What could be better than a year of travelling?!

Think about all the fun you have when you travel abroad for a long weekend or a summer holiday. Now multiply all the fun you had on those days by 365, and you’ve got an idea of how exciting a gap year can be!

Loads of people are going on gap years, and it’s easy to see why. There are so many new experiences to be had all over the world, it’s a shame to confine yourself to just one country or one area. Gap years can be diverse and thrilling, but there’s one tiny drawback; the costs. 

Obviously, going on a gap year means you have to pay for your initial flights to your first destination, followed by any other transport costs, accommodation, food, and general living expenses. It adds up to a lot of money, but here are a few different ways you can raise all the funds you need:

Put on lots of fundraising events

It goes without saying that the majority of funding options need to be done for a few months before you set off. In fact, most people will save up for at least a year before jetting off around the world. 

Your first idea combines a series of different ideas into one category. Fundraising events are things you host to try and get money from other people to pay for your gap year. They take on loads of different forms, but the most common one is a bake sale. This sounds like something a child will do, but it’s weirdly effective. If you bake loads of sweet treats and sell them to people, you can genuinely make a fortune. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to do this, so you’ll generate a profit. 

You don’t even need to tell people what you’re selling things for, but it definitely helps. If they know that their money is going to a specific cause – your gap year – then they could be more likely to give some money. 

Think about borrowing money

If you’re very lucky, you might be able to borrow money from your parents. The keyword is ‘borrow’, you will have to give it back! Not all of us are that fortunate, so you may want to think about going to a company like Buddy Loans and taking out a small loan to fund your gap year. You get the money you need to pay for everything, and you can spread the cost of a loan over a few months to pay it back. 

Obviously, this has some pros and cons. The pro is that you can get money almost immediately and set off on your gap year. You can also manage your repayments as they’re usually monthly. It’s also a great alternative for people who don’t have time to run any fundraisers. 

The downside is obviously that you owe money to someone. But, this could be the best option for you, so it’s well worth looking in to. 

Earn money while you’re away

Finally, you can opt for this idea. Save money for the initial flights, then earn money while you’re abroad. There are loads of gap year jobs available in so many different places throughout the world. This gives you the chance to explore and enjoy new countries while earning a living!

The upside of this idea is that you don’t have to worry about running out of money. If you’re constantly being paid, then you won’t run out of funds. Plus, there’s no reason you can’t do this alongside one of the other two ideas as well. 

The only minor downside is that you have to work when you’re supposed to be on a long holiday. However, the counterpoint to this is that gap year jobs are rarely proper jobs. They typically involve you in the local culture and are quite fun to do. It’s not like you’re going to be couped up in an office all day long for five days a week!

To summarise, gap years will always be expensive. Going away for an entire year will lead to plenty of different costs. Therefore, you need to have a plan in place to pay for everything. Some people choose to raise money over a period of weeks/months until they have enough saved up. Others may want to borrow money to leave right away, while some can save a small portion and work during the gap year to keep the funds ticking over. The choice is yours, but either option helps you pay for a terrific year abroad. 

The words “gap year” have been a huge topic in my household recently, with my sister at uni, we have been discussing her choices on her considerations to take a year out of studying to do a gap year – obviously, this is not for everyone but it is a good chance to explore a little in between studying!

Please do let me know if you do decide to do a gap year and let me know where you decide to go and whether you have any tips.

Lots of love,

Robynne Louise x

In February 2018, I travelled to Amsterdam for a long weekend.  Of course, I had heard lots of good things from my friends and family visiting Amsterdam but I was still unsure whether this city was going to be my ‘thing’.  I realised that Amsterdam was most definitely my ‘thing’ when I looked into changing our flights home and booking another nights stay!  I had the best time away and I am already planning our next trip back!

I was lucky enough to stay in a really beautiful hotel, the Westcord Fashion Hotel.  I stayed just outside of the busy city centre and it was absolutely perfect for me.  The staff at the hotel were all really sweet and attentive and as soon as I arrived, I just knew that I was going to enjoy my stay!  Obviously, the hotel name appealed to me as I adore Fashion, so I couldn’t wait to see the hotel for myself and it is safe to say, google images do not do it justice!

(Just me looking like a cool kid showing off the cutest hotel everrrrrr!)

The hotel staff were so helpful when it came to sticking with some sort of budget that I tried to put in place – I queried the best way to get into the city centre and they told us the tram was the best option for me, which they then proceeded to provide us with the option for a tram pass for just 25 euros per person (this price was for my travel on the trams from the beginning to the end of my trip – completely unlimited but for a certain amount of travelling hours) – this worked out so much cheaper than taxis and ubers!

On arrival, I kindly received two spa vouchers – this meant that I was able to use the pool and sauna during my stay.  This was a lovely touch that I did not expect at all!

When I entered my room, I found a lovely note from the Westcord Fashion Hotel, along with two bottles of water and two colourful macaroons which was really cute!  My room was really beautiful too – so beautiful that I could have happily visited Amsterdam and stayed in the hotel the whole time!  I stayed in a very modern looking room which was huge.

As I suffer with my back, it is good to mention that the beds were extremely comfortable too.  I have already recommended the Westcord Fashion Hotel to a number of friends, family and even strangers.  It is safe to say, the hotel is one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in and you should definitely consider staying there if you are thinking about visiting Amsterdam!

I didn’t have any issues at the hotel at all, so we didn’t need to contact them for anything in particular but I know that if I did have any problems or issues, they would have been there straight away to offer a helping hand and an outstanding service – they were all very relaxed and welcoming, which of course, makes the whole hotel experience that much better.

Anyway, I normally prefer my beach holidays, so to be doing the whole “tourist” thing was quite new to me but I really enjoyed it!  I felt like Dora the Explorer walking around with my google maps for the first few hours but as soon as I found my bearings, I could get from A to B with no issues at all!  It was really lovely to explore and experience Amsterdam!

I am what they call a “happy snapper“, I love a picture or 4328573(!), so thankfully, I managed to capture lots of images, of both me and the scenery!

Day 1

On the first day, I visited a number of places but first of all I stopped off for a Mccy D’s burger!!!  Then we headed to “Body Worlds” – this was really interesting and so weird to see actual bodies and body parts in the museum.  No one ever believes me when I explain that they are all real people who had chosen to be added to the museum after they passed away – I had to ask the lady on reception to confirm this anyway (it’s not like I usually joke about things like this mind you?! Lol!) but I would definitely recommend that you visit the museum – it is well worth it.

Then I headed to the S*x Museum, I found this really boring and I am glad it was only 5 euros per person to enter as it was definitely not worth any more than that – it is one of the busiest tourist hotspots but personally, I wouldn’t recommend it!

Then, I headed to the canal to take some pictures for Instagram.. I got some lovely shots of the scenery and enjoyed just watching the boats pass by.  The Bulldog Cafe was just beside the canal so I had to go and check out this tourist hotspot, especially as I was told the milkshakes were to die for, but I beg to differ… they were nice but not the best I have ever had!

I wasn’t sure what I fancied for dinner that night so I went for something fairly small at a cute restaurant and that concluded my first day, I then headed back to make the most of our gorgeous hotel – I wanted to get an early night in order to make the most of our few days in Amsterdam.

Day 2

I started off by stopping off for breakfast in the city, I had a full English breakfast which was okay but not as good as my mum’s!!  I actually can’t remember the name of the restaurant (so it wasn’t worth recommending clearly!).

I then made my way to the canal to have another one of our daily photoshoots (I mean, you need to have an OOTD shoot in front of the canal on a daily basis, right?!).

I then had a walk around for a while and then decided to catch a canal ride – this was honestly one of my highlights of the trip and definitely something you need to do while you are visiting Amsterdam – it was super quiet on our boat so it was pretty relaxing and very interesting and yup, you guessed it… I had yet another photoshoot on the boat (lol)!!!  On my boat trip we passed Anne Frank’s house which is something we did really want to visit, unfortunately, I didn’t realise you have to book months and months in advance and you can now only book online (top tip – make sure you BOOK online, if you are planning on visiting Anne Frank’s house anytime soon!).  The canal ride lasted around an hour, so I saw lots of places I hadn’t seen before.  I think I would generally go back to Amsterdam just to do another canal ride!!!

I had seen on Instagram previously a café called “Bulls and Dogs” which I had been dying to visit from the moment I stepped off the plane!  This was certainly another highlight of the trip… the milkshakes didn’t only look absolutely incredible, they tasted even better – it was like heaven in a glass, honestly, that is the best way to describe it!  If you follow me on Instagram, I am sure you would have seen me post the boomerang on my story… I actually walked an hour to find the café but it was well worth it – I basically worked off the calories I gained in milkshakes!!!  This is a MUST visit if you are in Amsterdam – it is only a 10 minute tram journey from the city centre too (which I discovered when I headed back to the centre) so I suggest you tram it rather than walk it, like I did!!!

Another Blogger hotspot I had seen on Instagram was the “Wake Me Up When I’m Famous” wall… I was actually pretty disappointed with this, as I did expect much more than just a bench in front of a wall with the quote – I am still of course, glad I saw it and had some pictures for the gram in front of it!  I saw it in the dark unfortunately, so there were lots of drunk people around and two drunk people who would not leave the bench in order for me to have my pictures at first – but if you do visit this in the dark, make sure you stay safe around those areas at night as they aren’t very well lit!

I then visited CAU to try their steak – I had so many recommendations for this steak restaurant but I must say it is a little overrated, don’t get me wrong, it was lovely but the portions were tiny for the amount I paid!  I do love my steak too.

I wandered around the Red Light District after the  meal, which was erm… interesting to say the least and again, headed back to the hotel fairly early.  When I got back to the hotel, I wandered around to see what I could find and of course, out came the video camera (yup, you heard it here first… I have a vlog to upload but as I previously mentioned in my blog post on my brunch, I am still having trouble with my laptop – so at the moment, I am totally unsure when this will be up!) but I got to wander the hotel for a while which was pretty enjoyable!

Day 3

On my final day I woke up really down in the dumps about leaving… I was so upset that as I mentioned previously, I decided to look into how much it would cost me to stay for an extra day and night!!!

I had the morning to wander the beautiful streets of Amsterdam and as they say, time flies when you’re having fun and it certainly flew by!

I had breakfast in the hotel on our final morning and it was delicious.  I love a buffet breakfast and a cup of English tea (my morning essential), which I had with my breakfast and I filled my stomach ready for the day ahead.

I was really indecisive about what I wanted to do and see on my final morning.  I like to be organised and make timetables/schedules to enable me enough time to see and do everything I originally planned but I had already decided at breakfast that I would definitely be coming back, either later this year or early next year, so I decided to hold a few of my ideas back so we have a few things to do on my return.

I have visited Madame Tussauds in London before, when I was younger and it wasn’t something we had planned to do but my sister and I used to be the biggest Ariana Grande fans and I remembered that Ariana had her own waxwork model in the Amsterdam venue (and I believe this is still the only Madame Tussauds you can find her waxwork) so I decided to tour the Amsterdam museum on the hunt for Ariana Grande, in particular.  But of course, I had photos with all the waxwork models!

  

Then I headed back to the canal, of course, I took my final pictures and headed back to the hotel to checkout :(!!!

I can honestly say, I enjoyed seeing Amsterdam a lot more than I ever imagined, I am already so excited to go back (even though nothing is booked just yet!!!).  It was so lovely to get away, I had a social media break and just a break from reality which was thoroughly needed.  I rarely looked at my phone the whole time I was away!!!

I’d just like to say a huge thanks to the Westcord Fashion Hotel who made our trip that extra bit special for us!

To book to stay at the Westcord Fashion Hotel, check out their website: www.westcordhotels.com/hotel/fashion-hotel-amsterdam and if you read my blog post before you happen to book, I would be unbelievably grateful if you could drop in, that you read my blog post and my recommendation too – thanks in advance!

And, make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/RobsGigiandAmi) to ensure you get a notification as soon as my Amsterdam Vlog is live!

Lots of love,

Robynne Louise x

 

How insane was The Clothes Show?!?!?!?!

I was lucky enough to win tickets through “Dress Like The Celebs” (and I also won a dress which I will show you all very soon!!!!) thanks to The O’Donnell beauties!!!

So it was Essex to Birmingham… which was supposed to be a 2 hour and 15 minute drive, well with my luck, of course that wasn’t the case!!  From traffic and roadworks to 40mph speed limits, it wasn’t my usual “Sunday Chill Day” that’s for sure.  Although, I can honestly say, the busy roads and the back pain from sitting in the same spot for 3 hours was totally worth it and I would do it all over again if I could!!

I took my best friend Jess along with me and you could say, we shopped til we dropped!  I was aching ALL over!  My arms were dead (from all the shopping bags) and my legs were like jelly from walking around for hours, I wonder how many calories we burned that day?!

I am quite upset that I didn’t get as many pictures as I originally had hoped I would but I was having too much fun to care at the time!  From Fashion to Beauty, which are my two favourite things (if you haven’t guessed already) whatever you were looking for, it was guaranteed you would find it.  We found some amazing bits and some things we had never seen before and didn’t even know existed!!!

So next year, The Clothes Show is relocating to Liverpool, this is literally a “must do” if you are into Fashion and Beauty.

You had Q&A’s from the likes of Ferne McCann, to calendar signings with Joey Essex and catwalk shoes with the one and only, Sarah Ashcroft.  It was so lovely to see everyone dressed in their own unique styles, some really dressed up for the occasion and others dressed simply, just cute and casual.

I changed my outfit at least 10 times before the day… and made my final decision on the morning of The Clothes Show.  This was my outfit (my outfit details are tagged on my Instagram).

I wore a light coloured shirt from Bershka, my new Miss Guided jeans (from the actual Miss Guided shop in Westfields!!!), my rucksack and trainers are both Michael Kors (my favourite) but are from the Lewis Yates shop in Billericay, Essex.

I had so many compliments on my Michael Kors trainers because they are so different and unqiue, I absolutely love them!!  Even my eyelashes were getting compliments left right and centre!  My eyelashes were unfortunately false lashes and are from Elegance Lashes which I found on Instagram.  They are insane and look really pretty and girly.  Every time I wear them I get so many compliments – so apparently I have a really good taste in false eyelashes!!!

So what I’m trying to tell you is… I had the most amazing time at the Clothes Show.  I can’t wait to go again this year (but obviously it will be a trip to Liverpool rather than Birmingham).  Please make sure you save some money and buy yourself a Clothes Show ticket and get yourself down there – you really will love it, I promise!!!  The Clothes Show will take place during 7th – 9th July 2017 and I cannot wait to see all of your outfit choices!!