The new John Lewis #ManOnTheMoon advert has been released today, and the Christmas countdown has started…
I love Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but unfortunately it is also usually the most expensive.
Last year, I left my shopping to the last minute, and consequently found myself rushing around in the middle of enormous crowds a few days before Christmas Eve in an effort to get everything done as quickly as possible. When I returned home, I realised that I had spent an enormous amount of money, with seemingly very little to show for it.
This year, I decided to do things differently, and at the beginning of November I realised that I had nearly completed my shopping for a fraction of what I spent previously. This is what I did:
1. I decided to go for quality rather than quantity. I’ve made the mistake in the past of frittering lots of money away on small novelty items (which I refer to as ‘padding’) just for the sake of buying them. Inevitably, I’ve found that these have been left in drawers, on shelves collecting dust for the next twelve months or re-gifted and were a total waste of money. This time, I decided that I would buy one or two things for each person that would be of use and/or have some sort of meaning. Continue reading →
Choose your hotel wisely. When going on a city break, it’s more than likely that you will spend most of your time outside, but, for me at least, it’s important that the room is clean and you feel safe to leave possessions behind while you are out exploring. We did very little research on this, but were extremely lucky with what we booked. The Hotel Sant Augusti was exactly that – clean, safe and in a fabulous location, being right next to one of the main metro lines, La Bouquiera Market, the beach, The Gothic Quarter and La Rambla. It also served a buffet breakfast every morning from 7.30am – 11.00am and had free wi-fi, which was useful when keeping in contact with loved ones.
Work out in advance what it is that you really want to see, and where possible, book tickets online before you go as there are enormous queues and long waits for the main attractions. For example, we arrived at La Sagrada Familia early, but had to queue for about half an hour to buy a ticket and then waited a further three hours before we were allowed in as there were timed entrance spots. It may be also useful to take a guidebook and print off maps of the areas you wish to travel to in advance – we had to buy a map when we were there and soon discovered that it was poorly labelled and many of the sights were in the wrong place. Continue reading →