holidays

Maxing out 2017…

Eight ways to max out the remaining months…

Hey savvy readers – dare I say it? Xmas Decorations! I know right? They’re already appearing in the shops –  a fitting reminder that yet another year is about to wrap. At work we’re prepping the Xmas party plan, The Mighty Annual Bakeoff ( a seriously competitive gig in my office), secret santa, closure holiday planning. At home, ‘must catch up before Xmas’ texts, selecting party outfits, booking said holiday, and..oh wait! Just when you think you can’t squeeze another ounce out of the year, I’ve found 8 ways to do so. Yes seriously! Read on…

Gear up for 2018

A great way to transition into a new year is to get organized beforehand. Sorting out paperwork, clearing the closet, even doing a spot of redecorating – how refreshing to wake up to the new year with order in place of chaos (as well as the obligatory hangover)?  Build your plan, lock in a few hours and look at how you might gear up home and heart for the new year

Love those longer evenings

Extended daylight just begs to be taken advantage of so why not make a plan to make the most of it? After-work drinks on a sunset viewing balcony? Call your buddies stat! Moonlight cinema? Book it! Balmy evening walk? Grab the dog! Twilight picnic with your besties? Organise it! Favourite personal goal? Set aside an hour for it. Less evening TV, more fun.

Reflect on the year thus far

Rather than worry about what you haven’t done this year, reflect on all that you have achieved. Grab that journal and list everything you’ve actually accomplished – bet that list is longer than you realise. If it’s been a tough year for whatever reason, use the opportunity to put it to bed, secure closure and promise yourself you’ll start the new year with a clean slate.

Plan that holiday

Short getaways are a great start – use any remaining leave you have from work to take a long weekend or a short holiday. Whether grabbing a little respite from our long hot summer through a winter-themed activity or trading our sun for another with a tropical escape, you’ll be ticking a new country off the bucket list (check out Let’s talk Bucket Lists Baby) while doing so. Worried about the money towards the end of the year? Read Career Girl’s budgeting for Christmas now guide to making traveling the world super affordable.

Embrace party season

As the calendar starts filling with those ‘must catch up for drinkies before Xmas’ gigs; look on them as a chance to make the most of having friends around. A chance to regroup, celebrate, commiserate, let them know you care, the perfect opportunity to agree that we’ll all make the new year the best year yet.

Consider yourself an introvert? Compile a list of fun questions everyone likes to respond to e.g. holiday plans; best/worst xmas pressies ever received; best/worst parties attended; New Year goals etc. Then choose the gigs that will feel most satisfying and consider them a perfect opportunity to have a good laugh while leaving a positive reminder of your fabulous listening skills. It’s ok to sneak out before the party starts getting out of control, knowing you’ve left a positive impression with reputation intact.

Make new friends

I call networking ‘making new friends’. Introduce yourself to just one person you’ve not met before while you’re at those gigs. Ask them what they love about their jobs, their career goals for the new year, if you might connect on LInkedIn. If you’re in the job market, Christmas is actually one of the best times to network for people are more relaxed, and so are you. A perfect way to get your personal brand out there too.

Plan something for the coming year

Do you experience that post-Christmas dip? Even when you love your job, returning to work after the magic of Christmas can be downright sad!  If you have a January birthday, yay! You get to plan another party, if not, make something happen! Whether it’s something you want to kick the year off with, or a party or social gathering – get your Facebook invitations sent out now.

Start something new

You don’t have to wait to start a new activity. If you want to train for a marathon, join a gym or take up a new hobby, there’s no time like the present. The perfect anecdote for New Year Resolutions and just think of the head start you’ll have on everyone else beginning in January.

Research darling, research!

Swanning around ancient European countries requires a savvy strategy if we are to justify enduring the 24+ hour airline food and movie fest sans sleep marathon don’t you think? Not to mention ensuring a glamorous entrance at our ancient cliff clinging quaintly cobbled village upon arrival. Now if you think getting stuck behind a pig parade is fun, consider trashing your best Louboutin heels par for the course or are still wondering why heavy baggage hefting isn’t yet an Olympian sport, stop reading now. For the rest of us…we need tactics. Big ones. And Google. Just a small amount of research can prevent a big amount of pain. Trust me, been there!

Research darling, research!

You’ve a list of places you’d love to visit while on that fab holiday and you’ve Googled highlights to add to your must see list. Now, seven further items worth the research:

1: Is the hamlet/village/township/city built upon level terrain, clinging cliffside or an ancient fortification perched atop a bloody great mountain?
Two weeks spent toting a heavy suitcase full of endless wardrobe possibilities up and down Italian cliff clinging villages and I was quickly packing excess into boxes homeward bound.

Solution: Pack light! Wanna know how? See: Packing like a sophisticate

2: Is it historic and thus likely paved with cobble stones?
The death knell for those gorgeous heels!

Solution: Thank god ballet flats are considered de rigueur in Europe!

3: Can it be easily accessed if one hasn’t a car?
Damn! Strike those gorgeous little villas in the Tuscan mountains, the lavender fields of Provence and anything else remotely remote off the list.

Solution: Day tours make great substitutes! I took one which started at a winery. Five tastings later and our party had morphed into one hilarious fun fest. For more on that crazy day and a little taste of the Luberon: Wine o’clock somewhere yeah?

4: Are there multiple platform swaps if traveling by train?
Most European trains have steps. The platforms have steps, few  of the smaller train stations have escalators and if there’s a lift, it’s usually broken. Platforms are mostly accessed via subterranean pathways. This means steps my friend. Steps!

Solution: Pack light! Allow plenty of time between connections (Oh! And here’s a story about a time I sat on a set of train steps with a bunch of perfect strangers eating pizza washed down with cheap red wine: You eez on zer wrong train Signora

5: How far is my chosen accommodation from the train/bu20131215-210108s/airport?

Just one baby jumping, phallus whacking,orange throwing, pig celebrating festival street closure and next thing your taxi driver is salivating as both meter and your flight climb heavenward right before your very eyes. (Spain, Greece, Italy, France)

Solution: Research festival and market activity scheduled at the time of your visit. Put Spain on future agenda – baby jumping is a must!

6: How close is the accommodation to the action?
The outskirts may be cheaper but a quick stroll directly through quaint streets into the hamlet heart and soul means a deeper, more culturally enriching experience.

Solution: Negate public transportation costs by choosing digs close to the hub of activity.

7: And if the hotel/villa/apartment isn’t on ground floor, does the building have a lift?
My traveling buddy’s hubby started divorce proceedings in a stairwell somewhere between the 9th and 14th floor of a particularly arduous curvy flight of timber stairs; though it must be said BOTH their bags weighed the equivalent of two dead bodies. The beauty of the actual apartment and a stiff G&T managed to stifle a potential screaming match. Just.

Solution: Need I say? Pack light!

 Logistics sorted? Prepped for a penis whacking? Anxious to avoid a divorce hearing? Keen to pack mega efficiently to make the most of that well earned holiday? You can do it!!

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Renovations v vacations

I’m ‘Glamping’! In my spare bedroom. Been holed away in there four weeks now, the previous three in my own surrounded by a house full of furniture slowly making it’s way out the ‘Gumtree’ door as well as ladders, paint pots, rubble and grit. Bit like my teeth – gritted.

It’s an exhaustive business this ‘re-imagining’ gig, thanks to an Interior Decorator with an imagination that enthralls, thrills, strikes fear in my heart and exhausts my brain in equal measure. While I need a story board, a project plan and a timeline, James prefers to decorate ‘organically’. What does that even mean? I’ll let you know if I survive. But let’s talk about opinions…

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