Wednesday, 28 February 2018

How To Make Sure You Get A Good Review On Airbnb

We've all been there - you think you've been the best guest that you can be and someone leaves you a neutral review. It can be super annoying, but there are definitely ways to ensure that you get a good review on Airbnb, even if it feels at the time like it's all gone tits up. Some of these things are just tiny little notes, but they're things that we've had hosts comment on in the past; and so they're definitely things that we can vouch for.


If you eat it, unwrap it, or finish it up...
Throw your rubbish away. Know the bin procedure of the country that you're in - whether you take it to a communal bin store in an apartment, or to a dumpster in the street in place of a wheeley bin, make sure you get rid of all of your crap in the place you're staying. Nobody wants to deal with other people's crap, so take it out on your way (and remember bathroom bins and whatnot too). It seems like such a small thing, but I imagine if you go in every single week and have to clean up after other people, it can be really, really annoying to find that somebody else had neglected to sort out their rubbish. Also, wash your dishes; nobody wants to scrape used cheese off a strangers plate.

If you break something...
Get it sorted. If you break crockery or plates, replace them; they'll cost like a euro and your host will definitely appreciate it. If it's something bigger but you can fix it? Then do it. I've climbed on chairs to fix blinds, hooked curtains back up and rejigged shower doors we've shifted by accident. If the problem is beyond fixing? Let the host know straight away and be sure to offer to pay for any damages that you've caused. This might not be good enough to get a good review if you've knocked a hole in the wall, but it definitely might not get you a bad one if you've gone out of your way to be as friendly and helpful as possible to deal with the problem.

If you have neighbours...
Respect them. The one vaguely bad review we have ever gotten has come from a noise complaint that actually turned out to be mistaken identity with the house next door as we were just playing uno and getting drunk on blue wine. Nevertheless, keep the music low-ish, keep your shouting outside to a minimum and try not to smoke or drink right next to other people's houses. Have fun, just do it like you would have fun at your mum's house, with those judgey neighbours that she has.

If everything has gone smoothly...
Fantastic! Make sure you check in with your host as your leaving, reassure them where you left your keys and for if any reason anything is broken (even if replaced!) or you can't get those bins out (one apartment in particular we needed a key for the bin sheds) let them know! Keep them updated with your trip and explain any issues; most hosts are understanding as long as you don't leave them coming into an apartment full of mismatched crockery and bags of rubbish with no clear explanation. 

So there is it, a few strong steps to probably get that good review, even if your trip went a little tits up (and it can happen to the best of us, even when you're just there to play uno and drink blue wine).

If you have any tips, do let me know below!

Sammy xo.

Monday, 26 February 2018

How To Spend 14 Hours In Warsaw

7:32am: Arrive in Warsaw, absolutely desperate for the toilet and horrendously on your period. Seek out toilet by walking in a big circle around the station. Find toilet, laugh along with a woman talking to you in Polish as to not seem rude. Change menstrual cup, complain about your life, wash hands, find an uber.


7:37am: Try and find out which McDonalds you should choose out of a long list of Warsaw McDonalds. Pick one at random, wait for Uber whilst wishing literally anything was open as your hands are turning blue and the fog is so thick you cannot see the end of your nose.

7:40am: Take Uber to McDonalds of choice, whilst constantly being offered Werthers Originals by the driver (who doesn't have the heat up even nearly high enough).

7:42am: Arrive at McDonalds, which is still far, far too cold. Find out they make up for it by offering either two hash browns OR large fries with your breakfast. Absolutely cram it down your throat as you've been awake since 3:00am and on a coach since 5:00am. Promptly fall out of the door when leaving McDonalds, much to the amusement of your girlfriend.

8:31am: Decide to look for the ghetto wall, which should be just seven minutes THAT Way

8:33am: Maybe that way?

8:34am: No, definitely the first way

8:37am: Still looking....

8:49am: Thoroughly sick of looking. We passed this building when we started 15 minutes ago didn't we?

8:57am: After google mapping the ghetto wall, find it. Out of site. Behind a locked gate. Give up on ever seeing it, cross a dual carriageway in a dangerous way to get to the mall, find a Starbucks (thoroughly desperate for the toilet again).

10:00am: Having visited Bath and Bodyworks, H&M, Bershka and the usual cosmetic shops, make the decision to head into the old town. Use iTaxi and get a really nice taxi driver who is happy to act as a tour guide. Pass many beautiful buildings, end up in the old town square and find out that the symbol of Warsaw is a mermaid, which feels like some sort of sign.


10:30am: Having wandered for a while, find a vent from a bakery and stand on it to stay warm, eventually admit defeat and decide to brace the cold (now wearing gloves and earmuffs) to get to see Sarkis: Angel Rainbow. Take pictures in front of a giant neon rainbow, guess the name of pictures in the gallery, take cool instagram shots

11:22am: Stop for a cocktail, in order to brace yourself from the cold you know is coming, of course.

12:40am: Call for a taxi to get to the Neon Museum, arrive and take approximately 20,000 pictures outside with signs that aren't even on. Once again make a mad dash to the toilet, buy tickets and head in.

2:10pm: After spending nearly 3 times the average visit time in the museum, and armed with photo after photos of bright coloured lights, head out to take more with the signs outside. Try to find somewhere to eat, with no luck. Watch your girlfriend jump on a zipwire, get chatted up by a 14 year old. Head out to get yet another taxi back to the old town.

2:40pm: It's getting dark - head into Tiger, buy things that we definitely don't need but love anyway, come out desperate for food.

3:20pm: Pizza hut is full, not a good sign. Walk to another place on google maps.

3:40pm: Also full, is it national pizza day or something? 

3:50pm: Finally find pizza place with heat, alcohol and a spare table. Settle self at table, order beer, bask in the warmth, drink beer and order food.

4:00pm: All of the lights go off. Then someone goes to fix them and they come on again. Repeat this for at least 8 further times until the lights stay on for good. Eat the best pizza probably in the whole world (you were hungry, okay?), finish beer, pay up the extortionate (not) £16 and head back out into the night.

5:40pm: Google maps back to the old town to find out you walked in a huge circle to get from tiger to this pizza place, and it was approx ten minutes down the road. Throw a strop and threaten to sit down if you don't get a taxi. Realise you're being dramatic and the Old Town is only 15 minutes away, grumpily agree to walk.


5:53pm: Absolutely desperate for a wee. Again. How long until the old town?

6:23pm: Arrive, desperate for a wee, only to find out cafes here don't really have toilets. Finally find one in a tiny tea cafe that you have to go downstairs to find. Aim to empty your cup out due to aforementioned horrendous period, only a woman knocks on the door the whole time you're in there so instead finish up and head back to drink pepsi in a dedicated tea cafe.

7:13pm: After playing peekaboo with the cutest baby in the world for a while, head out into the cold to wander for a while.

7:45pm: Bored of wandering, head back to the town centre, find a tiny bar and try to get across the fact that you want vodka AND coke in the same glass. Finally arrange this to drink a glass of what tastes like you imagine turps would taste like. Drink it anyway whilst looking out of a window that appears to be made of scuffed plexiglass.

8:30pm: Pleasantly buzzed due to the half a bottle of vodka you've now had, head back to the coach station. 

9:14pm: Board, get comfy and settle down into your seats, having been awake for 18 hours, walked 27,000 steps and possibly contracted frostbite in your extremities. Vow to come back one day.

Sammy xo.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Jamie's Italian Liverpool Review

In the past I've done a review of Jamie's Italian in Covent Garden in London but I've never been to the one just across the water from me, in Liverpool. When they invited us to give it a go, I jumped at the chance - I wanted to know whether the menu had stood the test of time, and also whether all branches were as good as that initial one was. So, last month we head out into a very rainy Liverpool One to fill our stomachs and find out whether the hype I created for them last time I went still stood.

 I'd like to start by saying that in a city where food can be eye-wateringly expensive, it was nice to see a menu that offered two course for £11.95 (or £14.95 if you opt for dessert, which you definitely should). Obviously you have to pay your drinks on top of that, but it still works out being a pretty affordable, and very filling, lunch - I say lunch, but this is served 12pm-7pm Monday to Friday, so this could definitely also be a very cheap date night. Katy opted for the Elderflower Spritz to drink (elderflower liqueur, prosecco and soda) which was nice, but really not for me, and I opted for the sugar free karma cola, which is nice but has quite a strong after taste of celery, so take that as you will.

Instead of opting for a starter and a main we opted for a main and a dessert, but we couldn't turn down the garlic bread from the a la carte menu. This was really tasty, and came as a tiny load of bread (is there anything more satisfying than a mini version of something else? The correct answer here is, of course, no) with whole cloves of roasted garlic as well as garlic butter and melty, strong cheese. I loved all of the meal, but this was definitely a highlight so whether you order is as a starter or a side, this is the item on the menu you should definitely be forking out for.

Next up came the mains - and I went for the steak and chips as this was so good in Covent Garden I had to see how it measured up. The meals seemed a lot bigger than I remember them being (and the pictures on my other post do seem to support that) but that's not a bad things - chips have gotten skinnier and steak has gotten bigger for this dish - it could have been a lot rarer for me, but it was good nonetheless. Katy opted for potato gnocci for her main and it was delicious and filling in a tomato sauce. The mains on the set menu are classics, nothing exciting  or particularly unusual, but definitely very, very good.


Finally, dessert. Our eyes were definitely bigger than out bellies when we got here because we absolutely, 10,000 percent didn't need any dessert here, but did opt for it anyway. Katy opted for the chocolate brownie with popcorn and salted caramel ice cream, and I opted for the mandarin sorbet with blackberries. The brownie was amazing, but a little dense after the meal, and so the sorbet was the surprising winner here - with the light, sweet sorbet combined with the sour coulis and the berries, this is the one to beat for me.

All in all, we ate a lot, drank a lot and came out paying less than £50 on the bill, so Jamie's is definitely worth a look into when it comes to dining in Liverpool. The staff are super friendly, the restaurant is beautifully decorated and the food is definitely worth a lot more than you're going to pay for it.

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

#CarnLIVal ; Why We Do It, And How It Helps

When we originally started planning events for people in Liverpool, I have to be honest, it was completely an opportunity to get drunk and have a gossip session. I didn't know that many people in Liverpool and I was totally going out on a limb, I didn't even know whether people would come or not; but when they did, and I saw the willingness to get together, spend time with other bloggers, donate to charity and generally just support each other - I was totally hooked. I wanted to plan more, I wanted to do more to help those around me.

*Post written in collaboration with Slater and Gordon, however all views, opinions, words and, sadly, sister stories are my own.*

So we did. We started planning more and more events, we tailored them to support causes and charities around where we lived. We donated to homeless shelters, women's shelters, addiction support groups, donated sanitary products to youth groups and schools that needed them. We became the pioneers of events that pushed people to give more and support people - and it worked. People came, had a good time, took part in some games and - through all this - we got a lot of money together in order to support the people that needed support, that deserved support.

Now, it's a tradition. We all get together in a bar, drink gin, do a raffle, get festive, easter-ey or summer-ey, we eat good food, do raffles, chat; donate food, sanitary products, warm clothes. It's just a little thing that we do, something that stemmed from us being super selfish - but turned into something great, and really selfless at the hands of everyone that comes. When Slater & Gordon Lawyers started their #mycommunityandme campaign, I knew this was something I wanted to talk about.

The campaign is essentially about the importance of pride in your community - and I've never been prouder as when I see all of those local bloggers turn up willing to help those in need. It's nothing big like community centres do, or charities, but it's something little that we arrange, that we do because we care about the local causes that we're supporting - we all do it because we're proud of the community that we're in, and want to do as much as possible to support people within it.

I'd love to know about pride shown in your community, or if you've been to any great events that support the people around you.

Sammy xo.

 
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