular, the capital Skopje. The Soviet-era architecture is really interesting and a lot of it is inspired by architecture in other European countries, like the Arc de Triomphe from Paris. I don’t know many people who have been to Macedonia for a city break and that sense of discovery really appeals to me.

7. Venice The first time I went to Italy was a city break in Rome this January and I absolutely fell head over heels in love with the country. I want to sail on a gondola down the canals, explore the narrow streets and visit St Mark’s Square, the Bridge of Sighs and the Realto Bridge.

8. New Zealand I never really fancied New Zealand up until quite recently but it looks incredible. The lush green scenery is super varied with mountains, lakes, beaches and fiords. Apparently it’s really relaxed, it’s easy to travel around and the beer is good – oh and there are no snakes, unlike Australia!

9. Jamaica I’ve visited the Caribbean in the past when I’ve been to Nassau in the Bahamas and it was literally paradise. I’d love to go back and this time visit Jamaica. I love the laidback island life style, delicious jerk chicken and, of course, the rum cocktails.

10. Iceland Iceland has become really popular for a mini breaks over the past couple of years and I’d love to go. I’ve heard that the best way to see the best of the country is by driving the golden circle. I’d love to see the Northern Lights, take a dip in the Blue Lagoon and sample the local cuisine – although I’m not too sure if I could eat reindeer!

Samantha from CocoButterBlog is a travel influencer exploring the world one adventure at a time and sharing it with the world.

Guest blog : How to save money when booking your next holiday

Hey! I’m Laura and I’m thrilled to be writing for Epril and Amy today. After spending 8 months travelling in the last year, my travel and lifestyle blog is filled with adventures, stories and advice about backpacking around the world. Follow my adventures on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook or subscribe to my blog to keep up with the latest travel, food and lifestyle updates. Now, onto those money saving tips… 


It’s time to book a holiday! Among the excitement, picking the right one can sometimes be a minefield: we want the best deal but also convenience and hassle-free booking. While these things don’t always go hand in hand, I’m going to share with you a couple of really simple ways that you can save money on your next holiday. Whether you want a solo adventure, couples retreat or a fun family getaway, these tips should work for everyone!

Plan your dates

It’s an old favourite but if you can avoid peak travel times, you can save hundreds on your breaks. July and August is peak summer season in Europe while the price of travelling to Asia soars during the cooler months of December to February. If you need to work around the kids holidays, the best deals can often be found in October and February half terms – and the weather is still warm in parts of southern Europe. Bonus tip: if you’re unable to avoid jetting off in peak season, flying midweek is often still cheaper than weekends!

Search for added extras

Bonus freebies are my favourite thing. You know those deals where they throw in a three course meal or free upgrade? Yep, I’m all over them. From kids eat free offers to free airport transfers, it’s always worth having a look if your tour operator or hotel is offering any extras that you’re already expecting to pay for. Backpackers, even hostels are on the ball with this one! My favourite hostel extras include free breakfast, social activities and even a load of laundry – hey, it’s the little costs that add up!

Think outside the box

Often, the first thing we do when we search for accommodation is head to one of the popular booking sites or get it all wrapped up in a package deal. Now, I’m definitely not knocking the ease of these deals but with just a little extra time to look you can find awesome places to stay that could even save you a chunk! Take Airbnb: if you prefer to self cater, apartments or holiday homes to rent can often be a better, cheaper option than a hotel room. Plus, you’ll often have a host contact who can give you local tips to help you see a new side of the area.

Location, location, location

Unless you’re staying in a small town with everything in walking distance, location is crucial. It’s all a balance between the cost of your accommodation and transport. You might save £50 on that hotel outside of the city centre but if you account for the cost of transport each day, it can sometimes work out better just to pay a little extra to be right in the thick of it. This isn’t always the case but it’s definitely worth checking it out before you pick an area.

Carry snacks

This advice, I live by. Whether you’ve got a hangry other half with a seemingly bottomless stomach (I’m definitely guilty) or you’re trying to save money on pricey cafes, carrying a couple of snack bars can alleviate a surprising amount of troubles. If you’re enjoying a day out at the beach, heading to a supermarket to buy a picnic can be way cheaper – and more fun to eat! – than having to pack up and leave for a restaurant. Similarly, if you’re packing in a ton of city sights into a short time, having something in your bag means that you can eat on the go with more time for the sights!

Keep an eye on the exchange rat 

It sounds boring but a saving is a saving, right? Before you go, use a comparison site to find the best, commission free rate for more money in your pocket before you even start! While you’re away, a good rule to keep in mind is to live by the local cost of living. For example, if you visit Vietnam, paying £5 for a meal may seem cheap by UK standards but actually, you’ll end up spending way more than you should.

Busy area? Take advantage

In popular tourist hotspots, there’s often a ton of competition and this can mean that ou can bag yourself a great deal by being a little savvy. Different restaurants will have happy hour deals or special lunch offers to persuade you to eat there – scope out the best ones and enjoy! Venturing off into a quieter side street can also reveal hidden gems. You can often bargain tour prices down a little too, especially if there’s a group of you. But remember, while not being ripped off is important, be sensitive in poorer areas too. While haggling down an extra one or two pounds may not make much of a difference to you, that could be a days worth of meals in Cambodia.

How do you like to save money on your holidays? Leave your comments below, I’d love to know more!

Laura x

You can find Laura online 

Blog | twitter | Instagram | Facebook   

Dreaming About Buying A Holiday Home? 

Today, a lot of families love to travel, using every school holiday and bank holiday to get away. The only downside to traveling as a family is that once the kids reach school age, you can only really get away in the school holidays when prices triple. How a lot of parents are getting around this issue is by investing in a holiday home of their own, so that when it comes to traveling all they have to pay for is the transport. Continue reading “Dreaming About Buying A Holiday Home? “

Top tips on saving for a holiday.

Going for a holiday outside the uk can be a bit expensive, especially for a family of 5 like us. We love to go to our native country, the Philippines, as much as we can. We can only afford to go for a holiday to the Philippines every few years since the tickets are very expensive. We’ve went there last year so going for a holiday again this year is out of the plan.

However, my husband was checking prices everyday and took advantage an offer. We are going in August which means there is only a few months left for us to save for our holiday. Continue reading “Top tips on saving for a holiday.”

Orlando, Florida; where to visit which isn’t Disney/Universal theme parks?!?

It is my 10th wedding anniversary this year and my husband and I decided to take a trip to America, without the children! Our first proper holiday without them since our honeymoon!

We have booked 10 days staying in the Hilton Double Tree, International Drive, Orlando (I will be reviewing this hotel after our trip so check back!). We are taking the children to Disney next year so I am not interested in going there this time and as much as I love Harry Potter I have decided the cost of Universal Studios outweights my need to see Diagon Alley and Hogsmead. So, I asked some of my blogging friends where they suggest and the results were:

  • Discovery Cove; we have booked this for the day of our anniversary. Swimming with dolphins, tropical fish, fresh water animals…an all day water experience. As recommended by Samantha  


Photo from Laura  

  • Gatorland, get upclose to gators and has loads of amazing photo opportunities. As suggested by Nicola  

Photo supplied by Tracey

We also had suggestions of some restaurants to visit:

  • Laura also recommended we make sure we go to Cheesecake Factory and also have the cookie skillet dessert at the outback steak house as it’s amazing!!! 
  • Jon suggests we go to The Village Inn opposite the Hilton Doubletree. BEST PIES IN ALL OF AMERICA!!
  • Raglan Road in downtown Disney is great fun. Dinner at the Ritz Carleton near Seaworld is amazing. Ask for the terrace. Suggested by Kate of http://www.modernmum.net/

Does any one have any further suggestions we need to visit?!?

Avoid These Family Summer Holiday Disasters

Holiday are important, right? We save up for them and look forward to them all year. They get us through that awful day in the office when we have so much work we can’t even think about getting home on time. Or when the kids are up at 3 am and won’t stop crying. That is why we need to do the best we can to avoid any holiday disasters. Nobody wants that special vacation time ruined.

So read on to find out the sort of thing that can sabotage your break, and how to avoid them.

Image here
Lost luggage

How long does it take for you to pack the suitcases for all the family, including all the shopping, ironing and washing that need to be done? Ages probably, that is why when your cases go missing between checking in at the airport and boarding the plane, it can be nothing short of a disaster. Especially if you have very young children that need special items like milk formula and nappies.

But what can you do to avoid this?
Well, first of all, a lot of this issue is out of your hands as it’s the airline that misplaces your bags. But you can make it easier for them by labelling your luggage very clearly with your name, address and the location that you are flying too.

Then at least you have a fighting chance of someone seeing it if it ends up on the wrong conveyor belt.

It’s also a great idea to pack essential items like, medications, baby stuff, and anything else that you cannot do without into your hand luggage, which you keep with you at all times. Then at least if the rest goes walkies you will have the bear basics to survive.

Kids are bored 

Another disaster you can have on holiday is that you get there and love it, but the kids are bored out of their minds. This never bodes well, as you are unlikely to get the rest you have been looking forward to and deserve if you are constantly having to come up with new ways of entertaining your brood.

So before you book, check out what is on offer at the location you are considering in terms of activities and day trips. Remember the perfect break is something like these summer adventures for kids, rather than a trial of patience for you!

Hotel isn’t as expected

Something else that can be a real holiday disaster is when you arrive at your destination, and your accommodation is nothing like you expected. Maybe your room is sub par, or the whole resort is more like a building site that a relaxing oasis that you were promised?

But what can you do? Well, first of all, don’t be afraid of complaining. Complain to your hotel and get them to change your room. Then make an appointment to see your holiday rep the next day and insist they do something about this.

You can also mostly prevent the issues of this nature by checking independent reviews on sites like Trip Advisor before you book. To see what thing are like before you part with your money.