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Finola Murtagh

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The Cook’s Club music scene

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Music’s on everyone’s mind today with the Eurovision Song Contest tomorrow. But if big ballads and cheesy tunes aren’t your thing, I know somewhere with chilled poolside playlists day and night…

Mojito in hand. Feet dangling in the pool. Cool, summery music, from funky 80s to Techno rhythms. There’s only one place I could be: Cook’s Club. Scattered all across the Med and far beyond to even warmer climes like El Gouna and Gambia, they each have four things in common: a great music scene, incredible cocktails, the best of the world’s street food and stripped-back design.

But today, I’d love to focus on the music. Like any long car journey or night on the town, music makes or breaks an experience, and I don’t see why a week in a hotel would be any different! So let’s take a look at all the tunes you can enjoy at Cook’s Club, from dawn ‘til dusk.

#sunsoundtracks

Playing throughout the day and into golden hour are sun soundtracks. There’s a real mix of music, but each track has the same uplifting, summery feel. And if you have a sore head from the night before, don’t worry! There’s nothing too loud or heavy, it’s just the right amount of atmosphere for catching some sun, snoozing in the shade or enjoying a bit of brunch. Take a listen below and get in the Cook’s Club state of mind!

DJ performances and theme nights

At Cook’s Club, there’s often an event on; Latin nights, R&B parties and BBQ cookouts to name just a few. It varies from hotel to hotel, but there’s something unique to be discovered wherever you go. When the DJ performs, he always gets a feel for the crowd, playing music based on the vibe of the evening and who’s chilling at the bar. The music carries on ‘til midnight, but the early hours of the morning are all yours to explore the nearby nightlife and beach bars.

 

For me, it’s the perfect balance between chilling out and having somewhere with a bit of soul. What makes a perfect holiday for you? Have you got any questions about Cook’s Club? Feel free to ask me in the comments.

 

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All aboard 2019’s best ships

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With seemingly endless dining options, fancy on board features and countless cabin types, it’s a struggle to know where to begin when it comes to choosing a cruise. That’s why I’ve decided to help you find the perfect ship for you. And, if you’ve already sailed the high seas on big names like P&O and Royal Caribbean, you might be surprised to find that this year’s top picks are actually better-kept secrets…

Cabins fit for royalty

Oceania’s Marina offers the ultimate in cabin luxury, so much so, that they’re actually referred to as suites and staterooms. With original artwork, rich wood and an earthy colour palette, you’ll feel like royalty in no time at all. Or maybe you’d like to treat yourself to a stay in an opulent Owner’s Suite, which showcases everything you’d expect from a 5-star hotel. Each has its own bedroom, dining area and so much more, plus they feature iconic furnishings from the Ralph Lauren Home Collection.

Elite entertainment

From the lavish San Remo Casino to the panoramic Pasha Club Disco, MSC Sinfonia has plenty to keep you entertained during your sailing. There’s also the San Carlo Theatre which is home to spectacular Cirque du Soleil-style shows in a lovely setting, with a pretty starlit ceiling and comfortable red and gold seating. It’s also a popular venue for early evening dancing, late-night cabaret singing and magic acts.

If you’re a fan of stage and screen, Viking Sun has a wealth of live performances and cinematic classics. There are unique shows, ranging from folk dancers to cabaret singers. Plus, with two on board movie theatres, you can see Golden Age favourites like Roman Holiday or the first appearances of Hollywood’s biggest starts. Or, if your idea of entertainment is more active, there’s also a walking track, an aquavit terrace and a spa and fitness facility.

Food

The finest dining

From the skyscrapers of Shanghai to the streets of Paris, Oceania Riviera will transport you around the work with its incredible choice of restaurants. Red Ginger serves contemporary interpretations of Asian classics, while Toscana will indulge the taste buds of those who love Italian cuisine. Or there’s Jacques, decorated with heirloom antiques and serving French fair, or the Waves Grill for All-American BBQ favourites.

Windstar’s Wind Spirit boasts The Amphora restaurant, giving you the very best of the Med’s flavours. The sample menu features mouth-watering dishes like Turkish lamb kofta, braised beef moussaka and crisp apple strudel, plus an international cheese trolley for those that have less of a sweet tooth. It’s the perfect place to dine with your loved one, sipping a special glass of bubbly while looking out to sea through the grand picture windows.

 

 

Read more about 2019 cruises in our latest edition of Cruise News.

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Family travel tips and packing list

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Holidays are all about having something to look forward to in the sun, but if there’s something that casts a slight cloud over that experience for me, it’s packing. For days and sometimes weeks beforehand I’m in a panic about making sure I’ve got everything I need (toiletries, bits and bobs and that all important passport), that’s why I thought it’d be great to pull together a holiday packing checklist for families. I’ve included some of my top tips for families going away together too, and I hope this guide gives you some inspiration on how to make those holidays with little ones easier…

 

Click the image below and print out your checklist before you travel.

Another thing worth mentioning if you’re going on holiday with babies or toddlers, are the Bambino Packages which are available at our Sunwing Family Resorts. You can pre-book these before you go. The medium package includes a pushchair, high chair and a Lollo & Bernie towel, while the large package includes all this, a potty, toilet stool, baby bouncer and more!

Worried about packing enough toys or games, or making sure you’ve got Wi-Fi to keep the kids entertained? If you’re on holiday with older children, our SunConnect Resorts have plenty to do, from mini discos and shows to treasure hunts and photo walks. There’s also free Wi-Fi throughout and a Teen Lounge with gaming consoles, so you could possibly leave those iPads or other devices at home.

 

Need some travel tips too…?

Leave in plenty of time

When you’ve got little ones in tow, it’s always a good idea to leave a good 45 mins early for the airport. Not only does this extra time account for any traffic on the way, but it’ll help you manage any mini meltdowns before you fly. Toddler tantrums are never easy work, but at least you won’t be worried about missing your flight.

 

Don’t over-pack

It’s easy to get carried away filling up the cases with all manner of books, toys and games, but if you stay at our kids’ clubs there’ll be plenty to keep little ones entertained, day and night. And instead of worrying about individual clothing items, pack dresses, playsuits and all-in-ones. Invest in a good pair of sandals the little ones can wear barefoot too – don’t teeny tiny socks seem to disappear in no time?

Let me entertain you!

Now’s the time to pull out all the stops when it comes to keeping the kids entertained. Have they had their eye on a new game for their games console, or love a certain TV series? Then why not treat them before you go away? It’s a great way of keeping them busy in airport delays or on long-haul flights.

 

Accept not everything will go perfectly

I think all too often we expect our holidays (and life in general!) to go perfectly. Things might get left at home and plans might change, but take this holiday for exactly what it is; a bit of well-earned time together. Instead of worrying about little details, focus on making memories and taking lots of snaps together.

 

What’s one thing that you couldn’t go without packing? Is there anything on my top tips list that you hadn’t thought about? Let me know in the comments below!

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A holiday with a kids’ club like no other…

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When you’re jetting off with little ones, the chances are you’ll want to make sure they’re kept entertained at a kids’ club. Whether you head there for one or two sessions, or take part in daily activities, it’s a great place for them to make friends and learn new things. But if you think all kids’ clubs are the same, think again.

That’s where Casa Cook Chania comes in. It’s our first family-friendly Casa Cook hotel with a bespoke kids’ club like you’ve never seen before. Let’s take a look at what makes it so special…

 

Fun and activities

Casa Cook Chania has an innovative kids’ club concept that focuses on encouraging little ones to learn and explore in a natural and creative way. Looked after by our kids’ club team, the tailored program offers an inspiring and easy-going experience, so your kids will enjoy their holiday as much as you! From cooking classes to beach activities, there are plenty of options for children to discover some new interests. A separate kids’ pool provides a safe haven for young explorers, plus there’s also indoor and outdoor areas for them to play and chill out. Here are just a few of the activities they could be taking part in during your stay:

DIY soap-making

Mini yoga

Surf lesson with Chania Surf Club

Making musical instruments

Creating colourful mosaics

Friendship bracelet-making

Making traditional Greek olive bread

Crazy science experiments

Greek dancing

Little gardeners

Outdoor cinema

Nature’s scavenger hunt

 

Food and health

The kids’ club kitchen offers a variety of fresh and healthy dishes for children, infused with local Cretan flavours and ingredients. From a range of classics dishes to breakfast favourites including a porridge menu with pick ‘n’ mix toppings, there’s something for every appetite. Delicious juices and freshly-made fruit drinks will keep kids hydrated in the sun too. At break time, there’s healthy snacks including vegetable sticks, fresh fruit and tortilla wraps.

 

Do you like the sound of our alternative kids’ club? Or maybe you’d like to learn more about the adults-only side to Casa Cook?

Our Casa Cook Hotels

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Rise of the holiday foodie

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Tastes are changing in the UK. With 3.5m vegans and 20% of Brits eating more vegetarian food compared to five years ago, these habits are bound to affect how people choose their holidays too. I’d say the shift comes down to two major factors: how good your food looks and how good it makes you feel!

 

Looking good

Instagram has everyone on the food blogger bandwagon, and I’m just as guilty. I mean, have you tried to eat an Acai bowl without putting a picture on the ‘gram? I’ve just come back from a month in Australia where they practically live off the stuff, and let me tell you: it’s impossible. We all want to share aesthetically pleasing food that proves we look after ourselves. When’s the last time you saw a photo of fish and chips on your feed?

 

Feeling  good

And when it comes down to walking the walk rather than just posting the pic, we’re a nation that’s cracked down on takeaways and committed to the gym. Instead of a week All Inclusive-grazing and sun lounger-lazing, we’d rather keep these good habits going, with 7 in 10 of us searching for healthy options when we’re considering where to stay.

 

So what’s the answer to holidays with this new-found thirst for well-being? Take a look below.

 

Casa Cook

Casa Cook FoodCasa Cook’s farm-to-table ethos has been a massive success with those that want the freshest food. The hotel in Kos grows its own seasonal fruit and veg, while catches from local fishermen feature on the menu. There’s plenty for vegans and veggies too: mouth-watering homemade hummus, beetroot carpaccio and tempura-fried aubergine. Casa Cook Ibiza’s taken this concept to the next level, with the La Cruz restaurant that showcases beautiful vegan à la carte dishes. And let’s not forget sessions in the yoga shala and treatments in the hammam that means self-care is just a few steps away.

 

Cook’s Club

Cooks Club FoodWant a happy medium between health and hedonism? Cook’s Club is what you’ve been waiting for. With a street-food style Cantina featuring flavours from all over the world, Brits looking to explore international flavours will be spoilt for choice. With vegan specialities and carefully garnished cocktails, it’s hard not to snap the colourful creations for all your Instagram followers to see. And when you’re looking to get active outside of dancing at the nearby beach clubs, head to the fully-equipped gym to work up an appetite again.

Take a peek

 

Would you like to learn more about our holiday habits as Brits, or find some inspiration for your next getaway? Read our report in full.

Thomas Cook Holiday Report

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The best May Bank Holiday city breaks

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We’ve just enjoyed a gloriously sunny long Easter weekend, and I don’t know about you, but I already can’t wait for May Bank Holiday! Plus, it’s the perfect time for a city break. Why, you ask? Well, it’s not quite summer yet, so you’ll still enjoy wandering around those stunning city streets without getting too hot and bothered. And you can see a whole new part of the world in time to be back at work on Tuesday. But best of all? There are two Bank Holidays throughout May, so you can do it twice! Take a look below at my top picks for where to spend those upcoming long weekends.

 

Amsterdam

Amsterdam FoodIf you’ve never been to Amsterdam while the tulips are in bloom, either May Bank Holiday is the perfect opportunity. And, aside from strolling through the green parks and indulging in Dutch waffles, Amsterdam has plenty of events on.  Head to the Rijksmuseum Gardens in late May to see the Louise Bourgeois sculpture exhibition, or start your long weekend early to catch the Amsterdam Pizza Festival on 22 May. Yum!

Paris

Paris Street BandKnown as both the City of Lights and the City of Love, in May, Paris becomes the City of Jazz. If you’re a music lover, the Saint Germain des Prés Jazz Festival fills the streets with the sound of the sax alongside concerts in charming cafés and historic hotspots. Prefer your culture a little more modern? Jet off to Paris on the 25 May to enjoy a weekend at the Printemps Des Rues street art festival. Your Instagram will be the talk of the town.

Take me to Paris

Barcelona

Barcelona FestivalCelebrating its 26th year in Barcelona, Ciutat Flamenco Festival is the place to be between 16 and 31 May. Here, you’ll be able to enjoy passionate performances from the biggest names in the ‘biz. It’s a great way to embrace Barcelona’s culture beyond the buildings, and in your downtime you can stroll down Las Ramblas, dine on paella and sip some vino as the sun goes down. I don’t think there’s anywhere I’d rather be!

Discover Barcelona

Budapest

Budapest ArchitectureIf you’re looking to experience some traditional culture, catch the Budapest Folk Fest between 22 and 25 May. You’ll get an incredible insight into Hungarian folk heritage, with authentic music and dancing. You can even sail down the Danube and take in sights like the Hungarian Parliament Building and Buda Castle while you enjoy performances on board. Round off your visit with a relaxing soak at the Széchenyi Thermal Baths. It’s part of their culture too!

The best of Budapest

Prague

Prague Food & DrinkCalling all foodies: Prague Food Festival kicks off just in time for the second May Bank Holiday. It was meant to be, right? Top restaurant chefs in the Czech Republic will be there sharing their skills, and there’ll be more stalls handing out delicious samples than you can shake a stick at. Looking for a tipple too? The Prague Drinks Wine festival is on the same weekend, with up to 400 wines to try. It sure beats a beer or two down your local pub.

Why Prague?

So where do you fancy exploring on a May Bank Holiday city break? How do you like to spend your long weekends? Let me know in the comments below.

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Which Cook’s Club is right for you?

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If you’re looking for summer vibes year-round, our Cook’s Club Hotels are the place to be. But, which is best for you? Whether you want a couples break or a getaway for your friends, there are several dotted around Europe and far beyond, and my handy quiz will help you find your perfect choice.

Some are found by the beach, while others are tucked away on private peninsulas. Plus, you can take your pick between being near to city culture or vibrant nightlife, and you’ll have to choose between chilling in the sun and getting wild with water sports! But, what do they all have in common? Incredible summer soundtracks, a mixologist-created cocktail menu, cool urban design and the best of the world’s street food. Let’s see what you come up with…

Find out more about your fave

 

Would you like to visit a Cook’s Club Hotel? Were you surprised by which was best suited to you? Let me know which Cook’s Club came out on top in the comments below.

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Why smartline Village Resort & Waterpark is Crete’s best kept secret

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Charming? Check. Central? Check. Kids’ entertainment? Double check. Great for couples too? Absolutely. I stayed in Hersonissos last September and found this friendly, family-run style hotel just over 1km from all the action. With a bright, modern design and relaxed atmosphere, it’s the perfect base to discover some local culture, Cretan cuisine and secluded, sandy coves.

Although they’ve thought about the kids with the waterpark, entertainment and endless sports activities, there’s plenty close by for couples and groups of friends too; authentic eateries, swanky beach bars and buzzing clubs. So, let’s take a look at all the perks of staying in a hotel that’s as affordable as it is well-loved.

 

A location you’ll love

smartline Village Resort & Waterpark With apartments dotted on the hillside just outside Hersonissos, with views across the bay, the smartline Village Resort & Waterpark will offer some peace and quiet without missing out on the vibrant town centre. Although the nearest stretch of sandy beach is 1km away, there are three pools at the hotel designed for kids’ activities, waterslides and a relaxing pool (made with adults in mind).

Take a stroll through the high street before stopping off at a traditional blue and white taverna to enjoy some fresh seafood and views across the turquoise shore. Feeling more adventurous? Take a trip to the city of Heraklion (just 30mins away!) and delve into Crete’s history with a visit to the Koules Fortress or the Palace of Knossos.

 

Making a splash

smartline Village Resort & Waterpark in CreteIt’s super important to keep kids cool in the heat of Greece, and what better way to do this than at the hotel’s onsite waterpark!  I’ve already mentioned the pools, but on top of that there are six slides in total, plus a lazy river. Smaller kids might have to bring an adult along for the ride on the bigger drops, but there’s something for absolutely everyone.

Will you compete against friends and family with a three lane multi-racer, take a sheer drop on the straight slide, or twist down the two serpentine tubes to the water below? And if making a splash isn’t your thing, you can soak up the sun on one of the many sun loungers by the pools or take shelter under one of the umbrellas.

 

Roomy rooms

I don’t know about you, but one of the first things I look for when I’m choosing a hotel is space. I’ve had too many bad experiences in hot, cramped hotel rooms with no space to put my stuff; it’s a sure fire way to get grouchy on holiday! The fantastic thing about this hotel is although it’s great value, they haven’t packed the rooms in tightly which gives the feeling of a premium experience without the price tag to match.

The double rooms here (for a couple, or three friends) boast an impressive floor space of 28m², while the family rooms are a staggering 40m² for up to four people, including a bedroom with double bed and a living room with twin beds. I don’t have kids myself, but I can imagine it’s always helpful to have a room on the larger side for toys, books, pushchairs and playtime away from the sun.

So, does the smartline Village Resort & Waterpark sound right up your street? Is there anything else you’d like to know? Just drop me a line in the comments below.      

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5 lifestyle Instagrams you need to follow

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I hold my hands up here. I’m completely the cliché millennial when it comes to Instagram. I post my avocado brunch with pride, flood my feed with travel pics and snap nearly every social occasion. And although my own page might be anything but ground-breaking, having an Instagram account fills me with inspiration daily.

I love interior design, fashion and all things fun and colourful, so throughout the years there are several accounts that have managed to keep my attention and generally brightened my day. Do you need to inject some excitement into your Instagram? Check out five of my favourites below.

 

Angela Coomey (@angelacoomey)

London Insta-blogger Angela Coomey is your one-stop-shop for all things lifestyle, food and travel. Whether she’s snapping classic cars, billowing floral displays or vintage shop fronts, I can’t help but double tap her stunning posts that make me feel warm and nostalgic. I especially love her account because she tags all the cool coffee shops and eclectic eateries she visits, meaning I can pop them on my tick list for the next time I’m in London.

 

bag&bones lights (@bagandbones)

If you’re into home design like me, I’m sure you’ve fantasised about having a neon light on your wall at least once or twice. I hope I pluck up the courage to follow through with buying  one someday, but until then I’ll trawl @bagandbones Instagram to my heart’s content. Sassy sayings in highlighter yellow and fluorescent fuchsia? Pop culture prints brought to life with neon tubing? I can’t get enough, and once you’ve had a scroll through their feed, I’m sure you’ll feel the same.

 

Lambs and Lions (@lambsandlionsberlin)

The brains behind our very own Casa Cook concept, Lambs and Lions specialise in bringing some James Bond-esque drama to minimalist spaces. Sprinkling their magic on hotels throughout the Med and beyond, expect an Insta full of rugged materials, industrial tones and more leafy succulents than you can shake a stick at.

 

A Plated Affair Catering (@aplatedaffair)

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I will have one of everything. 💁🏻‍♀️

A post shared by A Plated Affair Catering (@aplatedaffair) on

Apologies if you’re reading this between meals, but I’ve been obsessed with Sydney-based catering company, A Plated Affair, since seeing their video on Facebook a few weeks ago.  They create incredible food platters bursting with juicy figs, cured meat, smoked cheeses and so much more. I don’t think I’ve experienced food envy like this in a while, and as well as looking delicious it’s so visually pleasing that I can’t help but stalk their feed and wish I lived on the other side of the world.

 

Cook’s Club (@cooksclubhotels)

Designed for a new generation of travellers, Cook’s Club have really tapped into what their target market wants from a holiday abroad. And with an Instagram full of poolside antics and cocktail-sipping at sunset, it’s hard not to wish away this winter in exchange for longer days, warmer nights and lighter hair.

 

What’s your number one account on this list and why? Do you have a favourite Instagram blogger? I’m always looking for new people to follow, so let me know in the comments below!

The post 5 lifestyle Instagrams you need to follow appeared first on Thomas Cook Blog.

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5 lifestyle Instagrams you need to follow

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I hold my hands up here. I’m completely the cliché millennial when it comes to Instagram. I post my avocado brunch with pride, flood my feed with travel pics and snap nearly every social occasion. And although my own page might be anything but ground-breaking, having an Instagram account fills me with inspiration daily.

I love interior design, fashion and all things fun and colourful, so throughout the years there are several accounts that have managed to keep my attention and generally brightened my day. Do you need to inject some excitement into your Instagram? Check out five of my favourites below.

 

Angela Coomey (@angelacoomey)

London Insta-blogger Angela Coomey is your one-stop-shop for all things lifestyle, food and travel. Whether she’s snapping classic cars, billowing floral displays or vintage shop fronts, I can’t help but double tap her stunning posts that make me feel warm and nostalgic. I especially love her account because she tags all the cool coffee shops and eclectic eateries she visits, meaning I can pop them on my tick list for the next time I’m in London.

 

bag&bones lights (@bagandbones)

If you’re into home design like me, I’m sure you’ve fantasised about having a neon light on your wall at least once or twice. I hope I pluck up the courage to follow through with buying  one someday, but until then I’ll trawl @bagandbones Instagram to my heart’s content. Sassy sayings in highlighter yellow and fluorescent fuchsia? Pop culture prints brought to life with neon tubing? I can’t get enough, and once you’ve had a scroll through their feed, I’m sure you’ll feel the same.

 

Lambs and Lions (@lambsandlionsberlin)

The brains behind our very own Casa Cook concept, Lambs and Lions specialise in bringing some James Bond-esque drama to minimalist spaces. Sprinkling their magic on hotels throughout the Med and beyond, expect an Insta full of rugged materials, industrial tones and more leafy succulents than you can shake a stick at.

 

A Plated Affair Catering (@aplatedaffair)

View this post on Instagram

I will have one of everything. 💁🏻‍♀️

A post shared by A Plated Affair Catering (@aplatedaffair) on

Apologies if you’re reading this between meals, but I’ve been obsessed with Sydney-based catering company, A Plated Affair, since seeing their video on Facebook a few weeks ago.  They create incredible food platters bursting with juicy figs, cured meat, smoked cheeses and so much more. I don’t think I’ve experienced food envy like this in a while, and as well as looking delicious it’s so visually pleasing that I can’t help but stalk their feed and wish I lived on the other side of the world.

 

Cook’s Club (@cooksclubhotels)

Designed for a new generation of travellers, Cook’s Club have really tapped into what their target market wants from a holiday abroad. And with an Instagram full of poolside antics and cocktail-sipping at sunset, it’s hard not to wish away this winter in exchange for longer days, warmer nights and lighter hair.

 

What’s your number one account on this list and why? Do you have a favourite Instagram blogger? I’m always looking for new people to follow, so let me know in the comments below!

The post 5 lifestyle Instagrams you need to follow appeared first on Thomas Cook Blog.

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My favourite inspirational quotes by women

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As some of you might know, today is International Women’s Day: a day to celebrate all the things that makes us proud to be women, or all the reasons you’re proud to know them if you’re not one yourself! Something I loved watching recently was the new Nike advert, entitled ‘Dream Crazier’. Voiced by Serena Williams, it considers how far we’ve come not just in sport, but society in general. And when times get tough, I always reach for inspirational pick-me-ups like these to feel a bit better, one of which is by Serena herself:

“I think in life you should work on yourself until the day you die.”

It reminds me I’m always a work in progress and not to be too hard on myself, plus I think being in competition with yourself is great trait to have! I’ve listed some more sayings and quotes that I love below, and it’d be great to see your favourites in the comments too.

 

Being brave

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” – Maya Angelou

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” – Nora Ephron

 

Being kind

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou

“Kindness is always fashionable, and always welcome.” – Amelia Barr

 

Being determined

“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

“When someone tells me “no,” it doesn’t mean I can’t do it, it simply means I can’t do it with them.” – Karen E. Quinones Miller

 

Believing in yourself

“Be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” – Judy Garland

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – Suzy Kassem

“Some people say that I have an attitude. Maybe I do. But I think that you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does; that makes you a winner right there.” – Venus Williams

 

I hope these positive thoughts give you a boost today, just in time for whatever you’ve got planned this weekend. How are you celebrating the women in your life today? Let me know in the comments below!

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Majorca holidays: active adventures

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Looking for adventure on your next holiday? Majorca’s Mediterranean climate means that it’s warm every month of the year making it perfect for an active holiday, especially if you’re a keen cyclist.

Cycler or a biker?

With different types of cycling to choose from, including road and mountain biking, you’ll find an adventure off the beaten track that’s perfect for you. And, with professional cyclists training here during the autumn and winter, you’ll know you’re in good company.

Fancy a faster, more adrenaline-fuelled way to get around? Hire a motorbike and head out on the open road, but be sure to follow all the safety information!

Food, wine and a perfect day

Once you’ve ridden off into the sunset, stop off at a local tapas bar and enjoy a little bit of everything, from garlic prawns to the ever popular, patatas bravas. Sa Caleta in Cala Millor offers up some really tasty paella, so give it a try if you’re staying on the east side of the island.

Wash down your meal with a visit to a traditional winery, where you can try a fragrant range of Spanish wine. Bodega Ribas is the oldest winery on the island so is surely worth a visit. The 100 acres of vineyards include some rare grape varieties that were previously on the verge of extinction, but make sure you give them a call as a visit is by appointment only.

Beautiful settings

After you’ve finished exploring, you’ll need a place to stay that matches up to Majorca’s beautiful setting. The SENTIDO Mallorca Palace is within walking distance of the beach, has a lovely pool, and can even Choose Your Room before you go.

Travelling with little ones? Then, you’ll love BQ Alcudia Sun Village, which has a pirate ship splash park and a Lollo & Bernie Kids’ Club.

Have you considered Majorca for an active holiday? Do you have any recommendations for fun activities here? I’d love to know in the comments below. 

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Welcome to Fun Lab: 4 unique activities to do at Cook’s Club

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We all know that holidays are made for relaxing, but after a few days of chilling by the pool or unwinding at the beach, sometimes it’s nice to do something a little out of the ordinary. At Cook’s Club, you can find a host of quirky activities inside the self-professed Fun Lab. From dancing the night away in your own private disco to smashing up some stuff in the Rage Room, you and your friends will never be stuck for things to do, day or night.

Cook's Club bannerPrivate disco

If the thought of belting out some karaoke classics in public is enough to send you cold with fear, don’t worry, at Cook’s Club you can perform for just a chosen few. You can control the lights, the volume, and of course pick from thousands of songs, both old and new. I chose the two hour-long party package for just €85, so dragging nine of my best mates in with me cost us just over €8 each. That’s certainly the most affordable night out I’ve had in a while!

 

Rage Room

I’m sure we’ve all wanted to let off some steam once or twice in our lives by taking a baseball bat to a few breakable items. However, if you don’t want to smash up any of your own precious belongings or alarm your neighbours, the Rage Room is here at Cook’s Club to let you wreak havoc. Choose a pre-made package or create your own from a variety of items such as shot glasses, bottles, plates, old computers, printers, TVs and much more.

 

Cook´s Club VR

VR cabins

Holidays are an escape from day to day life in themselves, but to take this experience to the next level, try out one of the Fun Lab’s virtual reality cabins. There are a lots of levels of expertise and games to choose between, like Arizona Sunshine and a laser game.  It’s a fully immersive experience with a headset, handheld controllers and state-of-the-art chairs. It’s just a matter of deciding what virtual world you feel like visiting on that day.

Escape room

If you’re really looking to get the adrenaline going, pay a visit to the escape room and choose a theme perfect for you and your friends. There’s  one based on Stephen King’s terrifying novel, IT, one called The Box and The Countdown. With twists, turns and false endings around every corner, you’ll have to race against  the clock and rely on the powers of teamwork to escape a grizzly fate. You’ll float too.. or maybe you won’t.

What’s your favourite way to spend your holiday with your friends? Which of the Fun Lab experiences would you  most  like to try? Let me know in the comments below.

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Being fashion forward at Cook’s Club

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There are cool people everywhere. And by that I mean everywhere. Chilling by the pool in their printed kaftans, snapping pics of each other on inflatables, sipping cocktails at the Captain Cook bar. From edgy tattooed couples to groups of stunning bleach-blonde Swedish friends, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many good looking people in one place! I always find it super hard to dress for a holiday, and every night I seem to be sending the same question in my friends’ group chat: ‘What are you wearing?’.

Thomas Cook Hotels & Resorts promo offer

With London Fashion Week just around the corner, I seem to have a bigger interest than ever in how I dress. So, with that, I wanted  to let you know exactly what I packed for my week away at Cook’s Club. And here’s your first tip: it’s time to leave the Crocs at home.

Colours and textures

Cook’s Club Hotels are a melting pot of cultures, colours and textures, so naturally, fashion follows closely behind. I tend to wear  a lot of  black and neutral tones, so I love choosing items with unique textures. Velvet, mesh and satin look amazing against  sun-kissed skin and  bright colours are always a winner with a holiday tan; think lime green, bright yellow and cerise pink.

 

Printed tees   

Printed tees are my favourite fail-safe holiday option. Whether it’s a distressed band cut-off or one with a cheeky slogan, they look perfect with everything. In the day, I knot mine  at  the front and wear with a pair of flowing culottes, and in the evening I’ll tuck it into a frayed denim skirt and pair it with some chunky flatforms; effortless cool perfect for Cook’s Club.

 

Shady business

I don’t  know about you, but no holiday outfit of mine is complete without a pair of statement sunglasses. I love the fact that colour-tinted lenses and quirky shapes have made a comeback. They’re also the perfect accessory to hide a pair of tired  eyes from the night before. I switch between a pair of rose gold-rimmed aviators and some sweeping cat eye shades!

 

Keep it classic

Heading off somewhere super-cool on holiday may seem daunting, but you can build an amazing wardrobe from just a few key pieces that’ll never go out of style. I never go on holiday without a pair of classic leather buckled sandals or some bleached-out denim shorts. A favourite of mine is a linen shirt; there are dozens of different ways to wear it! Knot it into a crop top at night or leave it open on top of a  bikini for poolside chic.

What’s one item of clothing that you couldn’t go on holiday without? How would you make a statement at Cook’s Club? I’d love to hear about your fashion favourites in the comments below.

 

Promotional Code: HOTEL100*

*Save £100 (£1000 minimum spend)  :  Saving is per booking and applies to Thomas Cook package holidays that include accommodation at a Thomas Cook Resorts & Hotels property (branded SENTIDO, Sunwing, SunConnect, Cook’s Club, Casa Cook, Smartline or Sunprime) and flights with Thomas Cook Airlines departing between 1 May 2019 and 30 April 2020, when you spend a minimum of £1,000.   Promo code must be entered on the payment page when booking online for saving to be applied.   You must search and book via the  “Holidays” tab on this website.  Saving applies only to those qualifying holidays displaying the promo code advert within the main holiday photo on the thomascook.com website. Only one promo code per booking can be used. Saving cannot be combined with any other promo code, offer or discount unless stated otherwise. Offer available for a limited time only and may be withdrawn or altered without notice. All holidays are subject to availability and tour operator booking conditions. In the event of any difficulty applying the promo code, please call 0844 879 8515 for assistance. Calls will cost 7p per minute plus network extras.

The post Being fashion forward at Cook’s Club appeared first on Thomas Cook Blog.

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Being fashion forward at Cook’s Club

no thumb

There are cool people everywhere. And by that I mean everywhere. Chilling by the pool in their printed kaftans, snapping pics of each other on inflatables, sipping cocktails at the Captain Cook bar. From edgy tattooed couples to groups of stunning bleach-blonde Swedish friends, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many good looking people in one place! I always find it super hard to dress for a holiday, and every night I seem to be sending the same question in my friends’ group chat: ‘What are you wearing?’.

Thomas Cook Hotels & Resorts promo offer

With London Fashion Week just around the corner, I seem to have a bigger interest than ever in how I dress. So, with that, I wanted  to let you know exactly what I packed for my week away at Cook’s Club. And here’s your first tip: it’s time to leave the Crocs at home.

Colours and textures

Cook’s Club Hotels are a melting pot of cultures, colours and textures, so naturally, fashion follows closely behind. I tend to wear  a lot of  black and neutral tones, so I love choosing items with unique textures. Velvet, mesh and satin look amazing against  sun-kissed skin and  bright colours are always a winner with a holiday tan; think lime green, bright yellow and cerise pink.

 

Printed tees   

Printed tees are my favourite fail-safe holiday option. Whether it’s a distressed band cut-off or one with a cheeky slogan, they look perfect with everything. In the day, I knot mine  at  the front and wear with a pair of flowing culottes, and in the evening I’ll tuck it into a frayed denim skirt and pair it with some chunky flatforms; effortless cool perfect for Cook’s Club.

 

Shady business

I don’t  know about you, but no holiday outfit of mine is complete without a pair of statement sunglasses. I love the fact that colour-tinted lenses and quirky shapes have made a comeback. They’re also the perfect accessory to hide a pair of tired  eyes from the night before. I switch between a pair of rose gold-rimmed aviators and some sweeping cat eye shades!

 

Keep it classic

Heading off somewhere super-cool on holiday may seem daunting, but you can build an amazing wardrobe from just a few key pieces that’ll never go out of style. I never go on holiday without a pair of classic leather buckled sandals or some bleached-out denim shorts. A favourite of mine is a linen shirt; there are dozens of different ways to wear it! Knot it into a crop top at night or leave it open on top of a  bikini for poolside chic.

What’s one item of clothing that you couldn’t go on holiday without? How would you make a statement at Cook’s Club? I’d love to hear about your fashion favourites in the comments below.

 

Promotional Code: HOTEL100*

*Save £100 (£1000 minimum spend)  :  Saving is per booking and applies to Thomas Cook package holidays that include accommodation at a Thomas Cook Resorts & Hotels property (branded SENTIDO, Sunwing, SunConnect, Cook’s Club, Casa Cook, Smartline or Sunprime) and flights with Thomas Cook Airlines departing between 1 May 2019 and 30 April 2020, when you spend a minimum of £1,000.   Promo code must be entered on the payment page when booking online for saving to be applied.   You must search and book via the  “Holidays” tab on this website.  Saving applies only to those qualifying holidays displaying the promo code advert within the main holiday photo on the thomascook.com website. Only one promo code per booking can be used. Saving cannot be combined with any other promo code, offer or discount unless stated otherwise. Offer available for a limited time only and may be withdrawn or altered without notice. All holidays are subject to availability and tour operator booking conditions. In the event of any difficulty applying the promo code, please call 0844 879 8515 for assistance. Calls will cost 7p per minute plus network extras.

The post Being fashion forward at Cook’s Club appeared first on Thomas Cook Blog.

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What you’ll get up to on a typical day at Cook’s Club

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Cook's Club bannerWake up on a Cook’s Club holiday and dive into the extraordinary. Open your eyes to a new generation of hotels for a new generation of travellers.  Not only do these hotels focus on good music, great drinks and fantastic food, but you’ll find an incredible atmosphere that’ll define your summer. 

Take a look at a typical day on holiday at Cook’s Club….you’ll find it’s not so typical after all.

9am: Roll out of bed, a bit sluggish from the night before. Freshen up and head out to the pool.

9:30am: Treat yourself to the best coffee you’ll ever taste at the Captain Cook Bar, found just a few steps from the pool. It’s called the Freddo; two shots of espresso over ice, and trust me, it’s enough to blow off the cobwebs.

10am: Take a dip in one of the two pools, inflatables are already bobbing around; they belong to the hotel and are ready and raring for anyone to use.

11am: A quick nap to catch up with some sleep you missed last night. Nod off to the DJ spinning some chilled, ambient House music; it’s sounds exactly how summer should sound.

1pm: Now you’re hungry. The lunch menu’s surprisingly affordable, around seven or eight euros for a range of delights, from salads and sushi to big juicy burgers. Go for a traditional Greek salad full of fresh feta and olives.

2pm: More of the same: sipping and chilling  to laid-back beats, but this time you’ll be ready to start on the cocktails. There’s classic drinks like Mojitos or Moscow mules, but they’ve added some of their own magic with pitchers of Captain’s Punch: Absolut vodka, lime, orange, grapes and vanilla syrup.

4pm: Start getting ready for dinner. The rooms are spacious and spotless, all cloaked in muted grey, colourful fabrics and warm lighting.

6pm: Back in the Cantina,  it’s now just a matter of deciding which corner of the world to visit! There are seven different stations; salads, a snack counter, grill, pizza, pasta, ‘eat the Greek’ and ‘best of the East’; dedicated to local and faraway flavours.

9pm: Now the party’s really started. There’s very often on event on; Latin nights, R&B parties and BBQ cookouts to name just a few.  The music carries on till midnight, but the early hours of the morning are all yours to explore the local night life.

Cook’s Clubs | designed for you.
So what’s your dream typical day? Does Cook’s Club tick all your boxes? Let me know in the comments below.

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Where to go for an active holiday in winter

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When winter rolls around, it’s tempting to go into hibernation. But if you’re willing to beat the blues, there are still lots of places in the world where the sun’s still shining.

If you’re looking for something a little different to relaxing on a beach, one of our active holidays might be just the thing for you.

COUNTRY WALKS

If you’re a keen walker, hike through Madeiras countryside in the day, before unwinding in the evenings at the luxurious Enotel Lido Madeira. This holiday will give you the perfect balance between rugged nature and glossy relaxation.

 

LIKE A BIKE?

If you’re more comfortable on two wheels than out in the wilderness, you’ll love our cycling holidays. Visit Majorca to experience popular routes like Puerto Pollensa and Cap Formento. Don’t worry if you’re new to the sport either, there’s something for all abilities.

The SENTIDO Playa del Moro makes the perfect base for this kind of holiday; and with our Choose Your Room concept, you can make sure that once you get  back from a full day of riding, you can lay your head exactly where you’ve chosen to.

 

A GOLFER’S DREAM

Looking for a taste of luxury? Tee off in Turkey at the Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort. Here, you’ll find an 18-hole floodlit course, club house and a pro-shop. It’s been listed as one of the ‘top 100 golf clubs in the world’, so you know you’re in for a great time. With so many fantastic choices, it’s just a matter of what to do first.

 

Do you want to go on an active winter break? What’s your favourite way to keep fit on holiday? Let me know in the comments below.

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Wedding

Say ‘I do’ at SENTIDO Hotels & Resorts

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SENTIDO Hotels & Resorts are a collection of properties that focus on little details and fantastic service, so where better to celebrate your special day? If you’re looking for a stunning seafront location with a real sense of style and elegance, say ‘I do’ at the SENTIDO Cypria Bay. Here, every little detail will be taken care of so you can enjoy your wedding and honeymoon with your loved one in complete relaxation. No stone will be left unturned with a range of cocktail and dinner menus, flower arrangements, DJs or live music, wedding photographers, and every thoughtful feature you could possibly dream of.

If you want to escape the four walls of the hotel for something more authentic, why not branch out and tie the knot at the Town Hall or in a local Cypriot church? Or maybe you’d love to exchange vows on the stunning pier looking out to sea, or in a gazebo decorated just to your liking? We pride ourselves on making your day perfect and helping you to create memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Sometimes it might feel like your wedding day is all about keeping your guests happy, which is why we’ve created a very special package just for you. When you wed at SENTIDO Cypria Bay, you’ll be able to enjoy luxury toiletries (plus bathrobes and slippers), a candlelit dinner for two in our romantic à la carte restaurant, breakfast in your room on the morning of your big day and much more.

 

Haven’t quite decided where you’d like to tie the knot yet? Why not treat yourself and your other half to a romantic Valentine’s getaway in the meantime?

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Maldives-Holiday

‘We’re going on holiday?!’ The Best Ways to Surprise Your Kids About Going Away

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For many of us, holidays are the most exciting time of the year. It’s a total escape from everyday life, full of total relaxation, fun, and most importantly sun, sand and sea. Kids are very often the most excited of all of us when it comes to holidays, picking out their favourite clothes, far too many toys and quite possibly trying to pack inflatables which are, well, already inflated! The only thing better than going on a holiday you’ve spent ages looking forward to is a holiday which is a total surprise. Take a look at some inspiration below for the big holiday reveal.

 

#1. Getting to know the culture

Know the Culture on Holiday

If you’re taking the kids away somewhere brand new, introduce subtle hints around where they’ll be going. This creates a great lead-up to the surprise and gives them a bit of a taste of what they have to look forward to. For example, if you’ve planned to head off to Italy for your holiday, spend the evening at a traditional Italian restaurant. Tuck into some authentic stone-baked pizza followed by a few scoops of yummy gelato before explaining, ‘there’s a lot more of that where you’ll be going!’

 

#2. Shopping for something new

Shopping for something new on holiday

Each kid has their own individual style, so what better way to let them rock it than by taking them on a shopping trip? Steer them towards the summer clothes, letting them pick out some swimming gear, a new pair of shades or a fun inflatable. You could also choose something special for them from the Lollo & Bernie Shop; it’s a practical as well as fun way to reveal the surprise holiday, and if you’re staying at a hotel with a Thomas Cook Kids’ Club, they’ll be all kitted out, ready for the Mini Disco.

 

#3. Surprise spending money

Pocket Money on Holiday

If your kids are given pocket money every week or two, swap out the pounds or notes they’re used to seeing with some of your holiday currency. See if they can work out where it’s from; they might be able to pick up some clues from the pictures on the notes or what the coins are engraved with. It’s one of the best ways to reveal a holiday surprise to kids and they’ll love imagining all the things they can buy with their spending money. My favourites were always those funky, braided friendship bracelets!

 

#4. Hunt for some clues

Hunt for some holiday clues

If you’re looking for a holiday surprise with some serious wow-factor, send the kids off on a treasure hunt. Lay down clues or riddles all over the house, which will eventually lead them to the surprise. Fill a gift bag with sweeties and snacks for the plane, with an envelope containing a copy of their boarding pass or pictures of where they’ll be staying. If they’re a fan of treasure hunts, take a look at one of our SunConnect Resorts which host them regularly as part of the All Inclusive entertainment.

If you’d like to see some parents surprise their kids with a new holiday experience, watch the Secret Life of 5 Year Olds on Holiday here.

So, have I given you some good ideas for a holiday reveal? Have you left a holiday as a last-minute surprise before? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

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Maldives-Holiday

Holidays designed for you: try something new this New Year

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Going on holiday is one of the most exciting things to do. For me, it’s not just the jetting off that I love, it’s the entire lead up to the big day. Planning, researching and deciding can be tricky and I can often find myself visiting several different websites, which is why I wanted to sum up what our favourite Thomas Cook Hotels & Resorts have to offer, and why they’ll feel as though as they’ve been designed just for you.

Cook’s Club

Cook's Club Hersonissos

Cook’s Club Hersonissos

Who: Adult-only

Rating: 3/4-star

Where: Turkey, Spain, Italy, Greece, The Gambia, Egypt, Bulgaria, Majorca

What’s there? Poolside playlists and DJ performances, cocktail menu created by Berlin-based mixologist, street food-inspired Cantina and stripped back urban design.

With a focus on chilled out beats, incredible cocktails and street food-inspired dishes, Cook’s Club Hotels bring an urban vibe to the beach in the coolest destinations, across the Med and beyond. Here, poolside soundtracks throughout the day and a DJ on the decks at night create a laid-back atmosphere around the clock.

 

SENTIDO Hotels & Resorts

SENTIDO Mamlouk Palace

SENTIDO Mamlouk Palace

Who: Families and couples

Rating: 4/5-star

Where: Turkey, Tunisia, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Cyprus, Croatia, Canaries, Bulgaria, Balearics

What’s there? Incredible service with plenty of attention to detail, wellness centre, mouth-watering cuisine and enriching activities.

In 2019, SENTIDO Hotels & Resorts will be celebrating ten years of taking you to stunning places such as Sardinia, Croatia and Crete. Whether you’re taking the kids away or looking for a couples’ intimate escape, you’ll find the perfect hotel in beautiful surroundings. High quality is standard, with all hotels 4-star or higher. This quality comes from big features and small details.

 

Sunwing Family Resorts

Sunwing Lollo & Bernie show

Sunwing’s Lollo & Bernie show

Who: Families

Rating: 4-star

Where: Spain, Greece, Canaries, Balearics

What’s there? Spacious rooms, fantastic entertainment for kids, fitness centre for Mum and Dad, and kids’ buffet.

At Sunwing Family Resorts, found in destinations such as Majorca, Rhodes and Tenerife, we’ve devoted over 50 years to making sure that families have the best holiday possible. That’s why we bring together everything you’re looking for to make your getaway easier. Our extras include cots, changing tables and pushchairs. And, if travelling with children under two, you’ll receive an extra hold luggage allowance with Thomas Cook Airlines.

 

Casa Cook

Casa Cook Kos

Casa Cook Kos

Who: Families and couples

Rating: 4/5-star

Where: Spain, Greece, Egypt, Balearics

What’s there? Stylish, simple luxury inspired by surroundings, wellbeing for mind, body and soul, locally-sourced menus, handpicked tips and guided excursions.

Casa Cook Hotels are the perfect escape for like-minded people to revel, explore or simply enjoy some well-needed downtime. Here, the emphasis is on wellbeing for the body and of the soul, with opportunities to encounter new people and cultures. Whether you’re into healthy food, spa time, yoga, music or excursions in nature; each moment of mindfulness will enrich your stay.

 

add your holiday extras

Is there anywhere in my list that’s caught your eye? Where are you planning to head next year? Drop me a line in the comments below!

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