How to plan your holiday trip?

For a couple of days now I have been planning my holidays and while writing down the packing list I realized, that being so busy with travelling to my grandma’s house, being a perfect “housewife” and preserving pickles and zucchini I got from my aunt’s garden, I didn’t have any time to write a new blog post. Feeling a little bit guilty (as you do when you totally ignore something) I decided to finally get to work and prepare a post.

It would’ve been great if I had an idea what to write about, though. I don’t know if other bloggers feel the same way, but sometimes I can write an entire 10 page essay on the most mundane topic and other times I am just blocked, even if I had a great idea. But then, right in that moment, while writing the word “charger”, I got enlightened – I’m sure by now you now where this is going – so yes, another “how to” blog post, but hey! It’s an up to date topic for all of us happy campers!

1. Make a list of things to pack.

I know you might think everybody knows that already, but frankly speaking I met various people who don’t plan what to take for a trip at all. To be frank, I once went canoeing with some of my friends and one of them totally forgot to take a swimming suit and water shoes. I was surprised and asked how that happened, and she simply said she packed as she normally does, not for this particular trip. Since then, after a very lengthy trip to a shopping mall to purchase the swimming suit, she is that much wiser.

Make sure you prepare the list at least a week in advance. That way, for the days leading to the departure date you will have a chance to round out your list if you recall any item necessary. Also, it will allow you to purchase things you don’t have yet – in my case, I wrote sandals, hat, shorts and water shoes, since mine from last year weren’t too good and they let little stones get into the shoe and annoy the living hell out of me.

Bonus tip: make sure to pack all of the medicine you will need (especially prescription pills).

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2. Buy ticket in advance.

And I do mean all of the tickets. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts about saving money  I am not very keen on spending cash right now, as I’ve been trying to save up some. I have already booked my plan tickets and if I knew earlier when am I going to go for holidays I’d book them even several months ago. I also will now book train tickets, bus tickets and make all the other reservations which will allow me to save some and use special offers.

For these holidays I am going to stay in my boyfriend’s friend’s house and therefore I don’t have to book any accommodation, but if you don’t have that luxury I advise you to use booking.com to book in advance and use their discounts. Also, make sure you look for the best offer possible – many of the reservations can be cancelled and exchanged if you find a better last-minute offer. I’ve never done it as I feel people prepare their rooms for you and cancelling last minute is quite mean, but you can still do it and save some.

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3. Buy the currency in advance.

Generally speaking the smaller city you exchange money in – the better. Also, you can book currency in an online exchange office and make sure the difference in rate doesn’t eat a big portion of your money. What is crucial is to never exchange on an airport, near borders or in shopping malls.

This year I’m going to visit Croatia and the currency there is kuna, which is roughly 0,14 Euro. Knowing the rate I can evaluate how much money I need to exchange before leaving. I make sure to have some back-up cash just in case I exceed the limit I imposed on myself and I advise you to do the same. You can never know what happens and it’s always better to be prepared and not stress-out.

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4. Prepare for the trip itself.

Being fashionable is hard, but being fancy on a 6 hours flight is close to impossible. The rule to always dress the part in any situation is valid here as well. In case of flying for holidays, you definitely should wear comfortable, easy to remove shoes (at security check and aboard), have some sweater to put on (it can get a little chilly), and wear jeans which are not too tight (which will not cramp you).

If you’re going by car, pack water, snacks and make sure your luggage fits in the trunk. There is nothing worse than travelling like a crazy gipsy family on crack.

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5. Buy travel guides.

As I mentioned here having a travel guide is vital to sightseeing the site to the full extent. Make sure you buy guides that are worth the price – read opinions first and purchase the one with the highest note. Also, make sure to buy guides detailing the specific site you’re visiting – for example: not Portugal, but rather Lisbon or Algarve.

I am a very detailed traveller – I like to know all the pieces of information about things I’m going to see. For example, if you’re looking at a very old, beautiful church in Budapest only if you’re going to read a part of its history and get to know its name you’re gonna know and remember what it is, otherwise it will be just another church.

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6. Look for things to sightsee beforehand

Making a plan (not very detailed) of what you’re going to do during your holidays is vital. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, for me it is crucial to incorporate all types of leisure activities in your trip, so that you don’t end up simply laying flat on the beach baking your butt. It is vital to remember to plan some sport, some relax and some entertainment time in equal parts. That way you will not get tired of any of them and will be well-rested when you come back.

Right now I am browsing through various blogs to find things to do/see in the part of Croatia I’m travelling to. So if you, by any change, know beautiful places to see in Croatia near a city of Zadar, please let me know in the comments.

7. Return a day earlier

Even God rested for one day – at least that’s what the Bible says. Holidays and all the travelling can be tiresome, so make sure to return a day before and have an additional day for simply relaxing at home and sorting all the things out before returning to work.

 

And how about you? Do you have any tips for planning holidays?

Dorota

My beauty essentials

Last night, following one of the lovely YouTubers I’ve been binge-watching lately, I decided to get myself into a de-cluttering process. If you somehow travelled forward in time and are the only person in the world who doesn’t know what that means, let me explain. I will be getting rid of all of the useless items in my apartment (by donating to my friends and family). I will start with the bathroom, as it is one of the most cluttered rooms in my entire house. I have lots of cosmetics, which is really weird since I use very few and rarely any other than the ones I really like and tested for years. I have several items which I can’t live without and repurchase each time I get close to running out of. Let me present to you my beauty essentials.


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#1 Bioderma Micellar Water – a classic I’ve been using for over a decade now. It never failed me – it erases all kinds of make up almost immediately without any issue, doesn’t leave leftovers or oily skin and has no smell. The only problem I see with this product is the price – I usually wait for it to get discounted in my favourite Pharmacy – if you buy a promotional pack of two bottles it will last for over a year, for sure.

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#2 Ziaja Handcream – I tried many different fragrances of this cream, but my favourite of all is the goat’s milk. I love the delicate smell and the feeling of extra smooth hands. I usually carry it around with me in my purse, the packaging is great and I don’t have to worry it will “spill” inside my bag. Also, the price is very attractive – around 1,5 Euro (2$) for 80 ml is almost like getting it for free.

3# Nivea Active Care SPF 15 Lip Balm – the classic from the absolute classic. I love the smell, how it nourishes my lips and doesn’t let them crack in winter. I use it all year-long, mostly during colder days when the temperature drops below 0 degrees (32 degrees F). I used to use Carmex, but for some reason it help my lips only when I used it. If I stopped (mostly because I couldn’t find it) my lips got super dry and were peeling off. Also, yes, I am aware it says Nivea Man, but I just like that it has a vague fragrance and leaves no trace on the lips.

#4 All About Eyes Rich by Clinique – this tiny little jar of miracle cream to put on your under-eye area and forget about your problems. I like the packaging, ingredients list, that it’s hypoallergenic and works miracles for my dark circles. My only issue? Price. One little, tiny jar of this cream costs around 40 Euro (45$) which is a little bit much, considering the size. Nevertheless, it is lightweight, it reduces puffiness and eliminates every single imperfection under my eyes.

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#5 L’Oreal Rare Flowers – a great purifying gel, which leaves your skin clean and ready for your evening portion of cream. It has a very distinct, pleasant smell and always leaves me in a great mood. Also, it leaves the skin very soft, even in the morning it feels much smoother.

And what are your beauty essentials? Did you try any of the products I mentioned here? Let me know in the comments!

Dorota

Yet another trip to the mountains

Those of you who follow me on Instagram probably already know that I had visited Bieszczady mountains last week. For those, who still didn’t click that follow button – yes, I took a week off from the “big city” and travelled all the way to Bieszczady mountains AGAIN. It took me around 5 hours to drive there and I have truly and passionately enjoyed every single moment there.

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Bieszczady is a mountain range running from Poland through Ukraine and Slovakia and is a part of Outer Eastern Carpathians. I have many times heard of beauties of that particular place, but up until last year I never had a chance to visit. I have described my last trip in details here.

An area of no light pollution

From what I’ve learned only Bieszczady Mountains out of all the mountain ranges in Poland maintain the original darkness of night, all the other areas are light polluted to varying degrees. This is probably one of very few places in which you can experience true darkness of the night. The night sky is absolutely stunning, I can’t even begin to describe how many stars can be seen there. Unfortunately, I don’t own any camera that could catch that picture and give it justice.

Winnie-the-Pooh house shelter

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Winnie-the-Pooh house is a shelter located on the top of the mountain in Bieszczady. It is the highest located shelter in this mountain range. The place has no electricity, nor running water and only sells tea (also with a little bit of additives like… cherry vodka) and other assortment for tired hikers.  You can also sleep there, for a symbolic price, if you ventured too late into the mountains and want to have some rest there.

I was quite interested about the history of this place. I have learned that it was build just after the war to check the borders. Later on, when the borders shifted a little bit, it was given to the Polish Tourist Association which runs it until now.

The road leading to the Pooh-house leads through the Carpathian mountain pasture of Wetlina, which is quite an easy route really. When we ventured there we’ve seen such little kids on the way, we were pretty ashamed we got so flustered after each peak.

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A great place to practice hiking

I am not used to hiking. For my entire life I lived in the place that was flat as a bottom of my shoe. The first time I tried hiking I didn’t really like it that much – I was sweating, tired and simply hated looking so terrible. After some time though, I got used to it and now, except that I whine all the time anyway, I really like it. Especially the feeling of accomplishment when I reach a great, great place and can finally rest.

Bieszczady mountains can be demanding. Can take a lot out of you and leave you exhausted. But each time you finish a hike you already want to go back. The mountains have undeniable charm that draws people back. I met a nice man while climbing to the Winnie-the-Pooh house, who told me he visits Bieszczady for the fifth time and already plans to come back for more.

Although getting tired is not so difficult here, you can also find various routes which are not as demanding. That way, the range is perfect both for experienced, and inexperienced hikers.

A great hotel base

Bieszczady was quite a popular touristic spot in the 90s and now it goes back to its full glory. Both Floret and I enjoyed nearly every single one of the accommodation spots we stayed in. Many of these places offered a lot more than we expected and we loved the owners, who were extremely nice.

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We ate dinner with such a view in one of the places and I totally loved it. The owner was so sweet she even drove us to the mechanic who worked on our car. Oh yeah, my car broke – again. Fortunately, they fixed it in time and we could continue our journey.

We also got friendly with other owners who even treated us with some delicious fruit infusion, let us play with their cute cat and adorable dog and made us a bonfire. I really loved staying there and if you get a chance you should definitely go and stay in the village of Precisne. It is a little remote from the more popular places, but I really enjoyed staying there.

How did we spend our time?

When we booked our holidays we were expecting some beautiful weather and great hiking conditions. It was a little rainy, and the sky was usually cloudy, but we didn’t let it destroy our holidays. Actually, we loved it even more.

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For a couple of days we were simply hiking and making a BBQ in the evening (we walked through more than 65 km) and we needed some rest, hence we decided to spend one full day on the beach at the Solina Lake, relax and try some kayaking. We also checked several other places, such as Arłamów SPA Center. We loved every single second of this trip and we can’t wait to go for another one already.

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Let me know what do you think of this place? Where did you go for a holidays?

Dorota

 

5 ways to follow a Slow Living Movement

Slow movement has been around for over a decade and ever since 2015 I’ve been trying to join in. Fascinated with discovering new ways in which I can simply relax and decrease the tempo of my life I have searched for many clues and tips on how to implement several aspects of Slow Life into my own existence.

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Starting from an explanation as to why I think it’s something worth looking up, let me quickly mention that in 2015 I moved to Olsztyn (a beautiful city in a Warmian district of Poland) where I worked on a construction site. I didn’t know anyone in that particular city, nor at the company I worked for, and having no WI-FI connection I drifted towards spending my entire time with work colleagues in the office. I can’t express how much I regret it, especially since I know now how it turned out at the end, but what I learned is that living with such a great rate can be detrimental to your physical and emotional health. At some point I was so tired of constantly working (also partying) and being surrounded by people and chores that I got a terrible case of irritated stomach which led me to eat only boiled vegetables for a week. I was exhausted and lost and the thing that helped me the most were long walks along lakes and through forests.

In that same period I received a book about eliminating all chemical components from food and living a more healthy lifestyle. I didn’t implement many of the tips into my own life, but it was a factor that influenced my interest in Slow Movement in general. The author of the book was very much in love with the concept and she advised all the readers to tag along. I looked up all the information I needed and learned about FOMO (Fear of missing out) and other concepts related to how fast the world revolves around us and how much information we are flooded with each day.

For a time I have stopped trying to implement Slow Life and I focused on my career, education and other aspects, which at that time seemed more important. Then, when I least expected it, I reached a rather dark period of my life. I remember it was December 22nd of last year and it was already 5 PM. I was at work, last day before Christmas holidays, and the remaining task of the day was to simply get some papers signed, but that particular day it honestly seemed like the entire world is against me. I finished so late I didn’t have enough strength to go to my mom and help her with all the “cooking”.

When I got home I was so frustrated I decided to never let myself work longer than I absolutely must, try harder than anyone else and do things that are not within my scope of responsibility. During that moment I learned instantly how to say no to my coworkers and how to stay focused on what I am paid for and not constantly performing tasks for other people. It doesn’t mean that I don’t help anyone, of course, it means that I spend my work hours doing the actual work I am paid to do. I got back after the holidays and started leaving work at 3 or 4 PM. My friends looked at me with disapproval at first, but with time they gladly joined. Also, ironically, I got praised way more often by my supervisors – I was well-rested, driven and motivated to perform MY TASKS the best I could. That’s when I truly believed the concept of living slowly is beneficial to all.

Now when you already went through all this rather long preface let me get to the point.

During my introspective work I established 5 main points on how to join the Slow Life Movement.

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One of my favourite ways to relax. Playing a boardgame with Floret outside in the warm, summer weather.

5 ways to follow a Slow Living Movement

1. Respect your time.

I really can’t stress that too strongly. If you are not paid for working overtime… don’t. If you feel uncomfortable with someone and often feel left out by your friends – just don’t spend time with these people. If you constantly feel stressed  at work you should think of changing it or adjusting your attitude (about it later on in point 5).

Like I said above, I had a great problem with establishing boundaries in my life in terms of work. I thought that the more I tried the better people will perceive me and treat me like a better employee. I was wrong. I busted my ass off and after that unforgetful December afternoon I’d been working 50% of what I usually did and I am praised even more often. I am well rested, have more energy and motivation to finish tasks I am assigned to do – not some additional chores I impose on myself because I feel like they are required of me.

Sometimes when I read all those “tips and hints” written by corporate rats on how to be a perfect employee and I see words like driven, ambitious, confident, going extra mile, I feel like smashing my laptop on the floor (and it’s the laptop from my work, so that would cost me). Like seriously, you either do your job or not, if you go an extra mile for anything that is not for yourself you’re going to lose. People will see how much you’re trying and will use you for it. I know it sounds bitter, but it is true. Going an extra mile to improve YOURSELF – that is something that will make you stand out.

Let me give you an example (and prove I’m not just a corporation hater). I’ve been working in a designing office (for electrical installation, nothing concerning fashion – I know, a pity) and I used to stay many hours overtime to help my friend with his tasks. I wasn’t paid to do it, but I felt really sorry for him for being so overloaded with tasks. Up until I heard that he was lying around doing nothing while I have essentially done all his work. Well… at least he was honest that I was doing it well. I went an extra mile, but not for improving myself, but rather because I felt like I needed to be helpful.

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I spent a couple of minutes simply sitting here hugging with Floret. Solina lake is beautiful at this time of year. When the weather gets better we hope to rent a boat and check various islands on the lake.

2. Find time to relax.

It doesn’t have to necessarily be an entire week of frying your butt on a beach in Ibiza. You can start by simply spending a little bit of time just looking at nature, people passing you by or putting a face mask on. Whatever relaxes you (in my case playing PlayStation games with my boyfriend or reading a book) – either taking a walk, taking pictures of flowers or planting new monstera. Whatever works for you will be great. Try to implement at least 15 minutes of relax each day and increase this time every week by another 5 minutes until you reach at least and hour. (Side note: if your method requires electronics try to incorporate also something related with going out, at least a couple of times during the week). You will see how much your perception of things around you will change.

Right now I’m on holidays in Bieszczady Mountains again – I wrote about my first trip here in the post. This time I make it a point to enjoy the climate and nature in a greater extent. I took photographs of various flowers (as you probably noticed on Instagram and in this post) and both Floret and I want to explore new routes in the mountains.

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3. Try out slow-food.

In this world ruled by globalization access to food in developed countries is extremely easy. I can get food in 5 minutes, either by going out and getting it from shops/restaurants and my mom’s house or by ordering anything I like with UBEReats or any other application. This ease is quite frankly exhausting at some point. Not only do I have weight problems, I also more and more often get a case of troubled stomach from highly processed food.

The word “Slow” in slow living is an acronym which according to the most reliable source of information (sense the sarcasm here) Wikipedia stands for: sustainable, local, organic and whole – as in not processed. The same source also stands that the movement was set-up by an Italian man Carlo Petrini who protested vigorously against opening McDonald’s restaurant in Piazza di Spagna, Rome. Although I love to devour a Big Mac sometimes, I have to agree with Mr. Carlo. Such places, in this case the most famous square in Italy, should be filled with Italian spots, not something you can eat on a gas station everywhere in Europe.

If you want to join in the movement and eat in a Slow Living style I advise you cook everything yourself. Not only will it do wonders to your figure, it will most probably save you a lot of money. When I cook I tend to choose simpler dishes with less ingredients. I look up recipes on various sites (My favourite blog is the one named Kwestia Smaku, but unfortunately the author only publishes in Polish) and simply follow. I have learned many recipes I’ve never done before, which are not only quite uncomplicated (like spaghetti alio olio, penne arrabiata, chicken in carrot sauce, and so forth) but also delicious. Trying out slow cooking also made me eat a lot less meat – a tip to become a vegetarian soon.

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I know icecream is not really a superfood, but these crafter icecream of the orange cheesecake taste were just too delicious not to mention.

4. Know your value and keep your stand.

I can’t stress this point too strongly really. I have so many girlfriends who just don’t believe in themselves one bit. Because of self-doubt they are constantly insecure and full of unexplainable fears that cause them to get wild sometimes. Seriously, if I got a penny each time I had to convince my friends not to immediately dump their boyfriends or call their “sworn enemies” and call them out I would be a very rich woman. A very rich woman.

I sometimes have moments of self-doubt myself. Even today, in the morning I felt so unattractive, fat and… I don’t know, simply miserable, that the entire day seemed like a nightmare. Fortunately, I have Floret who reminds me sometimes, that there is so much to look for each day.

What I learned in life is that you are unique. There is absolutely no other person just like you and you should always be proud of who you are and strive to be better each day.

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5. Don’t ever let anyone bring you down. Keep your attitude positive.

You don’t have to (and most probably never will) be friends with everyone. There are always going to be people who despise you even if you’re another Virgin Mary. That’s just how life works and the faster you realize that the happier you will get.

If anyone around you keeps trying to bring you down… well, let’s just say the point I made above about getting rid of these people from your life is valid. What I am going to say now might seem harsh, but the above applies even to family members for me. If someone, whoever it is, brings you down – they don’t deserve to stay in your life.

About the second sentence of the title of this chapter: I think staying positive is a key to success in life. Even after the worst day sun comes up again. Always strive to see the bright side in things and never give up.

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And what are your thoughts on slow life? Have you ever tried the trend? Let me know in the comments.

Dorota